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Best Documentaries on Netflix Now (Bonus Hulu, Prime Video & Disney+ Lists)

To make finding the best documentaries on these services easier for you, I put together a list of the top Netflix documentaries by genre.

I also included bonus lists of the best documentaries on Hulu, Amazon Prime and Disney+.

And if you’ve watched all of these documentaries and are looking for some new ones, be sure to check out CuriosityStream. It’s an entire educational entertainment service dedicated to documentaries and only documentaries!

Jump to the section you’re interested in or read the whole post! Either way, we keep this post updated, so bookmark or pin it and check back regularly.

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

Best Documentaries on Netflix

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

Ocean documentaries on Netflix

1. A Plastic Ocean.

Rated TV-14. 1 hour 40 minutes.

Our oceans are filling up with plastic waste and it’s harming wildlife and the environment. This documentary investigates how this senseless pollution is impacting our environment and what we can do about it.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. Seaspiracy.

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.

5. 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.

Nature documentaries on Netflix

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 72 Dangerous Animals: Latin America.

Rated TV-14. 1 season.

Not all animals are cute and cuddly. Learn about 72 of the most dangerous and deadly animals living in Latin America. Then watch 72 Dangerous Animals: Asia.

5. 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

1. Unrest.

Rated TV-MA. 1 hour 37 minutes.

Former PhD student Jennifer Brea documents her journey and the journey of several others living with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. This eye-opening and informative documentary will have you reaching for the tissue box.

2. 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.

3. 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?

4. 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.

5. 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

1. Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things.

Rated TV-14. 1 hour 18 minutes.

Watch interviews with people who have shunned the idea that “things” can provide happiness, and instead focus on the things that actually matter in life.

2. 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.

3. The Minimalists: Less Is More.

Rated TV-14. 53 minutes.

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

4. 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.

5. How to Live Mortgage Free.

Rated TV-MA. 1 season.

Have you ever wondered if it’s possible to live mortgage free? Sarah Beeny shows you how others are doing it through fun meetings with people who are living mortgage free.

Documentaries on Netflix about food

1. Cowspiracy.

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.

2. 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.

3. Rotten.

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.

4. Salt Fat Acid Heat.

Rated TV-PG. Limited series.

This limited series brings together two of my favorite things: food and travel. Watch chef and food writer Samin Nosrat travel the world to see how four keys to cooking – salt, fat, acid and heat – are used around the world.

5. 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.

Inspiring Documentaries on Netflix

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. The Secret.

Rated TV-14. 1 hour 31 minutes.

According to modern philosophers, writers and scientists, greats like Plato, Einstein and da Vinci used “The Secret” to gain success. Learn how to use that knowledge to bring more good into your life.

4. 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.

5. From Stress to Happiness.

Rated TV-G. 57 minutes.

If you could train with two monks, including one known as “the happiest man in the world,” world you? Watch a stressed-out documentary maker go on his own journey of discovery with them to find peace in his life.

Travel documentaries on Netflix

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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!

4. 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: Latin America.

5. Pedal the World.

Rated TV-MA. 1 hour 24 minutes.

Felix Starck (also of Expedition Happiness) rode his bicycle for 18,000 kilometers across 22 countries. Hear stories about the places he saw and the people he met.

Space & Alien documentaries on Netflix

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

Best True Crime documentaries on Netflix

1. Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.

Rated TV-MA. Limited series.

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)!

2. 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.

3. 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!

4. 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.

5. 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

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

Netflix biographies

1. Jackie: A Tale of Two Sisters.

Rated TV-PG. 44 minutes.

Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and her younger sister Lee Radziwill are portrayed in this British documentary.

2. Betty White: First Lady of Television.

Rated TV-14. 55 minutes.

Betty White was a ground breaker when it comes to women in entertainment. See highlights from her decades long career in this biography.

3. 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.

4. The Royal House of Windsor.

Rated TV-MA. 1 season.

People have always had a fascination with the Royal family. Learn newly discovered information about how this family has managed to stay in power for over 100 years.

5. Becoming.

Rated PG. 1 hour 29 minutes.

Join former First Lady Michelle Obama in a close up and personal look inside her life. She opens up and talks about her own hopes and dreams in this personal documentary.

Musician documentaries on Netflix

1. 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).

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

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

1. 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.

2. 7 Yards: The Chris Norton Story.

Rated TV-PG. 1 hour 33 minutes.

Former college football player Chris Norton had a tragic accident that left him paralyzed. See the true story of his life after the accident and the woman who supports him.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

Baby documentaries on Netflix

1. Babies.

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.

2. The Beginning of Life.

Rated TV-PG. 1 hour 36 minutes.

This Brazilian documentary showcases why it’s so important to tend to kids’ needs in early life and how it affects our world at large. Interviews with scientists and parents from around the world shape the story.

3. The Birth Reborn.

Rated TV-MA. 1 hour 30 minutes.

This pregnancy documentary features mothers and medical professionals who discuss their experience with Caesarean births in Brazil. Two sequels also available.

Political documentaries on Netflix

1. 13th.

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 prison systems and the black men who are especially impacted.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

More Interesting Netflix documentaries

1. 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.

2. This Changes Everything.

Rated TV-MA. 1 hour 35 minutes.

A deep dive into gender disparity in the Hollywood entertainment industry with interviews with many household names like Natalie Portman, Geena Davis, Sharon Stone and Shonda Rhimes.

3. 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.

2. 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.

4. Dick Johnson is Dead.

Rated PG-13. 1 hour 30 minutes.

Documentary filmmaker Kirsten Johnson records life with her father towards the end of his life in a comical and relatable way.

5. Death to 2020.

Rated TV-MA. 1 hour 10 minutes.

Starring Samuel L. Jackson, Hugh Grant and Lisa Kudrow, this Netflix special takes a comedic look back at one year that will go down in history.

6. 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.

7. Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal.

Rated R. 1 hour 40 minutes.

This documentary by director Chris Smith uses a reenactment approach to retell the story of the college admissions scandal that rocked the United States university system.

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

Bonus: Best Documentaries on Hulu

  1. Fine Lines
  2. Blackfish
  3. Tiny Shoulders: Re-Thinking Barbie
  4. Far from the Tree
  5. The Biggest Little Farm. Homesteading documentaries
  6. Summer of Soul
  7. Honeyland
  8. Passage to Mars
  9. March of the Penguins 2: The Next Step
  10. Apollo 11
  11. The Riot and the Dance: Earth
  12. Margaret Atwood
  13. The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story
  14. Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made
  15. The Donut King

Bonus: Best Documentaries on Amazon Prime Video

  1. Generation Wealth
  2. United States of Tents
  3. Farmland
  4. Inventions that Shook the World
  5. Val
  6. Brenda Spencer: I Don’t Like Mondays
  7. Heal
  8. That Sugar Film
  9. Super Size Me
  10. Intelligent Trees

Bonus: Best Documentaries on Disney+

  1. Disney Nature African Cats
  2. Disney Nature Bears
  3. Disney Nature Born in China
  4. Atlantis Rising
  5. Disney Nature Chimpanzee
  6. Free Solo
  7. Giants of the Deep Blue
  8. Disney Nature Wings of Life
  9. Apollo Missions to the Moon
  10. Before the Flood
  11. How Dogs Got Their Shapes
  12. Tree Climbing Lions
  13. Great Migrations
  14. Secrets of the King Cobra
  15. Lost Treasures of the Maya

There are so many documentaries that are currently available to watch on Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and Prime Video. Check out our post on Netflix for Homeschoolers for more documentaries for kids on topics like science, math, language, animals, business and more.

And don’t forget to check out CuriosityStream for more amazing documentaries! They have titles on pretty much every subject. Plus, it’s so affordable, you’ll want to buy a year up front!

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