The 26 Best Documentaries

by danny-chr-jensen | last updated - 25 Jun 2015 | Public

The 26 best Documentaries I have seen.

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1. Lake of Fire (2006)

Unrated | 152 min | Documentary

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
83 Metascore

A graphic documentary on both sides of the abortion debate.

Director: Tony Kaye | Stars: Noam Chomsky, Bill Baird, Flip Benham, Dallas Blanchard

Votes: 2,270 | Gross: $0.02M

2. Armadillo (2010)

Not Rated | 105 min | Documentary, War

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
72 Metascore

In February of 2009, a group of Danish soldiers accompanied by documentarian Janus Metz arrived at Armadillo, an army base in the southern Afghan province of Helmand. Metz and ... See full summary »

Director: Janus Metz

Votes: 8,533 | Gross: $0.01M

3. The Return to Homs (2013)

Not Rated | 94 min | Documentary, Biography, History

7.7
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85 Metascore

A look behind the barricades of the besieged city of Homs, where for nineteen-year-old Basset and his ragtag group of comrades, the audacious hope of revolution is crumbling like the buildings around them.

Director: Talal Derki | Star: Abdul Basset Saroot

Votes: 869

4. Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse (1991)

R | 96 min | Documentary

8.2
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Documentary that chronicles how Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now (1979) was plagued by extraordinary script, shooting, budget, and casting problems--nearly destroying the life and career of the celebrated director.

Directors: Fax Bahr, George Hickenlooper, Eleanor Coppola | Stars: Dennis Hopper, Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, George Lucas

Votes: 15,320 | Gross: $1.32M

5. Dark Days (2000)

Not Rated | 82 min | Documentary

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
75 Metascore

A cinematic portrait of the homeless population who live permanently in the underground tunnels of New York City.

Director: Marc Singer | Star: Marc Singer

Votes: 5,797 | Gross: $0.43M

6. Ghosts of Cité Soleil (2006)

85 min | Documentary, Action, Drama

7.1
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64 Metascore

In the slum of Cité Soleil, President Aristide's most loyal supporters were ruling as kings. The five major gang leaders were controlling heavily armed young men; the Chiméres. The Secret ... See full summary »

Directors: Asger Leth, Milos Loncarevic | Stars: Winson '2Pac' Jean, Wyclef Jean, James 'Bily' Petit Frère, Éleonore 'Lele' Senlis

Votes: 1,687 | Gross: $0.05M

7. Workingman's Death (2005)

Not Rated | 122 min | Documentary

8.1
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67 Metascore

A documentary on the extremes to which workers will go to earn a living.

Director: Michael Glawogger

Votes: 1,483

8. Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story (2008)

Not Rated | 86 min | Documentary, Biography

7.8
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66 Metascore

The Murrow, Polk, and IDA Award-winning documentary Boogie Man is about Lee Atwater, a blues-playing rogue whose rise from the South to Chairman of the GOP made him a political rock star. ... See full summary »

Director: Stefan Forbes | Stars: Lee Atwater, Tucker Eskew, Joe Sligh, Eric Alterman

Votes: 576 | Gross: $0.06M

9. Grey Gardens (1975)

PG | 94 min | Documentary, Comedy, Drama

7.7
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An old mother and her middle-aged daughter, the aunt and cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy, live their eccentric lives in a filthy, decaying mansion in East Hampton.

Directors: Ellen Hovde, Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Muffie Meyer | Stars: Edith Bouvier Beale, Edith 'Little Edie' Bouvier Beale, Brooks Hyers

Votes: 9,478 | Gross: $0.03M

10. Baraka (1992)

Not Rated | 96 min | Documentary

8.6
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A collection of expertly photographed scenes of human life and religion.

Director: Ron Fricke

Votes: 30,688 | Gross: $1.25M

11. Burma VJ: Reporter i et lukket land (2008)

Unrated | 84 min | Documentary, History, News

8.0
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82 Metascore

Using smuggled footage, this documentary tells the story of the 2007 protests in Burma by thousands of monks.

Director: Anders Østergaard | Stars: George W. Bush, Ko Muang, Aung San Suu Kyi

Votes: 2,190 | Gross: $0.05M

12. American Movie (1999)

R | 107 min | Documentary, Comedy

7.9
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84 Metascore

Documentary about an aspiring filmmaker's attempts to finance his dream project by finally completing the low-budget horror film he abandoned years before.

Director: Chris Smith | Stars: Mark Borchardt, Mike Schank, Tom Schimmels, Monica Borchardt

Votes: 14,617 | Gross: $1.16M

13. Salesman (1969)

G | 85 min | Documentary, Drama

7.9
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Four relentless door-to-door salesmen deal with constant rejection, homesickness and inevitable burnout as they go across the country selling very expensive bibles to low-income Catholic families.

Directors: Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Charlotte Zwerin | Stars: Paul Brennan, Charles McDevitt, James Baker, Raymond Martos

Votes: 3,831

14. No End in Sight (2007)

Not Rated | 102 min | Documentary, War

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
89 Metascore

A comprehensive look at the Bush Administration's conduct of the Iraq war and its occupation of the country.

Director: Charles Ferguson | Stars: Campbell Scott, Gerald Burke, Ali Fadhil, Omar Fekeiki

Votes: 7,619 | Gross: $1.43M

15. Inside Job (2010)

PG-13 | 105 min | Documentary, Crime

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
88 Metascore

Takes a closer look at what brought about the 2008 financial meltdown.

Director: Charles Ferguson | Stars: Matt Damon, Gylfi Zoega, Andri Snær Magnason, Sigridur Benediktsdottir

Votes: 61,507 | Gross: $4.31M

16. Shoah (1985)

Not Rated | 566 min | Documentary, History, War

8.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
99 Metascore

Claude Lanzmann's epic documentary recounts the story of the Holocaust through interviews with witnesses - perpetrators as well as survivors.

Director: Claude Lanzmann | Stars: Simon Srebnik, Michael Podchlebnik, Motke Zaïdl, Hanna Zaïdl

Votes: 6,462 | Gross: $0.02M

17. Capturing the Friedmans (2003)

Not Rated | 107 min | Documentary, Biography

7.8
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90 Metascore

Documentary on the Friedmans, a seemingly typical, upper-middle-class Jewish family whose world is instantly transformed when the father and his youngest son are arrested and charged with shocking and horrible crimes.

Director: Andrew Jarecki | Stars: Arnold Friedman, Jesse Friedman, David Friedman, Elaine Friedman

Votes: 20,860 | Gross: $3.12M

18. The Thin Blue Line (1988)

Not Rated | 101 min | Documentary, Crime, Drama

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
79 Metascore

A film that successfully argued that a man was wrongly convicted for murder by a corrupt justice system in Dallas County, Texas.

Director: Errol Morris | Stars: Randall Adams, David Harris, Gus Rose, Jackie Johnson

Votes: 17,884 | Gross: $1.21M

19. Control Room (2004)

84 min | Documentary

7.8
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79 Metascore

A documentary on perception of the United States's war with Iraq, with an emphasis on Al Jazeera's coverage.

Director: Jehane Noujaim | Stars: Samir Khader, Josh Rushing, George W. Bush, Hassan Ibrahim

Votes: 4,859 | Gross: $2.59M

20. The War Room (1993)

PG | 96 min | Documentary, History

7.4
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A documentary of the Bill Clinton 1992 presidential campaign and the organization who ran it.

Directors: Chris Hegedus, D.A. Pennebaker | Stars: James Carville, George Stephanopoulos, Heather Beckel, Paul Begala

Votes: 3,295 | Gross: $0.90M

21. Gimme Shelter (1970)

R | 91 min | Documentary, Music, Thriller

7.9
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80 Metascore

A harrowing documentary of the Stones' 1969 tour, with much of the focus on the tragic concert at Altamont.

Directors: Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Charlotte Zwerin | Stars: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Mick Taylor, Charlie Watts

Votes: 9,035 | Gross: $0.25M

22. Titicut Follies (1967)

Unrated | 84 min | Documentary

7.9
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Documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman takes us inside the Massachusetts Correctional Institution Bridgewater where people stay trapped in their madness.

Director: Frederick Wiseman

Votes: 3,165

23. Crumb (1994)

R | 119 min | Documentary, Biography, Comedy

8.0
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93 Metascore

An intimate portrait of the controversial cartoonist and his traumatized family.

Director: Terry Zwigoff | Stars: Robert Crumb, Aline Kominsky, Charles Crumb, Maxon Crumb

Votes: 15,391 | Gross: $3.17M

24. Woodstock (1970)

R | 184 min | Documentary, History, Music

8.1
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The film chronicle of the legendary 1969 music festival.

Director: Michael Wadleigh | Stars: Joan Baez, Richie Havens, Roger Daltrey, Joe Cocker

Votes: 13,684 | Gross: $50.00M

25. Hoop Dreams (1994)

PG-13 | 170 min | Documentary, Drama, Sport

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
98 Metascore

A film following the lives of two inner-city Chicago boys who struggle to become college basketball players on the road to going professional.

Director: Steve James | Stars: William Gates, Arthur Agee, Emma Gates, Curtis Gates

Votes: 20,861 | Gross: $7.83M

26. Leviathan (I) (2012)

Not Rated | 87 min | Documentary

6.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
81 Metascore

A documentary shot in the North Atlantic and focused on the commercial fishing industry.

Directors: Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Verena Paravel | Stars: Brian Jannelle, Adrian Guillette, Arthur Smith, Asterias Vulgaris

Votes: 2,719 | Gross: $1.09M

27. Through a Blue Lens (2003)

52 min | Documentary

7.8
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Documentary film produced by the National Film Board of Canada. Shot on Vancouver's Downtown East Side, the film follows interactions between police officers and drug addicts and documents ... See full summary »

Director: Veronica Alice Mannix | Stars: Al Arsenault, Toby Hinton, Dave Kolb, Walt McKay

Votes: 183