The 20 Best Documentaries to Watch Together as a Family

Few stories are as affecting and inspirational as the true ones that take place in the world every day. The documentaries on this list prove that point and then some. Whether it’s a film about astronauts, babies or climate change, you can learn something new from any movie on this list, but you’ll also be entertained and moved along the way. These filmmakers do an amazing job of exploring cultures, exposing issues and telling stories small and large. You’ll cheer, you’ll cry, you’ll rage and you might even be inspired to change the world.

1. A Beautiful Planet

Stunning look at Earth—and man’s sobering impact on it. Age 6+

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2016)

2. The Elephant Queen

Big-hearted, beautiful docu about matriarchal elephant herd. Age 6+

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2019)

3. Pick of the Litter

“Dog”umentary fetches empathy, enlightenment and warm fuzzies. Age 6+

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2018)

4. A Reindeer’s Journey

Captivating reindeer docu has natural beauty, perils. Age 6+

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2019)

5. Wonders of the Sea

Docu beautifully highlights oceans’ delicate balance. Age 7+

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2019)

6. Bethany Hamilton: Unstopabble

Inspirational docu has themes of perseverance, gratitude. Age 8+

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2019)

7. The Biggest Little Farm

Poignant, thought-provoking docu about sustainable living. Age 8+

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2019)

8. Imba Means Sing

Vibrant, uplifting docu about African children’s choir. Age 8+

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2015)

9. Chasing Coral

Awe-inspiring, poignant docu tracks decline of coral reefs. Age 9+

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2017

10. Kindness Is Contagious

Warm, feel-good docu about being nice is uplifting. Age 9+

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2015)

11. Far from the Tree

Touching docu about parents raising uniquely different kids. Age 10+

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2018)

12. Legends of the Knight

Stirring docu sees superhero as powerful motivator for good. Age 10+

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2013)

13. Liyana

Inspiring, unique film tells two stories of perseverance. Age 11+

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2018)

14. Maiden

Poignant, thrilling tale of groundbreaking female sailors. Age 11+

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2019)

15. A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story

Outstanding role model urges kids to stand up to bullies. Age 12+

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2015)

16. He Named Me Malala

Inspiring, deeply affecting docu series explores teen icon’s life. Age 12+

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2015)

17. Shake the Dust

Poignant docu about B-boys and B-girls around the world. Age 12+

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2015)

18. The All-Americans

Lovely documentary digs into football dreams in East L.A. Age 13+

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2019)

19. Can You Dig This

Inspiring docu about urban gardening; some profanity, drugs. Age 14+

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2015)

20. Virunga

Outstanding but shattering docu set in war-torn Congo. Age 16+

ON DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2014)

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