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Top 5 Netflix documentaries on cultural icons

Top 5 Netflix documentaries on cultural icons


Netflix is easily today’s most popular online streaming service. As many of its viewers will attest to, this is mainly due to its diversified programming. While other streaming sites are focused on specific genres, mediums, or types of film, Netflix aims to show it all. This includes some of the best and most compelling documentaries about the world’s most influential people.

Pumping Iron

An intimate look into the extremely competitive world of bodybuilding. A lot of this film’s entertainment value stems from the fact that it features both Lou Ferrigno and Arnold Schwarzenegger before they became the iconic stars that they are today. The two are perfect at embodying the opposing mentalities required to play the bodybuilding game. Ferrigno represents the family man, the honest underdog with the simple dream of becoming Mr Olympia. Schwarzenegger is the brash, flashy ten-year veteran who’s willing to do everything to get to the top and stay there. Pumping Iron shows how bodybuilding is not as simple as it seems, and even if you have never lifted a dumbbell in your life, you will find it compelling.

Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond

This title reveals the process of comedic actor Jim Carrey when he stepped into the autobiographical role of the legendary Andy Kaufman in the movie Man on the Moon. In order to truly embody the role, Carrey stayed in character as Kaufman throughout filming, making for some interesting results behind the scenes. The studio was actually reluctant to show this footage for fear that it would make Carrey seem like a difficult actor to work with. Actor Timothy Olyphant agreed, calling the documentary “pretentious and narcissistic,” which only makes us want to recommend it more. An awesome look into what it takes to be an actor.

Foo Fighters: Back and Forth

Back and Forth follows one of the greatest rock bands on the planet and answers questions that fans never got the chance to ask. The documentary explores the band’s connection to legendary 90s band Nirvana, featuring new and old footage from the world of grunge, and interviews with current and former members of Foo Fighters. In 2012, Back and Forth won the Grammy award for Best Long Form Music Video. Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins had admitted to NME that he would prefer if people didn’t watch the movie but nonetheless realized that it shares an interesting and essential perspective on the band – in case you needed more reasons to see it.

Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child

More than anyone, Jimi Hendrix understood the electric guitar as a piece of technology. He used effects pedals and amplification to create sounds that have never been heard before, influencing virtually every rock guitarist that came after his time. As a result, his story has been chronicled countless times, with the latest documentary being Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child. Unlike other films or documentaries about Hendrix, Voodoo Child relies solely on his interviews to tell his story.

And it’s just one of the many cultural products inspired by the man’s legacy. He is such an iconic legend that his influence goes well beyond movies and film, invading other mediums such as books, video games, and fashion. Literature lovers know him well as the man behind the books Room Full of Mirrors and Starting at Zero. The FoxyCasino game Jimi Hendrix extends the man’s legacy to the online gaming community with its use of his songs and images, helping new generations experience the musician. To this day, the world of fashion still struggles to copy his trademark use of wild colours, clashing prints, waistcoats, and the overall bohemian vibe that was instrumental in creating his legendary onstage presence. Apart from being arguably the greatest guitarist of all time, the man is a cultural juggernaut, and you can hear his story via his own words in Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child.

The Final Year

This documentary follows former US president Barrack Obama as he attempts to craft an enduring foreign policy during his last months in office. It’s the first release in a deal that the Obamas signed with Netflix – aimed at releasing more original content focused on America’s former first family. Trigger warning: it might make you extremely nostalgic about the pre-Trump era. And if you end up liking it, you can expect more original Netflix programming via the Obamas.

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