HISTORY OF SWEAR WORDS (2021)

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The 86 Best Netflix Documentaries and Docuseries

Last updated: March 9, 2021

Ever since Making A Murderer debuted in 2015, introducing the world to the Avery and Dassey families and defining what would make for water-cooler TV in the streaming era, Netflix has been pushing out compelling documentary series and documentary movies one after the other. While at first the service debuted a new, compelling doc every few months, but now it’s a matter of weeks before the world is once again caught up in a wild tale of corruption, murder, and mystery, most often populated with extremely colorful characters. Or blown away by an Oscar-worthy look at some of the most interesting corners of life around the globe.

But which are the most compelling documentaries and bingeable documentary series on the streaming service?

To help answer that question, we went through every Netflix original documentary and documentary series, collected the most critically acclaimed, and ranked them by Tomatometer. Our criteria was simple: To be included, the series had to be Fresh and have accrued reviews from more than 10 critics. Where there were ties, the title with more reviews ranked higher.

In the list, you’ll discover some famous series that dominated headlines and captured the zeitgeist upon their release, 2020’s big conversation-starter Tiger King among them. You’ll also discover that Netflix documentaries cover subjects far beyond death and trials and fascinating cold cases. Want to see what it takes to make it as a young athlete? Press play on Cheer and Last Chance U. Looking for some foodie inspiration? Ugly Delicious and Salt Fat Acid Heat should satisfy. Looking for a profile of someone fascinating? Try Michelle Obama documentary BecomingGaga: Five Foot Two, or Tig. After insights into some of the biggest issues facing the world today? Turn to Ava DuVernay’s 13th and Oscar-winner American Factory.

The latest additions include the critically acclaimed series Immigration Nation and Pretend It’s a City, travel adventure series Down to Earth with Zac Efron, intriguing documentaries about LGBTQ+ icons Disclosure and Mucho Mucho Amor, news-making features including Athlete A and The Social Dilemma, and much more. Where do they rank in our list of the best documentaries and docuseries Netflix has to offer? Find out below.

What’s your favorite Netflix documentary? Let us know in the comments. 

 

Take me to Docuseries | Take me to Documentary Movies

Best Netflix Docuseries

Adjusted Score: 67.072%
Critics Consensus: Don't F**k With Cats offers an intriguing tale, but questionable intent and muddled storytelling make it a hard sell for anyone but true crime completists.
Synopsis: A twisted criminal's gruesome videos drive a group of amateur online sleuths to launch a risky manhunt that pulls them... [More]
Starring:

Adjusted Score: 68.786%
Critics Consensus: Compelling interviews and a slick style help Fear City entertain, but those already familiar with the case will find few new insights.
Synopsis: Throughout the 1970s and '80s, the "Five Families" of the New York mafia--Bonanno, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese and Luccese--held a powerful,... [More]
Starring:

Adjusted Score: 71.191%
Critics Consensus: Brevity may be the soul of wit, but digging a little deeper could only help History of Swear Words - a show that almost lives up to its name and host, but falls a little f-king short.
Synopsis: Nicolas Cage hosts this proudly profane, funny and engagingly educational series about the history and impact of the most notorious... [More]
Starring:

#38
Adjusted Score: 70.6%
Critics Consensus: Host David Farrier's empathetic curiosity keeps Dark Tourist from feeling too exploitative -- though shallow observations about its macabre destinations often leave something to be desired.
Synopsis: A look at strange and often dangerous tourism spots around the world.... [More]
Starring:

Adjusted Score: 71.136%
Critics Consensus: Zac Efron's earnest exploration certainly comes off as Down to Earth, but the show's lack of focus undermines its important environmental message.
Synopsis: Wellness specialist Darin Olien teams up with actor Zac Efron seeking healthy lifestyle practices from around the world.... [More]
Starring: Zac Efron

Adjusted Score: 75.404%
Critics Consensus: Though Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer succumbs to the sensational side of true crime, it paints a fascinating, chilling portrait of a killer and the city he terrorized.
Synopsis: Beneath the sunlit glamour of 1985 LA lurks a relentlessly evil serial killer. In this true-crime story, two detectives won't... [More]
Starring:

Adjusted Score: 74.84%
Critics Consensus: The Innocent Man will satisfy true crime aficionados looking for a slickly packaged mystery, but viewers seeking a more probing deconstruction of the justice system may come away disappointed.
Synopsis: In 1982, 21-year-old Debra Sue "Debbie" Carter is raped and killed inside her home. In 1984, another Ada woman, 24-year-old... [More]
Starring:

#34
Adjusted Score: 77.029%
Critics Consensus: Though it takes on one too many side quests on its journey through video game history, High Score has enough nostalgia to entertain players of all ages.
Synopsis: This documentary series explores the rise of the golden era in gaming, a time rife with competition, innovation and flat-out... [More]
Starring:

Adjusted Score: 67.461%
Critics Consensus: Though it can't help but feel a little incomplete given the circumstances, The Killer Inside crafts a compelling overview of a series of tragic events.
Synopsis: As a gifted young football athlete from Bristol, Connecticut, Aaron Hernandez had capitalized rapidly on his promise, playing for a... [More]
Starring:

#32
Adjusted Score: 75.573%
Critics Consensus: Chelsea Does manages to investigate some meaningful topics, but the show's polarizing namesake is also its greatest liability.
Synopsis: A documentary series exploring four topics: marriage; racism; technology; and drugs.... [More]

Adjusted Score: 73.21%
Critics Consensus: The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez is a sobering, if at times too sensational for its own good, exposé of a very broken system.
Synopsis: In 2013, 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez died as a result of horrific and prolonged abuse by his mother and her boyfriend.... [More]
Starring:

Adjusted Score: 71.485%
Critics Consensus: Though The Family's open ended-ness undermines its impact, it manages to craft a compelling picture of a shocking truth.
Synopsis: Investigative journalists expose The Family, a Christian fundamentalist organization quietly operating in the corridors of power in Washington, D.C.... [More]

Adjusted Score: 73.21%
Synopsis: Investigators and witnesses recall how a modern-day Jack the Ripper terrorized the north of England during the late 1970s.... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Ellena Wood

Adjusted Score: 81.4%
Critics Consensus: Evil Genius makes up for a lack of conviction and nuance with an intriguing sense of discovery and plenty of entertaining insanity.
Synopsis: In 2003 in Erie, Pennsylvania, a robbery gone wrong and a terrifying public murder capture the nation's attention, and a... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Barbara Schroeder

Adjusted Score: 72.166%
Critics Consensus: A fascinating, if incomplete, look at the history and future of black film, They Gotta Have Us is essential viewing for film buffs and new fans alike.
Synopsis: A portrait of how art and activism for black people in film are indivisible from race and cinema.... [More]

Synopsis: Leading up to his 2019 arrest, mysterious tycoon Jeffrey Epstein was accused of abusing women and underage girls for decades,... [More]
Starring:

Adjusted Score: 84.542%
Critics Consensus: Challenger: The Final Flight doesn't uncover any new information, but intimate interviews elevate its well-crafted, heartbreaking retelling of an avoidable national tragedy
Synopsis: Executive produced by J.J. Abrams and Glen Zipper, CHALLENGER: THE FINAL FLIGHT is a four-part docuseries that examines the 1986... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Steven Leckart

Making a Murderer (2015)
84%

#24
Synopsis: Filmed over a 10-year period, Making a Murderer is an unprecedented real-life thriller about a DNA exoneree who, while in... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Moira Demos

#23
Adjusted Score: 86.136%
Critics Consensus: A fascinating time capsule that doesn't draw many conclusions, Trial by Media considers the consequences of broadcasting high-profile court cases.
Synopsis: In our modern media landscape where real courtroom dramas have increasingly been transformed into a form of entertainment, the Netflix... [More]
Starring:

#22
Adjusted Score: 91.954%
Critics Consensus: A bizarre true crime story you have to see to believe, Tiger King is a messy and captivating portrait of obsession gone terribly wrong.
Synopsis: Among the eccentrics and cult personalities in the stranger-than-fiction world of big cat owners, few stand out more than Joe... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Eric Goode

Adjusted Score: 92.095%
Critics Consensus: If Pretend It's a City can't quite live up to its central duo's creative clout, it's still a delight to see their love for their city - and one another -- in full bloom.
Synopsis: Wander the New York City streets and fascinating mind of wry writer, humorist and raconteur Fran Lebowitz as she sits... [More]
Starring: Fran Lebowitz

Adjusted Score: 88.754%
Critics Consensus: Investigating an outrageous but true story with restraint, Murder Among the Mormons is entertaining true-crime pulp and a fascinating examination of a community.
Synopsis: High-stakes exploits turn deadly - and shake a global church to its core - in this extraordinary true crime story. ... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Jared Hess

#19
Adjusted Score: 92.666%
Critics Consensus: Wormwood's real-life mystery unfolds in hypothetical tendrils guided by Errol Morris' singular vision and style that will keep viewers engaged despite the four-hour run time.
Synopsis: Combining a virtuosic performance by Peter Sarsgaard with Morris' legendary interview style, Wormwood examines this case from every possible angle,... [More]

Dogs: Season 1 (2018)
92%

#18
Adjusted Score: 92.04%
Critics Consensus: Dogs is a kindhearted series that offers viewers a glimpse of several extraordinary canines and the people they orbit, resulting in a hopeful celebration of humanity and its best friend.
Synopsis: From war-torn Syria to a restaurant in Italy, this series explores the unshakeable devotion between dogs and their owners, no... [More]
Starring:

#17
Adjusted Score: 94.681%
Critics Consensus: A cornucopia of visual wonder and environmental advocacy, Our Planet's breathtaking cinematography explores more of this beautiful, blue marble while presenting an urgent call to action to its inhabitants.
Synopsis: The ambitious four-year project has been filmed in 50 countries across all the continents of the world, with crew capturing... [More]
Starring:

#16
Adjusted Score: 96.967%
Critics Consensus: The Staircase -- in its newly expanded form -- offers a gripping, detailed depiction of the complex justice system, even if the overall narrative lacks objectivity.
Synopsis: Documentary series focusing on a murder case in North Carolina.... [More]
Starring:

Last Chance U (2016)
94%

#15
Synopsis: Directed by Greg Whiteley (Mitt, New York Doll, Resolved), Last Chance U is a character driven, gut-wrenching behind-the-scenes look at... [More]

#14
Adjusted Score: 95.6%
Critics Consensus: Flint Town dives deep into an essential subject matter with admirable objectivity while presenting candid -- and hard-hitting -- personal testimonials.
Synopsis: In the aftermath of the Flint water crisis, Flint Town takes an intimate look at the state of policing in... [More]
Starring:

Adjusted Score: 95.68%
Critics Consensus: Bobby Kennedy for President crafts a poignant, nuanced view of a political process and a human being.
Synopsis: The eye-opening and transformative four-part docuseries Bobby Kennedy for President utilizes rare and never-before-seen archival footage -- much of it... [More]

Adjusted Score: 98.455%
Critics Consensus: The Vietnam War revisits a dark chapter in American history with patience, grace, and a refreshing -- and sobering -- perspective informed by those who fought.
Synopsis: A history of the Vietnam War that features insights from U.S. soldiers, Americans who opposed the war, Vietnamese combatants and... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Ken Burns

Cheer: Season 1 (2020)
97%

#11
Adjusted Score: 98.435%
Critics Consensus: With an inspirational troupe of teens and willingness to engage in the tougher trials facing the sport today, Cheer perfectly captures the highs and lows of what it takes to be a cheerleader.
Synopsis: This gripping docuseries follows the ups and downs of Navarro College's competitive cheer squad as they work to win a... [More]
Starring:

#10
Adjusted Score: 98.186%
Critics Consensus: The Keepers draws on riveting, real-life terror to expose long-buried secrets -- and tells a brilliantly assembled story along the way.
Synopsis: A deep dive into the unsolved murder of a nun and the mysteries that surround her death decades later.... [More]
Starring:

The Last Dance (2020)
97%

#9
Synopsis: In the fall of 1997, Michael Jordan and the Bulls begin their quest to win a sixth NBA title in... [More]

Adjusted Score: 99.82%
Critics Consensus: Five Came Back tells an inspiring story to captivating effect, offering viewing that should appeal to historians and film buffs in equal measure.
Synopsis: This docuseries explores the actions of five filmmakers who left Hollywood to serve in World War II.... [More]

Adjusted Score: 100.68%
Critics Consensus: Wild Wild Country succeeds as an intriguing examination of a forgotten piece of American history that must be seen to be believed.
Synopsis: Over six episodes, Directors Chapman Way and Maclain Way (The Battered Bastards of Baseball) and executive producers Mark and Jay... [More]
Starring:

Adjusted Score: 100.04%
Critics Consensus: Salt Fat Acid Heat distinguishes itself from other cooking programs with Samin Nosrat's approachable and educational teaching style, celebrating the essential ingredients of a good meal with an international perspective.
Synopsis: Based on Samin Nosrat's best-selling, James Beard Award-winning book, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat is the essential guide to the basic... [More]
Starring:

Diagnosis: Season 1 (2019)
100%

#5
Adjusted Score: 100.162%
Critics Consensus: As emotional as it is illuminating, Diagnosis' deep dives into the lives of patients navigating complicated health care systems is at once harrowing and hopeful.
Synopsis: Dr. Lisa Sanders crowdsources diagnoses for rare and mysterious medical conditions in a documentary series based on her New York... [More]
Starring:

Lenox Hill: Season 1 (2020)
100%

#4
Adjusted Score: 100.217%
Critics Consensus: An intimate portrait of medical professionals that explores triumphs and complications in equal measure, Lenox Hill is as engrossing as it is eye opening.
Synopsis: An intimate look at the lives of four doctors -- two brain surgeons, an emergency room physician, and a Chief... [More]
Directed By: Adi Barash

Dirty Money (2018)
100%

#3
Synopsis: Dirty Money is a thrilling investigative series from Oscar Award-winning director Alex Gibney, which provides an up-close and personal view... [More]
Starring:

Adjusted Score: 100.867%
Critics Consensus: A rare and expansive look into the consequences of unfettered power, Immigration Nation is a powerful, harrowing indictment of the current state of American immigration.
Synopsis: In the groundbreaking six-part documentary series Immigration Nation, acclaimed filmmaking team Shaul Schwarz and Christina Clusiau (2017's Trophy) offer an... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Christina Clusiau

Ugly Delicious (2018)
100%

#1
Synopsis: From James Beard Award-Winning Chef David Chang and Academy Award-Winning Director Morgan Neville comes Ugly Delicious, challenging both our taste... [More]


Best Netflix Documentary Movies 

#45
#45
Adjusted Score: 73.821%
Critics Consensus: Gaga: Five Foot Two offers an absorbing glimpse of its superstar subject's backstage life, albeit one weakened by inconsistent focus and a dearth of performance footage.
Synopsis: In the Netflix original documentary Gaga: Five Foot Two, Lady Gaga offers a vulnerable look of her life during one... [More]
Starring: Lady Gaga
Directed By: Chris Moukarbel

#44

Tig (2015)
79%

#44
Adjusted Score: 46.643%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An unflinching documentary look at comedian Tig Notaro, who underwent a double mastectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer in... [More]
Starring:

#43
Adjusted Score: 51.243%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In 2004, 16-year-old Cyntoia Denise Brown was arrested in Nashville, Tennessee, for murdering a 43-year-old man who picked her up... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Daniel H. Birman

#42
Adjusted Score: 77.341%
Critics Consensus: Biggie: I Got a Story to Tell sets itself apart from other documentaries about its late subject by focusing on his life outside the spotlight.
Synopsis: In the wake of the Notorious B.I.G.'s landmark induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and ahead of... [More]
Directed By: Emmett Malloy

#41

Voyeur (2017)
79%

#41
Adjusted Score: 79.32%
Critics Consensus: Absorbing, unpredictable, and overall compelling, Voyeur is a singularly unusual -- and utterly memorable -- documentary experience.
Synopsis: Gerald Foos bought a motel in Colorado in the 1960s, furnished the room with louvered vents that allowed him to... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Myles Kane, Josh Koury

#40

Pelé (2021)
81%

#40
Adjusted Score: 81.168%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: This documentary feature tells the story of iconic footballer Pelé, his quest for perfection and the mythical status he attained.... [More]
Starring:

#39

Hot Girls Wanted (2015)
82%

#39
Adjusted Score: 38.039%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A look at the amateur-porn industry profiles a young adult actress who discovers its downsides.... [More]
Directed By: Jill Bauer, Ronna Gradus

#38

Quincy (2018)
82%

#38
Adjusted Score: 82.564%
Critics Consensus: Quincy presents an undeniably entertaining overview of its subject's remarkable life and career, albeit one that may leave some viewers wishing it had dug a little deeper.
Synopsis: QUINCY is an intimate look into the life of icon Quincy Jones. A unique force of nature in music and... [More]
Starring: Quincy Jones
Directed By: Rashida Jones, Alan Hicks

#37
Adjusted Score: 83.675%
Critics Consensus: American Murder: The Family Next Door chillingly unravels a brutal true crime story using the near-constant connectedness of the digital era.
Synopsis: In 2018, 34-year-old Shanann Watts and her two young daughters went missing in Frederick, Colorado. As heartbreaking details emerged, their... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Jenny Popplewell

#36

Rising Phoenix (2020)
86%

#36
Adjusted Score: 83.675%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Elite athletes and insiders reflect on the Paralympic Games and examine how they impact a global understanding of disability, diversity... [More]

#35
#35
Adjusted Score: 88.012%
Critics Consensus: Clear-eyed and comprehensive, The Social Dilemma presents a sobering analysis of our data-mined present.
Synopsis: We tweet, we like, and we share--but what are the consequences of our growing dependence on social media? As digital... [More]
Directed By: Jeff Orlowski

#34
Adjusted Score: 60.463%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Directed by Caroline Suh, this musical documentary focuses on Blackpink, the popular K-pop girl group who first shot to stardom... [More]
Directed By: Caroline Suh

#33

The Great Hack (2019)
87%

#33
Adjusted Score: 88.434%
Critics Consensus: The Great Hack offers an alarming glimpse of the way data is being weaponized for political gain -- and what it might mean for future elections.
Synopsis: Data, arguably the world's most valuable asset, is being weaponized to wage cultural and political wars. The dark world of... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Jehane Noujaim, Karim Amer

#32
#32
Adjusted Score: 88.502%
Critics Consensus: As informative as it is entertaining, Get Me Roger Stone offers a close-up look at the right-wing gadfly who helped shape the 2016 presidential election.
Synopsis: After the 2016 election, people all over the world woke up to find that Donald J. Trump, New York real... [More]

#31
Adjusted Score: 89.593%
Critics Consensus: Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold pays tribute to an American literary legend with a richly personal perspective that should thrill devotees while enlightening newcomers.
Synopsis: Across more than 50 years of essays, novels, screenplays, and criticism, Joan Didion has been our premier chronicler of the... [More]
Directed By: Griffin Dunne

#30
Adjusted Score: 89.066%
Critics Consensus: What Happened, Miss Simone? is a compelling -- albeit necessarily incomplete -- overview of its complex subject's singular artistic legacy and fascinating life.
Synopsis: Using never-before-heard recordings, rare archival footage and her best-known songs, this is the story of legendary singer and activist Nina... [More]
Starring: Nina Simone
Directed By: Liz Garbus

#29
#29
Adjusted Score: 91.575%
Critics Consensus: Taking the long view in its look at a military family's emotional journey allows Father Soldier Son to offer a uniquely moving perspective on the effects of war.
Synopsis: This intimate documentary from The New York Times follows one military family over the course of ten years, becoming an... [More]
Starring: Brian Eisch

#28

Miss Americana (2020)
91%

#28
Adjusted Score: 94.263%
Critics Consensus: Miss Americana provides an engaging if somewhat deliberately opaque backstage look at a pop star turned cultural phenomenon.
Synopsis: Miss Americana is a raw and emotionally revealing look at one of the most iconic artists of our time during... [More]
Starring: Taylor Swift
Directed By: Lana Wilson

#27

The Speed Cubers (2020)
100%

#27
Adjusted Score: 60.231%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Set within the quirky, competitive world of speedcubing, this is the story of the rivalry/friendship between the two best rubiks... [More]
Directed By:

#26
#26
Adjusted Score: 92.205%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Following four hopeful competitors' journeys, this documentary explores the trend of Indian Americans ruling the Scripps National Spelling Bee since... [More]
Directed By: Sam Rega

#25

Icarus (2017)
92%

#25
Adjusted Score: 93.185%
Critics Consensus: Icarus is eye-opening viewing for professional sports enthusiasts, yet it should also prove thoroughly gripping even for filmgoers who might not necessarily be drawn to the subject.
Synopsis: A major Olympic cheating scandal is uncovered by accident by an American documentary filmmaker and a Russian scientist, when they... [More]
Directed By: Bryan Fogel

#24
Adjusted Score: 95.271%
Critics Consensus: Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese lives up to its unwieldy title with a delightfully unorthodox look at a pivotal period in its subject's career.
Synopsis: Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese captures the troubled spirit of America in 1975 and the... [More]
Directed By: Martin Scorsese

#23

Fyre (2019)
92%

#23
Adjusted Score: 95.271%
Critics Consensus: Fyre smolders with agonizing tension when a party in paradise goes awry, but this slickly assembled documentary reserves its greatest horror for damning observations about the dangers of wealth.
Synopsis: An exclusive behind the scenes look at the infamous unraveling of the Fyre music festival. Created by Billy McFarland and... [More]
Directed By: Chris Smith

#22

One of Us (2017)
93%

#22
Adjusted Score: 93.274%
Critics Consensus: Harrowing and heartbreaking, One of Us offers an intimate, revealing glimpse inside a notoriously private community and those who would dare defy it.
Synopsis: One of Us explores the opaque world of Hasidic Judaism through a cadre of fascinating characters. Through unique and intimate... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Rachel Grady, Heidi Ewing

#21

Becoming (2020)
93%

#21
Adjusted Score: 95.429%
Critics Consensus: It may not get as personal as some viewers might have hoped, but Becoming offers an uplifting look at a pivotal moment in its subject's public life.
Synopsis: Becoming is an intimate look into the life of former First Lady Michelle Obama during a moment of profound change,... [More]
Starring: Michelle Obama
Directed By: Nadia Hallgren

#20
#20
Adjusted Score: 94.426%
Critics Consensus: The American Meme dives into the shallow end of modern celebrity, emerging with a series of fascinating -- and surprisingly deep -- observations.
Synopsis: With support from social media moguls DJ Khaled, Hailey Baldwin and Emily Ratajkowski, THE AMERICAN MEME explores the journeys of... [More]
Directed By: Bert Marcus

#19
Adjusted Score: 92.432%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: One man has seen more of the natural world than any other. This unique feature documentary is his witness statement.... [More]

#18
Adjusted Score: 96.056%
Critics Consensus: By exposing the corrupt systems which enabled him, Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator paints a disturbing -- and necessary -- portrait of the cycles of abuse endured by countless followers of the charlatan at its center.
Synopsis: BIKRAM: YOGI, GURU, PREDATOR examines the dramatic rise and fall of the controversial founder of hot yoga, Bikram Choudhury. Arriving... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Eva Orner

#17

American Factory (2019)
96%

#17
Adjusted Score: 99.133%
Critics Consensus: American Factory takes a thoughtful -- and troubling -- look at the dynamic between workers and employers in the 21st-century globalized economy.
Synopsis: In post-industrial Ohio, a Chinese billionaire opens a new factory in the husk of an abandoned General Motors plant, hiring... [More]
Starring:

#16

Tell Me Who I Am (2019)
97%

#16
Adjusted Score: 97.653%
Critics Consensus: While it may raise more questions than it ultimately answers, Tell Me Who I Am unravels a real-life horror story to devastating effect.
Synopsis: When 18-year-old Alex Lewis wakes up from a coma after surviving a motorcycle accident, the world is not one he... [More]
Directed By: Ed Perkins

#15

13th (2016)
97%

#15
Adjusted Score: 100.438%
Critics Consensus: 13th strikes at the heart of America's tangled racial history, offering observations as incendiary as they are calmly controlled.
Synopsis: The title of Ava DuVernay's extraordinary and galvanizing documentary refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which reads "Neither... [More]
Directed By: Ava DuVernay

#14

Disclosure (2020)
98%

#14
Adjusted Score: 99.502%
Critics Consensus: Disclosure engrossingly illuminates the history and effects of the way transgender lives are depicted onscreen -- and outlines how much progress still needs to be made.
Synopsis: Disclosure is an unprecedented look at the depiction of transgender people and experiences throughout the history of film and television.... [More]
Directed By: Sam Feder

#13
Adjusted Score: 99.526%
Critics Consensus: Beychella forever.
Synopsis: Homecoming presents an intimate look at Beyoncé's historic 2018 Coachella performance that paid homage to America's historically black colleges and... [More]
Starring: Beyoncé Knowles
Directed By: Beyoncé Knowles

#12

Circus of Books (2020)
98%

#12
Adjusted Score: 99.687%
Critics Consensus: Like the cheekily named store at this documentary's center, Circus of Books proves there are countless stories below the surface if we're only willing to look.
Synopsis: For over 35 years, the gay porn shop, Circus of Books, served as the epicenter for LGBT life and culture... [More]
Directed By: Rachel Mason

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: 102.776%
Critics Consensus: A galvanizing glimpse behind the scenes of a pivotal election, Knock Down the House should prove engrossing for viewers of all political persuasions.
Synopsis: When tragedy struck her family in the midst of the financial crisis, Bronx-born Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had to work double shifts... [More]
Directed By: Rachel Lears

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 95.761%
Critics Consensus: A heartwarming look at the way a meaningful bond can transcend just about any barrier, this documentary will leave you asking your friends to come and see My Octopus Teacher with you.
Synopsis: An unusual friendship develops between a filmmaker and an octopus living in a South African kelp forest that shares the... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Pippa Ehrlich, James Reed

#9
Adjusted Score: 65.951%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When Portland, Oregon, lost its longtime minor-league affiliate, Bing Russell-who briefly played ball professionally before enjoying a successful Hollywood acting... [More]
Directed By: Maclain Way, Chapman Way

#8

Giving Voice (2020)
100%

#8
Adjusted Score: 74.131%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: This uplifting feature directed by James D. Stern and Fernando Villena follows the inspiring students who flock every year to... [More]
Starring: Viola Davis

#7

Chasing Coral (2017)
100%

#7
Adjusted Score: 100.411%
Critics Consensus: Chasing Coral offers a breathtakingly beautiful look at some of the Earth's most incredible natural wonders while delivering a sobering warning about their uncertain future.
Synopsis: Coral reefs are the nursery for all life in the oceans, a remarkable ecosystem that sustains us. Yet with carbon... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Jeff Orlowski

#6

A Secret Love (2020)
100%

#6
Adjusted Score: 101.039%
Critics Consensus: In telling one couple's story, A Secret Love pays understated yet powerful tribute to a lifetime of choices and sacrifices made in the name of enduring devotion.
Synopsis: A Secret Love tells an incredible love story between Terry Donahue and Pat Henschel, whose relationship spans nearly seven decades.... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Chris Bolan

#5

Athlete A (2020)
100%

#5
Adjusted Score: 101.595%
Critics Consensus: Harrowing yet essential viewing, Athlete A shines an unforgiving light on horrific abuses -- as well as the culture that allowed them to continue unabated for years.
Synopsis: Athlete A follows a team of reporters from The Indianapolis Star as they investigate claims of abuse at USA Gymnastics,... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Bonni Cohen, Jon Shenk

#4
Adjusted Score: 101.873%
Critics Consensus: An absorbing and affectionate tribute to a unique individual, Mucho Mucho Amor should prove fascinating for Walter Mercado fans as well as first-timers.
Synopsis: Dazzling and tender-hearted, legendary astrologer Walter Mercado vanished at the peak of his fame. This documentary poignantly explains what happened.... [More]

#3

Shirkers (2018)
100%

#3
Adjusted Score: 102.173%
Critics Consensus: Shirkers uses one woman's interrogation of a pivotal personal disappointment to offer affecting observations on creativity, lost opportunity, and coming to terms with the past.
Synopsis: Shirkers was a Singapore-made 1992 cult classic from teenage friends Sandi Tan, Jasmine Ng and Sophie Siddique--or it would have... [More]
Directed By: Sandi Tan

#2
#2
Adjusted Score: 103.17%
Critics Consensus: Dick Johnson Is Dead celebrates a life with bittersweet humor and grace, offering a deeply resonant perspective on mortality in the bargain.
Synopsis: A lifetime of making documentaries has convinced award-winning filmmaker Kirsten Johnson of the power of the real. But now she's... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Kirsten Johnson

#1
Adjusted Score: 103.541%
Critics Consensus: As entertaining as it is inspiring, Crip Camp uses one group's remarkable story to highlight hope for the future and the power of community.
Synopsis: In the early 1970s, teenagers with disabilities faced a future shaped by isolation, discrimination and institutionalization. Camp Jened, a ramshackle... [More]
Starring:

Thumbnail images courtesy of Netflix.

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