How often do you find yourself scrolling through Netflix for an hour trying to find something to watch? The next time that happens, put down the remote for a second and bring up this list.
We’ll be updating this guide to the best movies on Netflix monthly, so all of you aspiring filmmakers out there can keep up with what you need to watch next.
From horror to comedy and everything in between, it’s all gathered right here. We’ll rank each film based on its acting, filmmaking, writing, and overall entertainment value for people bored on Friday night.
Of all the top Netflix movies available to stream, who knows? One of them may well inspire your next project.
Movies to Watch on Netflix
Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003)
Quentin Tarantino has said he wanted to challenge himself as a filmmaker. He was known for his dialogue scenes, but he wanted to throw himself head-first into a straight-up action flick with beautiful choreography. It resulted in one of his most kinetic works complete with awesome practical effects.
Relevant Netflix Movies to Watch
If there was ever a relevant Netflix movie to watch in 2020, it would be the 1995 contagion movie Outbreak. It’s a film about an airborne virus that gradually spreads around the country. It may not put your fears to rest, but it shows how some movies can remain pertinent in extremely frightening ways.
Good Movies on Netflix
Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004)
Vol. 2 manages to keep you engaged throughout the four hours you’ll spend watching both movies back-to-back. It manages to accomplish this by being a very different kind of movie. There are still awesome action set pieces, but not as many as the first one.
Instead, Tarantino goes back to his roots and includes some amazing dialogue sequences and provides us with ample backstory on The Bride. Together, they make an amazing motion picture.
Great Movies on Netflix for Filmmakers
What would a fourth Austin Powers movie look like? Well, after the first trilogy of films, the James Bond movies took themselves much more seriously. Perhaps we’d see Austin Powers trying to reinvent himself in a gritty way. We may never see that version, but at least we’ll always have International Man of Mystery.
Movies to Watch on Netflix
The Dark Knight (2008)
To this day, The Dark Knight remains the pinnacle of superhero films. It works within the confines of the Batman mythos to deliver an insanely satisfying crime story, and star Heath Ledger delivers a Joker performance to end all Joker performances.For better and worse, The Dark Knight influenced a decade of superhero movies. While other superhero films tend to fade from memory shortly after their post-credits scenes roll, The Dark Knight demands revisitation. Each rewatch of the film reveals previously unnoticed details and deepens one’s appreciation for such a layered work of art.
Awesome Netflix Movies
Good Time (2017)
The Safdie Brothers are experts at craftins highly tense, anxiety-ridden films. Uncut Gems brought that aesthetic into the mainstream, but it all started with 2017’s Good Time, which has similar frenetic editing and fast-paced plot to put you in the protagonist’s shoes. Once the film’s over, you’ll finally feel like you can breathe.
List of the Top Netflix Movies
The Evil Dead (1981)
The 1980s spawned plenty of classic horror films, but none have aged quite as well as Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead. Its sequels may have darted in more comedic directions, but the original remains a masterclass in blending pitch black humor with full-blown horror.The premise is simple: A group of friends escape to a cabin in the woods and come face to face with demonic spirits. But The Evil Dead unfolds at a kinetic pace that’s rarely been matched, with each shot meticulously composed and carefully placed. It’s a rollercoaster ride of terror, and one that’s still scarier than most horror movies being released today.
Netflix Streaming Movies
American Honey (2016)
American Honey proves one thing: Shia LaBeouf is one hell of an actor. LaBeouf starred in a stint of popcorn films that rarely gave him much room to showcase his talent, but his range has been on full display for several years now, and that renaissance began with American Honey.American Honey is a different kind of coming-of-age film, set against a backdrop of partying and debauchery. It’s a challenging film for sure, but if you can make it through its nearly three-hour runtime, you’ll be rewarded in the end.
Top Rated Netflix Movies
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Stephen King offers aspiring filmmakers a great deal. For $1, you can purchase the rights to adapt one of his short stories. Frank Darabont did this back in 1983, and a decade later, he had built up enough credits to direct The Shawshank Redemption. It goes to show just how much $1 can get you.
Netflix Original Movies
Atlantics is one of the most rewarding cinematic experiences of 2019. It almost feels as if the film created its own genre: Just when you think you know where its plot is headed, it changes direction on you.
That misdirection—that sense of gradual discovery with new narrative development—isn’t frustrating. It’s rewarding.
Hilarious Netflix Movies
It’s hard to find a good parody movie these days. So many give into “reference” jokes where you just mention a pop culture thing and expect it to give a laugh. The reason films like The Naked Gun work well is that they stand up as their own movies. They have plots and characters you like, and they just happen to poke fun at other movies.
But at their core, you can also sense a respect for the genre. The filmmakers obviously love police movies, and you can see that love on display, which is something you can’t say for something like Disaster Movie, Epic Movie, or any other “Insert Word Here” Movie.
Original Netflix Movies
Klaus is a strange little film. Though it’s less than a year old, its gorgeous animation and unexpected take on the story of Santa Claus make it feel like it’s been a part of Christmas programming for years.It’s also the kind of film that reminds of Netflix’s important role in the modern distribution landscape. It’s hard to imagine Klaus getting a wide theatrical release, so it’s reassuring that its accessibility via streaming will allow generations of kids to experience its charms.
Complete Netflix Movie List
Event Horizon (1997)
Event Horizon had a stressful production process and a shortened editing turnaround time. This all likely resulted in the final product meeting below expectations and meeting mostly negative reviews upon release. However, when you watch the film today, you see the nuggets of something great, including a genuinely terrifying horror story that shakes you to your core. It has plenty of faults, but in this instance, you can still learn from and appreciate the mess.
Top Rated Movies on Netflix
End of Watch (2012)
The found footage sub-genre is typically associated with horror movies, but End of Watch applied some of its stylistic techniques to the buddy cop movie. While there are action and thrills by the handful, this film is first and foremost a bromance and an awesome one at that.There are memes out there that suggest men have cried at the finale of End of Watch, and, well... they’re not lying. Cop movies set in Los Angeles have been done to death, but in 2012, End of Watch breathed new life into that formula to deliver something truly special.
Best Movies on Netflix now
You didn’t expect to find Tremors on this list, did you? When you want plain good B-movie fun on a Friday night, Tremors is where it’s at. The film pokes fun at the tropes of creature features without ever tipping over into self-parody. And not only does it establish a serious set of rules—it actually follows them.
All of this results in one of the best monster movies of the 1990s. And if you like what you see, you’ll be happy to learn it has a plethora of sequels, each one more insane than the last.
Best Original Netflix Movies
Horse Girl (2020)
Jeff Baena dug comedy out of tragedy with his excellent Joshy. He returns to similar territory with Horse Girl, a film about a woman battling mental illness who soon finds herself struggling to distinguish dreams from reality. Alison Brie, who co-wrote the script, plays the lead role in a truly remarkable performance, no doubt inspired by something personal in her.
Superb Netflix Streaming Movies
The Adventures of Tintin (2011)
Various directors came to visit Steven Spielberg as he made The Adventures of Tintin, including David Fincher, Guillermo del Toro, and Stephen Daldry. Spielberg also treated the making of the film as though it were live-action. With numerous influences and a unique perspective, it’s easy to see why there’s nothing else quite like Tintin out there.
Cool Netflix Movies
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is noteworthy for being the last film the late Heath Ledger starred in (Ledger passed away before the crew finished filming, so director Terry Gilliam had to bring on Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell to finish his parts). Considering all that went on behind the scenes, it’s impressive to see how all these moving parts mostly came together.Though slightly disjointed, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is visually stunning. Discovering this overlooked gem is a great way to pay tribute to one of the finest actors of the 2000s.
Drama Movies to Watch on Netflix
Philadelphia is noteworthy for being one of the first major Hollywood productions to focus on homosexuality and HIV/AIDS. It tapped into the zeitgeist and delivered a story people may not have wanted to have but needed to listen to.
New 2020 Movies on Netflix
Practically any Aardman movie shows how much you can do with little dialogue. You always want to show not tell, and when your main character can’t even talk outside of grunts, you really need to show every little thing. In this stop motion adventure, the animation is stunning, making for a visual delight for kids of all ages.
Top 10 Netflix Movies Right Now
Kung Fu Hustle (2004)
A great amount of wire work went into creating the stunts in Kung Fu Hustle. Thanks to a first-class VFX team, you can’t even notice, and the final product is a film with a Looney Tunes-esque zaniness that’s a ton of fun to watch.
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You have to give credit to Horns for really shooting for the moon. Daniel Radcliffe stars as a man wanted for the murder of his girlfriend. He inexplicably grows horns, which compels him to admit to his greatest sins and submit to his basest impulses.Horns’ bizarre premise gives Radcliffe free reign to ramp up the insanity of his performance. Part mystery, part romance, Horns truly breaks the mold of every subgenre to which it belongs, and is well worth the watch.
Best Movies to Watch on Netflix
Dirty Harry (1971)
Dirty Harry was insanely influential in the 1970s: The film paved the way for how the action genre would evolve during the era. And it all started with a bad cop out to do anything to bring the bad guy to justice.How Dirty Harry reflects the time in which it was made is a subject of near-endless debate. Is the film a satire of vigilante justice, or a call to action that sincerely celebrates “the power of one”? Regardless of how you interpret its ideology, Dirty Harry is never boring and will leave you pondering over its message for a long while.
Great Netflix Streaming Movies
American Factory (2019)
Documentaries are interesting to create. You may set out with one idea in mind but change the film’s focus halfway through production. The filmmakers behind American Factory had that happen as they decided during the editing process to focus on the experiences of average workers at an Ohio plant during a takeover from a Chinese business. The decision was a good one. The film would go on to win Best Documentary Feature at the Academy Awards.
Great Movies on Netflix
Blade Runner: The Final Cut (1982)
Blade Runner is required viewing for any science-fiction fan. With director Ridley Scott’s Final Cut now on Netflix, you can see the film the way it was intended to be seen, with an ending that greatly improves upon the theatrical version.Blade Runner exceeds on so many fronts. As you take in the film’s weighty ideas about the human condition and its fascinating approach to world-building, you’ll be reminded of just how many other sci-fi features it’s influenced.
Must Watch Movies on Netflix
Frances Ha (2013)
Frances Ha is content to move at its own pace. While the film’s narrative may wander, you never really mind because Greta Gerwig is utterly charming as the titular character. Frances moves along trying to make something out of life, before discovering what she needs to do to actually have a life in the first place.It’s one indie comedy that has grown better with age. As millennials like Frances get over and grow discontent with drifting through life, they may also need to make some concessions. Frances Ha is at times funny and others heartbreaking.
Best Movies on Netflix Right Now for You
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre featured mostly unknown actors at the time. Combined with documentary-style camerawork, it gave the entire production a rawer, more realistic feel. It made the violence seem like it was happening right in front of you. This movie changed the horror game forever.
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Jim Henson’s Creature Shop designed the costumes for the titular turtles. There may not be a whole lot to talk about with this movie in terms of plot or character, but those costumes sure are cool. They’ve held up remarkably well, and they give the movie an extra layer of cheesy, 80s greatness.
Must Watch Movies on Netflix
Steve Jobs (2015)
Biopics are a dime a dozen. When one steps out of its typical conventions and does something truly unique, it’s worth celebrating. For my money, Steve Jobs is an innovative example of the biopic that’s worthy of the Apple founder it depicts.Steve Jobs doesn’t pull any punches in its portrayal of the megalomaniacal magnate. Yes, the film ultimately celebrates the man and his complicated legacy, but it portrays him as a human being prone to folly and hubris. Jobs alienated the people he worked with, but here, that drama makes for an engaging watch.
Best Netflix Original Movies of All Time
Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond (2017)
There have been plenty of incredible film performances over the years. What makes Jim Carrey’s turn as Andy Kaufman in Man on the Moon so worthy of a documentary? Well, the doc dives far deeper than you likely imagine into how we all basically perform in our day-to-day lives.
Best New Movies on Netflix
Tropes are generally seen as a bad thing. But while you can always kind of guess where Freaks is going, it finds subtle, interesting ways to surprise you. The performances and direction make what could have been a trite story feel original and new. It’s a tense sci-fi thriller that wasn’t widely seen but will hopefully gain a following on Netflix.
What Movies Are on Netflix Now?
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
Leonardo DiCaprio tends to get all the love for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. However, Johnny Depp also deserves some recognition for playing a far more restrained character than what he was known for at the time (and even today). The two complement one another to create a powerful portrayal of family and how different dynamics can coincide.
Best Movies on Netflix in 2018
There’s one thing To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before does incredibly well where other rom-coms fall short. The lead, Lara Jean, never changes who she is as a person. Instead, she discovers new aspects of herself while remaining ultimately the same person. There’s growth, but there’s also a message about how you don’t have to change who you are to find love. It’s a great message for teens, and it makes this a refreshingly unique rom-com.
Best Movies on Netflix Right Now
The Bling Ring (2013)
Moneyball is based on true events, and follows the creation of sabermetrics and the Oakland Athletics as they compete with teams that have larger budgets for acquiring players and “buying playoff spots.”
Good Movies on Netflix for the Family
Space Jam (1996)
Space Jam is the highest grossing basketball movie of all time, and it’s easy to see why. While the human scenes may be bares bones, the Looney Tunes are just as zany and delightful as you want them to be. It’s a good time to rewatch this 90s favorite to get ready for Space Jam 2 coming out in 2021.
Good Movies to Watch on Netflix
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is one of Tim Burton’s best films. The macabre subject matter of this musical is brilliantly filmed and its surreal qualities are ideally suited to the director’s uncanny sensibility.Burton blends musical performance and horror tropes splendidly. Instead of adopting the style of other musicals, Burton takes creative license wherever possible to align Sweeney Todd’s source material with his own singular vision.
Comedic Netflix Movies List
Groundhog Day (1993)
Groundhog Day has found a surprising audience with Buddhists. Many Buddhists view the ideas of self-improvement and a form of reincarnation positively, showing that there are numerous ways for a film to be interpreted. It’s for this reason the film remains a beloved classic for so many to revisit annually.
Best Netflix Originals
I Lost My Body (2019)
With such an unusual plot, a severed hand going on a quest to reunite with its body, this kind of story needs a similar inventive animation. The medium works remarkably well for this offbeat story, creating one of the most idiosyncratic works of 2019.
Good Animated Netflix Movies
9 shows just how far you can go with an inventive artistic style. It clearly wants to follow in the footsteps of Coraline by being a darker, stop motion animated kids’ film, and it largely succeeds in being a visual spectacle. If even one kid is encouraged to pursue a career in animation due to seeing 9, which is entirely possible, then that makes it a worthy addition to stop motion canon.
Popular Movies on Netflix in 2020
Ip Man (2010)
Many people may not realize that Ip Man is based on a true story. The real Ip Man was a master of Wing Chun, and from that story came an amazing franchise with stunning fight choreography. Donnie Yen kills it in the title role, and when you watch the first one, you’ll immediately want to binge the rest, which also happen to be on Netflix.
The Ultimate Netflix Movies List
For six hours a day for six weeks, Gina Carano went through an intensive tactical training course. She also learned about the art of surveillance and counter-surveillance to prepare, including being tracked by a GPS system installed in her car. It’s an incredible amount of preparation, and the action scenes in the finished product really speak for themselves, making for a kinetic cinematic viewing experience.
Best New Movies on Netflix
Taylor Swift: Miss Americana (2020)
The great thing about Taylor Swift’s documentary is that you don’t have to be a die-hard Swiftie to enjoy it. That’s because it focuses less on the pop star’s rise to fame than on her complicated relationship with fame and her struggle to form some kind of political identity.Taylor Swift: Miss Americana is a fascinating look at the disposability of women in the pop music industry, where self-reinvention is constantly required for a star to avoid being replaced by the next bright shiny object. The film may not convert you into a Taylor Swift fan, but you’ll at least gain an appreciation of what she and many other women in her business have to endure.
Good Movies on Netflix for Sci-Fi Fans
The Wandering Earth (2019)
The Wandering Earth has a pretty outlandish concept about the world’s nations physically moving the planet to avoid being consumed by the Sun turning into a red giant. However, the filmmakers still consulted scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences to help ground the film. Even if you don’t plan on obeying all the laws of nature, it still helps to have some kind of baseline to work off of.
Horror Netflix Movies List
Murder Party (2007)
The Lab of Madness consists of Jeremy Saulnier, Christopher Sharp, and Macon Blair who shot films together back in the 1980s. After they had plenty of experience under their belts, they shot their first feature Murder Party even with no budget in place.
The minimal budget aesthetic adds to the gonzo nature of the film, and while it’s not recommended for those with weak stomachs, avid horror fans will find a new gem.
Best Movies on Netflix in 2018
Horror as a genre can consist of various other subgenres. With Apostle, you have something that really captures the essence of various aspects of horror and delivers them in a singular, terrifying package. You never quite know what’s going to happen next, but the tension is ever-present.
Netflix Movie List
Coraline picked up the torch from The Nightmare Before Christmas and delivered an entertaining, albeit sometimes frightening, stop-motion animation film. It’s visually stunning, complemented by frames of utter beauty and significant terror.You don’t need to have a kid to cue up Coraline on Netflix one night. The film has enough emotional weight to ring true with any audience. It’ll remind you of the horrors of childhood while also filling you with hope for the future.
Top Netflix Movies for Directors
Gangs of New York (2002)
Accents can do more than color a film. They can also serve the plot, which was Scorsese’s goal for Gangs of New York. In the film, a character’s accent often reveals his or her loyalties. A wide breadth of accents and speech patterns are on display, coloring the world and remaining true to history.
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The Master (2012)
Out of all of PT Anderson’s films, The Master might be the most engrossing. That’s in part due to a trio of incredible performances from Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Amy Adams.While the film’s critique of cults of personality may have its sights set on Scientology, The Master is more broadly about humans’ need for belonging and stability. It’s PT Anderson’s masterpiece and about as perfect as a film can get.
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Sin City (2005)
Sin City is noteworthy because three directors ultimately shared credit: Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller, and Quentin Tarantino. Their kinetic directorial styles combined with a fierce devotion to filming the sources material as closely as possible led to a thriller roller coaster ride that’s just as pretty to look at today as it did in 2005.
Good Movies on Netflix
If you haven’t already seen Inception, then you’ve likely been confused by the debate that’s surrounded it over the past decade. Director Christopher Nolan’s film follows a band of thieves who set out to implant an idea within a wealthy business owner’s mind. It’s discombobulating. It’s sneaky. It’s brilliant. And it remains one of Nolan’s very best films.Don’t let the people who bemoan how confusing Inception is stop you from seeing it. The film’s plot is actually more straightforward than it would have you believe.
Fantastic Netflix Original Movies
The Two Popes (2019)
They say the best VFX in film are those you don’t notice. The Two Popes takes place in many sensitive locations, and the crew couldn’t film absolutely everywhere around Rome. Therefore, there are many shots that were accomplished through green screens and CGI. It’s an impressive feat specifically because you don’t even realize you’re looking at a fake location. You’re just carried by the magnitude of the story and a pair of superb performances.
Best Movies on Netflix
Narration is usually frowned upon in screenwriting, but Scorsese perfected it with Goodfellas. There’s a part where Henry talks about how Tommy will become a “made man” before he’s unexpectedly killed off. The voiceover makes you put your guard down. It adds to the story and the tone, and anyone thinking about incorporating voiceover in their own script needs to watch this movie.
Best Movies of the Decade
Just a few more Netflix binges and your inner film encyclopedia should be up to date (until it’s time to update it all over again). Then, after you’ve seen everything on this list, take your streaming adventures a step further by consulting our list of the best films of the 2010s.