If you’re stuck at home, you should probably learn a little instead of just zoning out, getting high and watching terrible TV all the time. Check out some of the best free documentaries available from around the web.
9/11 (2002) – A real life documentary following the events of September 11 from an insider’s view, through the lens of James Hanlon and two French filmmakers, Jules and Gedeon Naudet, who were in Manhattan that day.
9/11: Ten Years Later (2011) – Firefighters at Ground Zero were told the air quality was safe. They now suffer an increased rate of cancer which is not covered because Congress had relied on a study that failed to make the link.
The Real Chernobyl (2019) – This special documentary heads to Ukraine to meet some of the people involved in dealing with the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986.
Obesity: The Post Mortem (2016)- Autopsy of a 56 year-old obese woman was suffering from Heart failure due to excess fat intake which cause heart diseases to her followed by Death.
What Really Happens After You Give Birth (2019) – New mothers reveal how unprepared they felt for the severity of postpartum physical changes.
Manufacturing Consent (1992) – The film presents and illustrates Chomsky and Herman’s propaganda model thesis that corporate media, as profit-driven institutions, tend to serve and further the agendas and interests of dominant, elite groups in the society. A centerpiece of the film is a long examination of the history of The New York Times’ coverage of the Indonesian occupation of East Timor, which Chomsky says exemplifies the media’s unwillingness to criticize an ally of the elite.
The Fake Abortion Clinics Of America: Misconception (2014) – Women across America who are seeking abortions are accidentally booking appointments at Crisis Pregnancy Centers — pro-life, government-funded religious centers that don’t provide abortions, but instead try to talk women out of terminating their pregnancies. VICE News investigated the misleading practices used by Crisis Pregnancy Centers to draw in women with unplanned pregnancies, and the misinformation that is spread to discourage them from pursuing abortions.
Black Wall Street & The Tulsa Race Riot Of 1921 (1999) – The Tulsa race riot was a large scale racially-motivated conflict between the White and Black communities of Tulsa, Oklahoma, including aerial attack, beginning May 31, 1921. During the 16 hours of the assault, over 1000 people were admitted to local hospitals with injuries, an estimated 10,000 were killed or left homeless, and 35 city blocks composed of 1,256 residences were destroyed by fire caused by bombing. And many more where imprisoned with lives destroyed forever.
Poverty in the USA (2019) – Homelessness, hunger and shame: poverty is rampant in the richest country in the world. Over 40 million people in the United States live below the poverty line, twice as many as it was fifty years ago. It can happen very quickly.
Tiananmen Square Massacre 1989 in China () – The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, commonly known as the June Fourth Incident (六四事件) or more accurately ’89 Democracy Movement (八九民运) in Chinese, were student-led popular demonstrations in Beijing which took place in the spring of 1989 and received broad support from city residents, exposing deep splits within China’s political leadership. The protests were forcibly suppressed by hardline leaders who ordered the military to enforce martial law in the country’s capital. The crackdown that initiated on June 3–4 became known as the Tiananmen Square Massacre or the June 4 Massacre as troops with assault rifles and tanks inflicted casualties on unarmed civilians trying to block the military’s advance towards Tiananmen Square in the heart of Beijing, which student demonstrators had occupied for seven weeks. The scale of military mobilization and the resulting bloodshed were unprecedented in the history of Beijing, a city with a rich tradition of popular protests in the 20th century.
China’s Vanishing Muslims: Undercover In The Most Dystopian Place In The World (2019) – China’s Uighur minority live a dystopian nightmare of constant surveillance and brutal policing. At least one million of them are believed to be living in what the U.N. described as a “massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy,” while many Uighur children are taken to state-run orphanages where they’re indoctrinated into Chinese customs. The Uighurs’ plight has largely been kept hidden from the world, thanks to China’s aggressive attempts to suppress the story at all costs. VICE News’ Isobel Yeung posed as a tourist to gain unprecedented access to China’s western Xinjiang region, which has been nearly unreachable by journalists. She and our crew experienced China’s Orwellian surveillance and harassment first-hand during their time in Xinjiang, and captured chilling hidden-camera footage of eight Uighur men detained by police in the middle of the night. We spoke with members of the Uighur community about their experience in these camps, and about China’s attempts to silence their history and lifestyle under the cover of darkness.
Germany: The discreet lives of the Super-Rich (2019) – The rich in Germany been never been as well-off as they are today and assets have never been so unevenly distributed. But who are they? How do they live? And what do they think of their country? A journey into the discreet world of the super-rich.
Infiltrating Scientology (Series) (2019) – What is a Sunday “church service” like at the most expensive church in the world? It’s not as glamorous as you’d think. The Sunday service in this video is just one of the ridiculous reasons that Scientology can call themselves a “church.” Michael and I were interested when we heard that they believe their alien God Xenu had banished us to earth. We decided to go and check it out for ourselves before judging them.
Harvested alive -10 years investigation of Force Organ Harvesting (2017) – As a doctor, Zhiyuan Wang spent 30 years studying how to save lives. He never imagined that he would spend another 10 years investigating how doctors killing innocent lives
Worth The Price? Joe Biden and the Launch of the Iraq War (Danny Glover Narrator) (2020) – WORTH THE PRICE? Joe Biden and the Launch of the Iraq War is a documentary short reviewing the role of then-Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) in leading the United States into the most devastating foreign policy blunder of the last twenty years.
Bride Kidnapping in Kyrgyzstan (2011) – In rural Kyrgyzstan men still marry their women the old-fashioned way: by abducting them off the street and forcing them to be their wife. Bride kidnapping is a supposedly ancient custom that’s made a major comeback since the fall of Communism and now accounts for nearly half of all marriages in some parts. We traveled to the Kyrgyz countryside to follow a young groom named Kubanti as he surprised his teenage girlfriend Nazgul with the gift of marriage/kidnapping.
He Served the Longest Sentence of Any Innocent U.S. (2018) – In this stunning 360° video, former U.S. inmate Rickey Jackson, who was wrongfully imprisoned for 40 years (including being on death row and in solitary), tells the story of his rebirth. At the time of his release, Jackson served the longest sentence of any exonerated U.S. inmate.
How Sinclair Broadcasting puts a partisan tilt on trusted local news (2017) – The country’s largest owner of local TV stations, the Sinclair Broadcast Group, which reaches over a third of homes across the nation, wants to get even bigger by merging with the Tribune Media Company. But Sinclair is raising concerns among media watchers because of its practice of combining news with partisan political opinion. William Brangham reports.
Cambridge Analytica Uncovered: Secret filming reveals election tricks (2018) – An undercover investigation by Channel 4 News reveals how Cambridge Analytica secretly campaigns in elections across the world. Bosses were filmed talking about using bribes, ex-spies, fake IDs and sex workers.
Science / Technology
Spying On The Scammers (2020) – Millions of people fall victim to scams every year. Many are run from criminal call centres, where teams of fraudsters operate around the clock. An online vigilante, who goes by the name “Jim Browning”, decided to do something about it. He hacked into a call centre in India where scammers target victims around the world. Jim gained access to recorded scam phone calls as well as CCTV footage exposing the scammers at work. What Jim did was illegal – but he says he wants to stop the fraudsters, and he passed his footage on to BBC Panorama.
Science Moms (2018) – Science Moms is a 2017 American documentary film about mothers who advocate for science-based decision-making concerning the health and nutrition of children. The film covers vaccines, autism, celebrity-endorsed health fads, cancer, allergies, organic food, GMOs, homeopathy, and the appeal to nature fallacy.
Stephen Hawking A Personal Journey (2014) – An intimate and revealing look into the life of Stephen Hawking. Told for the first time in Hawking’s own words and with unique access to his home and public life, this is a personal journey through Hawking’s world.
The Superhuman World of Wim Hof: The Iceman (2015) -Wim Hof first caught the attention of scientists when he proved he was able to use meditation to stay submerged in ice for 1 hour and 53 minutes without his core body temperature changing. Since then, he’s climbed Mount Everest in his shorts, resisted altitude sickness, completed a marathon in the Namib Desert with no water and proven under a laboratory setting that he’s able to influence his autonomic nervous system and immune system at will. Almost everything Wim has done was previously thought to be impossible – but he’s not a freak of nature.
Michio Kaku: The Universe in a Nutshell (2012) – In a profoundly informative and deeply optimistic discussion, Professor Michio Kaku delivers a glimpse of where science will take us in the next hundred years, as warp drives, teleportation, inter-dimensional wormholes, and even time travel converge with our scientific understanding of physical reality. While firing up our imaginations about the future, he also presents a succinct history of physics to the present.
Cosmic Journeys – The Search for Earth-like Planets (2014) – For four years, the historic planet hunting mission, Kepler, starred at a group of 150,000 stars located in a region extending three thousand light years away from earth. The data collected by this spacecraft has brought a turning point in the long search for other planets like earth. Is ours one of countless life-bearing worlds strewn about the galaxy; or is it a rare garden of eden in a barren universe?
Rick Steves’ Iran (2014) – In a one-hour, ground-breaking travel special on public television, you’ll discover the splendid monuments of Iran’s rich and glorious past, learn more about the 20th-century story of this perplexing nation, and experience Iranian life today in its historic capital and in a countryside village. Most important, you’ll meet the people of this nation whose government so exasperates our own.
The Reality of #VanLife (2018) – A movie That follows an ex van dwellers journey as he seeks to dispel the myths about living in a van that social media shows. A look into the Hashtag that claims to represent vanlife.
Normal Guy Goes Homeless (2020) – I left my car wallet and phone in a storage unit in New Orleans to see if it is possible for an average American to work their way out of homelessness in a city they are unfamiliar with. This video is a video journal of my time spent on the streets in the French Quarter of New Orleans and my efforts to forge my way in the world. Enjoy:) For anyone curious – and in case it isn’t clear – I ended up washing dishes at a restaurant in New Orleans and then a couple days later I got a ride to Alabama where I worked making t shirts. Once I was essentially no longer homeless for a few days I hitchhiked to Atlanta and caught a greyhound back to New Orleans. From beginning to end this video was about a week and a half.
Civilian Conservation Corps (2009) – In March 1933, within weeks of his inauguration, President Franklin Roosevelt sent legislation to Congress aimed at profiting relief for the one out of every four American workers who were unemployed. He proposed a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) to provide jobs in natural resource conservation. Over the next decade, the CCC put more than three million young men to work in the nation’s forests, parks, and farms: planting trees, creating flood barriers, fighting fires, and building roads and trails. Corps workers lived in camps under quasi-military discipline and received a wage of $30 per month, $25 of which they were required to send home to their families. This film, by director Robert Stone, interweaves rich archival imagery with the personal accounts of CCC veterans to tell the story of one of the boldest and most popular New Deal experiments, positioning it as a pivotal moment in the emergence of modern environmentalism and national service.
The BBC’s Most Controversial TV Show (2019) – Ghostwatch was a TV Programme that aired on 31st October 1992, appearing to be a live broadcast going horribly wrong. Gaining 20 – 30,000 phone calls all at once while it was live.
The Real Cost of Cruises (2019) – Cruises are the fastest growing travel sector in the United States, with 20 million people setting sail annually. On the latest Patriot Act, Hasan probes into what cruise lines like Royal Caribbean and Carnival don’t advertise: the way they exploit workers, skimp on safety, and sweep crime under the rug.
Sex for sale in Spain (2018) – A village in northern Spain has become a hive of prostitution. La Jonquera, close to the French border, has become home to a large number of brothels.
Daryll Rowe | The Man Who Used HIV As a Weapon (2019) – This BBC science documentary highlights the shocking accounts of five men who were abused by Daryll Rowe – the first ever person in the UK to be convicted after deliberately infecting men with HIV. The men in this film have waived their anonymity, breaking their silence to speak publicly. Some have never even told their families before. These multiple perspectives build a gripping account of how, over 18 months, Darryl Rowe set out on a dangerous, nationwide campaign to trick men into having unprotected sex with him. This bbc science documentary 2019 hears first-hand how he would lie about his HIV status, sabotage condoms and later send abusive text messages taunting them with the fact they are now infected with HIV.
Richard Dawkins: The God Delusion (2006) – A documentary with content for consideration in debates between theists and atheists. Clinton Richard Dawkins, FRS FRSL (born 26 March 1941) is an English ethologist, evolutionary biologist, and author. He is an emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford, and was the University of Oxford’s Professor for Public Understanding of Science from 1995 until 2008.