The sheer quantity of Netflix documentaries is nearly intimidating. The place do you even begin? That is what we have tried to determine. We have highlighted a few of our private favourites that will help you choose one thing to observe. We have additionally conveniently separated them by style. You are welcome!
Let’s get caught in — beginning, in fact, with true crime!
This Is A Theft
This Is A Theft is about Netflix because it will get. A four-part collection specializing in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, that is basically a documentary about an artwork heist. Keep in mind Evil Genius? (Which can be on this listing.) This Is A Theft may be very a lot in that model. The primary episode takes some time to get going, however be affected person — this one has a repay.
Homicide Among the many Mormons
A few of Netflix’s newer true crime documentaries have been a bit bloated and… sorta dangerous?
Fortunately Homicide Among the many Mormons is a return to type. Positively watch this one.
The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness
The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness is much from Netflix’s finest true crime documentary collection (that honor belongs to Who Killed Little Gregory) however it’s price watching. Its additionally one of many latest documentaries on this listing, so when you’re on the lookout for one thing model new to sink your enamel into, you possibly can do loads worse.
This docu focuses on the Son of Sam case, and investigates the idea that the killer didn’t work alone.
The true crime documentary style is completely saturated at this level, however The Staircase stands out.
Specializing in Michael Peterson and the loss of life of his spouse Kathleen, The Staircase is greater than only a homicide thriller. It is a drawn-out epic that takes place over literal a long time, a documentary that follows Peterson and examines his each transfer, however one way or the other nonetheless stays goal.
Who Killed Little Gregory
Who Killed Little Gregory is a documentary centered on the horrific homicide of Grégory Villemin. It is arguably the most effective true crime documentary on Netflix. It is a few homicide, and makes an attempt to resolve that homicide, but it surely’s additionally a lesson in media illustration and the horrific sexism Grégory’s mom needed to face within the wake her personal son’s homicide.
Making A Assassin
With the swathe of true crime documentaries and podcasts that got here in its wake, it is simple to neglect that the world as soon as misplaced its collective thoughts over Making A Assassin. In a number of methods it created the template that many Netflix documentaries now observe. An actual authentic.
I’ve watched loads of true crime documentaries on Netflix, however nothing has come near The Keepers. A staggering story, advised throughout generations, that is respectful of the victims, but compelling all through.
It is a story concerning the unsolved homicide of Catherine Cesnik, a nun who taught at a Catholic college in Baltimore, however The Keepers goes additional than you may count on and exposes a possible cowl up of intercourse abuse allegations.
American Homicide: The Household Subsequent Door
There are a number of true crime documentaries on the market (and on this listing) however American Homicide: The Household Subsequent Door stands proud.
It tells the story of Chris Watts, a seemingly common man who murdered his spouse and youngsters. The entry to footage is staggering and it is edited and produced in a singular approach, utilizing textual content messages and social media posts to inform the story. It is a horrific reminder of the banal, extremely frequent existence of home violence.
Telling the weird story of the “pizza bomber”, Evil Genius is unquestionably a kind of docu-series that ought to have been a film, but it surely’s compelling nonetheless. It thrives by specializing in the characters behind the crime. Effectively price a gander.
Lots of people have forgotten about this documentary but it surely’s a humdinger. Amanda Knox focuses on the well-known homicide Knox was accused of. However past that, this docu is a superb examination of how media reporting can skew a case. The sexism right here was pretty brutal.
The Final Dance
In 2020, within the midst of a pandemic, Netflix dropped this piece of sports activities doc perfection.
The Final Dance focuses on the Chicago Bulls throughout their 97-98 NBA title successful season, however actually it is a leaping off level for a documentary that tells the life story of its central star, Michael Jordan.
Consequently, many criticized it for being slightly too Jordan-focused, however The Final Dance was an occasion documentary that lived as much as the hype.
This Oscar-winning documentary is an absolute belter.
Icarus begins out as an expose on the impression performance-enhancing medicine have on sports activities efficiency, however a sequence of occasions drags director Bryan Fogel into an internet of geopolitics and conspiracies. To say extra would spoil it, however Fogel finally has created a documentary that had a really actual impression on our notion of sports activities as a complete. In that respect, Icarus is a literal recreation changer.
Launched in Feb 2021, Pele is a improbable have a look at the World Cup run of some of the celebrated soccer gamers in all of historical past.
Better of all, this can be a documentary that does not pull punches. It asks onerous questions of Pele, together with his silence throughout a army coup that reworked Brazil right into a dictatorship for many years. It is about soccer, for positive, however Pele’s historical past is the historical past of a complete nation, this documentary understands that.
Sunderland ‘Til I Die
Prime Video offers you entry to the (admittedly) nice All or Nothing collection, which supplies you behind the scenes entry to high Premier League golf equipment like Man Metropolis and Spurs, however each of these come throughout buffed and polished. You by no means actually get true behind the scenes entry.
Sunderland ‘Til I Die is completely different. It is gritty, brutal and provides you entry to the worst components of what it means to run a soccer crew. It virtually hurts to observe.
Athlete A is a superb function size expose on Larry Nassar, the crew doc of US Gymnastics, who had been sexually abusing feminine athletes for many years.
Be warned: This one is harrowing.
The Pace Cubers
For those who’re on the lookout for a barely extra uplifting documentary, you possibly can do far worse than The Pace Cubers, a have a look at the world of aggressive rubix… cubers?
Seaspiracy follows within the footsteps of a number of documentaries centered on the impression of meat consuming on the surroundings. This time the worldwide fishing trade is within the crosshairs. As anticipated this one has stirred up a little bit of controversy from all stakeholders — PETA, Greenpeace and conservation teams can not seem to agree if Seaspiracy is correct or honest. Watch it and make up your personal thoughts.
My Octopus Instructor
My Octopus Instructor follows Craig Foster, a filmmaker who spent a yr snorkelling and interacting with an octopus off the coast of South Africa. It is a nature movie, positive, but it surely’s concurrently a documentary designed to encourage awe within the viewer. In brief, octopi are unbelievable. Little aliens on Earth, basically. That is the story of a relationship between people and nature but it surely’s additionally an inspiring name to motion: Do not ignore the marvel that exists throughout you.
David Attenborough nature documentaries are so ubiquitous they’re weak to self parody, however Our Planet is — I consider — the excessive watermark. Solely Planet Earth, one other Attenborough docu, comes shut. However I desire this one.
Black Holes: The Fringe of All We Know
For these of you obsessive about the awful, huge, empty void of area, Black Holes: The Fringe of All We Know is a superb documentary concerning the science’s endeavour to know one of many strangest components of the identified universe.
Time could uninteresting its impression, however when Tiger King was first launched on Netflix, your complete world could not cease speaking about it.
It is a present that strikes quickly from the weird to the downright unbelievable. Tiger King explores the unusual underbelly of huge cat breeding, specializing in a forged of unforgettable (and finally harmful) characters. It drags its viewers to bizarre locations. Fully unforgettable.
Operation Varsity Blues: The School Admissions Scandal
Not too long ago launched, Operations Varsity Blues: The School Admissions Scandal has a reputation so long as a few of Netflix’s current documentaries. Fortunately, this is not as bloated as, say, the current Cecil Lodge docu, but it surely might nonetheless use some trimming.
Operation Varsity Blues centered on the FBI investigation into school admissions that put actress Felicity Huffman into jail. Its director Chris Smith beforehand labored on the Fyre Competition documentary. This is not fairly as compelling, however remains to be properly price watching.
Knock Down the Home
No matter your views on Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Knock Down The Home is an unbelievable underdog story that can not be missed. Specializing in progressive feminine candidates through the 2018 congressional major campaigns, it is an insightful have a look at the democratic course of. It is an inspiring reminder that we have to battle so as to make the voices of peculiar individuals rely.
Wild Wild Nation
Overlong and bloated, Wild Wild Nation is nonetheless some of the fascinating documentaries I’ve ever watched on Netflix.
It tells the story of Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajnees, who tried to construct a huge sprawling commune, for what was basically a intercourse cult, in the USA. It is a unusual story that one way or the other turns into stranger with age. Very similar to Tiger King the story plumbs depths you will not consider. At occasions it is a slog, however Wild Wild Nation is completely worthwhile.
thirteenth by Ava Duvernay is a staggering documentary that tells the story of American slavery and its long-lasting impacts, lots of which nonetheless resonate at present.
Within the wake of the Black Lives Matter motion, this needs to be necessary viewing.
5 Got here Again
I completely adore this documentary. 5 present acclaimed administrators (together with Steven Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola) assist inform the story of 5 well-known film administrators from the ’30s and ’40s who did frontline work through the Second World Battle. It wraps their legacies alongside the impression of the battle itself into a really compelling story of Hollywood’s golden age.
Challenger: The Ultimate Flight
This have a look at the explosion of NASA’s House Shuttle Challenger does not carry something new to the desk, however it’s a well-produced, well-made look again on the tragic occasions of 1986.
It does nice work, with nice entry and a few intimate interviews with these left behind. Effectively price a watch.
American Manufacturing facility
One other Oscar winner for Netflix, this documentary is the primary produced by Barack and Michelle Obama’s Larger Floor Productions crew.
American Manufacturing facility tells the story of Fuyao, a Chinese language firm that constructed a manufacturing facility in Ohio that inhabits a now-closed Normal Motors plant. You need to watch this film.
Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Wealthy
By this level all of us have some type of understanding of Jeffrey Epstein’s story however Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Wealthy does itself a terrific service by specializing in the tales of the survivors of his abuse.
Fyre: The Biggest Celebration That By no means Occurred
Hulu additionally has a terrific Fyre competition documentary, however I desire this Netflix one. Not like many Netflix documentaries, that are stretched and bloated into multi-part episodes, this documentary is sharp, direct and stable gold your complete approach via.
What Occurred, Miss Simone?
Not gonna say a lot right here. Nina Simone is a legend and that is perhaps among the finest documentaries I’ve ever seen.
The Nice Hack
Within the wake of the Capitol siege, the Fb/Cambridge Analytica controversy virtually appears like historic historical past, however that does not make this documentary any much less necessary. If you have not seen it, then watch it.
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