Eccentric boxers. Social advocates. Heavy metal fanatics with a dream.

This year's best documentaries shed light on people and subjects either unknown or misunderstood and used the power of the camera to expose devastating truths and blatant falsehoods. They're not always the images you want to see, but for many of the films listed below, they're things you need to see.

We also have a soft spot for movies that showcase and triumph the underdog, and a good documentary allows us to see, despite different times or cultures, a little bit of ourselves in each subject.