Netflix offers a wide variety of artistically diverse films across countries and languages. We’ve taken the time to sift through it all and bring you the best movies on Netflix to satisfy your cinematic cravings. Whether you are into mainstream or indie, action or horror, popular films or documentaries, we’ve got you covered. The latest entries to our list are marked NEW.
1. The Dig (2021)
In 1939, in Sutton Hoo in rural Suffolk, a widowed landowner, Edith Pretty, invited an excavator, a self-taught archaeologist and writer of many books on the subject, to dig burial mounds on her estate. Based on a true story, The Dig is ultimately about human decency and justice for that humble and erudite digger and his landowner who trusted him, saved his life and tried to shine light on him. Carey Mulligan and Ralph Fiennes play their parts with restraint and brilliance, and bring understated dignity to their characters.
2. Little Women (2019) – NEW
Delightful and endearing, this creative adaptation by Greta Gerwig of Louisa May Alcott’s novel is a treat to watch. Saoirse Ronan delivers a remarkable performance (25-year-old and she has already bagged four Oscar nominations, a Golden Globe for Lady Bird, three Globe nominations and five BAFTA nominations, wow!) and the film leaves you in good humour.
3. Joker (2019) – NEW
A film so far removed from the usual cliches associated with comic book characters, Joker makes no attempt to stay within past references or craft a villain for the wider box office. Joaquin Phoenix molds the Joker into his own, and does a spectacular job that Heath would have been proud of. The film raises questions about mental health and our attitudes to those suffering from it without pretending to provide answers. Raw and gritty, it’s not for the faint of heart. [Related: 12 Action Packed Thrillers Like Dark Knight]
4. Da 5 Bloods (2020)
In what is one of the best films Spike Lee tells a layered and complex story of four African American vets who return to Vietnam in search of the remains of a fallen comrade and a secret treasure they hid. Hailed as one of Lee’s most impactful films, Da 5 Bloods goes beyond a regular war film to encompass racial injustices and the sacrifices of war through the prism of black experiences.
5. Tigertail (2020)
A film that depicts the immigrant experience in America, Tigertail is a heartfelt drama of one man’s struggle to come to terms with his childhood memories and everything he has lost in order to grasp an understanding of his current situation. The film sways between the past and present to effectively convey comparisons between his hopes as a child and hardships as an adult, standing out with delicate performances and sensitive details.
6. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)
In 1969, seven conscientious objectors to America’s depredations in Vietnam were picked up by Chicago cops on trumped up charges of inciting riots and conspiracy. What followed was a mockery of justice in the land of the free and the brave, the judge being brazenly biased and incompetent. It was an amoral political trial. And the world watched in rage. What began as countercultural protests in Chicago at the 1968 Democratic National Convention turned into a spooky trial that showed a mirror to the American justice system and the paranoia of the then US government.
Academy award winner, Aaron Sorkin, scripts and directs the story of the infamous trial of The Chicago 7 in this thrilling film. Eddie Redmayne and Sacha Baron Cohen shine like beacons of hope in a bleak world.
7. K.D. (2019, Tamil)
A feel-good comedy drama that charms you with its wit, humour and a sparkling chemistry between its leads. K.D. chronicles the journey of an innocent, compassionate 80-year old K.D. (Mu Ramaswamy) trying to escape his family when he finds out they’re out to kill him, and the orphaned, witty and affectionate 8-year old Kutty. A gentle, heartwarming story, with characters that tug at your heart, K.D. is sprinkled with life lessons abound without sermonising. A well-narrated effort, the film boasts of brilliant performances from the leads.
8. Haywire (2011)
Haywire is an apt title for this one. In a good way, of course. In a film filled with male A-listers like Channing Tatum, Michael Fassbender, and Ewan McGregor, Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, and Bill Paxton, director Steven Soderbergh brings to the forefront Gina Carrano as cop Mallory Kane, as she kicks all kinds of ass in this shaky but slick, well-edited, very well choreographed action sequences of the century.
With the sequences choreographed by the great J.J Perry, this movie has some of the best editing in an action movie this century, and is an absolute treat to watch. Could’ve been a potential money-making franchise, but what can you do?
9. Hugo (2011)
Ben Kingsley played silent cinema pioneer George Melies in Martin Scorsese’s passion project Hugo. Based on Brian Selznick’s book The Invention of Hugo Cabret, the adaptation marked Scorsese’s first attempt at a 3D project. Although the film was a tricky sell commercially, Scorsese gloriously used the new medium to tell this magical tale. The story revolves around a boy, who searches for a hidden message from his deceased father. His adventure also tells the story of the early days of filmmaking, led by genius innovator George Melies. Kingsley’s Melies in Hugo is a sad, waning man, who desperately tries to bury his illustrious past. Kingsley expressly conveys the man’s irredeemable sense of loss in a deeply poignant manner.
10. The Irishman (2019)
Martin Scorsese’s highly anticipated Netflix original gangster epic thankfully lived up to its hype. This sweeping tale of infamous criminal figures hits on themes not usually encountered in gangster genre. Scorsese and Zaillian’s contemplative tone showcases the inviolable connection between crime and politics. Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci’s fantastic performances make this a memorable work in Scorsese’s oeuvre.
11. Marriage Story (2019)
Noah Baumbach’s mature drama is an earnest look at the tough, transition phase after initiating the divorce. Impeccably performed by Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story opens with the end of a marriage relationship. The couple Nicole and Charlie after their decision to separate, decide not to get lawyers. But their good intentions are thwarted when custody battle of their young son rises. Although Marriage Story deals with divorce, it isn’t a joyless or hopeless film. It takes a very honest look at married relationships, dismissing all the usual movie clichés. It’s among the best movies of 2019.
12. Roma (2018)
This is the story of Mexico City in the 1970s, of Cuaron’s childhood and the maid that brought him up, and the sisterhood of two women, even with the attendant hierarchy of class, who realise that they are ultimately alone in this world. Among the best movies of 2018, Roma is an absolute classic that will grow on you. Like vine and slow time. Initially, I was unnerved by its tepid pace and ultra-realistic unfolding but once you get the design, you begin to appreciate the subtle and sublime touches that draw you in. At once mellow, at once intense, it feels like real life and is languorously and aesthetically shot.
13. Andhadhun (2018)
There isn’t a dull or wasted moment in this cleverly crafted, briskly-paced thriller starring Ayushmann Khurana, Tabu and Radhika Apte. Veteran Sriram Raghavan knows how to keep his viewers engaged. And he does so without resorting to cheap contrivances and manipulation. A solid script brought alive by spectacular performances, Andhadhun was among the best Hindi movies 2018 had to offer.
14. Merku Thodarchi Malai (Western Ghats) (2018)
This film is a non-decorative study on the landless labourers of South India. It’s filmed using natural light and looks stunning throughout. Instead of being loud and preachy, the film simply shows the landscape of the Men of the western ghats, in order to convey its message. It’s one of the best Tamil films of 2018.
15. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs delivers on all fronts. A lush charming film, it reinstates my faith in art and an industry that’s precariously teetering between the allure of a movie hall and the comfort of the drawing room. A timely triumph; wondrously shot Western which is not confined by the screen size of your Netflix device, one that captivates your imagination and extends like the horizons of the pristine west.
16. Sila Samayangalil (Sometimes) (2018)
Priyadarshan’s Netflix release benefits from hearty characters and precise observation of the human condition. The storyline is pretty simple. Seven frustrated strangers await their HIV test results and bribe the staff to get them early. Priyadarshan uses an aggravating atmosphere to reflect on the ultra-sensitive social environment. The strong cast includes Prakash Raj, Ashok Selvan, Sriya Reddy, MS Bhaskar, Shanmugarajan, and Anjali Rao. Unlike many Tamil films focused on giving a social message, Sila Samayangalil doesn’t over-dramatize the situation. An engaging character-driven drama, it’s one of the best Tamil movies On Netflix streaming right now.
17. The Ritual (2017)
Superbly executed and well-acted, The Ritual is among the top horror movies of 2017. While it delivers on the usual tropes, it also offers insightful themes of guilt, redemption, and maturity.
18. Gerald’s Game (2017)
Featuring one of the finest performances of Carla Gugino, the film is about a woman who accidentally kills her husband during a kinky game. Handcuffed to her bed with no hope of rescue, she begins hearing voices and seeing strange visions.
19. Pink (2016)
A well-intentioned and well-made drama, Pink is one of the best movies on Netflix Bollywood has to offer. It takes you by the scruff of the neck, immerses you into our reality and shakes you up in the process. Every character justifies the part – Tapsee Pannu, Kirti Kulhari, Andrea Tariang, Angad Bedi, Piyush Mishra. And Amitabh Bachchan delivers yet another standout performance.
20. Udta Punjab (2016)
In an industry swarmed with lacklustre content, Abhishek Chaubey’s film shines with an edgy take on a bold, controversial subject. Drug abuse has plagued Punjab for years. Udta Punjab brings to the fore its impact on the youth; the involvement or rather the facilitation of its use — from the powers that be to the law enforcement agencies. It’s one of the best Bollywood movies on Netflix streaming right now.
21. Baahubali – Part 1, 2 (2015) (2017)
Rajamouli’s imaginative leaps diffuse perfect popcorn-entertainment. Bahubali films are awe-inspiring visual extravaganzas that have tabled South Indian cinema on top of the charts.
22. Her (2013)
Her is one of the highly original films that depict weird aspirations of platonic love. Boasting a terrific performance from Joaquin Phoenix, it’s a sweet, sci-fi tale of modern relationships.
23. The Lunchbox (2013)
Ritesh Batra’s The Lunchbox is a rare piece of work to have won hearts both on its home ground and overseas. As an original piece of filmmaking, it depicts an unusual friendship that takes birth through a mistake made by Mumbai’s tiffin carrier service. For those uninitiated to Hindi cinema, this is recommended viewing.
Watch The Lunchbox
24. The Meyerowitz Stories (2017)
The perils of old age, the angst of parent-child relationships and the beauty of sibling relationships are beautifully explored. Headlined by two actors known for their slapstick comedy, it is refreshing to see Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller sink their teeth into a serious role. Also starring Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, the film is staged like a play with long conversations and is one of the better dysfunctional family dramas of the year.
25. Mudbound (2017)
Mudbound is an interesting take on racism in midst of human hopes, dreams, love and friendship. The story of a mother’s sacrifice, a soldier’s dreams and a wife’s struggle to raise her kids is a poignant and touching depiction of war and freedom. What remains with you long after the film is over is that sometimes the ugliest battles are fought not on the battlefield but in our own neighborhood.
26. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
Eyes Wide Shut was director Stanley Kubrick‘s last film and possibly his swansong too. Hailed as one of the most influential filmmakers of all-time, with films like Lolita, Day of The Fight, Spartacus and Dr Strangelove among others, Kubrick, unfortunately, died a few months before the release of this Tom Cruise-Nicole Kidman starrer set in the New York of the 1990s.
It has been called controversial because it dared to challenge our notions of marriage, fidelity and moral boundaries; and timeless because it also showed us that no matter how much things change, they still remain the same, especially in the context of human relationships.
27. Udaan (2010)
Udaan is a remarkable film exploring the life of a budding artist who struggles to survive with the harsh realities of this world. The story is deeply moving and relatable. If you’ve ever had a dream and fought relentlessly to nurture and realise that dream, you’ll be able to connect with this film. The realism it brings is almost frightening as we are given no outlet of escapism. We are instead, thrust into and pitted against the bitter realities of our own world. But there is light at the end of the tunnel; there exists hope even in the face of great despair.
If you’re new to Hindi cinema, watch Udaan. You’ll have a one reason to fall in love with Bollywood.
28. Kramer vs Kramer (1979)
Heartbreaking, heartwarming divorce drama, Kramer vs Kramer is a well-observed portrait of a marriage at the seams. A brilliant script is brought alive by stellar performances from the legendary Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman, both of who swept an Oscar for their roles. Robert Benton’s classic is a masterclass in filmmaking.
This is it! These are the 28 best movies on Netflix currently streaming. How many have you seen? Be sure to bookmark this page for the latest movies on Netflix worth your time.
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By Mayank Nailwal, Aditya Sarma, Deepjyoti Roy, Sanjay Trehan