The 11 Best Documentaries About Detroit

Sep 18, 2023 | Best Of

Detroit is a city full of rich culture and history. As the birthplace of some of the most iconic musical movements in America, it has long been seen as a source of creativity and inspiration for many. This fascinating city has also been featured in some excellent documentaries that capture its complexities and nuances. From stories about the effects of deindustrialization to features on Detroit’s musical heritage, these documentaries provide viewers with an in-depth view of the Motor City.


1. The Rise, Fall & Rebirth of Detroit | Abandoned

Detroit is a city with an incredible past, vibrant present, and a promising future. The Motor City has experienced its share of ups and downs, from rise to fall and back again. It’s no secret that Detroit has faced challenges over the years – but it’s also going through one of the most exciting revivals ever seen in the US. From abandoned buildings being converted into creative spaces, to innovative startups driving economic growth, Detroit is a city on the rise. This documentary dives deep into the story of Detroit’s continued transformation and examines how far it has come since its lowest points.


2. United States of Detroit (1080p) FULL MOVIE – Documentary

Detroit, a city with a vibrant past and an uncertain future, has experienced decades of physical and economic decline. But the people of its neighborhoods are determined to reverse this trend and take back their communities. Through resilience and collective action, they are overcoming the lack of resources that have held them back for so long. Whether it is through creative initiatives or grassroots activism, the citizens of Detroit are working hard to make their city a better place. With a spirit that has persisted through generations, they strive to move the city towards stability and growth.


3. Detroit: Living in Ghost Town

Detroit was once home to some of the biggest automotive names in the industry. It was a city bustling with life, and an economic hub that helped support a million people in jobs. But then came 2013 – the year Detroit declared bankruptcy. What happened? General Motors, Ford and Chrysler had all moved away to countries with lower wages, taking employment opportunities with them and leaving Detroit a ghost town. It is this story that has been captured in the critically acclaimed documentary Detroit: Living in Ghost Town.


4. Detroit Halloween

Halloween is a night of chaos and revelry in Detroit. It’s the night when drug dealers, police officers, and federal agents come together to confront the wild party scene that takes over the city. This documentary follows one Halloween night as it unfolds – from its head-turning beginnings to its climactic conclusion. Along the way, viewers get an inside look at the interactions between drug dealers, law enforcement officers, and party-goers. An entertaining and informative film that reveals the unseen side of Detroit’s underground scene. Get ready to experience Halloween in the Motor City with this unforgettable documentary.


5. Rollin: The Fall of the Auto Industry and the rise of the Drug Economy Detroit

Detroit was once the hub of the American Dream, but as its power began to wane it became known as the “Murder Capital” and crime capital of America. Rollin: The Fall of the Auto Industry and the Rise of the Drug Economy Detroit explores this definitive period in history, investigating how a city that had once epitomized hope and prosperity could be brought to its knees. This documentary takes us on a journey through the story of Detroit, from the vibrant consumer culture that developed in the wake of Henry Ford’s automobile industry to the devastating aftermath of deindustrialization and exodus.


6. Abandoned Detroit – Entire City Neglected

The Forgotten City of Detroit – A Tale of Neglect and Despair Detroit, Michigan is an iconic city that has been known by many names throughout its history; from being a thriving industrial powerhouse in the 1920s to facing major financial bankruptcy in the late 2000s. It’s no secret that Detroit has had its share of problems over the years, but it wasn’t until recently that the true extent of its troubles were revealed in a powerful documentary.


7. Detroit: Bankruptcy of a Cultural Symbol | The Decline of the US Dream City | America Documentary

Detroit, a city devoted to the car industry and a symbol of the American Dream, has seen its fortunes ebb since the 1950s. Once bustling with factories churning out cars for Ford, Chrysler and General Motors, its grandeur has slowly slipped away. Jobs were lost, people moved away in droves, and hope disappeared from this once vibrant city. Now, all that remains are its empty spaces and a lingering sense of what could have been. The decline of Detroit paints a stark picture of the challenges facing many cities across the US today.


8. Homeless in Detroit

One of the most compelling documentaries to come out of Detroit in recent years is Stacey Dooley’s Investigates. The award-winning documentary highlights the homeless crisis that has become increasingly pervasive in the city. Dooley visits some of its most desperate citizens, shining a light on their unique stories and their struggles for survival day after day. Along with providing an intimate look into how the homeless live, Stacey Dooley Investigates also looks at what social services and government help are available. The documentary is a sobering tale of resilience and human dignity in the face of great hardship.


9. DOPE city: DETROIT 1980’s B4 BMF White Boy Rick, YBI, Maserati Rick

Take a journey back to the 1980s and explore Detroit, Michigan – a city that had it all. From the most prosperous middle class region in world history to the crime capital known as the Mu7der City, what happened? DOPE City: DETROIT 1980’s B4 BMF dives deep into this transformation with an engaging documentary.Al Profit uncovers the struggles of White Boy Rick, Young Boys Inc (the group that inspired Big Meech and the Black Mafia Family) and Detroit’s political corruption. With an M.A.



Once proud and strong, a city of grand dreams,Detroit now lies shattered beneath the shadows of blight. The great industry that once powered its growth has been replaced by a dark emptiness. This is the story of Detroit – the most abandoned city in America. The people who remained after the factories were closed have formed new communities out of necessity, and created a unique culture in the place of the old.


11. Detroit Mob Confidential – Documentary

The story of Detroit’s La Cosa Nostra Family is one that has inspired and captivated people for generations. With two Dons, the current leader having served for a remarkable 30 years, this crime family is arguably the most successful in the US. As we dive into their history, we must acknowledge how difficult it is to remain top dog within the criminal underworld. It’s a testament to their power and influence that they have managed to stay at the top for so long. Their story is full of drama, action, suspense, and intrigue.

Read On – Our Latest Top Documentaries Lists

David B