With over 1,500 original titles, Netflix continues to stay atop of the streaming wars pyramid thanks to their exclusive content offerings. Netflix has something for everyone, covering every genre and target demographic imaginable. Sure, everyone knows about popular series like Stranger Things, Squid Games, or The Witcher, but when it comes to film, Netflix has some genuinely good original movies on the platform. With so many titles to choose from, it’s difficult sometimes to make heads or tails of what’s available, let alone what’s actually worth the sit down and stream. We’ve done the heavy lifting so you don’t have to, and figured out the very best Netflix movies ready for your viewing pleasure.
Please note: This list pertains to U.S. Netflix subscribers. Some titles may not currently be available on international platforms. This article is frequently amended to remove films no longer on Netflix and to include more original films that are now available on the service.
Death at a Funeral (2007)
For fans of Matthew Macfadyen’s Tom Wambsgans on Succession, Death at a Funeral offers
another outing where he plays a character who is much-put-upon by everyone around him.
Aspiring writer Daniel’s (Macfadyen) father has just died, and all he wants in the world is to give
him a dignified send-off. But his entire extended family seems determined to upset these plans,
creating a comedy of errors that reaches its climax with a pre-Tim Robinson coffin flop.
Macfadyen gamely plays the straight man, allowing a raucous ensemble cast – including Peter
Dinklage, Alan Tudyk, Ewen Bremner, Rupert Graves – to take the comedy to ever-more
extreme heights. Death at a Funeral made such an impact that three years later, it earned an
American adaptation with Chris Rock in the lead role.
It Follows (2014)
At first glance, the monster in the modern horror classic It Follows doesn’t seem like the most threatening thing in the world. But while it's not grotesque or even inherently spooky – as many of its top horror movie counterparts are – it is utterly relentless, which is almost scarier. Passed from teenager to teenager like some sort of supernatural sexually transmitted infection, the unsettling entity hunts and kills whoever is last in the chain – unless they pass it on to someone else, that is. Understated but totally unnerving, It Follows is a defining piece of horror cinema in the 2010s, showing that sometimes creating a sense of dread can be just as frightening as a well-timed jump scare.
See more of the best horror movies on Netflix.
Easy A (2010)
Heralding a new golden age of teen sex comedies, Easy A is a star-making vehicle for Emma Stone in the lead role. A clever play on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Easy A revolves around a teenage girl (Stone) who realizes that she can charge money for allowing boys at her school to lie about their sexual exploits with her. They’re probably going to do it anyway, so she might as well make a little money off it, and plus, it’s not like she really needs her pristine reputation. But becoming the school harlot ends up being more trouble than she bargains for. Easy A is a great teen comedy, but it also has a lot to say about the double-edged sword facing high school girls, who are often considered either prudish or promiscuous, with absolutely nothing in between.
The Woman King (2022)
Set amidst the 19th-century African kingdom of Dahomey (located in present-day Benin), The Woman King revolves around the Agojie, a group of female warriors who have pledged to protect their people and their king (played by John Boyega). This army is led by the fierce Nanisca (Viola Davis) as she trains a new cohort of soldiers, including the strong-willed Nawi (Thuso Mbedu). The Woman King examines the power dynamics of African empires before European colonization, and it does so without sacrificing an ounce of thrilling action along the way. The fight sequences are bold and energetic, aided by vivid costumes and a powerful score. Viola Davis may have missed out on an Academy Award nomination for her performance in The Woman King, but that doesn’t make this film any less worthy of praise.
The Wonder (2022)
Science and religion are two warring philosophies, and they come into abrupt conflict in The Wonder, when a young nurse, Lib Wright, (played by Florence Pugh) is sent to Ireland to observe a bona fide miracle. Anna O’Donnell, an Irish child, allegedly hasn’t had a bite to eat in months, yet she still survives. A local board has been assembled to assess whether or not this little girl is a saint in the making, and to that end, they’ve hired the nurse and a local nun to watch her every hour of the day and report back on their findings. Lib expects to find a reasonable explanation for the girl’s strange behavior, her faith in science and medicine flying in the face of the religious fervor that otherwise grips the small rural community. Gorgeously shot by cinematographer Ari Wegner, The Wonder is a fascinating historical drama that examines the tensions between conflicting belief systems in 1860s Irelan
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022)
With 2019’s Knives Out, we have Rian Johnson to thank for singlehandedly bringing back the murder mystery. After it became a surprise hit, a sequel was all but assured, resulting in Glass Onion, which features an all-new cast of characters aside from its fan-favorite detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig). In it, Blanc is invited to a murder mystery party on a private Greek island hosted by a tech billionaire and, predictably, chaos ensues. Glass Onion is just as clever and narratively satisfying as its predecessor, with Craig preventing Blanc from becoming a caricature and Janelle Monae stealing just about every scene she appears in. Here’s hoping for the Knives Out cinematic universe to have a long and healthy life!
Leave no Trace
Back before Last Night in Soho, Old, or Jojo Rabbit, Thomasin McKenzie was just a young New Zealand teen actress getting her start in the industry. Enter Leave No Trace, a quiet independent film with a towering performance that put McKenzie on the map. She stars as Tom, the young daughter of a war veteran (played by Ben Foster) whose struggles with mental illness have led them to an unconventional life off the grid in the Pacific Northwest.
Their existence is peaceful and fulfilling in its own way, but questions are raised about the suitability of it for a young girl who, after all, deserves to have a proper roof over her head and an opportunity to socialize with people her own age. With thoughtful, mature turns from both Foster and McKenzie, Leave No Trace is unassuming yet completely captivating.
There’s something about Keira Knightley that just cries out for a period drama. Maybe it’s her diction, maybe it’s the way she owns every historically accurate costume she’s ever put on, but you just can’t keep her in the modern world for too long. In Colette, she stars as the French novelist Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, whose book series about the coming of age of a young schoolgirl named Claudine became a phenomenon in France at the turn of the century.
Knightley puts in a self-assured performance, navigating Colette through her own journey from meek housewife to shining star of Parisian literary society. The film shows her challenging traditional norms, experimenting with clothing styles (at the time in France, it was illegal for women to wear pants in public), and embarking upon relationships that span the gender spectrum. Colette is a story of self-discovery, as Keira Knightley’s clever French author learns how to be fully herself, regardless of the consequences.
Guillermo del Toro has made his directorial career by bringing to life nightmarish visions, but with Crimson Peak, he sets his sights on a gothic story that is as much based in romance as it is in horror. Tom Hiddleston stars as an English nobleman with a crumbling estate and a too-close relationship with his sister (Jessica Chastain) who marries Buffalo heiress Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) for less than honorable reasons. Blending ghostly elements, an atmospheric manor house, and a tragic love story, Crimson Peak may not be Guillermo del Toro’s most famous film (and its middling reception reflects an audience expecting something more in line with his other, more horror-focused projects), but it is one of his most beautiful.
A Knight’s Tale (2001)
Over a decade after his untimely death, Heath Ledger’s legacy seems tied in the eyes of many movie fans to his now-iconic performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight. But that’s ignoring the charm of his earlier roles, including his turn as William Thatcher in A Knight’s Tale.
A lowly squire in medieval England, William has dreams of “changing his stars” and becoming a knight. When his master, Sir Ector, dies unexpectedly before a tournament, he gets his wish – but before long, the lies associated with his new career as a fake knight grow larger and spiral out of control.
Ledger is a ball of charisma in the lead role, cheerfully supported by comedic turns from Mark Addy, Alan Tudyk, and Paul Bettany. A Knight’s Tale is playfully anachronistic, featuring a modern soundtrack and jousting scenes that give a medieval tournament the atmosphere of a 21st-century sports arena.
If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)
Based on a 1974 James Baldwin novel, If Beale Street Could Talk was Barry Jenkins’ first film after the Oscar-winning Moonlight. It’s the haunting, lyrical tale of Black love in 1970s Harlem, as childhood sweethearts Tish and Fonny struggle to build a life for themselves. Together, they grapple with an out-of-wedlock pregnancy that threatens to see them shunned by their loved ones, and a criminal case that may tear them apart.
No one knows how to shoot the streets of Harlem with more beauty than Barry Jenkins, which, combined with the lush, melancholy score from Nicholas Britell, creates a stunningly romantic backdrop for their ill-fated love story. Regina King, playing Tish’s mother Sharon, puts in one of the best performances of her career, which would see her take home an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
One of the biggest global hits to come out of India in decades, RRR is an over-the-top extravaganza of violence, nationalism, and of course, epic dance numbers. It stars N.T. Rama Rao Jr. and Ram Charan as a pair of best friends who will do anything for one another. But their relationship becomes more complicated when it becomes clear that neither is being completely honest with each other.
Their conflict amidst their individual efforts to stay true to themselves provides the backbone of RRR, as duty tears them apart. The film is a little over three hours long, but it hardly feels it: When would you even have time to look at the time, when there are fight sequences with actual tigers and endlessly charming dance battles to watch instead?
See more of the best action movies on Netflix.
The King (2019)
Set in England during the 15th century, The King is the most recent film to explore the life of King Henry V. A story first dramatized by William Shakespeare in the late 1500s, we are given a glimpse of the king not as a proud and noble leader, but as a young man who still has some serious maturing to do.
Timothee Chalamet stars as Hal, the hard-partying son of King Henry IV who ascends to the throne reluctantly, uneager to take on the responsibilities of all of England. But he can’t hide from his fate, and he will be given an opportunity to prove himself at the now-legendary Battle of Agincourt. With strong performances from Chalamet and Joel Edgerton as the part-buffonish, part-wise Sir John Falstaff, The King is a respectable period drama that doesn’t fail to engage.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)
Known for their work on the big screen, it was something of a surprise when Joel and Ethan Coen announced that they would be making a western exclusively for Netflix. But although the medium may be different, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs has many of the same qualities that made the Coen Brothers famous. It features a series of vignettes, capturing life in the Old West in ways that are often melancholy, frequently hilarious, and always entertaining.
Tim Blake Nelson earns special attention as the singing cowboy Buster Scruggs, whose shootout opens the film. But it is the story of “Meal Ticket” that lingers with the viewer, where a young man with no limbs (Harry Melling) performs dramatic recitations while traveling from town to town, only to be replaced by a chicken who can supposedly solve math problems.
The Power of the Dog (2021)
The Power of the Dog is a meditative exploration of masculinity amidst the Old West. Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Phil Burbank, a grizzled Montana cowboy who runs a ranch alongside his soft-spoken brother George (Jesse Plemons), but has little patience for George’s new wife Rose (Kirsten Dunst) or her seemingly delicate teenage son Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee).
As the story progresses, an aura of tension fills the ranch as Phil plays subtle mind games with Rose, upsetting the fragile balance of the homestead. Filled with top-tier performances from the entire cast and the stunning cinematography of traditional western landscapes from Ari Wegner, The Power of the Dog is a slow-burning visual feast that challenges conventional stereotypes of manliness, especially within the western genre.
tick, tick … Boom! (2021)
Up-and-coming Broadway playwright Jonathan Larson tragically died the night before RENT, the show that would redefine musical theater in the 1990s, premiered on Broadway. But before that, he was just another struggling artist in New York. Tick, tick … Boom! is the musical he wrote while grappling with his fear of growing older without having achieved his dreams.
Although Andrew Garfield has a background in theater, his performance here is nonetheless a huge leap of faith, as he showcases hitherto unexplored musical abilities in the lead role of Jonathan Larson himself. Directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, tick, tick … Boom! is a love letter to theater fans everywhere, with more cameos from Broadway legends than you can shake a stick at.
From groundbreaking director Ava DuVernay, 13th is a documentary analyzing the connection between the 13th Amendment which abolished slavery throughout the United States and ended involuntary servitude except as a punishment for conviction of a crime, and the mass incarceration of Black citizens in America.
13th is a gripping documentary showcasing how despite the “abolishment” of slavery, that the continued systemic oppression of Black Americans through things like Jim Crow laws, the school-to-prison pipeline, the war on drugs, and the prison industrial complex have all contributed to what is essentially “slavery with extra steps.” The film was later nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 89th Academy Awards, and won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special at the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (2018)
We certainly have plenty of dreamy World War II-era romances floating around in film – but at this point, what’s the harm in one more? In The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (what a mouthful), Lily James stars as Juliet Ashton, a young writer who becomes fascinated by the war experiences of the inhabitants of Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands that was occupied by the Germans. When she travels to the island, she discovers the horrors and small rebellions of people whose lives have been turned upside down. And in the process, she becomes drawn to one inhabitant in particular – Dawsey Adams, played by the always delightful Michiel Huisman. Their chemistry is undeniable, and goes a long way in helping The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society stand out in a crowded field.
I’m Thinking of Ending Things (2020)
The inside of Charlie Kaufman’s mind must be a fascinating and terrifying place to be. Based on Iain Reid’s novel of the same name, I’m Thinking of Ending Things feels like a waking fever dream of emotional duress and psychological torment. The story centers on a woman considering ending her relationship on the way to meet her boyfriend’s family, but that surface level synopsis does the film no justice.
Kaufman has a history of making idiosyncratic cinema, with films like Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Synecdoche, New York, but this feels like his least accessible venture yet, and that’s not a bad thing. This is one that you’ll be thinking about and over analyzing long after the credits roll, and possibly find yourself wandering into your own personal struggles of existential instability in a way that only Kaufman movies can.
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)
It seems impossible to make a romantic comedy these days now that the commonly accepted romcom tropes have all gone the way of the dodo, but Netflix’s film adaptation of Jenny Han's 2014 novel of the same name was so successful, it lead to a trilogy of films and an upcoming spin-off. The film centers on teenage Lara Jean Covey (Lana Condor) who writes secret, soul-baring letters to her five crushes, but never intends to send them.
After the letters get out (because of course they do), her entire world is thrown upside down and she must learn to navigate life, love, and being honest about her feelings. It’s a genuinely heartfelt look at teenage love in a way that never feels like it's talking down to its intended audience, and brings to life relatable characters you won’t regret cheering for in a decade. Lara Jean is the newest teen movie queen.
Marriage Story (2019)
The memes of Adam Driver punching a wall and crying are good, but the source material, Marriage Story, is great. If you’ve ever been in a relationship that has fallen apart, married or not, Marriage Story is downright gutting. Driver and co-star Scarlett Johansson star as a stage director and his actor wife as they struggle through a gruelling, coast-to-coast divorce that pushes them to their personal and creative extremes.
Laura Dern won the Best Supporting Actress Award at the 92nd Academy Awards for her performance as lawyer Nora Fanshaw, and although the film is not autobiographical, the personal touch Noah Baumbach brought after his own divorce from Jennifer Jason Leigh is downright palpable.
After premiering at Sundance in 2022, To Leslie seemed like it would join the extensive catalog of independent films that are well-received by critics but never get the kind of distribution deal that allows it to be seen by mainstream audiences. That is, of course, until Andrea Riseborough pulled off the ultimate Cinderella story, earning an Oscar nomination through a tiny (and to some, suspiciously executed) grassroots campaign. She plays the titular Leslie, a drug addict in recovery attempting to reconcile with her son (Owen Teague) and begin a new life with the help of a grumpy but soft-hearted motel owner (Marc Maron). Her performance is transformative, creating a character who is unlikeable but somehow sympathetic at the same time.
Da 5 Bloods (2020)
Spike Lee really never misses, huh? In what is arguably his most ambitious film, Da 5 Bloods focuses on four Black veterans forced to battle the forces of man and nature when they return to Vietnam looking for the remains of their fallen squad leader and the gold fortune he helped them hide.
Part historical drama, part heist movie, and part political thriller, Lee weaves an intersectional masterpiece topped with an all-star cast featuring Delroy Lindo, Jonathan Majors, Clarke Peters, Johnny Trí Nguyễn, Norm Lewis, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Mélanie Thierry, Paul Walter Hauser, Jasper Pääkkönen, Jean Reno, and Chadwick Boseman.
The Mitchells vs. the Machines (2021)
Netflix’s main competitor in the streaming wars is Disney+, and the juggernaut company feels almost untouchable when it comes to animated fare … that is until Netflix and Sony released the best animated film of 2021, The Mitchells vs. the Machines. The Mitchells seem like your average, slightly dysfunctional American family, but they must put their strife aside when AI assistance robots begin to take over the world.
The premise sounds silly, but The Mitchells vs. the Machines is filled with so much heart it’s impossible not to fall in love with this family. Danny McBride, Abbi Jacobson, Alex Hirsch, Maya Rudolph, Michael Rianda, Olivia Colman, Fred Armisen, Eric Andre, and Doug the Pug all thrive in their voiceover roles, and this film proves that Netflix is a true contender in original animated programming.
If you're looking for more like this you can take a look at our list of the best sci-fi movies on Netflix right now.
Before Bong Joon-ho took home Oscars for Parasite, the South Korean director delivered Okja for Netflix. The film centers on a young girl named Mija, who has served as a caretaker and companion to the massive “super-pig” named Okja in the mountains of South Korea.
After a massive conglomerate takes Okja for themselves and transports the creature to New York City, Mija sets out on a rescue mission to find her friend, and stop the nefarious plans of the corporation’s image-obsessed CEO played by Tilda Swinton. Okja is easily one of Joon-ho’s best films, but there’s been little attention paid to it since its release in 2017. That needs to change. All hail the super-pig.
Netflix's Originals have become a force to be reckoned with in recent years, with the service going from a collection of other studios' films and popular TV shows to a genuine content-churning machine. We try to focus on the Netflix Originals that have proven to be popular favorites as well as those movies that scored well on aggregate sites like Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic. In some cases, we may pick more surprising titles that aren't as "buzzy" as some others on this list. The one common thread is that all these movies are truly worth your time.
Upcoming Netflix Movies
Netflix has a constant churn of new original fillms and old titles coming to the streaming service every month. For June 2023 we're expecting the sequel to the Chris Hemsworth movie, titled Extraction 2. There's also a Netflix Original romantic comedy called The Perfect Find featuring Gabrielle Union arriving on June 23.