The 50 best documentaries of all time, according to critics

Muhammad Ali in

Some of the greatest moments in cinematic history are scenes of non-fiction.

From a profile of boxing legend Muhammad Ali to a portrait of a renowned sushi chef, the best documentaries capture real-life phenomena in a memorable and artful fashion.

To find out which documentary films have received the most critical acclaim over time, we turned to the reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes for its ranking of the top documentaries in history.

The site ranked the films by a weighted critic score that accounts for variation in the number of reviews each film received. 

Here are the 50 best documentaries of all time, according to critics:

SEE ALSO: All 49 of Netflix’s notable original movies, ranked from worst to best

50. “Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me” (2014)

Critic score: 98%

User score: 79%

Summary:The uncompromising Tony and Emmy Award-winner is showcased both on and off stage via rare archival footage and intimate cinema vérité.”

49. “The Overnighters” (2014)

Critic score: 98%

User score: 84%

Summary:Broken, desperate men chase their dreams and run from their demons in the North Dakota oil fields. A local Pastor risks everything to help them.

48. “The Look of Silence” (2015)

Critic score: 96%

User score: 90%

Summary:A family that survived the genocide in Indonesia confronts the men who killed one of their brothers.

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