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The 10 Best War Documentaries to Watch on Netflix

If you want to watch the best war documentaries ever made, look no further than Netflix.

Netflix has lots of great documentaries to watch. Whether you like biographies, science, music, or history, there is something for everyone. And Netflix excels with its choice of war documentaries.

Here are the best war documentaries to watch on Netflix right now.

best war documentaries - world war ii in colour

If you enjoy watching original footage rather than talking heads, World War II in Colour is the best documentary about the Second World War that you’ll find on Netflix.

This series was first released in 2009 on British TV. It combines original and digitally colorized footage, some of which had never been seen before. Robert Powell narrates the entire series.

Powell has narrated some of the other best World War II documentaries. They include Hitler’s Bodyguard, The Story of the Third Reich, and Secrets of World War II. Sadly, none of them are on Netflix.

World War II in Colour consists of 13 episodes. They cover the action on the Western Front and Eastern Front, as well as in North Africa and the Pacific.

After learning about the historical events between 1939 and 1945, you should watch the best World War II movies on Netflix


After Dunkirk: 12 World War II Movies to Watch on Netflix




After Dunkirk: 12 World War II Movies to Watch on Netflix

If Dunkirk has sparked your interest in World War II movies, check out these 12 other flicks dealing with the conflict. They’re all currently available on Netflix USA…
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The Vietnam War is a 10-part TV series directed by famed documentary maker, Ken Burns. It’s the first of two Burns productions on our list. First broadcast on PBS in 2017, it is an epic series and is unquestionably one of the greatest war documentaries ever made; the entire series took more than 10 years to put together.

It contains original first-hand interviews with 79 witnesses (including those who fought in the war and those who protested against it). Burns also worked through 24,000 photos and 1,500 hours of video in a bid to leave no stone unturned.

The series contains 10 episodes and has a total runtime of more than 17 hours.

best war documentaries - 1945 the savage peace

World War II claimed the lives of millions of people and led to untold suffering. However, for the defeated Germans, the end of hostilities in 1945 marked the beginning of a new chapter of pain.

This BBC war documentary investigates the post-war reprisals against otherwise innocent German people who lived in other Eastern European countries after the Nazis surrendered.

It’s packed with original footage, most of which was unseen prior to airing. Be warned, it’s harrowing stuff. The reality of shootings, death marches, the rapes of women and children, and hideous torture are all laid bare.

The Age of Tanks traces the history of one of the 20th century’s most revolutionary creations—the tank.

The series begins with the story of Basil Henriques. During World War I, the British soldier became the first man to drive a tank in active combat and use it to fire on enemy combatants. Over the following four episodes, the use of tanks in the German Blitzkrieg, the Cold War, and 21st-century wars are all examined under the microscope.

Five Came Back is an adaptation of the book of the same name. It tells the story of five famous American film directors (John Ford, William Wyler, John Huston, Frank Capra, and George Stevens), all of whom found themselves on the frontlines during the Second World War.

Narrated by Meryl Streep, the three-part series used more than 100 hours of archival footage to discuss the 40 documentaries and training films that the directors made to help the war effort. There’s a particular focus on Ford’s Battle of Midway, Capra’s Why We Fight, and Stevens’ life-changing experiences at Dachau.

The Civil War is the second Ken Burns documentary on our list. First broadcast in 1990, it’s considerably older than Burns’ The Vietnam War, but it still stands up as one of the best documentaries ever made about the all-American battle.

Indeed, at the time of release, it became the most-watched program ever on PBS on its way to picking up two Emmy Awards, two Grammy Awards, and a Peabody Award.

The series starts with the pro-secessionists and abolitionists in 1861 and progresses through nine episodes until the murder of Abraham Lincoln in 1865.

Ostensibly started as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, the War in Afghanistan is now the longest war in US history. The total cost of the conflict has cost American taxpayers nearly $1 trillion.

The Bomb Squad is a two-part BBC documentary. It explores the role of British bomb disposal teams stationed on the ground during the struggle. It explores the relationship between the men, as well as the stress that their jobs place on their families back home.

best war documentaries - behind enemy lines

This isn’t the 2001 movie starring Owen Wilson and Gene Hackman. We’re talking about the excellent BBC documentary of the same name (also from 2001).

In 1940, the UK was in a precarious position. Western Europe had collapsed, the Battle of Britain raged in the skies, and Hitler was desperate to force Churchill into signing a peace agreement. In response, Churchill created the Commandos, a specialist unit designed to help turn the tide of the war.

This four-part documentary explores the new units’ role at four critical junctures in the progression of the conflict: Dunkirk, the St Nazaire Raid, the North African campaign, and Operation Market Garden.

Terrorism is a type of warfare unlike any other. The most noteworthy terrorist events in history—9/11, the Lockerbie Bombing, the 2011 Norway attacks—will be ingrained in our collective minds forever.

One such incident is the November 2015 Paris attacks. 130 people lost their lives in a series of coordinated bombings and shootings across the entire city. The attack became the deadliest on French soil since the Second World War.

This three-part Netflix documentary chronicles the events of the day. It includes a timeline of proceedings and dozens of interviews with survivors and eyewitnesses.

Out of all the horrors which occurred during World War II, the Nazi concentration camps were among the worst. Today, experts believe that between 15 million and 20 million people were either killed or imprisoned in the camps between 1933 and 1945.

This film, from 1945, opened the world’s eyes to the scenes that lay within. Compiled from 80,000 feet of film taken by Allied military photographers after liberation, it is a camp-by-camp analysis of the atrocities committed.

The Allies used the film as evidence in the Nuremberg trials. Ultimately, the footage proved vital in securing convictions against many of the Nazi high command, including Karl Dönitz, Hermann Göring, Rudolf Hess, Alfred Jodl, and Wilhelm Frick.

More Documentaries to Watch on Netflix

We hope you agree with our list of the best war documentaries on Netflix. And if you think we’ve missed out on a must-watch documentary, be sure to let us know in the comments.

If you would like to learn about some of the other great documentaries available, read our article listing the best travel documentaries to watch on Netflix


10 of the Best Travel Documentaries on Netflix




10 of the Best Travel Documentaries on Netflix

These are the best travel documentaries on Netflix right now, all of which are guaranteed to make you long for a week away.
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The Best Places to Watch Free Documentaries Online

There are plenty of ways to watch free documentaries online. So, whether you want to watch documentaries about people, science, history, religion, art, or culture, you’ll always be able to find something on one of the following sites.

pbs free documentaries

US network PBS has produced a stream of high-quality documentaries that you can watch online for free.

The documentary content is divided into four main categories. The categories are Arts and Music, Food, History, and Science and Nature. You can also watch some non-documentary videos in categories like Drama, Home and How To, and Public Affairs.

All of the videos are free to watch as long as you live in the United States. If you’re outside the US, you’ll need to use a VPN to be able to tune in. We recommend either CyberGhost or ExpressVPN.

snagfilms free documentaries

SnagFilms is a must-have app for anyone who’s serious about cutting the cord. It offers more than 2,000 free documentaries, TV episodes, and original comedy shorts.

If you’re accustomed to the typical genre categories on streaming services, SnagFilms will come as a bit of a shock. Its free documentaries are in categories such as Athletes and Their Triumphs, Veterans and the Military, Before They Were Stars, Refugee and Immigrant Stories, Celebrate Pride, and Climate Change and the Environment.

However, we think the site’s decision to structure its categories in such a way is smart. It makes it much easier to find niche documentaries that you might have otherwise overlooked.

documentarystorm free documentaries

DocumentaryStorm offers a curated list of free documentary movies from other places on the web. All of the videos on the site are feature-length films, so there are no shorts or mini-documentaries.

The usual selection of categories are available, including Art, Biography, Conspiracy, Crime, Environment, History, Money, Politics, Religion, and Science. There are 25 categories in total.

DocumentaryStorm also makes it easy to find documentaries that are worth watching. If you click on the Explore tab, you can see the Top 100 documentaries on the site, a list of the new arrivals, and impressively, a “Surprise Me” feature.

When you hit Surprise Me, DocumentaryStorm will start playing a random documentary from its catalog. It’s a great way to broaden your horizons and learn about topics you wouldn’t typically investigate.

films for action free documentaries

Films for Action has more than 2,000 free documentaries for you to dig into. If you’re interested, the site also has per-view-films and movie trailers available.

The site makes it easy to find stuff to watch. By using the Explore tab, you can filter by topic (40 sections are available), by country of interest, and even by language. In addition to English content, you will also find documentaries in Spanish, German, and Danish.

Film for Action is also one of the few free documentary sites that do not rely on ads. Instead, the company solicits you for donations. The endless requests are a tad tiresome, but it’s still better than having your video interrupted by unskippable interludes.

documentaryheaven free documentaries

DocumentaryHeaven takes a similar approach to DocumentaryStorm. It sources free documentary videos from around the web and displays them all on a single website for you to watch.

To find the best documentaries on the site, you can use the Top 100 tab at the top of the page. Alternatively, you can scroll through the various categories by hitting the Browse Documentaries tab. Some of the most popular categories are Health (271 documentaries), History (326), and Science (320).

However, there are also plenty of niche topics that are worth exploring. Some examples include Spirituality (17), Futurism (15), and Evolution (23).

popcornflix free documentaries

Popcornflix is another site to watch free documentaries. There are around 100 available at any given time, though the list of titles is in a constant state of flux.

The biggest drawback of watching documentaries on Popcornflix is the difficulty of navigating the site.

Because Popcornflix also offers a massive library of free TV shows and movies, all of the documentaries are bundled into a single category. As such, it’s difficult to isolate the sub-genres that you’re interested in—you need to dig through the entire list to find the title you’re looking for.

spread the word free documentaries

Like SnagFilms, Spread the Word makes our list of best documentary sites thanks to its unique categories. They are all hyper-specific, meaning you can easily narrow down a list of videos that you’re interested in watching.

Some of the unique categories on offer include Consciousness, Civil Rights, Corporatism, Global Elite, Hidden History, Human Rights, and Media.

You don’t need an account to watch free documentaries on Spread the Word, but if you do sign up, you will be able to make customized playlists and share them with other people.

internet archive free documentaries

The Internet Archive often pops up on lists like these, and with good reason. It is one of the best places to watch classic documentaries online.

Sadly, the site does not have a standalone documentary category. You will have to manually search for any videos you want.

youtube free documentaries

YouTube deserves a mention. As you’d expect, you can find thousands of free documentaries on the platform. They are produced by everyone from big-name studios to smaller independent documentary makers.

To make sure you see the best documentaries on YouTube, you should subscribe to YouTube’s official Documentary Films topic. Sure, it’s only going to scratch the surface of what’s available on the site, but it will give you a neverending stream of videos to enjoy.

10. Use Free Trials on Netflix and Hulu

hulu leaving neverland free trial

We’ve written about some of the best free documentary sites on our list. However, many of the most popular on-demand streaming apps—like Netflix and Hulu—also offer vast libraries of documentaries.

And remember, most paid sites also offer free trials. So, if you want to watch new documentaries (like 2019’s Leaving Neverland) for free, why not sign up? As long as you cancel before your trial expires, it won’t cost you a dime.

More Documentaries Worth Watching

No matter your interests, our list of the best sites to watch free documentaries has something for everyone. And if you’d like to know what documentaries are worth watching, here are the must-see documentaries about the universe


Watch This Space: 10 Must-See Documentaries About the Universe




Watch This Space: 10 Must-See Documentaries About the Universe

These are the best space documentaries to help you explore the universe from the comfort of your living room.
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and the best travel documentaries on Netflix


10 of the Best Travel Documentaries on Netflix




10 of the Best Travel Documentaries on Netflix

These are the best travel documentaries on Netflix right now, all of which are guaranteed to make you long for a week away.
Read More

.



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10 Must-See Documentaries About the Universe

The universe is impossibly large, and humans are still confined to a tiny corner of it. However, we’re constantly learning more about the universe and our place in it. And these space documentaries will help you explore the universe from the comfort of your own living room.



IMAX: Hubble


IMAX: Hubble

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$9.99

The Hubble Space Telescope is one of the most important objects that we’ve ever put into orbit around the Earth. It has fundamentally changed our understanding of space, making important discoveries about black holes, the expansion of the universe, and the age of the cosmos.

Multiple missions have upgraded, repaired, and replaced systems on the telescope. The IMAX: Hubble documentary—narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio—looks at these missions in more detail, As you might expect, this space documentary is packed with awe-inspiring footage.



Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking


Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking

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$39.99

British scientist Stephen Hawking may not be with us any longer, but he has cemented his position as one of the greatest astrophysicists to have ever lived. Who better, therefore, to try and explain the mysteries of the universe in a way that’s understandable to everyone?

This three-part documentary—which was first aired in 2010—looks at aliens, time travel, and the story of the universe. It is one of the best shows about space you can watch, whether or not you’re a fan of Hawking. As a bonus, Benedict Cumberbatch helps with narration.



The Farthest: Voyager in Space


The Farthest: Voyager in Space

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$15.17

Another space documentary worth watching is The Farthest: Voyager in Space.

NASA launched Voyager 1 in September 1977. After spending much of the last 40 years traveling at an incredible 40,000 miles per hour, it is now 13.6 billion miles away from Earth. As such, it is comfortably the most distant man-made object from Earth.

As the mission slowly starts to wind down (the craft’s power supply will die in 2025), The Farthest: Voyager in Space looks back at the people and events behind one of our greatest collective achievements.



Apollo 11


Apollo 11

Buy Now On Amazon
$7.99

Apollo 11 is another of the best documentaries about space. It’s also one of the newest documentary films on our list; it was first shown in theaters in early 2019.

The film, which grossed $11 million at the box office, has no narration, interviews, CGI, or other effects. It’s just 90 minutes of incredible archival footage from the successful moon landing of the Apollo 11 mission. Much of the footage had never been previously seen by the public.

If you want further evidence of how good this space documentary is, look no further than the notoriously harsh Rotten Tomatoes website. The film currently has a 99 percent score from critics.



Apollo 11


Apollo 11

Buy Now On Amazon
$7.99

How the Universe Works is one of the best shows about space.

First produced by the Discovery Channel in 2010, and narrated by Mike Rowe and Erik Todd Dellums, it’s a docu-series rather than a film. There are currently seven series and counting.

The first series’ episodes had simple titles like “Black Hole” and “Stars.” By the seventh series, the content had developed into explaining more complex theories.



Out of the Blue


Out of the Blue

Buy Now On Amazon
$9.99

Many people love watching documentaries on the subject of aliens. However, 2002’s Out of the Blue is considered to be one of the most comprehensive films about the possibility of life on other planets.

It features interviews with the scientific community, alleged eyewitnesses, high-ranking military personnel, and senior government officials. They all discuss the possibility that some Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) could have come from other planets.



The Last Man on the Moon


The Last Man on the Moon

Buy Now On Amazon
$7.99

Everyone knows that Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon. The name of the last man, however, is less well-known. That person is Gene Cernan. He was the last astronaut to get back inside the Lunar Module after the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.

The Last Man on the Moon looks at the career of Cernan, along with the other 10 astronauts who stepped onto the lunar surface after Apollo 11 but whose names the public has largely forgotten.



Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey


Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey

Buy Now On Amazon
$13.99

Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey is another brilliant show about space. Presented by world-famous astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, the 13-episode series is written as a follow-up to Carl Sagan’s 1980 masterpiece, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage.

The new production was a critical success. It won 12 Emmy Awards in 2015, including “Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series” and “Outstanding Writing for Nonfiction Programming”. It also picked up the Peabody for excellence in documentary filmmaking.

Episodes cover everything from the start of life on Earth to the wave theory of light.



Galileo


Galileo

Buy Now On Amazon

While there are some brilliant astronomy documentaries out there, we have chosen something a little different for our list. Galileo is a biographical film about Galileo first released in 1975. It’s an adaptation of Bertolt Brecht’s play of the same name.

Galileo Galilei was a 17th-century Italian scientist. He is known as the father of observational astronomy, and was a proponent of Copernican heliocentrism. These beliefs landed him in trouble with the Catholic Church and led to many years spent under house arrest.



Wonders of the Solar System


Wonders of the Solar System

Buy Now On Amazon
$13.29

The final entry in our list of the best space documentaries is Wonders of the Solar System. It’s a 2010 BBC production which Professor Brian Cox hosts and narrates.

In total, the space show comprises of five standalone episodes. They look at the behavior of the sun, the orbit of the planets, the atmosphere of the planets, the history of Mars, and aliens.

Like Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey, Wonders of the Solar System won a Peabody Award for excellence in documentary filmmaking.

Other Documentaries Worth Watching

The space documentaries we’ve discussed in this article should be enough to satisfy both curious new minds and experienced older heads. They’ll educate and entertain you in equal measure, and give you an insight into outer space and the wider universe.

Of course, this isn’t a full list, and there are plenty of other space documentaries about the universe worth watching. So if you have any to recommend to your fellow readers, please leave a comment below.

Once you have watched all of these space documentaries, why not check out the best video game documentaries


The 8 Best Video Game Documentaries and Where to Stream Them




The 8 Best Video Game Documentaries and Where to Stream Them

There are lots of high-quality video game documentaries you can stream online. Here are the best video game documentaries and where to watch them.
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and the best photography documentaries


13 Must-Watch Documentaries for Every Wannabe Photographer




13 Must-Watch Documentaries for Every Wannabe Photographer

Being a photographer requires a lot of inspiration, and one effective way to find inspiration is to learn from someone else’s story. Here are 12 top photography documentaries.
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to further broaden your horizons.



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