What do you do when you have come close to smashing through the entire library of documentaries on Netflix? Head over to YouTube of course! Just like Netflix, YouTube is great at providing content that sends you down the rabbit hole and spurts you out in another dimension. So here are 30 of the best YouTube documentaries we have come across.
This is a growing list so feel free to add your own recommendations down below in the comments as we plan on updating this list.
30 Of The Best YouTube Documentaries You Can Watch Now
(1) Shark Attacks of 1916
Whenever I think of the Jersey Shore, my mind’s thoughts automatically gravitate towards concerns of SHARK ATTACKS! Seriously, tho, in 1916 in the area of Matawan and Beach Haven New Jersey a series of events occurred which culminated in Steven Spielberg cashing in a huge check in 1975 with the blockbuster movie Jaws, based on the 1974 book of the same title by Peter Benchley.
Two weeks, four deaths, and the beginning of America’s fear of sharks. This biting commentary will set your teeth on edge. So sorry, I did it again.
(2) U.S. Navy Seal vs Somali Pirates The state of affairs on the seas surrounding certain areas is troubling. Extreme violence and brutality is the norm for these ocean going criminals and they are met with the full force of modern military. A sobering look at a serious modern day problem.
(3) Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves, a look at racism from a slightly different perspective than some may be aware of.
(4) Food Fight: How Corporations Ruined Food, which examines subsidies and profit motives and their effect on our food choices.
(5) Morgan Freeman: Inside the Whitehouse. Seriously, who wouldn’t love hearing Morgan Freeman talking about anything? This is entertaining and informative, just what a good documentary is supposed to be.
(6) Filming Wildlife : Behind the Scenes . You’ve seen the films and images, now meet the photographers and everyone involved in capturing those stunning views. A 10 year study of Polar Bears, spelunking into caves to find bats, or a trek across wildest Africa, these behind the scenes insights are both thrilling and informative.
(7) The Great Jungle War. This one isn’t about Vietnam or even the WWII Pacific island campaign, this is about a World War One battle in Colonial Africa which few people I’ve talked to know about.
(8) The Search for Battleship Bismark. chronicles the full story of one of the most famous, or infamous, ships to ever sail. Including the modern team searching for the battleship’s final resting place.
(9) Shale Cowboys: Fracking Under Trump reminds us that “frack” was a real word before Battlestar Galactica, and it has a totally different meaning then as used in that show.
(10) Wisconsin Death Trip 1999 tells a strange and sad story about mental illness, abuse, and extreme violence. In black and white with an awesome score, be sure to turn off the lights when you watch this for the full effect. Based on the book about these events, you’ll come away with a new appreciation for the anguished among us. Or you’ll be totally creeped out. Your choice.
So… violence, women, and metal illness is your current interest?
(11) Lizzie Bordon took an axe, gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, gave her father forty one. What really happened? Can we ever know the complete story? This documentary answers some questions and raises others.
Continuing on with the bizarre, how do you feel about
(12) Spontaneous Human Combustion? As opposed to well planned human combustion, of course. Is it all just a goofy myth? Examining unexplained case files, this documentary raises some burning questions about medical science and urban legends. See what I did there?
No set of weird things to watch would be complete without something paranormal.
(13) Mediums: We See Dead People
(14) Haunted Houses
(15) Witchcraft In America will all satisfy the taste for the supernatural in many viewers. Look out behind you! Is that the house settling? I just felt a cold draft… [shudder]
How is it that babies were born in America in the 1860s? Well, it’s because many people in the United States of America had
(16) Sex In the Civil War. This is part of the History Channel series History Undercover and uncovers many facts about things we ordinary people would never waste a passing thought on.
Don’t pass on this one, tho. The change of morals that America experienced because of this war affected everyone and everything in the country. But this documentary also shows us that some things never really changed. People fall in love, have babies.
People cheat on their mates, have babies, Soldiers in wars throughout history would make it with anyone willing, sometimes with the unwilling, and more babies happened. People get horny, have sex. So, you see, people had sex in America during the Civil War. This documentary proves it! Firmly on my list of best YouTube documentaries.
(17) The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off brings us a story that is bit odd and scary, medically speaking.
(18) Australia, The Great White Shark tells the story of the south coast of Australia. The sea there is fed by the rich life from near the Antarctic ice shelf. This documentary follows a series of dives by explorers searching for the awesome predator shark as it hunts for its favorite food, sea lions. Along the way, we are dazzled by a stunning variety of sea life and underwater scenes.
Continuing with an aquatic theme, we also recommend watching Arthur Dent, I mean Kent, narrating another History’s Mysteries documentary
(19) The Story of the Essex, the Real Moby Dick. Herman Melville used this tragic and fascinating adventure as the basis for Moby Dick. In the month of November, 1920, the “lucky” Essex experienced a terror which included being sunk by a whale and some of the survivors resorting to cannibalism. An amazing story.
Danger on the seas isn’t limited to attacks from giant sea creatures. Some of the most dangerous predators on the ocean have been men. For a look at the past of piracy, the Discovery Channel offers us
(20) Real Life Pirates Of The Caribbean. It wasn’t always like the swashbuckling that Errol Flynn sold us on, and precious few pirates actually wore eye shadow and sailed magic haunted ships with an elf from Rivendale.
Many pirates were ruthless criminals that preyed on ships in port and even sometimes on the ports themselves. That’s why so many islands had cannon armed forts with the guns pointing out to sea. A great walk through history.
(21) Inner City Sailing, a story of a teacher training 10 inner city youths all about sailing and entered them in a competition.
Well, let’s lighten up the mood a bit. I like toys! You like toys.
(22) The History of Toys and Games identifies the need for toys for people of various ages from various ages of human history. Marbles, models, dolls, darts… Some toys from thousands of years ago would entertain a kid from the Jersey Shores today. Technology has added new types of games, and many toys are played by grown ups. Nothing wrong with that. I sling a yo-yo while Twitching Halo.
(23) The History of Photography and the Camera takes us all the way back to the 11th century C.E. and shows us the geniuses that made big advances in the technology and the art of photography. This documentary is so advanced, it’s simple. Niepce, Daguerre, William Henry Fox, and George Eastman are high lighted and their advancements are explored and explained in an entertaining episode.
(24) Ansel Adams: a Documentary Film 2002 takes us to Hernandez, NM, Yosemite, the Sierra Nevadas, and in studio to examine a perfectionist in action. Adams perfected the Zone System, a method of previsualizing and controlling the entire photographic process which is still followed in this digital age by artist photographers the world over.
His Purpleness, Prince is examined in the documentary with a one word title:
(25) Prince Long before he stood out in the Purple Rain, the man who would become Prince was exploring all aspects of creating music. This documentary explains a little bit of his complicated and fascinating life. Eccentric, talented, and troubled, musical genius often is paired with tragic lives. At least the title of this documentary is an actual word and not a symbol.
(26) Inside North Korea takes us into one of the most talked about nations in the news today. The hermit nation with possible nuclear weapons capability remains dark to the outside. As dark as the night time photo of the nation taken from outer space. It is dangerous to film anything unauthorized in North Korea. This documentary definitely belongs on my list of the Top 30 best YouTube documentaries.
(27) Putin’s Revenge Part 1 PBS Frontline brings us a 2017 documentary series about Vladimir Putin that details inside information about this enigmatic ruler of one of the most powerful nations on Earth.
(28) Putin’s Revenge Part 2 continues the series.
At least we don’t live in ancient Rome.
(29) Caligula: 1400 Days of Terror gives us hope for our current regimes. Imagine being ruled by an insane man with out of control lusts who indulges his every whim with no regard to how anyone else is affected. Wait a minute… No, nevermind, I’m not going there in this article! Seriously, that old Penthouse movie doesn’t even scratch the surface of how debauched this ruler was.
Finally, the 30th documentary on my list brings us PBS Nova intriguing history of religious ideas and writings,
(30) The Bible’s Buried Secrets . Walk in the same land as the Prophets and Kings did, gaze upon sites of momentous battles and powerful civilizations. One extremely important aspect is the origins of monotheism, a basic tenet of three of the world’s major religions practiced by nearly 3/4s of the population of the modern world.
This list barely begins to scratch the surface of the best YouTube documentaries available. Ask me next month and I might give 30 new choices. Please enjoy this list and find your own favorite documentaries to share with others.
If you are thinking about creating your own YouTube videos, you can check out some of our helpful resources below.
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What shows and videos do you like? I like sci-fi, crime dramas, quirky comedy, and real life. By real life, I’m not talking about reality shows, but rather documentaries. On web venues such as YouTube, I can find documentaries on virtually any subject. The best YouTube documentaries are available to me via my smart TV, my computer or tablet, and my smart phone.
What am I interested in today? Sometimes I have an idea and search for something specific. Sometimes I find a documentary channel and see what’s new. But, there are a whole lot of videos on YouTube. How do I find the best YouTube documentaries? Well a lot of watching! Im certain I have missed some goodies so feel free to add your favourites down below.