4 Essential Documentaries for Writers

By Sean Tuohy

We should always be writing, but there are times when we need to rest and relax. During those times, however, we should still be doing something that refuels our writing tank. These four documentaries about famed writers will get the juices flowing! Feel free to share your favorite writer documentaries in the comments section or tweet us @WritersBone.

“Life Itself”

Roger Ebert was a writer first and a film critic second. His skill behind the keyboard was unmatched. In this heartwarming and inspiring documentary, viewers get to see how Ebert became a world icon. If the final scenes don’t cause you to tear up, you may be dead inside.


Made by famed Hollywood screenwriter Shane Salerno, this in depth look at J.D. Salinger provides details about a man who hides in the shadows even in death. The film studies the man and the writer who would become famous for staying away from the fame.

“Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia”

Gore Vidal is larger than life. Vidal has been friends with, or gotten into fights with, some of the biggest stars, trendsetters, and icons of the past 50 years. This film takes you through the long and winding road that is Vidal’s interesting life.

“Dreams With Sharp Teeth”

Harlan Ellison is short tempered, tough, and one hell of a writer. He does not shy away or try to be kind of politically correct. But that is where his charm comes from. If this does not light the writing section of your brain on fire, then nothing will.

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