Best Sites for Free Documentaries

Watch documentaries online for free

A documentary filmmaker using his camera to capture video.

 Marc Romanelli/Blend Images/Getty Images

There are thousands of free documentaries available in every category imaginable. Biography, Sports, Psychology, Mystery, Comedy, Sports, Activism, Animals, Travel, and Performing Arts, just to name a few.

Below are our picks for the best places to watch free documentaries online. Starting from the top of the list and working your way down to find more and more documentaries is recommended.

If you're looking for other types of online movies, be sure to check out the top picks for websites where you can view free movies online, download free movies, and even find free movies just for the kids.

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Top Documentary Films

The Top Documentary Films logo.

What We Like

  • Documentaries in many different categories.

  • Easy to search and sort.

What We Don't Like

  • All media is embedded from other sites.

  • No support provided.

Top Documentary Films has tons of free documentaries online that are available from the public domain. Most are videos link directly from YouTube.

Documentaries at Top Documentary Films are available in many different categories, including Drugs, Religion, Society, Crime, Media, Conspiracy, Biography, Nature and others. The thousands of films can even be viewed in a sortable list so you can view them by date added, rating, votes, title, and shares.

No account is needed at Top Documentary Films, so you can start watching free documentaries right away.

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SnagFilms free online movies
© Snagfilms

What We Like

  • Ability to create a queue.

  • Watch using free apps.

What We Don't Like

  • Account required to view documentaries.

  • No rating system.

Of more than 10,000 free movies at SnagFilms are plenty of free documentaries that can be viewed online this very moment without even logging in.

Documentaries can be viewed in the Popular Films as well as the Recent Films section.

Some films have a full synopsis, a trailer, and reviews.

If you log in to SnagFilms, you can add documentaries to a queue list and see the films you've already watched.

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Documentary Heaven

The Documentary Heaven Logo.

What We Like

  • Easy to sort.

  • Browse, check out lists, or search for titles.

What We Don't Like

  • All films are embedded from other sources.

  • No support provided.

There are thousands of free documentaries at Documentary Heaven that can be sorted by rating and by the top 100. The videos here are submitted by anyone, which means there are loads of public documentaries that can be viewed.

There's also a single, one-page list of all of the documentaries you can watch at Documentary Heaven, which make it easy to read through the categories and titles.

Some of the 35+ categories include Mystery, Science, Philosophy, Countries, Business, Celebrity, Archaeology, 911, Art and Artists, Space, Music, and Spiritual.

Viewing documentaries is open to anyone, but if you create a free account with Documentary Heaven, you can also post comments and favorite videos.

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Films For Action

The Films For Action Logo.

What We Like

  • Hundreds of titles.

  • Films in dozens of categories and languages.

What We Don't Like

  • Outdated appearance.

  • Runs on donations.

Films For Action currently has around 800 free documentaries available for streaming.

You can sort videos to find the best documentaries and sign up for weekly email alerts to get notified of the best videos of the week. You can also subscribe to the Films For Action RSS feed for daily updates.

Documentations at Films For Action are separated by genre, language, and country. Some of the ~40 genres, or subjects, include Energy, Permaculture, Net Neutrality, Government, Community, Big Media, Relocalization, Solutions, Education, Big Ideas, Activism, and Indigenous Issues.

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The DocumentaryStorm Logo.

What We Like

  • Fun Surprise Me! feature.

  • Several options to explore films.

What We Don't Like

  • Ads on movie pages.

  • Site sometimes goes down.

DocumentaryStorm is chock-full of nothing but free documentaries.

The different documentaries are sectioned into unique categories, such as Art, Sexuality, Indie Films, Biography, Mockumentaries, and Culture.

You can also browse through an entire list of every documentary at DocumentaryStorm, see just the top 100, and view the most recently added films.

There's even a Surprise Me! button to find a random documentary to watch, as well as a free email subscription service.

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The Documentary Network

The Documentary Network logo.

What We Like

  • Several browsing features.

  • No plugins or apps required.

What We Don't Like

  • Cluttered appearance.

  • Not user friendly.

The Documentary Network has over 1,000 free documentaries in genres like TV, Science & Research, Leisure & Travel, Economy, and Weapons.

Documentaries can also be browsed by length as well as by choosing a location on a map. A Top 20 list of documentaries is available to see the most popular free documentaries from this week, this month, and all time, as well as the most controversial videos.

You can stay up to date with newly released documentaries by Documentary Network's RSS feed and social media pages.

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The Documentary 24 logo.

What We Like

  • Multiple categories.

  • Random and popular picks suggested.

What We Don't Like

  • Home page is a blog.

  • Difficult to navigate.

Documentary24 has several categories of free documentaries, like Business, Lifestyle, Religion, Science, War, and Conspiracy.

You can also browse videos by tags like Martial Arts, Bank, Weapons, Gambling, Financial Crisis, and Discovery Channel.

On the side of the Documentary24 website, you can find a section for popular videos as well as the newest several that were added.

An RSS feed and email subscription are supported to stay current on documentaries released by Documentary24.

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Free Movies Cinema

The Free Movies Cinema logo.

What We Like

  • Documentaries from the past available.

  • Movies are verified as free to watch.

What We Don't Like

  • Some films are lower quality.

  • Account required.

Free online movies are available in high definition at Free Movies Cinema, with an entire category dedicated to documentaries.

Videos are mainly hosted on YouTube but are streamed from Free Movies Cinema, which means you can add comments and view videos without ever leaving the website.

You can find really old and even new documentaries at Free Movies Cinema.

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The Popcornflix Logo.

What We Like

  • No account required.

  • Various ways to browse titles.

What We Don't Like

  • Not just documentaries.

  • Uses torrents.

Tons of videos in all sorts of categories are found at Popcornflix. One such category is for a few dozen documentaries.

Videos in the documentary section can be categorized by popularity or listed in alphabetical order.

Because no account or registration is needed in order to use Popcornflix, you can start enjoying free documentaries in seconds.

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Documentary Tube

The Documentary Tube logo.

What We Like

  • Dozens of categories.

  • Trending titles listed.

What We Don't Like

  • Cluttered appearance.

  • Doesn't host films.

Documentary Tube has around 40 categories of free documentaries, like 9/11, Comedy, Disaster, Medicine, Performing Arts, Beauty, Aliens/UFO, Food/Drink, Gaming, and Love.

Documentaries can also be browsed by top 100 and by dozens of tags, like Genetics, Terrorism, Death, Poverty, World, Surgery, Sea, Gravity, and Ancient.

You can sort these videos by latest, popular, or trending while the "Randomise" button picks a documentary for you!

An email service is available for free weekly updates when Documentary Tube adds new videos. There's also an RSS feed for staying up to date on daily additions.

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Free Documentaries

The Free Documentaries Logo.

What We Like

  • All documentaries.

  • Browse by topic.

What We Don't Like

  • Ads on site.

  • Donations requested.

Free Documentaries has just what it would seem - free documentaries!

There's a section for featured and popular documentaries or you can browse by topics like Civil Rights, Biographical, Internet and Media, and Environment. There's also a one-page list of all the documentaries that you can scroll through (here).

You can sign up for free email alerts and follow the Free Documentary social media websites to stay current on new releases.

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Pluto TV

Screenshot of the Pluto TV website logo
© Pluto TV

What We Like

  • Works with streaming boxes and smart TVs.

  • No user account required.

What We Don't Like

  • Not just documentaries.

  • Search not user-friendly.

Pluto TV streams free TV shows and movies through a computer, smart TV, or mobile device. You can get started right now without even having to make a user account.

Here's how it works: access Channel 638 (DocuTV) to stream documentaries 24/7 from any device. If you want to watch on-demand documentaries (to choose one from a list), get the mobile app and find the DOCUMENTARIES section.

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Spread the Word

The Spread the Word logo.

What We Like

  • No app required.

  • Unique categories.

What We Don't Like

  • Cluttered appearance.

  • Not user friendly.

Spread the World aggregates documentaries from various sources, categorized by regions like Latin America and US.

All the documentaries at Spread the Word are listed on a single page as well as categories like Consciousness, Global Elite, Societal, War, Inspirational, Ancient History, and Corporatism.

You can also subscribe to receive free email updates when Spread the Word adds new documentaries to the list.

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The DocumentaryWire logo.

What We Like

  • Multiple genres.

  • Numerous categories.

What We Don't Like

  • Hard to navigate.

  • Numerous ads on page.

DocumentaryWIRE links to thousands of free online documentaries in genres like Law, Religion, Sports, Performing Arts, Health, Biography, Media, and Psychology.

A very large list of every single video found at DocumentaryWIRE can be browsed through, which is great so you can look through every video and all the categories on one single page.

DocumentaryWIRE will sometimes update their social media pages with information on newly added videos, but you can also subscribe over email or to their RSS feed for more regular updates.

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Tubi TV

The Tubi TV logo.

What We Like

  • App available.

  • Works with many streaming devices.

What We Don't Like

  • Limited amount of documentaries.

  • Registration required.

A one-page list of free documentaries are also available from Tubi TV.

There are lots of free documentaries that you can stream here, such as Becoming Barack, 3 Magic Words, "Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead", The Institute, 420 the Documentary, Turtle Power: The Definitive History of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Arctic Tale, Adrenaline Rush: The Science of Risk, and Prostitution Behind the Veil.

Some documentaries may need to verify your age before you can watch them, in which case you can register for a free user account.

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Yidio Logo
© Yidio

What We Like

  • Feature-rich service.

  • More than 100 services included.

What We Don't Like

  • Not all resources are free.

  • Account required.

Yidio has free documentaries available that are streamed directly from their own website and completely free, but it also helps you find documentaries from other websites too.

Videos can be filtered by name to find the exact film you're looking for.

An account can be created for free with Yidio to keep track of documentaries you've watched as well as to favorite videos or add them to your queue.

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The VideoNeat logo.

What We Like

  • Engaging interface.

  • Multiple ways to watch.

What We Don't Like

  • General video streaming, not just documentaries.

  • Not user friendly for all viewers.

Free documentaries categorized as Archaeology, Maths/Physics, Astronomy, Medicine, Chemistry, and others can be found at Videoneat.

Videos are displayed on the same page when you open any of the documentaries, which is a nice way to quickly open a video without navigating around all too much.