The 50 Best Movies on Netflix Right Now (March 2021)

With a massive library of original films, classic favorites, and lesser-known gems, Netflix has long been a popular destination for movie lovers. Whether your tastes favor compelling drama, hilarious comedy, or mind-bending sci-fi, there’s something for everyone in the Netflix vault. With such a large collection available to subscribers, deciding what to watch can be difficult. That’s why we’ve assembled a list of the best movies available on Netflix right now.
Looking for something else? We’ve also rounded up the best shows on Netflix, the best movies on Hulu, the best movies on Amazon Prime, and the best movies on Disney+.

The Social Dilemma (2020)
Director Jeff Orlowski’s The Social Dilemma is an eye-opening docudrama that puts big tech like Google, Facebook, and Instagram under the microscope. Various talking heads (many ex-employees of big tech) weigh in on social media’s harmful implications — from algorithmic data mining to mental health detriments. The more one watches Orlowski’s film, the more questions one begins asking about their own social media exposure. The Social Dilemma doesn’t stray from its intent, leaving us with all kinds of things to think about (particularly our own social media accounts) once the credits roll.
Rotten Tomatoes: 88%Genre: Documentary, DramaStars: Tristan HarrisDirector: Jeff OrlowskiRating: PG-13Runtime: 94 minutes
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If Anything Happens I Love You (2020)
From writer/director duo Michael Govier and Will McCormack, If Anything Happens explores a world of profound grief in a beautifully illustrated and meditative manner. Navigating the emotional aftermath of one family’s tragic loss, the short animation begins in a dark and near-unforgiving place, but through the power of love and the will to move forward, the film progresses into a place of love, forgiveness, and hope. Not the easiest watch in this roundup, but worthy of attention for its emotional bravery and stellar composition.
Rotten Tomatoes: 100%Genre: Drama, AnimationStars: N/ADirector: Michael Govier, Will McCormackRating: RRuntime: 12 minutes
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Penguin Bloom (2020)
When Samantha Bloom (Naomi Watts) suffers a harrowing injury on a family vacation in Thailand, her life is forever changed. An outdoor enthusiast, the Australian nature lover’s paralysis is a black mark on her life. A year later, Samantha’s children bring home an injured magpie. Affectionately named Penguin, Samantha forms an intimate connection with the creature, a relationship that helps to nurture her mind and spirit. Based on a true story, this inspiring tale of recovery and restoration is a tearjerker on many levels and a magnificent vehicle for Watts to do what she does best. Balancing drama, family moments, and comedy when it’s needed most, Penguin Bloom is an uplifting cinematic journey you won’t want to miss.
Rotten Tomatoes: 66%Genre: DramaStars: Naomi Watts, Andrew Lincoln, Jacki WeaverDirector: Glendyn IvinRating: PGRuntime: 95 minutes
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Moonlight (2016)
2016’s Best Picture winner established Mahershala Ali as a tour de force actor and introduced the world to the brilliant Ashton Sanders. Moonlight attempts to convey the Black experience through three defining chapters of one man’s life. Chiron (Sanders) grows up in Miami, surrounded by a community that is full of love and support despite the crack epidemic that is ravaging it. As Chiron is pulled from his biological family by drug abuse and misunderstanding, he’s guided into manhood by Juan (Ali), a man who recognizes the struggles Chiron will face as a gay Black man. Juan tries to help Chiron find peace with his identity.
Rotten Tomatoes: 98%Genre: Drama, RomanceStars: Mahershala Ali, Ashton Sanders, Alex R. LittleDirector: Barry JenkinsRating: RRuntime: 111 minutes
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Cool Hand Luke (1967)
Based on Donn Pearce’s novel of the same name, Cool Hand Luke stars Paul Newman as the titular war veteran, Luke Jackson, a man sentenced to a chain gang after a night of drunken revelries. Testing the waters with the hot-headed authorities in charge of the prison detail, Luke quickly rises to prominence as an inspirational figure among his jail peers. But as the hot-headed vet grows ever-more comfortable with his pedestal prominence, events transpire that test his resilience and resolve. Cool Hand Luke would go on to inspire countless prison dramas over the years, thanks in part to the film’s rich acting ensemble and Gordon’s precise directing.
Rotten Tomatoes: 100%Genre: DramaStars: Paul Newman, George Kennedy, J.D. CannonDirector: Stuart RosenbergRating: PGRuntime: 126 minutes
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Mank (2020)
In this photographic gem of a Hollywood retrospective, director David Fincher delivers a finely layered drama about the writing of a Golden Age masterpiece. The writer in question is Herman J. Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman). The film he’s writing, commissioned by Orson Welles (Tom Burke), is Citizen Kane. Mank‘s narrative shifts back and forth from the 1930s to the 1940s, chronicling the turbulent life of its title character throughout his development of the screenplay. Mank was written by the late Jack Fincher, the director’s father, and features amazing performances from its rich ensemble cast. It’s a great watch for cinephiles and casual viewers alike and a dazzling and authentic take on La La Land’s heyday.
Rotten Tomatoes: 87%Genre: Drama, Biography, HistoryStars: Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried, Lily CollinsDirector: David FincherRating: RRuntime: 131 minutes
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Uncut Gems (2019)
Uncut Gems is not for the faint-hearted. The Safdie Brothers’ drama about a gambling-addicted jeweler is a relentlessly intense, high-stress ride through the world of high-stakes gambling. Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler) is a charismatic New York City jeweler who is always on the lookout for the next big score. When NBA All-Star Kevin Garnett takes an interest in Howard’s most recent high-value acquisition, believing it brings him luck, Sandler makes a series of high-stakes bets that could lead to the windfall of a lifetime. Unfortunately, not everyone in his life is willing to wait for that windfall. Howard has to perform a precarious balancing act between business, family, debt collectors, and more to get the payoff.
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%Genre: DramaStars: Adam Sandler, LaKeith Stanfield, Kevin GarnettDirector: Josh Safdie, Benny SafdieRating: RRuntime: 135 minutes
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Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
Pan’s Labyrinth is a breathtakingly beautiful and heart-wrenchingly tragic film. Winner of three Academy Awards (on six nominations), Pan‘s Labyrinth launched director Guillermo del Toro onto the American awards show radar and introduced audiences to the blend of sci-fi, horror, and surrealistic elements that characterize his style. Set in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, the film follows an imaginative young girl who also may just be a princess of an underground kingdom. Cast aside by her cruel, militaristic stepfather and isolated from her mother, Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) entertains herself on the grounds of their home in the Spanish countryside. When she stumbles upon a stone labyrinth presided over by a suspicious faun named Pan (Doug Jones), she is asked to complete three life-threatening tasks to prove she is the mythical princess, returned to reclaim her kingdom. Ofelia’s journey is expertly foiled by a guerrilla resistance to the rule of fascist Francisco Franco and the crumbling fragility of her newly formed family.
Rotten Tomatoes: 95%Genre: Drama, fantasyStars: Ivana Baquero, Sergi LópezDirector: Guillermo del ToroRating: RRuntime: 115 minutes
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Space Sweepers (2021)
Widely regarded as Korea’s first blockbuster space adventure, Space Sweepers is set in the year 2092 and follows the colorful crew of The Victory, a salvage ship that retrieves debris from space and sells it to the megacorporation that owns humanity’s last hope for survival, an orbiting space station high above the toxic surface of Earth. When the crew encounters a young girl in their latest salvage haul, it kicks off a wild adventure that pits them against powerful forces intent on steering mankind’s future. Filled with gorgeous visual-effects sequences, fascinating characters, and plenty of comedy — and a memorable robot named Bubs — the film is a fast-paced, fun throwback to classic space adventures with some wonderfully modern twists.
Rotten Tomatoes: 59%Genre: Sci-Fi, Adventure, ComedyStars: Song Joong-ki, Kim Tae-ri, Jin Seon-kyu, Yoo Hae-jinDirector: Jo Sung-heeRating: TV-MARuntime: 136 minutes
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Loving (2016)
Written and directed by Jeff Nichols, and inspired by the 2012 HBO documentary The Loving Story, Loving depicts the trials and tribulations of Richard (Joel Edgerton) and Mildred Loving (Ruth Negga), an interracial couple who wanted nothing more than to be wed. But after traveling from Virginia to Washington D.C., to get married, the couple is tracked down by their hometown authorities and charged with violating Virginia’s segregation laws. For their prison sentences to be thrown out, the couple must agree to vacate Virginia and not return for 25 years. But the couple doesn’t want to give up on their love. Ruth writes to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, which sets into motion one of the most vital Supreme Court cases in civil rights history.
Rotten Tomatoes: 89%Genre: Biography, Drama, HistoryStars: Joel Edgerton, Ruth Negga, Nick KrollDirector: Jeff NicholsRating: PG-13Runtime: 123 minutes
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The Old Guard (2020)
Netflix goes superhero in this action-packed flick about a secret organization of immortals who have protected the Earth from extinction for centuries. But when they are set up on an emergency mission, their powers are mistakenly exposed to the world. Now, they must work together to ensure none of the various powerful competing interests can control them for personal or monetary gain.
Rotten Tomatoes: 81%Genre: Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense, Science Fiction & FantasyStars: Charlize Theron, KiKi Layne, Chiwetel EjioforDirector: Gina Prince-BythewoodRating: RRuntime: 125 minutes
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I Care a Lot (2020)
Rosamund Pike portrays a diabolical con artist who poses as the legal guardian for elderly people in order to seize their assets in this dark, satirical thriller. Her highly profitable scam takes a dangerous turn when her latest victim turns out to be the mother of a powerful mob boss, leading to a deadly battle of wills between Pike’s character and a ruthless criminal kingpin played by Peter Dinklage. Eiza González and Dianne Wiest play supporting roles in the film, which earned praise from critics and led to Pike taking home a Golden Globe Award for her performance.
Rotten Tomatoes: 80%Genre: Drama, Comedy, ThrillerStars: Rosamund Pike, Peter DinklageDirector: J BlakesonRating: RRuntime: 118 minutes
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Hillbilly Elegy (2020)
In Ron Howard’s Hillbilly Elegy, adapted from J.D. Vance’s memoir of the same name, Gabriel Basso stars as J.D., an Appalachian teen in the throes of familial hardship. His mother, Beverly (Amy Adams), struggles with a heroin addiction that puts a strain on the whole family. Bonnie (Glenn Close) is J.D.’s one saving grace, an endearing and maternal grandmother who wants the best for her troubled clan. Close and Adams are at the top of their game in this raw and emotional drama that puts us deep in the heartache and hardships of the Vance dynasty.
Rotten Tomatoes: 25%Genre: DramaStars: Glenn Close, Amy Adams, Gabriel BassoDirector: Ron HowardRating: RRuntime: 116 minutes
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Roma (2018)
Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma opens quietly, the camera staring, motionless, at a tile floor as the credits play; eventually, water pours over the floor, as the sound of a mop spills in from just offscreen. It’s a boldly mundane opening, fitting for a film about an ordinary woman. Roma follows Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), a maid working in the household of a wealthy doctor, Antonio (Fernando Grediaga) and his wife, Sofia (Marina de Tavira). Cleo cleans the house, tends to the children, and keeps the household running as Antonio and Sofia’s marriage strains. Cleo is the type of character typically relegated to the background of stories like this, but Cuaron makes her the focus, depicting her daily labor and struggles with a surprise pregnancy and unreliable lover. It’s a beautiful Netflix film, delicately composed and shot in stark black and white.
Rotten Tomatoes: 96%Genre: DramaStars: Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de TaviraDirector: Alfonso CuarónRating: RRuntime: 148 minutes
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The White Tiger (2021)
Based on Aravind Adiga’s 2008 novel of the same name, The White Tiger follows the rags-to-riches story of Balram Halwai (Adarsh Gourav), an impoverished Indian villager that, through hard work (and a little manipulation), pushes himself into a much-lauded driver position for Ashok (Rajkummar Rao) and Pinky (Priyanka Chopra Jonas), two highly influential business magnates. Coming to love his position, a tragic misstep places Balram in the crosshairs of Ashok’s family. Unwilling to serve as a scapegoat, Balram chooses to fight back against the corrupt forces at play. A gripping class-drama akin to Parasite mates with Joker, The White Tiger is one of the greatest dramas you can stream today.
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%Genre: DramaStars: Adarsh Gourav, Rajkummar Rao, Priyanka Chopra JonasDirector: Ramin BahraniRating: RRuntime: 126 minutes
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The Disaster Artist (2017)
James Franco directs, produces, and stars in The Disaster Artist, an adaptation of Greg Sestero (portrayed in the film by Dave Franco) and Tom Bissell’s non-fiction book of the same name. Both the novel and film are a chronicle of Sestero’s rollercoaster friendship with infamous cult film legend Tommy Wiseau (Franco), an enigmatic actor with Hollywood dreams and plenty of money to pursue them — although no one can figure out why he’s so rich. After being turned down for role after role, Tommy decides to write, direct, and star in his own film called The Room, a bizarre and disjointed melodrama that he also casts Greg in. As the film runs into continued troubles and delays (mostly because of Tommy’s inabilities as a filmmaker), tensions rise between Greg and Tommy, along with the rest of the cast and crew. Whether you’ve seen The Room or not, The Disaster Artist is a mesmerizing examination of one of the strangest film productions of all time.
Rotten Tomatoes: 91%Genre: Comedy, DramaStars: James Franco, Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, Alison BrieDirector: James FrancoRating: RRuntime: 103 minutes
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Blue Ruin (2014)
Blue Ruin opens on a beach bum named Dwight Evans. Living off scraps of food and sheltering at night in a worn-down blue sedan, the vagrant is visited by a police officer with some bad news. It turns out that the man that killed Dwight’s parents is being released from prison. What follows is an off-the-rails take on the revenge-thriller genre, featuring powerful performances from the main ensemble. A passion project like no other, writer/director Jeremy Saulnier took a loan out on his property to secure financing for the production. Fortunately, it was an effort not in vain, as the indie film quickly found success on the festival circuit and in theaters, landing Saulnier future films like Green Room and Netflix’s Hold the Dark.
Rotten Tomatoes: 96%Genre: Mystery and Thriller, Crime, DramaStars: Macon Blair, Devin Ratray, Amy HargreavesDirector: Jeremy SaulnierRating: RRuntime: 90 minutes
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The Prom (2020)
Based on the 2018 Broadway musical of the same name, The Prom stars Meryl Streep and James Corden as Dee Dee Allen and Barry Glickman, two down-on-their-luck Broadway actors looking to put their great talents to use. It just so happens that in a small Indiana town, a student named Emma Nolan (Jo Ellen Pellman) needs theatrical support after coming out of the closet. In doing so, her traditionalist school responds by canceling her prom. Through the power of song and dance, an ensemble of amazing performers band together to fight for Emma and the equality of love. A jazz-hands spectacle, The Prom isn’t a perfect film, but it’s a more-than-delightful adaptation of an emotionally poignant musical that both newcomers and Broadway junkies alike can appreciate.
Rotten Tomatoes: 59%Genre: Comedy, Musical, LGBTQStars: Meryl Streep, James Corden, Kerry WashingtonDirector: Ryan MurphyRating: PG-13Runtime: 131 minutes
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His House (2020)
After suffering a major tragedy on their pilgrimage from South Sudan to the U.K., Bol (Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù) and Rial (Wunmi Mosaku), married refugees fleeing their war-ravaged country, are placed in a decrepit tenement home. As Bol does his best to acclimate to a new life of racial discrepancy, a series of horrific ghouls make themselves known to the grieving man. Blending a socio-political immigration story with a haunted house story, His House bends both sub-genres in a way we’ve never seen pulled off before. An exciting and unsettling directorial debut from Remi Weekes, His House should definitely fill your screen this weekend.
Rotten Tomatoes: 100%Genre: Mystery, Thriller, HorrorStars: Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù, Wunmi Mosaku, Matt SmithDirector: Remi WeekesRating: RRuntime: 93 minutes
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The Midnight Sky (2020)
An adaptation of the 2016 Lily-Brooks Dalton novel Good Morning, Midnight, George Clooney directs and stars in this cataclysmic sci-fi thriller. After a powerful radiation event eradicates a majority of the earth’s population, scientist Augustine Lofthouse (Clooney) knows his days are numbered. Hoping to make contact with any returning spacecraft to warn the travelers of earth’s decimation, Augustine makes contact with the homebound crew of a Jupiter rover. When the signal is disturbed, Augustine’s discovery of a girl named Iris (Caoilinn Springall) encourages the weary scientist to journey across the North Pole in hopes of finding a stronger antenna to alert the Jupiter crew. A compelling Netflix movie from start to finish, Clooney’s stab at the post-apocalyptic genre is certainly not a miss.
Rotten Tomatoes: 54%Genre: Sci-Fi, DramaStars: George Clooney, Felicity Jones, David OyelowoDirector: George ClooneyRating: PG-13Runtime: 158 minutes
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The Dig (2021)
Edith Pretty (Carey Mulligan), a widowed landowner, decides to tackle the Sutton Hoo burial mounds on her sprawling Suffolk estate. To do so, she hires amateur archaeologist Basil Brown (Ralph Fiennes) to tackle the job. As he and his crew begin the work, they unearth profound treasures that spark a national call to arms for prominent British historians. As a hierarchy of high-class excavators steamrolls Edith’s private operation, Edith argues for Brown’s position as the higher-ups try and force him out. A brilliant ensemble cast and picturesque cinematography make The Dig one of the best new historical dramas on Netflix.
Rotten Tomatoes: 87%Genre: DramaStars: Carey Mulligan, Ralph Fiennes, Lily James, Ben ChaplinDirector: Simon StoneRating: RRuntime: 112 minutes
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Finding ‘Ohana (2021)
Uprooted from her Brooklyn life, Pilialoha “Pili” Kawena (Kea Peahu) and her family travel to Oahu to care for her ailing grandfather. Initially disappointed by the lack of big-city buzz and activity, they discover a pirate journal that alludes to an ancient treasure buried somewhere on the island. As Pili and her older brother begin their quest for the trove, their journey takes them on a Hawaiian odyssey that connects them with their ancient island heritage. A loving family drama, Finding ‘Ohana is The Goonies meets visually breathtaking Hawaii.
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%Genre: Adventure, Action, ComedyStars: Kea Peahu, Alex Aiono, Lindsay WatsonDirector: Jude WengRating: PGRuntime: 123 minutes
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Pieces of a Woman (2020)
Expecting parents Martha (Vanessa Kirby) and Sean (Shia LaBeouf) are elated to welcome their child to the world. When Martha goes into labor, the couple phones their midwife. Unavailable, she sends a replacement named Eva (Molly Parker). During their baby’s birth, every parent’s worst nightmare unfolds in real time. Post-tragedy, Martha and Sean are deep in the throes of depression. As Martha contends with her obtrusive mother and Sean’s reckless behavior, a long court battle begins with Eva. Featuring an emotionally devastating performance from Vanessa Kirby, Pieces of a Woman is a heavy-hitting drama that doesn’t stray from trauma at any point.
Rotten Tomatoes: 76%Genre: DramaStars: Vanessa Kirby, Shia LaBeouf, Molly Parker, Ellen BurstynDirector: Kornél MundruczóRating: RRuntime: 128 minutes
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Wildling (2018)
Life has never been normal for Anna (Bel Powley). Confined to an attic bedroom, her adolescence is spent on empty days of staring out the window, longing for the wilderness. Cared for by a man she refers to as “Daddy” (Brad Dourif), he warns Anna that lurking in the world outside her bedroom is a terrifying creature called the Wildling. Traumatic events unfold, and a teenage Anna awakens in a hospital. When Ellen Cooper (Liv Tyler), the local sheriff, agrees to take Anna in, the dark mythos of the Wildling starts spreading. Is Anna losing her mind, or is something evil truly afoot in the woods? Director Fritz Böhm delivers a gripping yet morose fairytale about the coming-of-age process, a time where we lose touch with our mind and body when we need them most.
Rotten Tomatoes: 70%Genre: Fantasy, Mystery and Thriller, HorrorStars: Liv Tyler, Brad Dourif, Bel PowleyDirector: Fritz BöhmRating: RRuntime: 93 minutes
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Nocturnal Animals (2016)
In Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals, Amy Adams is Susan Morrow, a successful Los Angeles art gallery owner. One morning, Susan receives a manuscript for her ex-husband Edward’s (Jake Gyllenhall) latest novel, entitled Nocturnal Animals, along with an invitation to meet for dinner. As Susan begins paging through the manuscript, a macabre tale of backcountry crime unfolds onscreen. Seamlessly combining three narrative threads (present-day, Edward’s novel, and Susan and Edward’s past), Nocturnal Animals lives in a bizarre and uncompromising world where fiction informs the real, and vice versa. Led by amazing performances from its key cast, this is one you don’t want to pass on.
Rotten Tomatoes: 74%Genre: Mystery and Thriller, Drama, CrimeStars: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhall, Michael ShannonDirector: Tom FordRating: RRuntime: 116 minutes
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Over the Moon (2020)
Fei Fei (Cathy Ang), grieving the loss of her mother, clings to a legend about a moon goddess named Chang’e. Much to the dismay of her father and his new family, the girl aims to prove that the goddess does indeed exist. To do so, she begins work on a rocket that will take her to the moon to prove Chang’e’s existence. Filled with heart and mesmerizing animation, Over the Moon often looks and feels like your standard Disney epic, but the familiar structure and dazzling music are enough to keep everyone glued to the screen.
Rotten Tomatoes: 80%Genre: Adventure, Musical, Fantasy, Comedy, Kids And Family, AnimationStars: John Cho, Sandra Oh, Ken JeongDirector: Glen KeaneRating: PGRuntime: 100 minutes
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Into the Wild (2007)
An adaptation of Jon Krakauer’s 1996 novel, Into the Wild stars Emile Hirsch in the true story of Christopher McCandless, an Emory University graduate with a promising career right at his fingertips. Instead of choosing wealth and security, Chris ditches his possessions, credit cards, and essential documents in favor of a life of trekking through the Alaskan wilderness. One with nature, McCandless is tested by the elements, cross-country travel, and other hardships, while learning more about himself and what it takes to survive as a lone wolf in the harshest of American terrain. Praised for Hirsch’s emotional performance as McCandless and director Sean Penn’s loving biographical drama, Into the Wild is one you don’t want to miss.
Rotten Tomatoes: 83%Genre: Adventure, Biography, DramaStars: Emile Hirsch, Marcia Gay Harden, William HurtDirector: Sean PennRating: RRuntime: 147 minutes
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Mud (2012)
When Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) find a shipwrecked boat in a tree, the boys claim it as their own. Little did they know the vessel was already inhabited by a mysterious man named Mud (Matthew McConaughey). Ellis, caught in the middle of his parents’ impending separation, begins taking to the charismatic drifter. As the two grow closer, Mud’s past starts catching up with him. This is in the form of lost love and a big bounty … right on Mud’s head. The walls start closing in, with Ellis now thrust in the middle of Mud’s reckoning. Writer/director Jeff Nichols first imagined the story of a lone man hiding out on the mighty Mississippi back in his college days, and always imagined Matthew McConaughey in the lead role.
Rotten Tomatoes: 97%Genre: Adventure, DramaStars: Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan, Michael ShannonDirector: Jeff NicholsRating: PG-13Runtime: 130 minutes
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Superbad (2007)
It’s the end of the school year, and best friends Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) are gearing up for college. When Jules (Emma Stone) invites Seth to a house party, he promises to bring booze, even though he’s underage. Becca (Martha MacIsaac), Evan’s love interest, is going to the same party, and Evan promises her a bottle of vodka. What follows is a wild nighttime odyssey between the lifelong best friends, featuring vehicle injuries, police interference, and an impromptu house party (that isn’t Jules’s). A riotous comedy with some brilliant writing, Superbad made a splash when it was first released and continues to satiate to this day.
Rotten Tomatoes: 88%Genre: ComedyStars: Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Bill HaderDirector: Greg MottolaRating: RRuntime: 113 minutes
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Casino Royale (2006)
Arriving four years after Pierce Brosnan’s final Bond portrayal in Die Another Day, Casino Royale sees Daniel Craig helming the 007 title. Securing his license to kill after successfully assassinating two Embassy traitors, Bond is placed on the trail of the elusive Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen), a high-stakes terrorist financier. When Le Chiffre puts together a poker game at the titular Casino Royale in Montenegro, the Secret Service instructs Bond to bet against the villainous gambler. Lauded as an action-packed breath of fresh air for the decades-old franchise, Casino Royale delivers one explosive set-piece after the other, sequences only furthered by the mighty onscreen talents, particularly Craig and Mikkelsen.
Rotten Tomatoes: 95%Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Action, AdventureStars: Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Mads MikkelsenDirector: Martin CampbellRating: PG-13Runtime: 144 minutes
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A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Adapted from the Anthony Burgess novel of the same name, Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange is a severely visceral interpretation. Starring Malcolm McDowell as the charmingly violent Alex, we see a day in the life of the rebellious youth. Patrolling the dystopic streets of England with his thugs, the gang commit crime after horrible crime together … until Alex gets caught. Imprisoned for two years, Alex agrees to undergo experimental aversion therapy, a psychological reformatting that causes the boy to recoil at the sights of sex and violence, as well as the music of Beethoven, compositions once inspirational to Alex. Hailed as one of Kubrick’s most essential films, A Clockwork Orange may be too intense for some viewers, but it’s a masterfully shot parable of one’s man madness and its rearrangement.
Rotten Tomatoes: 86%Genre: Sci-Fi, DramaStars: Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, Michael BatesDirector: Stanley KubrickRating: RRuntime: 137 minutes
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American Honey (2016)
Writer/director Andrea Arnold’s epic drama is a kaleidoscopic sight to behold. When Star (Sasha Lane) is smitten by the exploits of the raucous Jake (Shia LaBeouf) and his door-to-door magazine road crew, the displaced youth decides to run away with the band of misfits. What unfolds is a fiery coming-of-age entry into the annals of essential American road cinema. Lovingly shot and perfectly cast, this very well could be Arnold’s opus, so it’s one you won’t want to miss.
Rotten Tomatoes: 79%Genre: Comedy, DramaStars: Sasha Lane, Riley Keough, Shia LaBeoufDirector: Andrea ArnoldRating: RRuntime: 162 minutes
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Django Unchained (2012)
In Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, the barrage of spaghetti-western bullets is never-ending. When Django (Jamie Foxx) is rescued from enslavement by the mysterious Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), the unlikely duo forms a partnership. Django agrees to help Schultz track down bounties. In return, Schultz will help Django locate his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington). After some winter bounty hunts, Django and Schultz track Broomhilda to the plantation of a notorious slaver named Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio). A charismatic host, but cunning like no other, it’s not long before Candie and his cohorts begin sniffing out Django’s true intentions. Big, bold, and bloody, Django Unchained is Tarantino’s second collaboration with actor Christoph Waltz and the first with the late composer, Ennio Morricone.
Rotten Tomatoes: 87%Genre: Western, Drama, ActionStars: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprioDirector: Quentin TarantinoRating: RRuntime: 165 minutes
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The Babysitter (2017)
Cole (Judah Lewis) loves his babysitter, Bee (Samara Weaving). She’s fun, good-looking, and worships the dark lord of all dark lords. Behind Bee’s charming smile is a sinister satanist with a thirst for blood. As members of a creepy cult begin their descent over Cole’s life, it’s up to the preteen to outsmart their efforts before he becomes Bee’s next victim. A Netflix original film, The Babysitter doesn’t surprise in many ways but follows the genre formula to a tee, and we love the dedication. It’s campy, edgy, and a joyride through and through.
Rotten Tomatoes: 72%Genre: Horror, ComedyStars: Bella Thorne, Judah Lewis, Samara WeavingDirector: McGRating: TV-MARuntime: 85 minutes
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The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)
Hollywood stalwart Aaron Sorkin rises to the occasion once more with his blistering interpretation of the 1969 Democratic National Convention trials, where seven Vietnam protestors were charged with crimes well beyond their intent. As peaceful demonstrations turn caustic, prejudice bleeds into testimony and eyewitness accounts of what took place the day of the riots. Featuring performances from Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baren Cohen, Alex Sharp, and John Caroll Lynch, Sorkin’s big-budget historical drama takes liberties here and there, but the result is a spellbinding examination of American history.
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%Genre: Drama, HistoryStars: Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baren Cohen, Yahya Abdul-Mateen IIDirector: Aaron SorkinRating: RRuntime: 130 minutes
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A Ghost Story (2017)
In the wake of a fatal car crash, C (Casey Affleck) returns to the earth as a white-sheeted phantom. After a spiritual pilgrimage back to the suburban ranch he shared with M (Rooney Mara), C’s spirit begins to haunt the home. Time seeps away as minutes, months, and years pass. M grieves, new families come and go, but the house (and the ghost) remain. Director David Lowery shot the project in relative secrecy, using the same VFX crew that lent their talents to Lowery’s Disney-financed remake of Pete’s Dragon. A cinematic experience like no other, A Ghost Story explores love, life, and loss in ways seldom seen onscreen.
Rotten Tomatoes: 91%Genre: Drama, Romance, FantasyStars: Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara, Will OldhamDirector: David LoweryRating: RRuntime: 90 minutes
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The Florida Project (2017)
Just miles away from “the happiest place on earth” is a wonderland far from a dream come true. But seen through Moonee’s (Brooklynn Prince) eyes, the Magic Castle Inn and Suites is a home filled with family, friends, and unrequited love. Sean Baker’s The Florida Project looks past the palm trees and theme parks of Orlando for a series of impoverished day-in-the-life vignettes. Featuring powerful performances across the board, the film paints an emotional but authentic picture of life on the fringe, as seen through the eyes of an adventurous and inquisitive child.
Rotten Tomatoes: 96%Genre: Adventure, Action, Sci-Fi, Mystery, ThrillerStars: Willem Dafoe, Brooklynn Prince, Valeria CottoDirector: Sean BakerRating: RRuntime: 111 minutes
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Good Time (2017)
Josh and Ben Safdie, the writer/director duo behind 2019’s Uncut Gems (also in this roundup), have a penchant for producing electric crime thrillers — a calling first realized with their 2017 film, Good Time. Our story follows Connie (Robert Pattinson) and Nick (Ben Safdie), two brothers who attempt to rob a New York city bank together. When their plan goes awry and Nick is arrested, Connie will do whatever it takes to free his brother before the authorities come crashing down on him, too. Good Time is a ceaseless NYC thrill ride with a firm foot on the gas, never once letting up on the adrenaline and chaos.
Rotten Tomatoes: 91%Genre: Adventure, Action, Sci-Fi, Mystery, ThrillerStars: Robert Pattinson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Benny SafdieDirector: Josh & Benny SafdieRating: RRuntime: 101 minutes
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Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2017)
Based on Barry Crump’s novel Wild Pork and Watercress, Taika Waititi’s Hunt for the Wilderpeople stars Sam Neill and Julian Dennison as an unlikely foster-father/foster-child duo. After his adoption by the Faulkner family, Ricky (Dennison) attempts to settle into his new family, but tragic events scare the boy into the dense New Zealand wilderness. Hec (Neill), Ricky’s foster-parent, tracks the boy down but suffers a debilitating injury in the process. Bonding over their pasts and hope for a freer future, the pair decide to hide away in the brush together. But with a national manhunt underway to find the man and boy, how long can their odyssey truly last? Hunt for the Wilderpeople lives and breathes through Neill and Dennison’s onscreen chemistry, an acting partnership only deepened by Waititi’s rich and emotive script.
Rotten Tomatoes: 96%Genre: Adventure, ComedyStars: Sam Neill, Julian Dennison, Rima Te WiataDirector: Taika WaititiRating: PG-13Runtime: 101 minutes
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Spotlight (2015)
An ensemble tour-de-force and a riveting true story are at the heart of Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight. In 2001, Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber) urges the Boston Globe’s “Spotlight” team to relaunch the team’s 30-year-old investigation of Friar John Geoghan, a priest accused of child molestation. When the Spotlight crew gets back to work, they begin unearthing a ring of corruption and cover-ups within the Boston Archdiocese. Winning Oscars for Best Picture and Best Writing, Spotlight sheds a light on the sordid events, but with sincere authenticity and respect for the journalists that did the horrific digging.
Rotten Tomatoes: 97%Genre: Drama, Biography, CrimeStars: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdamsDirector: Tom McCarthyRating: RRuntime: 128 minutes
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Carol (2015)
Based on Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel The Price of Salt, Carol stars Cate Blanchett as the titular Carol Aird, a wealthy Manhattan woman, and Rooney Mara as Therese Belivet, an aspiring photographer and department store worker. Stars collide during the 1952 Christmas season when Carol pays a visit to Frankenberg’s, where Therese helps her with a holiday transaction for Carol’s daughter. Carol accidentally leaves her gloves behind, offering a romantically infatuated Therese a way to get in touch with the esteemed socialite. What follows is a lurid tale of love, sexual identity, and the reality of gayness in a highly taboo era. Todd Haynes’ towering film is a lush performance piece, with Blanchett and Mara at the height of their powers.
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%Genre: Drama, RomanceStars: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah PaulsonDirector: Todd HaynesRating: RRuntime: 118 minutes
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Yes, God, Yes (2020)
Stranger Things alum Natalia Dyer stars in writer-director Karen Maine’s Yes, God, Yes, a coming-of-age take on religious repression and burgeoning sexuality. Alice (Dyer) and her friend Laura (Francesca Reale) decide to attend their Catholic school’s annual Kirkos retreat. On their pilgrimage, Alice inadvertently enters into a promiscuous AOL chat when she tries to look up a particular sex act. This puts into place a daisy chain of rumors among Alice’s peers, with Alice’s genuine innocence and curiosity put uncomfortably in the middle. Based on her 2017 short film of the same name, Maine’s Yes, God, Yes is a nuanced and mature story of one teenager trying to wade her way through the stigma of sex, featuring a powerful lead performance from Dyer.
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%Genre: ComedyStars: Natalia Dyer, Alisha Boe, Francesca RealeDirector: Karen MaineRating: RRuntime: 78 minutes
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The Impossible (2012)
On Christmas vacation in Thailand, the Bennett family, consisting of Maria (Naomi Watts), Henry (Ewan McGregor), Lucas (Tom Holland), Thomas (Samuel Joslin), and Simon (Oaklee Pendergast), are thrust right in the middle of the catastrophic 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The onslaught ravages the resort and separates the family. Maria and Simon awaken together, with Maria having sustained serious injuries. Henry, Thomas, and Simon have also survived but must wade through the chaos and literal ruins of the tsunami to try to find Maria and Simon. Directed by Juan Antonio Bayona, from a script by Sergio G. Sánchez, The Impossible features bold performances from its main ensemble, incredible set pieces, and a powerful true story at its core.
Rotten Tomatoes: 81%Genre: DramaStars: Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, Tom HollandDirector: Juan Antonio BayonaRating: PG-13Runtime: 114 minutes
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There Will Be Blood (2007)
Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood is a grim character study of one Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis), a burgeoning oil tycoon in early 20th-century California. Daniel is the type of man who would sell his soul to make a buck, which makes the arrival of Paul Sunday (Paul Dano) all the more serendipitous. The boy claims there is oil on his family’s property, and he’ll tell Daniel where it is for cash. The pair transact, and Daniel journeys to the town of Little Boston with his son H.W. (Dillon Freasier) to try and purchase the Sunday Ranch for drilling. What’s waiting for Daniel is a dastardly foe and his family’s cursed land. Or is Plainview the curse himself? There Will Be Blood is a two-hour-plus descent into a hell of business meets faith, featuring an Oscar-winning lead performance from Daniel Day-Lewis.
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%Genre: DramaStars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano, Kevin J. O’ ConnorDirector: Paul Thomas AndersonRating: RRuntime: 158 minutes
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Midnight Special (2016)
Jeff Nichols’ Midnight Special is a brilliant love letter to sci-fi chase films like Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind and John Carpenter’s Starman. The film follows Roy (Michael Shannon), Lucas (Joel Edgerton), and Roy’s son Alton (Jaeden Martell), a trio on the run from the FBI and religious extremists. Why? It turns out that Alton has otherworldly abilities. Glowing blue eyes, literal earthquakes, and satellite explosions are just a few of his tricks. Roadbound by night, it’s up to Roy and Lucas to get the boy to a predetermined latitude-longitude destination in Florida, coordinates spoken in tongues by Alton that the zealots have deciphered as scripture. In essence, Alton is their messiah, and he’s missing. Gripping from start to finish and featuring one of Sam Shepard’s last performances as the prolific cult leader, Midnight Special is a perfect weekend watch.
Rotten Tomatoes: 84%Genre: Sci-Fi, Mystery, ThrillerStars: Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten DunstDirector: Jeff NicholsRating: PG-13Runtime: 121 minutes
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The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)
What’s better than a new Western from the Coen brothers? How about six? The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is a sextet of short films, all set in the Wild West. They follow different characters through wild plots that explore the themes of human depravity and cosmic justice (or injustice) that recur so often in the Coens’ works. The stories and protagonists vary wildly. The eponymous sequence follows Buster Scruggs (Tim Blake Nelson), a sharpshooting, guitar-slinging cowboy roaming the West and singing of his adventures. In another, a lonely prospector (Tom Waits) digs for his fortune. The stories in The Ballad of Buster Scruggs fall on the surreal end of the Coen spectrum — they’re somewhat comical, occasionally brutal folk tales that don’t always leave the viewer feeling they’ve learned a lesson. Here’s our list of the best comedies on Netflix to browse if you’re looking for more in this genre.
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%Genre: Comedy-dramaStars: Liam Neeson, James Franco, Tim Blake NelsonDirector: Ethan Coen, Joel CoenRating: TV-MARuntime: 133 minutes
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Enola Holmes (2020)
So, you thought Sherlock Holmes was played out? Well, you thought wrong, because you didn’t know he had a little sister. Millie Bobby Brown shines as the title character in this action-packed, fun-filled twist on the classic Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories. When her mother turns up mysteriously missing, teenage Enola Holmes hits the trail to find her — something her more famous brother is simply too preoccupied to do. As she sniffs out clues, Enola discovers she might just have as much as, or even more of, a knack for this sleuthing thing than her brother, slowly uncovering a dangerous conspiracy that threatens to rattle the English aristocracy.
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%Genre: Action, Drama, Mystery, ThrillerStars: Millie Bobby Brown, Helena Bonham Carter, Henry CavillDirector: Harry BradbeerRating: NRRuntime: 92 minutes
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Shadow (2018)
Legendary Chinese director Zhang Yimou followed up his misbegotten The Great Wall with 2018’s Shadow, a beautiful return to form. The film begins when Commander Ziyu (Deng Chao) is defeated in a duel with enemy commander Yang Cang (Hu Jun), losing an important city in the process. This infuriates Ziyu’s king, who demotes Ziyu to commoner status and tries desperately to reclaim the city. Unbeknownst to the king, the actual Ziyu is on the verge of death after the duel, replaced by a body double who must now train to beat Yang Cang. Shadow is a historical epic of grand scope, heavy on intrigue and stylish combat sequences accented by a stark color palette.
Rotten Tomatoes: 95%Genre: DramaStars: Deng Chao, Sun Li, Ryan ChengDirector: Zhang YimouRating: TV-MARuntime: 116 minutes
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Nightcrawler (2014)
Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a driven young man who is desperate to find work in the high-octane world of Los Angeles crime journalism. After discovering a group of freelance camera crews who film crashes, fires, murder, and other mayhem around the city, Lou muscles his way into this world, known as nightcrawling. Now, every police siren equals a possible cash windfall, and Lou begins to see victims as another payday. Aided by veteran newswoman Nina (Rene Russo), Lou thrives in the blood-sport of local TV news, eventually becoming the star of his own story.
Rotten Tomatoes: 95%Genre: Mystery, DramaStars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Riz AhmedDirector: Dan GilroyRating: RRuntime: 117 minutes
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Ravenous (2017)
Ravenous (originally titled Les Affamés) begins after a mysterious plague has annihilated much of Quebec, turning its victims into shrieking, flesh-eating monsters. The story follows various survivors who eventually band together to fight back the horde, but despite the familiar plot, this isn’t a typical zombie movie; it is a deliberately paced, eerily beautiful horror movie. The protagonist is a man named Bonin (Marc-Andre Grondin), who wanders the countryside, finding other survivors and slaying zombies. As the group grows, the film gives each character proper development, so they feel fully-fleshed out, unlike the stock survivors of many a zombie film. While the film has its gory moments, Ravenous frequently employs an atmosphere of dread built through uncanny imagery, such as when the zombies congregate before a shrine made of furniture.
Rotten Tomatoes: 87%Genre: HorrorStars: Marc-Andre Grondin, Monia ChokriDirector: Robin AubertRating: TV-MARuntime: 103 minutes
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I’m Thinking of Ending Things (2020)
Writer-director Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Synecdoche, New York) is at his most delightfully weird in this Netflix original movie. This time- and the perspective-bending story follows a young, nameless woman on a road trip to her new boyfriend’s parent’s house in the middle of a blizzard. When she gets there, she finds the parents (Toni Collette, David Thewlis) are extremely weird, and the house seems to exist in some kind of surreal alternate reality where time and character morph with abandon. Alternatively strange, hilarious, and constantly thought-provoking, I’m Thinking of Ending Things is powered by strong writing and outstanding performances from all the actors involved.
Rotten Tomatoes: 82%Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery & SuspenseStars: Jessie Buckley, Jesse Plemons, Toni Collette, David ThewlisDirector: Charlie KaufmanRating: RRuntime: 134 minutes
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