OK. Deep breath. Let’s do this.
After months of scouring Netflix for the best thrillers, best action flicks, best romantic comedies, best horror movies, best family picks, and more, it’s finally come time for us to narrow down our streaming suggestions to the best of the best. That’s right — it’s superhero sagas vs. biopics vs. war dramas vs. musicals vs. comedies vs. so much more. This is the ultimate film list for when you have no idea what you want to watch outside of the general concept of an excellent movie.
Without further ado and ranked in no particular order, here are the 25 best movies on Netflix.
1. Da 5 Bloods
Mashable’s Adam Rosenberg reviewed Da 5 Bloods this past summer, writing: “In the midst of widespread IRL social upheaval that many hope will finally start to undo the trauma wrought by centuries of deeply embedded prejudice, this new movie delivers a powerful sense of perspective.” Spike Lee’s war film, a keenly impactful meditation on systemic racism, stars Delroy Lindo, Jonathan Majors, Clarke Peters, the late Chadwick Boseman, and more.
How to watch: Da 5 Bloods is now streaming on Netflix.
We are Sex Bob-Omb: 1-2-3-4! Based on Bryan Lee O’Malley’s beloved graphic novel series, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is the favorite we keep coming back to. It’s got great actors: Chris Evans! Anna Kendrick! Brie Larson! Kieran Culkin! Plus, a killer soundtrack, wonderful visual effects, more references than you can count, and some of the best lines ever written. We’re in lesbians. No, the other L word. Love. We’re in love.
How to watch: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is now streaming on Netflix.
Directed by Martin Scorcese and starring Robert De Niro, Taxi Driver is the stick by which all neo-noir thrillers are measured. Set in New York City’s late-1970s decline, the story of Travis Bickle and his fluctuating connection to reality remain a legendary triumph in cinema — not to mention an unnerving, nail-biting meditation on tension just as stressful today as it was upon release.
How to watch: Taxi Driver is now streaming on Netflix.
here’s nothing like Raiders of the Lost Ark. The first installment in the adventures of Indiana Jones, this Steven Spielberg-directed classic chronicles the iconic archaeologist’s exploration into unfriendly territory as he searches for the mythical Ark of the Covenant.
How to watch: Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark is now streaming on Netflix.
Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey star in writer Charlie Kaufman’s stirring vision of heartbreak. A sci-fi rom-com with exquisite supporting performances by Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo, Elijah Wood, and Tom Wilkinson, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind imagines what would happen if humans were actually able to forget the ones who hurt them most.
For more Kaufman magic, also try I’m Thinking of Ending Things — an artful 2020 film Mashable critic Angie Han described as a “chance to know ourselves, and each other, a little bit better.”
How to watch: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is now streaming on Netflix.
Yes, interpretations of Noah Baumbach’s Academy Award-winning film have varied substantially among audiences. But, for the most part, critics agree that the character-driven divorce film saga represents a resonant and important viewpoint in modern relationships. Career-best performances from Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver will turn you into a sobbing puddle while Baumbach’s artful narrative-building slowly makes you whole again.
How to watch: Marriage Story is now streaming on Netflix.
The first foreign-language film to win an Oscar for best director, Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma greets viewers at the intersection of personal reflection and cinematic excellence. The black-and-white film follows live-in housekeeper Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), an Indigenous woman who works for an affluent family in Mexico City, finding a sense of humanity that is uniquely memorable.
How to watch: Roma is now streaming on Netflix.
In writer-director Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler, Jake Gyllenhaal stars as a strange dude (putting it mildly) who stumbles into the lucrative but not-at-all ethical business of ambulance chasing for a local news station. Deeply fascinating and profoundly disturbing, this eerie journey chews you up and spits you out in a way only the best thrillers can. (For another great Gilroy project, cue up the underrated horror comedy Velvet Buzzsaw.)
How to watch: Nightcrawler is now streaming on Netflix.
he Evil Dead: The Sam Raimi fright fest that not only started one of the greatest franchises in horror history, but also founded a subgenera all its own. Bruce Campbell stars in his inaugural outing as cinematic icon Ash Williams, in a pre-“groovy” performance that’s more deadpan than his later iterations but no less entertaining.
How to watch: The Evil Dead is now streaming on Netflix.
There are tons of great Monty Python films to pick from (including Life of Brian, which is also streaming on Netflix), but The Holy Grail holds a special place in our hearts. It’s endlessly quotable, stupidly funny, and captures everything that made this comedy team spectacular. Not to mention it forever changed how we see coconuts, swallows, hamsters, and elderberries.
How to watch: Monty Python and the Holy Grail is now streaming on Netflix.
In this reporter’s personal favorite Joel and Ethan Coen joint ever (my sincere apologies to Mr. Lebowski), William H. Macy stars as Jerry Lundegaard, a Minneapolis car salesman who finds himself at the center of a kidnapping scheme gone wrong. Frances McDormand plays Marge Gunderson, the police officer tasked with solving Fargo‘s central crime; Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare dazzle as Jerry’s accomplices. The best black comedy on Netflix by a snowy mile (you’ll get that when ya watch the movie), Fargo is a top shelf title.
How to watch: Fargo is now streaming on Netflix.
Based on Jenny Han’s novel of the same name,To All the Boys I’ve Loved Beforeis a defining romantic comedy for the streaming generation.Bask in the chemistry of leads Lana Donor and Noah Centineo. Delight in the drinkable yogurt representation. Consider why you never dressed this well in school. Then, send out your letters and watch the sequel!
How to watch: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is now streaming on Netflix.
t is as agonizing bummer that Inglourious Basterds is no longer on Netflix. Thankfully, the service has a handful of other Quentin Tarantino titles, among them Django Unchained and The Hateful Eight. The latter, a western from 2015 that was for its handling of racism and sexism, stars Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and more in a high-octane action adventure that is unquestionably well-executed in terms of technique and craftsmanship. Results on your feelings about the story itself may vary.
How to watch: The Hateful Eight is now streaming on Netflix.
14. Easy A
Ahhh, yes, the 2010 John Hughes-inspired rom-com that made so many of us fall in love with pre-Academy Award Emma Stone. She stars opposite You‘s Penn Badgley as a witty teenager who gets trapped in a surprisingly well-intentioned lie about her sex life. Supporting performances by Amanda Bynes, Patricia Clarkson, Aly Michalka, Lisa Kudrow, Thomas Haden Church, and especially Stanley Tucci make this an ensemble comedy for the ages.
How to watch: Easy A is now streaming on Netflix.
David Fincher’s moody study of Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg may need some serious updating given the political powerhouse the company has become, but as a matter of viewing, The Social Network is as strong as ever. Taking home Oscars for best adapted screenplay, best film editing, and best original score at the 83rd Academy Awards, this movie remains a quintessentially immersive and entertaining experience.
How to watch: The Social Network is now streaming on Netflix.
In his directorial debut, found-footage genre genius Patrick Brice stars as Aaron, a freelance videographer who accepts a job working for a strange client played by Mark Duplass. A spectacular combination of comedy and chills, Creep does a lotwith a little — delivering a horror gem so good it merited a phenomenal sequel starring Desiree Akhavan that’s also on Netflix.
How to watch: Creep is now streaming on Netflix.
Director Tom McCarthy’s sensational filmtells the true story of the Boston Globe journalists responsible for exposing systemic abuse of children by Catholic priests in a series of investigative stories published in 2003. Winner of the Academy Award for best picture, this moving biographical drama stars Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, John Slattery, and Stanley Tucci.
How to watch: Spotlight is now streaming on Netflix.
There’s crying at movies, and then there’s crying at Moonlight. Written and directed by Barry Jenkins, this low-budget best picture winner uses the beats of a traditional coming-of-age story to frame a wrenching reflection on identity and abuse that is rightly viewed among the most important movies in filmmaking history.
How to watch: Moonlight is now streaming on Netflix.
19. Uncut Gems
Leave it to the Safdie brothers to create what is easily the most panic-inducing selection on this list. Adam Sandler stars in Uncut Gemsas a jeweler and gambling addict who must navigate increasingly slippery circumstances to pay off his debts and save his business from ruin. A breakneck ride that never stops, this is over two hours of seat-grabbing agony that pays off.
How to watch: Uncut Gems is now streaming on Netflix.
Sure, Robert Zemeckis’s time-travel classic has a messy metaphysical philosophy with plot holes that trouble us to this day. But, also, it’s freakin’ Back to the Future. Join Doc (Christopher Lloyd) and Marty (Michael J. Fox) for the original ride in the iconic DeLorean if you want to relive the magic.
How to watch: Back to the Future is now streaming on Netflix.
Written and directed by Spike Jonze, Her offers a touching exploration of what it means to find love. Starring Joaquin Phoenix as a man who falls for his artificially intelligence virtual assistant (voiced by Scarlett Johansson), this movie hits somewhere between a sci-fi short story and a romantic comedy for the ages. Supporting performances by Amy Adams, Chris Pratt, and more.
How to watch: Her is now streaming on Netflix.
It may never be possible to fully determine who the “best” Spider-Man is — seriously, we tried — but it’s safe to say Miles Morales exists in a universe all his own. Written by Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a one-of-a-kind visual and narrative experience that weaves a technicolor web of power and possibility. Plus, ya gotta love Spider-Ham.
How to watch: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is now streaming on Netflix.
23. Lady Bird
Saoirse Ronan plays “the titular role” in writer-director Greta Gerwig’s transporting coming-of-age tale Lady Bird. A stellar ensemble cast including Laurie Metcalf, Beanie Feldstein, Timothée Chalamet, and Lucas Hedges make this a must-watch look at growing up and feeling misunderstood.
How to watch: Lady Bird is now streaming on Netflix.
Fall under the spell of Parasite director Bong Joon-ho once more with Netflix’s Okja. When a terrible fate befalls a genetically modified kind of “super pig” named Okja thanks to the evil Mirando corporation, Mija (Ahn Seo-hyun) will stop at nothing to save her friend and take down Mirando’s CEO Lucy (Tilda Swinton.)
How to watch: Okja is now streaming on Netflix.
Based on Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel of the same name, director Todd Haynes’ Carol tells a Christmas-set romance between the glamorous Carol Aird and department store worker Therese Belivet, played, respectively, by Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. Included on our Pride 2020 list of essential LGBTQ films, this enchanting story offers a beautiful sentiment worth celebrating whenever.
How to watch: Carol is now streaming on Netflix.