With thousands of movies to choose from, and a navigation system and algorithm that don’t always make the right choice easy to find, it can be difficult to know what to watch on Netflix. That’s why we’re here, breaking down the 100 best movies on the service at this minute, with regular updates for titles that have been removed and when new ones are added. We’ve done the hard work, so now the only thing you have to do is sit back and, uh, watch all 100 movies. (And if you’re more of a TV person, check out the 50 best TV shows on Netflix.)
Three years after reinventing the Batman franchise with "Batman Begins" (also streaming on Netflix), the director Christopher Nolan returned to Gotham, making a rare sequel that surpasses the original. Nolan crafts some of the sharpest, tightest set pieces of the series to date .
Its opening bank robbery and nighttime prisoner transfer are astonishingly assured — while Heath Ledger pierces in an Oscar-winning turn as the Joker, a frightening, take-no-prisoners snapshot of nihilistic evil. Our critic wrote, “it goes darker and deeper than any Hollywood movie of its comic-book kind.”
In this, the eighth installment of the “Star Wars” saga, the writer-director Rian Johnson (“Looper”) bends the boundaries of the series in fascinating ways — tinkering with iconography, exploding expectations and taking the universe in unexpected directions.
“The Last Jedi” delivers the blockbuster goods, with chases, dogfights and lightsaber battles galore. But it is also a subtle and thoughtful meditation on the franchise itself, and the necessity of storytellers who are willing to take big risks.
Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, and John Boyega all shine, but the powerhouse performer is Mark Hamill, who brings a lifetime of hope and disappointment to his long-awaited revival of Luke Skywalker. Our critic called it “a satisfying, at times transporting entertainment.” (Johnson’s first feature film, the scorching neo-noir “Brick,” is also streaming on Netflix.)
Bonnie and Clyde
Forget the bland Netflix Original The Highwaymen and go back to Arthur Penn’s 1967 masterpiece that helped define the legend of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow.
One of the most important films of its generation, this telling of one of crime’s most infamous duos stars Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. It was landmark in its violence in 1967 and it’s still powerful five decades later.
This vivid, evocative memory play from Alfonso Cuarón is a story of two Mexican women in the early 1970s: Sofía (Marina de Tavira), a mother of four whose husband (and provider) is on his way out the door, and Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), the family’s nanny, maid and support system.
His scenes are occasionally stressful, often heart-wrenching, and they unfailingly burst with life and emotion. Our critic called it “an expansive, emotional portrait of life buffeted by violent forces, and a masterpiece.” (Fans of challenging drama should also seek out “The Master” and “A Serious Man.”
Over a 12-year period, the director Richard Linklater surreptitiously constructed “Boyhood” around the non-actor Ellar Coltrane, folding that boy’s development from age 6 to 18 into a fictional narrative about growing up under a devoted single mother (Patricia Arquette) and a father (Ethan Hawke) whose presence in his life is much less consistent.
Watching Coltrane age is a uniquely powerful experience by itself, but Linklater keeps the frame open to larger developments in culture and politics, too, as well as to the particulars of family life in Texas. Manohla Dargis called it “Mr. Linklater’s masterpiece.” (Love coming-of-age dramas?
The Blackcoat’s Daughter
Osgood Perkins — son of the “Psycho” star Anthony Perkins — writes and directs this unnerving and disturbing story of creepy goings-on at a near-empty girls’ boarding school.
The performances (from Kiernan Shipka, Lucy Boynton, and Emma Roberts) are sharp and the scares are genuine, while Perkins’ orchestration of mood and atmosphere is chillingly effective. Our critic called it “perfectly acted and gorgeously filmed.”
The 2013 film About Time is not just an absolute gem of a romantic comedy, it’s also one of the best time travel movies ever made. Oh yeah, and it’s a total tearjerker.
Written and directed by Love, Actually filmmaker Richard Curtis, the film stars Domhnall Gleeson as a young man who learns from his father (Bill Nighy) that the men in their family have the ability to time travel.
This comes in handy when he misses his chance with a charismatic American girl (Rachel McAdams) and goes back to the night they first met to start their relationship off right. But what begins as a delightful, grounded, and romantic romp soon turns emotional, as About Time slowly reveals itself to be a gut-wrenching father-son story at heart. – Adam Chitwood
My Happy Family
A 52-year-old Georgian woman shocks her family, and her entire community, when she decides to move out of the cramped family apartment — leaving her husband, children and parents behind in order to finally begin a life of her own.
“In this world, there are no families without problems,” she is told, and the conflicts of the script by Nana Ekvtimishvili (who also directed, with Simon Gross) are a sharp reminder that while the cultural specifics may vary, familial guilt and passive aggression are bound by no language.
Manohla Dargis praised its “sardonically funny, touching key.” (For more critically acclaimed foreign drama, try the Oscar nominated Hungarian film “On Body and Soul” or Guillermo del Toro’s Spanish smash “Pan’s Labyrinth.
The Indiana Jones Trilogy
Yes, we said trilogy, even though all four Indiana Jones movies are currently on Netflix—watch or revisit Kingdom of the Crystal Skull at your own risk. But Steven Spielberg’s wonderfully adventurous original trilogy holds up remarkably well.
Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of the best films ever made, with Harrison Ford solidifying himself as a screen icon in the role of a very affable (and super good-looking) archaeologist. Temple of Doom gets dark and weird, but remains a fascinating and fun film.
And Last Crusade is one of the best entries in the “Spielberg makes movies about his father” genre. You can’t go wrong with any of these three. – Adam Chitwood
The Iranian director Asghar Farhadi won a richly deserved Academy Award for best foreign film for this story of a man, his wife, their child and the family they disastrously intersect with.
In dramatizing the moral, social and legal fallout of a domestic episode that was either a misunderstanding or an assault, Farhadi displays his gift for telling stories that hinge on the tiniest events. A.O. Scott called it “tightly structured” and “emotionally astute.” (Fans of this foreign morality play may also enjoy “Burning” and "Graduation.")
The best way to approach Dan Gilroy’s crazy Velvet Buzzsaw is to see it as a slasher film that takes place in the art world. Instead of a masked madman rampaging through a summer camp full of horny teenagers, it’s disturbing art rampaging through the art scene full of greedy profiteers.
The plot centers on a group of art dealers who stumble upon the work of a deceased, criminally insane artist and find that his art could be highly profitable. However, proximity to the art causes other art to come alive and murder those who would seek to make money off art rather than engage with it.
Gilroy’s targets a very clear, but it never feels like he’s preaching at the audience because Velvet Buzzsaw is so much fun. It’s a movie with art and commerce on its mind, but never at the expense of giving the audience a good time. – Matt Goldberg
Patricia Highsmith’s lesbian romance novel “The Price of Salt,” originally written under the pseudonym Claire Morgan, is sensitively and intelligently adapted by director Todd Haynes into this companion to his earlier masterpiece “Far From Heaven.”
Cate Blanchett is smashing as a suburban ‘50s housewife who finds herself so intoxicated by a bohemian shopgirl (an enchanting Rooney Mara) that she’s willing to risk her entire comfortable existence in order, just once, to follow her heart.
Our critic said it’s “at once ardent and analytical, cerebral and swooning.” (“Quiz Show” is another must-see drama set in the 1950s; Mara also does stellar work in “Her.”)
Knock Down the House
While some may be quick to dismiss this documentary because its main figure is liberal politician Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Rachel Lears’ film isn’t really concerned with the right-left divide. Instead, it’s about insurgent, grassroots politicians fighting the entrenched establishment power.
Although Ocasio-Cortez’ story over-arches the whole film, Lears also takes time to follow other female politicians who are seeking to win their primary battles. The film is at its best when it shows the gritty, unglamorous work of campaigning and building a movement.
If you’re fed up with business-as-usual politicians who have forgotten their constituents, Knock Down the House provides an inspiring rally cry. – Matt Goldberg
A marvelously absurd, stingingly satirical and unexpectedly moving story of a girl and her genetically engineered super-pig, this Netflix original from the director Bong Joon Ho is the kind of movie that goes in so many wild directions at once — urban mayhem one moment, character drama the next — it leaves you breathlessly off-balance.
Bong coaxes game and unpredictable performances from his gloriously unhinged cast, with particularly juicy turns by Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal. A.O. Scott raved, “Mr. Bong juggles delight and didacticism with exquisite grace.” (For more Bong, check out his previous film, “Snowpiercer.”)
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