Engaging and Enlightening: Documentaries You Need to See

In the ever-expanding world of digital streaming, documentaries have carved out a significant niche, offering viewers a compelling blend of education and entertainment. Whether you’re a fan of true crime, history, nature, or social issues, there’s a documentary for you. Here’s a curated list of some of the best documentaries to watch in 2024, each promising to inform, inspire, and engage.

1. “The Social Dilemma” (2020)

Although a few years old, “The Social Dilemma” remains incredibly relevant as it delves into the dangerous human impact of social networking. Featuring interviews with tech experts and former Silicon Valley employees, this documentary explores the psychological manipulation behind social media platforms and their impact on society. It’s a must-watch for anyone curious about the digital world’s dark side.

2. “My Octopus Teacher” (2020)

This breathtaking nature documentary follows filmmaker Craig Foster as he forms an unusual bond with an octopus in a South African kelp forest. “My Octopus Teacher” is not just about marine biology but also about personal transformation and the profound connections between humans and nature. Its stunning cinematography and heartfelt narrative make it an unforgettable watch.

3. “13th” (2016)

Directed by Ava DuVernay, “13th” offers a powerful examination of the U.S. prison system and its deep-rooted connection to racial inequality. The documentary’s title refers to the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery except as punishment for a crime. Through expert interviews and historical footage, “13th” provides a critical look at how systemic racism has persisted in modern America.

4. “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” (2018)

This documentary explores the life and legacy of Fred Rogers, the beloved host of the long-running children’s show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” Through archival footage and interviews, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” paints a touching portrait of Rogers’ gentle approach to addressing complex issues with children, making it a nostalgic and heartwarming viewing experience.

5. “The Last Dance” (2020)

For sports enthusiasts, “The Last Dance” is an exhilarating deep dive into Michael Jordan’s final season with the Chicago Bulls. This ten-part series not only covers the 1997-98 NBA season but also explores Jordan’s career and the Bulls’ dynasty. Filled with rare footage and in-depth interviews, it’s a gripping account of one of the greatest athletes of all time.

6. “Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution” (2020)

Produced by Barack and Michelle Obama, “Crip Camp” tells the story of a groundbreaking summer camp for disabled teenagers in the early 1970s, which became a catalyst for the disability rights movement. The documentary is a heartfelt and inspiring look at how a small community of activists changed the course of history.

7. “The Act of Killing” (2012)

This critically acclaimed documentary by Joshua Oppenheimer takes an unconventional approach to exploring the Indonesian mass killings of 1965-66. By inviting former death squad leaders to reenact their real-life atrocities in the style of various film genres, “The Act of Killing” offers a disturbing yet insightful look at the nature of violence and impunity.

8. “Free Solo” (2018)

“Free Solo” is a heart-pounding documentary that follows rock climber Alex Honnold as he attempts to scale the 3,000-foot El Capitan in Yosemite National Park without any ropes or safety gear. The film’s stunning visuals and Honnold’s sheer determination make it an exhilarating and awe-inspiring journey into the limits of human endurance.

9. “American Factory” (2019)

Another production from the Obamas’ Higher Ground Productions, “American Factory” examines the culture clash that ensues when a Chinese billionaire reopens a factory in post-industrial Ohio. The documentary provides a nuanced look at globalization, labor rights, and the future of American industry, capturing the complexities of modern economic realities.

10. “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” (2020)

No list would be complete without best documentaries 2023 mentioning the phenomenon that is “Tiger King.” This true-crime documentary series about the eccentric and controversial big cat breeder Joe Exotic captivated audiences worldwide with its bizarre and often unbelievable story. It’s a wild ride through a world of feuding zoo owners, criminal conspiracies, and eccentric personalities.


Documentaries offer a unique window into the world, providing perspectives and insights that are both educational and entertaining. Whether you’re interested in social issues, nature, sports, or history, the documentaries listed above represent some of the best the genre has to offer. So grab some popcorn, settle in, and prepare to be informed and inspired by these remarkable films.