50 best mockumentary movies

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September 25, 2020
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50 best mockumentary movies

At one point in Rob Reiner’s seminal 1984 mockumentary, “This Is Spinal Tap,” Michael McKean’s pretentious rock star declares, “I believe virtually everything I read, and I think that is what makes me more of a selective human than someone who doesn’t believe anything.”

The line does a fine job of summing up mockumentaries as a genre, which poke fun at real-life phenomena and events through seemingly “realistic,” faux-documentary film techniques. This art form has been around in a major way since 1938, when Orson Welles read a fake radio news broadcast adapted from H.G. Wells’ alien-invasion tale “War of the Worlds” and convinced many Americans that little green men had in fact touched down on Earth. Since then, film versions of mockumentaries have built upon that dynamic, blurring the line between real-life sensationalism and pointed, fictional comedy.

Mockumentaries began to hit their stride in the 1960s with acclaimed films like 1964’s “A Hard Day’s Night” and 1969’s “Take the Money and Run” leading to the genre-defining British heavy metal spoof, 1984’s “This Is Spinal Tap.” From “Spinal Tap” came Christopher Guest, a director whose body of work (including films such as “Waiting for Guffman,” “Best In Show,” and “For Your Consideration”) became synonymous with high-profile, largely improvisational mockumentaries.

Stacker compiled IMDb data to determine the 50 best mockumentaries of all time as of Sept. 11, 2020. Because fewer mockumentaries exist in comparison to other film genres, TV movies and a few films with runtimes between 30 and 60 minutes that met all other requirements were also included. Ties were broken by the number of votes, and each movie on the list has been considered in terms of what it has added to the cinematic development and history of the genre.

Counting down from 50, here are the best mockumentaries of all time.

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1 / 50
Virgil Films

#50. Chalk (2006)

- Director: Mike Akel
- IMDb user rating: 6.2
- Votes: 1,296
- Metascore: 70

“Chalk” is a comedy mockumentary that centers on three teachers (Troy Schremmer, Chris Mass, and Janelle Schremmer) and one assistant principal (Shannon Haragan), who are muddling through another year at a classic American high school. Based on Akel’s and Mass’ real-life teaching experiences and almost entirely improvised, the movie was praised for flipping the “inspirational teacher movie” trope on its head. “‘Chalk’ mines nervous laughter from the gulf between teacher and student culture, and the contrast between how its simultaneously self-conscious and oblivious teachers see themselves, and how the rest of the world sees them,” wrote The A.V. Club’s Nathan Rabin

2 / 50
LolliLove Productions

#49. LolliLove (2004)

- Director: Jenna Fischer
- IMDb user rating: 6.2
- Votes: 1,349
- Metascore: data not available

In “The Office” star Jenna Fischer’s directorial debut, she and her then-husband James Gunn play an out-of-touch, wealthy Californian couple who decide to document their efforts to “help” the local homeless population by giving them lollipops with a positive slogan on the wrapper. As the couple continue to performatively give back to impress their peers, their disconnect from the people to whom they’re supposedly giving charity becomes more and more clear. Fischer went on to receive a Screen Actors Guild Emerging Actor Award for her role in “Lollilove” and joined the cast of “The Office” shortly later.

3 / 50
Warner Bros.

#48. The Big Tease (1999)

- Director: Kevin Allen
- IMDb user rating: 6.2
- Votes: 2,312
- Metascore: 53

Craig Ferguson is Crawford Mackenzie, a Scottish hairdresser who is invited to the prestigious World Hairdresser International Federation’s annual contest while being filmed for a BBC documentary. Crawford is humiliated to arrive in Los Angeles and discover that he has only been invited to the event as an audience member, but sets out to prove himself on camera. TV Guide critic Ken Fox wrote that the film’s “potshots are perfectly aimed and Ferguson plays it all with so much heart you'll find yourself seriously rooting for a spiky-haired Scotsman in a skin-tight three-piece.”

4 / 50
Magnolia Pictures

#47. I'm Still Here (2010)

- Director: Casey Affleck
- IMDb user rating: 6.2
- Votes: 20,558
- Metascore: 48

Collaborating with his friend, director Casey Affleck, Joaquin Phoenix plays a fictionalized version of himself who quits his acting career and embarks on a haphazard transition into a full-time hip-hop career. The actor appeared in character during several public appearances in the midst of filming, giving even major outlets like E! Online the impression that he really was quitting Hollywood to pursue music.

5 / 50
Universal Pictures

#46. CB4 (1993)

- Director: Tamra Davis
- IMDb user rating: 6.3
- Votes: 8,637
- Metascore: 49

This mockumentary follows the fictional rap group named “CB4” (played by Chris Rock, Allen Payne, and Deezer D) whose name comes from the prison block where their band was originally formed (Cell Block 4). "CB4" mainly parodies the “gangsta rap” genre (particularly taking aim at rappers from the group N.W.A.), and is composed of many segments featuring celebrities such as Halle Berry, Ice Cube, Flavor Flav, and Shaquille O’Neal.

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6 / 50
Castle Rock Entertainment

#45. For Your Consideration (2006)

- Director: Christopher Guest
- IMDb user rating: 6.3
- Votes: 13,762
- Metascore: 68

Conceived as a parody of Hollywood award season “for your consideration” campaigns, Christopher Guest’s comedy centers on three actors (Catherine O’Hara, Parker Posey, and Harry Shearer) who are seized by ambition after hearing internet gossip that their roles in a drama they’re in the midst of filming could generate awards-season attention. However, things don’t go as planned after the studio president overseeing the film suggests some last-minute changes. O’Hara in particular was praised for her role in “For Your Consideration'' and was nominated for Best Female Lead at the Independent Spirit Awards.

7 / 50

#44. 2gether (2000 TV movie)

- Director: Nigel D**k
- IMDb user rating: 6.4
- Votes: 1,429
- Metascore: data not available

The mockumentary subject of “2gether” is its titular fictional boy band, whose members all fulfill a particular niche: “The Heartthrob” (Evan Farmer), “The Shy One” (Noah Bastian), “The Cute One” (Michael Cuccione), “The Older Brother” (Kevin Farley), and “The Bad Boy” (Alex Solowitz). Apart from serving as a spoof of ‘90s boy bands like Backstreet Boys and ‘N Sync, the film was also the first feature produced exclusively for MTV. The actors recorded two real musical albums as 2gether (“2gether” and “2Gether: Again”), both of which were released in 2000.

8 / 50
IFC Films

#43. Brothers of the Head (2005)

- Directors: Keith Fulton, Louis Pepe
- IMDb user rating: 6.4
- Votes: 1,705
- Metascore: 67

Harry and Luke Treadaway play Tom and Barry Howe, British conjoined twins who are groomed by a music promoter and form a punk-rock band called Bang Bang. When music journalist Laura (Tania Emery) profiles the twins, her blossoming romance with Tom leads to tensions between the brothers. “Brothers of the Head” is based on Brian Aldiss’ 1977 novel of the same name.

9 / 50
IFC Films

#42. C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America (2004)

- Director: Kevin Willmott
- IMDb user rating: 6.4
- Votes: 4,727
- Metascore: 62

Through the efforts of fictional British documentarians, “C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America” imagines an alternate history where the South won the Civil War. The movie unfolds chronologically, documenting major Confederate historical events from the 1800s to the early 21st century. Director Kevin Willmott said the film was inspired by Ken Burns’ 1990 documentary “The Civil War,” and that he hopes that its exploration of American racism will make audiences “start talking."

10 / 50
New Yorker Films

#41. David Holzman's Diary (1967)

- Director: Jim McBride
- IMDb user rating: 6.5
- Votes: 1,453
- Metascore: data not available

In an early example of mockumentary filmmaking, “David Holzman’s Diary” stars L.M. Kit Carson as David, a young New York City filmmaker who decides to document several days in his life after being laid off from his job. In The New York Times’ review of the movie, critic Nora Sayre called it “a totally delightful satire of cinéma vérité” that “mocks those ghastly reels from the 1960s, when various filmmakers immortalized themselves or their friends by trying and failing to be spontaneous.” “David Holzman’s Diary” also serves as a portrait of New York in 1967, as David wanders his Manhattan neighborhood and fears that he will soon be drafted into the Vietnam War.

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11 / 50
Magnolia Pictures

#40. Interview with the Assassin (2002)

- Director: Neil Burger
- IMDb user rating: 6.5
- Votes: 1,746
- Metascore: 60

At the beginning of “Interview with the Assassin,” unemployed cameraman Ron (Dylan Haggerty) is shocked when his elderly neighbor, Walter (Raymond J. Barry) asks him to document a shocking confession: He, not Lee Harvey Oswald, murdered John F. Kennedy. To give the film a sense of realism, it is filmed almost entirely from Ron’s perspective, with Haggerty rarely appearing on screen. It largely parodies who-killed-Kennedy conspiracy-thriller media, which has permeated Hollywood to varying degrees since the president’s death.

12 / 50
20th Century Fox

#39. Incident at Loch Ness (2004)

- Director: Zak Penn
- IMDb user rating: 6.5
- Votes: 3,862
- Metascore: 62

At first glance, “Incident at Loch Ness” is a mockumentary following German director Werner Herzog as he works on a documentary called “Enigma of the Loch Ness,” which explores the myth of the popular cryptid. However, the movie is revealed to be a film-within-a-film-within-a-film made by Zak Penn, which primarily works as a satirical sendup of Herzog’s eccentric filmography. The ruse was reportedly so successful that some publications initially reported that “Enigma of the Loch Ness” was a real movie.

13 / 50
Concrete Images

#38. The Boys & Girls Guide to Getting Down (2006)

- Director: Paul Sapiano
- IMDb user rating: 6.6
- Votes: 2,418
- Metascore: data not available

“The Boys and Girls Guide to Getting Down” regularly spoofs educational photos and how-to books, as the “documentary” instructs young people on how to mate during their evenings out. The film is split into 16 “chapters,” each of which envision different partying scenarios. Variety’s Robert Koehler wrote that it was “cheeky but never quite certain whether to spoof its vapid partygoers and clubbers or join ‘em.”

14 / 50
New Line Cinema

#37. Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999)

- Director: Michael Patrick Jann
- IMDb user rating: 6.6
- Votes: 32,027
- Metascore: 28

“Drop Dead Gorgeous” follows contestants of the fictional Sarah Rose Cosmetics Mount Rose Beauty Pageant in small-town Minnesota who begin to be mysteriously killed off as the competition intensifies. Michael Patrick Jann’s film features several prominent actresses, including Kirsten Dunst and Amy Adams in her feature-film debut. While “Drop Dead Gorgeous” received mixed reviews, it later became a cult classic (particularly among LGBTQ+ viewers).

15 / 50
FU2 Productions

#36. Fubar: Balls to the Wall (2010)

- Director: Michael Dowse
- IMDb user rating: 6.7
- Votes: 1,507
- Metascore: data not available

In this sequel to the 2002 heavy metal mockumentary “Fubar,” longtime best friends Terry (David Lawrence) and Dean (Paul Spence) leave their humdrum jobs in the Canadian city of Calgary in hopes of getting rich quickly by laying an oil pipeline. Terry soon adapts to life as part of the crew, but his connection to his newfound career is tested when Dean gives up and fakes an injury to receive compensation money. The movie was heavily improvised and debuted as part of the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival’s infamous Midnight Madness programming.

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16 / 50
Glen Echo Entertainment

#35. Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)

- Director: Scott Glosserman
- IMDb user rating: 6.7
- Votes: 21,226
- Metascore: 66

This spoof of slasher movies revolves around journalist Taylor Gentry (Angela Goethals) and her crew on their mission to profile Leslie Vernon, an aspiring serial killer who takes inspiration entirely from slasher movie tropes. “Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon” amassed generally favorable reviews, with Film Threat writing, “If you’re any kind of a [slasher] fan, you should already be out the door running to the nearest theater showing this thing.”

17 / 50
Universal Pictures

#34. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (2016)

- Directors: Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone
- IMDb user rating: 6.7
- Votes: 53,198
- Metascore: 68

Comedy trio The Lonely Island (Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer) are behind this 21st-century music mockumentary whose subject is an arrogant former boy-band-member-turned-solo artist, Conner4Real (Samberg), who struggles to hang onto fame after his new solo album flops. Collider’s Adam Chitwood noted that the movie “takes aim at the fame machine while also telling a sweet story about friendship,” as Conner finds newfound success by reconnecting with his former bandmates (Taccone and Schaffer). The film also features an exhaustive number of celebrity cameos, including Mariah Carey, Usher, Maya Rudolph, Simon Cowell, and Justin Timberlake (to name only a few).

18 / 50
Sony Pictures Animation

#33. Surf's Up (2007)

- Directors: Ash Brannon, Chris Buck
- IMDb user rating: 6.7
- Votes: 67,600
- Metascore: 64

This Sony Pictures Animation comedy parodies surfing documentaries like “Riding Giants” and “The Endless Summer” by following young penguin Cody Maverick (Shia LaBeouf) as he enters the annual Penguin World Surfing Championship. To achieve an authentic documentary feeling, the studio devised a unique motion-capture system. “Surf’s Up” went on to be nominated for best animated feature at the 80th Academy Awards.

19 / 50
Artists Independent Productions

#32. Mike Bassett: England Manager (2001)

- Director: Steve Barron
- IMDb user rating: 6.9
- Votes: 5,640
- Metascore: data not available

“Mike Bassett: England Manager” revolves around its titular subject, a lower-level football league manager who is suddenly appointed as the next England manager. When England qualifies for the World Cup based on a technicality, Mike is determined to whip the team into shape and prove himself. The movie (which was inspired by the Graham Taylor documentary “An Impossible Job”) went on to become a cult favorite amongst British football fans and later spawned a spin-off TV show simply called “Mike Bassett: Manager.”

20 / 50
Elrina Investment

#31. The Gods Must Be Crazy II (1989)

- Director: Jamie Uys
- IMDb user rating: 6.9
- Votes: 15,759
- Metascore: data not available

This sequel to Jamie Uys’ 1980 comedy “The Gods Must Be Crazy “sees traveling Kalahari Desert hunter-gatherer Xixo (N!xau) searching for his two children, while parallel storylines follow the elephant poachers who stole them, two rival soldiers attempting to take each other prisoner, and a zoologist and New York lawyer who also become stranded. Uys previously told The New York Times that he was inspired to create the franchise after he “fell in love with” the indigenous San people, but the director has also been criticized for being ignorant about the realities of South African racial discrimination and apartheid.

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21 / 50
Paramount Pictures

#30. Real Life (1979)

- Director: Albert Brooks
- IMDb user rating: 7.0
- Votes: 2,562
- Metascore: 64

This spoof of the 1973 reality TV show “An American Family” (which is thought to be the first American reality TV series) begins as comedian and first-time filmmaker Albert Brooks sets out to make his first documentary feature, a portrait of a Phoenix family. However, things quickly go south as tensions between the family (particularly the parents) mount. The New York Times writer Janet Maslin praised the mockumentary, calling it an “often very funny assault on manners, moviemaking, an allegedly typical American family, and everything its members hold dear.”

22 / 50
Alliance Atlantis Communications

#29. Fubar (2002)

- Director: Michael Dowse
- IMDb user rating: 7.0
- Votes: 3,963
- Metascore: data not available

Set in the early 2000s, “Fubar” chronicles the lives of Canadian best friends and headbanger slackers Terry (David Lawrence) and Dean (Paul Spence) as they contemplate life and drink beer. Originally based on a comedy routine performed by the two main actors, it inspired a loyal cult following. Lawrence and Spence later reprised their roles in 2010’s “Fubar: Balls to the Wall.”

23 / 50

#28. Bob Roberts (1992)

- Director: Tim Robbins
- IMDb user rating: 7.0
- Votes: 12,977
- Metascore: 70

Actor and director Tim Robbins stars in “Bob Roberts” as its titular conservative folk singer followed by British documentarian Terry Manchester (Brian Murray) as he decides to run in an upcoming United States Senate election. However, Terry soon learns that Bob is a cynic who isn’t afraid to resort to dirty moves to win his race. The movie was inspired by a segment of the same name that Robbins originally played on “Saturday Night Live.”

24 / 50
Bader Bros. Pictures

#27. Street Thief (2006)

- Director: Malik Bader
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Votes: 1,932
- Metascore: data not available

In “Street Thief,” two documentary filmmakers (Wesley Walker and Frank Zieger) spend several weeks following Kaspar Carr (director Malik Bader), a professional burglar who lives in Chicago. Things get risky when Kaspar invites the two men to come along with him during robberies, then disappears while robbing a local movie theater. Because of the realistic, handheld style in which the movie was shot, as well as interviews with crime experts and police officers, many viewers initially believed that they were watching a real documentary.

25 / 50
RAI Radiotelevisione Italiana

#26. The Clowns (1970)

- Director: Federico Fellini
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Votes: 2,193
- Metascore: data not available

Known for his dreamlike, fantastical films, Federico Fellini switched gears with this playful mockumentary inspired by his lifelong love of circus clowns. In order to recapture his childhood, several professionals reenact his memories of carefully choreographed clown performances. Famous film clown Charlie Chaplin is referenced by a brief cameo from his daughter, Victoria, who portrays an aspiring clown.

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26 / 50
HBO Films

#25. Tour de Pharmacy (2017)

- Director: Jake Szymanski
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Votes: 9,121
- Metascore: data not available

The HBO television mockumentary “Tour de Pharmacy” takes place in 1982, recounting a history of competitive cyclists’ illegal doping habits as a documentary crew trails five men (Andy Samberg, Orlando Bloom, Freddie Highmore, Daveed Diggs, and John Cena) taking part in the prestigious Tour de France. In an interview with Vulture, actor/producer Samberg said that after finding “so much strange behavior surrounding the sport...we felt like it was a funny thing to exaggerate and really blow up for comedic purposes.” Famous cyclist Lance Armstrong, who admitted to doping while competing, makes a notable cameo in “Tour de Pharmacy.”

27 / 50
Home Box Office (HBO)

#24. 7 Days in Hell (2015)

- Director: Jake Szymanski
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Votes: 16,214
- Metascore: data not available

Before making “Tour de Pharmacy,” Andy Samberg worked on another HBO sports mockumentary, “7 Days in Hell.” The film dramatizes a fictional 1990s tennis match between troublemaking American player Aaron Williams (Samberg) and vapid English player Charles Poole (Kit Harington), which lasts for seven days and becomes the longest game ever. It was inspired by John Isner and Nicolas Mahut’s marathon men’s singles match at the 2010 Wimbledon Championships.

28 / 50
Incorporated Television Company (ITC)

#23. Fear of a Black Hat (1993)

- Director: Rusty Cundieff
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Votes: 3,800
- Metascore: data not available

Largely a mockumentary about artists within the gangsta rap genre, “Fear of a Black Hat” follows sociologist Nina (Kasi Lemmons) as she spends a year documenting the rise and fall of the fictional, controversial hip-hop group N.W.H. for her thesis project. The movie’s title is a play on the title of Public Enemy’s 1990 album, “Fear of a Black Planet.” In a nod to a running joke in the 1984 film “This Is Spinal Tap,” N.W.H. has a rotating crop of white managers who subsequently die under mysterious circumstances.

29 / 50
Thunderbox Films

#22. Kenny (2006)

- Director: Clayton Jacobson
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Votes: 6,472
- Metascore: data not available

“Kenny” centers on a dedicated Australian plumber (Shane Jacobson) on his essential, often thankless career path. A fictional documentary crew begins filming the man as he juggles his work, the responsibilities of fatherhood, and an excursion to the renowned Pumper and Cleaner Expo in Nashville, Tennessee. The movie was followed by the TV series “Kenny’s World,” which follows Kenny as he takes a toilet tour of the world.

30 / 50
Castle Rock Entertainment

#21. A Mighty Wind (2003)

- Director: Christopher Guest
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Votes: 25,629
- Metascore: 81

“A Mighty Wind” captures the reunion of three fictional popular folk acts from the 1960s who come together to perform a memorial concert when their music producer dies. Christopher Guest’s mockumentary largely parodies America’s folk music revival in the early ‘60s, with San Francisco Chronicle journalist Mick LaSalle writing that the film “gently caricatures the folk music scene with dozens of delicate brush strokes, creating a picture that’s increasingly, gloriously funny.” A Mighty Wind received an Oscar nomination for best original song for “A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow,” and won a Grammy for its title song.

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31 / 50
Sweetland Films

#20. Sweet and Lowdown (1999)

- Director: Woody Allen
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Votes: 31,751
- Metascore: 70

Loosely based on the 1954 Italian drama “La Strada,” this Woody Allen film tells the story of egomaniacal jazz guitarist Emmet Ray (Sean Penn), who falls in love with a mute woman, Hattie (Samantha Morton). However, Hattie’s patience with her lover is strained when Emmet’s cheating and raucous lifestyle catches up to him. Penn and Morton went on to receive respective best actor and best supporting actress Oscar nominations for their roles.

32 / 50
British Film Institute (BFI)

#19. The Falls (1980)

- Director: Peter Greenaway
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Votes: 1,368
- Metascore: data not available

“The Falls” is split into 92 experimental segments recording the experiences of 92 victims of the fictional apocalyptic VUE (Violent Unexplained Event). The incident has caused many survivors to deal with mysterious symptoms, like evolving into bird-like creatures, becoming immortal, and speaking new original languages. “To me 'The Falls' often works as an epic sendup of film critics of the sort who are obsessed by films to the exclusion of everything else and who would happily devote a lifetime to the analysis of a single frame,” wrote The New York Times’ Vincent Canby.

33 / 50
Espen Eckbo

#18. Get Ready to Be Boyzvoiced (2000)

- Directors: Espen Eckbo, Henrik Elvestad, Mathis Fürst
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Votes: 1,410
- Metascore: data not available

This 2000 Norwegian mockumentary chronicles the downfall and comeback of the fictional boy band Boyzvoice. When they’re derailed by accusations of lip-syncing before their first album comes out, the members must get their act together before performing at Norway’s prestigious HitAwards show.

34 / 50
Terminal City Pictures

#17. Hard Core Logo (1996)

- Director: Bruce McDonald
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Votes: 2,545
- Metascore: data not available

Adapted from Michael Turner’s novel of the same name, “Hard Core Logo” chronicles the reunion of a fictional punk band after their friend was supposedly shot. “[The film’s] themes of rebellion, male friendship, mortality, and the grit and chaos of life on the road still play out today, as anyone who has been in a band can attest,” wrote Vice journalist Adam O. Thomas in 2016. “Hard Core Logo” was followed by a sequel, “Hard Core Logo 2,” in 2010.

35 / 50
True West Films

#16. It's All Gone Pete Tong (2004)

- Director: Michael Dowse
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Votes: 19,120
- Metascore: 56

Named for real-life British DJ Pete Tong, this mockumentary revolves around Frankie Wilde, an established DJ who is forced to reevaluate his life after losing his hearing. Several famous DJs and musicians make cameos throughout the movie, including Fatboy Slim, Barry Ashworth, and Pete Tong himself. BBC critic Adrian Hennigan found “It’s All Gone Pete Tong” to be “an engaging British comedy with a surprisingly warm heart.”

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36 / 50
American Broadcasting Company (ABC)

#15. Take the Money and Run (1969)

- Director: Woody Allen
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Votes: 27,730
- Metascore: 67

Woody Allen stars in one of his earlier features, portraying an inept fictional bank robber named Virgil Starkwell. “Take the Money and Run” functions as a faux documentary of Virgil’s life and descent into crime as a formerly bullied child and unlucky adult, including stock footage over interviews with people who knew him. It received fairly uniform critical acclaim, with TV Guide describing the movie as “a frequently hilarious, sometimes misfiring satire of crime movies.”

37 / 50
C.A.T. Films

#14. The Gods Must Be Crazy (1980)

- Director: Jamie Uys
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Votes: 51,593
- Metascore: 73

In “The Gods Must Be Crazy,” San actor N!xau plays Xi, a South African hunter-gatherer who has lived away from modern civilization for most of his life. When Xi embarks on a quest to return a glass bottle that he believes was a gift from the gods to its owners, he finds himself embroiled with a host of strangers, from a band of guerrilla terrorists to the new village school teacher (Sandra Prinsloo). The film became the most financially successful South African film ever upon its release and sparked four sequels.

38 / 50
20th Century Fox

#13. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006)

- Director: Larry Charles
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Votes: 346,988
- Metascore: 89

Sacha Baron Cohen stars in this 2006 comedy as the titular Kazakh journalist who travels to the United States to make a documentary about his interactions with real Americans (many of whom believed he was actually a foreign visitor). It’s the second of a film trilogy based on Baron Cohen’s characters from the British satirical “Da Ali G Show,” and “Borat” went on to receive a best adapted screenplay nomination at the 79th Academy Awards. Despite the movie’s positive critical reception in the West, it was banned in almost every Arab country upon its release.

39 / 50
New Zealand Film Commission

#12. Forgotten Silver (1995)

- Directors: Costa Botes, Peter Jackson
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Votes: 5,666
- Metascore: data not available

This film “uncovers” the fictional career of Colin McKenzie, a highly influential, forgotten New Zealand filmmaker from the early 20th century who supposedly created the tracking shot, sound and color films, and the closeup. The film is presented by “Lord of The Rings” director Peter Jackson, who claims to have found McKenzie’s movies in an old shed (he actually created the fake archival footage). “Forgotten Silver” first aired on New Zealand’s TV One channel and was presented as a real documentary, which many viewers bought into before the directors revealed a day later that it was made up.

40 / 50
Above Average Production

#11. The Rutles - All You Need Is Cash (1978)

- Directors: Eric Idle, Gary Weis
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Votes: 5,917
- Metascore: data not available

This parody of The Beatles’ story (the title is very obviously a spoof on their song “All You Need Is Love”) unfolds through a series of skits that track the fictional English rock band The Rutles (Eric Idle, John Halsey, Ricky Fataar, and Neil Innes) through a career trajectory very similar to the group at which they’re affectionately poking fun. Many Rutles song titles are also slightly altered versions of famous Beatles tracks, like “I Am the Waitress!,” “Yellow Submarine Sandwich,” and “Ouch!” Many celebrities make cameos, from actor Bill Murray to former Beatle George Harrison.

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41 / 50
Castle Rock Entertainment

#10. Best in Show (2000)

- Director: Christopher Guest
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Votes: 54,549
- Metascore: 78

Acclaimed mockumentary director Christopher Guest reunited with frequent collaborator Eugene Levy to spoof the dog show world with “Best in Show.” The film revolves around five eccentric entrants in the prestigious Mayflower Dog Show (played by the likes of Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Jennifer Coolidge, and Guest himself), who are willing to dedicate their entire lives to taking home the top prize. Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert described the film as “a wickedly funny mockumentary...that makes fun of a Philadelphia dog show with every instrument in the satirist’s arsenal.”

42 / 50
Warner Bros.

#9. Waiting for Guffman (1996)

- Director: Christopher Guest
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Votes: 26,330
- Metascore: 71

This Christopher Guest venture takes place in the small town of Blaine, Missouri, where aspiring director Corky St. Clair (Guest) and several townies (including Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, and Fred Willard) prepare to perform the musical revue “Red, White, and Blaine” for the town’s sesquicentennial celebration. But when Corky learns that a Broadway theater agent will be in attendance, his ambitions drive the production overboard. The movie’s title references the Samuel Beckett play “Waiting for Godot.”

43 / 50
Les Artistes Anonymes

#8. Man Bites Dog (1992)

- Directors: Rémy Belvaux, André Bonzel, Benoît Poelvoorde
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Votes: 35,608
- Metascore: 67

In the Belgian black comedy “Man Bites Dog,” a documentary crew follows a local serial killer and captures his increasingly violent acts. The movie, which received the notorious NC-17 rating upon its U.S. release, won multiple awards at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival (including the SACD Award for Best Feature and the Special Award of the Youth). Los Angeles Times journalist Kenneth Turan praised it as “an assured, seductive chamber of horrors” that is “a troubling, often funny vision of what movies have done to our souls.”

44 / 50
The Archives Project

#7. The Atomic Cafe (1982)

- Directors: Jayne Loader, Kevin Rafferty, Pierce Rafferty
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Votes: 3,859
- Metascore: data not available

“The Atomic Cafe” provides a look into the American misinformation that was circulated early in the Cold War era and consists of archival footage about nuclear warfare that’s largely gathered from military training programs and government propaganda. The film’s dark sense of humor is derived from its cuts away from the footage to modern viewers reacting to the clips. “‘The Atomic Cafe’ is much more than the sum of its archival parts,” wrote Michael Argesta in his review for The Texas Observer. “Its deepest impact is not as advocacy or preservation, but as an immersion in the sinister yet silly, weird yet all-too-familiar world of postwar nuclear Americana.”

45 / 50
Walt Disney Studios

#6. A Hard Day's Night (1964)

- Director: Richard Lester
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Votes: 39,412
- Metascore: 96

This beloved music mockumentary purportedly follows two days in the life of The Beatles as they prepare for an upcoming television performance and try to keep Paul McCartney’s grandfather (Wilfrid Brambell) out of trouble. It became both a critical hit and box-office smash, with The Village Voice’s Andrew Sarris even calling it “The ‘Citizen Kane’ of jukebox musicals.” “A Hard Day’s Night” is credited with inspiring numerous pieces of media, including “The Monkees” TV series and many 1960s London spy thrillers.

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46 / 50
Orion Pictures

#5. Zelig (1983)

- Director: Woody Allen
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Votes: 39,219
- Metascore: data not available

Set in the 1920s and ‘30s, “Zelig” centers on a man (director Woody Allen) whose ability to look and act like the people around him turns him into a temporary celebrity. Allen created the movie by inserting himself and other actors into black-and-white newsreels alongside historical figures like Adolf Hitler, Babe Ruth, and Charlie Chaplin.

47 / 50
Unison Films

#4. What We Do in the Shadows (2014)

- Directors: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Votes: 150,997
- Metascore: 76

Before director Taika Waititi made films like "Thor: Ragnarok" and "Jojo Rabbit," he received praise for chronicling the fictional adventures of four modern-day vampire housemates in his movie “What We Do in the Shadows.” Chicago Reader critic J.R. Jones described it as “a pitch-perfect spoof of MTV’s ‘The Real World’ and a sly satire on millennial slackerdom.” The film inspired two TV spinoffs: the New Zealand procedural comedy “Wellington Paranormal” and the FX series of the same name.

48 / 50
Churchill Films

#3. Punishment Park (1971)

- Director: Peter Watkins
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Votes: 6,043
- Metascore: data not available

Set during the Nixon administration, “Punishment Park” envisions a world where U.S. prisons are at capacity (mainly because anti-war movement members have been detained), and the president allows prisoners to forgo jail time in favor of three days in the film’s titular park. There, they are hunted for sport by federal authorities while a British camera crew documents the action. “Looking back on history reminds us of the differences and similarities between then and now, and Watkins serves up a time capsule from 1971 that, in a historical context, shows that the more things change, the more they stay the same,” wrote Slant Magazine writer Jeremiah Kipp in his 2005 review of the film.

49 / 50
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

#2. This Is Spinal Tap (1984)

- Director: Rob Reiner
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Votes: 126,770
- Metascore: 92

In Rob Reiner’s film, director Marty DiBergi (Reiner) follows members of the English heavy metal band Spinal Tap (played by Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, and Harry Shearer), as they embark on a tour that changes everything for them. “This Is Spinal Tap” satirizes real-life rock documentaries of the time, from 1970’s “Gimme Shelter” to 1978’s “The Last Waltz.” The movie has gained a massive cult following in the decades following its release, and in 2014, Rolling Stone’s Rob Sheffield hailed it as “the funniest, truest, most emotionally honest movie ever made about rock-and-roll and the people who live for it.”

50 / 50
TriStar Pictures

#1. District 9 (2009)

- Director: Neill Blomkamp
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Votes: 630,642
- Metascore: 81

Inspired by real events that took place in Cape Town, South Africa, during the apartheid era, “District 9” imagines a world where aliens have been confined to a Johannesburg internment camp since arriving on Earth in 1982. The movie is presented more realistically thanks to fictional interviews, surveillance footage, and news footage. It’s often regarded as one of the best science fiction movies of the 2000s and received four Oscar nominations (including one for best picture).

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