Top 10 Best Documentary Movies on Netflix

Documentary movies are a great way to learn about real-life events, people, and cultures. With Netflix’s extensive library, there is no shortage of options to choose from. We have compiled a list of the top 10 best documentary movies on Netflix that you won’t want to miss.

1. Introduction

Netflix has become a hub for documentary films, providing its subscribers with a vast selection of thought-provoking, informative, and eye-opening documentaries. From true crime stories to political and social issues, there is something for everyone. In this article, we have compiled a list of the top 10 best documentary movies on Netflix that you should definitely add to your watchlist. These documentaries are not only entertaining but also educational, giving you a deeper insight into various topics that are often overlooked in mainstream media.

1.1. Why watch documentaries?

Documentaries offer a unique perspective on real-life events, people, and issues. They provide an opportunity to learn and gain insight into topics that may not be covered in mainstream media. Watching documentaries can broaden your knowledge and understanding of the world, and can also be a great source of inspiration. They can educate, entertain, and challenge your beliefs, and provide a platform for important conversations. Whether you are looking to learn something new, or simply want to be entertained, watching documentaries is a great way to expand your horizons and engage with the world around you.

1.2. How to find the best documentary movies on Netflix?

Netflix is known for its vast collection of movies and TV shows. However, if you’re a fan of documentaries, you might find it overwhelming to sift through the massive library to find the best ones. Here are some tips to help you find the best documentary movies on Netflix:

1. Use Netflix’s search function: Type in keywords related to the type of documentary you want to watch, such as ‘true crime,’ ‘nature,’ or ‘history.’

2. Check out Netflix’s recommendations: Netflix recommends movies based on your viewing history. If you’ve watched a lot of documentaries, Netflix will suggest similar movies.

3. Browse by category: Netflix has a specific category for documentaries, making it easy to find what you’re looking for. You can also filter by subcategories, such as ‘biographical documentaries’ or ‘political documentaries.’

4. Check out what’s popular: Netflix has a ‘popular on Netflix’ section, which can give you an idea of what other people are watching.

By using these tips, you’ll be able to find the best documentary movies on Netflix in no time.

1.3. What makes a good documentary?

A good documentary should be informative, engaging, and thought-provoking. It should provide viewers with a new perspective on a subject or issue, and leave them with a greater understanding and appreciation of it. A good documentary should also be well-researched and accurately reflect its subject matter. It should be visually compelling, using a variety of techniques such as archival footage, interviews, and animation to captivate and hold the viewer’s attention. Finally, a good documentary should be well-crafted and well-edited, with a clear narrative structure and pacing that keeps the audience engaged from beginning to end.

2. True Crime Documentaries

True crime documentaries have become increasingly popular in recent years, and Netflix has no shortage of gripping and thought-provoking options. These documentaries delve into the darker side of humanity, exploring everything from serial killers to unsolved mysteries. Here are the top 5 true crime documentaries currently available on Netflix:

1. Making a Murderer
2. The Confession Tapes
3. The Staircase
4. Evil Genius
5. The Keepers

Each of these documentaries offers a unique and compelling look into the world of true crime. From the intricate details of a murder investigation to the emotional toll on those involved, these films are sure to leave you on the edge of your seat.

2.1. Making a Murderer

Making a Murderer is a true crime documentary that follows the story of Steven Avery, a man from Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, who was wrongfully convicted of sexual assault and attempted murder in 1985. After spending 18 years in prison, he was exonerated by DNA evidence in 2003. However, just two years later, he was arrested again, this time for the murder of a young photographer named Teresa Halbach. The documentary raises questions about the validity of Avery’s second conviction and the integrity of the criminal justice system.

2.2. The Confession Tapes

The Confession Tapes is a true crime documentary series on Netflix that explores cases where suspects have given false confessions. This series delves deep into the cases, revealing the tactics used by law enforcement to extract these confessions, and the impact they have on the lives of those who give them. Each episode showcases a different case, and the series is a must-watch for true crime fans who are interested in the psychology behind false confessions.

2.3. The Keepers

The Keepers is a gripping true crime documentary series that explores the unsolved murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik, a beloved nun and Catholic high school teacher in Baltimore. The series delves into the web of corruption and abuse within the Catholic Church and the community that may have led to her tragic death. Through interviews with former students, friends, and family members, The Keepers uncovers a shocking history of sexual abuse and cover-ups, raising important questions about justice and accountability. This powerful series is a must-watch for true crime fans and anyone interested in the ongoing fight for truth and justice.

2.4. The Staircase

The Staircase is a gripping true crime documentary series that follows the trial of Michael Peterson, a man accused of murdering his wife Kathleen in their home. The series delves deep into the investigation and trial, revealing shocking details and twists along the way. It’s a must-watch for anyone interested in true crime.

2.5. Evil Genius

Evil Genius is a gripping documentary that explores a bizarre bank heist in 2003 in Erie, Pennsylvania. The documentary tells the story of a pizza delivery man, Brian Wells, who was forced to rob a bank with a bomb attached to his neck. The film delves into the twisted mind of the mastermind behind the heist, Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong, who was deemed to be an ‘evil genius’. The documentary is a must-watch for true crime enthusiasts who enjoy unraveling complex and mind-boggling cases.

3. Social and Political Documentaries

Netflix offers a vast collection of social and political documentaries that shed light on critical issues affecting different societies worldwide. Some of the best social and political documentaries on Netflix include The Social Dilemma, The Great Hack, 13th, The Ivory Game, The White Helmets, and The Keepers. These documentaries explore topics such as social media addiction, data privacy, racial inequality, environmental conservation, and political corruption. They offer a unique perspective on the world we live in and challenge viewers to reflect on their values and beliefs.

3.1. 13th

Directed by Ava DuVernay, 13th explores the intersection of race, justice, and mass incarceration in the United States. The title refers to the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude except as a punishment for a crime. Through interviews with activists, scholars, and politicians, as well as historical footage, 13th offers a powerful critique of the modern-day prison industrial complex and its disproportionate impact on black Americans. This documentary is a must-watch for anyone interested in social justice and civil rights.

3.2. What Happened, Miss Simone?

What Happened, Miss Simone? is a powerful and moving documentary that looks at the life of legendary singer and civil rights activist Nina Simone. Directed by Liz Garbus, the film uses never-before-seen footage and interviews with friends, family, and colleagues to paint a vivid portrait of a complex and talented artist. Through her music, Simone became a voice for the marginalized and oppressed, and her story is one of strength, perseverance, and resilience in the face of adversity.

3.3. The White Helmets

In this section, we will discuss one of the most impactful documentaries of recent times – The White Helmets. This documentary is directed by Orlando von Einsiedel and was released in 2016. The White Helmets is a story of a group of volunteer rescue workers in Syria who risk their lives to save civilians from the brutal conflict that has been going on in the country for years. The documentary follows the daily lives of these brave individuals as they navigate through the rubble and destruction caused by the war. The White Helmets won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject in 2017 and has been critically acclaimed for its powerful storytelling and poignant message. It is a must-watch for anyone interested in understanding the human cost of war and the resilience of the human spirit.

3.4. The Ivory Game

The Ivory Game is a powerful and eye-opening documentary that sheds light on the illegal ivory trade and its devastating impact on elephant populations in Africa. The film follows a group of activists and conservationists as they work to uncover the complex network of ivory smugglers and traders, and to bring them to justice. The Ivory Game is not only a gripping thriller, but also an urgent call to action to protect these magnificent animals and the fragile ecosystems they inhabit. This documentary is a must-watch for anyone who cares about the future of our planet.

3.5. The True Cost


4. Nature and Science Documentaries

If you’re a fan of documentaries that explore the wonders of nature and the mysteries of science, Netflix has plenty to offer. From the depths of the ocean to the furthest reaches of space, these documentaries will take you on a journey of discovery and awe.

1. Our Planet – This stunning series takes you on a tour of the world’s most spectacular natural habitats, from the Arctic tundra to the African savannah.

2. Chasing Coral – Witness the devastating effects of climate change on our oceans as a team of scientists and filmmakers document the bleaching of coral reefs around the world.

3. The Ivory Game – A gripping exposé of the illegal ivory trade, this documentary follows activists and law enforcement officials as they work to protect elephants from poachers.

4. The Blue Planet – This groundbreaking series explores the wonders of the ocean, from the smallest creatures to the largest predators.

5. Explained – This informative series covers a wide range of topics, from the science of sleep to the rise of cryptocurrency.

6. Mission Blue – Follow marine biologist Sylvia Earle as she campaigns to protect the world’s oceans and marine life.

7. The Mars Generation – This inspiring documentary follows a group of young people who are training to become the first humans to colonize Mars.

8. Human Nature – Explore the latest advances in gene editing and the ethical questions they raise in this thought-provoking documentary.

9. The Great Hack – This eye-opening film explores the dark side of social media and the ways in which our personal data is being used to influence our choices.

10. Wild Wild Country – This gripping series tells the story of the controversial Rajneesh movement, which took over a small town in Oregon in the 1980s.

4.1. Planet Earth

Planet Earth is a groundbreaking nature documentary series that explores the diversity of life on our planet. From the frozen tundra of the Arctic to the lush rainforests of South America, Planet Earth takes viewers on an awe-inspiring journey around the world. The series is narrated by Sir David Attenborough and features stunning cinematography that captures the beauty and complexity of the natural world.

4.2. Blue Planet

Blue Planet is a nature and science documentary series that explores the mysteries of the world’s oceans. From the Arctic to the Antarctic, the series takes viewers on a journey to discover the secrets of marine life and the vast underwater world. With stunning cinematography and expert narration, Blue Planet is a must-watch for anyone interested in the natural world.

4.3. Chasing Coral

Chasing Coral is a powerful documentary that explores the devastating effects of climate change on coral reefs. The film follows a team of scientists and filmmakers as they document the unprecedented coral bleaching events that have occurred across the globe in recent years. Through stunning underwater footage and interviews with experts, Chasing Coral sheds light on the urgent need for action to protect these fragile ecosystems. This documentary is a must-watch for anyone interested in nature and science, and it’s currently available to stream on Netflix.

4.4. The Mars Generation

The Mars Generation is a captivating documentary that explores the possibility of humans colonizing Mars. The film follows a group of young aspiring astronauts who are part of a program that trains them to one day travel to the red planet. Through interviews with NASA scientists and engineers, as well as the young cadets themselves, the documentary sheds light on the challenges and opportunities that come with space exploration. The Mars Generation is a must-watch for anyone interested in the future of space travel.

4.5. The Magic Pill

One of the most talked-about documentaries on Netflix, The Magic Pill explores the relationship between diet and health. The film follows several people with chronic illnesses who adopt a low-carb, high-fat diet and experience remarkable improvements in their conditions. The Magic Pill is a must-watch for anyone interested in the science behind nutrition and wellness.


Thus, these are the top 10 best documentary movies available on Netflix that you should definitely add to your watchlist.

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