25 Best Documentaries since 2000

by Camoo | created - 11 Jan 2016 | updated - 11 Jan 2016 | Public
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1. Samsara (I) (2011)

PG-13 | 102 min | Documentary, Music

65 Metascore

Filmed over nearly five years in twenty-five countries on five continents, and shot on seventy-millimetre film, Samsara transports us to the varied worlds of sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial complexes, and natural wonders.

Director: Ron Fricke | Stars: Balinese Tari Legong Dancers, Ni Made Megahadi Pratiwi, Puti Sri Candra Dewi, Putu Dinda Pratika

Votes: 29,760 | Gross: $2.67M

2. The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara (2003)

PG-13 | 107 min | Documentary, Biography, History

87 Metascore

The story of America as seen through the eyes of the former Secretary of Defense under President John F. Kennedy and President Lyndon B. Johnson, Robert McNamara.

Director: Errol Morris | Stars: Robert McNamara, John F. Kennedy, Fidel Castro, Richard Nixon

Votes: 21,772 | Gross: $4.20M

3. Grizzly Man (2005)

R | 103 min | Documentary, Biography

87 Metascore

A devastating and heart-rending take on grizzly bear activists Timothy Treadwell and Amie Huguenard, who were killed in October of 2003 while living among grizzly bears in Alaska.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Timothy Treadwell, Amie Huguenard, Werner Herzog, Carol Dexter

Votes: 48,360 | Gross: $3.17M

4. The Act of Killing (2012)

Not Rated | 117 min | Documentary, Crime

90 Metascore

A documentary which challenges former Indonesian death-squad leaders to reenact their mass-killings in whichever cinematic genres they wish, including classic Hollywood crime scenarios and lavish musical numbers.

Directors: Joshua Oppenheimer, Anonymous, Christine Cynn | Stars: Anwar Congo, Herman Koto, Syamsul Arifin, Ibrahim Sinik

Votes: 31,145 | Gross: $0.49M

5. We Live in Public (2009)

Unrated | 91 min | Documentary

69 Metascore

A documentary focusing on the life of dot-com entrepreneur Josh Harris, and his exploits over the last decade.

Director: Ondi Timoner | Stars: Josh Harris, Tom Harris, Carlos Alvarez, David Amron

Votes: 1,732 | Gross: $0.04M

6. Citizenfour (2014)

R | 114 min | Documentary, Biography, Thriller

88 Metascore

A documentarian and a reporter travel to Hong Kong for the first of many meetings with Edward Snowden.

Director: Laura Poitras | Stars: Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald, William Binney, Jacob Appelbaum

Votes: 48,050 | Gross: $2.80M

7. Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010)

R | 87 min | Documentary, Comedy, Crime

85 Metascore

The story of how an eccentric French shop-keeper and amateur film-maker attempted to locate and befriend Banksy, only to have the artist turn the camera back on its owner. The film contains... See full summary »

Director: Banksy | Stars: Banksy, Mr. Brainwash, Space Invader, Debora Guetta

Votes: 58,755 | Gross: $3.29M

8. Jesus Camp (2006)

PG-13 | 87 min | Documentary

62 Metascore

A documentary on kids who attend a summer camp hoping to become the next Billy Graham.

Directors: Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady | Stars: Mike Papantonio, Lou Engle, Becky Fischer, Ted Haggard

Votes: 25,287 | Gross: $0.90M

9. The Gatekeepers (2012)

PG-13 | 101 min | Documentary, History, War

91 Metascore

A documentary featuring interviews with all surviving former heads of Shin Bet, the Israeli security agency whose activities and membership are closely held state secrets.

Director: Dror Moreh | Stars: Ami Ayalon, Avraham Shalom, Avi Dichter, Yaakov Peri

Votes: 5,221 | Gross: $2.42M

10. Touching the Void (2003)

R | 106 min | Documentary, Adventure, Drama

82 Metascore

The true story of two climbers and their perilous journey up the west face of Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes in 1985.

Director: Kevin Macdonald | Stars: Simon Yates, Joe Simpson, Brendan Mackey, Nicholas Aaron

Votes: 31,494 | Gross: $4.59M

11. American Movie (1999)

R | 107 min | Documentary, Comedy

84 Metascore

Documentary about an aspiring filmmaker's attempts to finance his dream project by finally completing the low-budget horror film he abandoned years before.

Director: Chris Smith | Stars: Mark Borchardt, Mike Schank, Tom Schimmels, Monica Borchardt

Votes: 15,514 | Gross: $1.16M

12. Capturing the Friedmans (2003)

Not Rated | 107 min | Documentary, Biography

90 Metascore

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.

Director: Andrew Jarecki | Stars: Arnold Friedman, Jesse Friedman, David Friedman, Elaine Friedman

Votes: 22,394 | Gross: $3.12M

13. Dark Days (2000)

Not Rated | 82 min | Documentary

75 Metascore

A cinematic portrait of the homeless population who live permanently in the underground tunnels of New York City.

Director: Marc Singer | Star: Marc Singer

Votes: 6,059 | Gross: $0.43M

14. My Winnipeg (2007)

Not Rated | 80 min | Documentary, Comedy, Drama

84 Metascore

Fact, fantasy and memory are woven seamlessly together in this portrait of film-maker Guy Maddin's home town of Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Director: Guy Maddin | Stars: Darcy Fehr, Ann Savage, Louis Negin, Amy Stewart

Votes: 4,504 | Gross: $0.16M

15. Bowling for Columbine (2002)

R | 120 min | Documentary, Crime, Drama

72 Metascore

Filmmaker Michael Moore explores the roots of America's predilection for gun violence.

Director: Michael Moore | Stars: Michael Moore, Charlton Heston, Marilyn Manson, Salvador Allende

Votes: 134,932 | Gross: $21.24M

16. Man on Wire (2008)

PG-13 | 94 min | Documentary, Biography

89 Metascore

A look at tightrope walker Philippe Petit's daring, but illegal, high-wire routine performed between New York City's World Trade Center's twin towers in 1974, what some consider, "the artistic crime of the century".

Director: James Marsh | Stars: Philippe Petit, Jean François Heckel, Jean-Louis Blondeau, Annie Allix

Votes: 49,395 | Gross: $2.96M

17. The Queen of Versailles (2012)

PG | 100 min | Documentary

80 Metascore

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.

Director: Lauren Greenfield | Stars: Jaqueline Siegel, David Siegel, Lorraine Barrett, June Downs

Votes: 11,950 | Gross: $2.40M

18. Anvil: The Story of Anvil (2008)

Not Rated | 80 min | Documentary, Biography, Drama

82 Metascore

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.

Director: Sacha Gervasi | Stars: Robb Reiner, Steve 'Lips' Kudlow, Tiziana Arrigoni, Scott Ian

Votes: 15,005 | Gross: $0.67M

19. Restrepo (2010)

R | 93 min | Documentary, War

85 Metascore

A year with one platoon in the deadliest valley in Afghanistan.

Directors: Tim Hetherington, Sebastian Junger | Stars: The Men of Battle Company 2nd of the 503rd Infantry Regiment 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Juan 'Doc Restrepo, Dan Kearney, LaMonta Caldwell

Votes: 20,711 | Gross: $1.33M

20. 49 Up (2005 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 180 min | Documentary, Biography

84 Metascore

In 1964, to explore the adage "Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man," World in Action filmed seven-year-olds. Every seven years, Michael Apted visits them. At 49, ... See full summary »

Directors: Michael Apted, Paul Almond | Stars: Bruce Balden, Jacqueline Bassett, Symon Basterfield, Andrew Brackfield

Votes: 2,349 | Gross: $0.24M

21. Stories We Tell (2012)

PG-13 | 108 min | Documentary

91 Metascore

A film that excavates layers of myth and memory to find the elusive truth at the core of a family of storytellers.

Director: Sarah Polley | Stars: Michael Polley, John Buchan, Mark Polley, Joanna Polley

Votes: 11,244 | Gross: $1.60M

22. A State of Mind (2004)

Not Rated | 93 min | Documentary

63 Metascore

A British documentary that follows two young North Korean girls as they prepare for the Mass Games, the world's largest choreographed gymnastics performance.

Director: Daniel Gordon | Stars: Daniel Gordon, Hyon Sun Pak, Song Yun Kim, Jong-Il Kim

Votes: 984 | Gross: $0.04M

23. Tarnation (2003)

Unrated | 88 min | Documentary, Biography

87 Metascore

Filmmaker Jonathan Caouette's documentary on growing up with his schizophrenic mother -- a mixture of snapshots, Super-8 film, answering machine messages, video diaries, early short films, and more - culled from nineteen years of his life.

Director: Jonathan Caouette | Stars: Jonathan Caouette, Renee Leblanc, Adolph Davis, Rosemary Davis

Votes: 6,100 | Gross: $0.59M

24. Into the Abyss (2011)

PG-13 | 107 min | Documentary, Crime, Drama

74 Metascore

Conversations with death row inmate Michael Perry and those affected by his crime serve as an examination of why people - and the state - kill.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Werner Herzog, Richard Lopez, Michael Perry, Damon Hall

Votes: 14,898 | Gross: $0.22M

25. The Armstrong Lie (2013)

R | 124 min | Documentary, Biography, Sport

67 Metascore

A documentary chronicling sports legend Lance Armstrong's improbable rise and ultimate fall from grace.

Director: Alex Gibney | Stars: Lance Armstrong, Reed Albergotti, Betsy Andreu, Frankie Andreu

Votes: 6,856 | Gross: $0.38M



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