- Trying to find the best movie to watch on Netflix can be a daunting challenge. We’ve all been there. You’ve decided you’re going to watch something. You have the entirety of Netflix at your disposal, including even a pared down list of films you’ve already bookmarked to watch at a future date. But then there’s the choosing. You’ve gotta find something that fits your mood, or something you and your friend/significant other/couch companion can agree on. You spend hours browsing, and by the time you stumble on something you think maybe is the one, it’s too late, you’re too tired, and indecision has won out.
Never fear, though, because we here at Collider have a guide to help you find the perfect Netflix movies available in the U.S. We’ve thumbed through the library and assembled a list of some of the best films currently available for streaming, from classics to hidden gems to new releases and beyond. This list of the best movies on Netflix is updated weekly with all-new choices, so be sure to return the next time you’re looking for something great to watch.
For even more curated streaming recommendations, check out our lists for the Best TV Shows on Netflix Right Now and Best Movies on Amazon Prime Right Now and Best Horror Movies on Netflix Right Now and Best Sci-Fi Movies on Netflix Right Now and Best TV Shows on Amazon Prime Right Now.
Director/Writer: Greta Gerwig
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, Timothée Chalamet, Beanie Feldstein, Odeya Rush
I’m so glad Lady Bird exists and that it functions as an announcement that Greta Gerwig is not only a major talent, but also a talent that can go beyond herself. My fear going into Lady Bird was that the movie would be too autobiographical and Gerwig would have unintentionally created a parody of her mumblecore roles. Instead, she provided a film that was personal and specific. It’s a movie that relishes its lived-in relationships while never being exclusionary.
On my first viewing, I found the movie to be a very good example of the coming-of-age dramedy. Upon a repeat viewing, I see it as one of the best examples the genre has to offer. Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf are both amazing as they relish both the highs and lows of their mother-daughter relationship, and watching Lady Bird’s rocky senior year of high school, complete with all the honest missteps a teenager makes, turns Gerwig’s debut into an unforgettable feature.
Director: Tim Burton
Writer: Andrew Kevin Walker
Cast: Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Miranda Richardson, Michael Gambon, Casper Van Dien, Jeffrey Jones, and Christopher Walken
What do you get when you combine the writer of Seven with the cinematographer behind The Revenant, director Tim Burton, and an iconically spooky story? You get Sleepy Hollow, lowkey one of the best “Halloween” movies ever made. This is a tremendously evocative adaptation that is atmospheric and chilling, but also a little goofy and a lot of fun. Johnny Depp plays police constable Ichabod Crane who is dispatched to the titular tiny town in 1799 to investigate a series of beheadings. Seriously, this is absolutely one of Tim Burton’s best films.
A Knight’s Tale
Writer/Director: Brian Helgeland
Cast: Heath Ledger, Paul Bettany, Rufus Sewell, Shannyn Sossamon, Laura Fraser, Alan Tudyk, Mark Addy, Berenice Bejo, James Purefoy
A Knight’s Tale is one of those purely joyful movies that goes down smooth no matter what mood you’re in. Heath Ledger is at the height of his heartthrob phase, unleashing that megawatt charm with, frankly, reckless abandon and showcasing the commanding screen presence that would make him an awards favorite before his untimely death. And he’s surrounded by an ace ensemble, with Paul Bettany, Alan Tudyk, Laura Fraser, and Mark Addy keeping up the comedy while Ledger smacks down the swoons. Writer/director Brian Helgeland reimagines the classic underdog sports tale in the realm of lords, ladies, and jousting knights, positively pumping up the jam with an anachronistic soundtrack full of bops and bangers, from Queen to David Bowie to Heart. If you forgot how good this soundtrack is, do yourself a favor and add it to your playlist asap, but the music doesn’t just objectively own, it further brightens up the spirits of this jovial peak-summer feel-good film, and ramps up the energy of the action scenes. In short, A Knight’s Tale will, in fact, rock you.
The Back to the Future Trilogy
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Writers: Robert Zemeckis & Bob Gale
Cast: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, and Thomas F. Wilson
Surely one of the most rewatchable movie trilogies of all time, Back to the Future is pure entertainment. The production of the first film was famously difficult, with the recasting of the role of Marty McFly forcing the crew to reshoot much of the film. But in the end, the imagination of Robert Zemeckis shined through, as Back to the Future offers up one of the best time travel movies ever made. This film absolutely soars, mixing nostalgia for the 1950s with a tremendous tinge of sci-fi. The first sequel, Part II, offers a terrific wish-fulfillment view of the future before going back to the 50s in eye-popping fashion, and Part III travels to the Old West to give the franchise the sendoff it deserves. All three are well worth watching pretty much whenever you want to feel joy.
Y Tu Mamá También
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Writers: Alfonso Cuarón and Carlos Cuarón
Cast: Maribel Verdú, Gael García Bernal, and Diego Luna
Before he made Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban or Children of Men or Gravity, filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón directed the erotic masterpiece Y Tu Mamá También. The Spanish-language coming-of-age drama follows two teenage best friends who go on a road trip with a woman in her late twenties, only to discover much more about each other and themselves. It seems like a trite premise, but the film is lovingly crafted and gorgeously shot by Oscar-winning cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki. Cuarón captures teenage ennui brilliantly, and while this is a “coming-of-age” story, the focus isn’t entirely on the young boys—Maribel Verdú’s chararacter is fully realized as Cuarón explores the anxieties and fears of adulthood, all set against the backdrop of a sunny, sex-filled roadtrip. This is undoubtedly one of the best films of the 21st century so far.