Skip To Content
  • Viral badge

21 Incredible Documentaries With The Most Shocking Endings

"I was shocked at the last-minute curveball in The Staircase. No spoilers, but it came completely out of nowhere, sounded ridiculous, but when I thought about it, it made so much sense."

We recently asked the documentary film fans of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us about the most shocking ending or twist they've ever seen in a doc. Here's what they said:

Warning: Some spoilers ahead. Continue at your own risk.

1. Capturing the Friedmans (2003)

Screenshot from "Capturing the Friedmans"

2. Cropsey (2009)

Screenshot from "Cropsey"

3. The Overnighters (2014)

Screenshot from "The Overnighters"

4. Time: The Kalief Browder Story (2017)

Screenshot from "Time: The Kalief Browder Story"

5. Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father (2008)

Screenshot from "Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father"

6. Tarnation (2004)

Screenshot from "Tarnation"

7. The Staircase (2004)

Screenshot from "The Staircase"

8. Don't F**k with Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer (2019)

Screenshot from "Don't F**k with Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer"

9. Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez (2020)

Closeup of Aaron Hernandez

10. The Deepest Breath (2023)

Screenshot from "The Deepest Breath"

11. The Witness (2015)

12. Paris Is Burning (1990)

Screenshot from "Paris Is Buring"

13. The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez (2020)

Screenshot from "The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez"

14. The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst (2015)

Closeup of Robert Durst

15. Three Identical Strangers (2018)

Screenshot from "Three Identical Strangers"

16. Tell Me Who I Am (2019)

Screenshot from "Tell Me Who I Am"

17. The Keepers (2017)

Screenshot from "The Keepers"

18. Our Father (2022)

Screenshot from "Our Father"

19. Girl in the Picture (2022)

Screenshot from "Girl in the Picture"

20. Running with the Devil: The Wild World of John McAfee (2022)

Screenshot from "Running with the Devil: The Wild World of John McAfee"

21. Finally, Grizzly Man (2005)

Closeup of Timothy Treadwell

Are you a fan of documentary films, too? Is there something missing from this list that you would add? Tell us in the comments below and maybe we'll do a part two!