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The Best YouTube Documentaries of All Time (2023)

Many people love watching documentaries, and if you’re one of them, you’ll be surprised at how many there are on YouTube. YouTube’s documentary rabbit hole hosts a great variety of documentaries that bring incredible value to their watchers. On YouTube, you can find documentaries stretching a wide variety of subjects, and in this article, we’re going to number the best YouTube documentaries and show what are the benefits of watching them.

We assure you that picking one of the listed documentaries will lead to interest, binge-watching, and learning more about the values each documentary delivers. In this article, we’ve highlighted most of diverse stories, ranging from educational content to unnerving conspiracy theories and even situations with supernatural abilities being involved. It’s worth noting that all these documentaries are available on YouTube and free to watch, with perhaps some ads coming up now and then.

Benefits of watching Youtube documentaries

Documentary films collect non-fiction videos that depict real events with real people as the participants in the actions within film. It often features events like real nature, climate change, natural disasters, as well as how some events affected people. Documentaries are also often used in describing how some historical events took place and even to discuss experiences with people who were exposed to some sort of supernatural experience or similar.

Watching documentary movies has a lot of benefits, especially when we want to escape the regular pattern of Hollywood blockbusters and learn something new in the process. Here are some benefits of watching documentaries.

A better understanding of the present word: Many of the available documentaries have happened around the world, while many have also affected it. Things that have happened to an individual can happen to anyone else which is why people need to be more careful of their surroundings. They also provide a debatable view of the world, which everyone can perceive their way while encouraging creative, as well as problem-solving thinking.

They are educational: Many documentaries teach us new things. They are great informative content for students at elementary, high school and even at universities. They also help us teach about other regions, cultures, countries, religions, and more. Documentaries are nearly always backed by research, so they also share insights into marine life, ecosystems, and even space and astronomy.

They are inspirational: Many documentaries transferred so much value that they served as inspiration for further research, interviews, and development of new films. We often watch how dangerous can exposure to some information be, and inspires us to be better people and try more in our ambitions. There are many proofs that show how documentaries shape our lives and change our habits (for example dietary and health-related films, as well as environment-related topics.)

Ten best YouTube documentaries

Now, after we’ve seen some of the best benefits of watching documentary films, it’s time to evaluate our list of 10 best YouTube documentaries. We made sure to include every exciting topic we could find, and we found all of these to be truly value-transferring, as well as educational.

#1 – The Internet’s Own Boy

The Internet’s Own Boy

The Internet’s Own Boy will tell us about the online world we’re surrounded by more than any other YouTube documentary. The plot follows the life of Aaron Schwartz, who dedicated his life to making online experiences better. His internet career helped him develop the world-wide popular forum network Reddit, as well as RSS and Creative Commons. Aside from living his online life and contributing to the development of the internet, Schwartz was also an activist and writer. This movie depicts his life using the interviews with his family, friends, and colleagues, while also featuring some of Schwartz’s footages as well. He was suspected to be behind alleged computer crimes, which led to him taking his life away. If you’re interested in the development of online world as we know it, being behind the creator of the Reddit Network and computer science, in particular, this documentary is worth checking out.


#2 – This is the Zodiac Speaking

This is the Zodiac Speaking

Zodiac Killer is the nickname behind the unknown serial killer that was planting death across California between December 1968 and October 1969. This is The Zodiac Speaking explores his murders, detailing them, should they serve as an inspiration to reveal who’s truly behind them, being one of the most popular YouTube documentaries. The Zodiac Killer’s true identity remains mystery even now, although there were various theories regarding his true identity. Even David Fincher made a movie about this notorious, vicious killer who used series of bizarre methods to dread and terrify people across America. This particular document focuses on factual information and analysis so that the viewer can draw their own conclusions about the identity of the killer, leaving many creative ideas for the viewers.


#3 – The Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is one of the most famous bridges in the world, and next to the Statue of Liberty in New York City, the most welcomed guest of Hollywood movies. It sparks beautiful shine, but there is also a dark story that no one really knows. The Bridge is one of the best YouTube documentaries, and it tells a story about the time and resources it took to build this bridge but also reminds the viewers that it’s one of the most popular suicide spots in the world. The director of the documentary Eric Steel invested 10,000 hours of footage that covered 23 people taking their lives away on the Golden State Bridge. The documentary covers the interviews with parents and other relatives to the jumpers and also interviews a man who survived the 25-story fall off the bridge. The movie itself caused a lot of controversy because of the suicidal events.


#4 – The Child of Rage

The Child of Rage

If you’re into chilly, but truthful stuff, then The Child of Rage is a YouTube documentary worth watching. This film from 1990 is about a young girl called Beth Thomas. She was exposed to sexual abuse at one year old, which resulted in a set of psychological disorder which pushed her into wanting to kill her brother and adopted parents. The documentary shows footage of researchers who interview her and ask her questions about violent acts like breaking birds’ necks, stealing knives from family, and bizarre sexual acts. Fortunately, the documentary also talks about the process of her healing and recovery. Now, she is a nurse who is also an activist and advocate for abused children. Even though she succeeded in her recovery, her descriptions of how she wants to murder her family will send chills down your spine.


#5 – The Extraordinary Genius of Albert Einstein

The Extraordinary Genius of Albert Einstein

To prove documentaries are not only dark and dreadful themes, here’s an excellent YouTube documentary about one of the most brilliant minds of modern physics – Albert Einstein. This History Channel’s documentary follows another famous scientist Neil Degrasse Tyson who offers a lot of information behind the account of the theory of general relativity. It talks about his life, how he conducted his research and what kind of impact it had on humanity and physics as we know it today. It also tackles his personality, early life, and his approach towards the theory of relativity. The only bad thing is that it might be relatively difficult for someone not in the know to follow up. Other than that it’s a great retreat from everyday problems and ways to enjoy a documentary after which you may feel a little smarter.


#6 – Steroids in Sports

Steroids in Sports

This YouTube documentary tackles a topic that is hugely controversial, while also providing valuable information about the topic that is most active during world cups, Olympic games, and other prestigious sports competitions. It talks about abuse of steroids in sports and how this practice not only affects the physical strength of athletic but also has an impact on their psyche. This documentary offers realistic picture of doctors and athletes, as well as what’s happening between them. More importantly, this documentary shows much more complicated behavior than just wanting to cheat and win. This documentary will change your view on steroids, so it’s worth checking it out.


#7 – 3D Printed Guns

Amidst the scary practice of school shootings in America, this documentary shows just how scary it is to own a gun, let alone get it as quickly as printing a paper. As its name suggests, 3D printed guns talk about Cody Wilson who demonstrates a set of techniques that help him print out a fully-functional 3D gun. 3D printers are becoming more popular, not only in terms of graphics becoming real but also in astronomy, science, biology, and medicine. The scariest part about this YouTube documentary is that the way he produces guns via printing is made so easy and accessible. Moreover, the government doesn’t have a way to control or stop his intentions as no law can regulate printing 3D weapons that are as functional and lethal as guns sold in ammo shops. While this documentary is hugely informational, it also carries a scary message, are we really safe if we can print our weapons?

#8 – The Scariest Drug in The World

The Scariest Drug in The World

South America is one of the most notorious drug holders, and Colombia may be well-known for the most dangerous drug in the world known as Scopolamine. This is another Vice’s documentary, which follows the journey of its reporter Ryan Duffy who wanted to obtain it himself and learn more about its devastating properties. His findings are represented in one of the most insightful YouTube documentaries – The Scariest Drug in The World, and it’s much different than anything you have ever heard before. It excels at keeping people in high and lucid state but easily controlled and persuaded into doing things. According to the reporter who tracks his journey, this drug has been part of some of the most significant crimes in Colombia, where big mafia names would control and manipulate their victims into doing horrendous things. Victims to this drug would enter the state of “Chemical Hypnosis” and end up losing complete control over themselves, despite being completely awake. The documentary also shows confessions of people who were abused with this drug and their experiences after taking it.


#9 – A Simpler Way: Crises as Opportunity

A Simpler Way: Crises as Opportunity

Modern living often appears to be fast and stressful. Many people aspire to change their lifestyle habits, diets, motivation, sleep schedule, and more. This YouTube documentary may help you achieve it, spending long time thinking after you’ve finished watching. This documentary follows the story of a small Australian community that found its way to adapt to changes that are happening between communities and rapid development of technology and living standards and live a simple life. This documentary may also appeal to those looking to change the climate and environment, as it’s environment-friendly. The documentary follows Australian community as they live, work and discuss their life standards and strive to make it better. There are many experts in the literature, making it a genuinely worthy watch.

#10 – Shark Attacks of 1916

Shark Attacks of 1916


Killing sharks in 2019 is considered the crime, as shark fishing has caused huge populations to shrink. Back in 1916, it wasn’t like that. The Jersey Shore was one of the most famous places for shark attacks, with dozens of people losing their lives in agony. This documentary talks about the 1916 shark attacks and how much people fear them. The events from this time even inspired Steven Spielberg to make one of the most popular movies ever, Jaws, after being inspired by the book of the same title written by Peter Benchley in 1974. This particular documentary focuses on two terrifying weeks in which four deaths by sharks occurred. That sparked huge fear of sharks in Americas, with the scary footage which strives to depict exactly how it was.


#11- The Next Black

The Next Black

The Next Black is a popular YouTube documentary which tells a story about fashion trends, how they changed through the history, and how much they’re expected to change in the future. Fashion trends change with every season, with fashion giants determining the main approaches, techniques and improvements that will make clothes more sustainable. Many brands like H&M and others use half-recycled clothes and reversible material to design quality, long-lasting apparel. This documentary will help people learn things about fashion they haven’t known before, while also helping them become more sustainable themselves. Finally, the documentary also looks at the impact of fashion industry on air pollution, and why is it the main driver of air pollution in the world.


#12 Dirty Girls

12 Dirty Girls

Even though it sheds light at an old event that happened in 1996, doesn’t mean that the same situations are not happening today. A senior in high school Michael Lucid documented the lives of two 8th grade girls who were exposed to torment and bullying from their classmates. Amber and Harper were exposed to negative commentary from their peers for bad class behavior and poor hygiene habits. This video helps those who watch it resonate in several ways and also contribute to less bullying to happen. The video also tackles the directions of music, grunge movement in music, and how high school students are exposed to cliché-forming behaviors. All in all, it’s a good documentary if you want to learn about how bullying functioned back then. It’s also a good documentary if you are short on time because it only lasts around 18 minutes.


#13 Shenzhen: The Silicon Valley of Hardware

Shenzhen: The Silicon Valley of Hardware

The center of technology may not be located at the center of the Sillicon Valley, where tech giants deliver the most iconic smartphone innovations, social media network features, technologies like AR and VR and more personalized experience with our smart devices thanks to Internet of Things and artificial intelligence. Instead, the center of the technology, or at least its essential components may be located somewhere much farther away, in Shenzhen. Shenzhen in China is home to various companies that make various hardware and consumer electronics which may not be as popular as Apple’s iPad Pro or Samsung’s Tab devices. In this heart of technology in China, you may find smartphones, tablets, smart TVs and more. Moreover, there are a plethora of copycats of various devices that are normally extremely expensive. In this town, thousands of copy versions of smartphones are made and sold. If you’re interested in this sort of development in tech industry, this YouTube documentary is a must watch.



We’ve reached the end of our best YouTube documentaries you can watch for free. There are plenty of more gems available on YouTube to explore, but we wanted to highlight some of the most value-carrying, and educational content to surface. YouTube is a large network, and it surely hosts thousands of knowledge-inducing documentaries waiting to be watched. Do you watch documentaries? What is your favorite YouTube documentary? Please leave a comment and let us know!