With thousands of films at your fingertips, browsing the Netflix catalog can feel like a full-time job. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, take a look at our picks for the 50 best movies currently streaming on the service.
1. The Nice Guys (2016)
Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe co-star in this buddy comedy from Shane Black, who helped pioneer the genre with 1987’s Lethal Weapon. PI Gosling and enforcer Crowe team up to find a missing girl in the seedy underbelly of 1970s Los Angeles.
2. The Woman King (2022)
Viola Davis stars in this tale inspired by true events of a warrior who leads an all-women’s army in 1820s West Africa.
3. All Quiet on the Western Front (2022)
This sobering look at life in the German trenches during World War I is based on the 1929 novel by Erich Maria Remarque. The 1930 film adaptation won two Academy Awards for Best Director (Lewis Milestone) and Outstanding Production, the precursor to Best Picture.
4. Skyfall (2012)
Someone is sabotaging MI6. Can 007 find them before it’s too late? The plot may be worn, but Daniel Craig’s third outing as James Bond is widely considered his best.
5. Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio (2022)
With Mark Gustafson, Guillermo del Toro co-directed one of three Pinocchio adaptations that were released in 2022—and the one widely considered the best since Disney’s animated 1940 feature.
6. 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. Director and writer J Blakeson said Quentin Tarantino’s adaptation of Jackie Brown (1997) and its heroine Pam Grier were one major inspiration for the movie.
7. Moxie (2021)
Amy Poehler co-stars in this dramedy about a teen (Hadley Robinson) who expresses herself—and voices her anger at gender imbalances—in an anonymous zine she circulates around her school.
8. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)
Aaron Sorkin wrote and directed this look back at the true story of the Chicago Seven—anti-Vietnam protestors, including Abbie Hoffman, who were arrested at the 1968 Democratic National Convention and charged with conspiracy and inciting riots. While there is some dramatic license taken, Hoffman and Jerry Rubin really did wear judicial robes into the courtroom one day.
9. La La Land (2016)
Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone star as two aspiring entertainers who find Los Angeles alternately fulfilling and heartbreaking.
10. Inception (2010)
Christopher Nolan helms this layered thriller about a team who steal and implant ideas from a target’s subconscious. Nolan has said he originally conceived of the premise as a horror film.
11. 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.
12. Marriage Story (2019)
Director Noah Baumbach 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. Baumbach has said that his own divorce (from Jennifer Jason Leigh) did not directly inspire the movie, though it’s also not completely divorced from it, either. “This movie is not autobiographical,” he said. “It’s personal, and there’s a true distinction in that.”
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. 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 are probably the closest we’ll get to the serialized Coen television series that this feature was once rumored to be.
16. 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.
17. Paddington (2014)
The loveable, marmalade-gorging bear gets an affectionate live-action/CGI makeover from writer and director Paul King. After leaving his home, Paddington (Ben Whishaw) finds himself in London and under the care of the Brown family, who hope to prevent him from being taxidermied by a villainous Nicole Kidman. Actor Colin Firth was the original voice for the bear but dropped out of the production.
18. Small Crimes (2017)
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones) stars in this lean thriller about an ex-cop recently released from prison who finds that his past isn’t quite done with him.
19. Jerry Maguire (1996)
Tom Cruise is a sports super-agent dealing with a demanding client (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and a love interest (Renée Zellweger) who he had at hello in Cameron Crowe’s romantic comedy hit. Crowe originally wrote the part for Tom Hanks, but writing it took so long that Hanks eventually aged out of the role.
20. World War Z (2013)
Brad Pitt dives into the zombie genre in this hit based on the Max Brooks book of the same name. As a former United Nations worker, Pitt races to trace the source of a virulent disease turning people feral. Pitt and producers originally imagined it as a trilogy, though that has yet to manifest.
21. 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.
22. Inside Man (2006)
Clive Owen leads an unconventional bank heist in this thriller from Spike Lee. Denzel Washington and Jodie Foster co-star.
23. RRR (2022)
In pre-independent India, a police officer (Ram Charan) and a freedom fighter (Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao Jr.) form an unlikely friendship. Rao is seeking a young girl kidnapped from the Gond tribe by the malicious Governor Scott Buxton and his wife; Charan has sworn to the governor he’ll locate his pursuer, unaware it’s his new bromance partner. One of the highest-grossing movies in India, RRR throws the kitchen sink at viewers, from man vs. tiger face-offs to set pieces worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster.
24. The Power of the Dog (2021)
Benedict Cumberbatch headlines this slow-burning Western about a rancher who disapproves of his brother’s new wife—a distaste that threatens to undermine everything he and his sibling have worked for. Jane Campion, who co-wrote and directed the movie, made Oscar history by becoming the first woman to ever be twice-nominated for a Best Director Academy Award; in March 2022, she became the third woman ever to take home the award (following The Hurt Locker's Kathryn Bigelow and Nomadland's Chloe Zhao).
25. The Harder They Fall (2021)
26. Okja (2017)
Bong Joon-ho (Parasite) directs this fable poking at consumer culture: a beast on the run from an evil corporation attempts to hide with the help of his human friend Mija (Ahn Seo-hyun). Jake Gyllenhaal and Tilda Swinton co-star.
27. Worth (2021)
Michael Keaton stars in this intense drama about an attorney responsible for the legal and emotional burden of placing a monetary value on the lives lost during the September 11 attacks.
28. The Wonder (2022)
Florence Pugh stars in this atmospheric drama about the true story of a nurse in 1860s Ireland who investigates a woman claiming to be thriving despite a prolonged fast.
29. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Quentin Tarantino made a splash with his directorial debut about a band of thieves who discover there’s a police informant in their midst. Co-star Harvey Keitel liked the script so much he also came aboard as a producer, which helped attract other actors to the project.
30. A League of Their Own (1992)
Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, and Madonna headline this comedy based on the real Rockford Peaches, an all-women’s baseball team circa the 1940s. The actresses spent nearly eight months practicing their skills before filming began.
31. The Mitchells vs. the Machines (2021)
The minds behind 2019’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse have another winningly irreverent animated film on tap. The slightly dysfunctional Mitchell family has to contend with technology gone awry. To save the human race, they’ll have to interrupt their vacation. The movie was such a critical hit that Netflix decided to offer it as a limited theatrical release six months after it began streaming.
32. Passing (2021)
Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga star in this acclaimed feature about two Black women in 1920s New York City who explore their racial identities when they discover they can “pass” as white.
33. Road House (1989)
Patrick Swayze keeps the peace—or tries to—in this cult classic about a philosophical bouncer who agrees to clean up one of the worst dives in Missouri. Co-star Sam Elliott once said he gets recognized for this film more than any other.
34. The House (2022)
A single home is the site of three stories in this strange yet compelling stop-motion animated feature.
35. Troll (2022)
A formidable monster of Norwegian lore terrorizes a small town, leaving a paleontologist and her estranged father to try and find a way to vanquish it.
36. Prisoners (2013)
Hugh Jackman plays the father of two kidnapped girls who suspects a man (Paul Dano) is behind their disappearance and takes matters into his own hands. Director Denis Villenueve went on to make 2021’s Dune.
37. Psycho (1960)
Alfred Hitchcock adapted Robert Bloch’s novel about introverted Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), who runs a motel with questionable check-out policies. Though it was released prior to the MPAA’s ratings system, it got a retroactive R in 1984.
38. Carol (2015)
Cate Blanchett stars in this character study of a woman who explores her sexuality in a highly conservative 1950s America.
39. The Highwaymen (2019)
Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson team up for this fact-based action drama about the Texas Rangers assigned to capture notorious outlaws Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker.
40. Ip Man (2008)
Donnie Yen stars as the famed martial artist who taught Bruce Lee the ways of the fist in this Hong Kong hit that spawned several sequels.
41. The Informer (2019)
Joel Kinnaman is an FBI agent who finds his undercover work doesn’t end in prison. Rosamund Pike and Clive Owen co-star.
42. The Fundamentals of Caring (2016)
Paul Rudd and Craig Roberts star in this amiable road trip comedy about a man who takes a job as a caregiver for a teen with muscular dystrophy.
43. Frances Ha (2012)
Greta Gerwig is an aspiring dancer with troubles of the indie-movie variety.
44. Nocturnal Animals (2016)
Fashion designer Tom Ford directed this thriller about a woman (Amy Adams) who believes her ex-husband’s book holds the secret to a double life better left uncovered. Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Shannon co-star.
45. The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)
Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman star in this period drama about the Boleyn sisters, who vie for the affections of King Henry VIII.
46. Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
47. 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.
48. Synchronic (2020)
A new designer drug hitting the streets changes the lives of two EMT workers (Jamie Dornan and Anthony Mackie) who have the misfortune of running across it in this surprising thriller.
49. Rocky (1976)
Sylvester Stallone launched his career with this tender story of a middling boxer who gets his million-to-one shot against the dominant champion (Carl Weathers). The two rehearsed their climactic fight for a month before shooting it.
50. 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. Though it opened to mixed reviews, it has since become a perennial entry in lists of the best comedies ever made.
A version of this story ran in 2019; it has been updated for 2023.