Best Documentaries on Netflix

To make finding the best documentaries on Netflix easier for you, I put together a list of the best documentary films and shows by genre.

Screenshot of documentaries on Netflix now from app.

You’ll find every documentary worth watching on this top Netflix documentaries list, from popular documentaries to unique and interesting finds.

Click on a topic to jump to the section you’re interested in or read the full list! Either way, we keep this post updated, so bookmark or pin it and check back whenever you need something new to watch.

If you’ve watched all of these documentaries and are looking for new ones, be sure to check out my lists of the best documentaries on Hulu, Disney Plus and Amazon Prime Video. Or try Curiosity Stream, an entire educational entertainment service dedicated to only documentaries for less than $20 a year!

Ocean Documentaries on Netflix

Chasing Coral

Rated TV-PG. 1 hour 29 minutes.

This documentary features underwater footage and commentary from photographers, scientists and divers on a mission to document why our coral reefs are dying.

My Octopus Teacher

Rated TV-G. 1 hour 25 minutes.

In this South African documentary, a filmmaker and an octopus become unlikely friends. This friendship helps him discover the secrets of octopus life in the South African Kelp Forest.

Rated TV-14. 1 hour 30 minutes.


There is a conspiracy of global corruption that’s influencing what happens with our oceans and the marine species who inhabit them. This documentary examines exactly what harm humans are having on marine life.

Mission Blue

Rated TV- PG. 1 hour 34 minutes.

Oceanographer Sylvia Earle is on a mission to save the oceans from toxic waste and other threats like overfishing. Follow her journey in this informative documentary.

Puff: Wonders of the Reef

Rated TV-G. 1 hour 2 minutes.

A super kid-friendly documentary about our oceans, this Netflix film follows “Puff,” a little puffer fish as he navigates the ocean and the life within it. Gorgeous filmography brings life in the ocean to your living room.

Screenshot of titles of documentaries currently on Netflix.
Documentary Films on

Nature Documentaries on Netflix

Nature is such a fascinating thing, and there’s always something new to learn about it. Here are a few of my favorite films on nature that are on Netflix now.

Life in Color with David Attenborough

Rated TV-PG. 1 season.

In this vivid nature docuseries, David Attenborough shows us how animals use color to not only survive but thrive.

Kiss the Ground

Rated TV-G. 1 hour 24 minutes.

Did you know that the Earth’s soil could be the key to combatting climate change? It can according to science experts and celebrity activists in this powerful feature-length documentary.

Fantastic Fungi

Rated TV-14. 1 hour 20 minutes.

Mushrooms are more than food! Learn all about the wonders of mushrooms, how they communicate with each other through underground fungal networks and how they can help our environment by working to clean up oil spills.

Breaking Boundaries: The Science of Our Planet

Rated TV-PG. 1 hour 14 minutes.

Another film featuring David Attenborough, Breaking Boundaries explores the collapse of biodiversity on earth with scientist Johan Rockstrom. They also share how we can help stop this crisis from progressing further.

Into the Inferno

Rated TV-PG. 1 hour 47 minutes.

Werner Herzog captures the impressive power of volcanos, including eruptions, lava flows and their ties to indigenous spiritual practices, in this Netflix Original Documentary.

Animal Documentaries on Netflix

Learning about their favorite animals can be a great way to get kids more interested in documentaries. Here are some fun movies about creatures to watch and learn.

Penguin Town

Rated TV-PG. 1 season.

If you liked March of the Penguins, you’ll adore Penguin Town. This docuseries follows a cute flock of endangered penguins living out their lives in a South African Town.

Dancing with the Birds

Rated TV-PG. 51 minutes.

Watch beautiful birds in paradise use the power of dance to attract a mate in this short animal documentary.

Tiny Creatures

Rated TV-PG. 1 season.

Instead of watching baby animals on YouTube, turn on Tiny Creatures and learn about them. This kid-friendly docuseries shows what life is like for baby animals and the lengths they have to go to in order to survive.

Inside the Mind of a Cat

Rated TV-PG. 1 hour 7 minutes.

Cats and humans have a special sort of relationship that has spanned millennia. This documentary film explores the fascinating connection between these two species through new research.

Absurd Planet

Rated TV-PG. 1 season.

If you like learning about strange and unique animals, watch Absurd Planet. There are so many unusual animals to be found in nature!

Health Documentaries on Netflix

Learning about health from experts in documentaries is fascinating and educational. Here are some great documentaries on health and wellness to watch on Netflix.

Take Care of Maya

Rated TV-14. 1 hour 44 minutes.

This documentary showcases a parent’s worst nightmare, being accused of child abuse when they try to get their daughter care for her pain disorder.

The Bleeding Edge

Rated TV-14. 1 hour 40 minutes.

If you’ve ever wondered how the medical device industry operates, this science documentary will give you a behind the scenes look at some of the devastating consequences these procedures have had for patients. Selected for the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival.

Take Your Pills

Rated TV-14. 1 hour 27 minutes.

Adderall and other stimulants can seem to provide an edge to students, coders and athletes… but what cost is it having?

End Game

Rated TV-PG. 40 minutes.

Another tearjerker, End Game brings together terminally ill patients with caregivers who are seeking to change how we as a culture approach life and death.

Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution

Rated R. 1 hour 48 minutes.

Teens with disabilities at a revolutionary summer camp create a movement for greater equality. This inspiring documentary won the Audience Award for U.S. Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival in 2020.

Best Documentaries on Minimalism

Do you rely on “stuff” for happiness too much? These documentaries will help you get perspective and perhaps live a more minimal life.

Sparking Joy

Rated TV-PG. 1 season.

In this home makeover reality show, Marie Kondo helps 3 families work together to organize their lives to spark more joy.

Tidying Up with Marie Kondo

Rated TV-PG. 1 season.

Author of the popular book, “Tidying Up,” Marie Kondo shares more ideas for sparking joy and living for less in this minimalism docuseries.

The Minimalists: Less Is Now

Rated TV-14. 53 minutes.

Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn, two friends with a passion for minimalism, share tips for living with less.

Hack My Home

Rated TV-G. 8 episodes.

Hack My Home is a Netflix home renovation series where a team of design experts tackles the challenge of creating more space in homes without moving or extensive remodeling. The show combines space-saving DIY solutions and heartwarming stories, helping families transform their living spaces in inventive and cost-effective ways.

Tiny House Nation

Rated TV-PG. 2 seasons.

The tiny home trend is here to stay. See some of the coolest tiny homes, and stories of the people living in them, in this series on minimalistic living.

Get Smart with Money

Rated TV-PG. 1 hour 33 minutes.

In this documentary, financial advisers share their tips on spending less and saving more with people who want to take control of their money and achieve their goals.

Documentaries on Netflix about Food

Cooking food or learning about food… either way I love a good documentary about food.


Rated TV-PG. 1 hour 30 minutes.

Factory farming is a much bigger problem for the environment and our natural resources than most people realize. Learn what’s behind this significant issue that affects the meat on our plates.

Meat Eater

Rated TV-14. 4 seasons.

Get a peek behind the scenes into what it’s like to bring game meat from field to table. Hosted by Steven Rinella, hunter, author, cook and conservationist.


Rated TV-MA. 2 seasons.

Learn how the food supply chain works and see some of the hidden problems affecting what we put in our mouths in this investigative docuseries.

Poisoned: The Dirty Truth About Your Food

Rated TV-14. 1 hour 24 minutes.

Poisoned: The Dirty Truth About Your Food is a documentary scrutinizing the hazards in the U.S. food production system to uncover the risks of foodborne illnesses and contaminants. The film covers the history of food regulation and significant incidents, such as the 1993 E. coli outbreak, highlighting the dangers present in everyday food consumption.

Chef’s Table

Rated TV-MA. 6 volumes.

An intimate docuseries that allows you to get to know world renowned chefs from around the globe and learn about the dishes that made them famous. Also watch Chef’s Table BBQ and Chef’s Table France.

Inspiring Documentaries on Netflix

If you’re feeling like you need a little inspiration in your life, check out these documentaries on Netflix that can help get you going in the right direction.

Brene Brown: The Call to Courage

Rated TV-14. 1 hour 16 minutes.

Choosing courage over comfort is the topic of this talk by inspirational speaker and writer Brene Brown.

Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru

Rated TV-MA. 1 hour 56 minutes.

Life coach Tony Robbins has a following so big that he hosts a mega event every year. See behind the scenes at this annual event and get to know more about the man behind the message.

Headspace Guide to Meditation

Rated TV-G. 1 season.

If you’ve heard about meditation but have no clue where to get started, Headspace has you. Their Guide to Meditation will walk you through the steps to starting a powerful meditation practice in your life.

The Playbook: A Coach’s Rules for Life

Rated TV-MA. 1 season.

This Netflix Original series profiles 5 legendary coaches as they share the rules they live by to achieve success in both sports and in life. Features Doc Rivers, Jill Ellis, Jose Mourinho, Patrick Mouratoglou and Dawn Stanley.

Period. End of Sentence.

Rated TV-PG. 26 minutes.

This short film tells the story of a group of women in rural India that begin making low cost sanitary pads in a march towards financial independence. An inspiring story of hard work and perseverance.

Travel Documentaries on Netflix

If you can’t hop on a plane and travel, turn on a documentary about the places you wish you could visit.

Expedition Happiness

Rated TV-PG. 1 hour 36 minutes.

Have you ever wished you could just pack up and travel the country? Filmmaker Felix Starck and his musician girlfriend Mogli do just that in this inspirational travel documentary.

Magical Andes

Rated TV-G. 2 seasons.

Meet the unique people who live in the magical Andes Mountain range from Argentina to Columbia, and see how they live their lives.

Dark Tourist

Rated TV-MA. 1 season.

If you like visiting unusual places, you’ll get some amazing ideas for your next trip in Dark Tourist. From haunted houses to forbidden cities, there are some interesting places on this globe!

Street Food: Asia

Rated TV-PG. 1 season.

Entertaining docuseries that lets you see the delicious street food served around Asia from the comfort of your couch. Also check out Street Food: USA and Street Food: Latin America.

Tales by Light

Rated TV-14. 3 seasons.

If you like seeing other cultures in new light, this travel documentary is for you! See people, places, creates and cultures from a new perspective as photographers and filmmakers travel the world to capture amazing imagery.

Space & Alien Documentaries on Netflix

If you dream about space and the aliens that may inhabit it, you’ll love these documentaries on related topics.

Top Secret UFO Projects Declassified

Rated TV-PG. 1 season.

This Netflix original series dives into the various ways in which government cover ups may be hiding the potential existence of aliens in this UFO documentary.

Alien Worlds

Rated TV-PG. 1 season.

There’s no way to know what alien life may be like on other planets. This alien documentary uses both fact and fiction to imagine what life may be like in other worlds.

The Mars Generation

Rated TV-PG. 1 hour 37 minutes.

If you ever dreamed of attending Space Camp as a kid, you’ll truly be inspired by The Mars Generation. This group of teens attending space camp believes they’ll one day be able to travel to Mars.

Black Holes: The Edge of All We Know

Rated TV-14. 1 hour 39 minutes.

Scientists embark on a mission to capture the first image of a black hole in a quest to understand the universe in this educational documentary on space.

Challenger: The Final Flight

Rated TV-14. Limited series.

Most of us from Gen X remember watching the Challenger launch on TV in our classrooms. We had no idea of the tragic aftermath to come. In this Netflix docuseries, engineers, officials and members of the crew’s families share their thoughts on this tragic disaster.

Return to Space

Rated TV-MA. 2 hours 8 minutes.

Rather than focusing on government programs like NASA like most space exploration documentaries, Return to Space follows Elon Musk and SpaceX engineers mission to send astronauts back to the International Space Station and completely modernize space travel.

Best True Crime Documentaries on Netflix

True crime is one of the fastest growing categories of documentaries these days. There are so many great choices on Netflix… here are a few popular films to start with.

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness

Rated TV-MA. 2 seasons available.

This true crime docuseries was a major sensation when it first hit Netflix. If you’re looking for a weird and dark documentary series to watch, Tiger King is it. You won’t be able to turn it off (we couldn’t) and will quickly become fascinated with Carol Baskin, Joe Exotic, his eccentric team and all of their betrayals.

Don’t miss the newer series, Tiger King: The Doc Antle Story, where accusations are made against “Doc” Antle for violence, misconduct and abuse.

Amanda Knox

Rated TV-MA. 1 hour 32 minutes.

Amanda Knox is a woman who was convicted then acquitted of murder not once, but twice. Listen to the people closest to her talk about the case in this true crime documentary.

Evil Genius: the True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist

Rated TV-MA. Limited series.

If you’re looking for a bizarre true crime series, this one starts with a pizza delivery man robbing a bank with a bomb around his neck. Trust me, the story gets even stranger from that point!

Abducted in Plain Sight

Rated TV-14. 1 hour 30 minutes.

Can you imagine your neighbor kidnapping your children twice? That’s exactly what happened to the family featured in this true crime documentary.

Unsolved Mysteries

Rated TV-MA. 2 volumes.

This classic documentary series is being revived by Netflix with new episodes sharing plenty of unsolved mysteries like murders, disappearances and paranormal experiences.

Murder Documentaries on Netflix

Murder and true crime documentaries go hand in hand. If you enjoy one area, you should enjoy the other.

American Murder: The Family Next Door

Rated TV-MA. 1 hour 23 minutes.

Shannan Watts and her young daughters disappeared, and it was later discovered that they were murdered. See raw, firsthand footage of this terrible series of events in this tragic murder documentary.

Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story

Rated TV-MA. 1 hour 37 minutes.

16-year old Cyntoia Brown murdered a 43-year old man who picked her up for sex. After being tried as an adult and sentenced to life in prison in 2004, she was granted clemency in 2019 and released. Learn about the laws and the chain of events that led her down this disastrous path.

The Sons of Sam: A Descent into Darkness

Rated TV-MA. 4-episode Limited Series.

This limited series follows Maury Terry, a journalist who had a lifelong obsession with the Sons of Sam case. He held a deep belief that the murders were tied to a satanic cult, which led him to a dark place.

Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel

Rated TV-MA. 1 season.

The Cecil Hotel became famous when Elisa Lam vanished. Take a look into the dark crime scene in this docuseries.

Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes

Rated TV-MA. Limited series.

Interviews, archival footage and audio recordings are compilated for this intriguing 4-part limited series on one of the world’s most notorious serial killers, Ted Bundy.

Murder Among the Mormons

Rated TV-14. Limited series.

When religion becomes extreme so can the people. Murder Among the Mormons exposes the murders and scandal that happened to prevent the Salamander letter from being released to the public. Inside the World’s Toughest Prisons

Rated TV-MA. 5 seasons.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go undercover in a prison? Investigative journalists do just that in the world’s most volatile prisons disguised as inmates.

Netflix Biographies

If you enjoy learning about peoples’ lives, check out these biographical documentaries on Netflix.

The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes

Rated TV-14. 1 hour 41 minutes.

The name Marilyn Monroe invokes all sorts of feelings and memories in people. This biographical documentary explores never before heard tapes of Monroe to try and understand the last days of her short life.

Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates

Rated TV-14. Limited series.

Listen to Bill Gates talk about the people who have been influential in his life and the goals he’s still chasing today.

Bob Ross: Happy Accidents & Greed

Rated TV-14. 1 hour 33 minutes.

Bob Ross became a household name as the artist known for his, “happy little trees.” What most of us didn’t know was behind the scenes, there was a grueling battle for the business of his art.

American Symphony

Rated PG-13. 1 hour 43 minutes.

American Symphony shares insight into a year in the life of musician Jon Batiste. The film intimately portrays Batiste’s career highlights and personal challenges, including his wife Suleika Jaouad’s battle with leukemia, as he composes a symphony.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Rated PG-13. 1 hour 34 minutes.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? explores the life and legacy of Fred Rogers, the iconic host of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” The film provides a heartfelt insight into Rogers’ profound impact on children’s television and his enduring message of kindness and empathy.

Musician Documentaries on Netflix

Netflix also has on tons of biographies on famous music artists. Here is a small selection of the musicians you can learn more about.

Miss Americana: Taylor Swift

Rated TV-MA. 1 hour 25 minutes.

In this documentary about musician Taylor Swift, we get a behind the scenes look at her life as a songwriter and performer. (For a more kid-friendly Taylor Swift documentary, check out Taylor Swift: Reputation Stadium Tour).

Dolly Parton: Here I Am

Rated TV-14. 1 hour 29 minutes.

One of the most successful female musicians of all time, Dolly Parton talks about the people and places who have helped make her career what it is. Other documentaries featuring this iconic singer include, Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings, Dolly Parton: A Musical Tribute.

Shawn Mendes: In Wonder

Rated TV-MA. 1 hour 23 minutes.

In this documentary, we follow Shawn Menes on his world tour. Along the way, we get to know a lot more about how he feels about being a pop star and how it affects his personal relationships and life.

Gaga: Five Foot Two

Rated TV-MA. 1 hour 40 minutes.

Get to know Lady Gaga while she releases an album and prepares for her halftime performance at the Super Bowl in this intimate documentary.

What Happened, Miss Simone?

Rated TV-14. 1 hour 42 minutes.

See the story of legendary activist and singer Nina Simone, including never before heard recordings, rare scenes from archival footage along with her most well-known songs.

Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese

Rated TV-MA. 2 hours 22 minutes.

Martin Scorsese reflects on Dylan’s 1975 album, Rolling Thunder Revue, in this music doc. He shares his thoughts on how this iconic album helped shape American Culture in that time.

If you’re looking for music documentaries on Netflix that are appropriate for kids, check out my post on Sing Along Kids Shows & Movies.

Sports Documentaries on Netflix

If you’re more into sports and athletics, you may enjoy these documentaries on your favorite athletes, teams and sports.

Athlete A

Rated PG-13. 1 hour 44 minutes.

This documentary focuses on the Larry Nassar abuse scandal in USA Gymnastics and the gymnasts who survived it.

The Short Game

Rated PG. 1 hour 40 minutes.

This sports documentary follows a group of uber competitive kids with big dreams of becoming pro golfers.

Rising Phoenix

Rated PG-13. 1 hour 46 minutes.

Did you know that “para” means “parallel” rather than “paralyzed” when it comes to the Paralympic Games? Watching the powerful athletes that participate in these games can challenge how we think about people with disabilities.

The Last Dance

Rated TV-MA. 1 season.

This docuseries follows Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls on his meteoric rise to fame. Includes unseen footage from the 1997-1998 basketball season.


Rated TV-MA. 2 hours 1 minute.

This documentary, which won an Oscar, takes a look inside of the doping scandal that shook the Olympics when it was discovered Russians have been doping their athletes since the 1960s.

14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible

Rated TV-MA. 1 hour 41 minutes.

Nimsdai Purja, a Nepali mountaineer, goes on a quest to summit all 14 of the world’s 8,000-meter peaks in the short timespan of just 7 months. From his eyes, you can see that nothing is impossible.

Baby Documentaries on Netflix

The business of being born is a big one, and these documentaries can give you a look behind the scenes.


Rated TV-14. 2 parts.

If you’ve ever been curious what life is like for babies in their first year of life, Babies will show you (through science) what life is like for them. Everything from sleep and first words to love and senses are covered.

The Birth Reborn 3

Rated TV-MA. 1 hour 12 minutes.

This pregnancy doc features mothers and medical professionals who discuss their experience with Caesarean births in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Two previous films in the series not currently available to stream.

Political Documentaries on Netflix

If you want to learn more about politics and government, check out these eye opening political documentaries on Netflix.


Rated TV-MA. 1 hour 40 minutes.

The 13th amendment abolished slavery in the US… but is slavery really gone or has it just been relabeled for prisoners? This is an important documentary from director Ava DuVernay about the 13th amendment, the US criminal justice system and the black men who are especially impacted.

Knock Down The House

Rated PG. 1 hour 27 minutes.

A behind the scenes look at the 2018 race for Congress featuring four determined women, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Trump: An American Dream

Rated TV-14. 1 season.

This series tells the story of former President Donald Trump and how this brash businessman reached the highest echelons of politics in the US.

Dirty Money

Rated TV-MA. 2 seasons.

An investigative series that looks at ways in which corporate greed and corruption are stealing money from Americans’ pockets through scams like payday loans and money laundering.

American Factory

Rated TV-14. 1 hour 50 minutes.

This Academy award winning feature film documents a Chinese company opening a closed factory in a small town outside of Dayton, Ohio and the culture clash that ensues. Also watch, American Factory: A Conversation with the Obamas.

Lead Me Home

Rated PG-13. 40 minutes.

Homelessness is quickly becoming a humanitarian crisis on the west coast of the US. This short documentary gives insight into the problem with stories from those affected.

Wild Wild Country

Rated TV-MA. 6-episode Limited Series.

A cult in the middle of the Oregon desert. A controversial leader and unhappy locals. All leading into a national scandal.

Technology Documentaries

It’s for sure, one thing that is definitely here to stay is technology. These documentaries will give you insight into the pros and cons of this emerging and growing area.

The Social Dilemma

Rated PG-13. 1 hour 34 minutes.

This thought-provoking documentary takes a deep dive into a subject matter no one wants to think about – social media and its effects on our lives. Nominated for several Emmy Awards in 2021.

Watch The Great Hack for even more information on how data from social media is used to manipulate your purchases and your mind. This documentary exposes what happened with data company, Cambridge Analytica.

High Score

Rated TV-14. Limited series.

If you’re looking for video games documentaries on Netflix, High Score does a great job of telling the history of video games and the people who created them.

The Tinder Swindler

Rated TV-MA. 1 hour 54 minutes.

You never know if the people you meet on dating apps are who they say they are. In The Tinder Swindler, we learn about a man who posed as a wealthy diamond mogul and conned women out of millions of dollars online. Some of his victims are seeking justice.

More Documentary Film Ideas

If you’re looking for more educational documentaries on Netflix, check out my post on Educational Shows on Netflix for Homeschoolers. I include some great science and historical documentaries for kids on that list!

And if you’re looking for documentaries not on Netflix, check out these my lists of the best documentaries on Hulu, Disney Plus or Prime Video. You can also sign up for a cheap Curiosity Stream subscription for thousands more documentary films and series!

They have titles on pretty much every subject you can imagine. Plus, it’s so affordable at less than $20 per year! Read my Curiosity Stream review for more info on why it’s so great!

More Family Entertainment Ideas

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