My Favorite Documentaries

Good morning everyone!

Today I am gathering all my favorite documentaries, per reader request. If you have followed me for a while, you probably know that I am a giant history nerd and I love learning about history. I am a lifelong learner (even if I am finally finished with school) and documentaries are a great way to learn about something new. I honestly will choose a documentary over a movie about 85% of the time... I just love learning and I find them so fascinating.

I have selected doc's that can be viewed on Netflix or Amazon Prime. Unfortunately, the days of the History Channel actually playing history things are over so streaming services have become my viewing manner of choice for my precious doc's.

I will warn you, my list is history and true crime heavy as those are my favorite interests. I also lean heavy on WW2 because that is my favorite area of history to learn about. These are in no particular order- I could never pick a favorite because I love the all!

Happy viewing!

1. WW2 in Color (BBC)

So this is my ultimate favorite WW2 documentary. It is from the BBC so it gives the whole view of the war, instead of just focusing on the American experience like the US documentaries do. It is so well done and very easy to follow. Stuffed full of actual war footage, it is so powerful. I absolutely love this doc... I have watched it all the way through at least twice.
Watch on Netflix here.

2. The Keepers

This documentary is absolutely fascinating. It tells the story of the unsolved murder of Sister Catherine Cesnik; a nun who was murdered in Baltimore in 1969. Two former students of hers are trying to solve the case and in doing so, disturbing history of the church in this area comes out. It is an intriguing cold case and the documentary is so well done and put together masterfully.  Watch on Netflix here.

3. WW2 in HD

Here we are, back in WW2 (I warned you!). This documentary is told from the American experience POV so it misses a lot of important parts of the war. However, the parts that it covers are done SO WELL and the footage is unreal. The documentary is the result of an exhaustive world wide search for WW2 footage and it was made into HD video so the viewing is incredible. It also picks out specific people for you to follow throughout the war which makes it more personal and real. I watched this documentary when it first premiered on History Channel (the good old days) and I love it just as much now as I did then. Watch on Amazon Prime here.

4. Five Came Back

Another Netflix gem (they really have some fabulous documentaries). This tells the story of 5 men from the movie industry and their roles in WW2. Some gave up Hollywood to become war correspondents and risked their life for war video footage. Others went into service. This is another documentary that is just so well made. It was so interesting to me to see how these "Hollywood men" who had the world at their feet, gave it up to fight along side the USA in some capacity. It's a story we don't usually hear in connection to WW2 but it is one that should be told. Watch on Netflix here.

5. The Ted Bundy Tapes

I am absolutely serial killer obsessed.... I am just fascinated and so disturbed by how their brains work. This documentary follows the tapes taken of Ted Bundy discussing some of his crimes. It gives an interesting view into his outrageously vile mind.

6. Secrets of Great British Castles

So this one requires some backstory. While I was preparing to study abroad in England during college, I watched every documentary I could find about England and the places I wanted to visit while I was there. That is how I came across this documentary series; there are episodes on many of the castles and great houses of England. I love the inside look into these famous places and even though I didn't get to visit every one in person, I at least got a peak in through this documentary series. I love this series so much and I have watched the episodes several times over. You can find the series on both Netflix. There are also some sister series such as Secrets of Great British Houses, Great Estates of Scotland and others about specific places such as Highclere Castle where they film Downton Abbey!

7. They Shall Not Grow Old

This doc... wow. Peter Jackson took massive amounts of film footage from the first World War and colorized it. We are used to seeing good footage of history post WW2 but to bring WW1 to life like this is seriously amazing. I found this documentary so moving and just mesmerizing… truly like stepping back into history. You can watch on Amazon Prime.

8. Prosecuting Evil

This story was unknown to me prior to viewing this documentary... this tells the story of Ben Ferencz: the man who prosecuted the Nazi's in the Nuremberg Trials. Utterly fascinating story and an incredible man. I like this documentary because it brought together two of my loves: history and the law. You can watch on Netflix.

9. Bombshell

Have you heard of Hedy Lamarr? She was known as the most beautiful woman in the world and starred in many Hollywood films. What most people don't know is that she also created a frequency hopping invention that became the basis for wifi and modern technology. Her story is one of brains and beauty and I find her absolutely fascinating. Watch of Netflix.

10. Mysteries at the Museum

So this isn't technically a documentary but it gives me all the same heart flutters (yep history makes my heart go thump thump… I am a huge nerd). This show profiles little snippets of history. I have learned SO many interesting stories from watching this. It is honestly my favorite show on TV. You can watch it on Travel Channel.  

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