32 Mindblowing Documentaries On Netflix To Binge-Watch On Your Day Off

Just in time for the holidays.

We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us about the best documentaries they’ve found on Netflix. Here are their recommendations…

1. The Drop Box (2015)

Kindred Image

Watch on: Netflix US and Canada

“It’s about a church that accepts abandoned babies into a safe space rather than just leaving them on the streets. As a person who was left on a doorstop in Korea on the day I was born, this hit close to my heart.” —PandaVike

2. Bridegroom (2013)

Virgil Films Entertainment

Watch on: Netflix Worldwide

“An absolutely heartbreaking and gripping documentary about Shane Bitney-Crone and his should-have-been-husband, Tom. It follows their lives and relationship from childhood to Tom’s unfortunate death, the problems Shane has with Tom’s family after his passing, and the lack of legal protection in their marriage.” —victoriam499a4dc14

3. 13TH (2016)

Netflix

Watch on: Netflix Worldwide

“It’s one of the most eye-opening documentaries I’ve ever watched. This should be on everyone’s list, especially in this political climate.” —alyssat4d6f7ffbd

4. Holy Hell (2016)

FilmRise

Watch on: Netflix Worldwide

“It’s creepy AF, but also a wild ride into one of the ‘lesser known’ cults of the late 80’s and 90’s.” —megm4439e010f

5. Tales by Light (2015)

National Geographic

Watch on: Netflix Worldwide

“It’s a documentary series following different photographers around the world. It features some of the best nature, culture, travel, and adventure photographers and offers a unique viewing experience into the stories behind different photos. It’s so beautiful, and a must-watch for anyone who likes art or nature.” —caitlinl4f760722c

6. Who Took Johnny (2014)

FilmBuff

Watch on: Netflix US, UK, and Canada

“It’s about the disappearance of Johnny Gosch. In short, it’s about the police department’s lack of response. They claim Johnny is a runaway, however all evidence points to a kidnapping. Thirty years later, Johnny’s fate is still somewhat of a mystery, but there is evidence to suggest he is still alive.” —nicoles40fa3bdaf

7. Amanda Knox (2016)

Netflix

Watch on: Netflix Worldwide

“By far the best documentary I’ve seen this year. It takes you way deeper into the story than you’ve ever been before. It gives a ton of details and exclusive interviews with people who were directly involved with the case. I would 100% recommend this documentary to anyone who loves mysteries and dark subjects.” —sidneyh460a8d435

8. Audrie & Daisy (2016)

Netflix

Watch on: Netflix Worldwide

“I teach high school forensics. If you have a teen or work with teens, you MUST watch Audrie & Daisy. I found its message on how young women and men respond to sexual assault and the trend of cyber bullying to be so important. It was so wonderful to see my students respond so well to the film.” —slynnh

9. Room 237 (2012)

IFC Films

Watch on: Netflix US, Canada, Japan, and more

“It’s an amazing look at all the possible hidden messages and theories from the film The Shining. It shows just how much of a genius Stanley Kubrick is and makes you appreciate The Shining in a new way. I’ve seen it three times already and each time it blows my mind.” —oliviae43996bfe0

10. Cristina (2016)

Netflix

Watch on: Netflix Worldwide

“I thought it was going to be an uplifting movie about someone with cancer and her fight – which it was – but I didn’t expect it to be so straight to the point. It really changes the way you think about love and living in the moment. You really put your little problems into perspective. It’s not a cancer sob story like some might think: It’s about how you interpret the story, what you do with the information, and how you will live the next day.” —peytonu

11. Beyond Clueless (2014)

Netflix

Watch on: Netflix US, UK, Australia, and more

“As a fan of ’90s and early 2000s movies, the documentary really spoke to me. It discusses the formula for the perfect movie and how each piece was unique and insightful in its own way. It reinforced that these movies I love are more than just white noise.”—elisal469b50a34

12. The Witness (2015)

FilmRise

Watch on: Netflix Worldwide

“It tells the story of Kitty Genovese, who was murdered outside her apartment in NYC back in the 1960s. It was said that 38 people witnessed her being attacked, but no one called the police or tried to help. The guy who attacked her even ran off at one point and then had time to come back and finish her off. Her murder is the reason for 911 being established. It’s a sad but interesting story.” —julesw45bef87c1

13. I Am Divine (2013)

Automat Pictures

Watch on: Netflix UK

“So heartbreaking and wonderful.” —Drew Valdez, Facebook

14. Finding Vivian Maier (2013)

IFC Films

Watch on: Netflix US and Canada

“It is about one of the most prolific photographers of our time who was a nanny and a bit of a loner. Her work was amazing, but she never published anything. The documentary surrounds her amazing work and the search to find more information about her virtually hidden life.” —bethanyp4c7450957

15. The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness (2013)

StudioCanal

Watch on: Netflix US and Canada

“It’s an incredible documentary if you’re a fan of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli.” —alicea4e679cdf6

16. Chasing Ice (2012)

Submarine Deluxe

Watch on: Netflix Worldwide

“If you somehow don’t think climate change is real, watch this, and I guarantee you’ll revise your opinion. It’s beautiful and interesting, but also shows that we need to change something or all the ice will be gone.” —heyrrose

17. The Mask You Live In (2015)

The Representation Project

Watch on: Netflix Worldwide

“This documentary takes a gripping look into the expectations society places on young men and the rape culture it creates.” —Nerdymel

18. The Fear of 13 (2015)

Dogwoof

Watch on: Netflix US, Canada, Australia, and more

“They interview a man who’s been on death row for 20 years. I’m not going to spoil the whole thing for you, but trust me, it’s so worth a watch.” —Julie Dee

19. Reel Injun (2009)

Domino Film

Watch on: Netflix US, Mexico, Brazil, and more

“It’s about the representation of indigenous people in American cinema through the ages. It had me laughing out loud more than once, while still treating its subject matter with respect.” —lisejuhlj

20. Tig (2015)

Netflix

Watch on: Netflix Worldwide

“It’s one of the most inspirational and most beautifully done documentaries I’ve watched. It follows comedian Tig Notaro, and documents her unique journey of fighting cancer while balancing her career on the stage. It’s a very honest and sincere documentary, and you’re probably going to cry at least six different times.” —ambers4d0617b6f

21. The True Cost (2015)

BullFrog Films

Watch on: Netflix Worldwide

“It dives into the world of ‘fast fashion’ (think places like H&M or Forever21), and investigates the factory workers who produce those clothes, as well as the effects that mass production has on the environment and people’s health. If you care about safe working conditions and quality of life, you’ll probably cry real hard at this.”—hannahwilsonr

22. #chicagoGirl (2013)

Revolutio

Watch on: Netflix Worldwide

“It’s about a teenager in the United States coordinating the Syrian revolution over social media.” —avab4d831be9f

23. Somm (2012)

First Run Features

Watch on: Netflix US, Canada, Australia, and more

“As a wine enthusiast I was drawn to it, but after watching this documentary I had a completely new appreciation for wine and sommeliers. Their knowledge of wine is mindblowing.” —kinzeesheib

24. The Human Experiment (2013)

FilmBuff

Watch on: Netflix Worldwide

“It’s intense and dark at times, but I think it does a good job of highlighting things we need to change. It also shows how people are working to fix things and gives ideas of how you can help.” —spacebaerey

25. The White Helmets (2016)

Netflix

Watch on: Netflix Worldwide

“It’s an incredibly eye-opening documentary about the war in Syria. It’s halfway around the world, but it comes to life on your TV through the eyes of volunteer rescuers.” —janemadison

26. Last Chance U (2016)

Netflix

Watch on: Netflix Worldwide

“It’s a must watch! It has everything: real drama, amazing people, amazing stories, sad stories, heartache, pain…” —kamillamargretheebbesenl

27. Bowling for Columbine (2002)

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Watch on: Netflix Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and more

“It’s about the Columbine school shootings, but digs deeper into why there are so many shootings in America. It starts light-hearted but grows deeper, addressing the ability to purchase guns and ammo in stores and speaking with members of the NRA (including Charlton Heston). I especially like how he speaks with survivors of the shootings and helps them try to make a difference.” —JaCrispyGinx

28. Freakonomics (2010)

Magnolia Pictures

Watch on: Netflix US and Australia

“It’s a really interesting documentary that relates economic concepts to situations outside of the realm of traditional economics, from sumo wrestlers to baby names.” —dianamcleod

29. Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine (2014)

Run Rabbit Run Media

Watch on: Netflix Worldwide

“As a gay teenager, it just effected me so strongly, because, simply, it could have happened to any of us. This is an extremely important film to watch for anyone in the LGBTQ+ community.” —Colin Sevely-Ortiz, Facebook

30. Sour Grapes (2016)

Met Film Productions

Watch on: Netflix Worldwide

“It’s about a wine counterfeit who fooled tons of people and cost them millions! It’s so interesting, and has some crazy turns.” —clarem473690561

31. Race to Nowhere (2010)

Reel Link Films

Watch on: Netflix US

“It shows how the American education system is broken, and the damage it’s causing students.” —Rachel Rentschler, Facebook

32. A Grand Night In: The Story of Aardman (2015)

BBC

Watch on: Netflix US, UK, Canada, and more

“It tells the story of the company behind Wallace & Gromit. It’s so heartwarming and will make you smile.”—Drew Valdez, Facebook

Note: Submissions may have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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Ellie Bate is a celebrity reporter at BuzzFeed UK and is based in London.
 
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