IF you're looking for a new documentary to binge then look no further.
With some harrowing, some humorous and some downright bizarre, there's a variety for all documentary lovers on Netflix.
- The best series on Netflix
- The best movies on Netflix
1. The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez
Thi harrowing new documentary reveals how eight-year-old Gabriel was bound, gagged and made to sleep inside a tiny cabinet before he was murdered by his evil mother and her partner.
The little boy was repeatedly beaten and tortured by mum Pearl and Isauro Aguirre in 2013 because they thought he was gay, and put inside a cabinet they nicknamed the “the box”.
The series doesn't shy away from detailing what poor Gabriel went through during his short life, and it has left many viewers struggling to watch it.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 80%
2. Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness
This Netflix seven-part series follows the now-infamous Joe Exotic and his passion for big cats.
He ran his own private zoo in Oklahoma for over 20 years containing the likes of tigers, bears and 1,200 lions.
The docuseries delves into the controversial and eccentric life of the self-professed Tiger King as he spirals out of control.
We see him come face to face with animal activist Carole Baskin and their rivalry escalates when Joe Exotic tries to hire a hitman to kill her.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 85%
3. Don't F**K With Cats: Hunting an internet killer
This Netflix documentary is about an online manhunt for Luka Magnotta.
It follows a group of internet sleuths as they follow his moves after he shares a graphic video of him killing two kittens.
They follow clues from objects in the room, examining each tiny detail to predict his next move.
Eventually this game of cat and mouse comes to a close as those investigating discover their target has more horrors to come.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 79%
4. Dark Tourist
Dark tourism follows a journalist on his quest to find the wackiest and darkest tourist attractions.
David Farrier visits old nuclear bomb sites and forests associated with suicide in this series.
He examines the history behind the sites and explores why people would pay money to visit the harrowing places.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 70%
5. Reggie Yates: EXTREME
Reggie Yates is back with another award-winning series where he travels the world to explore different social issues.
He examines the climate of homophobia in Russia, what it's like to live as a prisoner, addiction and racism.
The acclaimed film maker sheds light on the ever-shifting global landscape, but don't expect feel good vibes.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: N/A
6. Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes
The docuseries brings the infamously twisted mind of serial killer Ted Bundy into the light for the very first time, with never-before-heard interviews from the “Jack the Ripper of the United States,” himself.
This unique series focuses on a man whose personality, good looks and social graces defied the serial-killer stereotype, allowing him to hide in plain sight as he committed the brutal sex-crime slayings of more than 30 women before being caught in 1978.
While on trial, Bundy received extraordinary adoration from American women, which made his gruesome crimes doubly haunting, even in an era of anything-goes mayhem.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 74%
7. Making a Murderer
After two Colombia students read Steven Avery's story, they thought it would make a good idea for a documentary.
Little did they realise just how successful it would go on to be.
The film follows Steven Avery, who spent nearly twenty years in prison for a crime he maintains he didn't commit, delving into the complexities of the American justice system.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 98%
8. Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez
American football player Aaron Hernandez had it all: a multi-million dollar contract for the New England Patriots, a Super Bowl appearance, a fiancée and a daughter.
So how did one of the NFL’s most promising rising stars end up jailed for life for a brutal gangland-style murder – and on trial for two more?
That’s the question posed by this three-part series, and the answers aren’t as simple as one might think.
What starts as a character portrait swiftly turns into an examination of wider issues: masculinity, the college football system and the NFL’s attitude towards player safety.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 82%
9. Surviving R. Kelly
Me Too ignited a movement that the world wouldn't forget and this documentary traces R. Kelly's history and speaks to the survivors of his allegedly predatory behaviour.
The documentary series exposes the dangers of enabling celebrities and gives the needed voice to his alleged victims.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 95%
10. Louis Theroux Weird Weekends
Britain's favourite journalist heads Stateside to talking to some of the weirdest, most offensive people imaginable.
From the West-borough Baptist Church to The Tiger King, Theroux explores why these people are liked or hated by the majority of people.
Expect to meet America's most hated family, Nazis, prisoners and all other manner of misfits.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: N/A
11. Homecoming: A Film by Beyonce
Homecoming provides an insight into the most accomplished pop star in the world.
Beyonce shows her historical 2018 Coachella performance where she reunites Destiny’s Child and pays homage to America’s black colleges and universities.
The rare candid footage details her journey with creativity and cultural movements.
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating: 98%
12. Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story
In 2004, 16-year-old Cyntoia Denise Brown was arrested in Nashville, Tennessee for murdering a 43-year-old man who picked her up to have sex.
After being tried as an adult and being sentenced she thought that would be the end of the line for her.
However, after 10 years, multiple appeals and new evidence in the form of her own biology and public campaigns she was released.
Now on a new path in life, she looked back at the complexities of her life being a product of three generations of violence against women in her family.
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating: 77%
The emotional story about 8000 pound orcas or ‘killer whales’ as they’re also known.
The story follows the beautiful animals captivity stories and how one orca named Tilikum made international headlines.
After killing several people in captivity, the orca was still kept at SeaWorld despite multiple public pleas to release him back into the wild or improve the squalid conditions for these huge mammals.
The documentary explores SeaWorld’s involvement in orca’s captivity and other organisations that contribute towards this cruel practice.
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating: 90%
14. Amanda Knox
The Netflix Original Documentary questions whether Knox was actually a cold-blooded psychopath who murdered her roommate brutally.
Alternatively, she was just a naive student who was trapped in a nightmare that was not her fault.
The notorious case is explored in depth with interviews from Knox herself talking about her time on trial.
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating: 71%
15. Miss Americana
A raw and emotional look at the life of one of the most iconic artists or our time.
Taylor Swift gives a rare insight into her album making process and her life as a songwriter and performer.
The documentary is candid when Swift speaks of the year she didn't go out and the shelf life of women in the industry,
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating: 92%
16. Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich
The American miniseries looks at the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
It is based on the 2016 book of the same name, where the survivors of Epstein’s crimes describe how he used power and wealth to get away with his offences.
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating: 70%
17. The Keepers
This docuseries examines the decades-old murder of Sister Catherine Cesnik and its suspected link to a priest accused of abuse.
Sister Cesnik taught English and drama at Baltimore's Archbishop Keough High School, and her former students' believed that there was a cover-up by authorities after Cesnik suspected that a priest at the school, A. Joseph Maskell, was guilty of sexual abuse of students.
The series was directed by Ryan White and released on Netflix in 2017.
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating not available
Michelle Obama is one of the most inspirational women in the world, and if you didn't know that before, you will after watching Becoming.
The former First Lady turned her life into a best-selling memoir in 2017 and the docu-series follows the mother-of-two on her book tour around the United States.
The series documents moments in Michelle's life including her childhood in Chicago and her time in The White House.
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating not available
19. Evil Genius
The four-part series focuses on the death/murder of Brian Wells in 2003.
The pizza delivery man robbed a bank with a bomb strapped to his chest and neck, but evidence later emerged that he may have been forced to commit the crime and wear the device.
Despite the subject matter of the series, viewers were still horrified to see footage of Brian blow up within the first 10 minutes of episode one.
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating: 83%
This documentary follows the story of the Navarro College competitive cheer squad.
The episode follows their emotional highs and lows and dealing with being part of a longstanding legacy.
Even if you're not a fan of cheerleading, it still makes a riveting watch.
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating: 93%
21. Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts
This documentary about RuPaul's Drag Race winner Trixie Mattel gives viewers an unprecedented look behind the scenes of what it is to be a world famous drag queen.
Trixie (Brian Firkus) shows the warts and all of life on the road, her rollercoaster friendship with fellow queen Katya and crazed fans.
A must for any Drag Race fans, but for anyone who loves music and human stories about family, survival and comedy.
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating: 89%
22. Paris is Burning
Before Madonna's Vogue and RuPaul's Drag Race there was Paris is Burning
The seminal documentary that brought the Harlem ballroom stream to the mainstream.
If you love Pose or Drag Race then this documentary is for you and a great choice for history lovers.
Telling the story of black and Latinx voguers, this documentary was one of the first to give voice to that community of LGBTI people.
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating: 98%
23. A Secret Love
Make sure you have the tissues ready for this beautiful love story of two women who kept their relationship a secret for seven decades.
Terry Donahue was a professional baseball player in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, made famous by the Madonna movie, A League of their Own.
She met fellow baseballer Pat Henschel and the two fell in love, but had to stay hush about their relationship.
Director Chris Bolan made A Secret Love about his great aunts who kept their secret for decades.
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating: 100%
24. Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey
It takes a super talent to voice and control one of the world's most famous Muppets.
Kevin Clash who is the puppeteer behind Elmo, is that talented as he tours the world with the loveable orange Muppet.
Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey was one of the most talked about documentaries at the Sundance Film Festival when it premiered there in 2011.
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating: 96%
25. The Queen
The 1968 documentary has a cult following and opened to mixed reviews at the time.
One of the first films to explore the world of drag, The Queen follows Sabrina, the 'mistress of ceremonies' Miss All-America Camp Beauty Contest in New York.
Contestants in the drag beauty pageant discuss identity, homophobia and other cultural issues which show the world has not changed so much since 1968.
It also stars Crystal LaBeija from the Paris is Burning's House of Beija.
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating: 96
26. Worlds Most Wanted
World's Most Wanted is a thrilling new docuseries which tells the story of international fugitives that have managed to evade the justice system.
Netflix's description of the show says: “Heinous criminals have avoided capture despite massive rewards and global investigations.
"This docuseries profiles five of the world’s most wanted.”
Each episode will deep-dive into the story of the notorious fugitives and examine how they have managed to avoid capture.
Northern Irish terrorist Samantha Lewthwaite, Sicilian Mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro, Rwandan businessman Félicien Kabuga, Mexican drug lord Ismael El Mayo Zambada, and Russian crime boss Semion Mogilevich all get their own dedicated episode.
27. Trial of the Chicago 7
Trial of the Chicago 7 – which is released on October 16, 2020 – IS based on real life events.
What was intended to be a peaceful protest at the 1968 Democratic National Convention turned into a violent clash with police and the National Guard.
The organisers of the protest were charged with conspiracy to incite a riot.
The trial that followed was one of the most notorious in history.
28. Hot Girls Wanted
Hot Girls Wanted lifted the lid on the amateur porn industry and its exploitative nature.
Released in 2015, its shows how a group of 18 and 19 year-olds from across the US have been recruited by agent Riley Reynolds to live in his home in Miami and work in his films.
Hot Girls Wanted was produced by Rashid Jones, who famously played Ann Perkins in Parks and Recreation.
29. Down To Earth with Zac Efron
Zac Efron swapped the glitzy lights of Tinseltown to go travelling around the world in search of solutions to climate change.
The Hollywood star examined healthy and sustainable ways to live in his new travel show Down To Earth.
In this new series Down to Earth the former High School Musical favourite travels to Iceland, Costa Rica, Sardinia, France and Peru, eating food and learning about sustainability.
He experiences first-hand how food and new technologies are being used as alternative sources to provide for towns and cities.
30. The Last Nazis
A landmark documentary series comprised of three compelling stories regarding the hunt for the last remaining Nazi war criminals.
It first aired on the BBC before being snapped up by Netflix.
The first episode follows Dr Efraim Zuroff in his hunt for the Second World War concentration camp doctor Aribert Heim, one of the world's most wanted Nazi war criminals.
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