The 11 Best Documentaries About Saudi Arabia

Sep 30, 2023 | Best Of, Geography, Religion

The deserts of the Middle East have been home to some of the most awe-inspiring stories known to mankind. From ancient tales and local legends, to today’s modern accounts of vibrant and diverse cultures, Saudi Arabia has always had a compelling story to tell. To get an in-depth understanding of this enigmatic nation, we’ve gathered up four documentaries that are sure to give you a new appreciation for the history and culture of this fascinating kingdom. From royal palaces and Bedouin tribes, to oil reserves and modern cities, these documentaries will take you on an unforgettable journey through the beating heart of Saudi Arabia.


1. Inside Saudi Arabia | Complete Series

Inside Saudi Arabia | Unveiling the RealityThe world is shocked by the recent events in Saudi Arabia, where journalist Khashoggi was murdered and other human rights violations were reported. Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has pledged for reform, but what lies beneath the surface? We take a closer look at this Middle Eastern monarchy through the eyes of its own people. Are they just living in hope of change, or is there real progress being made? Our documentary offers a comprehensive view of the region, uncovering both its wealth and strict faith as well as its oppression.


2. The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia (full documentary)

The rise of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) of Saudi Arabia has been a topic of much discussion in recent years. With the anniversary of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi approaching, FRONTLINE has released an eye-opening documentary that offers insights into MBS’s rule and his intentions for the Kingdom. This exclusive documentary follows MBS from his humble beginnings to his ascension as Crown Prince and explores the inside story of Saudi Arabia’s power structure.


3. Saudi Arabia’s Catastrophic “Everything” Problem

Saudi Arabia is no stranger to conflict. From the aftermath of civil wars, to a gruelling and ongoing struggle against ISIS, this region has seen its share of turmoil. But one issue that has been largely overlooked by the international media is the catastrophic “Everything” problem in Saudi Arabia – and it needs urgent attention. Every day, thousands of Saudis suffer from a lack of basic amenities such as water, food and electricity. This is leading to growing levels of poverty that are slowly but surely pushing more and more people into an even worse state. The region is facing a crisis on all fronts – economic, social, environmental and political.


4. THE LINE: Saudi Arabia’s City of the Future in NEOM

Explore the City of the Future in NEOM – The Line. Discover how revolutionary architects are looking to revamp urban living. Learn all about this linear vertical city and its potential to completely change our modern way of life through cutting-edge technology, sustainable energy sources and forward-thinking design choices. With insights from key players, you’ll get an up close look at how this ambitious project is transforming the landscape of Saudi Arabia. From exploring its potential to becoming a hub for global business and leisure, The Line is sure to be an exciting and inspiring documentary.


5. Bitter Rivals: Iran and Saudi Arabia, Part One (full documentary)

A 40-year rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia has had a dramatic impact on the Middle East. In this FRONTLINE documentary, Martin Smith travels to seven countries, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq and Yemen to explore how this power struggle has resulted in sectarian extremism across the region. The documentary reveals how political gains have been made by exploiting the rivalry, in addition to its devastating effects. We see how this has exacerbated already existing tensions between different religious and ethnic groups.


6. Mysterious Saudi Arabia: The Rise of a Desert Dynasty – Full Historical Documentary

Mysterious Saudi Arabia: A Tale of Desert Dynasty and Wealth – Full Historical DocumentaryFamed for its immense wealth and position at the heart of the Muslim world, Saudi Arabia enjoys a vast array of resources that contribute to its meteoric growth. But it wasn’t always this way; in fact, until the 7th century, Mecca was just another trading post on the Incense Route. This documentary tells the story of how a single family united disparate desert tribes through faith and forged a powerful nation in the sands of Arabia.


7. Saudi Arabia Uncovered: The Fight for Human Rights

Dive deep into the powerful culture and complex history of Saudi Arabia. This captivating documentary reveals an inside look at a country in transition. From interviews with activists to exclusive footage from prisons and public punishments, this film uncovers the hidden reality of life in the west’s close ally. Catch a glimpse of everyday rebellion as brave individuals challenge the status quo. Hear the stories of those who are struggling to bring about change in this country and how their efforts have shifted the political landscape. Journey through a society that despite extreme oppression, is fighting for human rights and justice.


8. House of Saud Saudi Arabia Documentary

The House of Saud Saudi Arabia documentary is a must-watch for anyone interested in the history and culture of this Middle Eastern nation. Narrated by an expert historian, the film takes you on a journey through time to uncover fascinating stories about the country’s past. It offers unprecedented insight into how current events have shaped the kingdom’s development over centuries. Through footage and interviews with key figures, the documentary offers an enlightening exploration of the nation’s culture and customs.


9. Saudi Arabia’s Oil; Saudi Arabia and 9/11; Sportswashing

From its vast oil reserves to its investments in sports, Saudi Arabia is a country full of history and intrigue. In 2008, Lesley Stahl toured the kingdom and examined how political power was determined by their resources. Then in 2016 Steve Kroft uncovered top-secret files allegedly showing Saudi support for the hijackers responsible for 9/11. And this year, Jon Wertheim reported on the controversy surrounding Saudi Arabia’s investments in sports, which some argue is an attempt to launder their reputation. With these documentaries, viewers can explore a country with a complex and fascinating story.


10. Why 82% of Saudi Arabians Just Live in These Lines

Are you ready for an incredible journey into the mysterious and captivating world of Saudi Arabia? 82% of the population in this country just live in these Lines, with its endless sand dunes, towering mountains, and bustling cities. For centuries, Saudi Arabia has been home to a variety of cultures – from Bedouin tribespeople to modern-day citizens. It’s a land of immense history, beauty, and mystery. And now, you can take a journey through this amazing country with the best documentaries about Saudi Arabia. Dive into the heart of Saudi Arabia to glimpse its past and explore its present.


11. Inside Saudi Arabia: The Power of the Holy Cities | Islam

Saudi Arabia is home to two of the holiest cities in Islam–Mecca and Medina. In this documentary, viewers get an inside look at what it’s like to live in these cities and witness the power they hold for Muslims all over the world. Explore the beauty and importance of Mecca, where millions of Muslims visit each year to perform their Hajj pilgrimage, as well as Medina, the final resting place of the Prophet Muhammed. Discover how these cities have evolved over time and continue to shape Islam both spiritually and economically. Through stories from people living in these iconic areas, learn about culture, faith, economics and much more in this eye-opening documentary.

Read On – Our Latest Top Documentaries Lists

David B