Best Documentaries on YouTube: Top Must-Watch Picks for You
15 mins read

Best Documentaries on YouTube: Top Must-Watch Picks for You

YouTube has become a go-to source for finding entertaining and informative documentaries. With a vast collection of free content available, it can be overwhelming to sift through and find the hidden gems. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of some of the best documentaries on YouTube that are a must-watch for any documentary enthusiast.

Whether you’re interested in history, science, politics, or just want to learn about new cultures, there’s a documentary out there for you. And the best part? They’re all available on YouTube, accessible from the comfort of your own home.

Key Takeaways:

  • The best documentaries on YouTube offer a wide variety of genres and themes to choose from.
  • Curated recommendations can help you find hidden gems among the vast collection of content on YouTube.
  • Documentaries on YouTube offer an accessible and affordable way to learn about new topics and cultures.

Exploring the Most Popular YouTube Documentaries

YouTube has become a hub for numerous documentaries covering a wide range of topics. From wildlife to true crime stories, history to science, there’s something for everyone. In this section, we’ll explore some of the most popular documentary films on YouTube that you wouldn’t want to miss.

Nature Documentaries

If you’re a nature lover, then you’re in for a treat. YouTube has an impressive collection of nature documentaries that capture the beauty of our planet’s flora and fauna. One of the most popular ones is “Our Planet,” narrated by Sir David Attenborough. The documentary series takes you on a breathtaking journey through different ecosystems, showcasing the beauty and diversity of life on Earth.

Documentary Description
Planet Earth II Explore the planet’s most beautiful and diverse habitats, from islands to mountains, jungles to deserts, and discover amazing wildlife along the way.
Life in the Undergrowth Discover the life of insects and other creepy crawlies that exist in the hidden world of the undergrowth.
Blackfish Learn about the dark side of orca captivity in this thrilling yet heartbreaking documentary.

Science Documentaries

Science documentaries on YouTube provide an excellent way to learn fascinating facts about various scientific subjects, from the universe to the human body. One of the most popular science documentaries is “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey,” hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson. The series takes you on a journey through time and space, exploring the mysteries of the universe.

Documentary Description
The Secret Life of Chaos Discover the hidden patterns and chaos that underlie the natural world, from weather systems to the human brain.
Particle Fever Follow six scientists as they prepare for the launch of the Large Hadron Collider, the biggest experiment in the history of particle physics.
My Octopus Teacher Join filmmaker Craig Foster as he forms an unusual friendship with an octopus in a kelp forest off the coast of South Africa.

True Crime Documentaries

True crime documentaries have become increasingly popular on YouTube, with many viewers fascinated by the darker side of humanity. One of the most talked-about documentaries is “Making a Murderer,” which focuses on the life of Steven Avery and the investigation and trial that sent him to prison.

Documentary Description
The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst Follow the life of Robert Durst, a real estate heir and suspected murderer, in this riveting documentary series.
The Keepers Investigate the unsolved murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik, a beloved nun and teacher from Baltimore.
Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father Experience a heartbreaking yet uplifting story of love and loss as one man creates a film to honor his murdered friend and father.

popular youtube documentaries

These are just a few examples of popular documentaries available on YouTube. Whether you’re looking for education, entertainment, or both, YouTube has something for everyone. So, grab some popcorn and start exploring!

Educational Documentaries: Broadening Your Knowledge on YouTube

One of the most significant advantages of streaming documentaries on YouTube is the educational value they provide. These documentaries offer a wealth of information and insights on a variety of topics that can broaden your knowledge and understanding of the world. From social issues to science and technology, there are countless educational documentaries available on YouTube.

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The following are some of the best educational documentaries on YouTube that are worth watching:

Documentary Title Director Genre
The Social Dilemma Jeff Orlowski Technology/Social Issues
Inside Job Charles Ferguson Finance/Economics
The True Cost Andrew Morgan Fashion/Consumerism
Blackfish Gabriela Cowperthwaite Environment/Animal Rights

These documentaries provide valuable insights into complex topics that affect our world today. For example, “The Social Dilemma” explores the impact of social media on our lives, while “Inside Job” delves into the causes of the 2008 financial crisis. “The True Cost” examines the environmental and human cost of fast fashion, and “Blackfish” sheds light on the treatment of captive orcas in theme parks.

By watching these documentaries, you can gain a deeper understanding of important issues and become more informed about the world we live in. So grab some popcorn, sit back, and learn something new today!

Educational Documentary

Critically Acclaimed Documentaries: Uncovering the Best on YouTube

If you’re looking for award-winning films and documentaries that have made a significant impact on society, you can find them on YouTube. By providing a platform for filmmakers to showcase their work, YouTube has made it possible for critically acclaimed documentaries to reach a wider audience. Here are some of the best documentaries that have received critical acclaim:

Documentary Director Awards
13th Ava DuVernay Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special, BAFTA Award for Best Documentary
O.J.: Made in America Ezra Edelman Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series
Blackfish Gabriela Cowperthwaite Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize, News & Documentary Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary
The Act of Killing Joshua Oppenheimer BAFTA Award for Best Documentary, European Film Award for Best Documentary

13th, directed by Ava DuVernay, is a powerful documentary that explores the history of racial inequality in the United States. The film has received critical acclaim and won numerous awards, including the Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special and the BAFTA Award for Best Documentary.

O.J.: Made in America, directed by Ezra Edelman, is a five-part documentary series that chronicles the life and career of O.J. Simpson, as well as the racial tensions and political climate of Los Angeles in the 1990s. The film won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature and the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series.

Blackfish, directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, is a documentary that exposes the cruel treatment of killer whales in captivity and the dangers posed to their trainers. The film won the Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize and the News & Documentary Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary.

The Act of Killing, directed by Joshua Oppenheimer, is a documentary that explores the Indonesian killings of 1965–66 through the perspectives of the perpetrators. The film has won numerous awards, including the BAFTA Award for Best Documentary and the European Film Award for Best Documentary.

These critically acclaimed documentaries on YouTube not only provide valuable insights into important sociopolitical issues but also showcase the power of the documentary form to effect change and provoke dialogue.

critically acclaimed documentaries on YouTube

Must-Watch Free Documentaries on YouTube

YouTube is the go-to platform for free, high-quality documentaries. With so many options available, it can be challenging to know where to start. This section highlights some of the best free documentaries available on YouTube for you to check out.

The True Cost
This thought-provoking documentary explores the fashion industry’s impact on the environment and the people involved in the garment-making process. From sweatshops in Bangladesh to high-end fashion houses, this powerful film sheds light on the hidden costs of the clothes we wear every day.

Genre: Social Issues
Duration: 1 hour 32 minutes
Viewer Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

The Secret Life of Chaos
This fascinating documentary delves into the complex world of chaos theory and explores how chaos shapes our world and everything in it. It examines seemingly random phenomena, such as weather patterns and turbulent water currents, and breaks them down to show the underlying patterns and structures.

Genre: Science
Duration: 1 hour 6 minutes
Viewer Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars

The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz
This heart-wrenching documentary tells the story of computer programmer and internet activist Aaron Swartz and his fight for freedom of information. It explores his life and legacy, highlighting his contributions to the creation of Reddit and RSS, as well as his legal battles over the sharing of scientific information.

Genre: Technology, Politics
Duration: 1 hour 45 minutes
Viewer Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars

best free documentaries on youtube

If you’re looking for more recommendations, check out the popular YouTube channels like Vice and Free Documentary, which offer a plethora of free content. With these documentaries, you can learn about everything from conspiracy theories and unsolved crimes to environmental activism and social justice movements. Happy viewing!

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Exploring Mind-Opening Documentary Series on YouTube

If you’re looking for a more in-depth exploration of a specific topic or theme, documentary series on YouTube might be the perfect choice for you. These series typically consist of several episodes that dive deeper into the subject matter, providing viewers with a comprehensive understanding of the topic.

One of the most popular documentary series on YouTube is Planet Earth, produced by the BBC. This critically acclaimed series explores the natural wonders of our planet, from the depths of the oceans to the highest mountains. Each episode provides breathtaking visuals and insightful commentary, making it a must-watch for nature lovers.

documentary series on youtube

Another excellent documentary series is Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, hosted by renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. This series takes viewers on a journey through space and time, exploring the mysteries of the universe and our place in it. With stunning visuals and engaging storytelling, this series is both educational and entertaining.

If you’re interested in exploring the culinary world, check out Chef’s Table, a series that profiles some of the world’s most renowned chefs. Each episode focuses on a different chef, providing an in-depth look at their personal journey and culinary philosophy. With beautiful cinematography and captivating storytelling, this series is a feast for the eyes and the mind.

These are just a few examples of the many documentary series available on YouTube. Whether you’re interested in science, history, or just about any other topic, there’s a series out there for you. So why not sit back, relax, and immerse yourself in the fascinating world of documentary series?


In conclusion, documentaries on YouTube provide a wealth of knowledge and entertainment for viewers. With a wide range of options available, it can be overwhelming to sift through the content to find the best documentaries. However, this article has provided recommendations for popular, educational, critically acclaimed, and free documentaries on YouTube. Additionally, documentary series have been highlighted as an excellent way to explore a specific topic or theme in-depth.

We hope that this article has encouraged you to explore the world of documentaries on YouTube and expand your knowledge and understanding of various subjects. The recommendations provided are just the tip of the iceberg, and there are many more exceptional documentaries for you to discover. So sit back, relax, and immerse yourself in the fascinating world of documentaries on YouTube.


Q: Why should I watch documentaries on YouTube?

A: Watching documentaries on YouTube offers a wide variety of educational and entertaining options. It provides access to a vast range of topics and genres, allowing you to explore different subjects and expand your knowledge.

Q: Are the documentaries on YouTube of high quality?

A: While the quality of documentaries on YouTube can vary, there are many high-quality productions available. It’s important to do some research and read reviews to find the best documentaries that meet your interests and standards.

Q: Are there any costs associated with watching documentaries on YouTube?

A: Many documentaries on YouTube are free to watch, but there may be some that require a rental fee or subscription. However, there are plenty of excellent free documentaries available that you can enjoy without any cost.

Q: Can I watch YouTube documentaries on my mobile device?

A: Yes, you can watch YouTube documentaries on your mobile device as long as you have an internet connection. YouTube has a user-friendly mobile app that allows you to easily search for and watch documentaries on the go.

Q: Are there any age restrictions for watching documentaries on YouTube?

A: YouTube has age-restriction policies in place for certain content that may be inappropriate for younger audiences. It is advisable to check the rating or content warning of a documentary before allowing children to watch it.

Q: How can I find the best documentaries on YouTube?

A: There are several ways to find the best documentaries on YouTube. You can search for specific topics, explore curated playlists or channels dedicated to documentaries, or rely on recommendations from reputable sources and online communities.


  • Patsy Cole

    Hey, I'm Patsy! Obsessed with the world of YouTube, I created this blog to dive deep into video trends, channel growth strategies, and the magic behind viral content. Ready to elevate your YouTube game? You've landed on the right page. Let’s hit that 'Subscribe' button on success together!