Netflix has the best list of documentaries in the business.
From Oscar-winning documentaries all the way through to crowded viral hits like Icarus, Netflix has documentaries on almost every possible subject. We have decided to highlight some of our favorites.
They are in no particular order, and it is impossible to represent the broad spectrum of what is available. We have just released the documentaries that we think you cannot miss.
Between the murders
Some of Netflix’s more recent crime documentaries are a bit bloated and … sort of bad?
Thankfully Murder Between Murder is back in form. Do check it out
Operation Varsity Blues: College Admission Scam
Recently released, Operation Varsity Blues: College Admissions is a name for the scandal, as long as some of Netflix’s recent documentaries. More recently, as Cecil Hotel recently said, it is not as bloated, but it could still use some trimming.
Operation Varsity Blues focused on an FBI investigation into college admissions that jailed actress Felicity Huffman. Its director Chris Smith previously worked on the Fair Festival documentary. It is not quite compelling, but still worth watching.
In 2020, in the midst of an epidemic, Netflix dropped this piece of sports dock perfection.
The Last Dance focuses on the Chicago Bulls during their 97–98 NBA title winning season, but is actually a jumping off point for a documentary that tells the life story of its central star, Michael Jordan.
As a result, many criticized it for being a bit too Jordan-centric, but The Last Dance was an event documentary that lived up to the hype.
Time may lessen its impact, but when Tiger King was first released on Netflix, the whole world couldn’t stop talking about it.
This is a show that moves from bizarre to fast, unbelievably fast. Tiger King explores the strange underbelly of breeding the big cat, focusing on a race of unforgettable (and ultimately dangerous) characters. It takes its audience to strange places. Completely unforgettable.
This Oscar-winning documentary is an absolute belter.
Icarus begins as exposure to drugs that impact sports performance, but a sequence of events plunges director Brian Fogel into a web of geopolitics and intrigues. Saying more would spoil it, but Fogel has finally made a documentary, which had a very real impact on our perception of the game as a whole. In that regard, Icarus is a literal game changer.
Released in February 2021, Pelé is a stunning performance of the World Cup run by one of the most famous football players in the world.
Best of all, this is a documentary that does not pull punches. It asks Pelé difficult questions, including his silence during a military coup that turned Brazil into a dictatorship for decades. It is certainly about football, but Pelé’s history is the history of the entire country, this documentary makes sense.
My octopus teacher
My octopus follows teacher Craig Foster, a filmmaker who spent a year snorkeling and interacting with an octopus off the coast of South Africa. It is a nature film, sure, but it is simultaneously a documentary that has inspired awe in the viewer. In short, octopi are unreliable. Small aliens on Earth, essentially. It is a story of the relationship between humans and nature, but it is also an inspirational call to action: Do not ignore the wonder that surrounds you.
Knock down house
Despite your view on the rape Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Knock Down the House is an incredible underdog story that cannot be missed. Focusing on progressive women candidates during the 2018 congressional primary campaigns, it is a practical approach to the democratic process. It is an inspiring reminder that we need to struggle to make the voice of ordinary people count.
The true crime documentary genre is completely saturated at this point, but stands out on the ladder.
Focusing on the death of Michael Peterson and his wife Kathleen, The Stairway is more than just a murder mystery. It is a drawn epic that takes place over the literal decades, a documentary that follows Peterson and examines his every move, but is by no means objective.
David Attenborough’s nature documentaries are so ubiquitous that they themselves are sensitive to parody, but our planet is – I believe – high watermarked. Only Planet Earth, another Attenborough Danes, comes closer. But I like it.
Wild wild country
Long and bloated, Wild Wild Country is nonetheless one of the most engaging documentaries I’ve seen on Netflix.
It tells the story of the Indian guru Bhagwan Sri Rajneesh, who attempted to create a huge spread for what was essentially a sex cult in the United States. It is a strange story that somehow becomes stranger with age. You won’t believe in the depth of the story like Tiger King. Sometimes it’s a slogan, but Wild Wild Country is absolutely worthwhile.
Sunderland ‘sesame eye dye
Prime Video gives you access to the (inclusive) great All or Nothing series, which gives you access to top Premier League clubs such as Man City and Spurs, but they are both buffered and polished. You are not really true behind the use of curtains.
Sunderland’s sesame eye dye is different. It is gritty, brutal and gives you access to the worst parts to run a football team. It almost hurts to see.
Creating a Murderer
With the swath of true crime documentaries and podcasts that came into its wake, it is easy to forget that the world once lost its collective mind on a creator. In many ways, it created the roadmap that now follows many Netflix documentaries. An actual origin.
I absolutely love this documentary. Five current acclaimed directors (including Steven Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola) help tell the story of five famous film directors in their 30s and 40s who worked frontline during World War II. It wraps up the legacy of the war as well as his legacy as a truly compelling story of the Golden Age of Hollywood.
I’ve seen a lot of true crime documentaries on Netflix, but nothing has come close to The Keepers. A staggering tale, told over the course of generations, that is respectful to the victims, yet completely forced.
This is a story about the unsolved murder of Katherine Cesnik, a nun who teaches at a Catholic school in Baltimore, but The Keepers goes even further than you might expect and the potential cover for sexual abuse allegations Can be exposed.
The 13th by Ava Duvernay is a staggering documentary that tells the story of American slavery and its long-lasting effects, many of which still resonate today.
In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a must see.
Challenger: The Final Flight
This look at NASA’s Space Shuttle Challenger explosion brings nothing new to the table, but it is a well-constructed, well-made look at the tragic events of 1986.
It works great, with great reach and some intimate interviews that are left behind. Well worth seeing.
If you are looking for a more uplifting documentary, you can do The Speed Cubers, a look at the world of competitive rubics… far worse than the Cubers?
Athletes A American Gymnastics team has a great feature length on Dory Larry Nassar, who had been sexually abusing female athletes for decades.
Be warned: this is a deplorable one.
Who killed little gregory
Who Killed Little Gregory is a documentary that focuses on the gruesome murder of Gregory Willemin. This is arguably the best true crime documentary on Netflix. It is about a murder, and attempts to solve that murder, but it is also a lesson in media representation and the terrible sexism Greyjorie’s mother faced in the murder of her own son.
Another Oscar winner for Netflix, the documentary is the first film produced by the higher ground production team of Barack and Michelle Obama.
American Factory tells the story of Fuyao, a Chinese company that built a factory in Ohio that is now housed in the now-closed General Motors plant. You must see this film.
American Murder: The Family Next Door
There are (and in this list) a lot of true crime documentaries, but American Murder: The Family Next Door sticks out.
It tells the story of Chris Watts, a seemingly regular boy who murdered his wife and children. The use of the footage is staggering and is uniquely edited and produced using text messages and social media posts to tell the story. It is a terrifying reminder of the banquet, an incredibly normal existence of domestic violence.
Jeffrey Epstein: Dirty Rich
From this point on we all have some understanding of the story of Jeffrey Epstein, but Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich does himself a great service by focusing on the stories of the survivors of his abuse.
Fear: The Greatest Party That Have Never Happened
Cinema / Hulu
Hulu also has a great Fair Celebration documentary, but I prefer this Netflix. Unlike many Netflix documentaries, which are spread over multi-part episodes and bloated, this documentary is completely sharp, direct, and solid.
What happened, Miss Simone?
Not much to say here. Nina Simone is a legend and it is probably one of the best documentaries I have seen.
Many people have forgotten about this documentary, but it is a disgrace. Amanda Knox focuses on the famous murder Knox was charged with. But beyond that, this report is a great test of how media reporting can skew a case. The sexism here was quite cruel.
Telling the bizarre story of “Pizza Bombers”, Evil Genius is definitely one of the series series that should have been a film, but it is nonetheless mandatory. It thrives by focusing on the characters behind the crime. Well worth a Ganadhar.
In the wake of the Capitol siege, the Facebook / Cambridge Analytica controversy sounds almost like ancient history, but it does not make this documentary any less important. If you haven’t seen it, check it out.
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