Best Documentaries on Amazon Prime [2023]

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What are the best documentaries and which documentary has the highest rating? You must have wondered about different movies and if you can find best documentaries on Amazon Prime.


There are hardcore movie lovers and show lovers and then comes the documentary lovers. There are a lot of documentaries that release every year on OTT and other platforms. There are six types of documentaries – Poetic documentaries, Expository, Observational, participatory, reflexive, and performative documentaries. 

We have included our top 5 picks and other honorable mentions that you should watch and tell your friends too. 

Our Top 5 Picks

We have chosen the best five documentaries based on the reviews and ratings and following is the list that you can refer to:

  1. The Act of Killing (2012)
  2. Illuminated (2019)
  3. At The Drive-In (2017)
  4. I Am Not Your Negro (2016)
  5. All or Nothing: A Season with the Atlanta Cardinals (2019)

We have provided a detailed description of the different documentaries.

1. Illuminated

Director: Johnny Royal
Stars: Teresita Arechiga, Hunter Bell, Eric Bertolli
IMDB Rating: 5.1

This documentary reveals the truth of a group named as Illuminati. This documentary was directed by Johnny Royal and it was released in July 2019. This film works on revealing the origins, documents and degree ceremonies of the Illuminati.

2. All or Nothing: A Season with the Atlanta Cardinals (2016)

Director: Julia Harmon, Jay Jackson, Shannon Furman
Stars: Michael Bidwill, Steve Keim, Bruce Arians
IMDB Rating: 8.6

This series is a collaborative effort between Amazon and NFL and provides an inside look in the lives of different people associated with the franchise.

It allows people to witness the life of players on and off the field and allowing them to look more closely.

3. At The Drive-In (2017)

Director: Alexander Monelli
Stars: Jeff Mattox, Virgil Cardamone, Matt McClanahan
IMDB Rating: 7.6

This movie is based on the lives of a group of people in rural Pennsylvania who cannot afford to purchase a $50,000 projector. These people fight to keep the vintage theatre alive by screening only vintage 35mm film prints. These people worked without any wage or stipend. The release date for this documentary was 20 October 2017.

4. I Am Not Your Negro (2016)

Director: Raoul Peck
Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, James Baldwin, Martin Luther King
IMDB Rating: 7.9

Samuel L. Jackson has taken the role of narrator to present the history of racism in the US. This movie is based on James Baldwin’s Remember This House. It went onto win BAFTA Award for best documentary and was also nominated for academy awards.

5. The Act of Killing (2012)

Director: Joshua Oppenheimer
Stars: Anwar Congo, Herman Koto, SyamsulArifin
IMDB Rating: 7.9

This documentary was released in 2012 and it narrates the story of people who participated in Indonesian mass killings of 1965-66.

This movie resonated well with the regional and international audience and was able to garner praise not only from viewers but also in the form of a lot of nominations and awards. It was nominated for Academy Awards and won a lot of other awards.

We Have Some More For You

These were our best picks. However, we have included 20 more documentaries that are also having good storyline and reviews and these are our honorable mentions for you

1. Chasing Happiness (2019)

Director: John Taylor
Stars: Anwar Congo, Herman Koto, Syamsul Arifin
IMDB Rating: 7.8

Based on the lives of the Jonas Brothers, Chasing Happiness narrates their story from their early days, from struggles of a family to reach pop superstardom. It also reflects the journey of both brothers – Nick and Kevin to take upon the individual roles and built a successful career out of it. It was released in 2019.

2. Human Flow (2017)

Director: Weiwei Ai
Stars: Israa Abboud, Hiba Abed, Rami Abu Sondos
IMDB Rating: 7

Human Flow was released in 2017 and it is a German documentary reflecting the true side of the current refugee crisis. Ai WeiWei has taken up the role of director to direct this masterpiece and viewers go to the virtual journey of 20 countries to make you understand the different aspects of migration.

3. The Endless Summer (1965)

Director: Bruce Brown
Stars: Robert August, Michael Hynson, Lord James Blears
IMDB Rating: 7.7

The Endless Summer is the movie based on the lives of two surfers – Mike Hynson and Robert August. Bruce Brown has directed this seminal surf movie and he goes on to a surfing trip around the world. This movie was released in 1966.

In 1994, Brown decided to release the sequel of this movie to reflect the changing world of surfing. This time Pat O’Connell and Robert “Wingnut” Weaver retrace the steps of Hynson and August. It also reflects how the conditions have changed in the surfing arena since the first movie.

4. Coldplay: a head full of dreams (2018)

Director: Mat Whitecross
Stars: Guy Berryman, Beyoncé, Jon Buckland
IMDB Rating: 8

Coldplay: A Head Full of Dreams is the documentary about the British band Coldplay and it captures its beginning and rise. It was released on 14 November 2018 and was also available on Prime for watching on 16 November.

5. Gleason 2016

Director: Clay Tweel
Stars: Steve Gleason, Mike Gleason, Scott Fujita
IMDB Rating: 8.3

Gleason was released in 2016 and it was premiered at Sundance Film Festival. It is based upon the life of footballer from the New Orleans Saints team and suffering from the neurodegenerative condition. This film also opens a lot of deep secrets about his life and family. The same condition led to the death of Lou Gehrig, who was a footballer in New York Yankees team.

6. Bill Cunningham New York (2010)

Director: Richard Press
Stars: Bill Cunningham, Anna Wintour, Michael Kors
IMDB Rating: 7.9

This is one of the films with the plot that will get you stuck with the screen and it was released in 2011 and production was completed in 2010. It is directed by Richard Press.

7. Diego Maradona (2019)

Director: Asif Kapadia
Stars: Pelé, Diego Armando Maradona, Claudia Villafañe
IMDB Rating: 7.7

Diego Maradona revolves around the life of great Argentine footballer Maradona and it centers on him from the time he was transferred from FC Barcelona to Napoli and went onto win Serie A and UEFA cup. It was directed by Asif Kapadia and was released in 2019.

8. Cartel Land (2015)

Director: Matthew Heineman
Stars: Tim Nailer Foley, José Manuel ‘El Doctor’ Mireles, Paco Valencia
IMDB Rating: 7.4

Cartel Land focuses on the Mexican drug cartel and war for drugs and it also throws light on vigilante groups fighting Mexican drug cartels. This film was directed by Matthew Heinman.

It was released in 2015 and it also gave the producers a run for their money, as it was nominated for academy awards.

9. City of Ghosts (2017)

Director: Matthew Heineman
Stars: AbdelazizAlhamza, Mohamad Almusari, HamoudAlmousa
IMDB Rating: 7.4

Matthew Heinman, Oscar-nominated and Emmy winner director went on to direct an Arabic documentary film in 2017 about Syrian media activist group. This uncovers the realities of people lives in Raqqa.

10. They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead (2018)

Director: Morgan Neville
Stars: Alan Cumming, Peter Bogdanovich, OjaKodar
IMDB Rating: 7.4

This film is directed by Morgan Neville and this film revolves around the filming of The Other Side of the Wind

The film had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on August 30, 2018. It was released on November 2, 2018, by Netflix.

11. Square One by Danny Wu (2019)

Director: Danny Wu
Stars: Danny Wu, Charles Thomson, Jenny Winings
IMDB Rating: 8.2

It was directed by Danny Wu and released in 2019. This movie is filmed around the story of Michael Jackson, who was accused of molesting a 13-year boy. It focuses on covering the new streams of information by collecting information and evidence through people close to the case.

12. One Child Nation

Director: Nanfu Wang, Jialing Zhang
Stars: Nanfu Wang, Zaodi Wang, Zhimei Wang
IMDB Rating: 7.5

This film revolves around the narration of a mother about the one-child policy of China.

13. Andy Irons: Kissed by God (2018)

Director: Steve Jones, Todd Jones
Stars: Bruce Irons, Lyndie Irons, Kelly Slater
IMDB Rating: 8.3

This film takes us through the life a 3-time world champion surfer Andy Irons as he suffers from bipolar disorder and addiction1.

It was released in 2018 and has been directed by Steve Jones and Todd Jones.

14. Gimme Danger (2016)

Director: Jim Jarmusch
Stars: Iggy Pop, Jim Jarmusch, Bob Waller
IMDB Rating: 7.2

Gimme Danger throws light on the band – Stooges and is directed by Jim Jarmusch. It was released in 2016 and it also premiered at the Cannes Film festival. It was a collaborative effort by Amazon and Magnolia Pictures.

15. Generation Wealth (2018)

Director: Lauren Greenfield
Stars: Lauren Greenfield, Bret Easton Ellis, Paris Cronin
IMDB Rating: 6.6

Generation Wealth has been adopted from Lauren Greenfield’s book Generation Wealth and photo exhibition that goes with the same name.

It was premiered at Berlin International Film Festival and it was also selected as opening night film at Sundance Film Festival in 2018.

16. All Or Nothing 2018

Director: – Manuel Huerga
Stars: Sergio Agüero, Txiqui Beguiristain, Claudio Bravo
IMDB Rating: 8.3

All or Nothing is an Amazon Original series and it crafts Manchester United’s progress in 2017-18 season. Manchester United went on to win 2 of the 4 coveted trophies from the season and broke a lot of records.

17. Janis: Little Girl Blue (2015)

Director: Amy Berg
Stars: Cat Power, Janis Joplin, Karleen Bennett
IMDB Rating: 7.4

This film is about Janis Joplin, American singer-songwriter and is directed by Amy J Berg.

18. The Central Park Five (2012)

Director: Ken Burns, Sarah Burns
Stars: Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Kharey Wise
IMDB Rating: 7.7

This film was released in 2012 and revolves around the case of 5 black and Latino teenagers who raped a white woman in central park.

19. No No: A Dockumentary (2014)

Director: Jeffrey Radice
Stars: Larry Demery, Dock Ellis, Ron Howard
IMDB Rating: 7.2

This documentary is based on the life of American baseball player Dock Ellis. It is majorly centered around the alcohol addiction of Ellis and his fight with the addiction until he died in 2008. It was released in 2014 and it was also premiered at Sundance Film Festival.

20. McQueen (2018)

Director: Peter Ettedgui
Stars: Bernard Arnault, Joseph Bennett, Detmar Blow
IMDB Rating: 7.2

McQueen is one of the best biological documentary films on this list and it was released in 2018. It has been written by Peter Ettedgui and it has been produced by Ian Bonhote and Andee Ryder and it is based upon the life of Alexander McQueen.

McQueen is a renowned British fashion designer. It has been produced under the banner of Misfit Entertainment. 

21. John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection (2018)

Director: Julien Faraut
Stars: John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl, Mathieu Amalric
IMDB Rating: 6.6

John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection was released in 2018 and it is a sports-based documentary. It is set at the final of French Open in 1984, where the contest was between McEnroe and Ivan Lendl 


We have included most of the documentaries that we think are best in their league and must be read once. Watch each or some of them and share your feedback with us.

We know that this list is not enough and you may want to add your favorite movie, send your query and we will try to evaluate it.

Do let us know about your feedback in the comments section and we will get back to you with answers to your possible questions and suggestions.

You might also want to check out our other articles: How many people can watch Amazon Prime at once?, How to Transfer Amazon Gift Card to PayPal?, How Do I Dispute A Charge On Amazon?

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