Home Tecnologia 15 Best Documentaries On Amazon Prime Right Now

15 Best Documentaries On Amazon Prime Right Now

Summary

  • Amazon Prime Video offers a diverse range of documentaries, from space to sports, catering to various interests and preferences.
  • The documentaries on Prime cover award-winning releases, true-crime stories, inspirational sports tales, and even dark truths behind reality TV.
  • The platform showcases powerful and emotional documentaries like ‘Good Night Oppy’ and ‘I Am: Celine Dion,’ sharing personal and impactful stories.

A film genre that has particularly thrived with the popularity of streaming is documentaries, and the best documentaries available on Amazon Prime Video offer unique looks at a multitude of subjects. From space and the universe’s origins to sports biographies, Amazon Prime Video has something to offer in almost every documentary category. Whether subscribers want an in-depth look at the cultural problems impacting society today or the shocking behind-the-scenes stories of reality TV shows, Amazon’s streaming platform is almost guaranteed to have a documentary available on the subject.

Given the abundance of choice of documentaries on Amazon Prime Video, it can sometimes be challenging to narrow down a selection, though the best show that the streaming platform has clear strengths. While Netflix has numerous true-crime documentaries, Amazon Prime Video caters a little more toward feel-good stories, from inspirational sports documentaries to biopics of beloved celebrities. That said, there are also some true-crime stories on Prime for subscribers who prefer that subject, and many documentaries on every subject are award-winning releases.

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15 Deliver Us From Evil (2006)

A Haunting Examination Of Sexual Abuse In The Catholic Church

There have been several documentaries and narrative films chronicling the accusations sexual abuse against children in the Catholic Church. Amazon Prime Video has a documentary about the subject that received an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature called Deliver Us From Evil. In this documentary feature, a priest named Oliver O’Grady admits to molesting and abusing at least 25 children in California since 1973.

The documentary is a shocking indictment of the church officials and their seemingly narrow focus on protecting their own image.

Deliver Us From Evil not only interviews this man but also looks into hearings with leaders of the Catholic Church, who allegedly helped cover up his crimes for years by just moving him to different churches and asking him to seek a psychiatrist’s help rather than report the abuse to authorities. The documentary is a shocking indictment of the church officials and their seemingly narrow focus on protecting their own image above protecting children. This powerful, haunting movie has a 100% Rotten Tomatoes score.

14 Alison (2016)

The Story Of A Woman’s Near-Death Experience

Alison presents a shocking and terrifying true-crime documentary from the perspective of a woman who survived a horrific attack in 1994. Alison Botha was a teenage girl who was abducted, sexually assaulted, stabbed multiple times, and almost decapitated by two men in South Africa. When arrested, one of the men claimed he was possessed by a demon when they committed the crimes, as this crime occurred during South Africa’s Satanic panic epidemic, which was widespread throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

But what makes Alison such a great documentary is that it isn’t about the criminals who almost killed Alison. Based on the book I Have Life by Marianne Thamm, this is a movie about how Alison not only lived but refused to see herself as a victim. She spends her life traveling and sharing her story to other survivors who have also experienced trauma. The documentary won the Best Documentary Feature at the Asia-Pacific Film Festival.

13 Lucy And Desi (2022)

A Documentary About The Golden-Age Power Couple

LUCD OneSheet 27x40 FM2 Date

Lucy and Desi is a 2022 documentary about the great Lucille Ball’s life and her relationship and marriage to Desi Arnaz. The two starred together on I Love Lucy, a sitcom that revolutionized the genre during its run from 1951 to 1957. Directed by Amy Poehler (her documentary directorial debut), the movie looks behind the curtain at the relationship between Lucy and Desi with interviews from daughter Lucie Arnaz Luckinbill, producer Norman Lear, comedian Carol Burnett, and many more.

Easily one of the best documentaries on Amazon Prime Video of recent years, Lucy and Desi earned six Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special. It won two Emmy Awards (Outstanding Writing For A Nonfiction Program and Outstanding Music Composition For A Documentary Series Or Special (Original Dramatic Score). Critics praised the documentary for its entertainment and educational aspects, awarding it a 94% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

12 Good Night Oppy (2022)

Oppy on the Mars landscape in Good Night Oppy.

In 2003, scientists sent a robot they built to Mars. The rover Opportunity’s (nicknamed “Oppy”) goal was to last about three months and send back information about the Red Planet. No one expected Oppy, who was given a design that almost looked like it had a face, to survive several natural disasters on Mars and send back footage and information for 15 years. Along the way, the scientists and general public came to know Oppy as a friend and built a relationship with the rover as it lived on Mars.

Good Night Oppy
won the Best Documentary Feature at the 7th Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards.

Created by Amazon Studios and released for a short theatrical engagement in theaters before hitting Prime Video, Good Night Oppy explores Oppy’s history before detailing its final days on Mars in 2018. Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television teamed with Film 45 to produce the documentary with Industrial Lige & Magic (ILM), which provided the animation to show what the mission might have looked like. Critics praised it, and the documentary holds an 87% Rotten Tomatoes score.

11 I Am Celine Dion (2024)

A Look At The Life & Struggles Of Singer Celine Dion

I Am_ Celine Dion (2024) - Poster - Celine dion

Celine Dion is one of the world’s most successful musical artists, selling over 200 million records worldwide and delivering sold-out shows during a Las Vegas residency that lasted for years. However, Dion’s life has been tough, as she also deals with stiff-person syndrome, a disorder that affects her body, causing stiffness, chronic pain, and spasms. I Am: Celine Dion looks at her career and how this disorder (discovered in 2022) caused her to cancel her tour and slow down on her performances.

The documentary, released originally by Amazon MGM Studios before landing on Prime Video, received universal acclaim. It has a perfect 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with praise going to Dion’s willingness to expose her vulnerabilities and struggles with the hope of helping others who find things beyond their grasp hindering their lives. Critics praised the honesty and how the documentary takes a megastar and helps show the real person she is.

10 Val (2021)

Val Kilmer Tells His Life Story

Val Kilmer in Val Documentary

Val Kilmer was always a huge movie star, from his youth with friends like Kevin Bacon, to later years when he took on roles in movies like Tombstone, Batman Forever, and The Doors. However, Kilmer’s life took a turn when he contracted throat cancer and saw his career come to an end. In 2021, Kilmer released a documentary about his life that he wrote, while his son, Jack Kilmer, narrated his father’s words. The movie is about the full life Kilmer enjoyed, both the highs and the lows.

Val Kilmer shot over 800 hours of video footage over his life that was edited down for this movie (via

IndieWire

)

The documentary is an in-depth, one-of-a-kind look at Kilmer because it includes footage from his own home videos he shot when he was young. Kilmer said that he was the first person he knew who had a home video camera and this includes footage of him and some of the biggest teen stars of the ’80s in never-before-seen footage. The documentary was critically acclaimed, with a 94% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and shows the star at his most reflective.

9 Dear Zachary (2008)

A Documentary About A Murdered Father, Made For A Son Who Never Knew Him

Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father

Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father is a documentary directed by Kurt Kuenne that centers on the life and death of Dr. Andrew Bagby. The film serves as a poignant tribute and a message to Bagby’s son, chronicling the emotional journey of family and friends grappling with loss. This documentary combines personal narrative with a broader exploration of justice and tragedy.

Director
Kurt Kuenne
Release Date
October 31, 2008
Writers
Kurt Kuenne
Runtime
95 minutes

Directed by Kurt Kuenne, 2008’s Dear Zachary is a fascinating true-crime documentary about Kuene’s childhood friend Andrew Bagby, who was murdered years later by a woman named Shirley Jane Turner. The movie shows how the woman murdered Bagby and then fled to Canada before she could be arrested. She was pregnant with Bagby’s unborn baby, and a judge released her pending trial and allowed her to retain custody of the child.

The movie helped convince Canada to create a new law called the Bagby Bill to protect children during bail hearings (via

The Telegram

).

Kuenne started to make a documentary to show the world who his friend was, as Bagby had starred in many of Kuenne’s student films, and there was a lot of footage about the man. However, when Kuenne learned that Bagby’s son was born, he wanted to make the movie for the boy to learn more about his father. While the documentary has a tragic ending, it’s an important story. The movie has a high 94% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

8 American Movie (1999)

Chris Smith’s Groundbreaking Documentary Film

American Movie
American Movie (1999)

American Movie is a documentary directed by Chris Smith, chronicling the efforts of aspiring filmmaker Mark Borchardt. The film provides an in-depth look at Borchardt’s determination to complete his low-budget horror movie, Coven, showcasing his personal struggles, financial hurdles, and unwavering passion for filmmaking. The documentary highlights the challenges faced by independent filmmakers and the persistence required to realize artistic visions despite numerous obstacles.

Director
Chris Smith
Release Date
November 5, 1999
Cast
Mark Borchardt , Mike Schank
Runtime
107 Minutes

Released in 1999, American Movie was a documentary that showed the labor of love of young people setting out to make their own independent movie. Released in an era when names like Kevin Smith and Robert Rodriguez proved that artists could become mainstream directors by making their own small films, American Movie follows Mark Borchardt, a young man in Wisconsin who wants to make a short horror movie to help find investors for a full-length feature.

Chris Smith also directed the documentary
Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened
.

Directed by Chris Smith, the documentary shows Borchardt and his struggles to get his horror movie Coven made, including working with the only resources he has and no money to really help. There is also footage of his big idea project for the movie Northwestern that he hopes he can one day find the financing to make. At its heart, the movie is about someone wanting to achieve the “American Dream,” even if that seems out of reach. It won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and is a cult classic.

7 Hot Potato: The Story of the Wiggles (2023)

Australian Children’s Show That Took The World By Storm Decades Before Bluey

The Wiggles posing for the camera.

Australian children’s music group The Wiggles formed in 1991 and has been active ever since, albeit with changes in the lineup. They have been hugely successful, with their music played in preschools all over the world. Hot Potato: The Story of the Wiggles is a Prime Video exclusive documentary that premiered in October 2023 and tells the story of the group, their megahit 1998 TV show, and how their songs like the titular “Hot Potato” have continued to entertain children decades later.

The Amazon Prime Video documentary Hot Potato: The Story of the Wiggles looks at the highs and lows of the band, including introducing the first female Wiggle and Tsheay Hawkins, the first Black woman to become a Wiggle, years later. The documentary is also emotional, going into detail about how one of the original members, Greg, had to leave for health reasons, and that the success of the children’s music group came with struggles just like any other genre.

6 Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets (2023)

The Dark Truth Behind The Reality TV Family

Shiny Happy People TV Poster
Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets

Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets is a documentary mini-series created for Prime Video. The series follows the sprawling Duggar family, a reality TV religious family that follows a rigorous religious family organization. The series explores the darker truths of the family and the massive extreme religious organization known as The Institute in Basic Life Principles.

Release Date
June 2, 2023
Cast
Jill Duggar
Seasons
1

The Duggars were one of the most well-known reality TV families from 2008-2015, thanks to 19 Kids and Counting. Viewers tuned in by the millions to see Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar raise their 19 children under a strict religious upbringing. However, in 2021, the TLC reality franchise came crashing down midway through production of the spin-off Counting On when son Josh Duggar ended up convicted of possession of child pornography.

Jill Duggar is the center of
Shiny Happy People

as she breaks down what happened

The 2023 Amazon Prime Video documentary is an exposé on what really went on. Jill Duggar is the center of Shiny Happy People as she breaks down what happened behind the scenes of 19 Kids and Counting, and inside the church the family followed. Shiny Happy People delves into Josh Duggar’s past and criminal charges. However, that controversial scandal isn’t the only focus of this movie, which details the entire history of the family’s scandals.

5 Kelce (2023)

A Tale Of Two Brothers Going Head-To-Head In The NFL

Kelce Amazon Prime Movie Poster
Kelce

Kelce is a sports documentary by director Don Argott that chronicles the career and the 2022-23 season of Philadelphia Eagles captain Jason Kelce. Highlighting Kelce’s internal struggle to retire from the NFL, his twelfth season winds up being one of his most important yet, both on the field and at home, leaving him to wonder whether or not it is time to truly leave the game behind yet.

Release Date
September 12, 2023
Director
Don Argott
Cast
Jason Kelce , Travis Kelce , Kylie Kelce
Runtime
102 Minutes

Once NFL star Travis Kelce began dating Taylor Swift, he found himself at the center of the media spotlight. However, at the same time, the world was also enraptured by his brother, Jason Kelce thanks to the Amazon Prime Video documentary, simply titled Kelce. Kelce was filmed during the 2022 NFL season, whichended with Travis and Jason playing each other in the Super Bowl.

The documentary was supposed to tell the story of Kelce’s final season before his retirement, but that changed with the Super Bowl run and Kelce’s decision to remain in football. More of a biopic than a football documentary, Kelce tells one of the most interesting career stories in modern sports. While Jason finally retired after the 2023 NFL season, he remains in the spotlight thanks to a podcast with his brother, and this documentary really takes fans behind the curtain to see the man behind the legend.

4 Long Strange Trip (2017)

The Highs And Lows Of The Grateful Dead

The Grateful Dead in their dressing room in Long Strange Trip.
Long Strange Trip (2017)
Director
Amir Bar-Lev
Release Date
May 26, 2017
Cast
John Perry Barlow , Tom Constanten , Sam Cutler , Jerry Garcia , Donna Godchaux , Keith Godchaux , Mickey Hart , Bill Kreutzmann
Runtime
238 Minutes

Following the career of the well-known rock band The Grateful Dead, Long Strange Trip is perfect for both Amazon Prime Video subscribers who are fans of the band and those who enjoy music documentaries. This moving and representative documentary of the band members’ lives doesn’t shy away from every aspect of their journey and the sacrifices they make for both their fans and their love of music.

The documentary was released in 2017 at Sundance and then got a limited theatrical release (with a 238-minute running time) before Prime Video broke it up and released it as a six-part miniseries. With Martin Scorsese as one of the executive producers, the film included new interviews and featured a soundtrack of songs by the band, which earned a Grammy Award nomination. As far as band biopics go, Long Strange Trip is among the best available on Amazon Prime Video.

3 Gleason (2016)

A Professional Athlete Battles A Fatal Motor Neuron Disease

Steve Gleason with his family on a bridge in Gleason.
Gleason
Director
J. Clay Tweel
Release Date
July 29, 2016
Cast
Steve Gleason , Mike Gleason , Scott Fujita , Michel Varisco-Gleason , Mike McKenzie
Runtime
110 Minutes

This heartfelt documentary covers former professional football player Steve Gleason as he is diagnosed with ALS, and is a video diary he made for his unborn son as his family tries to raise money for a cure. In this raw and unfiltered documentary, the audience is forced to reflect on their own lives and situations. With its in-depth commentary and uncut realism, viewers get straight to the emotional story of the effects ALS can have on both a person and their family.

In 2019, Gleason was awarded with a Congressional Gold Medal for his contributions to ALS awareness.

Gleason played for the New Orleans Saints for six seasons. He announced five years after he retired that he was battling ALS and the footage for this documentary includes five years of his battle with the disease. Although it can at times be hard to watch, Gleason is a story of triumph, pain, courage, sacrifice, and ultimately love. It also doesn’t have a sad ending, as Gleason is still alive and helping spread awareness for ALS research and treatments.

2 All Or Nothing: A Season With The Arizona Cardinals (2016)

Amazon Prime Video Gets Closer Than Ever With The NFL

Patrick Peterson of the Arizona Cardinals yells to motivate players in a huddle

From both Amazon and the NFL, this documentary is an unprecedented look into the lives of the Arizona Cardinals coaches, players, and their families both on and off the field. For fans of the NFL, the Arizona Cardinals, and those who enjoy sports documentaries, All Or Nothing offersnear-unrivaled insight into the highs and lows of life in the NFL. While Max has specialized in the format with its Hard Knocks series, that series is about preparing for the season, while the Amazon Prime Video documentary is about playing through the entire season.

Other seasons follow the Los Angeles Rams, Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, and Carolina Panthers.

All or Nothing has followed five different NFL teams over its run (with the last season coming in 2020 with the Philadelphia Eagles). However, it was the first season with the Cardinals that remains the best of the bunch. For soccer, hockey, and rugby fans, there are also seasons based on those sports.

1 The Hornet’s Nest (2014)

An Unflinching Glimpse Into The Reality Of The Afghanistan Campaign

Soldiers pointing guns in Afghanistan in The Hornet's Nest.

Emmy Award-winning investigative journalist Mike Boettcher spent his career covering important events. However, nothing matched the assignment of going into the United States war in Afghanistan to document the troops’ lives and battles while over there. The documentary this produced, The Hornet’s Nest, is difficult to watch but is easily one of the best documentaries about war or any other subject on Amazon Prime Video.

The harrowing part comes in the second half of the movie when Boettcher goes into a battle in one of the conflict’s most dangerous locations — a valley known to the troops as the Hornet’s Nest. Not everyone came home from this battle alive, and he was there to document it all, capturing a terrifying moment in history. Boettcher’s in-depth and raw look at such a tough subject makes The Hornet’s Nest stand high above most war movies, both narrative and documentary.

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