The 10 Best Documentaries About West Virginia

Oct 14, 2023 | Best Of, Geography

If you’re looking for an exciting way to explore the history and culture of West Virginia, then watching documentaries is a great option! Documentaries have the ability to captivate and educate audiences in a truly unique way. From discovering breathtaking landscapes to meeting interesting people, there are plenty of compelling documentaries available about the Mountain State. To get you inspired, we’ve compiled a list of the best documentaries about West Virginia that will keep you entertained for hours. So, sit back and get ready to learn all about this fascinating state!


1. Wild Wonderful West Virginia

West Virginia is a special land, unrivaled in its beauty and grace. From the rolling hills of Appalachia to the deep valleys of coal country, West Virginia provides a unique experience for all who call it home. But beneath this paradise lies an uncomfortable truth: laborious hours spent in dark mine shafts without any light or break from work. This is the harsh reality of life in West Virginia, and it’s one that can no longer be ignored. Documentaries about this part of the world allow viewers to get an inside look at what life is like for those living in poverty while also highlighting the incredible beauty that lies beneath its jagged surface.


2. West Virginia: The Road to Statehood – New

West Virginia: A Journey of Statehood – NewThis compelling documentary takes us on a journey through the rich and turbulent history leading up to West Virginia’s statehood. The film explores how the differences between two sides of the same family, as well as deep divides amongst neighbours, caused a complete separation of what was once part of Virginia. Discover how religious, economic, and political tensions contributed to the creation of West Virginia, as well as how these issues still shape the state today. Through interviews with historians, archival footage, and recreations of past events, this documentary presents an insightful perspective into one of America’s most fascinating stories.


3. West Virginia in the 20th Century-The 1950s

It’s time to take a trip back in time to the 1950s and explore West Virginia! The documentary, produced by the West Virginia Documentary Consortium Inc., looks at life in the Mountain State through interviews with former governors Cecil Underwood and Hulett Smith, as well as Charleston Gazette Editor James Haught. Historians Stuart McGehee, Jerry Thomas and Paul Lutz, as well as Shirley Love, Anna and Paul Gilmer, William Kelley, Mary Jane Becker, Arden Curry and Raymond Chafin also share their perspectives in the program.


4. The Widen Film Project – A West Virginia Coal Mining Town Documentary

Discover the powerful story of Widen, West Virginia—a town built by J.G. Bradley, a local coal mining leader and national pioneer in the industry. This groundbreaking documentary takes viewers back to 1952, when workers organized a United Mine Workers of America strike which ultimately changed the face of labor conditions in the coal-rich region for decades to come. Delve into this important piece of history and explore the authentic stories behind Widen’s creation and growth. With never-before-seen footage of daily life in the 1950s, this documentary is a must-watch for anyone interested in West Virginia culture and history.


5. West Virginia Disc 1 Title 01 01

West Virginia has been the home of many fascinating historical events. Through its often turbulent history, it has served as a cradle for culture, industry and innovation. This documentary is designed to give viewers an in-depth look at some of the most influential aspects of West Virginia’s past. We’ll explore how different cultures have shaped the state, examine key moments that impacted its development and uncover its economic and political history. Prepare to dive deep into the state’s storied past as we explore the vibrant stories of West Virginia’s rich history. From the Revolutionary War to industrialization, discover how this small state made a large impact on American culture and industry.


6. West Virginia Arrowhead Hunting – AMAZING FINDS – History Channel – Archaeology Documentary

Sitting in a boat on the river, hours pass as you search for artifacts. An incredible find – a rare shell pendant unearthed from an ancient midden. A privilege to observe this piece of history unfold. Bring your camera and capture the beauty of West Virginia Arrowhead Hunting! Be sure to watch and learn more about archaeology with History Channel Documentaries. Be ready, and be mindful – these types of discoveries can often come unexpectedly. West Virginia offers an unrivalled experience of ancient culture! Get out there and start exploring today.


7. The Wild & Wonderful Whites of West Virginia

The Wild & Wonderful Whites of West Virginia is an incredible documentary that shines a light on the notorious White family. Johnny Knoxville, Julien Nitzberg, and Jeff Tremaine have teamed up to bring you a captivating exploration into this iconic family’s history and amazing personality. As the film follows their outrageous behavior in Boone County, it also gives viewers an honest look at the struggles of life in a small, rural Appalachian town. From their brushes with fame to their battles with the law, this wild ride of a documentary will have you laughing and crying as it reveals why the Whites are so well-known — and beloved — throughout West Virginia. Prepare yourself for an unforgettable journey into the heart and soul of this special family.


8. I Went To The Most Liberal Place In West Virginia

I’ve heard of Morgantown before, but I never expected it to be the most liberal place in West Virginia. It’s an oasis of progressiveness in a sea of conservatism. Within 500 miles you won’t find any other city with this kind of energy and concentration of Democrats. As soon as I stepped off the plane, I knew there was something special here. It’s a place that embraces different opinions and encourages free thinking, something rare in today’s political climate. I’m so lucky to have had the chance to experience it for myself!


9. Poverty And Drugs Are Ruining West Virginia’s Capital

I was driving around Charleston one evening, searching for some interesting sights to capture with my camera. The sky had a beautiful orange hue and the air was warm and still – a welcome break from the usually chilly winds of West Virginia’s capital. But I soon realized why this city seemed so peaceful compared to others: there were no people out on the streets, nothing but cars passing through on the thoroughfares. It was then that I noticed something deeply troubling about Charleston: poverty and drug use had taken over the city, with boarded-up shops and abandoned homes dotting the landscape. It became clear to me then – this is a city in desperate need of change, and it needs attention.


10. Clinging to coal: West Virginia’s fight over green jobs | Full Documentary

Clinging to the past: West Virginia’s battle for green jobs | Full DocumentaryThe state of West Virginia has long been a pillar of coal-mining, providing jobs and stability for generations. But in recent years, many of these jobs have disappeared due to automation and changing economic trends. Those same workers now find themselves between a rock and a hard place, with promises of coal-mining revival on one side and the emergence of green energy production on the other.Unfortunately, tensions and interests in West Virginia have kept it from competing in the nationwide race to dominate renewable power production.

Read On – Our Latest Top Documentaries Lists

David B