You can't deny the power of its documentary game. True crime, history, sports, and Netflix. Where do you even begin?
You'll know where this is going. Check out this list for a variety of Netflix documentary genres. Enjoy!
Fyre: The Greatest Party Who Never Happened (2019)
Although many Netflix documentaries, which are stretched and dragged into multi-part episodes, this documentary is sharp, direct, and solid gold the entire way through.
Miss Simone, what happened? (2015)
I'll tell you that here isn't much to say about Nina Simone, but this is probably one of the best documentaries I've ever seen.
The Great Hack (2019)
The Facebook/Cambridge Analytica debate is almost like ancient history, although it doesn't make this documentary any less significant. If you haven't seen it before, then you may see it.
A real crime
Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story
While Jimmy Savile was beyond a household name, he was incredibly considerate of the nation, and he made countless revelations that he had sexually assaulted dozens of children and adolescents a lot more frightening. This was a fascinating, although disturbing documentary.
Swindler for Tinder (2022)
Shimon Hayut, also known as "Tinder Swindler," is a filmmaker who exploited dating apps to defraud many women across Europe to sabotage a luxurious lifestyle.
A slightly different topic compared to the most effective crime documentaries on Netflix. It's definitely worth a look.
The Raincoat Killer (2021)
It's rare to see a lean, clean direct true to crime show that does not drag things out or deliberately obscure facts for the sake of drama. But that's why The Raincoat Killer is so good and unique.
The Raincoat Killer, a brutal serial killer in South Korea, is a comprehensive, enjoyable film. It's one of the most effective true crime documentaryaries on Netflix.
The Burari Deaths in the House of Secrets (2021)
This is a good one for Netflix's most recent true crime documentaries. House of Secrets explores the earliest suicide/murder scenarios in recent history. Unmissable stuff.
This Is a Robbery (2021)
This Is a Robbery is about Netflix as it gets. A four-part series focusing on the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, this is essentially a documentary about an art heist. (Which is also on this list.) This Is a Robbery is quite in its style. The first episode takes a while to get going, but it's worth it.
Assassinations Among Mormons (2021)
Some of Netflix's most recent true crime documentaries have been a bit bloated and... sorta bad?
Murder Among the Mormons is a comeback. Definitely watch this one.
The Family Next Door in America (2020)
There are a lot of really good crime documentaries out there (and on this list), but American Murder: The Family Next Door is still in use.
It reveals the past of Chris Watts, an apparently regular guy who murdered his wife and children. It's staggering, and it's beautifully edited and produced in a unique way, using text messages and social media posts to tell the story. It's a disturbing reminder of the countless existence of domestic violence.
(2018): The Staircase
At this point, the true crime documentary genre is completely slashed, but The Staircase stands out.
The Staircase, which focuses on Michael Peterson's wife Kathleen's death, is more than a murder mystery. It's a drawn-out thriller that takes place over literal decades, with a documentary that follows Peterson and examines his every move, but still remains objective.
Who Killed Little Gregory (2019)
The documentary Who Killed Little Gregory is a series about Gregory Villemin's horrific murder. It is arguably the best Netflix true crime documentary. It's about a murder, and attempts to cure that murder, but it's also a lesson in media representation and the horrific sexism Gregory's mother had to confront.
Making a Murderer (2015-2018)
The massive collection of true crime documentaries and podcasts that came into its wake, it's easy to forget that the world once lost its collective mind about Making A Murderer. In a broader way, it created the template that many Netflix documentaries now follow. A true original.
The Keepers (2017)
There are a slew of excellent crime documentation available on Netflix, but nothing has come close to The Keepers. A huge story, told over generations, that is respectful of the victims, yet inspiring throughout.
It's a story about Catherine Cesnik, a mother who taught at a Catholic school in Baltimore, but The Keepers goes further than you might expect and exposes a potential cover up of sex abuse allegations.
Seaspiracy follows in the footsteps of several research papers on the impacts of meat eating on the environment. This time, the global fishing industry is in the crosshairs. PETA, Greenpeace, and conservation organizations have no choice but to conclude that Seaspiracy is accurate or fair. Make your own mind.
My Octopus Teacher (2020)
Craig Foster, an artist who spent a year snorkelling and traveling with an octopus off the coast of South Africa, is on my Octopus Teacher, but it's not just a nature film, but also a documentary that encourages attention. In short, the octopi are absolutely incredible. It's also an inspiring call to action: Don't forget the wonder that exists everywhere.
Our Planet (2019)
Nature documentaries from David Attenborough are so widespread they are vulnerable to self-parody, but Our Planet is I believe the high watermark. Only Planet Earth, another Attenborough docu, comes close. But I prefer this one.
Tiger King (2020-21)
Time may shatter its impact, but when Tiger King was first released on Netflix, the whole world couldn't stop talking about it.
Tiger King explores the strange underbelly of big cat breeding, focusing on a slew of musical abilities. Season 2 is now available, and while the show has lost a lot of its appeal, it's interesting to catch up with this cast of wild animals doing wild, completely outlandish things.
Drive to Survive in Formula 1
Drive to Survive is a fantastic program, especially in the United States, that it has an increasing interest in Formula 1. This program is fantastic at elevating the characters that dominate the sport. More shows like this are helpful.
2021, 14 Peaks
Nimsdai Purja, a Nepalese mountaineer, shares his dream of climbing all 14 mountains above the height of 8000 metres in a year. It's incredible. Must watch everything.
Bad Sport (2021)
When it comes to sports, Netflix might have burned the True Crime documentary into the ground. It's also on fire. Bad Sport is the latest entry into this growing sub category, but it's also amazing. When sport goes bad, it's about what happens when it gets down in the dirt. All of these episodes are fantastic. Hope to have a season 2.
The River Runner (2021)
For kayaking, The River Runner is sorta like Free Solo. Consider that as a compliment. This is the traditional story of an extreme sports veteran overcome odds, but it runs a little deeper than that. Lindgren is a compelling case study. Must watch it.
Untold is a sports documentary series focusing on controversial sports topics. The first episode focuses on Malice at the Palace, the famous basketball match in 2004, where Ron Artest became famous after wrestling with Mike Tyson's undercard. It's now available weekly and, so far, so good. It's over 30 people, which is a good thing.
The Last Dance (2020)
In 2020, in the midst of a pandemic, Netflix lowered its sports doc to perfection.
While The Last Dance is a jumping off point for a documentary about Michael Jordan's life, many criticize it for being somewhat too Jordan-focused, many say it was a celebration.
Naomi Osaka (2021)
Naomi Osaka is a famous and talked about athletes on the planet. This fascinating documentary explores different stages of her career and offers ample insight into a young woman's life. A must watch.
Athlete A (2020)
Larry Nassar, the team's director of US Gymnastics, was sexually abusing female athletes for decades. This one is frightening.
This Oscar-winning documentary is a must-see.
Icarus begins out as an expose on the impact performance-enhancing drugs have on sports performance, but a sequence of events sets director Bryan Fogel into a web of geopolitics and conspiracies. To conclude the documentary, Fogel ultimately has created a documentary that had a significant impact on our perception of sports as a whole. In that regard, Icarus is a logical game changer.
(2020) Speed Cubers
If you want a somewhat more uplifting film, then you might be far worse than The Speed Cubers, or a look at the world of competitive rubix... cubers? It's short, but packs an incredible emotional punch. Prepare yourself, this one might splinter you.
The College Admissions Scandal in Operation Varsity Blues (2021)
Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal has a long-term track record as long as some of Netflix's recent records. However, this isn't as bloated as, say, the program. It may still employ some trimming. Operation Varsity Blues was centered on the FBI's investigation into college admissions, which put actress Felicity Huffman in jail. Its director Chris Smith previously worked on the Fyre Festival documentary. This isn't as engaging
Knock Down the House (2019)
Knock Down The House is a terrible underdog story that can be missed if it is focused on progressive female candidates during the 2018 congressional primary campaigns. It's a powerful exploration of the democratic process. It's a powerful reminder that we need to fight to make the voices of ordinary people count.
(2018) Wild Wild Country
Wild Wild Country, despite being overly hectic and sober, is nevertheless one of the most popular Netflix documentary films I've ever seen.
It reveals the story of Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajnees, who tried to build a massive colony in the United States, but it may delve deeper into it. At times, it is a slog, but Wild Wild Country is absolutely worth it.
The 13th (2016)
The 13th by Ava Duvernay is a dazzling film that reveals American slavery's history and its long-term implications, many of which are still alive today.
This should be mandatory viewing in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Five Came Back (2017)
This documentary, directed by Steven Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola, will tell the story of five well-known movie directors from the 1930s and 1940s who performed frontline work during the Second World War. It's woven their apprehensions together into a fantastic story of Hollywood's golden age.
American Factory (2019)
This documentary, which has been won by Barack and Michelle Obama's Higher Ground Productions team, reveals the story of Fuyao, a Chinese business that built a factory in Ohio and now closes a General Motors facility. This film must be watched.
Filthy Rich, Jeffrey Epstein (2020)
By this point, we all have a sense of understanding of Jeffrey Epstein's story, but Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich does itself a great job by focusing on the stories of his abuse victims.