While Netflix is constantly pushing on new original movies and shows all the time, let's not forget that having one of the biggest catalogs of movies is what really put the streaming service on the map in the first place. Even though Netflix is beset on all sides by competition both old (Hulu and Amazon Prime) and new (Disney+ and HBO Max), it's still one of the best places to find great films to watch mainly because it isn't beholden to stream only one production house's library of movies.
Given that you'll find a great selection of movies like Saving Private Ryan, Django Unchained, and Pan's Labyrinth to just name a few. And that's on top of the sheer volume of Netflix Original Movies, most of which arrive on the site with no advance warning or fanfare. It stands to reason there's going to be some truly excellent content among the thousands of titles being offered up. But sometimes all the choices can be overwhelming, so let us help you with some suggestions! Cowboys, gangsters, maids, and farmers - these are some of the best movies on Netflix.
The newest additions to this list will be added at the top and marked with an asterisk. And when you're done here, have a look at the best movies of the last decade. Or find out what's new to Netflix in August.
Best Movies on Netflix by Genre:
- Best action movies on Netflix
- Best comedy movies on Netflix
- Best horror movies on Netflix
- Best drama movies on Netflix
- Best horror TV shows on Netflix
- Best anime series on Netflix
- Best superhero movies and TV shows on Netflix
- Best Sci-Fi movies on Netflix
Please note: This list pertains to U.S. Netflix subscribers. Some titles may not currently be available on international platforms. This article is frequently amended to remove films no longer on Netflix and to include more original films that are now available on the service.
Django Unchained is a modern day tribute to spaghetti western with seriously brutal action and wicked humor. The movie follows Django as he goes from being a slave to bounty hunter with his business partner Dr. Schultz. The story takes a turn when the pair try to save Django's wife from the inhumane plantation owner, Calvin Candy and things don't exactly go to plan and bloody shootouts ensue.
Through his Adult Swim talk show, Eric Andre has mastered the art of a good prank. Alongside Lil Rel Howery and Tiffany Haddish, Andre conjures all the elements of a good goof — outrageous premise, unsuspecting marks, and a fearless commitment to the bit — throughout Bad Trip, and the result is a consistently hilarious serving of real-life gags set within a goofy buddy-comedy.
I Care a Lot
I Care A Lot is a story of (mostly) awful people, chief among them Rosamund Pike's cold-hearted Marla Grayson. Marla is a con artist who preys on vulnerable elders, locking them in nursing homes while robbing them of their wealth. It's a bleak premise, yet I Care A Lot avoids getting bogged down in its own ugliness, thanks to Pike's humanization of a seemingly irredeemable hero and the sometimes thrilling, often humorous battle of wits between Marla and Roman, the Russian mob boss played by Peter Dinklage.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, from the Coen Bros, was, until recently, Netflix's biggest "grab a big name director(s) for our small screen empire" success story. Scruggs -- starring Tim Blake Nelson, Liam Neeson, James Franco, and more -- is a funny, sentimental, exciting, and blistering Western spotlighting the theme of ironic, untimely death.
Despite being taken to task for more than a month over what he said about the MCU, director Martin Scorsese has triumphed with The Irishman, a late-career magnum opus. An all-star lineup of Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Al Pacino fill this revisionist take on the gangster genre, creating an introspective, somber film about tragedy and mortality.
Alfonso Cuarón's personal and visually stunning Roma is a must-watch. It stands as a gorgeous quasi-autobiographical tale of his youth in Mexico, told through the eyes of a housekeeper (Yalitza Aparicio). Cuarón, always a master craftsman, managed to get Netflix its first ever Oscar nomination for Best Picture.
There's a larger, separate discussion to be had about how mid-budget movies are all but gone from the multiplex. Adult dramas meandered over to TV, creating the much-lauded "Golden Era," while rom-coms seem to have bustled over to streaming. And most of them are pretty bad. Except for Always Be My Maybe, written by, and starring, Ali Wong and Randall Park. Which is freakin' delightful as hell. Clever, emotional, and timely, this film features not only some badass songs by Park and producer Dan the Automator, but Keanu Reeves playing himself in a classic couple of scenes.
Dolemite Is My Name
Eddie Murphy stars in this spectacular dramatizing of comedian Rudy Ray Moore's stranger-than-fiction story. Hailed as a long-awaited comeback for Murphy, who hadn't been in critics' good graces since 2006's Dreamgirls, Dolemite Is My Name is an irresistible, brash chronicle of performance art pushed to the pinnacle of greatness. It also stars Titus Burgess, Mike Epps, Craig Robinson, Keegan-Michael Key, and Wesley Snipes.
Before Roma became Netflix's darling at the Academy Awards, 2017's Mudbound, based on Hillary Jordan's novel, was the site's first original drama to dip its toe into the Oscar nomination pool. Dee Rees’s lyrical American tragedy tells the story of two farming families - the McAllans and the Jacksons - whose lives are intertwined. Mary J. Blige received nominations for Best Supporting Actress and Best Song. It was also nominated for Best Screenplay and Best Cinematography.
Upcoming Movies on Netflix
August is a busy month for Netflix, as the company is set to bring back a host of classics and release new movies as well.
First up Netflix is bringing back several beloved classics including the Catch Me If You Can, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Inception, The Machinist, and Pineapple Express just to name a few on August 1st.
August is also a big month of original documentaries. First up there's Pray Away, which dives into the world of the Christianity-cloaked anti-homosexsual conversion therapy movement. Then Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed, the behind the scenes story of the beloved landscape artist, releases on August 25th.
As for Netflix original films, famed Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda's animated musical adventure, Vivo, releases on August 6th. Beckett also looks like an inspired consipracy thriller starting Tenet's John David Washington that releases on August 13th.
Last up, on April 23 we'll be able to catch the release of The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf, a new animated movie that's an extension of the Netflix’s The Witcher franchise. That said you'll want to keep your expectations as in our review we found the film spent too much time building up the lore for the main series rather than tell its own tale.
A bit further out, Netflix subscribers can look forward to Kate arriving on September 10th. It looks to be the latest action film starting a badass female protagionist, this time staring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and it comes from the minds behind the The Huntsman movies and Atomic Blonde.
And there are dozens of additional 2021 Netflix movies on the horizon, including the Leonardo DiCaprio-led sci-fi film Don’t Look Up and Red Notice, an action movie starring Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot, and Ryan Reynolds.
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