“The capacity to learn is a gift. The ability to learn is a skill. The willingness to learn is a choice.” – Brian Herbert
Watching documentaries is a powerful way to expand our knowledge and understanding of all sorts of topics and world issues. In just an hour or two, we can gain an entirely new perspective from the comfort of our own couch. And lucky for us, for animals, and for our planet, dozens of vegan documentaries have been coming to life recently!
Here are the 15 most powerful, important, and life-altering vegan documentaries out there (according to—well, me). I haven’t done a formal survey, but I have watched dozens of vegan documentaries over the past 15 years and these are the ones that have consistently stayed on the tippy-top of my must-watch list. Many of them are even free to watch on Netflix!
So…are you ready to expand your mind, learn something new from experts, become a better vegan resource for others, and chill out on the couch for an hour? Thought so. Go, go, go! Popcorn is optional.
Think you need meat to bulk up and become a top performing athlete? Think again! Even if you’re not interested in building muscle or trying out a triathlon, this documentary will leave you with a massive dose of knowledge and inspiration.
Produced by James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jackie Chan, it’s a must-see. You’ll learn the science behind the protein myth and be blown away by the plant-based success of these world-renowned athletes in action.
One of the best vegan documentaries for anyone interested in health and wellness. This movie will open your eyes to the collusion and corruption of government establishments concerning food, health and nutrition. Although at times amusing and entertaining, it’s still a serious and solid look at what is happening with our nation’s health.
An inspiring, inside look at how “diseases of affluence” can be easily controlled and even reversed through diet alone. If you know anyone with Type II diabetes, heart disease, or hypertension, this film is for them. It may even save their life. Incredibly down-to-earth and practical, this movie will empower you to reclaim your health and will greatly influence your next grocery list! You’ll be rooting for Forks (for eating fresh, whole foods) over Knives (for performing open heart surgery) for sure!
Environmentalist Kip Anderson embarks on a mission to find answers and solutions to our world’s greatest environmental problems. He does an incredible job documenting the factory farming industry and how it is so destructive to our environment.
You’ll see interviews with the leaders of major environmental groups that largely ignore these issues and the well hidden reasons why. It’s one of the best movies revealing how detrimental factory farms are to the health of our world and to all those who live in it.
This groundbreaking documentary, produced by the same team from Cowspiracy, exposes the fishing industry and its damaging impact on our oceans. What starts with documenting the harm that humans do to marine species quickly evolves to uncovering the alarming global corruption, sustainability issues, and a scary path to environmental destruction. This eyeopening documentary exposes how the global industrial fishing industries are killing our oceans, out of sight.
A movie that delves into the complex and complicated issue concerning the behavior of killer whales, both in and out of captivity. Although killer whales are sometimes known to be gentle giants in the wild, they also have the capability to be quite vicious.
This documentary takes a deeper look into the performing whale, Tilikum, and the lives he has taken while captive. You’ll leave with a newfound respect for animal sanctuaries and disdain for theme parks (like SeaWorld) that use these majestic animals for entertainment and profit.
A dolphin lover’s worst nightmare captured in real life, this important film is not for the faint of heart. This documentary expands its story to include a passionate plea for all people to help our oceans and sea creatures. An electrifying movie that will leave you breathless and also committed to making a difference for our precious ocean life.
A dark, undercover Australian documentary that presents modern agricultural practices through the lens of drones, hidden and handheld cameras. Often considered the new Earthlings, the movie explores the horrible conditions that animals have to suffer through and questions the validity and morality concerning the dominion of humans over animals.
This film is a must watch—but bring a friend to hold and a box of tissues.
A heartbreaking and highly sensitive documentary for anyone who wants the honest truth about society’s treatment of animals. Although extremely painful to experience, it’s almost a necessary undertaking to absorb the fullest extent of an animal’s experience in the world at the present. If you are on the fence about becoming vegan, this movie narrated by Joaquin Phoenix will change your mind in minutes.
A simple, but satisfying movie that attempts to alter the appetites of three meat-and-cheese loving, native New Yorkers. This documentary follows these vegan hopefuls over a six week period and shares their progress, as well as their pitfalls. Entertaining and slightly educational, it’s well worth watching.
The Winner of 22 International Awards, this electrifying movie takes a deep dive into the shark infested waters of our oceans. This documentary explores the lives of sharks first hand, while also exposing the shark finning industry and the ruthless exploitation and corruption of the shark population. A must see for all sea creature loving humans.
Joe Cross takes us on his 60 day juice-only journey to optimal health. This documentary is not only enormously inspiring, but also addicting to watch with its positive vibe and down-to-earth approach. You’ll find yourself yearning for your own fresh fruit juices and glowing health by the end of it.
An illuminating photojournalistic journey into the lives of animals in all sectors of industry throughout the world. This compassionate vegan documentary follows JoAnn McArthur’s entire year of capturing the behind the scenes stories of several animals in all parts of the world. Through food, fashion, research and entertainment, you will experience what it might be like for an animal stuck in the machine of our modern world.
A gripping and painful story of Eddie Lama, whose violent and difficult life growing up in Brooklyn, NY caused an epiphany concerning the plight of animals. Because of his own experiences with exploitation and trauma, he could much easily sympathize with the suffering of animals, who also have no one advocating on their behalf. An inspiring story of creative animal advocacy that will leave you motivated to take action.
An emotional, intense and groundbreaking documentary about farmers, farming life and the animals that they care for. This movie takes you behind the scenes of small farm owners and explores how various social, economical and psychological issues impact their everyday existence. An honest and candid look at the complex relationship between animals viewed as commodities, while also having an incredible loving bond with their caretakers at the same time.
Finally, don’t miss our own mini-documentary about what 7 days of plant-based eating did for this man’s health. We guarantee you’ll be amazed. You can watch right now in just 15 minutes!
A short and satisfying mini-documentary following one man’s seven-day journey from fast food to plant food. You’ll be amazed at how only one week of eating vegan can transform Raul’s entire lifestyle. And with just a few simple swaps, inexpensive ingredients, and friendly support. His blood pressure plummeted, his fear of diabetes diminished, and he felt better than he had in years. A must see for anyone looking for inspiration to take the plunge into a plant-based way of eating.
“It’s not the strongest of species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” – Charles Darwin
If you’ve made your way through those documentaries and are wanting to dive into learning more about a vegan lifestyle, we have vegan guides on every topic! Here are some additional resources to start with:
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Thanks for the post.
Great list! Can you add Seaspriacy to the list? It breaks through the myth that eating seafood is eco friendly, sustainable and less cruel than eating cows.
Oh yes! Absolutely, Seaspiracy is an incredible film!