All movies aim to give audiences a look into worlds beyond our own, but documentaries do that in a unique way: They offer insight into worlds that weren’t just dreamed up by a writer but actually exist. The documentarian’s camera follows eccentric characters, or unbelievable stories, or chilling real-life narratives that happened in the same universe we occupy. And so documentaries open windows onto facets of our own world.
Hundreds of new and worthwhile documentaries come out every year, on every imaginable topic. But if you’re looking for guidance in selecting a great one to watch at home, here are 15 terrific options that are streaming on major services in the United States right now.
This list is curated by Alissa Wilkinson; it is updated periodically and organized alphabetically. To be eligible, a movie must be classified as a feature film (no docuseries allowed) and beavailable to stream (for free or via digital rental) on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, or HBO. We’ve also included Metacritic scores and notable reviews.