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Best Documentaries

Looking for the best documentaries to watch? Look no further! Discover captivating and thought-provoking films that delve into real-life stories, explore different cultures, and shed light on important social issues. From gripping true crime documentaries to eye-opening nature documentaries, there’s something for everyone. Dive into a world of knowledge and entertainment with the best documentaries available now.

Looking for the best documentaries to watch? Look no further! We have curated a list of must-see documentaries that will captivate and educate you. These top-rated documentaries cover a wide range of topics, from environmental conservation to social justice, and everything in between. With their compelling storytelling and eye-opening narratives, these films will leave you inspired and informed. Whether you’re a history buff, a science enthusiast, or simply curious about the world around you, our selection of the best documentaries has something for everyone. So grab some popcorn, sit back, and prepare to be amazed by these award-winning documentaries.

# Documentary Director Release Year Rating
1 The Act of Killing Joshua Oppenheimer 2012 9.5/10
2 Citizenfour Laura Poitras 2014 9.3/10
3 Jiro Dreams of Sushi David Gelb 2011 9.2/10
4 Blackfish Gabriela Cowperthwaite 2013 9/10
5 Man on Wire James Marsh 2008 8.8/10
6 Amy Asif Kapadia 2015 8.7/10
7 Searching for Sugar Man Malik Bendjelloul 2012 8.5/10
8 Exit Through the Gift Shop Banksy 2010 8.3/10
9 Grizzly Man Werner Herzog 2005 8/10
10 March of the Penguins Luc Jacquet 2005 7.5/10

The Act of Killing

  • Director: Joshua Oppenheimer
  • Genre: Documentary, Crime
  • Release Year: 2012
  • IMDb Rating: 8.2/10
  • Awards: BAFTA Award for Best Documentary, European Film Award for Best Documentary, and more

The Act of Killing is a groundbreaking documentary that explores the Indonesian genocide of the 1960s. Directed by Joshua Oppenheimer, the film follows former Indonesian death squad leaders as they reenact their heinous crimes in various cinematic styles. This chilling and thought-provoking documentary sheds light on the dark history of Indonesia and the psychological impact it had on those involved.

This critically acclaimed documentary offers a unique perspective on the nature of evil and the power of storytelling. It challenges viewers to confront uncomfortable truths about human nature and the consequences of unchecked power. The Act of Killing is a must-watch for anyone interested in understanding the complexities of historical atrocities.


  • Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite
  • Genre: Documentary, Nature
  • Release Year: 2013
  • IMDb Rating: 8.1/10
  • Awards: Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize, BAFTA Award for Best Documentary, and more

Blackfish is a gripping documentary that exposes the dark side of marine theme parks and their treatment of captive killer whales. Directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, the film focuses on the story of Tilikum, a performing orca involved in several fatal incidents. Through interviews with former trainers and experts, Blackfish raises important questions about animal welfare and the ethics of keeping these highly intelligent creatures in captivity.

This eye-opening documentary sparked widespread public debate and led to significant changes in the treatment of captive killer whales. It serves as a powerful reminder of the consequences of exploiting animals for entertainment purposes. Blackfish is a must-see documentary that will leave a lasting impact on viewers.


  • Director: Laura Poitras
  • Genre: Documentary, Biography
  • Release Year: 2014
  • IMDb Rating: 8.0/10
  • Awards: Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, BAFTA Award for Best Documentary, and more

Citizenfour is a riveting documentary that chronicles the events surrounding Edward Snowden’s release of classified NSA documents to journalist Glenn Greenwald. Directed by Laura Poitras, the film provides an intimate look into Snowden’s decision to expose government surveillance programs and the subsequent global impact of his actions.

This Oscar-winning documentary offers a compelling exploration of privacy, surveillance, and government accountability in the digital age. It raises important questions about the balance between national security and individual freedoms. Citizenfour is a thought-provoking documentary that sheds light on one of the most significant whistleblowing cases in recent history.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

  • Director: David Gelb
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Release Year: 2011
  • IMDb Rating: 7.9/10
  • Awards: Tribeca Film Festival Special Jury Mention, Denver Film Critics Society Award for Best Documentary

Jiro Dreams of Sushi is a mouthwatering documentary that delves into the world of sushi and the pursuit of perfection. Directed by David Gelb, the film follows Jiro Ono, an 85-year-old sushi master, as he tirelessly crafts exquisite sushi at his renowned restaurant in Tokyo.

This visually stunning documentary showcases the dedication, discipline, and artistry required to achieve culinary excellence. It offers a glimpse into the meticulous process behind each piece of sushi and explores the relationship between tradition and innovation. Jiro Dreams of Sushi is a feast for the senses and a celebration of craftsmanship.

Man on Wire

  • Director: James Marsh
  • Genre: Documentary, Biography, Crime
  • Release Year: 2008
  • IMDb Rating: 7.7/10
  • Awards: Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, BAFTA Award for Best British Film, and more

Man on Wire is a captivating documentary that recounts Philippe Petit’s daring high-wire walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in 1974. Directed by James Marsh, the film combines archival footage, reenactments, and interviews to tell the thrilling story of this audacious feat.

This Academy Award-winning documentary captures the beauty and audacity of Petit’s tightrope walk, as well as the meticulous planning and execution behind it. It explores the human desire for transcendence and the pursuit of seemingly impossible dreams. Man on Wire is a testament to the power of ambition and the triumph of the human spirit.

Searching for Sugar Man

  • Director: Malik Bendjelloul
  • Genre: Documentary, Biography, Music
  • Release Year: 2012
  • IMDb Rating: 8.2/10
  • Awards: Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, BAFTA Award for Best Documentary, and more

Searching for Sugar Man is a fascinating documentary that follows two South African fans’ quest to uncover the truth about the mysterious American musician Rodriguez. Directed by Malik Bendjelloul, the film explores Rodriguez’s cult following in South Africa and his unexpected rise to fame decades after his initial commercial failure.

This captivating documentary not only sheds light on Rodriguez’s remarkable story but also serves as a testament to the power of music and its ability to transcend borders. It is a heartwarming tale of rediscovery and the enduring impact of art. Searching for Sugar Man is a must-watch for music lovers and fans of inspiring stories.


  • Director: Asif Kapadia
  • Genre: Documentary, Biography, Music
  • Release Year: 2015
  • IMDb Rating: 7.8/10
  • Awards: Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, Grammy Award for Best Music Film, and more

Amy is a poignant documentary that explores the life and tragic death of British singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse. Directed by Asif Kapadia, the film offers an intimate portrait of Winehouse’s rise to stardom, struggles with addiction, and the relentless media scrutiny that surrounded her.

This emotionally charged documentary features never-before-seen footage and interviews with those closest to Winehouse, providing a deeper understanding of her talent, vulnerability, and the pressures she faced. It serves as a cautionary tale about the dark side of fame and the destructive effects of the entertainment industry. Amy is a powerful tribute to one of music’s most iconic voices.

Exit Through the Gift Shop

  • Director: Banksy
  • Genre: Documentary, Comedy, Crime
  • Release Year: 2010
  • IMDb Rating: 8.0/10
  • Awards: Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary Feature, Cinema Eye Honors Award for Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Filmmaking, and more

Exit Through the Gift Shop is a captivating documentary that blurs the lines between art and commerce. Directed by the elusive street artist Banksy, the film follows Thierry Guetta, a French immigrant in Los Angeles who becomes obsessed with street art and eventually transforms into an artist himself.

This thought-provoking documentary challenges conventional notions of art and raises questions about authenticity, commercialization, and the nature of creativity. It offers a unique perspective on the underground world of street art and the impact it has on popular culture. Exit Through the Gift Shop is a must-watch for art enthusiasts and those interested in exploring the boundaries of artistic expression.

Grizzly Man

  • Director: Werner Herzog
  • Genre: Documentary, Biography
  • Release Year: 2005
  • IMDb Rating: 7.8/10
  • Awards: Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Nonfiction Series, Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary Feature, and more

Grizzly Man is a captivating documentary that tells the story of Timothy Treadwell, an environmentalist and bear enthusiast who lived among grizzly bears in Alaska. Directed by Werner Herzog, the film combines Treadwell’s own footage with interviews and explores his complex relationship with nature.

This thought-provoking documentary raises questions about the boundaries between humans and wildlife, as well as the consequences of romanticizing nature. It offers a unique perspective on the human desire for connection and the dangers of living in harmony with untamed creatures. Grizzly Man is a haunting exploration of one man’s obsession with nature and its tragic consequences.

March of the Penguins

  • Director: Luc Jacquet
  • Genre: Documentary, Family
  • Release Year: 2005
  • IMDb Rating: 7.5/10
  • Awards: Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, BAFTA Award for Best Documentary, and more

March of the Penguins is a heartwarming documentary that follows the extraordinary journey of emperor penguins in Antarctica. Directed by Luc Jacquet, the film showcases the incredible challenges these resilient creatures face as they mate, give birth, and raise their young in one of the harshest environments on Earth.

This visually stunning documentary offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of these remarkable animals and their instinctual drive to ensure the survival of their species. It serves as a reminder of the delicate balance of nature and the lengths to which living beings will go for their offspring. March of the Penguins is a captivating exploration of love, resilience, and the wonders of the natural world.

What are the characteristics of the best documentaries?

The best documentaries are characterized by their ability to captivate and engage viewers while presenting factual information. They often explore thought-provoking subjects, shed light on untold stories, or provide a unique perspective on familiar topics. These documentaries are well-researched, featuring interviews with experts or individuals directly involved in the subject matter. They employ effective storytelling techniques, combining compelling narratives with visually stunning cinematography. The best documentaries leave a lasting impact on the audience, inspiring discussions and raising awareness about important issues.

How can I find the best documentaries to watch?

There are several ways to discover the best documentaries. One option is to explore reputable film festivals such as Sundance, Tribeca, or Hot Docs, which often showcase groundbreaking documentary films. Additionally, you can browse popular streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime Video, which have dedicated documentary sections featuring critically acclaimed films. Film review websites and online communities focused on documentaries can also provide valuable recommendations from fellow documentary enthusiasts. Lastly, keeping an eye on awards ceremonies like the Academy Awards or Emmy Awards can help identify highly regarded documentaries worth watching.

What are some examples of the best documentaries?

Some examples of highly regarded documentaries include “Blackfish,” a powerful exploration of captive killer whales; “Citizenfour,” which provides an inside look at Edward Snowden’s revelations about government surveillance; and “Free Solo,” an adrenaline-pumping film following Alex Honnold’s attempt to climb El Capitan without ropes. Other notable documentaries include “The Cove,” “Amy,” “Man on Wire,” “Searching for Sugar Man,” “Icarus,” “RBG,” and “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”. These films have received critical acclaim for their storytelling, impact, and ability to shed light on important subjects.

Discover the world of captivating documentaries

Documentaries offer a unique and immersive way to explore various subjects and expand our knowledge. Whether you are interested in history, nature, science, or social issues, there is a wide range of captivating documentaries to choose from.

Uncover untold stories and hidden truths

Documentaries have the power to uncover untold stories and shed light on hidden truths. They provide a platform for unheard voices and often challenge our preconceived notions, offering a deeper understanding of the world we live in.

Experience different cultures and perspectives

Through documentaries, we can embark on a journey to different cultures and gain insights into diverse perspectives. They allow us to witness the beauty of our planet and the rich tapestry of human experiences.

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