We’ve all been in that cursed place where you just want to watch a hot movie, but you have absolutely no idea what is hiding in the dark halls of Netflix’s constantly shifting collection. Most of the time you just death-scroll endlessly and settle on something subpar. No more of that. No no. We only want the best movies on Netflix, so here they are.
I personally consider myself someone who is easily influenced. If critics are raving about a movie, chances are I’m going to go and see it. Informed opinions? Who needs them. I only want to absorb the best content. My time is precious, y’know, and I’m not going to spend it watching the live-action Avatar. Or James Cameron‘s Avatar at that, but I digress.
My point is, I don’t want anyone’s next Netflix and chill sesh to be backlit by scenes from Cats. That’s why I’ve curated a list of only the best movies on Netflix, so you can soak up only the greatest that the service has to offer, at all times. Think of this as your handy guide.
The movies on this list will not only have huge critical acclaim, but also charm, which is important. Some of the best movies in the world are praised to no end for their message or filmography, but ultimately just lack spark. Yeah sure, Citizen Kane is lauded as one of the best movies, but damn if that movie isn’t a snoozefest.
So I promise, no boring classics, just the best movies on Netflix that you have to see.
Greta Gerwig‘s masterful Lady Bird has taken nest on Netflix, and what a treat it is.
This coming-of-age flick explores the relationship between a mother and daughter in a way that few films have even dared to. It’s beautiful, phenomenal, and has a script that could honestly double as a novel.
The film was nominated for five Oscars back in 2018, and its very clear as to why. Saoirse Ronan is phenomenal in this movie, and once you see it you’ll understand why everyone cannot get enough of it. I mean, the New York Times called it “perfection”, which doesn’t happen often.
Every still from this film is perfect.
This list really couldn’t exist without a Studio Ghibli film (or two), but first up is the classic, Spirited Away. If you’ve never seen this film, don’t go into it expecting an incredibly detailed plot. Like with a lot of Ghibli films, things just happen, and they look damn pretty as they do.
Characters are charming as hell, the music is perfection, and almost every scene involving a monster soaking away in the bathhouse will be permanently ingrained into your mind.
Also, No-Face. That creepy bastard.
When a film is nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, it’s either a Hollywood circlejerk or a superb film full of charm, incredible cinematography and acting performances so good they’ll make you cry.
Mank here, is both. It takes Hollywood’s much-adored child Citizen Kane, and gives it a shiny noir backstory. If you’re a fan of old Hollywood, black and white, and the previously mentioned 1941 film, then you’ll love the story about the fabled screenwriter behind it.
Am I just here for Amanda Seyfried? Yes. She’s STUNNING in this. Give this Netflix flick a watch before it (possibly) snaps up Best Picture of 2020.
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
“And my axe!”
Otherwise known as the best collection of New Zealand travel promotional videos, The Lord of the Rings is a timeless classic, and all three movies can be found on Netflix.
Even if you’re not a huge fantasy buff, there’s something in here for you. And yes, that something is Cate Blanchett as Lady Galadriel.
Blanchett alone has made this one of the best movies on Netflix. Forget Gandalf.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman give some of the best performances you’ve seen in a film, like, ever. This movie has to be one of the best movies on Netflix, and it is sure to win a whole heap of Oscars this year.
The film is based on a play of the same name written by August Wilson, and focuses on the African-American experience in the 1920s, especially how exploitation existed within the music industry.
Ma Rainey also has a song called ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’, and the movie also centres around its creation and reception.
What on Earth is a black bottom, I hear you asking. Well, it’s a dance from the 1920s which originated in the south amongst African Americans before becoming a nationwide craze.
Margot plays a very convincing Tonya Harding.
When you think best movies on Netflix, or even best movies in general, you simply must include I, Tonya, and thankfully this stunning film is up on Netflix.
This has to be one of Margot Robbie‘s best performances, and every single moment of the film is mesmerising. Half the time you forget that you’re not watching a documentary.
Give this one a go, you won’t be let down. And it has a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, so it must be good.
Coming to America
Did I mention the immaculate wardrobe??
If you’ve never witnessed the glory that is Eddie Murphy‘s royal rom-com Coming to America, then you’re absolutely missing out.
It’s an ’80s classic, and probably one of Murphy’s best films (even though all of them are fantastic).
Not a single performance in this film is lacking.
Anthony Hopkins, Ryan Gosling and Rosamund Pike star in this complete thriller of a film in which Gosling plays a young attorney trying to bring Hopkins (who has just been convicted of murder) to justice.
Did Hopkins do it? What’s he really hiding? Is Gosling ready for a case so full of twists and turns?
Needless to say, this movie is a real hidden gem, and if you love true crime, mystery or just really good actors doing their thing, then you’ll love Fracture.
The Karate Kid
Wax on, wax off.
Fan of Netflix’s Cobra Kai? Well, I would hope that you knew it was the follow-up series to the iconic The Karate Kid.
I can barely think about Mr Miyagi without getting upset, I just love him so much, and you will too.
Part one and part two are available, and they are some of the best movies on Netflix right now.
Kiki’s Delivery Service
LOVE. THIS. MOVIE.
In my opinion, Kiki’s Delivery Service is the best Studio Ghibli film.
Yeah, I know, it’s a contentious choice, but this movie is just pure joy like no other animated film.
With barely any fixed plot, Kiki’s is the visual representation of the quote “no thoughts, just vibes”, and I put it on just to feel pure bliss emanating from a screen.
Plus, it looks gorgeous in nearly every shot. Please give Kiki a slice of your time.
The fact they included shirtless Tom Holland in the trailer means they knew what was up when they put this out. This is what we’re all here for. Who needs the Spider-Man suit?
But besides all that, the movie is actually pretty good too, and is probs one of the best superhero movies made in a long time.
It’s also probably the only superhero movie that you can still catch on Netflix, now that Disney owns Marvel and have put all the big films on Disney+.
With a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s clear the people adore shirtless Tom Holland, so you probably will too.
The Truman Show
Jim Carrey is truly amazing in this film.
Honestly, there are hundreds of videos on YouTube analysing this movie and its multiple elements, and this isn’t the first time Jim Carrey has been part of something extremely captivating and multi-faceted (see Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind).
This movie presents the concept of: “what if your entire life was a TV show and you had no idea?”, and honestly, it still holds up today.
Think Keeping Up With the Kardashians but stretched across an entire life, or Big Brother but with an extra tinge of creepiness, and you have this film.
It’s been described by critics and reviewers as the perfect window into a surreal world surrounded by cameras, in an age when people would run from them rather than towards them.
Back to the Future Part II
I was promised this hoverboard. I want this hoverboard.
This movie is essentially the perfect time capsule. It represents the ’80s so well, and also shows you what the people of yesterday thought about today’s world.
It’s just a lot of fun to see two ’80s actors travel to the year 2015 and fly around on hoverboards. HA!
I will forever feel cheated by the fact that it’s 2021 and we still don’t have half the technology this movie thought we would. Damn.
Tilda Swinton looks barely recognisable, and I love it.
Bong Joon Ho‘s other masterpiece that isn’t the amazing Parasite.
Unfortunately, the trailers for this film make it look like a boring action movie starring the hot as hell Chris Evans, but it is so much deeper than that.
Snowpiercer explores class, wealth, race and excess so well, and is hands down one of the best films on Netflix.
Also, you may have started watching the new television series version of the show, which is also on the streaming service. If so, pay your respects to the original, because it’s perfect, and the critics seem to agree.
Scott Pilgrim Vs the World
Probably the best Michael Cera movie.
Whenever explaining this film to someone I always describe it as “peak 2010”.
It perfectly blends comic book and video game tropes into a super fun (and at times very visually impressive) comedy, and if you haven’t seen it yet, you’re really missing out.
Brilliant, stunning, breathtaking, iconic, masterful.
The ultimate movie about loving and being loved, and a true masterpiece of the 2020s.
I mean, it beat out La La Land for Best Picture at the Oscars for a reason.
I am utterly obsessed with this film. Hands down one of the best movies on Netflix.
Nothing but love and respect for my queen Shelley Duvall.
It goes without saying that The Shining is considered to be one of the masterpiece classics in the horror genre, but watching it is a whole other experience. This film is creepy as hell.
Maybe cuddle up with some blankets and a pizza for this one, because it’s definitely not something you want to just throw on Netflix as you do your vacuuming.
I’m Thinking of Ending Things
With Hereditary and this under her belt, Toni Collette is the new queen of fked films.
Absolutely trippy, wild, unexpected, mesmerising, batshit and beautiful all at the same time.
Ending Things is a product of Charlie Kaufman, king of films that need ten essays written about them to decode their endings. Think Synecdoche, New York, Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Yeah, that’s the resume he’s got working for him, so you can expect pure, brilliant madness.
When it comes to movies that you can only find on Netflix, I’m Thinking of Ending Things has to be one of the best, and if the trailer for this film doesn’t grab you in, I don’t know what else will. This is one of those films that you’ll watch just once and then never forget, but definitely only head into it if you love a good mind-melter.
And yes, I’ve watched about six videos trying to explain that WILD ending, so if you need an explainer, the internet has thousands.
I’m not joking when I say that this film is absolutely not a comedy.
If you’re a really big movie buff you’ll definitely get a kick out of Netflix OG Uncut Gems, Adam Sandler‘s first ‘serious’ movie that is absolutely nothing like his others.
Throw all expectations out the window and just immerse yourself in a world where you’ll never know what’s coming next, and that’s just half the magic.
This is one of those films that you’ll only want to watch once, but chuck this on when you feel like sitting down and sinking your teeth into something longer, with more of a serious tone.
In their review, the NY Times described it as being “a tumult of sensory extremes, of images and sounds, lurching shapes, braying voices, intensities of feeling and calculated craziness,” and if that doesn’t intrigue you, I don’t know what will.
My king, who I love dearly.
This. Movie. Is. ADORABLE.
A timeless classic for the AGES!
And Nicole Kidman as a taxidermist with a blonde bob? I mean, come ON! Legendary!
Don’t just think this movie is for kids, because I can guarantee you will love it, especially if you’re in your 20’s and just wanna watch the film equivalent of a warm hug.
It also has a 97% positive critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and an 80% audience score, because the people love this film, and the people are never wrong when it comes to cute little bears.
There you have it, a bunch of amazing flicks – for something a bit scarier, head to our round-up of Netflix’s best horror movies HERE, or if you’d rather some serious documentaries, head to our list of the best docos on Netflix HERE.