Filmmakers’ Greatest Documentaries of All Time

The greatest documentaries ever made, as voted by 103 directors including John Akomfrah, Thom Andersen, Michael Apted, Clio Barnard, Sophie Fiennes, Amos Gitai, Paul Greengrass, José Luis Guerin, Isaac Julien, Asif Kapadia, Sergei Loznitsa, Kevin Macdonald, James Marsh, Joshua Oppenheimer, Anand Patwardhan, Pawel Pawlikowski, Nicolas Philibert, Walter Salles and James Toback…

See our acknowledgements page for a full list of the voters; also the critics’ top 50 films, or now browse all the votes and comments on our dedicated interactive webpage.

Updated:

The top 30

1. Man with a Movie Camera

Dziga Vertov, USSR 1929

25 votes

2. Sans soleil

Chris Marker, France 1982

20 votes

3. The Thin Blue Line

Errol Morris, USA 1989

19 votes

=4. Shoah

Claude Lanzmann, France 1985

16 votes

=4. Night and Fog

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Alain Resnais, France 1955

16 votes

=6. Salesman

Albert and David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin, USA 1968

12 votes

=6. Titicut Follies

Frederick Wiseman, USA 1967

12 votes

=8. Dont Look Back

D.A. Pennebaker, USA 1967

11 votes

=8. Man of Aran

Robert Flaherty, UK 1934

11 votes

=8. Nanook of the North

Robert Flaherty, USA 1922

11 votes

=11. Belovy

Viktor Kossakovsky, Russia 1994

9 votes

=11. Chronicle of a Summer

Jean Rouch & Edgar Morin, France 1961

9 votes

=11. Grey Gardens

Albert and David Maysles, Ellen Hovde and Muffie Meyer, USA 1975

9 votes

=14. Burden of Dreams

Les Blank, USA 1982

8 votes

=14. Darwin’s Nightmare

Hubert Sauper, Austria/Germany/Belgium/France/Netherlands 2004

8 votes

=14. Hoop Dreams

Steve James, USA 1994

8 votes

=14. Le Sang des bêtes

Georges Franju, France 1948

8 votes

=14. Seasons

Artavazd Pelechian, USSR/Armenia 1975

8 votes

=19. The Battle of Chile

Patricio Guzméan, Chile/Cuba 1975-78

7 votes

=19. The Gleaners and I

Agnès Varda, France 2000

7 votes

=19. Grizzly Man

Werner Herzog, USA 2005

7 votes

=19. Koyaanisqatsi

Godfrey Reggio, USA 1983

7 votes

=19. Roger & Me

Michael Moore, USA 1989

7 votes

=19. Sherman’s March

Ross McElwee, USA 1985

7 votes

=19. Triumph of the Will

Leni Riefenstahl, Germany 1935

7 votes

=19. Welfare

Frederick Wiseman, USA 1975

7 votes

=19. When We Were Kings

Leon Gast, USA 1996

7 votes

=28. The Act of Killing

Joshua Oppenheimer, Christine Cynn and anonymous, Denmark/Finland/UK/Germany/Netherlands/Norway/Poland/Sweden  2012

6 votes

=28. Gimme Shelter

Albert and David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin, USA 1970

6 votes

=28. Harlan County U.S.A.

Barbara Kopple, USA 1976

6 votes

=28. Land without Bread

Luis Buñuel, Spain 1933

6 votes

=28. Leviathan

Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel, France/UK/USA 2012

6 votes

=28. Little Dieter Needs to Fly

Werner Herzog, UK/Germany 1997

6 votes

=28. The Sorrow and the Pity

Marcel Ophüls, Switzerland 1969

6 votes

=28. West of the Tracks

Wang Bing, China 2002

6 votes

See all the votes

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