What are the best documentaries?

asked by Life Vlog
430 contributors
31 solutions
  1. 43

    #1The Thin Blue Line

    The Thin Blue Line
    The Thin Blue Line is a documentary directed by Errol Morris. It was released in 1988 and revolved around the controversial cop murder case against Randall Adams. The documentary was crucial in proving the innocence of Adams.
    Movies

    $4.99- $12.99

    Paul Lee
    Written on January 5, 2018
    "This is a great documentary, especially if you enjoy older crime documentaries. If you enjoy watching documentaries about the crime in the 80's this is something I'd definitely recommend."
  2. 38

    #2Man on Wire

    Man on Wire

    Man on Wire is a BBC documentary which explores Philippe Petit's preparations for historically walking across a high wire between New York's Twin Towers. This documentary was directed by James Marsh.

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    Carol Barnett
    Written on January 3, 2018
    "If you love documentaries you need to check this one out. It is definitely one of my favorites. Very informal and interesting even to people who had no ideal who Philippe Petit was. It is one of the most well made I've seen. "
  3. 36

    #3Before the Flood

    Before the Flood

    Before the Flood is a documentary film tackling about the climate change from Academy Award-winning filmmaker Fisher Stevens and Academy Award-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio. It first premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.

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    Kevin Johnston
    Written on December 25, 2017
    "i have seen other things like this but i could see this being good "
  1. 34

    #4Making a Murderer

    Making a Murderer

    Making a Murderer is a documentary that explores the story of Steven Avery, who served 18 years in prison due to a wrongful accusation. This series is written and directed by Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos.

    TV Shows

    Varies by plan

    Katherine Valdez
    Written on January 7, 2018
    "This is an unfortunate story about a young man's life ruined by the corruption of the police system as he is wrongfully accused, freed from that accusation and conviction, just to be charged again with another false accusation which police are suspected of setting him up with false evidence to put him back in prison. This story has an interesting plot and one tat should keep your attention."
  2. 33

    #5Cave of Forgotten Dreams

    Cave of Forgotten Dreams

    Cave of Forgotten Dreams is the approximation by German director Werner Herzog to the mistery of the ancient art of cave paintings. Herzog explores the cave of Chauvet in France, where there are some of the eldest paintings of Humanity.

    Movies

    Varies by plan

    Terry Schultz
    Written on January 1, 2018
    "Werner Herzog's documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams is a great movie even for people who don't necessarily like documentaries. Cave of Forgotten Dreams explores the perplexing world of cave paintings and their history. "
  3. 29

    #6West Of Memphis

    West Of Memphis
    This documentary film is an examination of a failure of justice in the case of a murder of a boy in a town called West Memphis.
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    Brittany Perry
    Written on December 27, 2017
    "Really good movie! At first I thought I wouldn't like it because I'm usually into comedy and romance movies. But I can never pass up a movie that's based on a true story! It did not disappoint me. I'm so glad that I gave it a chance!"
  4. 27

    #7Biggie and Tupac

    Biggie and Tupac

    Biggie and Tupac were two of the most famous rappers from the 90s when the tensions of the two hip-hop scenes, East Coast and West Coast, were on the rise. Both rappers were murdered in 1997 and this documentary investigates the reasons for the death of the singers with surprising information.

    Movies

    Varies by plan

    Adam White
    Written on January 5, 2018
    "Netflix generally selects interesting movies. This one has British naration, so it naturally sounds more interesting! These were interesting men in interesting times who died way too young."
  5. 26

    #8City of Ghosts

    City of Ghosts

    City of Ghosts follows "Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently" or RBSS-- a Syrian activist group of journalists. Academy Award-winning documentarist Matthew Heineman and RBSS uncover human rights abuses being brought upon Syria by the Islamic State based in Raqqa. 

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    Alan Matthews
    Written on January 7, 2018
    "Very moving story, there should be more of this type in the world. Really opened up my eyes about the plight of the people of Syria."
  6. 23

    #9O.J.: Made in America

    O.J.: Made in America
    O.J. Made in America is a 2016 documentary produced and directed by Ezra Edelman for ESPN's 30 for 30 series. It tackles the life of O.J. Simpson and his emerging football career at the University of Southern California.
    TV Shows

    $4.99- 1 month

    Aaryan Singhal
    Written on January 1, 2018
    "I wanted to watch and become immersed in a well made documentary. O.J: Made in America is a wonderful look into the life of OJ Simpson and the various things that occurred throughout his life. I highly recommend this to watch. "
  7. 20

    #10The Staircase

    The Staircase
    This documentary examines the trial of author Michael Peterson who was arraigned on charges of murdering his wife after she was found dead at the foot of the staircase in their North Carolina home.
    TV Shows

    $2.99- Price per episode

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  8. 19

    #11Thought Crimes: The Case Of The Cannibal Cop

    Thought Crimes: The Case Of The Cannibal Cop
    Filmmaker Erin Lee Carr examines the case of Gilberto Valle, a New York police officer accused of conspiring to kidnap and cannibalize women. The HBO documentary features Gary Allen, Violet Blue, and James A. Cohen.
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    Janice Stevens
    Written on January 1, 2018
    "Don't go online looking for information on this movie as you will find spoilers all over. The movie is not a flop but not a hit. "
  9. 16

    #12Room 237

    Room 237

    This obsessive movie is a documentary that explores the fan theories that explain one of the most surprising and metaphoric horror movie of all time, The Shining. This documentary explores, almost frame by frame, every visual aspect, every metaphor, every context of Stanley Kubrick's masterwork.

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    Doris Zheng
    Written on January 1, 2018
    "I love documentaries. My friend recommended Room 237 to me. This is a great documentary about the movie the Shining and explores all the different fan theories related to it. It's really very interesting, especially if you like horror movies and The Shining. I learned so much from this film about The Shining and horror movies in general. If you love documentaries and horror films, check out Room 237."
  10. 15

    #13Hell On Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS

    Hell On Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS

    Hell On Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS is a documentary that pulls from nearly 1,000 hours of visceral footage. The film chronicles Syria's descent into the unbridled chaos that allowed the rise of ISIS.

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    Richard Grant
    Written on January 3, 2018
    "Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and Rise of ISIS is a documentary available from iTunes for 9.99. It is about ISIS coming to power and taking over Syria as you might expect from the title. It may be a quality documentary but I can't imagine paying $9.99 to watch it. Considering there are only 7 reviews on iTunes I'm going to assume other people think the same thing as me. There are plenty of great documentaries that I can watch on Amazon Prime or Netflix for no charge. "
  11. 13

    #14Five Came Back

    Five Came Back
    Five Came Back is a documentary directed by Laurent Bouzereau. It was released in 2017 and starred Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep, and others. It has five stories about Hollywood directors who enlisted to fight in World War II.
    Movies

    Varies by plan

    Brittany Crawford
    Written on December 29, 2017
    "Decent looking historical wartime documentary. I prefer something lighter, but to each their own. "
  12. 10

    #15The Cheshire Murders

    The Cheshire Murders
    The Cheshire Murders is a documentary film which looks deeper on the crime committed by ex-convicts Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky who invaded the family home of Jennifer Hawke-Petit in Cheshire, Connecticut. 
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    Kenneth Simmons
    Written on January 2, 2018
    "This was a great documentary to watch and if you are into docs then you should watch it too! It's a cool story and I love crime stories."
  13. 8

    #16Life Itself

    Life Itself

    Life Itself is a biographical documentary about Roger Ebert, winner of a Pulitzer and one of the few critics that could make a movie fail or be a success by his criticism and reviews. Life Itself focus on the alcoholism and private life of Ebert and his rivalry with Gene Siskel.

    Movies

    $3.99- $12.99

    Crystal Castro
    Written on January 1, 2018
    "I enjoyed this documentary. Is it the best? I can't speak for anyone else, it's all a matter of opinion but this was a good show. It is biographical in nature and follows the story of Roger Ebert and i find him and his life journey fascinating. I think we can learn a lot about how others live from these shows. The show was available in English ans Spanish and while it is two hours long, it was thoroughly enjoyable and it was over before it even began. It's one I would watch again. "
  14. 5

    #17Pumping Iron

    Pumping Iron

    Pumping Iron is a docudrama about the 1975 bodybuilding championships of Mr Olympia and Mr Universe. The documentary focuses on Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno and Franco Columbu, actual legends of bodybuilding that later became actors and start a career in Hollywood.

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    Justin Castro
    Written on January 6, 2018
    "Pumping Iron is fairly interesting, even if you are not particularly interested in the sport of weightlifting. It's an illuminating look into some of the personal dynamics that go into these competitions. It's valuable as both a character study and as a look at the limits of the human physique. "
  15. 3

    #18The ISIS Propaganda Machine

    The ISIS Propaganda Machine

    The ISIS Propaganda Machine is a documentary that analyses how today’s media have allowed this barbaric group to continue sending its callous message around the world.

    Movies

    $10.99

    Ryan Matthews
    Written on January 3, 2018
    "The ISIS Propaganda Machine is an extremely interesting film that delves into a lot of the ways the group has utilized technology and expanded its reach with its message. Though difficult to imagine, the film is fascinating in the research into our reality."
  16. 1

    #19The Islamic State

    The Islamic State

    The Islamic State (Full Length) explains how a hardline Sunni jihadist group that formerly had ties to al Qaeda, has risen to the top.

    Movies

    Free

    Randy Richardson
    Written on January 3, 2018
    "I like to watch to watch documentaries in my spare time since I find them entertaining. I saw this one and decided to watch it and it was really informant on the evolution of The Islamic State."
  17. 0

    #20Finders Keepers

    Finders Keepers

    Finders Keepers is a documentary film directed by Bryan Carberry and Clay Tweel released in 2015 which details about John Wood's attempt to reclaim his mummified leg from Shannon Whisnant who found it in a grill he purchased. 

    Movies

    Varies by plan

    Liu Lee
    Written on September 21, 2018
    "Funny. sad. fascinating. It was so much more than a film about arguing over an amputated leg...IMO the ending is a perfect example of irony at its best eh"
  18. 0

    #21American Movie

    American Movie

    American Movie is a documentary film released in 1999 directed by Chris Smith which shows the making of the independent horror film Coven from 1996–97 directed by filmmaker Mark Borchardt.

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    Jesse Butler
    Written on September 21, 2018
    "I've seen this so many time already and i think it gets better every time i do. Contrary to what some people say i i believe the people behind this are laughing and ridiculing Borchardt despite some of the humor on it. But i feel underneath those is that they really admire him. "
  19. 0

    #22Man on a Wire

    Man on a Wire

    Man on a Wire is a biographical documentary film released in 2008 directed by James Marsh which is about Philippe Petit's high-wire walk between the Twin Towers of New York's World Trade Center in 1974 based on his book To Reach the Clouds.

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    Cherry Han
    Written on September 21, 2018
    "Man on a Wire is great with its great and very inspiring story but i dont think it is the best out there. Because you know why would producers wanted to make a documentary just about a pointless stunt wherein Petit will cross between the twin towers of the World Trade Center on a tightrope eh? "
  20. 0

    #23The Fear of 13

    The Fear of 13

    The Fear of 13 is a British documentary film released in 2015 directed by David Sington which is about the story of Nick Yarris who was released from prison after he spent 21 years on the Death Row following his conviction of murder. 

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    Carol Welch
    Written on September 21, 2018
    "Excellent film! TBH Fear of 13 doesn't look like much where Nick Yarris talks about his life of petty crime. But damn this it got twists and turns. I was really surprised when i saw this despite its lack of frills, challenging and engaging anecdotes. But i think i pretty much changed my view on this film as i was watching it until the end. "
  21. 0

    #24The Startup Kids

    The Startup Kids

    The Startup Kids (2012) is a documentary film directed by Vala Halldorsdottir and Sesselja Vilhjalmsdottir. It includes interviews with young web entrepreneurs, such as the founders of Dropbox, Vimeo, Soundcloud, Grove and Kiip, among others.

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  22. 0

    #25Grizzly Man

    Grizzly Man

    Grizzly Man is an American documentary film released in 2005 directed by German Werner Herzog which is about grizzly bear activists Timothy Treadwell and Amie Huguenard killed while living among grizzlies in Alaska. 

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    Eric Hayes
    Written on September 21, 2018
    "Not really sure this is the best per se but it got stuck with me for a long time. I remember when i saw it for the first time long ago with my mum and without knowing what will happen at the end my mum said that "That bear will eat that man""
  23. 0

    #26Planet Earth

    Planet Earth

    Planet Earth is an Emmy Award-winning documentary series commissioned by the BBC which was five years in the making and the first to be filmed in high definition. It has a six-part sequel titled Planet Earth II.

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    Eric Lynch
    Written on September 21, 2018
    "So i just started getting into documentaries...While i was browsing reddit most people suggested that the best docu they have seen is Planet Earth which was released in 2006. I was really unfamiliar with it because i am not really a fan of docus but after i watched Grizzly Man while i was staying at my auntie's house i got interested on docus. Anyway, so Planet Earth is so breathtaking...I had no idea that there were such beauty in our planet. "
  24. 0

    #27The Jinx

    The Jinx

    The Jinx is a six-part documentary released in 2015 directed by Andrew Jarecki which focuses on real estate heir Robert Durst, who was the main suspect in the disappearance of three people, including his wife. 

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    Raymond Parker
    Written on September 21, 2018
    "Watched this documentary without knowing anything about it and was literally blown away. Although i admit it starts a little slow but was so wild towards the ending. I suggest you also watch it without knowing anything about the story because you'll be entertained. "
  25. 0

    #28Something Ventured

    Something Ventured

    Something Ventured (2011) is a documentary film directed by Daniel Geller and Dayna Goldfine. It investigates the emergence of venture capitalism in USA from the middle of the 20th century and the birth of successful tech companies like Apple, Cisco, Intel or Atari.

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    varies by plan

    David Hoffman
    Written on April 28, 2018
    "This was an interesting look into what started venture capitalism. I'm truly amazed at how everything started. It was very enlightening. "
  26. 0

    #29Startup.com

    Startup.com

    Startup.com (2011) is a documentary film directed by Chris Hegedus and Jehane Noujaim. It follows the birth and failure of govWorks.com, a new media company created by two friends in their late twenties with one goal: get rich by developing a dot-com company.

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    Jeremy Hudson
    Written on April 29, 2018
    "This is a documentary that follows a new start up company of 2 friends trying to get rich quick. You see everything start going there way at first but then how fast things begin to fall apart. This is an interesting documentary and especially if your considering to open up a business a must see!"
  27. 0

    #30Weed

    Weed

    Weed is an award-winning CNN documentary by chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta who goes trough the scientific reasoning around the use of cannabis for medical purpose. It's a must-see documentary full of scientific research and real experiences.

    Videos

    Free

    Kathryn Taylor
    Written on March 30, 2018
    "As a substance abuse professional (MSW), I was very interested in this documentary. It's pretty good and offers some balance to the debate. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is the host, and he has changed his mind on the legalization and use of marijuana. I mostly agree with him, though I still worry about communities that will be hit by legalization. Most of the kids I worked with smoked MANY blunts a day (for real, I stopped asking if they smoked weed, and started asking just that: how many blunts a day do you smoke). But Gupta is balanced and the documentary offers sound scientific information. I would just also like to say, some of the literature he discusses is a bit dated (just a few years out)! So, while it is pretty current, it is not quite the 'best' science out there. If it's a topic that you are interested in, do a comprehensive lit review. But please! Only peer-reviewed studies!!"
  28. 0

    #31The Keepers

    The Keepers

    The Keepers is a Netflix original documentary web series directed by Ryan White released in 2017. It consists of seven-webisodes exploring the disappearance and death of Sister Cathy Cesnik in 1969.

    TV Shows

    Varies by plan

    Jorge Bravo
    Written on September 21, 2018
    "Shocking! I was stunned at how much the catholic church has knowingly covered up such things to protect themselves and its predator priests. I felt like i'll throw up when the victims were talking about their experience bcoz you can clearly see their pain. "

Summary

Best What are the best documentaries
RankSolutionsTypeVotesPrice
1The Thin Blue LineMovies 43 Paid
2Man on WireMovies 38 Paid
3Before the FloodMovies 36 Paid
4Making a MurdererTV Shows 34 Paid
5Cave of Forgotten DreamsMovies 33 Paid
6West Of MemphisMovies 29 Paid
7Biggie and TupacMovies 27 Paid
8City of GhostsMovies 26 Paid
9O.J.: Made in AmericaTV Shows 23 Paid
10The StaircaseTV Shows 20 Paid
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