All creatures on Earth share our amazing planet and live in symbiosis with one another, but the world we inhabit is changing before our eyes. The following documentaries showcase the wonders of mother nature and how human beings have impacted life on Mother Earth. These series explore wildlife from the depths of the ocean to the highest mountain peaks, and hope to educate and inspire viewers to respect this special place we all call home.
1. BLUE PLANET (2001) – BBC
Yet another British documentary narrated by Sir David Attenborough, which focuses on the natural history of the world’s oceans. The award-winning series explored various aspects of aquatic life and captured underwater creatures which had never before been filmed by man. The series is comprised of eight 50-minute episodes, each documenting different facets of marine life and behaviors.
In 2017, a miniseries sequel was produced by BBC America. Blue Planet II further explored the world’s oceans and gave viewers a breathtaking look at the underseas world, the creatures that live there, and the environmental changes that are impacting their natural habitat. This seven-part series is available on all major streaming platforms.
Interview – Making of Blue Planet II:
The leopard seal is the Antarctic’s top predator according to episode 4 “Frozen Seas” of the Blue Planet series. Here is Pond5 footage of the feared creature.
2. PLANET EARTH (2006) – BBC
The gold standard for nature documentaries dates back to 2006 when the BBC launched the Planet Earth miniseries. It was the first nature documentary to be filmed in high definition… and also the most expensive up to that point. The series took five years to complete and featured 11 episodes, each showcasing a different habitat on Earth. The series is narrated by British natural historian, David Attenborough, who has lent his memorable voice to countless nature documentaries. The series was an overwhelming success, winning multiple Emmys and was broadcast around the globe. In 2007, it was broadcast on American television and narrated by Sigourney Weaver (who replaced Attenborough). Planet Earth opened up the floodgates for a stream of earth inspired documentaries which followed including the six-episode Planet Earth II in 2016. This must-see, groundbreaking series can be found on almost every major streaming site available.
The Making of Planet Earth:
It took three years to capture the extremely rare and elusive snow leopard on film for Planet Earth back in 2006. Here is a link to new curated Pond5 footage of a snow leopard in the wild.
3. BLACKFISH (2013) – MAGNOLIA PICTURES
Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s documentary film shook the public with its startling depiction of orcas and their attacks on humans. The subject of the film is a killer whale named Tilikum, who was a featured performer at Sea World where he had been raised since the age of two years old. The film focuses on the mistreatment of orcas and how hey they react to life in captivity. Audiences learn that whales are surprisingly intelligent and highly emotional creatures who have been known to attack more out of frustration than aggression. Tilikum is responsible for the deaths of three individuals and this documentary helps uncover the reasons why and who really is to blame for these deadly attacks. This poignant expose on the entertainment trade of killer whales is available on most major streaming channels and is a heartbreaking story that shouldn’t be missed.
Below are links to curated footage available on Pond5 of orcas in captivity versus orcas swimming free in the ocean:
Orcas in captivity:
Orcas in their natural habitat:
4. CHASING CORAL (2017) – NETFLIX
This Netflix produced doc is helmed by Jeff Orlowski whose previous documentary, Chasing Ice, came out in 2012. Shifting gears from the arctic landscape to coral reefs below the oceans’ surface, this film dives deep under water to reveal the impact global warming is having on coral reefs around the globe. Coral bleaching is destroying the reefs at an alarming rate and displacing the delicate ecosystems they foster. The film is a strong warning that society must make some serious changes to save the reefs from extinction and the ocean wildlife that rely on the reefs for food and shelter. Chasing Coral can be streamed on Netflix and is an eye-opening experience as to the widespread damage that is happening just below the surface of the world’s oceans.
Below are links to curated footage available on Pond5 demonstrating both dead and bleached coral reefs as well as a healthy coral reef.
Dead corals on coral reef:
Severe coral bleaching:
Healthy coral reef:
5. OUR PLANET: SEASON 1 (2019) – NETFLIX
Last year, Netflix launched its first nature documentary series (four years in the making). Produced by the BBC and narrated by none other than Sir David Attenborough, the series explores the vast ecosystems found on Earth. Each of the eight episodes takes viewers to more than 50 countries around the globe and focuses on Earth’s different habitats. The series explores the most exotic jungles, deepest oceans, densest forests, and arid deserts, filmed entirely in ultra-high definition, and looks more like a Hollywood movie than a nature documentary. Inviting audiences to take an in depth look at the beautiful place we call home, and Our Planet prompts viewers to take action and responsibility for the planet we all share.
Below are curated Pond5 clips of footage similar to what is found in season one of Our Planet.
Dense frozen forest: