There is something mesmerizing and soothing about documentaries, even when you are watching Mother (Parent?) Nature in all her brutality and gore. Who says education is boring?
Breathtakingly beautiful. Fascinating. Educational. View the wonders of the planet we live on. Each of these eleven 50-minute episodes is a masterpiece. No matter your interest, age or attitude, this documentary will keep everyone glued to their seats.
Here are some other great nature documentaries: The Blue Planet (life in the oceans); Life on Earth (about animals); Yellowstone (Yellowstone National Park); Last of the Great Unknown (exploring the rarely seen slot canyons of the Grand Canyon); March of the Penguins (life of penguins); Winged Migration (following birds as they migrate); Knut (baby polar bear); Living with Wolves (story of an American wolf pack)
Big mountain (that means CRAZY risk taking) skiers are filmed in extreme locations all over the world. This is a really beautiful documentary with music and no words. Incredible cinematography, beautiful landscapes, consummate athletic skill. Careful though, your teenagers (and maybe you) may be inspired to go long boarding, skate boarding, roller blading or parkour-ing all over the place followed by the inevitable legal and medical bills.
Here are some other human adventure documentaries that your family might enjoy: First Ascent: The Series (rock climbing); Riding Giants (surfing); 7:20 seconds of Joy (base jumping); Man on Wire (high wire walker); Everest (mountain climbing); Blind Sight (blind mountain climbing team); Hoop Dreams (high school basketball season); Murderball (wheelchair-bound rugby players); Spellbound (competition at the national spelling bee); Wonder Women: The Untold Story of American Superheroines; The Latino List (Latino role models); Nanook of the North (Granddaddy of documentaries about Inuit/Eskimo peoples, 1922)
You can find all kinds of resources including an extensive list of movies that have a point by visiting the resource pages over on my website.