June 27, 2024

200 New Free Educational Documentaries in Our Free Documentaries Collection

One great thing about documentaries is that you almost always learn something new while watching them. And with sites like YouTube and Tubi TV there are thousands of free educational documentaries to choose from. We’ve tried to pick out some of the best free documentaries to add to our Free Documentaries Collection, and we now feature over 1,500 documentaries which you can browse in many categories:

Browse Over 1,500 Documentaries in Our LearnOutLoud.com Free Documentaries Collection

And you might also want to check out our YouTube playlist of over 300 of the best documentaries on YouTube:

300 Best Documentaries on YouTube Playlist

We’ve recently added 200 new free educational documentaries to our documentaries collection. About 50 of them are from Tubi TV and 150 of them are from YouTube. We’ll list all these documentaries with some brief descriptions below. Note that if you’re outside of the United States you might not be able to view some of these documentaries. Without further ado, here are 200 free documentaries you can watch. We’ll list them by year, from the latest documentaries to the oldest ones we’ve added.

20 Days in Mariupol (2023) – Harrowing documentary from last year covering the the ground-level reality of the siege of Mariupol, Ukraine over the first 20 days of the Russian invasion. The movie won an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature at the 96th Academy Awards.

The Last Repair Shop (2023) – This 40-minute documentary about a musical instrument repair shop won the best short documentary at the 2024 Academy Awards.

I Have Arrived, I Am Home (2023) – Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh passed away in January of 2022 and this documentary commemorates his life.

Nuclear Now (2022) – Oliver Stone’s recent documentary arguing for nuclear energy to curb the global warming crisis.

A Cloud Never Dies (2022) – A biographical documentary on Thich Nhat Hanh, narrated by actor Peter Coyote.

Tom Petty: Somewhere You Feel Free (2021) – New footage and interviews about the making of Tom Petty’s 1992 album Wildflowers.

The Queen of Basketball (2021) – This 20-minute documentary on female basketball legend Lusia Harris won the Academy Award for Best Short Subject Documentary.

Mentality (2021) – Documentary on mental health and its treatment in the present day.

Life in a Day 2020 (2021) – Relive the horrors of 2020 in this follow-up documentary to the 2010 version of Life in a Day.

Yogananda and the Kriya Yoga Masters (2020) – Documentary on Paramahansa Yogananda and the masters that influenced him. Yogananda penned the bestselling spiritual classic Autobiography of a Yogi.

The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel (2020) – Sequel to the popular documentary The Corporation from 2003. Documents more corporate misbehavior in the past 20 years.

The Mindfulness Movement (2020) – By now everybody has heard of mindfulness. This documentary covers the movement featuring key figures that helped to popularize it like Deepak Chopra, Dan Harris, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Daniel Goleman, and Sharon Salzberg.

Netflix vs. the World (2020) – Documentary on the rise and rise of Netflix! Based on the 2012 book Netflixed: The Epic Battle For America’s Eyeballs.

Cryptopia (2020) – Documentary on bitcoin and blockchain that makes an attempt to understand this new decentralized web.

Colette (2020) – 25-minute film on the life of 90-year-old French Resistance fighter Colette Marin-Catherine. This film won the Academy Award for Best Short Subject Documentary.

The Rise of Jordan Peterson (2019) – Public intellectual Jordan Peterson skyrocketed to fame in 2016 with his battle against political correctness and this documentary chronicles that time in Peterson’s life.

The Booksellers (2019) – Documentary on rare book dealers in New York City.

Going Attractions: The Definitive Story of the Movie Palace (2019) – Celebrates the great cinemas of yesteryear throughout the United States and how these movie palaces evolved over the last 100 years.

Decoding da Vinci (2019) – PBS NOVA documentary that looks at the science behind Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpieces.

Armstrong (2019) – Documentary on the life of Neil Armstrong from his humble beginnings in rural Ohio to his famous steps on the Moon.

2040 (2019) – A hopeful look at the year 2040 if we take up solutions to improve our planet.

What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael (2018) – Documentary on the life of renowned film critic Pauline Kael, and the influence her opinions had on the movies.

The Panama Papers (2018) – The Panama Papers were leaked documents that exposed widespread tax evasion and money laundering. Director Alex Winter highlights their importance in this documentary.

The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story (2018) – A documentary film about the Nickelodeon Network!

The God Who Speaks (2018) – Documentary examines whether God is real and if He speaks to us in the present day, featuring many respected biblical scholars.

The City That Sold America (2018) – How Chicago came to influence modern advertising at the dawn of the 20th century.

NOVA: Addiction (2018) – PBS NOVA documentary on opioid addiction and the science behind treating it.

Living in the Future’s Past (2018) – Actor Jeff Bridges narrates this documentary featuring scientists that take a look at the future of Earth’s living creatures.

Zig: You Were Born to Win (2017) – The life of motivational speaker Zig Ziglar and those he helped to inspire.

The Soul of Success: The Jack Canfield Story (2017) – The inspirational life of Jack Canfield and his Chicken Soup for the Soul book series.

The Red Pill (2017) – Feminist filmmaker Cassie Jaye examines the Men’s Rights Movement and changes her thinking in the process.

Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo (2017) – Documentary covering a decade of Mission Control as it guided astronauts through the Apollo space missions.

Maximum Achievement: The Brian Tracy Story (2017) – Documentary on the life of self-help author Brian Tracy.

I Am Not Your Negro (2017) – A documentary adaption of James Baldwin’s uncompleted book Remember This House. Narrated by actor Samuel L. Jackson, this film was nominated for Best Documentary Feature.

Fittest on Earth: A Decade of Fitness (2017) – Get motivated to move with this documentary on the 2016 Reebok CrossFit Games.

The Occupation of the American Mind (2016) – Documentary examines the propaganda efforts used by Israel to win over Americans for its cause in the occupation of Palestinian land.

The Coming War on China (2016) – Journalist John Pilger looks at the potential coming war between China and the United States.

Sour Grapes (2016) – Documentary about wine fraudster Rudy Kurniawan.

Shadows of Paradise (2016) – Documentary on Transcendental Meditation and its new leaders – iconic filmmaker David Lynch and dedicated disciple Bobby Roth.

Score: A Film Music Documentary (2016) – Documentary about film scores featuring many great film composers, including Hans Zimmer, James Cameron, Danny Elfman, John Williams, Quincy Jones, Trent Reznor, Howard Shore, Rachel Portman, Thomas Newman, Randy Newman, and more.

Pet Fooled (2016) – Where does your pet food come from? Find out with this revealing documentary.

Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World (2016) – The first of many Werner Herzog documentaries we added. In this one, Herzog examines the online world with his own unique observations.

Greed: A Fatal Desire (2016) – DW Documentary from Germany on the global impact of greed.

Food Choices (2016) – Looks at the repercussions of the food choices we make.

Dying Laughing (2016) – A look at the lives of stand-up comedians.

Chicken People (2016) – A fun documentary on the competitive world of champion show chicken breeders.

California Typewriter (2016) – Documentary examining the mythology attached to the typewriter.

Betting on Zero (2016) – Investigation of the Herbalife pyramid scheme.

American Street Kid (2016) – A look at homeless youth in Los Angeles.

The Witness (2015) – An in-depth look at the story of Kitty Genovese and the 38 witnesses that allegedly watched her being murdered.

The Brainwashing of My Dad (2015) – We all have some older relatives that have been brainwashed by the rise of right-wing media. This is one of those stories.

The Babushkas of Chernobyl (2015) – Award-winning documentary on 100 women who stayed in the Chernobyl radioactive “Exclusion Zone”.

Racing Extinction (2015) – Documentary investigating the urgent race to save endangered species.

Origins (2015) – How can we coexist with nature? This documentary takes a look.

My Scientology Movie (2015) – British journalist Louis Theroux sets out to explain the inner workings of the Church of Scientology.

Minimalism (2015) – Popular Netflix documentary made free on YouTube about minimalists who live meaningfully with less.

Being Evel (2015) – The life of daredevil Evel Knievel!

All Things Must Pass (2015) – The rise and fall of Tower Records, from its humble beginnings in 1960 to its rapid decline in the 21st century.

The Secrets of Quantum Physics (2014) – Theoretical physicist Jim Al-Khalili tells the complex story of quantum physics.

The Man Who Saved the World (2014) – Documentary about Stanislav Petrov who prevented a nuclear war.

The Hacker Wars (2014) – A film about the targeting of hacktivists and journalists by the U.S. government.

The Barkley Marathons (2014) – Documentary about a grueling race in Tennessee that has only seen 10 finishers in its first 25 years.

That Sugar Film (2014) – Documentarian Damon Gameau looks at the effects of sugar on the human body.

Neurons to Nirvana: Understanding Psychedelic Medicines (2014) – A look at psychedelic medicines and their potential to heal.

Manny (2014) – Documentary on the life of Manny Pacquiao, Filipino politician and former professional boxer.

Life Itself (2014) – Documentary on the beloved film critic Roger Ebert, filmed late in his life by acclaimed director Steve James.

Kindness Is Contagious (2014) – A feel-good documentary about being nice and the benefits of being nice.

Kidnapped for Christ (2014) – Documents a Christian boarding school in the Dominican Republic that isn’t quite what it seems.

Fed Up (2014) – Takes another look at the recommendations for nutrition in America, and how the public has often been mislead.

Citizenfour (2014) – Academy Award-winning documentary about whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

Children of the Light (2014) – Tells the life story of Desmond Tutu of South Africa.

Bending the Light (2014) – Acclaimed director Michael Apted takes a revealing look at the art of filmmaking & photography.

An Honest Liar (2014) – The story of renowned magician turned skeptic James “The Amazing” Randi.

Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory (2014) – A documentary examining music therapy and its effects on elderly patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Visitors (2013) – Director Godfrey Reggio and composer Philip Glass continue their non-spoken narrative experience.

Trespassing Bergman (2013) – A group of filmmakers visit Ingmar Bergman’s house on a remote Swedish island to discuss his legacy. Filmmakers interviewed include Lars Von Trier, Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Isabella Rossellini, and Michael Haneke.

The Unbelievers (2013) – Richard Dawkins and Lawrence M. Krauss promote their agenda of science and reason.

The Square (2013) – Documentary on the Egyptian Revolution of 2011. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

The Overnighters (2013) – In the time of fracking, job-seekers descend on the tiny oil boom town of Williston, North Dakota. A pastor is there to help them out, but challenges arise.

Our Nixon (2013) – Newly uncovered Super 8 home movies filmed by Richard Nixon’s closest aides.

Narco Cultura (2013) – Documentary on the Mexican drug war and the music it inspires.

Living on One Dollar (2013) – Four young friends set out to live on just $1 a day for two months in rural Guatemala.

LIs the Man Who Is Tall Happy? (2013) – Director Michel Gondry interviews Noam Chomsky mostly about linguistics.

I Know That Voice (2013) – Lovers of audio books might enjoy this documentary that peeks into the world of voice acting.

Desert Runners (2013) – Follows a group of runners as they compete in ultra-marathon races through the desert.

Antarctica: A Year on Ice (2013) – Go to a land way down under with this documentary of life in Antarctica and what it’s like to live there.

Undaunted: The Forgotten Giants of the Allegheny Observatory (2012) – The story of Allegheny Observatory in Pennsylvania.

The Woman Who Wasn’t There (2012) – The story of Tania Head, the 9/11 survivor who wasn’t even there!

The Revisionaries (2012) – The story of the controversial Texas State Board of Education.

The Perfect Human Diet (2012) – Documentary that purports to have found the authentic human diet.

Somm (2012) – Four sommeliers attempt to pass the prestigious Master Sommelier exam, a test with one of the lowest pass rates in the world.

Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap (2012) – A look at the East Coast/West Coast battle for dominance in the world of hip hop, hosted by Ice-T.

Meditation, Creativity, Peace (2012) – Follows filmmaker David Lynch around the globe as he talks about creativity and Transcendental Meditation.

Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present (2012) – A close look at Serbian conceptual and performance artist Marina Abramovic.

Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance (2012) – Documentary on the Joffrey Ballet company of Chicago.

Inner Worlds, Outer Worlds (2012) – Get in touch with the one vibratory field that connects all things.

Free the Mind (2012) – Professor Richie Davidson studies the effects of Tibetan meditation practice.

Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie (2012) – The inside story of Morton Downey, Jr., the “Father of Trash Television”.

Dinotasia (2012) – Documentary about dinosaurs.

Craigslist Joe (2012) – Remember Craigslist? Throwback documentary to a guy that tries to survive solely on Craigslist.

Children of the Stars (2012) – Documentary on the Unarius UFO Cult in California that created their own sci-fi films.

B.B. King: The Life of Riley (2012) – The great blues musician B.B. King tells his story.

A Place at the Table (2012) – Exposes the growing epidemic of hunger in the United States, and how we can fix it.

You Laugh But It’s True (2011) – Comedian Trevor Noah creates a one-man show in South Africa.

Vince Lombardi: A Football Life (2011) – The story of legendary NFL coach Vince Lombardi who took his teams to win numerous championships.

The War of 1812 (2011) – Public television documentary on The War of 1812, when the United States declared war on Britain.

The Loving Story (2011) – HBO documentary on the story of Richard and Mildred Loving, which led to a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision on interracial marriage.

Samsara (2011) – Great non-narrative documentary directed by Ron Fricke, filmed over five years in 25 countries.

Kumare (2011) – Filmmaker Vikram Gandhi pretends to be an enlightened guru named Kumare and gains disciples.

How to Die in Oregon (2011) – Documentary on Oregon’s controversial Death with Dignity Act, which legalized physician-assisted death for those who are terminally ill.

Hot Coffee (2011) – Documentary about the impact of tort reform on the United States judicial system.

Crazy Wisdom: The Life and Times of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche (2011) – Tibetan Buddhism is brought to America thanks in large part through the story of Chogyam Trungpa.

Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope (2011) – Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock heads to San Diego Comic-Con in 2010 to find out what it’s all about.

Bob Ross: The Happy Painter (2011) – The story of beloved painter Bob Ross and his success on public television.

Blank City (2011) – The story of No Wave Cinema in New York City in the late 1970’s through the mid 80’s.

5 Broken Cameras (2011) – A Palestinian farmer’s chronicles his nonviolent resistance to the actions of the Israeli army.

We Heard the Bells: The Influenza of 1918 (2010) – The story of the 1918 flu pandemic that killed 50 million people.

The Parking Lot Movie (2010) – Curious documentary about a parking lot and the people that work there.

The Elephant in the Living Room (2010) – Documentary about having dangerous animals as household pets.

Stonewall Uprising (2010) – PBS American Experience documentary on the Stonewall riots that marked a turning point in the modern gay civil rights movement in the United States.

Countdown to Zero (2010) – Explores the current state of nuclear arms around the world with an urgent plea for getting rid of them.

Carbon Nation (2010) – Aims to provide solutions to the current climate change crisis.

Beer Wars (2009) – A look at the battle between large corporate breweries and the smaller producers of craft beer.

Winnebago Man (2009) – The story of viral Internet sensation Jack Rebney, a.k.a. “The Winnebago Man”.

Which Way Home (2009) – Documentary following Central American child migrants and their journey to the United States.

The Cartel (2009) – A hard look at the American public school system.

Tapped (2009) – The story of the true cost of bottled water.

Nightmares in Red, White, and Blue (2009) – Documentary that looks at the appeal of horror films, featuring great directors of the genre like Joe Dante, John Carpenter, and George A. Romero.

Fresh (2009) – A documentary about sustainable agriculture and how to change the American food system.

Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell (2008) – Documentary on the life of the talented cellist, composer, producer, singer, and musician Arthur Russell.

The Trials of J. Robert Oppenheimer (2008) – PBS American Experience documentary on the troubled life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, who helped to bring about the atomic bomb.

I Think We’re Alone Now (2008) – The story of two fans obsessed with the 80’s pop singer Tiffany.

Crips and Bloods: Made in America (2008) – The story of the two famous Los Angeles gangs and how they came to be.

Capturing Reality: The Art of Documentary (2008) – A documentary on documentaries, featuring many notable documentary filmmakers.

Sicko (2007) – Filmmaker Michael Moore takes on the abysmal American healthcare system.

Jimmy Carter: Man From Plains (2007) – Documentary by Jonathan Demme on former president Jimmy Carter.

Chicago 10 (2007) – Acclaimed filmmaker Brett Morgen makes an animated documentary about the radicals charged with crimes during the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)? (2006) – Many notable people weigh in about the life of musician Harry Nilsson.

When Stand Up Stood Out (2006) – A look at the Boston stand-up comedy scene in the ’70s and early ’80s.

Lake of Fire (2006) – Outstanding documentary on the abortion issue in the United States directed by Tony Kaye.

Deliver Us from Evil (2006) – Documentary about an Irish priest who molested children, and the lengths the Catholic Church went to cover it up.

The Aristocrats (2005) – 100 renowned comedians attempt to tell the same dirty joke.

The End (2004) – A look at the end of life covering hospice care. Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Kirby Dick.

Wheel of Time (2004) – Director Werner Herzog takes a look at Tibetan Buddhism with interviews of the Dalai Lama.

Word Wars (2004) – Fans of the board game Scrabble might enjoy this documentary on a Scrabble convention.

Step into Liquid (2003) – Surfing documentary that seeks out surfing some of the world’s largest waves.

Overnight (2003) – Incredible documentary on egomaniac filmmaker Troy Duffy as he makes The Boondock Saints (1999).

Bonhoeffer (2003) – Documentary on German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer who resisted the Nazi regime.

Bowling for Columbine (2003) – Filmmaker Michael Moore points his camera at the gun violence problem in America.

My Best Fiend (1999) – Werner Herzog’s documentary on the crazed actor Klaus Kinski, who he collaborated with many times.

Genghis Blues (1999) – Documentary on blind American singer Paul Pena who pursues his interest in Tuvan throat singing. The movie was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

The Decline of Western Civilization Part III (1998) – The third film in Penelope Spheeris’s Decline of Western Civilization trilogy covers homeless teens in Los Angeles living as gutter punks and doing what they can to survive.

Trekkies (1997) – Classic documentary covering the devoted fans of Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek.

The Long Way Home (1997) – Documentary about Jewish refugees after World War II that contributed to the creation of the State of Israel. The film won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Heidi Fleiss: Hollywood Madam (1996) – Nick Broomfield’s documentary on Heidi Fleiss and her infamous prostitution ring.

Trinity: Getting The Job Done (1995) – PBS documentary celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first atomic detonation.

Lessons of Darkness (1992) – Werner Herzog’s apocalyptic documentary covering the burning oil fields of post-Gulf War Kuwait.

Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer (1992) – Nick Broomfield’s first documentary on serial killer Aileen Wuornos.

Echoes from a Sombre Empire (1990) – Werner Herzog’s documentary examining Jean-Bedel Bokassa’s rule in the Central African Republic.

Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt (1989) – Tells the story of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The film won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years (1988) – The second film in Penelope Spheeris’s Decline of Western Civilization trilogy covers the Los Angeles metal scene often with hilarious results.

Heaven (1987) – Diane Keaton’s directorial debut is a documentary about heaven and what people think heaven is.

What Happened to Kerouac? (1986) – Portrait of poet Jack Kerouac, who was considered the father of the Beat Generation.

The Last Moguls (1986) – This is a priceless document of Cannon Films at the height of their power in 1986.

Distant Harmony: Pavarotti in China (1986) – Documentary covering Luciano Pavarotti’s 1986 trip to China to perform La Boheme.

The Dark Glow of the Mountains (1985) – Werner Herzog follows mountaineers Hans Kammerlander and Reinhold Messner during their dangerous expedition.

Ballad of the Little Soldier (1984) – Werner Herzog documentary about children soldiers in Nicaragua.

The Chicken Ranch (1983) – Nick Broomfield’s documentary about this legal brothel in Nevada.

Fun to Imagine (1983) – Documentary featuring physicist Richard P. Feynman.

Flamenco at 5:15 (1983) – Documentary on a flamenco dance class at the National Ballet School of Canada. The film won an Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject.

The Decline of Western Civilization (1981) – The original film in Penelope Spheeris’s Decline of Western Civilization trilogy covers the Los Angeles punk scene at its peak.

God’s Angry Man (1981) – Werner Herzog covers the controversial televangelist Gene Scott.

Genocide (1981) – Documentary on the history of the Holocaust, narrated by Orson Welles and Elizabeth Taylor. The film won the Oscar for for Best Documentary Feature.

Nuclear Nightmares: The Wars That Must Never Happen (1980) – Documentary on the world’s nuclear weaponry, made at a heightened point in the Cold War.

The War at Home (1979) – Oscar-nominated documentary about the increasingly violent Vietnam War protests from 1963 to 1973.

From Mao to Mozart: Isaac Stern in China (1979) – Portrays the famous violinist and music teacher Isaac Stern as the first American musician to collaborate with the China Central Symphony Society. It won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Budo: The Art of Killing (1979) – Learn about martial arts in Japan with this classic documentary.

Hollywood on Trial (1976) – Documentary on the history of the Hollywood blacklist in the mid-20th century.

The Man Who Skied Down Everest (1975) – Documentary about Yuichiro Miura, a Japanese alpinist who skied down Mount Everest in 1970. It won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Marjoe (1972) – Documentary about preacher Marjoe Gortner who returns to the ministry to make a living, even though he’s no longer a believer. The film won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Land of Silence and Darkness (1971) – Early Werner Herzog documentary on an old woman who has been deaf and blind since adolescence.

Fata Morgana (1971) – Experimental Herzog documentary on mirages in the Sahara and Sahel deserts.

Chariots of the Gods (1970) – The only ancient aliens documentary we will feature on our site because it was the original! And it was nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.

Saul Alinsky Went to War (1968) – Documentary on radical activist Saul Alinsky.

The Decision to Drop the Bomb (1965) – An old NBC News documentary on the decision to drop the first atomic bomb.

David Susskind Archive: Interview With Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1963) – An extended interview with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1963.

Mondo Cane (1962) – Italian mondo documentary designed to shock you!

Sky Above and Mud Beneath (1961) – French documentary on a trek into Dutch New Guinea in 1959. It won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Plenty of popular and award-winning films to choose from! Hopefully you found one that sparks your interest!