Making documentaries is just as much hard work as making big-budget movies. That is why we appreciate any opportunity to watch documentaries online for free. Yes, there are plenty of websites and apps that stream this kind of content. You can watch them your computer, using your mobile browser, and even via iOS and Android apps.
If you manage to land the right medium, you will see that a lot of content awaits. Popular categories in free documentaries include psychology, biography, sports, comedy, mystery, travel, animals, activism, and historical events. You can also find and watch documentaries based on conspiracy theories. That includes the likes of Fahrenheit 9/11 by famed documentary director Michael Moore – which is a must-watch.
Top 5 Sites to Watch Documentaries for Free
In today’s list, we jot down the best six platforms where you can stream full-length documentaries, free-of-charge. In other words, these could be the best alternatives for Netflix. While most of these documentaries are available in HD video resolutions, some movies may be a little “off the grid”. And that is more because the makers had a tight budget than anything else. Nevertheless, there are the best places on the Web to find streamable libraries of educational films.
|Supported Platforms:||Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, Roku, Amazon Fire.|
When Ted Leonsis launched Snag Films in 2008, the internet people hailed it as one of the best platforms to watch movies online for free. Snag Films has come of age in the last decade. The site now allows you to share your best picks with others and create personalized libraries. You also receive the best recommendations on which movie you should watch next.
The one place where Snag Films really stands out is in drawing a clear line between TV shows and movies. Not many web streaming services allow you to distinguish between movies and TV shows. On Snag Films, you have separate sections for each that tell you which is what. While that might look like a small thing, consistent movie watchers know the difference all too well.
So how real is Snag Films? Does it indeed live up to its name? We dug a little to find out. Out of the blue, the website interface looks like a breeze. Here is a suggestion visible as soon as you open the page. There’s a large carousel with featured content.
For one, it is pretty brave for a movie streaming service to display a documentary on the home screen slider. So we clicked right on Beware of Mr. Baker and started watching. The movie streamed seamlessly. What was even better? The stream quality seemed to adjust with the speed of the Internet. We quickly moved on to another movie named Tarology and things seemed to be just as fine.
Just like that, you can watch documentaries online for free one after the other on Snag Films. However, you might have to make use of a proxy or VPN service if you are not based in North America. And the quality of streaming will be just as mesmerizing with that small adjustment.
Top Documentary Films
|Supported Platforms||Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome|
If you are searching the Web for educational content, Top Documentary Films is the place to be. The site has a rich supply of hundreds of documentaries and allows you to watch them without paying anything. The movies are categorized neatly and you always have the option of watching the latest releases first. And more often than not, these movies are presented to you in high quality.
The website has a simple interface that allows you to browse documentary movies with greater ease. There are multiple options for finding movies that you like and movies that you should like. That makes it amazingly fast at locating your next cult classic. You can find a gamut of categories too. Popular categories on the website include Arts, 9/11, Comedy, History, Economics, Drugs, Health, Environment, and many more.
The coolest way to get hitched to the best documentaries without much searching is to turn to the Top 100.
This is where you find the most interesting movies, according to this website. Each movie comes with an individual rating and runtime that can be previewed before playing the video. Furthermore, you can also go to your favorite movie and chat about it with other users of the website. To get alerts of new uploads, you can sign up for their newsletter. That will prompt Top Documentary Films to send you relevant documentary alerts twice a week.
The coolest thing about the website is you to do not have to register to watch. However, the video quality of Top Documentary Films is variable. You get movies at 144p and then there are movies at 720p as well. That mostly depends on the quality of uploads more than anything else. The website can be run on Windows, Ubuntu, Linux, and prefers data speeds of 1Mbps and above.
|Supported Platforms||Windows, Chrome, Mac, YouTube|
Much like Top Documentary Films, Documentary Heaven gives you the option to look at the rating of documentaries. There’s also a Top 100 section that makes the selection of movies a tad easier for you. Since the content is uploaded by users, you have a great range when you watch documentaries online. Furthermore, this also opens a can of public documentaries shot by general folk.
Apart from the Top 100 section, Documentary Heaven also shows you all their documentaries on one page. This makes it even easier for you to sift through the titles and categories. There are over 35 categories and popular ones include War, Technology, Performing Arts, Psychology, religion, Human Rights, Arts, Lifestyle, News Politics, and Music.
You do not need to have an account to watch movies on Documentary Heaven. However, having an account is required if you want to participate by rating the movies and posting comments.
The one feature of Documentary Heaven that lacks in so many other movie streaming services is the monthly preference. You are allowed to set a preference for monthly movies. At the time of writing, these were the favorite documentaries for the month (December 2017):
- The End of memory
- Offshore Secrets of the Rich Exposed
- Zimbabwe’s Forgotten Children
- Into the Inferno
Along with that, there is a dedicated section called “Documentaries Being Watched”. This gives you a neat idea of what other people on the site are watching at the moment. This list includes free documentary titles like This (Illegal) American Life and Inside North Korea. A special section called “Throwback Documentaries” takes you to the best of vintage documentaries as well.
The quality of streaming on documentary heaven is just like everything else we have seen so far. It’s variable because the content is crowdsourced.
Films for Action
|Supported Platforms||Windows, Safari, Chrome, Mac|
With a collection of over 800 free documentaries online, Films for Action craves for your attention. The website is easily among the best places to watch documentaries for free. Like all good online movie streaming websites, Films for Action does not spoil your experience with spammy ads on their home screen. Rather, you see a number of top documentary movies right away.
The moment you scroll down the home screen, a side-popup rolls out asking you to ‘Like’ this page on Facebook. On another day, that could have been extremely annoying. However, it showed us that some of our friends had already liked the page (including some 897K others at the time of writing)! It seems like by the virtue of sheer numbers, Films for Action is a very popular website to watch free documentaries online.
If you are somebody that has a club of ideologies like social change and stark reality, check out the section titled Wall of Films. Here are some classics that we could spot right away:
- Inside Job
- Schooling the World
- Human the Movie
- Capitalism: A Love Story
- Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead
- The Corporation
- Peace, Propaganda, and the Promised Land
A few of these movies have been made by internationally acclaimed documentary makers like Michael Moore. Some of these have gone on to win an Oscar. And all of them are available for free. So whenever you feel bored of those stupid sitcoms, hit the Wall of Films on Films for Action. Like their Facebook page to discuss your findings and share your thoughts with others.
While many of us would have liked to see a few more titles there, the smaller number may be a blessing too. You get to watch branded content for free and the streaming is inadvertently high-quality. Now that is especially relevant to the most of us.
VICE (Also on YouTube)
|Supported Platforms||Windows, Safari, Chrome, Mac|
|YouTube Link:||Vice – YouTube Channel|
VICE is the only documentary maker to feature on our list. And we daresay, they’ve more than earned the spot! A well-funded and thoroughly staffed network, the VICE team travels the whole world and makes documentaries on scintillating subjects of interests. In the past, VICE has made gone and shot documentaries in areas (like war-torn Liberia) where the media does not dare to enter.
The alternative and truer picture of reality presented by VICE are free to experience. The thing that makes VICE stand out is that they offer all their content for free on YouTube! Yes, you do not even have to enter the website to watch. Do not worry – the YouTube channel is a verified account and is run by VICE staff.
It does not really matter if you are watching VICE documentaries on their website or on YouTube. What really matters is the kind of content that you get to watch with VICE. Documentaries like Internet Scamming in Ghana, Bride Kidnapping in Kyrgyzstan, and The VICE Guide to North Korea are top-shelf works available for free.
In each of their documentaries, VICE presents to you the truest picture of reality. They interview countless people and shoot continuously. On some occasions, the crew has been caught off guards and starkly in the middle of strife. Also, once you start watching their documentaries, you will appreciate their efforts in creating stellar shots.
At the moment, the VICE YouTube channel has over 8.5 Million subscribers, thousands of videos and hundreds of full-length documentaries. And the relentless crew is continuously making new videos for you. The only advantage of the VICE website over YouTube is that you get better categorizing. Moreover, the YouTube channel has a more zigzag collection of videos. Watch out for VICE TV shows too!
If you are already a lover of documentaries, we hope you have found the places where you should be. If you are not someone who is always hunting for documentaries, give these platforms a try. You will not regret it an inch. We know there are a lot of movie streaming websites out there, so you can always jump in and give a recommendation.
Is there any new documentary you plan on watching? Speak to us and we will give you a heads up on where to find it. Until then, keep watching some awesome documentaries!