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The Best Streaming Platforms for Documentaries

Documentaries, second only to horror, are a divisive genre: people either love and watch non-fiction, or completely avoid it. 

If you are in the first group, you probably wonder which of the most popular streaming services has the best offering for you. So here, we have ranked the most popular streaming services by which ones have the most documentary movies. 

Curated for cinephiles: The selection of films that are available each month will certainly appeal to film aficionados looking for classic and foreign cinema. Offline viewing: The Criterion Channel supports offline downloads and full HD streaming for most content for Android and iOS devices, which is a great perk for movie lovers who are often on the go. Extra video features: Aside from restored old movies, each title features extras such as interviews, supplementary footage, and trailers. The original 1954 Godzilla alone comes with 15 extra videos! Simultaneous streaming: With one subscription to the Criterion Channel, you can stream up to three videos on different devices at the same time, which is aboverage the streaming landscape average.

Price: $10.99 per month

Device availability: Amazon Fire TV, Android, Apple TV, iOS, Roku, Samsung TV, Xbox.

Top on Criterion Channel:

shot from the movieThe Great Beauty (2013)The Great Beauty is a film of superlatives! Originally titled La Grande Bellezza, this movie by Italian star director Paolo Sorrentino is so replete with lush, opulent cinematography, it sometimes borders on sensory overload. Having won Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards, as well as the Golden Globe, and the BAFTA award […]ON Criterionchannelshot from the movie4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007)How far would you go to help a friend? The answer to this question might turn out quite differently after you have lived through the 2-hour squalor of 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days. Set in the bleak late-1980s reality of Communist Romania, under the ironclad rule of Stalinist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu, Anamaria Marinca […]ON Criterionchannelshot from the movieIn the Mood for Love (2000)Called a masterpiece by many and featured on many best-of-the-21st-century lists, Director Wong Kar-wei has created a thing of singular beauty. Every frame is an artwork (painted, as it were, with help of cinematographer Christopher Doyle) in this meticulously and beautifully crafted film about the unrequited love of two people renting adjacent rooms in 1960s […]ON Criterionchannelshot from the movieFallen Angels (1995)Wong Kar-wai’s dreamlike masterpiece is a perfect portrayal of the wilderness of a city at night. A hitman trying to get his job done, a woman hunting the prostitute who stole her boyfriend, and a mute who loves his father’s cooking: each of the characters in Fallen Angels is eccentric and interesting in their own […]ON Criterionchannel
4.

Amount of content: Just like AMC Premiere, AMC’s other streaming platform, you’ll get all the original series including The Walking Dead, Better Call Saul and the rest, but you’ll also get access to content from a whopping six other providers.

Price: $8.99 per month

Free Trial: 30 days

Device availability: Roku.

Top on AMC+:

shot from the movieVictoria (2015)Much like Berlin’s infamous nightlife, which serves as the backdrop to the plot, this daring German real-time drama will eat you up and spit you out. After leaving a nightclub at 4am, Victoria, a runaway Spanish girl, befriends a gang of four raucous young men, climbing rooftops and drinking beers among the city’s moon-lit streets. […]ON Amazonamcplusshot from the movieI, Daniel Blake (2016)Revealing the gaps in the social safety net, I, Daniel Blake, is a tale centered around a blue collar worker navigating the welfare system in England. At a time where class and social mobility could not be more politically salient, this film calls into question the notion of the “citizen” and exposes the inaccessibility to […]ON Amazonamcplusshot from the movieAfter the Wedding (2006)Danish films somehow have a unique approach to emotions that are rarely matched and this Susanne Bier-directed drama is no exception. Its protagonist is Jacob Peterson, a driven idealist played by Mads Mikkelsen, who runs a fledgling orphanage in India. Close to giving up, Peterson returns to Copenhagen to meet a billionaire, who is offering […]ON Amazonamcplusshot from the movie4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007)How far would you go to help a friend? The answer to this question might turn out quite differently after you have lived through the 2-hour squalor of 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days. Set in the bleak late-1980s reality of Communist Romania, under the ironclad rule of Stalinist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu, Anamaria Marinca […]ON Amazonamcplus
3.

Budget: Hulu is one of the cheapest of the “top” streaming platforms, although the price to pay is watching ads.

Add-ons: In addition to on-demand streaming, Hulu offers over 50 channels of live TV, featuring different networks depending on where you live, for $54.99 a month.

Price: $5.99 per month

Free Trial: 30 days

Device availability: Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, iOS, LG TV, Nintendo Switch, Roku, Roku TV, Samsung TV, Xbox.

Top on Hulu:

The range of choice: Unlike other streaming sites, Prime gives you the option to watch shows that aren't available on-demand, by “renting” them for a short time or “purchasing” the media to rewatch at will. You have to pay extra for it, of course, but the option is there.

Convenience: Prime Video is available worldwide (except for Mainland China, Iran, North Korea, and Syria). And let's face it, Jeff Bezos is a trillionaire for a reason – for many, on-demand video is an added perk to the larger retail service, including free next-day delivery.

Offline content: Prime lets you download up to 25 titles to devices like your phone and tablet.

Price: $12.99 per month

Free Trial: 30 days

Device availability: Amazon Fire TV, Android, Apple TV, Changhong, Chromecast, Haier, Hisense, iOS, LG, Nvidia SHIELD, Panasonic, Philips, PlayStation, Roku, Samsung, Sharp, Skyworth, Sony, TiVo, Vestel, Vizio, Wii, Xbox.

Top on Amazon Prime:

High-quality original programming: With Netflix, you'll have access to their critically acclaimed Original shows, such as House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, as well as their big-budget docu-series like Making a Murderer, all of which you can't access on other streaming platforms.

User experience: The UI is pretty much perfect across the board. There are also perks like having different viewer profiles when sharing the account. Parental controls are also centralized.

Offline downloads on mobile: If you want to watch a movie or show on the go, Netflix gives you the option to download videos on your device for offline viewing.

The algorithm: Netflix has one of the smartest algorithms in the streaming landscape, so the personalized recommendations are usually on-point.

Price: $8.99 per month

Device availability: Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, Apple TV, Changhong, Chromecast, Haier, Hisense, iOS, LG TV, Nintendo Switch, Nvidia SHIELD, Panasonic, Philips, PlayStation, Roku, Roku TV, Samsung, Samsung TV, Sharp, Skyworth, Sony, TiVo, Vestel, Vizio, Wii, Xbox.

Top on Netflix:

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