Top Documentaries to Watch on Netflix

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 With a vast library of documentaries across it's platforms, here is acurated list of top documentaries available on Netflix that promise to inform, entertain, and perhaps make you laugh (or cry).

Social and Cultural Documentaries

Netflix offers an array of documentaries that explore social and cultural issues, shedding light on various aspects of human life and society. Here are some must-watch titles:

  • 13th - Directed by Ava DuVernay, this documentary delves into the history of racial inequality in the United States, particularly focusing on the nation's prisons. The film's title refers to the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery except as punishment for a crime.
  • The Social Dilemma - This documentary-drama hybrid explores the dangerous impact of social networking, with tech experts sounding the alarm on their own creations. It provides a chilling insight into how social media manipulates users and affects mental health.
  • American Factory - Produced by Barack and Michelle Obama's production company, Higher Ground, this documentary examines the culture clash when a Chinese billionaire reopens a factory in post-industrial Ohio. It highlights the challenges and opportunities in globalized labor markets.

Environmental Documentaries

Environmental issues are more pressing than ever, and Netflix offers several documentaries that address these critical topics:

  • Our Planet - Narrated by Sir David Attenborough, this series showcases the planet's natural beauty while highlighting the urgent need to address climate change. It combines stunning visuals with a powerful message about conservation.
  • Chasing Coral - This documentary follows a team of divers, photographers, and scientists as they document the unprecedented rate of coral bleaching around the world. It's both visually stunning and emotionally moving.
  • Kiss the Ground - Narrated by Woody Harrelson, this film explores regenerative agriculture as a solution to climate change. It presents compelling evidence that farming practices can restore soil health and combat global warming.

Historical Documentaries

If you're interested in history, Netflix has you covered with these insightful documentaries:

  • The Vietnam War - Directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, this comprehensive series covers the Vietnam War from multiple perspectives. It includes interviews with nearly 80 witnesses, including Americans who fought in the war and Vietnamese combatants and civilians.
  • The Great Hack - This documentary examines the Cambridge Analytica scandal and how data was used to influence political elections around the world. It's a gripping look at privacy, data exploitation, and democracy in the digital age.
  • Bobby Kennedy for President - This four-part series chronicles the political career of Robert F. Kennedy. It features rare archival footage and new interviews with those who knew him best.

Science and Technology Documentaries

For those fascinated by science and technology, Netflix offers several documentaries that explore groundbreaking advancements and their implications:

  • The Mind Explained - Narrated by Emma Stone, this series dives into various aspects of the human mind, including memory, dreams, anxiety, mindfulness, and psychedelics. Each episode is packed with fascinating insights backed by scientific research.
  • Coded Bias - This documentary explores biases in artificial intelligence systems. It follows MIT Media Lab researcher Joy Buolamwini as she discovers that facial recognition software misidentifies women and people of color at higher rates than white men.
  • Astronomy Club: The Sketch Show - While not a traditional documentary, this sketch comedy series offers a humorous take on science fiction tropes. It's created by Astronomy Club, an all-Black improv group from New York City.

Lifestyle Documentaries

If you're looking for inspiration or personal growth stories, these lifestyle documentaries on Netflix are worth watching:

  • Tidying Up with Marie Kondo - Follow organizing consultant Marie Kondo as she helps clients declutter their homes using her KonMari method. The series offers practical tips for organizing your space while also providing emotional insights into why we hold onto things.
  • The Minimalists: Less Is Now - This documentary features Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus as they advocate for minimalism as a way to live more meaningfully with less stuff. It encourages viewers to reconsider their consumption habits.
  • Jiro Dreams of Sushi - This film profiles Jiro Ono, an 85-year-old sushi master considered one of the world's greatest chefs. It's a beautiful exploration of dedication to one's craft and the pursuit of perfection.

 Top Documentaries

Category Documentary Title Description Key Themes
Social & Cultural 13th An exploration of racial inequality in U.S. prisons directed by Ava DuVernay. Racism, Justice System
Environmental Our Planet A visually stunning series narrated by Sir David Attenborough about climate change. Conservation, Climate Change
Historical The Vietnam War A comprehensive look at the Vietnam War through multiple perspectives. War History, Personal Stories
Science & Technology The Mind Explained A dive into various aspects of the human mind narrated by Emma Stone. Mental Health, Neuroscience

A Diverse Collection for Every Interest

No matter what your interests are—social issues, environmental challenges, history lessons or scientific wonders—Netflix’s documentary collection has something for you. These docos not only entertain but also educate viewers on important topics impacting our world today.