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.
Great Netflix Movies
While Jon Favreau is mostly known for blockbuster entertainment these days (directing the likes of Iron Man and The Lion King), he returned to his indie roots for the 2014 passion project Chef. The personal film follows a chef who loses his cool while dealing with a troublesome critic. He has to find his passion for cooking again by getting into the food truck business. In addition to Favreau in the lead role, the film also stars Sofía Vergara, John Leguizamo, and Scarlett Johansson.
Inclusive Short Films on Netflix
Canvas is one of the best short films you can find on Netflix. The nine-minute film follows a grandfather who has suffered a terrible loss, but he manages to discover the passion to paint once again. This emotional, lovely story is sure to pull at your heartstrings.
What Movies Are on Netflix This Month?
The Forty-Year-Old Version (2020)
Radha is a New York-based playwright. She’s desperate for a breakthrough before she reaches the age of 40, so she decides to reinvent herself as a rapper. This comedy that explores aging and success stars Radha Blank and Peter Kim.
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.
Movies to Watch on Netflix for Film Enthusiasts
Super Dark Times (2017)
Two teenage friends share what seems like an unbreakable bond, but an accident threatens to drive a wedge between what they have. This psychological thriller offers more than what it seems on the surface with performances from Owen Campbell, Charlie Tahan, and Elizabeth Cappuccino.
Best Netflix Original Movies
To the Bone (2017)
20-year-old Ellen suffers from anorexia nervosa. She goes through a harrowing journey to overcome her illness in a tale that’s sometimes dark and sometimes humorous. This Netflix original stars Lily Collins and Keanu Reeves.
Best Movies on Netflix Right Now (2020)
Mank is essential viewing for any cinephile. It follows the journey of Herman J. Mankiewicz as he writes Citizen Kane. But that story is intercut with scenes from Herman’s life where we get a glimpse into the societal and political structure of 1930s Hollywood through his eyes. The film features incredible performances from the likes of Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried, and Charles Dance.
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.
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.
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.
Netflix Original Short Films
Netflix seems to be investing more in incredible short films from talented filmmakers on the rise. One of its most recent, If Anything Happens I Love You, details parents struggling with the loss of their daughter, who was killed in a school shooting. It’s a film that hits close to home but instills a message of hope about moving on after tragedy.
Important Movies to Watch on Netflix
I Am Not Your Negro (2017)
I Am Not Your Negro is a visual essay based on James Baldwin’s influential book. The film chronicles various stories of racism concerning figures such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Samuel L. Jackson narrates this memoir.
Popular Movies on Netflix to View
Free State of Jones (2016)
Matthew McConaughey leads this film about a farmer who brings together a group of escaped slaves and Civil War deserters to lead a rebellion against the Confederacy. The film also stars Mahershala Ali, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Keri Russell.
Netflix Original Comedies
A duo of small-time singers finally get their big chance at stardom when they have an opportunity to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest. Hilarious hijinks ensue, but the songs are actually incredibly catchy, standing on their own as great tunes to listen to in your own time. This comedy stars Will Ferrell, Rachel McAdams, and Pierce Brosnan.
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.
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.
Netflix Movies Based on Real Stories
Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993)
After you’ve binge-watched all of The Queen’s Gambit, you can dive further into the world of chess with this biographical film. It follows chess prodigy Bobby Fischer, starting when he’s a child discovering he has a proclivity for playing chess. His father hires a tutor to teach him how to play the game like a champion. The movie stars Max Pomeranc and Joe Mantegna.
Horror Films on Netflix
The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)
In this gory horror film, a father-and-son duo of coroners come across an unidentified corpse. As they study the body further, they discover it holds a horrifying secret. Watch this film with the lights on as you take in performances from Emile Hirsche and Brian Cox.
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.
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.
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.
Must Watch Movies on Netflix Right Now
This touching love story follows a married woman who begins having a forbidden romance with a photographer. They must keep the affair hidden or risk having their lives changed forever. It’s one of the best films to come out in 2015 and features stunning performances from Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara.
Your Complete Netflix Movies List
Blue Jay (2016)
Blue Jay focuses on a story that may be all too familiar to some. It depicts two high school sweethearts who meet back up in their hometown and discover a bond is still there. Sarah Paulson and Mark Duplass deliver fantastic performances in this warm, underrated film.
Netflix Originals You Should Watch
The Incredible Jessica James (2017)
Jessica is a struggling playwright still vying for her big break. On top of that, she’s dealing with a nasty breakup all while striking up an unlikely friendship with a divorced app designer. This quirky rom-com features a star-making performance from Jessica Williams as well as great turns from Chris O’Dowd and Lakeith Stanfield.
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.
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.
Older Movies to Watch on Netflix
Howard’s End (1992)
Taking place in Edwardian England, a husband refuses to accept his wife’s dying wish, believing he’s acting in his family’s best interests. As such, he must accept the consequences of such an action. Featuring first-class performances from Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, and Helena Bonham Carter, this film is a must-watch for fans of classic literature as it’s based on an old E.M. Forster novel.
This documentary chronicles how Russian scientists used doping to make their athletes perform better at the Olympics. It’s a gripping true tale that ultimately won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
Best 2020 Netflix Originals
Dick Johnson Is Dead (2020)
Dick Johnson Is Dead is the most inventive documentary in recent memory. It follows Kirsten Johnson and her father, Dick, as he nears the end of his life. Kirsten stages various “deaths” for her father to experience to help them both face the inevitable. It’s comical and tragic at the same time, making for a unique viewing experience that challenges the ideas of what’s possible in a documentary.
Underrated Films on Netflix
The Hummingbird Project (2018)
This film is perfect for anyone who loves high-concept thrillers. Two cousins discover an advantage that gives them an opportunity to make a ton of money, that is if they don’t end up in prison first. The movie stars Jesse Eisenberg and Salma Hayek.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Horror Films on Netflix for Halloween
Holidays is a horror anthology consisting of various short films, each one centered around a different holiday. From Valentine’s Day to New Year’s, and of course Halloween, Holidays is a great watch for budding horror filmmakers with the likes of Seth Green and Harley Quinn Smith in the cast.
Best Netflix Original Movies
A great deal of social upheaval has taken place over the last year. And if you’re interested in learning more about the root of that unrest, just watch 13th from director Ava DuVernay. The film explores mass incarceration in the United States and how it disproportionately impacts Black Americans. It all can be traced back to the passage of the 13th Amendment, which most people learn in high school abolished slavery but actually just altered the definition. The 13th Amendment still allows for slavery except for punishment of a crime. It’s eye-opening, shocking, and will make you want to protest for a better tomorrow.
Action-Packed Netflix Originals
The Old Guard (2020)
A team of immortal warriors get sent on a quest for revenge right around the time they discover another one of their own. This Netflix original shows how the streaming service isn’t afraid to invest in big-budget blockbuster entertainment with the likes of Charlize Theron and KiKi Layne in the cast.
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.