The weekend is here, and the time has come. We all want to relax with our family, grab the popcorn, turn on the TV and stream something. But what do you want to stream this weekend? Maybe this week, you want to try making it meaningful. In that case, you should check out the collection of documentaries on Netflix.
This is easier said than done because you won’t know which Netflix documentaries are best to watch. What’s popular might not suit you, but we have your back. Even though we are sticking to Netflix, we found some juicy gems from the lot, which helped us sort the best documentaries to watch. Dive in because you’re sure to find something you like here.
Arnold is a three-part docuseries that paints an in-depth portrait of the life of Arnold Schwarzenegger, a man who has worn many hats - from bodybuilder to actor to politician. The series is a fascinating exploration of Schwarzenegger's life, breaking it down into three distinct chapters that each highlight a different facet of his persona. It's a captivating watch, filled with insights from Schwarzenegger himself, as well as commentary from notable figures such as James Cameron and Sylvester Stallone.
The documentary is not just a biography, but a celebration of a life well-lived. It offers a unique perspective on Schwarzenegger's journey, showcasing his triumphs and challenges with equal measure. Arnold is a testament to the power of determination and ambition, and a reminder that with hard work and perseverance, anything is possible.
Take Care of Maya (2023)
Take Care of Maya is a riveting documentary that delves into the heart-wrenching journey of the Kowalski family as they navigate the labyrinth of the US healthcare system. The narrative is centered around their daughter, Maya, who presents with a baffling array of symptoms that prove challenging to diagnose.
This documentary is not just a story, but a poignant critique of a system that often leaves families feeling helpless and lost. It's a must-watch for anyone seeking to understand the complexities and shortcomings of healthcare in the United States. Take Care of Maya is more than a documentary; it's a call to action, urging viewers to question and challenge the status quo.
Waco: American Apocalypse (2023)
Waco: American Apocalypse is a chilling documentary that revisits the infamous standoff at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas in 1993. The film provides a comprehensive analysis of the catastrophe, featuring interviews with those who lived on the compound and never-before-seen footage of FBI negotiations during the standoff.
It's a stark reminder of a dark chapter in American history, one that continues to resonate today. The documentary is a masterclass in storytelling, weaving together multiple perspectives to create a nuanced narrative. It raises important questions about the role of law enforcement and the government and the lengths they will go to assert their authority.
Descendant is a groundbreaking documentary that sheds light on a hidden chapter of the slave trade. The film tells the story of the Clotilda, the last known ship to carry stolen Africans to America, and the community of Africatown, Alabama, where the descendants of those slaves now live. It's a powerful exploration of a painful part of American history, one that has long been overlooked.
The documentary is a testament to the resilience and strength of the African American community. It's a poignant reminder of the enduring legacy of slavery and the ongoing struggle for racial justice. Descendant is not just a film; it's a call to action, urging viewers to confront the past and work towards a more equitable future.
Anna Nicole Smith: You Don't Know Me (2023)
If you were around in the '90s, you couldn't escape Anna Nicole Smith. She was on TV, in magazines, and even had her reality show. But the new Netflix documentary, Anna Nicole Smith: You Don't Know Me, shows a different side of the story - heartbreaking and full of empathy.
You'll learn how Smith went from a small-town girl to a model and actress, married an old billionaire, and battled addiction and tragedy. This film warns anyone who thinks fame and fortune will solve all their problems - it won't. And with how this documentary has shot up the Netflix charts, you better watch it before your friends start quoting it.
Full Swing (2023)
Who knew watching a bunch of guys hit little white balls could be so thrilling? Obviously, Netflix did. I mean, they've given us some killer sports documentaries in the past, and Full Swing is no exception. This docuseries is a behind-the-scenes look at professional male golfers during their most intense moments on the course.
And let me tell you, if golf isn't your thing, Full Swing will make you a convert. It's like Drive to Survive but for the fairway. So grab some popcorn, settle in, and get ready to root for your new favorite golfer.
Lewis Capaldi: How I’m Feeling Now (2023)
Lewis Capaldi may be known for his soulful tunes and soaring voice, but in his new documentary, we get a glimpse of the man behind the music. Directed by Joe Pearlman, Lewis Capaldi: How I’m Feeling Now takes us on a wild ride through the life of the award-winning rock star. From humble beginnings to viral superstardom, Capaldi's journey is the stuff of legend.
But what sets this documentary apart is its deeply intimate look at Capaldi's personal life and experiences. You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll feel like you're right there with Capaldi as he bares his soul for all to see. Don't miss out on this one-of-a-kind look at one of music's most exciting young artists.
White Hot: The Rise and Fall of Abercrombie and Fitch (2022)
You know what they say - what goes up, must come down. And boy did Abercrombie and Fitch take that saying to heart. White Hot: The Rise and Fall of Abercrombie and Fitch is the documentary that gives us an all-access pass to the behind-the-scenes madness of one of the biggest pop culture phenomena of the late 90s and early aughts.
Director Alison Klayman dissects every decision the brand made, from their exclusion of race and class to their risque ad campaigns, that propelled them to the top of the game before their eventual downfall. It's like the ultimate episode of Behind the Music, but with less hairspray and more cargo shorts. Whether you were a die-hard fan or just a curious bystander, White Hot will have you reliving the glory days of the mall rat era.
Our Father (2022)
You know what they say, truth is stranger than fiction – and Our Father is proof of that. This documentary delves into the unsettling tale of Donald Cline, a fertility doctor in Indianapolis who used his own sperm to impregnate his patients – all without their knowledge.
Yeah, this guy makes Dr. Evil look like Mr. Rogers. And when you think it couldn't get any weirder (or creepier), one woman's DNA home test opens a can of worms that nobody saw coming. It's like a twisted "Who's the Daddy?" game but with real consequences. Trust me, you won't be able to take your eyes off of this shocking and downright bizarre story.
Pamela: A Love Story (2023)
Pamela Anderson has provided us with an unprecedentedly raw and honest look into her life with the release of Pamela: A Love Story. The documentary offers a fascinating exploration, with insight from Anderson herself, personal diaries, home videos, and interviews with Gregory Butler and Rob Bowman, adding to her stories of fame, trauma, and tabloid scandals.
Thanks to director Ryan White's involvement in the project, we get to experience the true story behind Anderson's decisions rather than a scripted interpretation through Hulu's highly acclaimed series, Pam and Tommy.
Stutz is an intimate and remarkable documentary, with Jonah Hill (21 Jump Street) as the film's director and subject. Through far-reaching conversations between Hill and his therapist, Dr. Phil Stutz -- a renowned psychiatrist -- viewers are provided a candid look into mental health issues that many of us struggle silently with or never talk about.
It captures the journey to finding the best ways to cope with life’s struggles, without stigma or fear of judgment. This deeply personal story proves how powerful therapeutic processes can be and encourages needed conversations about addressing weaknesses to empower individuals for growth.
Robert Downey Jr's Sr. is an emotional and honest glimpse into the filmmaker career of his father, Robert Downey Sr. Produced with the assistance of director Chris Smith, Sr. gives viewers a peek into an audacious man who revolutionized the comedic culture of the 1960s and 1970s.
With remarkable testimonials from powerful celebrities such as Alan Arkin and Norman Lear, we get to witness a masterful artist's career but also learn about some of his harsher realities. Even though Robert Downey Sr. has passed away, we are incredibly lucky to have this touching homage from his brilliant son that brings us closer to one of Hollywood's most unique figures.
Ghislaine Maxwell: Filthy Rich (2022)
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Ghislaine Maxwell: Filthy Rich is an essential documentary, that reveals dreadful details about Jeffrey Epstein's confidante and partner-in-crime activities. Featuring interviews with victims and archive footage of Maxwell, Epstein and other powerful people, this two-hour-long production exposes the depth of Maxwell's involvement in these cruel and inhuman acts.
By bringing to light these now-proven truths and criminal charges against her, viewers can witness evil personified and better understand the horrific nature of these tragedies. It's time that this monster has been confronted with their wrongdoings; Ghislaine Maxwell: Filthy Rich makes it happen!
Is That Black Enough for You?!? (2022)
Elvis Mitchell explores the rise of Black artists in Hollywood over their defining decade, and how it shaped American cinema culture forever. Is That Black Enough for You?!? It could be thought of from another aspect – how the African American community brought to light the stark reality of life in America during those times.
With world-class artists like Charles Burnett, Samuel L. Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg, Laurence Fishburne, Zendaya and others taking their screen time, this documentary should not be missed.
Capturing the Killer Nurse (2022)
Capturing the Killer Nurse is the shocking tale of one of America’s most intelligent serial killers, with the number of murders running up to hundreds of people across various medical facilities in Northeast America. Charlie Cullen was the last person anyone would suspect of doing such a horrific deed, and it was only until a fellow nurse caught him in the act that he was finally caught.
Capturing the Killer Nurse uses real-life recordings and accounts from those closely involved with Cullen, leaving us scared for the next time we visit our healthcare providers.
The Anthrax Attacks: In the Shadow of 9/11 (2022)
Just before America could recover from the horrific incident of 9/11, the second wave of terrorist attacks hit – this time by delivering the deadly Anthrax virus by mail. As the epidemic spread and caused wide-scale panic, this soon became to known as one of the deadliest biological warfare attacks on the US.
The documentary uses recorded interviews and statements to flesh out a story that would seem heroic at first glance but reveals heartbreaking stories when you dive into the matter. What captures you about this documentary is how the FBI closes in on the culprit before it gets entirely out of hand.
Trust No One: The Hunt for the Crypto King (2022)
When Gerry Cotton, the CEO of QuadrigaCX, the largest crypto exchange in Canada and one of the biggest in the world was found dead in India, $190 million worth of crypto managed to go with him to the grave. Still, some people are not buying the whole story.
Suspecting this to be an exit scam, victims who are determined to make things right follow the money and pick up the pieces, before the money vanishes into thin air. Trust No One: The Hunt for the Crypto King keeps everyone on their toes because greed is an inherent threat to human beings.
Inside the Mind of a Cat (2022)
Cats are the pets that make you feel like they don’t need you in their life. Haven’t you ever asked for some love from your pet cat and been scorned? But are you being discarded? Inside the Mind of a Cat is a documentary that tries to answer to break your presuppositions about this feline species, by bringing in newly done research on how cats choose their people.
Yes, it does sound too good to be accurate, but watch this documentary to break all your previously known knowledge about your pet cat.
Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed (2021)
Bob Ross is a legend in the world of art and a defining personality in American pop culture. He is famously known for his line, “there are no mistakes – just happy accidents”, and Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed looks into his life and his rise to fame from humble beginnings.
We come to see that there was more to the man than his talent for landscape art – Bob Ross is the man who made it a point to tell the world to embrace their creativity and to believe in their potential.
The Last Blockbuster (2020)
There’s a nostalgic touch to watching The Last Blockbuster that reminds us of when we walked up to the video rental stores when the latest Terminator or the Transformers movie came out. Based on the real-life story of a corporate giant that seemed to have it all until online streaming became the way to go, this documentary is based on the lives of the people who managed the last Blockbuster franchise in America.
At the end of the documentary, you’re sure to have tears as you remember the good times and memories associated with your visits to your neighborhood Blockbuster store.
The Most Hated Man on the Internet (2022)
The Most Hated Man on the Internet is a reminder that our loved ones can go as far as destroying someone who may do us harm, even if they’re someone who we know only through the internet. This documentary is the story of a mother who decides to take down the “King of Revenge Porn” when he locks his eyes on her daughter and destroys her life on the Internet.
She tracks him down with the help of friends made along the way and puts an end to his evil reign on the Internet. Based on a real story, this show is thrilling and horrifying at the same time, because it shows how low people can go to deliver entertainment.
High Score (2020)
Based on the true story of the golden age of video games which brought to us iconic games like Pacman and Doom, High Score is a documentary that showcases the geniuses behind the revolutionary development of games with video graphics and the work that went into doing something the world has never seen before.
Their efforts paved the way for this pastime hobby to grow into a full-blown industry, almost accidentally. It’s a show for everyone who has ever dabbled with video games across any generation – there’s something here for everyone.
Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives. (2022)
Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives. It is a story of the rise and fall of Sarma Melngailis, the raw vegan queen of New York City and the owner of Pure Food and Wine, which was soon to become a cornerstone of the city. But her relationship with a mysterious man on the Internet raises questions from the people around her, and she is soon caught in various scandals that rip her fame to shreds, even earning her the tabloid title of “Vegan Fugitive”.
Bringing to us the story of one of the strangest cases in history, this documentary is a reminder for us to be careful about what we wish for.
The Tinder Swindler (2022)
From the people who brought you, the iconic docuseries Don’t Fuck With Cats, comes any true crime story that dives into the world of online dating and the dangers of dabbling with it carelessly. The Tinder Swindler is the story of a man who faked a personality and swindled young women for millions all around the world.
But now the victims want payback and will do anything to hunt this man down. The buildup of the show is fantastic, and the overall method of storytelling maintains a pace that is just right for raising your anticipation without overdoing it.
jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy (2022)
Kanye West is a man who is synonymous with the American Dream – he grew up in uncertain times and rose to the top of the world with his musical prowess. jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy pulls back the curtain on his life to show us how this man got to where he is today.
He struggled to break through in an industry where he wasn’t welcome, losing all his money to build it up again and his life today as a global brand. There’s nothing you will not like about this documentary – it’s as real as it gets.
Cat People (2021)
There’s a certain stereotype associated with people who own cats – and Cat People is out to change what the world thinks. We all know that cats can be mysterious creatures that appear too wild to be tamed – but the cat owners portrayed in this documentary will show you otherwise.
Ask these owners what they think – they’ll probably tell you their life wouldn’t be as beautiful as it is now without their cats. And in some sense, the cats really saved their lives. Maybe it’s time we move from the dogs and take a look at these feline creatures.
Dick Johnson Is Dead (2020)
What is the best way to stay sane during the eventual demise of your favorite parent (sorry, moms)? Make a movie about the various ways they can die and celebrate it. A unique idea from the award-winning filmmaker Kirsten Johnson, she and her dad set out to make this movie as fun as possible while reminding us to cherish the loved ones who inhabit our daily lives.
Because the truth is that things can happen much faster than we would anticipate, it's essential to stay in the present and cherish each moment with them.
Don't F**k with Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer (2019)
Cat videos are the most watched on the Internet, and those who watch them daily cannot be blamed. But when a video of a mysterious man killing two kittens makes its round on the Internet, the online tribe band together to hunt down this man and punish him for his impunity.
But encouraged by the rage of this mob, the man continues to push the limits until he finally comes to murder. It is up to the online community to find this man and have him tried for his crimes before it becomes too late.
Jim and Andy: The Great Beyond (2017)
The art of method-acting is claimed to be done by all, but actual performance only comes from a few perfectionists. Jim and Andy: The Great Beyond is a look into 100 hours of footage shot while making the “Man on the Moon” to piece together the bits of Jim Carrey’s legendary performance.
We have no words to describe this documentary – it is a piece of art about an excellent performance fueled by pain and the desire to transform truly. Jim Carrey will go down as one of the world’s favorite actors to watch on screen - it can seem almost scary how good he is.
Cheer is an inspirational true story of how people perfect their art for a mere number of seconds and how it can propel them to a lifetime of fame. Team members of the Navarro cheerleading team take us through the workouts, sacrifices, and pain their coach Monica Aldama puts them through to triumph in the world of cheerleading. The show brings us closer to the perfection this team of athletes aims to achieve.
Coming from the small town of Corsicana, this series is tense enough for you to bite your nails as you binge through it.