Best 20 Netflix movies: Originals, classics, and unknown greats
We've compiled a list of the best movies that you can watch on Netflix now.
Netflix continues to be one of the best streaming services for both original series and films. But with so much content to choose from and more being added on the regular, where do you start? Right here! Here's a roundup of the best 20 Netflix movies streaming now.
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Trending Now on Netflix
Digging through Netflix's massive library of films can be intimidating. Thankfully, the platform offers a Trending Now section, which highlights the most popular movies on Netflix right now. With that in mind, here's a handful of films trending now on Netflix.
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A purely cinematic experience from the mind of Christopher Nolan (Inception, The Dark Knight trilogy), Dunkirk depicts the eponymous evacuation that dramatically altered the course of the Second World War. The war film features an ensemble cast that includes the likes of Fionn Whitehead, Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, and Cillian Murphy, and it received Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Best Director.
The Power of the Dog (2021)
Written and directed by Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the volatile Phil Burbank, a gruff, chaps-wearing cowboy who clashes with his brother's new wife and stepson. Things are not as simple as they appear, however, and the film slowly drifts into a dark meditation on masculinity, sexuality, and the fading American West.
The Lost Daughter (2021)
Written and directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Lost Daughter is dark, moody, and destined to divide audiences. Nevertheless, this story of a college professor on holiday in Greece is impossible to forget. Starring Olivia Colman, Dakota Johnson, and Ed Harris.
The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)
Stylish and romantic, The Other Boleyn Girl features Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson as Anne and Mary Boleyn, respectively. Although it's not quite historically accurate, the film is great fun and features Benedict Cumberbatch and Eddie Redmayne in pre-Hollywood celebrity roles.
Best Netflix Originals
Netflix has established itself as the premier streaming service for solid original films. With that in mind, here's a roundup of some of the best — and most recently released — Netflix Originals films streaming on the platform right now.
The Harder They Fall (2021)
The Harder They Fall stars Jonathan Majors as outlaw Nat Love, who reunites his gang to seek revenge on his enemy Rufus Buck (Idris Elba) after he hears Buck is being released from prison. The film also stars Regina King and Zazie Beetz.
Don't Look Up (2021)
In this hilarious and not-so-subtle satire, scientists played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence try to warn the government about an approaching asteroid that will wipe out all life on Earth. In addition to the lead actors, Don't Look Up features a star-studded cast that includes Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Jonah Hill, and more.
The Adam Project (2022)
The Adam Project stars Ryan Reynolds as Adam, a fighter pilot from the future who joins forces with his younger self on a mission to stop the invention of time travel. The film is loaded with humor, action, and heart, with a cast that includes Mark Ruffalo and Jennifer Garner.
Tick, Tick...Boom! (2021)
Directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Tick, Tick...Boom! stars Andrew Garfield as late Rent composer Jonathan Larson, and follows the creative as he deals with love, loss, and fear in the days leading up to his 30th birthday. The film also stars Alexandra Shipp, Robin de Jesús, Vanessa Hudgens, and Joshua Henry.
Best Classics on Netflix
If you want to spend your next lazy Sunday catching up on classic films you've yet to watch, Netflix has you covered. While some may argue that the most wide-ranging selection of classic movies are currently on HBO Max, Netflix also boasts an impressive library of classic films. Here are some of the best currently streaming.
Apocalypse Now Redux (1979 / 2001)
Apocalypse Now Redux is a re-edited and remastered version of Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 war epic featuring 49 minutes of extra footage. The film follows an Army captain who leads a risky mission to kill a renegade colonel in Cambodia. The cast includes Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Laurence Fishburne, Dennis Hopper, and Harrison Ford.
A River Runs Through It (1992)
A River Runs Through It stars Craig Sheffer and Brad Pitt as two brothers who take different paths as they attempt to live up to the high expectations of their minister father (Tom Skerritt) in rural Montana during the early 1900s.
Do the Right Thing (1989)
Directed by Spike Lee, Do the Right Thing documents the growing racial tensions between residents and the police on a hot summer day in Brooklyn, New York. The film leaves Netflix Dec. 31.
My Fair Lady (1964)
This unforgettable classic stars Audrey Hepburn in one of her most iconic roles. My Fair Lady nearly swept the Oscars in 1964, taking home awards for Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Director.
Best Kids & Family films on Netflix
Netflix also boasts an impressive lineup of films that are perfect for family movie night. Here's a roundup of five films that will be fun for both parents and kids to watch.
This 1991 classic stars Dustin Hoffman and the late Robin Williams as Captain Hook and Peter Pan, respectively. Directed by Steven Spielberg, Hook is a swashbuckling fantasy adventure that has been entertaining kids for over thirty years.
Not much needs to be said about this 2001 animated classic. Starring Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy, Shrek is the story of an ogre and a donkey who must travel across a fantasy kingdom to rescue a princess (played by Cameron Diaz).
Enola Holmes (2020)
Enola Holmes stars Millie Bobby Brown as the titular teenager, the younger sister of Detective Sherlock Holmes (Henry Cavill), as she uses her own sleuthing skills to track down their missing mother. The film also stars Sam Claflin and Helena Bonham Carter.
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (2019)
Based on a true story, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind tells the story of a 13-year-old boy named William Kamkwamba, who made headlines in 2001 after building a wind turbine in hopes of saving his Malawian village from famine.
Best documentaries on Netflix
Netflix also offers a rotating lineup of films that depict real-life stories. Here's a roundup of the best documentaries streaming on Netflix right now.
14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible (2021)
14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible follows Nepali mountaineer Nimsdai Purja as he attempts to achieve the seemingly impossible task of summiting all 14 of the world's 8,000-meter peaks in just seven months.
Britney vs. Spears (2021)
Directed by Erin Lee Carr, Britney vs. Spears follows Carr and journalist Jenny Eliscu as they investigate Britney Spears' years-long journey to end her conservatorship through exclusive interviews and new evidence.
My Octopus Teacher (2020)
My Octopus Teacher tells the moving story of a filmmaker who forms a powerful connection with a wild octopus while diving off the coast of South Africa. Winner of the Academy Award for Best Documentary Film, My Octopus Teacher will appeal to viewers of all ages.
Spelling the Dream (2020)
Spelling the Dream follows four young Indian Americans as they prepare for and compete in the biggest spelling contest in the United States.
The perfect film for you
With so many streaming services now on the market, it's easy to compare the film catalog of Netflix versus Disney+ or other platforms of the moment. But when it comes to more mature and more varied content, Netflix is still the one to beat.
If you want to join the water-cooler conversations about the most buzzworthy films on Netflix right now, then The Adam Project or Don't Look Up should be on your list. Meanwhile, Enola Holmes and My Octopus Teacher are great options to watch with the whole family.
Viewers looking for films with a bit more suspense might want to check out 14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible or the powerful western The Power of the Dog. And those looking for a laugh might want to revisit Shrek.
Netflix also boasts a variety of documentaries that will both keep you entertained and get you thinking, including Britney Vs. Spears. Now grab your favorite snack, hit the couch, and press play.
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Keegan Prosser is a freelance contributor based in the PNW. When she's not writing about her favorite streaming apps and devices for Android Central, she's listening to a true-crime podcast, creating the perfect playlist for her next road trip, and trying to figure out which fitness tracker she should try next. You can follow her on Twitter @keeganprosser.
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