Since Netflix became popular, I began to hear people around me talk about documentaries that “yes or yes I had to see.” Maybe I had an idea of different documentaries: audiovisual pieces that can be interesting and educational, but that could never entertain me like a good series.
However, my idea of documentaries changed when various documentary titles on Netflix managed to keep me glued to the television for hours wanting to watch episode after episode.
So yes, in addition to teaching you, a documentary can entertain you. In this article we wanted to gather those documentaries “that you have to see yes or yes”, all of them available on Netflix Spain. However, if you prefer to watch a series, check out our article: The best series available on Netflix Spain (2021).
Best Netflix documentaries
1. The Alcàsser case
This documentary tells us how the media made a show of one of the most famous and mediatic murders in Spain: the triple murder of the Alcàsser girls in 1992.
Narrative of the documentary is structured in six chapters that narrate how the families of the victims and Spanish society lived the case that gave rise to trash TV and the mediation of what should never be mediated for profit.
Míriam, Toñi and Desirée were kidnapped, tortured, raped and finally murdered while hitchhiking to go to a disco. The media told the story from their initial disappearance, until the moment they found the bodies and later the trial of the condemned: Miguel Ricart and Antonio Angles.
2. Tell me who I am
At the age of 18, Alex suffers a motorcycle accident and the only thing he remembers when he wakes up is the face of his twin brother Marcus. This tough and heartbreaking documentary tells us how Marcus struggles to rebuild the memory of his brother.
The documentary is directed by the award-winning Ed Perkins, who has recorded documentaries for such important companies as National Geographic, the BBC or The New Yorker.
3. The end of ETA
This documentary tells us the process of more than ten years of duration in which different negotiations took place with the terrorist group of the Basque Country, ETA.
We will also see what the anti-terrorist strategy was that led this violent group to disappear and end up dissolving. The documentary has access to several of the main protagonists who participated in this process. It is a document of the history of our country that is worth seeing, narrated with great tact and with enough historical precision.
4. Amendment XIII (2016)
According to the 13th amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, there will be no slavery or forced labor, except as a punishment for a crime for which the person responsible has been duly convicted.
This documentary, directed by Ava DuVernay, tries to show that this amendment is not fully realized. Why then are 40% of prisoners in the US black, and why are the chances of a black person ending up in jail so much greater than a white person? Answer is clear: inequality and racism continue to exist.
Those past years in which Martin Luther King raised his voice fighting racism are not as much a part of the past as we often think. With this Oscar-nominated audiovisual piece, DuVernay will open the eyes of more than one to the mass incarceration of African Americans in the United States.
5. The White Helmets (2016)
Saving a life is saving all humanity.” This is the motto that moves the action of the white helmets. But … who are they? They are the heroes of the war in Syria, and this documentary, selected at the Telluride Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival, aims to show us their reality.
A reality in which hundreds of bombs explode every day, causing a sea of blood throughout the country. Thanks to this Netflix documentary you will be able to accompany the white helmets on their mission to save lives. So emotional, heartbreaking and painful, as it is real.
6. The keepers (2017)
And hope. Hope to discover the story of the murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik and uncover a whole story that has been hidden for more than fifty years.
At a time in the American city of Baltimore when priests and religion exercised authority, backed by politicians and businessmen, Sister Cathy was murdered. Many say that he died because he was going to speak, because he was going to uncover a conspiracy plot. The evidence for the murder is also said to have been covered up.
This Netflix original documentary, directed by Ryan White, attempts to piece together the plot of why Cathy Cesnik was murdered. A plot in which the clergy, the Government and the Church will be involved.
What did they want Sister Cathy to keep quiet about?
7. Cooked (2016)
Fire, Water, Air and Earth are the four episodes that make up this documentary series by the gastronomic critic and activist Michael Pollan.
His journey through the four elements allows us to accompany him on a journey in which he intends to show us why “cooking connects us and makes us human”.
Thanks to this audiovisual piece we will understand how the control of fire changed the way that human beings had to understand food; how the microbiological processes of food provide us with nutrients; how the food industry is destroying the culture of cooking; and how a food as simple and ancestral as bread is increasingly moving away from its original components.
You will hear testimonies from India, Peru, Australia, Morocco and the United States that will make you understand and appreciate the culture and art of cooking. Cooked becomes an audiovisual delight that will make your mouth water.
8. The fear of 13 (2015)
Can you imagine spending 23 years of your life locked up in prison and sentenced to death for a crime you did not commit? This documentary directed by David Sington will bring you closer to the testimony of Nick Yarris, admitted to prison in the United States at the age of 19, accused of a murder he never committed.
The harshness of the story lived by the main character, the photography and the music will keep you glued to the screen, and even make you forget at times that you are viewing a real story. How did spending 23 years in prison affect Nick Yarris? What did you do while you were in prison? How did they find out that he was innocent? The fear of 13 has all the answers.
9. Hot girls wanted: Turned On (2017)
If you look back twenty years or so, you will realize that technology has transformed our lives. Technological devices are so incorporated into our daily lives that nothing is the same: the way we communicate, the way we work, order a taxi or food at home, buy, pay, make transfers, and even from… watching porn.
Hot girls wanted: Turned On , returns to the fray after the success of Hot Girls Wanted , as a documentary series that aims to publicize and understand the world of porn in the era of new technologies.
The documentary, produced by Rashida Jones, Ronna Gradus and Jill Bauer, delves into the history of different characters who will try to reflect how the Internet has revolutionized porn and with it their lives within the pornographic industry.
The impartiality of the testimonies, the ability to make you empathize with all its characters and to make you understand the current porn situation, helps us understand why Hot girls wanted: Turned on has been part of the official selection of the Sundance Film Festival 2017 .
10. Super size me (2004)
In 2004 Morgan Spurlock wrote, produced, directed and starred in the documentary Super size me , also known as Get Fat in Latin America, in which he aimed to demonstrate the harmful health effects of abusing junk food.
To do this, Morgan Spurlock performs an experiment: for thirty days in a row, you can only eat food at McDonald’s. The rules are as follows:
Rule 1: You will only choose the super size (extra large) size when it is offered to you.
Rule 2: You can only eat food and beverages sold at McDonald’s, including water.
Rule 3: You must eat everything on the menu at least once a day.
Rule 4: You may not skip any of the three daily meals.
Super Size me turns into a scathing critic of the fast food industry, pointing directly at it as the cause of the spread of obesity in the US.
11. Icarus (2017)
Icarus is the long documentary thanks to which Netflix has won its first Oscar. Directed by the playwright and amateur cyclist Bryan Fogel, Icarus launches himself to investigate integrity in elite sport.
Is there still doping documentaries ?
It all begins as an experiment in which the cyclist himself tries to skip different types of doping controls guided by the former director of Russia’s anti-doping testing laboratory, Grigory Rodchenkov.
Plot will take a 180-degree turn when the doping scandal in Russia is uncovered, in which the former director of the laboratory, despite being involved, will speak openly, becoming a common thread of the documentary.
His statements, added to the investigations carried out in Icarus, will put the entire system to the test, including sectors of politics.
12. The propaganda game (2015)
Propaganda game is a gift. Its director, Álvaro Longoria, offers us a trip to the most hermetic country in the world: North Korea. Director delves into the North Korean regime to show the world the propaganda manipulation system used by the North Korean rulers.
To do this, it will have the collaboration of Alejandro Cao de Benós, the only Spaniard who works with the North Korean government. The expat claims to be proud to be at the forefront of the propaganda war that is discussed in the documentary. Propaganda game will open your eyes to a reality that cries out to be discovered: the propaganda game, both internal and external.
Did you know the situation in North Korea?
13. Audrie and Daisy (2016)
Documentary Audrie and Daisy collects two testimonies that are as chilling as they are necessary in our society. The story of these two women, who in addition to being raped, were harassed on social media and in their town, shows us how machismo still continues to claim more and more victims every day.
Way in which these sexist crimes are recorded with smartphones and posted on the networks or passed through WhatsApp groups is, according to the directors, a way of pointing the finger at the victim, ridiculing her and blaming her for the crime of which has been a victim.
Directors, Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk, intend to reflect on how the Internet is capable of turning a private crime into a form of public punishment towards the victim. Documentary makes you writhe in frustration as you watch Audrie and Daisy suffer cyberbullying , humiliation and even threats. The reason? Having been raped.
14. Wild wild country: sects against radicals
This six-part documentary series tells the story of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and how, settling in a small town in Oregon, USA, he and his group are rejected by the locals. Reason? The guru and his followers form a religious sect that invites them to nudism, orgies and the hippy life that obviously clashes with the conservative ideals of the townspeople.
Documentary, based on the 80s, takes a turn to become not a criticism of the sect and fanaticism, but a criticism of intolerance and violence by locals against the new.
15. ‘Gaga: five foot two’: the intimacy of the diva
Netflix has previously surprised us with documentaries that bring us closer to the day of the life of such well-known superstars as, in this case, Lady Gaga.
Singer allows Netflix cameras to approach her in order to show us what her life is like and to show that she wants to become an example of diversity, tolerance and respect.
Thanks to Chris Moukarbel, creator of the documentary, we will be able to see with Gaga’s eyes how she experiences the launch of her new album, what her rehearsals are for the famous American Super Bowl and how she interacts with her colleagues.
16. Casting JonBenet (2017)
This documentary brings us in a rather labyrinthine way to the process of recording a film that never came into being that intended to narrate the case of the murder of Jon Benet, a six-year-old girl who was murdered twenty years ago.
It was in 1996 when the girl, a child beauty queen, was found murdered in her home, with signs of having been raped. It was an incredibly media event that inspired the creation of books and movies.
Documentary helps us understand how the neighbors (who are actors) lived the event when it happened in Boulder, Colorado. The documentary does not try to address what happened at any time, nor does it try to find out who the murderer was. Simply, in a somewhat baroque way, it tries to recreate what life was like for people who were close to crime, and what it is like now, after more than twenty years.
17. Amanda Knox (2016)
We like real crime stories and the proof of this is that there are documentaries like Making a murderer, Casting JonBenet or this one by Amanda Knox. This black chronicle aims to record how this genre is defined according to the time and place where the event takes place. In this case, we will get closer to the murder of the American Meredith Kercher, who in 2007 was murdered while studying at the University of Peruggia, Italy.
All eyes turn to Amanda Knox, her roommate, who along with her boyfriend and another young man known to the victim, were charged with Meredith’s murder. It was a very media case for the unusual behavior of the young woman, showing cold when talking about the murder of her partner, kissing with her boyfriend at the scene of the crime and acting impassive at all times.
After spending four years in jail, after a review of the sentence, the young woman was acquitted. Two years later, the Court ordered the trial to be repeated, but Amanda refused to return to Italy, alleging all the non-pecuniary damage she had suffered. She was again found guilty and acquitted again a year later after an appeal filed. The ruling speaks of a chaotic investigation, with DNA contamination, omissions and failures so decisive that they led to the conviction of the wrong person.
Have you ever wondered what impact the meat industry has on our planet? This documentary directed and produced by Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn aims to explain and above all to raise awareness about the harmfulness of this industry.
However, the documentary does not stop there. In addition to investigating how livestock harms the environment, Cowspiracy will investigate different environmental policies of organizations such as Greenpeace, Sierra Club, Sufrider Foundation or Rainforest Action Network.
A very necessary documentary, capable of raising awareness and making you wonder if it is really more important that you eat meat or the well-being of your planet.
19. An ocean of plastic
An Ocean of Plastic is as necessary a documentary as Cowspirancy’s. The name of the film is quite intuitive: what it comes to show us is the overflowing amount of plastic that lodges in the oceans and how this can end up being deadly for hundreds of species.
In the documentary we will see the journalist Craig Leeson investigating. A team of divers and scientists will descend to the depths of the oceans in twenty different locations over four years. The results they have to show us are devastating and very worrying. Best of all is that you see with your own eyes the reality that Plastic Ocean wants to show us.
20. Up to the teeth
Police corruption in Mexico is one of the issues that most concerns the population. It was in 2010 when the government of Mexico announced the death of two armed hitmen, however, it ended up proving that they were two innocent students from the technological university of Monterrey. Both were tortured and killed by the government military.
This documentary aims to do justice by remembering the dramatic end of both young people and condemning the unjustifiable actions of the government.
21. She is beautiful when she is angry
Feminism is one of the most important and necessary social movements in our current society, therefore, it is not surprising that you are interested in learning more about the subject thanks to a good documentary on feminism.
She’s beautiful when she is angry is a work by Mary Dore that takes us back to the moment when the feminist Second Wave was born in the 70s. The women who appear in the documentary show us how they fought for women’s rights back then. His activism certainly contributed to the much-needed change. Its history deserves to be studied.
22. Night Stalker
This creepy documentary follows a merciless serial killer. Its victims are both children and old women. The testimonies of the victims and the police will bring you closer to how this fearsome murderer could be captured. How to watch a Netflix documentary if it is not available in your country If you live outside of Spain and one of these Netflix documentaries is not available in your country, don’t worry!
You can use a VPN connection, which in addition to providing you with security and anonymity, allows you to change your IP address. By changing your IP address you will be able to select the country from which you wish to connect, that is, if the documentary you want to see is only available in Spain, you will have to choose an IP address located in Spain.
If you are not sure what a VPN is or how it works, you can read our specific article on VPN. If what you need to know is which VPN is best for you, you can take a look at our lists of: the 10 best VPNs of 2018 and the 5 best free VPNs of 2018 If you liked our selection of the best Netflix documentaries, then you will also like our list of the best Netflix movies and the best Netflix series.