12 Best 9/11 Documentaries – Must Watch List In 2023

9/11 is a tragedy that shook America to its core and drastically affected the lives of so many people, and also took a toll on its economy. The country experienced one of its worst terrorist attacks, which made 11 September 2001 a nightmare that people can never forget. It all happened when Al-Qaeda, an extremist group, raked havoc and killed nearly 3000 people with their attack. Other than that, they also ended up destroying important buildings and places like the Pentagon and World Trade Center. 

But since this day is such an important part of our history, a lot of documentaries are made surrounding it so that people get to know about everything that unfolded and how it impacted the whole world. There is a ton of information available regarding this event in multiple books and reports. Still, documentaries contain real footage, interviews, etc., that allows the viewers to understand the feelings of victims, their families, and their children and how that day turned their lives upside down.

So in order for you to get a better understanding of all that took place on this unfortunate day, we’ve listed below some of the best 9/11 documentaries. They contain everything from what happened before the tragedy to its aftermath and the incredible stories of the different people whose lives got affected.

12 Best 9/11 Documentaries:

Having knowledge about what happened during an event like 9/11 is very important as it can help people understand how it shaped what America is today. For some, it might be triggering, but if you are someone who wants to know about it in a detailed way, then here is a list of some of the best 9/11 documentaries that are available on different streaming platforms. You can watch these to learn more about one of the most significant incidents in the history of not just America but the entire world.

1. 9/11: Press For Truth

Based on Paul Thompson’s “Terror Timeline”, this documentary talks about the attacks that took place on September 11 in America. It covers the story of three women who lost their partners in the attack and are desperate to find answers as to why all this happened and why timely action was not taken. 

The documentary contains things like interviews, footage from the news, etc. as a record to support whatever happened that day. The entire documentary is researched thoroughly and shines a light on the lack of interest from the side of George W. Bush’s administration and their reluctance to provide answers to the crucial questions of the victims.

  • Release Date: 10 September 2006
  • Released/Available: Prime Video
  • IMDb: 8/10

2. Turning Point: 9/11 And The War On Terror

Directed by Brian Knappenberger, this is another great documentary surrounding the tragedy of 9/11. Having a total of five parts, it covers everything that took place before and at the time of the attacks and all the actions that were taken afterward. The viewers can see interviews and footage from that day and also the testimonials of the survivors.

It is very precisely and thoughtfully made and shows how the nation is still recovering from the catastrophe that took place more than 20 years ago. And because it covers not only what happened that day but the response from America and whatever unfolded after that, it is definitely one of the best 9/11 documentaries out of the many that are out there.

  • Release Date: 1 September 2021
  • Released/Available: Netflix
  • IMDb: 8/10

3. 9/11: Inside The President’s War Room

If you want to view the attack from the perspective of someone else rather than the survivors and victims, then this documentary is for you. It shows the incident from the point of view of the biggest decision-maker in the country, the president, and other people who were in a position of power at that time. It also contains interviews with all these key figures where they talk about the decisions they took and the reasoning behind them.

The documentary leans more toward the political side and is like an explanation as to why certain decisions were made by President Bush and his people. Viewers also get to see footage of him before the attack, when he got the news, and the process that followed after that.

  • Release Date: 1 September 2021
  • Released/Available: Apple TV+
  • IMDb: 7.5/10

4. 102 Minutes That Changed America

This 102 minutes documentary surrounding the 9/11 tragedy got its name because of the time frame that was between the first attack and the complete collapse of the North tower. It is also 102 minutes long and consists of raw and real-time footage of the event that took place, which shows the response and reactions of the citizens of New York City.

It captured the utter horror and the range of emotions that the people were experiencing. The footage came from the recordings of journalists, police, regular citizens, and other sources, allowing people to get a first-person view of the event. The documentary also won four primetime Emmy awards in 2009, which is one of the reasons why it has made it to our list of the best 9/11 documentaries.

  • Release Date: 11 September 2008
  • Released/Available: History Channel
  • IMDb: 8.3/10

5. What Happened On September 11

9/11 is a day that is triggering for a lot of people, and talking about it with a younger audience can be difficult. But this documentary produced by HBO is catered towards kids to make them learn about the tragedy in a simple manner without much traumatizing footage or images. It is only 30 minutes but fills in all the necessary details.

Amy Schatz, the director, has done a great job in covering a sensitive topic and helping young kids to understand an important piece of history. The documentary contains stories from the mouth of survivors or the victims’ loved ones, along with the methods and techniques taught by special educators to help the kids deal with a heavy topic like this one.

  • Release Date: 11 September 2019
  • Released/Available: HBO
  • IMDb: 5.7/10

6. Rebuilding Hope: The Children Of 9/11

It wasn’t just the victims whose lives got destroyed, the life of their children also got heavily impacted. This documentary covers the story of the children whose fathers passed away in the tragedy, how they are constantly grieving the loss of their loved one but still going on with their life for the past years and building hope for the future that’s ahead of them.

Viewers can see these kids, who are almost adults now, talking about how they lived their life without a father figure. They talk about how their difficulties and their grief, but how they still kept moving forward.

  • Release Date: 7 September 2021
  • Released/Available: Apple TV+, Prime Video
  • IMDb: 7.6/10

7. 9/11: I Was There

The documentary includes recordings from the event that the people who witnessed it captured. These recordings are stitched together so that viewers can see how the tragedy unfolded. One can easily make out the wave of emotions that people experienced at that time.

The whole thing seems very intimate since it does not contain any narration. It only features raw footage from the people who lived through that horrifying experience. So if you only want to watch pure recordings and not the interviews or testimonials, then this is one of the best 9/11 documentaries for you.

  • Release Date: 11 September 2021
  • Released/Available: History Channel, Vudu
  • IMDb: 8.1/10

8. 9/11: Phone Calls From The Towers

The terrorist attack on September 9, 2001, destroyed many important buildings, including the Twin Towers. This documentary follows the people who were trapped inside that building and their attempt to contact their loved ones who were outside. The calls and messages are the final records of the lives of so many people who died that day.

Some were saying their goodbyes to their family, whereas some were asking for help. One can easily get to listen to the horror and desperation in their voices. Alas, these recordings are the only thing that’s left of the victims for the family members to remember.

  • Release Date: 6 September 2009
  • Released/Available: Prime Video
  • IMDb: 7.6/10

9. 9/11: One Day In America

Directed by Daniel Bogado, this six-episode documentary series follows the events that happened on 9/11 with the help of clips and interviews of the survivors who experienced everything firsthand. The recordings used in the documentary are from the people who had captured some real-time footage from that day.

It also contains some of the most miraculous rescue missions that took place that day and how the survivors managed to go back to their families. Other than that, this documentary is one of the highest-rated ones out there, which is why it has made its name on our best 9/11 documentaries list.

  • Release Date: 29 August 2021
  • Released/Available: National Geographic
  • IMDb: 9.3/10

10. America After 9/11

This two-hour-long documentary navigates the consequences of 9/11 in America and how it left the country with prejudice against certain groups and a lack of trust in its own government. It shows interviews with political leaders and military officials, where they talk about the significance and impact of this incident.

It also talks about the wrong decisions taken by the four presidents regarding foreign policy decisions. Furthermore, the viewers get to know about the challenges that the government faced and how the decisions taken so far have impacted America.

  • Release Date: 7 September 2021
  • Released/Available: Apple TV+
  • IMDb: 7.8/10

11. 9/11: The Legacy

On September 9, 2001, thousands of kids lost their parents, and their lives changed for the worst. This one-hour-long documentary shines a light on their stories and how they powered through the painful memory of that day and the hardships that followed their life. Furthermore, viewers get to witness their emotional yet healing journey and how they coped with this horrifying event. They also talk about their experiences from the day and what impact the incident had on them. 

  • Release Date: 10 September 2021
  • Released/Available: Apple TV+
  • IMDb: 7.1/10

12. 9/11: Four Flights

9/11: Four Flights

The journey of people inside the four planes that were hijacked by the al-Qaeda terrorists was nothing less than terrifying. What was supposed to be a peaceful flight turned out to be an absolute nightmare for them. United 175, American 11, United 93, and American 77 were those four airplanes.

This History channel produced documentary is a detailed overview of the journey of the passengers and other crew members who were on those flights. Viewers also get to know about the calls and messages that they sent to their families about the upcoming attacks and also say their goodbyes.

  • Release Date: 11 September 2021
  • Released/Available: Apple TV +, Prime Video
  • IMDb: 7.6/10


All these twelve best 9/11 documentaries are about the same tragic event, but they tell different stories from different perspectives. You can pick any from the ones mentioned above depending on what you feel like watching. But despite whatever you end up going for, not only will you get a deep insight into the event, but it will also surely leave a strong impact. You will definitely come out of it feeling a lot of emotions.

About Kalpna

I am an experienced content writer who can write in various general niches. When I am not putting my thoughts into words, you will most probably find me indulged in music or reading some Agatha Christie.

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