Top 101 Documentaries to Watch in 2024

Mar 27, 2024 | Articles, TOP 100

Are you looking for good documentaries to watch this summer? We have got you covered!

We have compiled the best of all-time documentaries for you that will blow your mind. The best thing? You will find documentaries on multiple genres. So, grab your popcorn and happy watching!

 

1. Night and Fog (1956)

Synopsis: In this cinematographic 30-minute short documentary, Alain Resnais shows the abandoned streets of Auschwitz and Majdanek ten years after the Holocaust while describing the lives of war prisoners in the camps. The documentary alternates between past and present, depicting horrible images of dead bodies, gas chambers, and cruel Nazi ideology. Narrated by Michel Bouquet, Night and Fog provides a jarring look into the horror of WWII as inflicted by the Nazis in the concentration camps.

Directed by: Alain Resnais

IMDB Score: 8.6

 

 

 

2. O.J.: Made in America (2016)

Genre: Murder, Racism, Biography

Synopsis: Edelman’s 8-hour documentary dives into the life of OJ Simpson from hero to zero. Beginning his football career at the University of Southern California, Simpson rose as a star NFL athlete, but American racism ended up putting him in prison. The documentary intertwines O.J. Simpson’s personal experiences with the broader racial tensions in the United States, especially in Los Angeles. It thoroughly investigates the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman and the highly publicized trial that exposed deep racial fissures in society. However, “O.J.: Made in America” doesn’t end there. It goes beyond the verdict to explore Simpson’s post-trial life and subsequent legal troubles. This comprehensive analysis provides a multifaceted understanding of the O.J. Simpson case, using it to illuminate the intricate complexities of American society.

Directed by: Ezra Edelman

IMDB Score: 8.9

 

 

3. Wonders of the Universe (2011)

Genre: Astrophysics, Cosmos, Astronomy

Synopsis: In this 4 episode documentary, Professor Brian Cox takes you on an exciting interstellar journey through space. The birth and death of the stars, our place in this universe, and many similar complex questions are beautifully answered in Cox’s poetic voice to make the audience fall in love with Physics and the Cosmos. The visual narration maintains a metaphoric connection between artificial videos of the events of the universe and the actual footage of different landscapes on Earth.

Directed by: Chris Holt, Stephen Cooter, Michael Lachmann

IMDB Score: 8.8

 

 

4. Man on Wire (2008)

Genre: Biography, Crime, Thriller

Synopsis: Documenting the life of a daring tightrope walker, Man on Wire shows Philippe Petit’s mind-boggling stunt performed between New York City’s World Trade Center’s twin towers in 1974. Petit’s extraordinary demonstration of human ingenuity, skill, and courage motivates the whole world to believe that nothing is impossible if you decide to do it and plan it well. James Marsh masterfully brings life to his film using actual archival footage of the stunt, preparations, police arrest, and interviews.

Directed by: James Marsh

IMDB score: 7.7

 

 

5. Blackfish (2013)

Synopsis: The story revolves around a killer whale (orca), Tilikum, who is held captive by Sea World along with several other orcas. Blackfish includes Tilikum’s capture in 1983 off the coast of Iceland, his mistreatment, and several other reasons that finally led to the brutal and fatal attacks on three people by the whale. Tilikum’s story is a story of the truth behind company greed, animals in distress, and unaware, mindless guests.

Directed by: Gabriela Cowperthwaite

IMDB Score: 8.1

 

 

 

 

6. Sans Soleil (1983)

Synopsis: Chris Marker’s Sans Soleil is a poetic documentary that blends graphics from Japan and other locations with a female narrator reading the letters of a seasoned world traveler. The film cuts between bustling cityscapes in Japan and quiet moments in Africa, creating a collage that reflects the vastness and contradictions of the world.  Sans Soleil isn’t interested in a traditional travelog; it uses these contrasting images to explore themes of memory and how the passage of time affects our understanding of the past and present.

Directed by:  Chris Marker

IMDB Score: 7.8

 

 

 

7. Baraka (1992)

Synopsis: Baraka creates an atmosphere of awe through exceptional camera techniques and a story relayed by an amazing soundtrack.

This breathtaking documentary takes spectators on a marvelous journey that brings them to experience 24 countries on six different continents. The title comes from the Islamic word Baraka, which signifies blessing, essence, or the meaning of life. This essence is what makes the film look at man’s ties to nature, highlighting its beautiful and cruel side.

Directed by: Ron Fricke

IMDB Score: 8.5

 

 

 

8. Samsara (2011)

Synopsis: “Samsara” is a fabulous non-verbalized movie directed by Ron Fricke and produced by Mark Magidson. It is the sequel to another documentary that they worked together on, with this one being similarly spellbinding, Baraka (1992).

“Samsara” is a visual poem featuring footage shot over five years across 25 countries and takes the viewers on an epic journey with this verbal and visual presentation. The expression is a word in Sanskrit denoting “the circle of life where humans coexist with nature’s cycles, occasionally dying and regenerating.” This ideology goes on to become the theme of the film, perfectly capturing the essential relationship we have with the nature.

Directed by: Ron Fricke

IMDB Score: 8.4

 

 

 

9. Life Itself (2014)

Synopsis: Steve James’s documentary portrays a deep and multifaceted character through mixed audio and video material. It charts Ebert’s journey, from an aspiring writer to a Pulitzer Prize-winning critic of the Pulitzer Prize at Chicago Sun-Times. The film’s theme deals with his groundbreaking essays, intelligent humor, and the role he played in turning film criticism into an art form that everyone became fond of. It also perfectly mirrors his troubles including his fights against alcoholism and cancer. Wrapping up, “Life Itself” is a touching as well as illuminating picture of Ebert’s life, his interrelations, particularly with his friend Gene Siskel, and the fact that he had an eternal passion for life and the movies.

Directed by: Steve James

IMDB Score: 7.8

 

 

 

 

10. The Cove (2009)

Synopsis: The Cove is an impressive documentary film that brought to light the issue of the cruel dolphin hunting conducted in Taiji, Japan. Jim O’Barry was an ex-dolphin trainer for the ‘Flipper’ TV show and became a campaigner. He was the leader of the team who aimed to expose the truth in the film.

O’Barry happened to have a different stand. He knows how dolphins behave, and the means and methods by which pirates capture them. The film uses state-of-the-art technology like hidden cameras that resemble boulders to film the cove which is the area used for driving and killing dolphins.

The matter of issue in the Cove goes beyond animal brutality; it also alerts us to the dangers of mercury poisoning found in the dolphin meat sold for human consumption. It adds to the list of environmental and health hazards in the film; hence the movie features yet another risk.  The Cove was shot in a thrilling style and was meant to incite anger and push audiences to take action to eliminate dolphin hunting.

Directed by: Louie Psihoyos

IMDB Score: 8.4

 

11. 13th (2016)

Synopsis: The 2016 documentary directed by Ava DuVernay, 13th, covers the intricate topic of racial inequality in the United States using the prison system as context. It was named after the 13th Amendment of the US Constitution which also free slaves and forbids being prisoners unless they have committed a crime. It brings to light the legislation of Jim Crow Laws and the War on Drugs, uncovering how these acted as a racial predicament and eventually led to the imprisonment of the black communities. The film advocates for a structural overhaul of the justice system, as the retroactive changes seem to be insufficient.

Directed by: Ava DuVernay

IMDB Score: 8.2

 

 

 

 

12. Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (1996)

Synopsis: In the documentary Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills we see the ill-distinguished case of the West Memphis Three teenagers accused of murdering three boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. However, the movie brings up questions about the evidence and the reasons why they were imprisoned. It sheds light on the flaws and gaps within the prosecution’s case, causing the audience to reflect upon the truth and doubt whether the verdict is fair. The documentary also ventures into an in-depth examination of how the teenagers’ unconventional appearance became a source of misconception and prejudice.

Directed by:  Joe Berlinger & Bruce Sinofsky

IMDB Score: 8.2

 

 

 

13.  Grizzly Man (2005)

Synopsis: In the thirteen summers that he spent, Treadwell called himself a bear lover and conservationist, and spent his life in the woods of Alaska’s Katmai National Park. Unfortunately, in 2003, Treadwell along with his partner Amie Huguenard were attacked and killed by a bear.

The film contains a horrifying audio recording of the assault which reinforces the feeling of being there and makes the experience that much more distressing. Through his analysis, Herzog takes into account the potential reasons behind the tragedy like Treadwell’s choice to extend his stay in the park until the time of year when bears feed aggressively among them.

Finally, Grizzly Man is a reflective deep dive into the intricacies of human and wildlife relations. By doing this, it makes you think of how careful you should be when going out in nature and appreciate the wild power and unpredictability of nature.

Directed by: Werner Herzog

IMDB Score: 7.8

 

14.  The War Game (1965)

Synopsis:  This fictional documentary throws viewers into the terrifying reality of a nuclear attack on Britain. It skillfully portrays the physical and psychological trauma inflicted by nuclear war. We see the initial chaos of the attack, followed by the horrific aftermath – injured civilians, overwhelmed medical facilities, and the struggle to survive in a radioactive wasteland.

Directed by: Peter Watkins

IMDB Score: 8.0

 

 

 

 

15.  The Spider’s Web: Britain’s Second Empire (2017)

Synopsis: The Spider’s Web challenges the traditional narratives of British colonialism, acknowledging the exploitation and violence that often accompanied imperial expansion. It also explores the positive contributions of the empire, such as the introduction of new technologies and infrastructure development in some colonies.

Each episode focuses on a specific region during the Victorian era:

  • The exploration of the Nile River and the search for its source
  • The colonization of New Zealand and the Maori Wars
  • The annexation of Burma and the resulting conflict
  • The building of the Suez Canal and its impact on global trade

Directed by: Michael Oswald

IMDB Score: 7.7

 

16. 4 Little Girls (1997)

Synopsis: This historical documentary is about the murder of four little girls (Addie, Carol, McNair, and Cynthia) as a result of a bombing of an African-American church in Birmingham, Alabama. The combination of the survivors’ interviews, archival news reports, and footage makes the film heart-wrenching for the audience. 4 Little Girls serves not only as a memorial to the victims but is a powerful tale to end racism and raises voice for a call for justice.

Directed by: Spike Lee

IMDB Score: 7.8

 

 

 

 

 

17.  Weiner (2016)

Synopsis: Congressman Anthony Weiner was on the verge of greatness when a humiliating sexting scandal led to a resignation. The documentary portrays his attempts to make a comeback and compete in the 2013 elections for the Mayor of New York City. Despite the scandal, Weiner finds himself leading the polls early in the race, suggesting his political ideas still resonate with some voters. However, as the campaign progresses, some more embarrassing photos are leaked on Twitter, shattering Weiner’s hopes and exposing the challenges of redemption in the public eye.

Directed by: Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg

IMDB Score: 7.6

 

 

 

 

18. Capturing The Friedmans (2003)

Synopsis: Apparently Friedmans (Arnold, Elaine, and three sons) are a typical upper-class American family until one day Arnold and his son Jesse are arrested in the case of child molestation. Director Andrew Jaraecki has used actual home videos of the family that they recorded themselves to cope with the media frenzy and accusations. As the investigation unfolds, troubling questions about truth, manipulation, and the nature of memory arise. Both of them later admit their shameful crime of sexually abusing minor-aged male students in computer classes

Directed by:  Andrew Jarecki

IMDB Score: 7.6

 

 

 

19. The Truffle Hunters (2020)

Synopsis: A well-earned documentary for those who are passionate about truffle hunting and their relationships with their dogs. In the Piedmont region of Italy, a group of aging men begin their quest of hunting rare Alba Truffle with the help of their trained dogs. These truffle hunters possess a secret knowledge passed down through generations, guarding their methods and hunting grounds closely. It outlines the adverse impacts of climate change and deforestation on the growth of these expensive truffles. The film also displays the comparison between the greedy sellers and those who hunt for truffles.

Directed by:  Michael Dweck, Gregory Kershaw

IMDB Score: 7.3

 

 

 

 

20. Citizenfour (2014)

Synopsis: Citizenfour exhibits the real-life events regarding Edward Snowden and the shocking revelations of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) mass surveillance programs.

In January 2013, Laura Poitras received encrypted messages from CITIZENFOUR who claimed to have classified information about the government’s extensive spying activities. After five months, she and two reporters flew to Hong Kong to meet their unknown source, Edward Snowden. Over a series of secret meetings in a hotel room, Snowden exposes the NSA’s vast global surveillance network. Citizenfour offers a thought-provoking insight into government surveillance, and the courage required to stand up for what one believes in.

Directed by: Laura Poitras

IMDB Score: 8.0

 

 

 

21. Into The Abyss (2011)

Synopsis: Focusing on a triple homicide and capital punishment that occurred in Montgomery County, Texas, in 2001, Into the Abyss is a tale of death and life. On October 24, the body of 50-year-old Sandra Stotler was found dumped in a nearby lake leading to the arrest of two teenage boys Michael Perry and Jason Burkett. Herzog interviews them, along with grieving families and those involved in executions, piecing together the tragedy and its lasting impact.  As Michael faces the death sentence, the documentary questions the morality of the death penalty, prompting viewers to consider the weight of taking a life and its consequences.

Directed by: Werner Herzog

IMDB Score: 7.3

 

 

 

 

22. DMT: The Spirit Molecule (2010)

Synopsis: DMT is an endogenous psychedelic compound found in nearly every living organism. The documentary focuses on the investigations of Dr. Rick Strassman, the first DMT government study allowed in the US. Through the interviews with Strassman, volunteers in his trials, and other experts in the film, we get to understand how DMT affects people’s consciousness and creation of feelings like being in another dimension or encountering other beings. It examines the possible connection between DMT and near-death experiences, religious visions, and the human personality, by putting together science, philosophy, and spirituality in this effort to understand this strange molecule.

Directed by: Mitch Schultz

IMDB Score: 7.1

 

 

 

 

23. The Imposter (2012)

Synopsis: The Imposter (2012) is a documentary that flips the idea of a missing child reunion around. A young man named Frédéric Bourdin is suddenly found in Spain, identifying himself as Nicholas Barclay, a 16-year-old boy from Texas who went missing three years earlier. Nicholas’s parents, who feel lost in their ongoing quest to understand their son’s fate, give him a warm embrace. As the story progresses, the glitches emerge. The documentary examines the strange deception conducted by Bourdin, which makes it even more astonishing that he deluded not only the family but also the authorities that he was their lost son. Through interviews with Bourdin himself, Nicholas’s family, and investigative footage, The Imposter unravels a bizarre case that leaves you wondering: Who is the imposter?

Directed by: Bart Layton

IMDB Score: 7.5

 

 

 

24. De Palma (2015)

Synopsis: “De Palma” is about an in-depth conversation between filmmakers. The center of focus is Brian De Palma, the great director who is known for his suspenseful thrillers such as “Carrie” and “Scarface”. De Palma himself reveals his six decades of career, from being a rebel against the New Hollywood to a respected veteran. Through the use of clips from famous films of his and candid interviews, the documentary examines the creation process and the input of this director on cinema in depth as well as his regrets about the picture selection. It’s a great insight into what made De Palma’s mind tick for his fans, giving them knowledge on how the genius came up with his amazing films.

Directed by: Noah Baumbach, Jake Paltrow

IMDB Score: 7.4

 

 

 

 

25. Armadillo (2010)

Synopsis: Armadillo presents a platoon of Danish soldiers who go to Afghanistan for the first time in their military career.  At Camp Armadillo in the very heart of the conflict, the soldiers demonstrate their bravery but are severely shaken as they encounter the bitter realities of war. Janus Metz’s direction portrays the soldiers’ day-to-day life of patrolling; the threat of ambushes around every corner; and the impact it has on their physical and mental health.

The movie offers rawness and unquestionable representation of the cost of conflict, it provokes the audience to take into consideration the complexities of war and the experiences of the warriors fighting it.

Directed by: Janus Metz

IMDB Score: 7.5

 

 

 

26. For Sama (2019)

Synopsis: This profoundly disturbing and per­sonal documentary was filmed by Waad al-Kateab, a teenage citizen journalist in Syria, during the events in Aleppo. It starts as a very sweet and loving letter about her Sama, who was born amid that very constituent, ongoing battle.

The film documents Waad’s path from taking footage of the horrors to capturing Aleppo’s collapse, and the civilians’ struggles to survive. We see her work alongside her doctor husband, Hamza, in a makeshift hospital overcrowded by wounded civilians. However, it also brings out the disastrous consequences of war, the distress of loss, and the pain of choosing between staying and defending or leaving for a safer place amidst the damages.

Directed by: Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts

IMDB Score: 8.5

 

 

 

27. Burden of Dreams (1982)

Synopsis: This is a story about Herzog filming his adaptation of the movie “Fitzcaraldo” in the Peruvian Amazon. Herzog faces a nightmarish production: troublesome actors, brutal weather, and the sample task of hauling a huge steamboat through a mountain using nothing but human power. This documentary spans an exhibition of obsession for Herzog, more akin to madness as he and his team are compelled further until the point of breaking down to achieve their artistic goal.

Directed by: Les Blank

IMDB Score: 7.9

 

 

 

 

28. Point of Order (1964)

Synopsis: Point of Order (1964) doesn’t tell the story in a conventional sense with a narrator and external forces; instead, it portrays it straightforwardly and authentically. The whole documentary is one product of the raw footage and videos from the famous Army-McCarthy Hearings, which took place in the 1954 Senate. As opposed to Senator Joseph McCarthy with his notorious ultraconservative accusations that the communist dangers affected the government, he had one dispute with the US Army over the matter of preferential treatment to a former staff member. The film juxtaposes the accusations with the refutations, with contradicting statements, and the sequence of events is interchangeable with a confrontation between Senator McCarthy and the Army representatives. It brings an unfiltered opinion about the actions taken and the characters featured in the US history cornerstone.

Directed by: Emile de Antonio

IMDB Score: 7.8

 

 

 

29. The Look of Silence (2015)

Synopsis: The Look of Silence shows the cruelty of the Indonesian mass killings of 1965-66 from a completely different perspective.

This tale revolves around Adi, a male optometrist who was born after his brother Ramli, was mercilessly murdered in the purge. Being a part of a society where those killed remain in authority, Adi encounters a choking silence around the tragic event. He undertakes a rather personal mission to face the men that caused his brother’s death. While testing their eyesight, Adi attempts to break their silence and get them to acknowledge their crimes. The documentary showcases a range of issues such as the emotional burden of the confrontations, the uncertainty, and the struggle for truth and justice, as well as the complexities of the post-conflict matters.

Directed by: Joshua Oppenheimer

IMDB Score: 8.3

 

 

 

30. The Rescue (2021)

Synopsis: “The Rescue” narrates the remarkable 2018 mission to save a Junior soccer team and their coach who were trapped inside the Thai cave system. This documentary utilized never-before-seen footage and exclusive interviews to immerse you in the actual rescue effort. The filmmakers Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin emphasize the skillsets of the divers involved in the international team, especially those that were suitable to handle the perilous conditions of the caves and rescue the boys. The film depicted an overwhelming situation, how to deal with it in a limited time, and creative ways used to bring everyone back.

Directed by: Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi

IMDB Score: 8.3

 

 

 

 

31. Meru (2015)

Synopsis: Meru traces a breathtaking journey of three professional climbers, Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, and Renan Ozturk, on their way to conquer “Shark’s Fin”, on Meru Peak in the Indian Himalayas. It goes through the personal experiences of these climbers, revealing their motives, and the physical and mental challenges they encounter. Meru is not only about the breathtaking views of the Himalayas but also the intense fixation, dedication, and emotional ups and downs of these fame-mongers as they venture a thrilling climb in which they risk everything to achieve their aim.

Directed by: Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi

IMDB Score: 7.7

 

 

 

32. Supersize Me (2004)

Synopsis: In the film “Super Size Me” (2004), directed by Mutair Spurlock, the filmmaker decides to start a self-experiment. For one full month, he is determined to eat only at McDonald’s, three times a day without any exercise daily. The documentary records the devastating consequences that the high-speed food diet caused to both his physical and mental health. Spurlock experiences weight gain, mood swings, and health predicaments. Apart from his personal story, the documentary aims to analyze the market strategies and the fast-food industry as one of the main contributors to America’s obesity problem. It activates the debate around the quality of fast food and suggests advertising tactics encouraging unwholesome eating.

Directed by: Morgan Spurlock

IMDB Score: 7.2

 

 

 

33. The King of Kong (2007)

Synopsis: The King of Kong takes us to the world of competitions in classic arcade games. It centers around two main characters: Billy and Steve. As the movie continues, we witness the ambitious way of Steve Wiebe as he tries to beat Billy Mitchell’s seemingly unbeatable score in Donkey Kong World through endless practice. The film then dives into competitive gaming, which demonstrates the commitment and dedication of these gamers as the competition intensifies.

Directed by: Seth Gordon

IMDB Score: 8.0

 

 

 

 

34. Road Runner (2021)

Synopsis: This iconic film explores the life of the famous chef, writer, and travel icon through a blend of archival footage and interviews. We see glimpses of Bourdain’s journey, from his early days in the kitchen to his television shows that brought the world to our plates. Friends, family, and colleagues share their unique perspectives, revealing a complex and multifaceted man.

Directed by: Morgan Neville

IMDB Score: 7.7

 

 

 

 

35. Summer of Soul (2021)

Synopsis: Director Ahmir brings to light the vibrant Harlem Cultural Festival, a six-week-long celebration of Black music and culture that took place in 1969, just over 100 miles from the iconic Woodstock. This film isn’t just about the music – it’s a time capsule. Using electrifying footage from the festival that sat unseen for decades, the documentary weaves a tapestry of powerful performances by soul, gospel, and jazz legends like Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, and Gladys Knight & the Pips.

Directed by: Questlove

IMDB Score: 8.0

 

 

 

 

36. Fire of Love (2022)

Synopsis: Fire of Love explores the story of 2 married volcanologists and captures, a sadly tragic, story of Katia and Marice Krafft. Through a treasure trove of archival footage, we see them fearlessly approach erupting volcanoes, capturing dramatic close-up shots and groundbreaking scientific data.

Directed by: Sara Dosa

IMDB Score: 7.6

 

 

 

 

37. I Am Not Your Negro (2016)

Synopsis: The film is narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, breathing life into James Baldwin’s powerful words as he reflects on the lives and assassinations of his close friends, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr.  Through Baldwin’s unfiltered lens, the documentary confronts the harsh realities of racism in the United States.”I Am Not Your Negro” isn’t just a history lesson; it’s a call to action, urging viewers to confront America’s racial past and present to build a more just future.

Directed by: Raoul Peck

IMDB Score: 7.9

 

 

 

38. Inside Job (2010)

Synopsis: Inside Job focuses on The financial disaster that occurred for the year 2008.

The movie claims that it is a mixed bag of factors bringing the financial institutions to deregulate along with high-risk financial instruments like credit default swaps and market confusion between the world of bankers and academia that ultimately created the crisis. It uses an interview-based approach to get information from the financial world, Hill’s, and academics to make its case stronger.

There were three factors: apportioning the blame, catching the human cost of the crisis, and demonstrating how regular people lost their jobs and income due to the crisis.

Directed by: Charles Ferguson

IMDB Score: 8.2

 

 

39. Spellbound (2012)

Synopsis: The movie Spellbound is about the competitive spelling bee industry and its participants. It gives a close look at the struggles of eight finalists who want to win the prize at the Scripps Spelling Bee. While covering their personal stories, it gets into the gist of this.

Some we observe are from the advantaged set of individuals with access to all the needed resources and advanced coaching services, whilst others come from a background with scarce financial support and rely on sheer boldness and hard work. The movie uncovers the plethora of emotions associated with this transition as students encounter self-doubt, the fear of failure, and the likelihood of enduring such disappointment.

Directed by: Edgar Wright

IMDB Score: 7.7

 

40. The Sparks Brothers (2021)

Synopsis: The Sparks Brothers highlights the no-traditional style and the career-long influence of the pop and rock duo Sparks. The plot of this movie follows the fifty-year evolution of brothers Ron and Russell Mael, who possess unique personalities and merge bits of classical and pop music to create a style that is not always easy to define.

And the viewers will be able to see how much the brothers are proud of their music through interviews. Besides, a wonderful cast will take part in the documentary; for example, the musician Beck and their old colleague Flea as they explore the Sparks’ huge production of different albums. It starts with their first glam rock days then it goes to their first synth-pop and art rock explorations, and concludes with the demonstration of their true capacity to say who they are and how they see themselves in these different phases of it.

Directed by: Edgar Wright

IMDB Score: 7.7

 

 

41. Project Nim (2011)

Synopsis: Nim Chimpsky, a chimpanzee born at Dr William Lemmon’s Institute for Primate Studies in Oklahoma, was separated from his mother and taken to New York to participate in an extensive study of animal language acquisition led by Dr. Herbert S. Terrace of Columbia University. Nim was placed in the care of Stephanie LaFarge, a former Terrace student, who was told to raise him as if he were a human child to see if he would learn human-like language.

Project Nim chronicles the life of Nim Chimpsky, a chimpanzee at the center of a 1970s research project that sought to ascertain whether a primate raised near humans would acquire a limited “language” akin to American Sign Language.

Directed by: James Marsh

IMDB Score: 7.4

 

 

 

42. The Thin Blue Line (1988)

Synopsis: Errol Morris’ 1988 American documentary The Thin Blue Line tells the story of Randall Dale Adams’ trial and conviction for the 1976 shooting death of Dallas police officer Robert W. Wood. While he was researching for a movie about Dr. James Grigson—a.k.a. “Dr. Death” in Texas— a psychiatrist who has testified with “100 percent certainty” of a defendant’s recidivism in numerous trials, including Randall Adams’, piqued Morris’ interest in the case. The “inconsistencies, incongruities, and loose ends” of the case are the main focus of the movie. Morris, through his investigation, not only reaches a different conclusion but also manages to get David Harris, the original suspect in the case, to admit Adams’ innocence.

Directed by: Errol Morris

IMDB Score: 8.0

 

 

 

43. The Cruise (1998)

Synopsis: Bennett Miller’s black-and-white documentary centers on the wildly eccentric New York City tour guide Timothy “Speed” Levitch. Working part-time for $200 a week, the departing Levitch is paid by the Gray Line bus company and tells his captive tourist audience historical details about places where real-life celebrities have lived and visited. Along with talking about his life and his love/hate relationship with Manhattan, Levitch is also excited to share random philosophical tidbits.

Directed by: Bennett Miller

IMDB Score: 7.6

 

 

 

 

44. 9/11: The Falling Man (2006)

Synopsis: In the documentary The Falling Man, one of the numerous pictures that the media released right after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center is examined. The disc cover features the image in question, which is visible above. It depicts a man jumping from the burning towers and falling to the ground head first. The show begins by discussing the day’s events and the country’s response before concentrating on this particular image, the photographer who captured it, how it went viral, what the public thought of it, and why it was eventually declared UN newsworthy.

Directed by: Henry Singer

IMDB Score: 7.2

 

 

 

45.  Hoop Dreams (1994)

Synopsis: In this epic story of hope and faith, two regular inner-city Chicago kids dare to aim for the impossibly high: professional basketball glory. Hoop Dreams, which was filmed over five years, follows young William Gates and Arthur Agee and their families as they deal with the demanding demands of their neighborhoods and homes while navigating the complicated and competitive world of scholastic athletics. Many people consider this groundbreaking movie to be among the best pieces of American nonfiction filmmaking, and it never stops inspiring and educating audiences.

Directed by: Steve James

IMDB Score: 8.3

 

 

 

46. Lake of Fire (2006)

Synopsis: The film, which was directed by British-born director Tony Kaye, shows graphic footage of real medical procedures and portrays the contentious abortion debate that is currently raging in America. The documentary features interviews with philosopher and political activist Noam Chomsky, anti-abortion activist Randall Terry, and many other individuals who present both pro-choice and pro-life perspectives on the topic.

Directed by: Tony Kaye

IMDB Score: 8.2

 

 

 

 

47. Darwin’s Nightmare (2004)

Synopsis: This documentary addresses how colonialism, especially in developing countries, has caused extensive environmental destruction. It outlines how the over-exploitation of resources in post-colonial countries can be connected with Charles Darwin’s evolutionary theory, especially the theory of the possibility of “survival of the fittest.” Probably, the film investigates how determined nations are “extracting” resources from developing countries, which leaves behind devastating ecological consequences and economic hardship.

Directed by: Hubert Sauper

IMDB Score: 7.4

 

 

 

48. My Flesh and Blood (2003)

Synopsis: Susan Tom, a single mother from Fairfield, California, is not like other single mothers. She is the matriarch of 11 adopted children, all of whom have chronic illnesses or physical disabilities. My Flesh and Blood is a documentary about Tom and her unique family that explores the dynamics of this home, the physically and emotionally demanding needs of the 11 children, and the heavy emotional load Tom occasionally bears while caring for children who might not live to adulthood.

Directed by: Jonathan Karsh

IMDB Score: 8.3

 

 

 

 

49. Hype (1996)

Synopsis: Doug Pray’s documentary Hype! explores the rise in popularity of grunge rock in the United States during the early to mid-1990s. This documentary is all about tracing the history of the grunge scene, as it emerges in the neighborhood basements to becoming an explosive phenomenon in the pop culture. All that while also incorporating rare concert footage and interviews in Hype.

Hype! tells the story of the grunge subculture from the perspective of those involved in it, aiming to debunk some of the misconceptions about the genre spread by media hype. The movie takes a satirical approach to this mythos, even though it acknowledges that some of these obscure bands became well-known thanks to media hype.

Directed by: Doug Pray

IMDB Score: 7.6

 

 

50.  No End in Sight (2007)

Synopsis: No End in Sight (2007) is a documentary that studies the invasion of Iraq by the Americans in 2003 critically and all the circumstances surrounding the conflict that ensued. Led by Academy Award winner, Charles Ferguson, the film takes us through this critical period immediately after the liberation of Baghdad and strongly claims that all the wrong moves that were made by the Bush administration during this period were responsible for all the problems that followed after that.

The movie utilizes the interviews of military and government leaders from different positions who worked under the leadership of George Bush, especially during the previous stages of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. These more or less self-aided narratives show a situation where there was a failure in the plan or execution of the occupation.

Directed by: Charles Ferguson

IMDB Score: 8.2

 

 

51. The Oath (2010)

Synopsis: The Oath, which was filmed in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Yemen, weaves together the tales of Salim Hamdan – a detainee at Guantanamo who is accused of war crimes – and Abu Jandal – revealed to be the former bodyguard of Osama bin Laden. The film The Oath, directed by Laura Poitras follows a story full of twists and turns, including betrayals and plot reversals, which ultimately lead to Osama bin Laden, 9/11, Guantanamo, and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Directed by: Laura Poitras

IMDB Score: 7.2

 

 

 

 

52. Grey Gardens (1975)

Synopsis: The 1975 documentary by Albert and David Maysles, which follows a once-wealthy mother and daughter—previously prominent figures on the society pages—as they live in filthy turmoil in their once magnificent East Hampton mansion, delves deeply into the devastation caused by Gatsby Esque frivolity.  Onassis saved the Beales from being condemned by the health authorities by cleaning up their trash-filled, vermin-infested house before filming began. However, the Mayslesses put the Beales back on a downward spiral. A mother and daughter perform flamboyantly for the filmmakers, fervently seeking their approval as they release their lifetime grievances on the events that brought about their poverty, solitude, and folie à deux.

Directed by:  Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Ellen Hovde, Muffie Meyer

IMDB Score: 7.5

 

 

 

53. Jupiter’s Wife (1995)

Synopsis: Michel Negroponte meets a woman who is homeless and says she is Robert Ryan’s daughter as he is filming a documentary. Furthermore, Maggie claims to be the god Jupiter’s wife and to get radio signals from him regularly. Negroponte gives up on his previous project out of curiosity and begins interviewing Maggie. After two years, the project is a movie that aims to rebuild the intriguing true life of this charmingly eccentric woman while also trying to discern fact from fantasy.

Directed by: Michel Negroponte

IMDB Score: 7.1

 

 

 

54. Home of the Brave (2004)

Synopsis: The film “Home of the Brave” (2004) looks at the life and martyrdom of Viola Liuzzo, a Detroit housewife who became a potent figure during the Jim Crow years. It shows her movements together with her daughter to the march for voting rights in south Montgomery of 1965 Selma. Misfortune comes when Viola is shot dead by the Ku Klux Klan while driving a black guy back home. The movie shows the influences of the crime on her family, the unresolved aspects behind it, and the enduring character of her activism. “Home of the Brave” not only gives the readers a glimpse into Viola’s real life, it also sheds limelight on the crucial sacrifices that the Civil Rights Act led to and the bigger picture of racial justice in America today.

Directed by: Paola di Florio

IMDB Score: 7.2

 

 

 

55. Dark Days (2000)

Synopsis: Deep beneath the bustling streets of New York City lies a hidden world in “Dark Days” The documentary dives deep into the Amtrak system tunnels underground where homeless people have managed to build a community, through which life is somehow home-like in a harsh and intimidating setting.

British director Marc Singer goes beyond just cinematizing these people. As he gains their trust and they share this fictitious colony, Norman becomes like one of them and assimilates realistically as a part of their loss, hopes, and dreams. The camera displays how hard it is there to live daily trying to find food and shelter while being constantly evicted. Survival is the main concern of the inhabitants of the slum.

Directed by: Marc Singer

IMDB Score: 7.7

 

 

56. Enemies of the People (2009)

Synopsis: “Enemies of the People” reveals the Cambodian Killing Fields and the barbarities of the time, in which multitudes of lives were taken away at the hands of the Khmer Rouge. Interestingly, for the first time, various Khmer Rouge authorities, including leaders as well as foot soldiers who performed the atrocities, decided to talk openly and frankly after decades of silence and evasion. The thought-chilling confessions make it possible for us to peek into their mindset, ways and an undeniable horror of the genocide However, the movie is not solely about the perpetrators either. It also composes the stories of the survivors and the families of the victims, providing them with a chance to be heard and speak out their loss stories through the long and difficult path of finding acceptance.

Directed by: Thet Sambath, Rob Lemkin

IMDB Score: 7.7

 

 

 

57. Zizek! (2005)

Synopsis: Slavoj Zizek, a Slovenian philosopher, is one of the most significant and controversial cultural theorists of our day. This fascinating and intelligent documentary delves into his esoteric writings and eccentric personality

ZIZEK follows the renowned and daring intellectual as he travels the world, stopping at his residence in Ljubljana, Slovenia, Buenos Aires, and lecture venues in New York City. In transit, he uses a special synthesis of Lacanian psychoanalysis, Marxism, and pop culture critique to expose the hidden mechanisms of ideology. He also has little problem critiquing himself, delivering critical insights on his character, personal affairs, and burgeoning international notoriety.

Directed by: Astra Taylor

IMDB Score: 7.3

 

 

 

58. Joy Division (2007)

Synopsis: The British band Joy Division, who gained notoriety in the 1980s and had a significant cultural impact in the years following their passing, is the subject of this documentary. Filmmaker Grant Gee traces the band’s career using archive material, interviews with band members, and information on their growth in Manchester during their time together. Among those questioned is Anton Corbijn, who shot photos of Joy Division during their peak and produced a biopic about lead vocalist Ian Curtis.

Directed by: Grant Gee

IMDB Score: 7.7

 

 

 

59. The Gleaners and I (2000)

Synopsis: The Gleaners and I look at the ageless art of gleaning. The movie tracks a variety of people who gather leftover resources all over France. These people range from urban foragers who search city streets and dumpsters for leftover produce to farmers who gather it in fields after harvest. Varda transforms the process of gleaning into an artistic endeavor rather than merely recording it. She creates a tapestry of motivations, stories, and social commentary with her witty and philosophical narration. We meet gleaners from all walks of life, including those who are having financial difficulties, industrious environmentalists, and even artists who use these found items to create art.

Directed by: Agnès Varda

IMDB Score: 7.7

 

 

 

60. Butterfly (2000)

Synopsis: “Butterfly” (2000) is a documentary that shows how Julia Hill, a devoted environmental activist, fought with the authorities. The documentary depicts her most courageous 738 days of sensational publicity campaign that was going on while being on top of one of the tallest trees named Luna appointed to be axed. Julia suffered the severity of weather conditions and the continual threat of eviction day in, and day out, but she nevertheless remained firm in her decision to speak out. This created so much commotion in the media that she won the support of the public. “Butterfly” is not just about her physical and mental experiences but also the politician Shenaz Treasury who turned out to be an icon of environmentalism. The movie achieves this through a combination of interviews, re-enactments, and archive footage, portraying an unforgettable story of the final journey of one woman to protect nature, leaving viewers to reflect on the extent of individual actions and their impact on nature conservation.

Directed by: Doug Wolens

IMDB Score: 7.3

 

 

61. Beyond Belief (2007)

Synopsis: Before tragedy strikes, Susan Retik and Patti Quigley are just two typical soccer moms who reside in Boston’s affluent suburbs. Grief forces these women to turn away from themselves and toward Afghanistan, the place where the terrorists who killed their husbands received their training. Over two years, these remarkable women commit themselves to empowering Afghan widows whose lives have been devastated by decades of war, poverty, and oppression. All the while, as they deal with the pains of the loss of loved ones, they also have to endure the hardships of being single mothers. Susan and Patti form a strong bond with each other as they bravely travel from their affluent neighborhoods to the most impoverished villages in Afghanistan.

Directed by: Beth Murphy

IMDB Score: 7.4

 

 

 

62. We Live in Public (2009)

Synopsis: The film revolves around the story of Josh Harris, a troubled internet entrepreneur. In 1999, he managed to build an underground bunker in New York City and get volunteers to reside there, their activities are also streamed live all the time. Named “Pseudo.com”, the idea was to be the very first internet TV network (so to speak), that would have been an early glimpse into the entirely connected world, with no boundaries between public and private space. “We Live in Public” becomes a cautionary tale as Harris and his girlfriend grapple with the psychological toll of living under constant scrutiny. The documentary will take us back to the initial days of the Internet’s exploration by highlighting what drives people to seek online fame and the price that is often paid for virtual connectivity

Directed by:  Ondi Timoner

IMDB Score: 7.2

 

 

 

63. The Coconut Revolution (2001)

Synopsis: This is the contemporary account of a great Native American victory over Western Colonial power. Despite being under military occupation and being cut off, a Pacific island revolted against the massive mining company Rio Tinto Zinc (RTZ) and prevailed. RTZ received more than they had anticipated when they chose to increase output at the Panguna Mine on the island of Bougainville.

The islanders had had enough of RTZ using them as pawns and ruining their ecosystem. The people decided it was time to stop outsiders meddling in the affairs of the island since RTZ refused to pay them. They forcefully shut down the mine to accomplish this.

Directed by:  Dom Rotheroe

IMDB Score: 8.3

 

 

64. The Filth and the Fury (2000)

Synopsis: Julien Temple’s “The Filth and the Fury” is a jagged journey into the wild world of music band Sex Pistols. It is a story of their astounding achievement of ascending from the humble beginning in a small working-class neighborhood of London’s Shepherd’s Bush to their mind-blowing fiasco at the Winterland Ballroom in just two short years.

The director incorporates a mixture of archival images, interviews with the band members (John Lydon, Johnny Rotten; Steve Jones, Paul Cook; Glen Matlock), and people who were a part of their lives. We notice their raw energy in live concerts, the creation of hysteria in the media which serves the anti-establishment rage, and the intelligence of their internal conflicts that took them apart.

Directed by: Julien Temple

IMDB Score: 7.6

 

 

65.         Tarnation (2003)

Synopsis: Having grown up in Texas and living with foster parents, grandparents, and his beloved, schizophrenic mother Renee, Jonathan Caouette became the focus of his video camera. At 31, he examines his family’s dissolution by using materials such as home videos, pictures, and even voicemails.

Directed by: Jonathan Caouette

IMDB Score: 7.1

 

 

 

66. All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace (2011)

Synopsis: In “All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace” (2011), filmmaker Adam Curtis explores a thought-provoking theory: finally, machines have reigned over us and human beings have turned into machines themselves. The film suggests a shift in our point of view of the world towards computer modeling and cybernetic thinking that would consequently influence politics, economics, ecology, and even our standpoint concerning reality.

Curtis treads across various ideas in an attempt to culminate an overall argument. He delves into the development of cybernetics in the 1970s, portraying a world where complexity and interconnectedness were the key elements of success just like a machine does. He evaluates how this reductionist approach affected the American economic policy-making process, the consequence of which was deregulation with the preference for market efficiency and not an economy subject to state control measures. He further comments on the self-regulating ecosystem hypothesis, which might be a scientific idea, as proved by its convenient nature, but the reality of unpredictable natural cycles has largely failed to sustain that in certain situations.

Directed by: Adam Curtis

IMDB Score: 8.3

 

 

67. Press for Truth (2006)

Synopsis: Through “Press for Truth” (2006), the filmmaker provides greater insight into the world beyond the record of 9/11 events, taking the viewers into the lives of the family members, especially the so-called “Jersey Girls”. The movie deals with what is not known and what seems to be true. What went wrong with the defense system in place? How did the World Trade Center collapse? “Press for Truth” breeds a fierce debate by weaving in the historical footage with the emotionally charged interviews and by allowing the people who are seeking the answers in place of the narrative which is unofficial.

Directed by: Ray Nowosielski

IMDB Score: 8.0

 

 

 

68. William S. Burroughs: A Man Within (2010)

Synopsis: Born into the Burroughs adding machine family, William Burroughs battled addiction, self-discipline, and control systems all of his life. He had to cope with the grief of his wife’s death as well as the fallout from his son’s neglect. One of the last novels to be outlawed by the US government was his book Naked Lunch. Norman Mailer and Allen Ginsberg both gave testimony in support of the book. In 1966, the judges reversed their earlier findings, concluding that the work had significant societal significance.

It is still regarded as one of the most well-known pieces of writing from the 20th century. William was one of the first people to write about his experiences and venture outside the perilous borders of drug and queer culture in the 1950s.

Directed by: Yony Leyser

IMDB Score: 7.1

 

 

69. Incident at Oglala (1992)

Synopsis: “Incident at Oglala” gives viewers a taste of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation’s incredibly tough situation in 1975, where a lot of Indians were getting trapped by the violent, tense standoff. The documentary discusses the incidents that caused the hate and resentment to end up in a shoot-out. It resulted in two dead FBI agents and one dead member of the American Indian Movement (AIM).

These conflicts are illustrated through the use of archival footage and interviews with key Civil Rights figures from the time. It does not shy away from the nuances of the situation but rather poses questions of tribal sovereignty, measures to control the government and fighting for the rights of the Indian community.

Directed by:  Michael Apted

IMDB Score: 7.6

 

 

70. Shoah (1985)

Synopsis: Claude Lanzmann, the director, refused to use a single frame of archive film while working for 11 years on this extensive Holocaust documentary, conducting his own interviews. Organizing Holocaust witnesses into three groups—survivors, bystanders, and perpetrators—Lanzmann features interviews with witnesses from the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, an SS officer at Treblinka, survivors of the Chelmno concentration camp, and an escapee from Auschwitz.

Directed by: Claude Lanzmann

IMDB Score: 8.7

 

 

 

 

71. Winnebago Man (2009)

Synopsis: “Winnebago Man” recounts the life of Jack Rebney, an ex-broadcaster who is notable for his profanity-leaden outtakes from a Winnebago sales video which emerged online to become an internet sensation. Filmmaker Ben Steinbauer jumps right into the obsession and locates Rebney, the unwitting internet star in question. This is a story about early viral fame, unexpected consequences of technology, and corporate frustration personified by a disregarded context. The documentary deals with both sides of the story by presenting the enjoyment generated by his outbursts and the offline persona Mr. Rebney faces when confronted by the online version.

Directed by: Ben Steinbauer

IMDB Score: 7.2

 

 

 

 

72. Confessions of a Superhero (2007)

Synopsis: This American documentary reflects the lives of four individuals aspiring to be actors. It takes the viewers behind the scenes of America’s most unusual performers through a series of heartfelt interviews and authentic moments, connecting the viewers with these individuals on a deeply human level. As the story unfolds it draws its audience into a revealing portrait of the human spirit, capturing both the victories and trials of those who dare to chase their dreams in the shadow of the Hollywood sign.

Directed by: Matthew Ogens

IMDB Score: 7.1

 

 

 

73. Village of the Dolls (2010)

Synopsis: Marwencol” explores Mark Hogancamp’s fantastical universe. After five men beat him into a brain-damaging coma outside of a pub, Mark constructs a 1/6th size town from World War II in his backyard. To depict his friends and family, Mark fills the town he calls “Marwencol” with dolls. He also takes lifelike pictures of the community’s numerous connections and tragedies. Mark heals from the psychic wounds of the attack and regains hand-eye coordination while playing around the town and taking pictures of the action. Following the discovery of Mark and his photos, a prominent New York gallery organizes an exhibition.

Directed by: Jeff Malmberg

IMDB Score: 7.5

 

 

 

 

74. The Corporation (2003)

Synopsis: “The Corporation” (2003) examines corporation power and how it affects society. The documentary highlights the intriguing argument of corporate behavior through the utilization of sharp analysis, historical context, and engaging interviews with top intellectuals and business insiders showing the issues of the arguments and ethical problems at the base of modern capitalism. As the documentary presents, from the first steps of corporate identity up to the environmental resources consumption and labor issues, it includes systemic flaws and injustices both on the way of the corporation and its system. Employing an in-depth analysis of business´s impact on politics, civil society, and the earth, “The Corporation” encourages viewers to think of a critical engagement with the sources of the power and consider recently developed forms of economic management.

Directed by:  Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott

IMDB Score: 8.0

 

 

 

75. Harlan County U.S.A. (1976)

Synopsis: The June 1973 coal miners’ strike at the Eastover Mining Company’s Brookside Mine in Harlan County, Kentucky, is portrayed in this movie. The strike, which lasted for more than a year and featured violent altercations between the picketing miners and their supportive female family members was caused by Eastover’s unwillingness to sign a contract when the miners joined the United Mine Workers of America.

Directed by: Barbara Kopple

IMDB Score: 8.2

 

 

 

 

76. The Times of Harvey Milk (1984)

Synopsis: Two members of the Board of Supervisors of San Francisco On Monday, Nov. 27, 1978, between 8:45 and 9:15 a.m., Harvey Milk and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone were slain by Supervisor Dan White, who had just resigned. Extensive television footage and firsthand accounts depict Milk’s life before and during his election campaign, as well as his successful attempts to politically represent San Francisco’s LGBT population and the city’s response to the killings.

Directed by: Rob Epstein

IMDB Score: 8.2

 

 

 

 

77. Seven Up! (1964)

Synopsis: Seven Up! is a dedicated compelling documentary that explores the lives of 14 kids. It portrays a glimpse of children’s lives and dreams at the young age of seven through open conversation and ordinary moments. The children come from various backgrounds with variable economic standing, educational possibilities, and societal circumstances. The video takes viewers on an attaching journey, graphically demonstrating how diverse family origins and upbringings impact these young children’s personalities, desires, and dreams.

Directed by: Paul Almond

IMDB Score: 7.9

 

 

 

 

78. Jesus Camp (2006)

Synopsis: Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady pay a visit to Kids on Fire, an evangelical Christian summer camp where kids participate in activities aimed at fortifying and enhancing their religious convictions. The camp’s creator, Becky Fischer, talks about her goal of educating young people about the Bible as the campers engage in combat video games and share their love for Jesus.

Directed by: Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady

IMDB Score: 7.4

 

 

 

 

79. Food, Inc. (2008)

Synopsis: It looks at how massive companies have taken over every part of the US food chain, from the farms that raise our food to the chain restaurants and grocery stores that sell it. The film, which is narrated by author and activist Eric Schlosser, includes disturbing imagery taken inside massive animal processing plants, commentary from food specialists like Michael Pollan, and interviews with regular Americans about their eating habits.

Directed by: Robert Kenner

IMDB Score: 7.8

 

 

 

 

80. Examined Life (2008)

Synopsis: Examined Life (2008) tries to express philosophy with much detail and some really smart questions. The documentary takes the audience into philosophers’ philosophies through direct prompts at which issues of life, morality, and humanity come to light. Amid the profound metropolis magic and the quiet serenity of a natural landscape, the visitors are invited to imagine how to cope with the difficulties of today’s world and to understand the essence of one’s life. “Examined Life” adventures viewers in quite a daring quest into the pockets of philosophical introspection, bridging educational contention with real-life reality.

Directed by: Astra Taylor

IMDB Score: 7.0

 

 

 

 

81. An Inconvenient Truth (2006)

Synopsis: “An Inconvenient Truth” (2006), directed by Davis Guggenheim, is a seminal documentary featuring former Vice President Al Gore. It highlights the scientific evidence behind climate change and its potential consequences, urging viewers to take urgent action to address this global crisis. Through compelling visuals and data-driven presentations, the film serves as a call to arms for environmental stewardship and sustainability.

Directed by: Davis Guggenheim

IMDB Score: 7.4

 

 

 

 

82. Salesman (1969)

Synopsis: A groundbreaking 1969 documentary directed by Albert David Maysles, which follows four door-to-door Bible sellers as they traverse the rough terrain of mid-century America, trying to sell religious literature varieties for the often unsatisfied customers. It delves into the lives of these salespeople, capturing their struggles with rejection, faltering sales, and pressure to fill the supply chain, offering a poignant commentary on the American dream, consumerism, and the human condition.

Directed by: Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Charlotte Zwerin

IMDB Score: 7.7

 

 

 

83. Stop Making Sense (1984)

Synopsis: The iconic concert film “Stop Making Sense” features the American rock group “Talking Heads.” “Stop Making Sense” transcends the typical concert film and instead becomes an immersive and visually stunning experience. It documents the band’s performances at Hollywood’s Pantages Theater during their on-stage renaissance. The music is powerful enough when presented with electrifying renditions of their most beloved songs. The film seamlessly blends elements of new wave, punk, and funk with clever cinematography and carefully choreographed sequences. It captures the spirit of the 1980s cultural movement while also honoring Heads’ contagious enthusiasm and creative brilliance.

Directed by: Jonathan Demme, Bernie Worrell, Alex Weir, Steven Scales

IMDB Score: 8.7

 

 

 

 

84. The Trials of Darryl Hunt (2006)

Synopsis: The Trials of Darryl Hunt sheds light on the destructive impacts of institutional racism and the human spirit’s ability to overcome injustice with profound insight and emotional depth. This poignant 2006 documentary recounts the decades-long struggle for justice on behalf of an African-American man who was wrongfully convicted every year for the 1984 rape and murder of a young white woman in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. A film on racial bias, a broken legal system, and procedural injustice shows how Hunt’s erroneous imprisonment and subsequent virtual acquittal led to a 20-year prison sentence through an amazing combination of archives, interviews, and courtroom footage.

Directed by: Ricki Stern, Anne Sundberg

IMDB Score: 7.5

 

 

 

 

85. Helvetica (2007)

Synopsis: “Helvetica” is an exciting documentary that explores the history, meaning, and lasting impact of the iconic typeface Helvetica. Through interviews with graphic designers, typographers, and cultural commentators, the film explores how it has permeated every aspect of contemporary visual communication, from corporate logos and street signage to subway systems and consumer products

Directed by: Gary Hustwit

IMDB Score: 7.2

 

 

 

 

86. The Man with a Movie Camera (1929)

Synopsis: It follows a city in the Soviet Union in the 1920s from dawn to dusk. The film shows scenes from regular Russian daily life and features several intricate and inventive camera angles. Vertov embraces the city’s modernism, showcasing its enormous structures, crowded streets, and active industry. He skillfully captures the wonders of the contemporary metropolis even in the absence of titles or commentary.

Directed by: Dziga Vertov

IMDB Score: 8.3

 

 

 

 

86. The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill (2003)

Synopsis: A wonderful documentary, The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill (2003), tells the story of the odd friendship that developed between a group of wild parrots in Telegraph Hill, San Francisco, and Mark Bittner, a struggling musician. The movie chronicles Mark’s journey as he learns about these vibrant birds’ unique personalities and tries to earn their trust, growing more and more enthralled with them. With perseverance, music, and an abundance of food, Mark creates a special relationship with the parrots that makes him a local celebrity and a topic of interest.  “The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill” honors the wonder of unforeseen bonds and the transforming influence of establishing bonds with the natural world.

Directed by: Judy Irving

IMDB Score: 7.8

 

 

 

88. March of the Penguins (2005)

Synopsis: This compelling documentary tracks the amazing journey of Emperor penguins through the harsh Antarctic environment, including their difficult trek to breeding grounds, enduring severe weather, and raising their young through the world’s hardest winter. This film delivers an intimate and awe-inspiring peek into the extraordinary lives of these brave creatures, showing their unshakable drive to survival, adaptation, and the bonds of family through stunning cinematography and moving narration by Morgan Freeman.

Directed by: Luc Jacquet

IMDB Score: 7.5

 

 

 

 

89. Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse (1991)

Synopsis: During the late 1970s, Eleanor, Francis Ford Coppola’s wife, uses her camera to record her husband’s daily challenges while he works on “Apocalypse Now,” an epic allegory of the Vietnam War. Based on her video, the documentary explores the challenges of the massive production, including weather-related delays in the Philippines and star Martin Sheen’s heart attack during filming. The documentary also includes original and never-before-seen behind-the-scenes footage of the movie that goes on to become Hollywood’s most critically praised motion picture.

Directed by: Fax BahrGeorge, Hickenlooper, Eleanor Coppola

IMDB Score: 8.1

 

 

 

90. The Tillman Story (2010)

Synopsis: “The Tillman Story” reveals the intricate details of the 2004 death of Pat Tillman, an NFL player who joined the US Army following the September 11 attacks and was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan. The short film exposes the military’s first cover-up of Tillman’s death and its later twisting of his tale for propaganda through interviews with Tillman’s friends, family, and fellow soldiers, as well as investigative journalism and archive material. His story forces audiences to face painful facts about bravery, patriotism, and the human cost of war while illuminating the devastating results of government duplicity and the heroic efforts of Tillman’s loved ones to find the truth and honor his memory.

Directed by: Amir Bar-Lev

IMDB Score: 7.7

 

 

 

 

91. Brother’s Keeper (1992)

Synopsis: The story, “Brother’s Keeper,” introduces a breathtaking and heartbreaking tale of four old, uneducated Ward brothers, who resided in a remote part of New York, and the mysterious reason for the death of William Ward. The documentary is an inside look at the lives of the brothers and their decision to preserve their traditional rural property in the face of disdain and intrusion from the outside world. It also presents a nuanced discussion of life in the country, family relations, and the court system through on-screen interviews, courtroom footage, and observational filming.

Directed by: Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky

IMDB Score: 7.5

 

 

 

92. Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr Hunter S. Thompson (2008)

Synopsis: There is a vivid portrayal of Thomson’s life, his work, and the contribution he made to American culture in the movie. Gonzo explores Thompson’s ludicrous approach to the new genre of storytelling, his fearlessness to tell the truth, and his immense impact as a counterculture hero for all times to come. He went ahead to bring “gonzo” journalism, a form of irreverent reporting to the forefront and gained a reputation through his distinctive ways of life and growing personality. The film tackles the sinister sides of Thompson’s personality and the problems he went through as a result of fame, celebrity, and personal demons which he was trying to deal with.

Directed by: Alex Gibney

IMDB Score: 7.6

 

 

 

 

93. Objectified (2009)

Synopsis: Objectified Discusses the exciting machine age which designs everything around our world and our lives. By revolutionizing its visuals and its thought-provoking commentary, “Objectified” offers a fascinating and effective analysis of the junction between imagination, technology, and human experience, and consequently, inspires viewers to contemplate how they relate to the surroundings in their everyday lives.

Directed by: Gary Hustwit

IMDB Score: 7.0

 

 

 

94. A Brief History of Time (1991)

Synopsis: This documentary, which is partially an adaptation of cosmologist Stephen Hawking’s well-known book on his theories about the cosmos, also depicts Hawking’s day-to-day struggles with ALS, which leaves him essentially speechless and immobile unless he uses a computer. Interviews are conducted with Hawking’s friends, family, past classmates, and peers to learn more about the man and his theories. Director Errol Morris illustrates Hawking’s difficult concepts with imaginative graphics.

Directed by: Errol Morris

IMDB Score: 7.3

 

 

 

 

95. The Century of the Self (2002)

Synopsis: This four-episode documentary delves deeply into the history of psychoanalysis’s ascent to prominence as a potent tool of persuasion for governments and businesses, as well as how it went on to shape modern society’s marketing and lifestyle trends.

Directed by: Adam Curtis

IMDB Score: 8.8

 

 

 

 

96.         Return to Space (2022)

Synopsis: Return to Space focuses on the universe, highlighting Elon Musk’s two-decade endeavor to revive American space exploration aspirations and the inspirational growth of SpaceX. Providing exclusive access to the first crewed mission launched from American soil since the Space Shuttle’s retirement in 2011, this intimate portrait showcases the engineers and astronauts selected for this momentous occasion. Returning to Space follows NASA veterans Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken and their families in the days leading up to launch, taking viewers on an exhilarating journey to the International Space Station and inside mission control with Musk and the SpaceX crew as they return to Earth in a spectacular splashdown.

Directed by: Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi

IMDB Score: 7.3

 

 

97. The Deepest Breath (2023)

Synopsis: The Deepest Breath explores Alessia Zecchini’s experience as she dives into the deep waters––without any scuba gear. The Italian champion goes on to claim the depths as the last peaceful spot on Earth as she casually breaks the record for the most depth reached without scuba gear. The documentary also captures her training routine with Stephen and the unique friendship both develop on the freediving circuit. This is all for her preparations for diving 184 feet below the Red Sea, going through a difficult 85-foot tunnel to explore the fabled Blue Hole in Dahab. A catastrophic tragedy happens, binding their fates together forever.

Directed by: Laura McGann

IMDB Score: 7.7

 

 

 

 

98. In The Shadow Of The Moon (2006)

Synopsis: The film, “In the Shadow of the Moon”, is a depiction of the bravery and resolve displayed by the Apollo astronauts who traveled to the moon during the Apollo missions of the 1960s and the 1970s. Overall, the documentary delivers an engaging personalized story of the moon landing based on the astronauts themselves and using archival footage and audio recordings. It effectively communicates the magnitude and meaning of humanity’s first steps on the moon through astounding visualization and audio recordings. The movie portrays both the accidents and accomplishments and also preserves the memory of what it means to be true space pioneers everlastingly engrained in history.

Directed by: David Sington

IMDB Score: 8.0

 

 

 

 

99. Gimme Danger (2016)

Synopsis: The forceful and aggressive rock ‘n’ roll of The Stooges, who emerged from Ann Arbor, Michigan, in the middle of a countercultural upheaval, blasted a hole in the late 1960s music scene. The group laid the groundwork for punk and alternative rock in the decades that followed by assaulting listeners with a mix of rock, blues, R&B, and free jazz. The documentary by Jim Jarmusch depicts the background of The Stooges’ rise to fame.

Directed by: Jim Jarmusch

IMDB Score: 7.2

 

 

 

 

100. Born Into Brothels (2004)

Synopsis: Zana Briski, a documentary photographer, ventured into Calcutta’s criminal underground to capture images of the city’s prostitutes. She promised to teach the prostitutes’ kids the fundamentals of photography in exchange, enabling them to capture their own lives as they lived on the streets of one of the world’s most impoverished cities.

Directed by: Zana Briski, Ross Kauffman

IMDB Score: 7.2

 

 

 

 

101.    Stories We Tell (2012)

Synopsis: Polley explores the secrets a family of storytellers keeps while working as a detective and filmmaker. She playfully asks and interviews a group of people with differing degrees of credibility, getting replies to the same questions that are surprisingly honest yet frequently contradicting. As each shares their interpretation of the family mythology, memories from the present day give way to nostalgic flashes of their mother, who left them with many unsolved problems. Polley breaks down the contradictions to show that family is fundamentally complex, lovingly chaotic, and intensely affectionate. At its core, Stories We Tell is a highly intimate film about how our narratives create and define us as individuals and families.

Directed by: Sarah Polley, Michael Polley

IMDB Score: 7.5

 

 

 

Read On – Our Latest Top Documentaries Lists

Thomas B.