I am just “getting into” documentaries. For some crazy reason, I had the mistaken idea that documentaries were just long-winded accounts on a subject I would find very boring. Oh, my, was I in the dark about documentaries. These have become a favorite genre for me. I especially love the ones that tell about the beginning of our nation (America) or, better yet, America’s Best Idea! (You’ll see what that is as you go to the list below.) I promise you will not be disappointed nor bored!
Sometimes real life is more interesting than fiction!
Now for the list of my favorite documentaries. These are not listed in any particular order of favoritism, some I have not even viewed yet but they are definitely on my bucket list. I think it is safe to say, these are all G-Rated, family films. This is also a small list of the available, information packed documentaries out. Start on some from my list if you want and, once hooked, you’ll be searching for more and more, just like I did. I stream mine over the Amazon Prime Video format
I will keep adding to this list as I discover new favorites.
THE NATIONAL PARKS America’s Best Idea
By Ken Burns
What in the world is America’s Best Idea? Read on to find out why!
I’m going to say that this is my number one favorite. The first episode, is titled “The Scripture of Nature”, which gives one the hint it is going to be close to something bordering on the sacred. There is a deep spiritual quality to this feature that magnifies the godliness of nature combined with an in depth look at the man we can pretty much pinpoint as one who began the fledgling idea of preserving the primitive and wild natural landscapes, John Muir.
I had heard of him, of course, and knew him to be an eccentric wanderer through the wilderness, on foot, but I had no idea the depth of this man nor the seemingly impossible things he accomplished that seemed to defy gravity! The very laws of nature that keep the world spinning and the tides moving seemed not to apply to him. He was so in-tune with the natural world and such a lover for all things it contained. He truly was one with nature in the most literal sense of interpretation.
This is the most well-done documentary I have ever seen and after watching it, I wanted more and more, well made, real life events that are milestones to our times and our world. I know now that anything Ken Burns sets his hand to will be captivating as well as executed far beyond my meager expectations. The list of narrators is pretty amazing as well. For the record, America has 61 National Parks. I hope you’ll find something that moves you as much as this amazing list of documentaries has moved me!
Ken Burns Country Music Docementary
What is Country Music about?
Country Music explores questions –– such as “What is country music?” and “Where did it come from?“–– while focusing on the biographies of the fascinating characters who created and shaped it — from the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers and Bob Wills to Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, Charley Pride, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Garth Brooks and many more — as well as the times in which they lived. Learn how country music evolved over the course of the 20th century, as it eventually emerged to become America’s music. Country music featured never-before-seen footage and photographs, plus interviews with more than 80 country music artists.
Where can I learn more?
The eight-part 16-hour series is directed and produced by Ken Burns; he is the master at putting out THE BEST documentaries! We are certainly hooked!
We stream them over the ROKU Device then go to Amazon Prime for most of our viewing. I’m pretty sure you can stream this on Netflix as well.
This documentary vies for #1 place in my favorite documentaries, along with the National Parks one by Ken Burns. This is something my husband and I look forward to watching every night. Every episode brings me to tears.
Almost every country singer (in the early days of country music) seems to have started from very harsh beginnings as children growing up in stark poverty and sometimes abuse and dysfunctional homes. Not all were dysfunctional, some were rooted in deep religiousness in their one-room shanties nevertheless.
They were all amazing and some singers we had not cared much for, after seeing their early beginnings, what they had to deal with and how they rose above the negativity, made us see them in a different light and gained a deep respect and appreciation for them.
Most all of these singers/songwriters interviewed felt country music was loved by so many because the things they sang about touched upon all our own, personal moments and people could relate so well. It is “honest music”, about real people.
If you’re a music lover, of any style, you’ll love seeing, as this progresses, how the boundaries placed on different music genres cross over, back and forth, and many songs that start out as country, end up in the pop genre and vice versa.
I would sum this documentary up as being very deep and thought provoking. I think of certain singers long after the episode ends.
Hank Williams really stuck with me for days; he had such a penetrating look & seems to be recognized as the epitaph of country music. His life was short lived but he left an unforgettable impression on people who heard him sing and all who were in this business. Many new stars started out emulating Hanks Williams. His story is remarkable. He is one who haunts my thoughts still.
If you’re a music lover of any kind, I hope you’ll watch this. I believe it will capture your heart and soul.
AMERICA The Story of Us
This is another wonderful Documentary, old car buffs will love seeing the first road worthy cars, included in a whole segment on Henry Ford and how his assembly lines made it possible for the “Average Joe” to own a vehicle. I, myself, loved the episode detailing all the steps it took from the time America received that amazing gift from France, The Statue of Liberty, and what went into erecting it. the star=shaped base alone being 65 feet tall. Then the 305 foot pedestal that Miss Liberty stands upon. The statue itself is 151 feet from top to bottom. Watching them erect the infrastructure to these edifices is mind boggling. I think anyone would be transfixed watching the erection of the statue of liberty and the story behind it all.
The American West
A Documentary from Executive Producer, Robert Redford, The American West tell the story of the aftermath of the Civil War and how the Unites States transformed into the “Land of Opportunity.”
Great Canadian Rivers
Great Canadian Rivers is a breathtaking journey through Canada’s diverse landscape, natural history and cultural heritage. Featuring Ostunning imagery of nature and wildlife and access to unique and hard to reach locations, the stories of these great rivers symbolize the county’s identity and provide an indelible link to it’s past.
The Story of Australia
This groundbreaking series explores the people, places and events that shaped the country and the continent of Australia. From the first native footprints to works of present day Aussies, this drama weaves together stories of Australia’s origin and offers an original thesis about the Australian struggle to create their homeland.
The Dust Bowl
Another fascinating documentary by Ken Burns. They say this is America’s most atrocious man-made disaster that ever occurred. Real time photos and people failing to find words to even described what happened over a decade long drought and monstrous waves of blowing sand resulting in loss of agriculture and leading to many deaths, either by the dust getting in people’s lungs and killing them or the utter and complete loss of everything, covered by 10 feet of dust/dirt in some places, including loss of any hope and leading to multiple suicides.
It is heartbreaking and as if you are watching something unreal, from an alter reality. It’s very disturbing and hard to believe. But it DID happen. Find out man’s part in this disaster that lasting for ten years.