The 25 Greatest Documentaries on Netflix Proper Now


Documentaries join us all. The component that the majority viewers are inclined to gravitate towards relating to documentaries is the essence of actual life that one gleans from the assemblages of historic footage, images, speaking heads, pre-recorded audio, and sequences of bodily tour or easy quotidian duties. There’s an plain feeling of authenticity even whenever you’re watching one thing clearly biased. Even in instances the place the movie’s general focus is narrowed to suit a pre-conceived narrative, there’s an unmistakable feeling of intimacy, of being let right into a filmmaker’s mind for a fast flash. In utilizing snippets of the actual world, in a wide range of varieties, nice documentaries use photos of common, acquainted existence to impart one thing tremendously private, even intimate. And with the current explosion of the “docuseries” format, we have now the flexibility to go deeper right into a story than ever earlier than.

Netflix has a bountiful of nice documentaries that cowl a various vary of topics, from true crime to sports activities to even filmmaking. Under, we have assembled a listing of what we imagine are the very best documentaries on Netflix proper now.

Editor’s notice: This text was final up to date on September 2nd so as to add Bob Ross: Pleased Accidents, Betrayal & Greed

RELATED: The Greatest Films on Netflix Proper Now

Bob Ross: Pleased Accidents, Betrayal & Greed

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Picture by way of Netflix

Director: Joshua Rofé

The very first thing to know concerning the Bob Ross documentary on Netflix is it does not reveal that this beloved determine was a nasty man. However it does uncover the disturbing reality behind the enterprise of Bob Ross Inc., and particularly what occurred after Ross’ premature loss of life. That includes interviews with Ross’ son and finest buddy, in addition to others who knew him, Bob Ross: Pleased Accidents, Betrayal & Greed chronicles how he grew to become a popular culture icon by chance, and covers his philosophy of portray. It additionally will get a bit into his private life, displaying us the person behind the canvas. However the principle thrust of the film is the enterprise dealings that took benefit of Ross, and the fallout from his loss of life. It is an intriguing movie, particularly at solely 90 minutes in size. – Adam Chitwood

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Picture by way of IFC Movies

Administrators: Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky

You do not have to love Metallica to seek out this seminal 2004 documentary fully engrossing. The truth is, Metallica: Some Form of Monster is without doubt one of the finest music documentaries ever made, because it gives an unprecedented and candid look contained in the making of Metallica’s 2003 album St. Anger. What started as a documentary concerning the making of an album quickly turns into the chronicle of a band on the brink, as lead singer James Hetfield enters rehab whereas the band’s relationship is at an all time low. We watch as they attempt to work by way of their interpersonal points and differing appraoches to creating music, and drummer Lars Ulrich brazenly admits he is undecided if the band’s going to outlive. The film sparked backlash within the music group as many thought Metallica was too trustworthy concerning the music-making course of, which makes this an all of the extra fascinating time capsule. – Adam Chitwood

Misha and the Wolves

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Picture by way of Sundance

Director: Sam Hobkinson

Would you query somebody who claimed to be a Holocaust survivor even when their story was fully outlandish? That’s the query on the coronary heart of Sam Hobkinson’s charming documentary Misha and the Wolves. The movie is a few lady, Misha Defonseca, who claimed that her dad and mom have been arrested by the Nazis when she was seven years outdated, and so she ran away in direction of Germany to seek out her lacking dad and mom, and through her trek she joined a pack of wolves. This memoir grew to become a worldwide best-seller, however its credibility grew to become the middle of a lawsuit between Misha and her writer, Jane Daniel. The bigger exploration right here isn’t merely a matter of a stranger-than-fiction story, however why we go searching for uplifting narratives on the expense of arduous realities that will not consolation us. – Matt Goldberg

Street to Roma

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Picture by way of Netflix

Administrators: Andres Clariond and Grabriel Nuncio

This documentary could have restricted attain, however Street to Roma is terrific supplemental viewing if you happen to’ve already seen Alfonso Cuaron’s Oscar-winning Netflix drama Roma. This feature-length documentary goes behind the scenes as Cuaron crafts his most private movie so far, recalling his personal recollections to create an epically intimate Mexico Metropolis-set drama. This one’s nice for cinephiles. – Adam Chitwood

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Picture by way of Netflix

Director: Chris Moukarbel

In case you’re within the temper for a celeb documentary that digs a bit deeper than surface-level, Gaga: 5 Foot Two is a stable watch. Launched in 2017, the movie covers Girl Gaga‘s life across the writing and launch of her album Joanne, which additionally coincides together with her casting in A Star Is Born for director/star Bradley Cooper and the top of her engagement with Taylor Kinney. This movie is pretty intimate, as Gaga additionally battles fibromyalgia and also you get a glance into her life as she’s juggling a lot directly, climaxing together with her Tremendous Bowl halftime efficiency.

Athlete A

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Picture by way of Netflix

Administrators: Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk

In case you’re inquisitive about america Gymnastics program, then Athlete A is a must-watch. The documentary chronicles the investigation by journalists into workforce physician Larry Nassar’s sexual assault of the younger women he was speculated to be serving to, and is informed by way of interviews with not solely the journalists but in addition survivors of Nassar’s abuse. That in and of itself would make Athlete A worthwhile, however the movie additionally delves into the historical past of the US Gymnastics program, and the ability construction in place that has not solely protected abusers, but in addition fostered an atmosphere by which repeated abuse – each verbal and bodily – is a part of the coaching of those younger women. It’s an eye-opening documentary that may make you take a look at US gymnastics – particularly with the Olympics looming – in a special mild. – Adam Chitwood

Homicide Among the many Mormons

Ken Sanders (Uncommon e book and Doc Seller) in episode 1 of Homicide Among the many Mormons. c. Courtesy of Netflix © 2021

Administrators: Jared Hess and Tyler Measom

The three-episode documentary Homicide Among the many Mormons is among the many finest Netflix unique documentaries streaming proper now. Over the course of slightly below three hours, the movie chronicles a collection of historic doc discoveries that threaten to upend the Lattter Day Saints church, just for key events to show up lifeless from bombings. It’s a twist-filled journey so I’ll chorus from going additional, however the movie makes use of current day interviews and archival footage to inform its story in a compelling manner that doesn’t really feel exploitative. Go in realizing as little as doable, but when the concept of historic paperwork and the Mormon church curiosity you, you’ll discover this fascinating from starting to finish. – Adam Chitwood

13th

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Picture by way of Netflix

Director: Ava DuVernay

Ava DuVernay follows up her acclaimed movie Selma with a searing documentary that appears on the mass incarceration of minorities following the passage of the 13th modification. Because the documentary factors out, it’s not simply ingrained cultural racism that ends in the widespread incarceration of African-People and different minorities. There’s a monetary incentive as properly, and it’s good enterprise to lock individuals up. 13th systematically goes by way of the many years following the passage of the 13th modification to point out how black individuals have been focused by the media, by the federal government, and by companies to create a brand new type of slavery. It’s a film that may infuriate you, depress you, and hopefully spur you to motion in opposition to a system that has executed egregious hurt to our fellow residents. – Matt Goldberg

My Octopus Trainer

Picture by way of Netflix

Writers/Administrators: Pippa Ehrlich and James Reed

In case you’re searching for one thing soothing, uplifting, and oddly stunning, it’s best to take a look at Pippa Ehrlich and James Reed’s pretty documentary My Octopus Trainer. The film follows filmmaker Craig Foster who goes snorkeling off the coast of South Africa and encounters an octopus. He resolves to work together with the octopus day-after-day and be taught as a lot as he can concerning the creature. By their gorgeous underwater images, we see a powerful and startling clever animal working its solution to survive in a harmful kelp forest. The movie by no means anthropomorphizes or cheapens the complexity of this underwater world, whereas additionally by no means shedding sight of the majesty it presents. Even if you happen to’re not a lot for nature documentaries, you’ll doubtless be enchanted by My Octopus Trainer. – Matt Goldberg

American Homicide: The Household Subsequent Door

American Homicide: The Household Subsequent Door

Director: Jenny Popplewell

The Netflix unique documentary American Homicide: The Household Subsequent Door is a harrowing, infuriating chronicle of the 2018 Watts household murders that makes use of social media posts, regulation enforcement recordings, textual content messages, and residential video footage to revisit the occasions that unfolded. It examines the disappearance of Shanann watts and her two youngsters, and the horrible occasions that adopted as her husband was questioned by police as to his potential involvement in her disappearance. The movie largely retains the deal with the victims, making it a standout amongst many true crime documentaries. It lays naked the lies that our social media profiles can carry, and the toxicity that festers within the coronary heart of far too many American relationships. – Adam Chitwood

RELATED: The Greatest True Crime Exhibits on Netflix

Excessive Rating

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Picture by way of Netflix

The six-episode docuseries Excessive Rating is without doubt one of the finest documentaries Netflix has made to this point. That is an in-depth take a look at the origin story of video video games as we all know them, as informed by the individuals who made them. It begins with a deep-dive into the shift from arcade video games to in-home consoles and chronicles every little thing from the game-changing arrival of the NES to how Sega constructed a technique to problem Nintendo. That is way more in-depth and candid than you’re doubtless anticipating, and whenever you end you’ll be begging for a second season that will get into N64 and past. – Adam Chitwood

The Final Dance

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Picture by way of Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE by way of Getty Photos/Netflix

Director: Jason Hehir

You don’t have to like basketball to be wholly enthralled and wowed by the 10-episode docuseries The Final Dance. Over the course of 10 hours, the story of Michael Jordan’s last season with the Chicago Bulls is juxtaposed with the story of his earlier life and profession, and the careers of Bulls teammates like Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman. This flashing forwards and backwards at all times retains issues attention-grabbing, contextualizing the 1997-98 Bulls season by filling within the blanks of what got here earlier than. You’ll be amazed at Jordan’s talent and drive, however the docuseries additionally has some eye-opening and surprisingly candid moments from one of many best atheletes to ever stay. In case you have been a fan of basketball within the 90s you’ll discover a lot to attach with, however even if you happen to don’t actually watch basketball, The Final Dance is a captivating chronicle of a person who spent his stay striving for greatness in any respect prices. – Adam Chitwood

The Pace Cubers

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Picture by way of Netflix

Director: Sue Kim

At a scant 40 minutes, The Pace Cubers delivers extra of an emotional wallop than feature-length documentaries. The story follows aggressive Rubix Dice solvers Feliks Zemdegs from Australia, who was the uncontested world champion till the arrival of American Max Park. What could possibly be the premise for a narrative about critical rivalry in a distinct segment sport as an alternative turns into a good looking story of friendship and heroism. You see, Feliks is Max’s hero, and Feliks, as an alternative of feeling threatened by Max’s rise, as an alternative encourages and congratulates his rival. When so many tales about competitors simply give solution to negativity, it’s really heartwarming to see such a constructive and uplifting story. Take a lunch break to observe this one. You’ll be glad you probably did. – Matt Goldberg

Tiger King: Homicide, Mayhem and Insanity

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Picture by way of Netflix

Administrators: Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin

Every installment of the seven-episode docuseries Tiger King is crazier than the final, to the purpose that you could be end up saying a number of instances, “Effectively certainly issues can’t probably get any weirder than this.” You’d be 100% fallacious. Tiger King follows the exploits of Joe Unique, a flamboyant and intensely assured proprietor of a personal large cat zoo in Oklahoma. The story of Joe Unique is stranger than fiction, involving lies, weapons, a bid for the U.S. presidency, and a murder-for-hire plot. This can be a factor that should be seen to be believed. – Adam Chitwood

Crip Camp

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Picture by way of Netflix

Administrators: Nicole Newnham and Jim Lebrecht

The primary Netflix documentary to hail from government producers Michelle and Barack Obama was the Oscar-winning American Manufacturing facility, and their second effort Crip Camp is simply as nice if not higher. The movie shines a light-weight on the people who spent most of their grownup lives combating for primary human rights, with many having attended a camp for disabled tends referred to as Camp Jened within the 1970s. Unimaginable archival footage from this camp opens the movie, however we then observe the varied individuals we’ve met as they spend the following few many years embroiled in activism to cross laws to make the world accessible for these with disabilities. It’s a struggle that by no means ought to have needed to be fought within the first place, and it’s each inspiring and infuriating to see how tirelessly these people needed to push and push and push to have an effect on even the tiniest little bit of change. – Adam Chitwood

Miss Americana

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Picture by way of Netflix

Director: Lana Wilson

The Taylor Swift Netflix documentary Miss Americana is much out of your typical music doc. It isn’t even actually all that targeted on Swift’s music a lot as it’s on Swift as an individual. Extra particularly, it’s a movie about Swift’s lengthy journey to determining how to not care what individuals take into consideration her, and the way that manifests in her feminist awakening and resolution to publicly categorical her political opinion—which we see happen in real-time. Some will ding the movie for being too manicured, and in fact it’s not possible to inform simply how heavy a hand Swift had within the tailoring of the documentary re: her self picture. However the movie’s true moments of perception are arduous to disregard, and it’s fascinating to observe Swift come to phrases with who she is as a human being whereas additionally being probably the most well-known individuals on the planet. – Adam Chitwood

American Manufacturing facility

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Picture by way of Netflix

Administrators: Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert

Would you like to be ok with the state of the American trade and the therapy of its expert labor pressure? Then skip this flick. American Manufacturing facility is the award-winning take a look at a defunct Normal Motors plant in Dayton, Ohio which is given a brand new lease on life when a Chinese language billionaire invests in it as a brand new American glass-making facility for his firm, Fuyao. In case you’ve ever labored on a manufacturing facility ground or been a part of both aspect of the picket line, you understand how this story goes.

This documentary is the primary title below the Larger Floor banner, a manufacturing firm fashioned by President Barack Obama and First Girl Michelle Obama and distributed by Netflix. However it’s first a manufacturing of Participant Media, which screened the documentary on the 2019 Sundance Movie Competition the place it gained the Greatest Documentary award and acquired the eye of Netflix and the Obamas. And simply in case their involvement sways you somehow, attempt to verify that bias on the door; American Manufacturing facility tells of the plight of the expert labor pressure, be they American or Chinese language, as simple victims of the wealthy and highly effective, be they American or Chinese language. And it is also the story of the American Dream, and whether or not that is a truth or a fallacy.

There’s additionally a stinger on the finish lamenting the final word decline of the human workforce attributable to automation, but it is price remembering that the machines themselves are merely instruments that enhance the manufacturing pipeline; it is nonetheless a human being, and sometimes a bean-counting, bottom-liner who stands to make a couple of extra factors on their inventory portfolio, who makes the decision to switch flesh-and-blood employees on the finish of the day. – Dave Trumbore

The Nice Hack

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Picture va Netflix

Administrators: Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim

The 2019 Netflix documentary The Nice Hack takes a deep dive into the Fb-Cambridge Analytica scandal, and the way, regardless of Fb’s denials, the social media large used private information harvested by its customers. By interviews with investigative journalists and Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Brittany Kaiser, the movie gives a surprising deep-dive of how information has turn out to be essentially the most beneficial useful resource on the planet, and the way information is used to focus on customers with adverts and pretend “viral movies” and information tales to swing main elections. Some of the disturbing documentaries of 2019, full-stop. – Adam Chitwood

Energy of Grayskull: The Definitive Historical past of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

Picture by way of Netflix

Writers/Administrators: Randall Lobb, Robert McCallum

Energy of Grayskull: The Definitive Historical past of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe tells you precisely what’s ready for you proper there within the title. From filmmakers Lobb (Turtle Energy, and the upcoming Conan the Barbarian and The Darkish Crystal: Age of Resistance documentaries) and McCallum (Nintendo Quest) comes a deep dive into all issues He-Man. From the chaotic creation of the musclebound hero as a Mattel toy franchise dreamed up as a competitor to Kenner, to the low factors of the model within the late 80s and 90s, and the fashionable resurgence of the property due to a devoted fanbase and savvy inventive selections, this documentary is a one-stop store for all issues MotU.

In nearly 95 minutes, this prolonged chat with creatives behind the scenes of the model, spanning from the early 80s to immediately, tells the untold story of how probably the most iconic creations got here to be. It is fascinating sufficient for normal audiences to see how the sausage is made in industries as different and but interconnected as toys, comics, cartoons, live-action motion pictures, and extra, but it is undoubtedly made for the diehard He-Man and She-Ra followers on the market. – Dave Trumbore

Knock Down the Home

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Picture by way of Netflix

Director: Rachel Lears

Whereas some could also be fast to dismiss this documentary as a result of its principal determine is liberal political Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Rachel Lears’ movie isn’t actually involved with the right-left divide. As a substitute, it’s about rebel, grassroots politicians combating the entrenched institution energy. Though Ocasio-Cortez’ story over-arches the entire movie, Lears additionally takes time to observe different feminine politicians who’re looking for to win their major battles. The movie is at its finest when it reveals the gritty, unglamorous work of campaigning and constructing a motion. In case you’re fed up with business-as-usual politicians who’ve forgotten their constituents, Knock Down the Home offers an inspiring rally cry. – Matt Goldberg

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