There is no shortage of good documentaries but it’s hard finding the perfect one. Lucky for us, Netflix has some incredible documentaries that will leave you wanting more.
But we’re not going to make you wait, here are the nine best documentaries on Netflix, according to us.
Best documentaries on Netflix
In no particular order, here are the best documentaries on Netflix, according to Gizmodo Australia.
John Was Trying to Contact Aliens
Netflix is known for its gripping documentaries that are often based on true crime stories. When something like John Was Trying to Contact Aliens comes along, it’s so refreshing to watch.
Whilst the title might allude to something more sinister or creepy, this documentary is actually charming and a very wholesome watch.
The documentary is about John Shepherd, an electronics whiz who spent 30 years trying to contact extraterrestrials by broadcasting music into space. Although he doesn’t have much luck reaching those who may live beyond our galaxy, he makes an important connection here on Earth.
Unknown: Killer Robots
OK so unlike the others on the list, we’ve not yet seen Unknown: Killer Robots, but it’s on the list because we are absolutely going to (soon, it’s on the list….). The pitch from Netflix is too engaging: “Deep in the heart of the military-industrial complex, a new kind of soldier is being developed. AI-powered robots are changing the face of warfare, and increasingly making their own decisions on the battlefield. This film follows the soldiers and scientists racing to build these technologies, and the activists on a mission to expose their dangerous potential.”
It screams of everything we’ve covered in the past about Boston Dynamics and its cute little robot Spot. With the rise and popularity of AI chatbots like ChatGPT, it’s an important discussion to be had. Watch it with us this weekend.
Oh, it’s got a 100 per cent rating on the Tomato Meter, 71 per cent audience score.
There are two things in life that you know are going to be good. The first is a Netflix documentary and the second is a Sir David Attenborough documentary. Combine the two together and you’re all set for the best night of your life.
Our Planet is one of the many Attenborough documentaries on Netflix but it’s my personal favourite. In it, you get to experience Earth’s natural beauty and see how climate change is continuing to alter the very foundation of nature. We also see how these changes impact not only humans but every creature on Earth.
Although you get to listen to the calming voice of Attenborough, it’s very eye-opening to see just how vast and devastating climate change can be on living creatures. It also gives me some sort of hope that we can still change things around before it’s too late.
My Octopus Teacher
To me, octopuses are the weirdest creatures alive and somehow manage to fascinate and scare me at the same time, especially when I see them in documentaries about the ocean.
My Octopus Teacher didn’t do much to make them less scary to me but it did increase my fascination with them. The Netflix documentary follows filmmaker Craig Foster who snorkels off the coast of South Africa where he encounters an octopus.
If he were me, I would have marvelled at the creature from a distance, swam away and gone about my day. But Foster decided to interact with said octopus every day and learn as much as he can about the creature from doing so.
The documentary is filled with stunning visuals and cinematography that truly took my breath away.
Inside the Mind of a Cat
Now sure, there are other gripping documentaries on Netflix that will scare or shock you but this one is just bloody wholesome.
As the title suggests, this documentary dives into the mind of our feline friends to reveal the true capabilities of cats. There are some moments where I stop to realise the true power of a cat and am slightly terrified of that but other than that it’s very sweet.
It’s nice to watch a documentary sometimes that doesn’t make you question every little thing about life or double-check to see if you locked your doors at night.
Women’s football has currently gripped the nation, so what better time than now to go behind the scenes.
If you are a big soccer fan be cautious because there is so much shit that gets alleged in FIFA Uncovered that will make you question everything you seem to love about the sport.
For context, this Netflix documentary uncovers the shocking and potentially corrupt behind-the-scenes behaviour of the FIFA Federation.
Return to Space
Sure, Elon Musk is the face of SpaceX, but there are so many people who work tirelessly (and probably harder) to actually get the company into space.
This Netflix documentary dissects the space company and the Tesla billionaire while showing the work of the astronauts and rocket scientists and engineers as they race to space, so to speak.
Although the documentary doesn’t go as in-depth about Musk and SpaceX as I would’ve liked it to, it’s still pretty interesting to see the behind-the-scenes of building rockets.
There you have it, seven of the best documentaries on Netflix, according to us.
Pepsi, Where’s My Jet?
A little different to the others on the list, Pepsi, Where’s My Jet is a four-parter that explores what happens when kids take on Pepsi.
A 1996 Pepsi TV commercial promised if you collected 7,000,000 “Pepsi Points,” you’d win your Harrier. It was part of the marketing campaign for the “Drink Pepsi Get Stuff” initiative launched by the company at the time. Seems simple enough, doesn’t it? Buy enough Pepsi, get an incredibly advanced military fighter jet. Pepsi probably wasn’t expecting anyone to take up an offer like that, but one college student and his rich buddy decided to give it a go.
Trainwreck: Woodstock ’99
As the title suggests, the documentary explores the trainwreck that was the Woodstock 1999 festival and how so much chaos, carnage and violence occurred during a music festival supposed to be about peace.
It’s incredibly shocking to see everything unfold the way it did. It’s also super interesting to hear from actual festival-goers, performers and staff as they tell their own piece of history about what went wrong at the festival.
From the management to the weather to alcohol-induced rage, there’s a lot to unpack and this Netflix documentary does a good job of laying it all out.
This article has been updated since it was first published.