35 Best Netflix Documentaries to Watch Right Now (Including Docuseries)

Netflix has become such an addictive streaming service that we often find ourselves having watched just about everything in our watchlist. We scroll endlessly looking for new content, never fully satisfied. If you’ve already read our previous list on Netflix’s must-watch documentaries, you’ve most likely blown through all of them. We get you. You’ve tapped that well and you’re thirsty, nay, starving for more. You want more portraits of iconic individuals. You want grander explorations of deeply engaging topics of both past and present. You want something that’ll inspire you to do something or rethink your perspective on a certain topic. And if that’s what you’re seeking, clear up your watchlist for a second helping as we serve up another 35 documentaries you can watch on Netflix right now.

Updated on: April 8, 2019.

Pope Francis: A Man of His Word (2018)

IMDB Score 5.8/10

#The 226th Pope of the Vatican bears all in this documentary where his life is revealed as well as his goals for his current position. Originally premiering at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, the film was directed by Wim Wenders who portrays a very colorful and exciting film of what it’s like to be the traveling Pope and delve a little deeper into the mind of a man with much influence over an entire religion.

The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned From a Mythical Man (2018)

IMDB Score 7.1/10

Legendary comedic actor Bill Murray is an elusive man. Sure, he still appears in a handful of movies from time to time but he doesn’t seem as out in the open as other celebrities. This documentary by director Tommy Avallone recounts several tales from those who have spotted Murray, as well as stir up some urban legends about where he has been. We can’t be too sure if Murray is really some guy who secretly likes to drop in on a karaoke session but the film makes us want to believe.

After Porn Ends 3 (2018)

IMDB Score 5.4/10

The third in the documentary series, After Porn Ends 3 takes another hard look at the people behind the adult film industry. Once more, the film shines a spotlight on the darker aspects of being an adult film star and how it can be deeply damaging to individual pursuing such a career in terms of how hush-hush their profession can be. Also profiled in the picture is the younger generation hoping they won’t proceed down rockier roads ahead.

The Birth Reborn 3 (2018)

IMDB Score 8/10

The documentary film series on birth centers continues on with The Birth Reborn 3, taking aim at a Sao Paulo birth center. The film gets up close and personal with the birthing process and how the center functions, featuring interviews with various patients, doctors, and activists. A very human and thought-provoking case for birthing centers and the joy they can bring when it comes to new life entering the world.

Avicii: True Stories (2017)

IMDB Score 7.6/10

Fame usually doesn’t come without a price and it has certainly taken its toll on Avicii. In Sweden, he’s mostly known as being a famous DJ, musician, and producer. But what this documentary reveals is that over time he has developed health problems, both physical and mental, making his days more of a struggle. A very open documentary on how even the most talented of the musically inclined can still be fragile.

Oasis: Supersonic (2016)

IMDB Score 7.9/10

1990s rock band Oasis is given a more revealing spotlight in this documentary that goes behind the scenes. The documentary boasts plenty of candid interviews as well as never-before-seen concert footage. It’s also a film that’s certainly not shy about addressing the band’s rivalry that nearly led to the downfall of the group.

Mexicanos de Bronce (2016)

IMDB Score 6.8/10

Also known as Bronze Nation, this documentary follows Rocky, Hones and Bullet, a trio of troublemakers that are constantly being sent to prison. Trying to move on and do better with their lives, they band together to form a, well, band. Their lives filled with despair for how long they’ve been in prison and how bleak the future may look, it’s a uniquely human portrait of family, despair, and hip hop.

Struggle: The Life and Lost Art of Szukalski (2018)

IMDB Score 8.1/10

Polish-American artist Stanislav Szukalski may have died in 1987 but his legacy is one worth remembering. This documentary chronicles this unique life that took him from Chicago to Poland to Los Angeles, and his valuable artistic contributions to the world of art and politics. Few may know his name but it’s one worth remembering as the documentary showcases candid interviews and footage of Stanislav that really paint the portrait of him as a bit of a rebel.

Bully (2011)

IMDB Score 7.4/10

School bullying is given a harsh spotlight when director Lee Hirsch takes aim at five specific cases of teenagers being bullied. Some of these cases go to the extremes, as one student feeling exceptionally bullied pulls a gun in school and is sent to reform school. And there’s even the more tragic cases of persecution for one student coming out as gay and another that takes suicide as the only way out.

Senna (2010)

IMDB Score 8.6/10

Formula One racing champ Ayrton Senna takes the lead in this film that catches up with the man and his legacy. He was one of the most prolific icons of Brazil’s racing scene but would also face an untimely demise at the age of 34 in 1994. Directed by Asif Kapadia, the documentary focuses on most of his racing accomplishments including his debut at the 1984 Brazilian Grand Prix.

Sad Hill Unearthed (2017)

IMDb Score 7.3/10

If you’re a fan of film that loves to go location hunting to find all the familiar spots of your favorite movie, this documentary is for you. The film in question is The Good, the Bad and the Ugly as fans try to restore the graveyard from that unforgettable climax of the ultimate movie Western. It’s a restoration project of pure love for the movie given how dedicated its fans turn out to be.

Out of Many, One (2018)

IMDB Score 5.3/10

Immigration takes on a more personal perspective in this documentary short. The film covers the current climate of immigration and what is involved in the process of those entering into the United States of America. A revealing and important film for gaining a perspective on how this country functions with new faces and new dreams entering into the melting pot.

The American Meme (2018)

IMDB Score 6.2/10

It’s clear that the new frontier for business is online but that also applies to celebrity status as well. The American Meme focuses on the four personalities of Paris Hilton, Josh Ostrovsky, Brittany Furlan, and Kirill Bichutsky and how they’ve used the realms of social media to sell themselves to a bigger crowd. A revealing look at just how easy it is to sell one’s self online.

Michael Jackson’s This Is It (2009)

IMDB Score 7.3/10

Michael Jackson’s passing was most tragic but he left behind a massive legacy of music. He also left behind a stage production he was preparing before he, unfortunately, passed away. This Is It documents the production leading up to his comeback at London’s O2 arena as well as the history of Jackson himself. It’s a fitting way to look back on the King of Pop and fathom what may have been a fantastic comeback concert.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011)

IMDB Score 7.9/10

Jiro Ono is an accomplished chef given his unwavering devotion to the craft of creating sushi. He strives to be the very best and hopes to one day pass on his skills to his son, Yoshikazu. A stirring and infatuating film for anyone who has an unnatural love for their career passions as strong as Jiro.

They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead (2018)

IMDB Score 7.5/10

Not only has Netflix released Orson Welle’s previously unseen film The Other Side of the Wind but they also released the documentary behind the troubled film, They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead. Hosted by Alan Cumming, the documentary covers a wide range of wild details from the production, to quick recasting to the fluid shooting to the problems with financing. Paired with The Other Side of the Wind, it’s a fantastic double feature.

Into the Inferno (2016)

IMDB Score 7.2/10

Werner Herzog’s Into the Inferno is far more than just an analytical take on the nature of volcanoes. He looks at the history, culture, and odd fascination that comes bubbling up around the most brutal force of lava the protrudes to the surface. While this seems par for the course of Herzog’s style, it’s still a unique take on the subject where you’ll never look at volcanoes the same way again.

The Rachel Divide (2018)

IMDB Score 6.2/10

You may have heard of the controversial figure of Rachel Dolezal, the activist who put on the appearance of being black when she was born white. This documentary takes personal and deeper look insight her mindset of taking the route of embracing a new race. The film also addresses the fallout from being found out and addresses how wronged the African American community feels for this robbing of culture.

The Bleeding Edge (2018)

IMDB Score 7.7/10

Healthcare is put under the spotlight in Kirby Dick’s revealing documentary on expensive medical devices. If you thought the biggest problem with medicine was the drugs, you’d be surprised at the shocking and infuriating stories that come from the use of certain medical devices. Patients and doctors reveal all, along with the bitter aftermath that comes from these device-made conditions.

Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond (2017)

IMDB Score 7.7/10

If Jim Carrey’s performance in Man on the Moon seemed too perfect for embodying the crazed spirit of comedian Andy Kaufman, it was even wilder behind the scenes. Jim & Andy delves into lost and previously unreleased footage from the making of Man on the Moon where Jim Carrey became far too engrossed in the role, to the point of starting fights on the set.

Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press (2017)

IMDB Score 6.5/10

When Gawker was sued for publishing the Hulk Hogan sex tape, a questioning of the free press was brought up. This documentary delves a little deeper into the subject and addresses the slippery slope of free press publishers being so easily sued. Sure, Gawker wasn’t exactly a paragon of journalistic integrity but if they can be taken down by a high-priced lawyer, anybody could be next.

13th (2016)

IMDB Score 8.2/10

Ava DuVernay has always had an insightful edge to her filmmaking of African American society, be it her smaller dramas or her more acclaimed take on Martin Luther King in Selma. In 13th, she takes aim at the current structure of incarceration of African Americans and the flawed history of its impacts on American society.

Seeing Allred (2018)

IMDB Score 6.7/10

Gloria Allred is well known as a women’s rights attorney and Seeing Allred follows her during her biggest cases against Bill Cosby and Donald Trump. This documentary covers her history of being determined and furious in defending the rights of women. Gloria is placed front and center to tell her story, delving into topics most personal.

November 13th: Attack on Paris (2018)

IMDB Score 8.3/10

On November 13th, 2015, Paris was under attack by terrorists. Filmmakers Jules and Gédéon Naudet take a closer look at the events of that day, interviewing survivors, the fire department, and French government figures. An important film worth watching for an event that shouldn’t be forgotten.

Quincy (2018)

IMDB Score 7.7/10

Anybody who truly loves music knows Quincy Jones, having won 27 Grammys and considered one of the most talented film and music producers. If you don’t know him, this is an essential documentary that goes into the life of Jones, his time growing up, and his amazing career.

Mercury 13 (2018)

IMDB Score 6.7/10

Nearly everyone knows about the American astronaut men that first went to the stars. But did you know women were training for the journey as well? Mercury 13 is the documentary that covers the women who trained for the 1961 space flight but were denied the chance to travel into space.

Lessons From A School Shooting: Notes from Dunblane (2018)

IMDB Score 5.8/10

The Sandy Hook Massacre was a horrible event of gun violence in school. After those tragic events, however, two priests separated by the ocean connect and share their stories of having dealt with the trauma. A short but inspiring documentary of learning from the worst experiences.

Ram Dass, Going Home (2017)

IMDB Score 7/10

Spiritualist Ram Dass reveals all about his life-changing experience in this documentary short that covers his legacy in the twilight of his life. After having a stroke, he starts to see the world in a different light and Dass tries to let some of that light into this graceful film. An inspirational figure, it’s eyeing the 2018 Academy Awards for Best Documentary Short Subject.

City of Joy (2016)

IMDB Score 7.6/10

City of Joy came about in 2011 to the Eastern Congo in response to violence against women in the region. This documentary covers how this community transformed the many women survivors that came to them, fostering a new sense of peace and power to speak up and be heard. And City of Joy is certainly worth a listen.

Icarus (2017)

IMDB Score 7.9/10

Doping in sporting events isn’t uncommon but filmmaker Bryan Fogel wanted to know more. Icarus dives deep into the subject as Bryan meets with a Russian scientist and discovers far more than a story about drugs. It’s an incredibly gripping and compelling film for exposing a scandal that transforms the topic from sports to geopolitics.

Evil Genius: The True Story of America’s most Diabolical Bank Heist (2018)

IMDB Score 7.6/10

This docuseries  investigates a mysterious series of crimes, starting with a pizza man who robs a bank with a bomb around his neck, which just gets weirder. This bizarre and grim story will stick in your mind as the reality appears to be much stranger than fiction. The four episodes unravel a complicated conspiracy, and some very strange motivations.

The True Cost (2015)

IMDB Score 6.4/10

Take a different look at your wardrobe with this documentary that looks at the true cost of low-cost fashion. This documentary by Andrew Morgan takes aim at fast fashion and the resulting low wages for workers in developing countries. It also looks at the environmental impacts on the areas near their factories. You will never shop the same again.

Take Your Pills (2018)

IMDB Score 6.4/10

If you could use drugs to give yourself a competitive edge, would you? This documentary film directed by Alison Klayman explores the positive and negative effects of Adderall, which are not a common study drug. Speaking to doctors, scientists, users and ex-users, it explores both the physical dangers and the ethics of the drug.

Fyre: The Greatest Party that Never Happened (2019)

IMDB Score 7.3/10

The Fyre Festival was billed to be a luxury festival on a posh private island, but it failed spectacularly thanks to cocky entrepreneur Billy McFarland. While it is intertaining to see the festival falling apart, at theheart of the documentary is a lesson on the dangers of wealth.

Wild Wild Country (2018)

IMDB Score 8.2/10

This Netflix documentary series looks at the controversial cult leader Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho), who built a utopian city in the Oregon desert. His presence led to conflicts with the locals escalated into a national scandal. The film makers manage to present the story with an open mind and never portray anyone as purely good or evil.

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