I started to make this list while traveling because while speaking about the movies I watch and the books I read people were asking me for recommendations.
I put together here documentaries, movies, biographies about nature, different countries, history, politics, travel, physics, photography, online business, self-improvement and many other subjects I’m interested in or passionate about.
This list is about documentaries and movies, books list to follow. Far from being complete, I will update it from time to time with new doses of inspiration.
Planet Earth (a BBC documentary: poles, mountains, fresh water, caves, deserts, ice worlds, great plains, jungles, shallow seas, seasonal forests, ocean deep, the future): eleven episodes, each of which features a global overview of a different biome or habitat on Earth. This documentary is so beautiful, a pleasure to watch. I learned about different places I didn’t know before and a lot of facts about our wonderful planet.
Home: our planet from formation until nowadays with the goods and the bads but ending in a very optimistic way.
Samsara: it was filmed over five years in 25 countries around the world. “Samsara explores the wonders of our world from the mundane to the miraculous, looking into the unfathomable reaches of humanity’s spirituality and the human experience. Neither a traditional documentary nor a travelogue, Samsara takes the form of a nonverbal, guided meditation” says the official website.
Baraka: explores themes via a kaleidoscopic compilation of natural events, life, human activities and technological phenomena shot in 24 countries on six continents over a 14-month period.
Into the Universe With Stephen Hawking: a look at the entire universe, from the Big Bang to the end of time.
Atom (quantum physics): a 3 parts documentary about the discovery of the atom, the minds behind it, the possibility of parallel worlds where different versions of us might exist, the discovery that the empty space in not empty at all, but seething with activity.
Particle fever: a documentary about the experiments at the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva. The film follows the experimental physicists at CERN who run the experiments, as well as the theoretical physicists who attempt to provide a conceptual framework for the LHC’s results
Encounters at the end of the world: a documentary about the surreal Antarctica and about the passionate people spending their time studying this continent. All sorts of characters and stories, and at the end of it, you will search for jobs in Antarctica. At least that’s what I did.
Touching the void: made after the book with the same name the movie recounts the story of a successful but almost fatal climb of Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes. I saw it many years ago, and I found it very inspiring. Whenever I watch mountain climbing documentaries I take it as a story about following your passions.
White Carpathia (Romania – British producer, 4episodes): this is a documentary about the Romanian Carpathian Mountains, made with the purpose of increasing awareness about the natural heritage in the Carpathians in order of protecting it.
Thrive: what on Earth will it take? : weaving together breakthroughs in science, consciousness, and activism, THRIVE offers real solutions, empowering us with unprecedented and bold strategies for reclaiming our lives and our future.
Kymatica: “Will you make the tough choice to make personal changes for the benefit of all or allow the collective end of mankind to pass with a faint whimper?”
Earthlings (food industry): using hidden cameras and never-before-seen footage, Earthlings chronicles the day-to-day practices of the largest industries in the world, all of which rely entirely on animals for profit.
Fed up (food industry): an examination of America’s obesity epidemic and the food industry’s role in aggravating it
I am: is an utterly engaging and entertaining non-fiction film that poses two practical and provocative questions: what’s wrong with our world, and what can we do to make it better?
Human: a collection of stories about and images of our world, offering an immersion to the core of what it means to be human. I think this documentary is a must see, it is so touching.
“If you fast forward and think what will our future generations be ashamed of, one of the things I would be ashamed of is how we allowed poverty to exist on this planet for so long when we easily could end it.”
“Because if everyone had food at home we could think. So, we could be poor, but have the intelligence to be able to go ahead.”
BBC 3 documentaries with Stacey Dooley: a British journalist investigating the impact tourism has on poor countries, the economic crisis impact, the refugee crisis, and many more subjects you don’t get to see very often traveling. She investigates what is behind the tourist attractions. And I think is very good to know it, to see things from a different perspective and be aware of the impact you can make on the places you visit.
Tracks: very inspirational solo woman’s 1,700-mile trek across the deserts of West Australia with four camels and her faithful dog.
Wild: one woman’s 1,100-mile solo hike on the Pacific Crest trail undertaken as a way to recover from a recent personal tragedy.
Maidentrip: such an inspiring movie! 14-year-old Laura Dekker sets out on a two-year voyage in pursuit of her dream to become the youngest person ever to sail around the world alone.
Into the wild: after graduating from Emory University, top student and athlete Christopher McCandless abandons his possessions, gives his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhikes to Alaska to live in the wilderness. Along the way, Christopher encounters a series of characters that shape his life.
127 hours: the story of a mountain climber trapped with the hand under a boulder while canyoneering alone near Moab, Utah.
Finding Vivien Maier: this one is for those passionate about photography, but not only. A documentary on the late Vivian Maier, a nanny whose previously unknown cache of 100,000 photographs earned her a posthumous reputation as one of the most accomplished street photographers.
Gandhi: a biography of Mahatma Gandhi from his early days in South Africa until his assassination.
Mandela: long walk to freedom: a chronicle of Nelson Mandela’s life journey from his childhood in a rural village through to his inauguration as the first democratically-elected president of South Africa.
Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan: recounts the early life of Genghis Khan who was a slave before going on to conquer half the world in 1206.
Once we were warriors: “it opened the eyes of cinemagoers around the globe to an unexamined aspect of modern New Zealand life. Director Lee Tamahori’s hard-hitting depiction of domestic and gang violence amongst an urban Māori whānau was adapted from the best-selling Alan Duff novel.” Not very easy to watch but revealing a certain aspect not easy to see when traveling to New Zealand.
Rapa Nui: tenuously based on the legends of Easter Island, Chile, this story details a civil war between the two tribes on the island: the Long Ears and the Short Ears. A warrior from the ruling class falls in love with a girl from the lower class and must decide on his position in a time of great civil unrest. The ruling class is demanding larger and larger Moai (stone statues), a task which the lower class and the island ecology are more and more reluctant to provide.
Jobs: a biography about Steve Jobs which I find very inspiring because it shows how much he believed in himself and in his dreams. A true example that everything is possible.
Forrest Gump: the story of Forrest Gump, a low IQ but good hearted man.
“Forrest: Momma said there’s only so much fortune a man really needs and the rest is just for showing off. So, I gave a whole bunch of it to the Foursquare Gospel Church and I gave a whole bunch to the Bayou La Batre Fishing Hospital. And even though Bubba was dead, and Lieutenant Dan said I was nuts, I gave Bubba’s momma Bubba’s share. And you know what? She didn’t have to work in nobody’s kitchen no more…”
Oktober sky: the true story of Homer Hickam, a coal miner’s son who was inspired by the first Sputnik launch to take up rocketry against his father’s wishes.
“O’Dell: God’s honest truth, Homer. What are the chances… a bunch of kids from Coalwood… actually winning the national science fair?
Homer: A million to one, O’Dell.
O’Dell: That good? Well, why didn’t you say so?”
Enjoy and feel free to add suggestions in the comments! 🙂