The 100 Most Necessary Documentaries to Stream on Netflix This November

Intimate Stranger Alan Berliner

Rather than update our original list of the 100 Best Documentaries on Netflix whenever a film expires or is added, we’d like to post a new version each month to keep things tidy and less confusing. And to make it even nicer for all of you, we’re going to note everything that has joined or left the guide.

This month, I’ve given Alan Berliner a shot at the Netflix 100. This list isn’t just for films I or we love, but even more so a list of essentials. It’s like a really, really long syllabus for a course on the introduction and appreciation of documentary. Berliner is an important part of nonfiction cinema, and while I’m not a really big fan of the works of his I’ve seen, I decided to include at least one important example. So, Intimate Stranger pops in at #7, appropriately near the family focused docs of Ross McElwee and Sarah Polley. Later films of his on Netflix Watch Instantly currently include Nobody’s Business, The Sweetest Sound, Wide Awake and his breakthrough compilation film Family Album, which I personally find rather irritating.

Another important addition this month is Virunga, which Netflix is distributing and debuting on November 7th. It’s one of our favorite docs of the year, so we’re adding now ahead of its premiere rather than waiting until next month. Another I’m adding in this month is Margaret Brown’s The Order of Myths, since her latest, The Great Invisible, recently opened in theaters, and then there’s AJ Schnack’s Caucus, which is fairly new to Netflix Watch Instantly and is already a must for any election month. Be aware that if you like that, Schnack also has We Always Lie to Strangers streaming on the service, too.

The four new inclusions on the list take the place of four that have expired from Watch Instantly, sadly: The Ambassador, Vivan las Antipodas, Marwencol and Her Master’s Voice.

Now a reminder of how the 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 — the Up installments are of varied quality, for instance, but they should be seen in order. In fact, I see this whole list as being best watched in order of the rankings. There are a few double features in the bunch (Dogtown and Z-Boys and This Ain’t California and The Act of Killing and Camp 14, for two example sets) and some grouping where I truly think the higher ranking title is best watched before a certain title or titles below it.

(Editor in Chief)

Christopher Campbell is the founding editor of Nonfics.