5 of the Best Netflix Original Movies of 2021

Idris Elba stars as Rufus Buck in The Harder They Fall (2021).
Idris Elba stars as Rufus Buck in The Harder They Fall (2021). / COURTESY OF NETFLIX

We’re reaching the end of the year, and it’s officially time to pick which movies were the best Netflix original movies of 2021. There were so many great movies that came out in 2021, but these really outshone the rest.

1. Fear Street Part Two: 1978

The Fear Street trilogy is composed of three of the best horror movies of 2021. But the second installment, Fear Street Part Two: 1978, directed by Leigh Janiak, is arguably the best of the three films.

The second film travels back in time to 1978 at Camp Nightwing in the cursed town of Shadyside, where a masked killer has decided to go on a summer murder spree. This, of course, all ties back to the Shadyside curse that originated in the 17th century. We learn more about the origins of the curse in the third film Fear Street Part Three: 1666.

2. Army of the Dead

Zack Snyder's Army of the Dead landed on Netflix in spring 2021 and quickly became one of the streamer's most-watched original films ever, with an estimated 75 million viewers. It’s a zombie movie that follows a group of soldiers who plan a Las Vegas casino heist while the city is overrun by the undead.

You can also check out the spinoff prequel, Army of Thieves, which is now on Netflix. In addition, there's an upcoming 3D-animated series, Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas, plus a direct sequel, Planet of the Dead, coming soon.

3. Concrete Cowboy

Concrete Cowboy premiered on Netflix on April 2. This movie was highly anticipated—people had been waiting to see the Western movie since it had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2020—and it definitely lived up to the hype.

Concrete Cowboy is based on the novel Ghetto Cowboy by Greg Neri. It’s about a defiant teen who is sent to live with his estranged father for the summer in Philadelphia. Upon his arrival, he finds there’s more to Philadelphia than just the city and that his father isn’t just any ordinary father. He’s a cowboy. The main character finds himself slowly enjoying the close-knit, vibrant urban-cowboy subculture of Black cowboys. The film, directed by Ricky Staub, stars Idris Elba and Stranger Things star Caleb McLaughlin.

4. Love Hard

One of the best Christmas movies of 2021 dropped on Netflix on November 5. Love Hard, which quickly rose up the ranks on the Netflix Top 10 list, tells the story of a dating columnist named Natalie (Nina Dobrev), who travels across the country to surprise her online crush for Christmas. However, when she arrives in her online crush’s hometown, she quickly finds that she has been catfished.

5. The Harder They Fall

Idris Elba has been a lucky charm for Netflix. He stars again in The Harder They Fall, about the clash between two rival cowboy gangs led by two legendary outlaws, Nat Love (Jonathan Majors) and Rufus Buck (Elba). Though it might sound like a familiar storyline, the story doesn’t follow the typical cowboy movie plot. Zazie Beetz, Regina King, Delroy Lindo, and LaKeith Stanfield co-star in this Jay Z-produced Western.