Inspiring Documentaries about Resistance

Dec. 28, 2022

Documentaries are an excellent way to learn more about the lives of people who have experienced resistance in different parts of the world. Whether it is fighting for justice, freedom, or a cause, these films present inspiring stories that remind us that we can make a difference. Here are five documentaries that share powerful tales of resistance and how they were successful in moving forward with their cause.


The Power of Movement

Man standing in a traffic light while holding a sign

Resistance movements have the power to make lasting changes in the world. From civil rights to gender equality, many powerful social movements have changed the way we think and live today. By learning more about these movements, we gain insight into how they achieved their goals and what strategies they used to succeed. This knowledge can be used to inform our own activism, whether it’s fighting for environmental justice or advocating for LGBTQ rights.


The importance of Knowing History

A line of face statues in the left, and a bookshelf of old books on the right

It’s impossible to understand the present without knowing our history. When we learn about past resistance movements, we gain a better understanding not only of how things were then but also how those events shaped the world today. We come to realize that some struggles are timeless—and that there are many lessons from history that still apply now. We also learn more about different cultures and societies around the world, which gives us an appreciation for diversity and a better global perspective.

Understanding Our Own Struggles

A fist covered in blood on a white background

When we learn more about resistance movements, we come to see our own struggles in a new light. We begin to recognize just how much progress has been made over the years—and yet just how much work still needs to be done in order for true equality and justice to be achieved. We come away with new insights into our own struggles as well as inspiration from those who have gone before us who never gave up despite adversity or oppression.


Understanding resistance is essential for anyone looking to create meaningful change in the world. By watching films that showcase stories of resilience and struggle from all corners of the globe, we can gain insight into different forms of resistance while simultaneously inspiring ourselves with tales of perseverance in the face of adversity. So if you’re looking for ways to become more involved in creating positive change, start by learning more about resistance through documentary films!


Which documentaries about resistance can I watch online right now?



Absence of Me

A heavily textured and black and white photo of a man lighting a cigarette

To achieve a posthumous portrait of the iconic Argentinean composer Alfredo Zitarrosa, filmmaker Melina Terribili merges two spaces of time in the same film. Through a rich and varied archive footage, she delivers us the voice and images that Zitarrosa left in his wake with all his appeal and presence. The ghosts of the dictatorship that forced him into exile are also omnipresent in these materials.



A black man in a white t-shirt menacingly looking to the camera

Directed by Ava DuVernay, this documentary explores the history of racial inequality in the United States, focusing specifically on how mass incarceration has been used as a tool for oppression. It looks at the various legal and social policies that have led to an unprecedented increase in prisons throughout the US. The film follows activists and politicians as they fight for criminal justice reform and work towards dismantling systemic racism.  


The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975

A black woman with an afro speaking to a suited man

This documentary draws from previously unseen footage shot by Swedish filmmakers over a period of eight years during the height of the Black Power Movement in America. It features interviews with influential figures such as Angela Davis, Stokely Carmichael, Bobby Seale, and Huey P Newton as they discuss topics ranging from politics to civil rights to black power. The film offers an important insight into this pivotal era in American history and its lasting legacy on society today.


Voices from Chernobyl

A group of women of different ages standing next to each other in a forest

This film is not about Chernobyl, but rather about the world of Chernobyl, about which we know very few things.  Eyewitness reports have survived: scientists, teachers, journalists, couples, children... They tell of their old daily lives, then of the catastrophe. Their voices form a lengthy and terrible but necessary supplication that goes beyond borders and stimulates us to question our status quo.


I Am Not Your Negro

A black man wearing sunglasses in a crowd while smiling to the camera

This documentary examines race relations in America through the lens of writer James Baldwin’s unfinished novel Remember This House which he was working on at the time of his death in 1987. Narrated by Samuel L Jackson, it brings together poignant archival footage paired with Baldwin’s own words to create a powerful portrait of race relations throughout American history up until today.


Of Civil Wrongs & Rights The Fred Korematsu Story

Fred Korematsu wearing glasses while looking confidently to the camera

This documentary tells the story of Fred Korematsu — a Japanese-American man who was arrested for refusing to obey President Roosevelt’s order for all Japanese Americans living on the West Coast to be placed into internment camps during World War II — and his subsequent fight against this violation of his civil rights all the way up to the Supreme Court level where he won an historic victory against government discrimination laws.


Bones of Contention

A group of men wearing swimsuits while looking to the camera

This is the first nonfiction feature film to explore an important theme of historical memory in Spain, which is the repression of lesbians and gays under Franquismo.  Lining the roads of Spain are unmarked graves in which over a hundred twenty thousand victims of the Franco regime are buried. Today the families of the disappeared lead a grassroots effort to uncover and identify the bones of their loved ones, in the face of opposition from the Spanish government. Invisible to the eye but hyper-visible in the mind, these mass graves of Spain’s missing persons are an apt metaphor for the historical memory conundrum.


A man wearing glasses while smiling and looking to the floor

This Oscar-winning documentary tells the story of Edward Snowden’s leak of confidential NSA documents revealing massive government surveillance programs around the world under President Obama’s administration and how it sparked a global debate regarding privacy vs security concerns online and offline alike.


Join The Resistance

A crowd of people holding signs and protesting

These eight documentaries offer compelling stories about individuals who have fought against unjust laws or systems throughout history that inspire us today even more than ever before as we continue our pursuits for equality and justice across many fronts around us today! Educate yourself about these inspiring acts of resistance through these amazing films!


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