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Historical Documentaries on Netflix

Last updated April 15, 2024

Hiroshima: BBC History of World War II Poster

Hiroshima: BBC History of World War II

2005 | NR | 4.0 out of 5 Stars

This fascinating documentary recounts the world's first nuclear attack and examines the alarming repercussions. Covering a three-week period from the New Mexico test blast to dropping the bomb on Hiroshima, the program chronicles America's political gamble and the planning for the momentous event. Archival film, dramatizations and special effects take viewers aboard the &NFi;Enola Gay&NFi_; and inside the exploding bomb.
Details about Hiroshima: BBC History of World War II

No Place on Earth Poster

No Place on Earth

2012 | NR | 4.0 out of 5 Stars

This documentary sheds light on a long-untold story of World War II: the 18-month sanctuary of 38 Jewish refugees in a Ukrainian cave. Five surviving members discuss their ordeal, as the film chronicles the accidental discovery of the cave in 1993.
Details about No Place on Earth

Ken Burns: The West Poster

Ken Burns: The West

1996 | NR | 4.0 out of 5 Stars

Historian and Oscar nominee Ken Burns and his talented team mine vintage photographs, music, maps, letters, newspapers and more to bring to life the struggles and challenges Americans faced in the 19th century as they embarked on westward expansion.
Details about Ken Burns: The West

National Geographic: Pearl Harbor: Legacy of Attack Poster

National Geographic: Pearl Harbor: Legacy of Attack

2001 | NR | 4.0 out of 5 Stars

This feature-length documentary delves into the unresolved mysteries surrounding the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor as oceanographer Robert Ballard dives deep into the waters of the harbor to find the remains of a Japanese sub.
Details about National Geographic: Pearl Harbor: Legacy of Attack

The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 Poster

The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975

2011 | NR | 4.0 out of 5 Stars

From 1967 to '75, a film crew aimed cameras at major figures in the Black Power movement, creating hours of footage that remained unreleased for decades. In clips, Stokely Carmichael, Huey P. Newton and Angela Davis discuss the movement's evolution.
Details about The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975

Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State Poster

Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State

2005 | NR | 3.9 out of 5 Stars

This six-part documentary series tackles one of World War II's -- and history's -- most disquieting and repugnant subjects: the Holocaust and its infamous killing factory, the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.
Details about Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State

National Geographic: Inside North Korea Poster

National Geographic: Inside North Korea

2006 | NR | 3.9 out of 5 Stars

Disguised as a medical coordinator, National Geographic correspondent Lisa Ling gains access into North Korea and gives viewers a powerful glimpse inside one of the most restrictive countries in the world. Through personal accounts and exclusive footage, Ling exposes the difficulties North Koreans face while living in such an oppressive regime, coping with poverty, hunger and the lack of civil liberties.
Details about National Geographic: Inside North Korea

In Search of Beethoven Poster

In Search of Beethoven

2009 | NR | 3.9 out of 5 Stars

Phil Grabsky, award-winning director of In Search of Mozart, lenses this feature length, in-depth look at Ludwig van Beethoven, which features new insights into the composer's life and music, and excerpts from more than 60 live performances. Performers and musical authorities interviewed for the film include Sir Roger Norrington, Claudio Abbado, Ronald Brautigam, Hélène Grimaud, Vadim Repin, Janine Jansen, Lars Vogt and Emanuel Ax.
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Iwo Jima: 50 Years of Memories Poster

Iwo Jima: 50 Years of Memories

1996 | NR | 3.9 out of 5 Stars

Straight from the mouths of those who lived through it, this harrowing documentary recounts the historic battle of Iwo Jima and pays tribute to the men who fought and died over those 36 days. In addition to candid interviews, the program also features archival footage, photographs and maps of the island. Commemorating the 50th anniversary of Operation Detachment, this in-depth special originally aired on PBS.
Details about Iwo Jima: 50 Years of Memories

Secrets of the Dead: Silver Pharaoh Poster

Secrets of the Dead: Silver Pharaoh

2010 | NR | 3.9 out of 5 Stars

Pharaoh Tutankhamen, we know. But what of Pharaoh Psusennes I, a little-known Egyptian king who ruled from approximately 1047 to 1001 B.C. and left behind one of the most lavish tombs of anyone in the ancient world? This fascinating installment of the "Secrets of the Dead" series transports viewers to the time of Psusennes to analyze the accomplishments of his reign and learn how he earned the nickname the "Silver Pharaoh."
Details about Secrets of the Dead: Silver Pharaoh

National Geographic: Guns, Germs and Steel Poster

National Geographic: Guns, Germs and Steel

2005 | NR | 3.9 out of 5 Stars

After journeying to the four corners of the world to unearth the causes of inequality, Prof. Jared Diamond came up with a straightforward explanation: People's fortunes hinge on their geography and their contact with guns, germs and steel. Interlacing science, anthropology and historical reenactments, this insightful documentary based on Diamond's best-selling book brings to life his intriguing hypothesis.
Details about National Geographic: Guns, Germs and Steel

Secrets of the Dead: China's Terracotta Warriors Poster

Secrets of the Dead: China's Terracotta Warriors

2011 | NR | 3.9 out of 5 Stars

Putting 8,000 clay soldiers in historical context, this installment of "Secrets of the Dead" explores the origins of the famed terracotta warriors that were created -- in the span of only two years -- to guard the First Emperor of China's tomb.
Details about Secrets of the Dead: China's Terracotta Warriors

National Geographic: King Tut's Final Secrets Poster

National Geographic: King Tut's Final Secrets

2005 | NR | 3.9 out of 5 Stars

Tag along with Egyptian scientists as they conduct a high-tech forensic probe into the puzzling demise of the world's most renowned mummy and the famous curse ostensibly linked to the deaths of those who unearthed his sarcophagus. Among the highlights of this intriguing two-hour documentary is the first reconstruction of the boy king's face and skull by two paleosculptors who create a silicone bust from CT scan data.
Details about National Geographic: King Tut's Final Secrets

Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State Poster

Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State

2005 | NR | 3.9 out of 5 Stars

It was the site of the largest mass murder the world has ever seen, yet few people know its full history. This landmark series puts together the most complete history of Auschwitz, from the evolution of the camp to the mentality of the perpetrators.
Details about Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State

The Art of the Steal Poster

The Art of the Steal

2009 | NR | 3.9 out of 5 Stars

A gripping tale of intrigue and mystery in the art world, this film traces the history of the Barnes collection of Post-Impressionist paintings, which was worth billions and became the subject of a power struggle after the 1951 death of the owner. Dr. Albert Barnes collected 181 Renoirs, 69 Cézannes, 59 Matisses, 46 Picassos and many other valuable paintings. But the political wrangling over the collection eventually led to its division.
Details about The Art of the Steal

National Geographic: The Lost Fleet of Guadalcanal Poster

National Geographic: The Lost Fleet of Guadalcanal

1996 | NR | 3.9 out of 5 Stars

Using historical footage, underwater exploration, interviews and narration by former president George Bush Sr., the acclaimed National Geographic crew and Dr. Robert Ballard (who discovered the shipwrecks of the Titanic and the Bismarck) trace the bloody 1942 battle of Guadalcanal, in which the Allies fought the Japanese and 50 ships were downed. The recently located ships are the focus of this fascinating documentary.
Details about National Geographic: The Lost Fleet of Guadalcanal

National Geographic: Guns, Germs and Steel Poster

National Geographic: Guns, Germs and Steel

2005 | NR | 3.9 out of 5 Stars

After journeying to the four corners of the world to unearth the causes of inequality, professor Jared Diamond came up with a straightforward explanation: People's fortunes hinge on their geography and their contact with guns, germs and steel.
Details about National Geographic: Guns, Germs and Steel

National Geographic: The Battle for Midway Poster

National Geographic: The Battle for Midway

1999 | NR | 3.9 out of 5 Stars

It was here in 1942 where the U.S. and Japan fought one of the greatest naval battles of World War II that changed the course of history. Hear the stories of four remarkable men and how each survived the war despite incredible odds.
Details about National Geographic: The Battle for Midway

National Geographic: The Human Family Tree Poster

National Geographic: The Human Family Tree

2009 | NR | 3.9 out of 5 Stars

Charting human history from its ancient roots in Africa to its startling evolution over time, geneticist Spencer Wells and his fellow scientists with National Geographic's Genographic Project uncover fascinating truths about the commonalities of man. The program focuses on a diverse group of New Yorkers, using samples swabbed from the inside of their cheeks, as a starting point for analyzing their origins.
Details about National Geographic: The Human Family Tree

Mystery of the Sphinx Poster

Mystery of the Sphinx

1993 | NR | 3.8 out of 5 Stars

Charlton Heston hosts this intriguing documentary that explores the possibility that Egypt's Great Sphinx, one of the world's most recognized monolith statues, is thousands of years older than originally believed.
Details about Mystery of the Sphinx

Loose Change 9/11: An American Coup Poster

Loose Change 9/11: An American Coup

2009 | NR | 3.8 out of 5 Stars

Informed by footage from Sept. 11, interviews with experts and new evidence, filmmaker Dylan Avery argues that the world hasn't heard the full truth behind the terrorist attacks and urges citizens to demand accountability from the U.S. government.
Details about Loose Change 9/11: An American Coup

Secrets of the Dead: Lost Ships of Rome Poster

Secrets of the Dead: Lost Ships of Rome

2010 | NR | 3.8 out of 5 Stars

The popular PBS series about ancient mysteries returns with a compelling examination of five strangely intact sunken ships near the isolated island of Ventotene, where Emperor Augustus banished his daughter Julia because of her political intrigues. Archeologists, divers and other experts explore the shipwrecks and find a plethora of ancient artifacts, while historical records are used to uncover the island's magnificent architectural secrets.
Details about Secrets of the Dead: Lost Ships of Rome

National Geographic: Search for the Battleship Bismarck Poster

National Geographic: Search for the Battleship Bismarck

1989 | NR | 3.8 out of 5 Stars

Join Dr. Robert Ballard and narrator Richard Kiley on this gripping underwater journey to discover the secrets of the Bismarck, a German battleship that terrorized the high seas during World War II and was finally downed by Allied firepower. Ballard, who discovered the remains of the Titanic, found the Bismarck in the eerie depths of the Atlantic Ocean, steeped in the secrets of its final destruction.
Details about National Geographic: Search for the Battleship Bismarck

National Geographic: The Search for Kennedy's PT 109 Poster

National Geographic: The Search for Kennedy's PT 109

2002 | NR | 3.8 out of 5 Stars

Dr. Robert Ballard, famous for discovering the watery remains of the Titanic, unearths the wreck of John F. Kennedy's legendary World War II patrol-torpedo boat in this intriguing National Geographic documentary. Includes compelling wartime footage and eyewitness accounts of Kennedy's heroism aboard the ill-fated ship that was cut in half by a Japanese destroyer in the murky waters off the Solomon Islands.
Details about National Geographic: The Search for Kennedy's PT 109

National Geographic: Herod's Lost Tomb Poster

National Geographic: Herod's Lost Tomb

2008 | NR | 3.8 out of 5 Stars

Featuring Israeli archeologist Ehud Netzer, this documentary examines his many-year search for the tomb of Herod the Great, who was made famous in the Gospel of Matthew for his massacre of the male infants of Bethlehem. With visits to renowned Herodian-designed sites, including Caesarea, Masada and the Second Temple of Jerusalem, the film provides an in-depth architectural tour of the infamous King's awe-inspiring edifices.
Details about National Geographic: Herod's Lost Tomb







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