56 documentaries on Netflix you need to go watch right now

  • There are a lot of great documentaries on Netflix.
  • Highlights include "The Last Dance," "Tiger King," and several Oscar-winners.
  • Here are 56 must-see titles.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Whether they're series or movies, we can't get enough of non-fiction storytelling. And thankfully Netflix has a bevy of fantastic documentaries to keep us occupied and learning for days.

There are Oscar-winners such as "American Factory" and "Icarus," classics, including "Blackfish" and "I Am Not Your Negro," and addictive docuseries like "The Last Dance," "Wild Wild Country," and "Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness."

Here are 56 documentaries you should watch right now:

Note: Numerous Netflix titles drop off the service monthly, so the availability of titles below may change. 

"13th" (2016)

Nominated for an Oscar, Ava DuVernay delivers a powerful look inside the US prison system and how it's history is laced with racial inequality.

"A Kid From Coney Island" (2019)

Stephon Marbury was a once-in-a-generation basketball phenom, who made it to the NBA and became a huge star.

But he didn't find his full potential until he packed up and began playing basketball in China, where he's one of the most recognizable faces in the country.

This doc looks at Marbury's life and his remarkable second act.

"Amanda Knox" (2016)

This deep dive into the murder case surrounding Amanda Knox in the early 2000s and the media frenzy that accompanied it is something that's hard to stop watching. And it also features interviews with Knox looking back on the whole ordeal.

"American Factory" (2019)

Winner of this year's best doc Oscar, filmmakers Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert capture what takes place when a Chinese billionaire opens a closed down General Motors plant and hires thousands of Americans for his glass company. We watch as the workers try to fit in with a Chinese corporation.

"Athlete A" (2020)

This powerful doc gives an inside look at how Indianapolis Star reporters uncovered the chilling story of USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar abusing gymnasts.

"Audrie & Daisy" (2016)

This documentary delves into online bullying by focusing on high schoolers Audrie Pott and Daisy Coleman after they were sexually assaulted and then suffered cyberbullying.

"The Battered Bastards of Baseball" (2014)

If you miss watching baseball, this can help a little. Watch Bing Russell (father of movie star Kurt Russell) as he creates in 1973 the only independent baseball team at the time, the Portland Mavericks. This one is a lot of fun.

"Becoming" (2020)

While promoting her bestselling memoir "Becoming," former first lady Michelle Obama invited director Nadia Hallgren to tag along and go behind-the-scenes of the book tour, which saw Mrs. Obama being interviewed by Oprah Winfrey and Stephen Colbert.

"Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator" (2019)

This chilling documentary looks at the rise of Bikram Choudhury in the yoga world and the accusations of rape and sexual harassment that have followed him.

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

Bill Murray is one of the most unpredictable actors in Hollywood often showing up in any movie, but he's also that way in life. Many people over the decades have experienced that first hand.

This entertaining documentary shows how he's popped up everywhere from bachelor parties to a house party where he ended up playing tambourine with a band.

"Blackfish" (2013)

This heartbreaking documentary looks at killer whales in captivity and the awful effects it has on not just these beautiful creatures, but humans as well.

"Casting JonBenét" (2017)

Director Kitty Green delves into the unsolved murder of 6-year-old beauty queen JonBenét Ramsey by crafting this super-stylish doc that recounts what happens and also touches on the mythology that has grown.

"Catfish" (2010)

This documentary, which created the term "catfishing," wowed audiences when it premiered 10 years ago as it explored a growing trend on social media where people formed relationships with others online. But it turned out that many people weren't truthful about their lives — even using someone else's pictures instead of their own.

We follow Nev in the doc as he goes through this, trying to find the real identity of someone he's involved with.

The doc would later be turned into a MTV series, which is now in its eighth season.

"Chasing Coral" (2017)

Director Jeff Orlowski highlights the divers, scientists, and photographers, who are documenting the disappearance of coral reefs and how that would affect the world.

"Cheer" (2020)

This hugely addictive docuseries follows the training by the Navarro College Bulldogs Cheer Team as they prepare to compete in the National Cheerleading Championship.

"Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes" (2019)

A godfather of the true-crime genre, director Joe Berlinger ("Paradise Lost") examines serial killer Ted Bundy and features interviews the infamous Bundy did while on death row.

"Crip Camp" (2020)

Here we look at the unique Camp Jened, which in the 1970s was dedicated to teens with disabilities. This doc shows how those teens grew up to become activists for the disabilities rights movement.

"De Palma"

If you are a fan of movies such as "Scarface," "The Untouchables," the first "Mission: Impossible" movie, and "Carrie," you have to check out this documentary about the man behind all these films, Brian De Palma.

"Dick Johnson Is Dead" (2020)

Director Kirsten Johnson's father, Richard (who goes by "Dick"), is suffering from dementia. So she decides to create a movie that will prepare him for the end of his life.

The younger Johnson does that by having him enact different ways he could die, often in a very humorous way.

The documentary is a unique and very touching look at a daughter saying goodbye to her father.

"Dirty Money" (2018-2019)

Now in its second season, each episode explores corporate corruption. Stories range from Donald Trump to "pharma bro" Martin Shkreli to the fraudulent practices at Wells Fargo.

"Disclosure" (2020)

Director Sam Feder takes a deep dive into how Hollywood has depicted transgender people and how it's shaped American culture and policy.

"The Edge of Democracy" (2019)

Nominated for an Oscar this year, director Petra Costa examines the complex Brazilian political system.

"Elena" (2012)

Before "Edge of Democracy," Costa made this moving documentary that celebrates the life and talent of her older sister and aspiring actress, Elena.

"The Force" (2017)

A movie that is extremely timely to watch in these times, director Peter Nicks looks at the Oakland Police Department's efforts over two years to implement reforms against police misconduct.

"Fyre" (2019)

A remarkable behind-the-scenes look at the rise and fall of the greatest festival that never was: Fyre.

"Gaga: Five Foot Two" (2017)

Here we follow Gaga as she works on her album, "Joanne," and prepares for her Super Bowl LI halftime performance. And there's also the moment where she receives balloons from Bradley Cooper for a little movie they did together, "A Star Is Born."

"Get Me Roger Stone" (2017)

It's interesting to watch this one now. This doc delves into the colorful life and career of Roger Stone. In November he was sentenced to 40 months in prison for witness tampering and other charges.

"The Great Hack" (2019)

From the directors of the Oscar-nominated "The Square," Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim look at the dark side of tech.

The doc examines the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal. In speaking with several people involved, we get an inside look at the companies that impacted our global society — from Brexit to the 2016 US presidential elections.

"Homecoming" (2019)

If you are looking for a good time and good music, check out this in-depth look at Beyoncé's 2018 Coachella performance. The documentary shows the singer's eight month preparation to perform on one of the desert's biggest stages, becoming the first Black woman to headline the music festival.

"I Am Not Your Negro" (2016)

This powerful doc takes James Baldwin's unfinished novel, "Remember This House," and uses it as the foundation to examine racism in America.

"Icarus" (2017)

In this Oscar-winner, we follow director Bryan Fogel as he uncovers illegal doping in sports thanks to the whistleblowing done by the head of Russia's state-sponsored Olympic doping program.

"Into the Inferno" (2016)

Werner Herzog presents a fascinating and beautifully shot doc about active volcanoes around the world and the people who live near them.

"Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond" (2017)

Years after he made the Andy Kaufman biopic, "Man on the Moon," Jim Carrey uncovers the hours of footage shot of him being in character throughout the making of the movie. And we are so happy he did because it's wild.

"Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez" (2020)

This three-part doc looks at the man behind the madness that was Aaron Hernandez. While at the height of his career as an NFL player, he was linked to three murders. Thanks to never-before-heard jailhouse calls by Hernandez, we are given a side of Hernandez we never knew.

"Knock Down The House" (2019)

Spotlighting the political campaigns of several women during the 2018 congressional election, the big draw is having a front seat for the rise of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

"LA 92" (2017)

With the use of powerful archival footage, we are given a front seat to the 1992 Los Angeles riots and the events that led to the uprising.

"Last Chance U" (2016-2020)

Now four seasons deep, this series delves into the football programs at junior college, in which people are truly doing it for the love of the game.

"The Last Dance" (2020)

The Chicago Bulls dynasty in the 1990s is put on full display here with this amazing look at what led to the NBA team three-peating as champions not just once in the decade, but twice.

The docuseries also gives the deepest dive into Michael Jordan that's ever been attempted. Dennis Rodman, Scottie Pippen and Jordan's infamous rival Isiah Thomas also share more of their stories.

"Making a Murderer" (2015, 2019)

In two seasons, we have delved into the complex cases of Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey for the murder of Teresa Halbach. Both men now say they're innocent and victims of a corrupt system.

"Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado" (2020)

Astrologer Walter Mercado was basically family for many in the Latino community for decades. This documentary celebrates his incredible life.

"Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press" (2017)

The trial between Hulk Hogan and Gawker turned out to be a landmark case when it comes to freedom of the press. This movie follows the ins-and-outs of the case while also giving other examples of why the media is under fire.

"One of Us" (2017)

This powerful doc by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady looks at New York's insular Hasidic community and three people who did the unspeakable: walk away from it.

'Rize" (2005)

Here we take a look at the unique dance movements born out of South Central Los Angeles, known as clowning and krumping.

Photographer David LaChapelle beautifully profiles the dance forms and the people behind the amazing movements.

"Screwball" (2018)

Taking the bizarre true story of Major League Baseball's doping scandal and giving it a little twist, director Billy Corben tells the story by casting kids to reenact the events.

"Seeing Allred" (2018)

A powerful look at Gloria Allred's life from a housewife to one of the most feared women's rights attorneys.

"Senna" (2010)

Using archival footage, we follow the rise and sudden death of Brazilian Formula One racer Ayrton Senna.

"The Social Dilemma" (2020)

Ever wonder why you spend every waking moment on your phone? In talking to the very people who created social media and other forms of technology, this documentary uncovers all the tricks the tech world utilizes to keep you addicted to your devices and why it's damaging discourse offline.

"Sour Grapes" (2016)

A fascinating look at the wine auction world and a counterfeiter who — thanks to deep connections with the rich and powerful — sold millions of dollars of fraudulent wine at top auction houses.

"Strong Island" (2017)

Yance Ford's emotionally-charged Oscar-nominated film investigates the 1992 murder of his brother, William.

"Surviving R. Kelly" (2019)

This six-part series is a chilling investigation into the allegations of abuse against R. Kelly that were brought forward by multiple women.

"The Square" (2013)

Here we sit front and center during the historic Egyptian Revolution of 2011.

"Taylor Swift: Miss Americana" (2020)

Here the veil of celebrity and superstardom is pulled back (we think) to examine the real Taylor Swift (maybe).

"They'll Love Me When I'm Dead" (2018)

Regardless of if you have or haven't watched Orson Welles' final movie, "The Other Side of the Wind" (which Netflix bankrolled to finally get completed), you will find this doc on the autumn years of the legend very interesting.

"Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness" (2020)

What can really be said about this seven-part doc? You have to see it to believe it.

"What Happened Miss Simone?" (2015)

Liz Garbus' Oscar-nominated doc on singer and civil rights activist Nina Simone is a powerful work about an inspiring woman.

"Wild Wild Country" (2018)

Before "Tiger King," this docuseries was the must-binge. It follows what went down when a controversial guru and his disciples flocked to a quiet country in Oregon.

Generation Z from Business Insider Intelligence
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