• Salute, In the Shadow of the Moon, The Day Kennedy Died - on SBS (SBS)Source: SBS
Watch “Making History” season on SBS this August…
Shane Cubis

27 Jul 2016 - 2:55 PM  UPDATED 28 Jul 2016 - 10:03 AM

Get ready to explore the highs, lows, middles, insides and outsides of the past with this carefully curated assortment of massive historical moments. These are the events, individuals and movements that have brought us to this point in time, where I’m writing this and you’re reading it.

And if your mind is too blown by the march of time to concentrate when they appear on screens in August, you’ll also find all these programs (and a whole lot more from the "Making History" season) on SBS On Demand after they broadcast.


The Nazi Games: Berlin 1936

This year the Olympic Games are in Rio, but back in 1936 they were held in Berlin and intended to showcase the glory and might of the Third Reich. This documentary looks at the spectacle, sport and politics of the Games. Marvel at how much they’ve changed in 80 years... and what has remained the same.

Premieres Friday, 5 August at 7:30pm (AEST) on SBS



Will Smith plays the butterfly-floating, bee-stinging boxer that transcended the art of punching to become a cultural icon. This film traces a decade in the man’s life – but it’s a doozy. He takes the heavyweight title from Sonny Liston, converts to Islam, dodges the draft and a lot more.

Watch it Friday, 5 August at 8:30pm (AEST) on SBS


Inside Einstein’s Mind

The Doctor explains Albert Einstein! It’s an irresistible combination for any science geek to put David Tennant’s voiceover talents to work in telling us how Einstein came upon his famous Theory of Relativity. There’s more to this doco, though, as it unveils the big man’s life story along the way.

Premieres Monday, 8 August at 7:30pm (AEST) on SBS


The Day Kennedy Died

Rarely seen footage! Rarely heard testimony! House of Cards president Kevin Spacey on narration duty! The assassination of JFK is endlessly fascinating for a variety of reasons – not all conspiratorial – and this program brings forward people who haven’t really put their perspectives on record in this way ever before.

Premieres Thursday, 11 August at 7:30pm (AEST) on SBS


In the Shadow of the Moon

Everyone remembers the iconic moment when we first set foot on the moon (even if only because we’ve seen the footage so many times), but a lot had to happen before Neil Armstrong could say his famous line. Hosted by Ron Howard, and featuring Buzz Aldrin, this doco covers all the work that took place in pursuit of our lunar dream.

Watch it on Friday, 12 August at 7:30pm (AEST) on SBS - or on SBS On Demand right here:



Mel Gibson’s shockingly brutal story of life in the Mayan kingdom is an unflinching look at a culture whose rituals were far removed from our everyday experience. Presented entirely in a modern recreation of the Yucatec Maya language, the film follows a villager, Jaguar Paw, in his attempt to evade human sacrifice and rescue his family.

Watch it Sunday, 14 August at 8:30pm (AEST) on SBS


The Bomb

Nuclear weapons have formed the backdrop to international diplomacy since WW2, and The Bomb looks at the impact of this destructive technology from a variety of perspectives. Using recently declassified footage and many, many experts from both sides of the Cold War, it’s thrilling and/or terrifying, depending on your opinion of humanity.

Watch it Monday, 15 August at 8:30pm (AEST) on SBS


The Queen by the Prince of Wales

No prizes for guessing what this one’s about. Prince Charles pulls together an assortment of home movies to present a private view of his mother in celebration of her Diamond Jubilee in 2012. It’s a little-seen side of the royal family, and a bit of a jaw-dropper when you put Queen Elizabeth’s time on the throne in historical perspective.

Premieres Tuesday, 16 August at 7:30pm (AEST) on SBS



When Australian sprinter Peter Norman shared an Olympic podium with Tommie Smith and John Carlos in 1968, he became a part of black history. Written, directed and produced by Peter’s nephew, this award-winning doco covers the events leading up to the famous Black Power salute, as well as the fall-out for Peter when he returned home.

Watch it on Friday, 12 August at 7:30pm (AEST) on SBS - or on SBS On Demand right here:


Bonnie & Clyde

Bank-robbing lovers Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker are rightly part of American folk culture, romanticised in songs, films and Fallout: New Vegas despite being responsible for multiple murders (including lawmen), thefts and kidnappings. If they were Australian, they’d be our second-favourite bushrangers... behind Captain Thunderbolt.

Premieres Thursday, 18 August at 7:30pm (AEST) on SBS


The Sixties: Long March to Freedom

The American Civil Rights movement is at the heart of this doco, just as it was at the heart of the massive cultural shift that took place across the decade in the title. People at the forefront of the struggle re-examine their actions (as well as the often horrific tactics of their opponents) and discuss their legacy.

Watch it Thursday, 18 August at 9:30pm (AEST) on SBS


9/11: 102 Minutes That Changed America

There’ll be people voting in this year’s US election who have no memory of life before the September 11 attacks. This ground-breaking program presents the events of that fateful day in real time, using a mixture of raw footage and contemporary reactions to the attack on the World Trade Centre.

Watch it Friday, 19 August at 7:30pm (AEST) on SBS


Zero Dark Thirty

Controversial for its seemingly positive depiction of torture in the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, Zero Dark Thirty gave the world a gritty look at life for soldiers in the Middle East. Although it has been criticised on historical accuracy grounds, the screenwriter was able to access classified information that lends the film a raw authenticity.

Watch it Friday, 19 August at 9:25pm (AEST) on SBS:


Watch the "Making History" season on SBS every night during the 2016 Olympic Games, 5-22 August. After they air, everything will be available on SBS On Demand.

For the full schedule of SBS programming during the season, go here.