There are different film genres to suit almost all kinds of preferences, but there is something unique about documentary films. The focus on storytelling devoid of fiction is something that surely builds a special bond to every documentary. With Netflix’s array of content, it is impossible not to find something that would interest you no matter your taste. So if you are on a film binge and documentaries are your thing, this list of 15 Mind-Blowing Documentaries on Netflix will keep you glued to your device.
15 Mind-Blowing Documentaries On Netflix You Can Watch Right Now
1. Biggie & Tupac
The story behind the death of Rap legend Tupac “2Pac” Shakur remains perhaps the most talked about and mysterious in the history of modern music. The fact this documentary also attempts to shed light on the murder of the man alleged to be guilty of Tupac’s death makes it all the more intriguing.
Directed and narrated by Nick Broomfield, Biggie & Tupac is one of many riveting documentaries on Netflix. It brings to light the fast and furious life of these rap superstars, the corruption and collusion of some sections of the LAPD and most importantly an account of their demise.
Though critics say Broomfield’s methods may not conform to conventional investigative journalism standards, the suspense and thrill are not in question.
Broomfield’s theory points fingers at Suge Knight, head of Death Row Records as the mastermind behind the murder of the two men. If you are a rap enthusiast interested in the story of the murder of Tupac and Biggy, then this is your plug.
2. Holy Hell
The documentary film Director Will Allen taps into his multidecade experience as a member of the Buddhafield cult. His role as the cult’s official videographer meant that the footage seen in the documentary is actually content directly traceable to the cult.
At the center of attention is the cult’s leader, often called The Teacher and sometimes referred to as Andreas, Michel, and Jaime Gomez. His near spell-like hold on the members is a fascinating spectacle by all standards.
3. Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé
Beyoncé needs no introduction. Pretty much everything she puts her name on turns to gold, and this is no exception. Homecoming is written, produced and directed by Beyonce and takes her fans by the hand into behind the scenes footage of her rehearsals and performance at the 2018 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. This is also one of the most-watched documentaries on Netflix
The trailer hit 16.6 million views across all Netflix channels in the first 24 hours of release. The documentary has been described as a visually stunning spectacle laced with the raw emotions that came within the eight-month period leading up to ‘Beychella’.
4. Behind the Curve
Most people will agree that the world is spherical; but how about someone telling you it is not and then back up that assertion with some evidence of their own? That’s exactly what Behind the Curve is all about.
The filmmaker, Daniel J. Clark, interviews some notable and knowledgeable astrophysicists from the University of California in a bid to convince the audience of this theory. Ideally, you’d assume this would be one boring ride with a bunch of nerds trying to outdo themselves but it really does make for a good watch. After a slow start, it takes a few interesting twists, and by the end, even the staunchest proponents of the spherical earth would contemplate a rethink.
5. The Vietnam War
You know a documentary is a real deal when it cost about $30 million to produce and took more than a decade to make, it might well pass for one of the most expensive documentaries on Netflix. This documentary is recommended viewing for every American. It does an awesome job of showing just how much sacrifice and commitment many individuals have put into the American project.
The documentary chronicled interviews with 80 witnesses who were involved in the war including a handful of Vietnamese soldiers who fought on the two sides. Director Ken Burns does a terrific job of tracing the War to issues dating back to 1858 and lacing the project with emotional and relatable interviews with regular Americans whose lives would be forever altered by the War.
6. Strong Island
Directed by Yance Ford, Strong Island is a story that evokes a lot of emotion. Yance tells the story behind the murder of his brother, a 24-year-old African-American teacher by Mark P. Reilly, a 19-year-old white mechanic.
The more damning side of the story is the failure of the all-white jury to find the Mark P. Reilley guilty. It relives the impact of the loss of William on the family and the cold-blooded lack of concern from those supposed to dispense justice.
Centered around the life of the talented singer Amy Winehouse, this sad tale takes a look into the soul of the singer who at most points in her life cut a very sad, withdrawn and moody persona. Directed by Asif Kapadia and released in May 2015, Amy brought to life archived videos, pictures and even tracks that were never released.
Kapadia’s tactic was to subtlety mirror her personal life, the side of her rarely seen by the world and the struggles with addiction which would finally lead to the death of one of Britain’s most talented soul singers. Produced by James Gay-Rees, George Pank, and Paul Bell, Amy raked in $23.7 million at the Box office.
Curious to know more about slavery? Then this is one of the documentaries on Netflix you should check out. No matter how you want to talk about it, slavery remains a pretty sensitive topic in the States, so for a filmmaker to delve into this subject in the manner Ava DuVernay, the director, did, her courage needs to be applauded. It was released as a documentary on Netflix on October 7, 2016.
This documentary focuses on the 13th amendment and the rising incarceration rates among minority groups especially blacks. DuVernay argues with some interesting facts and historical evidence that slavery was not really abolished, just modified and optimized for the changing times. A very bold assertion. Not everyone might agree with her, but she reveals some damning statistics and evidence to buttress the systematic oppression seemingly built into the American fabric. It is undeniably thought-provoking and riveting.
9. The Civil War
Another classic from the filmmaker Ken Burns makes this list. The Civil War remains one of PBS’s most-watched programs of all time. That, in itself, speaks volumes about the quality of this masterpiece.
Just in case you aren’t American but the subject of the civil war fascinates you, then this would be ideal for you. Burns runs through the origins of the conflict between the South and the North in a way that keeps viewers glued to their TV.
10. The Nightmare
This is partly a thriller and partly a documentary. In many ways, this isn’t your regular documentary and might be very disturbing to watch. It explores a not so popular topic – Sleep Paralysis. One of the major reasons the documentary director, Rodney Ascher, chose this topic was that he himself had been a victim in the past and sought to shed more light on a terrifying phenomenon that not many people understand or even know how to handle.
In the course of the documentary, eight persons who suffer sleep paralysis are interviewed and all their experiences are enacted in the most vivid fashion possible. For the sheer fun of learning new information and identifying with a struggle many are not aware of, this is surely worth it.
11. Amanda Knox
Not very many people have been arrested, convicted, imprisoned only to be later exonerated. This documentary on Netflix takes you on a journey through the roller coaster of emotions that were experienced by Amanda Knox after her roommate was murdered in cold blood.
Directed by Rod Blackhurst and Brian McGinn, Amanda Knox brings to light a chilling true-life story in the most intriguing way possible.
12. Oklahoma City
Whenever anyone talks about the most devastating terror attack on US soil, the event that springs to mind are the 9/11 attacks. Very few remember the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, which left 168 people dead and another 680 persons injured.
This compelling story is centered on the life of the mastermind of the attack -Timothy McVeigh. It takes a broad look at the events that shaped the man, the origins of the alt-right ideological leanings that shaped him, the plot and execution of the attack.
13. Audrie & Daisy
Directed by Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk, this heartbreaking documentary on Netflix is about the life of two teenagers, Audrie Pott and Daisy Coleman, who were victims of sexual assault. It delves into the world of the victims and their battles with cyber bullies who hide behind social media handle to turn the victim into the villain.
The events in this emotional documentary will leave you at times disappointed by the inhumanity of humans and the inability of the agencies of State to protect vulnerable victims.
What if you were told that the last hotel you lodged in was spying on you with the help of some sophisticated surveillance equipment. That is a frightening thought. Voyeur is a compelling documentary directed by Myles Kane and Josh Koury telling the story of Gerald Foos, the owner of Manor House Motel.
Foos redesigned his motel and spied on guests through the ceiling vents. The story takes a dramatic twist when he claims to have witnessed a murder.
15. Abducted In Plain Sight
If you are a fan of crime thrillers and investigative series, then Abducted In Plain Sight is one of the many chilling documentaries on Netflix to watch. Produced and Directed by the outstanding Skye Borgman, this true-crime documentary is all shades of captivating. It tells the story of a sociopath, Robert Berchtold, who was obsessed with Jan Broberg, the 12-year-old child of his neighbor.
Everything about Robert is disturbingly weird and manipulative. He schemes himself into kidnapping the young Jan twice employing some manipulative and predatory skills that truly leaves the viewer in shock. His obsession with Jan wrecks the Broberg family and reveals the inadequacies of the justice system to protect young children from predators. The fact this tale is a replication of a true-life story makes it all the more compelling.