What are the best documentaries on YouTube?

YouTube is everyone's platform for funny and entertaining videos. It is a great place for original programming videos. What you might not know is that it is also home to many great documentary films. Here are some to check out on your free time.

asked by Anonymous
369 contributors
19 solutions
  1. 43

    #1Zeitgeist: The Movie

    Zeitgeist: The Movie

    Zeitgeist: The Movie is a series of documentary films written and directed by Peter Joseph which examines a number of conspiracy theories in the world we share, the values we hold, and the problems we face.


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    Amit Gavde
    Written on March 12, 2019
    "Oh wow i didn't expect that there will be paid full documentaries on YouTube that includes Zeitgeist. So yeah this docu is very informative on astrotheological myths, historical propagandas and even current events. This made me question my life."
  2. 39

    #2Before the Flood

    Before the Flood

    Before the Flood is a documentary film tackling about the climate change from Academy Award-winning filmmaker Fisher Stevens and Academy Award-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio. It first premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.


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    Marcela Muñiz
    Written on March 12, 2019
    "I beg to disagree with you @Frances Adams! Haven't you see what is happening around the world? Open your eyes! Before the Flood is really one of the popular documentaries tackling climate change. "
  3. 29

    #3American Drug War 2: Cannabis Destiny

    American Drug War 2: Cannabis Destiny

    American Drug War 2: Cannabis Destiny 2 is a documentary directed by Kevin Booth who goes through the journey of several families fighting cancer through Marijuana. This is a worth-watching documentary that stands out for its accurate scientific research.


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    Steven Nguyen
    Written on March 25, 2019
    "More people need to add this on their list of the best youtube documentaries!!! So that they would change their perspective on the cannabis to be legal. It really broke my heart to see what the family have gone through for their kid. "


Anyone can produce a short documentary film nowadays. An article by Bryn Beausoleil tells that short-form documentary films continue rising. Especially in 2018’s cultural and technological landscape. This statement is further cemented by reports on the South by Southwest (SXSW). An annual film and music festival that begun in 1987 and held in Texas, Unites States. The advent of the internet and the popularity of filming devices paved the way. Moreover for digital contents to rise on different media platforms. This means more opportunities for indie actors and filmmakers.

From ‘dull and long’ to light-hearted and short, documentary films have won the hearts of the youth. This is true, especially in China. As observed by the China Netcasting Services Association's report. More people opt to watch free documentaries online. Some of the best documentaries are available on YouTube for free. If you've asked yourself the question "what to watch on YouTube?", this a good place to start. You get to watch something interesting and you learn something new at the same time. Even for a price, YouTube still has a good collection of documentaries to stream. On a similar note, documentaries now make up a higher percentage in the market. They currently take up 13% of all the movie releases. A mind-boggling question today would be “What drives the documentary competition?” The answer lies in the enthusiasm of people for rawness and nonfiction cinema. 

  1. 28

    #4This Is The Zodiac Speaking

    This Is The Zodiac Speaking

    This Is The Zodiac Speaking is a documentary which covers every aspect of the Zodiac investigation that includes interviews with the original investigators and surviving victims. 



    Li Wei
    Written on March 25, 2019
    "Hats off to whoever who made this documentary. It is so well done i almost cannot believe it!!! Those over 1 million views makes this one of the popular documentaries on Youtube"
  2. 28



    Weed is an award-winning CNN documentary by chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta who goes trough the scientific reasoning around the use of cannabis for medical purpose. It's a must-see documentary full of scientific research and real experiences.



    Daniel Fox
    Written on March 25, 2019
    "The first time i saw this documentary was on CNN. I didn't expect that this will be suggested to me on things to watch on Youtube. I was really surprised! Because of this i changed my outlook on the use of cannabis as medical purposes. "
  3. 26

    #6Quantum Theory

    Quantum Theory

    Quantum Theory is a free documentary posted on YouTube which focuses on quantum mechanics (QM), also known as quantum physics, or quantum theory, a branch of physics which deals with physical phenomena at nanoscopic scales. 



    Dan Xu
    Written on March 25, 2019
    "Am not really interested with science but i watched this for the first time during my physics class in high school. I randomly found this on Youtube and it is for FREE! Isn't that amazing eh? Im guessing this is one of the popular documentaries on Youtube right now"
  4. 25



    SHELTER is a one-hour documentary video uploaded on YouTube by VICE which followed the lives of homeless youths in New Orleans for a year. This comes as the chronic homelessness in America is on the rise. 



    Guillermo Vargas
    Written on March 12, 2019
    "If you were to ask me what are the best full length documentaries on youtube? SHELTER will be on my top three list. WHY? This made me think that although right now i am in a good condition but some people are suffering and have it bad. I pray that sooner or later they will get better. "
  5. 25

    #8Alone in the Wild

    Alone in the Wild

    Alone In The Wild is a video, which is a part of 2009 documentary television series Alone In The Wild, posted on the YouTube channel of digitalsc4rz. This follows the adventures of cameraman Ed Wardle. 



    Josefina Correa
    Written on March 25, 2019
    "I dont think this is the full documentary. Yeah it is one of the free documentaries on Youtube but this is only a part of the docuseries. I wonder where i can find the other parts"
  6. 21

    #9[CHANNEL] Real Stories

    [CHANNEL] Real Stories

    Real Stories is a YouTube channel which uploads at least four full-length documentaries every week, as well as multiple video clips showing the most fascinating insights into the real life.

    Teresa Walker
    Written on March 12, 2019
    "@Billy Day I agree with you that Real Stories is a YouTube channel offering the best free documentaries. And not just that it post new videos every week. Isn't that amazing eh?"
  7. 18

    #10[CHANNEL] VPRO Documentary

    [CHANNEL] VPRO Documentary

    VPRO Documentary is a YouTube channel which uploads new French and Spanish subtitled documentary each week about current affairs, finance, sustainability, climate change or politics. The videos are co-funded by the EU. 



    Wayne Davidson
    Written on March 12, 2019
    "Although this isn't what i am looking for because originally i wanted to find the best documentaries on youtube. But VPRO Documentary is in fact a channel not video. I dont have a problem with that because through this i am able to watch free documentaries of different topics. "
  8. 14

    #11[CHANNEL] Planet Doc

    [CHANNEL] Planet Doc

    Planet Doc is a YouTube channel which is about full documentaries where you will be taken on a journey around the planet to help you learn and get to know the most amazing creatures, cultures, and traditions.  



    Ryan Riley
    Written on January 15, 2017
    "I love nature and foreign cultures so finding this Youtube channel with plenty of free documentaries about this topics was great! From the secrets of ancient tribes to the life of unknown species, Planet Doc offers a lot of videos for curious minds as mine."
  9. 14

    #12Documentary Heaven

    Documentary Heaven

    Documentary Heaven is a website with a big database of documentaries you can watch online for free. They are classified by genres, so anytime you want to feed your brain you'll find something interesting to watch.



    Grace Brewer
    Written on March 12, 2019
    "Not exactly what i am looking for... But i am thankful i found out about this because without this my time browsing full documentaries on youtube I can watch has been lessened. Why? Because it provides you a list of categories and will directly link the YT on its site itself."
  10. 13

    #13[CHANNEL] Superb Documentaries

    [CHANNEL] Superb Documentaries

    Superb Documentaries is a YouTube channel which provides a good selection of documentaries about nature, culture, history and the society. This particularly focuses on documentaries about India. 



    Hemant Patel
    Written on March 12, 2019
    "Hi @Angel Sengupta! Really? It sucks that I wasn't able to watch its full documentaries on youtube. Right now it has no videos available on its channel eh."
  11. 11

    #14Down the Rabbit Hole We Go!

    Down the Rabbit Hole We Go!

    Down the Rabbit Hole We Go! is an article published on DIY Genius which provides a list of mind-expanding documentaries from different viewpoints, controversial opinions, and even contradictory ideas.



    Ryan Roberts
    Written on March 12, 2019
    "Uh oh. Why is an article added on this list of solutions? Someone might have mistakenly added this LMAO. I want to find the best documentaries on Youtube and yes it provides that but this is an article LOL. "
  12. 5

    #15Storyville Silk Road Drugs, Death and the Dark Web Documentary 2017

    Storyville Silk Road Drugs, Death and the Dark Web Documentary 2017

    Storyville Silk Road Drugs, Death and the Dark Web Documentary 2017 is a documentary that looks at the black market website known as the Silk Road, which emerged on the darknet in 2011. This 'Amazon of illegal drugs' was the brainchild of a mysterious, libertarian intellectual operating under the avatar The Dread Pirate Roberts. Promising its users complete anonymity and total freedom from government regulation or scrutiny, Silk Road became a million-dollar digital drugs cartel.


    Albert Romero
    Written on September 4, 2017
    "I watched this documentary on YouTube last night and it explored all aspects of trading in illegal drugs on the dark web. I couldn't believe how easy it was to buy any type of drug in such a way. All you need is a credit card and you can get anything sent to you. Scary stuff, especially if you're a parent."
  13. 5

    #16YouTube Videos to Learn From

    YouTube Videos to Learn From

    YouTube Videos to Learn From is an article published on LearnOutLoud.com which provides a collection of educational documentaries from PBS including series like Frontline, American Experience, NOVA, and more. 



    Bobby Scott
    Written on March 25, 2019
    "I am not looking for a list of article of free documentaries. I want the exact link of the docu on Youtube. WHy was this even suggested here?"
  14. 3

    #17Here's a bunch of Documentaries you can watch on YouTube

    Here's a bunch of Documentaries you can watch on YouTube

    Here's a bunch of Documentaries you can watch on YouTube is an article published on Imgur written by TotalSmartAss which provides a number of interesting free documentaries about nature, science, people and history.



    Scott Medina
    Written on January 8, 2017
    "This is a great list of documentaries on youtube. My favorites arethe Quantum Theory, and the Muhammad Ali documentary. I enjoy this list because it has a lot of different variety to choose from."
  15. 3

    #1821 Best True Crime Documentaries You Can Watch on YouTube

    21 Best True Crime Documentaries You Can Watch on YouTube

    21 Best True Crime Documentaries You Can Watch on YouTube is an article published on CrimeViral.com which talks about documentaries tackling the most disturbing and mysterious crimes to have happened over the past fifty years.



    Rachel Bowman
    Written on March 25, 2019
    "Anyone here when they visit the link it shows "The site can't be reached"? This looks interesting to see popular documentaries eh. "
  16. 0

    #19Capturing The Friedmans

    Capturing The Friedmans

    Capturing The Friedmans is a documentary film released in 2003 which is about the 1980s investigation of Arnold and Jesse Friedman for child molestation. It will take us on the circumstances following the arrest of the two.


    $2.99- $12.99

    Teresa Hamilton
    Written on March 25, 2019
    "Didn't expect that Capturing The Friedmans would be one of the free documentaries that i can watch on YouTube. Anyway, this has a disturbing subject"


Best What are the best documentaries on YouTube
1Zeitgeist: The MovieMovies 43 Paid
2Before the FloodMovies 39 Paid
3American Drug War 2: Cannabis DestinyMovies 29 Free
4This Is The Zodiac SpeakingVideos 28 Free
5WeedVideos 28 Free
6Quantum TheoryVideos 26 Free
7SHELTERVideos 25 Free
8Alone in the WildVideos 25 Free
9[CHANNEL] Real StoriesVideos 21 Paid
10[CHANNEL] VPRO DocumentaryVideos 18 Free

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