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The Best Documentaries of 2015, According to the Criticwire Network

The Best Documentaries of 2015, According to the Criticwire Network

Throughout the year, members of Indiewire’s Criticwire Network — comprised of nearly 500 critics from around the world — have been adding their grades and reviews to our database of film pages. Below is a collection of documentaries that have been released in theaters (or on widely available streaming sites) during that time that have a) received 10 or more reviews and b) maintained a grade average of “B+” or higher. Averages and totals are subject to change, but we’ll update the list with new additions as notable titles make their way onto theaters or VOD screens across the country. 

In the meantime, as the year progresses, also be sure to check out our overall best-reviewed films of 2015, a list that now features over 60 titles. For a similarly-updated breakdown of the latest additions and other notable upcoming films, see our analysis on the Criticwire blog.

The Best Documentaries of 2015, According to the Criticwire Network
(last updated: December 31st)

1. The Look of Silence
A / 48 reviews
dir. Joshua Oppenheimer

2. Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck
A- / 38 reviews
dir. Brett Morgen

3. Amy
A- / 37 reviews
dir. Asif Kapadia

4. Listen to Me Marlon
A- / 36 reviews
dir. Stevan Riley

5. Best of Enemies
A- / 35 reviews
dir. Morgan Neville & Robert Gordon

6. Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief
A- / 32 reviews
dir. Alex GIbney

7. In Jackson Heights
A- / 25 reviews
dir. Frederick Wiseman

8. Cartel Land
A- / 24 reviews
dir. Matthew Heineman

9. Heart of a Dog
A- / 23 reviews
dir. Laurie Anderson

9. The Salt of the Earth
A- / 23 reviews
dir. Juliano Ribeiro Salgado & Wim Wenders

9. Tales of the Grim Sleeper
A- / 23 reviews
dir. Nick Broomfield

12. Finders Keepers
A- / 17 reviews
dir. Bryan Carberry & Clay Tweel

13. Dior and I
A- / 16 reviews
dir. Frederic Tcheng

13. Janis: Little Girl Blue
A- / 16 reviews
dir. Amy Berg

13. (T)ERROR
A- / 16 reviews
dir. Lyric R. Cabral & David Felix Sutcliffe

13. Welcome to Leith
A- / 16 reviews
dir. Michael Beach Nichols & Christopher K. Walker

17. The Russian Woodpecker
A- / 15 reviews
dir. Chad Gracia

18. We Come as Friends
A- / 14 reviews
dir. Hubert Sauper

19. Approaching the Elephant
A- / 11 reviews
dir. Amanda Wilder

19. A Poem is a Naked Person
A- / 11 reviews
dir. Les Blank

21. Red Army
B+ / 35 reviews
dir. Gabe Polsky

21. Seymour: An Introduction
B+ / 35 reviews
dir. Ethan Hawke

23. The Wolfpack
B+ / 29 reviews
dir. Crystal Moselle

24. Iris
B+ / 25 reviews
dir. Albert Maysles

25. The Hunting Ground
B+ / 23 reviews
dir. Kirby Dick

26. Hitchcock/Truffaut
B+ / 22 reviews
dir. Kent Jones

27. Sunshine Superman
B+ / 20 reviews
dir. Marah Strauch

27. What Happened, Miss Simone?
B+ / 20 reviews
dir. Liz Garbus

29. Stray Dog
B+ / 19 reviews
dir. Debra Granik

30. Ballet 422
B+ / 18 reviews
dir. Jody Lee Lipes

31. Meru
B+ / 17 reviews
dir. Jimmy Chin & E. Chai Vasarhelyi

32. An Honest Liar
B+ / 15 reviews
dir. Justin Weinstein & Tyler Measom

33. Call Me Lucky
B+ / 14 reviews
dir. Bobcat Goldthwait

34. The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution
B+ / 13 reviews
dir. Stanley Nelson

34. Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon
B+ / 13 reviews
dir. Douglas Tirola

36. Meet the Patels
B+ / 12 reviews
dir. Geeta & Ravi Patel

37. The Wrecking Crew
B+ / 11 reviews
dir. Denny Tedesco

38. Do I Sound Gay?
B+ / 10 reviews
dir. David Thorpe

38. Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films
B+ / 10 reviews
dir. Mark Hartley

38. The Royal Road
B+ / 10 reviews
dir. Jenni Olson

If you’re curious to see the top documentaries from previous years, be sure to check out the best of 2013 and 2014.

READ MORE: The Best-Reviewed Indies of 2015, So Far

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