ByVaria Fedko-Blake, writer at Creators.co
Staff Writer at Moviepilot! [email protected]
Varia Fedko-Blake

Countless documentaries and non-fiction, independent feature-films are flooding online streaming services these days, and Amazon Prime seems to be spearheading the genre when it comes to providing outstanding content.

From inspirational biographies of modern-day icons, commentaries on the pressing issues being discussed in our communities right now, to fascinating insights into the mysteries of the natural world, there is a lot on offer on when it comes to must-watch documentaries. Check out some of the best below.

Note: This list will be updated monthly to reflect both the old and new documentaries added to Amazon Prime. Newest additions are at the top.

Here Are The Best Documentaries On Amazon Prime Right Now:

12. 'North Korea: The Great Illusion'

'North Korea: The Great Illusion' [Credit: XiveTV]
'North Korea: The Great Illusion' [Credit: XiveTV]

Released: 2016

In recent months, North Korea has trickled into our deepest fears with the threat of nuclear war, triggering a diplomatic crisis with its neighboring nations, as well as the United States.

But how much do we actually know about the elusive country that has closed its doors to the outside world? Thankfully, the brave people behind Amazon Prime documentary North Korea: The Great Illusion have succeeded in giving us a glimpse into the strict political regime and its people. After years of failed negotiations and censorship setbacks, Michaël Sztanke and Julien Alric finally got their visas approved to visit the regime of Kim Jong-un, returning to gather some much-needed answers about what makes the totalitarian state tick.

11. 'Passing'

'Passing' [Credit: Frameline Distribution]
'Passing' [Credit: Frameline Distribution]

Released: 2016

Passing examines tough experiences of extreme racism and sexism prevalent today through the eyes of three transmen of color. After undergoing gender transition from female to male, the documentary highlights what it's really like living as a black man in a society that renders transgender issues invisible.

See more:

10. 'The Greater Good'

'The Greater Good' [Credit: Janson Media]
'The Greater Good' [Credit: Janson Media]

Released: 2014

The vaccine debate has been raging on in the United States for decades, with many parents refusing to provide their children with vaccinations for fear of neurological disorders and potential physical side-effects. Documentary The Greater Good focuses on making sense of these arguments, showing their polarizing effect on communities.

Neither pro-vaccine or anti-vaccine, the feature provides a very well-rounded take on a highly-contentious topic that has haunted the medical field for a very long time.

9. 'That Sugar Film'

Release: 2015

In the vein of Super Size Me, Australian Damon Gameau decides to do an experiment on himself. Over six weeks, by changing his diet to one that is low in fat but high in sugar — to the equivalent of forty teaspoons a day — he monitors the effects his new nutrition plan has on the human body. And trust me, it's not good.

8. 'Amy'

'Amy' [Credit: Altitude Film Distribution/A24]
'Amy' [Credit: Altitude Film Distribution/A24]

Release: 2015

British documentary Amy tells the extraordinary and heartbreaking story of one of the most iconic British singer-songwriters, Amy Winehouse. Directed by the award-winning Asif Kapadia, it pays tribute to the artist's life and documents her struggles with substance abuse, a volatile addiction that eventually cost her her life at the age of 27. The CEO of Universal Music UK, David Joseph, couldn't have put it better when he summed up what the documentary was all about, saying:

"It's a very complicated and tender movie. It tackles lots of things about family and media, fame, addiction, but most importantly, it captures the very heart of what she was about, which is an amazing person and a true musical genius."

7. 'Prisoner Number A26188: Surviving Auschwitz'

'Prisoner Number A26188: Surviving Auschwitz' [Credit: XiveTV]
'Prisoner Number A26188: Surviving Auschwitz' [Credit: XiveTV]

Release: 2016

Decades on, and the haunting memory of the Holocaust continues to reverberate through our modern society. And in order to prevent from history repeating the horrific events of the Second World War, it's vital for us to educate ourselves on what happened.

Documentary Prisoner Number A26188: Surviving Auschwitz does just this through the eyes of a real Holocaust surviver, Henia Bryer. The feature tells the true story of a young woman from a middle-class Jewish family, who extraordinarily survived the Auschwitz concentration camp. Featuring interviews and Bryer's first-hand accounts, it brings the trauma of the the war to the fore-front in a stunning account of human courage and perseverance in one of the darkest periods of 21st century history.

6. 'I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story'

Release: 2015

For a slightly lighter subject matter, I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story is also streaming on Amazon Prime as one of its best documentaries on offer. Painting an affectionate portrait of the man behind Sesame Street icon Big Bird, it brings to our attention the tragic, yet uplifting, story of the man behind the yellow mask.

Wonderfully narrated by Caroll Spinney himself, as well as those individuals closest to him, it will encourage you to relive one of the most beloved childhood characters to ever hit the small screen.

5. 'Gleason'

[Credit: Amazon Studios]
[Credit: Amazon Studios]

Release: 2016

With an overwhelmingly positive rating of 96% on Rotten Tomatoes, Sundance Film Festival entry Gleason was a stand-out addition to the documentary scene in 2016. Currently streaming on Amazon Prime, it provides us with a glimpse into the life of former New Orleans Saints defensive back, Steve Gleason, who was diagnosed with ALS and given a life expectancy of just two to five years. A week later, his wife became pregnant with their first child.

Filmed as a video journal, the documentary casts a light on Steve's battle with the crippling disease, his yearning to adapt to his weakening physical condition, as well as his determination to provide other ALS sufferers with a voice. Gleason is a remarkable portrait that celebrates the strength of the human spirit at times of extreme hardship.

4. 'Meru'

'Meru' [Credit: Music Box Films]
'Meru' [Credit: Music Box Films]

Release: 2015

For those who enjoying an adrenaline rush, one of the best documentaries on Amazon Prime right now is 2015's Meru. Following the adventures of alpinists Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk, the feature-length film sees them attempt to complete the impossible climb — the 21,000 foot peak called the Shark's Fin, situated on Mount Meru in Northern India.

Although some of the footage might make you a bit dizzy, this extreme sports documentary is really not to be missed.

3. 'Galápagos: Realm of Giant Sharks'

'Galápagos: Realm of Giant Sharks' [Credit: XiveTV]
'Galápagos: Realm of Giant Sharks' [Credit: XiveTV]

Release: 2014

Everyone loves a decent shark series so when Galápagos: Realm of Giant Sharks began streaming on Amazon Prime, fans of natural world documentaries couldn't be happier.

Diving deep into the far reaches of the Galápagos archipelago of Darwin island, a group of researchers follow a parade of giant whale sharks, who pass by about to give birth. It is in these waters — affected by dangerous currents and unpredictable weather conditions — that brave filmmakers try to get close to some of the most elusive and misunderstood creatures on our planet.

2. 'American Addict'

'American Addict' [Credit: Synergetic Distribution]
'American Addict' [Credit: Synergetic Distribution]

Release: 2013

It's an outstanding fact that despite the fact that although America only makes up 5% of the world's population, it consumes 80% of its prescription narcotics. Amazon Prime documentary American Addict explores this shocking phenomenon — a problem that has claimed millions of lives, including that of high-profile addicts such as Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Heath Ledger and Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

Delving deep into the connections between government bodies, big pharmaceutical companies and the media, this must-watch documentary exposes the unsettling hypocrisy that's seldom discussed in public.

1. '9/11: The Falling Man'

 '9/11: The Falling Man' [Credit: XiveTV]
'9/11: The Falling Man' [Credit: XiveTV]

Release: 2006

In what swiftly became one of the most shocking and unforgettable images arising from the 9/11 tragedy — a photograph of a falling man as he plunged from the collapsing skyscraper following the terrorist attack on New York's Twin Towers — this documentary dissects the story behind the image.

As well as embarking on a search for who this person was, 9/11: The Falling Man also tries to determine why the photograph was censored by the authorities.

Which Amazon Prime documentary is on your watch-list?

'Amy' [Credit: Altitude Film Distribution/A24]
'Amy' [Credit: Altitude Film Distribution/A24]

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