Since 2007, Netflix has offered thousands of movies to stream for a monthly fee. It shows films from major Hollywood studios, as well as smaller independent studios. In the last few years, Netflix has aggressively added original, exclusive films made by major directors and actors for its tens of millions of subscribers.
Netflix’s library is shifting constantly, but there are lots of great films available to watch right now. These include true movie classics, modern hits, and even a few great original Netflix movies (including award-nominated films). Here are the best ones.
Best movies on Netflix:
Editor’s note: We will update this post as more great Netflix movies are added to the service’s catalog and others depart.
Mexican writer-director Alfonso Cuaron has worked for the past decade or so on major Hollywood films like Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Children of Men, and Gravity. Netflix got the rights to produce his latest movie, but instead of huge budgets, well-known stars, and cool visual effects, Roma is all about a housekeeper who lives with a family in Mexico City during the early 1970s. Based in part on Cuaron’s own childhood, the film is a beautifully told drama about family.
Cuaron shot in black and white, picking Yalitza Aparicio, a woman with no prior acting experience, to play the lead role of the housekeeper. Roma has been nominated for this year’s Academy Award for both Best Picture and Best Foreign Language Film, and even more remarkably Aparicio was nominated for Best Actress. That should tell you something about the power of Roma.
2. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
After gathering a cult following for their work on the BBC comedy show Monty Python’s Flying Circus and a movie based on it, this group of sketch comedians blew audiences away with their first original film. 1975’s Monty Python and the Holy Grail remains one of funniest movies ever made. If you have never watched it, prepare to start quoting a ton of its lines. This may be the best movie ever made about the myth of King Arthur as well, and that’s saying something.
You can also catch up on the group’s earlier work on Netflix, which is streaming the entire run of the Monty Python’s Flying Circus TV series. Also make sure to watch another great film, Monty Python’s Life of Brian.
3. Black Panther
Black Panther was the biggest US box office movie of 2018. It just won three Academy Awards, and it’s certainly one of the best movies on Netflix. What makes it different from other Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, or indeed any other superhero movie, is that it not only establishes Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa as a worthy character, but it also brings us the advanced African country of Wakanda. Yes, we have seen other worlds in MCU films, but Wakanda is unique in that it has highly advanced technology, but still clings to very traditional leadership roles, and it wants to also remain isolated from the rest of the world. It’s this kind of setup that’s at the heart of the movie, as Michael B. Jordan’s character of Killmonger wants to not only claim the throne of Wakanda, but also wants to use its tech to strike back at the rest of the world for its history of oppressing black people.
Black Panther shows us a villain in Killmonger who might have some good reasons for his actions, while the leadership of Wakanda might have some ethical problems. It’s this reversal that really makes the movie different than the normal superhero epic. Oh, and it has some awesome action sequences and fights, too.
4. Schindler’s List
Director Steven Spielberg wanted to make a movie about the terrible events of the Holocaust, but also wanted to make a film that was ultimately hopeful rather than completely depressing. The result was 1993’s Schindler’s List, which chronicles the real-life efforts of German businessman Oskar Schindler to save as many Jews from the Nazi’s extermination camps as he could in World War II. It’s not easy to watch, but it’s one of the best movies on Netflix. It’s powerful, emotional, and proves the human spirit can overcome even the worst atrocities.
5. The King
This movie follows the story of Hal, also known as King Henry V. After trying to escape royal life most of his life, he is forced to take the throne after his father dies. The rightful heir to the throne must now deal with politics and everything that comes with ruling. He is also found in the middle of a war his tyrannical father left behind. The leader needs to adapt to the new life while he settles personal matters.
6. Bird Box
Consider this Netflix’s nod to A Quiet Place. Instead of tiptoeing and keeping quiet to avoid blind monsters, humans must wear blindfolds when going outside. A single look at these supernatural entities drives humans insane to the point of suicide.
The story follows Malorie Hayes (Sandra Bullock) and her two children. They’re heading downstream in a rowing boat packed with a blanket, supplies, and blindfolds. Their goal is to reach a sanctuary, but the journey won’t be easy.
7. Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
Harrison Ford seems born to play Indiana Jones, an archaeologist who risks life and limb to find the greatest historical relics in the world. In the series’ debut directed (as all of them are) by Steven Spielberg, Jones is recruited to find The Ark of the Covenant in 1936 before Nazis can get it. This was described as a homage to the Saturday afternoon serials of the 1930s but in truth, this film blows all of them away in action, humor, and entertainment. It’s certainly one of the best movies on Netflix you can stream right now.
Netflix also has the three other films in this series for streaming currently; Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and (yuck) Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
8. Pulp Fiction
You could also consider this film an anthology — sort of. It has separate interlocking stories that all come together to give us tales of crime in Los Angeles. This 1994 movie truly put writer-director Quentin Tarantino on the map as a film-making talent. He created some truly iconic scenes and characters here, from the dance scene of John Travolta and Uma Thurman, to the discussion of the “Royale with cheese,” to Samuel L. Jackson’s character Jules bringing the wrath down on his victims, memorably “quoting” Ezekiel 25:17. “Strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger” indeed.
9. El Camino: A Braking Bad Movie
Breaking Bad is a massively popular TV show, and fans can now find closure in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie. This film follows Jesse Pinkman after the events in Breaking Bad’s finale. As a fugitive he must escape from a massive police operation and his past.
Jesse is trying to get out of Albuquerque, but needs a hefty amount of money to do so. Watch the movie to find out how he deals with everything!
10. Avengers: Infinity War
If you haven’t already seen Infinity War, it’s the ninth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and once again it has the Avengers teaming up to fight off a powerful enemy. This time, that enemy is Thanos, and his goal is to wipe out half of the population of the universe with the all-powerful Infinity Gauntlet. This is the first of two films to tell the story, with the follow up Avengers: Endgame.
Best movies on Netflix — honorable mentions
There’s a ton of movies to stream on Netflix, and many of them almost made this list. Here’s a quick look at some of the best Netflix movies that didn’t quite make the top 10.
- Boyhood – Filmed over a span of 12 years, this film may be the best fictionalized look at children growing up.
- Black Hawk Down – This military film from director Ridley Scott is one of the best war films ever made, depicting US soldiers during the real-life events of Somalia as it falls apart in 1993.
- Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened – Want to know why the 2017 Fyre Festival is now blowing up in pop culture? Look no further than this original Netflix documentary chronicling one of the biggest scams ever.
Those are our picks for the best movies on Netflix you can currently stream on the service. We’ll update this post with new titles once they make it to Netflix.