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15 Best Websites for Free Documentaries

posted by Mark on May 7th, 2009

camerashootWhere to Watch Documentary Movies Online for Free

Here are the best sites we’ve found to watch documentary movies online for free, without any of that torrent downloading mess. Who knows, maybe they can help you with research on a term paper — or at least help you procrastinate writing said term paper. (Note: there’s a lot of stuff available if you go directly to Google Video and YouTube, but good luck browsing through the randomness for documentaries unless you know what specific movie you’re looking for.)

filmtalks

15. FilmTalks
Selection:
Around 300 videos embedded from other sites, presented with Digg-style voting
Categories: Unsorted
Notable Films: Maxed Out, Cocaine Cowboys, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Why We Fight, Super Size Me, Koyaanisqati, Steal This Film
Video Availability: OK

documentarywire14. Documentary Wire
Selection: Around 180 videos embedded from other sites, mostly Google Video
Categories: 2012, 9/11, Big Brother/Police State, Body, Mind & Soul, Business/Economy, Climate/Environment, Comedy, Election Fraud, Free Energy, Gardening/Farming, Health/Food/Drugs, Law, Money & Banking, NWO/World Government, People/Biography, Religion, Self Sufficiency/Survival, War on Terror, Zionism
Notable Films: An Inconvenient Truth, Supersize Me, Sicko, Jesus Camp, Earthlings, Bigger Stronger Faster
Video Availability: OK

babelgum13. Babelgum
Selection:
Around 400 videos small independent productions of varying length hosted on site
Categories: Unsorted
Notable Films: All relatively unknown
Video Availability: Excellent

moviesfound12. Movies Found Online
Selection:
Over 300 videos embedded from other sites, mostly Google Video
Categories: Art/Lifestyle, Business/Media, Culture/Society, Food/Health, History, Music/Movies, Nature/Environment, Paranormal/Mystery, People/Biographies, Politics/Government/Corporate, Religion/Spirituality, Space/Science/Technology, War on Terror, Warzone, 9/11
Notable Films: Who Killed the Electric Car?, The U.S. vs. John Lennon, 4 Little Girls, This Film Is Not Yet Rated, What the Bleep Do We Know!?, Bowling for Columbine, Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price
Video Availability: OK

docuview11. Docu-View
Selection:
Around 300 videos embedded from other sites, mostly Google Video
Categories: Anthropology, Art, Biology, Computers, Conspiracy, Cosmology, Crime, Economy, Environment, Geography, Health, History, Mathematics, Military, Mystery, Nature, Philosophy, Physics, Politics, Psychology, Religion, Science, Sex, Technology, Terrorism
Notable Films: A Brief History of Time, Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden?, Why We Fight, Bowling for Columbine, Crumb, Hoop Dreams, Jesus Camp, Sicko, Style Wars, Super Size Me, This Film Is Not Yet Rated
Video Availability: OK

internetarchive10. Internet Archive
Selection:
Thousands of vintage documentaries, shorts, educational films and newsreels hosted on site
Categories:
Various collections; not always easy to browse
Notable Films: Africa Speaks, Steal This Film, lots of public domain and special collections of historical value
Video Availability: Excellent

joost9. Joost
Selection:
Over 200 legally licensed films hosted on site
Categories:
Unsorted
Notable Films:
Hoop Dreams, The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg, Trembling Before G-d, Jazz on a Summer’s Day, several dozen National Geographic specials
Video Availability:
Excellent

hulu8. Hulu
Selection:
Around 70 doumentary films and over 300 TV episodes, all legally licensed and hosted on site
Categories:
Unsorted
Notable Films:
Confessions of a Superhero, The Buena Vista Social Club, Hoop Dreams, The Times of Harvey Milk, Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project, Super Size Me, Dig!, The Impaler
Video Availability:
Excellent

guba7. GUBA
Selection:
Around 3,500 videos hosted on site, less than 100 of which are “feature length” (90+ minutes)
Categories:
Aviation, Conspiracy, General, Military; mostly unsorted and difficult to search
Notable Films:
Various Discovery Channel, History Channel and BBC programs.
Video Availability:
Excellent

pbs6. PBS Video
Selection:
Close to 100 high-quality (both video and content-wise), proprietory PBS productions hosted on site
Categories:
Arts & Literature, Cinema, Culture, Health & Wellness, History, Home & How-To, Nature & Environment, News & Public Affairs, Performing Arts, Region, Science, Technology
Notable Films:
Episodes of American Experience, American Masters, FRONTLINE, Nature and NOVA
Video Availability:
Excellent

onlinedocs4u5. Online Documentaries 4 U
Selection:
Close to 250 videos embedded from other sites
Categories:
Activist, Ancient History, Anthropology, Archaeology, Art, Atheism, Biography, Biology, Countries, Economics, Education, Environment, Evolution, Film, Food, Future, General Science, Genetics, Health, History, Human Biology, IT, Language, Life Extension, Mathematics, Medicine, Murder, Music, Nature, New Age, Palaeontology, Philosophy, Physics, Politics, Psychology, Religion, Society, Space, Supernatural, Technology, War
Notable Films:
The Secret, The Business of Being Born, What Would Jesus Buy?, Religulous, Koyaanisqatsi, Cosmos, An Unreasonable Man, Super Size Me
Video Availability:
Good

surfchannel4. SurfTheChannel
Selection:
Links to over 3,000 videos on other sites, from TV show episodes to movies
Categories:
Animals, Anime, Art & Animation, Auto, College & Education, Culture and Style, Documentary, Film & Movies, Funny, Gaming, Life & Style, Music, News/Gossip/Politics, People & Family, Sports, Tech & Gaming, Television, Travel
Notable Films:
God Grew Tired of Us, Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, Shut Up and Sing, Religulous, Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism, A Brief History of Time, Sicko, Style Wars
Video Availability:
OK

snagfilms3. SnagFilms
Selection:
Over 650 legally licensed videos hosted on site
Categories: Campus, Environment, Health, History, International, Life & Culture, Music & Arts, Politics, Science & Nature, Sports & Hobbies, Women’s Issues
Notable Films: Confessions of a Superhero, Hoop Dreams, The Times of Harvey Milk, Dig!, Life After Tomorrow, A Century of Black Cinema
Video Availability: Excellent

freedocsonline2. Free Documentaries Online
Selection:
Around 280 videos embedded from other sites
Categories: Anthropology, Astronomy/Space, Biography, Biology/Environment, Cosmology/Physics, Crime/History, Lifestyle/Society, Mystery/Conspiracy, Politics/Religion, Science/Technology
Notable Films: Cocaine Cowboys, Man on Wire, What the Bleep Do We Know!?, Religulous, Planet Earth, Microcosmos, Baraka, Taxi to the Dark Side, Bowling for Columbine, The Yes Men
Video Availability: Excellent

topdocfilms1. Top Documentary Films
Selection:
Around 500 videos embedded from other sites
Categories: 9/11, Art & Artists, Biography, Comedy, Conspiracy, History, Military & War, Mystery, Nature & Wildlife, Other, Performing Arts, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Science, Sports
Notable Films: Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Tupac: Resurrection, Planet Earth, The Bridge, Africa Addio, Bigger Stronger Faster, Super High Me, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, An Inconvenient Truth, Mad Hot Ballroom, Born Into Brothels, Why We Fight, Shut Up & Sing, Maxed Out, March of the Penguins, Step into Liquid, Grizzly Man, When We Were Kings, Rize
Video Availability: Good

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  • Chez

    http://ddocumentary.com should be on this list.

  • Fesheca

    A newer site, that focuses on Ancient History, Mysteries, UFOs is: 
    http://www.DocumentaryMagic.com  I like it because it stays away from most of the political and government conspiracies.  

  • Fesheca

    It’s not very good for documentary seekers, Dish Online only has 127 free videos in the documentary genre.  Otherwise, you need to pay the normal monthly fee that everyone else does with Dish Network, whether watching them online or on the TV.  If you like TV series, there’s plenty of those there, but many of us threw away our televisions long ago, and don’t care for those type of shows.   

  • C Ashley

    Thank-you Fesheca, we just posted our 600th full-length Documentary, & it’s updated several times a month.  We hope to make it to 1,000 or more by the end of the year.  We try to focus on the Mystery side of the documentary category, instead of the others.  

  • Scruff Mgruff

    Scruff says check outIt-Films.com its jammed packed with educational films and documentaries. And also take a bit out of crime.

  • Antlers

    You should also check out http://www.lucidtree.com – interesting movies and nicely put together.

  • Mike B

    Some good 1’s
    here if you like your conspiracy stuff -> http://www.conspiracydocumentaries.com

  • Mike B

    Some good 1’s
    here if you like your conspiracy stuff –> http://www.conspiracydocumentaries.com

  • http://www.privateuk.org/#!private-tutor/cmm2 private tutor birmingham

    Lots of Good information in your post, I favorited your blog post so I can visit again in the future, Thanks.

  • ryankett

    Amazing how few vids these sites had back then, they all have thousands now.

  • Dr Epic

    It-Films has documentaries of wild and epic proportions!

  • http://www.facebook.com/solaris.aggrotech Sol Aris

    plz edit this post there are much better documentary websites out there! Documentary Addict: http://documentaryaddict.com

  • Ktop

    Good list, here’s 1 more for the collection – http://www.documentaryboss.com

  • Alexandru Matei

    AllDocumentaries.org http://www.alldocumentaries.org/ has over 3000 documentaries in their database and the website is continuously growing.

  • Jesper

    I use Documentarycentral.eu – I find that site gets updates most frequently

  • ConspiracyTube

    If you like conspiracy documentaries, UFO or paranormal documentaries then check out our site: http://www.conspiracytube.co

  • morpheus