30 of The Best Documentaries of All Time

Some stories get accessed and illuminated via documentaries that would otherwise remain untold. The subject of a documentary varies from an individual's life to a political event, so are their effect, some are uplifting, some are devastating.

However, there is one thing common in great documentaries, and that is, they are all centered around extensive research on the subject.

The 1985 legendary documentary on the Holocaust, Shoah, took 11 years to make, as the director didn't use any archival footage, rather originally recorded interviews.

With the existence of an endless & enormous selection, what are the must-watch documentaries that a person should watch?

Fortunately for you, we have made a list of 30 of the very greatest and most influential documentaries ever made.

List compiled by: Shoaib RahmanElizabeth JacksonAbbey Bender, and Phil de Semlyen.

Similar:


30 of The Greatest Documentary Films of All Time

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Shoah (1985)


  • Director: Claude Lanzmann
  • Runtime: 566 minutes
  • Metascore: 99

Woodstock (1970)


  • Director: Michael Wadleigh
  • Runtime: 184 minutes
  • Metascore: 95

Hoop Dreams (1994)


  • Director: Steve James
  • Runtime: 170 minutes
  • Metascore: 98

Collective (2019)


  • Director: Alexander Nanau
  • Runtime: 109 minutes
  • Metascore: 95

I Am Not Your Negro (2016)


  • Director: Raoul Peck
  • Runtime: 93 minutes
  • Metascore: 95

Virunga (2014)


  • Director: Orlando von Einsiedel
  • Runtime: 100 minutes
  • Metascore: 95

David Byrne's American Utopia (2020)


  • Director: Spike Lee
  • Metascore: 93
  • Runtime: 105 minutes

The Look of Silence (2014)


  • Director: Joshua Oppenheimer
  • Metascore: 92
  • Runtime: 103 minutes

They Shall Not Grow Old (2018)


  • Director: Peter Jackson
  • Metascore: 91
  • Runtime: 99 minutes

One More Time with Feeling (2016)


  • Director: Andrew Dominik
  • Metascore: 92
  • Runtime: 113 minutes

Stop Making Sense (1984)


  • Director: Jonathan Demme
  • Metascore: 89
  • Runtime: 88 minutes

For Sama (2019)

  • Directors: Waad Al-Kataeb, Edward Watts
  • Metascore: 89
  • Runtime: 100 minutes

Faces Places (2017)


  • Directors: JR, Agn├Ęs Varda
  • Metascore: 94
  • Runtime: 94 minutes

We Were Here (2011)


  • - Directors: David Weissman, Bill Weber
  • - Stacker score: 93.0
  • - Metascore: 94
  • - IMDb user rating: 7.9
  • - Runtime: 90 minutes

Sherpa (2015)

  • Director: Jennifer Peedom
  • Metascore: 93
  • Runtime: 96 minutes

Crumb (1994)


  • Director: Terry Zwigoff
  • Metascore: 93
  • Runtime: 119 minutes

The Act of Killing (2012)

  • Directors: Joshua Oppenheimer, Christine Cynn, and Anonymous
  • Metascore: 91
  • Runtime: 117 minutes

Tower (2016)

Tower 2016


  • Director: Keith Maitland
  • Metascore: 92
  • Runtime: 82 minutes

Waltz with Bashir (2008)


  • Director: Ari Folman
  • Metascore: 91
  • Runtime: 90 minutes

My Voyage to Italy (1999)

  • Director: Martin Scorsese
  • Metascore: 90
  • Runtime: 246 minutes

Minding the Gap (2018)


  • Director: Bing Liu
  • Metascore: 90
  • Runtime: 93 minutes

Amazing Grace (2018)


  • Directors: Alan Elliott, Sydney Pollack
  • Metascore: 94
  • Runtime: 89 minutes

No End in Sight (2007)

  • Director: Charles Ferguson
  • Metascore: 89
  • Runtime: 102 minutes

Inside Job (2010)


  • Director: Charles Ferguson
  • Metascore: 88
  • Runtime: 109 minutes

Apollo 11 (2019)


  • Director: Todd Douglas Miller
  • Metascore: 88
  • Runtime: 93 minutes

The Decline of Western Civilization (1981)


  • Director: Penelope Spheeris
  • Metascore: 93
  • Runtime: 100 minutes

The Last Waltz (1978)


  • Director: Martin Scorsese
  • Metascore: 88
  • Runtime: 117 minutes

The Gatekeepers (2012)

  • Director: Dror Moreh
  • Metascore: 91
  • Runtime: 101 minutes

Brother's Keeper (1992)


  • Directors: Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky
  • Metascore: 93
  • Runtime: 104 minutes

Won't You Be My Neighbor? (2018)


  • Director: Morgan Neville
  • Metascore: 85
  • Runtime: 95 minutes

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