These 20 Documentaries on HBO Go Are Actually Worth Your Time

Updated 10/08/19

Jovo Jovanovic/Stocksy

We know it sounds counterintuitive: Sit on your couch and stream these films to gain greater insight into the state of our physical and inner worlds, and some of the most memorable cultural moments of our time. While traveling is one of the most effective ways to see the world from a new vantage point, watching thought-provoking films or reading life-altering autobiographies can be a readily more accessible way of exposing yourself to different perspectives.

That said, if you want to expand your worldview, stream the best documentaries on HBO Go tonight. From a film that chronicles the last year of President Barack Obama's tenure through the lens of his foreign policy team, to a heart-warming documentary that follows autistic adolescents preparing for a formal dance, these compelling documentaries are more than worth your time. Here are our picks for the best documentaries on HBO Go to stream now.

Just a heads up: Some of these documentaries focus on themes of sexual abuse, addiction, and mental illness.

01 of 20

The Final Year

Best documentaries on HBO Go
Courtesy of HBO

The Final Year chronicles the last year of President Obama's second term, focusing on the foreign-policy team. The film includes compelling interviews with former Secretary of State John Kerry, National Security Advisor Susan Rice, and Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes.

Available on: HBO

02 of 20

Being Serena

Best documentaries on HBO Go
Courtesy of HBO

Technically a documentary series, Being Serena provides an intimate look at the life of one of the best athletes of all time—from being to trailblazer to becoming a mother. Sports fans, mark your calendars.

Available on: HBO

03 of 20

Warning: This Drug May Kill You

Best documentaries on HBO Go
Courtesy of HBO

Warning: This Drug May Kill You delves into the devastation caused by opioid addiction. Candid interviews with members of four families affected by the epidemic shed light on one of the most pressing health problems the United States is currently facing.

Available on: HBO

04 of 20

How to Dance in Ohio

Best documentaries on HBO Go
Courtesy of HBO

In How to Dance in Ohio, director Alexandra Shina explores the social struggles adolescents with autism face through a group of young adults as they prepare for a formal dance. Anyone who wants to become more familiar with the fastest-growing developmental disorder in the United States will appreciate this documentary.

Available on: HBO

05 of 20

Atomic Homefront

Best documentaries on HBO Go
Courtesy of HBO

Oscar-nominated director Rebecca Cammisa exposes the lasting effects of toxic nuclear waste on St. Louis after it became a dumping ground for uranium in 1942 in Atomic Homefront. The film focuses on a group of moms-turned-activists who seek answers from everyone ranging from the Environmental Protection Agency to the corporations that operate in the city.

Available on: HBO

06 of 20

A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness

Best documentaries on HBO Go
Courtesy of HBO

A Girl in the River highlights the strain between adhering to traditions and evolving with modernity in Pakistan. The Oscar-winning film follows Saba, a young woman who survived an attempted honor killing by her own family for falling in love with a man they did not approve of.

Available on: HBO

07 of 20

Beware the Slenderman

Best documentaries on HBO Go
Courtesy of HBO

This chilling documentary delves into the details of a brutal crime committed by two 12-year-old girls. Meeting at the intersection of enduring adolescent isolation, dealing with mental health issues, and navigating the nebulousness of the Internet, Beware the Slenderman explores what happened leading up to and following the crime.

Available on: HBO

08 of 20

King in the Wilderness

Best documentaries on HBO Go
Courtesy of HBO

Emmy-winning director Peter Kunhardt draws on archival footage, intimate behind-the-scenes interviews, and recorded conversations with President Johnson to paint a portrait of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during his later years in the film, King in the Wilderness. The result is a documentary that depicts the human rights advocate in a new light.

Available on: HBO

09 of 20

Everything Is Copy

Best documentaries on HBO Go
Courtesy of HBO

Nora Ephron's son interviews the people closest to his mother, the accomplished and beloved screenwriter, essayist, and director in Everything Is Copy. Fans of Ephron's films (When Harry Met Sally) and books (I Feel Bad About My Neck) won't want to miss this one.

Available on: HBO

10 of 20

Going Clear

Best documentaries on HBO Go
Courtesy of HBO

In Going Clear, Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney investigates Scientology—arguably one of the religious beliefs most shrouded in mystery. Filled with remarkable details, this chilling documentary sometimes seems more like a gripping thriller—but it's all true.

Available on: HBO

11 of 20

We Are Not Done Yet

We Are Not Done Yet documentary movie poster

We Are Not Done Yet explores art as soothing balm to difficult, lived experience as we follow ten U.S. veterans navigating PTSD through creative expression. With the guidance of actor Jeffrey Wright, the group works toward a collaborative poem they will soon perform, and connect over revealing themes of war, death, and trauma.

Available on: HBO

12 of 20

The Inventor: Out for Blood

The Inventor: Out for Blood documentary movie poster

Is Elizabeth Holmes, former founder of Theranos a hustler, or a con artist? The Inventor interviews key insiders to piece together an allegedly fraudulent tale of how one multi-billion dollar healthcare company went from unicorn to disgrace, with Holmes at the helm.

Available on: HBO

13 of 20

At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal

At The Heart of Gold documentary movie poster

On the outside, USA Gymnastics competed for victory, yet the culture within the system churning out award-winning female athletes revealed something much uglier than rigorous training. At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal spotlights the hidden abuse perpetrated by the organization, and its former physician Dr. Larry Nassar—currently in federal prison—through interviews with dozens of survivors, coaches, lawyers, and journalists.

Available: HBO

14 of 20

Wig

Wig documentary movie poster

One night in 1984, Lady Bunny and friends staged a spontaneous drag show in Tompkins Square Park. Since then, New York's annual drag festival Wigstock has celebrated the art of drag and queerness for nearly 20 years. Wig offers an inside look into the dynamic, contemporary movement.

Available on: HBO

15 of 20

Ice on Fire

Ice on Fire documentary movie poster

Scientists, farmers, and innovators across the globe offer untold solutions to slow down rapid environmental changes. With sweeping cinematography from Norway to Alaska, Iceland to Colorado, Ice on Fire highlights the climate crisis and proposes ideas for reducing carbon emissions using traditional and new renewable energy sources, utilizing "draw down" methods, and others.

Available on: HBO

16 of 20

The Alzheimer's Project

The Alzheimer's Project documentary series

Alzheimer's disease slowly deteriorates memory and thought, and has no cure. However, The Alzheimer's Project, a documentary series, reveals groundbreaking research that is reinvigorating a race for the cure. For the five to 11 million Americans the progressive brain disorder may affect by 2040, timing is crucial.

Available on: HBO

17 of 20

Baltimore Rising

Baltimore Rising documentary movie poster

Cities are far from perfect. In Baltimore, for example, the 2015 death of Freddie Gray in police custody amplified tensions between authorities and the community. Baltimore Rising follows community members on all sides (activists, police officers, community leaders, gang affiliates) as they pursue change, including coming together in eye-opening ways.

Available on: HBO

18 of 20

David Bowie: The Last Five Years

David Bowie: The Last Five Years documentary movie poster

In music legend David Bowie's final years, he gifted the world with two albums and a musical, ending nearly a decade of silence. David Bowie: The Last Five Years highlights these major projects and delves into his creative process, including interviews with Bowie's closest collaborators.

Available on: HBO

19 of 20

El Espiritu De La Salsa!

El Espiritu De La Salsa documentary movie poster

Dance, such as salsa (meaning "sauce" in Spanish) can be a transformative experience. With hypnotic Afro-Cuban beats and Caribbean rhythms, El Espiritu De La Salsa! follows a group of New Yorkers from varying walks of life who have come to learn the dance, and the life lessons gleaned along the way.

Available on: HBO

20 of 20

Game of Thrones: The Last Watch

Game of Thrones: The Last Watch documentary movie poster

Game of Thrones may be over, but there's another way to get your fix. Watch this two-hour documentary to go inside the making of the last season of the widely-acclaimed show.

Available on: HBO

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