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Top 10 documentaries on Netflix

Top 10 documentaries on Netflix

Netflix Film Review by Rachel Pullen

Never underestimate the power of a good documentary, and for all of you who have access to Netflix you have a whole world of choice right in your front room. So once again in no particular order, here are my top 10 documentaries on Netflix right now.


Bobby Fischer Against the World [2011, Liz Garbus]

Genius is one of those things that seems amazing from the outside but can be very difficult for those who possess it, and that is exactly the case when it came to Bobby Fischer.

A chess prodigy who turned the world of competitive chess on its head with his wild antics and bizarre demands, this documentary profiles Fischer's life in the spotlight as well as the demise of his mental stability alongside it.

Scandal, insanity, chess and thick-rimmed glasses, this is a definitive addition to your Netflix watch list.


Top 10 documentaries on Netflix

La Bare [2014, Joe Manganiello]

There are plenty of documentaries out there that investigate the world of women in the sex industry but La Bare takes an up-close look at the other side, the world of male strippers.

This documentary is an eye opening [and not just because of the intense amounts of oiled up abs] piece which follows the lives of a group of male dancers working in a club in America, investigating their personal lives, the effect the job has on them day to day and the pressures they feel in fulfilling the role.

This enjoyable as well as dark film is instantly interesting and engaging from the get go, and not just for the ladies.


Oklahoma City [2017, Barak Goodman]

In April 1995, America experienced some of the worst cases of domestic terrorism with the bombing of the Alfred. P. Murray Federal building, but what was it that led a young man named Timothy McVeigh to take such extreme actions against his own country?

Broken into three chapters which investigates Waco, Ruby Ridge as well as the Oklahoma bombings, this sobering documentary is one of the most in depth films to ever cover this subject.

With amazing historical footage and first hand testimonies, Oklahoma City is an intense journey into the mind of a maniac, plus there is a scene where the cops play Nancy Sinatra over a P.A to try and force out people of a building...policing at it’s best.


Netflix documentaries

Blackfish [2013, Gabriela Cowperthwaite]

Animals living in conservation has always been a tricky subject, but often they are done so in order to conserve the species, but sometimes it’s for the entertainment of humans.

Blackfish is the story of Tilikum, who is essentially the Arnold Schwarzenegger of the killer whale world, who has been living out his days at Seaworld, enduring cramped conditions, boredom, frustration, as well as being a whale sperm bank for the centre's breeding program.

This documentary explores what happens to the people in and around Seaworld when the whales snap, and with just cause.

Exploring the insane ways in which the company treats the whales as well as the staff, the viewer is taken on a whirlwind of sadness and rage as we explore this cruel and money-driven world.

Not for the sensitive viewer, as there are a lot of distressing scenes, Blackfish will have you enraged and distraught all the way to the end.


The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young [2014, Annika Iltis]

My personal favourite from this list, The Barkley Marathons documents the struggle of a group of marathon runners as they attempt to complete one of the toughest races to date.

Held in the frozen head state park in Tennessee, runners are allowed 60 hours [sleep is optional] to complete 100 miles over some of the roughest terrain, whilst also hunting down 11 books on the course and collecting a numbered page assigned to them from each one.

This race reeks of hillbilly backwater charm, where runners have Taps played to them on a bugle when they quit, and a lot of them do, [often the race will not have anyone finish let alone complete it], or whereby the race is started when the founder Laz lights a smoke at the yellow gate.

Gripping, witty and inspiring, The Barkley Marathons stands strong in the world of sport documentaries.


Stop at Nothing: The Lance Armstrong Story [2014, Alex Holmes]

Lance Armstrong is a man shrouded in controversy; Yellow jersey winner 7 times, donated millions to cancer research, promoted cycling all around the world...but also doped his way to success.

This is a documentary that looks at the impact he and his doping program had not only on the sport, but the people around him, with in-depth interviews from people close to him during the time, as well as some great archive footage, this documentary on Netflix allows you to see both sides of the dark side of professional racing.

So the big question is...dope and win, or be clean and lose.


Netflix documentary

Indie Game [2012, James Swirsky]

There is nothing better than when the underdog triumphs, and if you are anything like me it’s even better when that underdog is a bit of a...nerd?

Indie Game explores the world of a group of game developers as they try to launch their creations into a bustling market, coming face to face with major companies and their lawyers, impatient fans, as well as long hours and little sleep, this group of gamers go balls to the wall in order to achieve their dream.

Moving as well as inspirational, Indie Game is a must watch for anyone in need of a little hope, plus someone buys a hairless cat, why? We will never know.


documentaries on Netflix

Ivory Tower [2014, Andrew Rossi]

There is that age old argument whether you should learn or earn? And if you do learn i.e. go to university, you will face massive student loan debts and also run the risk or not being able to get a job in your desired profession at the end of it.

Ivory Tower takes a eye-opening look at the world of university costs in America [which can be anything from $9,000 to $33,000] and how students often pay for little education but instead get top of the line gyms, pools, halls of residence and parties.

This documentary really delves deep into this subject, looking at college costs from a wide range of schools, as well as looking at the students who have turned their back on a standard college experience and sought out other paths in order to gain their degree.

So if you have struggled to remember why you got yourself into that debt and not found a job after the college experience ended [I can imagine that’s a lot of people, including myself] or are thinking about going to college, give this bad boy a watch and fear the inevitable debt.


Amanda Knox [2016, Rod Blackhurst and Brian McGinn]

Amanda Knox was a happy go lucky exchange student from the USA who went to Italy, things went well until she was accused of murdering her housemate...which is going to put a downer on her trip to be honest.

This documentary covers the scandalous failings of the court system as well as the way the media portrayed the case in an incredibly unprofessional manner.

With eye-opening interviews from the journalists who covered the case, and what they did in order to sell more copies of their newspapers as well as in-depth studies into how the evidence compiled against Amanda was not exactly by the book.

If you can with stand how annoying Ms Knox is, [she describes herself as ‘’kooky’’...sigh] then this is an interesting and pretty easy to follow crime documentary.


Making a Murderer [2015]

When I was talking about making this list to some of my friends I was shocked to discover how many of them had NOT seen this docu series, like what the hell have they been doing...they are not my friends anymore.

So if you are one of those people who have clearly not been on planet earth and not been involved in the insanity that is watching Making a Murderer here is a little background information to get you salivating for what’s to come.

This 10-part series follows Steven Avery, a simple backwater guy who is accused of not one but two very serious crimes, and his struggle to prove his innocence.

This series is so intense, outrageous and infuriating that it caused people to protest the police station which was responsible for the Avery arrests, to create funding pages to cover lawyer’s costs as well as sending petitions to the White House.

But politics aside this is a highly stimulating show that does not treat the audience like an idiot, [you will feel as if you have earned a degree in criminal law by the end], delving deep into police records, phone calls as well as evidence tampering...there is a lot of that by the way.

As well as all of the above this show has some of the best hairstyles and fashion choices I have ever seen, the sassiest lawyers who want to make you jump for joy when they speak in court, and sheer heart and determination from Mr Avery that can only inspire anyone who watches it.


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