The 21 Best Documentaries Ever

Personally, I’m actually more a fan of comedies, so-called art films, and foreign movies, but a truly good documentary is so fascinating that even I, a non-docaholic, am held rapt. In search of more doc stunners, I headed over to r/AskReddit to find out which movies I should add to my Netflix Instant queue immediately (if they’re available).

1. danrennt98


Dark Days, it’s a documentary about the homeless people that live under the subways of NYC. It’s super interesting. Some people even have electricity and TV, it’s dirty as fuck, but people have their own shacks and a family down there. It’s crazy and awesome and scary at the same time.

2. El_Nopal

Touching the Void. It’s a documentary about two mountain climbers… after summiting a mountain in South America they had an accident on the way back down. One guy slipped and broke his leg and in getting him off the mountain the other was forced to make a decision of cutting him lose and letting him fall to his death… or both of them falling…. so he cut him loose and left him for dead. They both end up surviving…. very intense film.. edge of your seat kind of feel. The cinematography is stunning and the reenactment seems real. Story is told by the actual guys involved.

3. ratbastid

The Thin Blue Line by Errol Morris. Not only is it a shocking and engaging piece of filmmaking, it literally changed a guilty verdict and freed an innocent man.

4. viborg

Wow, usually in these threads The Century of the Self is close to the top if not the top selection. It’s an incredible short series made for BBC about how propaganda transformed into “public relations” in the USA in the early 20th century, and how much that process affected society henceforth.

5. babydill

Capturing the Friedmans…one of my favorites I didn’t see mentioned here. A compelling story on it’s own, this doc is made incredible by the breadth of home video footage and range of interviews. Like a lot of good docs it’s a haunting film.

6. rickyt3292


Cocaine Cowboys. I knew Miami was crazy, but not THAT crazy.

7. bearded_lobster

The Queen of Versailles. Great documentary of a man (David Siegel) who becomes extremely wealthy when he opened a series of resorts, and just plummets into debt from the declining economy. He also has a wife who makes you just as agitated, as he is.

8. asianego

I love the Planet Earth series and have watched every episode at least three times.

9. Orange_Lazarus

Hoop Dreams. Sorry, it’s about sports but it’s one of the best looks into the Chicago ghetto.

10. scawt


American Movie. Terrible name (always have to tell people it’s not related to Scary Movie) but amazingly good documentary about a filmmaker in Wisconsin.

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11. futuredrew

Grizzly Man. I’ve seen it 4 times on Netflix. It’s about a dude named Timothy Treadwell, it’s a beautiful documentary about a man who clearly had severe problems with himself both personally and sexually. He was trying to be an actor but got involved with drugs, he got clean and decided to go live with the bears in Alaska. I’m gonna spill it here but he get mauled and eaten by a bear. The show no footage or pictures of the scene, there is a part where the director of the documentary listens to the footage. It’s really good, Timmy’s footage is, at times, beautiful. Bears.

12. hacktiveLife

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. It’s amazing to see how such a massive corporation fell to greed and how everyone just watched it happen.

13. JamieOFlanagan

Indie Game: The Movie for gamers, specifically fans of indie games and the process of making games.

14. JamieOFlanagan

The Bridge if you want to get really depressed.

15. oddjob60

Dogtown and Z-Boys, about how a bunch of surfers invented modern skateboarding.

16. StickleyMan


Jiro Dreams of Sushi is such a surprisingly engrosing documentary. And it’s on Netflix.

17. yeah_but_no

Hands on a Hard Body. good luck finding it (i sold my copy on ebay for around $100 years ago) its an early 90s, low low low budget doc about a contest where contestants must stand upright with at least one hand on a truck. last person standing wins the truck. cant lean/fall asleep, cant take your hand off the truck. its funny because its in the south and the people are trashy/rednecks/not so smart, BUT also a shockingly gripping and exciting plot plays out. and theres some actual wisdom in there. also great to watch at a party/get together as everyone will naturally have favorite contestants they root for. clip of one of the contestant’s husbands, wearing a makeshift cardboard hat/sign and talking about how his air conditioning unit can get so cold it could kill you; edit : film is now available at !

18. big_swinging_dicks

Waltz with Bashir. The ending is absolutely devastating.

19. Kijafa

Hearts of Darkness. About the making of Apocalypse Now and, as they said on Community, it’s honestly better than the movie.

20. addictedtocheds

The Cove, Japan is fucked up.

20. AltInnateEgo


Exit Through the Gift Shop really changed how I view art. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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