Best History Documentaries

Epic battles, daring heroes, ordinary people changing the world -- and the best part is, it's all true! These engaging history documentaries will have kids thinking about the past in a whole new way. Many of these films also shine a light on historical figures you don't always hear about in class, like the women who shaped America or civil rights activists. From the Stone Age to the beginning of rock and roll, jump into a different era and learn all about the amazing stories, events, and people that shaped our lives decades -- or even centuries -- ago. And for more interesting documentaries that you can stream at home, try our list of the Best Documentaries on Netflix.

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Paper Clips Movie Poster Image
Docu is the best introduction to the Holocaust for tweens.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2004)
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Anne Frank Remembered Movie Poster Image
Powerful look at the Holocaust through teen eyes.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1995)
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Cave of Forgotten Dreams Movie Poster Image
Docu about ancient cave art is tame but aimed at adults.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2011)
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Red Army Movie Poster Image
Fascinating documentary about legendary Soviet hockey team.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2015)
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Walking with Dinosaurs Movie Poster Image
Top-notch education (and entertainment) for dino fans.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2000)
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The Century: America's Time Movie Poster Image
A compelling introduction to American history.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1999)
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How We Got to Now Movie Poster Image
History's greatest ideas are smart fun for curious families.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2014)
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A Ripple of Hope Movie Poster Image
Unforgettable docu about RFK speech post-MLK assassination.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2010)
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Dolores Movie Poster Image
Activist combats racism, sexism, and powerful enemies.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2017)
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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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The Dust Bowl Movie Poster Image
Powerful, disturbing tour through environmental devastation.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2012)
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Honor Flight Movie Poster Image
Moving docu about WWII veterans is emotionally intense.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2014)
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Mankind: The Story of All of Us Movie Poster Image
Human species series is informative, dramatic, violent.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2012)
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Above and Beyond Movie Poster Image
Stirring docu about heroic WWII pilots who aided Israel.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2015)
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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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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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I Am Not Your Negro Movie Poster Image
Powerful documentary explores race, art, and activism.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2017)
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Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992 Movie Poster Image
Wrenching, must-see docu probes racial violence in LA.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2017)
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Eyes on the Prize Movie Poster Image
Award-winning history of the American Civil Rights movement.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2010)
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Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport Movie Poster Image
Inspiring docu retells kids' poignant escape from Nazis.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2000)
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Makers: Women Who Make America Movie Poster Image
Inspiring survey of important women in U.S. history.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2013)
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The Times of Harvey Milk Movie Poster Image
Thought-provoking look at a charismatic politician’s life.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1984)
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Tower Movie Poster Image
Doc uses animation to tell intense story of 1966 shooting.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2016)
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The Vietnam War Movie Poster Image
Outstanding docu is insightful, objective, and violent.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2017)
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Harlan County, USA Movie Poster Image
Riveting 1976 docu about striking miners has some violence.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1977)
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Hearts and Minds Movie Poster Image
Provocative Vietnam War docu with violence, racial slurs.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2002)
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13th Movie Poster Image
Searing docu decries racial bias; intense violence, cursing.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2016)
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First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers Movie Poster Image
Poignant, violent story of child during Khmer Rouge's reign.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2017)
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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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