When it comes to true crime documentaries, there are a lot of options available. But not all of them can make a big impact on you and leave you shivering. If you are a true crime buff and looking to create the best true crime documentaries list, take a look at what we have curated for you!
True crime documentaries have somehow proven to be more thrilling and scary compared to the horror flicks Hollywood produces every year. While you watch these documentaries, you might end up thinking, “It could happen to me, too.”
But the main purpose of these documentaries is not to give people a thrill with something horrific; it is to uncover and bring to the public eye the many wrongs committed by others.
Take a look at these 10 true crime documentaries and decide for yourself how you’re going to binge-watch them all!
10. Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son about His Father
This 2008 true crime documentary sprang from the murder of Andrew Bagby.
Kurt Kuenne, Bagby’s friend, is the creator of the documentary. The film was conceived after Bagby’s ex-girlfriend, Shirley Turner, announced that she was pregnant with Bagby’s child not long after the murder.
The film that began as a gift to the unborn child ultimately morphed into something else entirely. Be warned: the twist in this documentary may leave you in a funk for days afterward.
IMDB rates the movie 8.6/10, making this a must-watch.
9. Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired
This documentary was directed by Marina Zenovich in 2008, and it is all about director Roman Polanski’s sexual abuse case.
Polanski fled the U.S. after he was accused of raping and drugging 13-year-old Samantha Geimer. After pleading guilty to one count, Polanski fled to France and avoided visiting countries that could extradite him to the U.S.
The assault happened in the late ’70s. In 1988, Geimer sued Polanski in civil court and he agreed to pay her $500,000 plus interest. (Geimer struggled to collect this sum.)
He was arrested in 2009 in Zurich while he was trying to enter Switzerland. In 2010, a Swiss court rejected the U.S.’s request to extradite Polanski.
In 2017, a Los Angeles court dismissed Geimer’s request to dismiss the case against Polanski.
IMDB rates this documentary 7.3/10, and the fans seem to enjoy it.
8. Inside Job
This film by Charles Ferguson examines what led to the financial crisis of 2008. The plot begins with the deregulation of Iceland in 2000 and the privatization of its banks, a reflection of the financial situation across the industrialized world.
In 2008, Lehman Brothers went bankrupt and AIG collapsed, after which the rest of the financial world came falling down like a house of cards.
The movie has won several awards, including the Directors Guild of America award for outstanding directorial achievement in documentary. This 2010 movie may not involve blood and gore, but it will leave you shivering after seeing how banks and governments play with human lives.
IMDB’s rating for this movie is 8.3/10, and we recommend that you watch this right away.
7. The Menendez Murders: Erik Tells All
This A&E channel mini-series aired in 2017. It consists of five episodes, all about the infamous Menendez brothers’ childhood, parenticide, their subsequent trial, and conviction. The tortured story of criminal brothers Lyle and Erik Menendez is brought to life through exclusive photos, rarely seen footage, and a multitude of interviews. The sad and terrible details of the case are made even more chilling by convicted killer Erik Menendez’s narration.
The duo now is now serving life without parole sentence for first-degree murder. If you want to know how it all went down, then you have to watch The Menendez Murders: Erik Tells All now.
IMDB has rated the series 8.4.
6. Deliver Us from Evil
This movie will make you want to keep your child where you can see them at all times. This true crime documentary exposes the disturbing truth behind Father Oliver O’Grady.
The priest traveled from parish to parish in the U.S., sexually abusing children. The Catholic church, aware of his pedophilia, harbored him for over 30 years.
In 1993, he was convicted of “lewd and lascivious acts” against two brothers and sentenced to 14 years in prison. O’Grady was said to have molested the boys from 1978 to 1991.
Watch this crime drama unfold and see how this sexual predator was put behind bars. IMDB’s rating for this movie is an impressive 8/10.
5. O.J.: Made In America
O.J. Simpson has been a figure of fascination for years. The man served time in prison, but he has escaped conviction for the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman.
This 2016 documentary traces Simpson’s life and career, tying it to a larger narrative about celebrity, the criminal justice system, and long-simmering racial tensions that have divided the country.
IMBD rates the move 9/10, and anybody who has watched it will likely agree.
4. Cocaine Cowboys
This 2006 documentary all about the illegal drug trade in Miami during the 1970s and 1980s. It interviews many people connected to the Miami Drug War, including law enforcement, former smugglers, and gang members.
How did the cocaine come into the market? Who were the drug lords? Marijuana was the main import drug in the region before cocaine took over the market and the people who consumed it.
IMDB rates the movie 7.9/10, and we know you’re going to have a lot of fun watching Cocaine Cowboys.
3. The Thin Blue Line
This 1988 true crime documentary is about Randall Dale Adams, who was convicted of a murder he never committed. Adams’ case was reviewed and he was released from prison about a year after the film’s release.
Errol Morris, who once worked as a private detective, directed the documentary and did a fantastic job of painting a melancholic picture of Adams’ life.
IMDB rates the movie 8.1/10, and you must watch this widely lauded true crime classic.
2. Casting JonBenet
This Kitty Green documentary showcases the impact of JonBenet Ramsey’s murder. JonBenet was a six-year-old American beauty queen who was found dead in the basement of her Colorado home in 1996.
Her father John found her body eight hours after she had been reported missing. An autopsy later revealed that she had suffered a blow to her head and been strangled. The mystery of her death is still unsolved
This movie interviews actors auditioning for a role in a fictional movie about the murder. These actors give their own responses to the case and speculate about what really happened to the young girl.
This film received mix reviews. Nonetheless, it’s worth the watch. IMDB rates this 2017 release 6.1/10.
1. West of Memphis
Hands down, this is the top true crime documentary of all time! This Sony Pictures production, which won critical acclaim, is all about the child murders that took place in West Memphis, Arkansas.
Three boys were believed to have been murdered by three teenagers, and their bodies were left in a drainage canal.
Some suspected that the three eight-year-olds had been raped before being killed. Their bodies were found naked and hogtied. Although pieces of clothing were found in a creek, two of the boys’ underwear was never recovered.
Find out how Jessie Misskelley, Jr., Jason Baldwin, and Damien Echols were tried and convicted—and how a potential suspect may have escaped justice.
IMDB rates West of Memphis 7.9/10, so make this your must-watch today.