179 history documentaries you can watch right now (no membership required)

Compiled by Andy Trimlett

All of these programs are available to watch right now without a membership — but, bear in mind that some won’t stay free-to-watch forever, so catch them now before they’re gone.

Have you decided that it’s high time to take a step back and look at the big picture? Is your teenager sick of your attempts to remember history class in your newly-founded home school? Or are you just desperate to watch a story that doesn’t include a certain word that rhymes with Arizona? Whatever your motivation, we’ve got you covered. Here are 179 history documentaries you can watch right now, no membership required. Just click the links and press play. You can also find these shows in the free PBS Video app for your Roku, Apple TV, Samsung Smart TV, Fire TV Stick, phone or tablet. Enjoy!


Firestone and the Warlord

Lost Boys of Sudan


After Stonehenge

Cleopatra’s Lost Tomb

Decoding the Great Pyramid

Egypt’s Darkest Hour

Lost Ships of Rome

The Nero Files

Nero’s Sunken City

The Silver Pharaoh


10 Monuments That Changed America

10 Modern Marvels That Changed America

10 Streets That Changed America

10 Towns that Changed America

Grand Coulee Dam

Hollywood’s Architect

Paul Revere Williams

The Big Picture

Blank on Blank

History Detectives

The Origin of Everything


Beach Culture

Before the Dodgers

Bootlegger Tunnels: A Journey Through LA’s Prohibition Lore


Building the Metropolis

Coded Geographies

Descanso Gardens

Desert Fantasy

Discovering the Universe

Dream Factory


Ghost Town

Griffith Park: The Untold Story

Pacific Rim

Reshaping L.A.

Shindana Toy Company: Changing the American Doll Industry

Three Views of Manzanar: Adams, Lange, Miyatake


Wild L.A.

Wild West



Abacus: Small Enough to Jail

American Empire: The Rise and Reign of Jeff Bezos

The Business of Disaster

The Facebook Dilemma

The Gilded Age

Money, Power and Wall Street

The Secret History of the Credit Card

Civil Rights

The Fight

First Freedom: The Fight for Religious Liberty

Memories of the March

Underground Railroad: The William Still Story


The Big Burn

Ebola in Congo

Fire in Paradise

Early America

Ben Franklin’s Bones

Secrets of Spanish Florida

East Asia

Battle for Hong Kong

China’s Terracotta Warriors

Myanmar’s Killing Fields

On the President’s Orders

The Tank Man


Jacques Pépin: The Art of Craft

James Beard: America’s First Foodie

LA Foodways

The Poison Squad

Great Britain

Arthur’s Lost Kingdom

Resurrecting Richard III


The Age of AIDS

Chasing Heroin

Flint’s Deadly Water


Right to Fail

The Holocaust

Escape from Auschwitz

The Last Survivors

The Last Laugh

Memory of the Camps



Immigration Battle

Targeting El Paso

Marcos Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

North Korea’s Deadly Dictator

Separated: Children at the Border

Zero Tolerance


American Patriot

The Gang Crackdown

Last Days of Solitary

Life on Parole

A More or Less Perfect Union

The Mueller Investigation

Out of Gitmo/Forever Prison

Second Chance Kids

Supreme Revenge

The Trial of Ratko Mladić

Latin America

Drug Lord: The Legend of Shorty

Into the Amazon

Teotihuacán’s Lost Kings

Middle East

Bitter Rivals: Iran and Saudi Arabia

Children of Syria

The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia

For Sama

Losing Iraq

Mosul/Inside Yemen

Netanyahu at War

Saudi Arabia Uncovered

Our Man in Tehran


RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked The World




Anti-Abortion Crusaders

The Abortion Divide

America’s Great Divide: From Obama to Trump

Bannon’s War

Emma Goldman

Gunned Down

Hillary’s Class

Ken Burns’ The Roosevelts


Secrets, Politics and Torture

Trump’s Road to the White House

Trump’s Takeover

Trump’s Trade War

United States of Secrets

Waco: The Inside Story

War on the EPA


Left Behind America

Poverty, Politics and Profit

Poor Kids


First Face of America

Great Human Odyssey

Making North America Human

Making North America: Life

Making North America: Origins


The Chinese Exclusion Act

The Eugenics Crusade

Roads to Memphis

Separate and Unequal

Tell Them We Are Rising

Two American Families


Bones of the Buddha

From Jesus to Christ

God in America

The Mormons

Secrets of the Vatican


Building the Great Cathedrals

Decoding da Vinci

The Mona Lisa Mystery


Putin’s Revenge

Putin’s Way


Apollo’s Daring Mission

Chasing the Moon

Forgotten Genius

The Gene: An Intimate History

Leonardo, the Man Who Saved Science


The Secret of Tuxedo Park


Ken Burns’ Baseball

Ken Burns’ Jackie Robinson

League of Denial: The NFL’s Corruption Crisis


American Terrorist

Confronting ISIS

The Man Who Knew

My Brother’s Bomber

The Rise of ISIS

The Secret History of ISIS

Terror in Europe

Who Was Lee Harvey Oswald

War and Revolution

Bush’s War

Carthage’s Lost Warriors

Ground War

The Hunt for Nazi Scientists

Hallowed Grounds

The Man Who Saved the World

The Mine Wars

Obama at War

Slave Ship Mutiny

The War of 1812

World War Speed

Wild West

Annie Oakley

The Klondike Gold Rush

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airs April 16

Arizona PBS presents candidate debates as part of ‘AZ Votes 2024’

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May 2

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May 12

Submit your entry for the 2024 Writing Contest

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Mushrooms, Weakness and Doubt 

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