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With so many documentaries to choose from and more streaming platforms than ever, it’s exhausting to browse through so many apps. We’ve curated a list of the best places to watch documentaries so you don’t have to.
In a time of crisis, nonfiction and documentary content is more important than ever and we saw that with Tiger King breaking records on Netflix for holding the #1 spot for 15 straight days at the start of the pandemic. According to Parrot Analytics, from January 2019 to March 2021, the number of documentary series increased by 63%, but demand grew by 142%.
Documentary+ is an entirely non-fiction streaming service tailor-made for documentary lovers. The library is highly curated with hundreds of premium feature-length and short documentary films ranging from Oscar award-winners to festival darlings.
Best of all – Documentary+ is totally free. (bonus points for not having to create an account either)
Recommended titles: Cartel Land, Festival Express, Street Fight, Mucho Mucho Amor
With more original nonfiction offerings debuting on the platform, Hulu is a reliable option for streaming documentaries. As one of the major streamers, the selection is constantly expanding with both new and classic documentary films. Plans start as low as $5.99 for Hulu and $64.99 for Hulu + Live TV.
Recommended titles: Framing Britney Spears, Honeyland, The Biggest Little Farm, RBG
Known for its original programming, it seems Netflix has a new documentary/docu series premiering every week. Titles like Tiger King and Operation Varsity Blues usually become the subject of cultural discourse so a Netflix subscription will keep you in the know about the trending documentaries.
However, it will cost you with subscriptions starting at $8.99/month and ranging to $17.99/month.
Recommended titles: The Last Dance, My Octopus Teacher, Knock Down The House, The Staircase
MUBI blends classic and arthouse cinema, offering a selection for indie film lovers. It also produces and distributes films by emerging and established filmmakers, which are streaming exclusively on the platform. The service costs $10.99 per month.
Recommended titles: Stories We Tell, Scenes from the Life of Andy Warhol, The Lost Arcade, Among Wolves
#5: Criterion Channel
The Criterion Channel has a premium selection of documentaries meant to appeal to film lovers. The service is thematically program and highly curated. Access to the platform is available at a premium price of $99.99/annual fee after a 14-day trial.
Recommended titles: Black Panthers, Paris Is Burning, Grey Gardens, Town Bloody Hall