Like a movie? Fancy a night in? want to be inspired? whether you’re already a vegan, have a plant based diet or are still an omnivore there are some absolutely outstanding documentaries available to watch. Some focus heavily on human health, some mainly on animal welfare, others the environmental effect that animal agriculture has on the planet and sometimes a combination of all three.
It’s quite possible that some will have you in disbelief, others will leave you with tears in your eyes, but hopefully at some point they make you think deeply about the choices made in everyday life. So what are our top 10 best vegan movies? The answers are below and we have linked in trailers for our top 5 for you to view. Also pop back and review the list as we will review and update it every few months if we find a new film that we feel is worthy of the list
At number one on our list of best vegan movies is Earthlings. It is the film that has become renowned for having a profound effect on those that watch it and is probably the most recommended documentary when trying to convince people of the ethical aspect of veganism.
Narrated by Joaquin Phoenix, himself a vegan this film uses hidden cameras to highlight some of the horrendous practices that go on within animal industries that most people just aren’t aware of. These industries include, pets, clothing, science, entertainment and of course the food industry unveiling their day-to-day practices using at time some very graphic footage.
The film really does help open our eyes to some of the practices going on behind the walls of different kinds of animal industries. If you’re an animal lover get your tissues ready before watching Earthlings.
What the Health
At number two on our list is What the Health. This has been acclaimed as the movie that the animal food industries and health organisations don’t want you to watch. It is another film from acclaimed filmmaker Kip Anderson who made Cowspiricy (later on our list) and follows him in his quest to uncover the truth behind the substantial evidence regarding the health dangers of animal foods in our diet and how they contribute to many of the major illnesses of today.
As we follow him on his journey to question major health organizations including the American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association we discover the unhealthy relationships between the animal agriculture industry, big pharmaceutical companies and even the state and the huge influence these corporations have on the nation’s health. Finally he looks at how an alternative diet can play a major part in reversing many of these ills.
A tremendous film that has helped create awareness of some of the foods that are so responsible for our current health crisis while at the same time making profits of millions of dollars.
Forks over Knives
Coming in on our list at number three is Forks over Knives. This is a scientific look at how drastically diet can affect our health and follows the work of some leading experts in the field. Two of these experts Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, author of “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease” and nutritional biochemistry professor T. Colin Campbell and their respective research is looked at in detail.
Interestingly both men grew up on farms believing that food from animal sources and particularly animal protein was not only healthy but essential. Neither man had ever met prior to the film but we see how they and other experts in their field independently came to the same conclusion: A whole food plant-based diet is the solution to many of the chronic illness of today and can in fact heal or even reverse the most common degenerative diseases in our society.
The film also explains that it’s not just animal foods that are detrimental to our health but highly processed foods in general. There are some great examples of people who have lost weight and improved their overall health, wellbeing and vitality through a vegan diet. An excellent easy to watch and particularly informative movie for anyone wanting to learn about the benefits of a plant based diet.
From Kip Andersen the filmmaker behind What the Health we have at number four on our list Cowspiricy. We love Cowspiricy and the journey that it took filmmaker Kip Andersen on as he searched for ways that he could lead a more sustainable life. His journey very quickly took him in to the world of animal agriculture and the devastating effects that it has on the environment.
He discovers something he and most of us were unaware of that, animal agriculture is the primary driver of climate change, and is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the whole transportation industry combined. But not only greenhouse gas emissions, as he delves further he finds out that large-scale factory farming is also the leading cause of many of the environmental challenges of today including deforestation, excessive water use, and even species extinction.
He approaches many of the largest environmental organizations and charities and questions them about their policies on these issues something we discover they are unwilling to discuss. We follow him on his journey as he uncovers the real reason for the refusal to discuss the issue. For anyone wanting to learn about how changing their diet can help reduce climate change, then Cowspiricy is a must watch!
Coming in at number 5 on our list of best vegan movies is Vegucated. We have included this in our top 5 as although it packs a serious message it also has a lighter side making it a fun documentary to watch. It follows three meat eating, cheese loving New Yorkers and their challenge to attempt to adopt a vegan lifestyle for 6 weeks.
Although at times humorous the film also shows the darker side of animal agriculture as the three participants visit an abandoned slaughterhouse and various other facilities to see first-hand some of the cruelty and suffering caused by the industry. As with most vegan documentaries there is some first-hand footage of what they see that leaves nothing to the imagination.
Initially we get the feeling that they were motivated by the desire to lose some weight, but as they become more educated about the ethical, environmental and health implications their old beliefs become challenged. They start to embrace the advantages of a vegan lifestyle and become more and more passionate as they start to lean towards their new lifestyle. Vegucated is great in that it shows three everyday people and highlights yet again the lack of knowledge about animal agriculture in society.
The fact that these are “normal people” helps us relate to their feelings and the challenges that being becoming vegan at first can bring such as certain cravings, dealing with disapproving and uneducated friends and family and finally staying vegan when sometimes it’s easier not to. Vegucated is a great fun film but with a serious message and great for those just starting on wanting to start on their vegan journey.
The Game Changers
The newest film and at number six on our list is The Game Changers. This is the film that any vegan athlete, in fact just any athlete should watch. Game Changers is produced by award winner James Cameron and challenges the “world’s most dangerous” myth that meat and dairy are required for optimum athletic performance.
The film primarily focuses on the journey of ex UFC fighter and military combat instructor James Wilks and his journey for optimum health after severe injury. His search ends up becoming a 5-year journey covering most points of the globe to interview and work with many of the world’s top athletes and nutrition experts. What he discovers he finds so revolutionary, with profound implications for performance, health, and the future of the planet itself, that as he says, “I had to share it with the world”.
Wilks meets many elite level athletes whom are achieving success at the highest level including strength and endurance events. The research continually shows that the consumption of meat, dairy and eggs is a barrier to overall optimum nutrition. Even legendary bodybuilder turned film star politician Arnold Schwarzenegger has his say “if they tell you that you need to eat meat to be strong they are lying”
Crazy Sexy Cancer
Ok so changing tone at number seven on our list of best vegan movies is Crazy Sexy Cancer. I first heard about Kriss Karr when a story about her showed up on my Facebook feed. I then popped over to her website and looked at some of her inspiration quotes and clips of her being interviewed on programmes such as Oprah. So who is Kriss Karr, she is an inspirational cancer thriver.
Her film Crazy Sexy Cancer shows her shortly after being diagnosed in 2003 with a rare stage IV incurable cancer. Obviously devastated but unwilling to just give in she sets out to explore what methods are available to help her combat this diagnosis. Her journey is a truly inspirational one of healing and growing as she transforms completely her lifestyle and diet adopting a vegan diet rich in greens and vegetables and endeavouring to live as stress free as possible.
Kriss shows us those deep moments of fear and vulnerability but manages to convey such a warmth and positivity throughout the majority of the film. The changes in her life have enabled her to live her life to the absolute fullest and her lifestyle has become a passion that she now shares with the world 18 years after her original diagnosis. A wonderfully honest and optimistic film about how we all have the power to change our lives for the better.
Fat Sick and Nearly Dead
We have included Fat Sick at Nearly Dead and it sits at number eight on our list. Although not a vegan movie per se, Fat Sick and Nearly Dead does show once again the horrendous dangers of a poor diet and lifestyle. The film follows Joe Cross and Australian who is almost 50 kilos overweight and suffers from a rare autoimmune disease, consuming a cocktail of drugs just to survive his goal is to look for a solution for his health.
He travels to New York to undergo a 30-day juice fast and then travels across America interviewing hundreds of Americans on the way. On his journey he meets a morbidly obese truck driver called Phil Staples, who’s is also suffering from the same rare autoimmune disease and what happens is truly amazing. Fat Sick and Nearly Dead is an uplifting story about how we have the power to take well-being in to our own hands.
Making it in at number nine on our list is Speciesism. We follow the journey of director Mark Devries as he sets out to investigate factory farms in America. Going on the road with his camera he is looking specifically for those factory farms that are hidden out of our sight in remote countryside areas. On his journey, he comes face to face with several farm owners as he tries to discover what goes on behind the closed doors.
He even hires a private plane to fly over the some of these farms where he can’t gain access. He also interviews a diverse range of people, questioning why humans are considered to be superior to other animals and asking how their treatment can be justified. Speciesism is a great movie for challenging widely held beliefs and dismantling the notion that humans are of more worth than other species.
Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home
And last but not least at number ten on our list of best vegan movies is Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home from 2009. Peaceable Kingdom was first produced back in 2004 but was updated in 2009 and is a documentary following several farmers and their moral struggles as they question an examine their relationships with animals.
This film shows the complex relationship and connection of the farmers to the animals under their care, and the bond that joins them. We follow some of the life changing moments that made them not only change their views but completely reverse them so much so that they adopt a vegan lifestyle and create a sanctuary for abandoned farm animals.