The Best Documentaries on Netflix To Stream Right Now

0
226

1 Icarus

Director Bryan Fogel intended to experiment with doping in order to win a cycling competition—only his investigations into the practice opened up a bigger, more sinister scandal in this Oscar-winning doc.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

2 13th

Ava DuVernay examines the legacy of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution—which officially ended slavery—and the ensuing Jim Crow era, the mass incarceration of African Americans, and the modern-day prison industrial complex that acts as slavery-as-punishment.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

3 Strong Island

Director Yance Ford’s Oscar nominated feature looks into the 1992 murder of his brother William and the ensuing case, which saw an all-white grand jury chosing not to indict the white man who killed him.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

4 Faces Places

The iconic filmmaker Agnès Varda teams up with photographer and artist JR in this Oscar-nominated documentary, which sees the pair traveling across rural France and taking portraits of the many individuals they encounter.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

5 Casting JonBenet

Decades after the still-unsolved murder of JonBenét Ramsey, director Kitty Green goes to Boulder, Colorado to cast local actors in a film about the murder—only to discover the lasting impact the little girl’s murder has left on the area’s residents.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

6 What Happened, Miss Simone?

This film examines the career of Nina Simone, the acclaimed singer, songwriter, and activist whose tumultuous life influenced her fierce and dynamic artistry—but, at times, proved too intense for Simone herself.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

7 I Called Him Morgan

The turbulent relationship between jazz saxophonist Lee Morgan and his wife Helen is the subject of this fiery documentary. Told through Helen’s own narration from an interview before her death in 1996, the film is a somber recollection of an artist whose career was cut short in a tragic act of violence.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

8 Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened

Lonny Price reexamines the 1981 Broadway production of the Stephen Sondheim musical Merrily We Roll Along, forming a reunion for its cast, largely made up of teenage actors, who saw their first chance at stardom squashed when the show closed after 16 performances.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

9 Paris Is Burning

Jennie Livingston’s seminal Paris Is Burning documents the Harlem drag ball culture of the late ’80s, which helped push drag into the mainstream. More importantly, it chronicles the intersection of race, gender, and class at the height of the AIDS crisis, but does so with humor, joy, and affection for its subjects.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

10 Quincy

Rashida Jones produced this look at her father, the renown musician, composer, and producer Quincy Jones, which reveals the personal side of the music icon.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

11 20 Feet From Stardom

This Oscar-winning film follows the careers of backup singers like Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, and others, whose faces may not be immediately recognizable—but whose voices can be heard on some of the most iconic rock songs of the 20th Century.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

12 Searching for Sugar Man

Detroit-born singer-songwriter Rodriguez never made it big in his home country, but he achieved unexpected superstardom in South Africa despite his rumored death in the late ’70s. This doc follows two fans as they investigate the rumors of the musician’s death and understand why his music became an international phenomenon.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

13 Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold

Actor-director Griffin Dunne turns his camera lens to his very famous aunt, journalist and novelist Joan Didion. This biographical documentary examines the woman whose voice captured the complicated and messy collective American identity in the ’60s and ’70s.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

14 Tab Hunter Confidential

Actor Tab Hunter could have been one of the biggest movie stars in the world—and he was on his way to stardom when his status as a Hollywood heartthrob was at its height in the mid-1950s. But he discovered the hard way that stars were products of the studio system, and the secrets in his personal life ultimately destroyed his chances for lasting success.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

15 One of Us

Three former members of Brooklyn’s Hasidic community open up about their past lives, their faith, and their complex relationship to their families and former community in this emotional and provocative feature.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

16 The Thin Blue Line

Errol Morris’s influential film looks at the case of Randall Dale Adams, who was convicted for a murder he claimed he did not commit—and who was exonerated when Morris’s film managed to make the case that he was telling the truth.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

17 The First Monday in May

The annual Met Gala is an international event, an assembly of the biggest celebrities in entertainment, philanthropy, and fashion. This behind-the-scenes look shows all of the glitz, glamour, and drama that happens during the planning an execution of the event.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

18 Tabloid

Errol Morris examines the shocking true story of Joyce McKinney, an American woman and former beauty queen who allegedly kidnapped and raped a Mormon missionary named Kirk Anderson in England—which became one of the most scandalous tabloid stories of the ’70s.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

19 Last Men in Aleppo

In war-waged Syria, a group of volunteer rescue workers known as the White Helmets attempt to save the lives of the citizens caught in the intense and tragic battlegrounds of civil war.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

20 LA 92

Twenty-five years after the Rodney King trial, LA 92 looks at the emotional firebomb that detonated in Los Angeles—when the violent clashes between the police and citizens brought long-simmering racial tension to a national awareness.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

21 The Wolfpack

Six homeschooled siblings spend all of their waking hours confined in their family’s Lower East Side apartment, with movies serving as their only glimpse of the outside world. This doc follows the kids as they recreate their favorite films—and as they slowly venture outside to discover the real world around them.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

22 Audrie & Daisy

The social ramifications of sexual assault is the subject of this harrowing film, which follows the cases of victims of abuse and the impact their accusations have had on their families and friends when faced with cyberbullying attacks.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

23 Best of Enemies

This searing documentary looks back at the televised debates between Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley during the 1968 presidential elections. The opposing public intellectuals turned political discourse into entertainment, creating a long-lasting media legacy that seems tame when compared to today’s 24-hour news cycle.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

24 Blackfish

Former SeaWorld employees open up about the theme park’s collection of killer whales—in particular the orca Tilikum, who was responsible for the deaths of three people—in this emotionally gripping exposé of animal abuse allegations.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

25 Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer

In the same year Charlize Theron delivered an Oscar-winning performance in Monster, this gripping documentary allowed convicted serial killer Aileen Wuornos to speak for herself in her final days before her 2002 execution.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below