Movies To Watch on Netflix: top movies on Netflix to stream today
It’s difficult to narrow down the finest Netflix movies at any one time, not least because the streaming service adds new high-quality content to its library on a monthly basis.
Our list of the 30 best Netflix movies is updated on a daily basis with new original films as well as returning classics, so there’s something for everyone. We also keep an eye on and replace movies that have been removed from Netflix (RIP, Pan’s Labyrinth), so this list is as up-to-date as possible with the top Netflix movies.
Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog and Lin Manuel Miranda’s debut film, tick, tick…BOOM! – two superb, character-driven dramas that tell two very different stories – are the most recent additions to our library. They’re both Netflix original films, by the way.
That is, after all, what the streaming service excels at, which is why, despite growing competition from the likes of Disney Plus and HBO Max in recent years, Netflix remains the greatest streaming service right now.
Movies To Watch on Netflix in the United States right now are listed below.
1. Django Unchained
Django Unchained is a high-energy modern western that is probably Quentin Tarantino’s most blockbuster action movie-style flick. Django (Jamie Foxx) is a former slave who teams up with Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) to hunt down criminals across the American South, eventually collaborating to free Django’s wife from the despicable Calvin Candie (meme king Leonardo DiCaprio). It’s a violent, amusing, and ambitiously constructed rewriting of history in the spirit of Inglorious Basterds.
2. Blade Runner: The Final Cut
The ultimate sci-fi movie is always worth a rewatch — especially in the form of Ridley Scott’s 2007 Final Cut, which is now available on Netflix as of September 2021. Deckard is a so-called blade runner, a cop hired to seek down rogue replicants, a type of android. But how will Deckard deal with his own duty as a human being when he encounters the lethal killer known as Roy Batty? This drizzly film is both a noir and a ’80s vision of the future, and it’s still a remarkable feat of world building decades later.
3. The Harder They Fall
The Harder They Fall arrives nine days before Netflix’s most expensive picture to date, Dwayne Johnson’s Red Notice, and marks Jeymes Samuel’s feature film directorial debut. However, don’t be put off by this fact. The Harder They Fall is one of Netflix’s top films of 2021, which speaks much about Samuel’s attention to detail, the film’s all-star cast, and its fast-paced plot.
Nat Love (Jonathan Majors) gathers his own posse of lawmakers to get revenge on the man who murdered his parents after Rufus Buck (Idris Elba) is freed from jail by his former gang, which includes Trudy Smith (Regina King).
Delroy Lindo (Da 5 Bloods), Zazie Beetz (Deadpool 2), and Lakeith Stanfield (Knives Out) also star in The Harder They Fall, a Western film that pays honor to Black cowboys who are often disregarded in comparable projects. This is a film that should not be overlooked.
4. Hunt for the Wilder people
Forget Thor Ragnarok: Taika Waititi’s best film remains Hunt for the Wilder people, a quirky (and genuinely wonderful) comedy-drama starring Sam Neill and Julian Dennison. It’s about a wayward teenager orphan who travels to live with foster parents in the countryside in New Zealand. When his foster mother dies, the youngster is left alone with his cranky foster father, and they become embroiled in a high-profile manhunt. If all of that sounds depressing, it isn’t – Hunt for the Wilder people is moving, but movie also includes Neill’s funniest performance to date.
5. Sucker Punch
Sucker Punch, directed by Zack Snyder, depicts a young girl’s twisted imagination as she attempts to escape the mental facility in which she is being imprisoned. In this divisive – but unquestionably original – action adventure, Emily Browning appears with Abbie Cornish and Vanessa Hudgens, and carries all the characteristics of Zack Snyder’s particular filmographic aesthetic.
6. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is one of the best Netflix original movies of the last year, based on August Wilson’s play — yet despite the stunning period set decoration and costume design, it clearly feels extremely stage-y. The film stars Viola Davis as Ma Rainey, the famed ‘Mother of Blues,’ and it centers on a tense recording session with Ma and her band, as well as the tension between the singer and her white producers and management.
Meanwhile, the late Chadwick Boseman stars as Levee, a creative trumpet player who battles to find his place in the music industry, despite his comrades’ lack of respect. It’s a sad but enlightening film about how culture is worth preserving and respecting in a world where it’s readily taken and monetized, and the film’s fantastic musical scenes bring the picture to life. It is not to be missed.
7. Uncut Gems
Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler), a jeweler and gambler, plots a gem auction that will solve all of his troubles in this sweaty-palmed thriller. Instead, Howard takes increasingly rash bets, and the walls close in around him. Uncut Gems is a tense but engrossing picture with a terrific ensemble cast and a truly outstanding performance from Sandler. As you watch Ratner choke under the weight of his bad decisions and inability to put anybody else before himself, it’s a fascinating character study.
8. I Care A Lot
This thriller starring Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) as Marla Grayson, a con artist who utilizes an intricate hospital setup to cheat elderly folks out of their homes and possessions, is one of Netflix’s major 2021 movies. It’s a nasty picture in a lot of ways, as you’d expect from a premise like that, but when it’s revealed that Marla’s latest victim is related to a violent gangster, the movie takes a left turn and becomes something completely different (played by Peter Dinklage). It’s highly worth watching, even if it could be 30 minutes shorter, and the general plot is never less than unbelievable.
9. Da 5 Bloods
Spike Lee’s contribution to the Vietnam War canon is unlike any other. It’s about a group of soldiers who return to the nation decades later in their old age to reclaim the remains of their squad captain, focusing on the black American experience of the war (played in flashback by Chadwick Boseman). At the same time, they’re looking for hidden gold that they abandoned years ago – however they’re not alone in their search. The picture also shifts from a sombre drama about trauma to a wacky action film with absolutely no warning, yet the blend here works.
This is one of the year’s top new Netflix films. Make sure to have a look at it.
Roma is visionary filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón’s most personal picture to date, an astounding hymn to motherhood in all forms (Children of Men, Gravity). Roma may not be the most appealing film on paper — a subtitled black-and-white drama about a live-in housekeeper who speaks nearly entirely in Spanish and the indigenous Mixtec language – yet it is a cinematic masterpiece. Roma portrays the life of a Mexico City family in the early 1970s, during a period of enormous social upheaval, via a collection of vignettes rather than a standard three-act story.
The film, which Cuarón describes as “90% autobiographical,” gives some insight into the famed director’s early childhood, albeit it is told mostly through the eyes of his babysitter, Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), who would grow to be a beloved member of the family. Roma, one of the year’s most stunningly photographed films, deserves to be seen on the biggest screen possible. Roma, which was shot entirely on 65mm, would be a fantastic theatrical experience. If that isn’t a possibility, you won’t be disappointed by the Roma’s stunning 4K Ultra HD presentation on Netflix – but keep tissues on ready, because you’ll most certainly cry a few times during the movie.
11. Army of the Dead
Zack Snyder’s first feature film since his increasingly bitter divorce with Warner Bros., Army of the Dead, is everything that previous DC superhero films weren’t. Even if its 45-minute introduction is a touch self-indulgent, it’s bright, colorful, action-packed, humorous, and timely.
Scott Ward, a former zombie-stomping combat hero approached by casino mogul Bly Tanaka with an intriguing idea, is played by Dave Bautista, who leads a formidable cast (Hiroyuki Sanada). What is the task? Enter a zombie-infested Las Vegas, break into Tanaka’s casino vault, and escape with his $200 million worth of assets, and Ward and his squad will each win $50 million.
Of course, things don’t go as planned, and Ward’s gang is soon followed by undead hordes led by Zeus, an alpha zombie (Richard Cetrone). With a US government-approved nuclear strike due to wipe Las Vegas off the map in less than 32 hours, the gang’s main goal becomes survival rather than money.
Rush is a biographical sports film about James Hunt and Niki Lauda, two Formula One racers who are masterfully depicted by Chris Hems worth and Daniel Brühl in one of Ron Howard’s best films in recent memory. While it may exaggerate real-life occurrences, the film portrays their battle as lucky playboy vs. hotheaded tactician, and it’s a gripping film. Rush, along with the documentary Senna and the family-friendly film Ford Vs Ferrari, is one of the best racing films out now; don’t miss it on Netflix.
13. His House
His House’s genuine horror is found in the real world. This British horror film follows a Sudanese couple who survive the horrors of a disastrous crossing to England, only to be rehoused in a run-down estate surrounded by bigotry and with something more lurking in the house. Wunmi Mosaku and Sope Dirisu both stand out as the two stars in emotionally hard roles in writer-director Remi Weekes’ strong debut.
14. Marriage Story
Make sure you’re in the right frame of mind before seeing Marriage Story — in other words, don’t watch it if you’re in the thick of a breakup – because this touching film about a failing marriage and the repercussions can be difficult to watch. It’s the latest film from director Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha), and it stars Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson in characters that will undoubtedly be emotionally exhausting. Watch it before it’s memed and gif’d to death on social media, and you just remember it as the movie where Kylo Ren tears a lot.
15. The Irishman
The considerable effects work utilized to de-age its old stars brought attention to this threateningly long Scorsese film, and it’s a creative move that can be annoying at times. However, there’s no doubting the allure of watching De Niro, Pesci, and Pacino in the same film for the probable final time, and this life-spanning, mainly gratifying criminal epic is a fitting tribute to their combined abilities. It’s a sluggish film – and nowhere near as good as Goodfellas – but it’s unquestionably one of the best Netflix films to date. The Irishman follows Frank Sheeran (De Niro) as he reminisces about his lengthy affiliation with the Bufalino crime family and infamous labor leader Jimmy Hoffa (Pacino).
If you liked Bong Joon Ho’s Best Picture winner, Parasite, you should see his earlier film, Okja, which is one of the best Netflix originals to date. It’s a strange story of a young girl and her best friend, a gigantic beast known as Okja. When a wicked CEO (Tilda Swinton) has nefarious plans for Okja, their friendship is jeopardized. It’s a refreshing film with a wonderful aspect of animal activism — a very different proposition from Parasite, to be sure, but one that shows the director’s ability to merge genres.
17. Minority Report
Minority Report, directed by Steven Spielberg, stars (an amazing) Tom Cruise as a cop who employs future technology to arrest criminals before they do their crimes. Things get bad, though, when the system incorrectly labels him as a murderer. If you can look past the grainy filter employed throughout, it’s a clever concept executed with style and competence.
Croupier, a dark 1998 criminal thriller about a failing writer who gets a job in a casino, is one of the best Netflix movies you’ve probably missed if you reside in the United States. Soon, however, he makes a sequence of terrible decisions and finds himself dragged into a theft he should have avoided. You won’t be sorry you saw it, and it’ll be a welcome change from the usual blockbuster material on the major streaming platforms.
19. Body of Lies
Body of Lies isn’t quite as good as filmmaker Ridley Scott’s best work, but the star power of Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe makes this espionage thriller a must-see. In it, a CIA operative discovers a lead on a prominent terrorist commander, but things go terribly wrong when the plot to apprehend him goes terribly wrong. Zero Dark Thirty, The Hurt Locker, and Green Zone fans will enjoy this film.
20. Always Be My Maybe
Ali Wong, the leading lady of Always Be My Maybe, is best known for her raunchy Netflix stand-up specials, but she really shines as a successful celebrity chef. Sasha Tran, played by Wong, returns to her hometown of San Francisco to open a new restaurant after a failed engagement, only to run into her old bff, played by Randall Park. Despite the turmoil of the relationship and a brief fling with actor Keanu Reeves, the two try to make it work, and the transformation from old friends to lovers is a joy to behold.
21. The Power of the Dog
It’s safe to argue that Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog has been the year’s biggest critical success thus far – in fact, it wouldn’t be premature to call it the best film of 2021.
It tells the narrative of a frightening rancher (Benedict Cumberbatch) who doesn’t take well to the arrival of his brother’s new wife (Kirsten Dunst) and her son, and is much appreciated for its slow-burning psychological drama (Kodi Smit-McPhee).
As the volatile Phil Burbank, Cumberbatch offers a career-best performance, and the film will definitely serve as a good warm-up for next year’s Doctor Strange 2.
Passing is based on Nella Larsen’s novel about two black women (Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga) who can ‘pass’ as white but prefer to live on opposite sides of the color line in 1929 New York.
This is actress Rebecca Hall’s directorial debut, and it has received widespread acclaim for its compassionate treatment of its complex subject matter and essential investigation of racial identity in the early twentieth century.
In the coming months, expect Passing to generate a lot of Oscar discussion, especially for its key actors.
23. Fear Street Trilogy
Fear Street’s trilogy on Netflix is best described as a throwback slasher flick. They’re based on the same-named R.L. Stine books, and while they don’t quite reach the same heights as the Screams, they’re definitely worth a look, even if they’re a touch cheesy. Fear Street: 1994, Fear Street: 1978, and Fear Street: 1666 are now available to stream on the service.
24. Good Time
If you’ve seen the Safdie Brothers’ Uncut Gems, which is farther down this list of the finest Netflix movies, don’t miss this equally tense but fascinating debut about two siblings who botch a robbery. When his mentally challenged brother is apprehended, a man (Robert Pattinson) goes to extraordinary lengths to free him. A bright, fascinating, and distinctive picture, you get the impression that the Safdies know their stuff.
25. The Guilty
The Guilty stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a 911 call center operator in a race against time to save an abducted woman on the other end of the line, based on the award-winning Danish drama of the same name.
Netflix is said to have spent $30 million for this film, which was directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) and written by Nic Pizzolatto (True Detective). The Danish original is already a fantastic thriller, combining tense dialogue moments with unexpected revelations, so adding Gyllenhaal to the mix makes this rendition of The Guilty a no-brainer.
26. The Mitchells vs the Machines
Netflix purchased this new animated film from Sony and producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who are most known for their work on The Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street, as well as being part of the team behind Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. It’s also as delightful and amusing as those films.
Katie Mitchell (Abbi Jacobson) is an aspiring filmmaker set to start college – until her father cancels her plane ticket and insists on a family road trip, realizing that they’ve been drifting apart. Halfway through this perilous journey, an AI exacts vengeance on its millionaire founder, and the planet is now threatened by intelligent robots.
Many of the visual elements from Spider-Verse make their way into this film, including 2D annotations and sketches on top of the already stunning 3D images. Most importantly, it’s great to see Netflix support a family film that isn’t just full of talking dogs and other cliched silliness that is so common in computer-generated animation for kids.
27. tick, tick…BOOM!
Spider-Man (or, more accurately, Andrew Garfield) can sing, it turns out.
On the eve of his 30th birthday, talented young theatre composer Jonathan Larson (Garfield) navigates love, friendship, and the pressures of living as an artist in New York City in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s directorial debut.
In fact, tick, tick…BOOM! is based on Larson’s semi-autobiographical musical of the same name, in which Garfield stars, so fans of the playwright (and musicals in general) will find enough to enjoy here.
Moneyball is based on Michael Lewis’ 2003 novel of the same name, which follows the incredible 2002 season of the Oakland Athletics baseball team, overseen by general manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt). The script was written by Aaron Sorkin, so it’s obviously more of a conversation dance than an entertaining sports drama, but the very true narrative of the Oakland Athletics is one that doesn’t require any Hollywood meddling.
29. A Boy Called Christmas
Now, we’re not claiming that Gil Kenan’s A Boy Called Christmas is Godfather-level cinema, but it’s still a touching watch for the holidays, and well worth a watch if you’re looking for a respite from the doom, gloom, blood, and gore of the other films on this list (looking at you, Scarface).
A Youngster Called Christmas is a cooperation with UK broadcaster Sky that depicts Nikolas, an apparently average boy who embarks on an expedition in quest of his father and the famous elves’ village. The movie has a strong cast, including Maggie Smith, Kristen Wiig, Jim Broadbent, and Sally Hawkings, so expect warm, fuzzy feelings for the whole family.
Let’s keep the gangster motif going, shall we?
Scarface is a remake of the 1932 film of the same name, which is considered one of the best crime films of all time. It depicts the narrative of Cuban fugitive Tony Montana (Al Pacino), who comes in 1980s Miami penniless but climbs through the ranks to become a powerful drug king.
Brian De Palma’s Scarface is a sweeping, emotional tale of a human being corrupted by greed and confused by a misplaced sense of family duty. It is perhaps best known for its iconic dialogue lines (“the eyes, Chico, they never lie” and “say hello to my little friend,” in particular), but it is also a sweeping, emotional tale of a human being corrupted by greed and confused by a misplaced sense of family duty.