8 True Crime Documentaries

What fascinates us about true crime stories? Is it catharsis for our fears or curiosity about human minds not like our own? A good true crime documentary takes you on a journey, brings you into the investigation and feeds your need for justice. Many of these go a step further by telling the story through those at the center of the crimes or those who were left behind to pick up the pieces.
1. The WitnessUnited KingdomDocumentary1 Hour 30 Mins

In 1964, when Kitty Genovese was stabbed to death near her Kew Gardens, Queens apartment, news coverage of the murder stated that 38 people in Kitty’s neighborhood witnessed the crime and failed to do anything about it. The crime became the face of urban apathy, condemned a city and defined an era. 40 years later, Genovese’s brother Bill decided to investigate the infamous murder to learn what actually happened

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2. Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial KillerUnited KingdomDocumentary1 Hour 33 Mins

AILEEN: LIFE AND DEATH OF A SERIAL KILLER looks at notorious female serial killer Aileen Wuornos’ violent, tortured childhood in Troy, Michigan and her subsequent years on the road as a hitch-hiking sex worker which culminated in the murders. In her last interview before her 2002 execution, conducted by Broomfield at Aileen’s request, she said she believed her mind was being controlled by radio waves.

3. Dear Zachary - 10th Anniversary EditionUnited StatesDocumentary1 Hour 34 Mins

Filmmaker Kurt Kuenne's poignant tribute to his murdered childhood friend, Andrew Bagby, tells the story of a child custody battle between Bagby's grieving parents and Shirley Turner, Bagby's pregnant ex-girlfriend and suspected killer. What the filmmaker initially intended as a ‘letter’ to his best friend’s unborn child takes on a series of unexpectedly tragic twists as the story unfolds. A deeply powerful documentary that served as a sobering wake-up call to Canada’s bail laws.

4. The Family I HadUnited StatesDocumentary1 Hour 20 Mins

A mother recalls how her brilliant teenage son came to shatter their idyllic family through one unthinkable act. Now, left to pick up the pieces, the survivors test the boundaries of their newly defined reality in this moving true crime story.

5. Murder On a Sunday MorningUnited StatesDocumentary1 Hour 51 Mins

Academy Award winner for Best Documentary Film, the story follows the murder of a white woman and the Black teen that everyone—from officers to journalists—was ready to condemn. When his defense lawyer joins the case, everything changes.

6. Blue Code of SilenceUnited StatesDocumentary1 Hour 15 Mins

When Bob Leuci turned on his fellow officers to bring down New York’s most corrupt police unit, he was both lauded as a hero and condemned as a rat. 40 years later he tells his side of the story.

7. Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?United StatesDocumentary1 Hour 30 Mins

“In 1946, my great-grandfather murdered a black man named Bill Spann and got away with it.” So begins Travis Wilkerson’s critically acclaimed documentary which takes us on a journey through the American South to uncover the truth behind a horrific incident and the societal mores that allowed it to happen. Acting as narrator and guide, Wilkerson spins a strange, frightening tale for a gripping investigation into our collective past and its echoes into the present day.

8. Blessed ChildUnited StatesDocumentary1 Hour 17 Mins

What’s it like growing up in a cult alongside your family? Through extraordinary personal footage, filmmaker Cara Jones takes us inside Reverend Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church as she grapples with leaving her parents behind with the cult.

*Some titles may not be available in Canada