YouTube has served as one of the popular free video streaming services for people around the world. The explosion of content on the platform by independent content creators in the early 2010s gave rise to a new surge of popularity among people. While many now see YouTube as the platform mostly for independent creators, there is no shortage of free documentaries one can watch. Here is a list of YouTube documentaries that will keep you hooked to the screens.
Sources :- 10 Documentaries on YouTube
- A Certain Kind of Death
While many have theories of what happens to us after death, many usually forget about the bodies that are left behind with no one to take care of them. ‘A Certain Kind of Death’ gives us a look into the process of what an unattended body goes through. Not for the faint-hearted, the documentary examines the adversities that these bodies go through which are gut-wrenching most of the time. The documentary also reminds the viewers of the importance of people who work behind the scenes for such jobs that go unnoticed. Three cases are examined in the documentary and while every case seems different, the outlook on them remains the same.
- Capturing the Friedmans
This documentary follows the case of Arnold and his son Jesse who are convicted of child abuse. Directed by Andrew Jarecki, guides one through the horrific minds of these murders while also understanding their intent and ways to manipulate their portrayal. The case goes through intense scenes of drama and breakdown while showcasing the facts that ultimately lead to them admitting guilty of all the accused charges. The clips show the family of the accused going through shame, anger, and guilt as the court seems equally shocked by the incident.
- Man on Wire
Many remember Philippe Petit balancing himself on a tightrope between the twin towers of New York’s World Trade Center. ‘Man on Wire’ goes through Philippe’s mind and what made him perform this terrifying stunt. Released in 2008, the 24-year-old French highwire artist risks his life between the towers. The documentary explores his journey of hoping between the building and eventually landing himself in the act which seems iconic for the city of New York. Philippe has often been referenced in many pop culture pieces and remains to be one of the most daring acts ever performed in public. The viewer is constantly on the edge of their seat ready to be eased during the adrenaline rush one faces by seeing Philippe during the act.
- Wisconsin Death Trip
Wisconsin was plagued with a series of strange events that took place during the 1890s and while the stories make for a compelling narrative, the photographs and documents of the events make it one of the most hard-hitting mystery documentaries on YouTube. Released in 1999, the film takes into consideration a chain of events that involved suicide and murder among many to try and form a narrative about the incidents. Adapted from the book of the same name, the author Micheal Lesy came around a collection of photographs and documents in 1973 which guided him to discover the stories and write his book which eventually gave the inspiration for the documentary.
- Exit Through the Gift Shop
Banksy is one of the most popular street artists that remain anonymous. His work has been regarded as influential while highlighting several political and humanitarian issues. ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’ takes us through the eyes of Thierry Guetta who is passionate about street art and he guides one through Banksy’s works while keeping his identity anonymous. Thierry films the modern art scene which often blurs the lines between what seems real and what seems fake. Other artists featured in the documentary include Invader, Mr. Brainwash, Shepard Fairey, and Andre. It is a wonderful depiction of the art scene in the late 2000s.
- This is the Zodiac Speaking
The Zodiac Killer remains one of the most mysterious murders that the US has ever seen and his identity still remains clueless. ‘This is the Zodiac Speaking’ dives deep into the Zodiac murder cases as well as interviews with investigators and surviving victims. The Zodiac Killer committed a series of murders in the 1960s in San Francisco which remain unsolved to this day. Directed by David Prior, the documentary is a direct format approach to the murder mysteries and while many may dislike the way of confrontation that comes with the Prior’s approach, the film proves to be one of the best works on the famed killer. The documentary is not only interesting but gives factual insight into the killings.
- Free Solo
This Oscar-winning documentary is directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin and captures the world of extreme athletics. Alex Honnold who is the world-famous rock climber starts the documentary with the climbing of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park with no safety gear to back him up. Climbing up the rock seems to be Alex’s dream and his journey to accomplish it is depicted in the film in an exhilarating manner. The 3,000ft tall rock is covered by Alex in a do-or-die situation. It is a brilliant way of depicting human excellence through physical strength that is shown by Alex in the documentary.
- The Family that Walks on All Fours
The BBC Two documentary shows us a Kurdish family in Turkey and their belief that as our ancestors crawled on all fours, so can the modern human. The film dives deep into the family’s workings which walk in a previously unreported quadrupled gait. Created by Passionate Productions, the film was released in 2006 with a positive response by critics. Nicholas Humphrey, who runs us through the clips, concluded through his findings that the syndrome found in the family may have resulted as a defective traceback of genes. The mother of the family is seen recalling her kids walking like bears on all fours and further investigation reveals a rare genetic dysfunction that caused her kids to walk quadrupedally.
The famous British singer Amy Winehouse was deemed as one of the most unique voices in the music industry and while the Grammy-winning singer produced stellar records and reached highs of fame, her personal struggle with substance abuse and a troubled family relationship eventually led to her death. The documentary Amy shows the viewers the story of Amy and her success right from singing in pubs to performing at the Grammys while consequently winning one for herself. The documentary also digs into her past as well as her relationship with her lover who seems to have influenced her wrong decisions.
- A Brief History of Time
Stephen Hawking was one of the pioneers in science who proved that disabilities cannot hinder one’s mind to explore in various directions. Famously known for his book with the same name, the film is a display of complex theories that Hawking explained in the book. With visual references takes the viewer into the unknown world of stars and galaxies, it also explains the workings of the universe as well as time to unravel a piece of information may consider as his best works.
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