For our third installment of our "Movies to See Before You Die" series,
we decided to highlight the documentary. The nonfiction movie has long
been given less of the limelight than its bigger-budget, more glamorous
counterpart, the feature film. Yet the doc has one big advantage over
its fictional brethren: it's not made up. The stories are real and that
power of authenticity gives these movies a power and a weight that
screenwriters can only dream of having. Documentaries have defined
decades, changed governments, and even freed the wrongly accused from
death row. And lately, they've become big business. Movies like "Super
Size Me," "March of the Penguins" and "Fahrenheit 9/11" have had very
lucrative theatrical releases while the popularity of DVDs has extended
the reach of docs that might have only been seen by a handful of
hardcore film nerds in the past. We restricted our list to just movies
intended to be seen in a movie theater, if only because this site is
called Yahoo! Movies. As much as we liked Ken Burns' "The Civil War,"
"Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years" and "When The Levee
Breaks," they premiered on television. Look through the list below and
check out our choices for the top docs of all time. None of these
flicks should be missed. And while you're at it, take a look at our two
preview lists, 100 Movies to See Before You Die, and 100 Movies to See Before You Die: The Modern Classics.
50 Documentaries to See Before You Die
The most enlightening and engaging true-life films ever made.