11 Eye-Opening Documentaries for Students to Watch Now

When you are a student and you spend all of your time studying, it can be hard to find the motivation to educate yourself in your free time. However, by looking into topics you are interested in and exploring different points of view, you broaden your perspective.

Sometimes the best way to get fresh ideas and restore the creative flow is to step away from textbooks and essays and look for some inspiration in documentaries. Everyone knows they have a ton of useful information. Besides, documentaries also entertain you and give you something to think about. Ready for discoveries? Keep reading for the eleven best documentaries you should add to your watch list right now.

1. Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise (2016)

This award-winning documentary will tell you about the life and career of a remarkable American poet, writer, and civil rights activist Maya Angelou. She is well-known for her autobiographies. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is one of her most notable works.

If you’re determined to start your career as a writer or you simply want to improve your writing skills, this documentary is pure inspiration. Combine it with some writing help from an essayservice.com, and you’ll be able to write A-level papers in no time. The documentary is part of a PBS series about outstanding American artists.

2. Explained (2018–)

Explained is a binge-worthy series on Netflix. It releases weekly episodes on a wide range of topics. Do you want to know how fairy tales relate to people’s fundamental concerns? Learn how computer code controls our lives? Or step inside an animal’s mind? Get these and hundreds of other questions explained. The documentary series also has several spin-offs that address the mind, COVID-19, money, and related topics.

3. Girls Rising (2013)

“I will read. I will study. I will learn. If you try to stop me, I will just try harder.” Nine girls from nine different countries tell how the power of education can change your life. Despite all obstacles, injustices, discrimination, and arranged marriages, these brave young women show how one should fight for their dreams. The documentary is narrated by prominent actors: Meryl Streep, Kerry Washington, Anne Hathaway, Selma Hayek, Freida Pinto, and others.

4. History 101 (2020)

If you’re into history, you should definitely check out the bite-sized lessons of the History 101 documentary. They focus on life-changing inventions and breakthroughs that revolutionized the way we live in the form of 20-minute videos. However, if you are looking for more in-depth research for your next history essay, get essay help online. It’s crucial for a student to have an expert essay writer to consult whenever they need any assistance with their homework.

5. Seaspiracy (2024)

Another Netflix documentary on our list deals with marine life and the human impact on oceans. Directed by Ali Tabrizi, Seaspiracy is an eye-opening work about fishing crimes, corruption, and forced labor. It inspires a genuine passion for the subject. The documentary shows how our food habits are linked to global environmental concerns and encourage people to be more mindful consumers.

6. Race to Nowhere (2010)

Student life is not all fun. It’s also filled with stress, burnout, and constant anxiety. Race to Nowhere looks at what it is like to be a student when you’re constantly pressured to be good at everything and the side effects of the obsession with achievement. The documentary encourages students to step aside and reevaluate where they are going and how they feel.

7. 13th (2016)

13th is a documentary about racial inequality and years of injustice provoked by the American prison system. Ava DuVernay, director of 13th, provides statistics on mass incarceration in the US and focuses on the suppression of African Americans. 13th was nominated for dozens of prestigious awards, including an Oscar for the best documentary feature.

8. The Social Dilemma (2020)

The winner of Primetime Emmy Awards, BFE Cut Above Awards, and Boulder International Film Festival, The Social Dilemma is a powerful documentary about the dangers of social networking. It discloses how tech advancements we are so proud of have become a dangerous tool of control and manipulation.

9. The Cartel (2009)

The Cartel is a documentary about the effectiveness of education in the US. The creators aim to uncover the reason for vast underachievement among students, considering the highest spending per student globally. The host and narrator of the documentary is Bob Bowdon, who won the Visionary and Audience Awards for his work at the Washington DC Independent Film Festival.

10. Disclosure (2020)

Every day, more and more transgender people step into the light and fight for their rights. According to Disclosure’s executive producer, Laverne Cox, we live in a time of “unprecedented trans visibility.” But did you know that only 20 percent of Americans personally know a trans person? The rest of the people have only seen onscreen portrayals of trans people.

In Disclosure, notable trans individuals talk about these portrayals and share their opinions and the impact these depictions had on their lives and the lives of transgender people in general. This documentary is an unprecedented, eye-opening look at transgender onscreen representation throughout history, showing how Hollywood, for a long time now, has been manufacturing our deepest anxieties about gender.

11. Abstract: The Art Of Design (2017–)

Design is part of each aspect of our lives. This is what Scott Dadich focuses on in his original documentary Abstract: The Art of Design. The series features illustrators, designers, photographers, architects, and other artists to share their insights on design. The documentary is a must-watch for every art student and anyone who is interested in design.

To Sum Up

These are our top documentary picks across a wide range of genres and topics. You can find exactly what you need to refuel your brain and find inspiration to research and study. Watching documentaries gives you fresh ideas, stimulates your brain, and allows you to discover new places and cultures. Besides, it’s a good way to learn and entertain yourself at the same time. If that’s what you’re looking for, don’t hesitate and pick a documentary for the evening.