The Best Documentaries about Cambodia

Jul 30, 2023 | Best Of, Culture, History

Cambodia is a culturally rich country with influences from India, China, France and America. It has seen the rise and fall of many great empires such as Funan, Chenla and Angkor. For centuries it was under French rule before gaining independence in the 20th century. Yet even after becoming independent, Cambodia still faced political instability due to war and occupation by other countries like Japan. In spite of these tumultuous times, there are still many stories to be told about Cambodia’s fascinating history which can be explored through documentaries about this beautiful nation.


Small Voices: The Stories Of Cambodia’s Children (2023)

Experience the world through a different lens. A raw and eye-opening journey awaits you as we delve into the lives of children born to Khmer Rouge survivors. Despite growing up in poverty and facing daily challenges on the streets and garbage dumps, these resilient individuals have learned to thrive in a society still recovering from its dark past.






A Cambodian Spring (2017)

In the tropical backdrop of Cambodia, a BAFTA nominated film unfolds to tell the story of three individuals whose lives intertwine with the tumultuous development and protests in modern day Cambodia. A gripping narrative that follows the rise of land-rights movements, known as the ‘Cambodian Spring’, and the tragic aftermath that ensued.






Cambodia: The Forgotten Temple (2020)

Hidden deep in the dense Cambodian jungle, far from the typical tourist routes, rests a treasure of ancient Khmer artistry: Banteay Chhmar temple. Swallowed up by tangled vines and left to decay in solitude, this 800-year-old masterpiece has been all but erased from human memory.






Angkor Awakens (2017)

Cambodia, a land steeped in the duality of its history. The promise of tomorrow shines bright, yet the darkness of yesterday still casts its shadow. In this vivid depiction of a thriving nation, we journey beyond the lush landscapes, timeless treasures and bustling cities to unearth a past marred by conflict and suffering that remains ever present.






Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey (2009)

Chef Rick Stein embarks on a mouthwatering adventure to uncover the vibrant and varied cuisines of the Far East. From bustling street markets to quaint fishing villages, he delves deep into the heart of these food cultures, discovering traditional family-run eateries and meeting local farmers along the way.





The 13 Best Free Documentaries about Cambodia


1. Cambodian Killing Fields – Cambodian Genocide

The Cambodian Killing Fields are a tragic reminder of the horrors of war. In this documentary, we explore how the Khmer Rouge guerrilla forces used their ideology to wage a class war against capitalism in 1960s Cambodia. We also take a look at how the Việt Cộng, with support from King Norodom Sihanouk, were able to gain access to Cambodia and use it as an aid for North Vietnam’s fight against South Vietnam. Finally, we examine how ethnic groups, educated people and those living in urban areas became targets of this brutal genocide.


2. Glamorous Cambodia’s: Paradise on earth

Discover the beauty of Cambodia through this captivating documentary series. With stunning cinematography, explore a variety of aspects that make up Cambodia’s vibrant culture and people. Unearth its fascinating history, from the grandeur of Angkor Wat to leather carving artists who use their craft as an opportunity to teach children about artistry. Get ready for an immersive journey into one of Southeast Asia’s most enchanting countries!


3. Why did The west ignore the Cambodian Genocide?

This week marks 40 years since the Khmer Rouge marched into Phnom Penh and forced two million people out of their homes at gunpoint to create an agrarian “utopia.” This documentary takes a deep dive into why the West ignored this genocide, despite Pope Francis’ bracing announcement that it was the “first genocide of the twentieth century”. Watch this video to learn more about this horrific event and its repercussions.


4. Cambodia’s Dark Past

Explore the fascinating and dark history of Cambodia with this documentary. Visit Banteay Chhmar, a stunning 12th century temple that was left uninhabited for almost 800 years. Learn how it has been brought back to life in recent times by UNESCO, the Global Heritage Fund and the Cambodian Government through conservation efforts and community development initiatives. Discover why visitors are now flocking to this hidden gem in northwestern jungles of Cambodia – once known as “Citadel of Cats”.


5. The Life of Pol Pot

This documentary takes a deep dive into the life of Pol Pot, uniquely called Saloth Sar – the Khmer political leader who led the Khmer Rouge totalitarian regime in Cambodia from 1975-1979. He imposed extreme hardships on his people, and his legacy left behind violence and poverty. Pol Pot was born to a landowning farmer family in Kompong Thom province in 1925. As a young child he moved to Phnom Penh where he received an education that included French curriculum, but failed the entrance exam for high school after which he studied carpentry at a technical college for one year. In 1949, he went to Paris on scholarship to study radio electronics and joined a group of young Cambodian nationalists who later became his fellow leaders under Khmer Rouge rule. Discover more about this tragic figure whose actions have caused such suffering with this insightful documentary!


6. The lost world of the Khmer Rouge: Pol Pot’s Cambodian Genocide

The Khmer Rouge, led by the Marxist leader Pol Pot, attempted to take Cambodia back to the Middle Ages from 1975-1979. This dramatic attempt at social engineering had a terrible cost: up to two million people died from execution, hunger, disease and overwork. Families were ripped apart as they were forced out of their homes and into communal farms in the countryside. This documentary examines this tragic period in history and its lasting legacy on Cambodian culture today. Discover how one man’s misguided vision caused such immense suffering for so many innocent lives. Be prepared for an emotional journey as you explore the lost world of the Khmer Rouge with us!


7. Cambodia: The forgotten temple of Banteay Chhmar

Discover the mysterious, forgotten temple of Banteay Chhmar in Cambodia. Built during the 12th century by Jayavarman VII, this incredible site has been left uninhabited for almost 800 years and is now a UNESCO tentative listing. Learn about the conservation and community development efforts that have gone into restoring this wonder to its former glory, and see why it’s quickly becoming one of Cambodia’s most visited tourist attractions. This documentary takes you on an exploration through time as we uncover the secrets hidden within these ancient ruins, giving you a glimpse into history like never before!


8. Amazing Quest: Stories from Cambodia

Are you ready for an adventure? Come explore the beauty of the planet with us! We’ll take you to breathtaking landscapes, far away from modern civilization and show you how nature has given free rein to its imagination. Discover amazing stories from Cambodia and beyond, meet people hand in hand, and get a glimpse at what our world has to offer without frontiers or limits. Join us on this Amazing Quest – Stories From Cambodia!


9. Cambodia. Affordable Country with Huge Potential!

Are you looking for an affordable country with huge potential? Look no further than Cambodia! In this documentary, we explore why Cambodia is one of the most attractive places to invest in real estate. We look at the current market trends and look into what makes it so appealing. Get ready to be inspired by all that this beautiful country has to offer!


10. Deadly Cambodian Slums – Beyond Human Boundaries

Experience the extraordinary story of Arman Alizad and his cameraman, as they travel to eight countries in search of people living in the world’s most unforgiving conditions. In Cambodia he must scavenge for food, collect trash and risk it all just to survive. Beyond Human Boundaries is an emotional journey that will test every ounce of strength and endurance Arman has – a journey you won’t want to miss!


11. Families reunited after 40 years apart in Cambodia

In 2015, Krishnan Guru-Murthy traveled to Cambodia with a mission: To reunite two sisters that had been separated for over 40 years. In the 1970s, during the Khmer Rouge regime – which killed nearly 25% of the population – these two sisters were driven apart and lost touch. After decades of searching, their reunion was finally going to take place in Cambodia. This emotional story takes you on an incredible journey as we follow Krishnan’s mission and witness this family being reunited after all those years apart.


12. Cambodians living with the dead

Living in a cemetery may seem like something out of a horror movie, but for some Cambodians it’s an everyday reality. After the Khmer Rouge regime, Phnom Penh has seen rapid development with fancy buildings and skyscrapers designed primarily for wealthy locals and foreigners. With limited options, lower-middle class citizens are left to rent houses or live in slums – or even cemeteries! In this documentary we explore the lives of those who have no other choice but to stay put despite feeling scared.


13. The History of The Unluckiest Country In The World

Ever heard of the country with the most tragic history? Let’s explore it and find out why this nation has been labeled “the unluckiest” in the world. From natural disasters to political unrest, we’ll uncover every detail about its past that has shaped its future. Find out more in this documentary as we look at the history of The Unluckiest Country In The World!

Read On – Our Latest Top Documentaries Lists

David B