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Movies to change the way you see the world, part 2

Because you loved our first list of must-watch movies we’ve created part two: 17 movies with messages we think are worth sharing.

You’ll find stories of rubbish pickers, young people growing up and unlikely friendships. Discover one man’s epic fight against child slavery or follow a chain of refugee stories across the globe.

Grab a friend and settle in for a line-up that’s guaranteed to be an emotional rollercoaster. We hope some of the movies on our list make it on to your all-time favourites too. So in no particular order ... 

1. Human

What makes us human? Why from one generation to the next do we keep making the same mistakes? Filmmaker Yann Arthus-Bertrand spent three years collecting the stories of 2,000 people in 60 countries. Using these first-person stories and aerial images he confronts the realities and diversity of humankind.

  • Lowdown: searching for what it is to be human
  • Rating: not available
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: not yet rated, audience score 90%
  • Watch it for free on YouTube vol 1, vol 2vol 3 

2. Waste Land

Just outside Rio de Janeiro in Brazil is the world's largest landfill where men and women sift through the rubbish to make a living. Artist Vik Muniz collaborates with the “pickers” to create photos mimicking famous paintings – the proceeds from the sale of these photos to go back to the pickers.

  • Lowdown: the strength of the human spirit and the power of art
  • Rating: M
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 100%
  • Watch it on YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, Fetch

3. Zach's Ceremony

SBS reviewer Stephen A Russell says this should be mandatory viewing for all Australians. This doco, shot over 10 years, tells the story of one Indigenous boy’s transition to manhood, in both the modern world and his ancient culture.

  • Lowdown: family, connection what it means to be a modern man belonging to the world’s oldest living culture
  • Rating: M
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 100%
  • Watch on it on YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, Vimeo, Amazon Prime, Fetch

4. Faces Places

Late French New Wave film director Agnès Varda (age 89) and photographer street artist JR (age 33) team up for a road trip through rural France in JR’s photo booth van. An unlikely friendship forms as they produce street portraits of the people they meet along the way.

5. The Price of Free

As a young man, Kailash Satyarthi promised himself that he would end child slavery in his lifetime. In the decades since he and his team have rescued more than 80,000 children and built a global movement. In 2014 Kailash was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his tireless work.

  • Lowdown: one man’s fight to liberate every child from slavery
  • Rating: not rated
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 80%
  • Watch it for free on YouTube

6. Living on One Dollar

Follows four friends as they set out to live on $1 a day for two months in rural Guatemala. They battle hunger, parasites, and extreme financial stress as they attempt to survive on the edge.

  • Lowdown: developing empathy and an insight into global poverty
  • Rating: not rated
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: not yet rated, audience score 75%
  • Watch on it VimeoAmazon Prime

7. Lion

Based on the true story of a five-year-old Indian boy who gets lost far from home. He learns to survive alone before being adopted by an Australian couple. Twenty-five years later, with just a handful of clues, he tries to find his lost family.

8. Minding the Gap

The story of three friends, united by a love of skateboarding, who bond together to escape volatile families, domestic violence and absent parents. A coming-of-age documentary set in America’s Rust Belt.

9. Jane

With never-before-seen National Geographic footage, this doco tells the story of trailblazing primatologist and animal-rights activist Jane Goodall, her ground-breaking fieldwork in Tanzania in the 1960s and research with chimpanzees.

10. Hotel Rwanda

Set in Rwanda and based on the disputed true story of a Hutu hotel manager who provided shelter to some 1,200 Tutsi refugees during events that would become known as the Rwandan genocide. According to estimates, the 1994 genocide claimed between 800,000 and one million lives.

11. Last Men in Aleppo

Documentary following members of the volunteer group White Helmets, who offer aid to the wounded during the Syrian civil war.

  • Lowdown: an ode to courage and compassion
  • Rating: MA15+
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 97%
  • Watch it on iTunes

12. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

At 43 Jean-Dominique Bauby editor-in-chief of French Elle magazine suffered a stroke, the damage to his brain leading to locked-in syndrome. Dominique is almost completely paralysed and can only communicate by blinking an eye.

13. I Am Not Your Negro

Documentary envisioning the manuscript that novelist James Baldwin’s never finished about the lives and assassinations of three of his close friends: Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.

14. Blindsight

Shunned by their culture and parents, six blind Tibetan teenagers set out to climb the north side of Mount Everest, Lhakpa Ri peak. They are led by the only blind man to have climbed Everest, and accompanied by their fearless teacher who set up Tibet’s first school for the blind.

  • Lowdown: anyone can do extraordinary things
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 98%
  • Watch it on Vimeo

15. Human Flow

More than 65 million people have been forced from their homes by famine, climate change and war. Filmmaker Ai Weiwei examines the staggering scale of the refugee crisis and its human impact. Over the cross of a year, he follows a chain of human stories that stretch across the globe.

16. Won't You Be My Neighbor?

This story of US TV host and puppeteer Fred Rogers has gone on to be the highest-grossing biographical documentary of all time. Through his show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood – which ran for 30 years and tackled issues like racism and the Vietnam War – Rogers inspired generations of children with compassion and limitless imagination.

  • Lowdown: one man’s legacy of kindness
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 98%
  • Watch it on YouTube, Google Play, iTunes

17. Life in a Day

A crowdsourced documentary of YouTube video clips shot by ordinary people all over the world on the very same day – 24 July 2010.

  • Lowdown: a time capsule of life on earth on a single day
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 81%
  • Watch it on for free on YouTube

Make sure you check out part one - 13 must-see movies that will change the way you see the world