Best Sites for Free Documentaries

Watch documentaries online for free

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A documentary filmmaker using his camera to capture video.

 Marc Romanelli/Blend Images/Getty Images

Free documentaries are so readily available for streaming and downloading on your computer, tablet, or phone, that you'll never need to turn to Netflix or the library again.

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

Below are my picks for the best places to watch free documentaries online from the comfort of your own home. I recommend starting from the top of the list and working your way down to find more and more documentaries. These make it convenient to watch your documentaries on the go.

If you're looking for other types of online movies, be sure to check out my top picks for websites where you can , , and even find .

Not finding the free documentary you want? Consider using a to rent it or even of it.

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The Top Documentary Films logo.

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

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

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

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WatchDocumentary.org's logo.

Documentaries at Watch Documentary are listed by categories such as Health, Military, Psychology, Comedy, Adventure, Globalization, Human Rights, Massacre, Politics, and around 20 others.

You can also find videos by a popularity and recently added list, an RSS feed, daily or weekly email updates, a one-page list of all the films, and the free Android app.

A free account can be created at Watch Documentary so you can save your favorite videos for viewing later.

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The Documentary Heaven Logo.

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're are lots 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 is 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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The Films For Action Logo.

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.

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 logo.

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.

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 is supported to stay current on documentaries released by Documentary24.

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The Free Movies Cinema logo.

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.

Tons of videos in all sorts of categories are found at Popcornflix. One such category is for 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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The Documentary Tube logo.

Documentary Tube has around 40 categories of free documentaries, like 9/11, , 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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The Free Documentaries Logo.

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

There's a section for featured and popular documentaries or you can browse by topic 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 ().

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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Hulu Logo
© Hulu

Hulu is full of free movies and TV shows in several genres like documentaries.

You're able to view recently added documentaries, recommended ones, and popular videos filtered by all time views, monthly, weekly, or daily visits.

A Hulu account is not needed to watch most of the free documentaries.

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Screenshot of the Pluto TV website logo
© Pluto TV

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  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.

Some of the free on-demand documentaries you can watch right now at Pluto TV include Sound City, Gasland, The Source Family, Rize, Bully, 120 Days, The Cruise, and Hotline.

You might also find some documentaries on one of Pluto TV's movie channels, like .

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The Spread the Word logo.

Spread the World aggregates documentaries from various sources, categorized by region 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.

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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The Tubi TV logo.

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

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.

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.