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The Best Documentaries You Can Watch for Free on YouTube

The Best Documentaries You Can Watch for Free on YouTube

When we want to sit down and learn a little bit about the world around us from the comfort of our own bedrooms, we typically turn to Netflix. But not to be left out of the running, Youtube also brings a lot to the table. There are thousands of documentaries available to watch, free of charge—if you can get passed all the cat videos and copyright claims, of course. Here are the 8 best documentaries you can watch for free on YouTube:


Child of Rage

Feel like having the shit scared out of you? Enjoy this short 28-minute documentary about young Beth Thomas, a child who talks candidly about killing her brother and adoptive parents. Produced in 1989, the program comprises excerpts from the therapy tapes of Dr. Ken Magin, a clinical psychologist who interviewed and worked extensively with Thomas. Magin talks to Thomas about breaking baby birds’ necks, vividly murdering her family, and stealing knives from her mother. If your girlfriend has been talking about “settling down” lately, go ahead and sneak this one onto her laptop browser. Yeesh. Link


The Iceman Tapes—Inside The Mind Of A Mafia Hitman

In this documentary about Richard Kuklinski, a coldhearted hitman-for-hire currently spending the rest of his life in jail for the murders of five confirmed people (and a purported 100+ others, including that of famous union leader Jimmy Hoffa), Dr. Park Dietz, a forensic psychiatrist, interviews and evaluates the man known as “The Iceman.”  The 13-hour meeting is summed up in this 45-minute documentary film from HBO’s “America Undercover” series. Link


Made in China – Factory of the World

Ever wonder where that that laundry bin or smart phone was manufactured? Chances are it was made in China’s “Factory City,” a workplace the size of Monaco, filled with tens of thousands of people. This documentary takes viewers on an in-depth look inside this “city,” where entire families live together, children are sent to school, and couples are even married. Link


The Next Black – A Film About the Future of Clothing

The Next Black isn’t a film about what’s new; it’s about what’s next (or so says the documentary’s website). This fascinating documentary takes a look at clothing industry innovators and leaders like adidas, Patagonia, Studio XO, and others to talk about the future of clothing, address concerns about sustainability and the environment, explore emerging and potentially culture-shifting technology, and look at the creative process of making revolutionary clothing. It’s not particularly “male-centric,” but it’s fascinating to anyone interested in the future of what we wear. Link


Brewed in the Burg Beer Documentary

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, was one of America’s most vibrant beer communities at the turn of the 20th century. But by the 1950s, that culture had practically dissolved. Brewed in the Burg is a documentary about the emerging and vibrant craft beer community that exists today in Harrisburg, a place where over 30 craft breweries coexist within a 30-mile radius. If you love craft beer and want to learn about how it revolves around more than just beer, but about community and culture, this is a solid selection (even if it is almost two-and-a-half hours long!). Link

Update: A better quality version of Brewed in the Burg is available for free on Vimeo. Watch it here.


Jesse James American Craftsman

In the motorcycle world, when you say the name “Jesse James,” you’ll get a mix-bag of responses. But love him or hate him, Jesse James is the real deal—a blue collar kid turned master bike builder, game-changing fabricator and metalworker, gunsmith, and entrepreneur. This brief 44-minute documentary tells you a little bit about James, his artistic process, and the importance of craftsmanship and perfecting one’s trade—whether it be blacksmithing, knife making, woodworking, hot rod building, etc. This documentary will make you want to work. Link


The Billionaire Life of Warren Buffett

This is a documentary about the man who turned $10,000 into $40 billion (and a hell of a lot more), the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, the Oracle of Omaha himself—Warren Buffet. It discusses Buffet’s humble beginnings selling 5-cent bottles of Coca-Cola as a child back in Omaha, to his donation of two thirds of his fortune to charity decades later. The stock market, intelligent investing, education, and other lessons in business is what you’ll find in this inspirational documentary about one of history’s most affluent and influential men. Link



Before the widespread popularity of MMA struck the world (Ha! See what we did there?) in the mid-2000s, and before major UFC fights were broadcast for $60 bucks a piece on Pay-per-view, there was a somewhat underground and explosively gnarly form of hybrid martial arts called “freestyle fighting.” And at the helm of its success was a man named Rickson Gracie. Today, Gracie is a Legends of MMA Hall of Fame inductee, part-time movie star, and someone who has criticized the UFC in the past for its “soft” competition. Choke, released in 1999, follows Gracie on his journey to defend his title in the 1995 Vale Tudo Freestyle Fighting Championship in Tokyo, Japan. Gracie was a monster and an artist in his prime, and a look at Choke will leave you feeling like the UFC is about intense as the ball pit inside a McDonald’s Play Place. Link


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