50 Documentaries to See Before You Die

Grizzly Man (2005)

Director: Werner Herzog

German filmmaker (and superhuman) Werner Herzog turned his camera on Timothy Treadwell, a bear enthusiast who spent 13 summers in Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska, developing a relationship with bears. Or so he thought. Treadwell saw something kindred in the animals, something almost human that he believed bonded him to the bears.

Herzog looks at the footage and at the animals and sees nothing, a cold statement that becomes more powerful when coupled with Treadwell's fate: In 2003, he and his girlfriend Amie Huguenard were killed by a bear. It was captured on tape, and though Herzog (thankfully) never plays the audio for the viewer, you do get to watch the director listen to the footage on headphones. It's just one brilliant move in a documentary full of them. —RS

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