100 Must-See Documentaries Streaming on Amazon Prime

100 Must-See Documentaries Streaming on Amazon Prime This March

If you’re a Prime member, you’ve got plenty to watch for free.

Six of the documentaries on our list are no longer available free with Prime membership this month: Cutie and the Boxer, The Kill Team, The Last Mogul, Inequality for All, Khodorkovsky, and Cropsey. Fortunately, two docs have been added, 12 O’Clock Boys and the new release Gimme Danger (available 3/23), and I selected four good films I’d overlooked, Pandora’s Promise, Private Violence, Jig, and Drew: The Man Behind the Poster to fill the remaining slots.

Here is how the Amazon 100 titles are numerically arranged:

They are mostly ranked in order of my favor with some objective authority, but there are some clumps throughout the list that obviously fit together. Some are by director, some are by genre or subject matter and some are by series. In fact, I see this whole list as being best watched in order of the rankings. There are a few double and triple features in the bunch (Bright Leaves and Moving Midway, for one example set) and some groupings where I truly think the higher ranking title is best watched before a certain title or titles below it.

  1. 12 O’Clock Boys (Lotfy Nathan, 2013)
  2. Pandora’s Promise (Robert Stone, 2013)
  3. Private Violence (Cynthia Hill, 2014)
  4. Drew: The Man Behind the Poster (Erik Sharkey, 2013)
  5. Jig (Sue Bourne, 2011)
  6. Gimme Danger (Jim Jarmusch, 2016)
  7. Cameraperson (Kirsten Johnson, 2016)
  8. Stories We Tell (Sarah Polley, 2012)
  9. The Last Waltz (Martin Scorsese, 1978)
  10. Amy (Asif Kapadia, 2015)
  11. The Russian Woodpecker (Chad Gracia, 2015)
  12. Louisiana Story (Robert J. Flaherty, 1948)
  13. The Chair (Robert Drew, 1963)
  14. Love Meetings (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1964)
  15. Last Train Home (Lixin Fan, 2009)
  16. Up the Yangtze (Yung Chang, 2007)
  17. Manufactured Landscapes (Jennifer Baichwal, 2006)
  18. The Gleaners and I (Agnes Varda, 2002)
  19. Foreign Parts (Verena Paravel and J.P. Sniadecki, 2010)
  20. Picture of Light (Peter Mettler, 1994)
  21. Bright Leaves (Ross McElwee, 2003)
  22. Moving Midway (Godfrey Chesire, 2007)
  23. Nuts! (Penny Lane, 2016)
  24. Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, 1996)
  25. Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, 2011)
  26. The Central Park Five (Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon, 2012)
  27. Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer (Nick Broomfield, 1992)
  28. Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer (Nick Broomfield and Joan Churchill, 2003)
  29. Driving Me Crazy (Nick Broomfield, 1988)
  30. Kurt & Courtney (Nick Broomfield, 1998)
  31. Biggie & Tupac (Nick Broomfield, 2002)
  32. Who Cares (Nick Broomfield, 1971)
  33. Soldier Girls (Nick Broomfield and Joan Churchill, 1981)
  34. Heidi Fleiss: Hollywood Madam (Nick Broomfield, 1995)
  35. Tracking Down Margaret (Nick Broomfield, 1996)
  36. Marlene (Maximilian Schell, 1984)
  37. Altman (Ron Mann, 2014)
  38. Author: The JT LeRoy Story (Jeff Feuerzeig, 2016)
  39. Elena (Petra Costa, 2012)
  40. Kung Fu Elliot (Matthew Bauckman and Jaret Belliveau, 2014)
  41. Baseball (Ken Burns, 1994)
  42. Prohibition (Ken Burns, 2011)
  43. The Dust Bowl (Ken Burns, 2012)
  44. The War (Ken Burns, 2007)
  45. Prelude to War (Frank Capra and Anatole Litvak, 1942)
  46. The Nazis Strike (Frank Capra and Anatole Litvak, 1943)
  47. Divide and Conquer (Frank Capra and Anatole Litvak, 1943)
  48. The Battle of Britain (Frank Capra and Anatole Litvak, 1943)
  49. The Battle of Russia (Frank Capra and Anatole Litvak, 1943)
  50. The Battle of China (Frank Capra and Anatole Litvak, 1944)
  51. War Comes to America (Frank Capra and Anatole Litvak, 1945)
  52. Desert Victory (Ray Boulting and David MacDonald, 1943)
  53. The Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress (William Wyler, 1944)
  54. With the Marines of Tarawa (Richard Brooks and Louis Hayward, 1944)
  55. The Battle of San Pietro (John Huston, 1945)
  56. The True Glory (Garson Kanin and Carol Reed, 1945)
  57. To the Shores of Iwo Jima (Milton Sperling, 1945)
  58. Let There Be Light (John Huston, 1946)
  59. The Battle of the Somme (Geoffrey Malins and John McDowell, 1916)
  60. The Battle of the Ancre and the Advance of the Tanks (Geoffrey Malins, 1917)
  61. The Oath (Laura Poitras, 2010)
  62. Street Fight (Marshall Curry, 2005)
  63. Chariots of the Gods (Harald Reinl, 1970)
  64. In the Shadow of the Moon (David Sington, 2007)
  65. The Endless Summer (Bruce Brown, 1966)
  66. On Any Sunday (Bruce Brown, 1971)
  67. On Any Sunday II (Ed Forsyth and Don Shoemaker, 1981)
  68. The Crash Reel (Lucy Walker, 2013)
  69. Gleason (Clay Tweel, 2016)
  70. Indie Game: The Movie (Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky, 2012)
  71. The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin (Nicholas Mross, 2014)
  72. The Yes Men Are Revolting (Andy Bichlbaum, Mike Bonanno and Laura Nix, 2014)
  73. Unraveled (Marc H. Simon, 2011)
  74. Almost There (Dan Rybicky and Aaron Wickenden, 2014)
  75. Art and Craft (Sam Cullman, Jennifer Grausman and Mark Becker, 2014)
  76. Bill Cunningham New York (Richard Press, 2010)
  77. Pulp: A Film About Life, Death and Supermarkets (Florian Habicht, 2014)
  78. Berkeley in the Sixties (Mark Kitchell, 1990)
  79. American Commune (Rena Mundo Croshere and Nadine Mundo, 2013)
  80. Thin (Lauren Greenfield, 2006)
  81. Private Practices: The Story of a Sex Surrogate (Kirby Dick, 1986)
  82. Life, Animated (Roger Ross Williams, 2016)
  83. 4 Little Girls (Spike Lee, 1997)
  84. When the Levees Broke: An American Tragedy (Spike Lee, 2006)
  85. Trouble the Water (Carl Deal and Tia Lessin, 2008)
  86. The Pruitt-Igoe Myth (Chad Freidrichs, 2011)
  87. Fatherland (Nicolas Prividera, 2011)
  88. We Come as Friends (Hubert Sauper, 2014)
  89. Sick Birds Die Easy (Nicholas Fackler, 2013)
  90. Stranded: I’ve Come From a Plane That Crashed On the Mountains (Gonzalo Arijon, 2007)
  91. Meru (Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, 2015)
  92. Voyage to the Edge of the World (Philippe Cousteau, 1976)
  93. The Living Sea (Greg MacGillivray, 1995)
  94. Kon-Tiki (Thor Heyerdahl, 1950)
  95. Song From the Forest (Michael Obert, 2013)
  96. Reindeerspotting: Escape From Santaland (Joonas Neuvonen, 2010)
  97. The Red Chapel (Mads Brugger, 2009)
  98. Super High Me (Michael Blieden, 2007)
  99. Herman’s House (Angad Bhalla, 2012)
  100. Haxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages (Benjamin Christensen, 1922/1968)

(Editor in Chief)

Christopher Campbell is the founding editor of Nonfics.