DIY Genius

Down The Rabbit Hole We Go! 300+ Mind Expanding Documentaries

Spark your curiosity by watching mind expanding documentaries that you can stream for free on the web.

I watch a lot of documentaries. I think they are incredible tools for learning and increasing our awareness of important issues. The power of an interesting documentary is that it can open our minds to new possibilities and deepen our understanding of the world.

On this list of mind expanding documentaries you will find different viewpoints, controversial opinions and even contradictory ideas. Critical thinking is recommended. I’m not a big fan of conspiracy documentaries but I do like films that challenge consensus reality and provoke us to question the everyday ideas, opinions and practices we usually take for granted.

Watching documentaries is one of my favorite methods of self-education. If I find a documentary inspiring, I usually spend more time researching the different ideas and interesting people interviewed in the film.

I hope you find these mind expanding documentaries as enlightening as I did!

Want to discover the best new documentaries each month? Subscribe to my free monthly HyperLearning Guides. This documentary list was last updated on November 27th, 2014.

[1] Life In The Biosphere

Explore the wonder and interconnectedness of the biosphere through the magic of technology.

1. Home
2. How Many People Can Live on Planet Earth?
3. The Magical Forest
4. Ants: Nature’s Secret Power
5. Mt. Everest: How It Was Made
6. Mariana’s Trench: The Deepest Spot On Earth
7. Natural World: The Andes
8. Shining Mountains: The Rockies
9. Grand Canyon: How It Was Made
10. The Intelligence of Plants

[2] Creativity and Design:

Learn about all the amazing things that people dream up and create with their imagination.

1. Everything Is A Remix
2. The Creative Brain: How Insight Works
3. Teaching to See
4. Design: The New Business
5. PressPausePlay: Art and Creativity in the Digital Age
6. Infamy: A Graffiti Documentary
7. Influencers: How Trends and Creativity Become Contagious
8. RIP: A Remix Manifesto
9. Design: e² – Sustainable Architecture
10. The Genius Of Design

[3] The Education Industrial Complex:

The modern school where young minds are moulded into standardized citizens by the state.

1. The College Conspiracy
2. Declining by Degrees: Higher Education at Risk
3. The Forbidden Education
4. Default: The Student Loan Documentary
5. College Inc.
6. Education For A Sustainable Future
7. Networked Society: The Future of Learning
8. The Ultimate History Lesson With John Taylor Gatto
9. The Education System in Communist China
10. The War On Kids

[4] The Digital Revolution:

The Internet is now the driving force behind change and innovation in the world.

1. Download: The True Story of the Internet
2. The Age of Big Data
3. Resonance: Beings of Frequency
5. Life In A Day
6. Networked Society: On The Brink
7. Us Now: Social Media and Mass Collaboration
8. WikiRebels: The WikiLeaks Story
9. The Virtual Revolution: The Cost of Free
10. How Hackers Changed the World

[5] A New Civilization:

Controversial films that raise important questions about our present and future.

1. THRIVE: What On Earth Will It Take?
2. Zeitgeist III: Moving Forward
3. Paradise or Oblivion
4. 2012: Time For Change
5. The Crisis of Civilization
6. The Collective Evolution II
7. The Quickening: Awakening As One
8. 2012 Crossing Over: A New Beginning
9. Collapse
10. The Awakening

[6] Politics:

Explore the politics of power and control and how it affects your life.

1. Owned and Operated
2. UnGrip
3. The Power Principle
4. The True Story of Che Guevara
5. Earth Days
6. Capitalism Is The Crisis
7. WikiLeaks: The Secret Life of a Superpower
8. The Putin System
9. The War On Democracy
10. Rise Like Lions: Occupy Wall Street and the Seeds of Revolution

[7] Biographies of Genius:

The biographies of modern geniuses who pushed humanity forward.

1. Isaac Newton: The Last Magician
2. Nikola Tesla: The Greatest Mind of All Time
3. The Unlimited Energy of Nicola Tesla
4. The Missing Secrets Of Nikola Tesla
5. Richard Feynman: No Ordinary Genius
6. How Albert Einstein’s Brain Worked
7. The Extraordinary Genius of Albert Einstein
8. The Biography of Albert Einstein
9. Da Vinci: Unlocking The Genius
10. Leonardo Da Vinci: The Man Who Wanted to Know Everything

[8] War:

War is history’s oldest racket for stealing from the powerless and redistributing resources to the powerful.

1. Psywar: The Real Battlefield Is Your Mind
2. The History of World War II
3. The Secret History of 9/11
4. Robot Armies in the Future
5. The Never Ending War in Afghanistan
6. Shadow Company: Mercenaries In The Modern World
7. World War II From Space
8. Why We Fight
9. The Fog Of War
10. The Oil Factor: Behind The War On Terror

[9] Economics:

Learn about the global financial system and how people and societies are enslaved through debt.

1. The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power
2. Overdose: The Next Financial Crisis
3. The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of The World
4. The One Percent
5. Quants: The Alchemists of Wall Street
6. The Last Days Of Lehman Brothers
7. The Four Horsemen
8. Inside Job: The Biggest Robbery In Human History
9. Capitalism: A Love Story
10. Money and Life

[10] Digital Entrepreneurship:

Profiles of the entrepreneurs who used technology to change the world.

1. The Life Of A Young Entrepreneur
2. Profile: Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin
3. Profile: Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg
4. Starting-Up in America
5. The Biography of Bill Gates
6. Inside Google: The Billion Dollar Machine
7. Steve Jobs: One Last Thing
8 . Steve Jobs: The Billion Dollar Hippy
9. Elon Musk: Risk Takers
10. The Story of Twitter

[11] Sports:

Watch the inspiring stories of amazing athletes.

1. Fearless: The Jeb Corliss Story
2. Carts of Darkness
3. The Two Escobars
4. Usain Bolt: The World’s Fastest Man
5. Wayne Gretzky: The Life and Times
6. When We Were Kings
7. Mike Tyson: Beyond the Glory
8. Birdmen
9. The Legacy Of Michael Jordan
10. We Ride: The Story of Snowboarding

[12] Technology:

Find out more about the impact of exponential growth and the approaching Singularity.

1. Ray Kurzweil: The Transcendent Man
2. How Robots Will Change the World
3. Human 2.0: Mind Control Machine
4. Technology of the Future
5. Trance-Formation: The Future of Humanity
6. The Venus Project: Future By Design
7. Bionics, Transhumanism And The End Of Evolution
8. The Singularity Is Near
9. Car Technology Of The Future
10. Powering The Future: The Energy Revolution

[13] Origins of Religion:

Explore the original religious experience of mankind at the dawn of civilization.

1. Entheogen: Awakening the Divine Within
2. Manifesting the Mind: Footprints of the Shaman
3. Ancient Egypt and The Alternative Story of Mankind’s Origins
4. The Hidden Knowledge of the Supernatural
5. Re-Awaken: Open Your Heart, Expand Your Mind
6. Shamans of the Amazon
7. The Root of All Evil: The God Delusion
8. Ancient Knowledge
9. The Naked Truth
10. Before Babel: In Search of the First Language

[14] Western Religion:

The fascinating history of the three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

1. Secret Quest: The Path of the Christian Gnostics
2. The Secret Gate of Eden
3. Forbidden Knowledge: Lost Secrets of the Bible
4. Banned From The Bible: Secrets Of The Apostles
5. The Life of Prophet Muhammad
6. The Road To Armageddon
7. The Most Hated Family In America
8. Muhammad: The Legacy of a Prophet
9. A Complete History of God
10. Gnosis: The Untold History of the Bible

[15] Eastern Religion:

Expand your mind by also studying the entirely different religious worldviews of the East.

1. Inner Worlds, Outer Worlds
2. The Life Of The Buddha
3. The Seven Wonders of the Buddhist World
4. Mysteries of the Cosmic OM: Ancient Vedic Science
5. Where Science and Buddhism Meet
6. The Yogis of Tibet
7. Taj Mahal: Secrets To Blow Your Mind
8. Light at the Edge of the World: Tibetan Science of the Mind
9. Myths of Mankind: The Mahabharata
10. Ayurveda: The Art of Being


[16] Consciousness:

Learn about the basic unity of existence and the miracle of consciousness.

1. Athene’s Theory of Everything
2. Theory of Everything: GOD, Devils, Dimensions, Dragons & The Illusion of Reality
3. The God Within: Physics, Cosmology and Consciousness
4. 5 Gateways: The Five Key Expansions of Consciousness
5. Return to the Source: Philosophy and The Matrix
6. The Holographic Universe
7. DMT: The Spirit Molecule
8. What Is Consciousness?
9. Kymatica
10. Neuroplasticity: The Brain That Changes Itself

[17] Mysteries:

Indiana Jones-style explorations into the unsolved mysteries of the past.

1. Alchemy: Sacred Secrets Revealed
2. The Day Before Disclosure
3. The Pyramid Code
4. The Secret Design of the Egyptian Pyramids
5. Decoding the Past: Secrets of the Dollar Bill
6. The Lost Gods of Easter Island
7. Origins of the Da Vinci Code
8. Forbidden Knowledge: Ancient Medical Secrets
9. Secret Mysteries of America’s Beginnings: The New Atlantis
10. Secrets in Plain Sight

[18] Mass Culture:

Learn about how our thoughts and opinions are influenced by mass culture.

1. The Century of the Self
2. All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace
3. The Power Of Nightmares
4. The Trap: What Happened To Our Dreams of Freedom
5. Starsuckers: A Culture Obsessed By Celebrity
6. Human Resources: Social Engineering in the 20th Century
7. Obey: The Death of the Liberal Class
8. Brazil: In the Shadow of the Stadiums
9. Bob Marley: Freedom Road
10. Radiant City

[19] Corporate Media:

Discover how the mass media and advertisers channel our irrational impulses.

1. Weapons of Mass Deceptions
2. Secrets of the Superbrands
3. Orwell Rolls in his Grave
4. The Esoteric Agenda
5. Propaganda
6. The Myth of the Liberal Media: The Propaganda Model of News
7. Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media
8. Symbolism in Logos: Subliminal Messages or Ancient Archetypes
9. Edward Snowden: A Truth Unveiled
10. Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism

[20] Art and Literature:

Explore the lives of famous artists and how art opens people’s minds.

1. Lord Of The Rings: Facts Behind The Fiction
2. Cosm: Alex Gray’s Visionary Art
3. Banksy’s Exit Through The Gift Shop
4. New Art and the Young Artists Behind It
5. Salvador Dali: A Master of the Modern Era
6. How Art Made The World: More Human Than Human
7. The Day Pictures Were Born
8. Guns, Germs and Steel
9. Off-Book: Digital Age Creativity
10. This Is Modern Art

[21] Health:

Explore issues in health, how our bodies work and the incredible power of our brains.

1. The Human Brain
2. The Truth About Vitamins
3. How To Live To 101
4. Globesity: Fat’s New Frontier
5. The War On Health
6. The Beautiful Truth
7. Food Inc.
8. The Truth About Food
9. Addicted To Pleasure: Sugar
10. The Living Matrix

[22] Drugs:

Documentaries on the effect of drugs — legal and illegal — on the body and mind.

1. The Union: The Business Behind Getting High
2. The Drugging Of Our Children
3. How Marijuana Affects Your Health
4. Making a Killing: The Untold Story of Psychotropic Drugging
5. Clearing the Smoke: The Science of Cannabis
6. LSD: The Beyond Within
7. The War on Drugs: The Prison Industrial Complex
8. Are Illegal Drugs More Dangerous Than Legal Drugs?
9. The Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic
10. Run From The Cure: The Rick Simpson Story

[23] Environment:

Thought-provoking documentaries on the environmental movement and the growing threats to our biosphere.

1. Earthlings
2. Blue Gold: World Water Wars
3. Tapped
4. Shift: Beyond the Numbers of the Climate Crisis
5. All Things Are Connected
6. The Fight For Amazonia
7. Flow: For Love Of Water
8. Here Comes the Sun
9. The World According To Monsanto
10. The Story of Stuff

[24] Cosmos:

Expand your mind by exploring our indescribably large and beautiful Cosmos.

1. The Search for Planets Similar to Earth
2. Inside the Milky Way Galaxy
3. Cosmic Journeys : The Largest Black Holes in the Universe
4. Beyond The Big Bang
5. The Mystery of the Milky Way
6. Fractals: The Hidden Dimension
7. Into The Universe With Stephen Hawking: The Story of Everything
8. Pioneer Science: Discovering Deep Space
9. Carl Sagan’s Cosmos
10. The Strangest Things In The Universe

[25] Science:

The history of scientific discovery and how scientific instruments expand our perception.

1. The Complete History of Science
2. The Quantum Revolution
3. Secret Universe: The Hidden Life of the Cell
4. Stephen Hawking: A Brief History of Time
5. Quantum Mechanics: Fabric of the Cosmos
6. The Light Fantastic
7. DNA: The Secret of Life
8. Parallel Universes, Alternative Timelines & Multiverse
9. What Is The Higgs Boson?
10. Infinity

[26] Evolution:

The story of our evolution and the emergence of self-aware human beings.

1. The Origin of Life
2. Homo Sapiens: The Birth of Humanity
3. Beyond Me
4. The Global Brain
5. Metanoia: A New Vision of Nature
6. Birth Of A New Humanity
7. Samsara
8. Ape Man: Adventures in Human Evolution
9. The Incredible Human Journey
10. The Human Family Tree

[27] Psychology and The Brain:

New research is shining a spotlight on how we can improve our brains.

1. How Smart Can We Get?
2. The Science of Lust
3. The Secret You
4. What Are Dreams?
5. A Virus Called Fear
6. Beyond Thought (Awareness Itself)
7. The Human Brain
8. Superconscious Mind: How To Double Your Brain’s Performance
9. How Does Your Memory Work?
10. Secrets of the Mind

[28] Modern History:

The story of the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution and the rise of the modern world.

1. The Entrepreneurs Who Built America
2. History of the World in Two Hours
3. The Industrial Revolution
4. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
5. The Adventure of the English Language
6. The French Revolution
7. Big Sugar
8. The Spanish Inquisition
9. The American Revolution
10. The Mexican American War

[29] Pre-Modern History:

The story of the Americas and European history in the pre-modern world.

1. America Before Columbus
2. The Dark Ages
3. Socrates, Aristotle and Plato
4. The Medici: The Most Influencial Family In The World
5. Rome: The Rise And Fall Of An Empire
6. History of Britain: The Myth of the Anglo-Saxon Invasion
7. A History of Celtic Britain
8. The Crusades: Victory and Defeat
9. The Vikings: Voyage To America
10. Copernicus and the Scientific Revolution

[30] Current Events:

Become more informed about current events that are shaping the world.

1. Syria: The Reckoning
2. Empire: Putin’s Russia
3. The New Arms Race
4. The Killing of Yasser Arafat
5. Egypt In Crisis
6. Inside Obama’s Presidency
7. The Untouchables: How Obama Protected Wall Street
8. Behind The Rhetoric: The Real Iran
9. A History of the Middle East since WWII
10. Climate Wars

[31] Ancient Civilizations:

Fascination explorations into the ancient civilizations of our past.

1. When God Was a Girl: When Goddesses Ruled The Heavens and Earth
2. The Persian Empire : Most Mysterious Civilization in the Ancient World
3. What The Ancients Did For Us
4. What the Ancients Knew
5. Egypt: Beyond the Pyramids
6. Secrets of the Ancient Empires
7. Constellations & Ancient Civilizations
8. Graham Hancock’s Quest For The Lost Civilization
9. Atlantis: The Lost Continent
10. Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

I hope you enjoy watching some of these mind expanding documentaries! If you have a personal favorite, please share it with everyone in the comments.

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Avatar of Kyle Pearce

Kyle Pearce

I created DIY Genius to help people develop digital skills and the entrepreneurial mindset to navigate the turbulence and opportunity of the 21st century. I also teach courses in mindfulness training that give people the tools they need to develop their focus, creativity and self-motivation.

43 Responses on Down The Rabbit Hole We Go! 300+ Mind Expanding Documentaries"

  1. Saad khan says:

    God bless you.

  2. Lars J. Brandt says:

    Awesome selection. Thank you for sifting!

  3. Oh wow. I’m going be working through this list for years. Thanks!

  4. Karim Naufal says:

    Awesomingly fantastic !!! Thank you and God bless you for this truly magnificent enlightening list of documentaries…. Wow.

  5. chester says:

    One of the best link roundups I’ve ever seen. You’ve just kept me busy for a year!

  6. Barbara says:

    Thank you for this list of docs & for the list of free online courses!

  7. Fantastic! I’m sorely tempted to spend a year doing nothing but watch (or rewatch) all the documentaries on this list.

  8. Luis L says:

    Great list of documentaries, good job! The The Biography of Albert Einstein has a broken link.

  9. Michael Dowling says:

    I’ve seen the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich before, but it is worth seeing again. Masterful and an epic tragedy of the 20th century.

  10. Moiz says:

    Thanks a lot for this list. This is simply amazing. Thanks for your hard work to collate this and put it for general use.

  11. the.rx78 says:

    Link broken: 4-10 “How Hackers Changed The World”

  12. Loretta says:

    So, you thought that in the biography of geniuses section, we needed three bios on Tesla — who I adore, don’t get me wrong — and not a single biography of a single woman or a single person of color? On the female side, how about Marie Curie, or Barbara McClintock, or Ada Lovelace?

  13. maria says:

    excellent! thank you!!!

  14. John Gaudino says:

    I’m actually very disturbed by the message about the documentary waiting for Superman…

    I haven’t seen it but let me be clear you agreed with one particular point of view so deleted it? So am I to understand this list is simply a list of the particular viewpoints you happen to agree with rather than a list of controversial and perhaps opposing views to your own this is just more propaganda from your perspective is that it?

    I was initially excited about this list far less so now since it is just your particular viewpoints that you agree with

    The hypocrisy is astounding I am slack-jawed by your hypocrisy … No doubt you will screen about intellectual freedom and the right to say what needs to be said oh that is so long as it agrees with you I forgot thanks for nothing stand up man up and walk your talk instead of being a major hypocrite back waiting for Superman and let me make up my own damned mind

    Might I suggest a more respectful approach and let us make up our own mind before you go deleting things and censoring things which is exactly what you have done

    • James Clark says:

      Have you watched Waiting for Superman…? It’s as much a documentary as FOX broadcasting is the news…

      P.S. I believe this collection was put together as courtesy. The producer can do what they wish, and the removal of a propaganda piece does not mean you can’t watch it.

    • Avatar of Kyle Pearce Kyle Pearce says:

      The link on YouTube was broken so I replaced it with another education documentary. I’ve had to do that with a number of films on the list. Waiting For Superman is actually worth watching. It raises some important issues about our education system but like a lot of documentaries there are good points made along with other arguments that people will find disagreeable (in this case, it could be claimed that the filmmaker is promoting a more privatized education system).

      Like I said at the top, critical thinking is important. There are documentaries on this list from across the spectrum. I have included a variety of different viewpoints, some of which I disagree with myself.

      A good example is Zeitgeist: Moving Forward. It’s a popular documentary that addresses some major problems in our world but the solutions proposed are not what I would necessarily endorse. Nonetheless, some people will find it worth watching so I included it.

  15. Fred says:

    I can only say; awesome
    The link to Lord Of The Rings: Facts Behind The Fiction is private.
    (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krqmf5oBDXk)

  16. N Frost says:

    I homeschool my son. I was looking for EXACTLY this as fill-ins for after the core stuff is over each day and we still have time left! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!! [found it on HN, btw]

  17. Courtney says:

    THANK YOU SO MUCH! I love listening to documentaries, especially when I’m cleaning or doing something that doesn’t require a lot of attention. This list is brilliant! All the praise!

  18. Sharon Merchant says:

    Wow, thanks for an incredible list. I’m probably going to have back surgery soon and I’ve watched more TV the past year than most of my life. Sharing your time & effort is appreciated.

  19. Avatar of ftorstensson ftorstensson says:

    What a gold mine. Thanks!

  20. oleg says:

    Do you have something about psilocybin mushrooms and their medical effects? I’ve read that doctors gave it to patients and had positive results… any one? TY

  21. N Frost says:

    29.5 Rome – just got deleted by youtube…. :/

  22. Avatar of acesun07 acesun07 says:

    You are far too kind !! i love this.

    btw, probably u could add 1 more doc.

    In Transition 2.0 is an inspirational immersion in the Transition movement, gathering stories from around the world of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. You’ll hear about communities printing their own money, growing food, localising their economies and setting up community power stations. It’s an idea that has gone viral, a social experiment that is about responding to uncertain times with solutions and optimism. In a world of increasing uncertainty, here is a story of hope, ingenuity and the power of growing vegetables in unexpected places.

    http://youtu.be/FFQFBmq7X84

    just a suggestion under health i presume. thanks again Kyle, Jazakullah

  23. Charles says:

    Thanks. You might want to add The Holographic Universe Workshop Series (1-5)
    Keep it up!!

  24. Eric says:

    The link for Download: The True Story of the Internet gives the error “The playlist does not exist”.

    Other than that, thanks very much for the comprehensive list!

  25. Al says:

    Thank you so much for this marvellous collection! I was just looking for recommendations but I think you’ve done a wonderful job picking and presenting them. Everyone should be encouraged to watch documentaries. I’ve only just started to discover this form. I find that when I watch a good one, it is quite as though it’s challenging me; to think differently, to explore something new, to act, to feel…
    Did find the link for Ron Fricke’s Samsara broken (under Evolution), but only because I’ve seen his previous film, Baraka, to be a kind of spiritual and grounded experience at the same time! They are different stylistically from most documentaries, but I recommend them (and Koyaanisqatsi) as they do “document”!

  26. Uib says:

    Thank you and God bless you for this truly magnificent enlightening list of documentaries And Thank You For Nice Sharing…..

  27. Damir says:

    Hello Kyle, thank you for making such a fine selection of documentaries!
    Shared your link on my G+ account so some more documentary enthusiasts from Croatia are coming! :)

    “Copyright criminals” is good documentary too, so maybe put it in Creativity and Design category.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIoR3PYpduo

    Also “Triumph of the nerds” (parts one and two)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-93Ps77b6xU

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHFJdLP0Hdg

    Cheers and thanx again!
    Damir

  28. Dino says:

    Thanks a lot Kyle for this outstanding gift, i mean it for the MOOCs too. Funny though that the documentary “Down the rabbit hole” itself is not on the list, I would highly recommend it as well as. “What the bleep do we know” when it comes to mind expansion.

  29. Matt Gathu says:

    Kyle this a great list here. Many thanks.

    Could you add a section on music. It would be great to have documentaries on the evolution of music culture in the world.

    Thanks.

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