The Greatest Documentaries of All Time

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1.
Bowling for Columbine (2002 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Filmmaker Michael Moore explores the roots of America's predilection for gun violence. (120 mins.)
Director: Michael Moore
 
2.
Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Michael Moore's view on what happened to the United States after September 11; and how the Bush Administration allegedly used the tragic event to push forward its agenda for unjust wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. (122 mins.)
Director: Michael Moore
 
3.
Senna (2010 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
A documentary on Brazilian Formula One racing driver Ayrton Senna, who won the F1 world championship three times before his death at age 34. (106 mins.)
Director: Asif Kapadia
 
4.
When We Were Kings (1996 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A documentary of the 1974 heavyweight championship bout in Zaire, "The Rumble in the Jungle," between champion George Foreman and underdog challenger Muhammad Ali. (88 mins.)
Director: Leon Gast
 
5.
The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (2007 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Die-hard gamers compete to break world records on classic arcade games. (79 mins.)
Director: Seth Gordon
 
6.
The Thin Blue Line (1988 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A film that successfully argued that a man was wrongly convicted for murder by a corrupt justice system in Dallas County, Texas. (103 mins.)
Director: Errol Morris
 
7.
Waltz with Bashir (2008 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
An Israeli film director interviews fellow veterans of the 1982 invasion of Lebanon to reconstruct his own memories of his term of service in that conflict. (90 mins.)
Director: Ari Folman
 
8.
American: The Bill Hicks Story (2009 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Photo-animated feature documentary, uniquely narrated by the 10 people who knew Bill best. (102 mins.)
 
9.
Capturing the Friedmans (2003 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Documentary on the Friedmans, a seemingly typical, upper-middle-class Jewish family whose world is instantly transformed when the father and his youngest son are arrested and charged with shocking and horrible crimes. (107 mins.)
Director: Andrew Jarecki
 
10.
The Imposter (2012 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A documentary centered on a young man in Spain who claims to a grieving Texas family that he is their 16-year-old son who has been missing for 3 years. (99 mins.)
Director: Bart Layton
 
11.
Grizzly Man (2005 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A devastating and heartrending take on grizzly bear activists Timothy Treadwell and Amie Huguenard, who were killed in October of 2003 while living among grizzlies in Alaska. (103 mins.)
Director: Werner Herzog
 
12.
Dig! (2004 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A documentary on the once-promising American rock bands The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols, and the friendship/rivalry between their respective founders, Anton Newcombe and Courtney Taylor. (107 mins.)
Director: Ondi Timoner
 
13.
Murderball (2005 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Quadriplegics, who play full-contact rugby in wheelchairs, overcome unimaginable obstacles to compete in the Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece. (88 mins.)
 
14.
Marley (2012 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A documentary on the life, music, and legacy of Bob Marley. (144 mins.)
Director: Kevin Macdonald
 
15.
Knuckle (2011 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
An epic 12-year journey into the brutal and secretive world of Irish Traveler bare-knuckle fighting. This film follows a history of violent feuding between rival clans. (97 mins.)
Director: Ian Palmer
 
16.
Capitalism: A Love Story (2009 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
An examination of the social costs of corporate interests pursuing profits at the expense of the public good. (127 mins.)
Director: Michael Moore
 
17.
Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The story of how an eccentric French shop-keeper and amateur film-maker attempted to locate and befriend Banksy... (87 mins.)
Director: Banksy
 
18.
The Queen of Versailles (2012 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A documentary that follows a billionaire couple as they begin construction on a mansion inspired by Versailles. During the next two years, their empire, fueled by the real estate bubble and cheap money, falters due to the economic crisis. (100 mins.)
 
19.
Taxi to the Dark Side (2007 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Alex Gibney exposes the haunting details of the USA's torture and interrogation practices during the War in Afghanistan. (106 mins.)
Director: Alex Gibney
 
20.
American Movie (1999 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Documentary about an aspiring filmmaker's attempts to finance his dream project by finally completing the low-budget horror film he abandoned years before. (107 mins.)
Director: Chris Smith
 
21.
Mistaken for Strangers (2013 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Tom Berninger chronicles his time spent on the road as a member of the tour crew for The National, the rock & roll band fronted by his brother, Matt. (75 mins.)
Director: Tom Berninger
 
22.
The Last Waltz (1978 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A film account and presentation of the final concert of The Band. (117 mins.)
Director: Martin Scorsese
 
23.
Catfish (2010 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Young filmmakers document their colleague's budding online friendship with a young woman and her family which leads to an unexpected series of discoveries. (87 mins.)
 
24.
Crumb (1994 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
An intimate portrait of the controversial cartoonist and his traumatized family. (119 mins.)
Director: Terry Zwigoff
 
25.
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A documentary about the Enron corporation, its faulty and corrupt business practices, and how they led to its fall. (110 mins.)
Director: Alex Gibney
 
26.
Anvil: The Story of Anvil (2008 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Since 1978, Anvil has become one of heavy metal's most influential yet commercially unsuccessful acts. In 2006, after a fledging European tour Anvil sets out to record their thirteenth album and continue to follow their dreams. (80 mins.)
Director: Sacha Gervasi
 
27.
The Kid Stays in the Picture (2002 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Documentary about legendary Paramount producer Robert Evans (the film shares the same name as Evans's famous 1994 autobiography). (93 mins.)
 
28.
Into the Abyss (2011 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Conversations with death row inmate Michael Perry and those affected by his crime serve as an examination of why people - and the state - kill. (107 mins.)
Director: Werner Herzog
 
29.
Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson (2008 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A portrait of the late gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson. (120 mins.)
Director: Alex Gibney
 
30.
Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos (2006 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
The rise and fall of the N.Y. Cosmos. The soccer team that brought Pele to America; against the backdrop of N.Y. City in the 70's. (97 mins.)
 
31.
Gimme Shelter (1970 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A harrowing documentary of the Stones' 1969 tour, with much of the focus on the tragic concert at Altamont. (91 mins.)
 
32.
The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara (2003 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
The story of America as seen through the eyes of the former Secretary of Defense under President John F. Kennedy and President Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara. (107 mins.)
Director: Errol Morris
 
33.
The Class of 92 (2013 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
The Class of 92, a cinematic documentary detailing the rise to prominence and global sporting superstardom... (99 mins.)
 
34.
Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse (1991 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Documentary that chronicles how Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now was plagued by extraordinary script, shooting, budget, and casting problems--nearly destroying the life and career of the celebrated director. (96 mins.)
 
35.
Sicko (2007 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A documentary comparing the highly profitable American health care industry to other nations, and HMO horror stories including shotgun deaths. (123 mins.)
Director: Michael Moore
 
36.
The Cove (2009 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
Using state-of-the-art equipment, a group of activists, led by renowned dolphin trainer Ric O'Barry, infiltrate a cove near Taijii, Japan to expose both a shocking instance of animal abuse and a serious threat to human health. (92 mins.)
Director: Louie Psihoyos
 
37.
Project Nim (2011 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Tells the story of a chimpanzee taken from its mother at birth and raised like a human child by a family in a brownstone on the upper West Side in the 1970s. (93 mins.)
Director: James Marsh
 
38.
Woody Allen: A Documentary (2012 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Iconic writer, director, actor, comedian and musician Woody Allen allowed his life and creative... (195 mins.)
Director: Robert B. Weide
 
39.
Roger & Me (1989 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Director Michael Moore pursues GM CEO Roger Smith to confront him about the harm he did to Flint, Michigan with his massive downsizing. (91 mins.)
Director: Michael Moore
 
40.
American Masters (1985 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
A chronicle of Bob Dylan's strange evolution between 1961 and 1966 from folk singer to protest singer to "voice of a generation" to rock star. (90 mins.)
 
41.
Shut Up and Play the Hits (2012 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
On April 2nd 2011, LCD Soundsystem played its final show at Madison Square Garden. Documenting this once in a life time performance and an intimate portrait of James Murphy as he navigates the lead-up to the show, the day after, and the personal and professional ramifications of his decision. (108 mins.)
 
42.
Bobby Fischer Against the World (2011 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
'Bobby Fischer Against the World' is a documentary feature exploring the tragic and bizarre life of the late chess master Bobby Fischer... (93 mins.)
Director: Liz Garbus
 
43.
I Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale (2009 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A portrait of the acting craft of John Cazale and a tour through the movies that defined a generation. (39 mins.)
Director: Richard Shepard
 
44.
Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey (2011 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
The Muppet Elmo is one of the most beloved characters among children across the globe. Meet the unlikely man behind the puppet - the heart and soul of Elmo - Kevin Clash. (80 mins.)
Director: Constance Marks
 
45.
Tarnation (2003 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Filmmaker Jonathan Caouette's documentary on growing up with his schizophrenic mother -- a mixture of snapshots, Super-8, answering machine messages, video diaries, early short films, and more -- culled from 19 years of his life. (88 mins.)
 
46.
Hoop Dreams (1994 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A film following the lives of two inner-city Chicago boys who struggle to become college basketball players on the road to going professional. (170 mins.)
Director: Steve James
 
47.
Indie Game: The Movie (2012 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A documentary that follows the journeys of indie game developers as they create games and release those works, and themselves, to the world. (94 mins.)
 
48.
Searching for Sugar Man (2012 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Two South Africans set out to discover what happened to their unlikely musical hero, the mysterious 1970s rock n roller, Rodriguez. (86 mins.)
 
49.
Super Size Me (2004 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
While examining the influence of the fast food industry, Morgan Spurlock personally explores the consequences on his health of a diet of solely McDonald's food for one month. (100 mins.)
Director: Morgan Spurlock
 
50.
Room 237 (2012 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
An exploration of various interpretations of Stanley Kubrick's horror film, The Shining. (102 mins.)
Director: Rodney Ascher