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The Most Inspiring Documentaries To Watch As A Student

Top Documentaries Every Student Should Watch

The Most Inspiring Documentaries To Watch As A Student
Photo by Denise Jans on Unsplash

Documentaries have become a means to re-establish a relationship with reality. With that said, before documentaries came up it seemed like not many people cared about reality. They preferred watching the action-packed drama, blockbusters over documentaries often supposed to be boring.

However, things have changed. Now people look forward to watching inspirational documentaries. We know there are many options to surf through, therefore, we have selected the best inspiring documentaries to watch as a student. They will not only transform your outlook but will make you see the world in ways you never imagined you could.

We all love talking about documentaries and what they tell us. The best documentaries make us aware of the world we never knew existed. Some bring a smile, while some might make tears drop. But the best inspirational documentaries can change lives for the better. They give food for thought and good advice. Moreover, the top documentaries can help fight a rough day and will stay with you if you let them into your heart.

Daughters of Destiny

Created by Oscar-winning filmmaker Vanessa Roth Daughters of Destiny is a four-part inspirational documentary that follows a group of girls from rural India who are denied an education because of their cast.

Daughters of Destiny follows an exceptional group of Shanti Bhavan kids, who are born into the most discriminated and needy families. It’s about studying their lives, global poverty, opportunity, and the human longing for purpose and meaning.

Tales by Light

Tales by Light is an inspirational Australian documentary about five photographers who travel the world to find some extreme and fascinating environments. Although the show follows five photographers, each episode focuses on one photographer’s capture of their adventures through the camera. It is one of the top documentaries and combines visual artistry with a strong interesting narrative. This inspirational documentary proves glamour can be attached to photography and what technology can do when properly used.

Audrie & Daisy

Another one of the most popular inspiring documentaries to watch as a student is Audrie & Daisy. It is a documentary that tells stories of two girls assaulted in 2012 and how they were traumatized. Audrie & Daisy opens by recounting the horrific events that led to the suicide of 15-year old Audrie.

At a weekend party on Labour Day a group of boys whom Audrie calls friends assaulted her when she is intoxicated. The video of her assault is then circulated in school and what happens after it is shocking. Through this top-rated documentary, the filmmaker shows how University and high school students are at risk and what trauma such crimes inflict.


Happy is a thoughtful documentary that examines the cause of happiness. While depression, anxiety, and other negative emotions have been studied numerous times before, what makes a person happy has remained a mystery. Featuring a collection of interviews with people from diverse cultures and communities, Happy shows the simple and basic elements that can cause happiness. From community dwellers in Denmark to a 60-year old surfer from Brazil, or the cheerful inhabitants of Okinawa, the film is packed with positive and optimistic stories of life and will become a real inspiration for any viewer.

Finding Joe

In the early 20th century while studying world mythology, Joseph Campbell discovered a pattern hidden in every story ever told. He called it “the hero’s journey.” Finding Joe explores how the hero’s journey is relevant and essential in today’s world. It provides a narrative for how to live a fully realized life or, as Campbell would simply state, how to “follow your bliss.”

This one of the best inspiring documentaries to watch as a student takes us on an inspirational quest for self-discovery. As you slay dragons and uncover treasures, you just may find that the holy grail you seek is closer than you think.

Man on Wire

1974 saw a daring act of courage from Frenchman Phillippe Petit, who performed a high-wire walk between the two World Trade Center skyscrapers in New York. This exciting documentary follows Phillippe as he prepares for his mission. It shows the planning phases, his method and training, and, of course, the ultimate feat, the high-walk, done without any safety measures.

Man on wire features an enthusiastic dialogue and entertaining narration, with spectacular imagery, creating a wonderful atmosphere. Finally, the viewer is left to marvel at his courage and skill, while some may question his motives or motivations for such an endeavor. But the real lesson behind it is that you must follow your dreams, whatever they are.

When We Were Kings

Muhammad Ali was 32 in 1974, and many thought he should retire, that he was way past his prime, that he couldn’t fight anymore. His competitor is George Foreman, ten years younger, and the current Heavyweight champion of the world. Don King, a relatively unknown boxing promoter, decides to lure the fighters with 5 million dollars each for the match, and the only financial backer for this plan is Mobutu Sese Suko, the dictator of Zaire. This is how this famous boxing match in history started, known as “Rumble in the Jungle”. It shows the intense build-up and training before the fight and includes interviews with the athletes and their coaches. Also, this inspirational documentary features guest appearances by James Brown, Spike Lee, and Thomas Hauser among others.

Read next: The Unconventional College Life

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