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r/Documentaries Free Streaming: We tell you how to watch for free (Updated 2022) is a very popular community on Reddit with an active moderator team. They make sure that every post leads to a streaming video, with the exception of a few posts with paywalls and fewer videos that are linked to YouTube or Vimeo.


Nicole Sommer
Last updated: Sunday, 01.October 2023
Author Biography
Hello. My name is Nicole Sommer. I am a big soccer enthusiast and do a lot of reserach around the easiest way to watch soccer on TV and online across the whole globe.
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Reddit, a social network and content aggregator, was founded in 2005. It is known for its communities, or subreddits, which center around the most absurd and obscure subjects. Reddit is a one-stop-shop for the best internet content. Subreddits are forums and social networks that also aggregate content from other sources.
The subreddit /r/Documentaries is a popular place on Reddit where users can share their favorite documentaries. This subreddit was one of the default subreddits that site administrators created when Reddit first started. As a result, /r/Documentaries has amassed a large and loyal following.
The default subreddit system no longer exists, but thanks to the work of an active moderator team, the subreddit remains high-quality. This is no small task, given that it has 15.6 million subscribers.
In order to ensure that all posts link to streaming video, the moderators enforce a set of rules. The vast majority of links go to YouTube or Vimeo, with a few exceptions like paid streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. Occasionally, users will post links to official websites of documentaries, but these are rare. Most links end up leading to their own videos on the web page, without any embedded content or downloading necessary.

Navigating Reddit

Depending on the way you browse Reddit, your experience will vary. I found that the mobile app "Reddit is fun?" offered several advantages that the desktop experience lacked. The desktop version is missing the sidebar, a vital source of information. On the mobile app, the sidebar allows users to search by topic - perfect for making a quick decision. Topics include "arts," "history," "science (hard)," "science (social)," "war," and more. The sidebar also has links to make requests, in case there's a documentary you remember but need help finding.
The monthly pinned post at the top of the feed on the desktop version of the subreddit contains much of the same information as in the regular posts, but it is harder to find. Much of this information and search functionality is in the monthly pinned post at the top of the feed on the mobile version as well. The desktop and mobile versions both allow for unlimited scrolling, which is why searching by topic is so useful.
One area where the desktop site shines above the mobile app is video embedding. All YouTube and Vimeo links play in Reddit without redirecting. If you'd prefer to view the videos on the hosting site, you can easily click a link to get there. I much prefer to stay on a single page, which /r/Documentaries and the Reddit platform enable me to do.
To find the perfect documentary for you, sort by top from the dropdown bar above posts on Reddit. This system uses upvotes and downvotes to determine order, so posts that are popular (most upvoted) will be at the front. You can choose a time range, such as today, this week, this month or this year. Sorting by top and selecting all-time will bring up some of the best documentaries in recent years.

Finding the Right Film

One problem with this subreddit is that it has a bias towards films from the last five years. The documentaries on this site do not accurately represent the history of this genre. With only a few exceptions, this community tends to promote recent films more than it digs up hidden gems. Like the IMDB "Top 250" list, this list says more about the interests of 18-29 year old American males (like me!) than it does about actual quality.
This recent focus on films may be the result of another issue with the site-namely, the political agendas behind many of the posts. Many post titles are opinions about the topic rather than statements about the film. Luckily, moderators work hard to avoid picking ideological sides. Both left-wing anti-corporate crowd and right-wing manosphere have a presence here.
I found hours and hours of amazing content on /r/Documentaries. I indulged my true-crime obsession with ?Child Killer,? a five-part docuseries about four murders in Michigan in 1976. Although only parts one and four are on YouTube, a link in the video description led me to all five parts. This is a common trend for this subreddit - documentaries are often posted in parts, which take some work to seek out.
The Child Killer subreddit was a natural fit for content in the true-crime genre, which is becoming increasingly popular. The subreddit was able to hold its own against any Netflix or Hulu original, such as ?The Bundy Tapes? or ?The Family.?
After reading a harrowing serial killer story, I sought out a film with a lighter tone. Lone Star Skaters seemed like the perfect choice, as this 2019 film about two strangers skateboarding in Texas only runs for 21 minutes. /r/Documentaries has many films of this runtime length, drawn from half-hour TV slots. This diversity makes the subreddit great for casual or hardcore viewers alike.
I wasn't impressed with Lone Star Skaters. I'm more of a bloody-guts kind of person and I didn't enjoy it. However, if you are looking for some lighthearted inspiration, it is a great movie.
After seeing these two recent blog posts, I decided to sort by "top" of "all time." I found one documentary posted twice on the front page: "An Open Secret," a film on Hollywood child abuse. Again, this was more up my alley than some of the lighter films. Though the film was well-made and eye-opening, I found it strange that it appears twice on the front page. Moderators could do a better job of filtering for reposts.
Many documentaries are reposted on /r/Documentaries with some regularity. A doc about social media and another about assisted suicide both showed up twice recently. This, plus some lectures on the front page, suggests moderation by the moderators for posts with many upvotes. I don't see this as a bad thing, but I can see why some might object—especially if they disapprove of the subject matter.
One of the most popular posts ever was a documentary called "The Panama Papers?" It got a lot of attention because it linked to Hulu. That's very rare, and usually posts that link to paid streaming services get a lot of social media promotion. I've seen this film before, so I wasn't too surprised by the paywall. But I can imagine someone who hadn't seen it being excited about the opportunity to watch it for free on Hulu. Plus, all the new original programming on Hulu gets a lot of social media promotion already.


Overall, I find /r/Documentaries to be a very positive subreddit. The fact that most links lead to YouTube or Vimeo instead of a paid site is already impressive, but the extremely user-friendly interface on Reddit makes it even easier. Additionally, the massive community comprising this subreddit ensures a continuous stream of quality content. However, there are times when mods don't enforce the rules to the T, but they manage to keep the community thriving nonetheless.
Some downsides to this subreddit are that it was hard for me to find movies older than my phone, and I saw far too many lectures and interviews. The ?top? of ?all time? list left a lot to be desired, not even coming close to what its name promises.
Despite its shortcomings, the Documentaries subreddit is a great resource for those looking for documentaries. This subreddit is my new go-to tool for finding documentary content when I'm in the mood.
Nicole Sommer
Nicole Sommer is a true soccer fan and loyal supporter of FC Arsenal and 1.FC Köln. She plays actively her self as central forward in the women's aquad of TuS Köln in Germany. In her spare time she spends a lot of time online including researching the soccer streaming space. Her research has been published in several online soccer magazines.
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r/Documentaries Free Streaming: We tell you how to watch for free (Updated 2022). is a very popular community on Reddit with an active moderator team. They make sure that every post leads to a streaming video, with the exception of a few posts with paywalls and fewer videos that are linked to YouTube or Vimeo.

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