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.
Best Netflix Original Movies of 2020
The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)
Based on the (still timely) true story of how a group of anti-Vietnam protestors were unjustly charged with inciting riots, this film has all the impressive dialogue one has come to expect out of an Aaron Sorkin film. It also boasts an outstanding cast consisting of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and Mark Rylance among many others. Sacha Baron Cohen is perfectly cast as political activist Abbie Hoffman.
Indie Movies on Netflix
Yes, God, Yes (2020)
Alice is a sexually-inexperienced girl at Catholic school who can’t help but be curious. Her faith and temptations are put to the test when she goes on a weekend retreat with her classmates. This coming-of-age dramedy offers a unique perspective into growing up Catholic and features a stellar lead performance from Natalia Dyer, whom viewers may recognize from Stranger Things.
Funniest Movies to Wtach on Netflix
Easy A (2010)
Easy A is a classic teen comedy that helped launch Emma Stone’s career. Taking a cue from the novel The Scarlet Letter, a high schooler allows boys to lie about sleeping with her to boast both of their reputations. The cast also includes the likes of Stanley Tucci, Lisa Kudrow, and Thomas Haden Church. It also has Amanda Bynes’ last acting role as of this writing.
Best Netflix Original Movies Ever
Enola Holmes (2020)
You know Sherlock Holmes, now see what his sister is capable of. Millie Bobby Brown plays the titular character who finds herself in a mischievous plot to locate her mother. Also starring Henry Cavill, Sam Claflin, and Helena Bonham Carter, the film was originally planned for a theatrical release but ended up on Netflix for all to see.
Great 90s Movies on Netflix
Boyz n the Hood (1991)
Director John Singleton’s magnum opus sees Tre Styles (Cuba Gooding Jr.) be sent to live with his father in South Central Los Angeles. As such, he comes of age in the neighborhood’s ever-increasing gang culture. The film’s been selected for preservation in the National Film Registry, so future generations can enjoy the acting talents of Ice Cube, Morris Chestnut, and Nia Long.
New Original Netflix Movies
A gamer finds himself trapped in his family’s flat when the zombie apocalypse breaks out around him. He forms a connection with a woman across the way, and the two work together to survive. The film stars Yoo Ah-in, Park Shin-hye, and Lee Hyun-wook.
Good Netflix Movies for Directors
Da 5 Bloods (2020)
Da 5 Bloods is Spike Lee’s newest joint about a group of veterans who return to Vietnam to find the remains of their deceased squadron leader as well as a treasure they buried all those years ago. The film shows how Lee is one of our greatest talents today as a director, particularly in the way he films the flashback sequences, which were done with 16 mm film, the stock that would have been available during the time of the Vietnam War. Undoubtedly, this will be remembered as one of Spike Lee’s best films.
Must-Watch Netflix Films for Directors
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
The dystopian film follows an antisocial delinquent who leads his gang to commit horrific crimes. He’s eventually captured, rehabilitated, and allowed back into society. One of Stanley Kubrick’s seminal works, the film stars the immense talents of Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, and Michael Bates.
Best Netflix Dramas
Fruitvale Station (2013)
Ryan Coogler, who’d go on to direct Black Panther, made his feature-length directorial debut with Fruitvale Station. It chronicles the true-life story of Oscar Grant III, played by Michael B Jordan, on the last day of his life before he was unjustly murdered by a BART police officer. The socially-relevant film won Best First Film at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.
Top Rated Netflix Movies This Month
A single event connects four groups of people across three continents. The psychological drama, directed by Academy Award-winner Alejandro González Iñárritu, follows an American couple, a deaf Japanese teen, a Mexican nanny, and two young Moroccans as their lives are forever changed. The poignant film stars Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, and Gael García Bernal.
Top Rated Netflix Movies Now
Considered by many to be one of the greatest movies of all time, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest follows a group of misfits trapped at an Oregon psychiatric hospital under the tyrannical rule of Nurse Ratched. With an award-winning cast consisting of Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, and Brad Dourif, the film is must-watch viewing for anyone who loves the Netflix original series Ratched.
Great 21st Century Films on Netflix
Loving follows the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple who want to marry. But in 1958 in Virginia, interracial marriage is outlawed, so they take their case to the Supreme Court to fully express their love. The thoughtful, understated film stars Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga as the couple with knockout performances.
Amazing Original Netflix Movies
His House (2020)
His House is an original horror film from Remi Weekes. It follows a refugee couple as they settle in their new house in a predominantly white English town. In addition to adjusting to this new life, they must also contend with an evil lurking in the abode. Starring Wunmi Mosaku, Sope Dirisu, and Matt Smith, this is one horror flick that gets under your skin and stays there.
Best Netflix Original Movies for You
The Other Side of the Wind (2018)
Director Orson Welles tried to make The Other Side of the Wind his big Hollywood comeback in the ‘70s. However, due to legal issues, he never completed the film before his passing. It’s now been completed, and the movie, which follows a director in a mockumentary format, is now available on Netflix for all to see. John Huston and Oja Kodar star in the remarkable film.
Great Documentaries on Netflix
This documentary follows several teenagers as they try to navigate the social hierarchy in the 21st century. The film highlights the way kids these days are bullied like never before, and it sometimes leads to tragic consequences. It stars a slew of children all playing themselves and being heartbreakingly honest in their portrayal of what it’s truly like to grow up these days.
Popular Movies on Netflix Right Now
Stranger Than Fiction (2006)
Awesome Animated Film on Netflix
The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012)
Aardman Animations brings another delightful stop motion animated romp to your television screen. Featuring the voice acting talents of Hugh Grant, Martin Freeman, and David Tennant, the film follows a sorry crew of amateur pirates doing everything they can to win the coveted Pirate of the Year award.
Best Netflix Original Movies That Won Oscars
Yalitza Aparicio, who plays Cleo in Roma, had no prior acting experience. And yet she still landed an Oscar nomination in the role of a housekeeper for a wealthy family. It was a decision worth making thanks to how much more submersize it makes the film feel. The black-and-white aesthetic combined with the long shots of a Mexico from decades in the past really transports in a way few films accomplish successfully.
Best Netflix Original Movies Ever
Oliver Stone made a career for himself directing politically-charged films, and that’s on full display with Platoon. The movie follows a volunteer in the U.S. Army who travels to Vietnam and becomes embroiled in an inner conflict over the morality of the war. Charlie Sheen, Willem Dafoe, and Tom Berenger star in what’s arguably Stone’s best work.
Best Netflix Original Movies Ever
Swimming Pool (2003)
In the mood for an erotic thriller? Then check out Swimming Pool, a film about a British crime novelist who goes away to a summer home to work on her next book. However, the arrival of her publisher’s daughter brings complications. Starring Charlotte Rampling and Ludivine Sagnier, this film had to be edited extensively to avoid an NC-17 rating, so definitely don’t watch it with the kids.
Best Underrated Movies on Netflix
The movie follows Norwegian adventurer Thor Heyerdahl as he and his companions set out from Peru to explore the South Sea Islands. The ambitious adventure film stars Pål Sverre Hagen, Anders Baasmo Christiansen, and Tobias Santelmann.
Female-Led Movies to Watch on Netflix
My Week With Marilyn (2011)
As the name of the movie suggests, the film follows a week in the life of Marilyn Monroe when she was filming The Prince and the Showgirl. Michelle Williams brings Monroe to life while the cast is rounded out by Eddie Redmayne, Kenneth Branagh, and Emma Watson.
New Original Netflix Movies
A Ghost Story (2017)
A24 presents this supernatural drama. Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara star in the story of a woman who becomes haunted by the ghost of her deceased husband. But there are no major scares here, just a rumination on grief and loss.
Popular Movies on Netflix for Filmmakers
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
For a twisty spy thriller, this is the film to watch. Set in 1970s London, the film follows the hunt for a double agent who’s managed to infiltrate the British secret service. Gary Oldman, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Colin Firth star in this film that will leave you guessing until the very last moment.
Best Films on Netflix Right Now
Actor Paul Dano made his directorial debut with 2018’s Wildlife. The film follows a 14-year old boy whose father decides to become a firefighter after losing direction in life. He goes off to combat wildfires, and the boy is left to watch his mother pick up the pieces. It’s an intensely emotional film featuring stunning performances from Jake Gyllenhaal and Carey Mulligan.
List of Must Watch Movies on Netflix
An Education (2009)
An Education is a coming-of-age drama starring Carey Mulligan and Peter Sarsgaard. Mulligan stars as a bright-eyed schoolgirl who falls for the charming advances of a conman attempting to seduce her. The movie was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
Original Netflix Movies to Watch
The Social Dilemma (2020)
This docudrama follows the rise of social media. It shows the dark side of Facebook, Twitter, and other sites and how they’ve brought about an increase in conspiracy theories. You’ll learn how all these mega-companies are actually using your data, and you may not like the answer.
Fantastic Movies to Watch on Netflix
The Squid and the Whale (2005)
The Squid and the Whale follows a simple story of two kids dealing with their parents’ divorce. Starring Jeff Daniels, Laura Linney, and Jesse Eisenberg, the film takes an unflinching look at what it’s like to grow up in such toxicity.
Must Watch Movies on Netflix for Romantics
About Time (2013)
Rachel McAdams and Domhnall Gleeson star in the romantic film about a man with the ability to travel back in time to correct the mistakes of the past. Ultimately, the film’s about learning to love the life you have and the people you share it with.
Must Watch Movies on Netflix for Cinephiles
Casino Royale (2006)
Rebooting a beloved character is not easy, especially when you plan on changing him so drastically. Casino Royale had the herculean task of making James Bond relevant in the 21st century, and it more than succeeded. It provided a different kind of Bond, one vastly unique from other iterations. And with Daniel Craig’s tenure as Bond coming to an end, it’s the perfect chance to see what some would argue is his best foray into the character.
Must Watch Movies on Netflix at This Moment
Midnight Special (2016)
A lot of films try to emulate Steven Spielberg’s directing style. Few films pull it off as well as Midnight Special. It’s a film about a father and his son who are pursued by religious extremists after they discover the boy has special powers. The visual style and plot centering on the relationship between a boy and his father are both very Spielberg-esque, and the entire movie has a sense of wonder and mystery that has you constantly ruminating about what’s going to happen next.
Top Rated Netflix Movies Ever
Being John Malkovich (1999)
Being John Malkovich is essential viewing for anyone interested in postmodernism. The film utilizes magical realism in how it allows everyday humans to take control of a famous actor. But intertextuality also plays a seminal role. Part of the fun of the film involves knowing who John Malkovich is and seeing him defy expectations as Malkovich plays himself. The film wouldn’t have the same impact of longevity if it used a fictitious actor, allowing the movie to stand the test of time.
Funniest Films on Netflix
Pineapple Express (2008)
Two stoners find themselves in the middle of a gang war in this hilarious comedy. Seth Rogen and James Franco team up for the buddy comedy that’s perfect for anyone wanting drug references coming at lightspeed.
Thought-Provoking Netflix Movies
The One I Love (2014)
Elisabeth Moss and Mark Duplass star in this captivating thriller. They play a married couple who have a surreal experience while on vacation, and the less that’s said about it before watching it the better.
Top 10 Netflix Movies Currently Available
Mean Streets (1973)
Mean Streets is one of Martin Scorsese’s earliest films. And it shows everything Scorsese represents as a filmmaker. Not only does it follow the New York mafia, but it also spends a great deal of time focusing on the protagonist’s Catholicism. Scorsese is very interested in religion, which becomes abundantly clear as you peruse his filmography, and it all started with Mean Streets.
Netflix Streaming Movies for Filmmakers
I’m Thinking of Ending Things is a denser film than what may appear on the surface. The story of a woman wanting to break up with her boyfriend of six weeks is intercut with various scenes that don’t make a lot of sense at first. You have to be willing to roll with the absurdity and Charlie Kaufman’s patented disjointing. But the performances bolster this film to something that warrants Academy consideration.
Popular Movies to Watch on Netflix
The Founder (2016)
The Founder is very much in the same vein as The Social Network. It follows a person responsible for changing society as we know it. And in both cases, the person pulling the strings isn’t some kind-hearted, gentle soul. Ray Kroc takes advantage of the true founders of McDonald’s, never giving them the money they were owed. It’s fascinating watching a global behemoth emerge in front of your eyes on screen.
Classic Movies on Netflix Now
West Side Story (1961)
With Steven Spilberg directing a remake, now’s the perfect time to revisit an all-time classic musical. Inspired by Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story follows two star-crossed lovers from rival New York street gangs. In particularly, it’s important to pay attention to the editing, which is fast-paced as ever and allows a movie that’s nearly 60 years old to still feel vibrant and energetic.
Latest Netflix Movies Added
Survival stories have a primal quality to them. After all, one of the earliest types of stories ever told is “man vs. nature.” That’s precisely what Adrift presents with a young couple heading out to sail on the open sea. Of course, things don’t go as planned when they encounter harsh storms. It’s becomes a fight for survival with a twist to keep you hooked the entire time.
Popular Movies People Love on Netflix
The Girl With All the Gifts (2016)
The book and screenplay for The Girl With All the Gifts were written at the same time. This undoubtedly helped give the book more of a cinematic quality while helping keep the focus on the characters for the movie. In either case, the result is a thrilling post-apocalyptic adventure where a virus spreads throughout humanity, turning people into zombies.
A Filmmaker’s Guide to Netflix Movies
There’s a lot of philosophy and science fiction present in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. However, those lofty ideas tend to take a backseat to focus on the primary relationship between Joel and Clementine. This is what makes the film work so well. Philosophy is nice, but it gets dry when you focus so much attention on it within a narrative. There’s much to dissect within this film, but the reason people keep coming back to it is due to the central relationship between two people trying to forget one another.
Dark Netflix Movies
Nightcrawler is a unique story in that its protagonist, Lou Bloom, has no character arc. He’s an unethical person at the beginning and remains that way throughout the film. He doesn’t learn any lessons by seeing the dark sides of capitalism and consumer demand. Instead, he embodies the worst components of those ideas. He shows what kind of person you have to become the make it in the world, and the answer is a sociopath.
Best Horror Movies on Netflix
There’s been a lot of commotion over the years about whether Tobe Hooper or Steven Spielberg did most of the directorial work on Poltergeist. But in recent years, cast members have come to the side of Hooper, insisting he was the one there every day setting up shots and blocking actors. As a director, it’s tough when so much rests on your shoulders and people try to take it away from you. But Poltergeist avoided the fate of so many other films and managed to be a huge success despite a struggle for creative control from various sources.
Must Watch Movies on Netflix for Sports Fans
Seabiscuit has a classic sports movie formula. It centers on Seabiscuit, an overlooked and undersized race horse who goes on to great success. There are plenty of underdog sports movies, but Seabiscuit manages to be a step above by focusing on a sport not often seen in film. The racing sequences are truly wondrous to behold, and they surely paid a role in the film being nominated for seven Academy Awards.
New Netflix Original Movies
The Half of It (2020)
There are some films you watch and wonder why no one has ever made it before. The Half of It takes a cue from Cyrano de Bergerac when a friendless high school student writes love letters for a jock to the popular girl, whom she also has a crush on. It goes to show the true power in taking familiar premises and finding a way to tell them in a relevant way to modern audiences.
Romantic Movies on Netflix
The Notebook (2004)
Plenty of films like The Notebook have come out over the years. So why have none of them really had the same level of success? We think it really comes down to casting. The chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams is unparalleled. And the dynamic between those two is what has helped keep the film a cult classic.
New Netflix Movies
Uncut Gems (2019)
The Safdie Brothers have a unique way of casting their films. In their other excellent film, Good Time, Robert Pattinson plays a robber on the run, playing against time from how a lot of audiences viewed him. For Uncut Gems, Adam Sandler is playing someone unlike any character he’s ever played. And in both cases, it absolutely works better than it ever should. If you end up liking the film, check out our Uncut Gems screenplay analysis to dive deeper into how the directors put anxiety on the page.
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.