Our top 10 must-watch Netflix documentaries in 2021.
From the awe-inspiring to the macabre, and the shocking to the soothing; there’s a Netflix show for every mood. We may be half way through the year, but 2021 has already spawned some classic releases and unmissable documentaries. Wondering where to start? Look no further, here’s ten of the best.
Life in Colour
Stalwart of the animal world, David Attenborough delivers yet another compelling mini docu-series shot in some of the world’s most exotic destinations. The three-part series explores the ways in which animals use their ‘skin’ to survive and interact with the world around them. In doing so, it brings a new perspective and appreciation for the animal kingdom, in true Attenborough style.
- IMDb: 8.4/10
- Rotten Tomatoes: 89% Audience Score
Every now and then a documentary comes out that creates a stir in all corners of the globe. This year it’s Seaspiracy, offering a stark look at the global fishing industry and the impact that consumerism has made on our oceans. Controversial, damming, confronting and one of the best Netflix documentaries 2021 has given us.
- IMDb: 8.2/10
- Rotten Tomatoes: 87% Audience Score
Murder Among the Mormons
Full of turns and twists, Murder Among the Mormons is the documentary you never expected to see. Topping the Netflix true-life crime documentaries lists, it investigates three bombings that rocked the church in 1985.
- IMDb: 7/10
- Rotten Tomatoes: 80% Audience Score
Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal
Scandal is a word often overused, but in the case of Operation Varsity Blues, it’s very much deserved. This probing documentary looks at the fraudulent methods enlisted to get America’s rich kids into ivy-league universities. Cleverly sewn together with re-enactments it unearths the conspiracy behind falsified college admissions for more than 750 students.
- IMDb: 7/10
- Rotten Tomatoes: 74% Audience Score
As far as new documentaries in 2021 go, Pelé is a wonderful bio-documentary surrounding the man and legend. A cultural icon, this is the definitive story of the Brazilian that changed the history of the beautiful game, and scooped three World Cup titles in the process.
- IMDb: 7/10
- Rotten Tomatoes: 76% Audience Score
Biggie: ‘I Got a Story to Tell’
A host of films and documentaries have already been made about Biggie Smalls – so why watch another? Well, this one’s produced by those who knew Biggie best as it tells the rags to riches tale of Christopher Wallace. With home videos and early footage of the fledgling rapper and interviews from Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs and Biggie’s loveable mother, it’s a rap-penned love letter to the late icon. If you’re a hip-hop fan, be sure to add it to your documentaries list.
- IMDb: 6.9/10
- Rotten Tomatoes: 79% Audience Score
This is a Robbery: The World’s Biggest Art Heist
In the latest wave of crime documentaries on Netflix, the unbelievable story of the world’s biggest art heist is uncovered. Way back in 1990, 13 works of art including Vermeer, Manet and Rembrandt were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. The haul, worth an estimated $500 million, has never been found nor the mystery solved, proving that life is often stranger than fiction.
- IMDb: 6.5/10
- Rotten Tomatoes: 58% Audience Score
If you’re fascinated with the possibility of life after death, this is one for you. Compiled with true stories of near-death experiences, the latest research and touching personal stories, it’s sure to blow your mind… or open it at least.
- IMDb: 6.1/10
- Rotten Tomatoes: 61% Audience Score
Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel
There’s plenty of crime documentaries to scroll through now, but ‘The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel’ is one that crossed over to the mainstream. It documents the tragic story of Elisa Lam and her disappearance from the hotel. Eerie from the get-go and a mental health subtext, just wait until you see the famous lift footage before you decide if there’s foul play or dark forces at work.
- IMDb: 5.9/10
Why Did You Kill Me?
One of the more viral crime documentaries on Netflix, Why Did You Kill Me? has been creating quite a buzz since it launched. In this tragic story we learn about the murder of Crystal Theobald, a mum of two children. Unsatisfied with police investigations, the family go to extraordinary lengths to track down her killers through social network MySpace.
- IMDb: 5.6/10
Watch now on Netflix.
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