The 45 Best Movies on Netflix Right Now
With thousands of titles available, browsing your Netflix menu can feel like a full-time job. If you're feeling a little overwhelmed, take a look at our picks for the 45 best movies on the streaming service right now.
1. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)
Aaron Sorkin writes and directs this look back at the true story of anti-Vietnam protestors who came to be known as the Chicago Seven, including Abbie Hoffman, who were arrested at the 1968 Democratic National Convention and charged with conspiracy and inciting riots.
2. The Outpost (2020)
In 2009 Afghanistan, a squadron of outnumbered soldiers must fend off an isolated base from Taliban forces. This well-crafted war film based on a true story flew under the radar when it was released in 2020, but critical acclaim has helped it earn an audience. Scott Eastwood co-stars.
3. Uncut Gems (2019)
Adam Sandler is Howard Ratner, a gambling addict who sees opportunity in every game and in every customer who walks into his Diamond District jewelry store. When NBA player Kevin Garnett insists on taking a rare opal out on loan and giving his championship ring as collateral, Howard can't resist the urge to use it as fuel for his vice. Directed by brothers Josh and Benny Safdie, the film has been called among the best of Sandler's career.
4. The Irishman (2019)
Martin Scorsese’s long-in-the-making epic brings together three of the mob genre’s heaviest hitters in Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci. But the story of Frank Sheeran (De Niro), who alleged he befriended and then betrayed union leader Jimmy Hoffa (Pacino), isn’t your typical organized crime movie. It takes its time to examine the toll of a criminal life, from the alienation of Sheeran’s family to the fate that awaits old men no longer capable of resolving their problems with violence. The de-aging effects aren’t always convincing, but Scorsese’s ability to weave a captivating gangster tale remains timeless.
5. Marriage Story (2019)
Director Noah Bambauch drew raves for this deeply emotional drama about a couple (Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson) whose uncoupling takes a heavy emotional and psychological toll on their family.
6. High Flying Bird (2019)
Steven Soderbergh directs this amiable and offbeat comedy-drama about a basketball pro and his agent (André Holland) who decide to upend the status quo during an NBA lockout and start up their own league.
7. Dolemite Is My Name (2019)
Eddie Murphy ended a brief sabbatical from filmmaking following a mixed reception to 2016's Mr. Church with this winning biopic about Rudy Ray Moore, a flailing comedian who finds success when he reinvents himself as Dolemite, a wisecracking pimp. When the character takes off, Moore produces a big-screen feature with a crew of inept collaborators.
8. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)
Fans of the Coen brothers get a trail mix of stories in this anthology set in the Old West. A gunslinger (Tim Blake Nelson) proves to be a little too arrogant when it comes to his skills; an armless and legless man (Harry Melling) who recites Shakespeare for awed onlookers begins to grow suspicious of his caretaker’s motives; a dog causes unexpected grief while following a wagon train. Knitted together, the six stories total are probably the closest we’ll get to a Coen serialized television series that this feature was once rumored to be.
9. Roma (2018)
Alfonso Cuarón’s tribute to his upbringing in 1970s Mexico City tells the story of a housekeeper (Yalitza Aparicio) watching over the children of her employers after their father runs off with his mistress. Cuarón’s film is a living photograph, an intensely personal story that holds no major surprises aside from the sheer craft it took to make it a reality.
10. Good Time (2017)
The Safdie Brothers broke out with this thriller about a small-time criminal (Robert Pattinson) who has precious little time to get his mentally-impaired brother (Benny Safdie) out of prison. Those who know Pattinson only from his stint as a sparkling vampire in the Twilight franchise are likely to be wowed by his ability to totally immerse himself in this street-level drama.
11. Lady Bird (2017)
Greta Gerwig received acclaim—and two Oscar nominations—for her directorial debut about a young woman (Saoirse Ronan) who struggles with family commitments and a desire to head to college across the country.
12. Shot Caller (2017)
Games of Thrones star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau headlines this intriguing drama about a white-collar businessman sent to prison for a DUI who quickly learns that he must either adapt to his brutal new environment or allow it to swallow him whole. Once released, his actions threaten both his freedom and the safety of his family.
13. The Karate Kid (1984)
Before you check out Cobra Kai on Netflix, you can flash back to the original that started it all. As new kid in town Daniel LaRusso, Ralph Macchio crosses paths with high school bad boy Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka). To settle their score, they'll have to face off in a regional karate tournament. A B-movie premise is elevated thanks to the presence of Pat Morita, who earned an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of apartment handyman (and martial arts expert) Mr. Miyagi.
14. Midnight Special (2016)
Michael Shannon enters Spielberg territory in this thriller about a father (Shannon) on the run to protect his supernaturally-gifted son (Jaeden Martell) from both the government and a cult out to exploit his abilities.
15. Loving (2016)
Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga star in this true story about an interracial couple in 1950s Virginia who run into the state's oppressive anti-miscegenation laws. What should have been a simple union between two people who love each other turns into a fight for personal liberty before the Supreme Court.
16. Hush (2016)
A Deaf woman who is isolated in a remote cabin finds herself trapped with a killer lurking at her door. Directed by Mike Flanagan (Gerald's Game), there are few frills here—just a well-crafted and time-tested tale of courage up against unexplained malevolence.
17. Cop Car (2015)
Before taking over the Spider-Man film series, director Jon Watts helmed this low-key thriller about two young boys (James Freedson-Jackson and Hays Wellford) who steal a police cruiser on a lark and discover a kidnap victim in the trunk. The car's owner, Sheriff Kretzer (Kevin Bacon), will stop at nothing to get it back.
18. The Guest (2014)
Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) is a quietly menacing military veteran who ingratiates himself into the lives of the family of a fallen comrade. His true intentions make for a sharp and effective thriller.
19. Chef (2014)
While Jon Favreau may currently be best known for his work behind the scenes in the Marvel and Star Wars cinematic universes, his aptitude for smaller stories—which dates back to 1996's Swingers—is on beautiful display in this winning comedy-drama about a renowned chef (Favreau) who walks away from the fine dining world to open a food truck in Miami.
20. Mystic River (2003)
Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon, Tim Robbins, and an all-star cast turn in powerhouse performances in this drama about three lifelong friends in Boston whose lives are irrevocably changed after a murder.
21. Lee Daniels' The Butler (2013)
Forest Whitaker uses his aptitude for quiet strength in this sprawling story about a White House butler who observes history through the terms of eight presidents. John Cusack, Jane Fonda, and Cuba Gooding Jr. co-star.
22. Fruitvale Station (2013)
The Creed team of Michael B. Jordan and director Ryan Coogler started with this deeply affecting true story about Oscar Grant, a Black teen shot for no reason by police in 2009 in Oakland, California. Watching Grant go through the final hours of his life with no awareness of the tragedy to come is difficult to watch—which is exactly the point.
23. Midnight Run (1988)
Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin co-star in this sharp action-comedy about a bounty hunter (De Niro) who has to get mob informant Grodin to Los Angeles without getting wiped out by the cops and criminals on their tail.
24. The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)
Matthew McConaughey stars in this thriller based on the 2005 Michael Connelly novel about lawyer Mick Haller, who operates from the back of his luxurious Lincoln. Complications arise when he agrees to represent a wealthy and duplicitous young man (Ryan Phillippe) accused of assault.
25. I Care a Lot (2021)
Rosamund Pike and Peter Dinklage co-star in this razor-sharp black comedy about a grifter (Pike) who fleeces the elderly. Complications arise when she picks the relative of a mob boss (Dinklage) as a target.
26. A Single Man (2009)
Fashion designer Tom Ford turned in an impressive directorial debut about a closeted gay man (Colin Firth) in 1962 California who tries to keep himself together after the death of his longtime companion. Firth is incredible as an aching heart who can't bear to share the truth of his life in a world quick to judge him.
27. Defiance (2008)
Daniel Craig took a break from James Bond to headline this gritty drama based on a true story. In 1940s Belarus, a team of four Polish brothers look to provide sanctuary for over 1000 Jewish citizens from German persecution.
28. Laker Cake (2004)
Daniel Craig headlines this twisty crime thriller about a criminal (Craig) trying to extricate himself from London's seedy underworld.
29. Inception (2010)
Christoper Nolan's sci-fi drama about a man (Leonardo DiCaprio) tasked with breaching the consciousness of targets to steal their ideas demands--and rewards--your full attention. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ellen Page co-star.
30. Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
Following the end of the Spanish Civil War, a young girl (Ivana Baquero) escapes the turmoil of her militant stepfather and ill mother by exploring a hidden labyrinth that houses a variety of strange creatures. Director Guillermo del Toro was praised for his specialty: weaving a fairy tale with sharp edges.
31. Boogie Nights (1997)
Mark Wahlberg proved his acting chops in this sprawling '70s-set saga from director Paul Thomas Anderson. As Dirk Diggler, Wahlberg navigates a burgeoning adult film industry full of eclectic characters, sex, and danger.
32. The Squid and the Whale (2005)
Two children (Jesse Eisenberg and Owen Cline) struggle to cope with the separation of their parents (Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney) in this biting family comedy from director Noah Baumbach.
33. Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Clint Eastwood directs and stars in this boxing drama about a pugilist (Hilary Swank) who seeks the guidance of a veteran trainer (Eastwood). When her career takes a dark turn, Eastwood finds himself in a moral quandary.
34. The Impossible (2012)
Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor star in this riveting drama about a family torn apart by a tsunami but determined to reunite.
35. Snowden (2016)
Director Oliver Stone and star Joseph Gordon-Levitt paint an intriguing picture of Edward Snowden, a onetime U.S. intelligence employee who decided to blow the whistle on a overreaching surveillance program.
36. Croupier (1998)
Clive Owen delivers a star-making turn as a downtrodden man who takes up as a croupier at a casino but soon finds himself gambling his life while caught up in a heist.
37. Moxie! (2021)
Amy Pohler co-stars in this comedy-drama about a teen (Hadley Robinson) who expresses herself--and voices her anger at gender imbalances--in an anonymous 'zine she circulates around school.
38. Shutter Island (2010)
Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo are cops dispatched to a mental institution to investigate a missing patient. Director Martin Scorsese layers on the suspense and style.
39. Total Recall (1990)
One of Arnold Schwarzenegger's biggest hits is also one of his most visually arresting. Douglas Quaid (Schwarzenegger) is a working man who frequents a memory-implant service that allows him to experience a trip to Mars. When those artificial memories start feeling too real, Quaid begins to doubt everything from his hum-drum existence to wife Sharon Stone's true intentions.
40. Dances With Wolves (1990)
Kevin Costner made his directorial debut in this star vehicle about a Union Army lieutenant who finds himself enveloped in the culture of the Lakota Indian tribe. The film won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
41. Rain Man (1988)
Tom Cruise continued his string of '80s hits with this road trip movie about a selfish hustler named Charlie Babbitt (Cruise) who is reunited with his estranged brother Raymond (Dustin Hoffman), a savant who sees the world through less cynical eyes. Both Cruise and Hoffman were praised for their work, with Hoffman taking a trophy for Best Actor and the film getting Best Picture.
42. She's Gotta Have It (1986)
Spike Lee’s feature directorial debut also sees him playing one of three men under the thumb of Nola Darling (Tracy Camilla Johns). None of them can stand Nola’s gender-reversing approach to casual relationships, and the three hope to goad her into living a monogamous life. Nola, however, wants to pursue happiness on her own terms, not society’s. Lee’s love letter to Brooklyn is still a standout in his filmography, which quickly grew to include 1989’s Do the Right Thing and 1992’s Malcolm X.
43. Streets of Fire (1984)
Michael Paré stars in this stylish rock 'n roll fable about a drifter who rescues a singer (Diane Lane) from the clutches of a biker gang led by Willem Dafoe.
44. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
The Monty Python team delivers their best-known work, a silly and sharply satirical feature that uses the King Arthur legend as a springboard for sequences that feature brave-but-armless knights and highly aggressive rabbits. Opening to mixed reviews, it has since become a perennial entry in lists of the best comedies ever made.
45. Magnolia (1999)
Paul Thomas Anderson directs this opus about a motivational speaker (Tom Cruise), a quiz show host (Philip Baker Hall), and a cop (John C. Reilly) whose lives intersect in surprising ways.