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.
Amazingly-Directed Netflix Movies
There Will Be Blood (2007)
Adapting Upton Sinclair’s book Oil! proved to be an arduous task. P.T. Anderson studied the oil industry as it was in the early 20th century and took several trips to Bakersfield, CA to learn more about oilmen of the time period. While the movie is based on the novel, Anderson created something all on its own, but the novel became more of a collaborator than a direct source. The result is one of the few films of the 21st century that can genuinely be called a masterpiece.
Best Comedies on Netflix
The Death of Stalin (2018)
Dramatizing the death of Stalin is one thing, but making a comical farce out of the event and the ensuing power struggle must have been a monumental task. The movie was banned in Russia, but anyone who wants to give it a chance will find a hilarious piece of art with timely parallels to our current political state. It’s a superb example of a dark comedy that balances out its varying tones with such expert precision.
Top Netflix Movies Right Now
The Florida Project (2017)
Disney may not want anyone filming at their parks and resorts without their permission, but that didn’t stop Sean Baker from doing so. He used an iPhone 6S Plus and a minimal crew to film some scenes at the resort, and it’s truly intriguing to watch how they kept the aesthetic of the film during those portions. It’s not just a gimmick, either. The idea of Disney World ties into the themes of childhood and how children are uniquely qualified to create their own form of happiness.
Great Netflix Movies for Filmmakers
The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)
What makes a good horror film? You may not think The Killing of a Sacred Deer is horror on its surface, but the way it churns the stomach is similar to what you would get watching any gore fest. You know these characters are heading for oblivion, and all you can do is watch as you recognize their lives are taking a dramatic turn for the worse at every corner.
What Movies Are on Netflix?
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.
Best Movies on Netflix Right Now
The Bling Ring (2013)
For the best possible viewing experience, pair The Bling Ring with Spring Breakers for a double feature. Both films boldly examine vapid youngsters’ search for meaning in celebrity. And after watching, you may never want to see an episode of Entertainment Tonight ever again.
Good Movies to Watch on Netflix
Sweeney Todd (2007)
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Top Rated Netflix Movies
The Other Guys (2010)
Hot Fuzz may be one of the best action parodies ever made, but when you want a bit more Americanized slapstick, you opt for The Other Guys. Director Adam McKay’s film has some terrific jokes and seriously impressive action set pieces.
While The Other Guys can feel at times like an overly long comedy sketch, stars Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg are enjoyable to watch together and have plenty of buddy cop chemistry to burn.
List of Best Netflix Original Movies
Love Wedding Repeat (2020)
The romantic comedy is alive and well on Netflix. The platform has made a name for itself as a home where original comedies can thrive, which is great because then we get Love Wedding Repeat. It’s a wedding-gone-wrong picture but with an intriguing fantasy twist. What makes the story work so well is that even when you think everything will go according to plan, it still manages to squeeze out conflict and have you wondering how everything will shake out.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Netflix Original Documentaries
Directors Nicole Newnham and James LeBrecht wanted to create an experience as though the viewer was being transported to Camp Jened while watching Crip Camp. They expected people to feel uncomfortable at first but slowly realize how joyous of a camp it is. An audience will get to witness a teen disability summer camp up close and personal, providing an enlightening look at the struggle the disabled community has had in the fight for civil rights.
Must Watch Netflix Originals
Themes of family can be found in Alan Yang’s other Netflix work, Master of None. Tigertail is his feature-length debut as a director, and he’s carried those themes with him into this new film about an intergenerational family’s experiences with trying to attain the American Dream. It’s a quiet yet fleshed-out look at what it means to be an immigrant with all of the characters getting a chance to shine.
Best Movies on Netflix From 2018
Referring to a movie as “slow” may seem like a bad thing (and in some cases it is). But Burning shows precisely how to do a slow burn (no pun intended) well. The characters are engaging, and it subverts your expectations at nearly every turn. It creeps up on you, and you remain at the edge of your seat until your patience is ultimately rewarded.
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 arguably 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.
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.
Hilarious Netflix Movies
The Naked Gun (1988)
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.
Older Movies on Netflix
Malcolm X (1992)
Malcolm X provides an excellent template for screenwriters on how to write a biography. It’s epic enough in scope to properly mythologize the man but also personal enough to where he feels human. Spike Lee and Denzel Washington is a collaboration made in movie heaven, and Malcolm X remains top tier on their respective filmographies.
Popular Movies Right Now on Netflix
Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
You never know what others might think of your film. While Guillermo del Toro described Pan’s Labyrinth as a “profane” film, his peer Alejandro González Iñárritu said it’s a truly “Catholic” film. When you make something as beautiful as Pan’s Labyrinth, it only makes sense people will bring different ideologies into it. It remains del Toro’s best movie and one that will fill you with delight and horror, sometimes simultaneously.
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.
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.
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.
What Movies Are on Netflix at the Moment?
Making an original zombie movie these days seems like a herculean task. Practically every angle has been taken, but Cargo doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel. The zombies themselves we may have seen before, but the film instead takes a more character-driven approach, focusing on a father trying to care for his infant. Cargo proves you don’t need to do anything crazy to make a great film. You just need a solid premise and a terrific leading performance.
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 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.
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.
List of Top Rated Netflix Movies
Road to Perdition (2002)
Before Sam Mendes directed a pair of James Bond films and the Oscar-winning 1917, he directed Road to Perdition, an exciting film that looks at how children process family. It’s precisely this idea that attracted Mendes to the project in addition to the fact there were no moral absolutes. Practically everyone in the film is compromised in some way, and the audience is left to deal with it all in the murky grays.
Netflix Movies Based on a True Story
The Runaways (2010)
Director Floria Sigismondi wanted to do something different than your average biopic when it came to adapting the story of the 1970s band The Runaways. She focused more on making it a coming-of-age story where you had these young girls growing up in a rock ‘n’ roll environment and doing things teenagers, especially teenage girls, shouldn’t have been doing at the time. It’s a unique template and one that prevents The Runaways from feeling like just another biopic.
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.
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.
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.
Action Netflix Movie List
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 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
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.
The 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Old-School Movies on Netflix
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
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.
20 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.