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Social & Cultural Documentaries on Netflix

Last updated January 18, 2020

Bones Brigade: An Autobiography Poster

Bones Brigade: An Autobiography

2012 | NR | 4.4 out of 5 Stars

This documentary follows six teenagers who formed a skateboarding team in the 1980s, revitalizing the sport and becoming its top athletes: Steve Caballero, Tommy Guerrero, Tony Hawk, Mike McGill, Lance Mountain and Rodney Mullen.
Details about Bones Brigade: An Autobiography

Bridegroom Poster


2013 | NR | 4.3 out of 5 Stars

Helmed by Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, this illuminating documentary chronicles the story of Shane Bitney Crone, who finds himself shut out and deprived of the legal protections of marriage after his same-sex partner dies in a tragic accident.
Details about Bridegroom

Miss Representation Poster

Miss Representation

2011 | NR | 4.3 out of 5 Stars

Explore how the media's often disparaging portrayals of women contribute to the under-representation of females in positions of power, creating another generation of women defined by beauty and sexuality, and not by their capacity as leaders.
Details about Miss Representation

We Were Children Poster

We Were Children

2012 | NR | 4.3 out of 5 Stars

This emotional film reflects the stories of two people who endured a Canadian program that forced First Nations children to negate their aboriginal identity. Separated from their families at a very young age, they faced brutality and mental abuse.
Details about We Were Children

Hungry For Change Poster

Hungry For Change

2012 | NR | 4.2 out of 5 Stars

This documentary exposes secrets the diet, weight loss and food industries don't want consumers to know about: deceptive strategies designed to keep you coming back for more. Find out what's keeping people from having the body and health they want.
Details about Hungry For Change

Searching for Sugar Man Poster

Searching for Sugar Man

2012 | NR | 4.2 out of 5 Stars

The incredible true story of Rodriguez, the greatest '70s rock icon who never was. Decades after Detroit singer-songwriter Rodriguez disappeared following the failure of his two critically praised records in the 1970s, two fans from South Africa, where Rodriguez was a huge hit, try to track down their idol.
Details about Searching for Sugar Man

Somewhere Between Poster

Somewhere Between

2011 | NR | 4.2 out of 5 Stars

Questions of race, identity and heritage are explored through the lives of young American women growing up as adoptees from China. These four distinct individuals reflect on their experiences as members of transracial families.
Details about Somewhere Between

Ken Burns: The Dust Bowl Poster

Ken Burns: The Dust Bowl

2012 | NR | 4.2 out of 5 Stars

This TV miniseries chronicles the worst man-made ecological disaster in American history, when a frenzied wheat boom on the southern Plains -- followed by a decade-long drought during the 1930s -- nearly swept away the breadbasket of the nation.
Details about Ken Burns: The Dust Bowl

Serving Life Poster

Serving Life

2011 | NR | 4.2 out of 5 Stars

Filmed in a notorious Louisiana prison, this moving documentary chronicles the work of some inmates who find a sense of redemption for their past crimes by volunteering in the jail's hospice, offering compassion to other prisoners as they die.
Details about Serving Life

First Position Poster

First Position

2011 | NR | 4.2 out of 5 Stars

Follow dancers training for the Youth America Grand Prix, one of the world's most prestigious ballet competitions. The stakes are high: their performances will determine the success or failure of their dreams.
Details about First Position

I Am Poster

I Am

2011 | NR | 4.2 out of 5 Stars

In this contemplative documentary, filmmaker Tom Shadyac conducts in-depth interviews with prominent philosophers and spiritual leaders -- including Archbishop Desmond Tutu -- about what ails the world and how to improve it.
Details about I Am

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry Poster

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

2012 | NR | 4.2 out of 5 Stars

This compelling documentary explores three years in the life of celebrated Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei, who uses social media and his art to inspire protests against the state, and suffers government persecution for his actions.
Details about Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

Beauty Is Embarrassing Poster

Beauty Is Embarrassing

2012 | NR | 4.2 out of 5 Stars

Get to know Wayne White, one of America's most unusual and arresting artists, with this snappy documentary that traces the ups and downs of his career. The jovial White discusses his art, strums the banjo, plays with puppets and simply enjoys life.
Details about Beauty Is Embarrassing

Indie Game: The Movie Poster

Indie Game: The Movie

2012 | NR | 4.2 out of 5 Stars

This captivating documentary follows several independent game designers as they painstakingly develop their games and hope for breakthrough success. It also explores the quirky sensibility these personalities bring to their art form.
Details about Indie Game: The Movie

Ken Burns: The Dust Bowl Poster

Ken Burns: The Dust Bowl

2012 | NR | 4.2 out of 5 Stars

This TV miniseries chronicles the worst man-made ecological disaster in American history, when a frenzied wheat boom on the southern Plains -- followed by a decade-long drought during the 1930s -- nearly swept away the breadbasket of the nation.
Details about Ken Burns: The Dust Bowl

Zeitgeist: Addendum Poster

Zeitgeist: Addendum

2008 | NR | 4.2 out of 5 Stars

Continuing the discussion from Zeitgeist: The Movie about the controversial links between religion and the financial markets, this documentary explores the causes of social corruption and puts forth a solution based on human alignment with nature.
Details about Zeitgeist: Addendum

Bill Cunningham New York Poster

Bill Cunningham New York

2010 | NR | 4.2 out of 5 Stars

Living simply and using a bicycle to get around New York, 80-year-old photographer Bill Cunningham tirelessly records what people are wearing in the city -- both out on the sidewalk and in the salons of the wealthy.
Details about Bill Cunningham New York

Food Matters Poster

Food Matters

2008 | NR | 4.1 out of 5 Stars

With a staggering number of Americans suffering from obesity and other food-related maladies, this film takes a timely and hard-hitting look at how the food we eat is helping or hurting our health, and what we can do to live (and eat) better.
Details about Food Matters

Buck Poster


2011 | NR | 4.1 out of 5 Stars

Buck Brannaman, inspiration for "The Horse Whisperer," is revealed as a complex figure in this Sundance Audience Award winner for Best Documentary by Cindy Meehl. The master horseman reveals details of his troubled childhood and his dawning awareness of new ways that humans and horses might work with one another. As Buck learns more about horses, he finds that the ways we communicate with our animal companions offer lessons on how we relate to fellow human beings.
Details about Buck

Ken Burns: Prohibition Poster

Ken Burns: Prohibition

2011 | NR | 4.1 out of 5 Stars

Ken Burns's fascinating multipart documentary examines the history of alcohol in America, including the events leading up to the passage of the 18th Amendment, the social and legal effects of prohibiting alcohol, and the repeal of Prohibition.
Details about Ken Burns: Prohibition

Mitt (Trailer) Poster

Mitt (Trailer)

2013 | NR | 4.1 out of 5 Stars

With unprecedented access, this documentary captures Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign, revealing a side of the candidate the public never saw.
Details about Mitt (Trailer)

Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead Poster

Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead

2010 | NR | 4.1 out of 5 Stars

Focusing on two men whose bodies have been trashed by steroids, obesity and illness, this documentary chronicles the rigorous healing path -- including a two-month diet of fruits and vegetables -- that both attempt in a bid to rescue their health.
Details about Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead

Degenerate Art: The Art and Culture of Glass Pipes Poster

Degenerate Art: The Art and Culture of Glass Pipes

2011 | NR | 4.1 out of 5 Stars

This documentary chronicles glass pipe-making from the origins of the "color-changing" pipe to the radical emerging art movement it has become. Pioneering new glass-working techniques, pipe makers have created a whole new genre of American folk art.
Details about Degenerate Art: The Art and Culture of Glass Pipes

Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey Poster

Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey

2011 | NR | 4.1 out of 5 Stars

Beloved by millions of children, Elmo is a global icon. However, few people know the soft-spoken man behind the furry red monster: Kevin Clash. Narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, this documentary follows Clash's remarkable career as a puppeteer.
Details about Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey

Global Metal Poster

Global Metal

2008 | NR | 4.1 out of 5 Stars

Taking their cameras to far-flung locales in Asia, the Middle East and South America, filmmakers Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen chronicle the continuing evolution of heavy metal and chart its influence on cultures around the world. The result is a revealing portrait of an often misunderstood genre that's found new artistic expression in Chinese black metal, Iranian thrash metal and Indonesian death metal.
Details about Global Metal


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