From Nature to Our Heart: Top Documentaries about Our Connection with Ananimals and Primates

12 de juny de 2023

The Shared Saga of Primates has always captivated us.

​​​​​The world of Animals, especially the primates, including monkeys, chimps, gorillas, apes and humans, is a fascinating study in both contrast and similarity. Our shared ancestry is evident in our genetic makeup, social structures, and even our capacity for emotion and intelligence. Yet, the divergent paths we've taken highlight the profound impact of the environment and evolution. While humans have built sprawling cities and advanced technologies, our primate cousins have adapted to the diverse ecosystems of the planet, from the dense jungles of Africa to the rainforests of South America.

Reflecting on our relationship with these remarkable creatures, it's impossible to ignore the threats they face due to human activity. Deforestation, hunting, and climate change are driving many primate species towards extinction, a stark reminder of the ecocide we're perpetuating. These documentaries not only educate us about our primate relatives but also serve as a call to action to protect them.


a black chimp walking


In the heart of the African jungle, a riveting saga unfolds. Netflix's new documentary, "Chimp Empire," narrated by the Oscar-winning actor Mahershala Ali, invites viewers into the complex world of chimpanzees. This docuseries offers a rare glimpse into the social dynamics, power struggles, and emotional depth of our closest living relatives, challenging our understanding of what it means to be a primate.


Here are Ten Impactful documentaries and docuseries that delve into the world of primates and animals: 



Chimp Empire

a close up of a chimp eye

This Netflix docuseries, narrated by Mahershala Ali, offers an intimate look into the social structures and emotional lives of chimpanzees, challenging our perceptions of these intelligent creatures.



Three monkeys resting in a roof

This documentary delves into the unseen side of Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory, known for its human inhabitants. However, the documentary reveals that the true masters of the island are the monkeys of Gibraltar. Agile and observant, these primates navigate the urban landscape with ease, offering a unique perspective on this territory.



a man and a baby chimp in his back

This Oscar-nominated documentary focuses on the conservation work of rangers within Congo's Virunga National Park, home to the last of the world's mountain gorillas.


Monkey Kingdom

a monkey family

This Disney Nature film, available to watch online, follows the captivating story of a monkey family in the jungles of South Asia, showcasing the trials and triumphs they face in their quest for survival.


See No Evil

An old chimp reading a book

This film presents the lives of three diverse apes - Cheeta, the elderly movie star from "Tarzan," now living in a retirement home; Kanzi, a genius ape residing in a laboratory who has learned human tasks; and a crippled ape, a poignant reminder of past exploitation. The film poses a question: what message do these apes have for us, and are we willing to listen and understand?


Gorillas in the Mist

A young woman with brown hair hugging a baby chimp

This classic film, available on various platforms, tells the true story of Dian Fossey, a scientist who dedicated her life to studying and protecting mountain gorillas in Rwanda.


Project Nim

a young girl touching her nose with a little chimp in front of her

This documentary explores the controversial experiment that attempted to teach a chimpanzee human language, raising profound questions about the ethics of such research.


The Disenchanted Forest

a baby chimp

This documentary offers an intimate look at the world of orangutans, the only great apes native to Asia and the closest to humans in genetic makeup. The documentary highlights a recent discovery that orangutans possess a culture, passed down through generations, which they rely on for survival rather than mere animal instinct.



a man feeding a hiena

This short is set in the darkness just outside the Ethiopian city of Harar, where a man calls out to a group of spotted hyenas. This documentary, set against the backdrop of a poignant poem about love and loss, presents a striking portrayal of this unique interaction between man and beast.



cose up of a turtle

This curious documentary follows the journey of the Wolf family's pet turtle, Snowy, who had been neglected for 25 years in a cold basement. The documentary chronicles Snowy's journey towards a happier life, aided by a vet, an animal psychic, a scientist, and his caretaker, Uncle Larry.

While we may be the most advanced primate species, we have much to learn from our primate relatives. As we watch these documentaries, let us remember the words of renowned primatologist Jane Goodall: "What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make." This quote serves as a reminder of our responsibility towards our fellow primates and all the animals on the planet we share.


Watch more great documentaries on Guidedoc

Join GuideDoc