50 best war documentaries of all time

Written by:
January 4, 2021
Diamond Docs

50 best war documentaries of all time

Documentaries about war have been chronicling the realities of armed conflict since the dawn of the motion picture industry when Thomas Edison’s movie company began producing films on the Spanish-American War in 1898.

Since that time, these war stories have examined the themes of camaraderie, survival, sacrifice, hubris, mankind’s inhumanity, the social upheaval from war on society, and the moral and ethical issues raised by armed conflict. Telling the story of war accurately has been a challenge since the time of the ancient Greek historian Thucydides, who attempted to chronicle the struggle between the Greek city-states of Athens and Sparta accurately with as little prejudice as possible. Given the violent and chaotic nature of battle, filming has always been a daunting endeavor for war documentary producers. This was never more so than during the recent conflicts in Syria and Iraq, where filmmakers risked their lives to secretly record the devastation and atrocities committed in those countries.

Stacker compiled user and critic data on all feature-length war documentaries and ranked them according to an indexed Stacker score—an equally weighted blend of IMDb user score and Metascore as of Dec. 14, 2020. To qualify, the story at the center of the film had to be explicitly related to war. Seminal war documentaries such as Ken Burns' “Civil War” and the British series “The World at War” were not included on this list because they are television series.

The passage of time has allowed for a greater perspective on war and how to tell its story. Historians and documentarians have gained access to more materials, archives, and information from the vanquished nations as well as other participants in the conflicts, providing expanded context and insight into the impact of war on nations. In contrast to many of the documentaries about the two world wars, which were told from the military victors’ viewpoint, the more recent war stories are grittier, more explicit, and draw on the experiences of many people. In documentaries such as “Restrepo,” which takes place in Afghanistan, the soldiers themselves are the narrators of the story.

Documentaries such as “Hearts and Minds” and “No End in Sight” have taken a highly critical look at the decisions and decision-makers in America’s wars in Vietnam and Iraq, respectively. Films such as “Taxi to the Dark Side,” which exposed the nature of America's torture and interrogation practices in Afghanistan, won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature at the 80th Academy Awards.

Continue reading for the best war documentaries of all time.

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1 / 50
Fridthjof Film

#50. Armadillo (2010)

- Director: Janus Metz
- Stacker score: 79
- Metascore: 72
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Runtime: 105 min

This film chronicles the experiences of Danish soldiers sent to Afghanistan in 2009 to help stabilize that nation against the Taliban. The troops were deployed at the Armadillo base in Helman province.

2 / 50
Netflix

#49. Father Soldier Son (2020)

- Directors: Leslye Davis, Catrin Einhorn
- Stacker score: 79
- Metascore: 74
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Runtime: 99 min

“Father Soldier Son” is a documentary that follows the life of Sgt. First Class Brian Eisch, a decorated, third-generation soldier who is critically wounded in Afghanistan. He returns to his home to resume his relationship with his sons who idolize him.

3 / 50
Kartemquin Films

#48. The Trials of Muhammad Ali (2013)

- Director: Bill Siegel
- Stacker score: 79
- Metascore: 74
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Runtime: 86 min

“The Trials of Muhammad Ali” is a documentary that delves into the life of the legendary heavyweight champion who refused to fight in the Vietnam War. Throughout his life, Ali protested racial inequality and became a global humanitarian figure.

4 / 50
Aspectus Memoria

#47. The Invisible Front (2014)

- Directors: Jonas Ohman, Vincas Sruoginis
- Stacker score: 79.6
- Metascore: 65
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 76 min

“The Invisible Front” is a riveting documentary about the Lithuanian resistance against Soviet occupation starting during World War II and continuing until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The film’s story is told via the experiences of Juozas Luksa, one of the group’s leaders, and his fellow comrades.

5 / 50
ARTE

#46. Why We Fight (2005)

- Director: Eugene Jarecki
- Stacker score: 79.6
- Metascore: 68
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 98 min

Eugene Jarecki wrote and directed this polemic that raised issues about the extent and influence of U.S. military power. The documentary includes Dwight D. Eisenhower’s warning about the growing power of the military-industrial complex in his parting address to the nation as president in 1961. The movie takes its name from an American propaganda film series from World War II.

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6 / 50
Syndicado

#45. Tears of Gaza (2010)

- Director: Vibeke Løkkeberg
- Stacker score: 79.6
- Metascore: 69
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 90 min

The film was directed by Norwegian filmmaker Vibeke Løkkeberg and shows the daily difficulties faced by Palestinian women and children living in Gaza—one of the most densely populated areas on Earth. The subjects of the film are victims of the ongoing struggle between the Palestinians and Israel who are deprived of electricity, money, food, and who mourn the deaths of loved ones.

7 / 50
Journeyman Pictures

#44. 2 or 3 Things I Know About Him (2005)

- Director: Malte Ludin
- Stacker score: 79.6
- Metascore: 74
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 85 min

“2 or 3 Things I Know About Him” is a film directed by Malte Ludin about how his family has come to grips with the legacy of his father, Hanns Ludin, a Nazi who was executed for war crimes in 1947. The younger Ludin probes his father’s dark past and interviews his sisters, who still refuse to accept the truth about their father.

8 / 50
Arte France

#43. S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine (2003)

- Director: Rithy Panh
- Stacker score: 79.6
- Metascore: 75
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Runtime: 101 min

The Khmer Rouge caused a reign of terror in Cambodia in the late 20th century before they were removed from power. The documentary “The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine” focuses on the infamous S-21 prison—it is now a museum—in the city of Phnom Penh and the guards who bore witness to the atrocities there.

9 / 50
Plum Pictures

#42. The Ground Truth (2006)

- Director: Patricia Foulkrod
- Stacker score: 80.1
- Metascore: 74
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Runtime: 72 min

The film is about young patriotic Americans who enlisted for military service who fought in Iraq. The documentary follows them during training, combat, and struggling with their inner demons as they try to reintegrate with families after they return home. The film won multiple best documentary awards and was nominated for the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize.

10 / 50
Audjeff

#41. Hearts and Minds (1974)

- Director: Peter Davis
- Stacker score: 80.6
- Metascore: 68
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 112 min

Peter Davis’ 1974 movie “Hearts and Minds” was a landmark film that called the United States to account for its involvement in Vietnam by drawing on interviews and newsreels. The documentary, whose name is taken from a quote from President Lyndon B. Johnson, was very controversial for its time.

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11 / 50
Changeworx

#40. Among the Believers (2015)

- Directors: Mohammed Naqvi, Hemal Trivedi
- Stacker score: 80.6
- Metascore: 74
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 84 min

Mohammed Naqvi and Hemal Trivedi directed this exploration into the influence of Islamic fundamentalism at an Islamic school in Pakistan, where children commit their lives to holy war. The school is operated by Abdul Aziz Ghazi, a radical cleric who is trying to create an Islamic utopia by usurping the Pakistani government. The story is told through the experiences of two teen students.

12 / 50
SenArt Films

#39. The War Tapes (2006)

- Director: Deborah Scranton
- Stacker score: 80.6
- Metascore: 77
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Runtime: 97 min

Members of the U.S. National Guard called to serve in Iraq filmed their experiences at war. The movie depicted their camaraderie and humor, the horrors of war, and the longing for the mothers, wives, and girlfriends they left behind.

13 / 50
CAAM

#38. Daughter from Danang (2002)

- Directors: Gail Dolgin, Vicente Franco
- Stacker score: 80.6
- Metascore: 77
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Runtime: 83 min

“Daughter from Danang” is the Oscar-nominated story about an Americanized young woman from Vietnam and her mother who were separated at the end of the Vietnam War and are reunited 22 years later. The film explores the hopes and dreams of both women and the disappointment that follows the realization that they cannot bridge the cultural gap from being apart for so long.

14 / 50
Displaced Films

#37. Sir! No Sir! (2005)

- Director: David Zeiger
- Stacker score: 81.2
- Metascore: 74
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 85 min

“Sir! No Sir!” is director David Zeiger's documentary about American soldiers organizing resistance to the Vietnam War, which Zeiger believes was instrumental in hampering the American war effort. Many of the veterans joined the peace movement as civilians in the United States.

15 / 50
Big Noise Films

#36. Dirty Wars (2013)

- Director: Rick Rowley
- Stacker score: 81.2
- Metascore: 76
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Runtime: 87 min

Oscar-nominated “Dirty Wars” follows Jeremy Scahill, author of the bestseller “Blackwater,” as he details America’s covert wars in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia, among other places. Scahill exposes the clandestine activities of the Joint Special Operations Command and its covert operations, where no target is off-limits.

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16 / 50
Alliance Atlantis Communications

#35. The Ritchie Boys (2004)

- Director: Christian Bauer
- Stacker score: 81.2
- Metascore: 76
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Runtime: 90 min

“The Ritchie Boys'' chronicles the contributions of academics—many of them Jewish emigres from Europe—who were recruited to find ways to undermine the morale of Axis soldiers and provide intelligence in regard to German plans and tactics during World War II. “Ritchie'' is Camp Ritchie in Maryland. Many would become interrogators during the Nuremberg trials. Among the group was J.D. Salinger, author of the teen angst classic "The Catcher in the Rye."

17 / 50
Canal +

#34. Sobibór, October 14, 1943, 4 p.m. (2001)

- Director: Claude Lanzmann
- Stacker score: 81.2
- Metascore: 77
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 95 min

Claude Lanzmann, who is also on the list for the Holocaust documentary “Shoah,” directed this riveting telling of the prisoner uprising at the Nazi death camp of Sobibor in Poland in 1943. The revolt served to refute the notion that Jews failed to resist their Nazi captors. Hundreds of prisoners escaped, including then 17-year-old Yehuda Lerner, who was interviewed for the film.

18 / 50
Melbar Entertainment Group

#33. Prosecuting Evil: The Extraordinary World of Ben Ferencz (2018)

- Director: Barry Avrich
- Stacker score: 81.2
- Metascore: 77
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 83 min

“Prosecuting Evil: The Extraordinary World of Ben Ferencz” is the story of Ben Ferencz, the last surviving Nuremberg trials prosecutor. He prosecuted 22 members of the notorious Einsatzgruppen who murdered Jews during World War II. More than 70 years after bringing Nazi war criminals to justice, he continued to fight for justice and peace. 

19 / 50
Vision Entertainment

#32. This is Congo (2017)

- Director: Daniel McCabe
- Stacker score: 81.7
- Metascore: 75
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 93 min

The promotional images for the film “This is Congo” show an erupting volcano, a fitting image for the turbulence in the African country. The film looks at the lives of three people trying to survive during the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

20 / 50
Dor Film Produktionsgesellschaft

#31. Blind Spot: Hitler's Secretary (2002)

- Directors: André Heller, Othmar Schmiderer
- Stacker score: 81.7
- Metascore: 79
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Runtime: 90 min

“Blind Spot: Hitler's Secretary” is a documentary interview with Traudl Junge, one of Hitler's personal secretaries during World War II. She was with the fascist dictator in his bunker at war’s end and Hitler dictated his final testament to her. “Blind Spot” refers to the notion that Junge, like many Germans, were ignorant of the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime.

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21 / 50
Old Chilly Pictures

#30. Midnight Traveler (2019)

- Director: Hassan Fazili
- Stacker score: 82.3
- Metascore: 79
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 88 min

Hassan Fazili wrote and starred in this film about how Fazilli and his family are forced to leave his village in Afghanistan after the Taliban put a bounty on his head. The film shows the difficulty facing refugees seeking asylum as well as the bonds that keep families together in times of extreme stress. Among its honors was winning a World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

22 / 50
Actual Films

#29. The Rape of Europa (2006)

- Directors: Richard Berge, Bonni Cohen, Nicole Newnham
- Stacker score: 82.8
- Metascore: 77
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 117 min

Richard Berge, Bonni Cohen, and Nicole Newnham directed and wrote this film about how Nazi Germany pilfered much of Europe's artistic patrimony during World War II and how the Allies tried to recover the priceless art treasures. The film takes the viewer on a journey through seven countries and details how American and European art curators try to return the objects to their rightful owners as well as attempting to restore the priceless pieces.

23 / 50
Aleppo Media Center

#28. Last Men in Aleppo (2017)

- Directors: Feras Fayyad, Steen Johannessen
- Stacker score: 82.8
- Metascore: 80
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 83 min

“Last Men in Aleppo” documents life in the city of Aleppo, during the Syrian civil war. The film focuses on the lives of the so-called White Helmets, the Syrians who risk their lives to save others suffering from the conflict. Directed by Steen Johannessen and Feras Fayyad—the latter of whom directed “The Cave,” another documentary on this list—the film won the World Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. The film was nominated for an Academy Award and Fayyad became the first Syrian director ever nominated for an Oscar.

24 / 50
Sabine Films

#27. Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport (2000)

- Director: Mark Jonathan Harris
- Stacker score: 83.9
- Metascore: 79
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 122 min

Narrated by British actor Judi Dench, “Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport'' recalls the effort by the British to rescue more than 10,000 Jewish and other children from Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia on the eve of World War II. The children stayed in foster homes and British hostels during the war. Most never saw their families again.

25 / 50
Discovery Channel

#26. Taxi to the Dark Side (2007)

- Director: Alex Gibney
- Stacker score: 83.9
- Metascore: 82
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 106 min

Alex Gibney won the 2007 Oscar for Best Documentary Feature for “Taxi to the Dark Side,” a movie that revealed the extent of America's torture and interrogation regimes in Afghanistan. Gibney was previously known for his 2005 documentary “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room.”

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26 / 50
Alice Films

#25. Of Men and War (2014)

- Director: Laurent Bécue-Renard
- Stacker score: 83.9
- Metascore: 87
- IMDb user rating: 6.9
- Runtime: 142 min

“Of Men and War” is a documentary about 12 American soldiers dealing with post-traumatic stress syndrome after returning from war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The film is directed by French filmmaker Laurent Bécue-Renard, who dedicated the film to his grandfather’s experiences in World War I.

27 / 50
Alegria Productions

#24. 5 Broken Cameras (2011)

- Directors: Emad Burnat, Guy Davidi
- Stacker score: 84.4
- Metascore: 78
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 94 min

“5 Broken Cameras” is a documentary co-directed by Emad Burnat, a Palestinian farmer and filmmaker, and Guy Davidi, an Israeli director, about a Palestinian farmer's nonviolent resistance against the Israeli army. The Academy Award-nominated film won the International Emmy Award for Best Documentary in 2013.

28 / 50
Daylight Factory

#23. Iraq in Fragments (2006)

- Director: James Longley
- Stacker score: 84.4
- Metascore: 84
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Runtime: 94 min

Oscar-nominated “Iraq in Fragments” tells the story of post-war Iraq in cinema verité style, showing how the war-ravaged nation is splintered by religion and ethnicity. The film won three Sundance Film Festival awards in 2006.

29 / 50
Goldcrest Films International

#22. Which Way Is the Front Line from Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington (2013)

- Director: Sebastian Junger
- Stacker score: 84.9
- Metascore: 80
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 78 min

The dangers of photojournalists in combat were brought home by this documentary about British photojournalist Tim Hetherington, who was killed in a mortar attack in Libya in 2011. The film was directed by Sebastian Junger, who collaborated with Hetherington on the 2010 documentary “Restrepo” that followed an American platoon in Afghanistan for a year.

30 / 50
Danish Documentary Production

#21. The Cave (2019)

- Director: Feras Fayyad
- Stacker score: 84.9
- Metascore: 83
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Runtime: 107 min

“The Cave,” directed by Feras Fayyad, tells the story of female doctors in Ghouta, Syria, trying to overcome supply shortages and sexism to perform their jobs. Fayyad was nominated for his second Academy Award for “The Cave” in 2020. He had previously been nominated for the documentary “Last Men in Aleppo.”

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31 / 50
Les Films de l'Astrophore

#20. Level Five (1997)

- Director: Chris Marker
- Stacker score: 84.9
- Metascore: 87
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Runtime: 106 min

This faux-documentary focuses on a computer programmer tasked with creating a computer game based on the Battle of Okinawa during World War II. Because of the circumstances of the battle in which many civilians committed suicide and the accounts of the conflict from experts and survivors, the computer programmer reflects on humanity and the brutality of war.

32 / 50
Christian Frei Filmproductions

#19. War Photographer (2001)

- Director: Christian Frei
- Stacker score: 85.5
- Metascore: 79
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 96 min

The documentary made by Swiss filmmaker Christian Frei, who was nominated for an Academy Award, focuses on American war photographer James Nachtwey, considered to be one of the greatest war photographers of all time. The film follows Nachtwey over two years to Kosovo, the West Bank, and Indonesia.

33 / 50
Outpost Films

#18. Restrepo (2010)

- Directors: Tim Hetherington, Sebastian Junger
- Stacker score: 86
- Metascore: 85
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Runtime: 93 min

Directors Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger spent a year with U.S. soldiers in Korengal Valley, one of the deadliest areas in Afghanistan. The movie won the 2010 Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival. The film is in effect narrated by members of the platoon followed in the film. “Restrepo” refers to Juan 'Doc’ Restrepo, a Colombian-born American soldier who died in Afghanistan in 2007.

34 / 50
Our Time Projects

#17. City of Ghosts (2017)

- Director: Matthew Heineman
- Stacker score: 86
- Metascore: 86
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 92 min

“City of Ghosts” is the work of citizen journalists who joined together after their city of Raqqa was overrun by the Islamic fundamentalist group ISIS in 2014 and attempted to, at great risk, secretly chronicle the horrors of the fanatical organization. The trailer for the movie ends with one of the journalists saying “either we will win or they will kill all of us.”

35 / 50
Ten Thousand Images

#16. Nowhere to Hide (2016)

- Director: Zaradasht Ahmed
- Stacker score: 86.6
- Metascore: 82
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 86 min

"Nowhere to Hide" follows medical professional and father Nori Sharif over five years of conflict in Iraq. Sharif was given a camera and taught to use it by director Zaradasht Ahmed to record life in strife-ridden Diyala-province—one of Iraq’s most dangerous provinces—trying to raise a family after U.S. troops have left, and Iraqi militias fill the power void.

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36 / 50
Channel Four Films

#15. Paragraph 175 (2000)

- Directors: Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman
- Stacker score: 87.1
- Metascore: 85
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 81 min

“Paragraph 175” refers to the sodomy section of the German penal code that dates back to the 19th century in which homosexual men were imprisoned, a law strictly enforced by the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s. The film showed interviews of the few surviving men who told their stories of persecution for the first time.

37 / 50
Proaction Film

#14. The Return to Homs (2013)

- Director: Talal Derki
- Stacker score: 87.1
- Metascore: 85
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 94 min

Written and directed by Talal Derki, “The Return to Homs'' is a documentary that takes viewers to the city of Homs, the center of the Syrian revolution, where 19-year-old Abdul Basset al-Sarout, a former goalkeeper for the Syrian national soccer team, has become part of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad. Making the movie involved great risk. The regime considered filmmakers terrorists who had to dismantle cameras to get them through checkpoints.

38 / 50
Moxie Firecracker Films

#13. Last Days in Vietnam (2014)

- Director: Rory Kennedy
- Stacker score: 87.1
- Metascore: 86
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 98 min

The final, chaotic days of the Vietnam War in 1975 are chronicled in “Last Days of Vietnam.” With North Vietnamese forces converging on the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon, American officers face the dilemma of whom to evacuate among their South Vietnamese allies, knowing those who are left behind faced brutality and even death. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2015.

39 / 50
CoPilot Pictures

#12. Frame by Frame (2015)

- Directors: Alexandria Bombach, Mo Scarpelli
- Stacker score: 87.6
- Metascore: 84
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 85 min

“Frame by Frame” is a documentary about the rise of photojournalism in Afghanistan, which was considered a crime when the Taliban ruled that nation. The film follows four photojournalists telling the daily life of Afghanistan in cinema vérité style, with interviews and with archival footage clandestinely shot before the Taliban were removed from power in 2001.

40 / 50
Diamond Docs

#11. The Tillman Story (2010)

- Director: Amir Bar-Lev
- Stacker score: 87.6
- Metascore: 86
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 94 min

“The Tillman Story” is a documentary about Pat Tillman, a former professional football player who enlisted in the Army just a few months after the 9/11 terror attacks. The film is about the Tillman family’s quest to find the truth and contends that the government covered up the real story. Tillman was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan and not while leading soldiers into combat against the Taliban.

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41 / 50
Angel TV

#10. Night Will Fall (2014)

- Director: André Singer
- Stacker score: 88.7
- Metascore: 85
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 75 min

“Night Will Fall,” originally titled “German Concentration Camps Factual Survey," was produced by Sidney Bernstein under the supervision of Alfred Hitchcock in April 1945 and told the story of the horrors of the concentration camps filmed by Allied cameramen. It was shelved after the war but seven decades later it was restored by archivists and historians from the British Imperial War Museum.

42 / 50
Mac Guff Ligne

#9. The Gatekeepers (2012)

- Director: Dror Moreh
- Stacker score: 89.8
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 101 min

“The Gatekeepers,” nominated for an Academy Award, featured interviews with the former leaders of the ultra-secretive Israeli security agency Shin Bet. The six spymasters interviewed gave their perspective on Middle East history starting with the Six-Day War in 1967 to the rise of Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist political organization and militant group.

43 / 50
Sony Pictures Classics

#8. The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara (2003)

- Director: Errol Morris
- Stacker score: 90.3
- Metascore: 87
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 107 min

Errol Morris won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature for this probing look at former Robert S. McNamara, secretary of defense under presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, who was instrumental in America’s involvement in the Vietnam War. The documentary examines how decisions are made to prosecute war and what lessons we can learn from these events.

44 / 50
Red Envelope Entertainment

#7. No End in Sight (2007)

- Director: Charles Ferguson
- Stacker score: 91.9
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 102 min

Charles Ferguson wrote and directed the Oscar-nominated movie that was highly critical about the decisions that led the Bush administration to invade Iraq in 2003 and the missteps that followed during the American occupation of that nation. The movie is told in chronological order and in chapter form by journalists, soldiers, politicians, and academics.

45 / 50
Bridgit Folman Film Gang

#6. Waltz with Bashir (2008)

- Director: Ari Folman
- Stacker score: 91.9
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 90 min

Israeli filmmaker Ari Folman’s groundbreaking animated autobiographical film about the experiences of a 19-year-old soldier during the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, in which he witnesses the massacre of civilians. However, he has no memory of these horrific events so he tries to reconstruct his experiences through interviews with other veterans of the conflict as well as speaking to a psychologist.

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46 / 50
Final Cut for Real

#5. The Act of Killing (2012)

- Directors: Joshua Oppenheimer, Anonymous, Christine Cynn
- Stacker score: 93
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 117 min

“The Act of Killing'' is a movie in which former Indonesian death squad members, at the behest of the filmmakers, tell their story of the mass execution of government opponents in the mid-1960s in the context of their favorite movie genre. The film succeeds in having one of the killers come to grips with the magnitude of the crimes he committed.

47 / 50
Channel 4 News

#4. For Sama (2019)

- Directors: Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts
- Stacker score: 93.5
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Runtime: 100 min

The Academy Award-nominated film focuses on the story of Syrian woman Waad Al-Kateab, who chronicled five years of strife in war-torn Aleppo, Syria. The woman tells the story of her life through pictures of falling in love, giving birth to a daughter, Sama, and capturing the heartbreak of war’s devastation all around her.

48 / 50
House Productions

#3. They Shall Not Grow Old (2018)

- Director: Peter Jackson
- Stacker score: 93.5
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 99 min

Oscar-winning director Peter Jackson (who helmed “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy) painstakingly restored archival footage and used the actual voices of those who participated in World War I to tell their story about daily life in the trencheshow they slept, what they ate, and how they felt about fighting the war. It was hailed by critics and nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Documentary.

49 / 50
Grain Media

#2. Virunga (2014)

- Director: Orlando von Einsiedel
- Stacker score: 95.2
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 100 min

The Oscar-nominated “Virunga'' tells the story of park rangers in the Congo’s Virunga National Park protecting mountain gorillas facing extinction from poachers whose task becomes more complicated when a rebel group threatens the stability of the environment. Among the film’s executive producers is actor Leonardo Di Caprio.

50 / 50
BBC

#1. Shoah (1985)

- Director: Claude Lanzmann
- Stacker score: 100
- Metascore: 99
- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Runtime: 566 min

Claude Lanzmann’s searing 9.5-hour documentary about the Holocaust, as told by perpetrators, witnesses, and survivors. Among the more disturbing elements of the film is that anti-Semitic sentiment still remained among many of those interviewed. The film amassed many wins for best documentary including BAFTA, France’s Cesar Awards, and the New York Film Critics Circle Awards.

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