(Photo by Producers Distribution Agency/Courtesy Everett Collection)

100 Best Documentaries Ranked by Tomatometer

Capturing truth, life, and reality — one movie at a time. The best documentaries allow us to see the world with a fresh set of eyes, from social experiments (Super Size Me) to quirky competitions (The King of Kong) to political exposés (Citizenfour) to the ultimate cat video (Kedi). Now, we take the top movies of the form (each is Certified Fresh from at least 100 critics reviews) for our countdown list of the 100 best-reviewed documentaries ranked by Tomatometer.

#100

Why We Fight (2006)
78%

#100
Adjusted Score: 81.452%
Critics Consensus: A provocative and timely film that explores the military/industrial complex and the motivating forces that lead us to war.
Synopsis: "Why We Fight" is an unflinching look at the military industrial complex and the rise of the American Empire. Inspired... [More]
Directed By: Eugene Jarecki

#99
Adjusted Score: 82.013%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Page One: Inside The New York Times deftly gains unprecedented access to The New York Times newsroom and the inner... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Rossi

#98
#98
Adjusted Score: 82.238%
Critics Consensus: An affectionate tribute to rock's most distinctive instrument, It Might Get Loud is insightful and musically satisfying.
Synopsis: Rarely can a film penetrate the glamorous surface of rock legends. It Might Get Loud tells the personal stories, in... [More]
Directed By: Davis Guggenheim

#97
#97
Adjusted Score: 82.436%
Critics Consensus: The underwater footage is both beautiful and awe-inspiring.
Synopsis: Director James Cameron journeys back to the site of his greatest inspiration--the legendary wreck of the Titanic. With a team... [More]
Directed By: James Cameron

#96
Adjusted Score: 82.659%
Critics Consensus: Well researched and finely crafted, Standard Operating Procedure is another gem from master documentarian Errol Morris.
Synopsis: "Standard Operating Procedure" provides an examination of the unintended consequences of the Iraqi war with a focus on events at... [More]
Directed By: Errol Morris

#95

The Aristocrats (2005)
79%

#95
Adjusted Score: 83.79%
Critics Consensus: Can a joke stand up to repeated tellings? Hilarious and revealing of the way comedy works, The Aristocrats demonstrates that it's possible.
Synopsis: Comedy veterans and co-creators Penn Jillette and Paul Provenza capitalize on their insider status and invite over 100 of their... [More]

#94

Catfish (2010)
80%

#94
Adjusted Score: 84.334%
Critics Consensus: Catfish may tread the line between real-life drama and crass exploitation a little too unsteadily for some viewers' tastes, but its timely premise and tightly wound mystery make for a gripping documentary.
Synopsis: In late 2007, filmmakers Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost sensed a story unfolding as they began to film the life... [More]

#93
#93
Adjusted Score: 85.492%
Critics Consensus: Where to Invade Next finds documentarian Michael Moore approaching progressive politics with renewed -- albeit unabashedly one-sided -- vigor.
Synopsis: This is an expansive, rib-tickling, and subversive comedy in which Moore, playing the role of "invader," visits a host of... [More]
Directed By: Michael Moore

#92
#92
Adjusted Score: 85.661%
Critics Consensus: Viewers hoping to see Donald Rumsfeld admit making mistakes in public office (or hoping Errol Morris will force him to give straight answers) may find The Unknown Known frustrating -- but no less fascinating.
Synopsis: Morris' film THE UNKNOWN KNOWN is a gripping exploration of the career and philosophy of former U.S Secretary of Defense... [More]
Directed By: Errol Morris

#91
#91
Adjusted Score: 85.709%
Critics Consensus: A documentary on the film that brought smut mainstream, Inside Deep Throat is gaining praise as an entertaining look at a pop culture milestone. However, some critics say the film could have gone a little deeper into the people involved.
Synopsis: An examination of the unanticipated lasting cultural impact generated by "Deep Throat", a sexually explicit film first shown in a... [More]

#90
Adjusted Score: 86.146%
Critics Consensus: An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power makes a plea for environmental responsibility that adds a persuasive -- albeit arguably less impactful -- coda to its acclaimed predecessor.
Synopsis: A decade after An Inconvenient Truth brought climate change into the heart of popular culture comes the riveting and rousing... [More]
Directed By: Bonni Cohen, Jon Shenk

#89
#89
Adjusted Score: 86.201%
Critics Consensus: This doc about the making of Vogue's biggest issue and its frosty editor-in-chief is fascinating eye candy and light-on-its-feet fun.
Synopsis: "The September Issue" is an intimate, funny and surprising look at Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of "Vogue" magazine for 20 years,... [More]
Directed By: R.J. Cutler

#88
#88
Adjusted Score: 86.267%
Critics Consensus: Smartly constructed and scathingly sharp, The Armstrong Lie presents an effective indictment of its unscrupulous subject -- as well as the sports culture that spawned him.
Synopsis: In 2009 Alex Gibney was hired to make a film about Lance Armstrong's comeback to cycling. The project was shelved... [More]
Directed By: Alex Gibney

#87
Adjusted Score: 86.892%
Critics Consensus: While it may not be the definitive concert film (or the insightful backstage look) some will hope for, Michael Jackson's This Is It packs more than enough entertainment value to live up to its ambitious title.
Synopsis: "Michael Jackson's This Is It" will offer Jackson fans and music lovers worldwide a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the performer... [More]
Starring: Michael Jackson
Directed By: Kenny Ortega

#86
Adjusted Score: 87.569%
Critics Consensus: A fascinating and entertaining film that will open many eyes to the often-questioned tactics of the MPAA and their ratings sytem.
Synopsis: This documentary investigates Hollywood's best-kept secret: the MPAA film ratings system and its profound impact on American culture.... [More]
Directed By: Kirby Dick

#85

Mad Hot Ballroom (2005)
84%

#85
Adjusted Score: 87.671%
Critics Consensus: This heartwarming documentary will win audiences over, as the sheer charm of precocious, enthusiastic children learning to dance resonates from the screen.
Synopsis: This is a profile of several New York City's public school kids and their journey into the world of ballroom... [More]
Directed By: Marilyn Agrelo

#84

Gunner Palace (2005)
85%

#84
Adjusted Score: 88.092%
Critics Consensus: A shapeless documentary, but shows what's it like for the soldiers on the ground.
Synopsis: Shortly after President George W. Bush announced that "major combat operations have ended" in the war in Iraq, filmmaker Michael... [More]

#83

Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)
82%

#83
Adjusted Score: 88.879%
Critics Consensus: Extremely one-sided in its indictment of the Bush administration, but worth watching for the humor and the debates it'll stir.
Synopsis: An expose which reflects upon what has happened to America since the events of September 11, 2001 that touches upon... [More]
Directed By: Michael Moore

#82

Tyson (2009)
85%

#82
Adjusted Score: 89.418%
Critics Consensus: A fascinating, emotional, and frank confessional from Iron Mike that sheds a sympathetic light on one of boxing's most controversial icons.
Synopsis: "Tyson" is acclaimed indie director James Toback's stylistically inventive portrait of a mesmerizing Mike Tyson. Toback allows Tyson to reveal... [More]
Directed By: James Toback

#81

Bully (2012)
85%

#81
Adjusted Score: 89.944%
Critics Consensus: Hard-hitting and gracefully filmed, Bully powerfully delivers an essential message to an audience that may not be able to see it.
Synopsis: Directed by Sundance and Emmy-award winning filmmaker, Lee Hirsch, Bully is a beautifully cinematic, character-driven documentary. At its heart are... [More]
Directed By: Lee Hirsch

#80

Jesus Camp (2006)
87%

#80
Adjusted Score: 90.101%
Critics Consensus: Evangelical indoctrination is given an unflinching, even-handed look in this utterly worthwhile documentary.
Synopsis: The youngest foot soldiers for the Lord are shown in their native environment in this documentary. Becky Fischer is a... [More]
Directed By: Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady

#79

Shine a Light (2008)
86%

#79
Adjusted Score: 90.385%
Critics Consensus: It may offer little new for fans, but Martin Scorsese's document of the Rolling Stones' electrifying live show should provide satisfaction to audiences.
Synopsis: This Rolling Stones documentary focuses on the two concerts from the group's current "A Bigger Bang" tour and includes scenes... [More]
Directed By: Martin Scorsese

#78

The Wolfpack (2015)
86%

#78
Adjusted Score: 91.199%
Critics Consensus: Offering a unique look at modern fears and our fascination with film, The Wolfpack is a fascinating -- and ultimately haunting -- urban fable.
Synopsis: Locked away from society in an apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the Angulo brothers learn about the... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Crystal Moselle

#77
Adjusted Score: 91.374%
Critics Consensus: Whether you think this mentally ill cult musician is worthy of being called a "genius," this document of his life is crafted with sincere respect and is fascinating to watch.
Synopsis: The Devil and Daniel Johnston is a stunning portrait of a musical genius that nearly slipped away. It depicts a... [More]
Directed By: Jeff Feuerzeig

#76

The Corporation (2004)
89%

#76
Adjusted Score: 91.741%
Critics Consensus: The Corporation is a satisfyingly dense, thought-provoking rebuttal to some of capitalism's central arguments.
Synopsis: One hundred and fifty years ago, the corporation was a relatively insignificant entity. Today, it is a vivid, dramatic and... [More]

#75

Young@Heart (2007)
89%

#75
Adjusted Score: 92.068%
Critics Consensus: Full of endearing characters, this doc about a choir of "seniors behaving badly" is uplifting and delightful.
Synopsis: The Young@Heart Chorus is a vocal group from Northampton, MA, who have earned an international reputation for their unique interpretations... [More]

#74
Adjusted Score: 92.072%
Critics Consensus: Fascinating behind-the-scenes look at how Metallica survives one of their more turbulent periods.
Synopsis: A music documentary about the trials and tribulations of the heavy metal group Metallica as they cut their first album... [More]

#73
Adjusted Score: 92.14%
Critics Consensus: A searing indictment of big business and greed, Who Killed The Electric Car? is a well-tuned doc that simultaneously entertains and enrages.
Synopsis: An investigation into the death and resurrection of the electric car, as well as the role of renewable energy and... [More]
Directed By: Chris Paine

#72
Adjusted Score: 92.882%
Critics Consensus: Though ostensibly an intimate look at the Dixie Chicks after their 2003 anti-Bush remark, the film achieves broader relevance by exploring how media, politics, and celebrities intertwine.
Synopsis: In 2003, Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines told a London concert audience that they were "ashamed the President of... [More]
Directed By: Barbara Kopple

#71
#71
Adjusted Score: 93.122%
Critics Consensus: Gripping, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful, Waiting for Superman is an impassioned indictment of the American school system from An Inconvenient Truth director Davis Guggenheim.
Synopsis: Every morning, in big cities, suburbs and small towns across America, parents send their children off to school with the... [More]
Directed By: Davis Guggenheim

#70

Tim's Vermeer (2014)
89%

#70
Adjusted Score: 93.364%
Critics Consensus: Entertaining and profound in equal measure, Tim's Vermeer uses its seemingly esoteric subject to pose fascinating questions about art and obsession.
Synopsis: Tim Jenison, a Texas based inventor, (Video Toaster, LightWave, TriCaster) attempts to solve one of the greatest mysteries in all... [More]
Directed By: Teller

#69
Adjusted Score: 93.782%
Critics Consensus: Though not objective by any means, The Kid Stays in the Picture is irresistibly entertaining.
Synopsis: Robert Evans' rise from second-string actor (who really was discovered while lounging by the pool at the Beverly Hills Hotel)... [More]

#68

Tarnation (2004)
92%

#68
Adjusted Score: 94.377%
Critics Consensus: Using music and home video footage to great effect, Jonathan Caouette has made a very personal and moving film.
Synopsis: Part documentary, part narrative fiction, part home movie, and part acid trip. A psychedelic whirlwind of snapshots, Super-8 home movies,... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Caouette

#67
Adjusted Score: 94.776%
Critics Consensus: Penetrating Rivers' coarse image, this compelling documentary offers an honest, behind-the-scenes look at her career -- and at show business in general.
Synopsis: A glimpse into the comedic process and private dramas of legendary comedian and pop icon Joan Rivers as she fights... [More]
Directed By: Ricki Stern, Anne Sundberg

#66

Into The Abyss (2011)
92%

#66
Adjusted Score: 95.156%
Critics Consensus: Another probing, insightful look at an interesting subject, Werner Herzog explores the American prison system with passion and not politics.
Synopsis: In his fascinating exploration of a triple homicide case in Conroe, Texas, master filmmaker Werner Herzog probes the human psyche... [More]
Directed By: Werner Herzog

#65

Tabloid (2011)
92%

#65
Adjusted Score: 95.335%
Critics Consensus: It's far from his most thought-provoking work, but Tabloid finds Errol Morris as smart, spirited, and engaging as ever.
Synopsis: Thirty years before the antics of Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears were regular gossip fodder, Miss Wyoming Joyce McKinney made... [More]
Directed By: Errol Morris

#64
Adjusted Score: 95.999%
Critics Consensus: Dave Chappelle's Block Party is a raucous return to the spotlight for the comic, buoyed by witty, infectious humor and outstanding musical performances.
Synopsis: A genuine crowd-pleaser, "Dave Chappelle's Block Party" spotlights comedy superstar Dave Chappelle as he presents a Brooklyn neighborhood with its... [More]
Directed By: Michel Gondry

#63

Senna (2011)
93%

#63
Adjusted Score: 96.371%
Critics Consensus: Even for filmgoers who aren't racing fans, Senna offers heart-pounding thrills -- and heartbreaking emotion.
Synopsis: Spanning his years as a Formula One racing driver from 1984 to his untimely death a decade later, Senna explores... [More]
Directed By: Asif Kapadia

#62
#62
Adjusted Score: 96.402%
Critics Consensus: A remarkable behind-the-scenes look at a movie that wasn't, Lost in La Mancha is an incisive, entertaining document of the difficulties inherent in the moviemaking process.
Synopsis: A documentary that details and depicts the pre-production and the first six days of production of acclaimed director Terry Gilliam's... [More]
Directed By: Keith Fulton, Louis Pepe

#61
Adjusted Score: 96.41%
Critics Consensus: Delightful and strangely moving.
Synopsis: Directed by Luigi Falomi and Mongolian documentary maker Byambasuren Davaa, Die Geschichte vom Weinenden Kamel (The Story of the Weeping... [More]

#60

Grizzly Man (2005)
92%

#60
Adjusted Score: 96.52%
Critics Consensus: Whatever opinion you come to have of the obsessive Treadwell, Herzog has once again found a fascinating subject.
Synopsis: This documentary centers on amateur grizzly bear expert Timothy Treadwell, who periodically journeyed to Alaska to study and live with... [More]
Directed By: Werner Herzog

#59

Super Size Me (2004)
92%

#59
Adjusted Score: 96.661%
Critics Consensus: Entertaining doc about the adverse effects of eating fast food.
Synopsis: Why are Americans so fat? Two words: fast food. What would happen if you ate nothing but fast food for... [More]
Directed By: Morgan Spurlock

#58

Best Of Enemies (2015)
93%

#58
Adjusted Score: 97.103%
Critics Consensus: Smart, fascinating, and funny, Best of Enemies takes a penetrating -- and wildly entertaining -- look back at the dawn of pundit politics.
Synopsis: In the summer of 1968, television news changed forever. Dead last in the ratings, ABC hired two towering public intellectuals... [More]

#57
Adjusted Score: 97.26%
Critics Consensus: Encounters at the End of the World offers a poignant study of the human psyche amid haunting landscapes.
Synopsis: Werner Herzog confirms his standing as poet laureate of men in extreme situations with "Encounters at the End of the... [More]
Directed By: Werner Herzog

#56
#56
Adjusted Score: 97.462%
Critics Consensus: Effectively stirring and bolstered by thrilling visuals, The Eagle Huntress uses its heartwarming message to fill up a feature that might have made for an even more powerful short film.
Synopsis: THE EAGLE HUNTRESS follows Aisholpan, a 13-year-old girl, as she trains to become the first female in twelve generations of... [More]
Directed By: Otto Bell

#55
#55
Adjusted Score: 97.575%
Critics Consensus: A powerful and uplifting documentary.
Synopsis: This film is a portrait of a group of unforgettable children in Calcutta's red light district. Feisty, resilient and wickedly... [More]
Directed By: Zana Briski, Ross Kauffman

#54
#54
Adjusted Score: 97.634%
Critics Consensus: Gripping even though the outcome is known.
Synopsis: In 1985, two adventurous young mountaineers, Joe Simpson and Simon Yates, set off to climb the treacherous west face of... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Macdonald

#53

Control Room (2004)
95%

#53
Adjusted Score: 97.674%
Critics Consensus: A fascinating, enlightening behind-the-scenes look at the Al Jazeera network.
Synopsis: A chronicle which provides a rare window into the international perception of the Iraq War, courtesy of Al Jazeera, the... [More]
Directed By: Jehane Noujaim

#52

Wordplay (2006)
94%

#52
Adjusted Score: 97.804%
Critics Consensus: You see them hunched over with their brows furrowed, folded newspaper in hand as they attempt to complete the crossword puzzle. This may even describe you. This ingeniously edited documentary introduces viewers to some of the more dedicated fans of this solitary pastime, none more well-known the puzzle editor for the New York Times, Will Shortz. This underground world provides a surprising amount of crowd-pleasing entertainment and suspense, especially at the annual crossword tournament. Didn't know there was one, did you?
Synopsis: This documentary film provides an in-depth look at "The New York Times" crossword puzzle, its editor Will Shortz and the... [More]
Directed By: Patrick Creadon

#51

The Gatekeepers (2013)
94%

#51
Adjusted Score: 97.835%
Critics Consensus: Strikingly stark, brutally honest, and rivetingly assembled, The Gatekeepers offers essential perspective on a seemingly intractable war from some of the men who fought it.
Synopsis: Charged with overseeing Israel's war on terror-both Palestinian and Jewish- the head of the Shin Bet, Israel's secret service is... [More]
Directed By: Dror Moreh

#50
Adjusted Score: 97.899%
Critics Consensus: Interesting and appealing as both a study of man and nature.
Synopsis: Telegraph Hill is a neighborhood in one of the hillier sections of San Francisco that over the years has become... [More]
Directed By: Judy Irving

#49

Tickled (2016)
94%

#49
Adjusted Score: 97.993%
Critics Consensus: Tickled uses an investigation into a silly-seeming subculture as the launching point for thought-provoking insights into online bullying and the destructive abilities of the internet.
Synopsis: After stumbling upon a bizarre "competitive endurance tickling" video online, wherein young men are paid to be tied up and... [More]
Directed By: David Farrier, Dylan Reeve

#48
Adjusted Score: 98.017%
Critics Consensus: Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World finds Werner Herzog bringing his distinctive documentarian gifts to bear on a timely topic with typically thought-provoking results.
Synopsis: Society depends on the Internet for nearly everything but rarely do we step back and recognize its endless intricacies and... [More]
Directed By:

#47

Life, Animated (2016)
94%

#47
Adjusted Score: 98.035%
Critics Consensus: Life, Animated offers a heartwarming look at one family's journey, and a fascinating message that's more than enough to outweigh its unanswered questions.
Synopsis: The inspirational story of Owen Suskind, a young man who was unable to speak as a child until he and... [More]
Directed By: Roger Ross Williams

#46

Food, Inc. (2009)
95%

#46
Adjusted Score: 98.201%
Critics Consensus: An eye-opening expose of the modern food industry, Food, Inc. is both fascinating and terrifying, and essential viewing for any health-conscious citizen.
Synopsis: In "Food, Inc.," filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that's... [More]
Directed By: Robert Kenner

#45
#45
Adjusted Score: 98.337%
Critics Consensus: Director David Sington poetically interwove 20th Century's cosmonautic history with its effect on the public's view of their country, their heroes and their future.
Synopsis: Between 1968 and 1972, nine American spacecraft voyaged to the Moon, and 12 men walked upon its surface. They remain... [More]
Directed By: David Sington

#44

Sicko (2007)
91%

#44
Adjusted Score: 98.405%
Critics Consensus: Driven by Michael Moore's sincere humanism, Sicko is a devastating, convincing, and very entertaining documentary about the state of America's health care.
Synopsis: Acclaimed filmmaker Michael Moore sets out to investigate the American healthcare system. Sticking to his tried-and-true one-man approach, Moore sheds... [More]
Directed By: Michael Moore

#43

Winged Migration (2003)
95%

#43
Adjusted Score: 98.446%
Critics Consensus: A marvel to watch.
Synopsis: A series of journeys around the world with migratory birds. As the seasons and the climates change, we follow different... [More]
Starring: Jacques Perrin

#42
#42
Adjusted Score: 98.483%
Critics Consensus: This candid, powerful and informative documentary illuminates some of the myths surrounding its dual subjects: global warming and Al Gore.
Synopsis: Humanity is sitting on a time bomb. If the vast majority of the world's scientists are right, we have just... [More]
Directed By: Davis Guggenheim

#41

De Palma (2016)
95%

#41
Adjusted Score: 98.737%
Critics Consensus: De Palma may not make believers out of the director's detractors, but they'll likely share longtime fans' fascination with his career's worth of entertaining stories.
Synopsis: One of the most talented, influential, and iconoclastic filmmakers of all time, Brian De Palma's career started in the 60s... [More]

#40

Marley (2012)
95%

#40
Adjusted Score: 98.772%
Critics Consensus: Kevin Macdonald's exhaustive, evenhanded portrait of Bob Marley offers electrifying concert footage and fascinating insights into reggae's greatest star.
Synopsis: Bob Marley's universal appeal, impact on music history and role as a social and political prophet is both unique and... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Macdonald

#39

Gimme Danger (2016)
95%

#39
Adjusted Score: 98.737%
Critics Consensus: Its infectious enthusiasm for its subjects - and Iggy Pop's ingratiating presence - more than make up for the effortlessly entertaining Gimme Danger's relative lack of context or depth.
Synopsis: Emerging from Ann Arbor Michigan amidst a countercultural revolution, The Stooges' powerful and aggressive style of rock-n-roll blew a crater... [More]
Directed By: Jim Jarmusch

#38

Room 237 (2013)
94%

#38
Adjusted Score: 98.741%
Critics Consensus: Mysterious and provocative, Room 237 is a fascinating journey into the world of obsessive cinephilles.
Synopsis: Many movies lend themselves to dramatic interpretations, but none as rich and far ranging as Stanley Kubrick's The Shining. In... [More]
Directed By: Rodney Ascher

#37
#37
Adjusted Score: 100.16%
Critics Consensus: Their albums may be cult favorites, but this Edgar Wright-directed documentary offers an introduction to Sparks that has something for everyone.
Synopsis: How can one rock band be successful, underrated, hugely influential, and criminally overlooked all at the same time? Edgar Wright's... [More]
Starring: Jane Wiedlin
Directed By: Edgar Wright

#36

The Imposter (2012)
95%

#36
Adjusted Score: 98.855%
Critics Consensus: Despite its true-crime trappings, The Imposter is an utterly gripping and sometimes heartbreaking documentary thriller cleverly told with narrative flair.
Synopsis: Nicholas was 13 the day he disappeared (June 13, 1994). He would have been 16 and 8 months when he... [More]
Directed By: Bart Layton

#35

West of Memphis (2012)
95%

#35
Adjusted Score: 98.897%
Critics Consensus: Both a sobering look at a true crime story and a scathing indictment of the American justice system, West of Memphis is a real-life horror story told with fury and compassion.
Synopsis: From director Amy Berg, in collaboration with first time Producers Damien Echols and Lorri Davis along with filmmakers Peter Jackson... [More]
Directed By: Amy Berg

#34

The Cove (2009)
95%

#34
Adjusted Score: 98.902%
Critics Consensus: Though decidedly one-sided, The Cove is an impeccably crafted, suspenseful expose of the covert slaughter of dolphins in Japan.
Synopsis: In the 1960s, Richard O'Barry enjoyed a lucrative career as a specialized animal trainer; he captured the five dolphins that... [More]
Directed By: Louie Psihoyos

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 98.981%
Critics Consensus: The Queen of Versailles is a timely, engaging, and richly drawn portrait of the American Dream improbably composed of equal parts compassion and schadenfreude.
Synopsis: The Queen of Versailles is a character-driven documentary about a billionaire family and their financial challenges in the wake of... [More]
Directed By: Lauren Greenfield

#32
Adjusted Score: 98.983%
Critics Consensus: An amusing, engrossing look at underground art, Exit Through the Gift Shop entertains as it deflates the myths and hype surrounding its subjects.
Synopsis: Banksy is a graffiti artist with a global reputation. Fiercely guarding his anonymity to avoid prosecution, Banksy has so far... [More]
Directed By: Banksy

#31

Restrepo (2010)
96%

#31
Adjusted Score: 99.087%
Critics Consensus: Forsaking narrative structure for pure visceral power, Restrepo plunges viewers into the experiences of soldiers on the front lines of the Afghan War.
Synopsis: It is fairly extraordinary that this film exists. The level of access attained by Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger over... [More]

#30

Undefeated (2012)
96%

#30
Adjusted Score: 99.269%
Critics Consensus: It covers familiar sports documentary territory, but Undefeated proves there are still powerful stories to be told on the high school gridiron.
Synopsis: Set in the inner-city of Memphis, Undefeated chronicles the Manassas Tigers' 2009 football season, on and off-the-field, as they strive... [More]
Directed By: Dan Lindsay, T.J. Martin

#29

Stories We Tell (2013)
94%

#29
Adjusted Score: 99.346%
Critics Consensus: In Stories We Tell, Sarah Polley plays with the documentary format to explore the nature of memory and storytelling, crafting a thoughtful, compelling narrative that unfolds like a mystery.
Synopsis: In this inspired, genre-twisting new film, Oscar (R)-nominated writer/director Sarah Polley discovers that the truth depends on who's telling it.... [More]
Directed By: Sarah Polley

#28
#28
Adjusted Score: 99.567%
Critics Consensus: A fascinating portrait of a forgotten musical pioneer, Searching for Sugar Man is by turns informative and mysterious.
Synopsis: Searching for Sugar Man tells the incredible true story of Rodriguez, the greatest '70s rock icon who never was. Discovered... [More]
Directed By: Malik Bendjelloul

#27
Adjusted Score: 99.783%
Critics Consensus: The Fog of War draws on decades of bitter experience to offer a piercing perspective on the Cold War from one of its major architects.
Synopsis: Former Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara is the sole focus of documentarian Errol Morris' The Fog of War, a... [More]
Starring: Robert McNamara
Directed By: Errol Morris

#26
#26
Adjusted Score: 99.79%
Critics Consensus: Though it may not always convince, Bowling for Columbine asks important questions and provokes thought.
Synopsis: A look at America's love affair with firearms and the pathology of violence in the United States, which has the... [More]
Directed By: Michael Moore

#25
#25
Adjusted Score: 99.908%
Critics Consensus: Hauntingly filmed and brimming with Herzog's infectious enthusiasm, Cave of Forgotten Dreams is a fascinating triumph.
Synopsis: Cave of Forgotten Dreams follows an exclusive expedition into the nearly inaccessible Chauvet Cave in France, home to the most... [More]
Directed By: Werner Herzog

#24
Adjusted Score: 99.915%
Critics Consensus: The King of Kong is funny and compelling with more than a few poignant insights into human behavior. Director Seth Gordon presents the dueling King Kong players in all their obsessive complexity and with perfectly al dente observations.
Synopsis: Obsession and the pursuit of excellence push diehard gamers to break World Records on classic arcade games like Q*bert, Joust,... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Seth Gordon

#23
#23
Adjusted Score: 99.976%
Critics Consensus: Essential viewing for cineastes while still offering rich rewards for neophytes, Hitchcock/Truffaut offers an affectionate -- and well-crafted -- tribute to a legend.
Synopsis: In 1962, Alfred Hitchcock and a 30-year-old François Truffaut sequestered themselves in a windowless Hollywood office for a weeklong conversation.... [More]
Directed By: Kent Jones

#22
#22
Adjusted Score: 100.103%
Critics Consensus: Only the most hardened soul won't be moved by this heartwarming doc.
Synopsis: Emperor penguins overcome daunting obstacles in order to return to their breeding grounds for mating season. This tells the story... [More]
Directed By: Luc Jacquet

#21
Adjusted Score: 100.594%
Critics Consensus: A concise, entertaining documentary about the spectacular failure of Enron.
Synopsis: Alex Gibney, who wrote and produced Eugene Jarecki's The Trials of Henry Kissinger, examines the rise and fall of an... [More]
Starring: Peter Coyote
Directed By: Alex Gibney

#20

Spellbound (2002)
97%

#20
Adjusted Score: 100.652%
Critics Consensus: A suspenseful, gripping documentary that features an engaging cross section of American children.
Synopsis: Eight kids of wildly disparate ethnic, class, and regional backgrounds are followed from their individual hometowns to Washington D.C. for... [More]
Directed By: Jeffrey Blitz

#19
#19
Adjusted Score: 100.862%
Critics Consensus: The Look of Silence delivers a less shocking -- yet just as terribly compelling -- companion piece to Joshua Oppenheimer's The Act of Killing.
Synopsis: Through Joshua Oppenheimer's work filming perpetrators of the Indonesian genocide, a family of survivors discovers how their son was murdered... [More]
Directed By: Joshua Oppenheimer

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 100.864%
Critics Consensus: Raw, terrifying, and painfully difficult to watch, The Act of Killing offers a haunting testament to the edifying, confrontational power of documentary cinema.
Synopsis: Anwar Congo and his friends have been dancing their way through musical numbers, twisting arms in film noir gangster scenes,... [More]

#17

Coup 53 (2020)
100%

#17
Adjusted Score: 100.993%
Critics Consensus: Rife with the political intrigue promised by its title, Coup 53 is a spellbinding documentary with the heart of a thriller.
Synopsis: Ten years in the making, COUP 53 tells the story of the 1953 the Anglo-American coup d'état that overthrew Iran's... [More]
Starring: Ralph Fiennes
Directed By: Taghi Amirani

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 101.187%
Critics Consensus: A haunting depiction of a disintegrating family, and a powerful argument on the elusiveness of truth.
Synopsis: The Friedmans are a seemingly typical, upper-middle-class Jewish family whose world is instantly transformed when the father and his youngest... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Jarecki

#15

Project Nim (2011)
97%

#15
Adjusted Score: 101.267%
Critics Consensus: Equal parts hilarious, poignant, and heartbreaking, Project Nim not only tells a compelling story masterfully, but also raises the flag on the darker side of human nature.
Synopsis: From the team behind Man on Wire comes the story of Nim, the chimpanzee who in the 1970s became the... [More]
Directed By: James Marsh

#14

Citizenfour (2014)
96%

#14
Adjusted Score: 101.419%
Critics Consensus: Part real-life thriller, part sobering examination of 21st century civil liberties, Citizenfour transcends ideology to offer riveting, must-see cinema.
Synopsis: In January 2013, Poitras (recipient of the 2012 MacArthur Genius Fellowship and co-recipient of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public... [More]
Directed By: Laura Poitras

#13
#13
Adjusted Score: 101.539%
Critics Consensus: A wholly innovative, original, and vital history lesson, with pioneering animation, Waltz With Bashir delivers its message about the Middle East in a mesmerizing fashion.
Synopsis: Director Ari Folman's animated, quasi-documentary Waltz With Bashir follows the filmmaker's emotional attempt to decipher the horrors that unfolded one... [More]
Directed By: Ari Folman

#12

Inside Job (2010)
98%

#12
Adjusted Score: 102.126%
Critics Consensus: Disheartening but essential viewing, Charles Ferguson's documentary explores the 2008 Global Financial Crisis with exemplary rigor.
Synopsis: From Academy Award (R) nominated filmmaker, Charles Ferguson, comes "Inside Job," the first film to expose the shocking truth behind... [More]

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: 102.16%
Critics Consensus: A touching, uplifting and inspirational rockumentary about an aging metal band, both hilarious and heart-warming in equal measure.
Synopsis: About the Canadian metal band Anvil. At 14, Toronto school friends Steve "Lips" Kudlow and Robb Reiner made a pact... [More]
Directed By: Sacha Gervasi

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 102.32%
Critics Consensus: Part thoughtful tribute, part bittersweet reminder of a missed opportunity, Jodorowsky's Dune offers a fascinating look at a lost sci-fi legend.
Synopsis: Synopsis: In 1975, Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky, whose films EL TOPO and THE HOLY MOUNTAIN launched and ultimately defined the... [More]
Directed By: Frank Pavich

#9

Murderball (2005)
98%

#9
Adjusted Score: 102.443%
Critics Consensus: An entertaining and gripping documentary that shows being confined to a wheelchair doesn't mean the fun has to end.
Synopsis: Like any other great sports story, 'Murderball' features fierce rivalry, stopwatch suspense, dazzling athletic prowess, larger-than-life personalities and triumph over... [More]

#8

Blackfish (2013)
98%

#8
Adjusted Score: 102.655%
Critics Consensus: Blackfish is an aggressive, impassioned documentary that will change the way you look at performance killer whales.
Synopsis: Magnolia Pictures invites you and a guest to attend an advance screening of BLACKFISH, an eye-opening documentary directed by Gabriela... [More]

#7

Kedi (2017)
98%

#7
Adjusted Score: 102.826%
Critics Consensus: Kedi is a cat fancier's dream, but this thoughtful, beautifully filmed look at Istanbul's street feline population offers absorbing viewing for filmgoers of any purr-suasion.
Synopsis: KEDi is not a documentary about house cats or the strays you occasionally see in your back yard. KEDi is... [More]
Starring: Bülent Üstün
Directed By: Ceyda Torun

#6

Amy (2015)
95%

#6
Adjusted Score: 103.447%
Critics Consensus: As riveting as it is sad, Amy is a powerfully honest look at the twisted relationship between art and celebrity -- and the lethal spiral of addiction.
Synopsis: Despite just two albums to her name Amy Winehouse is one of the biggest music icons in British history. With... [More]
Directed By: Asif Kapadia

#5

Weiner (2016)
97%

#5
Adjusted Score: 103.51%
Critics Consensus: Weiner uses sharp insight and untrammeled access to offer a portrait of a political and personal collapse that's as queasy as it is undeniably compelling.
Synopsis: Former U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner's catastrophic race for Mayor of New York City in 2013 is detailed in this behind-the-scenes... [More]

#4
#4
Adjusted Score: 103.526%
Critics Consensus: Rich, insightful, and occasionally heartbreaking, 20 Feet From Stardom is an energetic tribute to the passion, talent, and hard work of backup singers.
Synopsis: Millions know their voices, but no one knows their names. In his compelling new film 20 FEET FROM STARDOM, award-winning... [More]
Directed By: Morgan Neville

#3

Man on Wire (2008)
100%

#3
Adjusted Score: 105.753%
Critics Consensus: James Marsh's doc about artist Phililppe Petit's artful caper brings you every ounce of suspense that can be wrung from a man on a (suspended) wire.
Synopsis: August 7, 1974. A young French man named Philippe Petit stepped out on a wire suspended between the Twin Towers... [More]
Directed By: James Marsh

#2

Life Itself (2014)
98%

#2
Adjusted Score: 105.925%
Critics Consensus: Rich in detail and warmly affectionate, Life Itself offers a joyful yet poignant tribute to a critical cinematic legacy.
Synopsis: Acclaimed director Steve James (Hoop Dreams) and executive producers Martin Scorsese (The Departed) and Steven Zaillian (Moneyball) present LIFE ITSELF,... [More]
Directed By:

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 107.513%
Critics Consensus: I Am Not Your Negro offers an incendiary snapshot of James Baldwin's crucial observations on American race relations -- and a sobering reminder of how far we've yet to go.
Synopsis: In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next project, Remember This House. The book... [More]
Directed By: Raoul Peck

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