Netflix vs. the World Image

To me, the most exciting part of the documentary is Netflix’s final battle with Blockbuster Video. I still remember the day, when I canceled my Netflix subscription and switched over to Blockbuster Total Access. This rivalry led to a moment that would have changed everything if Blockbuster only accepted a $50 million purchase offer of Netflix, but instead walked away.

Cauthen tells his narrative with interviews with Netflix co-founder Marc Randolf and his team from the beginning, including Mitch Lowe (founder of RedBox and Movie Pass). He also talks to Blockbuster CEO John Antioco and COO Nick Shepherd for the competitor’s perspective and various other entertainment business historians and observers. Ted Serandos appears via archive interviews.

“…a fascinating piece of history and is the go-to documentary about the history of Netflix…”

A few final facts you’ll learn from the film—Netflix’s first piece of original content was President Clinton’s impeachment testimony. Also, Film Threat had a small part in building the Netflix DVD library (not mentioned in the doc, but should be).

As much as I found the content of Netflix vs. the World engaging and a total nostalgia ride, the documentary itself is stitched together with talking head interviews, news clips, and video clip art (to keep things visually pleasing). It comes off as overly academic and feels like an educational documentary. I get that no one had cameras around the Netflix office early on recording “history,” but it would have been nice.

Clocking in at 105 minutes, Netflix vs. the World is a fascinating piece of history and is the go-to documentary about the history of Netflix and how it got here today.


Netflix vs. the World (2020)

Directed: Shawn Cauthen

Written: Gina Keating

Starring: Marc Randolph, Mitch Lowe, John Antioco, Nick Shepherd, Shane Evangelist, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Netflix vs. the World Image

"…engaging and a total nostalgia ride…"

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