There are so many documentaries that it can be hard to know where to start. So we’ve put together a list of the best documentaries of all time, based on critical acclaim and audience reactions. Whether you’re looking for an eye-opening history lesson, an inspiring human story, or just something that will make you think, these documentaries are sure to deliver. Check them out!
1. The Act of Killing
What it’s about: To put it simply, the film is a documentary about the men who carried out mass killings under Indonesia’s genocidal regime. However, instead of interviewing survivors or those who lost loved ones, director Joshua Oppenheimer interviews death-squad leaders Anwar Congo and Adi Zulkadry about how they killed hundreds of thousands of people – and how they feel about it now.
Why you should watch it: Not only is the film incredibly eye-opening, but it’s also a unique and powerful look at the human psyche. It’s often difficult to understand how someone could commit genocide, but Oppenheimer’s film makes it disturbingly clear that anyone is capable of such atrocities.
What it’s about: Filmed over ten years, Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah features interviews with survivors, bystanders, and former Nazi officers to create a comprehensive record of the Holocaust through eyewitness accounts. Director Claude Lanzmann’s nine-and-a-half-hour masterpiece tells the story of the Holocaust – not through archival footage or interviews with survivors, but the testimonies of the people there.
Why you should watch it: This may be long, but it’s a testament to the human spirit and will give you a perspective on humanity that you won’t find anywhere else. Shoah is often called the most important documentary ever made, and for a good reason. It’s a devastating, powerful film that provides an unflinching look at one of history’s darkest moments.
3. The Thin Blue Line
What it’s about: This classic true-crime documentary tells the story of a man sentenced to death for murder who is later revealed to be innocent. Why you should watch it: Many people don’t know that this was director Errol Morris’s first feature film, which set him on the path to becoming one of the most outstanding documentaries of all time. As with many of his later films, Morris conducted extensive research into the case, interviewing people associated with it and speaking to David Harris (the man falsely accused of murder). The latter served 15 years in prison before being released. Many critics still think that the film played a part in eventually getting Harris pardoned.
Why you should watch it: If you’re looking for an eye-opening documentary about a real-life crime, The Thin Blue Line is definitely worth your time. You can watch this movie for free on any of the platforms or download it from rarbg so you can watch it at your own pace.
4. An Inconvenient Truth
What it’s about: An Inconvenient Truth is a 2006 American documentary film directed by Davis Guggenheim about former the United States Vice President Al Gore’s campaign to educate people about global warming. The film features a comprehensive slide show that he has delivered more than a thousand times to audiences worldwide by Gore’s estimate.
Why you should watch it: If you need convincing on why climate change is necessary or want to learn more about the science behind it (and haven’t seen any of the other documentaries on this list), then An Inconvenient Truth is definitely for you.
5. A time for burning
What it’s about: The film explores the Midwestern United States town of Brynmawr, where racial tensions are mounting along with the temperature. The documentary follows seven young African Americans who are faced with three choices – fighting, fleeing, or going into hiding. It is a tense but fascinating look at race relations in America that still has a lot of relevance today.
Why You Should Watch It: a time for burning is a thought-provoking documentary about the power of relationships, belonging, and change. It follows the members of a small Lutheran church in Omaha, Nebraska, as they struggle with the question of whether or not to welcome an African American family into their congregation.
6. Hoop Dreams
What it’s about: Hoop Dreams is a documentary about two inner-city high school students who dream of playing in the NBA. The film follows them and their families over five years as they navigate the ups and downs of their basketball careers. A time for burning tells the story of the rise and fall of the American civil rights movement from the perspective of a white minister who participated in it.
Why you should watch it: Hoop Dreams is a compelling film that offers a unique perspective on the American dream. It’s an inspiring story of hope and determination, and it will make you think about what it means to achieve your goals. Many critics hailed it as one of the best movies of all time during its initial release.
What it’s about: The award-winning Crumb is a documentary about legendary comic book artist Robert Crumb, his brothers Maxon and Charles, and their eccentric family. Crumb offers terrific insight into the life of one of America’s most complex and fascinating artists.
Why you should watch it: If you’re interested in art, Crumb is a must-watch documentary. It offers a fascinating look at the life and work of Robert Crumb, one of the most iconic artists of our time. Crumb is a complex and controversial figure, and this film provides an intimate portrait of his life and art. Critics have called it “a vibrant portrait of an artist” and “both disturbing and utterly engrossing.”
Documentaries are a great way to get acquainted with your cultural history or the history of other parts of the world. They can also be used to educate on various social issues or to entertain simply. No matter your reason for watching them, documentaries are definitely worth your time! So if you’re looking for something exciting and informative to watch, be sure to check one of these out!