Last Updated on 17 December 2023

The following list is the Official Definitive List of the 200 best documentary movies of all time.

I found 20 different ranked lists online of “best documentaries of all time” and pulled them all into Excel and merged them all to get this definitive compilation.  See my Methodology page for the research process that was used, including links to all 20 lists that were averaged. Below is a checklist you can print to track which ones you’ve seen, followed by the ranked list.

  1. Shoah (1985)
  2. Hoop Dreams (1994)
  3. The Thin Blue Line (1988)
  4. Night and Fog (1956)
  5. Man with a Movie Camera (1929)
  6. Stop Making Sense (1984)
  7. Harlan County U.S.A. (1976)
  8. Grey Gardens (1975)
  9. Man on Wire (2008)
  10. Grizzly Man (2005)
  11. Woodstock (1970)
  12. O.J.: Made in America (2016)
  13. The Act of Killing (2012)
  14. The Last Waltz (1978)
  15. Sans Soleil (1983)
  16. Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse (1991)
  17. Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father (2008)
  18. Crumb (1994)
  19. The Fog of War (2003)
  20. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (2018)
  21. The Look of Silence (2014)
  22. I Am Not Your Negro (2016)
  23. The Sorrow and the Pity (1969)
  24. Capturing the Friedmans (2003)
  25. Waltz with Bashir (2008)
  26. When We Were Kings (1996)
  27. Nanook of the North (1922)
  28. Bowling for Columbine (2002)
  29. Streetwise (1984)
  30. The Up Series (1964–2019)
  31. Titicut Follies (1967)
  32. Inside Job (2010)
  33. Gimme Shelter (1970)
  34. Salesman (1969)
  35. Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010)
  36. Paris Is Burning (1990)
  37. Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) (2021)
  38. Senna (2010)
  39. Minding the Gap (2018)
  40. Life Itself (2014)
  41. The Times of Harvey Milk (1984)
  42. Bob Dylan: Dont Look Back (1967)
  43. 13th (2016)
  44. Roger & Me (1989)
  45. The Cove (2009)
  46. Collective (2019)
  47. Citizenfour (2014)
  48. They Shall Not Grow Old (2018)
  49. Apollo 11 (2019)
  50. Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (1996)
  51. F for Fake (1973)
  52. Free Solo (2018)
  53. Blackfish (2013)
  54. Chronicle of a Summer (1961)
  55. March of the Penguins (2005)
  56. David Byrne’s American Utopia (2020)
  57. The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (2007)
  58. Koyaanisqatsi (1982)
  59. How to Survive a Plague (2012)
  60. Nostalgia for the Light (2010)
  61. For Sama (2019)
  62. Tower (2016)
  63. Searching for Sugar Man (2012)
  64. Stories We Tell (2012)
  65. Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple (2006)
  66. The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst (2015)
  67. Brother’s Keeper (1992)
  68. Weiner (2016)
  69. The Battle of Chile: 3 Parts (1975-1979)
  70. Spellbound (2002)
  71. Virunga (2014)
  72. 20 Feet from Stardom (2013)
  73. Jodorowsky’s Dune (2013)
  74. The Decline of Western Civilization (1981)
  75. The Gleaners & I (2000)
  76. American Movie (1999)
  77. The Imposter (2012)
  78. Faces Places (2017)
  79. Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011)
  80. Amazing Grace (2018)
  81. Murderball (2005)
  82. Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks (2002)
  83. Welfare (1975)
  84. We Were Here (2011)
  85. Tokyo Olympiad (1965)
  86. Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)
  87. Amy (2015)
  88. Flee (2021)
  89. Hearts and Minds (1974)
  90. One More Time with Feeling (2016)
  91. Anvil (2008)
  92. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005)
  93. Justin Bieber: Never Say Never (2011)
  94. The Crash Reel (2013)
  95. Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010)
  96. This Is Not a Film (2011)
  97. Lessons of Darkness (1992)
  98. The Beaches of Agnès (2008)
  99. The Overnighters (2014)
  100. Burden of Dreams (1982)
  101. Style Wars (1983)
  102. The War Game (1966)
  103. Project Nim (2011)
  104. For All Mankind (1989)
  105. Waste Land (2010)
  106. As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty (2000)
  107. Cheer (2020)
  108. Fire of Love (2022)
  109. This Is It (2009)
  110. Sherpa (2015)
  111. An Inconvenient Truth (2006)
  112. Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003)
  113. The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On (1987)
  114. Sherman’s March (1985)
  115. Touching the Void (2003)
  116. Baraka (1992)
  117. Histoire(s) du cinèma (1989-1999)
  118. When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (2006)
  119. Kedi (2016)
  120. National Gallery (2014)
  121. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (2022)
  122. The Gatekeepers (2012)
  123. Restrepo (2010)
  124. Gates of Heaven (1978)
  125. Food, Inc. (2008)
  126. Three Identical Strangers (2018)
  127. À Propos de Nice (1930)
  128. 9/11: The Falling Man (2006)
  129. Under the Sea 3D (2009)
  130. Deliver Us from Evil (2006)
  131. Life of Crime: 1984-2020 (2021)
  132. Encounters at the End of the World (2007)
  133. Leviathan (2012)
  134. My Voyage to Italy (1999)
  135. Last Train Home (2009)
  136. Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One (1968)
  137. Portrait of Jason (1967)
  138. Close-Up (1990)
  139. Primary (1960)
  140. Monterey Pop (1968)
  141. Taxi to the Dark Side (2007)
  142. The Velvet Underground (2021)
  143. Val (2021)
  144. 2016: Obama’s America (2012)
  145. The White Diamond (2004)
  146. The Rescue (2021)
  147. Super Size Me (2004)
  148. My Octopus Teacher (2020)
  149. Young@Heart (2007)
  150. West of Memphis (2012)
  151. In the Year of the Pig (1968)
  152. Handsworth Songs (1986)
  153. Dick Johnson Is Dead (2020)
  154. High School (1968)
  155. The Invisible War (2012)
  156. Land without Bread (1933)
  157. Earth (2007)
  158. Our Body (2023)
  159. Religulous (2008)
  160. Winged Migration (2001)
  161. LA 92 (2017)
  162. No End in Sight (2007)
  163. Detropia (2012)
  164. Wordplay (2006)
  165. No Direction Home (1994)
  166. Waiting for Superman (2010)
  167. Honeyland (2019)
  168. This Film Is Not Yet Rated (2006)
  169. The Truffle Hunters (2020)
  170. Born Into Brothels: Calcutta’s Red Light Kids (2004)
  171. Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer (2003)
  172. Chimpanzee (2012)
  173. The Silent World (1956)
  174. 4 Little Girls (1997)
  175. Ex Libris (2017)
  176. The War Room (1993)
  177. The Beatles: Get Back (2021)
  178. Jane (2017)
  179. Sicko (2007)
  180. The Salt of the Earth (2014)
  181. The Central Park Five (2012)
  182. Time (2020)
  183. Häxan (1922)
  184. One Direction: This Is Us (2013)
  185. The Devil and Daniel Johnston (2005)
  186. Pumping Iron (1977)
  187. Fyre (2019)
  188. The Kid Stays in the Picture (2002)
  189. Cameraperson (2016)
  190. Marley (2012)
  191. A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies (1995)
  192. Marwencol (2010)
  193. Born to Be Wild (2011)
  194. Moonage Daydream (2022)
  195. 63 Up (2019)
  196. Lake of Fire (2006)
  197. Triumph of the Will (1935)
  198. Concert for George (2003)
  199. Disclosure (2020)
  200. Part of Me (2012)

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