Best-Reviewed Documentaries 2019

As one look at the best-reviewed documentary films will reveal, sometimes the most compelling stories are the ones that emerge from real experiences. Peter Jackson impressed literally everyone with They Shall Not Grow Old, his extraordinary restoration of World War I footage, and we got insightful looks at a musical icon (Amazing Grace), the U.S. political process (Knock Down the House), and a groundbreaking crew of female sailors (Maiden). At the top of the list, however, sits an incredibly crafted look at the Apollo 11 space mission that draws viewers in with amazing visuals and a gripping narrative.

The order of the rank below reflects the Adjusted Score as of December 31, 2019. Scores might change over time.

#1

Apollo 11 (2019)
99%

#1
Adjusted Score: 108693%
Critics Consensus: Edifying and inspiring in equal measure, Apollo 11 uses artfully repurposed archival footage to send audiences soaring back to a pivotal time in American history.
Synopsis: Never-before-seen footage and audio recordings take you straight into the heart of NASA's most celebrated mission as astronauts Neil Armstrong,... [More]
Directed By: Todd Douglas Miller

#2
#2
Adjusted Score: 107157%
Critics Consensus: An impressive technical achievement with a walloping emotional impact, They Shall Not Grow Old pays brilliant cinematic tribute to the sacrifice of a generation.
Synopsis: Using state-of-the-art technology and materials from the BBC and Imperial War Museum, filmmaker Peter Jackson allows the story of World... [More]
Starring: Peter Jackson
Directed By: Peter Jackson

#3

Amazing Grace (2018)
99%

#3
Adjusted Score: 107506%
Critics Consensus: Brilliantly capturing a remarkable performer near the peak of her prodigious power, Amazing Grace is a thrilling must-watch documentary for Aretha Franklin fans.
Synopsis: Singer Aretha Franklin performs gospel songs at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles in 1972.... [More]
Directed By: Alan Elliott

#4
#4
Adjusted Score: 104015%
Critics Consensus: A galvanizing glimpse behind the scenes of a pivotal election, Knock Down the House should prove engrossing for viewers of all political persuasions.
Synopsis: A young bartender in the Bronx, a coal miner's daughter in West Virginia, a grieving mother in Nevada, and a... [More]
Directed By: Rachel Lears

#5

Maiden (2018)
98%

#5
Adjusted Score: 103979%
Critics Consensus: Enthralling viewing even for audiences with little to no knowledge of or interest in sailing, Maiden pays powerful tribute to a true pioneer.
Synopsis: In 1989 Tracy Edwards leads the first all-female crew in the Whitbread Round the World Race, a grueling yachting competition... [More]
Directed By: Alex Holmes