The Best Documentaries About Chimpanzees

Aug 2, 2023 | Animals, Best Of, Nature

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in a world of our closest relatives – the chimpanzees? From their fascinating behavior and social interactions, to their intelligence and emotions – documentaries offer an up-close look into the life of these remarkable creatures. We’ve rounded up some of the best documentaries about chimpanzees that will take you on an incredible journey into their lives. Whether you’re looking for educational films or fun family viewing, there’s something here for everyone! So get ready to explore the amazing world of chimps with these 13 must-watch documentaries!


Isle of Chimps (2019)

Welcome to Ngamba Island, where the beauty of nature and the compassion of humanity collide. Here on this small island sanctuary, rescued chimpanzees have found a new home, free from harm and exploitation.






Lucy the Human Chimp (2021)

In this remarkable film, we are taken on a journey through the life of Lucy, a chimpanzee who was raised by humans from the very beginning. Through captivating storytelling, we witness her incredible bond with her caretaker Janis Carter and their shared mission to reintroduce Lucy to her natural habitat.






Chimps on the Move (2001)

In the sprawling sanctuary of Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage, located in Northern Zambia, lies a bittersweet situation. The home of Sheila and David Siddle is currently bursting at the seams with 76 chimpanzees inhabiting a mere seven acres. To alleviate this pressing issue, Dr. Peter Buss and his team of skilled veterinarians from South Africa have taken on the challenging and delicate task of relocating 46 of these intelligent creatures to a more suitable space.





Cobby: The Other Side of Cute (2018)

In the swinging 60s, there was a TV show that captured the hearts of children all over Australia. It wasn’t your typical cartoon or puppet show – it starred a real chimpanzee named COBBY. With his human-like antics and charm, COBBY quickly became a household name and even had his own TV series called Cobby’s Hobbies.







The Best Free Documentaries About Chimpanzees


1. The Secret Culture of the Apes

Join us on an incredible journey into the wilds of Uganda, as we explore the mysterious culture of chimpanzees. With primatologists guiding us through their research, we observe these great apes using tools and communicating with each other while foraging and hunting. We even get to join Jane Goodall in her groundbreaking field experiments that aim to answer the question: can chimpanzees pass down knowledge and skills? This captivating film footage brings you nearly face-to-face with these amazing animals, showing what science has not been able to explain yet. Witness first hand how similar man and ape really are – The Secret Culture of Apes!


2. The Terrifying Truth About Chimpanzees

Are you ready to uncover some of the most chilling truths about chimpanzees? These wild animals may look cute and harmless, but they are more than capable of causing serious harm. In this documentary, we will explore the terrifying truth about chimpanzees and discover what makes these creatures so dangerous!


3. The Amazing Secret Of The Apes

Chimpanzees are fascinating creatures, but do they really pass down their knowledge and skills to each other? We join primatologists in the forests of Uganda who are researching great apes to answer this question. Through captivating footage, we observe how chimpanzees use tools and communicate while foraging or hunting. Jane Goodall’s groundbreaking research from the 1960s is also featured as we explore the similarities between man and ape. Join us on an exciting journey into the wild that will leave you asking: What secrets do these amazing animals hold?


4. This Is What Happens To Famous Animals When They Retire

Are you curious to know what happens to famous animals when they retire? See No Evil is a captivating documentary that follows three elderly apes in their retirement home. From a film star, scientist and an ape with partial paralysis down one side – each of these remarkable creatures have lived extraordinary lives and are now living out their golden years. Join us as we explore the daily life of our beloved animal friends as they enjoy the final chapter of their lives!


5. The Magnificent Lives of the Chimpanzees

The Magnificent Lives of the Chimpanzees is an incredible documentary that takes us into the fascinating world of chimpanzees. We explore their unique behaviors, social structures and habitats as well as how they interact with humans. This amazing film gives us insight into the lives of these remarkable creatures and helps us appreciate their intelligence, strength and beauty. See for yourself why chimps are so magnificent!


6. The First Recordings Of The Chimpanzees Of Tanzania

This extraordinary documentary takes viewers on an incredible journey to the remote Tanzanian region of Gombe, home to a unique population of chimpanzees. Follow the fortunes of several Chimpanzee personalities, including twin babies Golden and Glitter and their mother Gremlin. Witness their awe as they watch electric storms and perform rain dances in response to rainstorms and waterfalls – behaviours never before recorded! This film offers an intimate look at these remarkable primates while exploring the beginnings of religion in animals. Don’t miss this breathtaking exploration into the world of chimpanzees!


7. Mysterious Congo – In the Realm of the Great Apes

Explore the Congo, a river with immense power mystery – home to some of earth’s most exotic animals. In this documentary, you’ll see extraordinary footage of our closest relatives: three species of giant apes that inhabit the dense jungles. Get a glimpse into one of the world’s most mysterious and dangerous regions in “Myths of the Congo”. Uncover secrets never before seen!


8. Documentarian James Reed on Witnessing Chimpanzee Patrols and Attacks

The chimpanzees of Africa are some of the most fascinating and intelligent creatures on Earth. Join documentarian James Reed as he witnesses their patrols, attacks, and other behaviors in this captivating documentary! From understanding the social dynamics between chimps to examining how they interact with their environment, get an up-close look at these incredible primates. Discover why chimpanzees have been studied for decades by scientists around the world — you won’t want to miss a single minute of this amazing journey!


9. Tiwai Island: The Last Safe Place On Earth For The Chimpanzee

Tiwai Island is a hidden gem in West Africa, home to the highest density of primates on Earth. This rare documentary captures the chimpanzees that call Tiwai home and their remarkable tool-using behaviors – it’s one of the last places left for these endangered animals. Get an inside look at this unique environment and its inhabitants!


10. Orphaned Chimp Cares For His Baby Brother

In Kibale National Park, Uganda, bush meat snares are a major threat to the wellbeing of chimpanzees. Dr. Emily Otali shares an incredible story of Max, an orphaned chimp that has had both his legs removed below the knee and is caring for his younger brother after their parents were killed by poachers. This video follows the remarkable journey of this brave animal as he struggles against all odds to protect his sibling in a dangerous landscape.


11. The Magic of Chimpanzee

Discover the amazing world of chimpanzees in this documentary! Learn about their unique characteristics, such as their black or brown hair and difference in size between males and females. Find out what they like to eat, from fruit to insects, and how long they can live both in captivity and the wild. Plus, explore their social behavior within large communities – from aggressive male-dominated chimps to peaceful female-dominated bonobos. Get ready for an unforgettable journey into the fascinating life of these incredible great apes!


12. The Society of Chimpanzees

This documentary is an eye-opening exploration of the fascinating world of chimpanzees. It was produced by the University of Air in Japan and later translated into English for international audiences. Michael A Huffman, a Kyoto University professor, narrates this multi-part series that features field sites around the world where various primates species can be found. Professor Itani introduces each site to viewers and then onsite presenters explain the long-term research conducted at those locations by their students over time. Join us on a journey to discover more about these amazing creatures!


13. Among the Wild Chimpanzees

Chimpanzees are one of the most fascinating animals on the planet. In this documentary, we explore their behavior in their natural habitat and uncover some of the mysteries behind these amazing creatures. Join us as we follow a group of wild chimpanzees to discover how they communicate, hunt, and live together in complex social structures. Along our journey, we will also learn about some of the threats that endanger their survival – such as deforestation and poaching – and what can be done to protect them for future generations.

Read On – Our Latest Top Documentaries Lists

David B