Real life can be just as interesting as the most fantastical of stories as shown by the 25 best documentaries on HBO Max. If you can't get Max in your region, get ExpressVPN and immerse yourself in the world of award-winning documentaries.

25 best documentaries on hbo max

Media consumption doesn’t have to be mindless; you can grow your knowledge and worldview through more thoughtful content. If you’re in the mood for watching the best documentaries on HBO Max, you landed in the right place. The blog will guide you through the best 25 documentaries on HBO Max to enjoy worldwide.

If you can’t access HBO Max content in your country, no frets–you can download a secure VPN like ExpressVPN that will help you access geo-restricted content including a wide variety of documentaries on HBO Max faster.

So now you’re no longer left wondering where to watch the 25 best documentaries, follow the steps below and experience some profound human interest stories.

How to Watch 25 Best Documentaries on HBO Max [Easy Steps in Dec 2023]

You can easily unlock HBO Max content from any region via a reliable VPN by following the below-mentioned steps:

  1. Subscribe to a secure and fast VPN, like ExpressVPN.
  2. Download the selected VPN app.
  3. Next, use your credentials to log into the account that you created earlier.
  4. Find a USA-based server and connect a VPN to it.
  5. Now, you can start your experience of watching the best documentaries on HBO Max.

25 Best Documentaries on HBO Max to Binge-Watch in [Year]

We have made a list of the 25 best documentaries on HBO Max to enjoy this year with diverse selected genres. With the following choices, there is something for everyone!

6 Days To Air: The Making Of South Park (2011)

6 days to air: the making of south park (2011)

  • Director: Arthur Bradford
  • Runtime: 42m
  • Genre: Behind-the-scenes
  • IMDb Rating: 7.7

You may sometimes imagine how the world’s 7 Wonders construction has been done. It is astonishing to see how much effort it took to create one landmark and turn it into a popular monument for the rest of life.

Similarly, 6 Days to Air is an American one of the best documentaries, demonstrating a behind-the-scenes glimpse at creating any TV show. The documentary depicts an actual story of an adult animated sitcom for people who imagine how South Park highlights suitable stories based on previous events.

Everything Is Copy (2015)

Everything is copy (2015)

  • Director: Jacob Bernstein, Nick Hooker
  • Runtime: 1h 29m
  • Genre: Biography
  • IMDb Rating: 7.4

To live the life your parents lived or to know what their life was like is a nostalgic point where you get to know your parents with a unique lens. Likewise, a journalist, Jacob Bernstein, embarked on a journey to explore the professional and personal life and death of Nora Ephron, his dear mother.

In addition to actual passages and interviews of Ephron’s work, a famous portrait of an intelligent and devoted soul who existed by the motto mentioned in the title: ‘Everything is Copy,’ meaning that everything that happens in life is chaff for your writing.

Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals (2010)

Magic & bird: a courtship of rivals (2010)

  • Director: Ezra Edelman
  • Runtime: 1h 25m
  • Genre: Sports
  • IMDb Rating: 8.3

Who doesn’t love enemies to friends trope? It marks the rivalry relationship between Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. Their rivalry began in the 1979 NCAA Basketball Championship Game and prolonged til their Hall of Fame profession in the NBA.

They grabbed the attention of the media, which played a prime part in the NBA’s victory during the 80s. Later, both Johnson’s and Bird’s careers were shortened due to physical health problems. A Courtship of Rivals documentary illustrates how the two of them ultimately mark their distinctions apart and shape a long-term friendship.

The Vow (2020)

The vow (2020)

  • Director: Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer
  • Runtime: 1h 44m
  • Genre: True Crime
  • IMDb Rating: 7.2

You all have heard many stories about cults and rituals in your childhood or different cultures following diverse customs, which only makes sense to native citizens. The Vow is about true crime that happened in America.

The documentary circulates around the ex-members of the cult NXIVM, a self-improvement institution, and their leader, Keith Raniere. It takes you on a ride through their life experiences, unveiling the appealing leader, professional heightening pursuits, and the dirty revelation of the other side of the organization.

Leaving Neverland (2019)

Leaving neverland (2019)

  • Director: Dan Reed
  • Runtime: 3h 56m
  • Genre: Child Abuse
  • IMDb Rating: 7.0

It hurts when you adore someone for a long time, and they turn out to be dangerous. Similarly, Leaving Neverland is an influential documentary that digs into the arguable claims surrounding the most famous pop star, Michael Jackson.

It depicts the personal incidents of two boys, aged 7 and 10, who are confronted with the harsh reality of publicly being the victims of molestation by the King of Pop. The heart-wrenching documentary shows how these allegations affect their lives and wider conversation around celebs, trust, and liability.

A Brief History Of Time (1991)

A brief history of time (1991)

  • Director: Errol Morris
  • Runtime: 1h 23m
  • Genre: Science
  • IMDb Rating: 7.3

It is hard to study physics, but it is more interesting when you love to study your constellations and know more about yourself through stars’ theories. Based on the novel with the same title, A Brief History of Time follows the story of the life of physicist Stephen Hawking. And obviously, the adaptation of the book is always different.

The documentary entirely focuses on Hawking daily life and his work, whereas the book is about cosmology. The documentary includes interviews with some of his close friends, family, former class fellows, and peers, who tell about his theories and Hawking himself.

Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind (2018)

Robin williams: come inside my mind (2018)

  • Director: Marina Zenovich
  • Runtime: 1h 56m
  • Genre: Biography
  • IMDb Rating: 7.9

It is prominent that being a celebrity means access to a luxurious life with never-ending money. But it is a half-truth; the other side of the story is more complex. Similarly, this documentary earnestly acknowledges the life and footprint of legendary comedian and actor Robin Williams.

The documentary highlights his amazing journey as an actor, illustrating his unmatched talent, contagious energy, and the heartfelt impact he had on the world. In addition to archival clips to make a picture of someone extremely talented but struggling with mental illness and ending his life by committing suicide.

The Farthest (2017)

The farthest (2017)

  • Director: Emer Reynolds
  • Runtime: 2h 1m
  • Genre: Science
  • IMDb Rating: 8.1

They said the human eye has limits; an eye can’t reach far beyond the sky. True, but what can not be seen through the naked eye, the human mind can via imagination and turning imagination into reality.

The Farthest is proof of the rise of technology and is one of the biggest victories of humankind. This graphically stunning documentary illustrates the story of the spacecraft Voyager, sent on an astonishing journey via our solar system and beyond, holding a message of tranquility to the alien realm. The first ever human-creation thing to do so.

Paradise Lost: The Child Murders At Robin Hood Hills (1996)

Paradise lost: the child murders at robin hood hills (1996)

  • Director: Bruce Sinofsky, Joe Berlinger
  • Runtime: 2h 30m
  • Genre: True Crime
  • IMDb Rating: 8.2

The murder of the innocency is the world of despair. Paradise Lost shows one of the most argumentative murder cases in American history. It’s about 3 young boys who were brutally murdered in 1993 era by three teenagers, and it is stated as a devilish ritual by authorities. Those three teens were captured and brought to trial for killings and titled with West Memphis Three.

They were held for being Satanists and ceased to be guilty of the murders. It has won a Primetime Emmy as one of the best documentaries on HBO Max and also collected 2 sequels preceding the West Memphis Three’s set free from prison after lengthy appeals.

Welcome to Chechnya (2020)

Welcome to chechnya (2020)

  • Director: David France
  • Runtime: 1h 47m
  • Genre: Human Rights
  • IMDb Rating: 7.9

When it comes to justice, why do we forget that every human being on this planet deserves to be served justice? This fresh and groundbreaking documentary highlights the oppression and misuse of queer people in Chechnya and explores the lives of oppression who escape the country by facing immense personal danger.

Unrestricted access and exceptional way of veiling anonymity uncover this confidential enormity and an incredible group of people facing evil.

White Light/Black Rain: The Destruction Of Hiroshima And Nagasaki (2007)

The destruction of hiroshima and nagasaki (2007)

  • Director: Steven Okazaki
  • Runtime: 1h 26m
  • Genre: Historical
  • IMDb Rating: 8.3

What if you met a survivor of a mass disaster and saw his/her story through their lens what would be your first reaction?

It raised the voice of many of these survivors, aged from 6-28, when the attacks were launched. Through their different perspective of stories, Okazaki’s documentary illustrates the invasions that demolished the Pacific Front of WW II and traumatized generations of Japanese people.

Similarly, the documentary director follows almost 500 Japanese survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki disaster. He includes the interviews of 4 Americans who were accused of being involved in the creation and diffusion of the atomic bomb.

F For Fake (1973)

F for fake (1973)

  • Director: Orson Welles
  • Runtime: 1hr 35m
  • Genre: Deception, Art, Illusion
  • IMDb Rating: 7.7

We only see scamming of paintings in movies, but what if it happened in reality? Or what if the origin of this scam comes from long back history?

Orson’s documentary concerns the unpopular fakers Elmyr de Hory and Clifford Irving. Unfortunately, later, De Hory attempted suicide to escape from prison time and build his name by selling fake artworks of famous painters, such as Picasso and Matisse.

Whereas Irving was well-known for writing the sham autobiography of Howard Hughes. Throughout the documentary, the director examines the basic elements of the scam and the people involved in it at the cost of others.

All That Breathes (2022)

All that breathes (2022)

  • Director: Shaunak Sen
  • Runtime: 1hr 37m
  • Genre: Nature/Environment
  • IMDb Rating: 7.0

It is said being human means being kind to others, even animals. Similarly, All That Breathes follows the life of two brothers, Mohammad Saud and Nadeem Shehzad, who reside in India. They rescue injured birds and give treatment to them.

Later, when a dearly black kite expires in the polluted skies of New Delhi, the siblings do everything to protect him. In a realm of technology, where people love to watch musicals and thrilling documentaries, it is a fresh transformation in the industry about people who love to care for their nature.

Hoop Dreams (1994)

Hoop dreams (1994)

  • Director: Steve James
  • Runtime: 2hr 50m
  • Genre: Sports, Drama
  • IMDb Rating: 8.3

Hopes and dreams are what make us feel alive in this fast-paced world. It is an Oscar-winning documentary and remains on the top of HBO Max’s best sports documentary list.

The story revolves around William Gates and Artur Agee, both black teens from a lower-class Chicago locality enlisted to play, to a large extent, White High School with hopes it would take them toward the NBA.

15 Minutes Shame (2021)

15 minutes shame (2021)

  • Director: Steve James
  • Runtime: 1hr 25m
  • Genre: Social media, Online culture
  • IMDb Rating: 6.7

It is a big question: when will society stop passing judgments about others? When will be people free from the public shaming that still continues in this era?

However, this documentary takes you deep into the forest of public shaming and how it impacts our society and the young generation. The documentary features some interviews from popular and noteworthy specialists like Monica Lewinksy, Jon Ronson, and others.

The Bees Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart (2020)

The bee gees: how can you mend a broken heart (2020)

  • Director: Frank Marshall
  • Runtime: 1hr 51m
  • Genre: Music, Biographical
  • IMDb Rating: 8.1

Like the title, the documentary covers the life of siblings Barry, Maurice, and Robin Gibb as they attained early fame in the 1960s and later started writing almost 1000 songs including the 20 chart toppers.

This documentary shows the highs and lows of the legendary disco crew, the Bee Gees, and what it would be like to work surrounded by complexities alongside family. It also introduced interviews with outlive members and the unseen archival clips.

The Mystery of D.B. Cooper (2020)

The mystery of d. B. Cooper (2020)

  • Director: John Dower
  • Runtime: 1hr 25m
  • Genre: Mystery, True Crime
  • IMDb Rating: 6.5

Calling out mystery lovers, this documentary will capture your attention and engage you in the unsolved case of the greatest heist that occurred in the history of America.

The story explores how D.B. Cooper and his 3 team members hijacked the airplane and escaped by implying his smart plan. He trades passengers for almost $200,000 and 4 parachutes, which all happened back in 1971. And from that day, they were never heard or seen again.

The Apollo (2019)

The apollo (2019)

  • Director: Roger Ross Williams
  • Runtime: 1hr 42m
  • Genre: Music/Performance
  • IMDb Rating: 6.8

In the modern age, people consume more cultural information as it gives them an aesthetic sense and completes their urge to know more. This great documentary demonstrates the exceptional history and modern legacy of New York City’s monument, the Apollo Theater.

The director fused music, comedy, and dance acts, interviewing some known artists like Smokey Robinson and many more. It also gives a glimpse of behind-the-scene clips of the entire team who runs Apollo.

The Truth About Killer Robots (2018)

The truth about killer robots (2018)

  • Director: Maxim Pozdorovkin
  • Runtime: 1hr 25m
  • Genre: Technology/Science
  • IMDb Rating: 5.8

AI innovation started to dominate the world rapidly in this tech era, but how far will it go? The director shows in this documentary various approaches to how Artificial Intelligence controls society and how people depend on its services.

It also demonstrates how AI making people significantly outdated. When a robotic machine murders a human, who will take the responsibility? It explores the incidents where robots murdered humans in a factory, and several cases led them to morality and accountability.

BS High (2023)

Bs high (2023)

  • Directors: Travon Free, Martin Desmond Roe
  • Runtime: 1hr 40m
  • Genre: Youth Culture/ Social Issues
  • IMDb Rating: 7.2

What if someone fools you by pretending to be someone? Something similar occurred. The documentary focuses on high school football among the Bishop Sycamore Centurions and the admired IMF Academy, which participated in a national broadcast football game on ESPN 2021.

However, the game attracted an audience after several injuries during the tournament. This curiosity raises many doubts, and the shocking truth unveils that BS High is not an actual school.

The Janes (2022)

The janes (2022)

  • Directors: Emma Pildes, Tia Lessin
  • Runtime: 1h 41m
  • Genre: Women’s Empowerment/Activism
  • IMDb Rating: 7.6

In the 21st century, women still fight for their rights against the dominant male society. The Janes highlighted a group of doubtful outlaws. Withstand the state legislature that restricted abortion, the Catholic Church that damned it, and the Chicago Mob that advantaged from it, and how the members of Jane struggle their personal and work lives to help women.

The documentary shed light on a group of 7 women who were hunted down and captured by police in 1972 in the South Side of Chicago, who created an organization for women. Smartly using code names, fonts, and secure shelter to protect themselves.

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (2022)

All the beauty and the bloodshed (2022)

  • Directors: Laura Poitras
  • Runtime: 1hr 57m
  • Genre: War/Conflict
  • IMDb Rating: 7.5

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed is a poignant documentary that will take you on a ride of emotions. It foreshadows the personal life of a photographer, activist, and artist, Nan Goldin, with a sedative addiction, leading her to support other addicts.

The documentary is narrated by herself, with the help of heart-wrenching slideshows, frightening interviews, heart-shaking photography, and unique clips of her personal battle to accuse the Sackler family of being responsible for the opioid issues.

Rock Hudson: All That Heaven Allowed (2023)

Rock hudson: all that heaven allowed (2023)

  • Directors: Stephen Kijak
  • Runtime: 1hr 44m
  • Genre: Biography, Hollywood
  • IMDb Rating: 7.4

Having multiple personalities is not new to this era, but it was difficult back then. Likewise, the documentary tells the story of a popular Hollywood icon, Rock Hudson.

A man who spends a dual life; one is a public identity that is built with care by his controllers and arranged by the studio, scared of the hidden profession-ending truth that he was secretly living as a gay man.

Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off (2022)

Tony hawk: until the wheels fall off (2022)

  • Directors: Sam Jones
  • Runtime: 2hr 15m
  • Genre: Sports
  • IMDb Rating: 8.0

Keeping your passion awake until your death is one of the best things that gives you inner peace. This documentary will shed light on an iconic sportsman, Tony Hawk’s life, and his love for skateboarding, which he has been attached to for a quarter of a century.

This is filmed for the fans of Hawk who might be curious about his personal life and also influence anyone to hold a skateboard.

The Princess (2022)

The princess (2022)

  • Directors: Ed Perkins
  • Runtime: 1hr 49m
  • Genre: Royalty/Family
  • IMDb Rating: 7.3

To imprint the 25th anniversary of the most loving Princess Diana’s uncertain death, this document uses home clips to film the events that led to the tragedy and its end results. Without any explanation, this documentary is an exposure of history that unveils actually how the world perceived it a half-century ago.

Narrated in the present tense, it highlights currently disclosed testimony and unseen clips to engage audiences in the most beautiful moments of the princess’s life.


These are the 25 best documentaries on HBO Max that you can enjoy during holidays or leisure time. HBO Max has a lot of content from movies and shows, to animated and live-action productions.

If you reside in a foreign land and can’t access HBO Max, get a fast VPN service, such as ExpressVPN. It will assist you in unlocking the geo-restrictions. Moreover, it gives strong security and privacy to the users.

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Gary is a geeky-binge watcher who loves to pen down all that he watches. The night-owl has just got two hobbies, binge-watching all the latest shows and writing everything about them.