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The 15 Best Original Documentaries on Netflix


Look no further than Netflix for true-life stories that will shock, inspire, and inform.

Most people think of films and TV shows in two very broad categories: fiction and “reality.” But the only way to get true reality beyond the news is to see a documentary. Some sneak into theaters between blockbusters, but good luck finding any on the major networks (with PBS as the exception).

Documentaries, however, not only abound on Netflix. They thrive.

Considering what Netflix will shell out for scripted shows, buying or funding a documentary—where a small team of people follow a subject or subjects for days, months, or even years—is probably peanuts. The fact that so many great documentaries get viewed thanks to Netflix is nothing short of miraculous in a time of short attention spans.

Below are some of the most riveting, entertaining, and sometimes horrifying documentary features Netflix has on offer. Whether you’re looking for a true-crime binge watch, political commentary, or heart-warming personal story, these selections have you covered.

(Looking for some good ol’ scripted entertainment? Check out the 10 Best Original Films on Netflix and 10 Best Netflix Original TV Series.)

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