20 documentaries to watch on Netflix to impress your smart friends

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Netflix documentaries

EXCLUSIVE – Oprah Winfrey, Ava DuVernay and Netflix VP of Original Documentary Lisa Nishimura seen at at 13TH conversation with Oprah Winfrey and Ava DuVernay on Sunday, November 13, 2016, in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Netflix/AP Images)

Netflix is an absolute treasure trove for documentaries. If there’s a topic you’re keen to learn about, chances are, there’s a documentary for that.

While there is a multitude of in-depth, critically acclaimed series like Planet Earth, Cosmos, and Rotten, we’re going to focus on just the standalone documentaries for this list.

I spent some time digging through a collection of the finest documentaries on Netflix in search of informative documentaries on a variety of topics. I’ve learned a lot, and I’m here to share my findings with you.

So the next time you’re out with friends and the conversation turns to topics of global, social, cultural, environmental, or technological history or issues, bam, it’s time to drop some knowledge.

20. We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists

Release Year: 2012
Director: Brian Knappenberger
Starring: Anon2World, Anonyops, Julian Assange, Gabriella Coleman, Mercedes Haefer, Adrian Chen, Steven Levy

If you use the internet (hi!), you’ve likely heard of the hacker group Anonymous in some way or another. We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists details the online collective’s humble rise from 4chan pranksters to their more ambitious cyber attacks and online support during the Arab Spring and Occupy movements.

Featuring interviews with some of the collective’s activists (often anonymously delivered using voice editing and their signature Guy Fawkes mask), authors, and lawyers, the documentary outlines Anonymous’ online activities and targets as well as the legal repercussions some members faced as a result.

It’s an enlightening look at how the power of the internet can band together with a group for a united social cause – showcasing their impressive collective power – and how their targets reacted to the unexpected (and wholly effective) attacks. The film also discusses how not all members were on board with the Robin Hood-esque direction of hacktivism and different branches developed along the way to try and continue Anonymous’ more nihilistic brand of chaos.

We Are Legion is a modern day story of David vs Goliath. In this increasingly digital world, David adapted. Rallying troops across the world and taking necessary steps to protect their identity, Anonymous stood united to protect their ideals.

It’s a fascinating and often enlightening film that – in the face of astounding levels of online negativity – will help you regain faith in the internet.

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