My husband and I watch a lot of documentaries, I think it’s the equivalent of being hooked on reality TV but without the guilt associated with that endeavor. We don’t have cable now that we live in the country, it was one of the creature comforts we decided to do without; it’s really not as bad as you might think.  I have always been a big reader and when I met my husband I didn’t even watch TV so this compromise on his part to go with Netflix instant download only is a big deal (for him).  One of the things we lament is that we never know what to watch, it’s a roll of the dice. I thought I would put together a brief list of docs that we have watched and thoroughly enjoyed.  Not all of these may be the best quality, but all of them held our attention and made us glad we watched. I linked to the docs so you can read their descriptions, watch trailers and read more reviews (just click on the titles). This is by no means everything we have watched but some of our faves. Do you have any other recommendations we should be adding to the list? We are always looking for new instant download docs.  Have a happy weekend!

Man on Wire-This completely made my stomach feel like it was on a roller coaster. I was on edge and what Philippe Petit did is pretty outstanding (and something I would never do in a million years).
Bag it-You will completely understand why people are maniacal about this subject after viewing this.
Born Into Brothels-I loved this story, beautifully told.
Cocaine Cowboy-It’s a real Miami Vice-esque story. 
The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill-So heartwarming! When we lived in L.A. there were tons of wild parrots in the palm trees. It was nice to get a little back story to a Northern Cal parrot colony.
The Human Family Tree-This National Geographic doc was delightfully surprising.
Justin Beiber:Never Say Never-A truly hard-working and talented kid, you will become a ‘Beleiber.’ 
Candyman:The David Klein Story-A sad story of fame + fortune.
Ghost Bird-I still can’t get over what we have done in the name of science + industry. The Harvard visits are my favorite.
If a Tree Falls-When extremes are uhm, extreme.
Fresh-This should have you packing to join me in the country.
Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting Christians-I think the title describes the doc well.
The Elephant in the Living Room Repercussions of taking in wild animals.
Being Elmo-A feel good story of following your dream.
Modern Marvels:The Telephone-More of a short than a doc, but still interesting.
This American Life-This is no longer on streaming but the story about Chance is unbelievable.


  1. LOVE Documentaries. Here’s a few favorites i found on netflix:

    -The Buddha
    -The Art of the Steal
    -Touching the Void
    -The Rape of Europa
    -God Grew Tired of Us
    -Exit Through the Gift Shop
    -The Cove

    Okay i realize i’m rambling. But i seriously love documentaries. Also if you have an ipad the PBS app has some great instant watch episodes.

  2. I have one! (on Netflix)

    Herb & Dorothy – a couple in NYC with a modest income spend every extra penny on art & amass an impressive collection over their lifetime. I found them charming & fascinating!

  3. Lisa we were so excited by your list! We were going to start God Grew Tired of Us, but got too tired, can’t wait to make it through your list! Roberta adding to our queue! Beth, my husband keeps wanting to watch, but I keep holding him off, I think I will acquiesce. Michelle I DID see that and it was great I will add a footnote to this post!

  4. LOVE this post. exit through the gift shop and the cove are favorites. i will have to watch each of these – have you seen jiro dreams of sushi?

  5. Thank you for helping fill my instant queue! Another suggestion for you to watch is Jiro Dreams of Sushi. It’s a charming profile about a sushi master and his commitment to doing something well (a lesson we can all be reminded about.)

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