One of the great things about Netflix is that it has brought thoughtful, compelling documentaries to a much wider audience that filmmakers could only dream of a decade ago.
And with binge-worthy titles like “Making a Murderer” just a click away, you can get a lot of great nonfiction viewing any night of the week. You’ll learn a lot more about the world, but don’t worry — you’ll also be entertained.
Here are 14 documentaries we think you should stream right away on Netflix:
Director Ava DuVernay looks at the history of the American prison system and shows how it relates to the nation's history of racial inequality.
The murder trial of American exchange student Amanda Knox (now free) in Italy captivated the world in the early 2000s. Now this Netflix original looks back at the case and gets the perspective of Knox and others closely involved.
Why is Sea World going to end killer-whale shows? It's because of this incredible movie that looks at the abuse these magnificent creatures have endured for decades.
In the late 1980s, cocaine invaded Miami and the world has never been the same. This documentary looks at the blood-soaked era and the people who were responsible.
This powerful look at how the food we put into our mouths is really produced is shocking and scary. You'll probably want to change your eating habits after watching it.
There's a world of gamers outside of those who play 'Call of Duty' and the 'Madden' NFL games. Here we look at the creators behind indie games and the struggles they go through to make work that's different but also profitable.
Director Werner Herzog travels to the corners of the world (including North Korea) to examine the beauty and danger of active volcanoes.
This Oscar-nominated doc by director Rory Kennedy looks at the final weeks of the Vietnam War and the exodus of Saigon by not just American soldiers and diplomats, but the South Vietnamese who helped the US during the war.
Steve James gives a touching look at the life and work of film critic Roger Ebert as well as capturing his final months alive.
This true-crime tale about the murder case of Steven Avery became an instant Netflix binge when it hit the streaming service. Filmed over a 10-year period, it will no doubt prompt your own theory about what's really true.
Winner of the best documentary Oscar in 2009, it gives a powerful retelling of Philippe Petit's illegal high-wire walk across the Twin Towers in 1974.
Jesse Moss explores the modern-day gold rush: Men desperate for work who head to the North Dakota oil fields to find it. Many come with just the clothes on their backs and troubled pasts. A local pastor is the only one who will take them in, but he has demons of his own.
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