The 10 Best Documentaries About Amish People

Jul 10, 2023 | Best Of, Culture, Religion

The Amish are a traditionalist Anabaptist Christian community with Swiss and Alsatian roots, known for their simple way of life and rejection of modern technology. If you’re interested in learning more about the Amish people, these 10 documentaries are a great place to start!

From the Ordnung – the rules that govern everyday life among the Amish – to their ongoing immigration to Pennsylvania in the 19th century, these films provide an exceptional insight into the culture of this unique community. Discover how they value rural living and manual labor, embrace humility and Gelassenheit (submission to God’s will), and operate one-room schools which end after grade eight.

Learn more about key topics such as the origins of the Amish/Mennonite church, adult baptism, and their practice of nonresistance and refusal to engage in military service. Through these documentaries, gain a better understanding of what it’s like for an Amish person living in today’s world.


The Amish and the Reformation (2017)

Discover the untold story of the Amish People in a captivating and thought-provoking documentary. As we mark the five hundred year anniversary of the Reformation, delve into the impact it had on one of America’s oldest and most fascinating communities – the Amish Church. Uncover the struggles, triumphs, and lasting legacy of this centuries-old tradition as you embark on a journey through time.





The Amish: Shunned (2014)

Discover the untold stories of seven individuals who have courageously left behind their Amish communities and way of life. Once tightly bound to their faith and families, they now navigate unfamiliar territory in modern America with heart-wrenching challenges and triumphs. Witness the raw and emotional journey of these former Amish as they bravely share their experiences, shedding light on a world that few have ever seen.





Amish 2.0 (2015)

While the rest of society is constantly plugged in and connected, there exists a small community that has maintained its traditional ways for centuries. The Amish people, known for their simple lifestyle and aversion to modern technology, have managed to resist the pull of the Internet age. But what is it about this community that allows them to thrive without the constant presence of screens and social media? Join us on a journey through the peaceful village of Gabrill, Indiana as we uncover the secrets and traditions of the Amish people.






Breaking Amish (2012)

Experience the journey of members and ex-members of the Amish and Mennonite communities as they navigate through a world filled with unfamiliar traditions and customs. Delve deep into their unique perspectives as they strive to uphold their core beliefs while also exploring the vast realm of new possibilities.




Amish: A Secret Life (2012)

Discover the hidden world of the Amish community in this captivating and exclusive documentary. With strict rules against photography, Miriam and David take a daring step by inviting cameras into their home to share their story. Immerse yourself in their fascinating way of life as we unveil the secrets of this traditional society.




The Best Free Amish Documentaries


1. The Amish: Back Roads to Heaven

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to experience the unique culture, language and customs of The Amish? This documentary will take you on a journey back in time to discover how they have managed to keep their traditions alive despite the rapid changes happening around them. We explore their approach to life, including agriculture and dress codes that set them apart from other religious communities such as Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses. Learn about their resilience as they continue adapting successfully into modern society while maintaining some aspects of traditional lifestyles. Discover why this group has been so successful at preserving its distinctiveness in an ever-evolving world!


2. Inside Largest Amish/Mennonite Community

Are you curious about the Mennonite culture? Learn all about this unique religious denomination and their simple way of life in this video. We’ll take a look inside the largest Mennonite/Amish community in the United States and explore their daily lives, beliefs, and culture. Discover how they first immigrated to North America by wagon train, why they live without modern conveniences like cars or TVs, and what makes them different from other Christian denominations. Get an insider’s view into the world of Mennonites with this documentary!


3. The Amish Documentary: Shunned from Amish Family

The Amish: Shunned is a powerful documentary that follows the stories of seven people who have made the difficult decision to leave their tight-knit communities. Each has paid a heavy price, but they all share a common hope – to reconnect with those left behind while still maintaining their faith and beliefs. From living on the streets after his wife leaves him, to struggling over how much of his past life he should reveal when talking about God’s word becomes taboo, this documentary takes viewers inside the lives of these former Amish as they grapple with modern America. It also offers an intimate look at one brave woman who must decide whether she will stay within her faith or take up acting despite not having been raised in this profession. Get ready for an emotional journey as you explore The Amish: Shunned!


4. Amish People. A day with the Amish in Blacksburg Virginia

This video offers a unique look into the lives of Amish people. Discover their faith, customs and traditions that have been passed down for generations. Follow along as we explore the Blacksburg area and learn how these people live in a modern world without technology or convenience. We will take you through their day-to-day activities and show you how they make a living while still adhering to an old way of life. Get ready for an eye-opening journey into one of the most fascinating cultures around!


5. Breaking the Silence I: The Secret Strength of the Amish Church

This documentary series provides a unique and respectful look into the origins of Amish people, their culture, and how it has evolved over time. Through interviews with former members of the church who have since been expelled for various reasons, viewers gain insight into the power that God’s Word has had on shaping individual lives as well as the faith within this community. We also learn about Lester Graber’s story and his excommunication from Amish society. This film is an important reminder to not judge others simply because they come from different backgrounds than our own society here in America.


6. Amish: A Secret Life

Dave and Miriam Lapp were an inspiring couple, full of love and life. They had a beautiful family with several adorable children. Dave owned and worked in a construction company, but the two also belonged to Pennsylvania’s Old Order Amish community, who forbid all technology, though Dave did have access to cars as necessary for work.

The film focused on this traditional lifestyle before introducing some of their friends and showing how some of the younger members of the Church were willing to risk excommunication by rebaptizing themselves in order to open more evangelical approaches. The movie ends on a hopeful note as the Lapps continue striving towards their dream of owning a farm.


7. The Mennonites – A trip back in time | DW Documentary

Take a look at the life of Mennonite Christians, a devout and isolated community who shun the modern world. This documentary gives us an insight into their way of living—from traveling by horse-drawn carriage and speaking Plattdeutsch to facing temptations from modern society. We even get exclusive access to one of Central and South America’s traditional Mennonite colonies in Peru, where some members have left Little Belize for fear that their community was being tainted. Learn about these fascinating people as we explore how they strive to maintain old customs and religious beliefs while trying to keep up with technological advances.


8. How They Survive

During the last century, they grew from 5,000, inhabiting a handful of states, to 200,000 souls living in 25 states and one Canadian province. Amish people are known for their simple lifestyle, dress, and customs. Documentaries about this unique culture provide viewers with a window into the lives of these traditional Christian communities. From education to courtship rituals, these documentaries explore all aspects of Amish life.


9. The Amish  American Experience

This documentary is unique in its intimate portrayal of a culture that has so often been misunderstood. From the joys and sorrows of family life to the intricacies of courtship and marriage, “The Amish” provides an honest look at what it means to live as part of this tight-knit community. It also considers issues such as technology, education, and healthcare that confront all modern societies, but which take on a special significance when viewed from within an isolated culture like the Amish.


10. Birth of the Amish Church

The Amish Church was founded in the late 17th century by Jacob Amman, a Swiss Mennonite minister who believed that the practice of shunning non-believers and rebaptism were essential to salvation. The documentary ‘Birth of the Amish Church’ tells the story of how this small group of Anabaptists left Europe for North America, eventually settling in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Through interviews with scholars and archival footage, you’ll learn about their unique lifestyle, as well as how their beliefs have evolved over time to make them one of America’s most recognizable religious groups today. From their simple dress codes to the controversy surrounding modern technology, this fascinating documentary dives deep into the history and culture of the Amish people.



BONUS: 5 More great documentaries about the Amish people !


11. Inside the Amish & Mennonite Community

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania is a place where time stands still. Descendants of William Penn’s holy experiment, the Amish and Mennonite population live simple lives in this small region. This documentary goes far beyond the surface-level perspective to explore the diversity within this community. It dives into the culture of both tight-knit communities and those more open to the outside world. Through interviews with locals, this film captures the nuances of Lancaster County life. It’s an eye-opening look into a culture that has remained largely unchanged for centuries, and a journey through the past and present.


12. 20 Rules That Amish Women Have To Follow


13. INSIDE THE AMISH COMMUNITY: A road trip through Lancaster/Pennsylvania

One of Pennsylvania’s hidden gems is the thriving community of the Amish. While our world may be constantly changing with technology and modern advancements, this group has remained true to their traditional way of life for centuries. Taking a road trip through Lancaster County is an incredible opportunity to learn more about these intriguing people and experience first-hand what life looks like in their culture.


14. The Amish – A People of Preservation 2000


15. Amish in the Rocky Mountains

Read On – Our Latest Top Documentaries Lists

David B