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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 about astronauts, babies, or climate change, you can learn something new from any movie or TV show 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.

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Great Bear Rainforest: Land of the Spirit Bear Poster Image
MOVIE

Great Bear Rainforest: Land of the Spirit Bear

age 5+

Immersive nature docu offers scenic awe and animal awwws.

In Theaters (Release Year: 2019)
A Beautiful Planet Poster Image
MOVIE

A Beautiful Planet

age 6+

Stunning look at Earth -- and man's sobering impact on it.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2016)
Back from the Brink: Saved from Extinction Poster Image
MOVIE

Back from the Brink: Saved from Extinction

age 6+

IMAX nature docu proves human efforts can make a difference.

In Theaters (Release Year: 2019)
Backyard Wilderness Poster Image
MOVIE

Backyard Wilderness

age 6+

Nature triumphs over devices in inspiring nature docu.

In Theaters (Release Year: 2018)
The Elephant Queen Poster Image
MOVIE

The Elephant Queen

age 6+

Big-hearted, beautiful docu about matriarchal elephant herd.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2019)
March of the Penguins Poster Image
MOVIE

March of the Penguins

age 6+

Stunning, loving documentary; some intense peril.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2005)
Pick of the Litter Poster Image
MOVIE

Pick of the Litter

age 6+

"Dog"umentary fetches empathy, enlightenment, warm fuzzies.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2018)
Planet Earth III TV poster: Elephants walk beside a river
TV

Planet Earth III

age 6+

Attenborough's masterful series talks adaptation, has peril.

Network: BBC America (2023)
Polar Bear Movie Poster
MOVIE

Polar Bear

age 6+

Docu has majestic footage, positive lessons, natural perils.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2022)
A Reindeer's Journey Poster Image
MOVIE

A Reindeer's Journey

age 6+

Captivating reindeer docu has natural beauty, perils.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2019)
Babies Poster Image
MOVIE

Babies

age 7+

Mesmerizing film for kids and parents who adore wee ones.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2010)
Wonders of the Sea Poster Image
MOVIE

Wonders of the Sea

age 7+

Docu beautifully highlights oceans' delicate balance.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2019)
Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable Poster Image
MOVIE

Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable

age 8+

Inspirational docu has themes of perseverance, gratitude.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2019)
The Biggest Little Farm Poster Image
MOVIE

The Biggest Little Farm

age 8+

Poignant, thought-provoking docu about sustainable living.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2019)
Choir TV Show: Black teenagers from the Detroit Youth Choir sing on stage
TV

Choir

age 8+

Uplifting docuseries hits all the high notes; mild language.

Network: Disney+ (2024)
Fly Like a Girl Poster Image
MOVIE

Fly Like a Girl

age 8+

Inspiring documentary about pioneering women pilots.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2020)
Imba Means Sing Poster Image
MOVIE

Imba Means Sing

age 8+

Vibrant, uplifting docu about African children's choir.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2015)
Koshien: Japan's Field of Dreams Poster Image
MOVIE

Koshien: Japan's Field of Dreams

age 8+

Compelling docu about Japan's biggest baseball tournament.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2021)
Mad Hot Ballroom Poster Image
MOVIE

Mad Hot Ballroom

age 8+

Enchanting dance documentary hits all the right beats.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2005)
My Octopus Teacher Poster Image
MOVIE

My Octopus Teacher

age 8+

Octopus befriends troubled diver and teaches him about life.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2020)