Top Grossing Documentaries

The following list includes the Top Grossing Documentaries from 1982 to the Present. For much more detail on this list see

This list includes only the first 100 documentary films that have played in movie theaters. It does not include documentaries that were released only on DVD or the web. This listing does not include all non-fiction films such as concert and music eg Woodstock, or comedy performances. It does not compilation films such as That’s Entertainment or reality TV movies eg Jackass.

The Box Office Grosses of these 100 films ranges from $119 million to $790,000 With the average just under a million dollars.

Rank / Title

1 Fahrenheit 9/11

2 March of the Penguins

4 Sicko

5 An Inconvenient Truth

6 Bowling for Columbine

7 Madonna: Truth or Dare

8 Religulous

9 Winged Migration

10 Super Size Me

11 Mad Hot Ballroom

12 Hoop Dreams FL

13 Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

14 Tupac: Resurrection

15 Roger and Me

16 The Aristocrats

17 Spellbound (2003)

18 Shine a Light

19 Touching the Void

20 Food, Inc.

21 The Fog of War

22 Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

23 [email protected]

24 Paris is Burning

25 Imagine: John Lennon

26 Step Into Liquid

27 Born Into Brothels

28 The Corporation

29 Rize

30 Grizzly Man

31 Wordplay

32 Capturing the Friedmans

33 The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill

34 Crumb

35 Man on Wire

36 Unzipped

37 When We Were Kings

38 Comedian

39 My Architect

40 Freeriders

41 Control Room Magn.

42 The September Issue

43 The Endurance: Shackleton’s Antarctic Adventure

44 Snowriders 2

45 A Brief History of Time

46 Riding Giants

47 Rivers and Tides

48 The Endless Summer II

49 Snowriders

50 Beyond the Mat

51 Endless Winter

52 Vertical Reality

53 The Story of the Weeping Camel

54 Valentino: The Last Emperor

55 Koyaanisqatsi

56 Every Little Step

57 Life & Times of Hank Greenberg

58 Who Killed the Electric Car?

59 Black Diamond Rush

60 Rhyme & Reason

61 Vincent: The Life and Death of Vincent Van Gogh

62 Murderball

63 Why We Fight

64 The Kid Stays in the Picture

65 No End in Sight

66 Microcosmos

67 Looking for Richard

68 The Celluloid Closet

69 Hearts of Darkness

70 Anne Frank Remembered

71 Brother’s Keeper

72 Dogtown and Z-Boys


74 Gonzo

75 Metallica: Some Kind of Monster

76 Shut Up and Sing

77 The Thin Blue Line

78 Festival Express

79 American Movie

80 In the Shadow of the Moon

81 It Might Get Loud

82 Paper Clips

83 The U.S. Vs. John Lennon

84 Say Amen, Somebody

85 Leonard Cohen I’m Your Man

86 The Eyes of Tammy Faye

87 Encounters at the End of the World

88 American Teen

89 35 Up

90 Jesus Camp

91 The War Room

92 Tyson

93 Fast, Cheap and Out of Control

94 Marlene

95 Sharkwater

96 Arctic Tale

97 I.O.U.S.A.

98 Ballets Russes

99 Visions of Light

100 Into Great Silence

Feel free to comment on any of these films. See the comment box below.

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