The 38 Best Documentaries on Amazon Prime

We love a good documentary, but with so many streaming options at our fingertips, we usually end up spending the majority of our night searching for what to watch, instead of actually watching it. Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of the best documentaries on Amazon Prime to help you through this dilemma.

jonas brothers chasing happiness documentary
Amazon Prime Video

1. 'jonas Brothers: Chasing Happiness'

How long is it? 1 hour and 36 minutes

Who’s in it? Nick, Joe and Kevin Jonas (aka the Jonas Brothers)

Who directed it? John Lloyd Taylor

What’s it about? OK, it’s not every day we dedicate two hours to learning about the famed boy band, who recently reunited after splitting up back in 2013. However, if you’ve ever wondered how they went from wearing purity rings on The Disney Channel to achieving international stardom as adults, this documentary will take you through the good, the bad and the ugly. (Warning: Even haters will gain mad respect for the Jo Bros.)

2. 'dior And I'

How long is it? 1 hour and 29 minutes

Who’s in it? Raf Simons, along with celebrity appearances by Marion Cotillard, Isabelle Huppert, Jennifer Lawrence and Sharon Stone

Who directed it? Frédéric Tcheng

What’s it about? The film is written and directed by Frédéric Tcheng and immediately gained recognition when it first premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. It offers a behind-the-scenes look at the debut season of Christian Dior’s former creative director Raf Simons, who parted ways with the fashion house back in 2015. It’s a must-watch for fashion mavens.

3. 'gleason'

How long is it? 1 hour and 51 minutes

Who’s in it? Steve Gleason, Michel Varisco and Rivers Gleason

Who directed it? Clay Tweel

What’s it about? Steve Gleason played for the New Orleans Saints before retiring in 2008. In 2011, he was diagnosed with ALS (or Lou Gehrig’s disease) at age 34. The doc follows the former NFL player as he battles the terminal illness, all while becoming an advocate for helping others adapt to unfortunate circumstances. While it’s unbelievably inspirational, it’s also a full-blown tearjerker. You’ve been warned.

4. 'the Act Of Killing'

How long is it? 2 hours and 46 minutes

Who’s in it? Anwar Congo, Herman Koto and Syamsul Arifin

Who directed it? Joshua Oppenheimer

What’s it about? It gives an in-depth look at the people responsible for the mass killings that took place in Indonesia from 1965 to 1966. Not only was the movie nominated for the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature at the 2014 Academy Awards, but it was also ranked number 19 on the British Film Institute’s list of the best documentaries ever made. NBD.

5. 'that Sugar Film'

How long is it? 1 hour and 41 minutes

Who’s in it? Damon Gameau, along with celebrity appearances by Hugh Jackman, Stephen Fry and Zoë Gameau

Who directed it? Damon Gameau

What’s it about? If you’ve ever wondered exactly how sugar affects the body, you’ve come to the right place. Similar to Super Size Me, the documentary follows Damon Gameau as he consumes a high-sugar diet for 30 days, and the results are astonishing. Oh, and did we mention it is Australia’s highest-grossing documentary film?

6. 'cropsey'

How long is it? 1 hour and 24 minutes

Who’s in it? Joshua Zeman, Barbara Brancaccio and Bill Ellis

Who directed it? Joshua Zeman and Barbara Brancaccio

What’s it about? As two Staten Island natives, filmmakers Joshua Zeman and Barbara Brancaccio grew up hearing about the story of Cropsey, a real-life boogeyman linked to the disappearance of five children. In an attempt to face their childhood fears, the pair investigate the murders and uncover spine-chilling details that will make you want to sleep with the light on.

7. 'perfect Bid: The Contestant Who Knew Too Much'

How long is it? 1 hour and 12 minutes

Who’s in it? Ted Slauson, Bob Barker and Roger Dobkowitz

Who directed it? CJ Wallis

What’s it about? Think you’re capable of winning on The Price Is Right? Well, meet Ted Slauson, the man responsible for helping a contestant accurately guess every answer on a 2008 episode of the popular game show. (Seriously.) The film walks viewers through Slauson’s story, beginning with his childhood fascination with The Price Is Right and concluding with the strategy that went into his legendary win.

8. 'sriracha'

How long is it? 33 minutes

Who’s in it? David Tran, Randy Clemens and Adam Holliday

Who directed it? Griffin Hammond

What’s it about? Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably familiar with the Thai chili sauce Sriracha, which can be found in just about every restaurant and household. While it seemingly rose to popularity overnight, that wasn’t actually the case. The movie explores the origin story of the famed hot sauce and how Huy Fong Foods made Sriracha into an international cult sensation.

9. 'mcqueen'

How long is it? 1 hour and 51 minutes

Who’s in it? Lee Alexander McQueen, Janet McQueen and Gary McQueen

Who directed it? Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui

What’s it about? Long before he revolutionized the fashion industry, Alexander McQueen dreamt of launching his own label. How did his empire come to be? The movie explores McQueen’s life, career and legacy, from his days as a teenager to working as a designer for Givenchy. The fact that it’s told through the lens of his friends and family is just icing on the cake.

10. 'the Tillman Story'

How long is it? 1 hour and 35 minutes

Who’s in it? Pat Tillman, Josh Brolin and Mary Tillman

Who directed it? Amir Bar-Lev

What’s it about? In 2002, Pat Tillman turned down a multimillion-dollar contract with the NFL to join the Army. Two years later, he was tragically killed in a friendly fire accident while serving in Afghanistan. The movie explores his family’s journey to uncover the truth about his death, which wasn’t due to the Taliban as initially reported.

Watch ‘The Tillman Story’ (2010)

11. 'the Line King: The Al Hirschfeld Story'

How long is it? 1 hour and 26 minutes

Who’s in it? Al Hirschfeld, Julie Andrews and Lauren Bacall

Who directed it? Susan Warms Dryfoos

What’s it about? The movie follows the life and career of accomplished artist Al Hirschfeld, who is best known for drawing caricatures of celebrities for the New York Herald Tribune and The New York Times in the ’20s.

12. 'missing Mom'

How long is it? 1 hour and 24 minutes

Who’s in it? Robert McCallum and Chris Byford

Who directed it? Robert McCallum and Jordan C. Morris

What’s it about? Twenty-five years after the mysterious disappearance of their mother, Rob McCallum and Chris Byford are fed up with the unknown. So, they make it their mission to find out the truth and turn to members of their own family for answers. However, they soon unlock secrets that no one saw coming. To say this award-winning movie is “suspenseful” is a total understatement.

13. 'fed Up'

How long is it? 1 hour and 35 minutes

Who’s in it? Michele Simon and Katie Couric

Who directed it? Stephanie Soechtig

What’s it about? Just when we thought we knew everything about our health, this happened. Fed Up walks viewers through a 30-year (and counting) scandal in which the food industry, along with the U.S. government, has been misleading consumers. The documentary provides an eye-opening look at several factors that are contributing to America’s growing obesity epidemic, so buckle up, folks.

rachel hollis made for more
Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

14. 'rachel Hollis: Made For More'

How long is it? 2 hours

Who’s in it? Rachel and Dave Hollis

Who directed it? Jack Noble

What’s it about? Rachel Hollis is widely known as the best-selling author of Girl, Wash Your Face. (Which we highly recommend.) But what you might not know is that she also created the RISE conference, which is designed to offer a supportive space for women of all backgrounds. The movie details her journey to making her vision a reality, and it’s a must-watch for entrepreneurs.

15. 'life Off Grid'

How long is it? 1 hour and 25 minutes

Who’s in it? Jonathan Taggart

Who directed it? Jonathan Taggart

What’s it about? From 2011 to 2013, Jonathan Taggart visited 200 different people in Canada alongside his producer, Phillip Vannini. The catch? These individuals have chosen to live “off the grid,” which means they’ve found alternate ways to create electricity. Who knows, the fascinating inventions might even convince you to temporarily go “off the grid.”

16. 'the Biggest Little Farm'

How long is it? 1 hour and 31 minutes

Who’s in it? John and Molly Chester

Who directed it? John Chester

What’s it about? When a couple purchases a sustainable farm 200 acres outside Los Angeles, they embark on a real-life We Bought a Farm adventure. While they soon learn that cultivating livestock is no easy task, the documentary explores their successes and failures as they transform the farm into a profitable business.

17. 'illuminated'

How long is it? 1 hour and 16 minutes

Who’s in it? Johnny Royal and Josef Wages

Who directed it? Johnny Royal

What’s it about? Although not much is known about the Illuminati, writer and directory Johnny Royal is doing everything in his power to uncover the truth about the secret society. The filmmaker interviews historians and Illuminati experts in an attempt to provide clarity about the group, which has left the public with one major dilemma: Is the Illuminati real or fictional?

18. 'paradise Lost: The Child Murders At Robin Hood Hills'

How long is it? 2 hours and 28 minutes

Who’s in it? Tony Brooks, Diana Davis and Terry Wood

Who directed it? Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky

What’s it about? This movie documents the trial of the West Memphis Three, three teenagers who were accused of murdering three young boys in 1993 in Arkansas. The questionable evidence has rocked investigators for years, so prepare the popcorn.

If you’re feeling adventurous, be sure to check out the next two parts of the trilogy, Paradise Lost 2: Revelations and Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory.

19. 'out Of Mind, Out Of Sight'

How long is it? 1 hour and 27 minutes

Who’s in it? John Kastner

Who directed it? John Kastner

What’s it about? The film tells the story of four psychiatric residents at Brockville Mental Health Centre in Canada, which specializes in violent crimes. Director John Kastner chats with his subjects about their fears about returning to society. Although it’s not the most lighthearted flick, the movie might make you feel more inclined to give someone a second chance.

earth from outerspace
NASA/Getty Images

20. 'the Space Movie'

How long is it? 1 hour and 19 minutes

Who’s in it? Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong and Yuri Gagarin

Who directed it? Tony Palmer

What’s it about? If true crime isn’t your thing, look no further than The Space Movie. The flick is an hour-plus-long tribute to the Apollo 11 moon landing. NASA specifically requested that a movie be made in honor of the 10th anniversary of the momentous occasion, so yeah, it’s a pretty big deal.

21. 'the Road To Guantanamo'

How long is it? 1 hour and 35 minutes

Who’s in it? Ruhel Ahmed, Asif Iqbal and Shafiq Rasul

Who directed it? Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross

What’s it about? In 2001, a group of British Muslim friends decide to travel to Afghanistan while visiting Pakistan for a wedding. When they’re forced to flee to Kabul, they’re wrongly accused of terrorism and thrown into the notorious Guantanamo Bay base in Cuba, where they’re held prisoner for three years.

22. 'all In This Tea'

How long is it? 1 hour and 9 minutes

Who’s in it? David Lee Hoffman, Werner Herzog and Song Diefeng

Who directed it? Les Blank and Gina Leibrecht

What’s it about? David Lee Hoffman is a world-renowned tea expert, who has dedicated his life to finding the best-ever handmade teas. The movie follows him as he travels to remote regions of China, where he taste-tests and learns tea-making secrets that have been passed down for generations.

23. 'the Panama Papers'

How long is it? 1 hour and 40 minutes

Who’s in it? Elijah Wood

Who directed it? Alex Winter

What’s it about? Remember the infamous Panama Papers scandal? Well, director Alex Winter takes an in-depth look at the global corruption incident in this informational doc, which explores the chain of events that lead to the 11.5 million confidential documents being leaked as a result of Jürgen Mossack and Ramón Fonseca’s illegal transactions.

24. '4 Little Girls'

How long is it? 1 hour and 42 minutes

Who’s in it? Maxine McNair, Walter Cronkite and Chris McNair

Who directed it? Spike Lee

What’s it about? Director Spike Lee offers a detailed look at the 1963 bombing of a church in Alabama, which took the lives of four young girls: Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley. The movie uses interviews and archived footage to look at how the incident inspired America’s civil-rights movement.

25. 'dear Zachary: A Letter To A Son About His Father'

How long is it? 1 hour and 33 minutes

Who’s in it? Kurt Kuenne and David Bagby

Who directed it? Kurt Kuenne

What’s it about? In 2001, Dr. Andrew Bagby was shot and killed by his ex-girlfriend, who fled to Canada and walked free with Andrew’s child, Zachary. The movie doubles as a message to the young boy from Andrew’s estranged family, so he can better understand who his biological dad was.

26. 'kon-tiki'

How long is it? 59 minutes

Who’s in it? Thor Heyerdahl, Herman Watzinger and Erik Hesselberg

Who directed it? Thor Heyerdahl

What’s it about? The movie documents Norwegian writer and explorer Thor Heyerdahl’s now-famous journey across the Pacific Ocean by raft. It’s a bit dated, but it did win the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature at the 24th annual Academy Awards, so we’ll let it slide.

27. 'star Wars Empire Of Dreams'

How long is it? 2 hours and 30 minutes

Who’s in it? Robert Clotworthy, Walter Cronkite and George Lucas

Who directed it? Edith Becker and Kevin Burns

What’s it about? If you love Star Wars, then feast your eyes on this behind-the-scenes gem. The doc provides an in-depth look at how the original trilogy was made, including Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

28. 'don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey'

How long is it? 1 hour and 45 minutes

Who’s in it? Jonathan Cain, Deen Castronovo and Arnel Pineda

Who directed it? Ramona S. Diaz

What’s it about? When Journey guitarist Neal Schon discovers Arnel Pineda on YouTube, he presents the Filipino musician with the opportunity of a lifetime as their newest band member. The documentary follows Pineda’s journey to becoming the lead singer of, well, Journey.

29. 'life After Flash'

How long is it? 1 hour and 33 minutes

Who’s in it? Sam Jones, Melody Anderson and Brian Blessed

Who directed it? Lisa Downs

What’s it about? The movie gives a rare look at the impact Flash had on its star, Sam J. Jones, and how the cult film’s success affected his future career.

30. 'the Other F Word'

How long is it? 1 hour and 39 minutes

Who’s in it? Tony Adolescent, Art Alexakis and Tony Cadena

Who directed it? Andrea Blaugrund Nevins

What’s it about? Don’t be fooled by the title, this doc is surprisingly moving. It follows a group of punk rockers, who are facing a milestone life event: fatherhood.

31. 'the King'

How long is it? 1 hour and 47 minutes

Who’s in it? Alec Baldwin, Tony Brown and James Carville |

Who directed it? Eugene Jarecki

What’s it about? In an attempt to understand the mind of Elvis Presley, filmmaker Eugene Jarecki embarks on a cross-country road trip in a Rolls-Royce that was once owned by the singer. (Casual.)

32. 'the Road Movie'

How long is it? 1 hour and 10 minutes

Who directed it? Dmitrii Kalashnikov

What’s it about? If you’re one of those people who can spend hours watching dashcam footage on the internet, we have you covered. This documentary features a compilation of footage taken from populous Russian roads, and we suddenly feel much calmer about our daily commute.

33. 'john Mcenroe: In The Realm Of Perfection'

How long is it? 1 hour and 35 minutes

Who’s in it? John McEnroe

Who directed it? Julien Faraut

What’s it about? The documentary shows John McEnroe competing in the French Open at Roland Garros Stadium in 1984. Shot with a 16-mm camera, the footage captures the professional athlete at the peak of his career. (At the time, he was the world’s top-ranked player.)

34. 'code Black'

How long is it? 1 hour and 20 minutes

Who’s in it? Andrew Eads, M.D.; Jamie Eng, M.D. and Luis Enriquez, R.N.

Who directed it? Ryan McGarry, M.D.

What’s it about? Physician Ryan McGarry makes his filmmaking debut with this candid doc, which offers an inside look at America’s busiest emergency department. Since it details real life-and-death scenarios, this option is not for the fainthearted.

35. 'trouble The Water'

How long is it? 1 hour and 35 minutes

Who’s in it? Michael Brown, Brian Nobles, Scott Rivers and Kimberly Rivers Roberts

Who directed it? Tia Lessin and Carl Deal

What’s it about? An African American couple documents their journey to survival when they’re forced to ride out Hurricane Katrina in a neighbor’s attic. Trouble the Water was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2009.

Watch ‘Trouble the Water’ (2008)

36. 'girl Model'

How long is it? 1 hour and 17 minutes

Who’s in it? Ashley Arbaugh and Rachel Blais

Who directed it? David Redmon and Ashley Sabin

What’s it about? This film offers an interesting comparison between the thriving modeling industries in Siberia and Tokyo. While they may seem drastically different, the film explores the connection that links the two destinations together.

37. 'finders Keepers'

How long is it? 1 hour and 23 minutes

Who’s in it? John Wood and Shannon Whisnant

Who directed it? Bryan Carberry and Clay Tweel

What’s it about? It follows an amputee named John Woods, who is forced to compete for his prosthetic leg after a man found it in a grill he bought in an auction. Believe it or not, this real-life story will leave you guessing until the very end.

Watch ‘Finders Keepers’ (2015)

38. 'project Nim'

How long is it? 1 hour and 39 minutes

Who’s in it? Nim Chimpsky and Professor Herbert Terrace

Who directed it? James Marsh

What’s it about? It tells the story of Nim, a chimpanzee who was the subject of an experiment that resulted in him being raised like a human.

Greta Heggeness

Senior Editor

Greta Heggeness is a California-based editor at PureWow and has been writing about entertainment since 2015. She covers everything from awards shows to exclusive celebrity...
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