Best-Reviewed Documentaries 2017

Real life can be every bit as dramatic as fiction, and the best documentaries demonstrate that with style and poignancy. This year’s crop of true stories was led by a pair of compelling biopics about writer James Baldwin and anthropologist Jane Goodall.

The order of the rank below reflects the Adjusted Score as of December 31, 2017. Scores might change over time.

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 105.922%
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

Jane (2017)
98%

#2
Adjusted Score: 101.601%
Critics Consensus: Jane honors its subject's legacy with an absorbing, beautifully filmed, and overall enlightening look at her decades of invaluable work.
Synopsis: Drawing from over 100 hours of never-before-seen footage that has been tucked away in the National Geographic archives for over... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Brett Morgen

#3

The Work (2017)
100%

#3
Adjusted Score: 101.556%
Critics Consensus: The Work takes a gut-wrenching look at lives all too often written off as lost causes, persuasively arguing that growth and change can be waiting where we least expect it.
Synopsis: Set inside a single room in Folsom Prison, "The Work" follows three men from outside as they participate in a... [More]
Starring:

#4

Quest (2017)
98%

#4
Adjusted Score: 99.602%
Critics Consensus: Simultaneously sweeping and intimate, Quest uses one family's experiences to offer trenchant, wide-ranging observations about modern American life.
Synopsis: Filmed with vérité intimacy for almost a decade, QUEST is the moving portrait of an American family living in North... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Jonathan Olshefski

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 101.323%
Critics Consensus: Dawson City: Frozen Time takes a patient look at the past through long-lost film footage that reveals much more than glimpses at life through the camera's lens.
Synopsis: Dawson City: Frozen Time pieces together the bizarre true history of a long-lost collection of 533 nitrate film prints dating... [More]
Starring:
Directed By:

Tag Cloud

Pop Logo Writers Guild of America Lifetime 007 ABC Family Nat Geo crime thriller E! 2019 historical drama El Rey Netflix docudrama President ESPN New York Comic Con Polls and Games Photos ABC comic Comics on TV dramedy Reality Starz Winners CBS Sony Pictures cults MSNBC Musicals FXX Quiz VH1 vampires FOX Winter TV justice league 2015 Marathons Superheroe Premiere Dates Mary poppins Horror TruTV supernatural Certified Fresh Columbia Pictures USA spy thriller 45 science fiction Valentine's Day zombies television GLAAD Crackle Action Trailer CW Seed BBC Mary Poppins Returns Video Games Cosplay IFC Films adventure composers Podcast golden globes BBC America Pirates AMC Nickelodeon VICE crime drama ITV DC Universe Dark Horse Comics 21st Century Fox Super Bowl DC streaming service Awards Tour NBC First Look Paramount Network travel TV SXSW Watching Series Christmas Western Bravo Creative Arts Emmys Mystery NYCC TCM harry potter Year in Review MTV Interview Countdown 2018 DC Comics romance doctor who Syfy Spring TV Warner Bros. medical drama YouTube Premium Fantasy political drama police drama Acorn TV Freeform Showtime Walt Disney Pictures based on movie politics TCA 2017 Comedy Central TLC Star Trek TBS Awards Disney Channel ratings Paramount The Arrangement what to watch 24 frames Thanksgiving finale aliens serial killer Infographic A&E sitcom dceu Disney Teen hist Fox News E3 APB Extras sports biography PBS Amazon CNN LGBTQ Chilling Adventures of Sabrina singing competition psycho Sundance SDCC anime social media Britbox mutant Reality Competition The CW cats unscripted Superheroes spider-man Box Office green book Lucasfilm talk show dc binge Country Summer OWN Music Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt TCA Emmys YouTube Red Election Rom-Com robots Sneak Peek thriller TV Land FX PaleyFest Ghostbusters Masterpiece GoT award winner Song of Ice and Fire Animation Fall TV Rocky cops crime National Geographic Kids & Family Tomatazos American Society of Cinematographers Shondaland Spike CMT Toys CBS All Access Martial Arts Lionsgate Character Guide Red Carpet Mary Tyler Moore Oscars Biopics cooking GIFs SundanceTV Musical Tumblr period drama crossover Set visit blaxploitation 20th Century Fox Cartoon Network TNT TIFF Drama Shudder BET Best and Worst Sci-Fi zombie IFC Universal Ovation streaming USA Network Rock festivals Opinion YA Marvel Grammys Schedule RT History Nominations Hulu Esquire History discovery San Diego Comic-Con war Epix Star Wars cinemax X-Men jamie lee curtis HBO Ellie Kemper Calendar Sundance Now comiccon Comic Book Apple Adult Swim boxoffice Pixar Trophy Talk 2017 Food Network diversity WGN DirecTV transformers 2016 Trivia technology Mindy Kaling Comedy Holidays See It Skip It