Last Updated: March 15th
The Netflix name has meant many things, including the best shows not on TV. And while there are some glaring omissions in their selection of good movies, there’s still plenty to peruse. Narrowing them down to just 35 of the best Netflix films wasn’t easy. Nonetheless, here’s a ranked list of the best movies on Netflix streaming no film lover should miss, all of them just a simple click away.
1. Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Run Time: 115 min | IMDb: 8.5/10
The Indiana Jones franchise has been housed on Amazon Prime for a while now, but it’s finally making its way to Netflix with the streaming platform hosting all four feature films. Of course, nothing beats the original, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and as far as travel and adventure go, this movie has everything you could possibly want. A hero with a love for archeology and whips? Check. An adventure to recover a stolen artifact with destructive powers? Check check. Harrison Ford beating up Nazis while uttering sarcastic one-liners and with a twinkle in his eye? Did movies even exist before this?
2. Schindler’s List (1993)
Run Time: 195 min | IMDb: 8.9/10
In 1993, Steven Spielberg released two movies: The highly entertaining Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List, an adaptation of Thomas Keneally’s fact-based novel Schindler’s Ark, which tells the story of Oskar Schindler, a Nazi officer who actively works to save Jews from concentrations camps. The former again confirmed his reputation as the premier creator of crowd-pleasing Hollywood spectacles. The latter helped cement his status as a director whose artistry extended far beyond the ability to craft blockbusters. Liam Neeson stars as Schindler, and the film’s at once a depiction of his awakening conscience and an unsparing depiction of the Holocaust. Spielberg brings all his filmmaking power to bear on the film, which he was inspired to make in part by the rise of Holocaust deniers and a resurgence of interest in fascism at the time. Where some historical films feel stuck in their time, Schindler’s List remains an urgent act of remembrance that will remain timely as long as power and prejudice combine to make the world unsafe.
3. Pulp Fiction (1994)
Run Time: 154 min | IMDb: 8.9/10
Possibly the most famous of Quentin Tarantino’s masterpieces, Pulp Fiction stars John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, and Uma Thurman spitting out punchy dialogue, pop culture references, and committing some pretty violent crimes along the way. Tarantino’s love of non-linear storytelling is on full display here with three separate plots, all entwined in some way, take shape over the course of the film. Travolta plays Vincent, a hitman for a mob boss who, along with his partner Jules (Jackson), survives a couple of shootouts in the film as the two contemplate their life of crime, escort mob wives across town, help fix boxing matches, and dispose of dead bodies.
4. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Run Time: 136 min | IMDb: 8.3/10
Stanley Kubrick’s dystopian crime thriller A Clockwork Orange most certainly is not a breezy watch. The film, based on the classic novel by Anthony Burgess, follows the charismatic, completely unhinged Alex (Malcolm McDowell), leader of a gang of criminals who enjoy inciting chaos and committing horrific crimes. When Alex is captured, the Minister of the Interior suggests experimenting on him using rehabilitation techniques that psychologically condition him to become averse to violence and sex. They work, for a time, and to disastrous consequences, but Kubrick’s real goal with this film was to dive into the idea of free will and morality.
5. Ex Machina (2014)
Run Time: 108 min | IMDb: 7.7/10
Alex Garland’s sci-fi thriller breathed new life into the tired A.I. trope when it landed in theaters a few years ago. The film focuses on a naïve young programmer (Domhnall Gleeson), who’s selected amongst a pool of applicants to evaluate a new A.I. life form. The poor kid is whisked away to a remote villa to spend time with the eerily-human-looking robot, Ava (Alicia Vikander), and her eccentric, often cruel creator Nathan (Oscar Isaac), a genius with an ego to match his talent. The film takes some twists you don’t expect, and Isaac gives cinema one of its greatest dance sequences, in case you needed more reason to watch.
6. Room (2015)
Run Time: 118 min | IMDb: 8.2/10
Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay star in this gripping drama about a mother and son held hostage for nearly a decade. The film, based off a work of fiction, pulls elements from real life trauma cases as it follows a woman named Joy (Larson) and her son Jack (Tremblay) who exists in a singular room, cut off from the outside world. The two plot an escape, are eventually rescued and must cope with the effects of their harrowing ordeal while adjusting to life outside of the room. Larson is deserving of every award she won for this thing, and her chemistry with Tremblay will have you grabbing for the tissues throughout the film.
7. Roma (2014)
Run Time: 135 min | IMDb: 8.7/10
Oscar-winning writer/director Alfonso Cuaron delivers what may be his most personal film to date. The stunningly-shot black-and-white film is an ode to Cuaron’s childhood and a love letter to the women who raised him. Following the journey of a domestic worker in Mexico City named Cleo, the movie interweaves tales of personal tragedy and triumph amidst a backdrop of political upheaval and unrest.
8. The Silence Of The Lambs (1991)
Run Time: 107 min | IMDb: 8.6/10
Hannibal Lecter is one of horror’s most iconic characters, but it’s a testament to the creepiness of Anthony Hopkins in a leather muzzle that, no matter how many times the film gets quoted, hearing him tell Clarice Starling he’s having an old friend for dinner still sends chills up our spines. Jodie Foster plays the FBI agent tasked with catching another serial killer with Lecter’s same M.O., and she does it by striking up unnerving conversations with the guy, but Hopkins is the real star here, playing Lecter with a restrained insanity that makes his small talk of enjoying human liver with fava beans so much more nightmarish.
9. Carol (2015)
Run Time: 118 min | IMDb: 7.2/10
Patricia Highsmith made her name with dark, misanthropic thrillers like The Talented Mr. Ripley and Strangers on a Train. But her early work also included The Price of Salt, a novel about the relationship between a showgirl and an older married woman. With his typical graceful command, Todd Haynes turned into Carol, an emotionally rich story of a dangerous romance between characters played by Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett. A melancholy haze envelops the movie, suggestive of the world that wants to keep the two lovers apart. But it’s the passion between the protagonists and the hopefulness that fuels it, that gives the movie its fire.
10. Black Panther (2018)
Run Time: 134 min | IMDb: 7.4/10
Ryan Coogler’s superhero flick revolutionized the Marvel Universe when it landed earlier this year, so it’s only right that we’re given the option to watch it over and over again. The film gives us a fully-realized, otherworldly Wakanda as it follows the trials and tribulations of a newly-minted king, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman). While trying to govern his people and embrace is Black Panther alter-ego, he’s also got to fight off a would-be usurper in Michael B. Jordan’s Erik Killmonger, who may just be the best villain the franchise has ever seen.
11. Lincoln (2012)
Run Time: 150 min | IMDb: 7.4/10
Any historical drama with Daniel Day-Lewis starring is going to be worth a watch but Lincoln is Day-Lewis at his best. The actor’s eerily-accurate portrayal of one of the most famous presidents in the history of the United States is powerful and moving, even though everyone already knows the story of Lincoln’s terms in office and his eventual, tragic ending. The film touches on the Civil War, the fight for racial equality, the need to end slavery, and the president’s personal investment in the cause. Lincoln is a master-class in acting and an enthralling history lesson all in one.
12. Boyhood (2014)
Run Time: 165 min | IMDb: 7.9/10
A lot of films can claim to be one of a kind but few can back up that claim like Richard Linklatter’s Boyhood. Shot between 2002 and 2013, it follows the progress of Mason (Ellar Coltrane), a Texas kid being raised by a single mother (Patricia Arquette) and occasionally visited by his absent father (Ethan Hawke). With a few exceptions, the episodic film is short on big dramatic moments, letting a lot of major milestones play out offscreen. Instead it mostly just checks in on Ethan each year, watching as time passes, Ethan’s relationships shift, and the title starts to lose its meaning as adulthood looms. It’s a remarkable, deeply moving film made all the more amazing by how effortless Linklater makes it seem as if we were just being given the privilege of watching a life take shape.
13. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Run Time: 149 min | IMDb: 8.5/10
We’re in the end game now. The Russo brothers return to direct the first of this two-part wrap-up. Josh Brolin plays the ultimate villain, a purple meat-head named Thanos, who’s insistent upon solving the Universe’s over-population problem. The film does a good job of giving fans some long-awaited pairings — Thor meets the Guardians of the Galaxy crew while Tony Stark and Doctor Strange square off — and it manages to fit its enormous, A-list cast into an over two-hour flick that never feels like its running too long.
14. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Run Time: 108 min | IMDb: 8.3/10
Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet star in this sci-fi romance about a couple reliving their romance following a painful break-up. Winslet is the free-spirited Clementine, who decides to have her memories of a past relationship with beau Joel (Carrey) erased. Once Joel learns of this, he too decides to erase their time together, and the film is a reverse narrative of their love story, charting their break-up and all the things that led up to it. It’s a quirky romance, one that ends on a hopeful note.
15. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
Run Time: 120min | IMDb: 7.9/10
Ang Lee’s Oscar-winning martial arts flick defied the odds to become one of the most influential films in the genre, crossing multicultural barriers and introducing audiences to some great talents in the international acting world. The film follows the story of Li Mu Bai, an accomplished Wudang swordsman who retires his legendary weapon only to be pulled back into a battle with his arch-nemesis, a woman who killed his master years earlier and seeks to claim his sword for her own. There’s more happening plot-wise — Bai has a love interest in another skilled warrior, Yu Shu Lien, and they’re both forced to face off against a Wudang prodigy that’s been studying under their enemy — but the real draw here is the perfectly-mapped-out fight sequences, which include just enough special effect to be awe-inducing, but not too much to distract from the beautiful choreography that Lee puts on display.
16. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Run Time: 130 min | IMDb: 7.9/10
Before Black Panther became one of the highest grossing films in the Marvel Universe, Chris Hemsworth’s hammer-loving hero gave the superhero franchise a much-needed dose of humor and fun with Thor: Ragnarok. Directed by Taika Waititi, the film follows the Asgardian warrior as he tries to save his home from the brutal reign of his long-lost sister Hela (a wickedly good Cate Blanchett) and fight his way out of off-planet gladiator pits with the help of the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and a Valkyrie played by Tessa Thompson.
17. The Departed (2006)
Run Time: 151 min | IMDb: 8.5/10
A cop working for the mob (Matt Damon) and a gangster working for the cops (Leonardo DiCaprio) work opposing sides of a brutal battle between crime and law in Boston. With over three decades of filmmaking under his belt, director Martin Scorsese is at the top of his game with The Departed, packing the film with an all-star cast, score, and four Oscars including Best Picture (his only film to score that honor). Surprisingly, Scorsese was actually shocked at the movie’s Academy Awards, saying that the nasty, violent nature of the picture didn’t strike him as being for the awards while he was making it. Nevertheless, The Departed stands up as one of his best, thanks in part to stellar performances from Jack Nicholson and Mark Wahlberg.
18. Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2 (2003-04)
Run Time: 120 min | IMDb: 8.1/8.0
A master assassin (Uma Thurman) is betrayed by her former associates and left for dead, only for her to awaken from her coma and vow to take uncompromising vengeance. Possible issues with director Quentin Tarantino aside, it’s impossible to say that watching his movies isn’t a distinct experience. Each piece of the Bride’s journey, while very different, fit together perfectly throughout the two films. Tarantino’s recognizable comedy, music, and slight self-indulgence come through in Kill Bill, which has just the right and an excessive amount of tongue-and-cheek and fake blood, respectively.
19. No Country For Old Men (2007)
Run Time: 122 min | IMDb: 8.1/10
The Coen Brothers’ Oscar-winning thriller might mark their best film to date. The movie, adapted from Cormac McCarthy’s novel of the same name, follows a hunter (Josh Brolin) who stumbles upon a drug deal gone wrong and a suitcase full of cash. He’s pursued by thugs for hire and a chilling assassin played by Javier Bardem who likes to make his victims play a game of coin toss to decide their fate. Of course, things end bloody and bleak but watching Bardem shoot his way through the desert with a bolt pistol is more than enough fun.
20. Y Tu Mama También (2002)
Run Time: 106 min | IMDb: 7.7/10
After a stint in Hollywood, Alfonso Cuarón returned to Mexico for this story of two privileged high school boys (Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal) who road trip with an older woman (Maribel Verdú) in search of an unspoiled stretch of beach. In the process, they discover freedom like they’d never imagined — and maybe more freedom than they can handle. Cuarón’s stylish film plays out against the backdrop of Mexican political upheaval and plays with notions of upturning the established order on scales both large and small, all the while suggesting that no paradise lasts forever.
21. Mudbound (2017)
Run Time: 134 min | IMDb: 7.4/10
Netflix spent much of 2017 trying to establish itself as an alternative to movie theaters as a place to find quality new films. The results were mostly strong, and none stronger than Mudbound, Dee Rees’ story of two families — one white and one black — sharing the same Mississippi land in the years before and after World War II. Rees combines stunning images, compelling storytelling, and the work of a fine cast (that includes Jason Mitchell, Carey Mulligan, Garett Hedlund, Jason Clarke, and Mary J. Blige) to unspool a complex tale about the forces the connect black and white Americans and the slow-to-die injustices that keep them apart.
22. Coco (2017)
Run Time: 105 min | IMDb: 8.5/10
Disney continued its trend of spotlighting underserved communities and lesser-known cultures with Coco, a Pixar project that follows a young boy learning the importance of family during a traditional Mexican celebration, “Dia de Los Muertos.” The Day of the Dead is probably a holiday you’ve heard of before, but the film adds a rich history and vibrancy to a time held sacred by so many. Miguel has dreams of becoming a singer but when he finds himself amongst the dead, he must rely on his courage and his ancestors to help him return to the living. Bring your tissues for this one.
23. Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
Run Time: 117 min | IMDb: 8.0/10
Matthew McConaughey’s Dallas Buyer Club is a searing look at how the world failed the LGBTQ community during the devastating AIDS crisis. McConaughey stars as Ron Woodruff, a man diagnosed with the disease in the 80s during a time when the illness was still misunderstood and highly stigmatized. Woodruff went against the FDA and the law to smuggle in drugs to help those suffering from the disease, establishing a “Dallas Buyers Club” and fighting in court to the right to aid those in need. The story is all the more powerful because it’s true and McConaughey delivers one of the best performances of his career as Woodruff, a man who changes his entire outlook on life after being dealt a tragic blow.
24. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)
Run Time: 152 min | IMDb: 7.3/10
There’s always going to be backlash when a studio decides to revive a beloved franchise and take it in a new direction but The Last Jedi continues to anger space fanboys everywhere and honestly, we’re not sure what their gripe is. Rian Johnson gave us a masterclass in how to take something old and make it new again with his interpretation, injecting a bit of fun and fantasy into the age-old story. Mindblowing Jedi fights, Force connections, Porg, and Artic Foxes, the movie has something for everyone and it challenges both old and new characters alike with interesting arcs and climactic moments. Plus, did we mention Porgs?
25. Blue Is The Warmest Color (2013)
Run Time: 179 min | IMDb: 7.8/10
When this French coming-of-age drama premiere in 2013 it sparked plenty of controversies. The film centers on a blooming romance between a naïve teenager named Adele and her free-spirited lover, Emma. Praised for painting an honest portrait of a lesbian romance on screen while also scrutinized for its sometimes graphic sexual content, the film marked a turning point in how the LGBTQ community was represented on film and gave people a heartbreaking look at a young woman discovering herself and her sexual identity in an unforgiving world.
26. Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
Run Time: 118 min | IMDb: 7.1/10
Look, it’s hard to keep track of the Marvel Universe timeline so we’re not going to explain where Ant-Man and the Wasp fits into the grander scheme of this blockbuster monopoly. The only thing you really need to know about this action flick, which sees Paul Rudd returning to play the shrinking superhero and Evangeline Lily playing his partner in fighting crime, is that it’s a hell of a fun watch. Rudd returns to the character more seasoned in the superhero verse and thus, more comfortable with his leading man status, but he benefits greatly from a team-up with Lily and a well-written script.
27. Guardians Of The Galaxy: Vol. 2 (2002)
Run Time: 136 min | IMDb: 7.7/10
Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 1 surprised many with its stellar soundtrack and genuinely funny dialogue, and director James Gunn manages to live up to the original while still spinning a rather unique tale. The sequel finds the familiar rag-tag Guardians as they make enemies and wisecracks while exploring the origins of Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and his father, who happens to be a living planet (Kurt Russell). Focusing more on character development than overall MCU progression, the movie rounds out and humanizes some of its ridiculous characters, including Ravager Yondu. It’s a hilarious and emotional sci-fi adventure that doesn’t get too lost in its spectacular visual effects.
28. The Hateful Eight (2015)
Run Time: 167 min | IMDb: 7.8/10
It seems almost perverse to think about watching The Hateful Eight at home, given how big a deal Quentin Tarantino made of its 70mm format at the time of its release. And while it looks great on the big screen it’s not like that’s an option right now. And, in some ways, the film feels just at home on the small screen, since it’s at heart a chamber mystery that brings together a collection of unsavory characters (Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, and Jennifer Jason Leigh among them) as mystery and murder unfold in their ranks.
29. Frances Ha (2012)
Run Time: 86 min | IMDb: 7.4/10
Before Greta Gerwig was directed Oscar-nominated coming-of-age dramas, she was writing and starring in this black-and-white dramedy about a young woman also trying to find her way in the professional dance world of New York City. Gerwig is magnetic in the titular role of Frances, a dancer dissatisfied with her career prospects and forced to contemplate a move to Tribeca on the whim of her best friend and roommate. That trek across Manhattan serves as a jumping off point for Frances, who travels home, then to France, before settling in Washington Heights on her journey to self-discovery.
30. The Sixth Sense (1999)
Run Time: 107 min | IMDb: 8.1/10
Hijinks-y teen movies and all, 1999 was an impressive year for movies. Magnolia, Fight Club, The Green Mile, Being John Malkovich, The Matrix… The list goes on and on. Among those entries is M. Night Shyamalan’s first big release, and one of his best (behind Unbreakable, of course). This was a simpler time, before seeing his name in trailers garnered skepticism. Centered on a boy who can’t separate the dead from the living and his child psychologist with issues of his own, The Sixth Sense remains one of four horror movies to ever be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. It’s endlessly tense, driven by strong performances from the two leads over jump scares. It’s held up well, even if it’s established a tough hurdle for the director’s future efforts to clear.
31. Heathers (1988)
Run Time: 103 min | IMDb: 7.3/10
At the tail end of a decade of teen films dominated by John Hughes movies came Heathers, which turned Hughes’ observations of high school cliques into black comedy. There’s no Saturday-morning detention long enough to bring peace to the warring factions of Westerburg High, so outsider JD (Christian Slater) decides to expose the underlying hypocrisy with the help of Veronica (Winona Ryder) — but without telling her there will be a corpse or two involved. Though much-imitated, Daniel Waters’ screenplay remains a model of dark wit. It’s still the take-no-prisoners high-school comedy all others want to be.
32. The Fast and the Furious (2001)
Run Time: 106 min | IMDb: 6.8/10
We’re knee-deep in sequels and cast squabbles when it comes to this particular franchise, but that shouldn’t prevent us from acknowledging the excellence of the original speedster flick. It marked the first of many team-ups between Vin Diesel and Paul Walker, introduced us to the high-stakes, fast-paced world of illegal street car racing, spawned spin-offs, earned millions at the box office, and somehow managed to build a world that long outlasted its main stars. The first film is a gritty ode to L.A. crime with Walker playing a Federal agent in charge of bringing down a group of thieves led by the charismatic, code-driven Dominic Toretto. The action is impressive, but it’s the bromance between the pair that serves as the heart of the film.
33. The Fighter (2010)
Run Time: 116 min | IMDb: 7.8/10
Christian Bale and Mark Wahlberg star in this boxing drama about a dysfunctional family plagued by trauma. Wahlberg plays Micky, an up-and-coming fighter, a guy struggling to free himself from the shadow of his older brother, a former boxer named Dicky (Bale). Dicky was talented in the ring but fell victim to drug abuse. Amy Adams also stars in this thing, marking just one of many collaborations between her, Bale, and director David O. Russell, but the real draw here is Bale who once again transforms himself for a challenging role that pays off.
34. Hell or High Water (2016)
Run Time: 102 min | IMDb: 7.6/10
Chris Pine, Ben Foster, and Jeff Bridges star in this neo-Western crime thriller about a pair of brothers who go on a bank-robbing spree to save their family’s ranch. Pine plays Toby, a down-on-his-luck father struggling to live right under mountains of inherited debt while Foster plays Tanner, his ex-con brother who has a wild streak that often endangers the two men on their jobs. Bridges is the aging sheriff tasked with bringing them to justice but his job is made harder by the locals, who have no love for the bank chain the boys are stealing from. It’s a gritty, unapologetic tale of a forgotten America brought to life by some brilliant performances and an impressive script from Taylor Sheridan.
35. Seven (1995)
Run Time: 127 min | IMDb: 8.6/10
David Fincher’s Seven follows a veteran detective on his way off the force (Morgan Freeman) and his begrudging, untested replacement (Brad Pitt) as they travel from poorly lit room to poorly lit room on the trail of a psychotic killer. The sin-driven murders are grizzly and grotesque but seem somewhat at home in the grungy, desolate world that Fincher creates. It’s certainly worth a fresh rewatch on a sunny day that’s a little too devoid of hopelessness.
Recent Changes Through March 2019:
Removed: The Breakfast Club, The Dark Knight
Added: A Clockwork Orange, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
from UPROXX https://uproxx.com/movies/best-movies-on-netflix-ranked-good-films-right-now/