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October 28, 2015

500 Best PBS Documentaries for Free Online

The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) offers many free educational documentaries, but you might not have the time to tune in and watch them. What you may not know is that they have 100s of their documentaries available for free online. Some of the popular series they offer which feature many free documentaries include:

Frontline - Documentaries that covers current political and social issues

American Experience - Documentaries that cover interesting events and people in American history

NOVA - Documentaries covering a wide variety of topics in popular science

Nature - Documentaries covering wildlife

Most of these documentaries can be streamed through the PBS.org website, while some of them PBS is offering on YouTube now as well. On LearnOutLoud.com we've collected some of the best free PBS documentaries that you can stream online and we've embedded many of them on our site along with links to them on PBS.org or YouTube. Before we start featuring these we will have you note:

Note: As far as we know users outside of the United States cannot play PBS documentaries on the PBS.org website. Sorry!

Start browsing these great PBS documentaries below:

Browse Over 150 Free PBS Documentaries (a variety of PBS documentaries from various PBS affiliates along with some PBS podcasts mixed in there)

Browse Over 150 Free Frontline Documentaries

Browse Over 100 Free NOVA Documentaries

Browse 50 Free Nature Documentaries

Browse 30 Free American Experience Documentaries

All in all about 500 free PBS documentaries to choose from! We'll help you out with choosing some by highlighting ones that look the most interesting. Here's a list of PBS documentaries we thought you might enjoy.

You might want to watch a few of the documentaries from the American Masters series which features biographies of great artists, actors and writers from the United States:

Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth

Billie Jean King

The Day Carl Sandburg Died

Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A Comin'

Johnny Carson: King of Late Night

Mel Brooks: Make a Noise

And here is a variety of other PBS documentaries that might peak your interest:

10 Buildings that Changed America

The Ascent of Money - Niall Ferguson sets out to explain the financial history of the world in this ambitious 4-hour documentary.

Faces of America - Henry Louis Gates, Jr. hosts these biographical episodes profiling these 12 renowned Americans - professor and poet Elizabeth Alexander, chef Mario Batali, comedian Stephen Colbert, novelist Louise Erdrich, journalist Malcolm Gladwell, actress Eva Longoria, musician Yo-Yo Ma, director Mike Nichols, Her Majesty Queen Noor, television host/heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz, actress Meryl Streep, and figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi.

The Forgetting: A Portrait of Alzheimer's

Is School Enough?: Learning Beyond the Classroom

Martin Luther: Driven to Defiance and Martin Luther: Reluctant Revolutionary

Your Life, Your Money - Program to help you manage your money.

And here are some key programs from PBS Frontline. If you've never seen a Frontline documentary you simply must watch one. Frontline has won a total of 57 Emmys, and 15 Peabodys! They're the best:

Can You Afford to Retire?

The Card Game - Investigating the massive consumer loan industry.

A Class Divided - One of the most requested programs in FRONTLINE's history.

College Inc. - Investigating the $400 billion higher education industry.

Digital Nation - Exploring life in our digital age.

Dropout Nation - Looking at the hundreds of thousands of teenagers in the United States who quit high school.

From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians

Generation Like - Investigating the intersection of kids, corporations and the Internet.

God in America - Special 6-hour presentation brought to you by AMERICAN EXPERIENCE and FRONTLINE.

The Interrupters - Fantastic 2-hour documentary from acclaimed director Steve James (Hoop Dreams).

Is Wal-Mart Good for America?

League of Denial: The NFL's Concussion Crisis

The Long Walk of Nelson Mandela

The Meth Epidemic

Money, Power and Wall Street - A 4-hour look at what the heck happened with the financial meltdown.

The Mormons - The history and contemporary practice of Mormonism.

The New Asylums - Why are nearly half a million mentally ill people serving time in America's prisons and jails?

The Persuaders - A look at the advertising and public relations industries.

The Pot Republic - Investigates marijuana in California and the USA.

Secret State of North Korea

United States of Secrets - A look at the U.S. government's massive and controversial secret surveillance program.

And we won't stop there. Let's take a look at a few of the programs from American Experience. One of their major series covers the Presidents of the United States so we'll point out a few of those:

Clinton: The American Experience

The Presidents: Reagan

JFK: American Experience

The Presidents: Nixon

The Presidents: FDR

And a few more from American Experience:

The Abolitionists - Docudrama covering William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe, John Brown and Angelina Grimke.

Cold War Roadshow - Nikita Khrushchev's tour of the U.S. in the fall of 1959.

Henry Ford - A biography of the man who led the American auto industry.

Mount Rushmore - Everything you wanted to know about America's most famous granite cliff.

Silicon Valley - The story of the invention of the microchip.

War of the Worlds - Documentary on Orson Welles' infamous radio broadcast.

And here are some interesting science-related documentaries from NOVA:

Ape Genius - What separates humans from our closest living relatives.

Car of the Future

Finding Life Beyond Earth

Life's Greatest Miracle - Trace human development from embryo to newborn through stunning microimagery.

Marathon Challenge

The Pluto Files - Neil deGrasse Tyson looks at Pluto.

Rise of the Drones

Solar Energy: Saved by the Sun

Wright Brothers' Flying Machine

And a few from the PBS series Nature:

American Eagle - Learn about our national bird!

The Beauty of Ugly

The Gorilla King

My Life as a Turkey

An Original DUCKumentary

Why We Love Cats and Dogs