Best New Movies on Netflix, Ranked for Filmmakers - Featured

Every month, dozens of movies arrive on Netflix, but it can be a hassle keeping track of all the great content that comes and goes. Don’t fret though, we’re going to break down the best new movies on Netflix each month to help you decide on what to watch. These are the best of what’s coming to Netflix in June, 2020.

De Niro - Dark Thriller

1. Cape Fear (1991)

Cape Fear  •  Video Essay

Robert De Niro gives one of the most chilling performances of his career in the role of psychopath Max Cady in Cape Fear -- a story that follows the conflict between a convicted rapist and the man who helped put him in jail.

Cape Fear was first made in 1962 with Robert Mitchum and Gregory Peck in the leading roles. Martin Scorsese’s 1991 remake swapped out the pair for Robert De Niro and Nick Nolte.

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Conclusion

It may not be #1, but Cape Fear is certainly on the list of the best Robert De Niro movies.

LA Heist Movie

2. Den of Thieves (2018)

Den of Thieves  •  Behind the Scenes

Den of Thieves is a movie that has its head set in the clouds of the heist movies of yore. That’s not a bad thing -- it’s always good to shoot for the stars, but the film relies far too much on tropes to have much original to say.

The cast features Gerard Butler, Pablo Schreiber, and O’Shea Jackson Jr. Although Den of Thieves wasn’t a huge-hit with critics, reports say that a sequel is already in development.

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Conclusion

As the deconstructionist saying goes, “there’s no honor among thieves,” a sentiment proven by Christian Gudegast’s Den of Thieves.

E.T. Phone Home

3. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

Making of E.T.  •  the Extra Terrestrial

Steven Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial gave new meaning to the term ‘blockbuster.’ Everything about the film was big -- big cast, big scope, big heart. E.T. is widely regarded as one of the best Steven Spielberg movies.

Few films have had as lasting of an effect on popular culture as E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial has. With that said, it seems that E.T. is more a film of its time than many suppose it to be. There’s no doubt about it, E.T. is a nostalgia-film for a generation, but it’s not quite as enduring as Spielberg’s other blockbusters, like Jaws and Jurassic Park.

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Conclusion

Although E.T. doesn’t hold up quite like many of its contemporaries do, it’s still got a lot of heart, and a good message for audiences of all ages.

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4. Soul Surfer (2011)

Soul Surfer  •  Behind the Scenes

Soul Surfer follows the incredible true story of Bethany Hamilton, a professional surfer who miraculously survived a shark attack. But although Hamilton survived, she lost her left arm.

It’s a bit disappointing that Soul Surfer is so reliant on Hollywood cliches, because Hamilton’s story is anything but typical. In the end, the film is more concerned with manufacturing an inspirational message than it is with recreating the story.

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Conclusion

Many critics have knocked Soul Surfer, but audiences have been far more lenient on the film, and have mostly expressed admiration.

A Spike Lee Heist Joint

5. Inside Man (2006)

Inside Man  •  Trailer

June is shaping up to be Spike Lee month on Netflix. Not only is his acclaimed 2006 heist-drama Inside Man joining the service, but his new movie Da 5 Bloods (June 12) is launching on the platform as well.

Inside Man is a great film that features a near ‘hall of fame’ cast, including: Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster, Christopher Plummer, Willem Dafoe, and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

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Conclusion

The story of Inside Man may be layered and well-told but Spike Lee’s signature touch is rarely found.

Best New Netflix Movies of All Time

6. The Patriot (2000)

The Patriot  •  Trailer

Is The Patriot a good movie? Not particularly. Is The Patriot a responsible movie? Not at all. Is The Patriot fun to watch? Oftentimes, yes.

Mel Gibson and Heath Ledger star in The Patriot as a father-son duo who become directly involved in the American Revolutionary War. It sounds pretty interesting, and at times it is. But it’s important to remember, that many, myself included, were introduced to The Patriot in school. Now, there’s a few problems with that. Not only is The Patriot averse to historical accuracy, it purposefully neglects key aspects of history to build a sense of patrioti-- nay, nationalism.

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Conclusion

Not every film has to have a social agenda, but if a film is going to make a point of addressing an important historical time-period, it should at least attempt to do so accurately.

Space Bug Warfare

7. Starship Troopers (1997)

Starship Troopers  •  Trailer

It may not be sci-fi extraordinaire Paul Verhoeven’s best film, but Starship Troopers is still plenty of popcorn-fun. At the time of its release, the CGI in Starship Troopers was revolutionary.

The CGI was so well regarded by critics that the film was nominated for Best Visual Effects at the 1998 Academy Awards. Over the years, Starship Troopers has become a cult-hit with many sci-fi fans.

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Conclusion

“I’m doing my part” -- do yours by checking out Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers on Netflix.

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8. Uncut Gems (2019)

How Tarantino, Kauffman, and the Safdie Brother Twist Real Life  •  Subscribe on YouTube

Fresh off their surprise 2017 hit Good Time, the Safdie Brothers delivered the great Uncut Gems. According to the Safdie Brothers, the script for Uncut Gems was in development for a long time, and even went through arduous re-writes to work around whichever basketball player was available for the part.

When Hall of Fame inductee Kevin Garnett joined the production a few years ago, Uncut Gems really found its footing. Adam Sandler stars in the film alongside Garnett and gives his best performance since 2002’s Punch Drunk Love.

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Conclusion

Fans of Adam Sandler’s dramatic acting will be happy to see him absolutely kill the juicy role of Howard Ratner in Uncut Gems.

Cracking the Ciphers

9. Zodiac (2011)

Cinematography Analysis  •  Zodiac

Zodiac is one of the greatest thrillers of the 21st century. It’s everything a thriller should be -- tense, taut, and totally unsettling. The video above does a great job of exploring framing decisions in its best scene. If you haven’t seen Zodiac before, check it out, then come back to watch the video later.

With a cast that features Jake Gyllenhal, Robert Downey Jr., and Mark Ruffalo, the acting in Zodiac is masterclass from start to finish.

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Conclusion

Zodiac is no doubt one of the best David Fincher movies.

Top New Netflix Movies

10. Sinister (1994)

Sinister  •  Behind the Scenes

Sinister was a huge hit in theaters, bringing in a return of its budget at the box office twenty-nine times. Film studios are always looking for the next horror movie to make a big profit, so for anyone looking to break into the genre, there’s lots to learn from Sinister.

Ethan Hawke stars in the film as a down on his luck writer that moves his family to a cursed home.

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Conclusion

Although it’s far too reliant on genre cliches, Sinister is a mostly enjoyable romp for hardcore horror fans.

Forgotten Sandler Gem

11. You Don’t Mess With the Zohan

You Don’t Mess With the Zohan  •  Trailer

Adam Sandler was in the midst of a real bad-streak when Don’t Mess With the Zohan was released. But his performance as the Israeli super-spy Zohan really livened things up for him.

I’d love to have been a fly on the wall during the pitch meeting for Don’t Mess With the Zohan. Here’s the film’s official tag: ‘An Israeli Special Forces Soldier fakes his death so he can re-emerge in New York City as a hair stylist.’

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Conclusion

Lots can be said about Don’t Mess With the Zohan, just not that it’s unoriginal. It may get lost in the shuffle, but Zohan is one of many good new movies to watch on Netflix.

Best New Netflix Movies Ever

12. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994)

Jim Carrey on  •  Inspiration for Ace Ventura

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective is one of the strangest films of Jim Carrey’s very strange career. In the film, Carrey plays the titular pet detective Ace Ventura, who is tasked with finding the thief of the Miami Dolphins mascot Snowflake.

It’s no secret that Ace Ventura: Pet Detective has its detractors, but as a lesson in film history, it’s certainly a worthwhile watch.

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Conclusion

For those looking for a quintessential Jim Carrey movie, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective may just be the movie for you.

Gang Wars and Singing

13. West Side Story (1961)

West Side Story  •  Clip

Based on the Broadway play of the same name, West Side Story is one of the most famous musicals of all-time. Critics have long praised the 1961 film for its wardrobing, set design, and performances.

For all its accolades though, it’s hard to say West Side Story is an enduring film. Fans of musicals will surely find lots to love, but for everybody else, there’s not much to go on.

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Conclusion

Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story remake is scheduled for a December release.

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14. The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)

Matthew McConaughey on  •  The Lincoln Lawyer

It’s easy to forget that not long ago, Matthew McConaughey was more likened to rom-coms than dramas. Although he acted in some great films as a young actor, such as Dazed and Confused and Amistad, McConaughey shifted to a lengthy period of starring in b-rate rom-coms like How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.

The Lincoln Lawyer is the film that started the renaissance of McConaughey’s acting career, which ultimately led him to an Oscar Win for his performance in Dallas Buyers Club.

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Conclusion

Not only did The Lincoln Lawyer re-launch McConaughey’s dramatic acting career, it also led to a series of car commercials directed by Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive).

The Gunpowder Plot

15. V for Vendetta (2006)

V for Vendetta  •  What’s the Difference?

The anarchic-thriller V for Vendetta is a divisive film between cinema-fans. Critics suggest that the film is too full of itself and lacks nuance. Supporters say that the film exposes government corruption and incites democracy.

I’ll be honest, I happen to fall into the former camp. V for Vendetta is never quite as cool or smart as it thinks it is -- resulting in a 145 minute parable that could have been explained in three words: everything is corrupt.

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Conclusion

V for Vendetta is certainly an icon of its genre, but as a film, it never quite comes together.

Best New Netflix Movies of All Time

16. Song of the Sea (2014)

Song of the Sea  •  Trailer

Song of the Sea follows the story of siblings at odds over the disappearance over their mother. There aren’t many recent animated films that have been as critically lauded as Song of the Sea.

We considered placing Song of the Sea on our list of the best animated movies of all time, but it just narrowly missed the cut. However, it’s a great addition to Netflix’s catalog of movies.

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Conclusion

Tomm Moore, the co-founder of Cartoon Saloon and director of The Secret of Kells, kept the momentum going with the visually brilliant Song of the Sea.

Period Piece Drama

17. The Queen (2006)

The Queen  •  Trailer

Helen Mirren steals the show as Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen. Few biopics in recent memory have been celebrated as much as The Queen for its historical detail and performances. Queen Elizabeth II admired Mirren’s performance so much that she invited her to Buckingham Palace.

For her work in the film, Mirren was given the Academy Award for Best Actress. Composer Alexandre Desplat delivered an excellent score for The Queen, which is still recognized for its quality today.

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Conclusion

The Queen is a must-watch for those interested in the lives of the British royal family.

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18. Public Enemies (2009)

Public Enemies  •  Trailer

With direction from Michael Mann (Heat, The Insider), acting from Johnny Depp, Marion Cotillard, and Christian Bale, and a story about prohibition-era gangsters, you may be thinking, what could go wrong?

Well Public Enemies certainly had all the making of a hit, but it never quite connected all the pieces together. Instead, the film is a mostly disjointed effort that could’ve been so much better.

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Conclusion

Due to a plodding story, hokey writing, and bizarre accents, Public Enemies never quite gets off the ground.

Period Piece Drama

19. The Help (2011)

The Help  •  Making of Featurette

The Help was a huge box-office success, grossing more than $215,000,000 on a $25,000,00 budget. It was also a hit with the Academy, receiving four nominations at the 2012 Oscars, including a win for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Octavia Spencer).

Not everybody was so fond of The Help though. Some critics suggested the story was too sentimental, and either ignored or altered historical facts.

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Conclusion

It may not be the picture that fans of the original book hoped it would be, but The Help tells an important story with excellent period detail and great performances.

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20. United 93 (2006)

Director Paul Greengrass on  •  United 93

Every now and then, a film comes along that demonstrates the immense power of the medium. United 93 is one such film. Writer/Director Paul Greengrass took on the mammoth task of directing United 93, which follows the events of the titled hijacked flight en route to San Francisco from New Jersey on September 11, 2001.

Greengrass does a tremendous job of bringing us inside that fateful day -- which often feels overwhelming to watch. But United 93 is about more than just the tragedy of the passengers onboard, it’s about the heroism of the everyday man and woman in the face of absolute defeat.

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Conclusion

Many argued that United 93 was released too close to the film’s inspired events, but without shining a light on the heroes who saved countless lives with their bravery, their actions may have been more forgotten.

Hannibal the Cannibal Presents

21. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

The Silence of the Lambs  •  Clip

The Silence of the Lambs cleaned up at the Oscars in 1992, winning five awards for: Best Picture, Best Director (Jonathan Demme), Best Actor (Anthony Hopkins), Best Actress (Jodie Foster), and Best Adapted Screenplay (Ted Hally).

Much has been said about Hopkins winning the award for Best Actor because he only appeared in 16 minutes of the film’s 138 minute run-time. But it’s hard to argue that his performance wasn’t the best of the year -- critics still cite Hopkins’ Hannibal Lecter as one of the best movie villains of all time.

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Conclusion

The Silence of the Lambs is still the best feature film about Hannibal Lecter and one of the best new movies on Netflix.

Best New Netflix Movies of All Time

22. Trumbo (2015)

Dalton Trumbo  •  Featurette

Fans of cinema history are sure to find a lot to love in Trumbo; a story of the Blacklist, HUAC, and one of the greatest screenwriters of the Hollywood golden age.

Despite being blacklisted from Hollywood for his supposed Communist sympathies, Dalton Trumbo worked for years under pseudonyms. That is until Kirk Douglass put his name on the line to re-integrate Trumbo back into the industry.

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Conclusion

Bryan Cranston gives a tour de force performance as the film’s eponymous Dalton Trumbo.

Make Your Own Movie

23. The Disaster Artist (2017)

Tommy Wiseau Breaks Down a Scene in  •  The Disaster Artist

Tommy Wiseau’s The Room is one of the most infamous movies ever made. Despite being universally panned by critics, it developed a cult-following and became a midnight cinema hit -- largely in part to the enigmatic qualities of its writer/director/star/producer/financier Tommy Wiseau.

The Disaster Artist brings us behind the scenes of the making-of The Room. James Franco portrays Wiseau and does an incredible job of nailing his one-in-a-million accent. There’s no doubt about it, The Disaster Artist is one of the best new movies out on Netflix.

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Conclusion

“Haha, what a story Mark” -- you might be surprised just how entertaining and emotional The Disaster Artist is.

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24. District 9 (2009)

District 9  •  Behind the Scenes

District 9 broke out in a big way with critics and audiences. Not only did the film receive four Academy Award nominations, it grossed more than seven times its budget at the global box-office.

Although District 9 was a massive success for writer/director Neil Blomkamp, he hasn’t been able to match the film’s quality with either of its spiritual successors, Elysium or Chappie.

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Conclusion

District 9 was a massive moment for the international filmmaking community -- inspiring countless other films that look at poverty through a futuristic lens.

Fey and Poehler Comedy

25. Baby Mama (2008)

Baby Mama  •  Trailer

SNL alums Tina Fey and Amy Poehler team-up on this 2008 comedy about a businesswoman who wants a child and the irresponsible surrogate mother who’s carrying it.

Baby Mama isn’t consistently funny but there are more than a couple of sharply written scenes. If you’re looking for a classic 2000’s comedy, then Baby Mama is worth checking out.

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Conclusion

Baby Mama makes great use of Poehler and Fey’s natural chemistry.

Best New Netflix Movies of All Time

26. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button  •  VFX Breakdown

Loosely based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story of the same name, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a story of a man who ages in reverse. It’s a novel idea for a story that was excellently written by Fitzgerald.

 Renowned perfectionist David Fincher decided to recreate the story as a film -- which proved to be a difficult task. Although VFX were far better in 2008 than they were a decade before, they still had a long way to go to reach a state of realism. But thanks to a strong performance from Brad Pitt and the help of some masterclass artists, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button resulted in a mostly believable film, if not sensational as well.

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Conclusion

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button may be better suited to the page than the screen, but that didn’t stop it from grossing over $330 million.

A Historic Interview

27. Frost/Nixon (2008)

Frost/Nixon  •  Trailer

Frost/Nixon expertly recreated the famed interview between David Frost and Richard Nixon. The cast is stacked with talent, including the likes of Michael Sheen, Kevin Bacon, Rebecca Hall, Sam Rockwell, and Frank Langella.

Langella is captivating as Nixon, even if he looks and sounds nothing like him. Ron Howard directs the picture with an incredible attention to historical detail.

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Conclusion

Ron Howard directs Frost/Nixon with near-maestro level control, resulting in the most accurate recreation of the source material to date.

Best New Netflix Movies Ever

28. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

Why Snowpiercer is a Sequel to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Only with a movie bizarre as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory could theorists posture such insane ideas and ridiculous associations. But that kind of rhetoric, the kind of breaking down every fame rhetoric that we’ve come to expect from fans of Mel Stuart, adds to the fun and mystique of one of cinema’s most unexpected classics.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is based on Roald Dahl’s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Dahl also co-wrote the film’s screenplay alongside David Seltzer. 

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Conclusion

Both Mel Stuart’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and the Tim Burton remake are joining Netflix in May, 2020.

Coming of Age

29. Lady Bird (2018)

What’s So Good About Lady Bird?

Everybody knew Greta Gerwig was a great talent from her work in film and television, but with Lady Bird, she proved that she was one of the most exciting young filmmakers in the world.

Lady Bird is a near-perfect film that features great performances from Timothee Chalamet, Lucas Hedges, and of course, Saorsie Ronan.

[Top New Movies on Netflix]

Conclusion

Buy into the hype, Lady Bird is just as good as everybody says it is.

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30. Back to the Future (1985)

Back to the Future  •  Theatrical Trailer

The influence of the Back to the Future franchise on filmmaking can’t be quantified. Just think about how iconic elements of the production design are from props (hoverboard, custom DeLorean) to wardrobe (Marty McFly sneakers, Doc Brown goggles).

It’s been 35 years since the release of Back to the Future, but we’re still seeing it’s lasting impact on popular culture today. Whether you’ve never seen it or seen it a dozen times, Back to the Future is simply a popcorn pleaser for audiences of all ages.

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Conclusion

To go forward, sometimes you have to go back -- evidence by the surprisingly nuanced story of Back to the Future.

UP NEXT

Best Movies on Netflix

Some great new movies are coming to Netflix in May, 2020, but perhaps you’re still looking for something else to watch. Don’t worry, check out our list of the best movies of all time that are on Netflix! We update this list as movies come and go from the service so make sure to check back each month,

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