TOP DOCUMENTARY MOVIES: 2000-2019

by Dr-Faustus | created - 10 Dec 2017 | updated - 1 day ago | Public

Thought-Provoking. Provocative. Controversial. Fascinating.

A choice of 465 outstanding feature-length documentaries, released between 2000 and 2019.

This list is in random order and purely subjective.

 Refine See titles to watch instantly, titles you haven't rated, etc
  • Instant Watch Options
  • Genres
  • Movies or TV
  • IMDb Rating
  • In Theaters
  • On TV
  • Release Year
  • Keywords






IMDb user rating (average) to
Number of votes to »




Reset



Reset
Release year or range to »




































































































1. The War You Don't See (2010)

97 min | Documentary, War

Thought-provoking documentary on war propaganda: how governments manipulate the facts and how most media let them get away with it.

Directors: Alan Lowery, John Pilger | Stars: Julian Assange, Tony Blair, Wilfred Burchett, George W. Bush

Votes: 1,132

2. 9/11 (2002 TV Movie)

TV-PG | 112 min | Documentary

A real life documentary following the events of September 11 from an insider's view, through the lens of James Hanlon and two French filmmakers who were in Manhattan that one day.

Directors: James Hanlon, Gédéon Naudet, Jules Naudet | Stars: Tony Benatatos, Jamal Braithwaite, Steve Buscemi, Joe Casaliggi

Votes: 6,137

3. Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)

R | 122 min | Documentary, Drama, War

67 Metascore

Michael Moore's view on what happened to the United States after September 11; and how the Bush Administration allegedly used the tragic event to push forward its agenda for unjust wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Director: Michael Moore | Stars: Michael Moore, George W. Bush, Ben Affleck, Stevie Wonder

Votes: 123,303 | Gross: $119.19M

4. Man on Wire (2008)

PG-13 | 94 min | Documentary, Biography, History

89 Metascore

A look at tightrope walker Philippe Petit's daring, but illegal, high-wire routine performed between New York City's World Trade Center's twin towers in 1974, what some consider, "the artistic crime of the century".

Director: James Marsh | Stars: Philippe Petit, Jean François Heckel, Jean-Louis Blondeau, Annie Allix

Votes: 50,111 | Gross: $2.96M

5. The World Before Your Feet (2018)

PG-13 | 95 min | Documentary

78 Metascore

For over six years, and for reasons he can't explain, Matt Green, 37, has been walking every block of every street in New York City - a journey of more than 8,000 miles. THE WORLD BEFORE ... See full summary »

Director: Jeremy Workman | Star: Matt Green

Votes: 414 | Gross: $0.27M

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: 40,175 | Gross: $17.54M

7. Valley Uprising (2014)

Not Rated | 103 min | Documentary

In the shady campgrounds of Yosemite valley, climbers carved out a counterculture lifestyle of dumpster-diving and wild parties that clashed with the conservative values of the National Park Service.

Directors: Peter Mortimer, Nick Rosen, Josh Lowell | Stars: Peter Sarsgaard, Alex Honnold, Yvon Chouinard, Royal Robbins

Votes: 4,467

8. Blackfish (2013)

PG-13 | 83 min | Documentary, News

83 Metascore

A documentary following the controversial captivity of killer whales, and its dangers for both humans and whales.

Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite | Stars: Tilikum, Dave Duffus, Samantha Berg, Dean Gomersall

Votes: 57,769 | Gross: $2.07M

9. Sea of Shadows (2019)

PG-13 | 105 min | Documentary, Crime, History

72 Metascore

The vaquita, the world's smallest whale, is near extinction as its habitat is destroyed by Mexican cartels and Chinese mafia, who harvest the swim bladder of the totoaba fish, the "cocaine ... See full summary »

Directors: Richard Ladkani, Sean Bogle, Matthew Podolsky | Stars: Romel Eduardo Ledezma Abaroa, Rafael Pacchiano Alamán, Hector Capetillo, Andrea Crosta

Votes: 193

10. Apollo 11 (2019)

G | 93 min | Documentary, History

88 Metascore

A look at the Apollo 11 mission to land on the moon led by commander Neil Armstrong and pilots Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins.

Director: Todd Douglas Miller | Stars: Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin, Deke Slayton

Votes: 12,604 | Gross: $9.04M

11. Over the Limit (2017)

74 min | Documentary, Sport

91 Metascore

An intimate portrait of the world's most outstanding rhythmic gymnast Margarita Mamun who needs to overcome mental fragility to take part in the Olympic Games.

Director: Marta Prus | Stars: Yana Kudryavtseva, Margarita Mamun, Irina Viner, Amina Zaripova

Votes: 511 | Gross: $0.00M

12. At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal (2019)

TV-MA | 88 min | Documentary

In 2016, USA Gymnastics was rocked by the revelation that national team doctor Larry Nassar had been abusing young athletes for decades. Tribeca alum Erin Lee Carr's unflinching documentary... See full summary »

Director: Erin Lee Carr | Stars: Rosemarie Aquilina, Aimee Boorman, Nadia Comaneci, Rachael Denhollander

Votes: 1,293

13. Won't You Be My Neighbor? (2018)

PG-13 | 94 min | Documentary, Biography

85 Metascore

An exploration of the life, lessons, and legacy of iconic children's television host, Fred Rogers.

Director: Morgan Neville | Stars: Fred Rogers, Joanne Rogers, John Rogers, Jim Rogers

Votes: 18,363 | Gross: $22.61M

14. Borderless (2019)

87 min | Documentary

Chronicles the migrant crisis occurring in Europe and the consequences on both refugees and natives.

Directors: George Llewelyn-John, Caolan Robertson | Stars: Janice Atkinson, Justin Barrett, Gail Dunne, Charmaine Gumbo

Votes: 667

15. The River and the Wall (2019)

97 min | Documentary, Adventure

89 Metascore

The River and the Wall follows five friends on an immersive adventure through the unknown wilds of the Texas borderlands as they travel 1200 miles from El Paso to the Gulf of Mexico on ... See full summary »

Director: Ben Masters | Stars: Ben Masters, Jay Kleberg, Filipe DeAndrade, Heather Mackey

Votes: 150 | Gross: $0.17M

16. American Factory (2019)

TV-14 | 115 min | Documentary

86 Metascore

End 2008, GM closes a plant in Ohio. A Chinese billionaire/Fuyao Glass buys the plant 2014 and invests in auto glass production. There are 2000 jobs there by late 2016. USA meets PRChina.

Directors: Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert | Stars: Junming 'Jimmy' Wang, Robert Allen, Sherrod Brown, Dave Burrows

Votes: 3,807

17. On the President's Orders (2019)

TV-PG | 72 min | Documentary, Crime, Thriller

73 Metascore

The searing story of President Duterte's bloody campaign against drug dealers and addicts in the Philippines, told with unprecedented and intimate access to both sides of the war - the ... See full summary »

Directors: James Jones, Olivier Sarbil | Stars: Rodrigo R. Duterte, Jemar Modequillo

Votes: 86

18. They Shall Not Grow Old (II) (2018)

R | 99 min | Documentary, History, War

91 Metascore

A documentary about World War I with never-before-seen footage to commemorate the centennial of the end of the war.

Director: Peter Jackson

Votes: 19,780 | Gross: $17.96M

19. The Silence of Others (2018)

96 min | Documentary

73 Metascore

The Silence of Others reveals the epic struggle of victims of Spain's 40-year dictatorship under General Franco, who continue to seek justice to this day. Filmed over six years, the film ... See full summary »

Directors: Robert Bahar, Almudena Carracedo | Stars: María Martín, José María Galante, Carlos Slepoy, Ana Messuti

Votes: 729 | Gross: $0.07M

20. Who Will Write Our History (2018)

95 min | Documentary, History

83 Metascore

Who Will Write Our History tells the story of Emanuel Ringelblum and the Oyneg Shabes Archive, the secret archive he created and led in the Warsaw Ghetto. With 30,000 pages of writing, ... See full summary »

Director: Roberta Grossman | Stars: Jowita Budnik, Piotr Glowacki, Piotr Jankowski, Wojciech Zielinski

Votes: 96 | Gross: $0.14M

21. The Look of Silence (2014)

PG-13 | 103 min | Documentary, Biography, History

92 Metascore

A family that survived the genocide in Indonesia confronts the men who killed one of their brothers.

Director: Joshua Oppenheimer | Stars: Adi Rukun, M.Y. Basrun, Amir Hasan, Inong

Votes: 10,492 | Gross: $0.11M

22. The Act of Killing (2012)

Not Rated | 117 min | Documentary, Biography, Crime

90 Metascore

A documentary which challenges former Indonesian death-squad leaders to reenact their mass-killings in whichever cinematic genres they wish, including classic Hollywood crime scenarios and lavish musical numbers.

Directors: Joshua Oppenheimer, Anonymous, Christine Cynn | Stars: Anwar Congo, Herman Koto, Syamsul Arifin, Ibrahim Sinik

Votes: 31,964 | Gross: $0.49M

23. Dead Souls (2018)

495 min | Documentary

89 Metascore

A dozen aging survivors are interviewed from Jiabiangou, a complex of three work camps in Northwest China where supposed rightists were sent for re-education in the 1950s and 1960s under Mao Zedong.

Director: Bing Wang

Votes: 121

24. One Child Nation (2019)

R | 88 min | Documentary, History

85 Metascore

After becoming a mother, a filmmaker uncovers the untold history of China's one-child policy and the generations of parents and children forever shaped by this social experiment.

Directors: Nanfu Wang, Jialing Zhang | Stars: Jiaoming Pang, Brian Stuy, Longlan Stuy, Peng Wang

Votes: 630 | Gross: $0.18M

25. The Distant Barking of Dogs (2017)

91 min | Documentary, War

THE DISTANT BARKING OF DOGS is set in Eastern Ukraine on the frontline of the war. The film follows the life of 10-year-old Ukrainian boy Oleg throughout a year, witnessing the gradual ... See full summary »

Director: Simon Lereng Wilmont | Stars: Oleg Afanasyev, Alexandra Ryabichkina, Jarik

Votes: 341

26. Liyana (2017)

77 min | Documentary, Animation

80 Metascore

Five children in Swaziland dive into their imaginations to create an original African tale about a girl on a dangerous quest.

Directors: Aaron Kopp, Amanda Kopp | Star: Gcina Mhlophe

Votes: 198 | Gross: $0.04M

27. Fyre (2019)

TV-MA | 97 min | Documentary, Music

75 Metascore

An exclusive behind the scenes look at the infamous unraveling of the Fyre music festival.

Director: Chris Smith | Stars: Billy McFarland, Jason Bell, Gabrielle Bluestone, Shiyuan Deng

Votes: 28,966

28. Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound (2019)

94 min | Documentary

80 Metascore

An exploration of the history and emotional power of cinema sound, as revealed by legendary sound designers and visionary directors, via interviews, clips from movies, and a look at their actual process of creation and discovery.

Director: Midge Costin | Stars: Erik Aadahl, Ioan Allen, Richard L. Anderson, Karen Baker Landers

Votes: 175

29. Western Stars (2019)

PG | 83 min | Documentary, Music

80 Metascore

Live concert performance of Bruce Springsteen singing songs from his album 'Western Stars'.

Directors: Bruce Springsteen, Thom Zimny | Star: Bruce Springsteen

Votes: 464

30. Roger Waters - Us + Them (2019)

135 min | Documentary, Music

A look at Roger Waters' 2017-2018 concert tour.

Directors: Sean Evans, Roger Waters | Stars: Rufat Aliyev, Farshid Azizi, Nikoo Bafti, Azzurra Caccetta

Votes: 490

31. Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles (2019)

PG-13 | 92 min | Documentary

80 Metascore

The origin story behind one of Broadway's most beloved musicals, Fiddler on The Roof, and its creative roots in early 1960s New York, when "tradition" was on the wane as gender roles, sexuality, race relations and religion were evolving.

Director: Max Lewkowicz | Stars: Marc Aronson, Michael Bernardi, Jerry Bock, Danny Burstein

Votes: 114 | Gross: $0.34M

32. Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese (2019)

TV-MA | 142 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

86 Metascore

In an alchemic mix of fact and fantasy, Martin Scorsese looks back at Bob Dylan's 1975 Rolling Thunder Revue tour and a country ripe for reinvention.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Bob Dylan, Allen Ginsberg, Patti Smith, Martin von Haselberg

Votes: 3,496

33. Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool (2019)

115 min | Documentary, Music

76 Metascore

Miles Davis: Horn player, bandleader, innovator. This documentary feature explores archival photos and home movies shot by Miles and his colleagues, his manuscripts and Miles' original paintings, to explore the man behind the music.

Director: Stanley Nelson | Stars: Ron Carter, Jimmy Cobb, Stanley Crouch, Betty Davis

Votes: 328 | Gross: $0.19M

34. Amazing Grace (2018)

G | 89 min | Documentary, Music

94 Metascore

A documentary presenting Aretha Franklin with choir at the New Bethel Baptist Church in Watts, Los Angeles in January 1972.

Directors: Alan Elliott, Sydney Pollack | Stars: Aretha Franklin, James Cleveland, Southern California Community Choir, C.L. Franklin

Votes: 2,020 | Gross: $4.45M

35. Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am (2019)

PG-13 | 120 min | Documentary

80 Metascore

This artful and intimate meditation on the legendary storyteller examines her life, her works and the powerful themes she has confronted throughout her literary career.

Director: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders | Stars: Toni Morrison, Hilton Als, Oprah Winfrey, Russell Banks

Votes: 224 | Gross: $0.88M

36. Teddy Pendergrass: If You Don't Know Me (2018)

TV-MA | 106 min | Documentary, Biography

This documentary explores the rise of Teddy Pendergrass, the first male African American artist to record five consecutive platinum albums against the backdrop of 1960s America, and his comeback after a life-changing accident.

Director: Olivia Lichtenstein | Stars: Teddy Pendergrass, Yvette Ganier, Valerie Simpson, Kenny Gamble

Votes: 192

37. Hesburgh (2018)

Not Rated | 106 min | Documentary

83 Metascore

Amidst some of the most tumultuous times in our nation's history, Rev. Theodore Hesburgh finds himself in the eye of the storm as he works to advance the causes of peace and equal rights.

Director: Patrick Creadon | Stars: Theodore Hesburgh, Robert Sam Anson, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton

Votes: 63 | Gross: $0.20M

38. King in the Wilderness (2018)

TV-14 | 111 min | Documentary

97 Metascore

A look at the final years in the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Director: Peter W. Kunhardt

Votes: 421

39. Street Fight (2005)

Not Rated | 83 min | Documentary

85 Metascore

This documentary follows the 2002 mayoral campaign in Newark, New Jersey in which a City Councilman, Cory Booker, attempted to unseat longtime mayor Sharpe James.

Director: Marshall Curry | Stars: Jen Bluestein, Cory Booker, Bill Bradley, Chris Christie

Votes: 1,793

40. Knock Down the House (2019)

PG | 86 min | Documentary

80 Metascore

A look at the people involved with various political campaigns during the 2018 U.S. congressional election.

Director: Rachel Lears | Stars: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Cori Bush, Joe Crowley, Paula Jean Swearengin

Votes: 8,530

41. Charm City (2018)

TV-MA | 108 min | Documentary

85 Metascore

During three years of unparalleled violence in Baltimore, CHARM CITY delivers an unexpectedly candid, observational portrait of those left on the frontlines. With grit, fury, and compassion... See full summary »

Director: Marilyn Ness | Stars: Dante Barksdale, Tre'a Bertrille, Ericcka Bridgeford, Monique Brown

Votes: 130 | Gross: $0.03M

42. John McCain: For Whom the Bell Tolls (2018)

TV-14 | 104 min | Documentary

In-depth look at the life of John McCain, from his time as a POW in Vietnam to his three decades of service in the US Senate.

Directors: George Kunhardt, Peter W. Kunhardt, Teddy Kunhardt

Votes: 492

43. Weiner (2016)

R | 96 min | Documentary

84 Metascore

An examination of disgraced New York Congressman Anthony Weiner's mayoral campaign and today's political landscape.

Directors: Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg | Stars: Anthony Weiner, Huma Abedin, Jordan Zain Weiner, Barbara Morgan

Votes: 9,205 | Gross: $1.61M

44. Raise Hell: The Life & Times of Molly Ivins (2019)

93 min | Documentary

74 Metascore

RAISE HELL: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins tells the story of media firebrand Molly Ivins, six feet of Texas trouble who took on the Good Old Boy corruption wherever she found it. Her ... See full summary »

Director: Janice Engel | Stars: Harold Cook, Jim Hightower, Andy Ivins, Margo Johnston

Votes: 102 | Gross: $0.22M

45. Midnight Traveler (2019)

90 min | Documentary, War

79 Metascore

When the Taliban puts a bounty on Hassan Fazili's head, he is forced to flee with his wife and two daughters. Capturing the journey, Fazili shows the dangers facing refugees seeking asylum and the love shared between a family on the run.

Director: Hassan Fazili | Stars: Hassan Fazili, Nargis Fazili, Zahra Fazili, Fatima Hossaini

Votes: 200

46. Under the Wire (2018)

R | 95 min | Documentary

75 Metascore

On 13 February 2012, two journalists entered war-ravaged Syria. One of them was celebrated Sunday Times war correspondent, Marie Colvin. The other was photographer, Paul Conroy. Their aim ... See full summary »

Director: Chris Martin | Stars: Ziad Abaza, Janine Birkett, Edith Bouvier, Marie Colvin

Votes: 417 | Gross: $0.00M

47. The Deminer (2017)

83 min | Documentary

7.8