20 Netflix Documentaries To Watch If You Want To Feel Smarter ASAP

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There are days when all you want to do is watch mindless drivel, and days when you feel like you should be using your free time to, you know, enrich your mind.

Netflix is a goldmine for both mindless drivel, and interesting documentaries, so we’ve gathered 20 interesting films and docu-series that will educate you on a wonderfully wide range of topics: from World War II to space. We’ve got you.

Check them out:

1. How To Survive A Plague

A 2012 documentary about the brave American men and women whose campaigning successfully reversed the tide of an epidemic and stopped AIDS from being a death sentence.

2. Blackfish

A harrowing documentary about the shocking care and treatment of the animals in SeaWorld’s many parks.

3. Afghanistan: The Great Game

Written and hosted by Rory Stewart,  Afghanistan: The Great Game dissects the various battles that have taken place in Afghanistan, going back to the First Afghan War in 1839 – and chats to experts to figure out why it has become such a target for imperial superpowers.

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4. 13th

An Emmy winning documentary about race, slavery and the treatment of African Americans in the USA.

5. The Cuba Libre Story

A docu-series that recounts the history of Cuba.

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6. Hiroshima

A look into the lives before and after of people affected by the nuclear blast in Hiroshima.

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7. Dark Net

A terrifying docu-series that investigates the furthest reaches and darkest depths of the internet and the people who inhabit them.

8. What Happened Miss Simone?

A biographical film that looks at the life of singer Nina Simone.


9.  Banking On Bitcoin

Because we all need to know more about the cryptocurrency revolution.

10. Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey

And we all need to know more about space.

11. Stop At Nothing: Lance Armstrong

An eye-opening documentary about the biggest fraud scandal in sporting history.

12. WWII In Colour

How good’s your understanding of World War II? This docu-series compiles hours of colourised footage of the second world war, and cleverly explains how everything went down

13. We Are Legion

Filmmaker Brian Knappenberger investigates and documents the inner workings and beliefs of the hacking group Anonymous. But they’re Anonymous, so we can only assume he was with the right people…

14. Viking Apocalypse

Cutting edge technology is able to tell an interesting story of the vikings after a mass grave is found.

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15. The Ascent Of Women

A four part series that traces the impact women have had on everything from politics to science.

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16. The Bible Tells Me So

A documentary that looks at the bible and its views on homosexuality.

17. Goldman Sachs: The Bank That Rules The World

A documentary that looks into the far-reaching powers of banks.

18. Silicon Cowboys

The story of Campaq computers who took on IBM for computer dominance in 1982.

19. Osama Bin Laden: Up close and personal

Using his correspondence, this doc aims to shed new light on his mindset in those final day.

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20. Putin’s Hidden Treasure

How Putin got the way he is, and what he’s done to get where he is.

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What’s your favourite documentary? Let us know in the comments!

Images via Netflix, Magnolia Pictures

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