Netflix started the year strong with two compelling stories, one about Wall Street swindler Bernie Madoff and another about Kai Lawrence, a homeless hitchhiker who became a viral sensation. They continued their hot streak to the end of January with an excellent and intimate documentary about Pamela Anderson, released in time with her new memoir.
February brought us to a chilling look at the Murdaugh Murders. In April, Netflix released an emotional and in-depth series about the Boston Marathon bombing and more. This summer, Netflix released two of its most harrowing documentaries yet.
Best Netflix documentaries 2023
We’re more than halfway through the year, and Netflix has already released several great documentaries. Bookmark this page to keep track of the best docs released throughout 2023 as we continue adding new Netflix documentaries to the list.
The Deepest Breath
The Deepest Breath is an acclaimed A24 documentary that arrived on Netflix in July. The doc takes us into the exciting world of freediving, an extreme sport relying on deep dives into the ocean without using any scuba gear or equipment. Divers must depend on their physical strength and lung capacity alone to descend into the watery depths and resurface.
The Deepest Breath focuses on Italian freediver Alessia Zecchini and her safety expert Stephen Keenan. Zecchini and Keenan seemed fated to meet, forming a near-immediate emotional bond throughout their years working together. With Keenan by her side, Zecchini aimed to break the world record for freediving. But then tragedy struck, and Keenan lost his life while saving Zecchini on a dive gone wrong off the coast of Egypt.
This doc delves into their relationship and the risky nature of freediving overall. It uses archival footage, interviews, and clips of actual freediving to create an atmospheric film that sometimes feels like a tense thriller. This movie might unsettle you if you have a deep fear of the ocean.
At times, The Deepest Breath can be quite heavy and somber in tone, especially given its subject matter, but it also spends time exploring Zecchini and Keenan’s victories and the highs of the sport that kept them going.