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DVD gifts for documentary lovers

Updated on December 3, 2016

If you are looking for some interesting documentary DVD gift ideas, then you might want to see the suggestions in this article. The DVD ideas highlighted in this article also include some pretty unique kind of documentaries.

Maybe you are a documentary enthusiast yourself and are trying to figure out what to put on your own gift wishlist, or you might be searching for gifts for documentary lovers in your family or circle of friends. The ideas in this hub might even be appealing to people that are not particularly interested in documentaries. Hope the suggestions I make will give you some inspiration, at least!

DVD gifts for documentary lovers

The documentaries highlighted in this hub vary in subject, ranging from animals to people to science to places, and sometimes with a unique idea or approach. What to think about a documentary that has been following the lives of certain people for already 50 years? Or a nature DVD consisting solely of time-lapse photography? Or a landscape DVD where you take the seat of a train cab driver? Or a 1919 vintage documentary? These and several more DVD's are highlighted below. Some are 'stand-alone' documentaries, some have been television documentary series. All the suggestions are generally well reviewed. Take a look!

The Up-series

The seven year itch

The Up-series is a very interesting and unique concept by its creator Michael Apted. It's an ongoing British documentary with a new episode every 7 years, and it's about an eclectic group of people, men and women, that have been interviewed every 7 years since they were seven years of age. They are now about 57 years old. The first episode aired in 1964, the last one in 2012, with the next episode probably airing in 2019, when the participants are about 63. What is interesting about this documentary series is that you can see these people grow. It shows how first impressions can be misleading. It shows the hard side of life. It shows succes. And in general, it just shows many aspects of life that people can relate to and might even learn from. Not dramatized, just honest and in-depth. The idea has been adopted by various countries all over the world, like the USA, Australia and Japan. The UK started a new version of the series in 2000. This DVD-box contains all 8 episodes so far.


The enchanting and funny world of bugs

Nature lovers will love this, and even people that don't have a particular enthusiasm for bugs will appreciate it. It's already pretty old, being made in mid-nineties, but it's timeless. This DVD gives such a beautiful close-up insight in the world of the tiny creepy crawlies. It's got really nice shots of how insects get things done, or their rituals and their habits. This sometimes makes for really funny scenes as well. It's amazing what a detailed kind of life can exist on such a tiny scale, that escapes the eye in daily life. This documentary is really worth your time, and you'll probably find yourself watching it more than once. It's definitely one of those must-give gifts for documentary lovers.

Cab ride through the rockies

Train cab ride - view landscapes from the unique viewpoint of a train cab driver seat

Many people are curious to know what it's like to view the world from a place they will usually never be, for example: the seat of a train cab driver. Well, for those people there's several documentaries out there that will give them exactly what they are looking for. Filmed through the front window of trains, you can see the most beautiful landscapes pass you by. These videos can take up hours, and show a train ride non stop from beginning to end. One example of a train cab ride DVD is the Bergensbahnen ride in Norway (seven hours Bergen to Oslo). One nice thing about that ride is the fact that you are driving in an autumnlike sunny landscape one minute, and are surrounded by a snowy landscape the next. Another ride is for instance a train cab ride from Glasgow to London (available at The praticular documentary shown in this article will take the viewer through the breathtaking Rocky Mountains. Happy travel!


Historical documentary from 1919

For people with a special feel for the value of historical things, this DVD might be of interest. It would have been nice to have the first documentary ever made (late 19th century) out on DVD, but since that's the case, I've tried to find the oldest documentary that has been put on disk. The one I've selected, South, is not the eldest that's been put on disk, but for as far as I can see, this is the first documentary where nothing was scripted. It's a silent film that was released in 1919, and it's a about a failed Antarctic expedition in 1915, led by Sir Ernest Shackleton and filmed by Frank Hurley. The expedition failed because the ship Endurance got stuck and got destroyed. The documentary gives an insight into how the crew tried to survive, what they also, luckily, all did.

Earth from space

Explaining earth processes with satellite data

This documentary by Nova gives an insight into how certain processes on earth take place and how they interact. Processes driven by forces like the sun, the wind and water, that are explained by using extensive data obtained by satellites, for instance data that tells us in detail what the sea bottom surface looks like. One of the subjects that this very popular documentary addresses is how tornadoes develop.

Visions of nature - Timescapes

See nature's beauty unfolding with time-lapse images

Another documentary DVD gift idea is this time-lapse video. Time-lapse photography is when, periodically, a photo is made of a very slow moving, changing, subject, and always from the same point of view. These photos put together make a film where you can see the slow process at a much quicker speed. That's what this documentary has to offer. Sequences of beautiful and colorful scenery where you can see the hours pass by in minutes. All the basic footage, all 35.000 hours of it, was shot in America. You see the change of seasons and day and night, you see flowers unfold and much, much more. 50 Minutes worth of natural beauty in a way you will never witness in real life.

Life after people

What might happen to the world when people don't exist anymore

Ok, not a scenario very likely in the near future, but still an interesting one to think about: what would happen to the earth if humans weren't around anymore? This documentary presents scenarios of things that might happen. What will happen for instance to animals, to structures, to satellites? Because the DVD shown here was so successful, a two season TV series followed it up.

Mysteries of the ancient world

Pyramids, Machu Picchu, Stonehenge and much more

This colorful DVD highlights many ancient mysteries in beautiful images with interesting narration. It covers mysteries from all over the world. It talks about British Stonehenge, the historic site that might be as old as 5000 years. It also highlights the amazing town of Machu Picchu, rediscovered about a hundred years ago, and built by the Inca's on top of a Peruvian mountain ridge in the 15th century, a time where construction materials were not as easily transported as they are today, so how did they do that? And, of course, the DVD would not be complete without tackling the pyramid building issue. These and many more subjects are featured on this almost 3 hour long DVD.

America's 60 greatest unsolved mysteries and crimes

Roswell, the moon landing, Marilyn, JFK, and many more

Some people like a good old mystery every now and then, and for them this suggestion might be interesting. It contains a wide selection of American unsolved mysteries, including the world famous mysteries and conspiracy theories like: did we really set foot on the moon, who shot JFK and what really happened at Roswell. In about 7 hours worth of material you get a glimpse into these mysteries. Of course, if you like to get more in-depth information about a certain subject, there's also many topic specific documentaries out there. But if you or the person you want to buy a gift for likes overviews and basics, then this one might be very interesting. And what's also very nice: it's not expensive at all.

The remarkable 20th century

Like the previous two dvd's mentioned, also this documentary is focussed on collections. Just name the first thing that comes to mind when you ask yourself what notable thing happened in the last century, and there's a big chance it will be featured in this collection. It's a 5 part box set, filled with many noteworthy people and events in the 20th century, ranging from disasters to scandals to politics to sports to movies to music. Relive the past century in 10 hours.

That's all, folks!

Well, that wraps up this article with suggestions for gifts for documentary lovers. Hopefully this hub has been useful for you in one way or another, and if not, surely you'll find something nice elsewhere!

Share your taste!

What kind of documentary do you personally like most?

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    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      5 years ago from Arkansas USA

      What an interesting list! Thanks for compiling it for us.


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