Scientific and Natural Discovery Documentaries (to Watch).

by shawnevans666 | created - 21 Oct 2013 | updated - 11 Apr 2016 | Public
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1. Endurance (1919)

TV-G | 88 min | Documentary, Adventure, History

The story of the 1914-1916 Antarctic exploration mission of Sir Ernest Shackleton. The ship sails south, breaking the ice, and ultimately getting trapped by the fast-changing weather. The ... See full summary »

Director: Frank Hurley | Stars: Ernest Shackleton, Frank Worsley, J. Stenhouse, L. Hussey

Votes: 521

2. Nanook of the North (1922)

Not Rated | 78 min | Documentary

In this silent predecessor to the modern documentary, film-maker Robert J. Flaherty spends one year following the lives of Nanook and his family, Inuits living in the Arctic Circle.

Director: Robert J. Flaherty | Stars: Allakariallak, Alice Nevalinga, Cunayou, Allegoo

Votes: 11,572

3. The Great White Silence (1924)

80 min | Documentary

In 1910 the British Antarctic Expedition, led by Capt. Robert F. Scott, embarks from Lyttleton, NZ on a quest to become the first to reach the South Pole.

Director: Herbert G. Ponting | Stars: Robert Falcon Scott, Herbert G. Ponting, Henry R. Bowers, Edgar Evans

Votes: 1,159

4. The Conquest of Everest (1953)

Not Rated | 78 min | Documentary, Adventure

Documentary that covers the famous and successful expedition of the Everest conquest by Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary, the first climbers to reach its peak.

Director: George Lowe | Stars: Meredith Edwards, John Hunt, George Band, Tom Bourdillon

Votes: 307

5. Galapagos (1955)

78 min | Documentary

Did the Peruvians cross the sea? The filming of a Norwegian archaeological expedition to the Galapagos islands in 1952, lead by Thor Heyerdahl. A continuation of the Kon-Tiki expedition.

Director: Thor Heyerdahl

Votes: 104 | Gross: $18.57M

6. The Sky at Night (1957– )

20 min | Documentary

Astronomy programme.

Stars: Patrick Moore, Chris Lintott, Maggie Aderin-Pocock, Pete Lawrence

Votes: 330

7. Aku-Aku (1960)

86 min | Documentary

Add a Plot

Director: Thor Heyerdahl

Votes: 95

8. Horizon (I) (1964– )

50 min | Documentary

British documentary series that covers a variety of subjects in science and philosophy.

Stars: Paul Vaughan, Jack Fortune, Dilly Barlow, Colin Riach

Votes: 1,042

9. World Without Sun (1964)

93 min | Documentary

Fascinating underwater documentary filmed with hand-held cameras by frogmen and mostly filmed in deep-water seas from within a special designed batiscaff, by the Cousteau family of sea explorers.

Director: Jacques-Yves Cousteau | Stars: Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Simone Cousteau

Votes: 436

11. The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau (1966–1976)

60 min | Documentary, Adventure

The aquatic explorations of Jacques-Yves Cousteau and the crew of the Calypso.

Stars: Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Rod Serling, Joseph Campanella, Philippe Cousteau

Votes: 406

12. Calcutta (1969)

105 min | Documentary

With minimal narration by the director and very little context this is a kaleidoscope of stunning visuals from Calcutta, a city of 8,000,000 in the late 1960's: rich and poor, exotic and ... See full summary »

Director: Louis Malle | Star: Louis Malle

Votes: 712

13. A Blank on the Map (1971 TV Movie)

59 min | Documentary

In his now well-known role of narrator of wildlife expeditions, Attenborough accompanies a government-sponsored trek into the central New Guinea highlands to make contact with a group of natives never before seen by Europeans.

Stars: David Attenborough, Laurie Bragge

Votes: 157

14. The Body (1970)

X | 112 min | Documentary

A scientific documentary combining narration from anatomical experts and human biologists with interior and exterior camera shots examining the human body, along with a soundtrack using the human body as a medium.

Director: Roy Battersby | Stars: Vanessa Redgrave, Frank Finlay, Arthur Armitage, Johnny Claydon

Votes: 143

15. Chung Kuo - Cina (1972)

135 min | Documentary

A documentary on China, concentrating mainly on the faces of the people, filmed in the areas they were allowed to visit. The 220-minute version consists of three parts. The first part, ... See full summary »

Director: Michelangelo Antonioni | Star: Giuseppe Rinaldi

Votes: 782

16. The Ra Expeditions (1971)

G | 96 min | Documentary

Documentary of the Ra expedition organized by Thor Heyerdahl, which crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a papyrus boat in 1969 and 1970.

Directors: Lennart Ehrenborg, Thor Heyerdahl | Stars: Norman Baker, Roscoe Lee Browne, Abdullah Dilbrine, Santiago Geneves

Votes: 279

17. The Ascent of Man (1973)

50 min | Documentary, History

An account of man's development through his scientific and technological achievements.

Stars: Jacob Bronowski, Joss Ackland, Roy Dotrice, Stefan Bor-Grajewicz

Votes: 777

18. Beautiful People (1974)

G | 92 min | Comedy, Documentary

Hilarious documentary on the wildlife of the Namib Desert.

Director: Jamie Uys | Star: Paddy O'Byrne

Votes: 3,798

19. Nova (1974– )

TV-PG | 60 min | Documentary

Science documentaries about various topics.

Stars: Jay O. Sanders, Craig Sechler, Lance Lewman, Will Lyman

Votes: 2,539

20. The Man Who Skied Down Everest (1975)

G | 86 min | Documentary

This Oscar-winning documentary tells the story behind Japanese daredevil Yuichiro Miura's 1970 effort to ski down the world's tallest mountain.

Director: Bruce Nyznik | Stars: Yûichirô Miura, Shintaro Ishihara, Taisuke Fujishima, Yukihiko Kato

Votes: 520

21. Life on Earth (1979)

702 min | Documentary

David Attenborough's groundbreaking study of the evolution of life on our planet.

Star: David Attenborough

Votes: 2,903

22. Brooklyn Bridge (1981)

TV-G | 58 min | Documentary, History

This documentary chronicles the world-famous Brooklyn Bridge in New York City. The difficult construction process is described in interesting detail; later parts of the film interview ... See full summary »

Director: Ken Burns | Stars: Paul Roebling, Julie Harris, Arthur Miller, Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Votes: 827

23. Nature (1982– )

60 min | Documentary, Family

Documentary series exploring various global wildlife issues and subjects.

Stars: F. Murray Abraham, Chris Morgan, George Page, David Attenborough

Votes: 626

24. The South Bank Show (1978– )
Episode: The Planets (1983)

50 min | Documentary

Based on the famous Gustav Holst musical suite, this musical film takes watchers on a magnificent journey of the planets of the Solar System.

Director: Ken Russell

Votes: 102

25. Ancient Lives (1984– )

Archaeologist John Romer reconstructs the life of a village in ancient Egypt.

Star: John Romer

Votes: 54

26. The Living Planet (1984– )

660 min | Documentary

David Attenborough discusses the biomass and life in a variety of eco-systems spanning many of the environments found on Earth (from tropical to polar).

Star: David Attenborough

Votes: 1,978

27. Creation of the Universe (1985 TV Movie)

92 min | Documentary

Trip through the creation of the Universe from the Bog Bang to the frontiers of science. Musical score from Brian Eno. Includes visits with great thinkers.

Stars: Timothy Ferris, Murray Gell-Mann, Stephen Hawking

Votes: 84

28. National Geographic Explorer (1985– )

120 min | Documentary, History

A weekly series of short documentary segments funded by the National Geographic Society and done in the style of the National Geographic Specials. In 2003, the show was re-branded National ... See full summary »

Stars: Salvatore Vecchio, Peter Coyote, Lisa Ling, Gerald Durrell

Votes: 289

29. Sacred Site (1986)

7 min | Documentary, Short

High speed film and time-lapse photography combined to create breathtaking images of the night sky and Halley's Comet in this astronomical short subject.

Director: Ron Fricke

Votes: 57

31. The Infinite Voyage (1987–1991)

G | 60 min | Documentary, Sci-Fi, Sport

An exceptional series about of humanity, the stars, the dinosaurs, and other mysteries of the world and the universe.

Stars: Richard Kiley, Paul Shenar, Josef Sommer, Fritz Weaver

Votes: 22

32. Around the World in 80 Days (II) (1989)

49 min | Documentary

Michael Palin attempts to copy the exploits of fictional character Phileas Fogg, by trying to travel around the world (without flying) in 80 days.

Stars: Michael Palin, Basil Pao, Chris Collins, Terry Gilliam

Votes: 1,715

33. Route One USA (1989)

255 min | Documentary

Doc (McIsaac), back from a decade in in Africa, and filmmaker Kramer, decide to follow Route 1, from the Canadian border all the way to the tip of Florida.

Director: Robert Kramer | Stars: Jesse Jackson, Paul McIsaac, Pat Robertson

Votes: 255

34. Water and Power (1989)

57 min | Documentary

By using a series of visually and aurally dense tableaux created with advanced motion control, optical printing and animation techniques, the film explores the complex battle for natural ... See full summary »

Director: Pat O'Neill | Stars: Joel Lorimen, Beth Block, George Lockwood, Megan Williams

Votes: 263

35. The Trials of Life (1990– )


Each of the twelve 50-minute episodes features a different aspect of the journey through life, from birth to adulthood and continuation of the species through reproduction.

Star: David Attenborough

Votes: 1,749

36. Antarctica (1991)

Not Rated | 40 min | Documentary, Short

This large format film explores the last great wilderness on earth. It takes you to the coldest, driest, windiest continent, Antarctica. The film explores life in Antarctica, both for the ... See full summary »

Director: John Weiley | Star: Alex Scott

Votes: 414 | Gross: $100.00M

37. The Astronomers (1991– )

57 min | Documentary

A look at the work and worlds of leading scientists and astronomers who are helping to unlock the mysteries of the universe.

Stars: Heather Couper, Vera C. Rubin, Tony Tyson, John Lowry Dobson

Votes: 50

38. Atlantis (I) (1991)

TV-PG | 78 min | Documentary, Music

Atmospheric soundtrack follows this compilation of nature footage that focuses on the ocean and various life forms that live, mate and die in it.

Director: Luc Besson

Votes: 1,848 | Gross: $0.14M

39. Pole to Pole (1992– )

50 min | Adventure, Documentary

Michael Palin undertakes a journey by the most direct route possible with the most land to cross from the North Pole to the South Pole.

Stars: Michael Palin, Neil Hardwick, Lasse Lehtinen, Graham Hancock

Votes: 1,310

40. Life in the Freezer (1993– )

30 min | Documentary

Series exploring the natural history of Antarctica.

Star: David Attenborough

Votes: 1,471

41. Africa: The Serengeti (1994)

Not Rated | 39 min | Documentary, Short

Tanzania's Serengeti Plains are the landscape we picture when we think of Africa. For millions of years, the drama of survival has played out here and once a year, millions of antelope ... See full summary »

Director: George Casey | Star: James Earl Jones

Votes: 652

42. Ancient Mysteries (1994–1998)

45 min | Documentary, History, Mystery

Ancient Mysteries is a documentary television series that deals with historical mysteries.

Stars: Leonard Nimoy, Kathleen Turner, Carole Fontaine, Bob Brier

Votes: 163

43. 30 Years of National Geographic Specials (1995 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 46 min | Documentary

Celebrates 30 years of televised specials by The National Geographic Society.

Stars: Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Dian Fossey, Birute Galdikas, Jane Goodall

Votes: 138

44. The Art of Nature (1995 Video)

48 min | Documentary

Add a Plot

Director: Gary Warriner | Star: Tom Skerritt

Votes: 17

45. The Living Sea (1995)

Not Rated | 40 min | Documentary, Short

Filmmaker Greg MacGillivray examines the world's oceans and their importance to life on Earth.

Director: Greg MacGillivray | Stars: Steven K. Katona, Meryl Streep, Judith Connor, William Hamner

Votes: 573