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The best documentaries on Amazon Prime Video (September 2022)

Sometimes, you don’t want to be purely entertained — you want to learn something from your viewing selections. Well, Amazon Prime Video has plenty of options when it comes to documentaries. However, they’re not all great options. (What? Bad documentaries? Yes, believe it or not.) To make sure you don’t waste your valuable time “learning” about something extraordinarily dull, we’ve gone ahead and pulled together the best documentaries on Amazon Prime Video right now.

We’ve also rounded up the best documentaries on Netflix and the best documentaries on Hulu if Amazon Prime Video doesn’t have what you’re looking for.

Recently added to Amazon Prime Video
Chicken People (2016) new
Chicken People
81 %
7.0/10
83m
Genre Documentary
Directed by Nicole Lucas Haimes
Chicken People feels like it should be a mockumentary, but it is dead serious. This wacky documentary dives into the high-stakes world of competitive poultry. Following three passionate chicken farmers, the film explores their struggles and triumphs as they flaunt their chickens from the Ohio National Poultry Show to the Dixie Classic in Tennessee.
Blackfish (2013) new
Blackfish
83 %
8.1/10
pg-13 83m
Genre Documentary
Stars Dean Gomersall, Samantha Berg, John Jett
Directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite
Blackfish pulls back the shade on the ocean amusement park industry by focusing on Tilikum, a captive orca whale responsible for the deaths of three people, including a leading orca trainer. Orcas are one of nature’s most intelligent and social creatures. They’re also one of the most dangerous, creating a truly terrible recipe when they’re kept in captivity.
Closed for Storm (2020)
Closed for Storm
6.2/10
g 77m
Genre Documentary
Stars Jake Williams, Ryan Bordenave, Kenney G. Guidry Jr.
Directed by Jake Williams
Six Flags New Orleans is a jewel in the urban exploration community. Devastated by Hurricane Katrina, the massive theme park remains abandoned and forgotten, standing as an enormous blight on the community. This documentary explores the remarkably long-lasting impact of Katrina and asks what communities can do with such enormously difficult rebuilding challenges.
Lucy and Desi (2022)
Lucy and Desi
73 %
7.8/10
pg-13 102m
Genre Documentary
Stars Lucie Arnaz, Bette Midler, Carol Burnett
Directed by Amy Poehler
Just when you think everything has been said about this couple, think again. Amy Poehler explores the relationship between the two Hollywood stars in Lucy and Desi, getting to the heart of what their relationship was like. The story is largely put in the hands of the stars, utilizing archival recordings and home movies. Poehler also gets the perspective of those who knew the couple best, such as their children and fellow television titans Norman Lear and Carol Burnett. Poehler deftly navigates as complicated a pair that’s ever existed under the Hollywood lights.
Rooney (2022)
Rooney
6.8/10
105m
Genre Documentary
Stars Wayne Rooney, Coleen Rooney, Gary Neville
Directed by Matt Smith
Wayne Rooney is one of the most famous English footballers of all-time. The current Derby County manager is the leading scorer in history for both Manchester United and the English national team. He didn’t always make friends along the way, though, creating plenty of enemies with his brash attitude and getting into legal trouble, including a drunk-driving conviction. Rooney feels like an attempt to push the narrative forward, past the problems and toward a potentially promising future as a manager in the sport. It doesn’t dive too deeply into the troubles, though Rooney does at times acknowledge them with a certain vulnerability. Still, the movie provides a great retrospective of one of the all-time greats.
A Man Named Scott (2021)
A Man Named Scott
8.1/10
95m
Genre Documentary, Music
Stars Kid Cudi, Jaden Smith, Blake Young
Directed by Robert Alexander
Before Kid Cudi became one of the greatest rappers in the world, he was just a kid named Scott Mescudi. That’s the premise behind A Man Named Scott, the latest in Amazon Prime’s music documentaries. Kid Cudi has gone through a lot of different iterations in his career, including acting (he’s set to appear in Netflix’s Don’t Look Up in December). But the most important project he ever worked on in the eyes of some is his debut album, Man on the Moon, which dove deep into introspective topics like depression and loneliness. The album endeared him to a generation, and this documentary looks at the project, as well as all that followed, through new footage and behind-the-scenes extras.
A Man Named Scott | Official Trailer | Prime Video
Lucy and Desi: A Home Movie (1993)
Lucy and Desi: A Home Movie
8.1/10
108m
Genre Documentary
Stars Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Lucie Arnaz
Directed by Lucie Arnaz
Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz captured the hearts and minds of a generation. In fact, there’s a new biopic coming to Prime Video in December about their lives, titled Being the Ricardos, which makes this documentary worth surfacing now. The 1990s documentary was directed and produced by their daughter, Lucie Arnaz, and sees their lives through the use of home videos and fascinating interviews. The documentary earned an Emmy Award for Outstanding Information Special, and the archival footage is a great way to inform one’s viewing experience of the new dramatic film.
Mayor Pete (2021)
Mayor Pete
4.0/10
r 96m
Genre Documentary
Stars Pete Buttigieg, Chasten Buttigieg
Directed by Jesse Moss
“Mayor Pete” may no longer be a fitting moniker for Pete Buttigieg, who is serving as the U.S. secretary of transportation after his failed presidential run. Nevertheless, the spirit of the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is one of the most inspiring to come from a politician in recent memory. His youth helped him connect with a younger generation of voters, while his sexuality was part of his history-making presidential run. Mayor Pete tracks the rise of the politician, although it’s hard to call it a definitive documentary on Buttigieg’s life and career, since he isn’t even 40 yet. Still, the documentary gives a good glimpse at someone poised to be a major player in the future of the United States.
Mayor Pete | Official Trailer | Prime Video
Justin Bieber: Our World (2021)
Justin Bieber: Our World
47 %
4.7/10
pg 94m
Genre Music, Documentary
Stars Justin Bieber, Hailey Bieber, Scooter Braun
Directed by Michael D. Ratner
Justin Bieber has been the star of numerous documentaries about his life and this is the latest. In all seriousness, Our World gives a look at the pop superstar in a relatively stable place, not always an easy accomplishment for the Canadian who became a sensation while the rest of us were in high school. The documentary is a behind-the-scenes look at preparation for a pandemic-era concert, so the hallmarks of Covid-19 are unmistakable – this is not an escapist film. Because of where Bieber is in his life, it’s also not particularly dramatic or titillating. It gives insights into Bieber’s life, but isn’t pushing the envelope in any particular way. Beliebers will eat this up, while other fans will see it as a nice documentary and a reminder that this is Bieber’s world, we’re all just living in it.
Justin Bieber: Our World - Official Trailer | Prime Video
My Name Is Pauli Murray (2021)
My Name Is Pauli Murray
73 %
6.3/10
pg-13 91m
Genre Documentary
Stars Patricia Bell-Scott, Dolores Chandler, Brittney Cooper
Directed by Julie Cohen, Betsy West
Far too few people know the name Pauli Murray, but the titular documentary should help change that. Murray was a lawyer, poet, and activist, among other roles, but she was also the first Black woman to be ordained. But Murray had a number of struggles in her life, most notably her struggle as a non-binary person, a term not used during her time (the documentary uses “she” and “her” pronouns throughout). My Name is Pauli Murray gives insight into somebody not as well known as other activists, but influential to the likes of Thurgood Marshall and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It’s a life worth celebrating and discovering all over again.
Mary J. Blige's My Life (2021)
Mary J. Blige's My Life
56 %
6.6/10
r 82m
Genre Documentary, Music
Stars Mary J. Blige, Sean Combs, Taraji P. Henson
Directed by Vanessa Roth
Mary J. Blige’s My Life takes the same name as the R&B great’s second studio album, which catapulted her to fame back when it was released in 1994. The film mostly details Blige’s experiences creating the album and how fans continue to react to it almost three decades after its release, though the movie’s approach misses a chance at exploring a complicated woman more in-depth. Still, Blige spends some time talking about her own struggles in the documentary, which helped reveal the extent of drugs and violence she was exposed to at an early age, as well as suicidal thoughts Blige was experiencing during the recording of the album. The documentary mostly targets fans of the R&B artist, but that can be considered a large group after the incredible career Blige has had.
Mary J Blige's My Life - Official Trailer | Prime Video
Val (2021)
Val
73 %
7.7/10
r 109m
Genre Documentary
Stars Val Kilmer, Jack Kilmer, Mercedes Kilmer
Directed by Leo Scott, Ting Poo
Here’s something you probably didn’t know: For more than 40 years, Val Kilmer has been documenting his own life through home video. He’s amassed thousands of hours of footage, from 16mm home movies made with his brothers to the obvious footage caught while on set for blockbusters like Top GunTombstone, and Batman Forever. This strange, oddly charming documentary wants to change the way you think about Val Kilmer, long one of Hollywood’s most mercurial or misunderstood actors.
VAL | Official Trailer | Prime Video
P!NK: All I Know So Far (2021)
P!NK: All I Know So Far
60 %
7.9/10
99m
Genre Documentary, Music
Stars Pink, Carey Hart, Willow Sage Hart
Directed by Michael Gracey
You may not have thought about P!NK much recently, but rest assured she’s still going strong. Case in point: The mind-boggling success of her 2019 “Beautiful Trauma” world tour. This documentary follows the award-winning performer and musician along this tour, in a notably different stage of her life than when she first exploded onto the scene. Now a mom, a wife, and a boss to a small army of people supporting the P!NK brand, she comes across a little differently in this raw, emotional, personal look behind the curtain.
PINK All I Know So Far - Official Trailer | Prime Video
Sharkwater Extinction (2018)
Sharkwater Extinction
76 %
7.7/10
90m
Genre Documentary
Stars Rob Stewart, Paul Watson, Madison Stewart
Directed by Rob Stewart
Documentary filmmaker Rob Stewart made it his mission to spread the word about the peril facing sharks around the world. Stewart perished in a diving accident while making his final film, Sharkwater Extinction. Despite the tragedy, the completed documentary explores the vast scale of shark hunting, as well as the distasteful shark fin trade that has decimated the shark population. In addition to sounding the alarm for shark conservation and condemning the brutal slaughter, this film also features gorgeously shot underwater scenes that offer an intimate look at the sea creatures that Stewart tried so hard to protect.
Sharkwater Extinction Trailer #1 (2018) | Movieclips Indie
Halston (2019)
Halston
64 %
7.1/10
105m
Genre Documentary
Stars Halston, Liza Minnelli, Marisa Berenson
Directed by Frédéric Tcheng
If you’re immersed in the history of American fashion, then chances are good that you know the name Roy Halston Frowick. In the ‘70s, he simply went by “Halston,” and he created an international sensation thanks to his unique designs that catered to women. Halston became a celebrity for his exploits, his successes, and his epic fall and expulsion from the company that he founded. The documentary Halston offers an unflinching look at the man himself, with rare footage from his family as well as testimonials from his surviving friends and colleagues who knew him best.
The Hornet's Nest (2014)
The Hornet's Nest
61 %
6.6/10
r 93m
Genre War, Documentary, History
Stars Carlos Boettcher, Mike Boettcher, Kalen M. Waite
Directed by David Salzberg, Christian Tureaud
Imagine stepping into a war film where the stakes were real and nothing was faked. The Hornet’s Nest accomplishes that with astonishing footage from a nine-day battle between U.S. forces and the Taliban. There’s even captured footage from the Taliban that shows the fighting from their perspective. But the narrative focus of the film belongs to veteran war correspondent Mike Boettcher and his son, Carlos Boettcher. The father-and-son duo is embedded with American troops in Afghanistan. And while the Boettchers’ bond grew over time, they had first-hand seats for the horrors of war.
The Hornet's Nest Official Trailer (2014) War Documentary HD
Time (2020)
Time
91 %
6.8/10
pg-13 81m
Genre Documentary
Stars Fox Rich, Rob Rich II, Freedom Rich
Directed by Garrett Bradley
One of life’s most precious commodities — the one we can never get back — is time. That’s especially true for those who are incarcerated or have a loved one locked up in prison. Time takes an unflinching look at a family dealing with the struggles of losing that time through the eyes of Sibil Fox Richardson, whose husband Rob is serving 60 years in prison for robbing a bank. Home videos of the family are used throughout the documentary, adding poignancy to the film and making sure viewers never forget that these are real people living through the prison-industrial complex. The film premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 2020, where director Garrett Bradley became the first Black woman to win the U.S. Documentary Directing Award.
TIME – Official Trailer | Prime Video
Jasper Mall (2020)
Jasper Mall
6.8/10
pg 84m
Genre Documentary
Directed by Brett Whitcomb, Bradford Thomason
If it feels like ’80s nostalgia is at an all-time high, you might be right. And right at the center of that nostalgia trip is the shopping mall. In this pensive documentary, Bradford Thomason and Brett Whitcomb expose the reality of the dying American mall industry by focusing on a once-thriving mall in Jasper, Alabama. Formerly the hub of a community, the dying mall is now emblematic of changing economic tides and a culture that may be permanently gone.
The Booksellers (2020)
The Booksellers
71 %
6.9/10
pg 99m
Genre Documentary
Stars Parker Posey, Fran Lebowitz, Gay Talese
Directed by D.W. Young
You might not think a documentary about New York’s rare book world would be interesting or entertaining. You’d be wrong. The Booksellers invites you into a world of fascinating bibliophiles, taking you into some of the extraordinary lengths mildly obsessive people will go to for the sake of adding to their precious libraries. With endlessly entertaining interviews with the likes of Parker Posey, Fran Lebowitz, and Gay Talese, The Booksellers is one of those rare documentaries that feels like a narrative.
The Booksellers Trailer #1 (2020) | Movieclips Indie
All In: The Fight for Democracy (2020)
All In: The Fight for Democracy
79 %
6.6/10
pg-13 102m
Genre Documentary
Stars Stacey Abrams, Debo Adegbile, Jayla Allen
Directed by Lisa Cortés, Liz Garbus
The lead-up to the 2020 election was one of the most contentious periods in recent American history. From the coronavirus pandemic to the fight for racial justice to the staggering economic downturn affecting millions around the country, it’s never been more important to make sure your voice is heard and vote. That’s the message behind All In, an Amazon Original released in September, less than two months before Election Day. The filmmakers get their message across by zeroing in on the issue of voter suppression, focusing on the 2018 gubernatorial race in Georgia, where Stacey Abrams allegedly lost due to voter suppression. Abrams has since founded Fair Fight Action, an organization dedicated to addressing the issue.
ALL IN: The Fight For Democracy – Official Trailer | Prime Video
That Sugar Film (2014)
That Sugar Film
56 %
7.4/10
pg 97m
Genre Documentary
Stars Damon Gameau, Stephen Fry, Brenton Thwaites
Directed by Damon Gameau
That Sugar Film is in the same mold as Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me, except it’s Australian and focuses on an even more pervasive food industry evil: sugar. Director Damon Gameau decides to consume a high-sugar diet — through foods commonly assumed to be healthy — for 30 straight days. No, he’s not stuffing his face with candy and soda; Gameau instead illuminates how massive amounts of sugar are often found in places you likely thought were safe. With entertaining cameos from Hugh Jackman and Stephen Fry, That Sugar Film feels like a sugar high, right until the eye-opening crash.
That Sugar Film - Official Trailer
One Child Nation (2019)
One Child Nation
85 %
7.5/10
r 88m
Genre Documentary
Stars Nanfu Wang, Jiaoming Pang, Brian Stuy
Directed by Nanfu Wang, Zhang Jialing
Arguably one of the most controversial policies in the world during its heyday, China’s one-child policy was enacted in 1979 in an attempt to control the population of the country, which was expanding at unsustainable rates. The policy eventually reverted to the previous law, a two-child policy, in 2015. For the 36 years in which the policy was active, however, there were numerous consequences, both intended and unintended, as parents had to grapple with impossible choices largely stemming from the preferred status of being born a male in modern-day China. The filmmakers delve into the personal trauma resulting from a policy that drew the attention of the world as China developed into a global superpower.
One Child Nation - Official Trailer | Amazon Studios
Super Size Me (2004)
Super Size Me
73 %
7.2/10
pg-13 100m
Genre Documentary, Comedy, Drama
Stars Morgan Spurlock, Daryl Isaacs, Lisa Ganjhu
Directed by Morgan Spurlock
This film was so powerful that many credit it with influencing McDonald’s Restaurants to eliminate their super-sizing options, even though the company swears their decision had nothing to do with the documentary. Morgan Spurlock set out to undergo a crazy experiment: Only eat food from McDonald’s for 30 days straight, three meals a day, to see how it affects him. Without giving too much away, Spurlock documents the various changes he undergoes in body and mind throughout the 30-day period, and it’s staggering, to say the least. The intent was to raise awareness around fast-food companies that encourage poor nutrition for the sake of their own profits and to shed light on America’s obesity problem. It’s a fascinating watch that shows just how much of a difference what you eat can make in your life.
Chasing Happiness (2019)
Chasing Happiness
7.7/10
96m
Genre Documentary, Music
Stars Nick Jonas, Joe Jonas, Kevin Jonas
Directed by John Lloyd Taylor
In recent years, the Jonas Brothers have worked hard to shed their Disney Channel-tinged image and enter the next phase of their musical career. To do so, however, they had to discover what life was like apart from one another. Chasing Happiness documents the lives of the three brothers, from their publicized breakup in 2013 to their reunion in 2019. The documentary in part promoted their first new record in years, Happiness Begins, but it’s far from being a public relations-palooza, as it also contains previously unreleased footage and personal interviews with the brothers.
Jonas Brothers’ Chasing Happiness - Official Trailer | Prime Video
Gleason (2016)
Gleason
80 %
8.3/10
r 110m
Genre Documentary
Stars Rivers Gleason, Michel Gleason, Steve Gleason
Directed by J. Clay Tweel
Steve Gleason was on top of the world as a defensive back for the New Orleans Saints, and was best known for monumentally blocking a punt by the opposing Atlanta Falcons during the Saints’ first game back at the Superdome in nearly two years following Hurricane Katrina. The team would go on to win that game, sparking one of the most successful seasons in Saints history. But in 2011, Gleason’s life changed forever when he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. The documentary, filmed over a period of five years, looks at his life after diagnosis, including the announcement of his wife’s pregnancy, how the diagnosis has played into his family life, and the advancement of his disease to today, where he relies on assistive technology to communicate. It’s an emotional journey of strength, resilience, and determination.
Gleason | Official Trailer [HD] | Open Road Films

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