25 Greatest Documentaries

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1. The Last Waltz (1978)

PG | 117 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

88 Metascore

A film account and presentation of the final concert of The Band.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Robbie Robertson, Muddy Waters, Neil Young, Van Morrison

Votes: 15,896 | Gross: $0.32M

2. Crumb (1994)

R | 119 min | Documentary, Biography, Comedy

93 Metascore

An intimate portrait of controversial cartoonist Robert Crumb and his traumatized family.

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

Votes: 18,215 | Gross: $3.17M

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

Not Rated | 150 min | Documentary, Crime

A horrific triple child murder leads to an indictment and trial of three nonconformist boys based on questionable evidence.

Directors: Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky | Stars: Tony Brooks, Diana Davis, Terry Wood, Dick Clay

Votes: 14,962

4. The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara (2003)

PG-13 | 107 min | Documentary, Biography, History

87 Metascore

The story of America as seen through the eyes of the former Secretary of Defense under President John F. Kennedy and President Lyndon B. Johnson, Robert McNamara.

Director: Errol Morris | Stars: Robert McNamara, John F. Kennedy, Fidel Castro, Richard Nixon

Votes: 22,554 | Gross: $4.20M

5. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Runnin' Down a Dream (2007)

Not Rated | 259 min | Documentary, Music

"Runnin' Down A Dream," a film directed by cinema legend Peter Bogdanovich, is the story of one of America's great rock and roll bands told as never before.

Director: Peter Bogdanovich | Stars: Neil Armstrong, Mick Avory, Ron Blair, Peter Bogdanovich

Votes: 1,710

6. Free Solo (2018)

PG-13 | 100 min | Documentary, Adventure, Sport

83 Metascore

Alex Honnold attempts to become the first person to ever free solo climb El Capitan.

Directors: Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi | Stars: Alex Honnold, Tommy Caldwell, Jimmy Chin, Cheyne Lempe

Votes: 51,169 | Gross: $17.54M

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

Not Rated | 86 min | Documentary, Biography

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: 722 | Gross: $0.06M

8. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005)

R | 110 min | Documentary, Biography, History

A documentary about the Enron corporation, its faulty and corrupt business practices, and how they led to its fall.

Director: Alex Gibney | Stars: John Beard, Tim Belden, Barbara Boxer, George W. Bush

Votes: 16,526

9. Zeitgeist (2007 Video)

Not Rated | 118 min | Documentary, History

Mythology and belief in society today, presenting uncommon perspectives of common cultural issues.

Director: Peter Joseph | Stars: Chogyam Trungpa, Jordan Maxwell, George Carlin, Bill Hicks

Votes: 47,765

10. Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father (2008)

Not Rated | 95 min | Documentary, Biography, Crime

82 Metascore

A filmmaker decides to memorialize a murdered friend when his friend's ex-girlfriend announces she is expecting his son.

Director: Kurt Kuenne | Stars: Kurt Kuenne, Andrew Bagby, David Bagby, Kathleen Bagby

Votes: 32,450

11. Best of Enemies: Buckley vs. Vidal (2015)

R | 87 min | Documentary, Biography, History

77 Metascore

A documentary on the series of televised debates in 1968 between liberal Gore Vidal and conservative William F. Buckley.

Directors: Robert Gordon, Morgan Neville | Stars: Gore Vidal, William F. Buckley, Dick Cavett, Noam Chomsky

Votes: 5,808 | Gross: $0.89M

12. Cocaine Cowboys (2006)

R | 118 min | Documentary, Crime, History

59 Metascore

In the 1980s, ruthless Colombian cocaine barons invaded Miami with a brand of violence unseen in this country since Prohibition-era Chicago - and it put the city on the map. "Cocaine ... See full summary »

Director: Billy Corben | Stars: Jon Roberts, Al Sunshine, Sam Burstyn, Mickey Munday

Votes: 12,267 | Gross: $0.15M

13. Icarus (2017)

TV-MA | 120 min | Documentary

68 Metascore

When Bryan sets out to uncover the truth about doping in sports, a chance meeting with a Russian scientist transforms his story from a personal experiment into a geopolitical thriller.

Director: Bryan Fogel | Stars: Bryan Fogel, Dave Zabriskie, Don Catlin, Grigory Rodchenkov

Votes: 37,143

14. The Thin Blue Line (1988)

Not Rated | 101 min | Documentary, Crime, Drama

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 Ray Harris, Gus Rose, Jackie Johnson

Votes: 21,217 | Gross: $1.21M

15. Going Clear: Scientology & the Prison of Belief (2015)

Not Rated | 119 min | Documentary

80 Metascore

A documentary looking at the inner-workings of the Church of Scientology.

Director: Alex Gibney | Stars: Paul Haggis, Jason Beghe, Spanky Taylor, David Miscavige

Votes: 36,418

16. Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God (2012)

TV-14 | 106 min | Documentary

73 Metascore

Alex Gibney explores the charged issue of pedophilia in the Catholic Church, following a trail from the first known protest against clerical sexual abuse in the United States and all the way to the Vatican.

Director: Alex Gibney | Stars: Alex Gibney, Terry Kohut, Gary Smith, Pat Kuehn

Votes: 3,352

17. Gonzo (2008)

R | 120 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

73 Metascore

A portrait of the late gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson.

Director: Alex Gibney | Stars: Hunter S. Thompson, Johnny Depp, Joe Cairo, David Carlo

Votes: 7,458 | Gross: $1.25M

18. Woodstock (1970)

R | 184 min | Documentary, History, Music

95 Metascore

The film chronicle of the legendary 1969 music festival.

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

Votes: 15,747 | Gross: $50.00M

19. Salinger (2013)

PG-13 | 120 min | Documentary

40 Metascore

An unprecedented look inside the private world of J.D. Salinger, the reclusive author of The Catcher in the Rye.

Director: Shane Salerno | Stars: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Edward Norton, Judd Apatow, John Cusack

Votes: 2,419 | Gross: $0.58M

20. Inside Job (2010)

PG-13 | 109 min | Documentary, Crime

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: 68,471 | Gross: $4.31M

21. Burden of Dreams (1982)

Not Rated | 95 min | Documentary

A documentary following German auteur Werner Herzog as he deals with difficult actors, bad weather and getting a boat over a mountain, all in an effort to make his film Fitzcarraldo.

Director: Les Blank | Stars: Werner Herzog, Klaus Kinski, Claudia Cardinale, Jason Robards

Votes: 6,291

22. Huey Long (1985)

Not Rated | 88 min | Documentary, Biography

Ken Burns' portrait of Louisiana governor/U.S. senator Huey Long.

Director: Ken Burns | Stars: Huey Long, Russell Long, David McCullough, Jennings Randolph

Votes: 430

23. Struggle: The Life and Lost Art of Szukalski (2018)

TV-MA | 115 min | Documentary

This documentary chronicles the life of Polish-American artist Stanislav Szukalski (1893-1987) from his early years in Chicago, to his time in Poland and Los Angeles, and his artistic and political contributions to the world.

Director: Irek Dobrowolski | Stars: Stanislav Szukalski, Glenn Bray, Robert Williams, Suzanne Williams

Votes: 2,893

24. Amy (III) (2015)

R | 128 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

85 Metascore

Archival footage and personal testimonials present an intimate portrait of the life and career of British singer/songwriter Amy Winehouse.

Director: Asif Kapadia | Stars: Amy Winehouse, Mitch Winehouse, Mark Ronson, Russell Brand

Votes: 47,713 | Gross: $8.41M

25. Slippin': Ten Years with the Bloods (2005)

Not Rated | 84 min | Documentary

A documentary on five members of one of the world's most notorious gangs, the Bloods.

Directors: Joachim Schroeder, Tommy Sowards | Stars: K.K. Calvin, Jumbo Chris, Dig Dug Douglas, C.K. Michael Johnson

Votes: 221



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