Free documentaries in English

Improve your English by watching free documentaries

Are you interested in psychology, science or innovation? Or perhaps art, history or politics?

Free documentaries - topics

Range of topics

And did you know there is an easy way to combine your interests with learning English? Research shows that learning English through content that you are personally interested in is much more productive and motivating than through resources that you don’t really enjoy.

Top Documentary Films provides a fantastic collection of hundreds of fascinating free documentaries (films based on facts that give information on a particular subject). The topics range from art and environment to crime and conspiracy theories. All the documentaries are free to watch online and for most of them you can switch on subtitles in English using the “CC” button. But be careful, because the subtitles may not always be 100% correct.

Tips for using free documentaries

  • Try watching without subtitles and see how much you can understand.
  • If you feel you don’t understand enough, turn on the subtitles in English and watch a section of the documentary (about 10-15 minutes).
  • Then try watching the same section again without subtitles – you will see that this time you can understand much more! This is a great way to develop your listening skills. In addition, you will remember the information from the documentary much better.
  • For advanced listening skills practice try listening to a section of the documentary without watching. Then watch and check how much you understood.

My favourite documentary so far is “The Google Boys” about the creation of Google by Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

Choose a documentary that you like most and let me know what you think in the comments below!

2 thoughts on “Improve your English by watching free documentaries

    • Hi AmmarAli! Thanks for your question. Watching documentaries is probably not the best way to improve writing skills. It is most helpful for improving listening skills. However, you can try writing short summaries or reviews of the documentaries you watch. You can also write an essay based on the ideas from a documentary.

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