What we love

Best Documentaries

Few stories are as affecting and inspirational as the true ones that take place in the world every day. The documentaries on that list prove that point and then some -- you'll cheer, you'll cry, you'll rage, and you'll always be moved.

Browse Best Documentaries

AGE
8
QUALITY
 
Dance documentary hits all the right beats.
csm_movie
On DVD/Streaming
(2005)
AGE
6
QUALITY
 
Breathtaking docu zooms in on insect life in vivid color.
csm_movie
On DVD/Streaming
(2005)
AGE
9
QUALITY
 
Families should see this m-a-r-v-e-l-o-u-s film.
csm_movie
On DVD/Streaming
(2004)
AGE
10
QUALITY
 
Smart docu about controversial football player's redemption.
csm_movie
On DVD/Streaming
(2014)
AGE
10
QUALITY
 
Antarctic adventure docu has lots of positive messages.
csm_tv
Network: National Geographic Channel
(2013)
AGE
10
QUALITY
 
Charming, thought-provoking global docu about childhood.
csm_movie
In Theaters Now
(2014)
AGE
10
QUALITY
 
Earnest, inspiring docu shows realities of rural poverty.
csm_movie
On DVD/Streaming
(2013)
AGE
10
QUALITY
 
Stirring docu sees superhero as powerful motivator for good.
csm_movie
On DVD/Streaming
(2014)
AGE
10
QUALITY
 
Moving, engaging docu about high school musical theater.
csm_movie
On DVD/Streaming
(2012)
AGE
10
QUALITY
 
Inspiring story about an underdog high school robotics team.
csm_movie
On DVD/Streaming
(2014)
AGE
11
QUALITY
 
Subtitled docu about sushi chef inspires and enlightens.
csm_movie
On DVD/Streaming
(2012)
AGE
11
QUALITY
 
Lots of historical detail in evenhanded, traditional docu.
csm_movie
On DVD/Streaming
(2014)
AGE
12
QUALITY
 
Docu about senior fashionistas promotes positive body image.
csm_movie
On DVD/Streaming
(2014)
AGE
12
QUALITY
 
Uplifting docu promotes religious tolerance via dance.
csm_movie
On DVD/Streaming
(2014)
AGE
12
QUALITY
 
Excellent docu on Muslim high school football players.
csm_movie
On DVD/Streaming
(2011)
AGE
12
QUALITY
 
Inspiring docu explores female heroes in comics, real life.
csm_tv
Network: PBS
(2013)
AGE
12
QUALITY
 
Serious adult docu about Muppets in the 3rd world.
csm_movie
On DVD/Streaming
(2006)
AGE
13
QUALITY
 
Riveting docu may inspire discussion of sexual harassment.
csm_movie
On DVD/Streaming
(2014)
AGE
13
QUALITY
 
Stellar docu on influential punk band; talk of drugs, drink.
csm_movie
On DVD/Streaming
(2005)
Editors' pick
AGE
13
QUALITY
 
Stunning documentary, great for older kids.
csm_movie
On DVD/Streaming
(2005)
AGE
13
QUALITY
 
Inspiring docu shows young people capable of great things.
csm_movie
In Theaters Now
(2014)
AGE
13
QUALITY
 
Moving, earnest documentary on global warming.
csm_movie
On DVD/Streaming
(2006)
Editors' pick
AGE
13
QUALITY
 
Affecting true story of homelessness and the human spirit.
csm_tv
Network: MTV
(2012)
AGE
13
QUALITY
 
Enlightening documentary for adults and teens.
csm_movie
On DVD/Streaming
(2004)
Editors' pick
AGE
13
QUALITY
 
Excellent docu about teen sailor; some brief profanity.
csm_movie
On DVD/Streaming
(2014)
AGE
13
QUALITY
 
Underdogs rule in real-life Quidditch docu; some profanity.
csm_movie
On DVD/Streaming
(2014)
AGE
14
QUALITY
 
Profound docu explores African-American racial identity.
csm_movie
On DVD/Streaming
(2009)
AGE
14
QUALITY
 
Gruesome, powerful, and inspiring dolphin documentary.
csm_movie
On DVD/Streaming
(2009)
AGE
14
QUALITY
 
Autobiographical docuseries raises issues relevant to teens.
csm_tv
Network: Al Jazeera America
(2014)
AGE
13
QUALITY
 
Engaging docu promotes a vegan diet in nonjudgmental way.
csm_movie
On DVD/Streaming
(2011)
AGE
14
QUALITY
 
Inspiring docu about gang intervention program in LA.
csm_movie
On DVD/Streaming
(2013)
AGE
14
QUALITY
 
Transgender soldier docu portrays bravery, strength.
csm_movie
On DVD/Streaming
(2014)
AGE
14
QUALITY
 
Top-notch documentary features strong Latino role models.
csm_tv
Network: HBO
(2012)
AGE
14
QUALITY
 
Captivating, moving sports docu; some swearing.
csm_movie
On DVD/Streaming
(2014)
AGE
14
QUALITY
 
Poignant LGBT docu highlights issues of respect, acceptance.
csm_tv
Network: HBO
(2013)
AGE
14
QUALITY
 
Inspiring documentary portrays the dignity of the poor.
csm_movie
On DVD/Streaming
(2011)
AGE
14
QUALITY
 
Vibrant, poignant, inspiring music docu; some profanity.
csm_movie
On DVD/Streaming
(2013)
AGE
15
QUALITY
 
Intense, awe-inspiring docu about extreme marathoners.
csm_movie
On DVD/Streaming
(2013)
AGE
15
QUALITY
 
Docu about holiday helpers has mature themes, profanity.
csm_movie
On DVD/Streaming
(2014)
AGE
16
QUALITY
 
Moving documentary brings hate-crime victim to life.
csm_movie
In Theaters Now
(2015)
AGE
16
QUALITY
 
Outstanding but shattering docu set in war-torn Congo.
csm_movie
On DVD/Streaming
(2014)
AGE
16
QUALITY
 
Spike Lee's masterful and disturbing Katrina docu.
csm_movie
On DVD/Streaming
(2006)
AGE
17
QUALITY
 
Must-see gun violence documentary is brutal.
csm_movie
On DVD/Streaming
(2003)

Other great lists from our editors

Advice on the big issues