Here are our top 25 picks for the best motivational documentaries you should be watching right now on Netflix:
Grizzly Man, directed by Herzog – the great German director, centers on Timothy Treadwell – an amateur grizzly bear expert who periodically journeyed to Alaska to live and study with the bears. This film is produced mainly from fragments of more than 100 hours of video filmed by Timothy Treadwell himself during his summers with the bears. In addition, the director speaks to his family, friends, and colleagues and, in the documentary’s most memorable scene, he listens to the audio from the fatal attack.
It is a documentary directed by Jillian Schlesinger that describes the incredible performance achieved by a Dutch schoolgirl – Laura Dekker – who became the youngest person to sail solo around the world in January 2012 at age 16.
#3 Man on Wire (2008)
This film gets you thinking about human limits and motivation. It accounts wire-walker Philippe Petit’s famed 1974 conquest of the world’s tallest buildings. For almost 45 minutes Philippe Petit walked on a metal cable attach between the towers of the World Trade Center.
#4 Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010)
Cave of Forgotten Dreams, directed by Werner Herzog, is a 2010 exceptional documentary about the Chauvet Cave in France. This cave, also known as the ”Chauvet cave” (after one of the first cave explorers), contains more than 400 engraved or painted animals from the Paleolithic period (better known as Old Stone Age), including depictions of lions, mammoths, bison, rhinoceroses, bears, horses, and other animals.
#5 Touching The Void (2003)
This documentary presents the story of two British climbers: Joe Simpson and Simon Yates, respectively 25 and 21 years old, who in 1985 set out to scale the Siula Grande (first climbed in 1936 by Erwin Schneider and Arnold Awerzger), a difficult 21,000ft peak in the Peruvian Andes.
#6 Keep On Keepin’ On (2014)
In this documentary, the director Alan Hicks captures the moving relationship between a jazz icon and a blind piano prodigy.
#7 Poverty, Inc. (2014)
This film explores the hidden side of doing good. While this sounds a bit crazy, Poverty, Inc. explains that instead of giving a man a fish it is better, in the long run, just giving him a fishing rod and letting him then help himself.
#8 I Am (2011)
Directed and written by Tom Shadyac, this documentary is an account of Tom’s journey around the world asking 2 important questions: ”What’s wrong with our world?” and ”What can we do about it?” to the ”significant minds” of today.
#9 Girl Rising (2013)
This film presents the touching stories of 9 girls from 9 developing countries who overcome difficulties.
#10 Deep Water (2006)
This documentary recounts the first solo round the world races in 1968.
#11 My Beautiful Broken Brain (2014)
My Beautiful Broken Brain is the story of Lotje Sodderland who suffered a catastrophic brain hemorrhage in 2011 at the age of 34.
#12 How to Change the World (2015)
This amazing documentary examines how the environmental activist network – Greenpeace – was founded in Vancouver in the early seventies.
#13 Food, Inc (2008)
The remarkable movie Food Inc., released in 2008, criticizes the current techniques of food processing and cultivation, particularly in the American food industry, for being insensitive to the safety of consumers.
#14 Undefeated (2011)
This motivational film portrays a look at a single season in the life of an ambitious high school football team, located in the North Memphis, Tenn.
#15 Welcome to Leith (2015)
Welcome to Leith presents the story of a largely abandoned North Dakota town invaded by an infamous white supremacist.
#16 Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (2014)
This documentary takes viewers on a tour of not just the universe but also the history behind how we have come to know what we do.
#17 Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret (2014)
The simple question this interesting documentary asks is why the contribution of livestock to environmental pollution is completely absent from the world’s environmental schedule.
#18 13th (2016)
This film systematically goes through the decades following the passage of the 13th amendment (abolished involuntary servitude and slavery, except as a punishment for a crime) to present how black people were targeted by the media.
#19 Twinsters (2015)
Twinsters is an impressive story of identical twins separated at birth.
#20 Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father (2008)
It is a crime documentary about the 2001 murder of Andrew Bagby.
#21 Happy People: A Year in the Taiga (2010)
Dmitry Vasyukov spent a year in the Siberian taiga (the world’s largest biome apart from the oceans) and cut the footage into a 4-hour television series that ran in his native Russia a few years ago.
#22 Rich Hill (2014)
Rich Hill is a unique film that follows the lives of three young boys in impoverished Rich Hill.
#23 Blackfish (2013)
This outstanding documentary tracks the physical and psychological torment inflicted on Orca whales in the name of a powerful corporate brand.
Particle fever follows 6 physicists from the scheduled startup of the CERN Large Hadron Collider (the world’s most powerful and largest particle accelerator) to the discovery of the elusive God particle.
#25 Hungry For Change (2012)
This motivational documentary talks about healthy eating, analyzing how the food we consume affects us (physically and emotionally) while teaching us how to take complete control of the way that we eat.