While Netflix remains far and away the most popular streaming subscription service out there, it's fair to say that their selection of movies isn't quite what it once was. Netflix is opting more and more to focus on their own original content, and while much of that content is good, it doesn't do much for those looking to take in a great movie that Netflix didn't produce.
Reduction in library size aside, Netflix still plays host to some truly great films, ranging all the way from relatively recent superhero adventures to bonafide Oscar-winning classic dramas. Here are the 25 best films on Netflix that you can watch right now.
NOTE: This list is updated regularly - to ensure availability of the movies listed. Also, the list isn't ranked from worst to best, so a lower number is not meant to denote higher quality. It's just a list of 25 great movies.
Last updated: June 6, 2019
Before the list proper, there are some notes to be made. First, Netflix offers a different selection in every country it services, and this list focuses solely on films available to U.S. subscribers. That said, those outside the U.S. are encouraged to still check their country's line-up, as some of these picks may also be available to them. Secondly, these 25 films are available to stream as of this writing. If and when included titles are removed from Netflix, this list will be updated with new selections.
25 Monty Python and the Holy Grail
A feature-film offshoot of the classic sketch comedy series Monty Python's Flying Circus, 1975's Monty Python and the Holy Grail is regularly cited as one of the funniest comedies of all time, and is also one of the most influential movies in history. Monty Python and the Holy Grail is the film that launched a thousand memes, and anyone who watches it for the first time on Netflix is likely to come away in awe at how many common pop cultural references they now understand. For those who can't get enough, Monty Pyton's Flying Circus' full run is also available to stream.
24 Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
Mike Myers may be known for many things - his years on Saturday Night Live, the Wayne's World movies, voicing Shrek - but arguably his greatest creation to date is Austin Powers. In his debut film, 1997's Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, the 1960s super-spy finds himself awoken from cryogenic stasis in the 1990s, upon the return of nemesis Dr. Evil (also Myers). A pitch-perfect parody of the James Bond series, Austin Powers would become a pop culture icon, and his two sequels are also available on Netflix.
23 Pulp Fiction
Director Quentin Tarantino's resume boasts many terrific films, but 1994's Pulp Fiction is still arguably his signature work, decades after it took pop culture by storm. Boasting a star-studded cast of acting greats - John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis, Tim Roth, Ving Rhames, and more - Pulp Fiction is one of the slickest, coolest crime thrillers to emerge from the 1990s. Chances are most reading this have seen it, but those who haven't owe it to themselves to give it a watch on Netflix.
22 A Clockwork Orange
Legendary director Stanley Kubrick may no longer be among the living, but his many masterpieces continue to fascinate and enchant movie lovers decades later. 1971's A Clockwork Orange - based on the novel by Anthony Burgess - is set in a dystopian Britain, and centers on Alex DeLarge (Malcolm McDowell), the leader of a violent gang of criminals. When Alex is captured and convicted, it turns out the punishment for his crimes may actually be more heinous than the crimes themselves. A Clockwork Orange is truly a top pick for Netflix subscribers.
While it's sad that director Guillermo Del Toro and star Ron Perlman never got to finish their Hellboy trilogy, there's no reason not to go back and watch their original 2004 effort again on Netflix. Hellboy only did decently at the box office, but was critically acclaimed, and earned a big enough cult fanbase to receive 2008 sequel Hellboy II: The Golden Army. The Hellboy franchise will soon be rebooted with David Harbour in the lead role and Neil Marshall behind the camera, but to many, Perlman will be always be Big Red.
The feature directorial debut of Duncan Jones, Moon is a sci-fi film for hardcore fans of the genre, and is by no means something one can just half-watch and still fully grasp the plot. It would be a disservice to reveal too much about said plot, but Moon stars Sam Rockwell as Sam Bell, a space mining worker nearing the end of a three-year contract that's kept him away from his family and almost entirely isolated. Kevin Spacey also stars as the voice of GERTY, an AI colleague and companion to Sam. Before long, Sam's life takes a turn for the crazy, and things just get more complex from there. Any sci-fi fan owes it to themselves to watch Moon on Netflix.
Related: 15 Most Underrated Sci-Fi Movies
While aspects of Scarface are now undeniably dated, director Brian De Palma's tale of the rise and fall of Cuban drug lord Tony Montana (Al Pacino) remains one of the most iconic films of the 1980s, and a must watch for anyone with Netflix access. Scarface has gone on to influence pop culture in a myriad of ways, especially when it comes to the hip hop music scene. Sporting an 82% score on RT, Scarface is one of those movies that begs to be seen at least once by any committed movie buff.
18 The Matrix
One of the biggest pop culture phenomenons of its time, 1999's The Matrix put sibling directors The Wachowskis on the map. The Matrix's quite brilliant premise is that the world and everyone in it is in fact a computer simulation powered by the very humans that dwell there, after a catastrophic war between mankind and machines. One day, Thomas Anderson aka Neo (Keanu Reeves), a mild-mannered computer programmer by day and hacker by night, is woken up to the sad reality of his situation by Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), leaders of a human resistance effort seeking to expose The Matrix to the public. Sequels The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions are also available on Netflix.
17 Dumb and Dumber
The debut film by directing duo the Farrelly Brothers, 1994's Dumb and Dumber will never be mistaken for an attempt at highbrow humor. Thankfully, it's rare that lowbrow humor is done this spectacularly well, and the film has gone on to be widely regarded as one of the funniest films of its decade. Casting Jim Carrey at the height of his comedic powers alongside Jeff Daniels (an actor then primarily known for his dramatic work) seemed like an odd choice at the time, but the pairing worked like a charm. Unfortunately, this magic didn't carry over for 2014's largely forgettable sequel, Dumb and Dumber To, which is thankfully not on Netflix.
16 Raiders of the Lost Ark
Directed by legendary hit-maker Steven Spielberg, 1981's Raiders of the Lost Ark introduced the world to one of the greatest action/adventure franchises in cinematic history, and also one of cinema's greatest heroes. Harrison Ford stars as Indiana Jones, a university professor professionally, but a crusading archaeologist and adventurer in his off time. In his film debut, Indy outruns giant boulders, punches out giant Nazis, and quests for the fabled biblical artifact known as the Ark of the Covenant. All three Indiana Jones sequels are also now on Netflix.
15 V for Vendetta
Many pieces of dystopian fiction have taken a look at what the residents of a so-called democracy will tolerate in the name of security, and V for Vendetta treads that well-worn path to an extent. Based on a graphic novel written by comics legend Alan Moore though, the Wachowskis' film manages to inject new life into the idea of a dystopian future. Set in an alternative UK ruled by a neo-fascist regime, V for Vendetta stars Hugo Weaving as the titular enigmatic revolutionary, and Natalie Portman as Evey, who (initially unwillingly) gets sucked into his crusade. This movie is more than worth streaming on Netflix, even if it isn't the 5th of November.
14 Black Panther
After making a celebrated debut in Captain America: Civil War, T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) got a movie to call his own with colossal 2018 hit Black Panther. To refer to director Ryan Coogler's new to Netflix film as a success would almost be a disservice to just how well it performed, hauling in over $1 billion at the box office, and earning critical raves (97% on RT). While T'Challa was snuffed out by Thanos' snap near the end of Avengers: Infinity War, it's obviously only a matter of time until the King of Wakanda returns.
It really says something about the enduring popularity of director Joe Dante's 1984 hit Gremlins that there's seemingly always talk about a new addition to the franchise, despite no films being made since 1990's Gremlins 2: The New Batch. A seamless blend of comedy, horror, and Christmas, Gremlins introduced the world to the adorable Mogwai known as Gizmo, as well as the malevolent titular creatures that spawn when the rules of Mogwai care are violated. Produced by Steven Spielberg, Gremlins was also one of the films that pushed the limits of the PG rating, leading to the creation of PG-13. It may not be December, but Gremlins is a great year-round Netflix pick.
12 The Sixth Sense
While director M. Night Shyamalan's career hasn't quite lived up to what most expected, his 1999 breakout hit (85% score on RT) The Sixth Sense made such a great first impression that he's arguably been riding its wave ever since. Bruce Willis stars as Dr. Malcolm Crowe, a psychiatrist trying to help troubled young boy Cole (Haley Joel Osment), who is burdened with the ability to see and interact with ghosts. For those wondering, no, the big twist won't be spoiled here, for the small subset of Netflix subscribers who aren't already aware of what it is.
11 Pan's Labyrinth
Director Guillermo del Toro has a resume bursting with terrific films, but 2006's dark fantasy drama Pan's Labyrinth is arguably his best work. Set in 1944, five years after the Spanish Civil War ended, the story follows young Ofelia (Ivana Baquero). Ofelia's life isn't easy, as her mother grows increasingly sicker, her stepfather is a sadistic monster, and she's discovered the titular place, a magical realm containing creatures beyond imagination. Anyone who hasn't seen Pan's Labyrinth owes it to themselves to check out del Toro's masterpiece on Netflix.
10 The Conjuring
One of the creepiest films to grace Netflix, director James Wan's The Conjuring impressed both fans and critics, earning an 86% RT score and making a truckload of money. The Conjuring has since spawned its own cinematic universe of sequels and spinoffs, including about the possessed doll Annabelle. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga star as real life "demonologists" Ed and Lorraine Warren, while Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston play the heads of the family beset by demonic forces.
9 Avengers: Infinity War
Arriving on Netflix just in time for Christmas 2018 is Marvel Studios' MCU blockbuster to end all MCU blockbusters, Avengers: Infinity War. Well, at least until the story continues in 2019's Avengers: Endgame. It's hard to imagine anyone reading this hasn't seen Joe and Anthony Russo's $2 billion-grossing, critically acclaimed hit, but that doesn't mean there''s no reason to stream it again. Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Chris Pratt, Josh Brolin, Tom Holland, Scarlett Johansson, and more fill-out Marvel's most star-studded project to date.
8 Schindler's List
An Oscar-darling - winning seven awards, including Best Picture and Best Director for Steven Spielberg - Schindler's List (97% on Rotten Tomatoes) is widely considered one of the greatest films of all time, and it's now on Netflix. However, it's also one of the hardest to watch, as the subject matter is just so incredibly sad. Liam Neeson stars as Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who effectively saved the lives of over a thousand Jews during the Holocaust by employing them in his factories. Ben Kingsley and Ralph Fiennes also star.
7 No Country for Old Men
In a career full of acclaimed films, directors Joel and Ethan Coen arguably hit their high point with 2007's No Country for Old Men, now available on Netflix. Both a tense thriller and a gripping drama, the film boasts an excellent ensemble cast, including Josh Brolin, Woody Harrelson, Tommy Lee Jones, and a then-rising Javier Bardem as terrifying hitman Anton Chigurh. Sporting a 93% RT score, No Country absolutely cleaned up at the Oscars, winning Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor for Bardem.
6 Thor: Ragnarok
One of the most recent entries into Marvel Studios' MCU canon, director Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok represented a major shift in tone and style from the prior Thor films. Thankfully, this new, sillier version of Thor went over well with the masses, and is an excellent choice for Netflix streaming. Critics also loved it, with the sequel sporting a 92% score on RT. Ragnarok sees Chris Hemsworth's Asgardian hero set out to save his home from Hela (Cate Blanchett), aka the Goddess of Death. Assisting him in this quest are Loki (Tom Hiddleston), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson).
5 The Terminator
When director James Cameron made his sci-fi slasher movie The Terminator back in 1984, it's doubtful anyone anticipated it spawning a franchise of soon to be six films, a TV show, video games, comic books, and more. Yet, the tale of Sarah Connor's (Linda Hamilton) attempt to survive the relentless pursuit of the titular cyborg (Arnold Schwarzenegger) remains one of the most compelling pieces of action and suspense to come out of the decade of New Wave music and feathered hair, and is a prime Netflix pick. Michael Biehn also stars as Sarah's human protector, Kyle Reese.
4 The Silence of the Lambs
While not the first film to adapt author Thomas Harris' cannibalistic serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter for the big screen - that honor goes to 1986's Manhunter - 1991's The Silence of the Lambs is no doubt the most acclaimed, and is now on Netflix. Based on Harris' book of the same name, The Silence of the Lambs focuses on young FBI trainee Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster), who's abruptly enlisted to try and persuade an imprisoned Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) to help catch a new killer named "Buffalo Bill" (Ted Levine). Directed by the late Jonathan Demme, the film would go on to clean up at the Oscars, and it took until 2013's Hannibal TV series for the character to finally get his proper due again.
Putting aside the eternal debate about whether or not credited director Tobe Hooper actually helmed the film - many claim it was producer Steven Spielberg who was in command - 1982's Poltergeist remains one of the most celebrated horror films of the 1980s, and a top Netflix pick. Perhaps the main reason Poltergeist works so well is the believable chemistry among the Freeling family, who find themselves suddenly besieged by angry spirits, and their daughter Carol Anne (the late Heather O'Rourke) taken away to a ghost dimension. Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams play Freeling parents Steven and Diane, while Zelda Rubinstein shines as psychic Tangina.
After ruling the 1980s, the slasher subgenre of horror had fallen off big time by the mid-1990s. That was until director Wes Craven came along in 1996 to revitalize it, just as he had in 1984 with A Nightmare on Elm Street. In addition to being a brutal slasher flick, Scream is also one big love letter to horror fans, taking pleasure in both pointing out the cliches of the genre and still indulging in many of them. Scream is also a damn good murder mystery, keeping the viewer guessing as to the identity of the masked Ghostface killer. Those wanting to binge the franchise are out of luck though, as the only sequel Netflix offers is Scream 4.
1 Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Easily one of - if not the - most controversial and divisive entries in the entire Star Wars canon among fans, director Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi was nevertheless a huge hit with critics, earning a stellar 91% score on RT. The sequel also earned huge bank at the box office, hauling in over $1.3 billion worldwide, and easily topping the list of the highest-grossing movies of 2017. Whatever one thinks of The Last Jedi, it's impossible to deny that the film is worth a Netflix watch at least once, in order to be part of the ongoing cultural conversation surrounding it.