Grizzly Man (2005)
Credit: Everett

Werner Herzog, the obsessive German director of feature films such as Rescue Dawn, brings the same sense of courage in the face of death to his documentaries. First place on this list goes to Herzog's tale of the life of Timothy Treadwell, who lived for 13 summers among Alaska's grizzly bears – until one of them mauled him and his girlfriend to death in 2003. Using vivid homemade movies that Treadwell, a struggling actor, made of himself with the bears, interspersed with interviews with a scene-stealing coroner and those who knew the fanatical Treadwell, Herzog conducts his own expedition into knowing the unknowable (in this case, a dead man) and elevates this search to the level of art.