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The Man with a Movie Camera

Dziga Vertov's THE MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA, coming in at #2 in the Chlotrudis Society for Independent Film's Top 100 Documentaries of all time was made in 1929, the oldest film to appear on this list.

Last updated: January 1, 2007
Copyright 2006 Michael R. Colford.
All rights reserved

Chlotrudis Society Picks:
100 Top Documentary Films!

Chlotrudis Society for Independent Film has compiled its list of the top 100 documentary films of all time. To create this list, members were asked to come up with their Top 10 - 20 documentaries of all time. For our purposes, documentaries included concert films, and films made for televsion. After receiving all of the lists, numerical values were assigned to each of the rankings, and each movie was given a point total. The number of lists a movie appears on is also a factor. Much has been said about the rise of documentaries in the last 5 years or so, and our resulting list certainly speaks to that. In the Top100, nearly half (49) were made post 2000, with 23 made during the 90's, 12 during the 80's, 9 during the 70's, 4 during the 60's, and one each during the 50's and the 20's. It is also interesting to note that the top 3 films could be considered "older documentaries." Not surprisingly, Errol Morrs appears most frequently with four films in the Top 100, his highest being THE FOG OF WAR in at #19. Four filmmaker/filmmaker teams appeard three times: Jonathan Demme, Frederick Wiseman, Michael Moore, and Joe Berlinger & Bruce Sinofsky. Women filmmakers are responsible, or partly responsible for 21 of the Top 100 films. So if you're been enjoying recent documentary fare such as AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, SUPER SIZE ME or FAHRENHEIT 9/11, take this list with you to the video store (or toss some of these titles on your Netflix queue) and try out some of these documentaries.

We hope you enjoy our list of the 100 Best Documentaries.

01 Grey Gardens Ellen Hovde; Albert Maysles; David Maysles; Muffie Meyer 1975
02 The Man with a Movie Camera Dziga Vertov 1929
03 Stop Making Sense Jonathan Demme 1984
04 Tarnation Joanthan Caouette 2003
05 The Up Series Michael Apted Various
06 The Gleaners & I Agnès Varda 2000
07 Titicut Follies Frederick Wiseman 1967
08 Spellbound Jeffrey Blitz 2002
09 Double Dare Amanda Micheli 2004
10 Grizzly Man Werner Herzog 2005
11 Crumb Terry Zwigoff 1994
12 Born into Brothels Zana Briski; Ross Kauffman 2004
13 DiG! Ondi Timoner 2004
14 This Film Is Not Yet Rated Kirby Dick 2006
15 In the Realms of the Unreal Jessica Yu 2004
16 Bowling for Columbine Michael Moore 2002
17 Hoop Dreams Steve James 1994
18 Capturing the Friedmans Andrew Jarecki 2003
19 The Fog of War Errol Morris 2003
20 Murderball Henry Alex Rubin; Dana Adam Shapiro 2005
21 O.T.: Our Town Scott Hamilton Kennedy 2002
22 The Wonderful Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl Ray Müller
1993
23 Winged Migration Jacques Perrin; Jacques Cluzaud; Michel Debats 2001
24 Times of Harvey Milk Rob Epstein 1984
25 Don't Look Back D.A. Pennebaker 1967
26 Harlan County, U.S.A. Barbara Kopple 1976
27 Buena Vista Social Club Wim Wenders 1999
28 Gigantic: a Tale of Two Johns A.J. Schnack 2002
29 Night and Fog Alain Renais 1955
30 Fahrenheit 9/11 Michael Moore 2004
31 My Architect: a Son's Story Nathaniel Kahn 2003
32 Fast, Cheap and Out of Control Errol Morris 1997
33 Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky 1996
34 Shut Up & Sing Barbara Kopple 2006
35 Love & Diane Jennifer Dworkin 2002
36 The Agronomist Jonathan Demme 2003
37 Gimme Shelter Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Charlotte Zwerin 1970
38 Brother's Keeper Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky 1992
39 How to Draw a Bunny John W. Walter 2002
40 10th District Court Raymond Depardon 2004
41 Let's Get Lost Bruce Weber 1988
42 Baseball Ken Burns 1994
43 Thin Blue Line Errol Morris 1988
44 Swimming to Cambodia Jonathan Demme 1987
45 High School Frederick Wiseman 1968
46 Liza with a "Z" Bob Fosse 1972
47 Rivers and Tides Thomas Riedelsheimer 2001
48 Shoah Claude Lanzmann 1985
49 Mad Hot Ballroom Marilyn Agreto 2005
50 The Devil & Daniel Johnston Jeff Feuerzeig 2005
51 Darwin's Nightmare Hubert Sauper 2004
52 My Father, the Genius Lucia Small 2002
53 Metallica, Some Kind of Monster Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky 2004
54 One Day in September Kevin Macdonald 1999
55 The Last Waltz Martin Scorsese 1978
56 So Much So Fast Steven Ascher, Jeanne Jordan 2006
57 Enron: the Smartest Guys in the Room Alex Gibney 2005
58 Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism Robert Greenwald 2004
59 American Movie Chris Smith 1999
60 Mr. Death: the Rise and Fall of Fred J. Leuchter, Jr. Errol Morris 1999
61 Original Cast Album: Company D.A. Pennebaker 1970
62 Sherman's March Ross McElwee 1986
63 Amandla! A Revolution in Four Part Harmony Lee Hirsch 2002
64 Ballet Russes Daniel Geller, Dayna Goldfine 2005
65 Pour la suite du monde Michel Brault, Marcel Carrière, Pierre Perrault 1963
66 The Corporation Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott 2003
67 Koyaanisqatsi Godfrey Reggio 1982
68 The Life & Times of Hank Greenberg Aviva Kempner 1998
69 Bob Dylan: No Direction Home Martin Scorsese 2005
70 The Case of the Grinning Cat Chris Marker 2004
71 New York Doll Greg Whiteley 2005
72 Without Memory Hirokazu Koreeda 1996
73 Cosmos Adrian Malone 1980
74 Hearts and Minds Peter Davis 1974
75 F for Fake Orson Welles 1974
76 La Ville Louvre Nicolas Philibert 1990
77 Rod Serling: Writer Colin Strayer 1996
78 Mondovino Jonathan Nossiter 2004
79 When We Were Kings Leon Gast 1996
80 Who Killed the Electric Car? Chris Paine 2006
81 Free Fall Péter Forgács 1997
82 War Reporters Patrick Chauvel 2004
83 Vietnam: a Television History Judith Vecchione 1983
84 Blood in the Face Anne Bohlen, Kevin Rafferty, James Ridgeway 1991
85 Word is Out Rob Epstein 1978
86 Stone Reader Mark Moskowitz 2002
87 Roger & Me Michael Moore 1989
88 Bukowski: Born Into This John Dullaghan 2003
89 Kestrel's Eye Mikael Kristersson 1998
90 Cane Toads Mark Lewis 1988
91 Berkeley in the Sixties Mark Kitchell 1990
92 Domestic Violence Frederick Wiseman 2001
93 Lessons of Darkness Werner Herzog 1992
94 Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision Freida Lee Mock 1994
95 Jesus Camp Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady 2006
96 Standing in the Shadows of Motown Paul Justman 2002
97 An Inconvenient Truth Davis Guggenheim 2006
98 Hearts of Darkness: a Filmmaker's Apocalypse Fax Bahr, George Hickenlooper, Eleanor Coppola 1991
99 Why We Fight Andrew Jarecki 2005
100 Who Gets to Call It Art? Peter Rosen 2006