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The Best War Documentary Series

Updated April 7, 2021 113 votes 22 voters 1.4k views47 items

List RulesVote up the best documentary shows about war that have aired on television.

The best documentaries about war do the heavy job of sharing some of the most devastating moments in history. The best war documentary series ever shown on television range from recent conflicts to ancient battles. This list of the best war documentary series of all time will help you figure out what needs to go into your queue.

The Ken Burns documentaries The Civil War, The Vietnam War and The War are longer series that helped define a specific style of historical documentary. Other documentary series such as America at a Crossroads and Andy McNab's Tour of Duty look at more recent conflicts, some of which are still ongoing.

Which shows do the best job sharing the stories and history of conflicts that have shaped the world? Vote up the best war documentary shows and add any documentary series about war that are missing.

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  • 1
    Robin Ward, Ralf Raths
    12
    3

    Premiered2011

    Greatest Tank Battles is a military documentary series currently airing on History Television and National Geographic Channel in Canada, where it premiered on 4 January 2010. The series was...  more
  • 2

    Premiered1983

    Vietnam: A Television History is a 13-part American documentary television mini-series about the Vietnam War from the perspective of the United States. It was produced for public television by...  more
  • 3
    Keith David
    10
    5

    PremieredSeptember 23, 2007

    The War is a seven-part American documentary television mini-series about World War II from the perspective of the United States. The program was produced by American filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn...  more
  • 4
    Russell Crowe, Dani Jazzar
    5
    0

    Premiered2005

    Inside 9/11 provides insight into the events that led up to 9/11 by tracing the timeline from al Qaeda's earliest origins through the aftermath of 9/11 and the ongoing investigation....  more
  • 5
    Arthur Harris, Brad Heck
    5
    0

    Premiered1982

    War: A Commentary by Gwynne Dyer is a 1983 Canadian television miniseries filmed by Gwynne Dyer. The miniseries was commissioned by the National Film Board of Canada and consists of 8 one-hour...  more
  • 6
    Laurence Olivier, Adolf Hitler
    4
    0

    Premiered1973

    The World at War is a 26-episode British television documentary series chronicling the events of the Second World War. At the time of its completion in 1973 it was the most expensive series ever...  more

    #21 of 68 The Best Military TV Shows#29 of 300 The Best Documentary Series & TV Shows#1 of 26 The Best WWII Documentary Series

  • 7
    Bill Hayton
    4
    0

    PremieredSeptember 17, 2017

    The Vietnam War (PBS, 2017) is an American documentary television miniseries. The ten-part limited series examines the Vietnam War, featuring interviews with 79 witnesses, including many Americans...  more
  • 8
    Baker Boys: Inside the Surge, is a 2010 four-part documentary series following the soldiers of Baker Company, Task Force 1-15 Infantry, 3d Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, during...  more
  • 9
    Rebels and Redcoats, subtitled How Britain Lost America, is a British television documentary series about the story of the American Revolutionary War, narrated by Richard Holmes in a four-parts....  more
  • 10
    Alan Pietruszewski, Garth R. Hassell
    3
    0

    PremieredFebruary 29, 2008

    Battle 360°, also written as Battle 360, is an American documentary television series that originally aired from February 29 to May 2, 2008 on History. The program focuses on the World War II-era...  more
  • 11
    Gavin MacFadyen, Simon West
    2
    0

    Premiered2003

    Battlefield Detectives is a forensic documentary television series that aired on the History Channel from 2003 to 2006. The series explores famous battles focusing on the battlefield itself, and tell...  more
  • 12
    Vietnam: The Ten Thousand Day War, a 26-part half-hour Canadian television documentary on the Vietnam War, was produced in 1980 by Michael Maclear. The series aired in Canada on CBC Television, in...  more
  • 13
    War Walks was a BBC documentary series presented by historian, Professor Richard Holmes. The series was about several famous European battles. It included descriptions of the battles, the events...  more
  • 14
    Terry Jones
    2
    0

    Premiered1995

    Crusades was a 1995 historical documentary series presented by former Monty Python member Terry Jones. It looked at The Crusades and included elements of black comedy....  more
  • 15

    Premiered1996

    The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century is a 1996 documentary series that aired on PBS. It chronicles World War I over eight episodes. It was narrated by Dame Judi Dench in the UK and...  more
  • 16
    Masami Kosaka, Hayate Masao
    1
    0

    PremieredJanuary 1, 2019

    Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan (Netflix, 2021) is an American-Canadian documentary series. Dynamic reenactments and expert commentaries bring to life the tumultuous history and power struggles of a...  more

    #190 of 1,002 The Best Original Streaming Shows Of The Last Few Years#20 of 558 The Best New TV Shows Of 2021#166 of 402 The Best Miniseries in TV History

  • 17
    Daniel Dae Kim, Tamlyn Tomita
    1
    0

    Premiered2020

    Asian Americans (PBS, 2020) is an American political documentary series narrated by Daniel Dae Kim and Tamlyn Tomita. The five-part series traces the story of Asian Americans, spanning 150 years of...  more
  • 18
    Felipe González, José María Aznar
    1
    0

    PremieredOctober 29, 2020

    The Challenge: ETA (Prime Video, 2020) is a Spanish documentary series. The eight-episode series follows the fight of Spanish military police against the terrorist group for the independence of the...  more
  • 19
    Battleplan is a 2006 military television documentary series examining various military strategies used in modern warfare since World War I. It is shown on the Military Channel in the U.S. and UKTV...  more
  • 20
    Leonard Graves, Franklin D. Roosevelt
    1
    1

    Premiered1952

    Victory at Sea is a documentary television series about warfare in general during World War II, and naval warfare in particular, as well as the use of industry in warfare. It was originally broadcast...  more
  • 21
    Morgan Freeman, Jeremy Irons
    0
    0

    Premiered1990

    The Civil War is a documentary film created by Ken Burns about the American Civil War. It was first broadcast on PBS on five consecutive nights from September 23 to 27, 1990. Approximately 40 million...  more
  • 22
    The Death of Yugoslavia is a BBC documentary series first broadcast in 1995, and is also the name of a book written by Allan Little and Laura Silber that accompanies the series. It covers the...  more
  • 23
    Graham Greene, Graham Greene
    0
    0
    The War that Made America is a PBS miniseries about the French and Indian War, which was first aired in two parts on January 18 & 25, 2006. The series features extensive reenactments of historical...  more
  • 24
    Robert Ryan
    0
    0

    PremieredSeptember 22, 1964

    World War One is an American documentary television series that was shown on CBS during the 1964–1965 television season to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the start of the war. The series was...  more
  • 25
    Kenneth Branagh
    0
    0

    Premiered1998

    Cold War is a twenty-four episode television documentary series about the Cold War that aired in 1998. It features interviews and footage of the events that shaped the tense relationships between the...  more