If you love documentaries but are not interested in fancy subscription streaming services like Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Hulu, then take a look at our list of the 25 best full length documentaries to watch on YouTube for free. There is much more to YouTube than just funny videos and music.
I think we will never be able to fully appreciate the benefits that Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s YouTube has given us. It introduced us to a whole new world of content that is available in just a few clicks. I remember I had to spend hours searching for music from lesser known acts or some sports highlights before YouTube. Just when I would think I was on the right track, the download link would be removed or something similar. Now everything is neatly uploaded on YouTube and almost everything I look for I can find there. YouTube is saving us a lot of time and stress.
Of course, it is crazy to assume that everything can be found on YouTube. There are people who are reluctant to let their hard work be available to others for free, and I respect that. As soon as they see their work published on YouTube without their consent, they report it and it either gets taken down, or the ad revenue generated from the video is sent to the rightful copyright holder. This is how YouTube works, and we are accustomed to the fact that one day we may be able to see or hear something and tomorrow it is nowhere to be found. This is especially the case with movies, TV shows, and documentaries. YouTube has begun renting HD videos of new movies and other content to viewers, in an effort to further capitalize on its 1.3 billion-strong userbase.
Each documentary is almost always a passion project for the filmmaker and there is alot of effort put into it. So, it is only fair that people would like to generate revenue from their documentary by getting it to the cinema or through DVD sales. There is, however, one thing I don’t quite understand and it is related to documentaries that market themselves as eye-opening and awareness-raising pieces. If the goal of your documentary is to make a difference, wouldn’t you want it to reach as many people as you can? Wouldn’t it be logical to put it out for free (or at least turn your head away if someone else does it) so more people could see the message? There are still people who would pay to see the documentary to support the filmmakers and the cause they are focused on, while for those who aren’t willing to pay for it, they could at least still see it and maybe through that begin to want to support it. Of course, you don’t have to agree with me, but it’s an opinion that has some merit. Now, before we continue with our list of top free documentaries, in case you opted for a Hulu subscription, you may want to check out our list of the 37 Best Documentaries on Hulu Right Now.
In order to create our list of best full length documentaries to watch on YouTube for free, we decided to use the IMDb documentary category as our starting point. We then used the option to rank all the documentaries in IMDb’s database according to their IMDb rating. Starting from the best rated ones, we checked each for their availability on YouTube. The ones that had less than 50 ratings or didn’t fit our needs (music concerts, foreign documentaries without titles, documentaries shorter than 30 minutes, and similar) were not considered. Using this methodology, our list took shape. Now, let’s check it out. You better be quick if you like some of the entries on the list, since you never know if they will be there for long.