Best Documentaries

Few stories are as affecting and inspirational as the true ones that take place in the world every day. The documentaries on this list prove that point and then some. Whether it's a film about astronauts, babies, or climate change, you can learn something new from any movie on this list, but you'll also be entertained and moved along the way. These filmmakers do an amazing job of exploring cultures, exposing issues, and telling stories small and large. You'll cheer, you'll cry, you'll rage, and you might even be inspired to change the world.

Browse Best Documentaries

March of the Penguins Movie Poster Image
Stunning, loving documentary; some intense peril.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2005)
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Microcosmos Movie Poster Image
Breathtaking docu zooms in on insect life in vivid color.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1996)
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Babies Movie Poster Image
Mesmerizing film for kids and parents who adore wee ones.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2010)
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Imba Means Sing Movie Poster Image
Vibrant, uplifting docu about African children's choir.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2015)
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Mad Hot Ballroom Movie Poster Image
Enchanting dance documentary hits all the right beats.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2005)
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Chasing Coral Movie Poster Image
Awe-inspiring, poignant docu tracks decline of coral reefs.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2017)
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Kindness Is Contagious Movie Poster Image
Warm, feel-good docu about being nice is uplifting.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2015)
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Spellbound Movie Poster Image
Families should see this m-a-r-v-e-l-o-u-s film.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2003)
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I Am Eleven Movie Poster Image
Charming, thought-provoking global docu about childhood.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2014)
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Brian and the Boz Movie Poster Image
Smart docu about controversial football player's redemption.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2014)
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Crossing the Ice TV Poster Image
Antarctic adventure docu has lots of positive messages.
Network: National Geographic Channel
(2013)
(2012)
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Fed Up Movie Poster Image
Informative, engrossing docu about saying no to sugar.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2014)
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The Last Man on the Moon Movie Poster Image
Awe-inspiring, insightful docu spotlights American astronaut
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2014)
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Legends of the Knight Movie Poster Image
Stirring docu sees superhero as powerful motivator for good.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2013)
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Living on One Dollar Movie Poster Image
Earnest, inspiring docu shows realities of rural poverty.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2013)
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Most Valuable Players Movie Poster Image
Moving, engaging docu about high school musical theater.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2010)
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On the Way to School Movie Poster Image
Stirring docu explores school journeys around the globe.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2009)
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Under the Turban Movie Poster Image
Informative docu sheds light on oft-misunderstood religion.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2017)
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Underwater Dreams Movie Poster Image
Inspiring story about an underdog high school robotics team.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2014)
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Inequality for All Movie Poster Image
Engaging economics docu encourages equality, activism.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2013)
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Jiro Dreams of Sushi Movie Poster Image
Subtitled docu about sushi chef inspires and enlightens.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2012)
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The Roosevelts: An Intimate History Movie Poster Image
Lots of historical detail in evenhanded, traditional docu.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2014)
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Advanced Style Movie Poster Image
Docu about senior fashionistas promotes positive body image.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2014)
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A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story Movie Poster Image
Outstanding role model urges kids to stand up to bullies.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2015)
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Buck Movie Poster Image
Powerful profile on horse whisperer has mature themes.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2011)
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Bully Movie Poster Image
Powerful docu addresses critically important issue for kids.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2012)
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Dancing in Jaffa Movie Poster Image
Uplifting docu promotes religious tolerance via dance.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2014)
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Fordson: Faith, Fasting, Football Movie Poster Image
Excellent docu on Muslim high school football players.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2011)
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He Named Me Malala Movie Poster Image
Inspiring, deeply affecting docu explores teen icon's life.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2015)
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Shake the Dust Movie Poster Image
Poignant docu about B-boys and B-girls around the world.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2015)
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Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines Movie Poster Image
Inspiring docu explores female heroes in comics, real life.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2016)
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The World According to Sesame Street Movie Poster Image
Serious adult docu about Muppets in developing nations.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2006)
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Anita: Speaking Truth to Power Movie Poster Image
Riveting docu may inspire discussion of sexual harassment.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2013)
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Cowspiracy Movie Poster Image
Provocative docu has some graphic scenes of animal cruelty.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2014)
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End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones Movie Poster Image
Stellar docu on influential punk band; talk of drugs, drink.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2005)
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Forks Over Knives Movie Poster Image
Engaging docu promotes a vegan diet in nonjudgmental way.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2011)
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Hoop Dreams Movie Poster Image
Stunning documentary addresses race and class issues.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1994)
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If You Build It Movie Poster Image
Inspiring docu shows young people capable of great things.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2014)
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An Inconvenient Truth Movie Poster Image
Moving, earnest documentary on global warming.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2006)
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Inocente TV Poster Image
Affecting true story of homelessness and the human spirit.
Network: MTV
(2012)
(2012)
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Keepers of the Game Movie Poster Image
Engaging sports docu addresses deeper societal issues.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2016)
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Maidentrip Movie Poster Image
Excellent docu about teen sailor; some brief profanity.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2013)
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Mudbloods Movie Poster Image
Underdogs rule in real-life Quidditch docu; some profanity.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2014)
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When We Were Kings Movie Poster Image
Thrilling boxing docu covers race, politics; some profanity.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1997)
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The Black List: Vol. 1 Movie Poster Image
Profound docu explores African-American racial identity.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2008)
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Can You Dig This? Movie Poster Image
Inspiring docu about urban gardening; some profanity, drugs.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2015)
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The Champions Movie Poster Image
Profoundly moving docu about dog rescue and recovery.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2015)
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The Cove Movie Poster Image
Gruesome, powerful, and inspiring dolphin documentary.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2009)
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Edge of Eighteen TV Poster Image
Autobiographical docuseries raises issues relevant to teens.
Network: Al Jazeera America
(2014)
(2014)
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G-Dog Movie Poster Image
Inspiring docu about gang intervention program in LA.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2013)
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The Ivory Game Movie Poster Image
Powerful docu shines light on efforts to save elephants.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2016)
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Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower Movie Poster Image
Docu about brave teen taking on oppressive government.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2017)
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Lady Valor Movie Poster Image
Transgender soldier docu portrays bravery, strength.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2014)
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The Latino List TV Poster Image
Top-notch documentary features strong Latino role models.
Network: HBO
(2012)
(2011)
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Miss Representation Movie Poster Image
Earnest, illuminating documentary about women and the media.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2012)
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The Out List TV Poster Image
Poignant LGBTQ docu highlights respect, acceptance.
Network: HBO
(2013)
(2013)
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Storied Streets Movie Poster Image
Thoughtful, moving homelessness docu shatters stereotypes.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2014)
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Waste Land Movie Poster Image
Inspiring documentary portrays the dignity of the poor.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2010)
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The Whole Gritty City Movie Poster Image
Vibrant, poignant, inspiring music docu; some profanity.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2013)
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Desert Runners Movie Poster Image
Intense, awe-inspiring docu about extreme marathoners.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2013)
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I Am Santa Claus Movie Poster Image
Docu about holiday helpers has mature themes, profanity.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2014)
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Icarus Movie Poster Image
Eye-opening docu on Russian doping scandal; some cursing.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2017)
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The Rape of Recy Taylor Movie Poster Image
Awful crime becomes civil rights flash point in moving docu.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2017)
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Citizenfour Movie Poster Image
Bold docu explores Edward Snowden's controversial actions.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2014)
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Last Men in Aleppo Movie Poster Image
Gripping docu shows real-life footage of ongoing Syrian war.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2017)
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Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine Movie Poster Image
Moving documentary brings hate-crime victim to life.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2015)
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My Scientology Movie Movie Poster Image
Riveting and tense docu has frequent cursing.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2015)
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Virunga Movie Poster Image
Outstanding but shattering docu set in war-torn Congo.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2014)
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When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts Movie Poster Image
Spike Lee's masterful and disturbing Katrina docu.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2006)
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Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom Movie Poster Image
Brutal but inspiring docu about 2013-'14 Ukrainian uprising.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2015)
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Bowling for Columbine Movie Poster Image
Must-see gun violence documentary is brutal.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2002)
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