9 Best Documentaries on Netflix Right Now

Update your watchlist immediately.

Whether you're looking to dig into some lesser-known history, sate your true crime craving, or snag some design inspiration, you're guaranteed to find a documentary on Netflix to fill that non-fiction void. Here, a few of our favorites, including essential classicsas well as new releases to get your watchlist up to date.

Mercury 13

The Mercury space program put Americans into space for the first time, and while we remember many of the men involved, less lauded are the 13 female pilots who tested as candidates. This documentary finally gives these unsung heroes credit for their contributions to the history of space flight as well as highlighting the struggles that remain for women in the sciences.


From the director of Grey Gardens, this profile of style icon Iris Apfel brings to light the personality and personal life behind the famously flamboyant fashionista. Filled with charming quips about the rules—or lack thereof—that have dictated her famous style, consider this film your anti-"take one thing off before you leave the house" inspiration.


Following up her Oscar-winning film Selma, Ava DuVernay brought forth this documentary about the state of race in America. Tracing back to Emancipation, the film explores the ways that institutional bias has created the systemic inequalities that lead black men and women to experience heavier criminal sentences than their white counterparts and the growing incarceration rate among persons of color.

Best of Enemies

Political pundits make a living shouting one another down nowadays, but once there were only two names in the arena of rock 'em-sock 'em political analysis—William F. Buckley Jr. and Gore Vidal. Analyzing ten televised debates between the two during the 1968 election, the film delves into the public vitriol between them, the "spice things up" media strategy that brought them to the forefront of the discussion, and the origins of our modern political discourse.


The Witness

Kitty Genovese's 1964 murder, and the 38 neighbors who unfeelingly looked on with no attempt to help, captured national attention and forever changed the narrative around urban apathy, but is it the truth? That's what Kitty's younger brother Bill wondered as he set out to find out the real story behind the narrative that's persisted for half a century.


Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, as director Bryan Fogel discovered when, while attempting to make a film about performance-enhancing drugs, he accidentally stumbled across the Russian doping scandal from the Sochi Olympics. The Oscar-winning film feels more like a thriller, as Fogel's discovery propels him into the world of international sports and the complicated, and sometimes dangerous political maneuvering that surrounds them.

Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond

Juxtaposing previously suppressed, behind-the-scenes video from the making of the 1999 Andy Kaufman biopic Man on the Moon with new interview footage of Jim Carrey discussing the making of the film, this sometimes bizarre documentary manages to be equal parts a revelation about Carrey's controversial method acting on the film as well as a look at the actor's career and thought process.

Sour Grapes

In the early '00s Rudy Kurniawan rose to prominence as a wine connoisseur, auctioning off millions of dollars of vintage wine from his extensive personal cellar and befriending some of the most prominent names in the industry... until his arrest. This is the story of how one man perpetrated the most lucrative wine fraud in history, and how the whole scheme came crashing down.

Strong Island

For those who have never had to face it, the failings of the justice system can be hard to truly grasp, but it's impossible not to feel it in director Yance Ford's brutally personal, Academy Award-nominated film about the murder of his brother. The documentary serves as a startlingly frank portrait of a grieving family as well as an indictment of the systemic racism that can prevent justice from being served.


*This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com
*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors

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