Netflix is by far the biggest online subscription streaming service today. Even if you’re not a devoted fan of the platform or one to get down with some Netflix and Chill, you’ll be well aware of its presence as a global provider of “something for everyone” when it comes to film and television.
After offering a dazzling carousel of ever-changing programs and award-winning original TV content, Netflix has entered the movie business with a vengeance. It has single-handedly changed the way we consume films and has disrupted the movie industry in a big way with its distribution of top-quality cinema without the wait of a theatrical release.
With such an enormous array of films on offer, many of which have gone on to be featured in the most celebrated film awards, it’s often hard to know the treasures from the trash. As such, we’ve gathered together 16 of the best Netflix Original films the platform has to offer, as well as four of the worst ones, according to their scores on Rotten Tomatoes. This list does not include Netflix’s original documentaries, although it offers an incredible selection of docs that should most certainly be explored.
If you’ve ever sat there scratching your head, scanning through Netflix’s interminable lists of films, not knowing what to choose, then here’s a guide to what you shouldn’t miss and a few you’d be better off not wasting your time with.
With that in mind, here are the 16 Best Netflix Original Movies (And 4 With 0%).
Eli Craig, the director behind Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, is back with another horror comedy film, this time focusing on a man who believes his five-year-old stepson could very well be the spawn of Satan.
Starring Adam Scott, Evangeline Lilly, and Owen Atlas, Little Evil shows just how tough being a parent can be.
The film delicately uses humor to satirically address the role father’s play within the family unit, and the struggles that often come with being a step-parent. The cast is fantastically charismatic and the nods to classic horror films will delight Stans of the genre.
Little Evil combines tender sentimentality, comedic gags and horror at its heart, all while managing to be Edgar Wright-levels of clever. With a 90% score on RT, Little Evil has proven to be a big success.
Netflix has released a number of original rom-coms and its more recently releases are helping the streaming service establish itself as the go-to source of feel-good romances.
Set It Up is a refreshing take on a matchmaking tale, where two overworked and underpaid assistants team up to set their tyrant bosses up with each other in the hopes that their newfound love will get them off their backs.
Starring Zoey Deutch, Glen Powell, Lucy Liu, and Taye Diggs, Set It Up is an adorable love story that anybody who’s ever had a tough job can relate to.
It sticks to a well-known template of the rom-com genre while also paying homage to it in a clever, meta way.
This one’s a winner.
Netflix’s adaptation of Stephen King’s novel Gerald's Game clearly lives up to the writer’s work, as it holds a sparkling 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Directed by Mike Flanagan and starring Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood, Gerald’s Game is a psychological horror that is definitely not for the faint of heart. If you thought the remake of King’s It last year wasn't scary enough, then you'll certainly be satisfied with this film.
The main character spends most of the film handcuffed to a bed, but you’ll be squirming in your seat while you watch her go through the most scary mental experience to perhaps ever happen on screen.
The challenges of adapting this book to film were sizable, but Flanagan brings an calculated control and a palpable energy to his project, and the result is a faithful take on an exceptionally dark story.
Intense drama unfolds as a reformed gangster returns to his family after being in prison and tries to re-establish himself in his old neighborhood amongst the crime and poverty that still prevails there.
Starring John Boyega as the lead character, Imperial Dreams is a dark yet inspiring story of a man trying to better himself for his young son and himself, while also facing the realities of the outside world where inner-city violence threatens his future plans.
Imperial Dreams is Malik Vitthal’s directorial debut. He does an admirable job of handling socially important topics while avoiding the preachy, cliched tones that so often lay heavy on dramas of the same type.
With a 91% RT score, you know you’re going to be in for a quality film.
The godfather of Netflix Original failures, The Ridiculous 6 has almost become legendary in its pure, unadulterated awfulness.
The Ridiculous 6 is the template for everything wrong with Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison projects. Lazily offensive and very nearly unwatchable, this “comedy” Western that spoofs the classic Magnificent Seven was so reviled even during its making, that Native American cast members walked off the set, as reported by Variety.
It’s a wonder actual money was given to this project, as the jokes attempted are of the lowest kind possible.
The reason this film was given a 0% RT score is simply because there wasn’t a way to give it a negative number.
Film critics went wild for Idris Elba’s 2015 war drama, Beasts of No Nation, which vividly details the life of child soldiers in a nameless West African nation.
The film is based on the harrowing novel by Uzodinma Iweala, and sears on screen with its powerful images, its powerhouse performances, and its terror-inducing yet compelling narrative. The horrors of modern warfare are depicted in excruciating reality.
Although a hard watch, its importance is undeniable.
Beasts of No Nation was Netflix’s inaugural film, and the streaming service made the right call in trusting writer/director/producer/cinematographer Cary Fukunaga.
With a 91% RT rating, the platform certainly has a lot to be proud of with this one.
Part comedy, part drama, part crime film, Deidra & Laney Rob a Train tells the story of two sisters who turn to train robbery after their mother gets arrested and thrown in jail.
The film is directed by Sydney Freeland and stars Ashleigh Murray (Riverdale) and Rachel Crow as the two leads.
The spirited dynamic between the two main actresses is infectious, and with a sharp, comical script, Deidra & Laney Rob a Train feels fresh, fun, and wholly entertaining.
With a 91% RT score, this crime caper has clearly been met with widespread approval. The suitably offbeat storyline will keep audiences invested in the shenanigans of these two desperate teenage sisters, who prove that with unwavering determination, they can be as unstoppable as a runaway train.
Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Academy Awards, On Body and Soul proves that Netflix is capable of delivering great foreign language film projects.
This Hungarian film is written and directed by Ildikó Enyedi and tells the story of a man and a woman who discover that they share the same dreams at night, and set out to make them come true.
Stylistically brilliant and wonderfully acted, On Body and Soul is an entirely singular love story that is both brutal and bizarre. The story will certainly surprise you, but if you’re up for something excitingly different, this striking, sensitive romance will pull you right in.
Noah Baumbach is a genius at depicting the intricate, often awkward, dynamics of families, and he certainly does so with aplomb in his 2017 film The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected).
Featuring a refreshingly good performance by Adam Sandler, and excellent turns from Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman, and Emma Thompson, The Meyerowitz Stories delves into the relationships between the members of an estranged, dysfunctional family when they’re brought together to celebrate the artistic work of their father.
Baumbach’s insightful look into the lives of this damaged but entertaining family is a joy to watch.
With the fast-paced, quick-witted dialogue, you’ll be hooked all the way through.
This is one family gathering you won’t want to miss.
Another unfortunate collaboration between Netflix and Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison production company, Father of the Year is more like a budget sitcom than a feature film of any worth.
Woefully forgettable and clearly made in a hurry, Father of the Year sees a sloppy debate between two college graduates about whose father would win a fight escalate into a real, full-on brawl.
The film stars David Spade in a Joe Dirt-esque role, but it’s the two younger actors who play the sons, Matt Shively and Joey Bragg, who give the film any kind of semi-redeemable quality.
Sadly, this film is so lazily made and so ill-conceived that even these two can’t save the movie from simply feeling like a rough draft for something that could, with a lot more time and development, be decent.
Australian rom-com Ali’s Wedding is a delightful story of a man having to choose between following his heart or following his sense of duty after a little white lie spirals out of control.
Ali must decide if he will go ahead with an arranged marriage or cast off his duty and chase after the woman he really loves.
Director Jaffrey Walker’s film is adapted from the memoir Good Muslim Boy by Osamah Sami, who also wonderfully plays himself in the film. The cast emanates warmth and relatability, and the film as a whole is a joy to watch.
For a rom-com with a political edge, Ali’s Wedding does an admirable job of combining light-heartedness with the deeper issues at hand.
Based on the famous 1943 French novel of the same name, The Little Prince follows the story of a little girl living in a very grown-up world, who is introduced to an extraordinary life of possibilities by her neighbor, the Aviator.
This is the first-ever animated feature of the classic tale originally written by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, and it is as magical and wonderful as the book it is based on.
Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer is behind the score, and Rachel McAdams, Jeff Bridges, James Franco, and Marion Cotillard all contribute their voices for the characters. If you’re looking for a tonic to the often depressing and dreary world we live in, then The Little Prince is for you.
If you’re looking for an easy watch, then Calibre should not be your first choice of film. However, if you’re in need of some top-notch cinema, and you’re up for a frighteningly bleak Scottish rendition of Deliverance, then this is the movie for you.
It follows two friends as who venture into the Scottish Highlands for a hunting trip, but nothing can prepare them for what awaits them when they get there.
With beautiful cinematography and sensational acting, Calibre delves into the darkness of human nature and delivers an exhilarating, momentum-filled watch. With an RT score of 93%, this thrilling, relentless film will keep you on the edge of your seat, even as the credits roll.
Netflix has truly demonstrated that it is prepared to tackle every genre with gusto, and no movie proves this to be true more so than Hush.
Released in April 2016, this slasher film, directed by Mike Flanagan (Gerald's Game) and co-written by and starring Kate Siegel, tells the story of a deaf author who must fight for her life when a masked visitor appears at her secluded cabin in the woods.
Hush holds a 94% RT score, proving that home invasion horror flicks aren’t always as predictable as audiences might suspect.
Flanagan previously directed Oculus, and has come back with a story that is both intensely suspenseful and ingeniously crafted. If you’ve fallen out of love with horror, than Hush will undoubtedly restore your faith in the genre.
This fish-out-of-water action comedy tells the story of a mild-mannered author who accidentally gets mistaken for a deadly assassin after his publisher markets his book as a true story. Thrust into the world of international espionage of his lead character, he must learn to become his protagonist in order to survive.
Starring Kevin James and Kim Coates, the best thing that can be said about The True Memoirs of an International Assassin is that it will waste a couple of hours of your life if you need to do so.
Sadly, Netflix hasn’t done much for itself in the arena of comedy thanks to its continued reliance on Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison films. The True Memoirs of an International Assassin does little to convince us that their other comedic endeavors are any better.
Ramon Salazar’s stunning film about a mother trying to reconnect with the daughter she once abandoned is an intense look at the strength of parent-child bonds, and the intensity of familial ties.
Pain, loss, and love are all explored in a deliberate, disquieting pace. Each scene is as mesmerizing as the next, and the melodramatic nature of the film never takes away from the biting intelligence it so powerfully delivers.
It’s a wonder that more distributors weren’t waiting to snap this beautiful Spanish film up. Thankfully Netflix saw its pure, cinematic quality, and has offered it up to viewers on its platform. Netflix as the next powerhouse of arthouse cinema? It could be the case.
One of the newest additions to the Netflix Originals roster is To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, a tender, sweet rom-com that hits all the right notes.
Based on the young adult romance novel by Jenny Han, this high-school story follows the story of teenage Lara Jean, played by Lana Condor, whose secret love letters are released, causing chaos in her life.
Although it plays to many rom-com conventions, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before benefits from a stellar cast, including Noah Centineo as Peter Kavinsky, as well as relatable characters and a heart-warming plot line.
If you have your reservations about Netflix teen-rom-coms, this one will certainly surprise you with its charm and quality.
Romance and crime collide in director Adam Leone’s charming, breezy tale of two strangers who unexpectedly meet while trying to carry out a criminal assignment.
Starring Callum Turner and Grace Van Patten, Tramps is elevated by its leads’ dazzling performances and the palpable chemistry they bring to their on-screen characters.
This truly is an indie gem.
Its 95% RT rating shows that love capers are still very much a recipe for cinematic success.
Watching the two main characters travel the streets of New York is enough to make you want to pack your bags and head to the Big Apple for your own adventures. Beware of any briefcases you find, though-- they’re more trouble than they may look.
Clearly someone thought pitching the idea of “Groundhog Day... but minus the clothes” was a winner, but this flop is anything but. Starring Marlon Wayans and Regina Hall, Naked follows one man’s repeated nightmare of waking up - sans clothing - in an elevator on the day of his wedding.
If you’re not convinced this is funny enough to make a movie worth watching, then your hunch would be correct.
Naked is so thinly woven together, and the storyline ends up being as annoyingly repetitive as the main character’s predicament. It’s no wonder the film has been slammed with a 0% RT score.
For a film that really tries to drive home the repetitive nature of its premise, this lackluster attempt at comedy will be forgotten as soon as the credits roll.
Netflix truly proved its status as a platform for quality content with Dee Rees’ period drama Mudbound. Starring Carey Mulligan, Mary J. Blige, Jason Mitchell, Garrett Hedlund, Rob Morgan, and a roster of other talented actors, Mudbound’s story of two families pitted against each other against the backdrop of the rural American South during World War II received acclaim from critics and audiences alike.
It’s whopping 96% on Rotten Tomatoes is a testament to its universal acceptance as a fantastic piece of cinema, and its four Academy Award nominations, including Best Supporting Actress for Blige and the first ever nomination for a female cinematographer, prove that Netflix isn’t just for binge watching episodes of Friends.
If you haven’t watched it yet, don’t miss out on catching this powerful, compelling Netflix Original.
What's your favorite Netflix original movie? Let us know in the comments!