The Absolute Best Documentaries to Watch on Netflix in 2023 #GeekLeap

Netflix documentaries have at all times been nice, however within the final 12 months or so it looks like they’ve gone to a brand new degree. Regardless of this, it may be troublesome to seek out the finest stuff, so we have made this listing. 

We’re beginning with the the most effective new documentaries launched within the final 12 months. After that we have divided the rest of our picks by style. We’re updated for January.

There’s quite a bit to get by means of. Good luck and pleased watching!

The Finest New Documentaries on Netflix

Netflix

Break Level is the most recent in what looks like a zillion documentaries exploring the day by day drama of sports activities. You recognize those I imply — All or Nothing, Drive to Survive. Cricket has one, AFL has one — there’s even a golf one approaching Netflix later this 12 months.

Break Level focuses on Tennis and — fortunately — picks the most effective athletes to deal with. Watch this for the legendary Nick Kyrgios on the very least.

Netflix

Pepsi, The place’s My Jet? is considered one of my favourite sorts of documentary. It is an offbeat documentary on a weird subject with a forged of actually charismatic and insane folks. 

The premise: Within the mid-’90s Pepsi had some extent system designed to encourage folks to drink extra Pepsi. One advert confirmed off a Harrier Jet you might purchase with 7 million of those factors. John Leonard, a 21-year-old enterprise pupil, discovered a loophole that allowed him to purchase factors for 10 cents and tried to pressure Pepsi to make good on their advertising and marketing promise. Chaos ensues.

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With the Qatar World Cup actually going down proper now, there could not be a greater time to get caught into FIFA’s murky behind-the-scenes conduct. It is a actually surprising documentary. Be warned: The allegations listed here are so wild you would possibly even really feel compelled to cease watching the World Cup.

Netflix

Untold is the most recent from the oldsters behind Wild Wild Nation.

It is a sports activities documentary sequence, with every episode going in-depth on controversial sports activities subjects. The primary episode focuses on Malice on the Palace, the infamous basketball match the place Ron Artest waded into the gang and wailed on followers again in 2004.

Untold is now in its second season, and it’s absolute must-watch stuff. The brand new episodes are arguably higher than the stellar first season. Possibly the most effective sports activities documentary sequence on Netflix

Netflix

Pretty much as good as Netflix documentaries are, there’s been a bent to tug out true crime into these bloated multiepisode sequence. Fortunately Our Father is the alternative of that. It is a lean, completely executed documentary targeted on Donald Cline, an Indiana fertility physician who used his personal sperm to inseminate a ridiculous variety of girls in opposition to their will.

That is an unbelievable piece, a type of tales that simply escalates and escalates to the purpose the place your jaw drops in disbelief. 

Netflix

Hold Candy: Pray and Obey (2022)

There are loads of Netflix documentaries about cults gone mad, however Hold Candy: Pray and Obey could be probably the most disturbing of the lot. In contrast to Homicide Among the many Mormons, which just about handled its subject like a screwball comedy, Hold Candy is a really grim story a few grim human being in Warren Jeffs. It is a incredible documentary, and among the many finest Netflix has produced, but it surely comes with a really hefty content material warning.

Netflix

Keep on Board: The Leo Baker Story (2022)

Skateboarding as a sport makes for an incredible documentary subject. Dogtown and Z Boys, All That Mayhem — completely legendary.  Keep on Board: The Leo Baker Story is one other in a protracted line of classics.

It focuses on Leo Baker, the skater who got here out as trans and needed to give up competing on the Olympics within the course of. Superb, should watch stuff. 

Michael Putland/Getty Photos

Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story (2022)

It is virtually unattainable to overstate how well-known Jimmy Savile was within the UK — notably within the Nineteen Eighties. He was past a family title, in some ways he felt like an eccentric uncle to the nation.

Which made revelations that he had sexually assaulted tons of of underage ladies and boys all of the extra horrific. This was an individual the entire of Britain had invited into their properties. 

Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story does an incredible job of going by means of the archives, combining footage that’s completely weird in hindsight, and including incredible interviews with a number of the main gamers in British TV throughout Savile’s heyday. An interesting, albeit disturbing documentary. Be warned: It is a troublesome watch. 

Netflix

Our Nice Nationwide Parks (2022)

Barack Obama is making a beeline for David Attenborough’s job. And we do not hate the concept!

Our Nice Nationwide Parks is a world-class nature documentary within the type of nice BBC exhibits like Planet Earth. They’ve nailed it right here. If you happen to’re a fan of that sort of present, that is fully unmissable.

Netflix

The Most Hated Man on the Web (2022)

Netflix has been on hearth with its documentaries recently, and The Most Hated Man on the Web is the most recent. From the producers of Tinder Swindler and Dont F**okay with Cats, it is a three-part documentary that tells the story of Hunter Moore, one of the infamous purveyors of “revenge porn.” Undoubtedly price watching this one. 

Netflix

The Woman within the Image (2022)

The Woman within the Image is the most recent true crime documentary from Netflix. It is up there with the service’s best possible work.

It looks like, after a interval of needlessly bloated multiepisode documentaries, Netflix has began trimming the fats, releasing lean, extremely compelling documentaries once more. First Hold Candy: Pray and Obey and Our Father, now this.

The Woman within the Image tells the story of a younger woman, murdered at age 20. To say an excessive amount of would spoil the impression, however it is a layered, brutal documentary with countless twists. It must be seen to be believed.

Netflix

The Tinder Swindler (2022)

A documentary targeted on Shimon Hayut, aka the “Tinder Swindler,” a conman who used courting apps to defraud a number of girls throughout Europe to fund a lavish life-style.

A barely totally different subject in comparison with most true crime documentaries on Netflix. Undoubtedly price a gander.

True crime

Netflix

I’ve watched loads of true crime documentaries on Netflix, however nothing has come near The Keepers. A staggering story, advised throughout generations, that is respectful of the victims, but compelling all through.

It is a story in regards to the unsolved homicide of Catherine Cesnik, a nun who taught at a Catholic faculty in Baltimore, however The Keepers goes additional than you would possibly count on and exposes a possible coverup of intercourse abuse allegations.

Netflix

The true crime documentary style is completely saturated at this level, however The Staircase stands out. 

Specializing in Michael Peterson and the loss of life of his spouse Kathleen, The Staircase is greater than only a homicide thriller. It is a drawn-out epic that takes place over literal many years, a documentary that follows Peterson and examines his each transfer, however by some means nonetheless stays goal. 

It is a good time to look at or revisit this one, since HBO Max has simply launched a drama miniseries based mostly on it.

Netflix

Home of Secrets and techniques: The Burari Deaths (2021)

One of many newer true crime documentaries from Netflix, it is a good one.

Specializing in the weird deaths of 11 relations in a single home in Burari, Delhi, India in 2018, Home of Secrets and techniques delves into the theories behind of the strangest suicide/homicide instances in latest reminiscence. Unmissable stuff. 

Netflix

This Is a Theft is about Netflix because it will get. A four-part sequence specializing in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, that is primarily a documentary about an artwork heist. Bear in mind Evil Genius? (Which can also be on this listing.) This Is a Theft may be very a lot in that type. The primary episode takes some time to get going, however be affected person — this one has a payoff.

Netflix

Homicide Among the many Mormons (2021)

A few of Netflix’s newer true crime documentaries have been a bit bloated and… sorta unhealthy?

Fortunately Homicide Among the many Mormons is a return to kind. Undoubtedly watch this one. 

Netflix

Who Killed Little Gregory (2019)

Who Killed Little Gregory is a documentary targeted on the horrific homicide of Grégory Villemin. It is arguably the most effective true crime documentary on Netflix. It is a few homicide, and makes an attempt to unravel that homicide, but it surely’s additionally a lesson in media illustration and the horrific sexism Grégory’s mom needed to face within the wake of her son’s homicide. 

Netflix

American Homicide: The Household Subsequent Door (2020)

There are loads of true crime documentaries on the market (and on this listing) however American Homicide: The Household Subsequent Door stands out. 

It tells the story of Chris Watts, a seemingly common man who murdered his spouse and kids. The entry to footage is staggering and it is edited and produced in a singular method, utilizing textual content messages and social media posts to inform the story. It is a horrific reminder of the banal, extremely frequent existence of home violence.

Netflix

Making a Assassin (2015-2018)

With the swath of true crime documentaries and podcasts that got here in its wake, it is simple to overlook that the world as soon as misplaced its collective thoughts over Making a Assassin. In loads of methods it created the template that many Netflix documentaries now comply with. An actual unique.

Sports activities 

Netflix

In 2020, within the midst of a pandemic, Netflix dropped this piece of sports activities doc perfection. 

The Final Dance focuses on the Chicago Bulls throughout their ’97-’98 NBA title-winning season, however actually it is a leaping off level for a documentary that tells the life story of its central star, Michael Jordan. 

Because of this, many criticized it for being somewhat too Jordan-focused, however The Final Dance was an occasion documentary that lived as much as the hype. 

Netflix

This Oscar-winning documentary is an absolute belter. 

Icarus begins out as an expose on the impression performance-enhancing medication have on sports activities efficiency, however a sequence of occasions drags director Bryan Fogel into an internet of geopolitics and conspiracies. To say extra would spoil it, however Fogel finally has created a documentary that had a really actual impression on our notion of sports activities as an entire. In that respect, Icarus is a literal recreation changer.

Netflix

Formulation 1: Drive to Survive (2019)

Absolutely the gold normal for long-running sports activities documentaries. Drive to Survive is so good, and so widespread, that it is impressed an entire new degree of curiosity in Formulation 1, particularly within the US. This present is nice at elevating the characters that occupy the game. Extra exhibits like this, please.

Netflix

Athlete A is a superb function size expose on Larry Nassar, the crew physician of USA Gymnastics, who had been sexually abusing feminine athletes for many years.

Be warned: This one is harrowing.

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14 Peaks tells the story of the Nepalese mountaineer Nimsdai Purja and his purpose of climbing all 14 mountains above the peak of 8,000 meters (26,000 toes) in a single 12 months. It is unbelievable. Should-watch stuff.

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Netflix may need burned the true crime documentary into the bottom, but it surely’s on hearth in the case of sports activities. Unhealthy Sport is the most recent entry into this burgeoning subcategory, and it is superior. Specializing in unusual controversies in sports activities historical past, Unhealthy Sport is much less about main gamers doing main issues, it is about what occurs when sport goes unhealthy, will get down within the filth. All of those episodes are nice. Hoping for a season 2. 

Netflix

The River Runner is sorta like Free Solo for kayaking. Contemplate {that a} praise.

Specializing in Scott Lindgren, a kayaking legend who was a pioneer of the game, it is a conventional story of an excessive sports activities star overcoming odds, but it surely runs somewhat deeper than that. Preventing in opposition to a mind tumor and his personal private demons, Lindgren is a compelling case examine. Should watch stuff.

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Naomi Osaka has change into one of the well-known and talked-about athletes on the planet. This fascinating documentary explores totally different phases of her profession and gives unbelievable entry into the lifetime of a younger girl scuffling with the pressures of sport and fame. A must-watch.

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If you happen to’re in search of a barely extra uplifting documentary, you might do far worse than The Pace Cubers, a have a look at the world of aggressive… Rubik’s Cubers? It is quick, however packs an unbelievable emotional punch. Put together your self, this one would possibly break you.

Nature/science

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Seaspiracy follows within the footsteps of a number of documentaries targeted on the impression of meat consuming on the surroundings. This time the worldwide fishing trade is within the crosshairs. As anticipated this one has stirred up a little bit of controversy from all stakeholders — PETA, Greenpeace and conservation teams can not seem to agree if Seaspiracy is correct or honest. Watch it and make up your individual thoughts.

Netflix

My Octopus Trainer (2020)

My Octopus Trainer follows Craig Foster, a filmmaker who spent a 12 months snorkeling and interacting with an octopus off the coast of South Africa. It is a nature movie, positive, but it surely’s concurrently a documentary designed to encourage awe within the viewer. Briefly, octopuses are unbelievable. Little aliens on Earth, primarily. That is the story of a relationship between people and nature, but it surely’s additionally an inspiring name to motion: Do not ignore the surprise that exists throughout you.

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David Attenborough nature documentaries are so pervasive, they’re susceptible to self parody, however Our Planet is — I imagine — the excessive watermark. Solely Planet Earth, one other Attenborough doc, comes shut. However I desire this one.

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Time might boring its impression, however when Tiger King was first launched on Netflix, your complete world could not cease speaking about it. 

Tiger King explores the unusual underbelly of massive cat breeding, specializing in a forged of unforgettable (and finally harmful) characters. It drags its viewers to bizarre locations. Season 2 is now obtainable and whereas the present has misplaced loads of its chew, it is intriguing to meet up with this forged of untamed human beings doing wild, fully outlandish issues. 

Politics/historical past 

Netflix

thirteenth by Ava Duvernay is a staggering documentary that tells the story of American slavery and its long-lasting impacts, a lot of which nonetheless resonate at the moment. 

Within the wake of the Black Lives Matter motion, this needs to be obligatory viewing.

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Within the wake of the Capitol siege, the Fb/Cambridge Analytica controversy virtually looks like historic historical past, however that does not make this documentary any much less vital. If you have not seen it, then watch it.

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Operation Varsity Blues: The Faculty Admissions Scandal (2021)

Just lately launched, Operations Varsity Blues: The Faculty Admissions Scandal has a reputation so long as a few of Netflix’s latest documentaries. Fortunately, this is not as bloated as, say, the recent Cecil Hotel doc, but it surely may nonetheless use some trimming. 

Operation Varsity Blues targeted on the FBI investigation into school admissions that put actress Felicity Huffman into jail. Its director, Chris Smith, beforehand labored on the Fyre Competition documentary. This is not fairly as compelling, however remains to be effectively price watching. 

Sundance

Knock Down the Home (2019)

No matter your views on Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Knock Down the Home is an unbelievable underdog story that can’t be missed. Specializing in progressive feminine candidates in the course of the 2018 congressional major campaigns, it is an insightful have a look at the democratic course of. It is an inspiring reminder that we have to struggle as a way to make the voices of extraordinary folks rely.

Netflix

What Occurred, Miss Simone? (2015)

Not gonna say a lot right here. Nina Simone is a legend and that is possibly among the best documentaries I’ve ever seen. 

Netflix

Overlong and bloated, Wild Wild Nation is however one of the fascinating documentaries I’ve ever watched on Netflix. 

It tells the story of Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, who tried to construct a big sprawling commune, for what was primarily a intercourse cult, in america. It is a unusual story that by some means turns into stranger with age. Very similar to Tiger King, the story plumbs depths you will not imagine. At occasions it is a slog, however Wild Wild Nation is completely worthwhile.

Netflix

I completely adore this documentary. 5 present acclaimed administrators (together with Steven Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola) assist inform the story of 5 well-known film administrators from the ’30s and ’40s who did frontline work in the course of the Second World Battle. It wraps their legacies alongside the impression of the warfare itself into a really compelling story of Hollywood’s golden age.

Netflix

An Oscar winner for Netflix, this documentary is the primary produced by Barack and Michelle Obama’s Increased Floor Productions crew. 

American Manufacturing unit tells the story of Fuyao, a Chinese language firm that constructed a manufacturing facility in Ohio that inhabits a now-closed Normal Motors plant. It’s a must to watch this film.

Netflix

Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Wealthy (2020)

By this level all of us have some type of understanding of Jeffrey Epstein’s story however Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Wealthy does itself an incredible service by specializing in the tales of the survivors of his abuse. 

The Cinemart/Hulu

Fyre: The Biggest Occasion That By no means Occurred (2019)

Hulu also has a great Fyre festival documentary, however I desire this Netflix one. In contrast to many Netflix documentaries, that are stretched and bloated into multipart episodes, this documentary is sharp, direct and strong gold your complete method by means of.

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