13 Best Documentaries to Watch on Netflix (Photos)

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Documentaries and chill?

If you’re getting a bit tired of endlessly scrolling through Netflix movies, try these films on for size.

Added plus: You might even accidentally learn something.

The 13th

Ava DuVernay’s latest documentary, “The 13th” sheds light on the prison industrial system and its relation to historical inequality in the United States. It’s titled after the 13th amendment which abolished slavery.


We can pretty much credit the downfall of Sea World to  Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s “Blackfish” which tells the story of Tilikum, a killer whale in captivity at the theme park that killed its trainer 2010. The film discusses the dangers to humans and the orcas who are held in captivity.

“The Imposter”

This British-American documentary is about a French imposter, Frédéric Bourdin, who pretended to be Nicholas Barclay — a young boy from Texas who went missing.

“Room 237”

If you’ve ever wondered what mysteries lied behind Room 237 in Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining,” this is the film for you.

Each segment of the film, focuses on a specific element in “The Shining” and offers different interpretations.

“The Black Power Mixtape”

This 2011 documentary showcases the evolution of the Black Power Movement by using footage shot by Swedish journalists that was found 30 years later. It covers the time period between 1967 to 1975 and includes interviews from Angela Davis, Huey P. Newton and Eldridge Cleaver amongst other people central to the movement.

“What Happened, Miss Simone?”

Academy Award nominated “What Happened, Miss Simone” features unreleased footage and interviews with the singer’s friends and families to tell the biographical story of the activist and musical legend.

The film was also executively produced by Nina Simone’s daughter, Lisa Simone Kelly.

“Into the Abyss”

Werner Herzog’s “Into the Abyss” focuses on capital punishment in Texas by profiling Michael Perry, a convicted killer on Death Row for the murder of a 50-year-old nurse amongst other crimes.

Some of his interviews were filmed only eight days prior to his execution.

The documentary neither focuses on Perry’s innocence nor his guilt.


This one is for all the animal lovers out there. “Virunga” focuses on four park rangers who risk their lives to protect critically endangered mountain gorillas from poachers in Congo’s Virunga National Park.

“Biggie & Tupac”

If you’ve ever been curious of the mysteries surrounding the deaths of two of rap’s most prominent artists, watch “Biggie & Tupac.”

While the documentary doesn’t give a clear answer of who killed Biggie or Tupac, the director suggests that Suge Knight was responsible for the latter’s murder.

“The Invisible War”

While the military is known for fighting our wars overseas, there’s one silent battle within the armed forces that no one seems to be talking about — sexual assault.

Kirby Dick’s “The Invisible War” features interviews with veterans who share their experiences of sexual assault in the U.S. military.

“Super Size Me”

This documentary can pretty much be credited for pushing McDonald’s to alter their menu to include more healthy items and getting rid of their super size option.

Morgan Spurlock takes on a 30 day challenge — he eats at least three meals a day for 30 days from McDonald’s. The film documents the changes that occur in his physical appearance as well as his health.

“20 Feet From Stardom”

Most of see back-up singers all the time providing support to the main act, but rarely do we recognize their talent.

This documentary follows back up singers like Judith Hill, Darlene Love and Merry Clayton and sheds light on their lives through behind-the-scenes footage.

“Hot Girls Wanted”

This film features interviews from several young porn actresses as they discuss their experiences in the industry.

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