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The 11 Best Documentaries on Hulu to Stream Now

If you’re reading this, you’re most likely looking for a great way to enjoy a film and possibly learn a thing or two. Good choice. Beyond providing viewers with educational values and memorable stories, these documentary films are all visually stunning and beautifully carry their own unique narratives. Learning something about the world we live in and the humans we share it with can take many shapes, but today, we are here to enjoy some of the best Hulu documentaries that could possibly change the way you think about certain topics.

If you’re cool enough to have multiple subscriptions at once, you might also want to check out a couple of Netflix documentaries or the best food documentaries to hone your culinary skills. Sit back and relax, but not too much, because we’re going to learn something new today.

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Collective (2019)

95 %
Genre Documentary
Stars Catalin Tolontan, Mirela Neag, Razvan Lutac
Directed by Alexander Nanau
Nominated for best international feature film and best documentary feature at the 2021 Oscars, Collective investigates a tragic accident that reveals much more that’s institutionally wrong. After a nightclub fire in Bucharest, Romania, in 2015, journalists discovered health care fraud that led to excess deaths of surviving patients multiple weeks after the incident. Something that rings true to many countries where their authorities have abandoned them, the phrase “everything underneath is rotten” can summarize the unrest felt by those impacted.

A Glitch in the Matrix (2021)

A Glitch in the Matrix
62 %
Genre Documentary
Stars Nick Bostrom, Joshua Cooke, Erik Davis
Directed by Rodney Ascher
A mix of mind-bending thriller and documentary, A Glitch in the Matrix takes all of your simulation theory fears and puts it all on the table. Inspired by the movie that introduced it all, The Matrix, this visual spectacle of a film will either have you questioning reality itself or continuing to bow to your invisible overlords — if there are such entities.

MLK/FBI (2021)

81 %
Genre Documentary
Cast Martin Luther King Jr., J. Edgar Hoover, Beverly Gage
A tragic and hugely important documentary on our list today is MLK/FBI, a detailed and defining film that exposes some of the absolute worst and inhumane deeds conducted by the FBI in the mid to late ’60s. Compiled from documents uploaded to the internet by the National Archives, this film showcases some shockingly infuriating acts performed by the FBI as they surveilled and plotted against one of America’s most influential and peace-driven men: Martin Luther King Jr.

Ramen Heads (2017)

Ramen Heads
58 %
Genre Documentary
Stars Osamu Tomita, Shôta Iida, Kumiko Ishida
Directed by Koki Shigeno
For many cultures around the globe, certain foods can define the way they live going as far as a way of life that borders on religion. Ramen Heads are no different. In this documentary we explore the wonderful world of Japanese ramen and the intricate techniques that make each one unique, transforming it from a simple bowl of food into a full-blown cultural experience.

Minding the Gap (2018)

Minding the Gap
89 %
Genre Documentary
Stars Keire Johnson, Zack Mulligan, Bing Liu
Directed by Bing Liu
A touching and dramatic documentary of a painful upbringing and the theme of coming to terms, Minding the Gap shows a welcoming and family-oriented view of the skateboarding community. Focused on a few main “characters,” we learn about their traumas and their demons, their passions and their pains, all turning to skateboarding for the feeling of love and community they never got at home.

The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story (2020)

The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story
Genre Documentary
Stars Kenan Thompson, Kel Mitchell, Christine Taylor
Directed by Scott Barber, Adam Sweeney
Finally, the story of the kids’ channel that was made by kids and for kids. The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story details the strategies and practices used to create one of the strangest and most original TV channels of all time. Home to some of the most thematically dark and sometimes outright surreal cartoons and shows, Nickelodeon is known for shaping young minds into creative and realistic thinkers due to its no-BS approach to entertaining kids.

Zappa (2020)

76 %
Genre Music, Documentary
Stars Frank Zappa, Gail Zappa, Mike Keneally
Directed by Alex Winter
Unstoppable, unpredictable, unusual, unbounded, and underestimated, Frank Zappa is known as all of these things and more. He was also labeled A Modernist Mozart Who Happened to Be a Rock Star by Rolling Stone. Zappa is a deep look at never-before-seen footage of the life and times of this icon, adventuring deeply into the many bodies of water he waded into — including a time where he considered running for president.

The Donut King (2020)

The Donut King
69 %
Genre Documentary
Stars Chuong Pek Lee, Susan Lim, Ted Ngoy
Directed by Alice Gu
A moving, quirky, and honest documentary of a man who was widely recognized for achieving the American Dream (so much so that the POTUS at the time awarded him with a related medal), The Donut King is everything you’d want out of a documentary and more. Ted “The Donut King” Ngoy moves to America and starts a multi-million-dollar donut industry in California while also sponsoring and supporting over a hundred Cambodian families immigrating to the U.S., but he faced humanistic flaws and addictions to gambling and greed that ultimately condemned the business.

WeWork: or The Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn (2021)

WeWork: or The Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn
61 %
Genre Documentary
Cast Adam Neumann
Overall a documentary about a propaganda-driven business cult, WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn details the rise and quick fall of a messianic businessman named Adam Neumann. Fueled by an exploding $4 billion startup from an overseas investor, WeWork was somewhere between media super-conglomerate and overfunded frat party, all colliding until its inevitable crash-landing into bankruptcy. This is the story of all the disillusioned employees who thought they were going to change the world for the better.

Skin: A History of Nudity in the Movies (2020)

Skin: A History of Nudity in the Movies
64 %
Genre Documentary
Stars Malcolm McDowell, Shannon Elizabeth, Sean Young
Directed by Danny Wolf
A multifaceted contrast between censorship with cinema, gender equality with physical expectations, and overall freedom of expression, Skin goes over it all to take us to where we are today. America’s cinematic history began with the censorship of nudity in films and television, and tracing back the history and milestones in body acceptance is always interesting, especially if you’re a fan of the movies.

Hail Satan? (2019)

Hail Satan?
76 %
r 95m
Genre Documentary
Stars Lucien Greaves, Jex Blackmore, Nicholas Crowe
Directed by Penny Lane
Most people will not react too well if you tell them you’re a Satanist (even after watching this documentary), but learning more about the moral values and what it stands for can really open up your mind to a variety of outlooks. Hail Satan? is a deep look into the controversy and the systemic flaws of Satanism, starting all the way back from its birth in pop culture as a counter to political and religious oppression to its eventual downfall due to some extremists and clumsy leadership.

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Connor Sheppard
Connor Sheppard is an Oregon-grown culture writer for The Manual. Intrigued from a young age by pop culture and movies, he…
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