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The best Netflix original movies in 2022
Netflix has been putting out more original content than any other streamer since launching House of Cards in 2013. Its original movie slate has gotten huge in that time too, with some Oscar winners and big-budget blockbusters in the mix. Still, it can be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff at a glance. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the best Netflix original movies to stream now.
So, the next time you’re staring at your screen, scrolling through countless titles without a clue what to watch, check out one of these great choices, organized by genre so you can jump right to what you’re looking for.
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The 40 best Netflix original movies
The Old Guard (2020)
Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Main cast: Charlize Theron, KiKi Layne, Matthias Schoenaerts, Marwan Kenzari, Luca Marinelli, Chiwetel Ejiofor
Netflix’s top entry in the superhero genre, The Old Guard follows a group of people gifted with immortality and healing abilities. Written by Greg Rucka and based on his own comic book of the same name, the film sees a young soldier who suddenly joins their ranks, becoming an immortal mercenary and part of the found family of super-beings on a mission to hold onto their freedom.
The Harder They Fall (2021)
Director: Jeymes Samuel
Main cast: Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Zazie Beetz, Regina King, Delroy Lindo, Lakeith Stanfield
British singer-songwriter and producer Jeymes “The Bullitts” Samuel made his feature directorial debut with The Harder They Fall. The stunning revisionist western with a nearly all-Black cast follows outlaws and lawmen in the old west. Based on real historical figures, the film sees a man out for revenge against the people who killed his parents, including a notorious criminal whose posse just broke him out of prison.
The Night Comes for Us (2018)
Director: Timo Tjahjanto
Main cast: Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim, Julie Estelle, Sunny Pang, Zack Lee, Shareefa Daanish
This Indonesian action-thriller stars martial arts icon Iko Uwais (The Raid). It follows a mob enforcer’s attempt to leave his old life behind to rescue a young girl. His former employers don’t take kindly to his change of heart and send legions of killers, including his new replacement, to kill him and the girl.
Triple Frontier (2019)
Director: J.C. Chandor
Main cast: Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund, and Pedro Pascal
A former army unit seizes the chance to score big when the opportunity to rob a South American drug lord presents itself. Knowing they can trust each other to pull it off, they plan every last detail for a perfect heist. On the ground, things change fast and they have to adapt quickly or risk losing it all. Triple Frontier features some terrific performances and is among the most underrated and best Netflix original movies.
The Mitchells vs the Machines (2021)
Director: Mike Rianda
Main cast: Abbi Jacobson, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Mike Rianda
Possibly the best Netflix original family film, The Mitchell’s vs. the Machines tells the story of a creative teen heading off to college but trapped on an impromptu road trip with her family when they all suddenly find themselves up against a robot uprising.
Finding ‘Ohana (2021)
Director: Jude Weng
Main cast: Kea Peahu, Alex Aiono, Lindsay Watson, Owen Vaccaro, Kelly Hu
Two New York-based Hawaiian siblings relocate to Oahu with their mother to help with their father’s health and financial troubles. Once there, they begin to reconnect with their family history, including through a Goonies-style hunt for pirate treasure.
Enola Holmes (2020)
Director: Harry Bradbeer
Main cast: Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill, Sam Claflin, Helena Bonham Carter
Starring Stranger Things’ Millie Bobby Brown, Enola Holmes is an enchanting look at the famous detective Sherlock Holmes’s little sister, based on the YA novel series by Nancy Springer. Sent to a boarding school when her mother goes missing, Enola runs away to solve the mystery, perhaps even before her brother does. The film was originally slated for a theatrical release but became one of the best Netflix original movies when COVID-19 made a streaming release more suitable.
Director: Sergio Pablos
Main cast: Jason Schwartzman, J. K. Simmons, Rashida Jones, Will Sasso
One of the best Netflix original movies and a stellar Christmas movie, Klaus tells the origin story of Santa Klaus. When a postal worker is stationed at a remote outpost in the North Pole, he befriends a reclusive toymaker in need of a little Christmas magic and some children to deliver his toys to.
The Willoughbys (2020)
Director: Kris Pearn
Main cast: Will Forte, Maya Rudolph, Alessia Cara, Terry Crews, Martin Short, Jane Krakowski, Seán Cullen, Ricky Gervais
Based on the book of the same name by Lois Lowry, The Willoughbys tells the story of the crafty Willoughby children, who hatch a plan to send their parents on vacation so they can wander the modern world on their own, convinced they’re best-suited to raise themselves.
A Whisker Away (2020)
Directors: Junichi Sato, Tomotaka Shibayama
Main cast: Mirai Shida, Natsuki Hanae, Hiroaki Ogi
Parts of Netflix’s anime library out of Japan, A Whisker Away tells the story of Miyo Sasaki, who tries to get her classmate Kento Hinode’s attention by assuming the form of a cat when she visits him. Soon, the line between her human self and cat self begins to blur. You can watch A Whisker Away in the original Japanese with optional subtitles or dubbed into English.
Marriage Story (2019)
Director: Noah Baumbach
Main cast: Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver, Laura Dern
Indie auteur Noah Baumbach returns to Netflix after his 2017 feature The Meyerowitz Stories. This semi-autobiographical story follows a marriage at its end. An actress and theater director part ways after years of marriage, working together — sometimes at odds with each other — to do what’s best for their family. Marriage Story is a beautiful, intelligent look at the complexity of human relationships, and it’s one of the best Netflix original movies you can stream.
The Irishman (2019)
Director: Martin Scorsese
Main cast: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci
Martin Scorsese returns to the mobster genre in this saga told across generations. Truck driver Frank Sheeran works his way up the ranks of the Bufalino crime family as a hitman throughout his life. By the end, he looks back on a life that includes a friendship with Teamster Jimmy Hoffa, betrayals and rivalries, and an estranged family. The Irishman is a perfect complement to Scorsese’s earlier Goodfellas.
Da 5 Bloods (2020)
Director: Spike Lee
Main cast: Delroy Lindo, Jonathan Majors, Clarke Peters, Johnny Trí Nguyễn, Norm Lewis, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Chadwick Boseman
Four Black Vietnam veterans reunite in Vietnam in the present day to collect their beloved squad leader’s remains and find buried gold. Spike Lee directs this richly layered war epic, exploring the lasting wounds of racism in America, the legacy of military imperialism, and the complicated bonds that form in wartime.
The Lost Daughter (2021)
Director: Maggie Gyllenhaal
Main cast: Olivia Colman, Dakota Johnson, Jessie Buckley, Paul Mescal, Dagmara Domińczyk, Peter Sarsgaard, Ed Harris
Actress Maggie Gyllenhaal makes her feature directorial debut with this Academy Award-nominated story of a woman on vacation who grapples with her past and the steps that led to her estrangement from her adult daughters.
The Power of the Dog (2021)
Director: Jane Campion
Main cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons
In this moving drama, one of the best Netflix original movies, Jane Campion challenges notions of masculinity in the old west. A difficult and volatile rancher torments his brother’s new wife and her son until his own nature is challenged by their presence.
Private Life (2018)
Director: Tamara Jenkins
Main cast: Paul Giamatti, Kathryn Hahn, Kayli Carter
A couple in their 40s struggles to conceive. With time running out for them to become parents, they find hope in their visiting step-niece who offers to help. Private Life premiered at the Sundance Film Festival before quietly bowing on Netflix, where it is one of the best and most underrated original films you can watch.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (2018)
Director: Mike Newell
Main cast: Lily James, Michiel Huisman, Glen Powell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Katherine Parkinson, Matthew Goode, Tom Courtenay, Penelope Wilton
Based on the bestselling novel, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society follows a London author in 1946 who bonds with the residents of a town that was occupied by Germany during World War II. They connect over the residents’ book club, formed during the occupation.
Always Be My Maybe (2019)
Director: Nahnatchka Khan
Main cast: Ali Wong, Randall Park, James Saito, Michelle Buteau, Daniel Dae Kim, Keanu Reeves
Ali Wong stars as a restaurateur who returns to her native San Francisco for work and reconnects with her childhood best friend. As she looks for love, she realizes that maybe her friendship could be more. The Netflix original rom-com is charming and funny, with some terrific performances across the board.
The Princess Switch (2018)
Director: Mike Rohl
Main cast: Vanessa Hudgens, Sam Palladio, Nick Sagar
This one might be contentious, as Netflix’s Christmas slate is fundamentally pretty hokey, but if you surrender to the charms of The Princess Switch, it’s a wonderful pick for the holidays. A Chicago baker and princess-to-be switch places when they realize they look identical in this romantic update of The Prince and the Pauper.
Director: Bong Joon-ho
Main cast: An Seo Hyun, Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Steven Yeun
A young girl goes on a mission to rescue her genetically engineered “super pig” when it’s taken from her. Bong Joon-ho, the Oscar-winning director of Parasite, offers a visually stunning look at bioethics, animal rights, and corporate greed in one of the very best Netflix original movies.
Space Sweepers (2021)
Director: Jo Sung-hee
Main cast: Song Joong-ki, Kim Tae-ri, Jin Seon-kyu, Yoo Hae-jin
Our planet is already surrounded by space junk, debris from various space exploration missions, and other orbital goings-on. In Space Sweepers, there’s so much trash in 2092 that a whole industry handles its collection. We follow a team of such space sweepers as they encounter a humanoid among the debris and find themselves embroiled in a conspiracy way above their pay grade.
Director: Alexandre Aja
Main cast: Mélanie Laurent, Mathieu Amalric, Malik Zidi
A tense and claustrophobic French thriller, Oxygen sees a woman waking up in a high-tech pod, unsure who she is or how she got there. All she knows for sure is that she’s running out of oxygen and needs to find answers fast.
I Am Mother (2019)
Director: Grant Sputore
Main cast: Clara Rugaard, Luke Hawker, Rose Byrne, Hilary Swank
Following an apocalyptic event, a teen is raised by a robot and its maternal programming in a survival bunker. Her whole reality changes one day when she encounters another human for the first time.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)
Director: Susan Johnson
Main cast: Lana Condor, Noah Centineo, Janel Parrish, Anna Cathcart, Madeleine Arthur, Emilija Baranac, Israel Broussard, John Corbett
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a true standout among the teen offerings on Netflix. Infectiously charming, the film sees a shy teen suddenly thrust in the spotlight when her former crushes receive love letters she secretly wrote to them. And don’t miss its two sequels: To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You and To All the Boys: Always and Forever.
Director: Anne Fletcher
Main cast: Danielle Macdonald, Jennifer Aniston, Odeya Rush
A Texas teen enters a beauty pageant to prove a point about beauty and fitting in to her judgemental mother — the former beauty queen who runs the pageant. As much an ode to Dolly Parton as it is a charming coming-of-age drama, Dumplin’ is a terrifically uplifting Netflix original movie.
Vampires vs the Bronx (2020)
Director: Oz Rodriguez
Main cast: Jaden Michael, Gerald W. Jones III, Gregory Diaz IV, Method Man, Shea Whigham, Coco Jones.
A group of youngsters band together to fight a vampire threat in their native neighborhood, the Bronx. Vampires vs. the Bronx earns a place among the best Netflix original movies as a smart and charming teen horror-comedy with heart, in which the kids’ undead foes are a clever stand-in for gentrification.
Director: Amy Poehler
Main cast: Hadley Robinson, Alycia Pascual-Peña, Lauren Tsai, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Nico Hiraga, Amy Poehler
From Saturday Night Live alum and Parks & Recreation star Amy Poehler comes a teen drama about standing up to a broken system. A 16-year-old girl — fed up with bullying, sexual harassment, and rape at her school — starts a feminist zine for her and her classmates to find community and empowerment in the face of injustice.
Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)
Director: Dan Gilroy
Main cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Zawe Ashton, Rene Russo, Toni Collette
A dark and twisted skewering of the art world, this horror satire is one of the best Netflix original movies to add to your watchlist. An art critic and gallery owner take possession of a dead artist’s work but soon find themselves haunted by mysterious forces.
Director: Daniel Goldhaber
Main cast: Madeline Brewer, Patch Darragh, Melora Walters, Devin Druid, Michael Dempsey
When camgirl Lola loses control of her video channels to a mysterious doppelgänger, she has to figure out who’s doing this to her and how to regain control of her life and livelihood in this Hitchcockian mystery. Screenwriter Isa Mazzei draws on her own camming experience to tell a haunting and empowering story respectful of sex workers and rooted in real stigma.
The Fear Street trilogy (2021)
Director: Leigh Janiak
Main cast: Kiana Madeira, Olivia Scott Welch, Benjamin Flores Jr., Jordana Spiro, Jordyn DiNatale, Elizabeth Scopel, Chiara Aurelia
Netflix’s Fear Street summer event trilogy was a knockout. The three films, based on R.L. Stine’s horror book series, follow teens trying to break a centuries-old curse on their town. Each film focuses on a different time period and iteration of the curse.
The Babysitter (2017)
Main cast: Samara Weaving, Judah Lewis, Hana Mae Lee, Robbie Amell, Bella Thorne
A kid stays up late to spy on his hot babysitter only to realize she and her friends are part of a demonic cult. Now, he’s their target and needs to find a way to survive the night. This horror-comedy spawned an inferior sequel but remains one of the best Netflix original movies.
Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution (2020)
Director: Nicole Newnham, James LeBrecht
Executive produced by Barack and Michelle Obama, Crip Camp chronicles the disability rights movement in the United States. Focusing on the attendees of Camp Jenet starting in 1971, the film traces how campers went on to fight for accessibility legislation and the right to dignity and respect. Crip Camp is an informative celebration of activism and equality and a vital reminder that the rights we may take for granted often came from the tireless efforts and sacrifices of people who came before us and imagined a better future.
Director: Ava DuVernay
While we may believe that slavery has been outlawed entirely in the US, there is one glaring loophole in the 13th amendment to the Constitution. While the amendment states that slavery is illegal, it allows a single exception: slavery as a punishment for crime. This eye-opening documentary explores how this loophole in the 13th amendment has led to the unjust criminalization of Black Americans as a continuation of slavery up to the present day.
Director: Sandi Tan
Director: Sam Feder
Disclosure explores the ways in which Hollywood and other media have shaped America’s understanding of transgender people, often in deeply harmful ways. Often portrayed either as the punchlines of jokes or one-dimensional victims of violent crime, trans people have rarely been afforded humanity onscreen. The film seeks to correct course, featuring prominent trans entertainers who offer a way forward, with better representation that is long overdue.
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (2020)
Director: David Dobkin
Main cast: Will Ferrell, Rachel McAdams, Dan Stevens, Mikael Persbrandt, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Demi Lovato, Pierce Brosnan
Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams star as Icelandic singers Lars Erickssong and Sigrit Ericksdóttir. The two dream of performing at Eurovision, and after tragedy strikes, they get their chance. With a string of earworms and a heartwarming message, Eurovision is a hilarious look at a peculiar European tradition, and it’s one of the best Netflix original movies.
Dolemite Is My Name (2019)
Director: Craig Brewer
Main cast: Eddie Murphy, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Keegan-Michael Key, Mike Epps, Craig Robinson, Tituss Burgess, Wesley Snipes
Eddie Murphy stars as real-life filmmaker Rudy Ray Moore, a pioneer of blaxploitation cinema in the 1970s. The film charts the rise of Moore from small comedy halls to showbiz fame, with hilarious and larger-than-life characters throughout. Dolemite Is My Name earned Murphy an Oscar nomination and launched a comeback for the comedy legend.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)
Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Main cast: Tyne Daly, Brendan Gleeson, Zoe Kazan, Liam Neeson, Tim Blake Nelson, Saul Rubinek, Tom Waits
The Coen brothers bring their signature wit to the old west in this series of vignettes set on the American frontier. With a slew of performances by A-list stars, the shorts range from the dark and grim to the laugh-out-loud hilarious.
The Forty-Year-Old Version (2020)
Director: Radha Blank
Main cast: Radha Blank, Peter Kim, Oswin Benjamin, Reed Birney
A loosely autobiographical comedy-drama, The 40-Year-Old Version tells the story of Radha, a playwright and teacher nearing her 40th birthday. Still trying to live up to the promise of the “30 under 30” award she won a decade earlier, Radha turns to hip hop as a new and energizing outlet for her creativity.
Hubie Halloween (2020)
Director: Steven Brill
Main cast: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Julie Bowen, Ray Liotta, Rob Schneider, June Squibb, Kenan Thompson
Funnyman Adam Sandler has seemingly found a happy home at Netflix, where you can watch him in movies like Sandy Wexler, Murder Mystery, and his comedy special 100% Fresh. Among those, his most amusing is the Halloween-centric comedy Hubie Halloween, about a near-universally ridiculed man dedicated to keeping his town safe on Halloween — but deathly afraid of just about everything.