All Oscar Best Documentary Features on Netflix See list on IMDb

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Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)

Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)

8.0 | 2021 | Movie | 118 min

During the same summer as Woodstock, over 300,000 people attended the Harlem Cultural Festival, celebrating African American music and culture, and promoting Black pride and unity. The footage from the festival sat in a basement, unseen for over 50 years, keeping this incredible event in America's history lost โ€” until now.

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My Octopus Teacher

My Octopus Teacher

8.1 | 2020 | Movie | 85 min

After years of swimming every day in the freezing ocean at the tip of Africa, Craig Foster meets an unlikely teacher: a young octopus who displays remarkable curiosity. Visiting her den and tracking her movements for months on end he eventually wins the animalโ€™s trust and they develop a never-before-seen bond between human and wild animal.

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American Factory

American Factory

7.4 | 2019 | Movie | 110 min

In post-industrial Ohio, a Chinese billionaire opens a new factory in the husk of an abandoned General Motors plant, hiring two thousand blue-collar Americans. Early days of hope and optimism give way to setbacks as high-tech China clashes with working-class America.

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Free Solo

Free Solo

8.1 | 2018 | Movie | 100 min

Follow Alex Honnold as he attempts to become the first person to ever free solo climb Yosemite's 3,000 foot high El Capitan wall. With no ropes or safety gear, this would arguably be the greatest feat in rock climbing history.

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Icarus

Icarus

7.9 | 2017 | Movie | 120 min

While investigating the furtive world of illegal doping in sports, director Bryan Fogel connects with renegade Russian scientist Dr. Grigory Rodchenkovโ€”a pillar of his countryโ€™s โ€œanti-dopingโ€ program. Over dozens of Skype calls, urine samples, and badly administered hormone injections, Fogel and Rodchenkov grow closer despite shocking allegations that place Rodchenkov at the center of Russiaโ€™s state-sponsored Olympic doping program.

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O.J.: Made in America

O.J.: Made in America

8.9 | 2016 | Movie | 467 min

The rise and fall of American football star, O.J. Simpson, from his days growing up in Los Angeles to his murder trial that polarized the country.

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Amy

Amy

7.8 | 2015 | Movie | 128 min

A documentary on the life of Amy Winehouse, the immensely talented yet doomed songstress. We see her from her teen years, where she already showed her singing abilities, to her finding success and then her downward spiral into alcoholism and drugs.

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Citizenfour

Citizenfour

8.0 | 2014 | Movie | 114 min

In June 2013, Laura Poitras and reporter Glenn Greenwald flew to Hong Kong for the first of many meetings with Edward Snowden. She brought her camera with her.

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20 Feet from Stardom

20 Feet from Stardom

7.4 | 2013 | Movie | 91 min

Backup singers live in a world that lies just beyond the spotlight. Their voices bring harmony to the biggest bands in popular music, but we've had no idea who these singers are or what lives they lead, until now.

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Undefeated

Undefeated

7.7 | 2011 | Movie | 113 min

Set against the backdrop of a high school football season, Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martinโ€™s documentary UNDEFEATED is an intimate chronicle of three underprivileged student-athletes from inner-city Memphis and the volunteer coach trying to help them beat the odds on and off the field. For players and coaches alike, the season will be not only about winning games โ€” it will be about how they grapple with the unforeseeable events that are part of football and part of life.

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The Cove

The Cove

8.4 | 2009 | Movie | 92 min

The Cove tells the amazing true story of how an elite team of individuals, films makers and free divers embarked on a covert mission to penetrate the hidden cove in Japan, shining light on a dark and deadly secret. The shocking discoveries were only the tip of the iceberg.

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Man on Wire

Man on Wire

7.7 | 2008 | Movie | 94 min

On August 7th 1974, French tightrope walker Philippe Petit stepped out on a high wire, illegally rigged between New York's World Trade Center twin towers, then the world's tallest buildings. After nearly an hour of performing on the wire, 1,350 feet above the sidewalks of Manhattan, he was arrested. This fun and spellbinding documentary chronicles Philippe Petit's "highest" achievement.

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Taxi to the Dark Side

Taxi to the Dark Side

7.5 | 2007 | Movie | 106 min

An in-depth look at the torture practices of the United States in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, focusing on an innocent taxi driver in Afghanistan who was tortured and killed in 2002.

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An Inconvenient Truth

An Inconvenient Truth

7.4 | 2006 | Movie | 96 min

A documentary on Al Gore's campaign to make the issue of global warming a recognized problem worldwide.

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Born Into Brothels: Calcutta's Red Light Kids

Born Into Brothels: Calcutta's Red Light Kids

7.2 | 2004 | Movie | 85 min

Documentary depicting the lives of child prostitutes in the red light district of Songachi, Calcutta. Director Zana Briski went to photograph the prostitutes when she met and became friends with their children. Briski began giving photography lessons to the children and became aware that their photography might be a way for them to lead better lives.

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The Fog of War

The Fog of War

8.1 | 2003 | Movie | 107 min

Using archival footage, cabinet conversation recordings, and an interview of the 85-year-old Robert McNamara, The Fog of War depicts his life, from working as a WWII whiz-kid military officer, to being the Ford Motor Company's president, to managing the Vietnam War as defense secretary for presidents Kennedy and Johnson.

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Bowling for Columbine

Bowling for Columbine

8.0 | 2002 | Movie | 120 min

This is not a film about gun control. It is a film about the fearful heart and soul of the United States, and the 280 million Americans lucky enough to have the right to a constitutionally protected Uzi. From a look at the Columbine High School security camera tapes to the home of Oscar-winning NRA President Charlton Heston, from a young man who makes homemade napalm with The Anarchist's Cookbook to the murder of a six-year-old girl by another six-year-old. Bowling for Columbine is a journey through the US, through our past, hoping to discover why our pursuit of happiness is so riddled with violence.

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Murder on a Sunday Morning

Murder on a Sunday Morning

7.9 | 2001 | Movie | 111 min

2001 French documentary about the murder trial of a 15 year old black teen accused of murder in Jacksonville, Florida. Winner of 2002 Academy Award for Best Documentary.

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Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport

Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport

7.7 | 2000 | Movie | 122 min

In the nine months prior to World War II, 10.000 innocent children left behind their families, their homes, their childhood, and took the journey... to Britain to escape the Nazi Holocaust.

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The Last Days

The Last Days

7.9 | 1998 | Movie | 87 min

Five Jewish Hungarians, now U.S. citizens, tell their stories: before March, 1944, when Nazis began to exterminate Hungarian Jews, months in concentration camps, and visiting childhood homes more than 50 years later. An historian, a Sonderkommando, a doctor who experimented on Auschwitz prisoners, and US soldiers who were part of the liberation in April, 1945.

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The Long Way Home

The Long Way Home

7.6 | 1997 | Movie | 120 min

The story of the post World War II Jewish refugee situation from liberation to the establishment of the modern state of Israel.

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When We Were Kings

When We Were Kings

7.9 | 1996 | Movie | 88 min

It's 1974. Muhammad Ali is 32 and thought by many to be past his prime. George Foreman is ten years younger and the heavyweight champion of the world. Promoter Don King wants to make a name for himself and offers both fighters five million dollars apiece to fight one another, and when they accept, King has only to come up with the money. He finds a willing backer in Mobutu Sese Suko, the dictator of Zaire, and the "Rumble in the Jungle" is set, including a musical festival featuring some of America's top black performers, like James Brown and B.B. King.

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Anne Frank Remembered

Anne Frank Remembered

8.1 | 1995 | Movie | 117 min

Using previously unreleased archival material in addition to contemporary interviews, this academy award-winning documentary tells the story of the Frank family and presents the first fully-rounded portrait of their brash and free-spirited daughter Anne, perhaps the world's most famous victim of the Holocaust. Written by Dawn M. Barclift

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American Dream

American Dream

7.8 | 1990 | Movie | 98 min

When workers at the Hormel meatpacking plant in Austin, Minnesota are asked to take a substantial pay cut in a highly profitable year, the local labor union decides to go on strike and fight for a wage they believe is fair. But as the work stoppage drags on and the strikers face losing everything, friends become enemies, families are divided and the very future of this typical mid American town is threatened.

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Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt

Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt

8.1 | 1989 | Movie | 79 min

On the eve of 1987's Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, surviving families and friends of people who have died of AIDS prepare panels to be added to a large-scale memorial quilt project. Drawing from the sea of names memorialized, director Robert Epstein focuses on the lives of six people. Alongside the intimate profiles offered, through news footage and interviews, Epstein puts the AIDS crisis in the larger context of social and government response to the disease.

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Hรดtel Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie

Hรดtel Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie

7.6 | 1988 | Movie | 267 min

Marcel Ophuls' riveting film details the heinous legacy of the Gestapo head dubbed "The Butcher of Lyon." Responsible for over 4,000 deaths in occupied France during World War II, Barbie would escapeโ€”with U.S. helpโ€”to South America in 1951, where he lived until a global manhunt led to his 1983 arrest and subsequent trial.

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Down and Out in America

Down and Out in America

7.2 | 1985 | Movie | 57 min

The recession of the 1980s split the country into the haves and have-nots, from family farmers to factory workers and homeless people forced to live in decrepit welfare hotels. On the verge of losing everything, courageous Americans discover the power of community organizing to fight injustice.

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The Times of Harvey Milk

The Times of Harvey Milk

8.2 | 1984 | Movie | 90 min

Harvey Milk was an outspoken human rights activist and one of the first openly gay U.S. politicians elected to public office; even after his assassination in 1978, he continues to inspire disenfranchised people around the world.

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Genocide

Genocide

7.3 | 1982 | Movie | 90 min

The mass murder of Jewish people by the Nazi regime is chronicled, with a warning that anti-Semitism is on the rise and the events of the Holocaust could happen again. The history of European Jewish culture and events before and during the Holocaust are seen in newsreels, photographs, and animated segments. The words of the victims of the era are read, and footage from the liberation os a concentration camp is shown.

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From Mao to Mozart: Isaac Stern in China

From Mao to Mozart: Isaac Stern in China

7.5 | 1979 | Movie | 84 min

A beautiful expression of two differing cultures brought together by the warmth and dedication of a great musician and humanitarian. In 1979, as China re-opened its doors to the West, virtuoso Isaac Stern received an unprecedented government invitation to tour the country. Preserved by the Academy Film Archive in 2000.

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Best Boy

Best Boy

7.8 | 1979 | Movie | 111 min

In this documentary, the director follows the day-to-day activities of his retarded, middle-aged cousin Philly, over a three-year period.

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Harlan County U.S.A.

Harlan County U.S.A.

8.2 | 1976 | Movie | 103 min

This film documents the coal miners' strike against the Brookside Mine of the Eastover Mining Company in Harlan County, Kentucky in June, 1973. Eastovers refusal to sign a contract (when the miners joined with the United Mine Workers of America) led to the strike, which lasted more than a year and included violent battles between gun-toting company thugs/scabs and the picketing miners and their supportive women-folk. Director Barbara Kopple puts the strike into perspective by giving us some background on the historical plight of the miners and some history of the UMWA.

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The Man Who Skied Down Everest

The Man Who Skied Down Everest

7.2 | 1975 | Movie | 85 min

This Oscar-winning documentary tells the story behind Japanese daredevil Yuichiro Miura's 1970 effort to ski down the world's tallest mountain.

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Hearts and Minds

Hearts and Minds

8.2 | 1974 | Movie | 112 min

Many times during his presidency, Lyndon B. Johnson said that ultimate victory in the Vietnam War depended upon the U.S. military winning the "hearts and minds" of the Vietnamese people. Filmmaker Peter Davis uses Johnson's phrase in an ironic context in this anti-war documentary, filmed and released while the Vietnam War was still under way, juxtaposing interviews with military figures like U.S. Army Chief of Staff William C. Westmoreland with shocking scenes of violence and brutality.

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Marjoe

Marjoe

7.4 | 1972 | Movie | 88 min

Part documentary, part expose, this film follows one-time child evangelist Marjoe Gortner on the "church tent" Revivalist circuit, commenting on the showmanship of Evangelism and "the religion business", prior to the start of "televangelism".

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Robert Frost: A Lover's Quarrel with the World

Robert Frost: A Lover's Quarrel with the World

6.5 | 1963 | Short | 41 min

The acclaimed poet is examined in this film completed just prior to his death at age 88, with his speaking engagements at Amherst and Sarah Lawrence Colleges intercut with studies of his work, as well as with scenes of his life in rural Vermont and personal reminiscences about his career. He is also seen receiving an award from President Kennedy and touring an aircraft carrier.

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Sky Above and Mud Beneath

Sky Above and Mud Beneath

7.1 | 1961 | Movie | 92 min

In September, 1959, six Europeans leave Cook's Bay on the southern coast of Dutch New Guinea, now West Papua or Irian Jaya, to trek north to the far side of the island. The journey (450 miles, as a crow flies) across unmapped territory took seven months; three Muyu porters died. Near both coasts, the expedition met villagers who invited them to observe rituals and live with them. In the interior, all villagers kept them at bay, and they depended on air lifts from Hollandia for food and supplies. They climbed above 10,000 feet, built 14 bridges, and fought leeches and malaria. The narrator focuses on describing Stone Age savages, headhunters, and cannibals.

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The Unconquered

The Unconquered

7.2 | 1954 | Movie | 55 min

Narrated by actress Katharine Cornell and filmed in black and white, it spends the first 24 minutes introducing viewers, through newsreels, interviews, and old photographs, to the story of the deaf and blind disabled-rights pioneer. News footage shows her international appearances and visits with heads of state, including President Eisenhower allowing her to feel his face. The second half takes a day-in-the-(exceptional)-life approach to Keller's existence circa 1955. Made just 13 years before her death, Keller's famed tutor-translator-friend Anne Sullivan had already died, leaving her live-in replacement, Polly Thomson, to share the film's focus. From the time Keller takes her morning walk along the 1,000-foot handrail around her yard through her workday to her nightly reading of her Braille Bible, her serene acceptance of her life will amaze and inspire.

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The Vanishing Prairie

The Vanishing Prairie

7.2 | 1954 | Movie | 71 min

Story of the American Prairie as it was when vast herds of bison and elk grazed.

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The Living Desert

The Living Desert

7.4 | 1953 | Movie | 69 min

Although first glance reveals little more than stones and sand, the desert is alive. Witness moving rocks, spitting mud pots, gorgeous flowers and the never-ending battle for survival between desert creatures of every shape, size and description.

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I Was a Communist for the FBI

I Was a Communist for the FBI

6.1 | 1951 | Movie | 83 min

A fact-based story about a man who posed as an American Communist for years as part of a secret plan to infiltrate their organization.

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Kon-Tiki

Kon-Tiki

7.9 | 1950 | Movie | 77 min

"Kon-Tiki" was the name of a wooden raft used by six Scandinavian scientists, led by Thor Heyerdahl, to make a 101-day journey from South America to the Polynesian Islands. The purpose of the expedition was to prove Heyerdal's theory that the Polynesian Islands were populated from the east- specifically Peru- rather than from the west (Asia) as had been the theory for hundreds of years. Heyerdahl made a study of the winds and tides in the Pacific, and by simulating conditions as closely as possible to those he theorized the Peruvians encountered, set out on the voyage.

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The True Glory

The True Glory

7.0 | 1945 | Movie | 87 min

A documentary account of the allied invasion of Europe during World War II compiled from the footage shot by nearly 1400 cameramen. It opens as the assembled allied forces plan and train for the D-Day invasion at bases in Great Britain and covers all the major events of the war in Europe from the Normandy landings to the fall of Berlin.

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Desert Victory

Desert Victory

6.3 | 1943 | Movie | 60 min

A featureless land fit only for war, as the narrator, J. L. Hodson stated in the early scenes: "If war was to be fought then let it begin here". In endless miles of rock-strewn scrub desert, where civilians hardly existed. Desert Victory tells the story of the Allied campaign to drive Germany and Italy from North Africa is analysed, with the major portion of the film examining the battles at El Alamein, including some re-enactment. Won "Best Documentary Feature" at the 16th Academy Awards in 1944.

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Prelude to War

Prelude to War

7.0 | 1942 | Movie | 52 min

Prelude to War was the first film of Frank Capra's Why We Fight propaganda film series, commissioned by the Pentagon and George C. Marshall. It was made to convince American troops of the necessity of combating the Axis Powers during World War II. This film examines the differences between democratic and fascist states.

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The Battle of Midway

The Battle of Midway

6.1 | 1942 | Short | 18 min

The Japanese attack on Midway in June 1942, filmed as it happened. Preserved by the Academy Film Archive in 2006.

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