The 10 Best Movies on Netflix Right Now
With most of their advertising and press coverage focused on their growing library of original films and series, it’s easy to forget that Netflix is still in the business of acquiring current and classic movies from distributors. If you feel a little overwhelmed by their menu options on that front, take a look at our picks for the 10 best movies on Netflix right now.
1. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
Spider-Man may be in the middle of a Disney and Sony power struggle, but that didn't stop this ambitious animated film from winning the Oscar for Best Animated Feature at the 2019 Academy Awards. Using a variety of visual style choices, the film tracks the adventures of Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), who discovers he's not the only Spider-Man in town.
2. Hell or High Water (2016)
Taylor Sheridan's Oscar-nominated Hell or High Water follows two brothers (Chris Pine and Ben Foster) who take to bank robberies in an effort to save their family ranch from foreclosure; Jeff Bridges is the drawling, laconic lawman on their tail.
3. Rocky (1976)
While you can catch the first five Rocky films on Netflix, the original remains a movie that doesn't require any affinity for boxing or Sylvester Stallone to work. It's a love story, with the amiable boxer swept off his feet by pet store employee Adrian (Talia Shire) as he prepares for an unlikely shot at world champion Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers).
4. All the President's Men (1976)
Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman are dogged newspaper journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, teaming up to pursue the story of the decade: The Watergate scandal. Their investigation implicated President Richard Nixon in a cover-up and changed the course of history. The film adaptation of Woodward and Bernstein's book earned raves and four Academy Awards, though it lost the Best Picture race that year to Rocky.
5. Network (1976)
Newscaster Howard Beale (Peter Finch) is mad as hell in this biting satire of the network news industry. Thanks to today's 24-hour news cycle, it's every bit as relevant today as it ever was.
6. The Lobster (2015)
Colin Farrell stars in this black comedy that feels reminiscent of screenwriter Charlie Kaufman's work: A slump-shouldered loner (Farrell) has just 45 days to find a life partner before he's turned into an animal. Can he make it work with Rachel Weisz, or is he doomed to a life on all fours? By turns absurd and provocative, The Lobster isn't a conventional date movie, but it might have more to say about relationships than a pile of Nicholas Sparks paperbacks.
7. Boyhood (2014)
Boyhood works as a kind of time travel movie, as director Richard Linklater spent 12 years filming the adolescence of a Texan (Ellar Coltrane) from age six to 18. This lengthy production process made it possible for Coltrane to portray the character at various stages, from coming to grips with his parents' divorce as a young child to his high school graduation. In lesser hands, it would be a gimmick. For Linklater, it's a chance to mediate on encroaching independence.
8. Locke (2013)
The camera rarely wavers from Tom Hardy in this existential thriller, which takes place entirely in Hardy's vehicle. A construction foreman trying to make sure an important job is executed well, Hardy's Ivan Locke grapples with some surprising news from a mistress and the demands of his family. It's a one-act, one-man play, with Hardy making the repeated act of conversing on his cell phone as tense and compelling as if he were driving with a bomb in the trunk.
9. Jackie Brown (1997)
Quentin Tarantino's follow-up to Pulp Fiction was met with mixed reactions. Decades later, it's snapped into focus as one of his sharpest character studies, with the titular stewardess (Pam Grier) looking to best a collection of crooks and grab enough cash to reinvent herself. Robert Forster, Robert De Niro, and Samuel L. Jackson inhabit the world of Tarantino and novelist Elmore Leonard like no one else.
10. Quiz Show (1994)
Director Robert Redford takes a look back at the first reality TV craze: the 1950s quiz show phenomenon. Based on a true story, the brilliant-but-not-very-photogenic Herbert Stempel (John Turturro) is pushed out of the way for the slick Charles Van Doren (Ralph Fiennes), a contestant on the trivia show Twenty One, who kept advancing thanks to his wits ... and some help from the show's producers.