Scientific and Natural Discovery Documentaries (to Watch).

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1.
South (1919 Documentary)
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The story of the 1914-1916 Antarctic exploration mission of Sir Ernest Shackleton. The ship sails south... (88 mins.)
 
2.
Nanook of the North (1922 Documentary)
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In this silent predecessor to the modern documentary, film-maker Robert J. Flaherty spends one year following the lives of Nanook and his family, Inuits living in the Arctic Circle. (78 mins.)
 
3.
The Great White Silence (1924 Documentary)
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In 1910 the British Antarctic Expedition, led by Capt. Robert F. Scott, embarks from Lyttleton, NZ on a quest to become the first to reach the South Pole. (108 mins.)
 
4.
The Conquest of Everest (1953 Documentary)
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Documentary that covers the famous and successful expedition of the Everest conquest by Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary, the first climbers to reach its peak. (78 mins.)
Director: George Lowe
 
5.
Galapagos (1955 Documentary)
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(78 mins.)
Director: Thor Heyerdahl
 
6.
The Sky at Night (1957 TV Series)
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Astronomy programme. (20 mins.)
 
7.
Aku-Aku (1960 Documentary)
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(86 mins.)
Director: Thor Heyerdahl
 
8.
Horizon (1964 TV Series)
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Horizon is BBC Two's flagship 50-minute science documentary series. In September 2004 it celebrated... (50 mins.)
 
9.
World Without Sun (1964 Documentary)
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Fascinating underwater documentary filmed with hand-held cameras by frogmen and mostly filmed in deep-water seas from within a special designed batiscaff, by the Cousteau family of sea explorers. (93 mins.)
 
10.
National Geographic Specials (1965 TV Series)
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For over 30 years, the National Geographic Society has presented specials on nature, foreign culture... (60 mins.)
 
11.
The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau (1966 TV Series)
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The aquatic explorations of Jacques-Yves Cousteau and the crew of the Calypso. (60 mins.)
Director: Joe Thompson
 
12.
Calcutta (1969 Documentary)
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With minimal narration by the director and very little context this is a kaleidoscope of stunning visuals from Calcutta... (105 mins.)
Director: Louis Malle
 
13.
A Blank on the Map (1971 Documentary)
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In his now well-known role of narrator of wildlife expeditions, Attenborough accompanies a government-sponsored trek into the central New Guinea highlands to make contact with a group of natives never before seen by Europeans. (59 mins.)
 
14.
The Body (1971 Documentary)
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A scientific documentary combining narration from anatomical experts and human biologists with interior and exterior camera shots examining the human body, along with a soundtrack using the human body as a medium. (112 mins.)
Director: Roy Battersby
 
15.
Chung Kuo - Cina (1972 Documentary)
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A documentary on China, concentrating mainly on the faces of the people, filmed in the areas they were allowed to visit... (135 mins.)
 
16.
The Ra Expeditions (1971 Documentary)
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Documentary of the Ra expedition organized by Thor Heyerdahl, which crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a papyrus boat in 1969 and 1970. (106 mins.)
 
17.
The Ascent of Man (1973 Mini-Series)
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An account of man's development through his scientific and technological achievements. (50 mins.)
 
18.
Beautiful People (1974 Documentary)
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Hilarious documentary on the wildlife of the Namib Desert. (92 mins.)
Director: Jamie Uys
 
19.
Nova (1974 TV Series)
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Science documentaries about various topics.
 
20.
The Man Who Skied Down Everest (1975 Documentary)
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A Japanese skier ultimately dreamed of literally skiing Mt. Everest. He planned to ski some 8,000 feet down an icy glacier at a 40 to 45 degree angle... (86 mins.)
 
21.
Life on Earth (1979 Mini-Series)
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David Attenborough's groundbreaking study of the evolution of life on our planet. (702 mins.)
 
22.
Brooklyn Bridge (1981 Documentary)
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This documentary chronicles the world-famous Brooklyn Bridge in New York City. The difficult construction... (58 mins.)
Director: Ken Burns
 
23.
Nature (1982 TV Series)
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Documentary series exploring various global wildlife issues and subjects. (60 mins.)
Director: Nigel Cole
 
24.
The Planets (1983 Documentary)
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Based on the famous Gustav Holst musical suite, this musical film takes watchers on a magnificent journey of the planets of the Solar System. (50 mins.)
Director: Ken Russell
 
25.
Ancient Lives (1984 Mini-Series)
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Archaeologist John Romer reconstructs the life of a village in ancient Egypt.
Stars: John Romer
 
26.
The Living Planet (1984 TV Series)
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David Attenborough discusses the biomass and life in a variety of eco-systems spanning many of the environments found on Earth (from tropical to polar). (660 mins.)
 
27.
Creation of the Universe (1985 Documentary)
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Trip through the creation of the Universe from the Bog Bang to the frontiers of science. Musical score from Brian Eno. Includes visits with great thinkers. (92 mins.)
 
28.
National Geographic Explorer (1985 TV Series)
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A weekly series of short documentary segments funded by the National Geographic Society and done in the style of the National Geographic Specials... (120 mins.)
Director: Cara Biega
 
29.
Sacred Site (1986 Documentary)
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High speed film and time-lapse photography combined to create breathtaking images of the night sky and Halley's Comet in this astronomical short subject. (7 mins.)
Director: Ron Fricke
 
30.
World Safari (1986 Documentary)
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(90 mins.)
Director: Phil Chilvers
 
31.
The Infinite Voyage (1987 TV Series)
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An exceptional series about of humanity, the stars, the dinosaurs, and other mysteries of the world and the universe. (60 mins.)
 
32.
Around the World in 80 Days (1989 Mini-Series)
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Michael Palin attempts to copy the exploits of fictional character Phileas Fogg, by trying to travel around the world (without flying) in 80 days. (49 mins.)
 
33.
Route One USA (1989 Documentary)
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(255 mins.)
Director: Robert Kramer
 
34.
Water and Power (1989 Documentary)
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By using a series of visually and aurally dense tableaux created with advanced motion control, optical printing and animation techniques... (57 mins.)
Director: Pat O'Neill
 
35.
The Trials of Life (1990 TV Series)
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Each of the twelve 50-minute episodes features a different aspect of the journey through life, from birth to adulthood and continuation of the species through reproduction.
Director: Michael Gunton
 
36.
Antarctica (1991 Documentary)
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This large format film explores the last great wilderness on earth. It takes you to the coldest, driest... (40 mins.)
Director: John Weiley
Stars: Alex Scott
 
37.
The Astronomers (1991 TV Series)
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A look at the work and worlds of leading scientists and astronomers who are helping to unlock the mysteries of the universe. (57 mins.)
 
38.
Atlantis (1991 Documentary)
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Atmospheric soundtrack follows this compilation of nature footage that focuses on the Atlantic ocean and various life forms that live, mate and die in it. (78 mins.)
Director: Luc Besson
 
39.
Pole to Pole (1992 Mini-Series)
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Michael Palin undertakes a journey by the most direct route possible with the most land to cross from the North Pole to the South Pole. (50 mins.)
 
40.
Life in the Freezer (1993 TV Series)
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Series exploring the natural history of Antarctica. (30 mins.)
 
41.
Africa: The Serengeti (1994 Documentary)
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The Serengeti is a huge area of grassland in Tanzania, Africa. Once a year, in the time of drought,... (39 mins.)
Director: George Casey
 
42.
Ancient Mysteries (1994 TV Series)
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Ancient Mysteries is a documentary television series that deals with historical mysteries. (45 mins.)
 
43.
30 Years of National Geographic Specials (1995 Documentary)
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Celebrates 30 years of televised specials by The National Geographic Society.
 
44.
The Art of Nature (1995 Documentary)
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(48 mins.)
Director: Gary Warriner
 
45.
The Living Sea (1995 Documentary)
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A survey of the world's oceans, emphasizing the fact that it's a single interconnected ocean, and the dependence of all life on the ocean... (40 mins.)
 
46.
The Private Life of Plants (1995 TV Series)
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David Attenborough's study of the world of plants, which demonstrates, with the aid of time-lapse photography, the rich and varied ways in which they flourish. (292 mins.)
 
47.
Attenborough in Paradise (1996 Documentary)
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David Attenborough travels to the forests of Papua New Guinea, where 38 of the 42 kinds of bird of paradise are found. (55 mins.)
Director: Paul Reddish
 
48.
Fascinating Nature (1996)
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(90 mins.)
Director: Gogol Lobmayr
 
49.
Microcosmos (1996 Documentary)
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A documentary on insect life in meadows and ponds. (80 mins.)
 
50.
Zion Canyon: Treasure of the Gods (1996 Documentary)
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Zion Canyon: Treasure of the Gods makes it possible for viewers to explore the hidden recesses and dizzying... (40 mins.)
Director: Kieth Merrill
 
51.
Full Circle with Michael Palin (1997 Mini-Series)
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Michael Palin embarks on another epic journey of exploration and adventure, this time 15,000 miles through 18 countries around the Pacific rim. (500 mins.)
 
52.
Alaska: Spirit of the Wild (1998 Documentary)
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A look at the Alaskan wilderness throughout the year, from the harsh winters to the rejuvenating spring... (41 mins.)
Director: George Casey
 
53.
The Complete Cosmos (1998 TV Series)
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A travel by the wonders of the universe as brief as unforgettable. (10 mins.)
Stars: Jon Snow
 
54.
Kestrel's Eye (1998 Documentary)
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Filmed over several years, it is a wonder-filled portrait of a family of kestrels (European falcons) who live in a church tower above a small Swedish town. The amazing cinematography, nominated for a Swedish Oscar. (89 mins.)
 
55.
From the Earth to the Moon (1998 Mini-Series)
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Dramatized portrayal of the Apollo manned space program. (60 mins.)
 
56.
The Great Egyptians (1998 Mini-Series)
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Stars: Bob Brier
 
57.
Life Beyond Earth (1998 Documentary)
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58.
Megacities (1998 Documentary)
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A look at the people who live precariously, but with an unusual level of resourcefulness and imagination, in four gigantic urban agglomerations: Mumbai, New York City, Moscow and Mexico City. (90 mins.)
 
59.
Coral Sea Dreaming (1999 Documentary)
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(82 mins.)
Director: David Hannan
 
60.
Great Adventurers: Ernest Shackleton - To the End of the Earth (1999 Documentary)
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This is the incredible story of explorer Ernest Shackleton's heroic attempt to lead the first expedition... (50 mins.)
Director: Chris Gormlie
 
61.
New York: A Documentary Film (1999 TV Series)
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Ric Burns (brother of the famed documentarian Ken Burns) presents an exhaustive history of New York... (600 mins.)
Director: Ric Burns
 
62.
The Planets (1999 Mini-Series)
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The Planets is a made for television documentary series that explores in depth the planets that make up our solar system. (390 mins.)
Director: David McNab
 
63.
Beyond the Summit (2000 Documentary)
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"Beyond the Summit" chronicles the 2000 Mt. Everest Environmental Expedition sponsored by Gateway & Inventa... (71 mins.)
Director: Bill Marchese
 
64.
Dolphins (2000 Documentary)
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Experience how dolphins live and play, and unravel the mysteries of dolphin communication in this Academy Award-nominated IMAX film which takes you into the complex lives of these fascinating animals. (39 mins.)
 
65.
The Endurance (2000 Documentary)
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A retelling of Sir Ernest Shackleton 's ill-fated expedition to Antarctica in 1914-1916, featuring new... (97 mins.)
Director: George Butler
 
66.
The Greatest Wildlife Show on Earth (2000 Documentary)
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Follow the path of the sun on its annual cycle, from the Equator, across the northern hemisphere and into the South... (59 mins.)
 
67.
The Lost Gods of Easter Island (2000 Documentary)
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A simple, carved figure bought at an auction in New York leads David Attenborough on a global journey from Russia to Australia, from England back to the Pacific. On the way he delves into a history of the stunning stones on Easter Island. (49 mins.)
Director: Kate Broome
 
68.
Napoleon (2000 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Documentary about the rise and fall of one of the greatest military geniuses of modern times from his Corsican childhood to final exile in St. Helena. (240 mins.)
 
69.
Napoleon's Obsession: The Quest for Egypt (2000 Documentary)
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Stars: Bob Brier
 
70.
Race for the Poles (2000 Documentary)
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The history of the struggles by Robert Peary, Frederick Cook, Roald Amundsen, Robert Scott, and Ernest Shackleton to be the first men to reach the North and South Poles.
Director: SueAnn Fincke
 
71.
Secrets of the Dead (2000 TV Series)
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Mysteries involving notable historical events, people and locations are scientifically examined.
 
72.
State of the Planet (2000 TV Series)
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David Attenborough investigates the latest scientific research to discover whether or not there is a global environmental crisis, and, if so, what solutions there are to it. (147 mins.)
Director: Kate Broome
 
73.
The Blue Planet (2001 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.0/10 X  
Mammoth series, five years in the making, taking a look at the rich tapestry of life in the world's oceans. (50 mins.)
 
74.
Egypt Beyond the Pyramids (2001 Documentary)
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(50 mins.)
Director: David de Vries
 
75.
Los (2001 Documentary)
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Los Angeles is depicted in 35 stationary shots, each 2 1/2 minutes long, in this non-narrative film. (90 mins.)
Director: James Benning
 
76.
Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy Working with Time (2001 Documentary)
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Portrait of Andy Goldsworthy, an artist whose specialty is ephemeral sculptures made from elements of nature. (90 mins.)
 
77.
Hyperspace (2001 Mini-Series)
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Explore the wonders of our universe with Sam Neill. (180 mins.)
Stars: Sam Neill
 
78.
Winged Migration (2001 Documentary)
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Documentary on the migratory patterns of birds, shot over the course of three years on all seven continents. (98 mins.)
 
79.
Expedition: Bismarck (2002 Documentary)
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An underwater expedition to the German battleship Bismarck and digitally reconstructs events that led up to the ship's sinking during World War II. (92 mins.)
 
80.
The Highest Step in the World (2002 Documentary)
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THE HIGHEST STEP IN THE WORLD tells the story of the post-war U.S. Air Force pre-astronauts, who risked... (46 mins.)
Director: Michael Lennick
 
81.
Building the Great Pyramid (2002 Documentary)
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Based on the latest archaeological discoveries and combining dramatic reconstruction, location shooting and state-of-the-art CGI computer effects... (58 mins.)
Director: Jonathan Stamp
 
82.
Before We Ruled the Earth (2003 TV Series)
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Before We Ruled the Earth is an odyssey of evolution, from Homo ergaster in Africa at 1.7 million years ago...
 
83.
Bodysong (2003 Documentary)
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Simon Pummell's epic movie tells the story of a human life, using found footage from the last 100 years of cinema, cut to a powerful score by Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead. (83 mins.)
Director: Simon Pummell
 
84.
Deep Blue (2003 Documentary)
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The natural history of the oceans (83 mins.)
 
85.
The Elegant Universe (2003 Mini-Series)
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A documentary examining string theory. (60 mins.)
 
86.
Hollywood's Magical Island: Catalina (2003 Documentary)
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Beginning with William Wrigley's acquisition of the Santa Catalina Island Company in 1919, the history of the island is explored with archival footage, stills, interviews of residents, historians and celebrities. (52 mins.)
Director: Greg Reitman
 
87.
Nature (1982 TV Series)
Episode: Under Antarctic Ice (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Documentary series exploring various global wildlife issues and subjects. (60 mins.)
Director: Nigel Cole
 
88.
Volcanoes of the Deep Sea (2003 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Alvin, a deep-sea mechanized probe, makes a voyage some 12,000 feet underwater to explore the Azores, a constantly-erupting volcanic rift between Europe and North America. (40 mins.)
Director: Stephen Low
 
89.
The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill (2003 Documentary)
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A homeless musician finds meaning to his life when he starts a friendship with dozens of parrots. (83 mins.)
Director: Judy Irving
 
90.
13 Lakes (2004 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Shots of 13 great lakes in the USA, with each shot containing half water and half sky or land. (135 mins.)
Director: James Benning
 
91.
Darwin's Nightmare (2004 Documentary)
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A documentary on the effect of fishing the Nile perch in Tanzania's Lake Victoria. The predatory fish, which has wiped out the native species, is sold in European supermarkets, while starving Tanzanian families have to make do with the leftovers. (107 mins.)
Director: Hubert Sauper
 
92.
Genesis (2004 Documentary)
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Ttgtttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt (81 mins.)
 
93.
The Nile (2004 Documentary)
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(50 mins.)
 
94.
The Sky Turns (2004 Documentary)
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One year in the life of a tiny village in northern Spain. (110 mins.)
“ The Sky Turns ” - shawnevans666
 
95.
Space Odyssey: Voyage to the Planets (2004 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
This two-part science fiction docu-drama examines the possibilities of a dangerous, manned space mission to explore the inner and outer planets of the Solar system. (100 mins.)
Director: Joe Ahearne
 
96.
Sunrise Earth (2004 TV Series)
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(52 mins.)
 
97.
Ten Skies (2004 Documentary)
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An experimental film portraying different skies in very long takes. (101 mins.)
Director: James Benning
 
98.
Life in the Undergrowth (2005 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.1/10 X  
David Attenborough's ground-breaking exploration of a group of organisms that are vast in number, yet often too small to be noticed: the invertebrates. (50 mins.)
 
99.
Living with Wolves (2005 Documentary)
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(95 mins.)
 
100.
March of the Penguins (2005 Documentary)
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In the Antarctic, every March since the beginning of time, the quest begins to find the perfect mate and start a family. (80 mins.)
Director: Luc Jacquet