The best documentaries to watch on Netflix

From Weiner and Making a Murderer to Oscar winner The White Helmets, check out the best documentary films and TV shows streaming on Netflix UK now

The Ivory Game (Netflix, JG)

Swap Stranger Things and Master of None for some serious brain food. From moving documentaries about music, ageing and the science behind happiness to Oscar-winning films about our world today, check out the very best documentary films and TV series available on Netflix UK now.

Advertisement

The best new movies and TV shows streaming on Netflix | UPDATED DAILY

(YouTube, JG)

Updated January 2018


Weiner (2016)

What on paper sounds like one drawn-out penis joke actually unfolds into a bizarrely funny, insightful and endlessly intriguing fly-on-the-wall documentary about a deeply flawed man, who, at one stage in his career, was seen as a potential saviour for the Democratic party. Now, he’s in jail for sexting with a minor. To fill in the blanks, head to your Netflix account. Watch on Netflix now

India’s Daughter

This powerful documentary – which originally aired on BBC4 in the UK – follows the 2012 news story that shocked the world: the Delhi gang rape and murder of 23-year-old Jyoti Singh. Featuring a filmed interview and confession from one of the rapists in the case, it’s proved to be a controversial film and was banned in IndiaWatch on Netflix now


Blackfish

This was the movie that forced SeaWorld to halt its orca breeding programme and stop all live killer whale performances. Following Tilikum, a performing killer whale who killed several people, including trainer Dawn Brancheau, while in captivity, Blackfish challenges the relationship between nature and the multi-billion dollar sea-park industry. Watch on Netflix now


The Keepers

This dogged and heartrending documentary series begins by attempting to uncover the truth surrounding the murder of a Catholic nun, a case that has gone unsolved for 50 years. However, the film soon expands to investigate allegations of sexual abuse at the Catholic high school where the nun, Sister Cathy Cesnik, worked. The resulting investigation is told in seven meticulous and quietly raging episodes. Watch on Netflix now


My Beautiful Broken Brain

Lotje Sodderland was 34 when she survived a hemorrhagic stroke. The producer started filming herself as she was forced to start again in a world which now seems foreign and the results are fascinating. Watch on Netflix now


What Happened, Miss Simone?

The definitive portrait of one of America’s most turbulently talented musicians. Through never-before-seen archive footage and sumptuous live performances, Nina Simone’s courage, gift – and demons – are beautifully brought to life on screen. Watch on Netflix now


Diana In Her Own Words

This controversial documentary first aired on Channel 4 in the UK in 2017. The film features recordings made by Princess Diana between 1992 and 1993, when she engaged a voice coach to improve her public presentation skills. Some of the segments prove remarkably candid, particularly when it comes to her ill-fated marriage to the Prince of Wales. If you want spoilers for what’s to come in The Crown in the future, this is the place to start. Watch on Netflix now


Food, Inc.

The Academy nominated this film about the corporate food industry for Best Picture in 2009. The uncomfortable watch examines ethics around the industrial production of meat and the unsustainable way we produce vegetables and grain, as well as pesticides, fertiliser and problems with food labelling. Let’s just say it’ll make you look twice at your lunch… Watch on Netflix now


Icarus

How one amateur cyclist helped expose Russia’s unprecedented state doping programme. The sport documentary is a remarkable watch, not just because of the revelations it contains, but because of the characters that are involved in this giant web of deception and doping. The film has now been nominated for a Bafta in the 2018 Best Documentary category. Watch on Netflix now


Fed Up

Constantly indulging your sweet tooth? You might find it easier to say no after watching this doc. Fed Up aims to shed light on sugar, the world’s obesity crisis and “everything we’ve been told about food and exercise for the past 30 years.” It calls itself “the film the food industry doesn’t want you to see.” Watch on Netflix now


The Ivory Game

This documentary film, executive produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, shows us the front line in the war against the global ivory trade – and shows how close the African elephant is to extinction. Watch on Netflix now


The White Helmets

The Academy Award-winning documentary follows the work of the Syrian Civil Defense – also known as the White Helmets – who are first on the scene during the horror of daily airstrikes on civilian targets during the country’s civil war. It was the first Oscar win for Netflix. Watch on Netflix now


The True Cost

Do you know how much your affordable high street clothes really cost? This troubling documentary questions consumerism, materialism and the true human consequences of our fashion obsession. Watch on Netflix now


Capitalism: A Love Story

In this award-winning doc, Micheal Moore explores the global economic meltdown, asking how corporate interests have been allowed to take precedent over public good. Watch on Netflix now


13th

The title of this potent film refers to the 13th Amendment: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.” ‘Punishment for crime’ is the key qualifier here, as the documentary explores the injustices at the heart of America’s penal system. Watch on Netflix now


Particle Fever

You’ve heard of the Large Hadron Collider, but do you actually know what it is, what it does, or what it could tell us about our world? Here six brilliant scientists explain. Watch on Netflix now


Alive Inside

Alive Inside is a moving movie about the surprising power of music, which also questions our beliefs about the ageing process and what it means to be elderly in our society. Watch on Netflix now


Chasing Ice

This shocking portrayal of climate change refuses to be ignored. Over a number of years, National Geographic photographer James Balog risks everything to capture how our landscape is changing – and his findings are jaw-dropping. The filmmakers’ follow-up, Chasing Coral, is now also available to watch on NetflixWatch on Netflix now


Twinsters

The weird and wonderful power of the internet, eh? Samantha and Anais are two adopted young women who connected on social media – and believe themselves to be twin sisters separated at birth. Watch on Netflix now


Louis Theroux: A Different Brain

Seasoned documentary maker Louis Theroux has a number of his documentary films available on Netflix – this special from 2016 is one of his best recent works. Watch on Netflix now


Rotten

Not one to watch with your dinner on your lap. Rotten takes a cold, hard look at the global food industry, and exactly what it takes to keep a meat-hungry, binge-eating populace in bread. The US is its focus, but where their food industry leads, the rest of the world follows. We should all take note. Watch on Netflix

Making a Murderer

Advertisement

A true crime game changer, and still one of Netflix’s most talked-about series. Filmed over 10 years, Making a Murderer follows Steven Avery, a man who served 18 years in jail for a crime he didn’t commit, only to be arrested for murder upon his release. The filmmakers are currently working on a follow-up – although Netflix will not rush them to tell a story that took so long to tell first time round. Watch on Netflix now