Free documentaries come in a number of different styles and are made for a variety of reasons. Most of them aim to educate the viewer on a particular topic: war; environment; health. Documentaries can also be used to enlighten viewers and give them a new point of view. Mostly they serve to highlight our previous mistakes so they don’t happen again “” which is why it’s important to watch them. Many documentaries these days also try to incorporate stunning visuals and sound to keep the viewer’s attention as they’re watching.
Here’s ten of the best free feature-length documentaries available to watch online.
Michael Moore might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Sicko is a timely insight into the world’s medical systems. If you’re not a fan of Michael Moore, rest assured that in this film he mostly holds off on his trademark angry interviews (not entirely, though). Instead, it’s a qualitative look at various medical systems around the world made largely by interviewing everyday people about their experiences with their own system. I found the insights quite revealing and would recommend this for anyone who wants to learn more about how health care works around the world.
If you’re into Michael Moore, check out Bowling for Columbine too.
Religulous is a documentary about the ridiculousness of organised religion. Bill Maher doesn’t just single out one religion “” he talks to people at many places of worship, including many smaller places like Truckers’ chapels. But, by pointing out the flaws and weirder practices, he essentially gets on the wrong side of just about every religion he discusses. He engages all manner of people in religious debate, including one guy who plays the part of Jesus for a religious theme park.
Keep your eye out for a notable interview with a senator which led to one incredibly stupid remark.
Earthlings is about how humans treat the other living creatures on this planet. Primarily it focuses on day-to-day business practices which profit from animals. As you might guess, looking at it from this perspective doesn’t paint us humans in such a great light.
The film features some gorgeous footage of nature, Joaquin Phoenix on the voice-overs and music by Moby.
The film [NO LONGER WORKS] Invisible Children was made by three teenagers in 2003, who visited Africa in search of something worthy of attention. They eventually reached Northern Uganda and found the children suffering the effects of a 20 year war using child soldiers.
Home is a great documentary about the earth and the delicate balance which sustains life on it. Even if you think you know all the movie will tell you, it still serves as a compelling reminder. The film was directed by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, produced by Luc Besson and features a voice-over from Glenn Close. Throughout the film, you can’t help but notice the amazing cinematography feature. It’s both beautiful and intriguing.
After The Fall
After The Fall is a film about the physical and emotional memory of the Berlin Wall 10 years after the fall of the Berlin wall. While interviewing people who lived in Berlin at the time, the film features beautiful visuals of Berlin to keep you watching.
Man With A Camera
The Man With A Camera is both a documentary and experimental art, so it’s come to be one of the first movies film studies students are told to watch. The idea behind Dziga Vertov’s film is multi-layered and intriguing: Ostensibly it’s a documentary about life in the Soviet Union; it’s a documentary of the filming of that documentary; and it’s a documentary of the audience response to the documentary. However, none of the original film is in this documentary. Very meta.
The Fog Of War: Eleven Lessons From The Life Of Robert S. McNamara
[NO LONGER WORKS] The Fog of War is a fascinating insight into the US government’s decisions regarding the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam policy. Robert McNamara gives viewers 11 lessons we all need to learn from those decisions in order to avoid making the same mistakes. To enhance the haunting visuals, the film score was written by Philip Glass and it beautifully matches the powerful imagery.
Super Size Me
Super Size Me is an experiment in food and health. Morgan Spurlock won a Sundance award with this horrifying insight into the way junk food affects your body. He also takes time to explore how junk food is marketed to children and how our choices are influenced by junk food marketing.
The Corporation explores the concept of a corporation, the role of a corporation and how corporations came to have the powers they do. The movie also psychoanalyses corporations: if corporations have the same rights as “a person”, what sort of a person would they be?
As an added bonus, you might like these free documentaries too.
- National Parks: Yellowstone National Park
- Prelude To War
- The Road To Guantanamo
- Orwell Rolls In His Grave
- All Histories YouTube
- YouTube Documentaries
- The Best Places to Watch Documentary Movies Online
- NFBFilms: Watch Documentary Films on Your iPhone for Free
- BBC Documentaries: Download & Listen To 500 Free Radio Documentaries Online
- TopDocumentaryFilms: Watch Cool Documentaries Online
- WildlifeFinder: Watch Wildlife Videos Online
Let us know what your favourite documentary is in the comments!