Documentary Movies typically aim to tell a real-life story in a dramatic or fictionalized way. Many times techniques like reenactments, interviews, and archival footage are also used to bring the story to life. The goal of a Documentary Movie is often to create a more engaging and emotionally resonant story than a traditional documentary, while still maintaining a level of authenticity and accuracy. Documentary Movies can cover a wide range of subjects, including historical events, personal experiences, and current affairs. So, here are 10 Best Documentary Movies of All Time That You Must Watch.

Harlan County USA (1976)

10 Best Documentary Movies of All Time That You Must Watch - Harlan County USA (1976)
10 Best Documentary Movies of All Time That You Must Watch – Harlan County USA (1976)

The first film in our list of best Documentary Movies of all time is the 1976 American documentary film “Harlan County USA”. It explores the lives of coal miners and their families in Harlan County, Kentucky. The film focuses on a coal miners’ strike against the Duke Power Company, which the workers felt was exploiting them by not paying them fair wages and providing them with unsafe working conditions. Harlan County USA was directed by Barbara Kopple and won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. It is considered a classic of the documentary genre and has been praised for its powerful storytelling and immersive depiction of the lives of the coal miners and their families.

When We Were Kings (1996)

When We Were Kings (1996)
When We Were Kings (1996)

When We Were Kings is a documentary film that tells the story of the famous “Rumble in the Jungle” boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in 1974. The film was directed by Leon Gast and won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. It is considered a classic of the sports documentary genre and has been praised for its behind-the-scenes look at the making of the fight, as well as its portrayal of the larger political and social context surrounding the event. The film features interviews with Ali, Foreman, and other key figures involved in the fight, as well as archival footage and recordings of the event itself.

Shoah (1985)

10 Best Documentary Movies of All Time That You Must Watch - Shoah (1985)
10 Best Documentary Movies of All Time That You Must Watch – Shoah (1985)

Shoah is a 1985 French documentary film that explores the Holocaust, with a focus on the experiences of individual Jewish victims, survivors, and witnesses. The film was directed by Claude Lanzmann and is considered a landmark work of Holocaust documentation and testimony. It is over 9 hours long and consists primarily of interviews with survivors, perpetrators, and bystanders, as well as footage of the locations where the events took place. “Shoah” has been praised for its powerful and emotional portrayal of the Holocaust and its impact on the individuals involved. It is widely regarded as one of the most important and influential documentary films of all time.

The Thin Blue Line (1988)

The Thin Blue Line (1988)
The Thin Blue Line (1988)

The film talks about story of a man named Randall Dale Adams, who was wrongfully convicted of murder and sentenced to death in Texas. The film was directed by Errol Morris and is considered a pioneering work of the “true crime” documentary genre. It features interviews with Adams, the police officers and witnesses involved in the case, and experts on the criminal justice system, as well as reenactments of key events. “The Thin Blue Line” was a critical and commercial success and is credited with helping to overturn Adams’ conviction and secure his release from prison. 

Roger & Me (1989)

10 Best Documentary Movies of All Time That You Must Watch - Roger & Me (1989)
10 Best Documentary Movies of All Time That You Must Watch – Roger & Me (1989)

It is a 1989 American documentary film that explores the impact of General Motors’ decision to close several auto plants in Flint, Michigan, and move their production to Mexico. The film was directed by Michael Moore and is considered a pioneering work of the “gonzo” documentary genre, which blends factual storytelling with personal narrative and political commentary. “Roger & Me” was a commercial and critical success and helped to establish Moore as a prominent filmmaker and social commentator. The film features interviews with former GM workers, local officials, and corporate executives, as well as footage of Moore’s efforts to confront GM CEO Roger Smith about the plant closures. It is considered a classic of the documentary genre and is widely regarded as one of Moore’s best works.

Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)

Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)
Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)

‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ is a 2004 documentary film that talks about the presidency of George W. Bush and the events leading up to the Iraq War. The film was directed by Michael Moore and is a follow-up to his 1989 film “Roger & Me.” It was a commercial and critical success and became the highest-grossing documentary of all time at the time of its release. “Fahrenheit 9/11” features interviews with Bush administration officials, military personnel, and ordinary Americans, as well as footage of major events such as the 9/11 attacks and the Iraq War. The film was controversial and was criticized by some for its political bias and lack of objectivity. However, it is still regarded as one of the best documentary movies of all time.

Sicko (2007)

10 Best Documentary Movies of All Time That You Must Watch - Sicko (2007)
10 Best Documentary Movies of All Time That You Must Watch – Sicko (2007)

The 2007 American documentary film showcases the state of the U.S. healthcare system. The film was directed by Michael Moore and is a follow-up to his 1989 film “Roger & Me” and his 2004 film “Fahrenheit 9/11.” It was a commercial and critical success and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. “Sicko” features interviews with healthcare industry workers, patients, and experts, as well as footage of Moore’s visits to other countries to compare their healthcare systems to the U.S. system. It is a thought-provoking documentary film that you must watch.

Inside Job (2010)

Inside Job (2010)
Inside Job (2010)

This 2010 documentary film explores the causes and consequences of the global financial crisis of 2008. The film was directed by Charles Ferguson and was produced by Sony Pictures Classics. It won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. “Inside Job” features interviews with financial industry executives, government officials, and experts, as well as archival footage and graphics to illustrate the events leading up to the crisis and its aftermath. The film was praised for its clear and concise explanation of the complex financial issues at play and its fair and balanced approach to a controversial subject. It is considered an important and influential work of financial journalism.

The Act of Killing (2012)

10 Best Documentary Movies of All Time That You Must Watch - The Act of Killing (2012)
10 Best Documentary Movies of All Time That You Must Watch – The Act of Killing (2012)

“The Act of Killing” is a 2012 Danish-British-Norwegian documentary film that explores the Indonesian genocide of 1965-66, in which over 1 million people were killed by the Indonesian government. The film was directed by Joshua Oppenheimer and was produced by Signe Byrge Sørensen. It was a commercial and critical success and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. “The Act of Killing” is unique among documentary films in that it focuses on the perpetrators of the genocide, rather than the victims. The film features interviews and reenactments with former members of Indonesian death squads, as they recount their experiences and reflect on the impact of their actions. The film has been praised for its innovative approach and its powerful portrayal of the effects of violence and impunity.

Citizenfour (2014)

Citizenfour (2014)
Citizenfour (2014)

The 2014 American documentary film showcases the story of Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor who leaked classified information about government surveillance programs to the media. The film was directed by Laura Poitras and was produced by Praxis Films. It won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. “Citizenfour” is named after the pseudonym Snowden used when he first contacted Poitras and journalist Glenn Greenwald about the leaked documents. The film consists primarily of footage shot by Poitras and Greenwald during their meetings with Snowden in Hong Kong, where he revealed the extent of the NSA’s surveillance activities. The film has been praised for its timely and important subject matter, as well as its intimate and compelling portrayal of Snowden and his motivations.

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