32 of the Best Documentaries on Hulu You Can Stream Right Now
When it comes to content streaming on Hulu, we have a variety of favorite shows and movies. However, sometimes even our go-to sitcoms and comedies are just not cutting it and we want to opt for something more real. That’s right—we’re talking documentaries.
But we don’t just mean true-crime docs (we still get murder-fatigue now and again). We also mean food films (Eating Animals), biographical movies (RBG) and even flicks featuring archival footage of some of the most monumental moments in U.S. history (Apollo 11). So, without further ado, keep reading for 32 of the best documentaries on Hulu right now.
1. ‘I Am Greta’ (2020)
In the past few years, activist Greta Thunberg has become a household name in the climate change space and in this Hulu original, we discover how the 18-year-old got her start. The doc’s synopsis reads, “Starting with her one-person school strike for climate action outside the Swedish Parliament, [director, Nathan] Grossman follows Greta—a shy student with Asperger’s—in her rise to prominence and her galvanizing global impact as she sparks school strikes around the world.”
2. ‘Minding the Gap’ (2018)
For this small group of friends from Rockford, Illinois, skateboarding is way more than just a hobby. The film, which is made up of 12 years of self-shot footage, filmmaker Bing Liu tries to make connections between the group’s difficult childhoods and the effect it had on becoming adults. The main takeaway? Sometimes friends are closer than family.
3. 'EATING ANIMALS' (2017)
This one-hour and thirty minute doc focuses on the dangers (think: pollution, antibiotics and hormones) of the ways we are currently farming and processing our food. Based on Jonathan Safran Foer’s memoir, the movie follows filmmaker Christopher Quinn—with appearances from Natalie Portman and Safran Foer himself—as they uncover the harmful effects of factory farming.
4. ‘RBG’ (2018)
While we’re still mourning the unfortunate passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, there seems to be no better time to reflect on the incredible life and professional successes of the former Supreme Court Justice. From Betsy West and Julie Cohen, the 2018 film, is pretty much an all-access pass into everything RBG, including a deep dive into some of her earliest cases that Hulu says “changed the world for women.”
5. ‘The Murder of Laci Peterson’ (2013)
This A&E original mini series explores the infamous trial of Scott Peterson, the man accused of murdering his wife, who was pregnant with their 8-month-old son. The series covers everything from the massive search and evidentiary twists to the ultimate results of the trial (don’t worry, we won’t give anything away).
6. ‘Jane’ (2017)
You’ve probably learned (or at least heard) about Jane Goodall's groundbreaking chimpanzee research in Tanzania. However, this 2017 doc tells the story through never-before-seen footage from National Geographic. Even if you’re not into biology or science, you’ll enjoy this one for the endless adorable chimp clips.
7. ‘Fyre Fraud’ (2019)
Technically a true-crime comedy, Fyre Fraud is just one of the two documentaries centered around the failed and fraudulent music festival that scammed thousands of attendees into flying to the Bahamas for a non-existent event. And did we mention this flick actually includes interviews with Fyre Media founder Billy McFarland?
8. ‘Three Identical Strangers’ (2018)
Three Identical Strangers tells the unbelievable story about triplets that were separated at birth, adopted into new families and reunited in adulthood (two even met unexpectedly at college). While their ultimate reunion is, in fact, heartwarming, the siblings’ coming together reveals some haunting secrets about their family’s past. (We’re still reeling over the fact that this one got snubbed by the 2019 Academy Awards.)
9. ‘Margaret Atwood: A Word After a Word After a Word Is Power’ (2019)
Margaret Atwood is the woman behind some of our most beloved stories (we’re looking at you, The Handmaid’s Tale). But how much do we really know about the novelist? This Hulu original examines the professional and private life of the 81-year-old Canadian, told in her own words.
10. ‘Apollo 11’ (2019)
We’re guessing you can figure exactly what this one is about by the title. However, what you probably didn’t know is that this film was created from newly discovered footage and audio recordings from the NASA archives. Seriously, watching the doc feels like we’re back in 1969 witnessing the moment man stepped on the moon for the first time.
11. ‘The Most Dangerous Animal of All’ (2020)
Allow us to introduce you to Gary Stewart, a man who is convinced that his estranged father, Earl Van Best Jr., was the Zodiac killer (you read that correctly). In fact, he even wrote a book about his theory. This feature doc focuses on Stewart’s early life and all of the pieces that led him to believe his father was one of the most dangerous men not only in San Francisco, but in the world.
12. ‘The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley’ (2019)
This epic flick pretty much breaks down all of the lies and deceit that came from Theranos CEO, Elizabeth Holmes. The Inventor features a variety of interviews with the company’s former employees, including, of course, the two whistleblowers that exposed everything, Tyler Shultz and Erika Cheung.
13. ‘The Biggest Little Farm’ (2018)
John and Molly Chester (along with their dog) have made a life-altering decision—to uproot their busy Los Angeles lives and start a farm from scratch in the rural town of Moorpark, California. Lucky for us, they documented the entire experience, and even won some awards along the way.
14. ‘Amazing Grace’ (2018)
We’ll start off by saying that, unlike many of the other films on this list, this documentary is not about the life of a legend, it’s all about the music. Shot from the The New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles in 1972, the film is simply a live recording of Franklin's popular album (you guessed it) “Amazing Grace.”
15. ‘Madonna and the Breakfast Club’ (2018)
While we’re on the topic of music docs, we would also recommend giving this one a shot. While the feature is centered around the pop-icon, its main focus is on Madonna’s early career as part of the band, the Breakfast the Club. It also goes super in-depth into her relationship with her then-hubby, Dan Gilroy (who was also part of the music group).
16. ‘Untouchable’ (2019)
This eye-opening film documents the rise and fall of the convicted and disgraced Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein. The flick focuses on not only how he came to be an L.A. mogul and how he used such power to abuse and manipulate for decades, but also the ways in which his famous trial (which resulted in a 23-year sentence) kick-started the monumental #MeToo movement.
17. 'BLACKFISH' (2013)
This pro-animal film tells the story of Tilikum, a performance Orca who has unfortunately become known less for his shows and more for the amount of people he has killed. With the use of incredible real footage and expert interviews, director Gabriela Cowperthwaite explores the harmful impacts of stealing these creatures from their normal habitat and keeping them in captivity for purely entertainment purposes. Just a warning: This one’s hard to watch at times.
18. ‘Far From the Tree’ (2017)
Based on the New York Time’s bestseller, Far from the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity, by Andrew Soloman, the documentary tells the individual stories of parents who struggle to raise children with unique differences, including mental, physical and social disabilities. You’re going to want to call your parents afterwards.
19. ‘Casey Anthony: An American Murder Mystery’ (2017)
Perhaps one of the most controversial murder cases in history, the 2008 murder of 2-year-old Caylee Anthony still remains unsolved. However, this three-part documentary special not only covered the trial that got her mother, Casey Anthony, acquitted (and outraged the country), but it also explores the evidence in intense detail and even includes interviews from the judge who oversaw the case.
20. ‘The Gospel According to André’ (2017)
The Gospel According to André paints an intricate portrait of the great André Leon Talley. While we may know him as Vogue’s former Editor-at-large, we didn’t know (until this documentary, of course) that he got his start at Andy Warhol’s Factory in the 1970s. With interviews from celebrities and those who know him best, TGATA takes you inside the mind of an icon who changed the fashion world forever.
21. ‘kid90’ (2021)
Feeling nostalgic? Then this documentary drama is just for you. The movie follows Soleil Moon Frye, who took her video camera with her everywhere she went and documented her friends and fellow actors in Hollywood and New York. Quite a few stars appear in the film, including David Arquette, Brian Austin Green, Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Heather McComb.
22. ‘Zappa’ (2020)
After gaining full access to Zappa’s personal vault, director Alex Winter released this documentary to give fans an in-depth look into the late musician’s life. Zappa's impressive career spanned across three decades and he's well-known for his controversial music.
23. ‘Tina’ (2021)
The revealing documentary is as eye-opening as it is heartbreaking. In HBO’s Tina, we look at the personal life and career of the famous singer through home videos, interviews and some archival footage. While it does discuss the horrors that she went through with her ex-husband earlier in her career, it also highlights Tina’s resilience and inspiring rise to global fame.
24. ‘I Am Not Your Negro’ (2016)
Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, I Am Not Your Negro explores America's problematic history of racism. The film, which was nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature, was actually inspired by James Baldwin's unfinished manuscript, Remember This House. It was going to be a personal account of the lives of his friends and civil rights activists, Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X.
25. ‘For Ahkeem’ (2017)
The doc offers an intimate look at the life of 17-year-old Daje and her boyfriend, Antonio. Though Daje is forced to attend a court-supervised high school after getting into a fight, she’s determined to turn her life around. The 98-minute feature highlights common challenges that many Black teens in America have faced.
26. ‘Toxic Beauty’ (2019)
This film will definitely make you think twice before you use your go-to beauty products. Toxic Beauty explores the dangerous, hormone-disrupting substances that were found in some of the most popular beauty items, including baby powder. The movie also includes some additional insight from lawyers, scientists and medical experts.
27. ‘The Price of Everything’ (2018)
Even if you’re not an art buff, there’s something to be learned from this thought-provoking doc. In The Price of Everything, Nathaniel Kahn offers a deeper look into the contemporary art space, examining the role of creativity and passion in today’s money-driven world.
28. ‘Someone Had to Be Benny’ (1996)
Meet Benny Agrelo. He’s a teenager who’s determined to live the rest of his life on his own terms—even if it costs him his life. The terminally ill teen, who stopped taking his meds due to the awful side effects, believed that it would be better to live his last few months without them. But what results is an intense court battle, and Benny has to fight for his right to determine his future.
29. ‘Wide Awake’ (2005)
Take a journey into the mind of an insomniac with this intriguing documentary, which centers on independent filmmaker, Alan Berliner. Throughout this doc, Berliner further examines his sleeping disorder by speaking with medical experts. He also details his own efforts to finally get some needed sleep.
30. ‘Stolen Daughters: Kidnapped by Boko Haram’ (2018)
In this gripping feature, we follow the story of the Nigerian schoolgirls who were freed after getting kidnapped and held as hostages of Boko Haram in 2014. The released girls tell their story as they continue to adjust to life after this traumatic event.
32. ‘The Weight of Gold’ (2020)
This HBO documentary explores the mental health issues among most Olympic athletes, especially during the pandemic, which has left a huge impact on the Olympic Games. According to the official synopsis, the film seeks to "inspire discussion about mental health issues, encourage people to seek help, and highlight the need for readily available support."