Truth be told, I was never a huge documentary fan — I generally equated them with naptime or a depressive spiral; I was rarely eager to sign up for the latter. That is until I saw Cowspiracy — it was probably one of the first vegan documentaries I watched, and almost a decade later, it’s still left an impact.
I left that movie theatre inspired to tear apart my fridge and rid it of every last dairy product (at the time, I was a vegetarian), even if it came from so-called “happy cows.” That documentary and the many that followed played a role in my transition and helped to build my elevator pitch as to why I’d give up products that many feel they can’t possibly live without.
That’s the power of a good documentary (not the ones that put you to sleep) — they can be incredible tools to educate, enlighten, and inspire — precisely what we need more of in the vegan movement.
Whether you’re a long-time vegan, vegetarian, or just veg-curious, I promise that watching any of these documentaries will enlighten and inspire you to look differently at your health, the environment, and all of its inhabitants.
Vegan Documentaries on Netflix
IMBd Rating: 8.1/10
When people talk about what’s destroying our planet, time and time again, the conversation only centers on fossil fuels. While fossil fuels play a role, animal agriculture also deserves the same level of scrutiny.
Animal agriculture is one of the leading causes of deforestation, water depletion, pollution, habitat loss, ocean “dead zones,” and much more — but organizations and policymakers aren’t talking about it. Cowspiracy takes a deep dive into the impacts of factory farming that major environmental organizations are too afraid to discuss and provides viewers with a game plan for a sustainable future.
IMBd Rating: 8.1/10
If you’ve ever thought the fishing industry was more ethical or eco-friendly than animal agriculture, you must watch this. Produced by the same team behind Cowspiracy, the film’s director, Ali Tabrizi, takes viewers on a journey around the globe to uncover the impacts of commercial fishing. The film exposes the myths behind sustainable seafood, misleading marketing like “dolphin safe,” plastic pollution, and human rights abuses. It also encourages viewers to realize that overfishing, illegal fishing and other unsustainable practices are leading to the collapse of fish populations and the destruction of marine ecosystems.
IMBd Rating: 7.8/10
If you ever thought vegans were weak, you must watch this. The film follows James Wilks, a retired mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter, as he investigates the science behind plant-based diets and meets with athletes, scientists, and experts to discuss what the diet can do for athletes.
Game Changers showcases incredible athletes, from a world record-holding strongman to an ultra-marathoner, who are all kicking the stereotype that you can’t build muscle or excel athletically as a vegan. In addition to highlighting aesthetic fitness, the film delves into the myths and stereotypes perpetuated in the food industry. Even if you don’t want to become a superstar runner or weight lifter, this film makes you rethink the optimal diet for a healthy and strong life.
IMBd Rating: 7.2/10
If you’ve been curious about the links between what you eat and what ails you, this documentary is for you. The film follows filmmaker Kip Andersen as he investigates the claims made by the food industry and medical establishment about the benefits of meat and dairy consumption.
What The Health also examines the role of government and pharmaceutical companies in promoting unhealthy diets and the potential benefits of a plant-based diet for preventing and reversing chronic diseases.
IMBd Rating: 8.3/10
This isn’t technically a vegan documentary but there is definitely a strong theme surrounding the power of plants! The docuseries is based on Journalist and Explorer, Dan Buettner’s book of the same name which explores the lifestyles and habits of people living in certain regions of the world known as Blue Zones. These Blue Zones are regions where people have higher-than-average life expectancies and lower rates of chronic diseases, a few of them include Okinawa, Japan; Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica; and Loma Linda, California. The two biggest takeaways from watching include eating a plant-based diet and don’t stop moving!
Vegan Documentaries on Disney Plus
IMBd Rating: 8.2/10
Although this isn’t an outright vegan documentary, this award-winning documentary tackles climate change issues and doesn’t shy away from the impacts of animal agriculture. The film was created over three years and follows actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio as he travels around the world to investigate the causes and effects of climate change.
The team offsets the carbon emissions created during filming through a voluntary carbon tax.
Vegan Documentaries on Amazon Prime
IMBd Rating: 7.6/10
Eating Our Way to Extinction is also available on Tubi & Peacock
Narrated by Kate Winslet, this award-winning documentary seeks to show viewers how our global food system is broken and is driving the planet to ecological collapse.The film examines how the demand for animal-based foods has led to deforestation, habitat loss, and other environmental problems and how this contributes to the extinction of species worldwide.
While the picture painted by Eating Our Way to Extinction is bleak, it also presents a vision for a more sustainable and ethical food system that prioritizes plant-based foods, regenerative farming practices, and reducing food waste.
IMBd Rating: 7.7/10
Forks Over Knives is also available on Tubi & Vudu
Forks Over Knives follows the journeys of several individuals who have adopted a plant-based diet and experienced significant improvements in their health, including reduced risk of chronic diseases, among others.
The documentary also features interviews with experts in the field of nutrition and medicine who discuss the benefits of a plant-based diet. Forks Over Knives is a must-watch for anyone interested in improving their health through dietary changes.
Vegan Documentaries on Other Streaming Platforms
IMBd Rating: 9.3/10
Watch SLAY on WaterBear
This documentary will make you think twice when you walk into a shopping mall to buy a new outfit or shoes. The film’s director Rebecca Cappelli takes viewers behind the scenes of the glitzy fashion industry to expose the devastating cruelty and environmental impacts of our clothing choices. Cappelli hopes to inspire viewers to “build a kinder wardrobe” and realize there are ways to shop cruelty-free and more sustainably.
IMBd Rating: 9/10
Watch Dominion on YouTube
Dominion is the sequel to the Australian pig farming documentary, Lucent. The film zeros in on the ethical and environmental consequences of animal agriculture and focuses on exploring factory farming, animal testing, and hunting in Australia. Through the exposure of exploitation, the film seeks to challenge the idea that animals are necessary for human consumption.
IMBd Rating: 8.1/10
Watch Blackfish on Tubi, Sling, & Vudu
SeaWorld isn’t an innocent family outing, and Blackfish will show you why. The film tells the story of a killer whale, Tilikum, who killed multiple people while performing at SeaWorld. In addition to highlighting Tilikum, the film also looks at the controversy surrounding the practice of keeping killer whales in captivity. It explores the physical and psychological impact of confinement on these highly intelligent and social animals.
Former CNN anchor Jane Velez-Mitchell said it best, “If you were in a bathtub for 25 years, don’t you think you’d get a little psychotic?”
#12 Save Ralph
IMBd Rating: 8.4/10
Watch on YouTube
Created by Humane Society International with an all-star cast, Save Ralph is a short, stop-motion animated film that uncovers the devastating effects of animal testing. The film follows a day in the life of a white bunny named Ralph and shows audiences his harsh and painful reality. It encourages viewers to consider the impact of the products that they purchase on animals and the environment.
IMBd Rating: 9.1/10
An all-star lineup, including seven-time NBA All-Star Chris Paul and 7X Grammy winner Billie Eilish, produced this thought-provoking vegan documentary to uncover the most significant threat to American Society, our food system. The film examines why people of color are affected disproportionately by chronic disease and how this plays a role in institutional racism and government corporation.
At one point, the narrator, John Lewis, is taken to a pig farm in a rural area of the South that is predominantly poor and asks viewers to consider if this would happen in an affluent, white neighborhood?
#14 Food, Inc.
IMBd Rating: 7.8/10
Food, Inc. is available on YouTube
Most people don’t realize that a handful of corporations control our food system and have no genuine interest in consumer health and wellness. Food, Inc. explores the underbelly of the American food system and explains the role of the USDA and FDA.
The documentary also sheds light on the consequences of animal agriculture, including the prevalence of foodborne illnesses, the environmental impact of industrial agriculture, and the exploitation of farmers and workers.
Keep a Look Out for This Vegan Documentary in 2023
Expected release date: 2023
Join vegan couple Anja and Matej as they take viewers on their mission to change the world and show how being kind to animals can save humanity.
Vegan Documentary FAQs
What is the vegan true crime documentary?
In 2022, Netflix released the vegan true crime documentary Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives. The film follows former NYC vegan restauranteur Sarma Melngailis as her life unravels after marrying con artist Anthony Strangis.
What documentary is about vegan athletes?
If you want to be inspired by amazing vegan athletes, check out The Game Changers. The film challenges the conventional belief that athletes must consume animal products, such as meat and dairy, to excel in sports. It also features well-known Olympic medalists, professional football players, and endurance athletes who have adopted a plant-based diet and achieved significant success in their respective sports.
What documentary makes everyone want to go vegan?
Honestly, I don’t know if there is just one vegan documentary that made (or makes) everyone want to go vegan — personally, I’d say there are multiple that could have that effect. If you want to be inspired or have your ideas challenged, I’d encourage you to watch Eating Our Way to Extinction, Cowspiracy, Seaspiracy, and The Game Changers.
Further Vegan Reading
Whether you’re looking for travel help or wine suggestions, you’ve come to the right place. Check out these other guides and articles!
23 Vegan Fast Food Options to Check Out When You’re Traveling
The Ultimate Guide to Vegan-Friendly All Inclusive Resorts
The Best Vegan Sparkling Wines
8 Must-Try Vegan Breakfast Spots in Miami
Scenic Day Trips Not to Miss From Vancouver
The Best Vegan Shampoo Bars to Try & a Few to Skip