If true crime documentaries are your thing, then you will definitely like this list of 21 best true crime documentaries on Netflix in 2017.
However, if your plan is to Netflix and chill during the holidays, then this better not be your only playlist. If you end up binge watching everything on this list, the only chills you will get is the cold sweat rolling down your spine. The fact that these documentaries depict actual, despicable crimes makes them extremely disturbing. Crime does not pay, but some people just do not seem to get that message. Horrible things sometimes happen to ordinary undeserving people, and this is the fact of life. The sooner we accept this fact the better, so that we can be prepared and learn to see red flags and avoid them as much as we can. Anyway, since you are looking for the definitive list of 2017 true crime documentary films, then this is “the” list for you. In essence, this is going to be comprised of the best crime documentaries on Netflix 2017 and you shouldn’t miss out on a single one.
The list includes full-length documentaries and even true crime TV shows that are available right now on Netflix. However, not all of them are serial killer documentaries. Rather these documentaries span a wide range of crimes from poaching to human trafficking to even crooked cops. Now that said, Netflix may have been the pioneer in streaming media, but Hulu, YouTube and Amazon Prime are giving Netflix a run for their money. If you prefer any of these over Netflix, then do checkout the 19 Best Crime Documentaries on Hulu, 11 Best Crime Documentaries on Amazon Prime Instant or 25 Best Crime Documentaries on YouTube.
Every research project we take on, we try to be as thorough as possible. Therefore, we left nothing out for this topic as well. We put Google’s search engine through its paces and found out all about the top rated and most talked about true crime documentaries available on Netflix right now. We would especially like to thank Netflix and IMDB for their help in compiling this list. Besides these two websites, we also sought help from various forums and message boards. After we had enough data to work with, the ranking process was pretty easy. We took to IMDB (Internet Movie Database) and looked up the ratings for each individual documentary, then went ahead and ranked the documentaries based on their rating on IMDB.
Now that the methodology and sources have been discussed, let us proceed with our list of the 21 best true crime documentaries on Netflix in 2017.
21. Josef Fritzl: Story Of A Monster
IMDB rating: 4.9
Starting off our longer than an average list is a shocking one and probably the most disturbing documentary of the bunch. It is really uncomfortable even to think about a girl being sexually abused, and when the abuser is her own father things just go to a whole new level.
20. Interview with a Serial Killer
IMDB rating: 5.4
Arthur Shawcross daubed The Genesee River Killer talks to the interviewer from prison in this story. He casually talks about his despicable deeds and shares his view on life. If you ever wanted to listen to a serial killer’s most private thoughts, then this is the documentary for you.
19. The Confessions of Thomas Quick
IMDB rating: 6.3
The namesake of this documentary Thomas Quick is a Swedish citizen was arrested and later convicted of murder. However, the real shocker is that once behind bars he started to confess to a lot more crimes including murder, rape and even cannibalism.
16. H.H. Holmes: America’s First Serial Killer
IMDB rating: 6.4
Dubbed the first serial killer of America, H.H. Homes was a criminal mastermind. Every creepy horror movie involving a haunted house has taken influence from his infamous murder hotel that featured secret passageways, gas chambers, acid vats and all sorts of torture.
16. Killer Legends
IMDB rating: 6.4
A team of highly skilled researchers along with a film crew set out on a journey to discover the real stories behind the most popular urban legends. If you thought the urban legends were just a legend — think again.
16. Strong Island
IMDB rating: 6.4
This is filmmaker Yance Ford’s personal story, which ranks 16th on our list of best true crime documentaries on Netflix in 2017. She believes that her brother was wrongfully gunned down and the authorities did nothing to punish the criminal and rather let him get away with murder.
15. Crips and Bloods: Made in America
IMDB rating: 6.9
Growing up in South Los Angeles as a young black American is not easy. Gang violence has taken countless lives for decades, and this is still very much a reality for many. You should take a look at this documentary, and you will be absolutely appalled what goes on just 6 miles away from Beverly Hills.
13. Amanda Knox
IMDB rating: 7.0
Amanda Knox is the name of an American exchange student, who got mixed up in a really terrifying murder case while visiting Italy. This is a truly terrifying and fascinating documentary that every true crime documentary fan should watch.
13. Welcome to Leith
IMDB rating: 7.0
A calm and peaceful town in North Dakota turns violent and full of racial disputes when a well known white supremacist moves into town and tries to take control. The whole town erupts in protest but, it does not stop there.
10. Who Took Johnny
IMDB rating: 7.2
Johnny Gosch was the first child to be featured on a milk carton. The case dates back to the early 1980s, but it is still very fascinating to this day. The most horrible nightmare of a parent is to have their child taken from them, and this documentary portrays it in full detail.
10. Audrie & Daisy
IMDB rating: 7.2
The internet is the lifeline to our hectic modern and fast-paced daily routine. However, there is a very dark side to the internet, and this documentary explores the darker side of the internet and cyber bullying.
10. Narco Cultura
IMDB rating: 7.2
We are halfway through our list of 21 best true crime documentaries on Netflix in 2017. At number 10, we have Narco Cultura. This literally translates to the drug culture. Mexico and Latin American countries are developing this culture where drug lords are hailed as modern Robin Hoods or rock stars. It’s a truly disturbing yet interesting documentary to watch.
9. A Murder In The Park
IMDB rating: 7.3
A Murder In the Park ranks 9th on our list of best true crime documentaries on Netflix in 2017. It keeps you on edge, as a convicted murder is let lose just hours before his execution by the emergence of compelling new evidence. However, many suspect there is something wrong with it, but what they cannot put the finger on.
8. The Hunting Ground
IMDB rating: 7.4
Thinking about sending your daughter to a good college? Once you watch this, you’ll be even more worried about the where she decides to attend. America’s big colleges have literally become hunting grounds for sexual predators, and the universities are protecting the criminals for the sake of their brand names.
7. The Imposter
IMDB rating: 7.5
A truly fascinating story of an imposter who poses as the kidnapped child of a family in Texas. Just imagine what might have gone through the minds of the parents when the heard their son was alive and well after it had been three years since his disappearance. But the bigger question is if there is an imposter in their house, where is their real son?
6. The Seven Five
IMDB rating: 7.6
Up next on our list of best true crime documentaries on Netflix in 2017 is The Seven Five, which was one of the country’s most notorious precincts during the 80s and 90s where gangsters ruled, and they had crooked cops in their pocket. This documentary is a window into the darkest part of New York City during a very dark time.
5. The Fear of 13
IMDB rating: 7.7
This is an unbelievable story of a man who spent almost 21 years on death row, but he was found to be innocent later on. It’s a really touching survival story that has a gruesome murder as the mantlepiece.
4. The Ivory Game
IMDB rating: 7.9
The Ivory Game ranks 4th on our list of best true crime documentaries on Netflix in 2017, and it is about the poaching of elephants in Africa. These gentle giants are being targeted by greedy outlaws and slaughtered mercilessly for their tusks. So far we have talked about crimes committed against humans, but poaching is definitely a crime that needs to stop immediately.
3. The Thin Blue Line
IMDB rating: 8.1
The criminal justice system is there to protect the innocent and to see that justice is delivered. However, what do you do when the whole system is corrupt? This gem of a documentary ranks third on our list of best true crime documentaries on Netflix in 2017, and it takes an in depth look at corruption within the criminal justice system.
2. The Keepers
IMDB rating: 8.3
Sexual abuse and the church has been linked many times in the past. The Keepers explores the murder of a nun and how the criminals walked from their trails. After a long time, the case is reinvigorated in this chilling docu-series.
1. Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father
IMDB rating: 8.6
Our top pick for this list is Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father. A filmmaker makes a documentary about his murdered friend so that the only son of the diseased can know about his father. This true crime documentary is really remarkable and extremely touching, to say the least.
This wraps it up for our list of 21 Best true crime documentaries on netflix in 2017.