While Netflix and HBO Max might be dominating the documentary game, let's not completely forget about our good ole buddy, Hulu. Now, Hulu might not have the extreme breadth of documentaries to choose from in relation to those latter two, but it's slowly building up its repertoire with new originals as the months go by. In no specific order, these are 16 of the best documentaries on Hulu to start streaming right now.
The 16 Best Documentaries on Hulu
1. 'Summer of Soul' (2021)
The Oscar-winning Summer of Soul—directed by Questlove—tracks one of the most important cultural events that you've probably never heard of because of the practically nonexistent coverage surrounding it: the Harlem Cultural Festival. Including previously undiscovered footage of the events as well as interviews with prominent icons, musicians, and others with knowledge of the event.
Runtime: 1h 58m
2. 'WeWork: or The Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn' (2021)
WeWork has been in the headlines quite a bit recently with the release of the series, WeCrashed. But before there was WeCrashed, there was this documentary, WeWork: or The Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn. Released in 2021 by Hulu, the documentary tracks Adam Neumann, who created the company, through his rise and ultimate downfall with WeWork.
Director: Jed Rothstein
Runtime: 1h 44m
3. 'Three Identical Strangers' (2018)
Three Identical Strangers was one of the most talked about documentaries in 2018, bringing up debates on nature vs. nurture as three identical twins were separated at birth and raised under different circumstances. However, this was no classic story of adoption: the three kids were closely monitored by analysts over the years, though upon further examination, it came to light that it was all part of a sketchy experiment to see the differences in each child as they grew up.
Director: Tim Wardle
Runtime: 1h 36m
4. 'McQueen' (2018)
Alexander McQueen had an almost meteoric rise to acclaim in the fashion industry from starting at Anderson & Sheppard in London to becoming the chief designer of Givenchy and later creating his own brand, Alexander McQueen, which defied boundaries. A larger-than-life figure, he was truly at the top of his game when he tragically passed away in 2010.
Director: Ian Bonhôte, Peter Ettedgui
Runtime: 1h 51m
5. 'Dead Asleep' (2021)
A Hulu original, Dead Asleep, is a true-crime documentary all about the case of Randy Herman, Jr. that left Brooke Preston dead in 2019. Following her death, Herman was convicted of the murder; he was also an old friend and former roommate of Preston's. However, some viewers—including the Preston family—believe that this documentary went too far in favoring Herman as it goes off a theory that he was sleepwalking when the murder occurred.
Director: Skye Borgman
Runtime: 1h 26m
6. 'Jawline' (2019)
The Sundance award-winning film, Jawline, is a bizarre and revealing look into what goes into making young men famous on the internet. In this specific documentary, we hone in on Austyn Tester, one of many males who are attempting to go viral and win over the attention of females in order to make themselves famous. Hailing from Tennessee, Tester is working as hard as he possibly can to break out of his old life and create something new; he even starts working with Michael Weist, who helps nurture the careers of young men like Tester.
Director: Liza Mandelup
Runtime: 1h 39m
7. 'Fyre Fraud' (2019)
Released just around the time Netflix premiered its own version of the tale, Fyre Fraud is Hulu's take on the course of events leading up to the infamous failed Fyre Festival of 2017. The documentary dives into the insiders involved and promotion created around the festival while also touching on the more mental side of things and how FOMO (fear of missing out) played a role in the whole thing.
Director: Jenner Furst, Julia Willoughby Nason
Runtime: 1h 36m
8. 'Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me' (2013)
Okay, so maybe an old lady singing and running around a stage in just a white button-up doesn't seem like your perfect cup of tea—but what you don't know yet is that it is. Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me follows Broadway legend, Elaine Stritch, as she prepares for her residency at the Carlyle Hotel, where she also happens to reside. It's a hilarious, honest, and sometimes-sad look into the later life of a woman with extraordinary talent and a big personality.
Director: Chiemi Karasawa
Runtime: 1h 21m
9. 'Dior and I' (2014)
Dior and I places its spotlight on Raf Simons as he takes on his first couture collection as Creative Director at the legendary fashion house, Dior. The documentary tracks Simon over the eight weeks prior to the collection's show and official launch, painting an extremely intimate portrait of Simons under major pressure.
Director: Frédéric Tcheng
Runtime: 1h 29m
10. 'Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am' (2019)
Nobel Peace Prize winner, Toni Morrison, is profiled in this absolutely perfect documentary that truly reaches the full scope of the legendary author who only recently passed away in 2019. A wide range of people in her life are interviewed to shed a light on the more personal side of Morrison, including Oprah Winfrey, Angela Davis, and Fran Lebowitz.
Director: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders
11. 'Amazing Grace' (2018)
A behind-the-scenes look into the recording of Aretha Franklin's gospel album, Amazing Grace, this film of the same name is both a documentary in the most classic sense of observation and a concert doc as it (obviously) heavily features the music of Franklin. It turns out that this very film was actually supposed to premiere the same year of the album's release in 1972, though an audio synchronization issue stalled the project.
Director: Alan Elliott, Sydney Pollack
Runtime: 1h 27m
12. 'The Capote Tapes' (2019)
Based on interviews and previously unreleased audio of Truman Capote, we get an inside look into the life of the famed author and playwright. The Capote Tapes touches on various fabrications created by Capote himself and those around him who had a better sense of the man he really was. While one of the main draws to this film were the audio tapes, nothing absolutely insane was revealed in them, making the title of the film almost moot.
Director: Ebs Burnough
Runtime: 1h 38m
13. 'The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story' (2018)
A documentary about the golden (orange) years of Nickelodeon? Yes. Just...yes. The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story takes on the origin story of one the most legendary and beloved networks of all time: Nickelodeon. The documentary gathers those intimately involved both in the creation of the network as well as those who would come to define it, including various actors, producers, creators, and writers.
Director: Scott Barber, Adam Sweeney
Runtime: 1h 42m
14. 'Obey Giant' (2017)
You know those black and white stickers with the creepy-ish face and the word, "OBEY," printed right below it? Yeah, that's basically how Shepard Fairey got his start in the art world. Obey Giant tracks Fairey's early days on the scene working in wheatpaste and other forms of street art, which somehow all culminates into the more "highbrow" work of today, including massive murals and portraits of presidents.
Director: James Moll
Runtime: 1h 32m
15. 'Billie' (2019)
No, not the documentary about Billie Eilish—we're talking about Billie Holiday right here. Based on audio tapes from the 1970s created by Linda Lipnack Kuehl who had been conducting research for a book she was writing about Holiday. While the tapes weren't of Holiday herself, they were with those who were close with the singer, including former band members, friends, family, and tons more.
Director: James Erskine
Runtime: 1h 38m
16. 'McCartney 3, 2, 1" (2021)
McCartney 3, 2, 1 is a deep dive into Paul McCartney, going line by line with host, Rick Rubin, to get to the core of both his lyrics and the way he approaches creating songs from scratch. The six-episode docuseries touches on each point in his career, spending time both within his work as part of The Beatles, Wings, as well as his solo work.
Director: Zachary Heinzerling
Runtime: 30m (per episode)