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12 Incredible Nature Documentary Series and Movies to Stream Right Now

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Jamie McPherson/Silverback/Netflix

(Photograph by Jamie McPherson/Silverback/Netflix)

What higher option to spend this Earth Day – or any day, actually – than studying in regards to the wonders of our planet, all that threatens it, and a number of the individuals working tirelessly to protect it.

We’ve put collectively a listing of a number of the finest planet-centric and environmentally acutely aware documentaries to observe on Earth Day. From harrowing investigative movies like The Ivory Sport and intimate sequence like Planet Earth (I and II!), to the huge oceans of Blue Planet and the chilly actuality of Chasing Ice, this checklist faucets into quite a few fascinating ecosystems. It would additionally introduce you to a number of the most inspiring individuals of our time, like Jane Goodall.

Whether or not you’re seeking to admire Earth’s magnificence or acquire some perspective on the challenges it faces, the films, sequence, and specials on this checklist are certain to awaken and encourage, they usually’re all accessible to stream proper now.

Don’t see your favourite nature particular on this checklist? Share your suggestions within the feedback.


What it’s: This Netflix sequence showcases the huge ecosystems of Earth, visiting 50 nations within the course of. Every episode is virtually a feature-length documentary in its personal proper. After the introductory episode, every installment focuses on a special habitat — “Deserts and Grasslands,” “Frozen Worlds,” “Forests,” and “Jungles” — and three separate episodes are dedications to freshwater and oceanic environments.

Critics Consensus: A cornucopia of visible marvel and environmental advocacy, Our Planet’s breathtaking cinematography explores extra of this lovely, blue marble whereas presenting an pressing name to motion to its inhabitants.

The place to observe it: Netflix

Dedication: ~6 hours (eight episodes, round 50 minutes every)


Discovery Channel/BBC

(Photograph by Discovery Channel/BBC)

What it’s: Like Our Planet, however launched a decade earlier and by the BBC, Planet Earth charts the Earth’s ecosystems episodically. Maybe no voice is extra recognizable within the nature documentary style than that of British pure historian David Attenborough, who narrates the BBC model of this documentary sequence (if you happen to watch the Discovery Channel model, you’ll hear none apart from Sigourney Weaver guiding you thru every hour-long episode). Planet Earth is actually the go-to for nature sequence. It gained 4 Emmys the 12 months it was launched: non-fiction sequence, cinematography, sound enhancing, and music.

Critics Consensus: Planet Earth weaves modern digicam methods and affected person commentary to ship viewers an astounding glimpse of the world’s perils and wonders, capturing jaw-dropping surroundings and animals on each an epic and intimate scale.

The place to observe it: YouTube, Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu

Dedication: 9 hours (11 episodes, round 50 minutes every)


What it’s: Ten years after the award-winning authentic, BBC’s Pure Historical past Unit launched a second, shorter sequel referred to as Planet Earth II that takes viewers to new locales – and some acquainted ones – to doc much more harrowing survival tales most of us have by no means seen earlier than. This time round, the sequence additionally explores city-dwelling animals — they usually’re most likely not the species you’d anticipate to see thriving in city environments.

Critics Consensus: Planet Earth II affords a spectacular, transferring, unprecedented account of the pure world.

The place to observe it: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu

Dedication: 5 hours (6 episodes, round 50 minutes every)


What it’s: Even earlier than they made Planet Earth, in 2001 the BBC launched the primary Blue Planet, one more nature documentary sequence narrated by Attenborough. The unique gained two Emmys for its cinematography and music composition. This follow-up sequence was launched within the U.S. simply final 12 months — Attenborough returned, and gained the sequence one other Emmy for his narration in addition. Each iterations within the sequence present intimate, breathtaking seems on the undersea world with specific concentrate on its occupants (from seahorses to squids and whales) and the environmental points that threaten them.

Critics Consensus: Blue Planet II‘s hypnotic magnificence is complemented by intense moral musing, contrasting the micro and the macro in a humbling exploration of humanity’s relationship with the bottom it stands on.

The place to observe it: Amazon, YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu

Dedication: ~6 hours (7 episodes, round 50 minutes every — plus an extra 6.5 hours if you wish to watch the unique sequence)


Chasing Ice (2012) 96% (Nationwide Geographic)

National Geographic

(Photograph by Nationwide Geographic)

What it’s: Chasing Ice follows a celebrated Nationwide Geographic photographer as he paperwork a number of years of local weather change utilizing time-lapse cameras. Critics referred to as the movie “spectacular however miserable” and “a very powerful documentary of the 12 months.” Chasing Ice is a name to consideration — and for some, a name to motion.

The place to observe it: Amazon, iTunes

Dedication: 1 hour 30 minutes


What it’s: Should you’re quick on time this Earth Day, or on every other binge day, however nonetheless need to marvel on the planet’s magnificence, look no additional than this quick however marvelously compelling documentary. Flight of the Butterflies follows the yearlong migration cycle of monarch butterflies from Mexico by the U.S. to Canada and again.

The place to observe it: Amazon, iTunes, Vudu

Dedication: 45 minutes


Blackfish (2013) 98% (Magnolia Photos)

What it’s: This unforgettable documentary function rattled the world when it was launched in 2013. Blackfish follows the story of a performing orca named Tilikum, highlighting the species’ intelligence and the influence of lifelong captivity. Critics referred to as the movie “startling,” “highly effective,” and “a troubling exposé of Sea World’s hazardous leisure commerce.” It was highly effective sufficient for the amusement park to make a number of modifications.

Critics Consensus: Blackfish is an aggressive, impassioned documentary that can change the best way you take a look at efficiency killer whales.

The place to observe it: Amazon, FandangoNow, iTunes, Vudu

Dedication: 83 minutes


What it’s: This Netflix documentary (produced by Leonardo DiCaprio) goes undercover to analyze the ivory commerce (each unlawful and authorized), and brings to mild the horrific follow of elephant tusk poaching. A name to motion for activists and governments alike, The Ivory Sport sheds mild on and condemns the worldwide ivory commerce to stop the upcoming and violent extinction of elephants. Since its launch, a number of the poachers seen within the movie have been apprehended and  sentenced to years in jail.

Critics Consensus: Arduous-hitting and impressive to a fault, The Ivory Sport serves as a fittingly pressing name to motion in opposition to a looming risk in opposition to susceptible wildlife and a fragile ecosystem.

The place to observe it: Netflix

Dedication: 1hour 52 minutes


Virunga (2014) 100% (Netflix)

What it’s: Virunga is titled after Virunga Nationwide Park within the Congo — “one of the biologically various areas on the planet,” based on the park’s web site, and residential to an endangered group of mountain gorillas. This Netflix documentary not solely goals to seize the wildlife within the nationwide park, but additionally the dedication of groups aiming to guard it and the militia that concentrate on it. A 12 months after Virunga was launched, Netflix additionally supplied a behind-the-scenes take a look at its manufacturing, with specific concentrate on the gorillas it options. Because the documentary’s launch just some years in the past, the park has been quickly closed to the general public as a result of a rise in violence.

Critics Consensus: Virunga affords a heart-rending glimpse of pure wonders susceptible to the atrocities of greed — and the individuals devoting their lives to defending them.

The place to observe it: Netflix

Dedication: 1 hour 40 minutes (plus 30 additional minutes if you wish to watch Virunga: Gorillas in Peril, too)


What it’s: One other legendary voice within the documentary style alongside Attenborough is German director Werner Herzog. In Encounters on the Finish of the World, Herzog serves as each narrator and information on a visit to Antarctica, and the result’s a considerate (if at occasions absurd) research of the setting and human nature.

Critics Consensus: Encounters on the Finish of the World affords a poignant research of the human psyche amid haunting landscapes.

The place to observe it: Amazon, FandangoNow, iTunes, Vudu

Dedication: 1 hour 40 minutes


Jane (2017) 98% (Nationwide Geographic)

What it’s: This critically acclaimed Nationwide Geographic doc drew from greater than 100 hours of beforehand never-before-seen footage to offer viewers an intimate portrait of one of the well-known and beloved conservationists of our time, Jane Goodall. For these aware of Goodall’s work and present activism, Jane shall be significantly fascinating, because it transports viewers again to the 1960s when Goodall was in her mid-20s and doing her earliest work observing chimpanzees. The movie incorporates a rating from composer Philip Glass.

Critics Consensus: Jane honors its topic’s legacy with an absorbing, fantastically filmed, and total enlightening take a look at her a long time of invaluable work.

The place to observe it: Disney+, Amazon, FandangoNow, iTunes, Vudu

Dedication: 1 hour 30 minutes


What it’s: After directing Chasing Ice in 2012, Jeff Orlowski turned his focus from the arctic to the ocean with Chasing Coral in 2017. The latter paperwork coral bleaching and the environmental influence of carbon emissions and pesticides on the reefs. Like many movies on this checklist, this Netflix documentary is a name to consciousness relating to the tangible, quantifiable impacts of world warming.

Critics Consensus: Chasing Coral affords a breathtakingly lovely take a look at a number of the Earth’s most unbelievable pure wonders whereas delivering a sobering warning about their unsure future.

The place to observe it: Netflix

Dedication: 1 hour 30 minutes


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