Watch and Learn: The 10 Best Netflix Documentaries Ever


Watch and Learn: The 10 Best Netflix Documentaries Ever

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It may come across as a cliché, but knowledge really is power. Today there is no limit to what you can learn about the world and what goes on around us, thanks to the latest offerings in the realm of documentary media.

It would take years of non-stop viewing to digest all of what’s available. We created this list of some of the best Netflix documentaries that are currently streaming to help you decide where to start. Gear up, knowledge-cravers, and let’s dive in.

To see the best documentaries that have been recently released just click here. 

About the Best Netflix Documentaries

Netflix has a reputation for pushing the limits of what traditional media can do. This is thanks to its decidedly untraditional distribution mechanism. Luckily for us, this attitude has migrated over into its documentary department.

The best Netflix documentaries offer unique stories, fresh perspectives, and topics you may not see explored elsewhere.

1. What Is Unique About the Best Netflix Documentaries?

According to Lisa Nishimura, the VP of Original Documentary and Comedy Programming at Netflix, 75 percent of their user base has watched a documentary in the last 12 months. That means in order for Netflix to keep its subscribers satisfied, they must deliver high-quality content that continually fascinates audiences.

Because 79 percent of millennials use Netflix, there are more stories tailored to what’s current, meaningful, and speaks to the topics this demographic is passionate about.

2. What Is the Goal of Netflix Documentaries?

According to Nishimura, the stated proposition of Netflix’s Documentaries is to bring joy to a global audience. The VP asked, “What kind of creative environment can we support here at Netflix that brings the greatest storytellers to come and do their greatest work?” Their latest documentaries show that they’ve got this down.

Thanks to the functionality of Netflix’s platform, the documentaries presented on your menu will be personalized to your unique preferences.

3. Why Do Documentaries Matter?

Documentaries often explore unexamined elements or overlooked parts of the globe and the human experience. Learning more about issues that matter helps to show people what they can do and how they can support causes that matter.

The best documentaries have the potential to foster understanding where it may not have been present before.

4. What Do the Best Netflix Documentaries Have in Common?

You’ll see the best Netflix documentaries at film festivals and find their creators in interviews with some of the most influential minds in America. They’ll guide you to a deeper awareness of a topic while helping you to make an emotional connection with the material.

5. What Topics Do the Documentaries We Reviewed Cover?

The topics you’ll find below cover everything from the ethical quandaries associated with doping in the Olympic Games to how one pop superstar creates her music, to the reconnection of two twins who were separated at birth. The stories vary greatly, but that’s the beauty of Netflix: there’s something for everyone.

How We Reviewed

We chose to review documentaries that are high in caliber both critically and in the topics they explore. These stories go beyond the superficial and delve beneath the surface of what was reported in the headlines. The documentaries we selected have a focus on comedy, music, emerging tech, and true crime, which are currently very popular with viewers.

What We Reviewed

  • Abducted in Plain Sight
  • Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé
  • Making a Murderer
  • Icarus
  • Twinsters
  • Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened
  • Wild Wild Country
  • Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond
  • Amy
  • Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World

Abducted in Plain Sight

Overview

Your jaw will drop once you begin watching this shocking documentary, and it will stay there until the very end. In Abducted in Plain Sight, a small, church-centered community in Idaho has one of their youngest abducted by a close friend of the child’s family. This documentary explores how one of the most bizarre cases of child exploitation in history unfolded.

Watch It Here

https://www.netflix.com/title/81000864

Rating

We gave this documentary four out of five stars for its compelling treatment of this unbelievable subject matter.

Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé

Overview

This documentary offers an in-depth look at Beyoncé’s 2018 performance at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. From inception to the day she takes the stage, you’ll get to know more about the process, promotion, and hard work it takes to make groundbreaking music and memorable live performance experiences.

Where to watch

https://www.netflix.com/title/81013626

Rating

We gave this vibrant, exciting documentary four out of five stars.

Making a Murderer

Overview

This is a true crime documentary series about a man who was wrongfully convicted of sexual assault and murder. It follows his exoneration and subsequent rearrest for a different murder, including his own claims that the second case was a setup. His family gets involved, and his nephew eventually ends up being convicted as an accessory to the second murder. How did the legal system handle this? You’ll have to watch to find out.

Watch It Here

https://www.netflix.com/title/80000770

Rating

We gave this documentary four out of five stars. You won’t believe the ending!

Icarus

Overview

This documentary dives deeply into Russia’s government-sponsored doping program and how it was discovered via a simple conversation with a Russian scientist. It’s an incredible case of how the intent of a documentary changes mid-production based on the discovery of new evidence and a fluid unfolding of events.

Watch It Here

https://www.netflix.com/title/80168079

Rating

We gave this documentary four out of five stars. Sports fans won’t want to miss it.

Twinsters

Overview

When a French fashion design student discovers that there’s another ‘her’ on Youtube, she decides to get to the bottom of it. It turns out, she’s actually a twin who was separated at birth. How did this all happen? Watch to find out, and make sure you have tissues on-hand because this is the feel-good, tear-jerker of the year.

Watch It Here

https://www.netflix.com/title/80047635

Rating

We gave Twinsters five out of five well-deserved stars.

Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened

Overview

This is probably the most tragically comedic of the best Netflix documentaries we’ve looked at so far. It follows the creator of the misbegotten Fyre Festival and takes a look at how fraudulently minded people operate. This documentary gives a glimpse into the lives the festival ruined and gets into the psychosis of the man behind it all.

Watch It Here

https://www.netflix.com/title/81035279

Rating

We gave this documentary four out of five stars. Once you’ve seen it, you’ll want to skip the next big island party.

Wild Wild Country

Overview

The Duplass brothers produced this documentary series, and it chronicles a controversial community run by a spiritual guru that was formed in the first half of the 1980s. It ultimately leads to extreme measures taken by the local population. The way the events unfolded after that is shocking, making this a must-see.

Watch It Here

https://www.netflix.com/title/80145240

Rating

We gave this fascinating documentary a perfect five out of five stars rating.

Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond

Overview

For lovers of comedy, this is a must-watch. It follows Jim Carrey’s portrayal of Andy Kaufman during the 1999 film Man on the Moon interspersed with selected interviews with Jim Carrey today.

Watch It Here

https://www.netflix.com/title/80209608

Rating

We gave Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond four out of five stars.

Amy

Overview

In this remarkably moving documentary about Amy Winehouse, the singer’s day-to-day struggles and nightly victories on stage and in the recording studio are covered. Amy allows viewers to take an intimate look into what can happen to people under a slew of conflicting negative circumstances and how they can use music as an outlet for it all. This is probably the most tear-jerking of our list of best Netflix documentaries.

Where to Watch

https://www.netflix.com/title/80049094

Rating

How could we give Amy anything less than five out of five stars?

Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World

Overview

For the existentialists among us, and for those who are jaded by the power of the internet, this compelling documentary explains some of the unintended (though perhaps to be expected) consequences of living in the hyper-connected digital age. The focus here is on how it happened and what’s next.

Watch It Here

https://www.netflix.com/title/80097363

Rating

This documentary deserved the perfect five out of five-star rating we gave it.

The Verdict

After careful consideration and another look at the films we listed, we’ve concluded that the winner is a toss-up between Wild Wild Country and Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World. They top our list of the best Netflix documentaries.

Both explore human behavior in conflict with itself while examining what can happen when a well-intentioned invention or community becomes a Frankenstein’s Monster of unintended consequences. Be sure to check them out!

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