Best Documentaries By Year

by wheresjoeysmovie | created - 11 Apr 2016 | updated - 4 months ago | Public

The Best Documentaries By Year

 Refine See titles to watch instantly, titles you haven't rated, etc
  • Instant Watch Options
  • Genres
  • Movies or TV
  • IMDb Rating
  • In Theaters
  • On TV
  • Release Year
  • Keywords










IMDb user rating (average) to
Number of votes to »




Reset



Reset
Release year or range to »




































































































1. Wszystkie nieprzespane noce (2016)

R | 100 min | Documentary, Drama

70 Metascore

A new era is coming, and Warsaw stands uncomfortably at its edge. Art school classmates Christopher and Michal, on the precipice of their own coming of age, restlessly roam their city's ... See full summary »

Director: Michal Marczak | Stars: Krzysztof Baginski, Michal Huszcza, Eva Lebuef, Natalia Atmanska

Votes: 1,057 | Gross: $0.02M

Nominee- Best Documentary- 2017

2. Faces Places (2017)

PG | 94 min | Documentary

94 Metascore

Director Agnes Varda and photographer/muralist J.R. journey through rural France and form an unlikely friendship.

Directors: JR, Agnès Varda | Stars: Agnès Varda, JR, Jeannine Carpentier, Clemens Van Dungern

Votes: 6,373 | Gross: $0.95M

**WINNER- Best Documentary- 2017** (Directed By: Agnes Varda and JR)

3. Jane (II) (2017)

PG | 90 min | Documentary, Biography

87 Metascore

The life and work of the renowned primatology scientist, Jane Goodall, especially on her research about chimpanzees.

Director: Brett Morgen | Stars: Jane Goodall, Hugo Van Lawick, Hugo Eric Louis van Lawick

Votes: 2,103 | Gross: $1.72M

Nominee- Best Documentary- 2017

4. Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond (2017)

TV-MA | 94 min | Documentary

77 Metascore

A behind-the-scenes look at how Jim Carrey adopted the persona of idiosyncratic comedian Andy Kaufman on the set of Man on the Moon (1999).

Director: Chris Smith | Stars: Jim Carrey, Danny DeVito, Milos Forman, Peter Bonerz

Votes: 16,573

Nominee- Best Documentary- 2017

5. Kedi (2016)

Not Rated | 79 min | Documentary

78 Metascore

A profile of an ancient city and its unique people, seen through the eyes of the most mysterious and beloved animal humans have ever known, the Cat.

Director: Ceyda Torun | Stars: Bengu, Deniz, Duman, Gamsiz

Votes: 9,856 | Gross: $2.83M

Nominee- Best Documentary- 2017

6. Cameraperson (2016)

Not Rated | 102 min | Documentary

86 Metascore

Exposing her role behind the camera, Kirsten Johnson reaches into the vast trove of footage she has shot over decades around the world. What emerges is a visually bold memoir and a revelatory interrogation of the power of the camera.

Director: Kirsten Johnson | Stars: Kirsten Johnson, Roger Phenix

Votes: 1,771 | Gross: $0.10M

Nominee- Best Documentary- 2016

7. Life, Animated (2016)

PG | 92 min | Documentary, Comedy, Drama

75 Metascore

A coming of age story about a boy and his family who overcame great challenges by turning Disney animated movies into a language to express love, loss, kinship and brotherhood.

Director: Roger Ross Williams | Stars: Jonathan Freeman, Gilbert Gottfried, Alan Rosenblatt, Owen Suskind

Votes: 4,755 | Gross: $0.24M

Nominee- Best Documentary- 2016

8. O.J.: Made in America (2016)

TV-MA | 467 min | Documentary, Biography, Crime

A chronicle of the rise and fall of O.J. Simpson, whose high-profile murder trial exposed the extent of American racial tensions, revealing a fractured and divided nation.

Director: Ezra Edelman | Stars: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Mike Albanese, Muhammad Ali, Marcus Allen

Votes: 14,071

**WINNER- Best Documentary- 2016** (Directed By Ezra Edelman)

9. 13th (2016)

TV-MA | 100 min | Documentary, Crime, History

90 Metascore

An in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation's history of racial inequality.

Director: Ava DuVernay | Stars: Melina Abdullah, Michelle Alexander, Cory Booker, Dolores Canales

Votes: 17,849

Nominee- Best Documentary- 2016

10. Tickled (2016)

R | 92 min | Documentary, Mystery

76 Metascore

Journalist David Farrier stumbles upon a mysterious tickling competition online. As he delves deeper he comes up against fierce resistance, but that doesn't stop him getting to the bottom of a story stranger than fiction.

Directors: David Farrier, Dylan Reeve | Stars: David Farrier, Dylan Reeve, Marko Realmonte, Kevin Clarke

Votes: 12,249 | Gross: $0.61M

Nominee- Best Documentary- 2016

11. Call Me Lucky (2015)

106 min | Documentary, Biography, Comedy

64 Metascore

Barry Crimmins is pissed. His hellfire brand of comedy has rained verbal lightning bolts on American audiences and politicians for decades, yet you've probably never heard of him. But once ... See full summary »

Director: Bobcat Goldthwait | Stars: Barry Crimmins, Jack Gallagher, Martin Olson, Steve Sweeney

Votes: 1,738

**WINNER- Best Documentary- 2015** (Directed By: Bobcat Goldthwait)

12. Cobain: Montage of Heck (2015)

TV-MA | 145 min | Documentary, Animation, Biography

83 Metascore

An authorized documentary on the late musician Kurt Cobain, from his early days in Aberdeen, Washington to his success and downfall with the grunge band Nirvana.

Director: Brett Morgen | Stars: Aaron Burckhard, Chad Channing, Don Cobain, Jenny Cobain

Votes: 25,224

Nominee- Best Documentary- 2015

13. The Look of Silence (2014)

PG-13 | 103 min | Documentary, Biography, History

92 Metascore

A family that survived the genocide in Indonesia confronts the men who killed one of their brothers.

Director: Joshua Oppenheimer | Stars: Adi Rukun, M.Y. Basrun, Amir Hasan, Inong

Votes: 9,566 | Gross: $0.11M

Nominee- Best Documentary- 2015

Nominee- Best Documentary- 2015

15. Making a Murderer (2015– )

TV-14 | 60 min | Documentary, Crime

Filmed over a 10-year period, Steven Avery, a DNA exoneree who, while in the midst of exposing corruption in local law enforcement, finds himself the prime suspect in a grisly new crime.

Stars: Dolores Avery, Steven Avery, Ken Kratz, Brendan Dassey

Votes: 67,610

Nominee- Best Documentary- 2015

16. Citizenfour (2014)

R | 114 min | Documentary, Biography

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: 46,481 | Gross: $2.80M

Nominee- Best Documentary- 2014

17. The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz (2014)

Not Rated | 105 min | Documentary, Biography, Crime

72 Metascore

The story of programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz, who took his own life at the age of 26.

Director: Brian Knappenberger | Stars: Aaron Swartz, Tim Berners-Lee, Cindy Cohn, Gabriella Coleman

Votes: 13,968 | Gross: $0.05M

Nominee- Best Documentary- 2014

18. Jodorowsky's Dune (2013)

PG-13 | 90 min | Documentary

79 Metascore

The story of cult film director Alejandro Jodorowsky's ambitious but ultimately doomed film adaptation of the seminal science fiction novel.

Director: Frank Pavich | Stars: Alejandro Jodorowsky, Michel Seydoux, H.R. Giger, Chris Foss

Votes: 18,043 | Gross: $0.65M

Nominee- Best Documentary- 2014

19. Life Itself (2014)

R | 121 min | Documentary, Biography

87 Metascore

The life and career of the renowned film critic and social commentator, Roger Ebert.

Director: Steve James | Stars: Roger Ebert, Chaz Ebert, Gene Siskel, Martin Scorsese

Votes: 13,748 | Gross: $0.81M

**WINNER- Best Documentary- 2014** (Directed By: Steve James)

20. Virunga (2014)

Not Rated | 100 min | Documentary, War

95 Metascore

A team of brave individuals risk their lives to protect the last mountain gorillas.

Director: Orlando von Einsiedel | Stars: André Bauma, Emmanuel de Merode, Mélanie Gouby, Rodrigue Mugaruka Katembo

Votes: 8,559

Nominee- Best Documentary- 2014

21. The Act of Killing (2012)

Not Rated | 117 min | Documentary, Crime

89 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: 29,826 | Gross: $0.49M

**WINNER- Best Documentary- 2013** (Directed By: Joshua Oppenheimer and Anonymous)

22. I Am Divine (2013)

Not Rated | 90 min | Documentary

70 Metascore

How Divine, aka Harris Glenn Milstead, became John Waters' cinematic muse and an international drag icon.

Director: Jeffrey Schwarz | Stars: Divine, Michael Musto, Mark Payne, Greg Gorman

Votes: 1,952 | Gross: $0.06M

Nominee- Best Documentary- 2013

23. Moms Mabley: I Got Somethin' to Tell You (2013)

Not Rated | 72 min | Documentary, Comedy

A look at the work and influence of African-American stand-up comedienne, Moms Mabley.

Director: Whoopi Goldberg | Stars: Debbie Allen, Kaye Ballard, Harry Belafonte, Dick Cavett

Votes: 224

Nominee- Best Documentary- 2013

24. Room 237 (I) (2012)

Not Rated | 102 min | Documentary

80 Metascore

An exploration of various interpretations of Stanley Kubrick's horror film, The Shining (1980).

Director: Rodney Ascher | Stars: Bill Blakemore, Geoffrey Cocks, Juli Kearns, John Fell Ryan

Votes: 19,119 | Gross: $0.26M

Nominee- Best Documentary- 2013

25. Twenty Feet from Stardom (2013)

PG-13 | 91 min | Documentary, Music

83 Metascore

Backup singers live in a world that lies just beyond the spotlight. Their voices bring harmony to the biggest bands in popular music, but we've had no idea who these singers are or what lives they lead, until now.

Director: Morgan Neville | Stars: Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Judith Hill

Votes: 10,938 | Gross: $4.95M

Nominee- Best Documentary- 2013

26. Bully (I) (2011)

PG-13 | 98 min | Documentary

74 Metascore

A documentary on peer-to-peer bullying in schools across America.

Director: Lee Hirsch | Stars: Ja'Meya Jackson, Kelby Johnson, Lona Johnson, Bob Johnson

Votes: 9,465 | Gross: $4.04M

Nominee- Best Documentary- 2012

27. The Central Park Five (2012)

Not Rated | 119 min | Documentary, Crime, History

79 Metascore

A documentary that examines the 1989 case of five black and Latino teenagers who were convicted of raping a white woman in Central Park. After having spent between 6 and 13 years each in prison, a serial rapist confessed to the crime.

Directors: Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, David McMahon | Stars: Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Kharey Wise, Raymond Santana

Votes: 5,689 | Gross: $0.27M

Nominee- Best Documentary- 2012

28. The Imposter (2012)

R | 99 min | Documentary, Biography, Crime

77 Metascore

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.

Director: Bart Layton | Stars: Adam O'Brian, Nicholas Barclay, Carey Gibson, Bryan Gibson

Votes: 41,077 | Gross: $0.89M

**WINNER- Best Documentary- 2012** (Directed By: Bart Layton)

29. Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present (2012)

Not Rated | 106 min | Documentary, Biography, History

74 Metascore

A documentary that follows the Serbian performance artist as she prepares for a retrospective of her work at The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Directors: Matthew Akers, Jeff Dupre | Stars: Marina Abramovic, Ulay, Klaus Biesenbach, David Balliano

Votes: 5,098 | Gross: $0.09M

Nominee- Best Documentary- 2012

30. West of Memphis (2012)

R | 147 min | Documentary, Crime

80 Metascore

An examination of a failure of justice in the case against the West Memphis Three.

Director: Amy Berg | Stars: Jason Baldwin, Damien Wayne Echols, Jessie Misskelley, Michael Baden

Votes: 8,938 | Gross: $0.31M

Nominee- Best Documentary- 2012

31. How to Die in Oregon (2011)

Not Rated | 107 min | Documentary, Drama, Family

In 1994 Oregon became the first state to legalize a terminally ill person's request to end his or her life with medication. At the time, only Belgium, Switzerland, and the Netherlands had ... See full summary »

Director: Peter Richardson | Stars: Harry Bruton, Ray Carnay, Cody Curtis, Paul Darley

Votes: 1,746

Nominee- Best Documentary- 2011

32. The Interrupters (2011)

Unrated | 125 min | Documentary, Crime

86 Metascore

A year in the life of a city grappling with urban violence.

Director: Steve James | Stars: Tio Hardiman, Ameena Matthews, Toya Batey, Cobe Williams

Votes: 3,287 | Gross: $0.28M

Nominee- Best Documentary- 2011

33. 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: 14,533 | Gross: $0.22M

Nominee- Best Documentary- 2011

34. Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (2011)

Not Rated | 121 min | Documentary, Crime

85 Metascore

A further followup of the case of the West Memphis Three and the decades long fight to exonerate them that finally gained traction with new DNA evidence.

Directors: Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky | Stars: Gary Gitchell, Todd Moore, Dana Moore, Pam Hobbs

Votes: 7,900

**WINNER- Best Documentary- 2011** (Directed By: Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky)

35. We Were Here (I) (2011)

Not Rated | 90 min | Documentary, Biography, History

94 Metascore

A deep and reflective look at the arrival and impact of AIDS in San Francisco and how individuals rose to the occasion during the first years of this unimaginable crisis.

Directors: David Weissman, Bill Weber | Stars: Ed Wolf, Daniel Goldstein, Guy Clark, Eileen Glutzer

Votes: 1,782

Nominee- Best Documentary- 2011

36. 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: 57,368 | Gross: $3.29M

Nominee- Best Documentary- 2010

37. Jackass 3D (2010)

R | 94 min | Documentary, Action, Comedy

56 Metascore

Johnny Knoxville and company return for the third installment of their TV show spin-off, where dangerous stunts and explicit public displays rule.

Director: Jeff Tremaine | Stars: Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Bam Margera, Ryan Dunn

Votes: 52,215 | Gross: $117.22M

Nominee- Best Documentary- 2010

38. Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (2010)

R | 84 min | Documentary, Biography, Comedy

79 Metascore

A documentary on the life and career of Joan Rivers, made as the comedienne turns 75 years old.

Directors: Ricki Stern, Anne Sundberg | Stars: Joan Rivers, Melissa Rivers, Kathy Griffin, Jocelyn Pickett

Votes: 3,425 | Gross: $2.93M

Nominee- Best Documentary- 2010

39. Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy (2010 Video)

Not Rated | 240 min | Documentary, Horror

Explore the origins of "dream demon" Freddy Krueger in this award-winning documentary that takes you behind the scenes of the most frightening and imaginative horror franchise in motion picture history!

Directors: Daniel Farrands, Andrew Kasch | Stars: Heather Langenkamp, Stacey Alden, Erika Anderson, Marshall Bell

Votes: 3,605

Nominee- Best Documentary- 2010

40. Public Speaking (2010)

84 min | Documentary

A feature-length documentary starring Fran Lebowitz, a writer known for her unique take on modern life. The film weaves together extemporaneous monologues with archival footage and the ... See full summary »

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: James Baldwin, William F. Buckley, Truman Capote, Pau Casals

Votes: 1,419 | Gross: $0.06M

**WINNER- Best Documentary- 2010** (Directed By: Martin Scorsese)

41. 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: 14,598 | Gross: $0.67M

Nominee- Best Documentary- 2009

42. Les plages d'Agnès (2008)

Not Rated | 110 min | Documentary, Biography

86 Metascore

Agnès Varda explores her memories, mostly chronologically, with photographs, film clips, interviews, reenactments, and droll, playful contemporary scenes of her narrating her story.

Director: Agnès Varda | Stars: Agnès Varda, André Lubrano, Blaise Fournier, Vincent Fournier

Votes: 2,230 | Gross: $0.24M

**WINNER- Best Documentary- 2009** (Directed By: Agnes Varda)

43. Capitalism: A Love Story (2009)

R | 127 min | Documentary, Crime, News

61 Metascore

An examination of the social costs of corporate interests pursuing profits at the expense of the public good.

Director: Michael Moore | Stars: Michael Moore, William Black, Jimmy Carter, Elijah Cummings

Votes: 39,002 | Gross: $14.36M

Nominee- Best Documentary- 2009

44. The Cove (2009)

PG-13 | 92 min | Documentary, Crime

84 Metascore

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.

Director: Louie Psihoyos | Stars: Richard O'Barry, Louie Psihoyos, Hardy Jones, Michael Illiff

Votes: 44,351 | Gross: $0.87M

Nominee- Best Documentary- 2009

45. Cropsey (2009)

Not Rated | 84 min | Documentary, Crime, Horror

73 Metascore

Realizing the urban legend of their youth has actually come true; two filmmakers delve into the mystery surrounding five missing children and the real-life boogeyman linked to their disappearances.

Directors: Barbara Brancaccio, Joshua Zeman | Stars: Joshua Zeman, Barbara Brancaccio, Bill Ellis, Dorothy D'Eletto

Votes: 6,904 | Gross: $0.05M

Nominee- Best Documentary- 2009

46. Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father (2008)

Not Rated | 95 min | Documentary, Biography, Crime

82 Metascore

A filmmaker decides to memorialize a murdered friend when his friend's ex-girlfriend announces she is expecting his son.

Director: Kurt Kuenne | Stars: Kurt Kuenne, Andrew Bagby, David Bagby, Kathleen Bagby

Votes: 27,996

Nominee- Best Documentary- 2008

47. George Carlin... It's Bad for Ya! (2008 TV Special)

70 min | Documentary, Comedy

It's Bad For Ya, Carlin's Emmy-nominated 14th and final HBO special from March of 2008 features Carlin's noted irreverent and unapologetic observations on topics ranging from death, ... See full summary »

Director: Rocco Urbisci | Star: George Carlin

Votes: 4,781

Nominee- Best Documentary- 2008

48. 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: 47,964 | Gross: $2.96M

Nominee- Best Documentary- 2008

49. My Winnipeg (2007)

Not Rated | 80 min | Documentary, Comedy, Drama

7.7