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: 107.467%
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: 101.917%
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: 101.574%
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: 99.757%
Critics Consensus: Simultaneously sweeping and intimate, Quest uses one family's experiences to offer thoughtful, 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: 101.757%
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: Bill Morrison (II)

Tag Cloud

sag awards MCU SDCC game of thrones The Academy thriller 2020 Universal CBS TV Amazon Studios Netflix Crunchyroll Emmy Nominations Apple TV+ historical drama cancelled TV series cars Peacock spanish Lionsgate Toys Film Western Infographic romantic comedy transformers Disney concert Disney+ Disney Plus Christmas Tumblr Superheroes space Super Bowl BBC One Arrowverse science fiction Action 21st Century Fox quibi Food Network YA E! comic christmas movies Rocky Hallmark Christmas movies Lucasfilm The Witch revenge discovery toy story canceled TV shows adventure Amazon Prime Video Turner Classic Movies sequels versus Esquire Winners 2017 Interview TCA Awards stoner SXSW CMT spanish language ITV YouTube Premium Acorn TV hollywood ghosts natural history APB kids Trailer 45 President Masterpiece batman Martial Arts TCA 2017 south america Rock Britbox Netflix Christmas movies Awards GLAAD Countdown Pirates Valentine's Day docudrama TCM DC streaming service American Society of Cinematographers zombie crime thriller Cartoon Network children's TV dark Musicals Ghostbusters cooking superhero 24 frames Bravo supernatural Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt NBC robots Superheroe Syfy FX on Hulu MSNBC Calendar Mary Poppins Returns Marvel Studios strong female leads slashers miniseries Trivia Apple Television Critics Association Tarantino game show Drama sports Endgame spinoff YouTube Red Turner Dark Horse Comics free movies A&E LGBTQ 007 indiana jones Pet Sematary french Pixar Funimation Comedy Logo A24 Extras Cosplay Awards Tour E3 award winner Apple TV Plus elevated horror ABC Family Pop TV Song of Ice and Fire screen actors guild politics CW Seed hispanic breaking bad cults Spike New York Comic Con reboot The CW worst movies animated Pride Month Fox Searchlight documentary HBO Go El Rey classics golden globes crime drama Teen cops Winter TV WGN hist ESPN Elton John zero dark thirty Sci-Fi jamie lee curtis Ovation Comic Book VOD adaptation 2019 20th Century Fox Nat Geo documentaries Pop LGBT Sundance dceu police drama GoT spain comiccon Animation screenings cats BET foreign comedies The Arrangement dramedy TCA satire Year in Review Tubi Family Baby Yoda DirecTV parents ratings Lifetime child's play worst FX ABC theme song Certified Fresh Showtime news BET Awards halloween tv dogs Sneak Peek tv talk PBS Vudu mockumentary Sony Pictures TLC cancelled CBS All Access OneApp vampires Sundance Now period drama facebook Video Games Academy Awards Captain marvel Disney Plus mutant disaster WarnerMedia Walt Disney Pictures streaming Spectrum Originals stand-up comedy PlayStation latino franchise Thanksgiving 2018 YouTube Shudder Summer AMC Comics on TV twilight Women's History Month Paramount Network technology Marvel Television Marvel football Heroines a nightmare on elm street Schedule Amazon Prime what to watch Quiz Ellie Kemper indie scorecard Red Carpet Opinion See It Skip It RT History name the review TBS Oscars universal monsters Rocketman sitcom cinemax social media comics Starz Brie Larson cancelled television Holiday RT21 Election Lifetime Christmas movies DC Universe Hear Us Out festivals Black Mirror BBC America Fall TV talk show directors GIFs remakes Holidays MTV Marathons singing competition scary movies films romance Discovery Channel green book sequel NYCC archives Hulu BAFTA movie biography movies USA series teaser IFC Films Shondaland anime Set visit Mystery Comedy Central dc political drama Avengers First Look BBC Cannes Nickelodeon die hard Polls and Games FXX asian-american HBO crossover true crime zombies mission: impossible festival Epix Classic Film italian casting Hallmark doctor who CNN fast and furious composers Reality Premiere Dates television The Purge criterion Character Guide based on movie 4/20 Amazon Music Writers Guild of America Binge Guide boxoffice OWN Warner Bros. blaxploitation serial killer TIFF aliens psycho justice league harry potter venice critics Musical blockbuster TV Land Mindy Kaling San Diego Comic-Con First Reviews Creative Arts Emmys dragons psychological thriller TCA Winter 2020 cartoon travel video History 72 Emmy Awards anthology Grammys IFC Mary Tyler Moore nbcuniversal spy thriller DC Comics TNT unscripted Stephen King USA Network DGA Best and Worst Podcast SundanceTV Rom-Com Disney Channel 2016 FOX Chernobyl rotten movies we love witnail joker emmy awards Star Wars Mary poppins Nominations binge VICE Biopics Spring TV Travel Channel Sundance TV TV renewals rotten TruTV Photos obituary Chilling Adventures of Sabrina 71st Emmy Awards halloween stop motion toronto Television Academy Country Adult Swim VH1 Kids & Family 2015 Reality Competition war Disney streaming service renewed TV shows japanese spider-man chucky Trophy Talk medical drama Anna Paquin Box Office The Walking Dead PaleyFest Paramount crime richard e. Grant X-Men reviews laika Film Festival video on demand cancelled TV shows Fox News Watching Series Tomatazos independent National Geographic Columbia Pictures Horror Fantasy HBO Max best nature nfl werewolf all-time diversity Emmys Mudbound book Star Trek Freeform Crackle canceled Black History Month finale