20 Best Documentaries On Netflix Australia In 2023
— Updated on 8 May 2023

20 Best Documentaries On Netflix Australia In 2023

— Updated on 8 May 2023
Chris Singh
Chris Singh

Out of all the streaming services out there right now, none shine brighter than Netflix when it comes to good, original documentaries. Whether it’s archival footage with present day interviews, or innovative takes on the traditional documentary feature, Netflix Australia is packed with great documentaries that help make the platform much more than a hub for consuming content.

With a variety of topics that span famous cons and scams, mental health advocacy and flight crash investigations, you’ve got a strong selection when you’re browsing for the best documentaries on Netflix Australia.

To help you narrow in on a few that are well worth watching, we’ve done the hard yards and put together our list of the best Netflix documentaries. One’s that we have personally enjoyed over the years and have ended up discussing the most.

Check out our other guides to what to watch on Netflix Australia:

How Boss Hunting Chose The Best Netflix Documentaries

A man sitting on a rock

Simple answer, simple question. We watched them. All of them. Not every documentary on Netflix Australia sticks well. Some start interesting and fumble hard towards the end. Some just refuse to land and go off on all sorts of non-sensical tangents. And just make you feel like you’re sitting in a dull uni lecture listening to some witless textbook jockey bore you with dry education.

Then there are some that really peel back the kind of curtains you want to take a peek behind. Whether it’s a strong nature documentary narrated so beautifully by global treasure David Attenborough, or a tale of true crime that’s so ridiculous and consulted it feels like a Wes Anderson movie. Netflix is still king when it comes to curating these wonderfully diverse, deeply fascinating documentaries that you’d never stop talking about. So we took it upon ourselves to watch them all, discuss them in the office and simply bring you our favourites.

When you’re done watching John Wick for the umpteenth and you’ve already burned through the best shows on Netflix Australia, turn your attention towards these pieces. They’ll not only bolster your knowledge about the world but they are just as entertaining, if not more so, than any single piece of fictionalised content you can find across your stack of streaming service subscriptions.

For more on Boss Hunting’s editorial policy please click here.

Best Documentaries On Netflix – Table Of Contents [Not Ranked]

  1. Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened
  2. My Octopus Teacher
  3. Formula 1: Drive to Survive
  4. The Last Dance
  5. The Tinder Swindler
  6. Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond
  7. David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet
  8. Downfall: The Case Against Boeing
  9. Stutz
  10. 13th
  11. The Great Hack
  12. Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem & Madness
  13. Keith Richards: Under The Influence
  14. Sherpa
  15. Our Father
  16. The Social Dilemma
  17. Worst Roommate Ever
  18. The White Helmets
  19. Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed
  20. Money Shot: The Porn Hub Story

The Best Documentaries On Netflix Australia To Stream In 2023

1. Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened (2019)

Fyre Festival is one of the best documentaries on Netflix Australia.
IMDb Rating: 7.2
Director: Chris Smith
Producers: Chris Smith, Mick Purzycki, Danny Gabai
Runtime: 1 hour 37 minutes
Genre: True crime
Watch Now

Billy McFarland and Ja Rule, promoters of the notoriously chaotic Fyre Festival, are put in the spotlight as Chris Smith investigates the ins and outs of the failed music festival. This headline-making fallout resulted in the kind of car-wreck fascination that makes Netflix documentaries like this so intensely watchable.

One of the weirdest and most of-the-moment cons of our time is detailed from top to bottom in this insightful piece, which has event producer Andy King admitting just what he was willing to do at Bahamian customs to get some water for the event.

It’s a fairly short documentary compared to some of the other features on this list, which is probably why Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened is so accessible to a wider audience.

2. My Octopus Teacher (2020)

Best Netflix Documentaries - My Octopus Teacher
IMDb Rating: 8.1
Director: PIppa Ehrlrich, James Reed
Producers: Craig Foster
Runtime: 1 hour 30 minutes
Genre: Wildlife documentary
Watch Now

Pippa Ehrlich and James Reed managed to turn in one of the more emotionally affecting documentary feature films on Netflix Australia with My Octopus Teacher. The story follows presenter, producer and filmmaker Craig Foster, who builds an unlikely bond with a shy Octopus living in a South African kept forest.

Sharp, resonant and deeply compassionate, the compelling story of man’s bond with wildlife is often referred to as the single best documentary on Netflix Australia, even when considering the services love of a good true crime documentary. It’s typically these kinds of personal stories that make for the best Netflix documentaries, so consider this a prime example of what kind of documentary does well in modern pop culture.

3. Formula 1: Drive To Survive (2019)

netflix f1 drive to survive season 3 release date trailer
IMDb Rating: 8.6
Producers: James Gay-Rees, Paul Martin
Genre: Sports docuseries
Watch Now

While it’s not a documentary feature, F1: Drive to Survive is an ongoing dramatic docuseries that absolutely belongs on this round-up of the best documentaries on Netflix Australia.

Now five seasons strong, Drive to Survive is responsible for restoring popularity to Formula 1, following some of the sport’s greatest personalities both on and off the track, such as Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo, Lewis Hamilton, Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc.

Even if you aren’t an F1 fan, this docuseries is definitely worth a watch, fast becoming one of the more engaging choices when you’re thinking of what to watch on Netflix Australia.

4. The Last Dance (2020)

A group of baseball players standing on top of each other
IMDb Rating: 9.1
Producers: Json Hehir
Genre: Sports docuseries
Watch Now

The Last Dance arguably kickstarted Netflix’s obsession with sports documentaries, winning all sorts of awards and playing on NBA nostalgia as director Jason Hehir tracks the unimpeachable career of Michael Jordan.

The big man’s final season with the Chicago Bulls is the primary subject of this documentary series and it’s full of all sorts of highs and lows. Hehir has plenty to work with, providing much insight into Jordan as well as his relationship with Dennis Rodman, Scottie Pippen, Phil Jackson and Steve Kerr.

Plenty of never before seen footage is used to build up what is one of the most insightful sports documentaries ever made. It’s an absolute must for NBA fans and just about anyone with an interest in the sport.

5. The Tinder Swindler (2022)

The Tinder Swindler is one of the best documentaries on Netflix Australia right now.
IMDb Rating: 7.1
Director: Felicity Morris
Producers: Bernadette Higgins
Runtime: 1 hour 54 minutes
Genre: True Crime documentary
Watch Now

The Tinder Swindler follows the true story of an Israeli conman, Simon Leviev (born Shimon Hayut) who used Tinder to prey on young girls and extort money from them to support his outrageously lush lifestyle.

Not only does it touch on emotional and financial abuse but it shows how dangerous dating apps can be for young women in particular, refusing to hold any punches as it dips into just how deep Levieve’s insidious manipulation ran and how he managed to get away with it for so long.

The film’s director, British documentarian Felicity Morris doubles down on the punishing detail here, making this a disturbing true crime documentary that’s much different to the usual murder mystery.

6. Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond (2017)

Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond is streaming now on Netflix Australia.
IMDb Rating: 7.6
Director: Chris Smith
Producers: VICE Films
Runtime: 1 hour 34 minutes
Genre: Hollywood documentary
Watch Now

An intense character study into a legendary actor’s intense method acting and where it took him. Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond, handled so brilliantly by Chris Smith, tracks Jim Carrey’s complete transformation into performance artist and comedian Andy Kaufman during the filming of Man on the Moon.

Around 100 hours of footage from the set was taken and turned into one of the most insightful and genuinely interesting essays on acting that you’d find on Netflix. It’s a must watch, especially if you hold a deep fascination with the art of thespianism.

7. David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet (2020)

David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet is one of the best documentaries on Netflix Australia.
IMDb Rating: 8.9
Director: Jonathan Hughes, Keith Scholey, Alastair Fothergill
Cinematography Gavin Thurston
Runtime: 1 hour 23 minutes
Genre: Nature documentary
Watch Now

The man with the most soothing voice in the world has given us some of the greatest documentaries in history and A Life On Our Planet is absolutely no exception.

If you’re familiar with the work of David Attenborough then you’ll already know what to expect here – visceral, profound essays of the natural world as this particular documentary film chronicles and distills Attenborough’s sense of urgency and the importance of exploring our vast planet.

8. Downfall: The Case Against Boeing (2022)

Downfall: The Case Against Boeing is streaming on Netflix Australia.
IMDb Rating: 7.4
Director: Rory Kennedy
Producer Rory Kennedy, Keven McAlester, Mark Bailey, Justin Wilkes, Sara Bernstein, Amanda Rohlke, Brian Grazer
Runtime: 1 hour 29 minutes
Genre: Aviation documentary
Watch Now

Director Rory Kennedy busts the case wide open for Downfall: The Case Against Boeing, delivering a concise and exacting documentary for aviation geeks. The 2022 feature chronicles the events that led to the crashes of the Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, both of which involved the Boeing 737 MAX.

It’s a damning investigation – the type that always makes for the best Netflix documentaries.

9. Stutz (2022)

Stutz is now streaming on Netflix Australia.
IMDb Rating: 7.8
Director: Rory Kennedy
Producer Rooney Mara, James Wilson, Nicholas Ramirez
Runtime: 1 hour 36 minutes
Genre: Mental health documentary
Watch Now

Stutz is one of the most interesting documentaries on Netflix right now, steered so confidently by Jonah Hill as he sits down with his long-time therapist, Phil Stutz. Together, they present a deep dive into mental health and explore how complex and deeply flawed the current culture still is when it comes to mental health stigma.

Not only does Hill expose many elements of his personal life in order to explore his therapist’s sometimes unconventional ways in dealing with mental illness, but he grounds the eye opening documentary in something intensely relatable and resonant.

For many, it’s the best documentary feature you’d find on Netflix right now. I’d personally say it’s also the most important.

10. 13th (2016)

13th is now streaming on Netflix Australia.
IMDb Rating: 8.2
Director: Ava DuVernay
Producer Netflix, Forward Movement, Kandoo Films
Runtime: 1 hour 40 minutes
Genre: Sociopolitical documentary
Watch Now

The ferociously talented Ava DuVernay (When They See Us, Selma) turns her hand to direct and incisive documentaries with 13th. The prison-industrial complex is prodded wide open by this riveting documentary feature, which explores the deep and troubling history of racial inequality in the USA and in particular looks at the criminalisation of African-Americans.

Anyone with even a surface-level interest in sociology and criminology needs to watch this one. It’s affecting, brilliantly made, and a damning look at a cracked criminal justice system that completely validates the indignation many still hold towards the unfair treatment of African-Americans by the law.

11. The Great Hack (2019)

The Great Hack is a good documentary to watch on Netflix.
IMDb Rating: 7.0
Director: Karim Amer, Jehane Noujaim
Producer Karim Amer, Jehane Noujaim, Pedro Kos, Geralyn Dreyfous, Judy Korin
Runtime: 1 hour 40 minutes
Genre: Political documentary
Watch Now

Karim Amber and Jehane Noujaim explore the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal in 2019’s The Great Hack. Through the eyes of Professor David Carroll, ex-Cambridge Analytica Business Development Director Brittany Kaiser and investigative journalist Carole Cadwalladr, this feature is able to really get at the disturbing intersection of social media, data and the politics of various countries.

And while it’s not quite as accessible to a wider audience as say something like Tiger King or Worst Roommate Ever, The Great Hack is easily one of the greatest pieces of investigative journalism you’ll find on Netflix, with greater implications than any true crime piece could have.

12. Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem & Madness (2020)

tiger king pic
IMDb Rating: 7.5
Director: Eric Goode; Rebecca Chaiklin
Producer Damien Drake
Genre: True crime documentary
Watch Now

Tiger King just may be the documentary that started it all for Netflix. By “all” I mean the popularity of this incredibly oddball case of murder, eccentricity and big cat breeding spurred Netflix to keep digging up these shocking true crime stories with no end in sight, constantly uncovering whatever crime had the best chance to go viral.

And Tiger King went viral.

Not only is this documentary, handled so well by directors Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin, powered by some of the most insanely unique characters you’ll find in any true crime documentary, but it’s a fascinating look at the criminal underworld of muder-for-hire and the complexities of breeding cats. That’s a sentence that won’t describe anything in history but this one-of-one situation.

13. Keith Richards: Under The Influence (2015)

IMDb Rating: 7.1
Director: Morgan Neville
Producer Morgan Neville, Justin Wilkes, Jane Rose, Sara Enright
Runtime: 1 hour 21 minutes
Genre: Music documentary
Watch Now

Despite musicians serving as hot topics for documentaries for decades now, you won’t find many intense character studies on legendary artists when you’re browsing Netflix. Surprisingly, the best one here is on The Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards, intimately zooming up on one of the most famous names in Rock & Roll and picking apart his complicated, rather intense lifestyle.

You’ll not only get unparalleled access into the man’s life but also the many people and influences that have built this peerless musician into the death-defying guitar hero he is today.

14. Sherpa (2014)

IMDb Rating: 7.6
Director: Jennifer Peedom
Cinematography Renan Ozturk, Ken Sauls, Hugh Miller
Runtime: 1 hour 36 minnutes
Genre: Nature documentary
Watch Now

Documentaries about unsung heroes always go down an absolute treat and fortunately, the multi-award-winning Sherpa is more than fit for that appetite. The 2014 documentary is patient, steady and incredibly focused as it examines the untold story of the Himalayan guides who risk everything they’ve got to support climbers who want to conquer Mount Everest.

It’s as inspired as any underdog sports documentary, as biting as any bonkers true crime documentary and as inspiring and open-minded as any nature documentary. Sherpa is not to be missed by any who enjoys some good award-winning documentaries on Netflix Australia.

15. Our Father (2022)

IMDb Rating: 6.6
Director: Lucie Jourdan
Producer Michael Petrella, Jason Blum
Runtime: 1 hour 37 minutes
Genre: Medical crime documentary
Watch Now

Documentaries about medical malpractice always seem to really ascend above your typical story about true crime or financial scandals with a terrifying, visceral element. I guess it’s a bit like watching Jaws when you’re about to go swimming in the beach or flicking through some flight crash investigation stories when you’ve got a flight the next day.

Our Father plays into that everyday paranoid, telling the story of a woman’s discovery of multiple half-siblings and a scheme involved donor sperm and a popular fertility specialist, Doctor Donald Cline. It’s a real-life horror story, which is probably why Jason Blum jumped at the opportunity to produce the documentary alongside Michael Petrella.

16. The Social Dilemma (2020)

The Social Dilemma is one of the most popular documentaries on Netflix Australia.
IMDb Rating: 6.6
Director: Jeff Orlowski
Producer Exposure Labs
Runtime: 1 hour 34 minutes
Genre: Technology documentary
Watch Now

The many harms and complexities of social media are much too vast to be captured by just one documentary. But The Social Dilemma still does a fairly decent job at picking apart the insecurities and paranoia surrounding one of the most profound and game-changing technological advancements of the past decade.

It makes you think about your screen time. This makes it one of the most important documentaries you can scream, even if not every moment of this popular Netflix documentary sticks the landing or makes an impact like director Jeff Orlowski would have hoped.

17. Worst Roommate Ever (2022)

IMDb Rating: 7.1
Director: Domini Hofmann
Genre: Docuseries
Watch Now

Murderous housemates. It’s a scary thought, which is probably why Worst Roommate Ever is such a popular documentary amongst share houses and renters who want to make themselves paranoid. This isn’t just about guys who leave dishes in the sink too long or girls that leave hair strands on the sink. It’s about housemates that have violent intentions and will make most watchers think twice about sleeping around strangers with the doors unlocked.

18. The White Helmets (2016)

White Helmets is a documentary on Netflix Australia.
IMDb Rating: 7.5
Director: Orlando von Einsiedel
Producer Joanna Natasegara
Runtime: 41 minutes
Genre: War documentary

This very short documentary is only 41 minutes long but that’s more than enough to celebrate a team of first responders in Syria who navigate daily airstrikes to rescue victims from the rubble. Those more intense, nuanced looks at acts of incredible bravery in war torn countries always manage to get straight to the heart of humanity and The White Helmets, directed by Orlando von Einsiedel does exactly that.

19. Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed (2021)

IMDb Rating: 6.9
Director: Joshua Rofe
Producer Steven J. Berger, Ben Falcone, Divya D’Souza, M. Elizabeth Hughes
Runtime: 1 hour 32 minutes
Genre: Special interest documentary
Watch Now

You wouldn’t really expect a scandal to be unveiled when looking at the life of the happiest painter in the world. Yet, director Joshua Rofe manages to bring a dark angle to the Ross legacy.

Happy Accidents, Betrayal and Green is a literal title. The documentary feature explores the endearing legacy of this famous art instructor and then casts a dark shadow over it all by following the story of Bob Ross’ son and his claims of exploitation. Although the documentary has been called “slanted” and “wildly inaccurate” by Bob Ross Inc., it’s still an interesting look behind the meme of a relentlessly happy and warm TV painter.

Money Shot: The Porn Hub Story (2023)

IMDb Rating: 5.4
Director: Suzanne Hillinger
Producer Nick Carrico, Suzanne Hillinger
Runtime: 1 hour 34 minutes
Genre: Special interest documentary
Watch Now

One of the newer documentaries on Netflix Australia explores the frequently exploitative and dark side of the biggest porn streaming website on the internet. The absolute giant of a business is completely torn apart and examined by Suzanne Hillinger who interviews many different porn stars as well as behind-the-scenes figures upholding one of the most complicated websites in the history of the internet. It may not be the best documentary on Netflix – it can be rather surface-level and commercially friendly – but there’s no denying that Money Shot is worth at least one go-round.

Best Documentaries On Netflix – Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most viewed documentary on Netflix?

The most viewed documentaries on Netflix are Harry & Meghan, Formula 1: Drive to Survive and Worst Roommate Ever.

What are some other great documentaries to watch on Neftlix?

Some other great documentaries to streaming on Netflix Australia that didn’t make our list include Conversations with a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes and Trainwreck: Woodstock ’99.

Are there any good documentaries on Netflix?

Netflix places a great deal of focus on documentaries and invests heavily in bringing these fascinating real-life stories to the streaming platform. As such, Netflix is probably the number one streaming service when it comes to great, unique documentaries.

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Chris Singh
Chris is a freelance Travel, Food, and Technology writer. He has had work published by The AU Review, Junkee Media and Australian Traveller Media and holds tertiary qualifications in Psychology and Sociology.


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