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What to watch on Netflix: A guide to all the best movies and shows

For when you can't stop scrolling and just pick something already!
By
March 7, 2022
Ozark season 4 - What to watch on Netflix
Netflix

With a nearly countless amount of shows and movies, there’s always something to watch on Netflix. Maybe too much. The challenge becomes sifting through the vast catalog to find the true gems. This Netflix guide takes the work out of it for you, highlighting the best shows and movies across a number of genres.

Read more: What’s new on Netflix

So, read on for our complete guide of what to watch on Netflix, including Netflix originals and licensed titles. And if you’re not already a subscriber, hit the link below to sign up.

Netflix icon
Netflix
Netflix is still the leading premium streaming service, with over 200 million worldwide subscribers. It offers thousands of movies and TV shows to binge watch, including its always growing list of original films and series, including Stranger Things, The Witcher, Bridgerton, and many more.

What to watch on Netflix by genre

Comedy

Sex Education (TV series)

  • Original release: 2019 – present
  • Episode runtime: 50 minutes
  • Genre: Teen drama
  • Director/Creator: Laurie Nunn
  • Main cast: Asa Butterfield, Gillian Anderson, Ncuti Gatwa

The son of a sex therapist takes a page out of his mom’s book and teams up with a classmate to run his own sex advice business at school, prompting a teen sexual revolution in this heartwarming, thoughtful, and hilarious Netflix original series. Sex Education is one of the top choices for anyone wondering what to watch on Netflix.

GLOW (TV series)

  • Original release: 2017 – 2019
  • Episode runtime: 35 minutes
  • Genre: Sports comedy
  • Director/Creator: Liz Flahive, Carly Mensch
  • Main cast: Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, Marc Maron

In the 1980s, a group of women band together to form an all-woman wrestling league. They have to fight their way through the glass ceiling of a very male industry in this pitch-perfect workplace comedy with real heart.

21 Jump Street (Film)

  • Release year: 2012
  • Runtime: 109 minutes
  • Genre: Buddy comedy
  • Director: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
  • Main cast: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Brie Larson

A remake of the classic teen series of the same name, 21 Jump Street is a hilarious take on an absurd premise. Two bumbling cops try to prove themselves by going undercover as teens at a local school to break up a drug ring. Reliving their youths poses some problems, as the two had very different experiences of high school and things have changed since graduation. Check out this surprising, oddball buddy cop movie on Netflix if you get a chance.

Dolemite Is My Name (Film)

  • Release year: 2019
  • Runtime: 118 minutes
  • Genre: Historical comedy
  • Director: Craig Brewer
  • Main cast: Eddie Murphy, Wesley Snipes, Keegan-Michael Key

Eddie Murphy had something of a career rebirth with this Oscar-nominated role as real-life entertainer Rudy Ray Moore, who created the larger-than-life character Dolemite and became one of the biggest names in the Blaxploitation genre in the 1970s. The Netflix original film is a delightful comedy, and a fascinating look at the history of the film industry.

Action

Lupin (TV show)

  • Original release: 2021 – present
  • Episode runtime: 48 minutes
  • Genre: Crime
  • Director/Creator: George Kay
  • Main cast: Omar Sy, Ludivine Sagnier, Clotilde Hesme

Based on the classic French story of gentleman thief Arsène Lupin, this French Netflix original series follows Assane Diop, who is inspired by the 1900s character created by Maurice Leblanc to avenge his father against a wealthy family that wronged him.

The Umbrella Academy (TV show)

  • Original release: 2019 – present
  • Episode runtime: 60 minutes
  • Genre: Superhero
  • Director/Creator: Steve Blackman
  • Main cast: Elliot Page, Tom Hopper, David Castañeda

Based on the comic book by My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way, The Umbrella Academy is a wonderfully anarchic take on the superhero genre, with a group of gifted orphans working together to save the world — in their own dysfunctional way. There’s time travel, romance, betrayal, and more. If you’re a superhero fan looking for what to watch on Netflix, look no further.

Léon: The Professional (Film)

  • Release year: 1994
  • Runtime: 109 minutes
  • Genre: Action
  • Director: Luc Besson
  • Main cast: Jean Reno, Natalie Portman, Gary Oldman

A classic of 90s action cinema, Léon: The Professional (originally released in the US as The Professional) marks the screen debut of Nathalie Portman and has inspired tons of great films since. French auteur Luc Besson tells a sharp and mean tale about a young girl who takes refuge at her neighbor’s apartment when her family is gunned down. Little does she know, she lives next door to a skilled hitman who takes her under his wing and helps her get revenge.

Casino Royale (Film)

  • Release year: 2006
  • Runtime: 144 minutes
  • Genre: Spy
  • Director: Martin Campbell
  • Main cast: Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen

Easily one of the best James Bond outings, Casino Royale introduced Daniel Craig as the latest 007. A prequel (and simultaneously sequel and reboot), Casino Royale sees Bond newly minted as a Double O agent with a license to kill. On a mission to thwart a terrorist in a card game, he falls for a woman and learns hard lessons about love and espionage.

Drama

Ozark (TV series)

  • Original release: 2017 – present
  • Episode runtime: 60 minutes
  • Genre: Crime drama
  • Director/Creator: Bill Dubuque, Mark Williams
  • Main cast: Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, Julia Garner

A money launderer angers the wrong people and takes his family on the run to the Ozarks in this dark, smart family crime drama. Soon, he’s back to his old ways, finding ways to climb the ranks in the criminal underworld, his family now in on the growing business.

Gilmore Girls (TV series)

  • Original release: 2000 – 2007
  • Episode runtime: 45 minutes
  • Genre: Family drama
  • Director/Creator: Amy Sherman-Palladino
  • Main cast: Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel, Scott Patterson

An easy choice when wondering what to watch on Netflix, Gilmore Girls follows the titular Lorelei and Rory Gilmore, a mother and daughter who are best friends. When Lorelei needs cash to send Rory to private school, she lets her estranged parents back into her life to help and be a part of their granddaughter’s life, as she manages her own romantic and career goals. Once you’re done, check out the Netflix original revival, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.

Marriage Story (Film)

  • Release year: 2019
  • Runtime: 136 minutes
  • Genre: Family drama
  • Director: Noah Baumbach
  • Main cast: Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver, Laura Dern

Indie darling Noah Baumbach offers a frank and thoughtful look at marriage in this semi-autobiographical Netflix original film. When a couple finds themselves at a crossroads, they have to juggle their needs and those of their son as they go through a divorce and tackle what comes next.

Lady Bird (Film)

  • Release year: 2017
  • Runtime: 93 minutes
  • Genre: Coming-of-age drama
  • Director: Greta Gerwig
  • Main cast: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts

Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut is beautiful look at the messy process of growing up. Lady Bird is a millennial teen, navigating school, family, friends, and romantic relationships as she prepares to leave her hometown of Sacramento in this original, relatable, and touching coming-of-age drama.

Fantasy

Stranger Things (TV series)

  • Original release: 2016 – present
  • Episode runtime: 50 minutes
  • Genre: Supernatural sci-fi
  • Director/Creator: The Duffer Brothers
  • Main cast: Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Millie Bobby Brown

One of Netflix’s breakout hits, Stranger Things sees a group of kids in 1980s Indiana dealing with supernatural mysteries and government conspiracies. With nods to E.T., Firestarter, The Goonies, It, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Poltergeist, and so many other timeless classics, Stranger Things is like a mixtape of sci-fi and fantasy favorites of yesteryear.

Outlander (TV series)

  • Original release: 2014 – present
  • Episode runtime: 60 minutes
  • Genre: Action fantasy
  • Director/Creator: Ronald D. Moore
  • Main cast: Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Tobias Menzies

A World War II nurse is transported back in time to 1700s Scotland, where she marries a mysterious warrior to ensure her safety and embarks on a swashbuckling romantic adventure through history.

The NeverEnding Story (Film)

  • Release year: 1984
  • Runtime: 94 minutes
  • Genre: Children’s fantasy
  • Director: Wolfgang Petersen
  • Main cast: Noah Hathaway, Barret Oliver, Tami Stronach

A true classic of children’s cinema, The NeverEnding Story follows Bastion, a bullied boy who hides in his school’s attic with a mysterious book about a mythical land of magic, giants, dragons, and princesses. When he finds himself described within the pages of the book, the divisions between reality and fantasy begin to blur. Now is a perfect time to revisit this gem if you’re wondering what to watch on Netflix.

Okja (Film)

  • Release year: 2017
  • Runtime: 121 minutes
  • Genre: Sci-fi, satire
  • Director: Bong Joon Ho
  • Main cast: Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, An Seo Hyun

Oscar winner and Parasite director Bong Joon-ho directed this Netflix original film about a 10-year-old looking after a genetically altered animal who has to outsmart an evil corporation and various larger-than-life villains. This bizarre movie feels like a fever dream and absolutely skewers the meat industry, questioning how we live.

Horror

Brand New Cherry Flavor (TV series)

  • Original release: 2021
  • Episode runtime: 42 minutes
  • Genre: Psychedelic horror
  • Director/Creator: Lenore Zion, Nick Antosca
  • Main cast: Rosa Salazar, Eric Lange, Catherine Keener

An up-an-coming filmmaker travels to LA in the 90s for her big break. After trusting the wrong producer, she embarks on a mission of revenge that involves curses, zombies, a whole lot of cats, and general mayhem in this clever, dark, and original horror miniseries.

Midnight Mass (TV series)

  • Original release: 2021
  • Episode runtime: 62 minutes
  • Genre: Supernatural horror
  • Director/Creator: Mike Flanagan
  • Main cast: Kate Siegel, Zach Gilford, Hamish Linklater

Mike Flanagan continues to wow with this Netflix original miniseries in which a small island community grapples with the arrival of a mysterious new parish priest who may be in league with dark forces.

Cam (Film)

  • Release year: 2018
  • Runtime: 94 minutes
  • Genre: Indie horror
  • Director: Daniel Goldhaber
  • Main cast: Madeline Brewer, Patch Darragh, Melora Walters

Netflix original indie Cam offers an affirming look at sex work. When a cam girl finds herself losing control of her channels, replaced by a doppelgänger, she has to take back control of her livelihood any way she can. This is one of the best horror films on Netflix and an absolute must-see title.

The Exorcist (Film)

  • Release year: 1973
  • Runtime: 121 minutes
  • Genre: Classic horror
  • Director: William Friedkin
  • Main cast: Ellen Burstyn, Jason Miller, Linda Blair

You can’t mess with a classic. The Exorcist has stood the test of time for a reason. When a young girl finds herself possessed by a demon, her mother turns to the church for answers and embarks on a quest to save her daughter’s humanity before it’s too late.

Mystery

Archive 81 (TV series)

  • Original release: 2022
  • Episode runtime: 50 minutes
  • Genre: Horror mystery
  • Director/Creator: Rebecca Sonnenshine
  • Main cast: Mamoudou Athie, Dina Shihabi, Matt McGorry

Based on a hit podcast, Archive 81 follows an archivist hired to restore old video footage from an apartment building fire. He soon becomes obsessed with the woman who was filming and may have died or disappeared after the fire, and he comes across a disturbing link between her and himself while watching her shocking discoveries about the building.

Mindhunter (TV series)

  • Original release: 2017 – 2019
  • Episode runtime: 50 minutes
  • Genre: Crime
  • Director/Creator: Joe Penhall
  • Main cast: Jonathan Groff, Holt McCallany, Anna Torv

Based on real case files, Mindhunter explores the birth of modern criminology, as tree detectives work with notorious serial killers to understand their motives and develop profiles to identify future killers during investigations. As they work, we also follow what appears to be an active killer, operating simultaneously. Sadly, the show has been on an extended hiatus and has been shelved indefinitely, so we may never get a conclusion to the superb first two seasons.

In the Cut (Film)

  • Release year: 2003
  • Runtime: 118 minutes
  • Genre: Erotic thriller
  • Director: Jane Campion
  • Main cast: Meg Ryan, Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Jason Leigh

Jane Campion’s underrated erotic thriller sees a school teacher wrapped up in a grisly murder investigation as she gets closer to one of the detectives involved. Despite her suspicions that she’s the killer, she forms a complicated bond with him, staring death in the face.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Film)

  • Release year: 2011
  • Runtime: 138 minutes
  • Genre: Neonoir
  • Director: David Fincher
  • Main cast: Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Christopher Plummer

David Fincher’s adaptation of Swedish author Stieg Larsson’s best-selling novel is a shocking and brilliant psychological thriller that ranks among his best work. A disgraced journalist teams up with a hacker to investigate a decades-old disappearance, getting close to a wealthy family with dark and disturbing secrets.

Romance

Love Is Blind (TV series)

  • Original release: 2020 – present
  • Episode runtime: 60 minutes
  • Genre: Reality TV, dating
  • Director/Creator: Chris Coelen
  • Main cast: Nick Lachey, Vanessa Lachey

If you’re open to some trashy guilty pleasures on your quest for what to watch on Netflix, Love Is Blind is essential viewing. Thirty strangers have the chance to find love, proposing to one another after 10 days of dating. The catch? They’ve never seen each other. After the engagements, the couple have a shockingly brief courtship in which they get to know each other face-to-face before they walk down the aisle — with the cameras still rolling, of course.

Bridgerton (TV series)

  • Original release: 2020 – present
  • Episode runtime: 60 minutes
  • Genre: Period drama
  • Director/Creator: Chris Van Dusen
  • Main cast: Adjoa Andoh, Julie Andrews, Lorraine Ashbourne

A steamy period drama, Bridgerton follows a wealthy family in Regency-era London, as their children look for love and suitable marriage partners while evading the watchful eye of a mystery gossip monger with the power to ruin reputations with the stroke of her pen.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (Film)

  • Release year: 2018
  • Runtime: 100 minutes
  • Genre: Teen romantic comedy
  • Director: Susan Johnson
  • Main cast: Lana Condor, Noah Centineo, Janel Parrish

To All the Boys I’ve loved before is an enchanting teen romantic comedy. The Netflix original film sees shy high school junior Lara Jean Covey scrambling when letters she wrote to the boys she has loved (but never intended to give them) make their way to their not-so-intended recipients. Will she be laughed out of school, or might she find true love?

My Best Friend’s Wedding (Film)

  • Release year: 1997
  • Runtime: 104 minutes
  • Genre: Romantic comedy
  • Director: P.J. Hogan
  • Main cast: Julia Roberts, Dermot Mulroney, Cameron Diaz

A classic 90s rom-com that’s still as good as ever, My Best Friend’s Wedding sees a woman traveling to, well, her best friend’s wedding to be a maid of honor for his young bride. Only problem is, she’s realizing she has feelings for him. This screwball comedy premise invites all kinds of discomfort and social embarrassment, but in the end, perhaps love makes it all worth it.

Thriller

Squid Game (TV series)

  • Original release: 2021
  • Episode runtime: 60 minutes
  • Genre: Death game thriller
  • Director/Creator: Hwang Dong-hyuk
  • Main cast: Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae-soo, Wi Ha-jun

A group of people struggling financially are given the chance to compete in a series of games for cash. There’s a catch though. When they lose, they die. This Korean Netflix original, a scathing critique of capitalism and a gripping thriller, w. s aglobal sensation and is one of the best things you can watch on the streamer.

The OA (TV series)

  • Original release: 2016 – 2019
  • Episode runtime: 60 minutes
  • Genre: Sci-fi thriller
  • Director/Creator: Brit Marling, Zal Batmanglij
  • Main cast: Brit Marling, Jason Isaacs, Emory Cohen

When a woman miraculously returns after a seven-year disappearance, her family and local authorities are shocked to find that she is no longer blind. While she won’t talk about where she was, she assembles a group of outsiders to help with a mysterious, possibly otherworldly project in this trippy and original Netflix original that was cancelled too soon.

Triple Frontier (Film)

  • Release year: 2019
  • Runtime: 125 minutes
  • Genre: Action thriller
  • Director: J.C. Chandor
  • Main cast: Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Pedro Pascal

A former special ops unit reassembles when a chance presents itself to steal money from a drug lord in South America. With their unique skill-set, they plan to drop in and disappear without a hitch, but when the situation changes, they have to think fast to get out alive.

Till Death (Film)

  • Release year: 2021
  • Runtime: 90 minutes
  • Genre: Survival thriller
  • Director: Scott Dale
  • Main cast: Megan Fox, Eoin Macken, Callan Mulvey

Megan Fox shows off her underrated acting skills once again in this gritty thriller about a woman who wakes up handcuffed to her husband. When he takes his own life, leaving her to handle home invaders while still cuffed to his corpse, she has to survive an absolute nightmare scenario while piecing together why he would do this to her.

Western

Godless (TV series)

  • Original release: 2017
  • Episode runtime: 70 minutes
  • Genre: Western
  • Director/Creator: Scott Frank
  • Main cast: Jeff Daniels, Michelle Dockery, Jack O’Connell

Produced by Steven Soderbergh, Scott Frank’s Netflix miniseries is a terrific contemporary western with some truly standout performances. When a young outlaw turns his back on his notorious gang leader, he takes refuge in a town populated almost exclusively by women. Taking him in may be a big risk, with an inevitable showdown on the horizon.

Wynonna Earp (TV series)

  • Original release: 2016 – 2021
  • Episode runtime: 43 minutes
  • Genre: Supernatural western
  • Director/Creator: Emily Andras
  • Main cast: Melanie Scrofano, Shamier Anderson, Tim Rozon

A descendent of famous lawman Wyatt Earp, Wynonna returns to her hometown of Purgatory, where she accepts her namesake and battles Revenants, undead criminals first taken down by her great grandfather. With the help of her friends, including some familiar, now-immortal faces, she has to keep the Revenants from escaping into the world at large.

The Harder They Fall (Film)

  • Release year: 2021
  • Runtime: 139 minutes
  • Genre: Western
  • Director: Jeymes Samuel
  • Main cast: Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Regina King

A man dedicated to hunting down the people who killed his parents is ready to hang up his spurs when he learns their ringleader has just been busted out of prison. Putting together a crew for one last shootout, he prepares for a fateful old west battle. Real historical figures populate this nearly all-Black western with a killer score and soundtrack. The Harder They Fall is one of the best westerns of the 21st century, and a great choice for anyone struggling to find something to watch on Netflix.

The Power of the Dog (Film)

  • Release year: 2021
  • Runtime: 128 minutes
  • Genre: Western
  • Director: Jane Campion
  • Main cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons

Jane Campion picks at the masculine myths of the old west in this brilliant western, in which a cruel rancher torments his brother’s new wife and her son. Benedict Cumberbatch gives a career-best performance as a man haunted by his own need to prove himself at the expense of those around him, struggling with his desires and a past relationship with a past mentor who looms large in his memory.

Family and kids

The Legend of Korra (TV series)

  • Original release: 2012 – 2014
  • Episode runtime: 23 minutes
  • Genre: Animated fantasy
  • Director/Creator: Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko
  • Main cast: Janet Varney, David Faustino, P.J. Byrne

A sequel series to Avatar: The Last Airbender (also on Netflix and very worth checking out), The Legend of Korra follows the titular Korra, the latest Avatar and reincarnation of Aang as she works to control her powers in a world reshaped by her predecessor.

Anne with an “E” (TV series)

  • Original release: 2017 – 2019
  • Episode runtime: 44 minutes
  • Genre: Period drama
  • Director/Creator: Moira Walley-Beckett
  • Main cast: Amybeth McNulty, Geraldine James, R.H. Thomson

Co-produced by the Canadian Broadcasting Company, Anne with an “E” (or simply Anne) is an adaptation of Canadian literary classic Anne of Green Gables. Follow as orphan Anne finds a new home and family with her adoptive parents, a brother and sister in Prince Edward Island who hoped for a boy to help around the family farm but instead grow to love headstrong Anne.

The Mitchells vs the Machines (Film)

  • Release year: 2021
  • Runtime: 114 minutes
  • Genre: Family
  • Director: Michael Rianda
  • Main cast: Danny McBride, Abbi Jacobson, Maya Rudolph

A family film that anyone can enjoy, The Mitchells vs the Machines is an easy option when stumped on what to watch on Netflix. The Mitchells take one last road trip before eldest child Katie starts college. On the way, they face a major obstacle when a robot apocalypse suddenly threatens all of humanity. Can the Mitchells get their act together to stop the threat and get Katie to campus for the start of classes?

Paddington (Film)

  • Release year: 2014
  • Runtime: 95 minutes
  • Genre: Family
  • Director: Paul King
  • Main cast: Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters

Peruvian bear Paddington travel to London in search of a home and finds a welcoming family among the Browns. While he quickly acclimates to urban life and finds a family among Henry and Mary Brown, he also has to evade a taxidermist who like to get her hands on him. The delightful feature is based on Paddington Bear by Michael Bond.

Looking for more family content?


Hopefully you’ll find something among these 40 titles to keep you occupied and getting the most out of your streaming subscription. There’s plenty to watch on Netflix, after all, but it can be helpful to get a bit of direction sometimes.

Netflix icon
Netflix
Netflix is still the leading premium streaming service, with over 200 million worldwide subscribers. It offers thousands of movies and TV shows to binge watch, including its always growing list of original films and series, including Stranger Things, The Witcher, Bridgerton, and many more.