From free one-day delivery to music streaming, and Amazon Prime Video, Amazon Prime is always trying to be the subscription you can’t live without. Amazon Prime Video is one of the bigger and better streaming services around, too, with TV shows and movies, including some of the world’s best documentaries.
Here’s our list of the best documentaries on Amazon Prime, plus some honorable mentions as documentaries come and go from the platform.
The best documentaries on Amazon Prime:
Editor’s note: We will update our list of the best documentaries on Amazon Prime over time.
It’s easy to cringe at the thought of a documentary on the Jonas Brothers. But this is good! I mean, yes, they rose to fame by forming the Jonas Brothers group, accumulated dozens of awards, and sold over 17 million albums worldwide, and so on.
But reality set in for the group. No one was happy, with all three Jonas siblings splitting from the group. Chasing Happiness takes you through the rise of the Jonas Brothers, what led to their break-up, and what led to the three brothers finding their way to each other again.
Enron: The Smartest Guys In the Room
This classic 2005 documentary shows how Enron, a Texas-based energy company, became a massive corporation in the 1990s, with claimed revenues of over $100 billion in 2000. As this film expertly shows, all of this was a scam, as it was revealed in 2001 that Enron’s business was based on massive accounting fraud. It went into bankruptcy later that same year. This movie shows how greed and a lack of true accountability caused this to happen and it is a cautionary tale for any big business.
Before he became a massive movie star, and the governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger first became known to mainstream audiences via this 1977 documentary. His multiple wins in major bodybuilding contests made the world in general, and Hollywood in particular, notice that not only did he have a huge body, but he actually had a funny personality.
The documentary also shows Schwarzenegger’s biggest bodybuilding rival, Lou Ferrigno. He would also get quick fame for playing the title character in The Incredible Hulk live-action TV series, which debuted soon after this movie was released.
All In: The Fight for Democracy
This Amazon Prime Video original documentary takes a look at voter suppression in the United States. It focuses on Stacey Abrams, who tried and failed to win the governorship of Georgia in 2018. Through her commentary, we see how many groups try to keep people from voting, from restrictive laws to gerrymandering of district lines and more. It’s one of the best documentaries on Amazon Prime
Never Surrender: A Galaxy Quest Documentary
Galaxy Quest was a movie that was promoted as a satire on Star Trek. It featured a group of actors of a canceled sci-fi space show that get recruited by real space aliens to save their civilization. It wasn’t a huge hit when it was released in 1999. However, it has since become a cult classic.
This 2019 documentary goes behind the scenes on the making of this movie. However, it also shows how Galaxy Quest was actually the tip of the iceberg when it came to showing how fan and geek culture was beginning to take over all of pop culture during that time.
One Child Nation
In 1979, the government of China passed a law that limited all families to having just one child. This was an attempt to stop the massive population explosion in the country. While the government ended the one-child policy in 2015, the effects of that law are still being felt. This award-winning documentary takes a look at the consequences of China’s attempt at population control, which included government forced sterilization and abortions, to abandoning newborn babies. It’s one of the best documentaries on Amazon Prime.
One of the most well-known stereotypes of New York City is its huge used book stores. In this documentary, we get an insider glimpse into this small but well-known industry in the city.
We also learn how this type of business is slowly disappearing from New York City. However, the documentary does show how a new generation of used book sellers, and used book readers, are starting to rise up and take the business in a new direction. It’s one of the best documentaries on Amazon Prime.
Hale County This Morning, This Evening
This Academy Award nominee for best documentary in 2019 is fascinating for the reviews it gets. It’s either a five-star or one-star watch for many. Those who love it appreciate the simple, honest view it gives of black people in the Historic South. The pace of life is different, and this very true documentary doesn’t apologize for offering the same. What’s challenging is that there’s no narration or obvious narrative. But you will find yourself thinking about this as you watch, and for weeks and months after. Listen, watch, and give Hale County, a chance, for what it is.
Best documentaries on Amazon Prime: Honorable mentions
There are a few more movies that’s didn’t quite make our list for the best documentaries on Amazon Prime:
- The Endless Summer – This classic 1966 documentary introduced many people to the real surfing lifestyle.
- Life After Flash – The 1980 Flash Gordon movie was supposed to make its lead Sam J. Jones a major movie star. This documentary shows how things took a different path for Jones.
- The Image Revolution – This shows how the seven top artists at Marvel Comics all left en masse in 1992 to create their own publisher, Image Comics, and how the comic book industry was never the same again.
That was our list of the best documentaries on Amazon Prime.