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"So in the late fall of 1982, when I heard that Tap was releasing a new album called "Smell the Glove", and was planning their first tour of the United States in almost six years to promote that album, well needless to say I jumped at the chance to make the documentary - the, if you will, "rockumentary" - that you're about to see. I wanted to capture the... the sights, the sounds... the smells of a hard-working rock band, on the road."
Marti DiBergi, This is Spın̈al Tap

Also called a "fake documentary", a "mockumentary" is a fictional movie shot in the style of a documentary. While the name of the genre implies comedy (such as This is Spın̈al Tap), the format can also work with horror (The Blair Witch Project or other Found Footage Films) and disasters. Fake news reports done by real life newsreaders are common, along with interviews with 'experts', real or fictional. One thing you won't see, however, is famous actors in these movies unless they're playing themselves. We might intellectually know this is a movie as scripted as any other, but having the camera follow Brad Pitt for 90 minutes would break immersion.

The BBC did a lot of Mockumentaries in the late 2000s (to the point of two or three a month), mostly of potential regional-worldwide disasters. One BBC newsreader commented he did news reports for these programmes about twice a month.

Due to the miracle of computer-generated animation, the Discovery Channel has also taken to making mockumentaries about wildlife that no longer exists, such as dinosaurs, or has never existed, such as dragons, in the "filmed in their natural habitat" format.

See also: the Documentary Episode, a Framing Device or plot used for certain episodes on a drama or comedy series. Meanwhile, the Faux Documentary is what a Mockumentary becomes when it often discards the constraints of a supposed documentary crew. Also see Left It In, when people in the documentary directly request (to the camera) that something be cut or edited out, a request that is denied, since you, the viewer, still get to see it. Found Footage Films are what you get when the characters didn't survive long enough to finish the documentary and only left the raw footage.

A related trope is Phony Newscast, when a fictional work is presented as a news program.

Compare Faux-To Guide, Speculative Documentary, and Scrapbook Story. Contrast: Documentary, Documentary of Lies.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The first episode of THE iDOLM@STER is done in the style of a documentary, focusing on the main characters' daily training to become Idol Singers and talking about themselves directly to the camera.

    Comic Books 
  • Big Bang Comics published a two issue History of Big Bang Comics, which detailed the fictional history of the comic book publisher whose Golden Age and Silver Age stories they were supposedly reprinting.

  • Played with in Aeon Entelechy Evangelion, where Misato watches a Show Within a Show Instructional Lessons For the Youth of Today and Stuff, which hilariously depicts the Hedgehog's Dilemma.
  • The Harry Potter fanfic WWP Presents: The Heir of Slytherin shows one of these made by the Weasley Twins and Lee Jordan. There's a narrative, and they dress up as monsters (identified by Luna as "Umgubular Slashkilters") that follow Harry around and cause trouble.
  • In The Beautiful Yet Odd Methods of the Humans, a lawyer's pet hawk concludes that the Courtroom Antics he witnesses daily are an elaborate mating ritual.
    Upon first inspection, the human being is an odd creature. It stands upright on its two legs, but instead of talons it has five digits that are not unfortunately worms, but supposedly they are used for digits, and they lack wings, poor chaps.

  • The DVD Commentary for The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension insist that it's a dramatization of real events. We believe them.
  • Being Michael Madsen is a mockumentary movie in which the Rayban-wearing, gravelly-voiced actor Michael Madsen uses the fact that he's best known for playing ear-severing psychos to great effect. He is making a movie when a young female star disappears, and he is somehow involved...
  • The Black Safari (1972) is a spoof of travelogues that exoticise other countries and cultrures by having Africans travel Oop North, treating Britain as a far off nation from their perspective.
  • Bob Roberts (1992) — The rise of an ambitious politician who isn't all that he appears to be.
  • Brothers Of The Head about conjoined twins in the 1970s sold by their father to be stars in a freakish rock band.
  • The Centrifuge Brain Project is a short film about a scientist and his attempts to investigate how centrifugal force can improve cognitive function by building strange, surreal, and physics-defying amusement park rides.
  • Chickens in the Shadows (2010) — shoestring tour documentary of a fictional would-be pop duo.
  • Citizen Kane features a fictional "News on the March" newsreel documentary about the highlights of Charles Foster Kane's life.
  • Close-Up is a rather odd blend of documentary and mockumentary in which the director filmed all the principals in the story (a Real Life incident of a con man who impersonated a famous film director) as themselves, recreating the events that happened, but staged as if it were a documentary, Talking Heads and all.
  • Cloverfield (2008) — Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever, documented on a handheld camcorder by an ordinary schlub.
  • The Compleat Al is supposed to be a documentary biography of musician "Weird Al" Yankovic. Needless to say, only the broad strokes are accurate.
  • Confetti (c. 2006) — A British film about three couples (including a pair of nudists) getting married.
  • C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America (2006) — A history of North America, and the role of slavery in particular, from the War of Northern Aggression to the 21st century. Warning: This documentary is a foreign program. The views expressed in it do not represent those of the network.
  • Culloden is a Docudrama depicting the actual 1745 battle in Scotland, but is shot as a (then-contemporary, 1964) war newsreel, complete with Shaky Cam battle footage, interviews of key individuals and soldiers proudly posing for the camera in their spare time.
  • Another Unbuilt Trope example is 1967 film David Holzman's Diary, in which a depressed young man who has just lost his job goes about making a documentary, or a video diary, of his own life. It goes badly.
  • Death of a President (2006) — A highly controversial feature-film mockumentary, set in 2010, reflecting on the assassination of US president George W. Bush in 2007 and its aftereffects.
  • District 9 (2009) is filmed only partially in this style, making it a Faux Documentary. Traditional documentary-style segments at the beginning ultimately give way to conventionally shot scenes, with an epilogue that contains talking-head interviews.
  • Dragons: A Fantasy Made Real, follows the discovery of the body of a real dragon, and shows the science that would justify the evolution of such a creature.
  • Peter Greenaway's The Falls (1980) is a mockumentary that catalogs event-created mutants who have undergone mental and physical changes in the "Violent Unknown Event". Some of them have water-based dreams, others have physical mutations or have dreams about birds, and others spontaneously learn bizarre, almost-alien languages (One of the languages in the movie, Abcadefghan, when spoken is actually Estonian). The mutations resemble a recently discovered biological mutation process that doesn't follow the typical Darwinian process of sexual transmission of new mutations to descendants, but instead involves acquired traits created by changes in the way the body creates proteins. The mockumentary is noteworthy in that it was made three decades before scientists figured this out.
  • Fear Of A Black Hat (1994) is basically Spinal Tap for the Hip-Hop crowd.
  • Peter Jackson's Forgotten Silver, the story of fictional New Zealand film pioneer Colin McKenzie. According to the material Jackson "discovered" in this movie, McKenzie was the first man to make audio film and color film, and one piece of footage proves that a New Zealandic inventor created the world's first working flying machine.
  • Going Shopping (2005): The movie is filmed documentary style, complete with interviews with various shoppers, mostly women, about how shopping makes them feel.
  • The segment of the character Jack Rollins/Pastor John in I'm Not There is presented as a mockumentary.
  • I'm Still Here chronicles Joaquin Phoenix's transition from actor to aspiring rap artist, which involved Phoenix's public persona and appearance changing drastically; he became introverted, mumbled uncomfortably through interviews, and apparently put a moratorium on personal grooming as evidenced by his disheveled hair and new, gnarly beard. During the filming period, it was generally assumed that the entire thing was a Kaufmanesque ruse. When the film premiered, Phoenix confirmed that the ordeal was a hoax, and he began appearing in interviews as his old, well-groomed, clean-shaven self.
  • Ingagi is an early (1930) example, following the exploits of a Great White Hunter duo as they venture into Darkest Africa. It mixes elements of the Exploitation Film in that they encounter a tribe that sacrifices its women to hostile gorillas, which then use the human women as sex slaves. Needless to say, no such tribe exists, and much of the footage recycled from an earlier, legitimate documentary, with new footage that had been filmed at a zoo. Nevertheless, it was passed off as a real documentary when it was released.
  • Might be considered to date back to 1914 in Unbuilt Trope form to Kid Auto Races at Venice, the third film featuring Charlie Chaplin and the second one in which he wore the Tramp costume. The conceit of the six-minute short has the film crew recording a soap box derby race at Venice, CA, only for an annoying attention whore stranger (Charlie) to continually get in front of the camera and ruin the shots.
  • The Belgian pitch-black comedy Man Bites Dog is about Affably Evil Serial Killer being followed around by a film crew. The documentary style made the graphic violence even more disturbing by giving viewers the uneasy feeling that they're watching a Snuff Film. The film plays with the trope by making the film's crew become a Dwindling Party over the course of the story, possibly making it more of a Found Footage film.
  • The Mating Habits of the Earthbound Human — Both a romantic comedy and a satirical nature documentary featuring two humans in their natural habitat and an alien as the expository narrator.
  • Medium Cool (1969) — Filmed documentary-style during the Chicago 1968 riots, following the life of a TV cameraman. Possibly the greatest example of Real Life Writes the Plot.
  • My Winnipeg is a "docufantasia" with a collection of stories about Winnipeg (most of which are wildly distorted exaggerations of actual events and persons) and angry rants about how the status quo isn't being preserved and how women are pathetic.
  • The Sacrament is framed as a Vice documentary composed almost entirely of footage shot at a cult.
  • Savageland (2017) is a film that's styled as an actual documentary rather than a found footage film. It tells of a small Arizona town with a population of 57 that were all brutally murdered in a single night with only one survivor, an illegal Mexican immigrant, who ends up being the prime suspect for the case. However, the survivor ended up taking mysterious photos of the night in question that raises some interesting questions about what really happened...
  • The first Saw movie had one of these on the Special Edition DVD that attempted to portray the events of the movie as real.
  • Teenage Father is a 1978 short about a 17-year-old boy who's knocked up his 15-year-old girlfriend, done in faux documentary style with Talking Heads and everything.
  • This is Spın̈al Tap, the story of an aging British rock group in their fading days of stardom. They struggle with playing continually smaller venues, incompetent band members, and the reality that they may be losing their fame. The film is directed by Rob Reiner, who wrote only an outline of the film and allowed the cast to improvise most of the dialogue in the film. This Is Spinal Tap is generally considered the Trope Codifier of the mockumentary.
  • The term "mockumentary" is most associated with the works of Christopher Guest, who took his experience of performing in This Is Spinal Tap and spun the format into a line of similar films largely starring his Production Posse.
    • Waiting for Guffman: A small-town play about the town's history (including their close association with the stool industry and the town's historical visitation by aliens) might be visited by a Broadway talent scout.
    • Best in Show, about a national dog show, and the dog owners.
    • A Mighty Wind: three fading folk music acts give a televised reunion concert after the death of their impresario.
    • For Your Consideration: a small indie flick called "Home for Purim" starts to generate Oscar buzz before it's even completed.
    • Mascots: Sports mascots competing in the World Mascot Association championships.
  • Sacha Baron Cohen does these by playing a bizarre character who is hosting a television show or documentary and interviewing people who do not realize that he's playing a character. Both of his films are based on characters he created for Da Ali G Show, which has a similar theme.
    • Borat: Follows around a childlike and deeply bigoted man from Kazahkstan as he attempts to learn about American culture and chase down Pamela Anderson.
    • Brüno (2009): Follows around a Camp Gay man from Austria who delves into the fashion world.
  • Woody Allen:
    • Zelig is about the life of a dysfunctional "human chameleon" that lived during the 1920s.
    • Sweet and Lowdown, about a (non-existent) jazz guitarist Emmett Ray.
    • As well as his first directorial effort, Take the Money and Run, about a famously incompetent criminal.
    • One could also make a case for Husbands and Wives.
  • Get Ready to Be Boyzvoiced is about the rise and fall of a Norwegian boyband that performed songs that would get them booed off Eurovision. It's all Played for Laughs of course.
  • The 1950s B-Movie, Phantom from Space, although, with the exception of the Stock Footage and the narrator's voice-over, it might fall more under mocudrama.
  • First On The Moon, a 2005 Russian darkly comic mockumentary about the Soviet Moon flight back in 1938.
  • ... And God Spoke (1994) — Chronicles two ambitious filmmakers as they attempt to create a big-budget Biblical epic.
  • The Poughkeepsie Tapes is a horror movie in this style. In a rare example for the horror genre, this was made to look like an actual documentary, rather than just shaky cam.
  • Lake Mungo is another mockumentary horror.
  • The premise of independent UK thriller Exhibit A is that the footage we're seeing— a series of recordings on a teenaged girl's handheld cam documenting the rising tensions in her once normal family and their tragic outcome— actually is being presented as exhibit A in a murder trial for Familicide
  • Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
  • The short film Badly Drawn Roy is about Ireland's first cartoon baby being interviewed for the first time for a documentary. Incidentally, his family is live-action. It's got more genuine drama in it than the premise would suggest.
  • Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon is about a group of documentary filmmakers following a wannabe slasher killer who wishes to be the next Jason or Freddy. Most of the movie is done in this style, showing his preparations for his coming killing spree, before turning into a conventional slasher flick in the last fifteen minutes.
  • Las Hurdes by Luis Buñuel falls halfway between this trope and Documentary of Lies. He did actually go to poor areas of Spain to shoot and was addressing real social issues, but some events appear to have been staged or restaged and at least a few of the statements made by the Unreliable Narrator are Blatant Lies. How much is true and how much isn't is just part of a surrealist package.
  • Kenny is 2006 Australian mockumentary following the life of a plumber who works for a corporate bathroom rental company.
  • The 2011 film, The Tunnel is done in this style, interviewing the survivors of a group of reporters who entered into a set of abandoned subway tunnels in search of a government conspiracy. Footage filmed by the crew is interspersed with voiceovers from the survivors.
  • Blackballed: The Bobby Dukes Story is a Mockumentary about a paintball star who was ousted for cheating and is trying to make a comeback.
  • Incident At Loch Ness, about Werner Herzog trying to make a documentary about the Loch Ness monster.
  • The German 1970 film Die Delegation is a fake necrology to a reporter, who grew into UFO conspiracies, by showing his late footages.
  • Fraktus: Das letzte Kapitel der Musikgeschichte tells the story of the long-forgotten German experimental electro band (and supposed inventors of Techno) Fraktus and their not-so-voluntary reunion after 25 years. Fraktus themselves are actually the comedy trio Studio Braun.
  • The Execution of Gary Glitter: The TV-Film was presented in this format as it explains what would happened if the United Kingdom brought back the death sentence and convicted child molester Glitter is given that punishment.
  • The Conspiracy (2012), about a pair of filmmakers infiltrating an ancient secret society.
  • Noroi: The Curse is a Japanese mockumentary about a journalist's investigation into several seemingly-unrelated supernatural events.
  • Ghostwatch is a for-TV mockumentary-style BBC special following a reporter as she investigates the ghostly happenings at a very haunted home in Northolt. This special is often compared to War of the Worlds, due to the public reaction to it, and was only aired on television once.
  • 7 Days in Hell: A HBO film about two tennis players locked in the longest tennis match of all time, unable to score a match point.
  • Paul McCartney Really Is Dead based on the old "Paul is Dead" conspiracy theories.
  • Elvis Found Alive: People find that Elvis is still alive and been working as a government agent.
  • The Making of a Superhero Musical : Melvin Morel (played by Neil Gaiman) has placed a curse on "Clockmen The Musical."
  • Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One: The Mockumentary genre is present here in Unbuilt Trope form. It's a "documentary" about the filming of a movie called "Over the Cliff", but there is no real movie called "Over the Cliff" being screen-tested; that is a fictional plot element written by William Greaves in order to hang his movie around. And while its unclear how much of the rest of the film is scripted, Greaves himself is definitely playing a character, a film director who is both egregiously sexist and kind of incompetent, leading to frustration from the rest of the actors and crew.
  • The Atticus Institute (2015) is a Mockumentary account - mostly interviews - of a series of 1970s experiments to assess the Psychic Powers of a telekinetic woman. Or so it seemed initially; the story gets creepier as it becomes clear that she's really the victim of Demonic Possession.
  • Kayfabe: A Fake Real Movie About A Fake Real Sport ostensibly follows an indy wrestling federation in its last days and the drama within its ranks.
  • While Lovely Molly is played straight as a fictional film, the advertising vignettes treated the film as a fictional account of real-life incidents complete with an over-dramatic narrator, stock footage, and repurposed clips from the film.
  • The Andromeda Strain presents itself as being a dramatisation of real events: it starts with an on-screen message thanking the secret organisations in the film for their cooperation, and noting their insistence that events be portrayed "accurately and in detail."
  • Outpost 37 documents one of the last outposts remaining out of dozens that were used to hunt down alien remnants from a failed alien invasion that happened a decade before. It has news broadcasts, interviews with troops stationed at the outpost, and "live" footage of a counter-attack at the titular outpost itself.
  • Hell House LLC is framed as a documentary investigating what happened to the Hell House haunted house attraction on October 9th, 2009 that led to the deaths of 15 people and most of the staff setting up the Found Footage making up the bulk of the film.
  • David Brent: Life on the Road follows former Wernham Hogg general manager David Brent as he pursues his dream of having a successful career in the music industry.
  • The Last Broadcast is a mockumentary that examines Found Footage from an expedition to find The Jersey Devil. Made for $900, it is best known for slightly predating the much more successful and similarly themed The Blair Witch Project, which is completely a Found Footage film without the mockumentary framing story.
  • Shadow People claims to be a dramatisation of real-life events, and periodically shows "archival footage" alongside the "dramatised" film.
  • LolliLove (2004), in which Jenna Fischer and her then-husband James Gunn decide to do something about homelessness in Los Angeles—they hand out lollipops with cheery messages on their wrappers to homeless people, assisted by their friends Jason Segel, Linda Cardellini and Judy Greer. Hilarity Ensues. Also directed and co-written by Fischer, it shows she was familiar with the Mockumentary form even before The Office, and is also one of the few straight comedies ever released by Troma.
  • Blooded is told in the style of true crime reconstruction: using a mixture of interviews, reenactments, archive footage, and the video made by the RLA.
  • Good Satan involves a camera crew following Satan to a party being hosted in Heaven.
  • Pittsburgh is an unusual example in that it weaves an Adam Westing narrative around actual events: A 2004 Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera production of The Music Man that featured Jeff Goldblum as Harold Hill, Ed Begley, Jr. as the Mayor of River City, and Illeana Douglas as the Mayor's wife. The three are friends in real life, and staged, improvised vignettes that gently exaggerate their egos/personas (Goldblum's risking his career in blockbuster movies for this gig, Begley's shopping around a solar-power gadget, Douglas gets involved in an ill-fated relationship with Moby) alternate with actual audition, rehearsal, and performance footage and talk show/news coverage.
  • Drop Dead Gorgeous is filmed documentary style, and the plot revolves around an unseen/unheard camera crew recording the lives of several teenage girls and their families in a small Minnesota town as they compete for a spot in a beauty pageant sponsored by a cosmetics company, and the camera crew also documents a number of mysterious deaths among a number of competitors.
  • The Manson Family's Framing Device is an episode of a documentary Show Within a Show, where members of the murderous Family themselves are interviewed. Interspersed are various flashbacks to the events described.
  • Missing Link (1988) is a movie shot in the style of a nature-documentary that tells the story of the last man-ape (a prehistoric hominid — Australopithecus robustus) as he interacts with various animals and searches for another of his kind.

  • Little Me: The Intimate Memoirs of that Great Star of Stage, Screen and Television, Belle Poitrine (as told to Patrick Dennis)
  • The Complete World Knowledge series, by John Hodgman, are mockumentaries in book form.
  • The book Shock Festival is like Spinal Tap meets Grindhouse, a detailed look at the histories and making of grindhouse films that never really existed.
  • The Snouters: Form and Life of the Rhinogrades, a 92-page biology in-joke describing a fictitious order of mammals that walk, climb, dig and/or catch insects with their noses.
  • War Day by Whitley Streiber and James Kunetka, which is written as the account of the two authors traveling around the United States in the aftermath of a limited nuclear exchange.
  • The Dorset Disaster, by Alexander Sidar, is the fictional account of the explosion of a nuclear reactor in Connecticut. It was written several years before Chernobyl, though it actually has a slight similarity, in that both the real and fictional disaster were both caused by oversights during a test.
  • Jean d'Ormesson's The Glory of the Empire is a deadpan "history" of the eponymous Empire, discussing numerous critical and artistic works derived from it, and with footnotes to a host of nonexistent references (including a self-referential footnote).
  • The three main series Dinotopia books were mostly written in the format of the journals of Arthur Denison as found by James Gurney.
  • Raptor Red reads like a fictionalized documentary about dinosaurs that allows insight into their thoughts.
  • The Fox and the Hound is essentially a fictionalized documentary about the lives of American red foxes and those who hunt them. The last chapter is even explicitly based on a historical fox hunt.
  • The Ology Series is a series of books on various topics (vampires, spies, Ancient Egypt, etc.) presented as the work of fictional researchers. Some even have Apocalyptic Logs scrawled in the margins.
  • Simply Weird: The (fake) History of Weird Comics Incorporated, A (fake) Comic Book Company is the fake history of a fake comic book company.
  • The Newest Plutarch, a Soviet collection of made-up biographies.
  • The Stone Diaries: The novel is a fictional biography of protagonist Daisy Goodwill Flett. The book's dedication to this idea includes a family tree in the beginning, and, even more surprisingly, pictures of all the fictional characters in the middle of the book. In interviews, author Carol Shields explained that she used older pictures that she found in archives, and her own children and family for the younger pictures.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Netflix series American Vandal is a documentary-style parody that focuses on the investigation of a prank that resulted in 27 cars getting penises spray-painted on them, as well as trying to discover if the main suspect, Dylan Maxwell, actually did it. He didn't.
  • The Comedians, a look behind the scenes of the fictional The Billy and Josh Show and the clashes between Billy Crystal and Josh Gad.
  • People Like Us, a 1999-2001 British production that skewers the traditional BBC documentary style. It also has sparked an interest on the mockumentary format, seen as a high-brow alternative to Studio Audience/ LaughTrack-based sitcoms in America.
  • The Games was a fictional comedy series about the (real) Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG) as it prepared for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.
  • The Office (UK) the one which spread the format to the world, with a flood of imitators, including an equally-successful (and influential) American adaptation and Stromberg, its German counterpart.
  • 2012, a 2011-12 successor to People Like Us and something of a Spiritual Successor to The Games, as Twenty Twelve is about the 2012 London Olympic Games while The Games is about the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
  • Reno 911!, a specific parody of the COPS style reality-documentary.
  • Chris Lilley's We Can Be Heroes: Finding The Australian of the Year and Summer Heights High, as well as many other Australian series including The Games, Frontline, The Hollowmen, and, to a lesser extent, Kath & Kim.
  • Operation Good Guys, a supposed fly on the wall documentary about an incompetent police unit.
  • Dorm Life is a web-original comedy mockumentary about dorm life, of course.
  • Another Period takes the tropes of Kardashians-style reality TV and transplants them to circa-1902 Rhode Island high society.
  • Documentary Now!! is a Mockumentary Genre Anthology parody series.
  • All Aussie Adventures, a parody of outback travel-adventure shows such as The Crocodile Hunter, hosted by Russell Coight (Glenn Robbins), an accident prone and ill-informed "outback man".
  • The Comeback, centering on a White-Dwarf Starlet (played by Lisa Kudrow) trying to work her way back into Hollywood.
  • The Time Trumpet was a British program that aired 18th August 2006, covering weighty topics, such as the Tesco vs. Denmark war.
  • Coming in a few months before This is Spın̈al Tap, The Comic Strip Presents ... episode "Bad News Tour" (and the sequel several years later, "More Bad News") follows a group of heavy metal wannabes and willneverbees. There are a couple of scenes where the 'musicians' (actually comedians, though that didn't stop them touring) interact with the documentary makers.
  • The War Game (1965) — Britain before, during and after a nuclear attack. Not actually shown in the UK until 1985 because the Home Office claimed it would affect the 'mentally unstable'. Others claimed it was because it exposed the government's post-attack plans as ineffective. Scary as all hell.
  • Alternative 3 (1977) — The final episode of ITV's documentary program Science Report was a mockumentary which, in the course of investigating the problem of leading British scientists moving abroad, reported, among other things, that they were actually being shuttled to Mars to avoid imminent environmental catastrophe. A video clip of the secret first Martian landing (in 1962) shows the presence of life. Despite all the clues about its true nature, a number of people still believe in the "documentary". On YouTube, the Mars landing scene has the label "Reconstructed or real document?" Meaning either based on fact, or real footage. Also of note is its soundtrack, composed by Brian Eno, a portion of which appears on the album Music for Films.
  • The Canadian Conspiracy (1985) — An HBO/CBC co-production, this comedy featured an "exposé" of the secret Canadian plan to overthrow the US through infiltration of the entertainment industry. All the people named as infiltrators who were "interviewed" or "ambushed" played themselves, from Eugene Levy, the defector revealing the conspiracy, to Lorne Greene, the godfather of the operation. Worked because, at least for the American audience, most probably weren't aware of how many Canadians there actually were (and are) working in Los Angeles and New York.
  • Curse of The Blair Witch (1999) — A Sci-Fi channel broadcast produced as a tie-in with The Blair Witch Project, itself a mockumentary of sorts. The program investigated the film as though it were an actual document of real events, investigates the history of the Blair Witch and other disappearances, and features faux "experts" and townspeople reporting their experiences. Caused much public confusion over whether the story was true or not, and to this day visitors to Burkittsville, MD ask to see fictional landmarks such as the "Witch's Rock".
    • A similar faux-historical retrospective was released directly to DVD, to accompany Stephen King's miniseries Rose Red.
  • Smallpox Britain (2002) — A terrorist unleashes smallpox in Britain.
  • The Day Britain Stopped (2003) — lots of traffic problems cause gridlock.
  • Supervolcano (2005) — What is likely to happen when Yellowstone erupts.
  • If? — an entire series of the genre which the BBC ran for a while.
  • Trailer Park Boys — Canadian runaway success started out as a low-key mockumentary/comedy, but turned into more of a straight comedy when the actors stopped breaking the fourth wall and stopped acknowledging the camera. Earlier on the main characters regularly talked to and even on occasion assaulted the camera/sound-people.
  • People Just Do Nothing, a webseries-turned-sitcom about a crew of bumbling wannabe DJs running a pirate radio station in west London.
  • The Irish series, Hardy Bucks is a mockumentary influenced by Trailer Park Boys, which follows four young irish layabouts, and their arch-enemy The Viper, a small town drug dealer.
  • This Country purports to be a fly-on-the-wall documentary examining the struggles and Small Town Boredom faced by young people in isolated rural communities. It was inspired by actual fly-on-the-wall documentary series The Family.
  • The Lost World (1912) — The Arthur Conan Doyle one, not the Michael Crichton one. The entire frame is a news reporter writing letters back to his newspaper, with the climax being an article written by one of his colleagues (since he's in the debriefing conference).
  • When Cars Attack — Richard Belzer presents information and theories on alleged unprovoked assaults on humans by cars acting of their own accord. Quite hilarious.
  • Jimmy Macdonald's Canada
  • Ghostwatch is an infamous 1992 British mockumentary about a investigation into a Poltergeist Gone Horribly Wrong. It ends with the demented and homocidal spirit of Mr. Pipes taking over the broadcast and wreaking havoc in homes across the UK. Like the US The War of the Worlds broadcast, there was a mass confusion over whether or not the show was fiction (the creators defended the work by pointing out the billing at the beginning and end listed the writers' names and even the actor who played the demented spirit of Mr. Pipes), but it led to a series of rash sightings and panic attacks across the UK. BBC switchboards were jammed with complaints, angry parents flooded onto BBC's Bite Back to criticize the show and it was also investigated by the Broadcasting Standards Commission after reports the show caused PTSD symptoms in two children and tragically caused one teenager to commit suicide.
  • In the British series Prehistoric Park, the main character uses a time portal to bring dinosaurs to a modern nature preserve. In spite of the Jurassic Park—like premise, the show is filmed in the style of a realistic Nature Documentary. Further blurring the line between fact and fantasy, star Nigel Marven is an ornithologist and documentary host in Real Life. Egregious tagline: "Extinction Doesn't Have to be Forever".
  • Babylon 5 did this in the episode "And Now For A Word". They used it to subtly establish the nature and biases of the in-universe mainstream media, before they became plot-important.
  • The M*A*S*H episode "The Interview" was presented as a TV documentary in black & white.
  • Also from The Comic Strip Presents, the episode "Eddie Monsoon, A Life" is a mockumentary about an insane, failed TV host.
  • T-Rex: A Dinosaur in Hollywood follows the artistic career of Mr. T-rex from his discovery to becoming one of the greatest stars in the world. Follows the real life story of how he became a cultural icon.
  • The Lost season 4 DVDs contain a mockumentary which exposes the lies of the Oceanic 6. It's essentially one big Lampshade Hanging on common fan nitpicks, such as the 6 not losing any weight and Jack being clean-shaven.
  • Life Beyond The Box was a series of two BBC mockumentaries looking at the lives of 1970s sitcom characters Norman Stanley Fletcher and Margot Leadbetter. The former reunited the cast of the original; the latter didn't, with even Margot herself being Other Darrined.
  • An episode of the very respectable BBC current affairs show Panorama in the '50s played an April Fool on its audience, doing a segment about how spaghetti grows on trees. Pasta not being a common foodstuff there at the time, a lot of British viewers had no clue it was fake, and phoned the BBC to ask how they could grow their own spaghetti trees.
  • Operation Repo is a series on TruTV that is about repomen and it is filmed like COPS, but it is also scripted.
  • One of the earlier examples: The Rutles: All You Need is Cash by Eric Idle and Neil Innes, mocking documentaries of The Beatles, and one of Rob Reiner's inspirations for Spinal Tap. It even featured George Harrison as a reporter.
  • Lost Tapes plays at being the tapes of people who encountered cryptozoological monsters—few of whom to survive the encounters.
  • The Animal Planet movie Werewolves: Dark Survivors is a mockumentary about werewolves in the format of a Crime Drama.
  • William Karel's 2002 TV "film" Opération Lune (Dark Side of the Moon) purported to be about how NASA and Hollywood had conspired to fake the Apollo moon landings, complete with heavyweight guest stars, including Buzz Aldrin and Stanley Kubrick's widow. In spite of the blooper reel featured over the end credits (not to mention an on-screen acknowledgement that it was all made up) some people still believe that it provides evidence for the Apollo landings being a hoax!
  • The documentary segments of The Comedians of Comedy Tour were just as likely to be staged as genuine. Sometimes it was impossible to tell the difference.
  • Harry Enfield starred in Sir Norbert Smith: A Life, about a fictional actor (with plenty of clips from horribly plausible bad British films) and Norman Ormal: A Very Political Turtle, about a fictional Conservative cabinet minister.
  • Many, if not all of the Top Gear Challenges. Crossing a dessert in Africa or reaching the North Pole in a car appear as very genuine documentaries about cars in extreme environments. But then you have others that include things like Jeremy hilariously rolling over a car in the background of a live news broadcast or the Stig falling with a car from the deck of an aircraft carrier and dying. Or the one in which they tried to test cars for their usefulness as getaway cars and robbed a bank in Albania and got in a chase with the police during which James died by jumping of a cliff, only to be back the next episode.
  • The Animal Planet did several of these. In the vein of Dragons: A Fantasy Made Real, Mermaids: The Body Found is about the fictional discovery of a mermaid-like body and the supposed science behind it.
    • Likewise, the Discovery Channel's Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives, broadcast for Shark Week 2013. The Discovery Channel took a lot of flak for not making it sufficiently clear that the show was fake, but they got great ratings.
    • For Shark Week 2014 they followed the trend with Shark of Darkness: Wrath of Submarine and Megalodon: The New Evidence.
    • There was also Russian Yeti: The Killer Lives in 2014, which attempts to connect myths of Yetis and Sasquatch with the Dyatlov Pass incident.
    • In 2015 there was The Cannibal in the Jungle which was about uncovering a case in the 1970s where two scientists were murdered and cannibalized on the Indonesian island of Flores and the creatures responsible being three foot humanoid ape-like creatures referred to as “Hobbits”.
  • Alien Contact, was, as the name suggests, humanity finding evidence of extraterrestrial life in the form of a transmission from Gilese 518.
  • After Lately does this for the E! channel.
  • 1985 (1970) described an ecological catastrophe, with bulletins given by real-life newsmen of the day.
  • The Great Martian War 1913-1917 had The History Channel jumping on the bandwagon. They later did it again in 2015 with Bigfoot Captured.
  • Garth Marenghis Darkplace is a mockumentary about a fictitious 1980s medical/action drama.
  • Victoria Wood: As Seen on TV had a regular feature of documentaries presented by Duncan Preston as Corrin Huntley. There was also a making-of documentary about Acorn Antiques. (This got a follow-up in Victoria Wood's Midlife Christmas, with a mockumentary following Bo Beaumont, the Small Name, Big Ego actress who had played Mrs Overall.)
  • While not explicitly released on TV, the Real Adam Brown which detailed the actor's dark side appears to be in TV format and is part of appendices for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Extended Edition.
  • Mockumentary of the non-funny kind: Special Bulletin was a 1983 made-for-TV movie about a band of pacifist intellectuals who build their own atomic bomb and hold the city of Charleston SC hostage — not for money, but for the right to destroy all the nuclear weapons in the Charleston area. Thus encouraged that disarmament is possible, the US and USSR are then expected to continue to disarm on their own. The whole thing is "broadcast live" when the terrorists accidentally capture a TV news crew in their opening firefight. Their demands are not met and Charleston harbor is destroyed live on camera.
  • Trial & Error spoofs the "true crime" genre.
  • The Practice has an episode that is presented from the camera of a documentary film crew as the cast struggles to get a death sentence overturned for a client.
  • Da Ali G Show is built around Sacha Baron Cohen playing various bizarre characters and interviewing real people under the pretext that he is a journalist recording a documentary or informative television series. The comedy comes from watching his guests' reactions to his behavior.
    • Borat is a bigoted and childlike man from Kazakhstan who is utterly clueless about American culture and values. He constantly inserts his own deeply offensive beliefs, which often go unchallenged by the guests. The character became the focus of the movie Borat.
    • Bruno is a Camp Gay Austrian fashion and culture reporter who typically interviews people one would expect to hold homophobic beliefs, such as frat boys and skinheads. He also interviews people in the fashion world and tricks them to contradicting themselves or revealing a lack of awareness of anything outside of fashion. Made the center of the film Brüno (2009)''.
    • Ali G is a white guy who affects a hip-hop aesthetic and interviews major world leaders while displaying a catastrophic misunderstanding of every topic touched upon. The character became the center of a film told in a tradition narrative rather than a mockumentary, Ali G Indahouse.
  • Wellington Paranormal is a mockumentary shot in the style of a day in the life of the police Reality Show.
  • Like the film of the same name that it is based on, What We Do in the Shadows (2019), is about a documentary crew following a group of vampires around during their nightly antics.
  • Round Planet is a parody of Planet Earth featuring Little Britain's Matt Lucas as "Armstrong Wedgewood", a rather opinionated and self-important naturalist whose commentary is frequently interrupted by phone calls, arguments with his producer, and other unprofessional tangents.
  • Oil Gobblers (original title: Ropáci) is a 20-minute-long Czech mockumentary film from 1988. It shows an expedition in search for a small animal that evolved in the industrial areas of Czechoslovakia, becoming extremely tolerant to pollution and feeding primarily on petroleum.
  • The BBC Four series The Life of Rock with Brian Pern and its sequels Brian Pern: A Life in Rock and Brian Pern: 45 Years of Prog and Roll. The title character is a No Celebrities Were Harmed Composite Character based on aspects of several Prog Rock musicians ... but mostly Peter Gabriel.
  • Each 15-minute episode of The InBESTigators features one (or more) of the team vlogging about a case they had just solved.
  • Just Shoot Me! episode "A&E Biography: Nina Van Horn" is a fake episode of A&E Biography about Just Shoot Me!'s resident White-Dwarf Starlet, presented completely deadpan, with no laugh track.
  • SpongeBob DocuPants is an Amazon Prime and Paramount+ series that takes clips from classic episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants and reframes them as episodes from documentary series (like depicting the events of "The Nasty Patty" as a true-crime docudrama).
  • Players (2022) follows the exploits of a professional gaming team while spoofing sports documentaries.

  • This Sounds Serious is an Affectionate Parody of true crime investigative podcasts. Each season roots itself in a bizarre 911 call, following the host, Gwen Radford, as she examines the incident the call was about, the people involved, etc.
  • Vigil is centered around the eponymous superhero, who used his increased intelligence and ability to go without sleep to provide mission support for other superheroes active in the field. The story is told in the form of a mockumentary podcast by a journalist some time after Vigil's death.
  • Who is Cam Candor? is another parody of investigative podcasts featuring B.K. Will, a "Cultural Obscurist" who investigates a mysterious podcast creator known only by their pseudonym, "Cam Candor", after finding a drive containing hundreds of pilot episodes of their podcasts.

    Puppet Shows 


    Video Games 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Animaland: The Lion, The Australian Platypus, The House-Cat, The Ostrich, and The Cuckoo are all written like this.
  • City of Ghosts is presented in the style of a paranormal documentary where a group of kids interview people and ghosts around the city of Los Angeles.
  • A film called The National Film Board of Mars Presents: What On Earth! is a mockumentary where the supposed propaganda board of the Martian government does a documentary about the dominant form of life on earth: automobiles. Makes fun of the organization that did create it, the National Film Board of Canada, and the fact that the Martians have confused automobiles with the drivers that infest them.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998) had season five's "The Powerpuff Girls: A Documentary." Also, part of "Meet The Beat-Alls" took the form of a documentary on how Mojo Jojo, Him, Fuzzy Lumpkins and Princess Morbucks attained success as the Beat-Alls (paralleling that of The Beatles).
  • One of Alex Hirsch's shorts for the 24-Hour Toons project was Teddy Roosevelt: You So Crazy. It was presented as a clip from a documentary that made a number of ridiculous claims about Theodore Roosevelt, like that he had 26 split personalities (such as Betty Roosevelt, Yeti Roosevelt, and Teddy No-Clothes-evelt) and that his presidency came to an end when he was eaten by William Howard Taft.
  • The War Time Cartoon Tokio Jokio is presented as a news reel captured from the Axis note , but is mostly an excuse to make jokes at their expense.
  • The Simpsons:
    • The "documentary" episode "Behind the Laughter", a direct parody of Behind the Music.
    • Also, much of the episode "Springfield Up".
  • South Park gave us "Terrance and Phillip: Behind the Blow".
  • Surf's Up — a rare animated example. Your basic sports story done in documentary fashion...with penguins! The series probably owes something to the Eighties-era animated sports mockumentary Animalympics.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures: The episode "Voyage of the Kon-Ducki", a parody of Voyage of the Kon-Tiki, was paired with a faux behind-the-scenes documentary.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Mockumentaries


What We Do in the Shadows

What We Do in the Shadows is a Black Comedy Horror Mockumentary which follows three colorful, but lovable vampire flatmates: Viago, Deacon, and Vladislav, in their struggles to fit into modern-day Wellington society. When their eight-thousand-year-old extra flatmate Petyr (pronounced "Peter") attacks and turns twenty-something hipster Nick into a vampire, the guys must teach him the ropes of vampirism and guide him through his newfound eternal life. In turn, they are forced to learn a thing or two about modern society including technology, the Internet, and proper clubbing.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / Mockumentary

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