THE BEST Documentaries

The Lady and the Dale (Trailer)

The Lady and the Dale (Trailer)

In the 1970s, Liz Carmichael tried to go up against the big-three automakers with her own car company. The three-wheeled, two-seater Dale was marketed as something revolutionary, but as HBO’s documentary explores, Liz was a master of smoke and mirrors, and eventually went down in a blaze of controversy. Drops 1.31.21.

History of Swear Words (Trailer)

History of Swear Words (Trailer)

(PG-13: Language) Nicolas Cage hosts this six-part documentary series about the origins of expletives. Along the way, Nic drops an 8-second F-bomb, and you might learn a thing or two about the importance of swear words in our vocabulary. Coming to Netflix 1.5.2021.

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Death to 2020 (Trailer)

Death to 2020 (Trailer)

(PG-13: Language) Samuel L. Jackson, Hugh Grant, Lisa Kudrow, Kumail Nanjiani, and Tracy Ullman head up the cast of this documentary special to send off the worst year most of us have experienced. It’s from the creators of Black Mirror, so we expect the comedy to be especially dark. Coming to Netflix 12.27.2020.

Eddy’s World

Eddy’s World

98-year-old Eddy Goldfarb is one of the world’s most prolific toy designers. Eddy has invented over 800 toys, including those chattering teeth, the game KerPlunk, and the Bubble Gun. Filmmaker Lyn Goldfarb’s documentary paints an endearing portrait of the man who has brought joy to so many, and also happens to be her father.

Surveying The Northern Lights

Surveying The Northern Lights

Auroras create some of the most awe-inspiring visuals you can see on our planet. SciFri introduces us to Don Fairbanks, a scientist who has dedicated the last two decades to studying these polar lights. His recent research is focused on how they can impact communications satellites and the Earth’s power grid.

Inside Pixar

Inside Pixar

With animated classics like Toy Story, Up, Wall-E, and Finding Nemo to their credit, every animation company on the planet aspires to be as good as Pixar. This new documentary series takes us inside Disney’s famed CG-animation studio to meet the creative minds behind the movies. Premieres on Disney+ 11.13.2020.

The King of Wheelchairs

The King of Wheelchairs

Coolest Thing introduces us to self-proclaimed mad scientist Lance Greathouse. Among his many builds is a motorized wheelchair that packs a flamethrower on its front end. But he doesn’t just build silly stuff, Lance and the folks from the Wheelchair Labs helps refurbish wheelchairs for people in need.

The Mystery of D.B. Cooper (Trailer)

The Mystery of D.B. Cooper (Trailer)

It’s a story that’s been told in books, movies, and articles, but we still don’t know who D.B. Cooper really was. HBO’s documentary shines new light on the story of the unidentified hijacker who extorted $200,000 in ransom, parachuted out of the airplane, and vanished along with the money. Premieres 11.25.2020.

Zappa (Trailer)

Zappa (Trailer)

Directed by Alex Winter (of “Bill and Ted” fame), this documentary takes us deep into the world of musician Frank Zappa. The film features never-before-seen footage and interviews with Frank’s friends and peers to help paint a picture of a man who defied labels and genres and fought to preserve America’s freedom of speech.

The Donut King (Trailer)

The Donut King (Trailer)

Ted Ngoy came to America from Cambodia in search of a dream, and he made it happen. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s he dominated the donut business on the West coast. Then it all came crashing down due to his gambling addiction. Director Alice Gu’s documentary goes inside of Ted’s meteoric rise and fall. Drops 10.30.2020.

What Happened to Crow 64?

What Happened to Crow 64?

The Nintendo 64 is known for games like Super Mario 64 and Star Fox 64. But there was another potentially big N64 title that never came out. In this short film from Adam Butcher, he takes a look back at Catastrophe Crow!, a highly-anticipated game that vanished along with its creator under strange circumstances. Or did it?

John Bronco (Trailer)

John Bronco (Trailer)

Walton Goggins stars in this mockumentary about a legendary pitchman who helped put the Ford Bronco on the map. Among it’s “facts” are how Ford named the Bronco after the man, who became so popular that he had his own breakfast cereal, action figure, and cologne. The 40-minute film premieres on Hulu on 10.15.2020.

Making French Butter

Making French Butter

Butter is one of those food staples that we often take for granted. But at Le Beurre Bordier, every pat of the creamy dairy product is a handmade work of art. Food Insider introduces us to this French shop dedicated to preserving 19th-century techniques, including the use of a spinning wooden wheel to knead the butter.

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Mr. Delicious

Mr. Delicious

Back in the 1980s, Rax Roast Beef was a popular fast-food chain. But the company lost its way, trying to reinvent itself in the face of competition and is down to its last few locations. And then there’s this disastrous ad campaign which certainly didn’t help. The Vlogbrothers offer their take on the one and only Mr. Delicious.

The History of The Joker

The History of The Joker

From his earliest comic book days to incarnations brought to life by Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger, Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Hamill, and Adam West, The Joker is one of the greatest supervillains in history. Warner Bros. interviewed filmmakers, authors, and actors to talk about what makes The Clown Prince of Crime tick.

This Is Home: Jackson Goldstone

This Is Home: Jackson Goldstone

After riding into stardom as a little kid back in 2010, Jackson Goldstone has become a force to be reckoned with on his mountain bike. Ride Shimano and Anthill Films take us inside of Jackson’s world, set against the beautiful mountainous backdrop of Squamish, B.C., which has certainly played a part in him honing his craft.

Lost & Found: Tokyo Style

Lost & Found: Tokyo Style

If you’ve ever lost an item in a big city in the U.S., there’s a slim chance you’re ever getting it back. Speaking from experience, it’s the opposite if you lose something in Tokyo. Great Big Story takes us inside of the city’s massive and well-organized Lost & Found center for a look at how the Japanese respect other people’s property.

Rising Phoenix (Trailer)

Rising Phoenix (Trailer)

Since 1960, the Paralympic Games have provided a forum in which athletes with disabilities can showcase their true abilities. This Netflix documentary tells the history of what is now the world’s third-biggest sporting event, and how it not only bolstered its participants, but dramatically changed perceptions. Premieres 9.26.2020.

Robin’s Wish (Trailer)

Robin’s Wish (Trailer)

Robin Williams brought joy to so many people during his lifetime, yet his own life ended tragically when he committed suicide in 2014. This documentary looks into Robin’s final days and the undiagnosed degenerative disease that may have been his downfall.

Decades of Dance

Decades of Dance

David Chanishvili is a dancer with the Sukhishvili Georgian National Ballet. In order to perform their mix of folk dance, classical ballet, and modern dance, he and his fellow company members must possess incredible coordination, athleticism, and strength. Great Big Story offers a brief glimpse into their talents.

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Happy Happy Joy Joy (Trailer)

Happy Happy Joy Joy (Trailer)

In the early 1990s, the Nickelodeon series Ren & Stimpy blew up televisions with its over-the-top characters, insane storylines, and unique animation style. Now go behind the scenes of the series, and the madness, chaos, and controversy that creator John Kricfalusi brought with him. Hits VOD on 8.14.2020.

Why Daft Punk Wears Helmets

Why Daft Punk Wears Helmets

Part of what makes Daft Punk so iconic is their appearance, with the musical duo donning shiny, high tech helmets for much of their career. Vinyl Rewind digs into the story behind the headgear to explain why Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo choose to conceal their faces in public.

Music & Clowns

Music & Clowns

“He understands how you feel. Probably better than you do.” Director Alex Widdowson’s documentary short film uses animation to tell the story of his brother Jamie, a man with a profound learning disability. It delves into his appreciation for the little things in life, and how his family has adapted to their situation.

Like Hell I Won’t (Trailer)

Like Hell I Won’t (Trailer)

This documentary takes us inside the world of famed comic book artist and toy designer Todd McFarlane, as he busted through obstacles to create his visionary “Spawn,” and then faced a whole new series of challenges after achieving fame and fortune. Drops 7.25.20 on SYFY.

Giant Robot Builder

Giant Robot Builder

Goldthread introduces us to Sun Shiqian, a man whose love for robots has turned into an obsession. In his studio in the Chinese city of Dalian, he has built numerous giant robots, including replicas of Optimus Prime and Bumblebee, as well as a huge, wearable mech suit.

I, Pastafari (Trailer)

I, Pastafari (Trailer)

Despite its silly premise, The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is one of the fastest growing religions on the planet. Michael Arthur’s documentary delves into the absurdist faith, and the efforts of its Pastafarian believers to to be granted the same privileges and protections that other organized religions enjoy.

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