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The Best Documentaries of 2012    February 25, 2013
From Sundance to the Oscars, we're continually updating our list of lists of the best documentaries of the year. Read blog post »

"Wins"     Nominations / List Appearances
 
 

Click the buttons above to re-sort the lists and analyze the films.

Below is the complete list from the chart, as of Feb. 25, 2013.

#1. Searching for Sugar Man
Fans search a would-be 70s rock legend.

Won the Academy Award for Best Documentary.
Points: 260 List Appearances: 25 Wins: 11

#2. The Invisible War
Reveals the alarming rate of sexual assault within the U.S. military.

The best reviewed documentary of 2012, according to Rotten Tomatoes.
Points: 159 List Appearances: 18 Wins: 5

#3. The Queen of Versailles
The 2008 financial crisis interrupts a wealthy couple's plan to build the largest private home in America.

Won the U.S. documentary directing award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival
Points: 118 List Appearances: 16 Wins: 1

#4. How to Survive a Plague
A chronicle of activism around the AIDS crisis and its legacy.

Gotham Award winner for Best Documentary.
Points: 103 List Appearances: 13 Wins: 2

#5. The Gatekeepers
1967's Six Day War is recounted by members of Israel's security agency, Shin Bet.

Winner of the National Society of Film Critics Award in the Best Nonfiction category.
Points: 101 List Appearances: 12 Wins: 3

#6. The Imposter
The story of a French conman who impersonated a missing Texan boy.

Named the year's best documentary by the London Critics Circle.
Points: 96 List Appearances: 14 Wins: 1

#7. The Central Park Five
Ken Burns co-directs a film about the racially charged Central Park Jogger case and a wrongful imprisonment.

Won the 2012 New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Non-Fiction Film.
Points: 94 List Appearances: 13 Wins: 2

#8. This Is Not A Film
Banned from filmmaking in Iran, Jafar Panahi continues his art while under house arrest.

Topped Indiewire's year-end critics poll.
Points: 88 List Appearances: 10 Wins: 2

#9. Detropia
An artful take on the decline of an American city.

Won the U.S. Documentary Editing Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.
Points: 71 List Appearances: 8 Wins: 1

#10. Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present
The performance artist prepares for a major retrospective.

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2012 Special Jury Award winner.
Points: 67 List Appearances: 7 Wins: 1

#11 (tie). 5 Broken Cameras
#11 (tie). West of Memphis
#13. The Waiting Room
#14. Only The Young
#15. Jiro Dreams of Sushi
#16. Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
#17. Chasing Ice
#18. Bully
#19. The House I Live In
#20. The Law in These Parts (Shilton Ha'Chok)
#21. Call Me Kuchu
#22 (tie). Samsara
#22 (tie). Planet Of Snail
#24. Indie Game: The Movie
#25. Special Flight (Vol Spécial)
#26. The Island President
#27 (tie). Putin's Kiss
#27 (tie). First Cousin Once Removed
#27 (tie). Tchoupitoulas
#30 (tie). Brooklyn Castle
#30 (tie). Beware of Mr. Baker
#32 (tie). Bobby Fischer Against the World
#32 (tie). Marley
#32 (tie). 2016 Obama's America
#32 (tie). Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God
#36 (tie). Under African Skies
#36 (tie). Photographic Memory
#38 (tie). Led Zeppelin: Celebration Day
#38 (tie). Low and Clear
#38 (tie). The World Before Her
#38 (tie). The Flat (Hadira)
#42. Room 237
#43 (tie). Chimpanzee
#43 (tie). The Punk Syndrome
#45 (tie). The Other Dream Team
#45 (tie). Shut Up and Play the Hits
#45 (tie). Undefeated
#45 (tie). Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
#45 (tie). Tahrir: Liberation Square
#45 (tie). First Position
#45 (tie). Scenes of a Crime
#45 (tie). The Dust Bowl
#45 (tie). Camp 14: Total Control Zone
#45 (tie). We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists
#55 (tie). Caesar Must Die (Cesare deve morire)
#55 (tie). Stories We Tell
#55 (tie). El Salvavidas (The Lifeguard)
#58 (tie). Women with Cows
#58 (tie). Bad Boy, High Security Cell
#58 (tie). Drought (Cuates de Australia)
#58 (tie). Nostalgia for the Light
#58 (tie). Fake It So Real
#58 (tie). Head Games
#64 (tie). Dreams of a Life
#64 (tie). Knuckle
#64 (tie). Project Nim
#64 (tie). The Reluctant Revolutionary
#64 (tie). McCullin
#64 (tie). Katy Perry: Part of Me
#64 (tie). To the Arctic
#64 (tie). Nitro Circus the Movie 3D
#64 (tie). Cirque Du Soleil: Worlds Away
#73 (tie). How to Make Money Selling Drugs
#73 (tie). On Death Row
#73 (tie). Palme
#73 (tie). Bad 25
#73 (tie). The Interrupters
#73 (tie). 56 Up
#73 (tie). Patience (After Sebald)
#73 (tie). Player Hating: A Love Story
#73 (tie). Surviving Progress
#73 (tie). The Pruitt-Igoe Myth
#73 (tie). Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters
#73 (tie). The Turin Horse
#73 (tie). Crazy Horse
#73 (tie). Paul Williams Still Alive
#73 (tie). Last Call at the Oasis
#73 (tie). Vivan las Antipodas
#73 (tie). Little Heaven
#73 (tie). Abendland
#73 (tie). Convento
#73 (tie). The Sheik and I
#73 (tie). ¡Vivan las Antipodas!
#94 (tie). London: The Modern Babylon
#94 (tie). The American Scream
#94 (tie). El Velador
#94 (tie). Into the Abyss: A Tale of Death, A Tale of Life
#94 (tie). They Call It Myanmar: Lifting the Curtain
#94 (tie). The Story of Film: An Odyssey
#94 (tie). Ping Pong
#94 (tie). In the Shadow of the Sun
#94 (tie). Bombay Beach
#94 (tie). Girl Model
#94 (tie). We Went to War
#94 (tie). Canícula
#94 (tie). Con Mi Corzón en Yambo (With My Heart in Yambo)
#94 (tie). Olhe Pra Mim De Novo (Look at Me Again)
#94 (tie). A People Uncounted

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