Only the Young: Documentaries about Children & Childhood

Here are just a selection of documentary films that explore the everyday lives and worlds inhabited by the young.

While some of these films are about specific issues and topics related to children & childhood, often taking an editorial approach that is more macro-focused and structural in nature, there are just as many that, delightfully, remain contented to simply explore the lives of an individual child or group of children — helping us to see the world from their perspectives and empathize with their experiences.

Collectively, these documentaries highlight both the great joys and overlooked struggles of childhood. They examine the unfortunate and often domineering prejudices that children experience in a society intended for — and controlled by — adults, and…

Read notes
  • Only the Young
  • Babies
  • The Beginning of Life
  • I Am Eleven
  • Maidentrip
  • The Land
  • School's Out: Lessons from a Forest Kindergarten
  • To Be and to Have
  • Seven Up!
  • Tell Them Anything You Want: A Portrait of Maurice Sendak
  • The Eagle Huntress
  • Brooklyn Castle
  • Mad Hot Ballroom
  • Spellbound
  • A Touch of Greatness
  • Hoop Dreams
  • Rock School
  • These Birds Walk
  • Tchoupitoulas
  • Paper Clips
  • Promises
  • I Am a Promise: The Children of Stanton Elementary School
  • Please Vote for Me
  • Make Believe
  • Summercamp!
  • Jesus Camp
  • Small Wonders
  • Alamar
  • My Kid Could Paint That
  • Buddha's Lost Children
  • Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport
  • National Geographic: China's Lost Girls
  • The Business of Being Born
  • Nursery University
  • The Evolution of Dad
  • The Other F Word
  • Wo Ai Ni Mommy
  • Following Sean
  • Open Heart
  • Poto and Cabengo
  • Autism: The Musical
  • In the Land of the Deaf
  • Race to Nowhere
  • The War on Kids
  • The Lottery
  • Waiting for
  • The Cartel
  • 12 O’Clock Boys
  • Marathon Boy
  • Buffalo Girls
  • The Short Game
  • Come On Children
  • Sounds Like Teen Spirit
  • First Position
  • Resolved
  • Thespians
  • The Heart of the Game
  • We Are Together
  • 7 Plus Seven
  • Seventeen
  • American Teen
  • A Kind of Childhood
  • Born Into Brothels
  • The Real Slumdogs
  • Small Voices: The Stories of Cambodia's Children
  • Children Underground
  • Homeless: The Motel Kids of Orange County
  • Which Way Home
  • Wade in the Water, Children
  • ABC Africa
  • Lost Children
  • War Dance
  • Somewhere Between
  • The Imposter
  • Scared Straight!
  • Capturing the Friedmans
  • Very Young Girls
  • Playground
  • Girl Model
  • Streetwise
  • Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
  • Children of God
  • Go Tigers!
  • He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin'
  • Cropsey
  • Sun Kissed
  • Racing Dreams
  • Tears of Gaza
  • Off and Running
  • Sound and Fury
  • The Boys of Baraka
  • Our School
  • Lost Boys of Sudan
  • Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go
  • Girls Like Us
  • American Promise
  • Inocente
  • The Devil's Miner
  • The 3 Rooms of Melancholia
  • The Children of Leningradsky