The 21 Best Documentaries about Brazil

Jul 23, 2023 | Best Of, Culture, History

Brazil is a vibrant country with a rich culture and history, making it an ideal destination for documentary filmmakers. From the Indigenous Brazilian people to the five World Cup victories, Brazil has plenty of stories to tell. This article will explore some of the best documentaries about this fascinating nation, all available free on the internet. With films ranging from its colonization by Portugal in 1500 to hosting both the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics, you’re sure to find something that piques your interest. Plus, learn more about Portuguese being Brazil’s official language as well as other languages like Spanish, French, Italian and German spoken throughout the country! So get ready to experience Brazil through these amazing documentaries!


1. Brazil: Beef, Bibles and Bullets (2019)

Jair Bolsonaro’s rise to power in Brazil has been fueled by a coalition of three influential groups: the powerful landowners, the influential evangelical community, and the formidable military. This unlikely alliance, known as the “BBBs”, represents a convergence of interests among these traditionally conservative factions towards a common goal – to secure dominance in Brazilian politics.






2. Brazil: An Inconvenient History (2010)

Uncovering the truth behind Brazil’s vibrant culture and alluring lifestyle reveals a dark history that has long been swept under the rug. Despite its lively carnivals, pulsating samba rhythms, and passionate football fans, Brazil holds the record for the largest enslaved population in history.






3. Brazil with Michael Palin (2012)

Brazil is a vast and dynamic country, spanning over half of South America. With a population of over 200 million people, it is a melting pot of cultures, religions, and social classes. Despite his extensive travels, Michael Palin had never explored the diverse landscape and vibrant cities of Brazil – until now.




4. All or Nothing: Brazil National Team (2020)

Experience the captivating journey of Brazil’s National Team as they strive to reclaim their glory and unite a divided nation in the 2019 Copa América. Witness their unwavering determination and unbreakable bond as they battle on home soil for football’s ultimate prize. Immerse yourself in the inner workings of this renowned team, from intense training sessions to thrilling matches, and discover the true heart and soul of Brazilian football.




5. Fronteira da Grandeza (2020)

Brazil’s borders have long been a point of interest, with centuries-old territorial claims shaping the country’s culture and history. Yet, as globalization continues to blur geographical boundaries, Brazil’s frontiers are now facing new challenges. In Fronteira, we explore this dynamic region through the perspectives of those living and working on its frontlines.






6. Planet – Brazil (2011)

Explore the expansive landscapes and diverse wildlife of this magnificent country. From the sprawling Pantanal wetlands to the vast Amazon rainforest, nature thrives in all its glory. Immerse yourself in the wonders of Iguazu National Park, home to one of the largest waterfalls on Earth. This is a captivating journey through the natural wonders of Brazil.






The Best Free Documentaries about Brazil


1. Brazil’s plastic surgery obsession

Are you curious about Brazil’s plastic surgery obsession? In recent years, the number of cosmetic procedures has skyrocketed in the country due to low-income women having access to cut-price and even free surgeries. This is largely because some surgeons believe that beauty should be accessible for everyone, regardless of their financial situation.


2. National Geographic: Inside Rio Carnaval

Carnival in Rio de Janeiro is the biggest carnival celebration in the world! Every year, millions of people come to join in on the festivities. From parades and cultural activities to concerts and parties, this six-week event has something for everyone. Take a look inside National Geographic’s coverage of Carnival as we explore all that makes this festival so special. Get ready to experience the joyous atmosphere and vibrant culture of Rio Carnaval!


3. A Fragile Dream: Football and Hope on the Streets of Rio

Rio de Janeiro’s favelas are known as some of the most neglected slums in Brazil. Many of its residents lack basic necessities such as electricity, water and sanitation. But amidst this dire situation, one thing that brings a sense of hope to these communities is football. Football has become an integral part of life in Rio’s favelas, where it not only provides entertainment but also serves as a source of moral guidance and education for children living in difficult times. In this documentary we explore how fragile dreams can be realized through football on the streets of Rio – providing stability and hope to those who need it most.


4. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: One of the most exotic cities of the world

Explore one of the most exotic cities in the world: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil! From breathtaking beaches to historical monuments, this city can offer something for everyone. Get a glimpse at some of its unique attractions such as Museu Nacional do Rio which showcases Brazilian art from masters like Picasso and Rodin, or take in majestic views from Corcovado Mountain where you can find Christ The Redeemer statue overlooking it all. Discover why this city has been attracting visitors for centuries – watch our video and come explore Rio de Janeiro with us!


5. Brazil’s most dangerous area

This documentary takes you on a journey to the most dangerous area in Brazil – Favelas. You’ll get an inside look at life for those who live there, from why they make this choice to both the positives and negatives of living in these areas. From a unique perspective, we explore what it’s like to be part of this community, and examine how their lives are shaped by their surroundings. Don’t miss out on Around the Globe 12: Favela Documentary!


6. Behind Bars: Urso Branco, Brazil

Thousands of women are being held in Brazil’s overcrowded prisons. To alleviate this issue, the country recently passed a law that allows female prisoners to give birth and be released early. Urso Branco (“White Bear”) prison was designed for these mothers and their babies, with a special nursery that can accommodate more than 100 infants and toddlers. In addition to this new initiative, Brazil is also planning to open a men’s prison in 2019 as part of its efforts to reduce overcrowding. Learn more about this unique solution by watching our documentary on World’s Toughest Prisons: Behind Bars: Urso Branco, Brazil!


7. Bolsonaro’s Brazil: Murder, God and Carnaval

The election of Jair Bolsonaro as President of Brazil came with the promise to end corruption and violent crime. But his authoritarian tendencies have been met with criticism, especially after he gave police authority to shoot first. One such incident that has galvanized public opinion is the murder of Marielle Franco last year – a black, gay woman from favela neighborhoods who had spoken out against police brutality in Brazil which kills 5000 people every year. This month two ex-military policemen were arrested for her death and she has become a symbol for those opposed to Bolsonaro’s rule.


8. Brazil: History, Geography, Economy & Culture

Explore the unique and vibrant culture of Brazil, one of the largest countries in the world. From its colonial past to its modern day economy and architecture, this video explores all aspects of Brazil’s history, geography, economy and culture. Learn about Dom Pedro II under the Empire of Brazil and Jair Bolsonaro who is currently president. Discover how companies such as Embraer have become an elite international company despite political repression from times past.


9. O Grande Brasil: A Spatial History of the Making of a Nation

Have you ever wondered what makes Brazil unique? From its vast geography to its diverse population, Professor Wolfe takes us on a journey through the history of one of the world’s most fascinating countries. Learn about how Brazil’s immense size shaped their political structures and how this allowed for different regions to come together politically. Discover how disease spread easily throughout the country due to lack of natural barriers and close contact with indigenous populations who had no immunity or resistance against European diseases such as smallpox or measles. We will also explore other factors that make up “Brazil” today such as differing ethnicities among people living in Brazil (Amerindians vs Europeans), diverse weather patterns across the territory including rainforests on one side and deserts on another side; all these things made what we now know today as “Brazil” into something unique both culturally but also geographically–a place where events took shape differently than anywhere else around the world at this time period. Join us in exploring O Grande Brasil: A Spatial History of the Making of a Nation!


10. The Lost Civilization of Ancient Brazil

Uncover the mystery of Ancient Brazil with this video! Follow two priests on their expedition into central Brazil in 1753, as they make a remarkable discovery. See stone structures, sculptures depicting animals and humans, gold jewelry set with precious stones, masks made out of wood covered in silver sheets and much more. Learn about these artifacts that are not created by any indigenous Brazilian population at the time and uncover what could have been an ancient civilization lost to history. Be part of this incredible journey to explore the past!


11. History of Brazil

Explore the fascinating history of Brazil! This video takes a deep dive into the country’s past, from its first inhabitants 11,000 years ago to the present day. It covers how Portuguese colonization began in 1500 and traces the nation’s journey to independence in 1822. We also examine how democracy was established but eventually replaced by two dictatorships during Vargas Era and Brazilian Military Government. Learn all about this captivating country and its colorful past!


12. Amazing Quest: Stories from Brazil

Join us on an amazing quest as we explore the mysterious and captivating beauty of Brazil! We will follow two brothers, Expedito and Raimondo, who are deeply tied to a legendary river called Paraguaçu. Hop on their boat, a saveiro straight out of an adventure book, for a journey through the Lençois de Maranhenses desert where very few people live. Here our guide Joyoson is right at home in this timeless land that has so much to offer. Discover its secrets with us!


13. Lula’s return – A Brazil divided

Are you looking to understand the divide between different segments of Brazilian society? In this video, we explore three people from São Paulo and their competing visions for the future of Brazil. We examine how Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s return as president has been welcomed by some, while being devastating for others. We look at how his victory promises a pluralistic democracy that will serve all Brazilians, but also how Bolsonaro supporters have violently protested against it. Watch our documentary to gain an insight into this complex issue and find out what it means for the people of Brazil!


14. Living and Dying on the River in Brazil

Throughout the Amazon region of dense forests and winding rivers, there are many people who live in precarious circumstances. The Riberinhos, or river dwellers, navigate their handmade canoes to try and sell jungle products to passengers on passing boats. Unfortunately, these small vessels can be dangerous and even children as young as five years old sometimes take the risk to help feed their families. This was the case with Jesse, a fourteen year old who resorted to crime but tragically lost his life due to a crewmember of a barge he attempted to rob. This video seeks out those living and dying on the Rio in Brazil; it follows their stories and reveals how they manage against all odds.


15. I Investigated Brazil’s Land of Zombies, Cracolândia

Join me on a journey to investigate one of Brazil’s most notorious and dangerous places. Cracolândia, also known as the “Land of Zombies”, is a place where drug addicts congregate in search of their next fix. It’s an area rife with crime and poverty; yet despite its reputation for danger it has become home to many who have no other choice but to stay there. In this documentary I explore the issues facing those living in Cracolândia, and examine what can be done to help them get out from under the shadow of addiction which looms over them.



Read On – Our Latest Top Documentaries Lists

David B