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The best documentaries on Amazon Prime Video

From the fight to keep voting laws fair to some great musical artists, Amazon Prime has some excellent documentaries.
By
December 26, 2021
Picture of the Amazon Prime app on a OnePlus 7 Pro.

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 biggest and better streaming services, with TV shows, movies, and 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. You can sign up for the service at the link below.

Prime video logo
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video offers access to thousands of movies and TV shows to stream. That includes great original shows and movies like The Boys and The Tomorrow War. You can also sign up for other premium services within Amazon Prime Video.

The best documentaries on Amazon Prime

Editor’s note: We will update our list of the best documentaries on Amazon Prime over time.

Chasing Happiness

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 up. 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.

Val

This Amazon Prime Video original documentary takes a look at the life of actor Val Kilmer. In the 1980s, he was a huge box office star, but always tried to follow his own heart in choosing acting roles. This documentary looks at Kilmer’s life as both an actor and a person, and you may discover that he isn’t the person you thought he was.

Netflix Vs. The World

A documentary about Netflix on one of its biggest rivals? Yes, but it’s not what you think. This movie takes a look at the beginnings of Netflix. Before it became the streaming video force it is today, it offered a way to receive the newest DVDs by mail for a monthly fee. It shows how this business model destroyed all other video rental stores, particularly Blockbuster, and paved the way for its move into streaming.

All In: The Fight for Democracy

This Amazon Prime Video original documentary looks 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.

Generation Wealth

What makes a person worth something? That’s what this 2018 documentary tries to answer. It takes a look at how many people have massive debt, but try to make themselves look wealthy by buying cars, houses, clothes, and more that they don’t need, and certainly cannot afford. So, where did this obsession with wealth come from, and where is it leading people who want it above all else?

Never Surrender: A Galaxy Quest Documentary

galaxy quest
Dreamworks

Galaxy Quest was a movie 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.

Also read: The best movies you can watch on Amazon Prime

This 2019 documentary goes behind the scenes on the making of this movie. However, it also shows how Galaxy Quest was 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 Chinese government passed a law that limited all families to 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 looks at the consequences of China’s attempt at population control, which included government forced sterilization and abortions, to abandoning newborn babies.

The Booksellers

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.

Also read: Documentaries on YouTube: 10 best ones to add to your watchlist

We also learn how this type of business is slowly disappearing from New York City. However, the documentary shows how a new generation of used booksellers, and used book readers, are starting to rise up and take the business in a new direction.

Shatner In Space

William Shatner may have played a captain of an interstellar spaceship in three Star Trek TV seasons and six movies. However, in 2021, the man who played Captain James Kirk truly became a space pioneer as he flew on the Blue Origin rocket into space, becoming the oldest man on earth to do so.

This short Amazon Prime Video origins documentary chronicles his training, and his brief but memorable trip into space.

Under The Boardwalk: The Monopoly Story

Monopoly remains one of the most popular, and certainly one of the most well-known, board games ever created. This documentary takes a look at the origins of the game and the players and people who remain obsessed with its gameplay. That includes the players who are seen trying to win the annual Monopoly World Championship.


Best documentaries on Amazon Prime: Honorable mentions

A few more 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.
  • Chris Claremont’s X-Men — This is a look into the career of the writer who turned Marvel’s X-Men comic from a flop into its biggest hit.
  • Mayor Pete — Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, ran for US President in 2020, and this documentary takes a look into that campaign.
  • Burning — This takes a deep look at Australia’s massive recent brush fires and how they may signal new proof of climate change.
  • The Jupiter Enigma — Jupiter is not only the largest planet in our solar system, but it may be the key to discovering the origins of the system itself.

That was our list of the best documentaries on Amazon Prime Video. We will add more as they are released.