BAFTA Award for Best Documentary

This page lists the winners for the BAFTA Award for Best Documentary, formerly known as the Robert Flaherty Documentary Award, for each year.

BAFTA Award for Best Documentary
Awarded forIn recognition of the number of high-quality theatrical documentaries released in cinemas
CountryUnited Kingdom
Presented byBritish Academy of Film and Television Arts
First awarded1948
Currently held bySummer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) (2021)
WebsiteBAFTA Website


The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), is a British organisation that hosts annual awards shows for film, television, children's film and television, and interactive media. A theatrical documentary award was presented by the Academy between 1948 and 1990. Documentaries have continued to be honoured with British Academy Television Awards since then and have been eligible in all relevant categories at the Film Awards. In 2012, the Academy re-introduced this category in recognition of the number of high-quality theatrical documentaries released in cinemas in the UK each year.[1]

Winners and nominees


Year Film Director
Louisiana StoryRobert J. Flaherty
FarrebiqueGeorges Rouquier
Is Everybody Listening?Jackson Beck
Shadow of the RuhrSergei Nolbandov
Those Blasted KidsAstrid Henning-Jensen, Bjarne Henning-Jensen
Three Dawns to SydneyJohn Eldridge
Daybreak in UdiTerry Bishop
The Cornish EngineBill Mason, Philip Armitage
Drug Addict
Island of the Lagoon (Isole Nella Laguna)Luciano Emmer, Enrico Gras
The Liver Fluke in Great BritainJohn Shearman
Report on the Refugee Problem


Year Film Director
The UndefeatedPaul Dickson
Inland WaterwaysR.K. Neilson-Baxter
Kon-TikiThor Heyerdahl
Green is the Mountain (La Montagne est Verte)Jean Lehérissey
Seal IslandJames Algar
The VaticanHans M. Nieter
Life Begins Tomorrow (La Vie Commence Demain)Nicole Védrès
Beaver ValleyJames Algar
Visit to Picasso (Bezoek aan Picasso)Paul Haesaerts
DavidPaul Dickson
A Family AffairMargaret Thomson
Family PortraitHumphrey Jennings
Oil for the Twentieth CenturyPeter Bradford
Out of TruePhilip Leacock
Royal JourneyDavid Bairstow, Gudrun Parker, Roger Blais
Fishermen of Negombo
Highlights of Farnborough 1952Peter De Normanville
Journey into HistoryJohn Taylor
Le Mans 1952Bill Mason
Nature's Half AcreJames Algar
Ocean TerminalJ.B. Holmes
The Open WindowHenri Storck
Opera SchoolGudrun Parker
Rig 20David Villiers, Ronald H. Riley
The Streamlined PigJørgen Roos
The Conquest of EverestGeorge Lowe
White Mane (Crin Blanc)Albert Lamorisse
Elizabeth is QueenTerry Ashwood
Pictures of the Middle Ages (Images Medievales)
Kumak, The Sleepy HunterAlma Duncan
Mille MigliaBill Mason
Operation HurricaneRonald Stark
A Queen Is CrownedChristopher Fry
Teeth of the Wind
Life in the Arctic (Vo l'dakh Okeana)Aleksandr Zguridi
Water BirdsBen Sharpsteen
World Without End
The Great Adventure (Det Stora Äventyret)Arne Sucksdorff
Back of BeyondJohn Heyer
Lekko!Herman van der Horst
Thursday's ChildrenGuy Brenton and Lindsay Anderson
The Vanishing PrairieJames Algar
Miner's WindowJohn Ferno
The Rival WorldBert Haanstra
On the BoweryLionel Rogosin
Foothold in AntarcticaDerek Williams
Generator 4F. R. Crawley
The Silent World (Le Monde Du Silence)Jacques Cousteau, Louis Malle
Under the Same SkyKurt Weber
Journey into SpringRalph Keene
City of GoldColin Low, Wolf Koenig
Every Day Except ChristmasLindsay Anderson
The USA in the Thirties
Glass (Glas)Bert Haanstra
The ForerunnerJohn Heyer
Jabulani AfrikaJamie Uys
LS LowryJohn Read
Secrets of the ReefMurray Lerner, Lloyd Ritter, Robert M. Young
Wonders of ChicagoHarry Foster
The Savage EyeJoseph Strick, Sidney Meyers, Ben Maddow
This is the BBCRichard Cawston
We Are the Lambeth BoysKarel Reisz
White WildernessJames Algar


Year Film Recipient(s)
Not awarded
Volcano (Le Rendezvous du diable)Haroun Tazieff
Not awarded
Nobody Waved Good-byeDon Owen
The Human DutchBert Haanstra
The Life of Billy Walker
Portrait of QueenieMichael Orrom
Tokyo OlympiadKon Ichikawa
Brute Force and FinesseMax Morgan-Witts
Deckie LearnerMichael Grigsby
StravinskyRoman Kroitor, Wolf Koenig
Goal! The World CupAbidine Dino, Ross Devenish
Buster Keaton Rides AgainJohn Spotton
I'm Going to Ask You to Get Up Out of Your SeatRichard Cawston
MatadorKevin Billington
To Die in MadridFrédéric Rossif
FamineJack Gold
The Things I Cannot ChangeTanya Ballantyne
In Need of Special CareJonathan Stedall
Inside North VietnamFelix Greene
Music!Michael Tuchner
A Plague On Your ChildrenAdrian Malone
PrologueNational Film Board of Canada


Year Film Recipient(s)
Sad Song of Yellow SkinNational Film Board of Canada
The Hellstrom ChronicleWalon Green
Death of a LegendBill Mason
Not awarded
GriersonNational Film Board of Canada
Cree Hunters of MistassiniBoyce Richardson, Tony Ianzelo
Compañero: Victor Jara of ChileStanley Forman, Martin Smith
The Early AmericansAlan Pendry
Seven Green BottlesEric Marquis
The Canadians (Los Canadienses)Albert Kish
White RockTony Maylam
Not awarded
The Silent WitnessDavid Rolfe
The Tree of Wooden ClogsErmanno Olmi


Year Film Recipient(s)
Not awarded
Soldier GirlsNick Broomfield, Joan Churchill
Best BoyIra Wohl
The Life and Times of Rosie the RiveterConnie Field
Return JourneyIan Potts
Burden of DreamsLes Blank
The Atomic CaféKevin Rafferty, Jayne Loader, Pierce Rafferty
Not a Love StoryBonnie Sherr Klein
The Weavers: Wasn't That a Time!Jim Brown
SchindlerJon Blair
Forty Minutes: Female CircumcisionLouise Panton
The Visit: Part 3 - The Boy DavidAlex McCall
Wildlife on One: Night LifeDilys Breese
28 UpMichael Apted
GI BridesLavinia Warner
South Bank Show: Alan BennettDavid Hinton
Afghanistan Reports: Allah Against The GunshipsSandy Gall
Omnibus: Leonard Berstein's West Side StoryChristopher Swann
Marilyn Monroe: Say Goodbye to the PresidentChristopher Olgiati
David Lean: A Life in FilmNigel Wattis
The Frozen Ocean: Part 1 - Kingdom of the Ice BearMike Salisbury, Hugh Miles
ShoahClaude Lanzmann
Viewpoint '86: Afghanistan: The Agony of a NationSandy Gall
Omnibus: The MissionRobin Lough
Forty Minutes: The Fishing PartyPaul Watson
Equinox: Prisoner of ConsciousnessJohn Dollar
British Cinema: Personal View - A Turnip Head's Guide to the British CinemaAlan Parker
Baka - People of The Rain ForestPhil Agland
Man-Eating Tigers/Saving the TigerNaresh Bedi
Fourteen Days in MayPaul Hamann
Forty Minutes: Home from the HillMolly Dineen
This Week: Death on the RockChris Oxley
The Duty Men: East EndersPaul Hamann
In from the Cold: A Portrait of Richard BurtonTony Palmer
Viewpoint Special: The Men Who Killed KennedyNigel Turner
First Tuesday: Four Hours in My LaiKevin Sim
Viewpoint '89: Cambodia - Year 10: A Special Report by John PilgerDavid Munro
Lost Children of the EmpireJoanna Mack, Mike Fox
Everyman: Romania - State of FearJohn Blake


Year Film Recipient(s)
SennaTim Bevan, Eric Fellner, James Gay-Rees, Asif Kapadia, Manish Pandey
George Harrison: Living in the Material WorldOlivia Harrison, Martin Scorsese, Nigel Sinclair
Project NimSimon Chinn, James Marsh
Searching for Sugar Man[4]Malik Bendjelloul, Simon Chinn
The ImposterBart Layton, Dimitri Doganis
McCullinDavid Morris, Jacqui Morris
MarleyKevin Macdonald, Steve Bing, Charles Steel
West of MemphisAmy J. Berg
The Act of KillingJoshua Oppenheimer
The Armstrong LieAlex Gibney
BlackfishGabriela Cowperthwaite
Tim's VermeerTeller, Penn Jillette, Farley Ziegler
We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaksAlex Gibney
CitizenfourLaura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy, Dirk Wilutzky
20 Feet from StardomMorgan Neville, Caitrin Rogers, Gil Friesen
20,000 Days on EarthIain Forsyth, Jane Pollard
Finding Vivian MaierJohn Maloof, Charlie Siskel
VirungaOrlando von Einsiedel, Joanna Natasegara
Amy[8]James Gay-Rees, Asif Kapadia
Cartel LandMatthew Heineman, Tom Yellin
He Named Me MalalaDavis Guggenheim, Laurie MacDonald, Walter Parkes
Listen to Me MarlonJohn Battsek, George Chignell, R. J. Cutler, Stevan Riley
SherpaBridget Ikin, Jennifer Peedom, John Smithson
13th[10]Ava DuVernay, Spencer Averick, Howard Barish
The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring YearsRon Howard, Brian Grazer, Scott Pascucci, Nigel Sinclair
The Eagle HuntressOtto Bell, Stacey Reiss
Notes on BlindnessPeter Middleton, James Spinney
WeinerJosh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg
I Am Not Your NegroRaoul Peck
City of GhostsMatthew Heineman
IcarusBryan Fogel, Dan Cogan
An Inconvenient SequelBonni Cohen, Jon Shenk
JaneBrett Morgen, Bryan Burk
Free Solo[13]Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin, Shannon Dill, Evan Hayes
McQueenIan Bonhote, Peter Ettedgui
RBGJulie Cohen, Betsy West
They Shall Not Grow OldPeter Jackson, Clare Olssen
Three Identical StrangersTim Wardle, Grace Hughes-Hallett, Becky Read
For Sama[15]Waad al-Kateab, Edward Watts
American FactorySteven Bognar, Julia Reichert
Apollo 11Todd Douglas Miller
Diego MaradonaAsif Kapadia, James Gay-Rees, Paul Martin
The Great HackKarim Amer, Jehane Noujaim


Year Film Recipient(s)
My Octopus Teacher[17]Pippa Ehrlich, James Reed, Craig Foster
David Attenborough: A Life on Our PlanetAlastair Fothergill, Jonnie Hughes, Keith Scholey
CollectiveAlexander Nanau
The DissidentBryan Fogel, Thor Halvorssen, Mark Monroe, Jake Swantko
The Social DilemmaJeff Orlowski, Larissa Rhodes
Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, David Dinerstein, Robert Fyvolent and Joseph Patel
Becoming CousteauLiz Garbus and Dan Cogan
CowAndrea Arnold and Kat Mansoor
FleeJonas Poher Rasmussen and Monica Hellström
The RescueElizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin, John Battsek and P. J. van Sandwijk

See also


  1. Documentary category added to Orange British Academy Film Awards, Retrieved March 13, 2012.
  2. Reynolds, Simon (12 February 2012). "Orange BAFTA Film Awards 2012 winners list - in full". Digital Spy. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  3. Brooks, Xan (11 February 2013). "Baftas 2013 – as it happened". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 June 2021.
  4. A Grammy for Big Easy Express, a BAFTA for Sugar Man|Music Film News
  5. "Baftas: Gravity and 12 Years a Slave share glory". BBC News. 17 February 2014. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  6. Brown, Mark (8 February 2015). "Baftas 2015: Boyhood wins top honours but Grand Budapest Hotel checks out with most". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  7. Lodderhose, Diana (14 February 2016). "'The Revenant,' Leonardo DiCaprio Dominate BAFTA Awards". Variety. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  8. Amy Winehouse documentary 'Amy' wins Bafta - ITV News
  9. Grater, Tom. "Baftas 2017: 'La La Land' scoops five as 'Moonlight', 'Nocturnal Animals' are shutout". Screendaily. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  10. Baftas 2017: full list of winners|Film|The Guardian
  11. "Bafta Film Awards 2018: Three Billboards wins top prizes". BBC. 19 February 2018. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  12. Nordine, Michael (10 February 2019). "BAFTA Awards 2019: 'Roma' Wins Best Film as 'The Favourite' Takes Home the Most Prizes". Indiewire. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  13. The full list of winners at the 2019 Bafta film awards|Film|The Guardian
  14. "Baftas 2020: Sam Mendes film 1917 dominates awards". BBC. 2 February 2020. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  15. Bafta Film Awards 2020: The winners in full - BBC News
  16. Shoard, Catherine (12 April 2021). "Baftas 2021: Nomadland wins big as Promising Young Woman and Anthony Hopkins surprise". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  17. BAFTA Film Award Winners 2021 – Full List|IndieWire
  18. "2022 EE British Academy Film Awards: Nominations". BAFTA. Archived from the original on 3 February 2022. Retrieved 2022-02-03.
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