Hands Down, These Are the Best Documentaries of All Time

Just as we watch romantic period dramas to feed a nostalgic wonder, feel-good comedies for a much-needed laugh, indie flicks to delight our eyes, and the occasional horror movie for a scare at a safe distance, we turn to documentaries to expand our understanding of the world around us. When done well, documentaries are both informative and entertaining, leaving us with more than just a quiet contentment.

If you've been wanting to learn more about prevalent issues but don't feel like listening to a podcast or reading a book, then you've come to the right place. Below, we've compiled a roundup of what we think are the best documentaries of all time. Some are heart-rending, some are uplifting, and all offer life-altering lessons that'll ignite you with a drive to act on them.

Scroll through to read about our 19 favorite documentaries and add them to your own viewing queue depending on your interests, design aficionados, history buffs, and social justice mavericks alike.