Best Documentaries Ranked by Tomatometer

#25
Adjusted Score: 97.62%
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

#24

Restrepo (2010)
97%

#24
Adjusted Score: 99.751%
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]

#23
#23
Adjusted Score: 99.791%
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

Undefeated (2012)
96%

#22
Adjusted Score: 98.996%
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

#21
#21
Adjusted Score: 100.291%
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

#20
#20
Adjusted Score: 100.968%
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]

#19
#19
Adjusted Score: 100.985%
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

#18

Citizenfour (2014)
96%

#18
Adjusted Score: 101.081%
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

#17
Adjusted Score: 99.681%
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

#16
Adjusted Score: 100.436%
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

#15
Adjusted Score: 100.531%
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

#14
#14
Adjusted Score: 100.922%
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

#13

Weiner (2016)
96%

#13
Adjusted Score: 101.863%
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]

#12

Life Itself (2014)
97%

#12
Adjusted Score: 104.514%
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: Steve James (II)

#11

Project Nim (2011)
97%

#11
Adjusted Score: 100.628%
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

#10

Spellbound (2002)
98%

#10
Adjusted Score: 101.565%
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

#9
Adjusted Score: 101.699%
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

#8

Inside Job (2010)
98%

#8
Adjusted Score: 101.762%
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]

#7
#7
Adjusted Score: 101.995%
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

#6

Kedi (2017)
98%

#6
Adjusted Score: 102.365%
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

#5

Murderball (2005)
98%

#5
Adjusted Score: 102.144%
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]

#4

Blackfish (2013)
98%

#4
Adjusted Score: 102.222%
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]

#3
#3
Adjusted Score: 105.831%
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

#2
#2
Adjusted Score: 102.849%
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

#1

Man on Wire (2008)
100%

#1
Adjusted Score: 105.433%
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

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