The Best Documentaries of Netflix

Photo by Elise Derstine

Who doesn’t love to watch Netflix? However, rather than rewatching “The Office” for the hundredth time, why not watch a documentary and learn a little something? Netflix has a huge collection of documentaries on all kinds of interesting topics. Don’t know where to start? Not to worry, VALLEY has some of the best documentaries on Netflix for you.

“The Women’s List”

If you’re looking to get inspired, watch “The Women’s List.” It features 15 amazing women telling their stories of finding success, working hard and fighting for equality. The women are recognizable names from all walks of life, including Alicia Keys, Nancy Pelosi and Shonda Rhimes. It’s less than an hour long, so watch it and find your new hero.

“They Call Us Monsters”

A more somber choice — “They Call Us Monsters” showcases three teens in juvenile prison imagining what their future will hold. The young men take a screenwriting class and await sentencing. The documentary questions if juveniles should be tried and punished differently from adults. The teens featured have been tried for attempted murder and first-degree murder … does their age merit an excuse?

“The True Cost”

“The True Cost” is a film about the dirty secrets of the fast-paced fashion industry. It invites viewers to consider the social and environmental consequences of buying a lot of cheap clothes to only wear out a few times. This film, funded by Kickstarter, was inspired by a garment factory collapse in Bangladesh that killed over a thousand employees.

“Maddman: The Steve Madden Story”

Everyone knows the name Steve Madden, but most people don’t know much about the man behind the fashion empire. The documentary “Maddman: The Steve Madden Story” explores how Steve Madden went from a struggling college student to a prison inmate, to the founder of a billion-dollar shoe brand. Talk about goals!

“Banking on Bitcoin”

Don’t get the Bitcoin thing? Netflix your way to understanding! “Banking on Bitcoin” tries to explain what Bitcoin is about and how it became such a big deal. According to, the documentary “gives a solid overview of the mechanics and history … to an investment opportunity that everyone and their aunt is talking about.”

“Take Your Pills”

A Netflix original documentary, “Take Your Pills” looks at the Adderall craze, particularly for the  college-age demographic. It takes a critical look at why so many people are prescribed to the drug and what it does to their bodies. The documentary has been met with online critiques for being too anti-Adderall and ignoring the many people who need it to function.

“Happy Valley”

Lastly, how could we not include a Netflix documentary about Penn State? “Happy Valley” covers the Penn State football scandal. It’s interesting to see how the situation is viewed and talked about among different groups. It is especially worth seeing what happened and how people responded for today’s generation of Penn State students, who were young in 2011.

Time to log in to Netflix and get educated! Have a favorite documentary that we missed? Tag @VALLEYmag on Twitter with your picks!


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