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58 voters

The Best Documentaries Of 2021

Updated September 15, 2021 751 votes 58 voters 1.4k views121 items

The best 2021 documentaries give audiences an in-depth look into a world they might not otherwise not have seen. They're primed to show you something new even if the subject is somewhat familiar like MLK/FBI from IFC. You might even learn a bit more about identity than you ever thought possible when watching Derek DelGaudio's in & of Itself. There are also Netflix documentaries that you can watch right now if you have a subscription. You'll be able to experience history, politics, and magic through the best documentary movies of 2021.

You'll see the world in a whole new way with these documentary films of 2021. But which one deserves to be at the of this list? You get to help decide with your votes. Vote up your favorite 2021 docs so other film fans know which new documentaries to watch this year. Then be sure to check back as upcoming 2021 docs are added to the list as they are released throughout 2021.

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  • 1
    45
    8

    In & of Itself

    Derek DelGaudio

    Directed byFrank Oz

    In & of Itself is a 2020 American documentary film directed by Frank Oz. Storyteller and Conceptual Magician Derek DelGaudio attempts to understand the illusory nature of identity and answer the...  more
  • 2
    27
    4

    MLK/FBI

    James Comey, Beverly Gage

    Directed bySam Pollard

    MLK/FBI is a 2020 American documentary film directed by Sam Pollard. Based on newly declassified files, the film explores the US government's surveillance and harassment of Martin Luther King Jr....  more
  • 3
    18
    0

    Billie Eilish: The World's a Little Blurry

    Billie Eilish, Finneas O'Connell

    Directed byR. J. Cutler

    Billie Eilish: The World's a Little Blurry is a 2021 American musical documentary film directed by R. J. Cutler. A deeply intimate look at the extraordinary teenage musician Billie Eilish, following...  more
  • 4

    Directed byChris Smith

    Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal is a 2021 American crime documentary film directed by Chris Smith. Reenactments drive this documentary investigating the mastermind behind a...  more
  • 5
    15
    0

    Biggie: I Got a Story to Tell

    Sean 'Diddy' Combs, Dr. Dre

    Directed byEmmett Malloy

    Biggie: I Got a Story to Tell is a 2021 American biographical music documentary film directed by Emmett Malloy. Featuring rare footage filmed by Christopher Wallace's best friend, Damion "D-Roc"...  more
  • 6
    15
    0

    Tina

    Angela Bassett, Tina Turner

    Directed byDaniel Lindsay, T.J. Martin

    Tina is an 2021 American-British music documentary film, directed by Dan Lindsay and T. J. Martin. A revealing and intimate look at the life and career of musical icon Tina Turner, charting her...  more
  • 7
    15
    0

    Why Did You Kill Me?

    Crystal Theobald, Justin Theobald

    Directed byFredrick Munk

    Why Did You Kill Me? is 2021 American true crime documentary film directed by Fredrick Munk. The line between justice and revenge blurs when a devastated family uses social media to track down the...  more
  • 8
    14
    0

    Strip Down, Rise Up

    Sheila Kelley, Amy Bond

    Directed byMichèle Ohayon

    Strip Down, Rise Up is a 2021 American dance documentary film directed by Michèle Ohayon. Women of all walks of life, all ages and ethnic backgrounds turn to pole artistry as a form of expression to...  more
  • 9
    14
    0

    Directed bySusan Stern

    Bad Attitude: The Art of Spain Rodriguez is a 2021 American art documentary film directed by Susan Stern. Working-class Latino hood, crossed with crazy artist, crossed with left-wing radical, so the...  more
  • 10
    76 Days is a 2020 American documentary film directed by Hao Wu, Weixi Chen and an anonymous third director. Raw and intimate, this documentary captures the struggles of patients and frontline medical...  more
  • 11
    20
    8

    Acasa, My Home

    Gica Enache, Vali Enache

    Directed byRadu Ciorniciuc

    Acasa, My Home is a 2021 Romanian documentary film directed by Radu Ciorniciuc. In the wilderness of the Bucharest Delta, nine children and their parents lived in perfect harmony with nature for 20...  more
  • 12
    12
    0

    The Reason I Jump

    Jordan O'Donegan

    Directed byJerry Rothwell

    The Reason I Jump is a 2020 American documentary film directed by Jerry Rothwell, based on the book by Naoki Higashida. An immersive first person account of living on the spectrum following five...  more
  • 13
    14
    2

    Seaspiracy

    Alistair Allan, Tamara Arenovich

    Directed byAli Tabrizi

    Seaspiracy is a 2021 American nature documentary film directed by Ali Tabrizi. Passionate about ocean life, a filmmaker sets out to document the harm that humans do to marine species - and uncovers...  more
  • 14
    11
    0

    The Human Factor

    Gamal Helal, Martin Indyk

    Directed byDror Moreh

    The Human Factor is a 2020 American-Israeli documentary film directed by Dror Moreh. The epic behind-the-scenes story of the United States' 30-year effort to secure peace in the Middle East....  more
  • 15
    11
    1

    Dolly Parton: A MusiCares Tribute

    Dolly Parton, Miley Cyrus

    Directed byLaura Segura

    Dolly Parton: A MusiCares Tribute is a 2021 American concert documentary film directed by Laura Segura. In a star-studded evening of music and memories, a community of iconic performers honor Dolly...  more
  • 16
    10
    0

    Patrice O'Neal: Killing is Easy

    Bill Burr, Kevin Hart

    Directed byMichael Bonfiglio

    Patrice O'Neal: Killing is Easy is a 2021 American comedy documentary film directed by Michael Bonfiglio. Told through the eyes of the people who knew Patrice best including Bill Burr, Kevin Hart and...  more
  • 17
    10
    0

    Pelé

    Pelé, Mario Zagallo

    Directed byBen Nicholas, David Tryhorn

    Pelé is a 2021 British sports documentary film directed by David Tryhorn & Ben Nicholas. Mixing rare archival footage and exclusive interviews, this documentary celebrates the soccer legend who...  more
  • 18
    10
    0

    A Glitch in the Matrix

    Nick Bostrom, Joshua Cooke

    Directed byRodney Ascher

    A Glitch in the Matrix is a 2021 American documentary film directed by Rodney Ascher. Are we in fact living in a simulation? This is the question postulated, wrestled with, and ultimately argued for...  more
  • 19
    10
    0

    Bleeding Audio

    Shawn Harris, Jon Devoto

    Directed byChelsea Christer

    Bleeding Audio is a 2020 American rock documentary film directed by Chelsea Christer. An intimate portrait detailing The Matches' promising career, defeating break up, and inspiring reunion as they...  more
  • 20
    10
    0

    Holy Frit

    Tim Carey, Narcissus Quagliata

    Directed byJustin S. Monroe

    Holy Frit is a 2021 American art documentary film directed by Justin S. Monroe. In this three-year race against time, Tim Carey, a talented, yet unknown L.A. artist, bluffs his way into winning a...  more
  • 21
    10
    0

    Stray

    Zeytin, Nazar

    Directed byElizabeth Lo

    Stray is a 2021 American-Turkish animal documentary film directed by Elizabeth Lo. Following three stray dogs as they embark on inconspicuous journeys through Turkish society in Istanbul and what it...  more
  • 22
    10
    0

    The Truffle Hunters

    Carlo, Aurelio

    Directed byMichael Dweck, Gregory Kershaw

    The Truffle Hunters is a 2020 American documentary film directed by Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw. In the secret forests of Northern Italy, a dwindling group of joyful old men and their faithful...  more
  • 23
    10
    0

    We Don't Deserve Dogs

    Akumu Filda, Maarit Haapasaari

    Directed byMatthew Salleh

    We Don't Deserve Dogs is a 2020 animal documentary film directed by Matthew Salleh. It reveals the simple and extraordinary ways that dogs influence our daily lives....  more
  • 24
    10
    0

    Black Art: In the Absence of Light

    Radcliffe Bailey, Sanford Biggers

    Directed bySam Pollard

    Black Art: In the Absence of Light is an 2021 American documentary film directed by Sam Pollard. The film follows various Black American artists and their contributions to the art world....  more
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    17
    10

    Crack: Cocaine, Corruption & Conspiracy

    Mitch Credle, Koe Rodriguez

    Directed byStanley Nelson

    Crack: Cocaine, Corruption & Conspiracy is a 2021 American documentary film directed by Stanley Nelson. In the early 1980s, the crack epidemic tore through America’s inner cities like a tsunami,...  more