Showing the Power of Friendship through Documentaries

Dec. 28, 2022

Documentary films are amazing tools for showcasing the beauty of friendship. From powerful stories of camaraderie in the face of hardship, to the complexities that come with maintaining a close bond, documentaries let us peek into someone else’s world and gain insight and perspective on our own relationships. Let’s take a look at why documentaries about friendship can be so powerful.


The Impact of A Good Story           

                             A black woman holding a book while petting a dog

Documentaries about friends also have an impact on our emotions. When we watch people who have been through difficult times together, we can begin to understand what it means to stick by your best friend even when times are tough—it creates hope for better days ahead for both you and your friends. We can feel inspired by those who have overcome adversity together or just be moved by those who take joy in simple things like eating lunch together or playing board games in their living room.  


Friendship Beyond Media Representations

The way that friendships are portrayed in popular culture isn’t always reflective of reality. Documentaries celebrate real-life stories from real people—stories that may not have been seen otherwise. These films put faces (and names) to those whose experiences aren’t typically highlighted by mainstream media, giving us a better understanding of the complexities and nuances associated with developing meaningful friendships with people from all walks of life—and helping us appreciate how unique and special our own friendships are as well.  


Which documentaries about friendship can I watch online right now?


What Remains Is Mermanat

A large group of goats in a forest

High up in the mountains of Turkey, the only two children in a small village foster a close relationship with a 82-year old neighbour, Nokta, while their mother cuts tea in the close fields. Seasons pass, but when the children’s father returns to the village with plans to move his family, Nokta’s future is called into question. What Remains is Mermanat presents a visually outstanding portrait of a cross generational friendship and a fading way of life. It’s an ode to simplicity without exclamation marks and brings in front of our eyes a Turkish reality that is rarely reported.

Deep Water

A woman pouring a glass of alcohol to a man

This Academy Award-nominated film tells the story of three men—the first an American sailor, and the other two British yachtsmen—who set out on a record-breaking journey across the Atlantic Ocean in 1968. Despite their differences in nationality, age and background, they form an unbreakable bond which is tested time and time again as they persevere through treacherous storms, physical exhaustion and mental anguish.



Two young girls wearing a dress

A naked woman running through her house chased by a camera, a cord that joins two young girls stuck in the spot on the skin where the heart is located, the tattoos of two male friends who have inked several parts of their bodies just to have the story of their lives written on their flesh. Shot with the immature brushwork of a 8mm camera and spoken in several languages, this small film is composed of fragments like the ones we have described above. This linguistic variety is not coincidence, especially when it comes to finding the concise words that explain the phenomenon of friendship, which, as someone in the movie suspects, is close to being a force of construction and destruction, very close to love.

A Band Called Death

Three black men in a bridge smiling and posing to the camera

In 1971 Detroit, three brothers formed a punk band called Death. Unfortunately for them, punk was not yet popular and their music went largely unrecognized until recently when it was rediscovered by some musicians who were inspired by their sound. This documentary follows their journey as they try to make sense of what could have been had their music been noticed earlier. It’s an inspiring story about friendship between brothers and how perseverance can lead to success against all odds.  

Tiny Bird

The closeup of a forest with sun glares

The director, Dane Kolmjen, presents us with the following story about this stunning film: “In the flat where I grew up, in a closet, hidden just behind his clothes, uniform and a pistol, my father kept a box with school documents, papers and volumes. After he died, I searched that box. In his student report book I found a name of professor who lectured ‘The basics of Marxist sociology’ in 1976. I went to the professor and asked him: ‘What is friendship?’. ‘A tiny bird’, he said”.

The Boys of Baraka

Three black boys, one with his back turned while wearing a jacket

This documentary follows four boys from inner-city Baltimore who have been chosen to attend the Baraka School in Kenya for two years in hopes that the experience will give them a better chance at success than if they had stayed in Baltimore. The film explores how strong relationships form between these four boys despite their differences in cultural backgrounds and socio-economic statuses. It’s a touching story about how true friendship transcends all boundaries.

Cutie & The Boxer

Two old folks playfully posing to the camera

This documentary follows Ushio Shinohara, a legendary artist known for his boxing painting technique, and his wife Noriko Shinohara over 40 years of marriage as they struggle with balancing art with family life while trying to stay afloat financially in New York City's competitive art scene. As Ushio continues to pursue his career as an artist while Noriko takes up her own artistic pursuits, we get an intimate look into the couple's poignant relationship as both friends and partners through thick and thin.  


The Work of Days

Two old folks finger paiting a portrait

Three artists - François-Xavier Marange, Louis-Pierre Bougie, and Denis Saint-Pierre - share a studio for over thirty years when suddenly the illness and the death of one of them leads to a meditation about work and time passing. A film about friendship and those we love, about the legacy we leave behind and what we take with us at the end. A film about time that makes us what we are. A film both about life and about death – that shows us life.


You Have a Friend in Me!

   A group of women laughing and smiling

Documentaries about friendship touch upon universal truths that everyone can relate to regardless of age, race, gender, or background. They remind us that while our friendships will go through ups and downs just like any other relationship, they are worth fighting for as long as both parties are willing to put in the work. These stories give us hope that no matter how hard life gets, there will always be someone there willing to walk alongside us through thick and thin—which is one of the greatest gifts any person can receive. So next time you need something to watch on Guidedoc, consider making it a documentary about friendship! You won’t regret it!


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