The Maysles Brothers' classic documentary Grey Gardens topped the list of the 100 Best Docs of All Time, as compiled by Boston's Chlotrudis Society For Independent Film. As explained on the Chlotrudis site:
To create this list, members were asked to come up with their Top 10-20 documentaries of all time. For our purposes, documentaries included concert films, and films made for televsion. After receiving all of the lists, numerical values were assigned to each of the rankings, and each movie was given a point total. The number of lists a movie appears on is also a factor.
Much has been said about the rise of documentaries in the last 5 years or so, and our resulting list certainly speaks to that. In the Top 100, nearly half (49) were made post 2000, with 23 made during the 90's, 12 during the 80's, 9 during the 70's, 4 during the 60's, and one each during the 50's and the 20's.
The highest charting film from 2006 on the list is Kirby Dick's This Film Is Not Yet Rated, which came in at #14. The oldest film on the list - Dziga Vertov's masterpiece The Man With a Movie Camera (1929) - came in second. Errol Morris had more films on the list than any other filmmaker, starting with The Fog of War at #19.
1. Grey Gardens
2. The Man With a Movie Camera
3. Stop Making Sense
5. The Up Series
6. The Gleaners & I
7. Titicut Follies
9. Double Dare
10. Grizzly Man
12. Born Into Brothels
14. This Film Is Not Yet Rated
15. In the Realms of the Unreal
16. Bowling for Columbine
17. Hoop Dreams
18. Capturing the Friedmans
19. The Fog of War
The full list of one hundred is available on the Chlotrudis site.
As with all lists, part of the fun is appreciating some surprises (such as the high ranking of Jonathan Caouette's groundbreaking Tarnation) while shaking your head at some others (Hoop Dreams is not even in the top 15?) But all in all, I think it's a pretty fine list [and I'd say that even if my own Gigantic (A Tale of Two Johns) did not come in at #28, which is very nice and a great honor, but, seriously folks, ahead of Gimme Shelter? Come on, that's not right.], particularly as you get a bit further down in the rankings and the Chlotrudis folks remind you of a few films to add to your Netflix queue.