The 20 best documentaries on Netflix India in 2020

Netflix has hit it out of the park with original productions like Jim & Andy, The White Helmets and a trove of quality documentaries ready to stream now.

If you’re after some guilt-free edutainment to wash away the shame from your ritual Married At First Sight viewing, you can’t really go past Netflix these days. There are sobering docos like the streaming provider’s own The White Helmets or the heartbreaking biography What Happened, Miss Simone? If they sound a little heavy, you could just watch the popular doco FYRE, about the greatest party that never happened.

Below we’ve listed our top picks from Netflix’s vast selection of documentaries.

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Survivor's Guide to Prison

Survivor’s Guide to Prison (2018) TV-MA

Documentary 1hr 42min
If you live in or plan to visit the US, you ought to memorise these tips given by prison staff, investigative journalists, cops and inmates who had to shiv to live.

For the love of Spock

For the Love of Spock (2016) PG-13

Documentary 1hr 51min

Directed by Adam Nimoy, this is a moving documentary about his father’s fifty-year journey as both a father and an actor, plus there’s insight into the sort of illogical fan reactions one can expect when they’re a sci-fi superstar.

The White Helmets

The White Helmets (2016) TV-14

Documentary 40min

A truly gripping documentary centred on a crack team of selfless Syrian first-responders who run the gauntlet of daily air strikes in order to rescue victims from the rubble.

FYRE

FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened (2019) TV-MA

Documentary 1hr 37min

The Fyre Festival was billed as a luxury music experience on a posh private island, but it failed spectacularly in the hands of a cocky entrepreneur. Go behind the scenes to find out how.

Icarus

Icarus (2017) TV-MA

Documentary 2hr 1min

When filmmaker Bryan Fogel sets out to uncover the truth about doping in sports, a chance meeting with a Russian scientist transforms his story from a personal experiment into a geopolitical thriller.

Paris is Burning

Paris is Burning (1990) R

Documentary 1hr 11min

Rediscover the burgeoning drag scene of 1980s New York, an era awash with warmth, vitality and voguing posing in the most outrageous frocks imaginable.

Tower

Tower (2016) TV-14

Documentary 1hr 22min

A fascinating recreation that uses archival footage and rotoscope animation to effectively play-by-play in great detail the 1966 UT massacre, which was the US’s first mass school shooting.

Miss Simone

What Happened, Miss Simone? (2015) Not Rated

Documentary 1hr 31min

Classically trained pianist, dive-bar chanteuse, black power icon and legendary recording artist Nina Simone lived a life of brutal honesty, musical genius, and tortured melancholy. Learn more about the High Priestess of Soul.

Chasing Ice

Chasing Ice (2012) PG-13

Documentary 1hr 15min

A documentary about one National Geographic photographer chasing the holy grail that is to “capture the effects of climate change in a single shot”.

Shirkers

Shirkers (2018) PG-13

Documentary 1hr 37min

When a 16mm film about her surfaces, Sandi Tan, a successful LA novelist, goes on the hunt for her eccentric American mentor who vanished 20 years ago.

Casting JonBenet

Casting JonBenet (2017) TV-14

Documentary 1hr 20min

The unsolved death of six-year-old American beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey remains the world’s most sensational child murder case. After two decades of media speculation and public fascination, filmmakers explore the macabre legacy of the tragedy.

Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond

Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond (2017) TV-MA

Documentary 1hr 34min

A bizarre behind-the-scenes look at the incredible lengths actor Jim Carrey went to in order to portray his eccentric idol, the late-great Andy Kaufmann.

End Gamed

End Game (2018) PG-13

Documentary 40min

An incredibly moving documentary exploring the power of palliative care, those end-of-the-road support systems that help bridge the final gap between life and death.

Team Foxcatcher

Team Foxcatcher (2016) PG-13

Documentary 1hr 31min

A home video delve into the downward spiral of John E. du Pont, the multi-millionaire who had a fatal obsession with Olympic wrestler Dave Schultz.

Gaga

Gaga: Five Foot Two (2017) TV-MA

Documentary 1hr 40min

Filmmaker Chris Moukarbel introduces the woman behind the performer, the costumes, the glitz and the glamour. Watch Lady Gaga as you’ve never seen her before.

Gringo: The Dangerous Life of John McAfee

Gringo: The Dangerous Life of John McAfee (2016) TV-MA

Documentary 1hr 37min

The twisty tale of one John McAfee, the millionaire software visionary who reinvented himself from virus buster to Kurtz-esque jungle hermit, yogi, crypto enthusiast and presidential candidate.

Virunga

Virunga (2014) TV-MA

Documentary 1hr 40min

UNESCO presents the desperate plight of the African region of Virunga, a bastion sanctuary for the critically endangered mountain gorillas and surrounded on all sides by bloody civil war.

Strong Island

Strong Island (2017) TV-MA

Documentary 1hr 47min

An emotional roller-coaster ride that examines the senseless police slaying of William Ford and the continuing devastation and injustices inflicted on his family and investigative filmmaker (and brother) Yance Ford.

Hot Girls Wanted

Hot Girls Wanted (2015) R

Documentary 1hr 24min

Filmmakers Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus shed light on Florida’s amateur porn industry through the experiences of five young women in the business.

The Bad Kids

The Bad Kids (2016) TV-MA

Documentary 1hr 41min

A group of Mojave-Desert-based teachers who go above and beyond for a campus of “last chance” troubled youths who are otherwise destined for the corrections system.


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