Mainstream films are of course fun and entertaining but if you’re looking to watch something that is more than just fiction then you’re at the right place.
Today we’re counting down our picks for best documentary films of all time. Check them out!
1. Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey
If you enjoy knowing about the truth of the universe, if the earth, stars, galaxy, planets, comets, and everything cosmology-related interest you then you, my friend, are in for a treat. This scientific documentary will never let you get bored or feel dull. Another plus point of this documentary is the music. Such soft and thrilling music will for sure amplify your interest in this gem of a documentary. Alan Silvestri has done an amazing job with the soundtracks. Do watch.
2. Free Solo
Simply put this is an amazing documentary film. It can be viewed in so many ways but one certain thing is it will teach you that “never to believe in the impossible”. Based on the endeavor of professional rock climber Alex Honnold to climb El Capitan, this documentary will make you feel like you are right there with him on the wall, seeing him hustling and doing his best. It shows all the hardships of Alex in the most beautiful way. His strive to accomplish a possibly fatal dream is commendable. It is a must-watch.
3. Born into Brothels
Riveting is one word to describe this documentary. It makes us ponder a lot about what happens in most cities of India. Injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere. Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman have done some extraordinary groundwork. Do give this masterpiece a try.
An eye-opener, for sure. This documentary shows certain realities of life that everyone must be aware of. It tells about the corruption of the Olympic committee, Olympic system. It tells that there is a thin line between everything and politics. It’s definitely one of the most important and must-watch documentaries out there.
Truly a visual treat. Directed by Ron Fricke, this documentary tells that whatever in the world that is different from our own selves have as much right to live on with the same dignity and grace as to us. Be it different color, religion, sex, or race everyone lives equally & together in this world and one should really be proud of it. A timeless and powerful observation of the world this documentary is. A must-see.
6. Man or Wire
Based on a young French man named Philippe Petit, this documentary will keep you on the edge till the very end. It’s not just about the daring stunt but it also tells how it’s really necessary to follow one’s inner voice. It shows that one should always follow their dream no matter how ludicrous it may seem to others.
7. The Mole Agent
If there is one documentary where you’d laugh like crazy and at the same time sob too then this is it. Real-life touching characters, top-notch humor, and sad moments will tug at the heart of everyone while watching this amazing work. It’s a masterpiece and 100% recommended.
8. Period. End Of Sentence.
25 minutes long documentary that won Oscar. Yes, we’re talking Period: end of sentence. It’s a story about a group of women from Hapur, India who are fighting against the deeply rooted stigma of menstruation. It is simple yet very poignant. Many people of both sexes do not understand what period is. It is a gem of a documentary that creates awareness among women particularly, poor ones. Must watch!
9. The Act of Killing
It is a very enriching documentary that will for sure leave you gobsmacked. It discusses the details of the Indonesian genocide of 1965-66. It shows how crime against humanity was committed. This piece of art is dark and will leave you questioning the constructs of morality. Do give it a try.
10. The Imposter
“The truth is crazier than fiction”. If you haven’t watched this documentary yet it’s about time you do. It’s a thriller like no other. Based on a true story its strong suspense will keep you on a hook. It’s raw, bizarre, and one of the most amazing mystery documentaries you’ll ever watch.
11. Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things
When one tries to seek happiness from social media platforms but still could not get it at that point in time you will find this documentary very consequential. With minimum choices in life, one could have the maximum amount of peace in their lives. This work is original & authentic and will urge you to introspect a lot.
12. Jiro Dreams of Sushi
The story presented is amazing. This documentary covers the story of Jiro Ono, owner of Sukiyabashi Jiro a sushi restaurant in Tokyo. However, it is much more than that. It shows what Jiro has done in his life in order to stand where he stands firmly today. It teaches that sacrifice never goes in vain.
13. Kiss the Ground
Climate change and global warming are things that influence us all and this is definitely one of those works based on such issues that everyone should watch. It enriches us and tells us that things can be done in order to reverse such issues of nature. It is a beautiful documentary that will teach you the fundamentals of life.
14. Crip Camp
An Oscar nominee, this is not your average film about disability. As said by director Le Brecht there is an edge. It shows us that disability is a culture, it is like a community. It teaches that gatherings of like-minded people can accomplish anything. A must-see it is!
It is a documentary that decodes the past and today’s society of racism and racial injustice. This documentary is very informative that encompasses the Black struggle in the history of America, and what it means to be black in America. An eye-opening documentary that definitely emphasizes #BLM.
16. Minding the Gap
Truly authentic. It is a documentary about the real-life challenges that an underprivileged being goes through. It is about rebellious teens trying to live free with their obsession of skateboarding. It will open both your eyes and mind. Visuals and sound with the amazing story are like cherry on the top.
17. Indie Game: The Movie
Directed by James Swirsky and Lisanne Pajot is a revolutionary work. It talks about the life of pioneers in the Indie game industry who sacrificed their money, health, and normality so to share their talent with the world. It shows that sweat and tears make everything worth it all in the end.
18. The Hunting Ground
This is one of those extraordinary works that both students and parents must watch, together. It teaches that societal values of educating students of both sexes about the rape on-campus issue should never be overlooked. It will create awareness about what really goes on in colleges and universities. An important documentary and must-watch for everyone out there.
19. 20 Feet from Stardom
It is absolutely fantastic work. Morgan Neville’s moving and enriching documentary about background singers will make you realize their talents we seldom care about. It shows the work of phenomenally talented women who made an integral contribution to the history of music. This documentary film is a sincere tribute to their work.
20. Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
This documentary is about a man who wanted to be everyone’s caring neighbor. Mr. Rogers was a wonderful man who never talked down to anyone from the television screen. He just wanted everyone to know that they are special and loved. If you’ve ever wanted to believe in yourself, know your worth, capability, then watch watch watch this gem!
21. An Honest Liar
This incredible story is based on the world-renowned magician and artist James Randi. His humor, courage, and most importantly his humanity shines brightly in this documentary. It is a story about his larger life than a magician, conjurer, and so much more than he was as a person. Do give it a try!
22. Apollo 11
It is a real-life documentary that focuses on NASA’s successful 1969 attempt to land a man on the moon. With astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Michael Collins. It is educational and inspiring that shows the historic achievement with the spectacular cinematography. Do check out this captivating film.
23. India Untouched
Directed by Stalin K, India untouched captivates you in the best way possible. It shows how discrimination against the Dalit community in India still prevails. This documentary is the best example of educating humans to eradicate untouchability from society.
Yet another documentary which is crazy good. Edward Snowden is a true hero and patriot. Such whistleblowers have a strength of character which might make us normal folks dumbfounded. Salute to people like Edward Snowden and to his efforts. Very enriching and a must-see!
25. Fire In Babylon
One of the best sporting documentaries that you’ll ever see. It shows how the strive and struggle of building a West Indies cricket team were tough yet enchanting. It’s uplifting, captivating, and utterly inspirational. Watch the making of the invincible team of West Indies who climb to the top and still are one of the bests.
26. BSF: India’s first line of defense
If there is one documentary among many that’d awake a feeling of Indian nationalism from within our soul then this one can be your best bet. It is widely reckoned as “India’s first line of defense” against all ill-practices like smuggling, military assaults. It’s thought-provoking and everyone should watch it.
27. Our Planet
One of the most enthralling nature documentaries that you’d ever see. So well-narrated, filmed and cut. With its marvelous cinematography, you’ll appreciate the beauty of the world a little more than usual. Go watch it on Netflix today!
It’s a chilling documentary that is about the tumultuous life of English singer and songwriter Amy Winehouse who died due to alcohol poisoning just at the mere age of 27. This film will leave you with little doubt that how Amy was hounded to her death by people who were the closest to her. RIP Angel.
29. Out of the Ashes
If you’re a cricket fan then you must’ve watched this documentary, if you haven’t then you’re in for a treat. Based on the struggle of the Afghani cricket team to qualify for the 2010 ICC T20 Tournament, this documentary will make you realize all the struggles and challenges they went through. You’ll love their journey.
30. Searching for Sugar Man
Based on the life story of an artist named Sixto Rodriguez, this documentary shows that how he fell into a pit of darkness after he left the music industry without any success, what he did not know was his song became a massive hit in South Africa. It however was rumored that he had committed suicide. It’s another masterpiece one should definitely not miss out on watching.
31. Faces Places
It is one of the most wholesome documentary films that you’ll ever witness. Traveling with the two artists Agnes Varda and JR will be very poignant. This is one of those films that one should watch at least once before dying. No wonder it has a rating of 99% on Rotten Tomatoes.
32. They Shall Not Grow Old
This documentary is an eye-opener in the most emotional and surreal manner. Director Peter Jackson ties together actual historic footage with recorded interviews of WW1 survivors which is so, so beautiful and enthralling to watch. A genuine accolade to the soldiers’ struggle & triumph and a must, must watch!
This documentary explains why former Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar is known as the Master Blaster, why people call him the god of cricket. The storyline, direction, and everything are just on point. It’s inspiring and admiring to watch his journey. Cricket fans, if you haven’t watched this masterpiece yet then what are you doing?
Go grab your laptop and binge-watch!