Amazon Prime is currently one of the more underrated streaming services on the market. The service offers a vast catalog of great movies, television shows and documentaries you can stream whenever you want.
But with the constant rotation of new and old titles, it can feel difficult finding the cream of the crop. Luckily, we got you back. In this article, we will take a brief look at some of the best documentaries on Amazon Prime.
Whether you like historical docs, in-depth music exposes or creepy authentic crime specials; we have something for you. So, grab a bowl of popcorn and get ready for the best documentaries on Amazon Prime.
Table of Comparison
Product Frequently Asked Questions
Before we take a look at the best documentaries on Amazon Prime, let us go over some details regarding the service. In this section, we briefly answer some frequently asked questions that new users often have about the streaming site.
What Is Prime Video?
Prime Video is a streaming service offered by the company Amazon. When you subscribe for a Prime subscription, then you automatically get access to thousands of movies and television both new and old.
You also have the option to rent or purchase titles that do not fall under the Prime Video umbrella. In addition to syndicated programs, movies and documentaries, Prime also sponsors some of its shows and original content.
What Devices Support Prime Video?
Tons of different devices support Prime Video content — too many to list. You can watch movies, television shows, and documentaries on your smart television, Fire television, streaming-supported media player, game console, computer, mobile phone, or tablet device.
What is the X-Ray Feature on Prime Video?
The X-Ray features offered by Prime Video offers an exciting and more engaging way of watching the film.
You can pause the video content at any time and get detailed information about the cast, producers, and directors in each scene. You also receive interesting bits of film trivia that shine new light on old favorites.
How We Review the Documentaries on This List
We review the documentaries on this list by watching them and analyzing their strengths and weaknesses as works of art. In particular, we analyze the narrative structure, emotional subjects, credibility, and widespread appeal.
However, we do not confine our review to our own opinions. In addition to professional critics, we also look at some everyday reviewer responses so we get some ideas on people who might not enjoy the subject associated with the documentary.
Overall Price Range for Amazon Prime
If you sign up for Amazon Prime, then you get streaming access to all of the documentary titles on this list. All you need to do is go through Prime Video. Subscriptions for Amazon Prime cost a little more than one hundred dollars per year.
Alternatively, you can rent or purchase movies. The price depends on the title and the quality setting you select. However, typically, movies cost between two and five dollars to rent and ten to twenty dollars to buy.
How to Begin Looking for Documentaries
Before you can begin looking for documentaries you need to make sure you signed in to your Amazon Prime account. Sign in to your account and check if your membership remains active. Then, go to the left side of the menu and select the Prime Video from the pulldown menu.
You can identify Prime-included content by the logo near the title. You can narrow these selections down by applying filters. If you want to browse titles by categories, then you can scroll down and find the appropriate one.
You can find documentaries by scrolling down until you reach the documentaries category. You can either search for television docs or film docs.
Top Six Best Documentaries on Amazon Prime
Here are some of our top suggestions for the best documentaries on Amazon Prime. The titles on this list are in no particular order, so we suggest selecting one that deals with the subject matter you find interesting. At the end of the article, we will choose the doc we liked the most.
Many people think of the 2014 documentary Fed Up as The Inconvenient Truth of the food industry. In many ways, this comparison makes sense. The film exposes the harsh realities about what is in a lot of the food we eat and how it affects our bodies.
Namely, the doc goes after sugar as the number one cause of obesity, diabetes, and early death. The Inconvenient Truth made a similar move regarding climate change.
The documentary follows obese families affected by the food the government regulates as safe. It also offers some meaningful dialogue on the things you should try and eat.
Pros and Cons
Fed Up does a lot of essential things as a health documentary. It exposes a critical issue in American society that needs addressing. It also presents some common sense health advice that can benefit the everyday good health-wise.
Though the title does offer a fair amount of criticism, it does come a little short in terms of presenting meaningful change. However, the real power behind the doc comes with the emotional stories of the subjects in Fed Up.
The filmmakers tie these stories together with well-edited interviews from exciting speakers and guests like Bill Clinton.
Unfortunately, the film does fall short in a few areas. For one thing, it contains a strong political undertone. This tone comes in the form of the government, placing meaningful regulation on the food industry.
However, we will leave it up to the fewer to decide if the claims are meaningful or not. Another con with the film is that it will sometimes resort to pseudoscience. This con comes mainly in the form of statements made by the subjects that have no basis in science.
While some of this pseudoscience comes from areas that lack appropriate test data, the film should still make these discrepancies clear.
I Am Not Your Negro focuses its lens around the deaths of three major civil rights leaders: Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. The narration in the documentary comes from an unfinished manuscript by the late writer James Baldwin.
Baldwin masterfully balances optimism for progress with the brutal reality of violence and prejudice ingrained in American culture. The filmmaker Raoul Peck does a great job of translating Baldwin’s text into an emotionally charged piece of documentary filmmaking.
Pros and Cons
As the narrator states at the of the doc, I Am Not Your Negro is not a pretty story. It covers a section of history painful to many Americans who remember it — the symbolic death of the civil rights movement.
We also loved the narration of James Baldwin’s literary voice in the actual sound of Samuel L. Jackson. The moving speeches and imagery remind us of the struggles that African American went through and continue to go through each day.
As we mentioned before, I Am Not Your Negro deals with subject matter that may be hard for a lot of people to swallow. Many people may find the outcome of the film dismal and hopeless. However, Baldwin wrote at a time when America felt a distinct amount of disillusionment.
Still, the film does contain sad testimonials and violent footage that some viewers may not want their children watching.
Chasing Happiness is a new documentary that celebrates the return of the Jonas brothers in ways that will satisfy even the most die-hard fan. The film documents the lives of the three brother pop stars from the New Jersy worship roots to their rise in fame thanks to Disney.
It also reveals emotional interviews regarding the breakup of the group and their journeys before reuniting.
Even if you do not consider yourself a Jonas Brothers fan, we think you will enjoy their stories. The doc takes a surprisingly empathetic dive into the careers of three vastly underrated musicians.
Pros and Cons
There is a lot to like about Chasing Happiness, starting with great interviews. The director includes an assortment of unfiltered material that addresses the band’s state during their tumultuous breakup.
It also offers plenty of fan service in terms of nostalgic footage and excitement for the group’s new material. However, Chasing Happiness particularly shines as a history of the Jonas brothers. It follows their career from childhood to adulthood with depth and precision.
However, there are some things you should be aware of before watching Chasing Happiness. For one thing, these are no longer the Jonas Brothers from the Disney channel shows and movies. They are all grown up, and as such, they will sometimes curse during the interviews.
For some parents showing the movie to their kids, this represented a significant problem. Also, sometimes, the documentary feels promotional for apparent reasons. In the second half, it hones in on their newest album and comes across like it is just trying to sell something.
The plot for Meru seems pretty straightforward: three elite climbers undertake a daring ascent of the Himalayan mountain Meru. On the way, we learn about what the climb means to the individuals and the tragic stories some of them carry with them.
However, it is much more than that. The documentary is a thrilling exploration of the extreme mountain climbing community. It captures tense moments from the side of a four thousand foot cliff. Meru is a true marvel in terms of its camera work.
The sheer magnitude of the shots captured make up for an occasional stumble in the second half of the documentary.
Pros and Cons
There is a lot to like about the Meru documentary. The title combines the emotional nature of climbing dangers with the adrenaline-pumping thrill of the shots. As we mentioned before the camera work accomplished on the series is exceptional.
It makes you wonder how they captured some of the shots on the series. However, even if the climbing itself does not interest you, then you will still find yourself floored by the magnitude of the surrounding Himilayian atmosphere and mountain peaks.
However, there are some problems with Meru — mainly in the form of its second half. The documentary moves in a stereotypical past to future narrative. But one confusing edit makes following the timeline during the first watch difficult.
The documentary also slows a bit down in terms of pace during the second half. The first part of Meru features thrillingly edited climb sequences that feel rushed over during the latter part of the work.
If you want an in-depth look at the US military fighting from Afghanistan, then look no further than the Hornet’s Nest. The documentary represents a marvel in war journalism as one of the few works that accurately captures the horror of combat.
The documentary follows both the collective narrative of U.S troops while honing in on the filmmaker Mike Boettcher’s tragic journey in the war and his experience losing his son.
Pros and Cons
The biggest strength going for The Hornet’s Nest is the raw power of its war footage. The film contains genuine, first-hand combat footage that sets it apart from many other war films. It makes the documentary one of the most realistic depictions of fighting.
The Hornet’s Nest also offers a sober view of the war and the people who gave their lives while fighting for it.
Many people accused The Hornet’s Nest filmmakers of focusing too hard on the journey of war journalist Mike Boettcher and the loss of his son during the war.
While this part of the documentary does offer an emotional focal point, many found it detracts from the other soldiers fighting in the film.
Madonna and the Breakfast Club covers the early history of the pop star. It focuses on her years before blowing up in New York City. In particular, it explores the story of her relationship with Dan Gilroy and their first band together The Breakfast Club.
Pros and Cons
The main strengths of Madonna and the Breakfast Club come from the actress portraying the pop star. She looks just like her and gives a convincing portrayal. It is also a solid history of her rise and features a lot of never before seen photos.
However, the documentary is not for everyone. Some people found the history information in Madonna and the Breakfast Club redundant and viewed the interviews as boring.
Conclusion: The Best Documentary on Amazon Prime
In our opinion, I Am Not Your Negro stands out as one of the best documentaries on Amazon Prime. However, do not be mistakes: the film is not easy to watch. But it is essential to work that represents something that every person should see regardless of their background.
We hope this article helped you find the best documentaries on Amazon Prime. If nothing on this list interests you, then we recommend that you keep looking. Prime offers a seemingly endless amount of movie and television docs you can choose. Have fun watching!