20 Highest Rated Documentaries of All Time, According to Rotten Tomatoes

Documentaries distil the extremities of actual life to present reality can typically be far stranger than fiction.

Dwight Steven-Boniecki, director of Searching For Skylab: America’s Forgotten Triumph, suggests these reveals can their finest educate in addition to entertain.

“These films all have a common thread,” he tells Newsweek. “They all take something we think we know well and present us with a kaleidoscope of knowledge that goes beyond anything we thought we knew about the subject.

“They are so astoundingly wealthy in information, they handle to obtain what many could assume is not possible: they assist make us specialists, they usually handle to try this inside the circa 90 minutes it takes to inform their story.

“Best of all, we, the viewers, do not get bored. We are engrossed in the story and come out enriched because of it.”

A current survey by BINJ discovered that three in 4 individuals wished to be “excited” and made to really feel “anxiousness” by a documentary.

Reza Hashemi, the content material platform’s CEO, tells Newsweek: ““Amongst the top-rated movies, Peter Jackson’s Thou Shalt Not Grow Old and Blackfish made our audiences probably the most anxious. Free Solo excited audiences greater than most of the opposite documentaries within the listing.”

Count down the 20 highest rated documentaries on Rotten Tomatoes, every “Certified Fresh” from at least 100 critics reviews from the movie critic aggregation site.

=19. The Act of Killing (95%)

2012 ‧ Documentary/History ‧ 2h 2m

#71. The Act of Killing (2013) (tie)
The Act of Killing reveals the mass executions of accused communists in Indonesia and people celebrated there for perpetrating their crimes towards humanity
Final Cut for Real

This award-winning doc reveals the mass executions of accused communists in Indonesia and people celebrated there for perpetrating their crimes towards humanity.

Rotten Tomatoes critics’ consensus states: “Raw, terrifying, and painfully difficult to watch, The Act of Killing offers a haunting testament to the edifying, confrontational power of documentary cinema.”

=19. Amy (95%)

2015 ‧ Documentary/Musical ‧ 2h 8m

Amy Winehouse performing on the Shepherd’s Bush Empire on May 28, 2007, in London.
C Brandon/Redferns

Archival clips and speaking heads reveal an intimate portrait of the life and instances of seminal singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse.

Rotten Tomatoes critics’ consensus states: “As riveting as it is sad, Amy is a powerfully honest look at the twisted relationship between art and celebrity—and the lethal spiral of addiction.”

=15. The Look of Silence (96%)

2014 ‧ Documentary/Historical Documentary ‧ 1h 43m

56 The Look Of Silence
The Look of Silence: A household that survived the genocide in Indonesia confronts the boys who killed one of their brothers.
Drafthouse Films

Focusing on an optometrist named Adi, The Look of Silence is Joshua Oppenheimer’s highly effective companion piece to the Oscar-nominated The Act of Killing.

Rotten Tomatoes critics’ consensus states: “The Look of Silence delivers a less shocking—yet just as terribly compelling—companion piece to Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing.”

=15. Coup 53 (96%)

2019 ‧ Documentary ‧ 1h 59m

Coup 53
Iranian director Taghi Amirani (L) and US editor Walter Murch of the movie Coup 53, pose in London on October 4, 2019
Getty Images

This doc tells the story of Operation Ajax, the CIA/MI6 staged coup in 1953 in Iran that overthrew a chief minister.

Rotten Tomatoes critics’ consensus states: “Rife with the political intrigue promised by its title, Coup 53 is a spellbinding documentary with the heart of a thriller.”

=15. Citizenfour (96%)

2014 ‧ Documentary/Historical Documentary ‧ 1h 53m

47 image
Citizenfour: Although most of the motion on this documentary is confined to a resort room, it by no means fails to be something lower than gripping. Poitras finds herself within the centre of the huge NSA leaks of 2013, filming the whistleblower Edward Snowden as he pits himself towards the mighty pressure of the U.S. authorities. It received the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Edward Snowden, who possesses information on the U.S. authorities’s huge covert surveillance packages, meets with journalists to expose the scandal.

Rotten Tomatoes critics’ consensus states: “Part real-life thriller, part sobering examination of 21st-century civil liberties, Citizenfour transcends ideology to offer riveting, must-see cinema.”

=15. Waltz with Bashir (96%)

2008 ‧ War/Documentary ‧ 1h 30m

47 Waltz With Bashir
Waltz with Bashir: A vet is haunted by visions in regards to the 1982 Lebanon War by which he served as an infantry soldier
Sony Pictures Classics

A vet is haunted by visions in regards to the 1982 Lebanon War by which he served as an infantry soldier.

Rotten Tomatoes critics’ consensus states: “A wholly innovative, original, and vital history lesson, with pioneering animation, Waltz With Bashir delivers its message about the Middle East in a mesmerizing fashion.”

=11. Project Nim (97%)

12 2011 ‧ Documentary/Drama ‧ 1h 33m

40 Project Nim
Project Nim: Audience rating: 84%.Tells the story of a chimpanzee taken from its mom at delivery and raised like a human youngster by a household in a brownstone on the higher West Side within the Nineteen Seventies.
Red Box Films

This documentary follows a chimp who within the Nineteen Seventies grew to become the main target of a landmark experiment aiming to illustrate apes can talk with language if raised and nurtured like people.

Rotten Tomatoes critics’ consensus states: “Equal parts hilarious, poignant, and heartbreaking, Project Nim not only tells a compelling story masterfully but also raises the flag on the darker side of human nature.”

=11. Weiner (97%)

2016 ‧ Documentary ‧ 1h 36m

Former congressman Anthony Weiner arrives at a New York courthouse for his sentencing in a sexting case on September 25, 2017 in New York City. Weiner’s sentence has been diminished by three months for good habits.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A intercourse scandal ruins former Republican Anthony Weiner‘s try at a political comeback when working as mayor of New York.

Rotten Tomatoes critics’ consensus states: “Weiner uses sharp insight and untrammeled access to offer a portrait of a political and personal collapse that’s as queasy as it is undeniably compelling.”

=11. Capturing the Friedmans (97%)

2003 ‧ Documentary/Mystery ‧ 1h 47m

The Friedmans are a seemingly typical, upper-middle-class Jewish household whose world is immediately reworked when the daddy and his youngest son are arrested and charged with surprising and horrible crimes.

While making ready a documentary about youngsters’s party entertainers, a filmmaker discovers that one of his topics was associated to males convicted of youngster sexual abuse

Rotten Tomatoes critics’ consensus states: “A haunting depiction of a disintegrating family and a powerful argument on the elusiveness of truth.”

=11. Spellbound (97%)

2002 ‧ Documentary ‧ 1h 35m

Spellbound: Eight youngsters of wildly disparate ethnic, class, and regional backgrounds are adopted from their particular person hometowns to Washington D.C. for the National Spelling Bee Finals.

This documentary follows youngsters as they work their approach towards the finals of a prestigious nationwide spelling bee competitors.

Rotten Tomatoes critics’ consensus states: “A suspenseful, gripping documentary that features an engaging cross-section of American children.”

=6. Jodorowsky’s Dune (98%)

2013 ‧ Documentary/Epic ‧ 1h 30m

44 Jodorowsky's Dune
Jodorowsky’s Dune tells the story of cult movie director Alejandro Jodorowsky and his formidable however finally doomed movie adaptation of the seminal science fiction novel.
Highline Pictures

A moviemaker discusses how he would have tailored Frank Herbert’s basic sci-fi novel Dune for the large display screen.

Rotten Tomatoes critics’ consensus states: “Part thoughtful tribute, part bittersweet reminder of a missed opportunity.”

=6. Murderball (98%)

2005 ‧ Documentary/Sport ‧1h 25m

44 8e9a2ba8-a477-42dc-83b3-b4e7dfce0d40
Murderball: Like every other nice sports activities story, Murderball options fierce rivalry, stopwatch suspense, dazzling athletic prowess, larger-than-life personalities and conquer daunting odds.

This doc follows the U.S. quad rugby team as they put together for and play full-contact aggressive rugby,

Rotten Tomatoes critics’ consensus states: “An entertaining and gripping documentary that shows being confined to a wheelchair doesn’t mean the fun has to end.”

=6. Blackfish (98%)

2013 ‧ Documentary ‧ 1h 30m

23 Blackfish
Blackfish: A documentary following the controversial captivity of killer whales, and its risks for each people and whales.
Magnolia Pictures

Blackfish tells the story of Tilikum, a performing killer whale that killed a number of folks whereas in captivity.

Rotten Tomatoes critics’ consensus states: “Blackfish is an aggressive, impassioned documentary that will change the way you look at performance killer whales.”

=6. Inside Job (98%)

2010 ‧ Documentary/Crime ‧ 1h 48m

43 Inside Job
Inside Job takes a more in-depth have a look at what introduced in regards to the 2008 monetary meltdown.
Sony Pictures Classics

Inside Job offers detailed examinations of the weather main to the 2008 monetary collapse.

Rotten Tomatoes critics’ consensus states: “Disheartening but essential viewing, Charles Ferguson’s documentary explores the 2008 Global Financial Crisis with exemplary rigor.”

=6. Anvil! The Story of Anvil (98%)

2008 ‧ Documentary/Rockumentary ‧ 1h 20m

13 Anvil_Tokyo5
Anvil! The Story of Anvil: Toronto college buddies Steve “Lips” Kudlow and Robb Reiner made a pact to rock collectively endlessly. Their band, Anvil, went on to develop into the “demigods of Canadian metal,” releasing one of the heaviest albums in metallic historical past.

This documentary lifts the lid on little-known Canadian metallic band Anvil, who would assist encourage bands comparable to Anthrax and Metallica.

Rotten Tomatoes critics’ consensus states: “A touching, uplifting and inspirational rockumentary about an aging metal band, both hilarious and heart-warming in equal measure.”

=4. Kedi (98%)

2016 ‧ Documentary ‧ 1h 20m

Kedi follows the itinerant lives of the a whole bunch of hundreds of cats
La Termita Films

This documentary explores the traditional metropolis of Istanbul and its distinctive folks, by means of the eyes of its unimaginable cat inhabitants.

Rotten Tomatoes critics’ consensus states: “Kedi is a cat fancier’s dream, but this thoughtful, beautifully filmed look at Istanbul’s street feline population offers absorbing viewing for film goers of any purr-suasion.”

=4. Life Itself (98%)

2014 ‧ Documentary ‧ 2 hours

life itself
Life Itself: The life and work of legendary film critic Roger Ebert are explored on this documentary, focussing specifically on his sometimes savage rivalry with fellow movie critic Gene Siskel
Kartemquin Films, Film Rites, CNN Films

A filmmaker charts the life and profession of film critic Roger Ebert, paying explicit consideration to his periodically ruthless rivalry with fellow critic Gene Siskel.

Rotten Tomatoes critics’ consensus states: “Rich in detail and warmly affectionate, Life Itself offers a joyful yet poignant tribute to a critical cinematic legacy.”

=2. I Am Not Your Negro (99%)

2016 ‧ Documentary ‧ 1h 35m)

I Am Not Your Negro
I Am Not Your Negro explores racism by means of the tales of three legendary activists
Velvet Film, Close Up Films, Artemis Productions

This highly effective documentary explores racism by means of the phrases of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.

Rotten Tomatoes critics’ consensus states: “I Am Not Your Negro offers an incendiary snapshot of James Baldwin’s crucial observations on American race relations—and a sobering reminder of how far we’ve yet to go.”

=2. 20 Feet from Stardom (99%)

2013 ‧ Documentary/Musical ‧ 1h 31m

49 20 Feet From Stardom
20 Feet From Stardom: Backup singers reside in a world that lies simply past the highlight. Their voices convey concord to the largest bands in standard music, however we have had no thought who these singers are or what lives they lead, till now.
Tremolo Productions

This doc delivers a long-overdue highlight on the hit-making contributions of backup singers like Darlene Love and Merry Clayton.

Rotten Tomatoes critics’ consensus states: “Rich, insightful, and occasionally heartbreaking, 20 Feet From Stardom is an energetic tribute to the passion, talent, and hard work of backup singers.”

1. Man on Wire (100%)

2008 ‧ Documentary/Indie movie ‧ 1h 34m

41 Man on Wire
Man on Wire: A have a look at tightrope walker Philippe Petit’s daring, however unlawful, high-wire routine carried out between New York City’s World Trade Center’s twin towers in 1974, what some contemplate, “the artistic crime of the century”.
Magnolia Pictures

Filmmaker James Marsh recreates high-wire adrenaline junky Philippe Petit’s 1974 acrobatics on a skinny wire strung between the Twin Towers

Rotten Tomatoes critics’ consensus states: “James Marsh’s doc about artist Phililppe Petit’s artful caper brings you every ounce of suspense that can be wrung from a man on a (suspended) wire.”

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