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: April 4, 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 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
One of the biggest stars in the history of comedy, Jim Carrey only rarely shows off his considerable dramatic chops, but perhaps the best example of those abilities is director Michel Gondry's inventive 2004 sci-fi romance Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Carrey stars alongside Kate Winslet as Joel and Mary, respectively, two former lovers who - after a nasty breakup - decide to use technology to erase their memories of life as a couple. Eternal Sunshine picked up an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, and remains a trip worth taking 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
19 Apollo 13
Directed by Ron Howard, Apollo 13 told the story of the ill-fated titular space mission, and the harrowing steps the astronauts on-board had to take in order to survive. Boasting a 95% score on RT and multiple Oscar nominations, Apollo 13 is arguably Howard’s best film, and features an amazing cast, including Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Gary Sinise, Ed Harris, and Kathleen Quinlan. Apollo 13 is a journey well worth taking on Netflix.
18 Apocalypse Now
There are few better cinematic illustrations of the phrase "war is hell" than Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 masterpiece Apocalypse Now. A loose adaptation of Joseph Conrad's novel Heart of Darkness, Apocalypse Now stars Martin Sheen as Captain Benjamin Willard, a special ops officer sent into the thick of the Vietnam War to take down Colonel Walter Kurtz (Marlon Brando, in a legendarily unhinged performance). Kurtz has gone a bit a mad, and now commands fighters that worship him like a god. Apocalypse Now demands to be watched by anyone who claims to be a film buff, and streaming on Netflix is the perfect way to do it.
17 From Dusk Till Dawn
It's not that often that a horror movie exudes coolness, but that's exactly the case with 1996's From Dusk Till Dawn, directed by Robert Rodriguez and written by his friend and frequent collaborator Quentin Tarantino, and new to Netflix. George Clooney and Tarantino himself star as bank-robbing brothers Seth & Ritchie Gecko, who take an unassuming family hostage while on the run from the law. What begins as a crime thriller eventually takes a left turn into terror though, when a bar full of vampires enters the picture.
Related: 15 Sexiest Horror Movies of All Time
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.
The annual summer blockbuster season for movies is just something audiences take for granted nowadays, but it wasn't even that long ago that such a season didn't exist. That was until director Steven Spielberg's breakthrough hit Jaws came along to set the standard in 1975. Everyone knows Jaws' story: three men - Sheriff Martin Brody (Roy Scheider), oceanographer Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss), and grizzled fisherman Quint (Robert Shaw) set out on a journey to kill a massive great white shark after it makes a snack out of those swimming near Amity Island. Those who haven't seen it should fire it up on Netflix now, and those who have should watch it again. It's that good.
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 Kill Bill
While Vol.1 and Vol. 2 (85 and 84% on RT) of director Quentin Tarantino's revenge saga were technically released as separate films, it's hard to imagine wanting to watch one Kill Bill without the other, and Netflix has both. Uma Thurman stars as The Bride, who sets out on a bloody quest for vengeance after being betrayed by the other members of her assassination squad and their leader, Bill (David Carradine). Lucy Liu, Vivica A. Fox, Michael Madsen, and Daryl Hannah also star.
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.
2 The Departed
A remake of the 2002 Hong King film Infernal Affairs, The Departed is probably best known for being the film that finally won legendary director Martin Scorsese his first Oscar for Best Director. The complex, arresting crime drama also picked up the Oscars for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay, and is a prime Netflix pick. Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon star as a cop planted within the mob and a criminal planted within the police, respectively. Jack Nicholson also commands the screen as brutal crime boss Frank Costello.
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.