ByDania Lerman, writer at
Dania Lerman

I love a good movie, but there's something to be said for watching one that tells you about what's actually going on in the world. Check out 8 of my favorite movies based on incredible real life stories, plugged in to the World-Beyond-Facebook before we know it...

1) Argo (2012)

"Iran Hostage Crisis" ring a bell? You know it's important but... don't actually know what it is? Thanks to Ben Affleck, the significant and complex political crisis is played out in a thrilling, well-acted and Oscar-winning drama.

What we learn: How and why US-Iranian relations turned (particularly) sour.

2) We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks (2013)

"WikiLinks" has been tossed around a lot these days, considering the whole Edward Snowden fiasco. So we know the government spies on us, and we know we know that because of WikiLinks... but did you ever stop to wonder what WikiLinks actually... is? Turns out its straight-up BADASS, which makes the documentary exciting and fun to watch.

What we learn: How major political scandals came to surface in the past 7 years.

3) Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

Remember when the whole world was about Bin Laden? Remember how we were like... ten? Well Zero Dark Thirty's got you covered. It's a thrilling, action-packed drama about everything concerning Bin Laden from September 11 to his 2011 execution.

What we learn: Why Bin Laden' name no longer comes up in every single newspaper headline - and why it used to.

4) Blackfish (2014)

All of a sudden we're supposed to hate Sea World, and our entire childhood was a lie. You can thank (or secretly scorn) Blackfish for this. A must-see for anyone who wanted to be a whale trainer when they grew up.

What we learn: Why Sea World trainers are no longer allowed in the tanks with Shamu.

5) Kill the Messenger (2014)

Ten years ago, investigative journalist Gray Webb exposed the CIA's role in NOT preventing drug trafficking, which put the Reagan administration under a massive wave of criticism. Unfortunately, this was pre-Breaking Bad, so we weren't too interested in this stuff. But thanks to Walter White, we now care - which is why it's high time to get sucked into this provocative and intense drama.

What we learn: All about drug trafficking, and why it won't "go away".

6) Food, Inc. (2008)

An introduction to the extremely f***d up food industry everyone's going vegetarian for. This is our generation's problem - give it a watch so you can at least contribute to the constant (and growing) debates in dorm rooms and bars.

What we learn: Why we've all started shopping Whole Foods.

7) Syriana (2009)

...because oil in the Middle East is something we should all know about.

What we learn: The ins-and-outs of the global oil industry.

8) Zeitgeist: Moving Forward (2011)

This documentary breaks down our flawed (and increasingly so) global economy, and introduces a new socioeconomic paradigm called "Resource-Based Economy". Considering this may be our not-too-far future, we should probably understand how it works.

What we learn: Important things about the economy we snoozed through in high school.


How many of these politically relevant movies have you watched?


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