11 Controversial Documentaries that Will Make You Rethink Everything

Without a doubt, some of the best documentaries out there are controversial documentaries.  They take taboo topics and make you second guess yourself…or sometimes uncover something so disturbing, you just can’t believe it happened.

Controversial documentaries have been able to change popular opinion, start new fads or incite panic. Some are so eye-opening, you just can’t stop watching!

So get the skeptic, fighter, and zealot in you all ready for these amazing controversial documentaries. You’re going to be telling your friends about them!

Subscribe to our email list for notifications of new documentaries and what you should be watching!

Some links on this page many contain affiliate links. For more information, see our disclosure policy.

These documentaries about controversies will have you questioning everything you thought you knew!  They're all worth watching, so add them to your Netflix queue!

Living Undocumented

Few topics are more controversial in our current political arena than immigration – and that is exactly the focus of the new cotroversial Netflix documentary Living Undocumented

Throughout the film, producers follow 8 undocumented families as they struggle to cope with the changing immigration policies that are tearing their families apart. 

Some have been here for decades, many have young children, and some are fleeing persecution and death threats…yet still their fate is unknown.

This is a heart-wrenching documentary that draws attention to one piece of the immigration debate we find ourselves in.  

If you’re looking for controversial documentaries on Netflix and have a soft spot for immigration, this is definitely the next docuseries you need to watch.


If you were to make a list of current-day controversial topics, vaccinations would be at the top of the list.  The debate of pro-vax vs. anti-vax is an emotional and passionate battle, so even just reading about Vaxxed is bound to stir up some feelings for a lot of people.

Vaxxed, however, manages to take on this topic and deliver an outstanding documentary that is bound to provide you with information you didn’t know.

This controversial documentary looks at the link between autism and vaccinations, the power the CDC has over vaccination schedules, and of course the role of pharmaceutical companies in the vaccination decision-making process.

Regardless of your feelings on vaccinations, Vaxxed is a great documentary, especially for parents of young children.

The Magic Pill

Diet is a sensitive topic for most people, so just about every food documentary contains it’s fair amount of controversy, but there’s only one that stands alone in it’s stance – The Magic Pill.

“The Magic Pill”, it turns out, has been right in front of us all along…in meat.

And while this isn’t the first documentary to make claims that proper food choices can cure disease (because that’s a common claim in all of them), it is the only to claim that eating primarily meat can have a healing effect.   

Whether the claims are true or not, there are certainly some important takeaways from this controversial documentary, so it should definitely be added to your queue…especially if you’re in the mood for a good inner debate.

Making a Murderer

Making a Murderer took documentaries to a whole new level and quickly became one of the best controversial documentaries on Netflix (or really anywhere).

Following maybe-innocent-maybe-not Steven Avery, this documentary uncovers some seriously shoddy police work that quite possibly put more than one potentially innocent man behind bars.

This controversial Netflix documentary is so good they were able to make a whole docuseries out of it, so clear your weekend and get comfy!  You’ll want to binge-watch this one.

Related post: The 14 Best True Crime Documentaries that Will Completely Blow Your Mind

Betting on  Zero

Betting on Zero is a great documentary about controversy in the finance world…and not just one controversy, but a whole set of them.

The documentary follows hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman as he tries to push multi-level marketing company Herbalife to bankruptcy.

Herbalife’s questionable business practices may make Ackman seem like a man who’s out to save the everyday working man, but it’s not without a whole lot of personal gain…almost a billion dollars of personal gain to be exact – because Ackman has placed a short on Herbalife with the plan of them going belly up.

This is a really interesting controversial documentary with insight into different industries that are controversial in their own right.

Definitely add this one to your Netflix queue!

Related Post: The Best Documentaries about Scandal, Fraud, and the Art of the Con


Blackfish is a heart-wrenching controversial documentary that shed light on the abuse of orcas that are held in captivity purely for human enjoyment.  

By following the story of Tillikum, a captive killer whale that has not only suffered under his captivity, but has also killed multiple people because of it, the documentary shows just how inhumane this practice really is.

This is a documentary so controversial and powerful that it was able to set into motion a series of events that will forever change the lives of marine mammals living in captivity.

This is one of those documentaries that everyone needs to see at some point in their lives, so if you haven’t seen it yet, now is the time!


Slavery is supposed to be over…but as 13th will soon make you realize, there’s a serious injustice at play that is putting African Americans at a staggering disadvantage when it come to our prison and justice systems.

This controversy isn’t new, but it is receiving more attention and when you start to piece together the facts, you’ll most likely be horrified.

This is a seriously powerful documentary and definitely one of the best controversial documentaries on Netflix, so add it to your queue and cozy up!

The Confession Tapes

Nothing says controversy like coercing a confession from an innocent suspect to send them to prison for a crime they didn’t commit.

But that’s exactly what happened (at least allegedly) to each person featured in each episode of one of Netflix’s newest docuseries – The Confession Tapes.

Netflix knocked this one out of the ballpark and I promise, your jaw will drop on each and every episode.

Add this controversial documentary series to the top of your queue!

Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief

The amount of controversies surrounding scientology is endless, so it’s no shock that Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief finds itself on this list of controversial documentaries.

For starters, should Scientology be labeled a religion or a cult? To what extent can you go to keep someone from leaving a church? What role should celebrities play in a faith?

These issues and many more are presented in this documentary by none other than high-ranking Scientologists that ultimately left the church to save themselves…and it wasn’t easy.

If Scientology is new to you (or if you think it’s only a Hollywood fad), then this will be quite the eye-opening documentary!

And if you’ve got an interest in cults, religion, or controversy, then move this documentary to the top of your list.

Related post: 9 Cult Documentaries that Will Completely Shock You

Forks over Knives

Nothing gets people more worked up than calling into question their diet and Forks over Knives pretty much obliterates the standard American meal, so it’s, without a doubt, one of the most controversial documentaries out there.

What exactly is wrong with the American diet?  

Well, according to Forks over Knives, it’s the meat, dairy, and eggs…in other words, a pretty big portion of what most people eat for every single meal.

But what is so crazy (or not so crazy) about this controversial documentary is that there is a ridiculous amount of science and anecdotal evidence backing up their claims.  Like, so much that you will absolutely call into question everything you eat.

This is definitely one of the best documentaries out there and one that everyone should watch regardless of what you eat.  And if you’re in need of a good controversy to debate with your family and friends….well, this is it!

Related post: 8 Food Documentaries that Will Completely Change the Way You Eat

Behind the Curve

In the world of controversial documentaries, you probably aren’t expecting a debate about whether the Earth is in fact round…but that’s exactly what you get in Behind the Curve.

Led by conspiracy theorist Mark Sargent, Flat Earthers are leading a growing movement that is dead-set on proving to the world that the Earth is actually flat.

The reason we believe the Earth is round?  Well…the government, of course.

Despite the bizarre nature of this controversial documentary, it is actually really interesting and eye-opening, not necessarily because of the science provided, but because of the look into the minds of marginalized groups of people.

This Netflix controversial documentary has much more of a positive spin than most on this list, which makes it a unique and enjoyable watch.  Definitely add it to your queue!

Related Post: The 15 Weirdest Documentaries that You Have to See to Believe

I hope you get a chance to watch every single one of these controversial documentaries! Nothing beats getting all riled up to change your life or the world (or just debate with your friends and family). Happy watching!

You may also be interested in:

Subscribe to our email list for notifications of new documentaries and what you should be watching!

These controversial documentaries are some of the best out there and they'll definitely get you fired up about whichever topic you choose!