Film & TV

The world’s favourite nature documentaries, according to reviews

With a huge surge on google searches for nature documentaries this week, it’s the perfect time to find the best docos out there, and work your way through this list.

Nature documentaries have been instrumental in raising awareness of climate change, and worldwide, Google searches for ‘nature documentary’ have risen 400% in the past week*. 

For those of us in South Australia who are currently in lockdown, searches for EVERYTHING have risen by about 400% (or so it feels), while we search for things to do – so why not jump on the nature documentary bandwagon, and spend some time learning about our amazing planet, and what we can be doing to help it.

National Marine Week is also on the horizon (25th July – 9th August), so TheKnowledgeAcademy.com sought to find which nature documentaries are a must watch according to fan ratings on IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes.

David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet is the best nature documentary according to fans, with an impressive average rating of 9.35 out of a possible 10. Known for voicing environmental issues throughout the decades, the British natural historian shares his concerns about humanity’s harmful impacts on nature and his hopes for our planet’s future.

Also narrated by the broadcasting veteran Sir David Attenborough, Netflix’s first nature documentary series Our Planet and Africa come in second and third place with an average rating of 9.25 and 9.15 out of 10, respectively. Both series focus on wildlife and habitats, with Our Planet also revealing the impacts of climate change in species and ecosystems. 

Last but no less important is the documentary RiverBlue in 15th place with an average rating of 6.40 out of 10. Released in 2017, the film explores the paddler and conservationist Mark Angelo’s river journey around the world that uncovered the pollution impacts the global fashion industry has on our planet. 

Directed by Elliot Page and Ian Daniel, There’s Something In The Water (2019) comes towards the bottom of the list in 14th place with an average rating of 6.45 out of 10. The Canadian documentary sheds light on the little known issue of environmental racism suffered by the Black Canadian and First Nations communities in Nova Scotia (Canada). 

The Results:

RankDocumentaryAverage IMDb & Rotten Tomatoes rating (out of 10)
1David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet (2020)9.35
2Our Planet (2019)9.25
3Africa (2013)9.15
4Kiss the Ground (2020)9.10
5Blue Planet II (2017)9.05
6Virunga (2014)8.70
7My Octopus Teacher (2020)8.65
= 8Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret (2014)8.50
= 8Chasing Coral (2017)8.50
10Seaspiracy (2021)8.30
= 11Racing Extinction (2015)8.20
= 11Mission Blue (2014)8.20
= 11A Plastic Ocean (2016)8.20
14Before the Flood (2016)7.95
= 15The Ivory Game (2016)7.65
= 15Trashed (2012)7.65
17There’s Something In The Water (2019)6.45
18RiverBlue (2017)6.40

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