Audiences have always loved true stories, but that appetite has only grown with the rise of streaming. Netflix, in particular, is home to some of the most groundbreaking documentaries from recent years.
If you’re looking for gripping true crime documentaries, you’ll find plenty on Netflix. Maybe you’d prefer to witness some of the most amazing feats of nature? Netflix has that too.
Here are our picks for some of the best documentaries and docuseries you can binge on Netflix.
The best Netflix documentaries
What’s the best documentary on Netflix at the moment?
The top titles on Netflix change like the tide but one documentary that has really captured everyone’s attention on Netflix is I Just Killed My Dad.
The true crime doco series looks into Anthony Templet’s murder of his own father and the typical questions such as why did he do it, why did he never deny it and is he really a cold-blooded killer? The answers may surprise you.
Other must-see Netflix documentaries and docuseries
Pamela, a Love Story
One of the newer documentaries on Netflix is Pamela, a Love Story. The film documents Anderson’s journey through life as an actress, sex symbol, mother and activist – on her terms. The doco comes shortly after the release of the Hulu series Pam and Tommy, which Anderson said left her ‘feeling sick’.
Harry & Meghan
Continuing on with the celebrity-focused documentaries, the Harry & Meghan documentary series is a particularly popular title on Netflix right now. The series chronicles the development of Harry and Meghan’s relationship as well as their challenges living within the royal family.
The Tinder Swindler
The scariness of The Tinder Swindler may come in just how relatable it is. Most of the world has been on a dating app, if not Tinder, at least once in their life, but this Netflix documentary shows just how far one catfish can go.
After swindling multiple women out of their hard-earned money on Tinder, the group work together to get back at the mysterious man who stole from them.
This eye-opening documentary from Ava DuVernay (Selma) explores the history of racial inequality in the United States, particularly in the country’s prison system.
It’s a thought-provoking story that should have every country taking a hard look at its justice system.
Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution
Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution earned high praise thanks to its inspiring story of a summer camp that helps a group of teenagers with disabilities forge a path towards equality.
Trainwreck: Woodstock ’99
Trainwreck: Woodstock ’99 certainly lives up to its name as it depicts the chaos and mayhem that occurred at the 1999 edition of the Woodstock music festival. The fun vibes of the original 1969 version are replaced with riots, anger and danger, but why did it all go wrong? Watch and find out.
Making a Murderer
Making a Murderer tells just one of many tales of wrongful imprisonment. The filmmakers spent over a decade following the trial of Steven Avery, who was accused of the murder of Teresa Halbach and subsequently spent years in prison for the crime despite his claims of innocence.
Season two of Making a Murderer was released in 2018, exploring the trial of Brendan Dassey, who was convicted of assisting Avery with the murder. Prepare to be annoyed with law and order, because this series will have you shaking your head.
My Octopus Teacher
You won’t find a more inspiring or heartwarming tale of friendship between a human and nature than in My Octopus Teacher.
Diver and filmmaker, Craig Foster, spends years visiting an octopus in the kelp forest of South Africa until they have formed an inseparable bond. You’ll shed a tear at this Oscar-winning tale about the mysteries and wonders of the common octopus.
Remember that time Hulu and Netflix released competing documentaries about the same botched music festival in the same week? Well, FYRE: The Greatest Pary That Never Happened is one of those.
The Fyre Festival made headlines as a luxury music festival that failed spectacularly on every single front thanks to fraudulent marketing and promises from its founders. Fyre will probably stress you out, but it’s a trainwreck you can’t look away from.
The Social Dilemma
Ever wondered why we’re all so addicted to social media? The Social Dilemma answers this question and more as it explores the dangerous impacts social media can have on humans.
Employees from tech giants including Facebook, Google and Twitter reflect on their time working in social media and how they fear what they helped create. So, put down your phone and give it a watch.
Icarus dives into one of the biggest scandals in sports history.
Cyclist Bryan Fogel wants to find out the truth about doping in sports but ends up getting much more than he bargained for when he meets a Russian scientist and uncovers a huge international scandal.
It’s no secret that the film and TV industries have been slow to include LGBTQIA+ representation. Disclosure takes an in-depth look at Hollywood’s depiction of transgender people and gives heartfelt perspectives on the impact these stories can have.
The Night Stalker: The Hunt For A Serial Killer
True crime fans, this one is for you. The Night Stalker pairs a young detective, Gil Carrillo, with a legendary homicide investigator, Frank Salerno, as they track down the nocturnal serial killer responsible for a series of murders and assaults in Los Angeles in 1985.
Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness was definitely one of those shows that gained popularity thanks to its timely release occurring while we were all stuck in lockdown. It was a wild story then and remains a wild story now.
Tiger King takes a look at the crazy life of big cat breeding in the United States and how the rivalry between two park owners landed one of them in prison.
How do I find more docos on Netflix?
If you’re looking for more great documentaries to watch on Netflix there’s actually an easy way to search for them.
When you enter the Netflix interface either on your desktop or via the app all you need to do is select the ‘categories’ drop-down menu and find documentaries, which will gather all of Netflix’s docos into one place for you.
You can also simply search the word documentaries in Netflix’s search bar and you’ll be presented with a bunch of top choices.
You’re bound to learn something new thanks to a documentary and these movies and series are just the start of what Netflix has on offer.
If all you crime fans out there are looking for some more options check out our list of Netflix’s best thrillers, too.
This article has been updated since its original publish date.
The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans
Here are the cheapest plans available for Australia’s most popular NBN speed tier.