Last Updated: August 23rd
The element that most viewers tend to gravitate toward when it comes to documentaries is the essence of real life that one gleans from the assemblages of historical footage, photographs, talking heads, pre-recorded audio, and sequences of physical excursion or simple quotidian tasks. There’s an undeniable feeling of authenticity even when you’re watching something clearly biased, such as a Michael Moore joint. Even in cases where the film’s overall focus is narrowed to fit a pre-conceived narrative, there’s an unmistakable feeling of intimacy, of being let into a filmmaker’s brain for a quick flash. In using snippets of the real world, in a variety of forms, great documentaries use images of universal, familiar existence to impart something tremendously personal, even intimate. And with the recent explosion of the “docuseries” format, we have the ability to go deeper into a story than ever before.
Netflix has a bountiful of great documentaries that cover a diverse range of subjects, from true crime to sports to even filmmaking. Below, we’ve assembled a list of what we believe are the best documentaries currently on Netflix.