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Move Over, Netflix: 14 Best Free YouTube Documentaries (& How to Download Them for Offline View)

Move Over, Netflix: 14 Best Free YouTube Documentaries (& How to Download Them for Offline View)

YouTube is the place where you can find nearly everything, including a diverse range of documentaries covering a multitude of subjects. If you’ve watched every single documentary on Netflix, HBO, or other streaming services, it’s time to consider another place, especially if you’re looking for a free platform.

In this article, we'll cover 14 free YouTube documentaries, so whether you're interested in science, history, social issues, or simply enjoy learning something new, there's bound to be something that piques your interest. And once you find the one that does, you can easily download it for offline viewing with 4K Video Downloader+. We’ll show you how in a minute.


Watch on YouTube for free

Directed by Ava DuVernay, this documentary examines the history of racial inequality in the United States, particularly focusing on the mass incarceration of African Americans. The film explores how systemic racism is perpetuated through the criminal justice system and the legacy of slavery and segregation. It's essential viewing for anyone interested in social justice, civil rights, or American history.

Beyond The Spotlight: MrBeast

Watch on YouTube for free

"Beyond The Spotlight: MrBeast" is a documentary featuring Jimmy Donaldson, widely known as MrBeast, who has gained fame on YouTube for his entertaining content. With over 17 million views, the documentary has attracted significant attention from audiences. Despite some of the extravagant actions seen in his videos, such as giving away expensive cars and money, the documentary aims to provide a deeper insight into Donaldson's background and motivations.

Life In A Day

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"Life in a Day" is a sequel to the original "Life in a Day" documentary released in 2011, which was produced by Ridley Scott and directed by Kevin Macdonald. The concept of both films involves compiling footage submitted by people worldwide, filmed on a single day, to create a snapshot of life on Earth.

The film shows a glimpse into the diversity of human experiences, emotions, and perspectives across different cultures and regions, all captured on that specific day.

The Next Black

Watch on YouTube for free

This documentary, released in 2014, explores the future of clothing and fashion. Produced by AEG, the film depicts the innovations and technologies shaping the fashion industry, focusing on sustainability, technology, and the future of design.

Through interviews with experts, designers, and entrepreneurs, "The Next Black" examines how the fashion industry is responding to challenges such as environmental sustainability, ethical production practices, and technological advancements.

Dirty Girls

Watch on YouTube for free

"Dirty Girls" is a short documentary film directed by Michael Lucid. It gained attention for portraying a group of teenage girls attending a high school in Los Angeles who were outsiders because of their unconventional appearance and behavior.

The documentary captures the daily lives of these girls, who proudly embrace their individuality and reject societal norms of femininity and beauty. They are often seen as rebellious and confrontational, challenging the expectations placed upon them by their classmates and teachers.

While the film initially gained attention as a cult classic and was circulated widely on VHS tapes, it has since gained renewed interest in the age of digital media and online streaming platforms.

Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father

Watch on YouTube for free

Directed by Kurt Kuenne and released in 2008, the film is a personal tribute to Kuenne's close friend Andrew Bagby, who was murdered in 2001. The documentary is structured as a letter to Bagby's son, Zachary, who was born after Bagby's death.

The film chronicles Bagby's life through interviews with his family and friends, as well as through footage from home videos and personal photographs, and explores the devastating impact of Bagby's murder on his loved ones and their quest for justice.

As the documentary unfolds, it becomes increasingly focused on the legal proceedings surrounding Bagby's murder.

The Marathon Cultivation

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Nipsey Hussle, also known as Nipsey Hu$$le, was a prominent figure in the American rap scene during the mid-2000s, particularly in the West Coast hip-hop circuit. His collaborations with artists like Snoop Dogg and Drake solidified his status as a legend in the industry. However, tragedy struck when Hussle, aged 33 at the time, was fatally shot just outside his Marathon Clothing store in Los Angeles.

"The Marathon Cultivation" documentary explores the intricate legacy of Hussle, shedding light on his relentless dedication to revitalizing his community.

Child of Rage

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"Child of Rage" follows the story of a young girl named Beth Thomas, who suffered severe emotional and psychological trauma due to abuse and neglect in her early childhood. As a result, Beth exhibited extreme behavioral problems, including violence and aggression towards others, which led her to be diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD).

The documentary features interviews with Beth, her adoptive parents, and mental health professionals who worked with her to address her issues and explores the challenges faced by children like Beth, who have endured early trauma, and the complexities of treating and managing RAD.

World's Scariest Drug

Watch on YouTube for free

It tells you all about the drug scopolamine, also known as "Devil's Breath," which is derived from plants such as the borrachero tree found in South America. The film shows the disturbing ways in which scopolamine has been used by criminals to incapacitate and manipulate victims, often for the purpose of robbery or sexual assault.

Through interviews with experts and individuals who have been affected by scopolamine, "World's Scariest Drug" sheds light on the dangers and consequences associated with the drug.

A Killer on Floor 32

Watch on YouTube for free

Produced by Netflix, "A Killer on Floor 32" is a documentary that investigates the tragic 2017 mass shooting at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The shooting, which took place during the Route 91 Harvest music festival, resulted in the deaths of 58 people and left hundreds injured, making it one of the deadliest mass shootings in modern US history.

The documentary explores the events leading up to the shooting, the response of law enforcement and emergency services, the aftermath for the survivors and families of the victims, as well as the life of the perpetrator, Stephen Paddock.

This is a platform for survivors to share their stories and advocate for change while also raising important questions about the availability of firearms, the role of hotel security, and the challenges of preventing mass shootings in a country where gun ownership is prevalent.

Dark Web

Watch on YouTube for free

No, it's not that horror Dark Web movie. This documentary showcases the relentless battle against cybercrime from a governmental standpoint and depicts sophisticated and ever-evolving techniques employed by cybercriminals, beyond mere phishing emails.

RUIN: Money, Ego and Deception at FTX

Watch on YouTube for free

"RUIN: Money, Ego, and Deception at FTX" delves into the inner workings of FTX, a cryptocurrency exchange platform. Released in 2021, the film is basically a behind-the-scenes look at the rise and fall of FTX, exploring the intertwining themes of wealth, hubris, and deceit within the cryptocurrency industry.

"RUIN" provides a critical analysis of the culture and practices within the cryptocurrency sector, highlighting the risks and pitfalls associated with investing in digital assets.

All Is Self

Watch on YouTube for free

"All Is Self" explores the idea that societal chaos mirrors internal turmoil, suggesting that there's a deep connection between the state of our minds and the state of the world around us. This film also highlights how spiritual traditions across cultures have long recognized this interconnectedness, a notion that's gaining support from modern science.

Shenzhen: The Silicon Valley of Hardware

Watch on YouTube for free

"Shenzhen: The Silicon Valley of Hardware" is a documentary released in 2016 that explores the rise of Shenzhen, a city in southern China, as a global hub for hardware innovation and manufacturing. You'll see the unique ecosystem of Shenzhen, where entrepreneurs, engineers, and manufacturers converge to create and produce a wide range of electronic devices and gadgets. The documentary showcases the factors contributing to the city's rapid development as a center for hardware innovation and examines the role of local government policies, access to resources and talent, and the culture of entrepreneurship in driving Shenzhen's success in the hardware industry.

Bonus: Free Documentary Channel on YouTube

Yes, YouTube has a channel dedicated to free full-length documentaries, covering various topics. The channel provides viewers with access to high-quality documentaries about history, science, nature, technology, culture, and more.

The channel often features documentaries from reputable sources, including renowned documentary filmmakers, production companies, and television networks. You can find it right in the 4K Video Downloader+ in-app browser and watch and save content without leaving the app.

How to Download a YouTube Documentary

To save a documentary from YouTube, use 4K Video Downloader+ —it’s a desktop solution for Windows, macOS, and Linux that saves videos from YouTube and dozens of other platforms, such as Vimeo, Rumble, Bilibiil, Dailymotion, Facebook, Twitch, and more.

Here’s how to use it to download any YouTube documentary.

1. Launch 4K Video Downloader+. It's available for macOS, Windows, Linux, and Android.

2. Copy the link to the YouTube video you want to download.

3. Click the Paste Link button in the downloader.

4. Select the format, quality, and output folder.

5. Click Download.

Alternatively, you can find and download YouTube videos through the in-app browser. This way you can browse YouTube without leaving the application and download content on the spot.

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