->''"Like real movies but with ugly people.''"
-->-- '''Abet''' about this art form, ''Series/{{Community}}'', "[[Recap/CommunityS1E03IntroductionToFilm Introduction to Film]]"

A film or series that revolves around non-news reporting of NonFiction subjects. While there are earlier examples, technical limitations prevented the genre from forming until the 20th century. The term itself was coined by reviewer John "The Moviegoer" Grierson in 1926.

Many documentaries are known to break several OmnipresentTropes which exist in other genres due to nature of the documentaries.

Works of fiction or comedy sometimes use a style that imitates or parodies the {{Documentary}}, they can be found at: DocumentaryEpisode, FauxDocumentary, FauxToGuide, and {{Mockumentary}}.

The MondoMovie is an intesting type of ExploitationFilm that can be a hybrid of the serious types (the original ''Mondo Cane'') or be totally fake (''Film/FacesOfDeath'').

Compare and contrast NewsBroadcast. For a list of documentary features that have won or been nominated for Oscars, see UsefulNotes/AcademyAwardForBestDocumentaryFeature.
[[folder:Documentary Tropes]]
* TheKenBurnsEffect
* ManipulativeEditing
* NationalGeographicNudity
* RidiculouslyCuteCritter
* ShootTheMoney
* StockFootage
* TalkingHeads


+ DocuSoap
+ DocumentaryOfLies
++ TwistingTheWords
+ NatureDocumentary
+ {{Rockumentary}}
+ SpeculativeDocumentary
+ TVDocumentary

%% Examples: %%
* ''Film/AbacusSmallEnoughToJail''
* ''Film/TheActOfKilling''
* ''Series/AirCrashInvestigation''
* ''Film/TheJewishAmericans''
* ''Film/AmericanMovie''
* ''Film/AnArcticTale''
* ''Film/AnInconvenientTruth''
* ''{{Film/Baraka}}''
* ''Film/TheBattleOfSanPietro''
* ''Series/BBCHistoricalFarmSeries''
* ''Film/TheBeaverTrilogy''
* ''WebVideo/BecomingYouTube'' is a weird mix of a serious documentary and {{Mockumentary}}-style [[SketchComedy sketches]].
* ''Film/BeingElmoAPuppeteersJourney''
* ''Film/BeyondTheMat''
* ''Film/BigFunInTheBigTown''
* ''Film/{{Blackfish}}''
* ''Series/BloodDolphins''
* ''[[Film/TheBonesBrigadeAnAutobiography The Bones Brigade: An Autobiography]]'': A biography Stacy Peralta(one of the best skaters in the 70s)'s creation of the Powell Peralta company after the sudden disband of the Zephyr Skateboard team, and the start of the Bones Brigade, their rise to fame, their revolutionary contributions to the skateboarding community and the emotional roller coaster of each individual skaters.
* ''Film/BowlingForColumbine''
* ''[[Film/BroniesTheExtremelyUnexpectedAdultFansOfMyLittlePony Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans Of My Little Pony]]''
* ''Film/BrooklynBridge''
* ''Film/TheBusinessOfBeingBorn'': About pregnancy and birthing in America.
* ''Film/CapitalismALoveStory''
* ''Film/CapturingTheFriedmans''
* ''Film/CardSubjectToChange'': Life on the ProfessionalWrestling independent scene, for both RingOldies, current stars and young hopefuls.
* ''Film/CartsOfDarkness'': The lives of homeless men who race shopping carts for thrills and collect cans for money.
* ''Film/TheCelluloidCloset''
* ''Film/{{Chang}}''
* ''Film/ChinaBlue''
* ''Film/{{Citizenfour}}'': About Edward Snowden and the NSA spying scandal.
* ''Film/CocaineCowboys'': A documentary about the rise of the illegal cocaine trade in Miami during the 1970s and 1980s. Also spawned a sequel, ''Cocaine Cowboys 2'', about a small-time coke dealer who ends up working for notorious drug lord Griselda Blanco.
* ''Film/TheCove'': About dolphin hunting/fishing in Japan and won an Oscar.
* ''Film/CrisisBehindAPresidentialCommitment''
* ''Film/{{Czechoslovakia 1968}}''
* ''Film/TheDarkSideOfChocolate:'' About the widespread but strangely unknown-to-the-public use of child slaves in the cocoa industry.
* ''Film/DearZachary''
* ''Series/DeNieuweOrde''
* ''Film/DeNurembergANuremberg'': A French documentary about UsefulNotes/NaziGermany.
* ''Series/DirtyMoney''
* ''Film/DisneylandDream'', one family's (unusually sophisticated) home movie of their visit to Disneyland in 1956.
* ''Film/DreamsOfALife''
* ''Film/TheEagleHuntress''
* ''Film/{{Earthlings}}:'' About the horrific treatment of animals in the food industry, puppy mills, etc...
* ''Film/EncountersAtTheEndOfTheWorld''
* ''Film/EndlessSummer''
* ''Film/EnronTheSmartestGuysInTheRoom''
* ''Film/{{Everest}}''
* ''Film/FatHead'': A rebuttal to Film/SupersizeMe.
* ''Film/{{Felicia}}'': Documentary short about a teenaged girl in 1965 Watts
* ''Film/FirstStrike:'' About the possibility of a nuclear surprise attack on the United States.
* ''Film/TheFogOfWar:'' About former Secretary of Defence Robert Macnamara.
* ''Film/FoodInc.''
* ''Film/ForAllMankind''
* ''Film/ForbiddenLoveTheUnashamedStoriesOfLesbianLives''
* ''Film/TheForgottenFrontier'' -- nurses tending to the poor in 1931 Appalachia
* ''Film/ForTheBibleTellsMeSo''
* ''Series/ForensicFiles''
* ''Film/ForksOverKnives''
* ''Film/FourDaysInNovember''
* ''Film/FourLittleGirls''
* ''Film/FreedomOnMyMind''
* ''Film/GatesOfHeaven''
* ''[[Film/GeneralIdiAminDadaASelfPortrait General Idi Amin Dada: A Self Portrait]]''
* ''Film/{{Grass}}''
* ''Film/GreyGardens''
* ''Film/GrizzlyMan''
* ''Literature/GoingClear'' about the ChurchOfHappyology
* ''Literature/GunsGermsAndSteel''
* ''Film/HarlanCountyUSA''
* ''Film/HeartsAndMinds''
* "Hellbound" A documentary about different perceptions of hell.
* ''Series/AHistoryOfScotland'': Explores [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin the history of]] UsefulNotes/{{Scotland}}.
* ''Film/{{Home 2006}}'': This documentary looks at New York City through the eyes of a number of famous people.
* ''Film/HoopDreams''
* ''Film/IAmBigBird''
* ''Film/IAmNotYourNegro''
* ''Film/IllFindAWay''
* ''Film/IndieGameTheMovie''
* ''Series/InSearchOf'': A documentary series centered around popular mysteries, with Creator/LeonardNimoy as the narrator.
* ''Film/InSearchOfDrSeuss''
* ''Film/JesusCamp''
* ''Film/TheJinx'': About billionaire murder suspect Robert Durst.
* ''Film/JiroDreamsOfSushi''
* ''Film/JodorowskysDune''
* ''Film/{{Jonestown}}''
* ''Film/K2SirenOfTheHimalayas'':
* ''Film/{{Kedi}}''
* ''Film/TheKidsGuideToTheInternet''
* ''Film/TheKillingOfAmerica''
* ''Film/TheKingOfKong''
* ''Film/KissLovesYou''
* ''Film/KonTiki''
* ''Film/{{Koyaanisqatsi}}''
* ''Film/LetTheFireBurn''
* ''Film/LetThereBeLight''
* ''Film/TheLifeAndTimesOfRosieTheRiveter''
* ''WebVideo/LooseChange''
* ''Series/UrasawaNaokiNoManben''
* ''Film/{{Manson|1973}}'', one of the first documentaries about UsefulNotes/CharlesManson and the Tate-[=LaBianca=] murders.
* ''Film/ManWithAMovieCamera''
* ''Film/TheMemphisBelle''
* ''Series/MiraclesForSale'': A Derren Brown special about the US faith healing industry.
* "Missrepresentation'' A documentary about attitudes toward women in the media and in American society.
* ''Film/MoscowStrikesBack''
* ''Film/NanookOfTheNorth'' (1922), the TropeMaker, Robert Flaherty's film about life among the Inuk people of upper Hudson Bay.
* ''Film/TheNegroSoldier''
* ''Film/NextGoalWins'' is the story of the worst team in international soccer and their attempts to win one game.
* ''Film/OJMadeInAmerica''
* ''Film/ParisIsBurning'' is about ball culture in New York City during the 1980s.
* ''Pedigree Dogs Exposed'': About the effects of inbreeding and other KC practices on the health of purebreds as a whole and certain breeds in particular.
* ''Film/ThePixarStory'': about the history of Creator/{{Pixar}}.
* ''Film/ThePlowThatBrokeThePlains''
* ''Film/PowersOfTen''
* ''Film/PortraitOfJason''
* ''Film/{{Primary}}'': Groundbreaking cinema verite film about the 1960 Wisconsin Democratic presidential primary contest between Hubert Humphrey and UsefulNotes/JohnFKennedy.
* ''Film/ProjectNim'': About an experiment on a chimpanzee to see if they could learn how to communicate like a human if raised like a human child.
* ''Film/ReclaimingTheBlade'': On medieval European swordmanship.
* ''Film/TheRedPill''
* ''Film/ReelBadArabs'': A documentary about the stereotyping of Arabs and other Middle Eastern peoples in mainstream media, particularly films, and all the UnfortunateImplications coming from it.
* ''Film/{{Religulous}}''
* ''Film/ReportFromTheAleutians''
* ''Film/{{Restrepo}}''
* ''Film/{{Revolution|1968}}'' (1968): This documentary explores hippiedom in San Francisco in 1967.
* ''Film/{{Revolution|2012}}'' (2012): This documentary explores the importance of saving the environment.
* ''Film/RobertFrostALoversQuarrelWithTheWorld''
* ''Film/RogerAndMe''
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Ryan}}'': Documentary short about animator Ryan Larkin unusual for itself being animated
* ''Film/{{Salesman}}''
* ''Film/SearchingForSugarMan''
* ''Series/SecondsFromDisaster'', about major disasters (natural or man-made) and the series of events leading up to them.
* ''Podcast/Serial'': A podcast exploring the real life murder conviction of Adnan Syed and his potential innocence.
* ''Film/Sharks3D''
* ''Film/ShermansMarch''
* ''Film/{{Shoah}}''
* ''Film/ShowdownInSeattle''
* ''Film/{{Siege}}'': A documentary short about the siege of Warsaw in 1939.
* ''WebVideo/{{The Smash Brothers}}'': A nine-episode WebOriginal following seven of the most influential ''[[VideoGame/SuperSmashBros Super Smash Bros. Melee]]'' players of all time, as well as the community surrounding them.
* ''Film/TheSorrowAndThePity''
* ''Film/SpecialWhenLit'': A look at the history, culture, and creators of {{Pinball}}.
* ''Film/{{Spielberg}}''
* ''Film/TheStatueOfLiberty''
* ''Film/TheStoryOfTheWeepingCamel''
* ''Film/TheSweatbox'': The look into the history and making of the abandoned Creator/{{Disney}} film ''Kingdom of the Sun'' and its painful transformation into the film ''Disney/TheEmperorsNewGroove''.
* ''Film/SuperSizeMe'': One man's attempt to eat UsefulNotes/McDonalds, and only [=McDonalds=], for 30 days in a row.
* ''Film/{{Tickled}}'': David Ferrier's documentary on "competitive tickling," which takes a dark turn.
* ''Film/TheTiesThatBind1985'': A documentary on the life of the filmmaker's mother.
* ''Film/ATimeForBurning''
* ''Film/TheTimesOfHarveyMilk''
* ''Film/TiltTheBattleToSavePinball'': A documentary on the creation of the "Pinball 2000" game platform.
* ''Film/ThankYouForPlaying'': A documentary about the creation of the critically acclaimed indie game ''VideoGame/ThatDragonCancer''
* ''Film/ThisFilmIsNotYetRated'': A look at the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the frequent {{Double Standard}}s applied to film ratings.
* ''Film/{{TPBAFK}}'': A documentary about ''The Pirate Bay'' and the trial of its creators.
* ''Film/TriumphOfTheWill''
* ''Film/TroubleTheWater''
* ''Film/TwistOfFaith''
* ''Film/WakingSleepingBeauty''
* ''Film/WhoKilledTheElectricCar'': It examines the reasons for the dismantlement of the electric car program of the early 2000s.
* ''Series/WhyWeFight2005''
* ''Film/WinnebagoMan'': Explores the phenomenon of viral videos, in particular that of one man's profanity-laden out-takes.
* ''Film/WordWars'': A documentary about competitive TabletopGame/{{Scrabble}} playing.
* ''[[Film/YoungAtHeart Young@Heart]]'': The inspirational true story of a choir of senior citizens who perform modern rock music.
* ''Film/{{Zoo}}''