16 Best Sites for Free Documentaries

Easy access to thousands of free documentaries

A documentary filmmaker using a camera to capture video.

Marc Romanelli / Blend Images / Getty Images

There are thousands of free documentary movies available online in every category imaginable. You'll find biographies, mysteries, comedies, and documentaries covering everything from sports, activism, and animals to travel, performing arts, and more.

Here are some of the best places to watch free documentaries online:

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

01
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Top Documentary Films

Logo of free documentary online site Top Documentary Films.

What We Like

  • Documentaries in many categories.

  • Easy to search and sort.

What We Don't Like

  • Media embedded from other sites.

  • No support provided.

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

Documentaries at Top Documentary Films are available in categories such as Drugs, Religion, Society, Crime, Media, Conspiracy, Biography, and Nature. The thousands of films available can be viewed in a sortable list, or viewed by the 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

Logo for free online movie site SnagFilms, which offers a variety of documentaries.

Snagfilms

What We Like

  • Ability to create a queue.

  • Watch using free apps.

What We Don't Like

  • Account needed to use queue system.

  • No rating system.

There are thousands of free movies at SnagFilms. Many of these movies are documentaries that can be viewed online right away, without logging in. You can view movies on mobile devices and smart TVs, as well.

Documentaries can be viewed in many of the various genres, including Award Winners, Climate Change and the Environment, Politics, and much more. Some films have a full synopsis, trailer, and reviews.

Create a free account and log in to SnagFilms to add documentaries to a queue list and see the films you watched in your History.

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Documentary Heaven

Logo for online documentary viewing site Documentary Heaven.

What We Like

  • Easy to sort.

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

What We Don't Like

  • All films embedded from other sources.

  • No support provided.

There are thousands of free documentaries at Documentary Heaven that can be viewed by category, popularity, and by the top 100. Movies can also be sorted by rating, newest to oldest, comments, or title. The videos 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 the documentaries you can watch at Documentary Heaven, which makes it easy to read through the categories and titles. Some of the 40-plus categories include Mystery, Science, Philosophy, Countries, Business, Drugs, Celebrity, Archaeology, 9/11, Art and Artists, Space, Music, and Spiritual.

Viewing documentaries is open to anyone. You'll need to create a free account with Documentary Heaven to post comments and tag videos as favorites.

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Films For Action

Logo for free online documentary viewing site Films For Action.

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 has more than 2,000 free documentaries available for viewing. The site frequently adds new features and content, including opportunities for social activism.

Sort videos to find the best documentaries and sign up for weekly email alerts to get notified about new content. Subscribe to the Films For Action RSS feed for daily updates. The site offers a Film of the Day as well as a Featured Films section to help viewers select content.

Documentaries at Films For Action are categorized by genre, language, and country. Some of the subjects include Energy, Permaculture, Net Neutrality, Government, Community, Big Ideas, Globalization, Solutions, Education, Activism, and Indigenous Issues.

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DocumentaryStorm

Logo for online free documentary viewing site DocumentaryStorm.

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

Browse through the entire list of documentaries at DocumentaryStorm, see the top 100, or view the most recently added films. There's also 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

Logo for online documentary free viewing site Documentary Network.

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 more than 1,000 free documentaries in genres such as TV, Science & Research, Leisure & Travel, Economy, and WTF.

Documentaries can be browsed by length or by choosing a location on a map. Browse the list of Trending & Top Videos, which includes lists of the most highly rated documentaries, most controversial, and the top films of the month. And, stay up to date with newly released documentaries by following The Documentary Network RSS feed and social media pages.

07
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Documentary24

Logo for online free documentary viewing site Documentary 24.

What We Like

  • Multiple categories.

  • Suggests random and popular picks.

What We Don't Like

  • Home page is a blog.

  • Difficult to navigate.

Documentary24 has several categories of free documentaries, such as Business, Lifestyle, Religion, Science, War, and Conspiracy. Or, browse videos by tags including Martial Arts, Bank, Weapons, Gambling, Financial Crisis, and Discovery Channel.

The site has a section for Most Popular Documentary Films as well as newly added films. An RSS feed and email subscription are supported so you can stay current on documentaries released by Documentary24.

The portal notes that it strives to offer only prejudice-free and unbiased films.

08
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Free Movies Cinema

Logo for free online documentary viewing site The Free Movies Cinema.

What We Like

  • Documentaries from the past available.

  • Movies 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 leaving the website.

You'll find old and new documentaries at Free Movies Cinema.

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Popcornflix

Logo for online free documentary viewing site Popcornflix.

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, with more than 80 films in the Documentary section. There doesn't seem to be a way to browse the documentaries by category or popularity, but the one-page listing is easy to scroll through and peruse.

Because no account or registration is needed to use Popcornflix, you can start enjoying free documentaries in seconds. The site states that registration provides access to additional features.

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Documentary Tube

Logo for online free documentary viewing site Documentary Tube.

What We Like

  • Dozens of categories.

  • Trending titles listed.

What We Don't Like

  • Cluttered appearance.

  • Doesn't host films.

Documentary Tube has more than 40 categories of free documentaries, including 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, including Genetics, Terrorism, Death, Poverty, World, Surgery, Sea, Gravity, and Ancient. Sort these videos by Most Popular or Trending, while the Randomise button selects 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 to stay up to date on daily additions.

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Freedocumentaries.org

Logo for online free documentary viewing site Freedocumentaries.org.

What We Like

  • All documentaries.

  • Browse by topic.

What We Don't Like

  • Ads on site.

  • Donations requested.

Freedocumentaries.org offers only free documentaries. There's a section for featured and popular documentaries or browse by categories such as Civil Rights, Biographical, Internet and Media, and Environment. You can also browse by topics such as Holocaust, LGBTQ, and Animal Rights for more specific perusing. There's also a one-page scrollable list of all the site's documentaries.

Sign up for free email alerts and follow the Freedocumentaries.org social media sites to stay current on new releases.

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Pluto TV

Logo for free documentary viewing site Pluto TV.

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. Get started right away without creating a user account.

To stream documentaries, go to the On Demand tab and scroll down to the Documentaries section. Pluto TV also has a mobile app for iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV, so you can watch while on-the-go.

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Spread the Word

Logo for online free documentary viewing site Spread the Word..

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 such as Latin America and the United States. The site aims to spread information that might be ignored by the mainstream media.

All the documentaries at Spread the Word are listed on a single page as well as under categories such as Consciousness, Global Elite, Societal, War, Inspirational, Ancient History, and Corporatism. There's also an alphabetical directory running on the side of the page.

Subscribe to receive free email updates when Spread the Word adds new documentaries to the list.

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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.

Documentaries are among Tubi TV's thousands of free movie and TV show offerings, aiming to present groundbreaking, bizarre, and inspiring true-life stories.

The documentaries are in a one-page format you can scroll through. The eclectic offerings include 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 ask to verify your age before allowing you to watch them. To do this, register for a free user account.

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Yidio

Logo for free online documentary site Yido.

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 that are streamed from the Yidio website, but it also helps you find documentaries from other websites, as well. 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 designate videos as favorites or add them to your queue.

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Videoneat

Logo for free documentary site VideoNeat.

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.

Videoneat offers free documentaries in such categories as Archaeology and Paleontology, Maths and Physics, Astronomy, Medicine, Chemistry, Nature, and more.

There are a few ways to watch these videos, but the easiest method is to use a torrent client with the MAGNET option on the video's page.