22 Best Nature Movies of All Time Explored

There is a lot of jungle, ocean, and wildlife footage. Filmmakers work hard to film amazing nature scenes. The best nature movies of all time showcase natural beauty. Now, they also teach about the problems ecosystems face. New tech lets us see animals up close through air and underwater filming.

Let us highlight some of the best nature documentaries that cover different topics. In addition, there are classic BBC series and films exploring the impacts of climate change. Each offers unique perspectives and animal stories.

We chose films based on beautiful shots, learning, and sharing nature’s importance. Relax and learn with the best nature adventure movies. Discover a new appreciation for our planet through these top-rated documentary recommendations.

Evolution of Nature Documentaries

Nature documentaries help us learn about nature. In the past, they showed beautiful landscapes and many animals.

Now, they also focus on environmental problems. Filmmakers try to teach about protecting threatened areas. They want to address climate change and keep balance in nature. So, the movies show how people affect nature.

New cameras, drones, and underwater tools have changed these films. Viewers can see amazing, high-quality videos. We can discover jungles and oceans in new ways. As threats increase, the films aim to educate more people.

List of 22 Best Nature Movies of All Time

Here are some of the best nature movies of all time. Likewise, these films and series can educate and entertain audiences. 

Planet Earth (2006)

It takes us on a global journey to experience Earth’s various ecosystems. Hence, we see wildlife like never before. Each episode is a masterpiece to watch. David Attenborough also narrates this documentary.

My Octopus Teacher (2020) 

It tells us the story of an unusual bond. Thus, we will see a bond formed between a man and an octopus. By spending years free diving in a kelp forest, he gains a deep understanding of and empathy for marine creatures. Moreover, it explores profound themes in just over an hour. It is the best animal documentary on National Geographic to watch.

Our Planet (2019-2023) 

Our Planet is the best Animal Planet documentary to watch on Disney Plus. David Attenborough narrates it. This Netflix series shows nature from around the world. It helps us understand how we must protect the earth. The show displays nature’s beauty. It also presents the big threats facing our environment.

Planet Earth II (2016) 

It is a groundbreaking BBC series that follows Planet Earth. There are even more advanced cameras that reveal animals in new ways. See some playful otters and hidden regions under the sea. It highlights the wonders of Earth’s endangered animals. 

Chasing Coral (2017) 

Coral reefs are disappearing. Experts look into why in this film. It opens our eyes to how climate change hurts the ocean. Overall, the documentary wants to inspire action to help positively.

March of the Penguins (2005) 

The beautiful penguins

Want to watch the best nature documentaries on Disney Plus today? Watch March of the Penguins. Morgan Freeman narrates it. This film tracks emperor penguins in Antarctica. Be amazed by their strength as they live in harsh conditions to find love and raise their chicks. It is very heartwarming to watch! 

Blue Planet II (2018) 

There is underwater cinematography in this series. Hence, it takes you on an epic ocean adventure. Learn about diverse marine life and challenges in a changing world. It is even better than the first Blue Planet. So, watch the rare creatures found deep in the oceans!

Honeyland (2019) 

This documentary follows the only female beekeeper in North Macedonia. She lives a traditional lifestyle where she cares for bees and harvests honey to sell. The film shows how her way of life, which is connected to nature, is disrupted by changes happening around her. It highlights how people depend on the land and nature for their livelihood.

The Hunt (2015) 

David Attenborough presents amazing footage of wild animals hunting their prey in this mini-TV series. Watch and learn how hunters like lions and wild dogs catch food by working together as a team. It explores the surprising ways various creatures interact in nature and shows nature’s delicate balance.

Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010) 

This documentary is in 3D!  Explorer Werner Herzog guides viewers on a trip back in time to ancient caves located in France. The caves contain early cave paintings that provide fascinating insights into human spirituality long ago. It offers a fascinating look at how early humans connected to nature through their art.

Gunda (2020) 

Life of the pig

Take a look at the life of a pig and its farm animal companions. Watch the two cows and a one-legged chicken. Also, there is no narration, just animal footage. It invites us to slow down and experience the world through their eyes. 

Microcosmos (1996) 

This is a documentary on insect life. Thus, the insects are shown in their habitats, such as meadows and ponds. This French film provides great close-up views of the little, dramatic lives of insects. See the tiny world of insects in a whole new way, and very closely indeed!

The Ivory Game (2016) 

The film reveals Africa’s black market for elephant tusks. It shows how poachers in Africa and Asia threaten elephants. We learn about people fighting to save elephants, too.

Virunga (2014) 

In Virunga, follow brave park rangers who are risking their lives. They are trying to protect gorillas in Congo’s Virunga National Park despite threats from conflict and industries. It is an inspirational conservation story and an Oscar-nominated documentary. 

The Cove (2009)

This documentary shows a secret in Japan. Activists go underground to find a hidden cove. In the cove, they catch dolphins and kill them. The movie has hard videos of how the dolphins get hurt. It’s hard to see but important to learn about. The things they found out are very sad. Their work brings awareness to stopping the hurting dolphins. Moreover, it won the Oscar for Best Documentary. 

Chasing Ice (2012) 

Glaciers and climate change

See how the glaciers are melting in Chasing Ice, which was released in 2012. It is a documentary that gives us a reminder of climate change’s impacts on glaciers. Watch the efforts of James Balog and his Extreme Ice Survey (EIS) as he tries to publicize the effects of climate change.

March of the Penguins 2 (2017) 

Return to see emperor penguins in Antarctica. See new ways they work as a team to raise their young in harsh conditions. Their resilience and teamwork can really impress us.

Wings of Life (2011) 

This documentary shows the small world of insects up close. Meryl Streep provides the narration. You’ll see bees, bats, hummingbirds, and butterflies. The photography uses tiny cameras so you can watch the insects really closely. It shows you the amazing things these small bugs do. You learn about their lives and how nature works for tiny creatures, too. 

The Biggest Little Farm (2018) 

Watch a couple create a farm on 200 acres, which is outside of Los Angeles. As a result, it tells the story of how empty land was transformed into a biodiverse farm. It shows the problems of sustainable farming and also explains the interdependence of all living things. 

The Salt of the Earth (2014) 

It pays tribute to photographer Sebastião Salgado. Along with that, it shows the decades he spent capturing indigenous peoples and landscapes. The movie covers 40 years of Salgado’s work. He goes from South America to Africa, Europe, the Arctic, and home to Brazil. Viewers see his photos documenting international conflicts, famine, mass migration of people, and natural landscapes.

Sharkwater (2006)

Sharks and their nature

The documentary features activist Rob Stewart, who sounded early warnings about the dangers of shark hunting. It contains explosive underwater footage of sharks filmed by Stewart. The film highlights sharks’ non-aggressive traits, showing that sharks are not the mindless killers they are made out to be in movies and stories. He worked to encourage more legal protections for sharks who play a vital role in marine ecosystems.

Fantastic Fungi (2019)

Watch gorgeous macro photography in this documentary. It will reveal the unseen world of mushrooms. Develop a new appreciation for the vital role these organisms play in nature. Get great insights on Fungi by watching the best nature documentaries streaming on Netflix.

Criteria for Selecting the Best Nature Movies of All Time

What are the criteria for selecting the best nature movies of all time? Here are some below:

  • Check for the beautiful visuals that can immerse you in landscapes, wildlife, and underwater scenes.
  • Look for films that show interesting topics and can help you learn about the nature around you.
  • Explore the options for streaming them, like OTT, rentals, and others.
  • See if you can find movies that explore nature’s beauty through epic animal moments captured with the latest filming technology.
  • See documentaries that follow the storytelling method to captivate viewers about nature.
  • Ensure the topics are covered deeply to help you understand all aspects better.

To sum up, there are many documentaries on this list. You can learn about environmental issues and even the importance of forests in our lives. These movies give a close look at nature’s wonders around the world. They aim to protect ecosystems, too. Relax and admire Earth’s beauty through these stunning nature scenes.

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