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What are some popular documentaries?

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Quick Answer

Some popular documentaries, based on box office success, include "Fahrenheit 9/11," "March of the Penguins" and "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never." In terms of popularity among critics, "Hoop Dreams," "The Thin Blue Line" and "Grey Gardens" are some favorites.

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PBS conducted a survey of its viewers in 2012 to determine the best documentaries of all time. Some of the top films were in line with what critics chose. Other popular documentaries among the PBS viewers included "Paris Is Burning," "Harlan County, USA" and "Bowling for Columbine."

Films by Michael Moore were prevalent both on the PBS list and the top box office finishes. Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11," "Sicko," "Bowling for Columbine" and "Capitalism: A Love Story" all are among the 20 top grossing documentaries of all time and are also listed as among the 100 best by PBS viewers.

The PBS list also had some overlap with a Top 100 compiled by critics at "Paste" magazine. Viewers and critics both were fans of films such as "Grizzly Man," about a man obsessed with bears, "Night and Fog," about Nazi concentration camps, "Salesman," which follows four Bible salesmen in the 1960s, and "The Up Series," which caught up with 14 people every seven years from childhood through adulthood.

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