usually on friday nights i am on the couch with a glass of wine, my cats, and my guy, looking for a new documentary on netflix to stream. i always appreciate when people pass on their recommendations to me, so i thought i would give you a couple of my favorites. do yourself a favor and watch one or two of them this weekend! they aren’t in any particular order. some are serious and inspiring and some are just plain entertaining! watch the trailers after the jump to decide which one to watch.

have you seen any of them? thoughts? any that i should check out? i’m gonna have to do another list soon, because there are quite a few more that aren’t on this list!


1. first position

2. eames: the architect and the painter

3. the queen of versailles

4. woody allen: a documentary

5. gregory crewdson: brief encounters

6. joan rivers: a piece of work

7. beauty is embarrassing: the wayne white story

8.jiro dreams of sushi

9. when you’re strange: a film about the doors


Add your own

    Dana says:

    just watched the Eames one the other night …. so good. made me very envious of that particular time and place, and also curse the heavens that the older folks in my family seemingly had no room in their small Brooklyn abodes for any of the iconic Eames pieces. think I’ll watch Beauty is Embarrassing next! I’d recommend Basquiat: Radiant Child, The Cove, Soundtrack for a Revolution, Vidal Sassoon: The Movie, How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Happy, and The Invisible War.

    Haley says:

    I love the Eames one! Check out Urbanized, Helvetica, and Objectified if you haven’t yet.

    Naomi says:

    I love that I’ve seen FIVE of your recommendations! Which means I like your taste and should probably watch the rest of them… 🙂 Thanks!!

    alicia says:

    YAY! I’ve actually seen most of these! Have you watched Beautiful Losers? If you haven’t please watch THAT this weekend.

    I also recently watched the Indie Game: The Movie. It’s all about who is behind indie video games. Even tho I am not sure into games, that’s more so my boyfriend, it was really great watching it. There’s just something really special about watching people talk about something they are passionate about.

    Jess says:

    Good ones! Herb & Dorothy, Beautiful Losers, and the Basquiat documentary are always on repeat at my house/studio. The Eames documentary is great, Helvetica is nice….Bill Cunningham NY and Being Elmo are touching — you’ll love if you are in to Jiro. Oh! And Babies will make your overies burst.

    I absolutely loved “Beauty Is Embarrassing”. I watched it after you recommended it on instagram. Is that when you wrote fuck on your fingers? I appreciate how he doesn’t take himself or his art too seriously. Humor in art is my favorite. I also loved “Wasteland”- about an artist who goes to a landfill in Brazil & creates art (& hope & worth) with the people who work there. And “The Dhamma Brothers”- a doc about bringing meditation to a prison in Alabama & how it changed their lives.

    Nancy Q says:

    Thanks! I should watch the Eames. I would also recommend Between the Folds if you haven’t yet. It features uncoventional ways of paperfolding by these amazing artists.

    This is wild! I was just going to watch Eames but decided to look at some blogs first. Bill Cunningham, L’Amour and Art of the Steal are all favorites of mine.

    Annie says:

    I stumbled upon Jiro Dreams of Sushi a couple of months ago now and was so captivated by his devotion to the perfection of his craft. Amazing to see how, if you pledge yourself to an unwavering standard of excellence, you can rise from nothing to being a person of global renown. And yet, still remain utterly humble and non distracted from your goal in the slightest. His work ethic is extraordinary and definitely worth a view.

    Mallory says:

    I loved first position! I was in complete admiration at the dedication each person had. And the Eames documentary was soooo good…I love anything Eames.

    Elyse says:

    The Art of the Steal, Dear Zachary, The September Issue, Good Hair, and Shut Up Little Man! are all 5-star worthy (and not already on your list above, like many of my favorites! 🙂

    Bethany M says:

    You should check out Bill Cunningham New York. I love that documentary and it’s on netflix instant.

    Annie says:

    Check out Bill Cunningham: New York and Valentino: The Last Emperor for some really great fashion docs!

    Christina says:

    i have not seen any of the movies listed in this post! ooh, it’s going to be a fun weekend! thanks to bri + all the readers’ recommendations. if you haven’t seen gael garcia bernal in no, it’s fascinating.

    Star says:

    Great picks!

    I will endorse “Eames: the architect and the painter “, and “Jiro dreams of sushi” as excellent inspirational flicks.

    I have yet to see “beauty is embarrassing: the wayne white story”
    It Is Now On My LIst!

    Check Out Check out Urbanized, and Helvetica if you get a chance!

    So many movies, so little time!

    Billy says:

    I’ll add to the Bill Cunningham endorsement and check out Tabloid! They just added it.

    Stephanie says:

    Jiro Dreams of Sushi! So, so good!

    Kat says:

    I have seen First Position and loved it! I am a huge Doors fan and I will definitely check out When You’re Strange, thanks for the recommedation!!!

    Priscilla P says:

    Bill Cunningham and Ai Wei Wei documentaries are great too!

    B says:

    This is a brilliant list – I’ve just added most of them to my LoveFilm list!

    This week I watched The Cove – and was left completely shocked by it.

    Amy W says:

    I’ve been wanting to see Jiro Dreams of Sushi and Gregory Credson for ages. Also Banksy doc Exit Through the Gift Shop and Searching for Sugarman. Bt I love love loved Surfwise and The Imposter. Can’t wait to check out your list!

    Niki says:

    Ah, I’m gonna have to watch the movie about the Doors…love them! Have you seen The Doors staring Val Kilmer? It’s awesome – weird but awesome

    Alyssa A. says:

    You should check out “Objectified”, it is probably one of the best design documentaries I have watched on Netflix.

    Trailer link below…

    Agree – on my couch with my dude, wine, and a cat is where I want to be, most of the time. I’d recommend “Capturing the Friedmans” and of “The Imposter” and “Searching for Sugarman”. It’s a bold statement, but “The Imposter” is probably my favorite documentary and an absolute must-see.

    AHHH!! What a GREAT LIST!! thank you for sharing!!

    Caitlin says:

    “Happy People” is an amazing doc about a tiny town of hunters in Siberia who spend half the year alone in small self-made camps. It is so great!

    Caraline says:

    I’ve seen five of those! My favorites being First Position and Jiro! I love the docs on Netflix. I recommend Happy People- it’s about Siberian trappers who are seriously resourceful! Check it out! 🙂

    Peta says:

    A lot of my faves have been mentioned already. In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye about all the past and present Creative Directors at Vogue is awesome for any creative. Man on Wire, Babongo, Donor Unknown, This Way of Life, The Last Dogs of Winter are all good!

    Peta says:

    A Place at the Table is worth a watch too

    Diana says:

    Jiro Dreams of Sushi was incredible. Just seeing the way he appreciates and perfects his craft, his attention to detail, and just how people respond to that (not to mention, it’s about sushi!) really makes this worth watching. It’s quite artistic what he does.

    jmillewitz says:

    I’ve seen most of these (except Eames and When your Strange, so I added them great suggestions!) I watched the Prohibition mini series last weekend and it was really interesting. The six degrees of Helter Skelter one is good too, it’s about the Manson family. Hot Coffee is really good also, but it will make you wanna tear your hair out.

    jmillewitz says:

    OMG must see Mansome!!! so funny!

    Jessica says:

    Oh this post has come at just the right time! I’ve just run out of good documentaries to watch. I really enjoyed The September Issue. You would no doubt love the Grace Coddington photoshoots!

    Lauren says:

    180 DEGREES SOUTH – great travel/adventure/eco doc. will make you want to explore the world even more.

    in addition to bill cunnigham, PAGE ONE, the new york times doc. cool news/media storytelling.

    Sarolta says:

    Oh wow, now I really wanna see First Position and Eames! Thank you!

    Sally says:

    I’ve been meaning to watch first position for ages, really must get round to it! Thanks for the other recommendations!

    Stevie-Ella says:

    I’d heard great things of Jiro dreams of Sushi, but never got round to watching it. I watched Beauty is Embarassing recently and I had no idea there was a Gregory Crewdson documentary so I’ll be straight on to that.

    Searching for Sugarman is awesome btw.

    Latrina says:

    Love this! Those are some good ones, too. I remember watching “Jiro dreams of Sushi” and was quite amazed! What a brilliant film. I wasn’t expecting that, at all!

    mindi says:

    i think documentary is my favorite genre! i love reading all the recommendations in the comments, too.

    my favorite films include riding giants (surf culture!), dear zachary (a true-crime documentary that is absolutely heart-breaking), resptrepo (about american soldiers in afghanistan)…so many more! just thought i’d throw out a few that hadn’t been mentioned.


    I’m an avid documentary watcher too…

    Molly says:

    First Position is great!! Ballet dancers are amazing. Have you seen Man On Wire? One of my favorites for sure! So suspenseful!

    Molly @ Mint Atelier

    Jess says:

    Jiro is great! I watched a good one called “Skid Row” about a member of the Fugees going undercover and living on skid row in DTLA. super interesting!

    I love documentaries too. Some movies leave me feeling empty and sad. I choose to watch things that move me forward in life. My personal favorites are The Way, a story of walking Jacob’s trail. My all time favorite is Finding Joe, simply the best documentary I have ever seen as it changed my life entirely. It is based on the work of Joseph Campbell. The Shift is also very good and Conversations With God is also very deep and powerful. Thank you for sharing your favorites as well! Big hug to you Miss Bri xx

    Sarah says:

    Hey Bri. Me and my guy love documentaries, as well. They’re a nice break from scripted movies. We recently watched “The Imposter” which is about a French guy who assumes the identity of a missing American boy (even though he looks and sounds nothing like him) and fools everyone, from the embassy workers to the missing boy’s own family! It’s unreal how something like this could happen. I recommend it. Here’s the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LuFOX0Sy_o

    Enjoy! Sarah

    Love these recommendations, Bri! The Eames documentary is one of my all-time favorites. Another one like that is Visual Acoustics. It’s about Julius Shulman. A photographer of modern architecture made famous around the 50’s and how his architectural photography made the then up-and-coming architects like Frank Gehry, Richard Neutra and Frank Lloyd Wright infamous.

    Allywan says:

    I’m obsessed with Jiro. He’s about his ish and has no time for your foolishness.

    I loved the Eames documentary, I watched it about a week ago. It was fantastic. Jiro Dreams of Sushi is also amazing. I’ve heard The Queen of Versailles is a good watch as well 🙂

    Alex from http://www.polkadottedpixels.com

    Anonymous says:

    Diana Vreeland’s The eye has to travel was really nice to watch. 🙂

    Nicole says:

    You MUST watch Marwencol if you haven’t previously. Seriously amazing.

    Kiwi says:

    I second the Marwencol comment. it made me cry and want to watch it all over again. eerily beautiful and riveting.

    A few people have mentioned Searching For Sugar Man – a must see! I would also recommend The Invisible War, The Woodmans and Dreams of a Life.

    Chelsea says:

    MAN! American Netflix is so much better than Canadian Netflix.

    I just so happen to be watching the Woody Allen documentary at this very moment (although clearly not giving Woody my undivided attention…)

    Chelsea says:

    (P.S. Just watched Teenage Paparazzo on Netflix the other day, and really loved it. Adrian Grenier did a great job looking at the strange beast that is fame).

    Lauren S says:

    I’m a huge documentary fan, probably what I watch 95% of the time. I really liked the Queen of Versailles. I also enjoyed Three Stars (culinary doc), Nursery University (about competitive preschools in NYC), and Ballerina. I’m making my way onto Mansome, Detropia, The Jeffrey Dahmer Files, They Call It Myanmar, and Beer Wars next.

    shayna says:

    I LOVE a good documentary.
    My favs: 1)Being Elmo 2)Searching for Sugarman (won an oscar last year) 3)Between the Folds 4)Inside Job 5)Food Inc.

    Emily says:

    You have to watch Bill Cuningham: New York. It’s so good! Also on Netflix.

    Your website is done really well, and i defeintly have a list of must sees on netflix. for you i would check out ‘Exit through the Gift Shop’
    its a documentary on street are ‘aka’ graffiti. but it looks beautiful and focuses mainly on Banksy. It also has humor and is super intriguing.

    Love Imbro says:

    yay i’m always looking for new and interesting documentaries! please share more! x

    Kate V says:

    This is such a great list! I, too, am always on the hunt for good Netflix documentaries. I recently watched Park Avenue and loved it!

    Pingback: car crash
    Melinda says:

    Tonight I watched First position. It was amazing. Thanks for the recommendation, Bri! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.