11 of the best tech documentaries

Whether you're into 3D printing or Street Fighter, it's never been easier to find a techie, thought-provoking doc for your Sunday evening viewing

There's a world of tech documentaries (or Techumentaries, if you feel so inclined) available on the net, but with so much choice it's hard knowing where to start.

Do you spend an hour in the company of the Anonymous movement or 90 minutes learning about Football Manager? Listen to Jony Ive or discover who Vivian Maier was? The choice is yours - but we've decided to make it a little easier with this little list of our favourite tech documentaries.

Three for the Internet Generation

Terms And Conditions May Apply

A pre-Snowden klaxon about our shrinking privacy, this dives into the small print of tech companies’ user agreements to show how they’re taking us on a fast track to Orwellian scrutiny.

Echoes of Minority Report still put a chill down the spine.

Watch it here


We Are Legion

This is a must-see for anyone with the slightest interest in modern history.

Although ostensibly a film about the Anonymous movement, it touches on many elements of internet culture (memes, trolling, geek humour) and is constantly entertaining, if a tad one-sided. 

Watch it here


The Internet's Own Boy

This is the story of programming prodigy Aaron Swartz, whose activism and subsequent arrest led to his suicide, aged 26, in 2013.

The Reddit co-founder campaigned for greater access to public information. It’s inspiring despite its disturbing view of the justice system.

Watch it here

Three for the Creatives

Finding Vivian Maier

During her lifetime, Vivian Maier was an unremarkable nanny from New York.

But in 2007 a photo collector bought a box of undeveloped negatives that would reveal her as one of the greatest street photographers of the 20th century.

Uncover the mystery of Maier’s Rolleiflex in Finding Vivian Maier.

Watch it here


Tim's Vermeer

Tech pioneer Tim Jenison has zero experience with a brush, but by remaking the ‘camera obscura’ he believes was used by Vermeer he finds he can create masterful paintings.

What follows is a fascinating study in single-minded dedication.

Watch it here


The Camera that Changed the World

Real life didn’t exist until the portable film camera arrived in 1960, kicking open the doors of spontaneity and taking us from Mr Cholmondley-Warner to Don’t Look Back in one step.

Predictably, the US networks hated this new unstaged reality and refused to broadcast any of it. 

Watch it here

Three for the Gamers

Indie Game: The Movie

Following the preparation of Super Meat Boy, this doc reveals that being your own boss isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, especially in the often solitary world of indie games.

Even if the film’s human subjects aren’t always likeable, their games are the stars.

Watch it here


An Alternative Reality: The Football Manager Documentary

Part love letter to the series, part advert for Football Manager 2015, this fans-only look at the world’s most addictive spreadsheet has enough nerdy nostalgia to make any armchair tactician get playing.

Watch it here


I Am Street Fighter

Made for Street Fighter’s 25th anniversary, this details the classic game’s history via the mildly terrifying Evo Championships.

There’s a lot of hyperbole but, as one talking head puts it, the game is essentially “a really well made rock-scissors-paper”.

Watch it here

Two for Design Fans


Every object you see around you started life in someone’s mind.

Specifically the imaginations of Dieter Rams, Jony Ive and Marc Newson, who explain the philosophy behind ‘mundane’ manufactured products.

Slick and serious: watch as a Gary Hustwit double bill with Helvetica.

Watch it here


Print The Legend

Not a fan of extruder nozzles or plastic ornaments?

Don’t worry, this doc ignores 3D printing’s banalities and follows the journeys of Makerbot and Formlabs as they cope with the stresses of huge early growth.

It’s so entertaining you’ll forgive it for avoiding certain questions.

Watch it here

...And Three for the Cash-Strapped

No more techumentaries left in the fridge? Time to raid these emergency stashes of free ones…


Adam Curtis fan? This independent archive hosts all of his compelling collage-docs, along with a huge library of films on ‘challenging modern society, globalisation and dominant culture.’

No, that doesn’t include Armageddon.



Rather than hosting films itself, this site collates all the free docs available on the likes of YouTube and Vimeo and puts them all in one searchable, weekend-devouring place.

Its handy ‘Top 100’ is the place to get started.



If you really want to disappear down the rabbit-hole, check out this vast chamber of retro shows.

Its ‘computers and technology’ section has almost 100,000 videos alone.

Someone should make a film about it…

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