Films on Conservation

The National Parks:
America’s Best Idea

Documentary Ken Burns 2009 TV-G 6 Episodes. The award-winning documentarian turns his insight and cameras to the history and breathtaking splendor of America’s national parks.

David Brower’s Fight for Wild America

Documentary 2004 NR 1hr 17m. From the part he played in passing the 1964 Wilderness Act through Congress to his instrumental role in saving the Grand Canyon, charismatic environmentalist David Brower demonstrates his commitment to saving the planet one cause at a time. See Full Review

The Ecological Footprint

Documentary 2005 NR 30 minutes. In an effort to promote dialogue on the future of our planet, Dr. Mathis Wackernagel outlines the Ecological Footprint, an accounting tool that he co-created to measure Earth’s supply of natural resources and how much of that supply we are using. With most countries currently running on ecological deficits, consuming more resources than the planet generates, Wackernagel emphasizes the need for a global commitment to sustainability.


Documentary 2012. Actor and director Robert Redford, a longtime environmental activist, has teamed with his son to film a documentary about the Colorado River system, which conservationists believe is endangered by decades of development and global warming.  Their documentary, produced by Jamie Redford and narrated by his father, draws attention to the enormous and, they say, unsustainable demands on the Colorado River system that provides much of the American west with water. “The watershed issue is something that’s happening all over the world, where the need for water is greater than the amount of water to provide for it,” Redford Sr. said. “We’re picking the Colorado River as an example of what’s going on with watersheds all over the world and trying to focus on that and draw attention to it.”

Jane’s Journey

Docudrama 2010 NR 1hr 46m. This inspiring biopic relates the lifelong crusade of chimp researcher Jane Goodall, moving from England to the Tanzanian jungle where her work began. This documentary has less to do with Jane’s chimpanzee work and is almost entirely focused on her lifelong work as a globetrotting enivronmental activist, for which she is also famous. Nearly half a century later, Goodall continues to visit the animals that ignited her passion.

Jane Goodall:
Reason for Hope

Documentary 1999 NR 60 minutes. Jane Goodall rose to prominence with her pioneering study of chimpanzees in Tanzania’s Gombe Stream National Park. This globe-trotting documentary celebrates the amazing life of the scientist and conservationist. In footage shot in England, Tanzania, San Francisco and Paris, Goodall ponders good and evil, moral evolution, the environment and more. Harrison Ford narrates; Bobby McFerrin and Yo-Yo Ma supply the African-themed soundtrack.

Bidder 70

Documentary 2012 NR 73 minutes. This documentary relates the saga of Tim DeChristopher, who brazenly bid $1.7 million to win 12 land parcels at a federal oil lease auction. With no intention of paying — and determined to protect the land — the activist begins a long legal battle.

Dirt! The Movie

Documentary 2009 NR 80 minutes. Dirt takes center stage in this entertaining yet poignant documentary from Bill Benenson and Gene Rosow, which unearths our cosmic connection to soil and explores how diverse groups of people are uniting to save the natural resource. Drawing inspiration from William Bryant Logan’s book Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth, the filmmakers combine lively animations with personal accounts from farmers, scientists, activists and more.

Endangered Animals

Documentary Nature 2009 TV-PG. This episode of the popular documentary series spotlights scientists who are working to increase the population of Yangtze turtles and other endangered species by breeding them in captivity and then introducing their offspring to the wild. Narrated by acclaimed actor F. Murray Abraham, the program also chronicles the ongoing challenges faced by these slowly recovering species, such as a dwindling gene pool and rapid habitat loss.

The End of the Line

Documentary 2009 PG 1hr 22m. Filmmaker Rupert Murray traverses the world exposing the devastating effects that overfishing with modern technology is having on fish stocks and exploring the real solutions to solve the crisis. the film’s point that overfishing 1) occurs, and 2) has dire repercussions. International fishing guidelines are regularly ignored by poachers and individual governments to astonishing degrees; in some cases, the suggested maximum catch is exceeded by tenfold or more. Overfishing can result in 1) ecological disasters, as when a species goes extinct or becomes endangered it can have consequences such as increase of algae or other such biological problems that wreak more havoc than one would imagine; and 2) significant loss of jobs, as if there are no fish to catch there are no fishermen to employ.

Sushi: The Global Catch

Documentary 2012 NR 1hr 14m. This documentary traces the history of sushi from its origins as Japanese street food to its current status as an internationally popular cuisine.

Whale Wars

Reality Series 2008-2010 TV-14. Dedicated to obstructing the Japanese whaling fleet, the crew of the MV Steve Irwin deliberately put themselves in harm’s way in this drama-packed reality program, leading to some frightening high-seas confrontations.

The Whale Warrior
Pirate for the Sea

Documentary 2008 NR 1hr 40m. Explore the controversial career and tactics of militant marine conservationist Paul Watson in this documentary that profiles his rise as an activist and his most daring attempts to stop hunters from illegally slaughtering sea creatures.

To the Last Fish

Documentary Frontline 1991. Correspondent Al Austin looks at the mass environmental destruction of the world’s fisheries caused by new technologies in the fishing industry. Interviews with fishermen, businessmen, scientists, and government leaders reveal how the vital marine resource is in a dangerous state of decline.

Grey Owl

Docudrama 1999 PG-13 117 minutes.  This biopic stars Pierce Brosnan as Archie Grey Owl, a British-born trapper whose marriage to a young Iroquois woman ultimately transforms him into a conservationist who renounces the hunting and trapping of animals, especially beavers as an endangered species, in the 1930s forty years before the environmental movement of the 1770s.

Surviving the Dust Bowl

Documentary 2007 NR 56 minutes. Liev Schreiber narrates this hourlong documentary that chronicles the stories of the Southern plains farmers who persevered through the terrible eight-year drought and dust storms that plagued the region from 1931 to ’39. Though some headed west as relentless heat and overplowing began turning the once-rich topsoil into dust, most remained and learned how to take innovative conservation measures that would help save the land.


Custom Search


Must-See Movies—For What You Need to Know