What are the best documentaries on Netflix to watch right now?
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We’ve created a list of the 25 best Netflix documentaries to go and check out right now!
The 25 Best Documentaries on Netflix to Watch Right Now
The documentaries and figures mentioned below have been compiled from various sources around the web, including Wired, Uproxx & IMDB.
These are the 25 best documentaries on Netflix to watch right now:
25. Pumping Iron
We’re starting off our list with a documentary about the legendary terminator himself: Arnold Swarschengger.
Pumping Iron follows five-time champion, Arnold, defend his Mr. Olympia title against Serge Nubret and Lou Ferrigno, (the Hulk as he’s best known for).
Released in 1977, it documents the world of professional bodybuilding; focusing on the 1975 IFBB Mr. Universe and 1975 Mr. Olympia competitions.
In short, Pumping Iron is a guys classic and rightly deserves its place amongst the best documentaries on Netflix!
This documentary series celebrates the deep and emotional connection people have with their dogs.
It follows six individuals and their own unique bond with their canine companions.
Each episode follows a different person’s story from around the world.
It examines how dogs and humans interconnect, as well as the relationship in different countries and cultures.
They truly are mans best friend!
23. Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World
Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World is a 2016 American documentary film directed by Werner Herzog.
It documents Herzog’s thoughts on the existential impact of the Internet, robotics, AI, the Internet of Things, and human life.
Herzog sets out to examine how technology has shaped our lives since its conception.
Meanwhile, during his journey, he meets a variety of characters and takes a careful look at how the Internet has changed their lives, for better or worse.
22. Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat
Ever wanted to know how some of the worlds most inventive dishes are made?
Well, that’s exactly what you’ll find out if you watch this American cooking documentary.
Based on her book of the same name, Samin Nosrat takes your around the world as she tries to show you what she thinks are the four main elements of successful cooking: salt, fat, acid, and heat.
Each instalment focuses on one of the elements and Nosrat travels to a different location to exhibit how the element is used in local cuisine.
Definitely one of the best Netflix documentaries to watch!
21. Wild, Wild Country
After premiering at the Sundance Film Festival, Wild Wild Country was released on Netflix on March 16, 2018.
It depicts the true story of how the controversial Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, built a utopian city in the Oregon desert and gained a massive cult following.
However, his utopia causes huge conflict with other nearby ranchers and ultimately leads to the first bioterror attack in the United States.
The documentary shows interview footage with former cult members from the 70s.
20. Evil Genius
Produced by Mark and Jay Duplass, Evil Genius is a 2018 true crime documentary series about the murder of Brian Wells.
The case is most commonly known as the “collar bomb” or “pizza bomber” case, as the victim, Brian Wells, was a pizza delivery man that had a bomb strapped around his neck.
As investigators try to get to the bottom of the case, it quickly becomes apparent that there’s more to this than meets the eye!
Not for the faint-hearted, Cowspiracy is a 2014 documentary film, produced by Leonardo DiCaprio.
It examines the impact of animal agriculture on the environment and reviews the policies of environmental organizations on this issue.
It follows filmmaker Kip Andersen as he looks into various environmental concerns, such as global warming, deforestation, and ocean dead zones.
The documentary suggests that animal agriculture is the primary source of environmental destruction.
18. The White Helmets
After winning an Oscar in 2017 for the best documentary, White Helmets is without question one of the best Netflix documentaries you’ll watch all year.
The 2016 British documentary follows the daily lives of a group of volunteer rescue workers in the Syrian Civil Defence.
They attempt to rescue the wounded but are themselves left trapped in the wash of airstrikes.
A genuinely heartwarming and inspiring act of heroism in the face of conflict and destruction.
17. Abducted In Plain Sight
Abducted in Plain Sight is a 2017 true crime documentary produced by Top Knot Films and later released by Netflix in 2019.
It documents the 1974 true story of the Broburgs, a naive, Christian Idaho family that unfortunately befriended a sociopathic neighbour, who abducted their 12-year-old daughter, twice!
When the daughter returned after the first kidnapping, she assured her parents and the law that “nothing had happened”…. enabling her captor to go free.
Jan was then abducted a second time and subjected to years of sexual, emotional, and psychological abuse.
16. Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond
Jim Carrey remains in character as Andy Kaufman for the production of the 1999 film Man on the Moon.
Directed by Chris Smith, it takes you behind the scenes of the movie set and alternates between contemporary interviews with Carrey and never before seen footage of the making of Man on the Moon.
It’s super interesting to watch, as we get to see Carrey’s thorough process approaching his role.
15. Valley Uprising
Fan of heights? How about clinging to the side of a mountain with nothing more than a few ropes and a pair of shorts?
Well, that’s what we see in this grippingly detailed documentary that follows how a group of radicals invented rock climbing in Yosemite National Park.
Once word got out, the group appeared to start a trend, and more people began to climb Yosemite’s rocks every day.
This time, they dared to push the boundaries even further by climbing the biggest rock faces without any ropes, in less than a day!
14. The Vietnam War
If you’re into your history, then this one’s for you!
By far one of the best Netflix documentaries right now, this 10-part American television documentary series is all about the Vietnam War.
After ten years in the making, it tells the historical story of one of the most controversial events in American history, in a way that has never been done before.
Written by Geoffrey C. Ward and directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick; this incredibly complex story includes rarely seen and digitally re-mastered footage from many sources around the world.
Coming in at number 13 on our list of the best Netflix documentaries is a 2015 British documentary film about the life and death of Amy Winehouse.
Amy was a British singer-songwriter who was best known for her chart-topping hits like, “Rehab” and “Back To Black”.
However, she, unfortunately, struggled with substance abuse, both before and after her career blossomed, which ultimately lead to her death.
Her life is documented using archival footage and personal testimonials.
12. Homecoming: A Film By Beyoncé
Beyoncés performance at the 2018 Coachella music festival was sensational, to say the least. This documentary follows her journey from beginning to end.
Fans are given an inside look into her personal life. You witness her surprise pregnancy and her battle to get back in shape before the event kicks off.
Released in 2019, the documentary reveals the emotional road from creative concept to a social movement.
11. Take Your Pills
Take Your Pills explores the positive and negative effects of the performance-enhancing drug, Adderall.
With the pressure to do more, achieve more and stay ahead in life, it’s becoming exceedingly common for people to use prescription stimulants.
The documentary combines a series of interviews with doctors and patients currently taking Adderall and looks at the history of the development of amphetamines.
10. Planet Earth II
Into our top 10!
I think most people would agree that this is one of the best documentaries on Netflix without a doubt!
After a successful first series, the man, the myth, the legend himself, Sir David Attenborough is back once again with another series.
Exploring the world’s cities, deserts, jungles and mountains; Sir David is on a mission to track how climate change has impacted the way we live and its implications on society.
The music throughout the Netflix documentary is wonderful and was written and composed by Hans Zimmer.
9. The Barkley Marathons
Ever ran a marathon? How about an ultra-marathon?
Well, in this 2014 documentary we follow 30-40 athletes as they try to conquer one of the worlds toughest races; The Barkley Marathons.
With 60 hours to complete the 100-mile race, competitors are expected to run through some of the roughest terrains on the planet. In the first 25 years of the race’s existence, only 10 people have successfully completed the course.
It’s so gruelling that most runners goal is to complete the “fun run”, which is 60 miles (97 km) of the full course.
That’s like 3 marathons!!!
8. The Staircase
Quickly becoming the lead suspect in his wife’s murder investigation, Michael Peterson spends the next seventeen years of his life trying to prove his innocence.
His defence team begin to develop his case and soon discover injustice from investigators, painful family feuds and many more eerily suspicious goings-on.
A well earned eighth place in our list of the best Netflix documentaries.
7. Chasing Coral
This Netflix documentary is a real eye-opener!
One of the most beautiful natural habitats on our planet are coral reefs, however, they’re vanishing before our eyes at an alarming rate!
The documentary follows a team of divers, photographers and scientists who set out on an ocean mission to determine what is happening to our underwater world.
It brings the reality of human actions and consequences into focus.
6. Get Me Roger Stone
Appearing on the list as the 6th best Netflix documentary.
This 2017 American documentary film written and directed by Daniel DiMauro, Dylan Bank, and Morgan Pehme, explores the man behind the historic presidential run, Roger Stone.
Roger is a highly connected lobbyist and Republican politician, responsible for the campaigns of former presidents, Richard Nixon and Ronal Reagan.
It’s believed that he is heavily responsible for creating president Trump as we know him today.
5. Our Planet
And so we reach the top 5 best documentaries on Netflix!
Marking the first nature documentary Netflix ever made, once again, Sir David Attenborough narrates a powerful documentary focusing on climate change.
In this documentary, everything is bigger, more beautiful and impressive.
The whole series is available to watch in 4K which is highly recommended if you have a compatible TV.
Rotten Tomatoes gave it an 88% approval rating based on 17 reviews and an average rating of 8/10.
4. Flint Town
In this eight-episode American documentary series, released on Netflix on March 2, 2018, we see how the police struggle to maintain law and order in the city of Flint, Michigan.
Due to reasons like poverty, crime, financially underfunded public services and the Flint water crisis, the city has been undergoing some major issues.
The documentary follows the cities fight to survive in the twenty-first century.
3. Dirty Money
Do corporations actually care about their consumers anymore or is it all about the money?
Well, that’s what this six-part Netflix original series investigates, among many other justice evading entities.
You witness the documenting evidence from a variety of stories around the world that exposes the greed, corruption, and crime that’s spreading throughout the world.
Banks, corporations, pharmaceutical companies and drug cartels all for one reason or another, manage to evade justice!
Icarus is a 2017 American documentary film by Bryan Fogel, and in our opinion, the second best Netflix documentary to watch right now.
Bryan sets out to uncover the truth about doping in sports; in particular, the prestigious Haute Route, the Tour de France for amateur cyclists.
He found it difficult to believe that his rival cyclists could be that much better than him. So he made it his mission to document how easy it is to evade doping rules in cycling.
He hired the head of Russia’s anti-doping agency, Grigory Rodchenkov to help make his point.
Fyre tops off our list of best documentaries on Netflix!
Simply put, this documentary gives you an exclusive behind the scenes look at the infamous demise of the Fyre music festival.
It documents how Billy McFarland, CEO of Fyre Media Inc, and rapper Ja Rule, tried to create a music festival located on the Bahamian private island of Great Exuma, to promote their companies music booking app.
Unfortunately, things didn’t go quite to plan and the organizers ended up being the subjects of at least eight lawsuits, one of which was seeking more than $100 million in damages!
Well, there we have it. We hope you enjoyed our list of the 25 best documentaries on Netflix.
What’s your opinion? Do you agree with the Netflix list?
Fancy watching a movie or TV series instead? Check out our top Netflix movies and TV series.
To save you time scrolling, here’s a quick recap of the 25 best documentaries on Netflix to watch right now:
- Dirty Money
- Flint Town
- Our Planet
- Get Me Roger Stone
- Chasing Coral
- The Staircase
- The Barkley Marathons
- Planet Earth II
- Take Your Pills
- Homecoming: A Film By Beyoncé
- The Vietnam War
- Valley Uprising
- Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond
- Abducted In Plain Sight
- The White Helmets
- Evil Genius
- Wild, Wild Country
- Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat
- Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World
- Pumping Iron