It’s Friday night, but the weather’s bad and you refuse to leave your home. A couple friends have come over to hang out and watch a movie, but your DVD collection is looking pretty sparse for new releases. You could watch You’ve Got Mail again for the dozenth time, but you really want to see something new that will hit hard, make you laugh, or stay in your mind for days. The last video store in your town closed down years ago, and rentals on iTunes are just too expensive to justify the purchase. Flipping your television over to Netflix is not just the best idea, it’s an obvious one. But as you scroll through your queue and your suggested recommendations, one thing becomes apparent: you have no idea which film to pick.
Netflix is overrun with television shows, but that doesn’t mean the service has lost out on some great films. It can actually be pretty tough to find classic films on the service among all the Netflix original shows now streaming on the platform, so we’ve done the hard work for you. We’ve rounded up fifty of the best films streaming on Netflix right now, so that you can skip the endless browsing and scrolling through films on your television and just get to watching the movie. We’ll update this list every month with new recommendations, and we’ll always make sure that the films listed here haven’t been taken off of Netflix’s offerings, so whether it’s a film you’ve never seen or a classic you want to revisit, you’ll always be ready to stream a great film.
So throw the popcorn in the microwave, kick your feet up, and relax with one of these incredible films. These are fifty-five of the best movies streaming on Netflix right now, in no particular order.
55. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Though it doesn't quite meet the highs of 2015's The Force Awakens or the Original Trilogy, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story proves that a spin-off in the universe of Star Wars can stand strong on its own. Rogue One tells the exciting story of Jyn Erso, played by Felicity Jones, who joins forces with leaders of the Resistance in an effort to rescue her father and stop the dastardly plans of the Galactic Empire, who are in the process of building a super-weapon that may be familiar to any fans of A New Hope. Taking place in between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, Rogue One manages to build onto the original Star Wars tales with its action-packed espionage tale, introducing new characters and even featuring a couple cameos from Original Trilogy characters that fans will love. It's not a perfect film, but it's essential for Star Wars fans everywhere.
54. Boogie Nights
The second film by critically-lauded director Paul Thomas Anderson, Boogie Nights is an unforgettable tale from a director who has since made some of the best films of the 21st century. Boogie Nights, his first major critical and financial success, tells the story of Eddie Adams (Mark Wahlberg, in one of his best dramatic roles), who leaves his abusive mother behind for a life destined for stardom in the pornography industry. With an incredible cast including Julianne Moore as Maggie, Burt Reynolds as Jack Horner, Don Cheadle as Buck Swope, John C. Reilly as Reed Rothchild, Philip Seymour Hoffman as Scotty, and William H. Macy as "Little" Bill Thompson, the performances are steller, the script is fantastic, and the story as a whole holds up on its own. Don't sleep on this one; it's a classic.
53. The Invitation
Mysteries and thrillers are perfect for dark and stormy nights, and The Invitation might be the ideal film to chill you to your core. The film stars Logan Marshall-Green as Will, a divorcee who drive his girlfriend Kira to a dinner party hosted by his ex-wife at his old house in the Hollywood Hills. Will's ex, Eden, alongside her new husband David, welcomes Will and Kira to the party, though immediately, something feels wrong. As Will continues to deal with the grief of his deceased son (the reason Eden and him split up), he begins to feel like something is wrong with his ex-wife and her husband's motivations. The tale is dark and grim, and as the night advances, you'll begin to put the pieces together in this thrilling tale of mystery and murder.
52. Full Metal Jacket
One of many classic films by director Stanley Kubrick, Full Metal Jacket is consistently regarded as one of the best films about war ever made. Intense, violent, and occasionally chaotically funny, Full Metal Jacket follows a group of Marine recruits as they advance from basic training to serving in the midst of the Vietnam War. Perhaps best known for its poster, featuring a military helmet adorned with both "Born to Kill" and the peace button representing the "duality of man," the film is also well-known for the sadistic, cruel drill sergeant played by R. Lee Ermey, who used his actual Vietnam experience to ad lib his dialogue on set, the film explores the psychological costs of war.
51. It Follows
One of the most original and brilliant horror films of the past decade, It Follows is perfect for any fan looking for some spooky entertainment to bring some fright into your night. Made for just $2 million, everything about this film—the acting, the direction, the cinematography, and the music—help to create an atmosphere that makes this film simultaneously unsettling and bone-chilling. The premise of the film is simple, but effective: a teenage girl, Jay, finds herself followed around by a supernatural entity after she has a sexual encounter with her boyfriend. The entity is visible only to Jay, and can take the form of anyone around her, from a close friend to a complete stranger. A fantastic score, an incredible cold open, and an ending so chilling it'll stay with you for weeks make this a memorable experience, one not to be missed.
This 2008 biographical film follows Harvey Milk, who was a major gay rights activist in California and the first openly gay person ever elected to hold office in that state. Directed by Gus Van Sant (director of Good Will Hunting and Finding Forrester), and written by Dustin Lance Black (J. Edgar), the film tells the story of Milk throughout the 70s until his death in 1978. The fil;m has been critically lauded as a return to form for Sant, and both Sean Penn's portrayal of Harvey Milk and the script by Black went onto win Oscars in 2009. The film co-stars Josh Brolin, Emile Hirsch, James Franco, Alison Pill, and Rogue One's Diego Luna, and is absolutely worth watching for its riveting, surprisingly sensitive look at this man and his political and real-world opponents.
49. Before Midnight
Following up his previous films Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, 2013's Before Midnight is the third and currently final film in Richard Linklater's incredible romantic Before trilogy, telling the story of two young people who meet on a train from Budapest and fall madly in love with each other for a single night. All three films are worth watching, both for Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy's incredible chemistry, acting, and romance, and for the incredible story weaved over three films. Nine years pass between each film, as both Sunrise and Sunset capture the feelings of falling in love at first sight and letting the right one get away. No spoilers for Midnight, but those who have concerned themselves with the lives of Jesse and Celine will need to see the third film to see how their relationship has progressed, changed, and whether it still holds up.
48. Eyes Wide Shut
Another film from the great Stanley Kubrick, Eyes Wide Shut was the final film ever directed by the man before his death in 1999. The film, which came out following his death, is a nearly-three hour tale of eroticism and broken hearts starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman as a young married couple who undergo a life-changing event after a Christmas party gone wrong. Bill (Cruise) begins to question both his and his wife's dedication to each other when both are approached with sexual opportunities, and as the two begin to split further apart, they'll find themselves given opportunities they never thought they would have. Despite the deeply-mature material at hand, the film was a box office success, and helped to end Kubrick's multi-decade career on a high note.
47. The Prestige
In between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan managed to take his Batman star Christian Bale, along with fellow superhero Hugh Jackman (The Wolverine) and put them together in one of the best magic-based films ever made. Forget films like Now You See Me—The Prestige is truly a must-see magic film. Careful to avoid spoilers, the main setup is simple: after a deadly accident costs Robert Angier's (Jackman) wife her life during a magic show, Angier swears revenge on the magician he holds responsible: Alfred Borden (Bale), otherwise known as The Professor. But when Borden unveils a trick Angier can't match, he'll be driven to his wit's end trying to outdo the illusion. Along the way, he'll continue to push for revenge, cross paths with Nicola Tesla (the late David Bowie), and perhaps just find true magic in the real world.
One of the best animated films of the past half-decade, Zootopia has one its fair share of fans for its gorgeous CGI animation, neo-noir inspired mystery plot, and more importantly, the themes the film managed to touch on. From issues of racism and class warfare, to the conspiracy-filled plot, Zootopia is a film that manages to work for children and adults alike. Characters Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) make for a lovable buddy-cop team, and directors Rich Moore (Wreck-It Ralph, The Simpsons) and Byron Howard (Tangled) bring a true sense of humor and fluidity to the film. With any luck, we'll get a sequel sooner rather than later.
*Leaving March 20th
45. A Serious Man
Though certainly not one of the Coen Brothers most-accessible films, A Serious Man is often lauded for its balance of black comedy and razor-sharp wit. The film stars well-known actor Michael Stuhlbarg as a Minnesota Jewish man whose life begins to crumble both professionally and personally, as his wife asks for a divorce and he faces a vote on his tenure at a local university, leading him to question his faith and his religion. The film is bleak, dry, and in some cases, absolutely absurd—all comments meant as compliments. This is an odd film that won't please everyone, but the Coen Brother completionists, it's a must-see film.
44. Inglourious Basterds
Pulp Fiction might not be on Netflix anymore, but that doesn't mean you can't get your fill of Quentin Tarantino's dialogue-driven action flicks. Inglourious Basterds is often seen as one of the filmmaker's best films, and certainly his best since Kill Bill (though Grindhouse has its defenders). Buoyed by a star-making turn from Christoph Waltz as the evil SS Colonel Hans Landa, Basterds plays with tension in a way not many films have been able to do. From the ticking time bomb of an opening scene to the explosive climactic scene, Tarantino is on fire here as he paints a picture of a fictional attempt to murder Hitler by a team of incredibly angry Jewish-American soldiers. With an all-star cast and some incredible music choices, Basterds is easily one of the best films made by Tarantino, and is a must-see lesson in how to create tension on-screen.
43. St. Vincent
A feel-good movie about getting a second chance in life, St. Vincent is one of those crowd-pleasing movies that will win over even the most-curmudgeonly people in the room. Starring Bill Murray as a grumpy, retired neighbor, Vincent meets his new neighbors after they move in following an accident with his 30-year old Chrysler LeBaron. Despite his annoyance, Vincent takes to his new neighbors, divorcee Maggie (Melissa McCarthy) and her son Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher, It and The Book of Henry). Despite Maggie's busy schedule, Vincent begins to spend time with her kid, taking him under his wing and teaching him some of the life lessons he lived along the way. The film doesn't do anything unexpected, but it's sweet and an enjoyable watch start to finish.
Disney's animation studio is no stranger to critical acclaim, and Moana was no exception to this rule. In addition to becoming a major worldwide box-office success, Moana managed to impress critics with its incredible animation, the characterization of the titular hero, and the music from Opetaia Foa'i, Mark Mancina (Tarzan), and Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton). The film tells the story of Moana (played by newcomer Auli'i Cravalho), a sixteen-year-old daughter of the chief of a Polynesian village who feels destined to leave her small island despite the rules of her father and the other elders. When the ocean calls on her to leave the town to find a mystical relic to save the dying island, Moana sets out to find Maui (Dwayne Johnson), a demigod who stole the relic in an effort to present the humans with the power of creation. Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin), the film is a true adventure, filled with fantastic jokes, some catchy songs, and great performances from Cravalho and Johnson.
This documentary from filmmaker Ava DuVernay promises to explore "the intersection of race, justice and mass incarceration in the United States," and it sticks the landing. Taking its name from the 13th amendment, which freed the slaves in the United States and prohibited slavery unless as punishment for a crime, the film takes a long, hard look at how the prison system in the United States was built to continue the idea of slavery through the enablement of white police officers to more easily arrest black persons in the USA to force them to work under convict leasing. The result is a chilling documentary that covers Jim Crow laws, the suppression of African Americans by disenfranchisement, and the war on drugs created to target minority communities. The film won an Emmy, and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary.
Caddyshack is one of those films you can watch repeatedly, for days on end, and never tire from. One of the several classic comedies from the late, great Harold Ramis, who later went on to direct National Lampoon's Vacation and Groundhog Day, and write and star in Stripes, Ghostbusters, and Ghostbusters II. Caddyshack sees Ramis working with two of his featured players: Chevy Chase and Bill Murray, starring as the suave Ty Webb and the groundskeeper Carl Spackler, respectively. Also starring in the film: Ted Knight, playing Judge Elihu Smails, and famous comedian Rodney Dangerfield as Al Czervik. The film's humor is crude and outright slapstick at times, but it also marks one of the finest sports comedies made to this day. If you enjoy Caddyshack, also check out Goon on Netflix.
39. Batman Begins
Despite a strong lead-in with two Tim Burton-directed films, the Batman film series ended the 1990s on a low note. So when Christopher Nolan—then a still underground indie director, best known for Memento and Insomnia—was announced as the force behind a new Batman reboot, there was reason to be skeptical. Despite most of the praise for Nolan's Batman films going towards its successor, Batman Begins is an incredible reboot and breakdown of the Batman mythos, inspiring the "dark and gritty" reboot trope that still leads the DC movies today with films like Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad. Featuring incredible performances from Liam Neeson as Ra's Al Ghul and Peaky Blinders' Cillian Murphy as The Scarecrow, Batman Begins sets up an excellent trilogy of films, and is worth revisiting if you haven't already.
38. The Shawshank Redemption
Really, The Shawshank Redemption needs no introduction. Based on a short story by Stephen King and adapted for the screen by King-regular Frank Darabont (The Green Mile, The Mist), The Shawshank Redemption is not only famous for being an incredible film, but also for being the highest-rated film on IMDb for years now. Starring Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne, the film concerns the imprisonment of Dufresne after being sentenced for the double-murder of his wife and her lover, a crime he did not commit. While serving his life sentence in Shawshank State Penitentiary, Dufresne meets Red (Morgan Freeman), a man who takes Andy under his wing. Together, the two men find some amount of relief in the prison through small acts of kindness, and eventually, hope to leave the life they made in prison behind.
37. An American Tail
An American Tail is a surprisingly-dark animated children's movie (although one with a happy ending, in case you need to know that going in). It tells the story of a young Russian mouse named Fievel whose family emigrates to America in the late 1800s. They and the other immigrants have heard that "there are no cats in America," but the reality turns out to be more dangerous.
Considered an achievement in filmmaking and nominated for six Academy Awards in 2015, Boyhood tells the story of Mason Evans Jr., from 2002 to 2013, as he grows from a six-year-old boy to a young adult headed to college, following each year in his life over its nearly-three hour runtime. Director Richard Linklater (School of Rock, the aforementioned Before Midnight) is no secret to playing with time, as he did with the Before trilogy, and Boyhood follows a similar premise. The film shot each year from 2002 to 2013, essentially being written as the crew and cast grew up around the film. The child actor cast as Mason, Ellar Coltrane, was seven when the film began shooting, and was 19 when the film wrapped in 2013. Also starring in the film: Before's Ethan Hawke as Mason's father, and Patricia Arquette as his mother, who won an Oscar for her performance.
35. Cool Runnings
This feel-good comedy takes its premise from an unlikely real-life story: in 1988, Jamaica sent a bobsled team to the Olympics, even though there was nowhere snowy in Jamaica for them to practice. Despite the lack of snow in their country, the four athlete-team decides they want to attend the Winter Olympics, and choose to make bobsledding the focus of their run for glory. When they fail to find anyone who takes them seriously, they begin making money on their own, while hiring Irving Blitzer (John Candy, in his third-to-last film before his death in 1994), a disgraced coach-turned-bookie who lives in Jamaica after being caught cheating in the 1972 Olympics. Together, the four athletes work together to earn a place in Olympic history.
34. The Sixth Sense
M. Night Shyamalan got everyone's attention with this movie's famous twist ending (which we won't explain here, for the benefit of the few remaining unspoiled), but the movie works because it's a convincing thriller, twist or no twist. Haley Joel Osment plays a young boy who is afflicted with visions of ghosts almost everywhere he goes; Bruce Willis plays the child psychologist who has seen this once before, and is determined to help the boy.
33. Tropic Thunder
When Damien Cockburn (Steve Coogan), a rookie director trying to adapt the biography of Vietnam war hero John "Four Leaf" Tayback (Nick Nolte) runs into issues on the set with his actors, he realizes the dangers of his set-based action film simply isn't provided the actors with an accurate depiction of war. After a multi-million dollar pyrotechnics stunt costs the studio millions and puts the project behind by months, Cockburn makes the decision to place his group of lead actors—portrayed here by Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Jay Baruchel, Brandon T. Jackson, and Robert Downey Jr., who was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in the film—in the jungle to shoot the film guerrilla-style. What the actors and crew don't understand, of course, is they've been dropped in the middle of the Golden Triangle, a part of Vietnam known for its drug trafficking. How long will it take for the less-than-brilliant actors to realize the dangers in? Will they make it out of Vietnam alive? Is Tom Cruise wearing a fat suit? You'll have to watch to find out.
32. Moonrise Kingdom
Unrelated to the aforementioned Paul Thomas Anderson, director Wes Anderson is often seen as an auteur director in his own right. The filmmaker behind works like Rushmore and the Oscar-nominated The Grand Budapest Hotel also gained critical acclaim for his 2012 coming-of-age story, Moonrise Kingdom. The film takes place in 1965, centering around the tale of 12-year-old orphan Sam Shakusky, a Khaki Scout attending Camp Ivanhoe in New England. While at camp, he rekindles a friendship with Suzy Bishop, a 12-year-old girl who resides in a house called Summers' End with her parents. The two had met the prior summer and become pen pals in the time since, and they've secretly planned to meet and runaway with each other. The film is gorgeous, with the distinct Wes Anderson style only he has mastered, and both the young Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward are fantastic. They're joined by an all-star cast of Anderson regulars, including Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Harvey Keitel, and Jason Schwartzman.
31. Frances Ha
The first of two Noah Baumbach films on this list, Frances Ha won't please every reader of this list. The film has been criticized as aimless, but for those it connects with, Frances Ha represents a modernization of the principles and ideas first shown in films from the French New Wave era of the 1960s. From the black and white film aesthetic to the impromptu trip to Paris halfway through the film, the inspiration from titles like Breathless and The 400 Blows is all over this title, co-written by director Baumbach and star Greta Gerwig (who later brought her wit and talent for writing to 2017's critically acclaimed Lady Bird). It won't be everyone's cup of tea, but the films topped several year-end lists and found critical acclaim with the film community. Baumbach's films are generally fairly bleak, and it makes for a great mixture with Gerwig's brightness and sense of joy found within dark.
30. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
Jake Kasdan wrote and directed this musical-biopic parody in 2007, produced and co-written by Judd Apatow and starring John C. Reilly as the titular character, Dewey Cox. Following the story of the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line, Walk Hard introduces viewers to Dewey Cox, a fictional Cash-esque persona who grew to popularity throughout the 1950s and 1960s as a rock star. Featuring fictional cameos and parodies of stars like Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, and The Beatles (portrayed by Paul Rudd, Jack Black, Justin Long, and Jason Schwartzman in one of the funniest scenes in the film), Walk Hard is an absurdist take on the biopic genre of filmmaking, yet also manages to tell a compelling story without devolving into the worst trappings of the parody genre. Though the film wasn't commercially successful, Kasdan later went on to write and direct 2017's breakout hit Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.
Oldboy is the middle entry in a thematic trilogy from filmmaker Park Chan-wook, with all three films concerned, in some way, with revenge and the faults of those who obsess with the idea of achieving it. The best of the three, Oldboy begins when the audience meets Dae-Su, a drunk bailed out of jail moments into the movie, only to be kidnapped and held captive for fifteen years. When he's finally released, he pursues his captor, while finding himself wrapped in a web of lies, conspiracy, and ultra-violence. Oldboy is dark, grim, and something that demands your attention, but it's also one of the best South Korean films ever made, and one of the best films of the 2000s. Skip the 2013 Spike Lee remake; the original is still the best experience for this dark, twisted plot.
28. Never Let Me Go
Based on the dystopian science-fiction novel by Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go is a romantic-drama film set within a dark future where a scientific breakthrough in 1952 allowed the human lifespan to be extended past 100 years. The film follows Kathy (Carey Mulligan, Drive, Inside Llewyn Davis), as she grows up within her boarding school Hailsham, along with her friends Tommy (Andrew Garfield, The Social Network) and Ruth (Keira Knightley, Pirates of the Caribbean) and becomes an adult in this dark society. The film is best watched without understanding much of the plot, but rest assured that the performances by the entire cast, which also includes Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water) and Domhnall Gleeson (Star Wars The Last Jedi, Frank), are incredible.
27. The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)
Our second Noah Baumbach tale is also his newest film, and a Netflix original. The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) tells the story of three children: Danny, Matthew, and Jean Meyerowitz, played here by Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, and Elizabeth Marvel, respectively. Danny and Jean are siblings, with Matthew as their half-brother, all tied together by their rocky relationship with their father Harold (Dustin Hoffman). Though the three children are relatively estranged from each other, their father's upcoming career retrospective brings all three to New York City to reunite, bicker, and deal with their life's problems. Despite the prominence of Sandler and Stiller, don't expect this to be a laugh-riot; like Baumbach's other tales, this is drama first, comedy second, though critics have praised Sandler's dramatic turn here as his best since Punch Drunk Love.
26. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is a childhood classic that simply must be seen by every generation, regardless of age. Released in 1971, Willy Wonka stars Gene Wilder as the title character and Peter Ostrum as Charlie Buckett, a boy from a poor family who wants nothing more than to see his family happy. When Wonka, whose chocolate factory has remained closed for years, releases five golden tickets inside candy bars around the world. When Charlie manages to scrounge up enough cash to buy a Wonka bar, he unveils the fifth and final golden ticket, from his chocolate bar, securing his trip to the factory with his Grandpa Joe. But once he arrives, he finds himself in over his head, lost in a land of chocolates, candies, and Oompa-Loompas. The film is worth it for the musical numbers, but Wilder's performance makes this one a must-watch.
25. Ip Man
Set in 1930s Foshan, Ip Man begins as the town is known as a popular hub for learning Southern Chinese Martial Arts, with numerous schools that often compete against one another. The film follows the titular Ip Man (Donnie Yen, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), a Wing Chun master whose wealth and skills have led him to keep a low profile, choosing to avoid working within the schools as a teacher and instead focusing on his training. This changes with the 1937 Japanese invasion, which cause Ip Man to lose his house and his wealth, forcing him into a rundown apartment and into working within coal mines. When Ip's friend Lin fails to return from a fight, Ip begins a quest to destroy the Japanese army at any cost, even if it destroys himself in the process. The film is loosely based on the real life of Ip Man, the Wing Chun grandmaster and the man who trained Bruce Lee.
24. Donnie Darko
Donnie Darko was Richard Kelly's cinematic debut, and on some level, it's difficult to believe the film ever got made at all. Featuring a prominent cast, including Mary McDonnell, Patrick Swayze, Katharine Ross, Drew Barrymore, and young stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Jena Malone, the science-fiction tale is hard to comprehend on your first watch, featuring heavy amounts of symbolism and foreshadowing, along with clues that aren't explained in the theatrical cut of the film (the one streaming). Yet, there's something about the mystery of the film that has won so many viewers over, and though the Director's Cut isn't necessarily bad, the lack of mystique surrounding the film is disappointing. If you've never experienced Donnie Darko, it's a must-see film, the bizarre tale of a troubled teenager whose visions lead him through destruction.
A recent Netflix Original film, Mudbound tells the story of two World War II veterans living in rural Mississippi following the conclusion of the war. The film begins when Henry McAllen (Jason Clarke) and his wife Laura (Carey Mulligan) purchase a farm alongside Henry's brother Jamie and their father, Pappy (Jonathan Banks, Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul). The Jackson family, led by Ronsel Jackson (Jason Mitchell) works the farm for the McAllens, until Ronsel and Jamie are pulled away to fight in the war. Upon returning, Jamie deals with PTSD and alcoholism, while Ronsel deals with readjusting to southern racism following his life in Europe. As Ronsel and Jamie begin to strike up a friendship, despite the objections of Pappy, the struggle to readjust to American life threatens to break apart both families. Mudbound is the first Netflix film nominated at the Academy Awards, up for eight awards at the 2018 Oscars.
Winner of the 2016 Oscar for Best Picture, Tom McCarthy's Spotlight tells the story of a team of journalists at the Boston Globe in the early 2000s, nicknamed "Spotlight," who come together to investigate cases of systemic and widespread child sex abuse by the Roman Catholic church in the Boston area. The film is, of course, based on the true story of the Spotlight team, and features an ensemble cast, including Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Brian d'Arcy James, Stanley Tucci, and Billy Crudup. The film was critically acclaimed and is considered one of the best dramas of the 2000s.
Okja is another Netflix-exclusive film, and the second English-language film made by Bong Joon-ho, the director of South Korean films The Host, Mother (neither of which should be confused with the American films of the same name), and Snowpiercer. Like Snowpiercer, Okja is an action-adventure film that uses its plot as a major metaphor for a real-life lesson, this time concerning factory-farming and the concept of environmentalism. The film may not be subtle with its messaging, but that doesn't stop it from being an excellent, spellbinding, and infinitely sad tale. The main character is played here by South Korean actress Ahn Seo-hyun, but don't think you won't see some recognizable faces. Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, Lily Collins, Giancarlo Esposito, and Jake Gyllenhaal all turn up here among their South Korean counterparts.
20. Sing Street
This movie is absolutely adorable, and nearly anyone who watches it is likely to fall in love with its charming tale of coming-of-age, of love, and of the joys of music. Directed by John Carney (Once, Begin Again) and partially based on his own youth, Sing Street tells the tale of Conor "Cosmo" Lawlor, the youngest son of an Irish family suffering under hard times in the 1980s. The boy is moved from a private school to a Christian Brothers school called Synge Street CBS (a real school), where he struggles to rebel against authority and deals with the threat of bullies. Across the street from the school, Cosmo meets a girl named Raphina, whom he falls for in an instant, and immediately lies to her about being in a band. Forced to make a decision, Cosmo and several of his classmates start a new wave band—and begin an exciting adventure full of love, loss, and some great music begins.
19. Hot Fuzz
Though most often praised for its incredible screenplay, Hot Fuzz manages to pull off multiple layers of filmmaking at once. Director Edgar Wright's (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Baby Driver) second theatrical film and the middle entry in his Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy of films stars, as expected, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, returning from Shaun of the Dead and the television series Spaced. In Hot Fuzz, Pegg plays Nicholas Angel, a London officer who is transferred to the small town of Snadford when his fellow officers realize his excellent police work will put them out of a job. While there, Angel begins to suspect a violent conspiracy is erupting from within the town, and together with police constable Danny Butterman (Frost), he attempts to crack the case behind a series of deadly "accidents" to bring the culprit to justice. Part paroday and part homage, Hot Fuzz is a hilarious sendup to American action films with a British sensibility, even going as far to directly parody Bad Boys 2 and Point Break. It's a must-see.
And now the story of a sweet little bear from Peru, whose wild adventures unfold for the first time in live-action. Paddington follows a bear named Paddington, raised in the jungles of Peru with his aunt Lucy and uncle Pastuzo, who gained their names when an explorer nearly hunted them down. Attuned with a taste for marmalade sandwiches, Paddington is forced to leave the comfort of his jungle after an accident during a storm costs uncle Pastuzo his life. Now a small bear in a big city, Paddington must find the explorer who cared for his aunt and uncle and adapt to life with the humans, including the Brown family, who take him in upon finding him in Paddington Station. Featuring an all-star cast of English and Australian actors (Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Peter Capaldi, Nicole Kidman, and the voice of Ben Whishaw) and a ton of Harry Potter alumni (including Jim Broadbent, Julie Walters, and the voices Imelda Staunton and Michael Gambon), Paddington is a family-friendly film everyone will love to watch again and again.
17. Kung Fu Panda
Speaking of movies about bears, Kung Fu Panda is one of Dreamworks' most-popular series, spinning off two follow-up films, a Nickelodeon television show, several short films and holiday specials, five video games, and an upcoming attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood. The first film that kicked everything off, however, starts out as a pretty sweet, simple movie. Kung Fu Panda stars Jack Black as Po, an overweight kung fu fanatic, who is accidentally identified as the Dragon Master, over the Furious Five kung fu masters everyone had assumed would be chosen. Po is forced to undergo serious training by his leaders, angry and jealous of his selection, but when Tai Lung, an evil kung fu master, breaks out of his prison, only Po can save the day.
16. Blue is the Warmest Color
Blue is the Warmest Color tells the story of Adèle, an introverted, quiet French teenager who is unsatisfied with her life. She feels disappointed by her current relationship with Thomas, and upon passing by a woman with short blue hair on the street, feels an immediate sense of attraction. Troubled by her sense of sexual identity, her openly-gay friend Valentin takes her to a gay bar. At a lesbian bar the same night, Adèle meets Emma, the girl from the street with the short blue hair, an aspiring artist and grad student. The two slowly become friends and, eventually, lovers, and the film begins to track their relationship as Adèle grows from a girl into a woman. At three hours and with an NC-17 rating, the film isn't an easy watch, but Blue is the Warmest Color is one of the best romance films of the past decade, and is absolutely worth watching in its entirety.
Based on Jane Austen's comedy-of-manners novel of the same name, Emma tells the story of Emma Woodhouse (Gwyneth Paltrow), a naive woman living in the 19th century. Emma considers herself a romantic, taking credit for having brought her governess Miss Taylor and her new husband, Mr. Weston together, despite her family disapproving of this claim and asking her to stop trying to create additional romantic matches. Nevertheless, Emma ignores her parents wishes and begins to attempt to set up Mr. Elton (Alan Cumming) and Harriet Smith (Toni Collette), an unsophisticated woman who is actually being courted by farmer Robert Martin. Featuring supporting performances from Ewan McGregor and Jeremy Northam, Emma is an excellent adaptation of Jane Austen's work detailing the hubris of youth.
14. Apollo 13
Director Ron Howard (Solo: A Star Wars Story, Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas) released this space-set dramatic retelling of the events of the Apollo 13 lunar mission in 1995, 25 years following the events. When Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks) and his team of astronauts take off in 1970 for the moon, things seem to be going well until the explosion of an oxygen tank occurs when its powered on. With one oxygen tank gone and the other tank found leaking into space, the moon landing is aborted and another mission is undertaken: get back home before time runs out. With an all-star cast including Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Gary Sinise, Ed Harris, and Kathleen Quinlan, Apollo 13 is not to be missed.
13. Men in Black
Adapted by director Barry Sonnenfeld (The Addams Family) from the comics of the same name, Men in Black stars Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as secret agents belonging to an organization responsible for dealing with alien life on Earth. When New York Police Dept. officer James Edwards III (Smith) pursues a criminal into the Guggenheim, but after the suspect is able to get away using supernatural speed and agility, Agent K (Jones) pays Edwards a visit. He neuralyzes James' memory, erasing the incident entirely from his memory, but leaves him a card, instructing him to visit a location for a training exercise. Upon passing the tests, Edwards is offered a position into the Men in Black, and not a moment too soon: a new alien threat soon threatens the world, leaving Agent K and the newly-named Agent J to save humanity as we know it.
12. V for Vendetta
A cult classic, V for Vendetta is the adaptation of the popular graphic novel of the same name, directed by James McTeigue, written by the Wachowskis, and starring Natalie Portman as Evey Hammond and Hugo Weaving as the titular V. In V for Vendetta, an alternate near-future has seen the United Kingdom taken over by neo-fascists, with the rest of the world facing war, famine, and turmoil. A dictator-like leader commands the United Kingdom, and all political opponents, immigrants, non-Christians, homosexuals, and any other "non-desirable" citizens have been locked away. It isn't until V, a man hiding his identity beneath a Guy Fawkes mask, who plans to start a revolution through a series of high-profile terrorist attacks. The film has been critically acclaimed, both for its themes and its visual styling, though some bemoan the differences between the adaptation and the original graphic novel by Alan Moore and David Lloyd.
11. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Though perhaps not as well-received as the first Guardians of the Galaxy, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 manages to up the ante in a way that doesn't just succeed in following up on the original film's crowd-pleasing humor and action, but also manages to tell a more-human story—albeit one with a living planet and a talking raccoon. Guardians Vol. 2 picks up just a few months after the first film, in which Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper), and Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) have decided to take up protecting the universe from threats both small and large. While trying to escape from a rogue alien race upset by the Guardians' actions, the team crashlands on a planet only to find that the man who saved the gang is none other than Quill's long-lost father, Ego. While Quill returns to Ego's home to learn about his mysterious past, the team must deal with conflicts as their big personalities continue to clash. Guardians manages to be one of the few Marvel films that truly feels different; even the big final battle has larger stakes than most of the Marvel finales. Definitely check this one out.
10. The Truman Show
If there was ever a movie that hits harder today than it did when it was first released, The Truman Show might be that film. Directed by Peter Weir (Witness, Master and Commander) and starring Jim Carrey, The Truman Show is at once a comedy, a science-fiction drama, and a social satire, following the life of Truman Burbank, a man taken as a baby by a corporation to star in the first always-on reality show about a single man. Truman lives his life inside a dome located in Hollywood known to Truman as "Seahaven," where everything from his wife to his parents and even his friends are simply actors reading from a script or reciting lines fed to them through an earpiece. In the era of reality television and always-active online social media presences, The Truman Show constitutes a must-watch piece of media.
9. Who Framed Roger Rabbit
In a version of Hollywood where real actors and cartoon characters live together, one of the most famous is accused of murder. A hard-drinking private eye named Eddie (Bob Hoskins) needs to get to the bottom of it, and of course he gets caught up in shady conspiracies. It's a wacky ride, and the blend of live action and animation is as impressive now as it was in 1988. The film is most notable for having appearances from both Warner Bros. cartoons like Bugs Bunny, and Disney characters like Mickey Mouse, including an infamous scene where Donald and Daffy Duck play opposing pianos. It's the kind of film that would never be made today, yet somehow the stars aligned in 1988.
8. Gangs of New York
Whatever you might think of Martin Scorsese's films, you can't deny that the man knows style. Gangs of New York is one of the man's few true epics, a sweeping story of revenge and gang warfare in the slums of New York City throughout the 1860s. At 168 minutes, the film is one of the longest on this list, using its running time to tell the story of its three main characters: Bill the Butcher, played here by Daniel Day-Lewis in usual top shape; his leader Boss Tweed, portrayed by Jim Broadbent (Harry Potter, Game of Thrones); and Bill's rival gang leader, Amsterdam Vallon, played by Leonardo DiCaprio in his first team-up with Martin Scorsese. Gangs of New York isn't a perfect film, but between the set design and Day-Lewis' masterful performance, it's one that must be seen.
7. Pete's Dragon
Though not nearly as big of a hit as Disney's remake of The Jungle Book, this 2016 reimagining of the 1977 animated musical Pete's Dragon won over critics and audiences alike with its soft sensibilities. In this version of the film, Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard) believes her father's (Robert Redford) tales of dragons within the woods are simple fairy tales, until she meets a 10 year old orphan named Pete (Oakes Fegley), who claims to live in the woods with a giant, friendly dragon. Directed by filmmaker David Lowery (Ain't Them Bodies Saints, A Ghost Story), the film manages to be simultaneously sweet and charming, feeling closer to the independent films Lowery typically films despite the backing of Disney. With Lowery set to take on Disney's Peter Pan remake over the next few years, Pete's Dragon is the perfect warm-up film for the director.
The Godfather might be considered one of the best movies of all-time, but some would argue that, when it comes to crime and gangster flicks, Goodfellas outdoes it. Starring Robert De Niro (The Godfather Part II) as Jimmy "the Gent" Conway and Ray Liotta (Field of Dreams) as Henry Hill, the film tells the true story of Hill's involvement with the mob from 1955 to 1980, showing the rise and fall of both the crime family run by Conway and Hill's turn from mob associate to drug addict to FBI informant. Directed by Martin Scorsese (Taxi Driver, The Wolf of Wall Street), the film is considered one of the director's best, and was nominated at the Oscars in 1991 for both Best Picture and Best Director, among other awards. With supporting turns from Joe Pesci (Home Alone, Raging Bull) and Samuel L. Jackson, this is a must-watch film for any cinephiles.
5. Kill Bill: Volume One
We could argue all day about what we consider Quentin Tarantino's best film. Pulp Fiction seems like the obvious answer, though you could make your case for Reservoir Dogs or perhaps, if looking at his more recent films, Inglourious Basterds. Jackie Brown is often hailed as his best piece of work that the fewest of his diehard fans have seen, but we think you could make the case for Kill Bill being one of his best. Originally designed as a single film, Kill Bill was released in two volumes in the fall of 2003 and the spring of 2004, and Volume One is often seen as the better of the two pieces of work. Following the Bride (Uma Thurman) as she goes on a revenge-fueled quest to take down her former Assassination Squad, Kill Bill: Volume One is a bloody, violent, and thrilling cinematic experience. The final fight scene between the Bride and the yakuza armies of O-Ren (Lucy Liu) are as exciting as anything you could ever imagine. Volume Two is also streaming.
4. The Hurt Locker
When Sgt. First Class William James (Jeremy Renner) arrives to lead a team of the US Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit in Iraq, he finds himself increasingly in over his head as things grow tense on the ground. The former leader of the team, Matthew Thompson, was killed by an IED in Baghdad, leaving the group tense and unprepared for the final weeks of their mission. Adding to that tension is the growing distrust between James and two of his teammates, Sgt. J.T. Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) and Specialist Owen Eldridge (Brian Geraghty), who find their leader's actions careless and dangerous. The Hurt Locker was critically-acclaimed for its representation of the Iraq War, based on the accounts of writer Mark Boal, a journalist who was embedded with a bomb squad for two weeks in 2004. The film is notable for being the first Best Picture winner with a female director, Kathryn Bigelow (Point Break), who also won Best Director while being up against her ex-husband James Cameron.
3. Schindler's List
Steven Spielberg is, perhaps, one of the most famous filmmakers in the world, and though his resume isn't perfect, no one has made as many incredible, jaw-dropping films as he has. From crafting the original blockbuster with Jaws to recreating dinosaurs with Jurassic Park, it's obvious that the man has more movie magic in his body than any living director. Schindler's List isn't one of his feel-good films, but it is an incredible document to the life of Oskar Schindler, a German businessman and member of the Nazi party who is credited with saving the life of 1,200 Jewish men and women during the Holocaust by employing them. Liam Neeson portrays Schindler in a spellbinding performance, with Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes, and Caroline Goodall all appearing in supporting roles. At 195 minutes, it's one of the longest films on our list (beaten only by The Godfather Part II below), but it's a must-see for any and all film completionists or historical buffs.
2. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
It's a shame that only the first of the three Lord of the Rings films are streaming online, but nevertheless, it's impossible not to recommend to some degree. Peter Jackson's trilogy of fantasy films based on J.R.R. Tolkien's epic saga of high fantasy adapts each of Tolkien's three volumes (often mistaken as individual books) into a film. The first film, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring begins the adventure, casing young Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) into an adventure he didn't ask for after inheriting the One Ring from his uncle Bilbo. With Middle-Earth in danger of being plunged into darkness and the One Ring too dangerous for any individual to wield its power, Frodo sets off on a journey stirred on by Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellan) and accompanied by his best friend Samwise (Sean Astin), fellow hobbits Pippin and Merry (Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan, respectively), prince Legolas (Orlando Bloom), and Boromir (Sean Bean), among others. Netflix has the theatrical version instead of the Extended Cut preferred by hardcore fans, but for those looking to dip their toes into the deep pool that is The Lord of the Rings, the theatrical cut will do just fine.
1. The Godfather and The Godfather Part II
Often considered one of the best films ever made, The Godfather, along with The Godfather Part II, which is also streaming on the platform, are must-sees for any diehard film lovers. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola and based on Mario Puzo's novel of the same name, The Godfather paints the portrait of the Corleone family, an Italian-American clan of criminals and mobsters headed by Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando, in his signature roll). When Michael (Al Pacino), Vito's youngest son, joins the mafia, he finds himself out of his element, leading to his transformation from innocent son to ruthless mafia boss. Released two years later, Part II follows Michael as the new Don of his family, attempting to protect his empire after an unsuccessful attempt on his life. Robert De Niro also appears in Part II, playing the role of a young Vito. Both films are essential to understanding the evolution of American cinema in the 1970s, and both still have ripple effects on film as an industry to this day. The controversial Part III, released in 1990, is also streaming.