I love documentaries! There’s nothing like learning something new, perhaps gaining a new perspective, AND being entertained. Personally, if I’m going to spend time in front of a screen I’d like for it to be a little productive. At least some of the time! I also believe education is the key to making conscious decisions that can help impact and improve our lives, health, and planet!
I have compiled my top favorites, broken down by genre: health, animals, and environment (in no particular order). But there’s a lot of overlap in these films. That’s because it’s hard to talk about the environment without addressing the animal agriculture aspect and vice versa. And it’s also of course difficult to discuss true health without covering the impact that animal products play. Nevertheless, I’ve tried my best to organize them into categories.
There’s a wide range of options though, from investigations into the pollution of the garment industry, to the effects of sugar and/or meat. Many of these films can be found on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and YouTube. Of course there are so many more out there, this is just a list of the ones I personally have seen and loved. Please let me know some of your favorites!
Note: If the comments don’t include where to watch it’s because I’ve yet to find the right source. Films are updated constantly on different platforms so check them regularly.
1. What the Health
Chances are you’ve heard about this one, mainly because it caused such a stir, like many documentaries I suppose. The film examines the link between animal products and disease as well as the health industry. Available on Netflix.
2. Forks over Knives
A documentary to help “empower people to live healthier lives by changing the way the world understands nutrition.” This film explores the benefits of a plant-based diet, showcasing the proven research. Available on Netflix.
3. Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead
This film chronicles director Joe Cross 60 day juice fast as he travels across America to regain his health and life! Available on YouTube (with ads).
4. The C Word
The C Word is about cancer, prevention, and how lifestyle and societal changes may help beat it. Available on Netflix.
5. The Game Changers
Not to be punny, but this film really is a game changer, dispelling the myth that one has to be eat meat to be strong. It showcases extreme athletes achieving far beyond their peers by following a plant-based diet. Available on Netflix.
6. FED UP
Today the average American consumes upwards of 70+ grams of refined sugar a DAY, more than 3-4x the recommended amount. This film explores the role sugar plays in increasing our risks for disease as well as the governments oversight in dietary guidelines. Available on YouTube.
7. PlantPure Nation
A documentary telling “the story of three people on a quest to spread the message of one of the most important health breakthroughs of all time.” Available on Amazon or YouTube.
Healing the body is a multifaceted approach – it involves the mind, body and spirit. This film explores the mental aspect of truly healing and transforming ones life. The documentary “takes us on a scientific and spiritual journey where we discover that our thoughts, beliefs, and emotions have a huge impact on our health and ability to heal.” Available on Netflix.
This film follows several meat and dairy loving New Yorkers as they adopt a plant-based vegan diet for 6 weeks, learning all the benefits as they go. It explores the benefits of a whole food plant-based diet, the disconnect people have with animals and purchasing meat, environmental and health benefits of diet void of animal products. Available on YouTube.
10. Food Choices
Food Choices “explores the impact that food choices have on people’s health, the health of our planet, and on the lives of other living species.” It also explores misconceptions revolving around food and diet. Available on YouTube.
11. H.O.P.E What You Eat Matters
This documentary “reveals the effects of our typical Western diet on our health, the environment and animals. It has a clear message: By changing our eating habits, we can change the world!” Available on Amazon.
This amazing, eye opening film, changed my life; it was the first animal agriculture/environmental documentary I ever watched. I had no idea the destruction for which animal ag causes on the environment or the true nature of this horrific “business”. Available on Netflix.
Full disclaimer, this is an intense film, but I absolutely think worth watching to really comprehend the full extent of which humans exploit animals. I believe for us to truly make conscious choices we must know the truth, no matter how difficult it may be to see. Free on Youtube.
14. Live and Let Live
This film examines our relationship with animals, the history of veganism and the ethical, environmental and health reasons that move people to go vegan.
15. The End of Meat
A relatively new comer, this film explores the effects of animal agriculture on the planet and how alternative meats can help curb climate change and give consumers a more compassionate and conscience way to enjoy meat. Available on Amazon.
16. The Ghosts in Our Machine
This illuminating film gives a glimpse of the individual animals living within the machine of our modern world.
17. Eating Animals
Based on the best selling book by Jonathan Safran Foer, Eating Animals explores what it really means to eat animals. Narrated by Natalie Portman.
18. The Cove
This Academy Award winning film exposes the Japanese dolphin hunting industry that many of us in the West had no clue was happening.
Dominion, similar to Earthlings, showcases all the many ways humans abuse animals, including farmed, wild, companion, and entertainment animals as well as fur and animal experimentation. Available on YouTube.
This eye opening film revels the truth and controversy surrounding captive killer whales. Available on Netflix.
One can’t think about animals and conservation without Jane Goodall coming to mind. This film shows never before seen footage spanning 50 years of the life and work of the woman who changed and challenged the male dominated scientific world of her time. Available on Hulu.
22. The True Cost
Most of us have heard the term fast fashion, but what does that even mean. More importantly what does that mean for the planet AND for those actually creating the products?! This documentary explores our cultures obsession with consumer goods and the impact it has on the workers, environment, and our society. Available on Amazon Prime.
23. Plastic Paradise
This documentary explores the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and follows the personal journey of journalist and filmmaker, Angela Sun, as she discovers this unfortunate phenomenon.
24. Chasing Coral
Our planets coral reefs are disappearing at alarming rates. This film follows scientists, divers, and photographers as they discover the how and why. Available on Netflix.
This docuseries explores the true cost of our products plus the deceit and negligence of those creating and marketing them. Available on Netflix.
26. Our Planet
David Attenborough does it again. One of the most beloved environmentalist narrates another award worthy documentary, but with a slightly different view. Available on Netflix.
27. Racing Extinction
We’re in the midst of the 6th Mass Extinction, as species are disappearing around 1000x the natural rate. Directed by Oscar winning director, Louie Psihoyos (director of The Cove and The Game Changers), this film explores the impact of homo sapiens following scientists, activists, and journalists. Rent on Amazon.