As 2022 folds, you might have missed out on top-notch documentary films presented last year on multiple screens and platforms, including National Geographic, Netflix, HBO, and more. Here are the finest documentary films of 2022 and the upcoming ones to add to your watchlist in 2023.

The documentary films cited below were selected based on the 2023 Oscars nominations, the Seventh Annual Critics Choice Documentary Awards, and the IMDb listing.

Documentary Films of 2022: Crème De La Crème

Good Night Oppy

This film tells the expedition carried by Oppy, the Mars Exploration Rover sent by Nasa on a mission to study Mars for 90 days but ended up surviving nearly 15 years.

Fire of Love

The story of two French volcanologists and lovers, Katia and Maurice Krafft, who died in a volcanic explosion while solving the mysteries of volcanoes, the passion that brought them together in the first place.

Image credit: National Geographic Documentary Films


The film follows Russian opposition leader and former presidential candidate Alexey Navalny, who survived an assassination attempt in 2020 after being poisoned by a lethal nerve agent.

All That Breathes

This film narrates the story of two Indian brothers who rescue injured black kite birds after they drop from the sky due to air pollution in the crowded city of New Delhi, India. The devoted brothers show humane deeds toward the mesmerizing creatures amid the city’s collapsing ecology.

Image credit: BBC

Hidden Letters

The film follows “two millennial Chinese women, connected by their fascination with the secret language of sisterhood and their desire to protect it.” They try to establish balance as independent women in modern China while sharing their love for Nüshu.


The film serves justice to the descendants of the slave ship Clotilda and shows Africatown residents’ satisfaction to finally reclaim history by proving America’s last known slave ship is no legend. Besides, the discovery of Clotilda’s remains offers the survivors a tangible link to their ancestors. 

Image credit: Netflix

Documentary enthusiasts might also want to dive deeper into the pool of quality documentary feature films, including The Territory, 32 SoundsTantura (based on the Tantura massacre carried out by Israeli occupation forces against Palestinians during Nakba), We Need to Talk About Cosby, Bad Axe“Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, a Journey, a Song,” and Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues.

What to Anticipate in 2023?

The past few years of documentary production offered viewers a collection of brilliant films and series, including Edge of the Earth (2022), Limitless With Chris Hemsworth (2022), Shadow Game (2021), 14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible (2021), Pelé (2021), Inside Pixar (2020), Free Solo (2018), Apollo 11: First Steps Edition (2019), Life Below Zero (2013), An Inconvenient Truth (2006), Hoop Dreams (1994) and the list goes on.

However, 2023 will also hold notable docuseries to untangle further riddles and expeditions, including Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street (Netflix), If These Walls Could Sing (Disney+), Super League: The War for Football (Apple TV+), The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker (Netflix), Frozen Planet II (BBC One), Super Junior: The Last Man Standing (Disney+), Formula 1: Drive to Survive Seasons 5-6 (Netflix), and One Strange Rock Season 2 (National Geographic).

Published by HOLR Magazine.

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