6 Charles Manson Documentaries That'll Help Explain What You Just Saw In Charlie Says

Photo: AP/Shutterstock.
The arrival of 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of Charles Manson’s murders, and you know what that means? There’s a renewed interest in the notorious criminal’s life and the horrible crimes he committed with his “family” of followers. There’s also a brand new movie in theaters about Manson, Charlie Says, which focuses on some of the women in his Manson family and what drew them to him in the first place. It’s just another look at the killer, who died in prison while serving a life sentence in 2017.
The movie stars Matt Smith as Charles Manson, along with Game of Thrones’ Hannah Murray as Leslie Van Houten, 13 Reasons Why’s Sosie Bacon as Patricia Krenwinkel, and Insurgent’s Suki Waterhouse as Mary Brunner as three of the most infamous women in the family. While Charlie Says might be a biography based on real events and people, there are plenty of actual documentaries about Manson, his family, and their murders that might help explain just why the cult leader is so notorious. Here's where you can find them:
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Manson (1973)
The first Manson documentary hit a few years after his murders in the early 1970s. The documentary features actual footage of Manson and his family during their time at their compounds before the killings, along with interviews. However, one of the interviewees, Squeaky Fromme, later tried to assassinate President Gerald Ford and the film was banned ahead of Fromme’s trial. The film was later nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the Oscars.
Watch it: on Youtube.
Life After Manson premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and focused on the life of Manson family member, Patricia Krenwinkel. Clocking in at only 25-minutes, the short documentary focuses on Krenwinkle’s childhood, her time with Manson, and her prison sentence.
This two-part History documentary discussed his motives that didn’t fall under the Helter Skelter umbrella, and also included interviews with some of his Family members, including those who had already been released from prison. The documentarian also obtained roughly 26 hours of phone conversations between Manson and his family.
Watch it: Amazon Prime Video with a History Vault subscription, or purchase it per episode for $2.99.
Murder Made Me Famous, “Charles Manson: What Happened?” (2017)
Part of REELZChannel’s Murder Made Me Famous series, the Season 2 episode told the story of Manson and his family through actor recreations.
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Watch It: stream on REELZChannel, or on Prime Video with a REELZChannel subscription.
The Fox documentary is narrated by Liev Schreiber and has an exclusive interview with Manson family member Bobby Beausoleil from prison. The two-hour doc also includes never-before-seen footage, photographs, and additional interviews.
Watch it: on Fox’s app.
Okay, last REELZChannel Manson documentary... for now at least. This Manson doc actually follows the killer’s grandson, Jason Freeman, as he attempts to claim Manson’s remains after his death in 2017. Along the way, he meets people who actually still support Manson (what the WHAT), along with former Family members.
Watch it: currently airing on REELZChannel, check your local listings.
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