The 15 Best Documentaries About Lebanon

Aug 20, 2023 | Best Of, Economics

Lebanon is one of the most fascinating countries in the Middle East. It’s a nation that has been through its share of struggles, yet still manages to captivate the imagination with its unique culture and vibrant people. There’s no better way to experience Lebanon than by watching a documentary about it. From tales of relief workers struggling to keep up with humanitarian efforts to heartwarming stories of everyday life, these documentaries will transport you to a place unlike any other. Here are some of the best documentaries about Lebanon that should be on your must-watch list. Get ready to explore this beautiful land.


Riad is a grocery store owner in the suburbs of Beirut, Lebanon. He’s struggling to keep his business afloat amidst an economic crisis that’s left 80% of Lebanese people living below the poverty line and suffering from skyrocketing inflation. Food prices have increased by 500%, leaving Riad with no choice but to constantly adjust labels on products according to current exchange rate. On top of that, he’s also been dealing with a lack of electricity – the government can only provide two hours every day and many households are left in the dark. Unable to cope, Joseph turned to the US dollar for financial security and found himself part of an exclusive club. His strong purchasing power enabled him to pay off his mortgage in a mere two months instead of the original twenty years he had expected.


In the bustling city of Beirut, journalist Jaafar Abdul Karim and colleague Sineb El Masrar explore a nation where conflict between Muslims and Christians is not uncommon. In the 10-part series “Mediterranean Journey”, they tour 10 different countries in two years, including Lebanon – Jaafar’s homeland. From visiting with activist Lea Baroudi in Tripoli, to spending the night at Colette Kahil’s eco-lodge Beit Al Batroun near Byblos, Jaafar and Sineb get an intimate look at the country. Meeting with journalist Joumana Haddad, they explore Lebanon’s societal taboo of homosexuality before taking a bike tour around Beirut with Zeina Hawa from the initiative “Chain Effect”. Finally, they travel to Beqaa Valley to meet Syrian refugee women making clothes for the fair-trade project “Master Peace”. Documenting a side of Lebanon that many people don’t know about, Jaafar and Sineb give viewers an honest glimpse into a country that is still healing from civil war.


Lebanon, known for a long time as the Switzerland of the Middle East, is facing its worst economic crisis ever. With 80% of citizens now living below the poverty line, food prices have skyrocketed and inflation has run rampant. For Riad, owner of a small grocery store in Beirut’s suburbs, this means daily changes to prices with calculator in hand, all the more difficult in times of darkness caused by severe lack of electricity. The government provides only two hours of power a day, making it nearly impossible to heat, light or use fridges. A new class of privileged individuals has emerged here though – those paid in dollars who are taking full advantage of the exchange rate as the Lebanese pound has lost 90% of its value. Joseph, a pharmaceutical salesman, is one of these new “kings”. His newfound purchasing power allowed him to pay off his house loan in a matter of months instead of years. With corruption and bankruptcy rampant, 6 out of 10 Lebanese citizens now dream of leaving the country for better opportunities elsewhere. Mohammed and his son attempted this journey by sea only to be stopped in Turkish waters, yet they remain ready to take all necessary risks to reach the European El Dorado. It is a grim situation and one that needs urgent attention; however, Lebanon still remains a place of great resilience and hope despite its current struggles. Its citizens seek a better future, whether staying or going elsewhere – whatever it takes.


Lebanon is a mysterious land, where many cultures intermingle and stories are passed down from generation to generation. It’s an ancient land that holds secrets within it, as if it were the last guardian of Middle Eastern history and culture. Its landscape is a patchwork of diverse regions, each offering its own unique experiences and wonders. From the lush greenery of the Bekaa Valley to the glistening glaciers of Mount Lebanon; from the vibrant cityscape of Beirut to the charming coastal towns along the Mediterranean; there’s something for everyone in this incredible country.


On the night of August 4th, 2020, a powerful fire broke out at the port of Beirut. Sparks from welders fixing a hole in the wall quickly ignited and soon an explosion ripped through the city with devastating force. The catastrophic blast killed 218 people and injured 7000 others, leaving hundreds of thousands homeless. In its wake was shattered glass, destroyed homes, lives forever changed, and a nation searching for answers. The aftermath of this tragedy reverberated around the globe, with communities coming together in support of Lebanon’s people. Documentaries have been created to capture these stories – stories of hope, courage, and determination – in the face of unimaginable destruction. From personal tales of survival to larger examinations of the country’s political landscape, the best documentaries about Lebanon provide a unique glimpse into a nation much more complex than headlines suggest. From harrowing journeys of escape to inspiring acts of resilience, these are stories that must be seen and heard.


Lebanon is a beautiful and vibrant country located on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Its geography, landscapes, and history are incredibly rich– full of stories both historic and modern. Despite having experienced numerous conflicts, Lebanon has always risen from adversity with unmatched spirit and pride. The capital city, Beirut, is a sight to behold at any time of day. Even in times of difficulty, Beirut is a bustling metropolis filled with activity from businesses and stores to religious events and festivals. It stands as an example to the world that no matter what, the spirit of Lebanon will never die.


I travelled to Beirut in search of a different perspective on the country. I wanted to understand what life is like for those living in Lebanon, and how the people of this nation have been affected by the recent turmoil. The stories that I heard were incredibly moving: from ordinary citizens trying to make ends meet while dealing with ever-growing economic hardship, to survivors of the devastating port explosion in 2020. It was truly heartbreaking, and yet inspiring to see how the people of Lebanon have persevered despite all they have faced. During my journey I also heard incredible stories about the beauty and culture of this country. The ancient ruins, spectacular mountain views and stunning Mediterranean beaches are testament to the fact that this is a land with so much to offer. And yet, amidst all the hardship and struggle, the people of Lebanon remain resolute in their hope for a better future.


Lebanon is an incredible country with a rich and turbulent past. The “Paris of the Middle East” in the 1960s was eventually reduced to rubble by warring factions during the 1970s and 80s. But beneath this traumatic external history, Lebanon has deep religious diversity that likely played a part in its civil unrest. Unfortunately, a lack of political infrastructure meant that such complexity was poorly managed, leading to sectarian tensions and ultimately violent conflict. Yet today, Lebanon is rebuilding itself, a testament to the resilience of its people. With many documentaries being made about this remarkable country, there’s never been a better time to explore its history and culture. From stories of strength in the face of adversity, to the hopes for a brighter future, Lebanon’s captivating documentary heritage will have you entranced.


Lebanon stands out in stark contrast to the media-created image of a war-torn country. Its sunny beaches, seaside resorts, and even people frolicking in bikinis in Batroun give us a glimpse into its true beauty. It is no wonder that this vibrant Middle Eastern nation has become popular among filmmakers looking to explore its culture and history. From the Pulitzer Prize-winning documentary “Pray the Devil Back to Hell” to the Academy Award-nominated “Beirut: The Last Home Movie”.


Welcome to Beirut, Lebanon – the city known for its beauty and often dubbed as the Paris of the Middle East. Home to some of the world’s oldest and most historical places, it is no surprise that this country has endured multiple different empires and rulers throughout its turbulent history; from the Ottomans to French and Phoenicians. Despite this rich past, modern Lebanon is in the midst of a deep crisis, with hyperinflation that has caused the Lebanese Pound / Lira to collapse and lead many people into poverty. The aftermath of the 2020 Beirut Port Explosion, coupled with a dispute between government and religious sectors as well as multiple revolutions have driven this country to the brink of catastrophe. It is almost impossible not to feel the impact of the crisis when visiting Beirut. Despite its beauty, hospitality and nightlife, it is hard to ignore the reality of what is happening here. Nonetheless, we were able to experience a glimpse into this wonderful city and its unique cuisine during our stay. But in order to truly understand the country’s struggles – as well as its resilience – one must watch some of the documentaries about Lebanon that have been released in recent years. These films provide a unique and vital insight into the country’s struggles as well as the hope that it has for a brighter future. So, if you are interested in learning more about Lebanon and its people, these documentaries are definitely worth watching. They will help you to gain an understanding of this amazing nation and its culture from an entirely different perspective.


Lebanon is in a state of chaos and despair. The once peaceful and prosperous Switzerland of the Middle East has been replaced by fuel shortages, lack of medicine, and a surge in violence due to poverty. Off the Grid takes us into the lives of those who have resorted to crime just to survive. Weapons are everywhere, as if they were commonplace. But the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. these desperate individuals as they struggle to maintain their dignity in an increasingly dangerous environment, and discover how life has become unbearably hard for many in Lebanon today.


It’s been two years since Lebanon was thrown into an economic crisis that has left the entire nation in poverty. The devastating explosion of August 2020 and the violence on the streets in October 2021 were merely two final, catastrophic events that occurred as a result of the country’s downward spiral. Our Videographer Michelle Malaney and Crisis Group Project Director Heiko Wimmen set out to capture the street-level view of Beirut’s despair and explore the reasons why this crisis is so much deeper and more dangerous than many other crises that have come before it. The resulting project reveals a state on the brink of collapse, with citizens struggling to survive amidst deteriorating conditions. This documentary serves as a testament to those facing an uncertain future in Lebanon and a sobering reminder of the dire situation that has befallen this once-prosperous nation. With its powerful images and stories, it paints a heartbreaking picture of what can happen when a country is pushed to the brink. It’s an urgent call for action in hopes of averting tragedy and restoring Lebanon to its former glory.


In Lebanon, the Arab Spring did not take full effect right away, but its consequences could be felt soon enough. One and a half million refugees from Syria sought refuge in the country to escape their civil war, giving rise to two major protest movements in 2011 and 2015. This was a sign of what was yet to come – for years, the Lebanese state had been slowly crumbling, and it took a disaster of immense proportions to finally trigger national revolt. In late 2019, a shift began in Lebanon as events transpired that continue to shape the country today. From the ashes of unrest a new generation emerged with hopes and dreams for an improved future. While uncertainty still lingers over Lebanon’s future, its citizens remain steadfast in their commitment to build a better tomorrow.


May 2018 was a turning point for the people of Lebanon as they looked to their first elections in nearly a decade with optimism and excitement. While many saw an opportunity for much-needed change within the political system, others were less hopeful; still scarred by years of sectarian strife, little public services, and ongoing interference from two regional powers. When the day of voting arrived, however, apathy reigned supreme. Political parties still clung to power and there was little shift in the parliamentary leadership, leaving many feeling cheated by an all-too familiar cycle. Despite this, Lebanon’s people have continued to strive for a brighter future – one befitting of their proud nation.


On August 4, 2020, Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, was struck by an unimaginably powerful explosion. Over two thousand tons of ammonium nitrate in a warehouse near the harbor ignited and detonated with almost geological force. The blast killed more than 200 people and left 6,500 injured; its shockwaves destroying homes and public buildings across the city. The estimated cost to infrastructure alone is in the billions of dollars, and it comes at a time when Lebanon was already facing immense economic hardships. The tragedy has only exposed even more deeply rooted issues within the country: an entrenched ruling elite that not only divides power along sectarian lines, but also spends far too much time vying for control rather than improving the nation. It’s a situation that has left citizens feeling powerless and desperate, and the August 4 blast was perhaps a tragic reminder of the consequences of irresponsible governance.



Read On – Our Latest Top Documentaries Lists

David B