Alright, you want the best of the best? Then we’re gonna give it to you.
After scouring Netflix for the best thrillers, best action flicks, best romantic comedies, best horror movies, best family films, and more, it’s finally time for us to narrow down our streaming suggestions to the best movies, period. 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 that delivers top-tier performances, a killer script, and an engaging world.
Without further ado and in no particular order, here are the 25 best movies now on Netflix.
1. My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)
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Few ’90s rom-coms are better than this one directed by P.J. Hogan, in which a messy love triangle finds Julia Roberts’ Jules trying to sabotage her best friend Michael’s (Dermot Mulroney) wedding when she realizes she’s in love with him. The whole thing hinges on a pact the two friends made years ago, promising they’d marry each other if they were both still single by 28, an absolutely wild age to agree to such a thing. With only days before the wedding, Jules pushes her way into Michael and Kimmy’s (Cameron Diaz) life to try and break them up. This movie’s got Rupert Everett as gay BFF icon of the ’90s George, an entire restaurant breaking into a sing-along of “I Say a Little Prayer,” and Julia Roberts stealing a bread truck. My Best Friend’s Wedding is perfect, always satisfying comfort food. — Oliver Whitney, Contributing Writer
How to watch: My Best Friend’s Wedding is streaming on Netflix.
2. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023)
Five years ago we got what remains one of the best superhero movies of all time with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. That’s an incredibly hard act to follow, and yet the sequel to Miles Morales’ journey, Across the Spider-Verse, is absolutely fantastic.
In the second part of the Spider-Verse saga, Miles is grown up, but he’s struggling to balance his life as Brooklyn’s web-slinger with his studies and being a good son to his parents. After a visit from Gwen (Spider-Woman in her universe), Miles becomes tangled up with a daunting new villain, a whole new team of Spider-Peoples, and a mission that could change the fate of the multiverse. I know, I know, we’re all a little burnt out by the overabundance of multiverse narratives these days, but Across the Spider-Verse manages to inject its story with some truly clever world-building. The newest characters are a blast, with a killer voice cast that includes Issa Rae, Oscar Isaac, Daniel Kaluuya, Karan Soni, and Greta Lee, among other fun cameos. The action set-pieces are exhilarating and funny, and the animation is somehow more dazzling than the first film. We can only hope the third Spider-Verse film is half as good as the first two. — O.W.
3. Dune (2021)
Credit: Warner Bros / Moviestore / Shutterstock
If you’re craving a sci-fi epic, look no further. Denis Villeneuve’s Dune is captivating cinema on every level, from the scale of its planet-hopping story to the astonishing beauty of its visual world. The first part of an adaptation of Frank Herbert’s acclaimed novel, Dune follows Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides, the young heir to House Atreides, who’s been having visions of a desert planet. When Paul’s father Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac) is granted dominion over the planet Arrakis, replacing Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (a vicious Stellan Skarsgård), Paul and his family relocate to the desert of Arrakis, where Paul learns more of the future that awaits him.
Issue can surely be taken with Dune‘s story and Villeneuve’s approach — after all, Herbert’s book was inspired by Arab and Islamic culture, and Villeneuve’s film fails to feature any Middle Eastern or North African actors in a prominent role. On a purely cinematic level, though, Dune is nothing short of jaw-dropping. The details of the film’s vast world make you feel like you’re fully immersed in another universe, from the staggering production design and intricate costuming to the pounding suspense of each action sequence. Even Hans Zimmer’s frenetic score is a banger. — O.W.
How to watch: Dune is streaming on Netflix.
4. Prometheus (2012)
The classic fan debate is always Alien versus Aliens, hardly leaving room for Prometheus in the discussion. While the original 1979 film is a sci-fi horror masterpiece and Aliens remains a sublime example of action sci-fi, Prometheus, Ridley Scott’s philosophical prequel to Alien, remains the most misunderstood, and the most interesting, of the franchise.
For the most part, Prometheus is entirely its own movie and story — though without spoiling anything, it does play a major role in explaining key elements of the Alien franchise. In the year 2089, religious archaeologist Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and her atheist scientist boyfriend, Dr. Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Greens), discover a cave map that they think will lead them to the origin of mankind. The two set out on a mission to a planet along with a star-studded crew, including Idris Elba’s Captain Janek, Charlize Theron’s mission director Vickers, and Michael Fassbender as the ship’s android, David. Prometheus has both the high-stakes suspense and terror of the Alien films, but most notably gives the franchise a meditative bent that contemplates spirituality, science, and morality in the world of men and Xenomorphs. — O.W.
How to watch: Prometheus is streaming on Netflix.
5. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Cornetto trilogy be damned, ’twas Bryan Lee O’Malley’s graphic tale of the woes fallen upon poor lovestruck Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) that gave director Edgar Wright his greatest cinematic vehicle to date. Forced to fight the seven vengeful exes of punky delivery gal Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) in order to fully win her heart, there are admittedly some things about the movie that even in their moment felt dated — Scott dating high school student Knives Chau (Ellen Wong) stands out, for one!
But the film knows Scott’s faults are faults, while also fighting to give all the women in his orbit enough agency that I can look askance, especially for a movie this electric, top to bottom. The greatest video game movie that isn’t technically a video game movie, with a soundtrack that still kicks unholy ass. (You can give me Brie Larson singing “Black Sheep” on a loop until the day I die, please.) — J.A.
How to watch: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is streaming on Netflix.
6. Paddington (2014)
Credit: Moviestore / Shutterstock
The truth is, you haven’t known joy until you’ve experienced Paddington, one of the most charming movies imaginable. It’s well agreed upon that the titular Peruvian-British bear, voiced oh-so-sweetly by Ben Whishaw, is the epitome of cuteness. You could watch Paddington on mute and, by the laws of nature, melt into a puddle over his marmalade-smeared little face. This isn’t just a movie about gushing over cute animals, though, but one that gently tells a story about British colonialism, immigration, and xenophobia through the wacky adventures of a bear on the run.
After Paddington’s jungle home in “Darkest Peru” is destroyed by an earthquake, the young bear arrives in London on a cargo ship. A British family takes pity on the lost little orphan and invites him to stay for a night. But things turn complicated for the red-hatted bear when Nicole Kidman’s evil taxidermist sets out to hunt him down and stuff him. Dark, silly, and oh-so-visually inventive, Paddington is there whenever you’re having a rough day and need a joyous pick-me-up. — O.W.
How to watch: Paddington is streaming on Netflix.
7. Snowpiercer (2013)
Before Parasite, Bong Joon-ho gave us the anti-capitalist sci-fi blockbuster Snowpiercer, a film that uses a train speeding through a post-apocalyptic snowy future to explore class division and revolt. It’s the year 2031 and climate collapse has catapulted the planet into a new ice age. The only survivors live on a train that never stops running, where cars are stratified by class — the front car is reserved for the wealthiest and most powerful, feasting on the finest of foods, while the poor are shoved to the back and fed disgusting “protein blocks.” Enough is enough, so Chris Evans’ Curtis launches a rebellion and leads a group of revolutionaries toward the front of the train, faced with Tilda Swinton’s evil henchwoman and armed guards along the way. An indictment of capitalism and class struggle and a commentary on Hollywood blockbuster tropes, Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer remains one of the most thrilling and clever action epics of the past decade. — O.W.
How to watch: Snowpiercer is streaming on Netflix.
8. Get Out (2017)
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In retrospect, it’s no surprise that Jordan Peele’s directorial debut about the horrors of whiteness in America shattered one box office record after another. The Oscar-winning Get Out changed the game for the horror genre, proving that a low-budget film without a major A-lister in the lead — and most significantly, a film about an original concept amid the slew of big studio remakes and franchises — could be a massive hit. While doing so, it told one of the most inventive stories the genre’s seen about a Black man (Daniel Kaluuya) who visits his white girlfriend’s (Allison Williams) wealthy family only to uncover a deeply twisted, racist secret.
Horror has long been a means of incisive social commentary, and with Get Out, Peele uses the tools of the genre to tell a Twilight Zone–esque story about the ways anti-Black racism and violence conceals itself within faux performances of “inclusion” and “acceptance” — captured perfectly by the now-iconic line, “I would have voted for Obama for a third term if I could” — only to then co-opt Black culture for itself. While there’s nothing quite like your first time watching Get Out, it’s a film that grows even better upon rewatch. — O.W.
How to watch: Get Out is streaming on Netflix.
9. The Farewell (2019)
In Lulu Wang’s The Farewell, Billie (Awkwafina) learns that her grandmother Nai Nai (Zhao Shu-zhen) has just been diagnosed with stage four lung cancer and only has a few months to live. But Nai Nai has no idea, and her family isn’t planning to tell her. Instead, they’re throwing a big family wedding in China as an excuse to get the whole family together to see her for what may be the last time. As preposterous and infuriating as that scheme seems to Billie, her family insists that keeping the bad news from Nai Nai is the best way to let her enjoy her final days in peace.
The Farewell deftly wrestles with this ethical quandary as it explores the cultural differences of Eastern collectivism and American individualism, questioning if such a lie is selfish or cruel if its intention is to lessen the burden of suffering for a loved one. But The Farewell isn’t just a movie. It’s based on Wang’s own experience with her family hiding a diagnosis from her grandmother (that real-life lie later fused with the lie of the film itself). You can feel tugs of guilt of Wang’s personal dilemma all over her film, which delicately balances its weighty material with humor and grace. — O.W.
How to watch: The Farewell is streaming on Netflix.
10. Catfight (2016)
If you loved Killing Eve, you gotta watch Catfight, a movie where two women spend the entire film trying to kill one another. Sandra Oh stars alongside the late Anne Heche in this deliciously nasty black comedy about two former college friends who hate each other and reunite by chance.
Veronica (Oh) is a miserable trophy wife; Ashley (Heche) is a pissed-off, struggling artist, and both women are raging, toxic jerks. When they meet in a stairwell at a party, years of bottled-up rage explodes, and the two viciously punch, kick, and strangle the hell out of each other. Cut to two years later, when one of them wakes up from a coma. Yes, Catfight is incredibly dark, bubbling with crude humor and gnarly violence, and may not be for everyone. Yet there’s something exhilarating about watching female characters — especially with the tremendous duo of Oh and Heche, who fight, yell, and insult with such ferocity — get a chance to unleash their rage in ways male characters have done for decades. — O.W.
How to watch: Catfight is streaming on Netflix.
11. The Woman King
The Oscars might have missed the boat on Gina Prince-Bythewood’s relentless action thriller about a real-life group of female warriors (led by a remarkably buff Viola Davis) fighting slavers in 1800s Africa, but that doesn’t mean you should do the same. Looking like no other action movie ever made, this collective of kick-ass women (including a stellar Lashana Lynch and Thuso Mbedu among their ranks) will have you leaping off your sofa and cheering as they slice their way through jungle and clay and mankind alike. — J.A.
How to watch: The Woman King is streaming on Netflix.
12. It Follows (2014)
Sex kills in It Follows, literally. In David Robert Mitchell’s fantastic indie horror film, Maika Monroe’s Jay becomes the latest target of a mysterious and invisible entity after she has sex with her boyfriend (Jake Weary). Now she has to have sex with someone else to pass on the curse; until then, she’ll be stalked by random strangers who are trying to kill her. A minimalist horror premise, It Follows works so well because it refrains from explaining too much and instead relies on creating a total atmosphere of paranoia. It’s a masterclass in suspenseful, style-soaked filmmaking, using creeping zooms and 360-degree POV pans to ratchet up the psychological anxiety, plus a synth-heavy score that evokes the dread of vintage John Carpenter. Beware, you will leave this movie doing a double take at every shadowy corner. — O.W.
How to watch: It Follows is streaming on Netflix.
13. Phantom Thread
If Daniel Day-Lewis is really and truly permanently retired from acting (and let’s hope he’s not, for acting’s sake), then he went out on a darn high note with this profoundly romantic anti-romance from director Paul Thomas Anderson. DDL’s persnickety couture bastard Reynolds Woodcock (a name the director and his star came up with as a gag, which stuck) and his right-hand sis Cyril (Lesley Manville, who will go right through you) have the disgustingly wealthy eating out of their satin-lined gloves when the film begins.
So, how does a stumbling bumbling nobody waitress named Alma (Vicky Krieps in a blow-the-doors-off performance) flip their entire pristine world upside down with nothing but a well-calculated blush and a basket of mushrooms? That’s the stuff of romance, in all of its violent, push-pull swirl. And Phantom Thread captures the dunderheaded swoon of that first blush, plus all of the fallout that necessarily falls after in order to keep that flame forever burning. — Jason Adams, Entertainment Reporter
How to watch: Phantom Thread is streaming on Netflix.
14. Hunt for the Wilderpeople
This 2016 adventure about bad egg Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison) and his curmudgeonly foster father Hec (Sam Neill) is the kind of eccentric delight that writer/director Taika Waititi specializes in (this time co-writing with Barry Crump, who wrote the original book).
After losing his foster mother, Ricky flees into the forests of New Zealand, pursued by Hec, only to learn that the older man also feels no need to return to civilization. Together they become the wilderpeople, living off the land and evading capture from authorities, including Thor: Ragnarok‘s Rachel House. Wilderpeople is equal parts stirring, hilarious, and absurd — a story of found family and adventure that can be loved by all.* — Proma Khosla, Entertainment Reporter
15. Call Me By Your Name
Credit: Frenesy Film Co / Sony / Kobal / Shutterstock
22-year-olds don’t get nominated for Best Actor every day. Indeed, only two actors in the 95-year history of the Academy Awards were younger than Timothée Chalamet was in 2017 when he waltzed into the Dolby Theater in his white tuxedo after having given irrepressible life to the bookish teenager Elio Perlman in Luca Guadagnino’s 2018 romantic masterpiece Call Me By Your Name. And I’d have given him the statue, too.
‘Call Me By Your Name’ is the rare case where you should watch the movie before reading the book
Dropping amid dark Trumpian days here in the U.S., this too-brief Italian summer, flush with color and fluids, saw Elio feeling out those first deepest intimacies with his father’s summertime professorial assistant Oliver (Armie Hammer)…and also, somewhat memorably, a peach. And it felt like the coming-of-age movie so many of us had been waiting our entire lives to see. — J.A.
How to watch: Call Me By Your Name is streaming on Netflix.
16. Da 5 Bloods
Mashable’s Adam Rosenberg reviewed Da 5 Bloods in summer 2020, 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. — Alison Foreman, Entertainment Reporter
How to watch: Da 5 Bloods is streaming on Netflix.
First-time feature director Rohena Gera sticks the landing with 2018’s Sir, which only released in cinemas in November 2020 and hit Netflix early in 2021. It’s essential Indian cinema. Tillotama Shome stars as Ratna, a live-in housemaid to upper-middle class Ashwin. Housemaids are common in India, where the film is set, but Ratna and Ashwin develop a slow-simmering and socially unthinkable love.
With Gera’s writing and direction, this unlikely story never feels forced. The love blooms organically, in furtive looks and hefty silence and the trust they develop as Ashwin recovers from a broken engagement and Ratna tells him about her late husband. The result is a film so soft and stirring that it will stay with you long after it ends.* — P.K.
18. The Mitchells vs. The Machines
Credit: 2021 SPAI
Take your typical family road trip comedy, toss in a robot apocalypse, and top it all off with a heavy smattering of meme-worthy filters, doodles, and GIFs, and you might end up with something like The Mitchells vs. The Machines: a truly fun-for-the-whole-family feature that hinges on whether an artsy teen (voiced by Abbi Jacobson) and her luddite dad (voiced by Danny McBride) can set aside their differences long enough to save all of humanity from being launched into space by Siri Pal.
Come for the jokes about our impending AI-led dystopia, stay for the heart-tugging moments of Mitchell family bonding. Seriously, we might never hear T.I. and Rihanna’s “Live Your Life” without tearing up ever again.* — Angie Han, Deputy Entertainment Editor
In his feature-length 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 lot with a little — delivering a horror gem so good it merited a phenomenal sequel starring Desiree Akhavan that’s also on Netflix. — A.F.
20. The Power of the Dog
Credit: Kirsty Griffin / Courtesy of Netflix
The Power of the Dog is a masterful Western from director Jane Campion, who made history as the third woman to win the award for Best Director. Benedict Cumberbatch dazzles with quiet menace as cowboy Phil Burbank, while his co-stars Jesse Plemons, Kirsten Dunst, and Kodi Smit-McPhee also deliver award-worthy performances. A gorgeous film layered with subtle dangers, The Power of the Dog is proof that it’s Campion’s world. We’re all just living in it.* — Belen Edwards, Entertainment Reporter
How to watch: The Power of the Dog is streaming on Netflix.
21. Crimson Peak
Justice for Crimson Peak! Those of us who love Guillermo del Toro’s camp gothic romance really love it, and we will defend it with our last heaving guttural ghostly gasp. From those balloon-sized, puffy-shouldered nightgowns that Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) sports while running up and down hallways and staircases and staircases and hallways while clutching candelabras, to Tom Hiddleton’s heaving buttocks, to fresh and inventive ways of smashing a dude’s face in, Crimson Peak is peak del Toro. Total goth nirvana. Make like Jessica Chastain, and stab, stab, stab this beauty into your heart today! — J.A.
How to watch: Crimson Peak is streaming on Netflix.
Credit: Jae Hyuk Lee / Netflix / Kobal / Shutterstock
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). — A.F.
How to watch: Okja is streaming on Netflix.
23. Marriage Story
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. — A.F.
24. tick, tick… Boom!
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s feature directorial debut packs a potent musical theater punch from every angle. He brings to life the selective reality and theatrical phantasmagoria of Rent writer Jonathan Larson’s life and career, based on an autobiographical show from 1992.
Miranda, whose In the Heights was spectacularly adapted for film by Jon M. Chu, proves as adept at moving from stage to screen as he does sucking the marrow of his medium. Andrew Garfield fully inhabits Larson, from voice to body to towering, buzzing hair and a frenetic urgency to create — to write, to sing, to matter, as Larson so clearly did to legions of dreamers who followed.* — P.K.
25. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Credit: Moviestore / Shutterstock
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. — A.F.
26. Frances Ha
When Frances Ha (a never-better Greta Gerwig), during an ill-planned jaunt to Paris, gives a speech to a group of strangers over dinner about that thing, you know, where you see somebody who perfectly understands you across a room during a party? That’s when the movie gets its hook into me. And when what Frances described plays itself out perfectly at the end of Noah Baumbach’s black-and-white 2012 masterpiece, with her forever bestie Sophie (Mickey Sumner) spotting her across a room and smiling with all the communication in all the world passing between them? That’s when I am dragged into this perfect movie’s loving embrace all over again. And again. And again.
It’s been about a decade since its release, and Frances Ha was already a bit of a time capsule of a precise moment and place in time when it came out. Still, the low-fi indie timelessly transcends those specifics, capturing something ineffable about friendship and self-actualization in the smallest, sweetest, clumsiest of increments. — J.A.
How to watch: Frances Ha is 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. — A.F.
28. Farha (2021)
Based on a real Palestinian girl’s story, Darin J. Sallam’s debut feature film follows 14-year-old Farha (Karam Taher), who dreams of moving from her Palestinian village into the city so she can go to school instead of getting married. But it’s 1948 in Palestine, just as the first Nakba, or “catastrophe” in Arabic, was taking place, and far more horrifying things are about to interrupt Farha’s hopes.
Instead of trying to show the expansive historical details of the Nakba, Sallam’s Farha presents everything through the eyes of its young protagonist. We follow Farha as she’s forced to separate from her family and best friend as Israel’s militia arrives to wreak havoc in her village. Though an incredibly difficult film to watch, it’s also a powerful film that tells a rare story of Palestinian history and perseverance through the vantage point of an innocent child.
How to watch: Farha is streaming on Netflix.
29. I’m Thinking of Ending Things
Credit: Mary Cybulski / Netflix
Emotional demolitions expert/filmmaker Charlie Kaufman destroys audiences once more in the mind-boggling I’m Thinking of Ending Things. Adapted from Iain Reid’s novel of the same name, this cryptically titled psychological thriller follows a woman, played by Jessie Buckley, and her boyfriend, played by Jesse Plemons, on a disturbing visit to his parents’ remote farmhouse. What follows? Well, that depends on who you ask.
A transfixing meditation on art, existence, value, authorship, isolation, and more, I’m Thinking of Ending Things is a truly one-of-a-kind experience as profound as it is disquieting. You may not have a great time in this house of abstract horrors (especially when Toni Collette is onscreen doing those classically terrifying Toni Collette things), but it will be a lasting one.* — A.F.
Put on your dancing shoes and prepare to punch a tiger in the face, because S. S. Rajamouli’s three-plus-hour action epic is here to pound you into submission, and you’ll be smiling for every second of it. Making Zack Snyder’s grandiosity look like a flea circus, RRR (which stands for “Rise Roar Revolt”) tells the simple and modest tale of two revolutionaries (played by human supermen N. T. Rama Rao Jr. and Ram Charan) in 1920 who become friends, enemies, friends again, and on and so forth, until they storm and spin and punch and slash their way across half of the British army.
RRR features about a dozen action scenes that should rank among the most phenomenal spectacles ever put on screen (I’m particular to the fight that nearly burns down an entire jungle, myself), but we all know it’s the “Naatu Naatu” dance competition that keeps the boys and girls coming back for more. — J.A.
How to watch: RRR is streaming on Netflix.
Need even more streaming recommendations? Mashable Streaming Guides can help. You can find:
Asterisks (*) indicate the entry comes from a previous Mashable list.
UPDATE: Nov. 30, 2023, 5:07 p.m. EST This article has been updated to reflect the latest streaming options.