The Best Documentaries About Miami

Dec 23, 2023 | Best Of, Culture, Geography

Miami is a city with an image that conjures up visions of white sand beaches, glistening skyscrapers, and vibrant nightlife. But there’s so much more to Miami than what meets the eye. From its cultural history to the people who live there, these twelve documentaries are essential viewing for anyone looking to gain an intimate understanding of this unique city. From the stories of Cuban exiles to environmental activists, these films capture the diversity and complexity of Miami’s past, present, and future. So grab some popcorn and dive into these essential documentaries about the Magic City.


1. Inside Miami’s deadly plastic surgery industry

Award-winning documentary takes viewers deep into the dark and dangerous underbelly of Miami’s plastic surgery industry. The documentary follows a group of brave journalists as they investigate the deadly consequences of this booming business. They reveal how many plastic surgery clinics are willing to take risks with their patients’ lives in order to maximize profits.


2. Two Sides of Miami: Super-Rich vs Super-Poor in the USA

Miami is an ever-evolving city that has been a playground for the rich and famous, a hotbed of gang activity and poverty, and now – something else entirely. From its vast cultural melting pot to its vibrant music scene, Miami is one of the most exciting cities in the United States. But beneath this façade lies a darker truth: 28.5% of the population is living below the poverty line, with growing rents and homelessness on the rise. Though Miami may have had a reputation for being a safe city when compared to its other major U.S. counterparts, today it has new issues that are taking center stage: gang violence, drug trafficking, and income inequality. Documentaries about these topics in Miami bring light to an area that is often overlooked and remind us of the importance of understanding the power dynamics in cities around the world.


3. Miami: the most rebellious city in America

The shimmering turquoise waters of Miami, Florida have been beckoning to adventurers for centuries. From Cuban refugees in the 1980s to modern-day entrepreneurs and families, this is a place where all types of people can come together to pursue their dreams. Miami Beach has become the go-to destination for partygoers, with Suzy Tailor reigning as its Queen of Cuban parties. But you don’t have to be a partygoer to appreciate the city’s rebellious spirit – it also draws a unique mix of creators, artists, and eccentrics.


4. Rising Tide: Priced Out In Miami

The city of Miami is no stranger to change. As the climate continues to shift, there are many ways in which it’s affecting residents’ lives in dramatic and unexpected ways. One example is climate gentrification — when rising rents push vulnerable people out of their homes as real estate developers move into higher ground. In this episode of CBS Reports’ REVERB series, Adam Yamaguchi dives deep into the impacts of climate gentrification in Miami. He speaks with longtime residents and explores how rising sea levels are leading to drastic changes in the city’s landscape, energy usage, and its real estate market. From the issues of displacement to creative solutions for protecting marginalized communities, viewers will gain a greater understanding of Miami’s ever-evolving ecosystem.


5. Behind Bars: The World’s Toughest Prisons – Miami, Dade County Jail, Florida, USA

The Miami-Dade County Jail and the Boot Camp couldn’t be more different. The Boot Camp offers minor offenders a chance to escape through intense drills and regulations while the jail is a place of fear, ruled by criminals such as murderers, rapists and robbers. A series follows those who ensure law and order in these two divisions, revealing both their struggles to maintain authority and sometimes their misuse of power. But more importantly, it gives the viewer a taste of what life is like for those on the inside: the new prisoner spending his first night in terror; felons waiting for their fate to be decided; foreigners isolated from home; and mothers trying to raise children with one foot stuck behind bars. It’s a hard world out there – and an even harder one in here. But it’s also a world of courage, strength, and hope. It’s a real-life drama that can’t be experienced anywhere else. DNBD brings these stories to life with its unique mix of creativity and realism. Come on in – if you dare!


6. The Palace: Miami’s Luxury Retirement Home

The Palace in Miami is quite simply one of the most extravagant senior living communities in America From the lavish parties to the bustling business side, it truly does have something for everyone. But this documentary provides a deeper look into what really happens behind its walls. Through exclusive access, viewers will see the human side of The Palace. They’ll explore the fears and uncertainties that exist in all our lives, but especially for seniors – loneliness, aching limbs, and tiredness. It’s a real testament to the courage of those who choose to live out their final days in such an environment.


7. Rick Ross: Port of Miami

Epic celebration of Miami’s major contribution to hip-hop history, ‘Port Of Miami’ by Rick Ross. Hear Rozay himself, as well as Cool & Dre, DJ Khaled, and more share their stories about the classic album and its influence on rap culture today! Witness how this groundbreaking project has become one of the most iconic albums in rap music for the ages. Get an inside look to a classic era in Miami Hip-Hop and learn more about one of the genre’s most celebrated albums! DNBD is sure to deliver a documentary experience like no other! This unmissable documentary will take you on a historic journey into the heart of Miami hip-hop, providing commentary from the greatest minds in rap music. Don’t miss this opportunity to experience a classic album in an entirely new, and exciting way. DNBD will sure to leave you with plenty of knowledge and appreciation for the biggest stars of Miami hip-hop!


8. The Finesse of Miami’s Luxury Car Hustle

The game of driving the most expensive cars can be a thrilling yet dangerous one. Matt Cruz, the owner of MVP Exotic Rentals in Miami, knows this all too well. As anyone who has ever been involved in the car rental business will tell you, it takes finesse to stay ahead and make money. But when glamorous celebrities start wanting to rent out the luxury cars, it can be difficult to tell who’s genuine and who’s not. After all, with the promise of a chance to ride in some of the world’s most exclusive vehicles, it’s no wonder that so many people are eager to try their luck.


9. Cocaine Cowboys: How ’80s Miami Became America’s Drug Capital

Welcome to Miami, a place full of dazzling lights and gritty underbelly. Cocaine Cowboys: The Kings of Miami explores the city during its boom in the late 70s and 80s with its cocaine trade taking center stage. At that time, it was estimated that about 70 percent of the country’s supply passed through this part of Florida. This video takes an in-depth look at the rise of two local boys, Sal Magluta and Willy Falcon, to billionaire cocaine kingpins. It’s a fascinating tale that delves deeper than just incredible wealth and power. We’ll explore what it was like for Miami to become somewhat of a “narco-state” with its hedonistic culture and excessive drug use. A place where the law seemed like a distant memory and the upper crust reigned supreme.


10. Miami Shootout: One of the Deadliest Firefights in American History

The 1986 FBI Miami shootout is one of the most eventful and deadly firefights in the history of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The incident was sparked by a string of violent bank robberies and murders that left law enforcement scrambling for answers. After an intense eight-month investigation, agents confronted two heavily armed robbers holed up in a house near Miami International Airport. What ensued was a dramatic shootout and manhunt that would become one of the most memorable moments in American criminal justice history. As the story made headlines across the nation, it became clear that this would be remembered for generations to come. The documentary about this momentous event is both an exploration of the tragedy and its aftermath, as well as a celebration of the FBI’s incredible courage and dedication.


11. Life Inside Miami’s Most Dangerous Hoods

Every day life in Miami’s most treacherous hoods is far removed from the glitz and glamour of South Beach. Documentaries like DNBD explore these areas, taking viewers on a journey into a world that many are unfamiliar with. From interviews with people living in this environment to visiting the places and neighborhoods they inhabit, viewers will get an inside look at some of the most dangerous places in Miami. DNBD takes viewers to the heart of these stories, covering topics including crime, poverty, and education—all with an eye towards understanding the human experience. The documentary dives deep into a world that few outsiders get to witness first-hand. Through interviews with people living in this environment, insightful observations, and visits to the places and neighborhoods they inhabit, we get an inside look at life inside Miami’s most dangerous hoods. The documentary doesn’t shy away from difficult topics such as gang violence, drug trafficking, police brutality, economic inequality, racism, and corruption.

Read On – Our Latest Top Documentaries Lists

David B