In the world of filmmaking, a unique genre has emerged that blurs the lines between reality and fiction, offering audiences a fresh perspective on storytelling—mockumentaries. These cinematic creations take the form of documentaries but are entirely fictional, using a documentary-style format to immerse viewers in a world of make-believe. With humor, satire, and a keen eye for social commentary, mockumentaries have become a celebrated genre in their own right. Join us as we embark on a journey through the best mockumentaries of all time, celebrating their clever narratives, memorable characters, and the art of blending fact and fiction seamlessly.
10. Take the Money and Run (1969)
#10 on our list of top 10 mockumentaries is Take the Money and Run. Woody Allen is perfect at playing meek characters, and the controversial movie director nails this one.
Virgil Starkwell (Woody Allen) is intent on becoming a notorious bank robber. Unfortunately for Virgil, he is completely incompetent.
Presented in a documentary format, the film features interviews with his wife Louise (Janet Margolin) and others that know him. Take the Money and Run covers Virgil’s crime-obsessed youth, breaking the law as an adult, time in jail, and his prison break.
9. The Rutles: All You Need is Cash (1978)
The Beatles are Rock ‘n’ Roll legends and beyond reproach. Or are they? This mock documentary pokes fun at pop legends The Beatles.
We follow the fictional band, The Rutles, as they climb the music charts. Complete with bowl cuts–the four musicians become superstars with such hits as, “I Am the Waitress,” and “Ouch!” Celebrity cameos from Bill Murray and John Belushi are hilarious.
8. Borat (2006)
What three words can best describe our next best mockumentaries choice? Borat very nice! The full name of the movie itself–Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan–will have you die laughing.
Outrageous situations occur when Borat (Sacha Baron Cohen), a popular reporter from Kazakhstan, comes to the United States to film a documentary. Along the way he manages to offend just about everyone he meets. But this doesn’t stop him from falling in love with Pamela Anderson.
More than just a popular movie, Borat is one of the funniest Mockumentaries on Netflix–if you’re okay with DVDs.
7. CB4 (1993)
Our #4 vote for top 10 mockumentary films is CB4. Funny man Chris Rock is a rapper? After several failed attempts to establish themselves as hip hop artist, Albert (Chris Rock), Euripedes (Allen Payne), and Otis (Deezer D) get their big break when nightclub owner Gusto (Charlie Murphy) is arrested.
Albert assumes his name and criminal past, becoming MC Gusto, and the trio rises to fame by pretending to be recently released felons. As their fame increases, so do tensions within the group. When Gusto escapes from prison, he is furious at having his identity stolen and vows revenge.
6. I’m Still Here (2010)
The best mockumentary movies–like I’m Still Here–are good at making us question is this real or fake. Well, at least for a little while.
Director Casey Affleck follows Joaquin Phoenix as he carries out a plan to retire from acting and concentrate on a new career as a hip-hop musician. The Oscar-nominated star attempts to convince Sean “Diddy” Combs to produce his debut album, as he continues to shock fans and critics everywhere.
5. Best In Show (2000)
At the halfway mark on our top 10 mockumentaries list is Best In Show. Kennel clubs everywhere be warned: Christopher Guest and his misfit characters are at it again. The tension is palpable, the excitement is mounting, and the heady scent of competition is in the air.
Hundreds of eager contestants from across America prepare to take part in what is undoubtedly one of the greatest events of their lives: The Mayflower Dog Show. The canine contestants, and their owners, are as wondrously diverse as the great country that has bred them.
4. Forgotten Silver (1995)
We love movies that poke fun at the film industry, and Forgotten Silver does a great job at that. This mockumentary by Peter Jackson and Costa Botes details the life of innovative, and fictional, filmmaker Colin McKenzie, and presents some of his previously “lost” work.
The movie claims that McKenzie made technological advancements in cinema years before their acknowledged emergence. Silver features interviews with film notables such as critic and historian Leonard Maltin, who attest to McKenzie’s significance.
3. Fubar (2002)
We’re getting close–#3 on our top 10 mockumentaries list is Fubar. Somehow, we feel Keanu Reeves should have a cameo in this mock doc.
In the smoking pits of high schools and on the tailgates of pickup trucks in stadium parking lots across North America, there exists a breed of long-haired culture rebels known as headbangers. Fubar asks the question who is that guy riding a beat up 10-speed and why does he have that haircut?
2. Waiting for Guffman (1996)
Number 2 on our top 10 mockumentary list is Waiting for Guffman. I know what you’re saying, “There are two Christopher Guest mockumentaries on this list”. Yes, because his mockumentary examples are perfect.
When the town of Blaine, Missouri approaches its sesquicentennial there’s only one way to celebrate–a musical revue called Red, White and Blaine. Using the musical as his vehicle to the bright lights of Broadway, producer Corky St. Clair (Christopher Guest) rounds up a cast of enthusiastic misfits (Eugene Levy, Fred Willard, Catherine O’Hara) to breathe life into his crazy production.
Things go from crazy to bizarre when Clair learns that the important theater agent Mort Guffman will attend the opening. Over the top and insanely funny, the writing is excellent.
1. This is Spinal Tap (1984)
If the sheer thought of a movie makes you breakout laughing, you know it was funny. Mention the words Spinal Tap and those that know will not be able to contain themselves.
#1 on our top 10 mockumentaries list is This is Spinal Tap. Rock bands are the easiest to make fun of because of their outrageous behavior. This is Spinal Tap is a spoof about a filmmaker making a documentary about a once famous British heavy metal band.
As our exploration of the best mockumentaries draws to a close, we’ve traversed the diverse landscapes of humor, satire, and biting social commentary. These films have masterfully blurred the lines between fact and fiction, challenging our perceptions and tickling our funny bones. From the absurd to the thought-provoking, mockumentaries have offered us a unique lens through which to view the world. As we bid adieu to this remarkable genre, we’re reminded that in the world of cinema, storytelling knows no boundaries, and the art of make-believe can be as powerful as reality itself.