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12 Best Scientific Documentary Movies on Netflix Right Now

Updated March 23, 2019
9 min read

Science is a vast term, even for movies. To an extent, even superhero movies can be categorized under the “science” genre because of their portrayal of science-based fiction. Science is not just confined to what we study in schools or colleges but it goes way beyond what we know. If you can imagine something, then go a little further than that, that’s science right there, something way beyond our imagination. Things that were not even considered to be a distant possibility once upon a time are now more than possible. Pretty much anything and everything around us can be considered as “science“. From the tiniest microscopic organisms to skyscrapers and blue whales, science is everywhere.

However, I do understand the sentiment behind “I hate science”. Science textbooks are not usually appealing to most people. So we decided to fix the dilemma of “I hate science” which will soon become “I love science” after you go through the list of non-fiction movies we’ve given below. All of these movies are on Netflix which, by the way, is also another by-product of the subject we’re talking about. So, here’s the list of really good science documentaries on Netflix that are available to stream right now. The list includes bbc, forensic, history channel science documentaries.

12. The Magic Pill (2017)

There is no secret ingredient.“- KungFu Panda. Just hold that thought there because there might just be the secret ingredient that might be the solution to most of the modern diseases and that is “Fats”. Yes, you read that right! Fats in food are often downgraded in comparison to the other two macro-nutrients, proteins and carbohydrates. But this documentary film debunks that myth and explains the importance of healthy fats in our diets that act as a major source of energy. The common belief is to rely on carbs for our primary energy source but that notion is slowly evolving into what is known as a ketogenic diet which has been discussed in this film. Fats are good, Fats are the secret ingredient. But please just watch the documentary before you start hogging on fatty foods.

11. The Search for Life in Space (2016)

The universe is massive and I’m sure that this one thought comes to everyone’s mind- “Are we alone in this universe?” This documentary shows the stunning imagery of distant lands of planet Mars and the moons of Jupiter through the lens of a very powerful telescope. It also takes us deep inside the thermal vents of the sea and in the lava fields of Hawaii where scientists research how other life forms survive. Just maybe there are planets out there similar to ours and we are not alone in this infinite universe.

10. What the Health? (2017)

The world’s largest health organizations are hiding a secret from us, but filmmaker Kip Andersen wants us to know the truth about the secrets to living a happy disease-free life. This large health secret is kept hidden from us by the government and the largest pharmaceutical companies. Watch this documentary to find out why. This movie also debunks common food myths that demonize foods that have carbs and sugar. It’s not the carbs and sugar that harm the body but it’s the combination of these with other foods that harm us. As for the pharmaceutical part of this, you can easily confirm all of it by visiting a nearby pharmacy and you’ll realize that they’re hiding even the most basic information from you.

9. The Most Unknown (2018)

The movie follows the journey of nine scientists who visit different parts of the world and collaboratively try to answer questions that people have been asking since ages. Questions like, where did life begin? What is time? Together, the collaboration of all these scientists from different disciplines reveals much than what they could’ve individually discovered, which shows the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration. This film is very enjoyable and explain answers in the easiest and digestible way but gives you nothing that’s too out of the ordinary.

8. The Secret Rules of Modern Living: Algorithms (2015)

Professor Marcus du Sautoy explains in this documentary how everything around us has an algorithm behind it. The reason why you came across this article was probably because of an algorithm out there somewhere. The reason why I’m recommending this movie on this list is again because of some algorithm. Algorithms are everywhere and this film helps to understand the basics of complex concepts by giving us examples of things around us. This film can be great for young children as well and will allow them to develop an early interest in maths and science.

7. Terra (2015)

The movie focuses on two aspects of the world that we live in. The first part of the film is about animals, their natural habitats, neighbors and how all of them are related to one another. This part of the film is absolutely beautiful. But then the second part of the film dwells into something deeper and shows us the true picture of our hypocrisy and how we harm the world around us without even knowing it sometimes. If you love nature, the environment, and wildlife and also at the same time like to question your own ethics, then this one is worth your time.

6. Take Your Pills (2018)

As the world grows and becomes more advanced in every way, the desire to succeed and perform better than others also grows in our minds. But we only have so many hours in one day. There was a time when prescription drugs like Adderall and Ritalin were only for kids who had trouble paying attention, but now they are everywhere, from college classrooms to the Wallstreet. But everything has a price, and so do these drugs that are slowly becoming the drugs of this generation. The film does have a great concept that’s kind of like a realistic approach to the movie ‘Limitless’ but the way it executes the concept is not so impressive.

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5. The Mars Generation (2017)

Life on Mars has been the core concept of many movies. This possibility in real life may be closer than you think. ‘The Mars Generation’ revolves around the lives of teenagers who train at the US Space Center and shows a possibility of these kids leading mankind to the planet of Mars someday in the future. The documentary does a fascinating job in first telling us about the prior research that has been done regarding the future of life on Mars. It then goes ahead and recounts interviews of teenagers who are being trained at the Space Center, their experiences and also their aspirations for the future of this project.

4. Inside Einstein’s Mind: The Enigma of Space and Time (2015)

Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity revolutionized everything we ever knew about time and the laws of nature governing it. Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the discovery of the theory, this film takes us on a journey through Einstein’s life where it shows us how the early ideas related to this theory were starting to develop in Einstein’s mind when he initially carried out small experiments related to this notion. These ideas later evolved in the mind of the genius and gave birth to something that changed everything about modern physics. The film explains all the ideas and physics-based concepts in the simplest of ways. This allows anyone to easily understand and enjoy the work and brilliance of Albert Einstein.

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3. Into the Inferno (2016)

This documentary records the fiery journey of volcanist Clive Oppenheimer and Werner Herzog who visit different volcanoes all around the world with an intention to know more about these blazing wonders and also to understand their relationship with us humans. The film allows you to observe volcanic marvels that you’ll probably never see in this lifetime and on a deeper level, it also sheds some wisdom and knowledge about these lands that are filled with molten lava and how their origins can also be somehow related to mankind. The movie blends science and spirituality, giving it a distinctive tone that is enough to keep you interested throughout.

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2. Chasing Coral (2017)

It was recently observed that the underwater coral reefs were starting to fade away and a substantial reduction was noticed in the overall volume of these across the globe. This film documents the journey of scientists, divers, and photographers who explore the world underwater and try to unravel the mystery behind this unusual disappearance of coral reefs. This documentary has the most stunning cinematography and sticks to its theme all the way up to the end giving the whole issue a very relevant conclusion.

1. AlphaGo (2017)

Remember that scene from ‘A Beautiful Mind‘ where Nash says: “Classes will dull your mind. Destroy the potential for authentic creativity.” Soon after he says this, he is challenged to play a weird looking board game. That game is the Chinese game of ‘Go’. ‘Go’ is said to have more configurations than the number of atoms in the observable universe. The game is complex, it is challenging even for Artificial Intelligence. This documentary films the clash between the mind of a human and an AI challenger. Both the parties collide for a game of ‘Go’ which was labeled as the Google DeepMind Challenge Match. This film shows the intelligence of the Korean ‘Go’ champion and also shows how far AI has come today.

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