The Top 17 Documentaries About Spain (Ranked)

Below is a list of the top docs about Spain (ranked from best to less-best). 🙂

I include documentaries as well as docuseries and even individual TV show episodes.

Enjoy!

1) The Silence of Others (El silencio de otros)

“Schindler’s List” meets “The Act of Killing”.

Spain’s haunted memories. Directed by Almudena Carracedo (“Made in L.A.”), this doc uncovers Francisco Franco’s era cruelties. Decades passed
 still, victims seek justice.

Hidden scars. 1977’s amnesty laws in Spain – a dark shadow. Thousands (ages ranging 5-95) sought justice.

Many, like MartĂ­n and Galante, confront their past

MARIA MARTÍN: My mother’s grave? Under the road.
JOSÉ GALANTE: They tortured
 we remember.

.Madrid’s buzz. Quiet villages. Stories whisper everywhere. 96 intense minutes.

Ends on a high: Courage triumphs over silence.

Thousands (ages ranging 5-95) seek justice. Madrid streets. Small towns. Every corner bore witnesses.

Watch Silence of Others

Silence of Others was on Netflix but now it’s off. Check here for the latest streaming options: https://www.justwatch.com/us/movie/the-silence-of-others

2) The Spanish Civil War

“The Spanish Civil War”, a 1983 docuseries, chronicles Spain’s internal conflict. Directed by Granada Television, known for “World in Action”, this six-part series (55 minutes each) drags you into the tumult.

Key figures? Francisco Franco. The Republicans. Battles rage. Episodes dissect
 Politics. International involvement. Brutality.

FRANCO: This is for Spain’s future.
REPUBLICAN SOLDIER: At what cost?

Learnings? War’s complexities. Ideologies clash. Insights into 20th-century geopolitics. Main reason for watching? Deep, intricate analysis.

No fluff here. Pure, historical recount.

Watch The Spanish Civil War

Watch the doc for free on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lu5f9hp0IP4&list=PLAuucEydM53fQhEZiJHdWNzbdea35avxe

3) The Secret World of Spain: Nature

“The Secret World of Nature: Spain” is a 2013 TV series directed by Arturo Menor (known for his knack in wildlife filming).

Iberian lynx. Majestic eagles. Scenes captivate
 Spain’s biodiversity astounds. Locations? From Donana’s wetlands to Pyrenees’ peaks. Episodes unfold
 revealing ecosystems, habits, and challenges.

Lynx mother (whispering): Protecting my cubs
 nature’s dance.
Eagle (soaring high): Skies are my kingdom.

Discover? Spain’s lesser-known wilderness. Why you’ll love it? Raw, unfiltered nature. Landscapes and creatures
 breathtaking and real.

Watch The Secret World of Spain: Nature

Watch the doc on Tubi at https://tubitv.com/tv-shows/591166 or see here for other options https://www.justwatch.com/us/tv-show/the-secret-world-of-nature-spain

4) José Andres & Family in Spain

A 2022 docuseries. Food. Wine. Fun. Three daughters in tow: Carlota, Inés, Lucía. Jose takes his family to Barcelona, Madrid, Lanzarot, Andalucía and Asturias (his roots).

He meets chefs, food makers, old friends?

Here’s a summary of the 6 episodes:

S1.E1 ∙ Barcelona.
Tapas. Surf-and-turf. El Bulli visit. Big break.

S1.E2 ∙ Andalusia.
History on skewers. Middle Eastern spices. Bluefin tuna feast.

S1.E3 ∙ Madrid.
Cookies for kings. Roast lamb. Street food. Iberico ham.

S1.E4 ∙ Valencia.
Las Fallas festival. Paella secrets. Paella face-off with locals.

S1.E5 ∙ Asturias.
JosĂ©’s roots. Pricey seafood. Cider mastery. Aged steak. Mountain cheesemaking.

S1.E6 ∙ Lanzarote.
Giant shrimp. Famous sauce. Volcanic wine. Sky-high view.

Watch José Andres & Family in Spain

Watch it on HBO Max or Discovery. Here are all the options https://www.justwatch.com/us/tv-show/jose-andres-and-family-in-spain

5) Rick Steves’ Europe: The Majesty of Madrid

This is S3, E1 of Rick Steves’ Europe docuseries. Rick Steves shows us tapas, art, flamenco.

Madrid breathes. And you feel it!

Madrid’s history? Rick unveils. Prado Museum. Bustling plazas. Flamenco nights.

RICK: Madrid’s alive.
LOCAL: Madrid is the heart of Spain.

Watch Rick Steves’ Europe: The Majesty of Madrid

Watch this PBS doc episode for free on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hifYpfW4NjI. You can also watch episodes of Rick Steves’ Europe on Prime Video and Apple TV — see https://www.justwatch.com/us/tv-show/rick-steves-europe for options.

6) Nostalgia for the Light

Chile’s Atacama Desert sets a vivid backdrop for “Nostalgia for the Light”.

Directed by Patricio GuzmĂĄn, known for “The Battle of Chile”, it’s a unique blend.
Astronomers gaze at the stars, while women search the ground below.

Both are searching: one for cosmic answers, the other for lost loved ones.
“Universe holds infinite mysteries,” remarks an astronomer.

“I seek my lost brother,” says a grieving woman.
Through these stories, GuzmĂĄn weaves a tale of memory, time, and space.

This documentary invites us to remember, reflect, and reckon with the past.

Watch Nostalgia for the Light

Watch the doc for free on Kanopy or Hoopla. You can also watch it on OVID ($). See all options here: https://www.justwatch.com/us/movie/nostalgia-for-the-light

7) Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown (Spain)

Travel meets culture. “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” meets “Midnight in Paris.” In the Spain episode of season 2, Bourdain goes beyond the vibrant flamenco dances and the renowned bullfights.

Anthony tours AndalucĂ­a during Semana Santa. You’re transported amidst fervent processions and rhythmic drumbeats. The passion of Holy Week is palpable. Bourdain, always curious, captures the region’s spirit and faith.

Yet, it’s more than just tradition. Bourdain savors AndalucĂ­a’s culinary soul.

Think Iberian ham, olive oils, and sherries. He dines with locals, sips on anisette, and paints a full-bodied picture of Southern Spain.

Glimpses of history, like the Moors and Catholic monarchs, interweave with contemporary tales. It’s a dance of the old and new. The cinematography makes AndalucĂ­a’s landscapes, cities, and coasts feel close
 quite real.

Directed by Bourdain, who gave us gems like “No Reservations,” this episode is a treat. It encapsulates Spain’s heart and soul.

Watch Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown (Spain)

Watch the Spain episode for free on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8WvkQkClao. Stream the whole Parts Unknown docuseries on HBO Max and Apple TV. Check https://www.justwatch.com/us/tv-show/anthony-bourdain-parts-unknown for details.

8) Made in Spain

The above video is the full Episode 1 (I couldn’t find a trailer)

Chef José Andrés crafts culinary magic in this 2008 PBS docuseries gem.

AndrĂ©s doesn’t just cook. He educates. Dive into Iberian flavors. Traditional gazpacho. Succulent Iberian ham. Rich Rioja wines. Understand Spain’s diverse regions. Feel the heat of Andalusian kitchens. Witness Catalonia’s culinary innovations.

Why watch? JosĂ©. His charisma draws you in. His knowledge deepens your appreciation. Food isn’t just food. It’s culture, history, passion. JosĂ© shows, tells, and makes you taste it all, metaphorically.

Watch Made in Spain

Watch some episodes on YouTube for free, like this Episode 1 (José prepares scallops in their shells with Albariño white wine and watches as a legendary Spanish potato tortilla is cooked in Galicia.) at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDoWfPeOGdI. on Tubi or Roku. Here are the details: https://www.justwatch.com/us/tv-show/made-in-spain

9) Rick Steves’ Andalucia: The Best of Southern Spain

“Rick Steves’ Andalucia: The Best of Southern Spain” — a treat. Steves, a seasoned traveler, brings Spain home. The episode aired as part of his famous European explorations.

AndalucĂ­a’s allure? Flamenco rhythms, Moorish palaces, historic CĂłrdoba
 it’s all there. Rick takes you from the Alhambra to passionate Seville.

Glimpse bullfighting traditions. Breathe in orange blossom aromas.

Watch Rick Steves’ Andalucia: The Best of Southern Spain

Watch the doc for free on YouTube at https://youtu.be/eP93PQMmXsc?feature=shared. Or rent this doc on Apple TV, Amazon or Vudu Fandango (see options here: https://www.justwatch.com/us/movie/rick-steves-andalucia-the-best-of-southern-spain).

10) Lots of Kids, a Monkey and a Castle

“Lots of Kids, a Monkey and a Castle”, directed by Gustavo SalmerĂłn, is intimate and whimsical. This 91 minute doc digs into his own family’s eccentricities.

The star? Julita, the director’s mother.

Her desires? Simple — lots of kids, a monkey, and a castle. As Spain faces economic hardship, we witness their journey. The family’s castle life contrasts with Spain’s shifting landscape.

SalmerĂłn’s storytelling? t’s a blend of humor, love, and dreams. The castle’s vast collections, the family’s interactions, their resilience in crisis.

It’s a snapshot of Spain and one unforgettable family.

For those craving depth with a splash of humor—this is it.

Watch Lots of Kids, a Monkey and a Castle

Rent the doc on Apple TV, YouTube, Vudu Fandango and others. See the options at https://www.justwatch.com/us/movie/lots-of-kids-a-monkey-and-a-castle

11) Cities of Light: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain

Clash. Culture. Coexistence. Cities of Light unravels a forgotten history.

This doc unveils Islamic Spain’s flourishing era. Produced in 2007, it delves into nearly 800 years of shared history between Muslims, Christians, and Jews.

The creation of the magnum opus—Alhambra. Scholars and kings, like Al-Zahrawi and Alfonso X. The mix of faiths led to advancements in various fields, enriching the entire continent.

Watch Cities of Light: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain

Watch the doc for free on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSVfi2f5l2g; or Kanopy (with library card or student ID) at https://www.kanopy.com/en/product/cities-light-rise-and-fall-islamic-spain-0; or rent it on Amazon, YouTube and Amazon (options here:https://www.justwatch.com/us/movie/cities-of-light-the-rise-and-fall-of-islamic-spain).

12) Antonio GaudĂ­

Mosaic. Modernism. Mastery. “Antonio GaudĂ­” captures the architectural genius of Catalan’s pride. Directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara in 1984, the doc focuses on GaudĂ­’s unique structures.

From Sagrada FamĂ­lia to Park GĂŒell, Teshigahara offers a meticulous observation. His lens reveals intricate details. Japanese New Wave nuances enhance the viewing experience. It’s not just a documentary—it’s an artistic exploration.

The essence? GaudĂ­’s vision, echoed through Teshigahara’s perspective. A blend of two artistic minds from different worlds.

Watch Antonio GaudĂ­

Stream the doc for free on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EfTwzCi-KHM. Or, there are other options such as Criterion Channel or renting it on Amazon (see https://www.justwatch.com/us/movie/antonio-gaudi).

13) CamarĂłn: The Film

Directed by Alexis Morante, the film showcases CamarĂłn de la Isla, Flamenco’s iconic singer. Think of it
 “Buena Vista Social Club” meets “Amy.” Passion.

CamarĂłn’s voice? Unmatched. His impact? Revolutionary. Viewers witness his journey, from humble beginnings to global fame. You feel every beat
 every struggle
 and the spirit of Andalusia.

A gripping scene: CamarĂłn’s final concert, emotions raw, audience captivated. Insight? Flamenco was more than music; it was rebellion, identity.

Why watch? The soulful music, rare footage, and intricate history. You’ll grasp the essence of an art form, and the genius who transformed it. Director Morante (known for “Banderas de nuestros padres”) captures it flawlessly.

Watch CamarĂłn: The Film

Stream it for free on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yk9X3rLN8gc or here are other options or on Netflix here: https://www.netflix.com/title/80232891

14) Madrid Bullfight

In “Madrid Bullfight,” the sixth episode (24 minuties) of “Around the World with Orson Welles,” Orson and Mrs. Kenneth Tynan embark on an evocative journey.

Their quest? Madrid’s bullfighting.

Bulls in Spain are truly wild animals. There are only 200 people who can kill bulls. And only a “couple of dozen who can do it well” (and they’re not all Spanish)

Welles, ever the raconteur, takes the center stage. Through his lens, we see bullfighting – not just a sport, but a dance with death. Mrs. Tynan offers a fresh perspective, asking the questions we’d ask. Insight? It’s about art, courage, and a cultural spectacle. You feel the tension, the crowd’s gasps
 the matador’s pride.

Orson, with his deep voice and magnetic presence, narrates
 draws you in. You learn, you ponder. Best moment? WELLES: “Is it cruelty? Or tradition’s art?” A scene with a matador, explaining his love for the arena, is heartfelt.

Why this doc? It peels layers of a tradition so Spanish, so debated. Welles, as always, excels in storytelling.

Watch Madrid Bullfight

Stream it for free on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibdZfx9Iizo

15)Visiting Andalusia, Spain

In “Mediterranean Travels,” Jaafar Abdul Karim explores Andalusia.

Flamenco? He tries it. He and Anabel Veloso dance in Las Negras. Fun and rhythm.

The history? It beckons. Andalusia speaks Arabic whispers
 700 years of Islamic rule. Architecture? Stunning. Jaafar stands awed by the Alhambra. Heritage, preserved.

MĂĄlaga beckons. Sun. Beaches. The “Costa del Sol” shines
 300 sunny days yearly. Tourists flood, many from Britain and Germany.

Homes? Bought. Jaafar’s find? Estepona. A dream home. Architects JosĂ© Carlos Moya and Bertrand Coue design it. Solar, panoramic. Follows the sun
 All day.

Tarifa awaits. Morocco? Just 14 kilometers away. Photos? José Luis Terrado captures them. His focus? Migration. African refugees, their struggles.

In Andalusia, Jaafar realizes
 Europe and Africa? Intertwined. Culturally. Economically. A journey, a revelation.

Watch Visiting Andalusia, Spain

Stream the doc for Frehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOvZT76k1Cs

16) Between a Rock and a Wave

“Between a Rock and a Wave” (Original: “Entre la ola y la roca”) is a 90-minute doc, released in 2017.

It centers on Costa da Morte, on the northwest coast of Spain (13 years after the Prestige oil spill)

Crystal-clear waves crashing into immovable rocks set the tone.

Watch Between a Rock and a Wave

Stream the doc on GuideDoc or dafilms.com. See https://www.justwatch.com/us/movie/between-a-rock-and-a-wave for more options

17) Ibiza: The Silent Movie

“Ibiza: The Silent Movie” blends old with new. Think “Metropolis” meets modern rave. Director Julien Temple captures Ibiza’s spirit, much like his “The Filth and the Fury”.

Ibiza, known locally and officially in Catalan as Eivissa ([əjˈvisə]), is a Spanish island situated in the Mediterranean Sea, east of the Iberian Peninsula.

Beats. Sunsets. Legends.

This doc takes you through time.

Temple uses a mix: archive footage, pulsating beats, and evocative animations. It delves deep into Ibiza’s history, way before the raves. The island’s Phoenician, Roman, and Arab past are showcased.

Why is Ibiza iconic? For its beats? Its beaches? This doc shows more. It digs beneath the club’s surface. It gives voice to the voiceless – Ibiza’s silent history.

Watch Ibiza: The Silent Movie

The doc is not available to stream right now. But check back at https://www.justwatch.com/us/movie/ibiza-the-silent-movie for options.

Thanks for reading!

-Rob