Netflix provides a wide range of historical documentaries, from WWII to the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. From dramatic reenactments to interviews with experts and veterans, these films offer an up-close perspective on some of the most influential events in history. Whether you’re looking for something educational or entertaining, Netflix has something for everyone. Here are some of the best history documentaries on Netflix that you can watch right now.
1. Hitler’s Circle of Evil, 2017|TV-14
This 10-part documentary series takes a chilling look at the madmen behind one of history’s most notorious regimes. Through dramatic reenactments, interviews with experts and historical footage, this program gives viewers an up-close perspective on the personalities and events that shaped World War II.
Starring: Alisdair Simpson, Henrik Jørgensen, James Lowe.
2. Greatest Events of WWII in Colour, 2019 |TV-14
“From the attack on Pearl Harbor to D-Day, the most pivotal events of World War II come to life in this vivid docuseries featuring colorized footage. Along with never-before-seen images, the series features interviews with historians and veterans to tell stories of heroism, tragedy and resilience.”
Starring: John Simm, Christopher Fairbank, Alex Jennings.
3. Roman Empire, 2016 |TV-MA
This stylish mix of documentary and lavish historical epic chronicles the turbulent, violent reigns of Commodus, Julius Caesar and Caligula. The series blends re-enactments with cinematic arts and graphic effects to bring the Roman Empire — both its glories and its horrors — to life.
Starring: Aaron Jakubenko, Emily Browning, Sean Bean.
Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II wages an epic campaign to take the Byzantine capital of Constantinople and shapes the course of history for centuries.
Starring: Charles Dance, Cem Yiğit Üzümoğlu, Daniel Nuță
5. Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan, 2021|TV-MA
Dynamic reenactments and expert commentaries bring to life the tumultuous history and power struggles of a warring 16th-century feudal Japan.
Starring: Masayoshi Haneda, Masami Kosaka, Hideaki Ito
6. 13TH, 2016 |TV-MA | 1h 40m
In this thought-provoking documentary, scholars, activists and politicians analyze the criminalization of African Americans and the U.S. prison boom.
7. The Last Czars, 2019|V-MA
When social upheaval sweeps Russia in the early 20th century, Czar Nicholas II resists change, sparking a revolution and ending a dynasty.
Starring: Robert Jack, Susanna Herbert, Ben Cartwright
8. Mudbound, 2h 15m
Two Mississippi families — one Black, one white — confront the brutal realities of prejudice, farming and friendship in a divided World War II era.
Starring: Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Mary J. Blige
9. Challenger: The Final Flight, 2020, TV-14
Engineers, officials and the crew members’ families provide their perspective on the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger disaster and its aftermath.
10. Blood Brothers: Malcolm X & Muhammad Ali, 2021, PG-13 | 1h 36m
From a chance meeting to a tragic fallout, Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali’s extraordinary bond cracks under the weight of distrust and shifting ideals.
Starring: Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali
11. Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution, 2020, R, 1h 48m
A groundbreaking summer camp galvanizes a group of teens with disabilities to help build a movement, forging a new path toward greater equality.
12. Age of Tanks, 2017 |TV-PG
The history of military tanks unfolds in a documentary series that traces their role in history and geopolitics from World War I to the 21st century.
These history documentaries on Netflix offer an insightful look into some of the most significant events in world history. Whether exploring a pivotal event like World War II or delving more deeply into topics such as racial injustice, social unrest, and disability rights, each documentary provides viewers with a unique perspective on our shared past. With so many thought-provoking programs available at your fingertips, this list is just the start—discover even more inspiring stories by digging deeper into Netflix’s catalog.