Netflix has a gazillion different movies available for instant streaming (approximately), and even though the service starts to get weirdly accurate with its suggestions after you’ve been using it for a while, it can sometimes be hard to find something worth watching. For this reason, we’ve taken the time to wade through the ridiculous amount of content in order to bring you a list of some of our choices for the best movies on Netflix Instant. 

This guide is continually updated to reflect recent availability. Last update: April 8, 2014. Drew Prindle contributed to this article.

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Documentaries

Blackfish

See the film that is causing some major waves, pun fully intended, for Sea World. Featuring interviews from former trainers and live footage, Blackfish examines if it is really safe for humans or whales to keep such large creatures in captivity. Get ready to have some childhood memories shattered. 

Pink Ribbons Inc.

You’ll never look at a pink ribbon in the same way again after seeing this eye-opening documentary about the rise of “cause marketing,” and witness how capitalism has bastardized charity. 

Room 237

The Shining has been terrifying audiences for years and taught a valuable lesson about the importance of taking time off. However many film critics believe there is more to the film than just blood and nightmares. Room 237 looks into different theories of the meanings behind the symbols in Stanley Kubrick’s iconic movie. 

Jiro Dreams of Sushi  

You will never look at your California Roll the same way again after watching this fascinating documentary about the best sushi chef in the world. 85-year-old Jiro Ono charges $300 a plate at his small restaurant but he proves it is completely worth it after seeing how much time and care he puts into each roll. Don’t watch on an empty stomach, this is food porn at its best and classiest. 

Craigslist Joe

Part stunt-doc, part “get lost so you can find yourself” flick, Craigslist Joe follows filmmaker Joseph Garner as he embarks on a 30-day trip across the US with nothing more the clothes on his back and a laptop. His plan? Use Craigslist to provide him with food, shelter, transportation, and companionship.

The Invisible War

This isn’t a fun documentary to watch. The film exposes the high prevalence of rape in America’s armed forces, so it’s one of those docs that’s eye-opening and informative, but deeply unsettling and emotional. You’ll be outraged by the time the credits roll.

GasLand 

America runs on fossil fuel, and this film sheds light on how fracking – the hydraulic drilling process we use to get natural gas out of the ground – is poisoning the environment. It’s disturbing, infuriating, and extremely emotional; a must see for fans of social/political documentaries.

20 Feet From Stardom 

This 2014 Oscar winner for best documentary follows a group of back up singers as they struggle to be seen behind superstars like Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder. 20 Feet examines what it is like to live just feet away from your dream.  


Super High Me

In possibly one of the best pot documentaries of all time, stoner comedian Doug Benson sets out to show the true effects of marijuana use in a 60-day experiment. The first 30 days is the control experiment – he takes a series of tests while being completely clean and sober. The next 30 days is where it gets really funny, as Benson takes the same tests while staying high as a kite 24/7.

 

Waste Land

The old saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” has never been so true. This doc follows contemporary Vik Muniz on a journey to Jardim Gramacho, the world’s largest landfill on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, where he collaborates with catadores (pickers of recyclable materials) to make art out of garbage.

Due to the fact that some movies are only available on Netflix Instant for a limited amount of time, there’s a chance that some of these movies are no longer available by now. If that’s the case, let us know in the comments and we’ll swap out the movie in question for a flick that’s currently available. Also, feel free to share your favorites in the comments! 

Next Page: Comedies