For centuries, Captain James Cook has been celebrated as one of the world’s most successful and daring explorers. From his first voyage in 1768 to circumnavigate and chart New Zealand and Australia to his expeditions through the South Seas that unearthed previously unknown islands, Cook has inspired generations of adventurers. Today, those who wish to learn more about this intrepid explorer have a number of documentaries to choose from. Here, we present the best documentaries about Captain Cook and his extraordinary voyages that captivate viewers with their compelling storytelling and visuals.
1. Captain James Cook: The incredible true story of the World’s Greatest Navigator and Cartographer
Captain James Cook was a man of great innovation and hard work. He came from poverty in rural Yorkshire, England, but his ambition to explore the Pacific Ocean had been burning since his childhood. Working as an apprentice on an old Whitby Cat collier, he quickly rose through the ranks and proved himself to be a skilled sailor. Cook’s contribution to world history is immense, yet he has always been a controversial figure. Indigenous cultures often cite him as the instigator of European colonialism and subsequent genocide. But it’s only by looking at his life in its entirety that we can truly understand the man behind the myth.
2. Captain Cook by Walter BESANT read by Pamela Nagami
He made the first detailed survey of the New Zealand coast, sailed around Australia (which he named ‘New South Wales’), and explored the Antarctic Ocean before being killed by a group of Hawaiians. The series ‘Captain Cook: Obsession and Discovery’ follows his life and adventures, providing an insight into how these voyages changed our world forever. Featuring interviews with experts, historians and survivors of Cook’s voyages. The also follows the journey of a replica of his ship ‘The Endeavor’ as it sails from Hawaii to England.
3. Neil Oliver ‘…slaughter on the beach – Captain Cook & Count Dracula’ – episode 58
This episode will take you on an adventure to explore all the amazing feats of Captain Cook and his crew. From their daring expeditions in uncharted waters, to their life-saving projects that brought new technology and knowledge back to Britain, our will show you how they impacted our world in ways we never knew before.
4. The Voyages of Captain Cook
Cook’s legacy is still being discovered today. Over the years, filmmakers have tried to document his life and adventures with a variety of films, documentaries, and television specials. From long-form works such as “Pathfinder: In Search of Captain Cook” to dramatized biographies like the 1977 BBC miniseries “Captain Cook”, there is no shortage of stories detailing Cook’s remarkable life. And with new technology and modern cinematography techniques, these productions are only getting better.
5. Captain Cook’s Early Life in North Yorkshire
It was during Cook’s time as a seaman in the Royal Navy that he embarked on his first voyage to the Pacific Ocean. On this voyage, Cook charted much of the South Pacific and discovered many islands, such as New Zealand and Hawaii. It was also on this voyage that he encountered Hawai`ian natives for the first time and made contact with them.