Special Report

The 50 Best Documentaries of All Time

Source: Courtesy of The Weinstein Company

45. Pete Seeger: The Power of Song (2007)
> IMDb average rating: 8.4 (459 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 92% (524 votes)
> Director: Jim Brown

A tribute to legendary folk singer and activist Pete Seeger, this documentary features archival footage and interviews with members of Seeger’s family and numerous musicians about the impact his voice had on the political climate and multiple generations of fans.

Source: Courtesy of Hemispheric Pictures

44. Lessons of Darkness (1992)
> IMDb average rating: 8.0 (5,734 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 92% (2,985 votes)
> Director: Werner Herzog

Utilizing striking, unearthly footage of burning oil fields in post-Gulf War Kuwait, Herzog explores themes more abstract than politics and war, with minimal narration and a haunting musical score.

Source: Courtesy of Gramercy Pictures

43. When We Were Kings (1996)
> IMDb average rating: 8.0 (17,339 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 94% (9,096 votes)
> Director: Leon Gast

Following the leadup to the “Rumble in the Jungle,” a 1974 heavyweight championship boxing match in Zaire between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali, this documentary displays the differences in the boxers’ strategies in the match as well as in their self-promotion tactics with the press.

42. Sigur Rós: Heima (2007)
> IMDb average rating: 8.5 (8,112 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 96% (4,483 votes)
> Director: Dean DeBlois

This film follows the Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rós as they tour around their home country, playing a series of free concerts. The band’s ethereal, otherworldly music drives the documentary, along with reflections from the musicians.

Source: Courtesy of Angel Films

41. Minding the Gap (2018)
> IMDb average rating: 8.1 (8,912 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 91% (641 votes)
> Director: Bing Liu

Following the lives of three young skateboarders in Rockford, Illinois, this documentary uncovers the bonds between friends, their tumultuous home lives, and effects of childhood abuse and racism that threaten their relationships.

Sponsored: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor

Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.