Best Documentaries of All Time

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This is the third and final installment in the series of lists that I have been compiling. Previously, best directors of all time and the greatest films of all time were ranked.

  1. Shoah (1985) – Claude Lanzmann
  2. Dead Souls (2018) – Wang Bing (Mubi)
  3. The Look of Silence (2014) – Joshua Oppenheimer
  4. Shoah Sisters (2018) – Claude Lanzmann
  5. The Fog of War (2003) – Errol Morris
  6. Nostalgia for the Light (2010) – Patricio Guzman
  7. The Gatekeepers (2012) – Dror Moreh
  8. The Act of Killing (2012) – Joshua Oppenheimer
  9. Fire at Sea (2016) – Gianfranco Rosi
  10. One More Time with Feeling (2016) – Andrew Dominik
  11. Chasing Coral (2017) – Jeff Orlowski
  12. Maidan (2014) – Sergei Loznitsa
  13. 13th (2016) – Ava DuVernay (Netflix)
  14. Land of Silence and Darkness (1971) – Werner Herzog
  15. Free Solo (2018) – Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi
  16. Particle Fever (2013) – Mark Levinson
  17. Man on Wire (2008) – James Marsh
  18. Faces Places (2017) – Agnes Varda
  19. Virunga (2014) – Orlando von Einsiedel
  20. Encounters at the End of the World (2007) – Werner Herzog
  21. Last Days in Vietnam (2014) – Rory Kennedy
  22. Tokyo Trial (1983) – Masaki Kobayashi
  23. The Overnighters (2014) – Jesse Moss
  24. Capturing the Friedmans (2003) – Andrew Jarecki (HBO)
  25. Bill Cunningham New York (2010) – Richard Press
  26. Into the Abyss (2011) – Werner Herzog
  27. Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010) – Werner Herzog
  28. No End in Sight (2007) – Charles Ferguson
  29. Moscow Elegy (1988) – Alexander Sokurov
  30. Our Daily Bread (2005) – Nikolaus Geyhalter
  31. How to Survive a Plague (2012) – David France
  32. O.J. Made in America (2016) – Ezra Edelman
  33. Hoop Dreams (1994) – Steve James
  34. Bowling for Columbine (2002) – Michael Moore
  35. The Return to Homs (2013) – Talai Derki
  36. Citizenfour (2014) – Laura Poitras
  37. Dawson City: Frozen Time (2016) – Bill Morrison
  38. The Thin Blue Line (1988) – Errol Morris
  39. Dreamcatcher (2015) – Kim Longinotto
  40. Cameraperson (2016) – Kirsten Johnson
  41. The Arbor (2010) – Clio Barnard
  42. Grey Gardens (1975) – Albert and David Maysles
  43. Best Kept Secret (2013) – Samantha Buck
  44. Waltz with Bashir (2008) – Ari Folman
  45. Sherpa (2015) – Jennifer Peedom
  46. Sans Soleil (1983) – Chris Marker
  47. We Were Here (2011) – David Weissman
  48. Triumph of the Will (1935) – Leni Riefenstahl
  49. Uncertain (2017) – Ewan McNicol, Anna Sandilands
  50. Stories We Tell (2012) – Sarah Polley
  51. They Shall not Grow Old (2018) – Peter Jackson
  52. Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks (2002) – Wang BIng
  53. Crime + Punishment (2018) – Stephen Maing
  54. Dream of Light (1992) – Victor Erice
  55. Crumb (1994) – Terry Zwigoff
  56. Life Itself (2014) – Steve James
  57. Ex Libris: The New York Public Library (2017) – Frederick Wiseman
  58. Minding the Gap (2018) – Bing Liu
  59. Storm Children: Book One (2014) – Lav Diaz (Mubi)
  60. My Perestroika (2010) – Robin Hessman
  61. Last Train Home (2009) – Lixin Fan
  62. Titicut Follies (1967) – Frederick Wiseman
  63. Planet Earth I, II (2006, 2016) – BBC
  64. The Blue Planet I, II (2001, 2011) – BBC
  65. Strong Island (2017) – Yance Ford
  66. Gideon’s Army (2013) – Dawn Porter
  67. The Private Life of a Masterpiece (2001 – 2010) – BBC
  68. Brother’s Keeper (1992) – Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky
  69. Manakamana (2014) – Pacho Velez, Stephanie Spray
  70. Tokyo Olympiad (1965) – Kon Ichikawa
  71. Cinemania (2002) – Stephen Kijak
  72. The Times of Harvey Milk (1984) – Rob Epstein
  73. American Factory (2019) – Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert (Netflix)
  74. Wendy Whelan: Restless Creature (2016) – Linda Saffire, Adam Schlesinger
  75. Let the Fire Burn (2013) – Jason Osder
  76. Listen to me Marlon (2015) – Stevan Riley
  77. Athlete A (2020) – Bonni Cohe, Jon Shenk
  78. Inside Job (2010) – Charles Ferguson
  79. Black and British: A Forgotten History – BBC Two
  80. Marc Chagall (1984) – Kim Evans
  81. Matisse-Picasso (2002) – Philippe Kohly
  82. Jane Fonda in Five Acts (2018) – Susan Lacy
  83. I Called Him Morgan (2016) – Kasper Collin
  84. Boys State (2020) – Jesse Moss
  85. Man Ray: Prophet of the Avant-Garde (1997) – Mel Stuart
  86. For Sama (2019) – Edward Watts, Waad Al-Kateab
  87. Kedi (2016) – Ceyda Torun
  88. Pina (2011) – Wim Wenders
  89. First Cousin Once Removed (2012) – Alan Berliner
  90. March of the Penguins (2005) – Luc Jacquet
  91. Voyages of Discovery (2006) – BBC Four
  92. I’m Not Your Negro (2016) – Raoul Peck (Netflix)
  93. Out of the Clear Blue Sky (2012) – Danielle Gardner
  94. Won’t you be my Neighbor? (2018) – Morgan Neville
  95. Amazing Grace (2018) – Sydney Pollack, Alan Elliott
  96. My Voyage to Italy (1999) – Martin Scorsese
  97. Wasteland (2010) – Lucy Walker
  98. Olympia (1938) – Leni Riefenstahl
  99. Grizzly Man (2005) – Werner Herzog
  100. Bob Dylan: Don’t look back (1967) – D.A.Pennebaker
  101. Leviathan (2012) – Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Verena Paravel
  102. Secrets of the Dead (2000) – PBS
  103. O Processo (2018) – Maria Ramos (Mubi)
  104. The Missing Picture (2013) – Rithy Panh
  105. Deliver us from Evil (2006) – Amy J.Berg
  106. Silent Britain (2006) – David Thompson
  107. Paris is Burning (1990) – Jennie Livingston
  108. Murderball (2005) – Dana Adam Shapiro, Henry-Alex Rubin
  109. Exit through the Gift Shop (2010) – Banksy
  110. Honeyland (2019) – Tamera Kotevska, Ljubomir Stefanov
  111. Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky (1988) – Michal Leszczylowski
  112. The Third Reich in Color – Spiegel TV
  113. The World’s Most Expensive Paintings – BBC One
  114. Amy (2015) – Asif Kapadia
  115. Frozen Planet (2011) – BBC
  116. Children Underground (2001) – Edet Belzberg
  117. The Innocence Files (2020) – Innocence Project (Netflix)
  118. The Gleaners and I (2000) – Agnes Varda
  119. Three Identical Strangers (2018) – Tim Wardle (Netflix)
  120. Father, Son and Holy War (1995) – Anand Patwardhan
  121. Our Planet (2019) – Netflix
  122. Shirkers (2018) – Sandi Tan
  123. The Interrupters (2011) – Steve James
  124. Visions of Light (1992) – Todd McCarthy, Arnold Glassman, Stuart Samuels
  125. Burden of Dreams (1982) – Les Blank
  126. The Hour of the Furnaces (1968) – Octavio Getino, Fernando Solanas
  127. The Battle of Chile (1975-79) – Patricio Guzman
  128. Gates of Heaven (1978) – Errol Morris
  129. Of Men and War (2014) – Laurent Bécue-Renard
  130. The Woman with the five Elephants (2009) – Vadim Jendreyko
  131. Bombay: Our City (1985) – Anand Patwardhan
  132. Celluloid Man (2012) – Shivendra Singh Dungarpur
  133. Connections (1978 – 97) – Mick Jackson
  134. Cinema of Europe: The Other Hollywood (1995) – Kevin Brownlow, David Gill, Dan Carter, Michael Winterbottom
  135. Modern Masters (2010) – BBC
  136. The Secret Life of Birds (2011) – Iolo Williams
  137. Calle 54 (2000) – Fernando Trueba
  138. Mahatma Gandhi: 20th Century Prophet (1940) – A.K.Chettiar
  139. How Art made the World (2005) – BBC One
  140. The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo (2005) – Amy Stechler
  141. Time (2020) – Garrett Bradley
  142. City Hall (2020) – Frederick Wiseman
  143. Dick Johnson is dead (2020) – Kirsten Johnson (Netflix)
  144. David Attenborough’s A life on Our Planet (2020) – Jonathan Hughes, Alastair Fothergill, Keith Scholey (Netflix)
  145. The Edge of Democracy (2019) – Petra Costa
  146. 63 Up (2019) – Michael Apted
  147. Big Men (2013) – Rachel Boynton
  148. Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan’s story (2019) – Martin Scorsese
  149. Welcome to Chechnya (2020) – David France
  150. Hearts and Minds (1974) – Peter Davis

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1 comment

VIJAYAKUMAR January 2, 2021 - 7:07 pm

Thank you, starting from 1.
Can’t ged rid of aftermath from Schindler’s List even after months.

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