The 39 Best Movies on Netflix Right Now

If you’re looking for the best movies to watch on Netflix, you’ve come to the right place. Below, we’ve put together an expertly curated selection of some of the most exciting, compelling, emotional and funny movies currently streaming right now.

While it can be daunting thumbing through the streamer’s catalog to find out what to watch, we’ve taken the guesswork and mindless scrolling out of it. This post will be frequently updated with new recommendations, keeping you up to date with all the Netflix movies you should be prioritizing in your queue.

So peruse our list of the best movies on Netflix right now below, and happy watching!

Hit Man

Hit Man
“Hit Man” (Credit: Netflix)

This movie is an absolute blast. Inspired by a true story, “Hit Man” stars Glen Powell as a mild-mannered man who does contract work for the local police disguising himself as a hit man to catch people plotting murders on tape. But when he falls for one of his would-be criminals (a woman played by Adria Arjona), he finds himself caught between two identities — the “hit man” personality she fell in love with and the guy he really is. Richard Linklater, the award-winning filmmaker behind “School of Rock,” “Boyhood” and the “Before” series, directs with a keen eye for humanity in every character but packages the whole thing as a screwball comedy. Powell co-wrote the script and is dynamite in the lead role, showing off tremendous chemistry with Arjona.

Looper

looper-bruce-willis-joseph-gordon-levitt
Sony

Before Rian Johnson made “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” or the “Knives Out” movies, he wrote and directed this unique sci-fi thriller with a brilliant twist. “Looper” takes place in a world in which time travel has not been invented yet but will be, and in the future criminals send targets back in time to be murdered in the past, thus disposing of the body. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is one of these assassins, but he’s thrown one day when the target that appears before him is his older self (played by Bruce Willis). He hesitates and his future self gets free, and the two set about on a journey fraught with tension. Emily Blunt co-stars and this wonderfully original film builds to a shocking climax.

Back to the Future Trilogy

Universal Pictures

“Back to the Future” is not only one of the best film trilogies of all time, it’s also one of the most bingeable. The original 1985 film is a bona fide classic with Michael J. Fox playing Marty McFly, a high schooler who accidentally travels back in time and interacts with his parents as high schoolers (played by Lea Thompson and Crispin Glover). 1989’s “Back to the Future Part II” and 1990’s “Back to the Future Part III” were shot back-to-back but are wildly different films – “Part II” travels to the future and offers a decidedly ‘80s twist on dystopia while “Part III” is a full-blown Western. Taken together, director Robert Zemeckis’ trilogy is a wildly entertaining sci-fi jaunt.

Call Me by Your Name

call-me-by-your-name-timothee-chalamet
Timothee Chalamet in “Call Me by Your Name” (Sony Pictures Classics)

The film that really put Timothee Chalamet on the map, “Call Me by Your Name” is one of the most deeply felt love stories ever put to screen. Filmmaker Luca Guadagnino transports the viewer to a time and place, yes, but also exudes the feeling of lust, love and possibility throughout. Chalamet plays a 17-year-old vacationing with his family in Italy in 1983 who strikes up a romantic relationship with a 24-year-old grad student (played by Armie Hammer). The soundtrack features two original songs by Sufjan Stevens, and the supporting performance by Michael Stuhlbarg is outstanding. If you dug “Challengers,” also by Guadagnino, check out the director’s more quietly romantic spin on a love story.

Easy A

easy-a
Emma Stone in “Easy A” (Sony Pictures Releasing)

A delightful romantic comedy with a teen twist, “Easy A” is also a terrific showcase for the charms and talent of Emma Stone. The eventual Oscar winner stars in this 2010 film as a high school student named Olive who, in a bid to help her friend who’s being bullied for being gay, offers to pretend to have sex with him. Olive soon gets a bit of a reputation, all the while boys from her school start paying her in gifts in return for telling people they hooked up. “The Scarlet Letter” serves as a backdrop for this bitingly funny and sharp teen tale, and the swell ensemble cast includes Penn Badgley, Thomas Hayden Church, Lisa Kudrow, Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson.

1917

1917
Universal Pictures

Sam Mendes’ one-shot World War I film earned a boatload of Oscars, and deservedly so. The film is presented as one long, unbroken take (for which cinematographer Roger Deakins won an Academy Award) as it follows a soldier played by George MacKay through one day on the battlefield in April, 1917. It’s an astounding accomplishment and best watched with your full attention. Andrew Scott, Benedict Cumberbatch, Richard Madden and Mark Strong all have memorable but small roles as MacKay’s character makes his way through the muck.

The Breakfast Club

"The Breakfast Club" (Universal Pictures)
“The Breakfast Club” (Universal Pictures)

With “Brats” hitting Hulu this month, now’s the perfect time to revisit John Hughes’ perfect “The Breakfast Club.” The 1985 film chronicles a single day of Saturday detention for five high school students, all from different backgrounds/cliques, and finds them bonding in surprising ways. The level at which this film gets the teenage struggle remains a stunning feat, and there’s something magical about the chemistry of Emilio Estevez, Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy and Anthony Michael Hall altogether.

Tangerine

tangerine-movie
Magnolia

Before “The Florida Project” or “Red Rocket,” filmmaker Sean Baker burst onto the scene with his 2015 comedy “Tangerine” – shot entirely on an iPhone. Kitana Kiki Rodriguez stars as a trans sex worker living in Los Angeles who finds out that her boyfriend and pimp has been cheating on her. While it looks like an indie and tackles some heavy material at times, the film has the tone and pacing of a raucous comedy, and is all the better for it. Even better to brush up on Baker’s breakout film ahead of the release of his new film “Anora,” which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes this year.

Baby Driver

baby-driver-ansel-elgort
Sony Pictures

“Shaun of the Dead” and “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” filmmaker Edgar Wright combined his love of music and action filmmaking in 2017’s “Baby Driver,” which is packed wall-to-wall with music. Ansel Elgort is a getaway driver with tinnitus who constantly listens to music to drown out the ringing in his ears, but Wright times the action beats of the story to the songs that are playing, resulting in something of an action musical. Lily James is the object of Baby’s affection, and the ensemble cast also includes Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm, Eiza Gonzalez and, uh, Kevin Spacey.

Anyone but You

anyone-but-you
Sony Pictures

This romcom took the world by storm after it hit Netflix, but it was first released in theaters by Sony in December. Glen Powell and Sydney Sweeney play a pair of strangers who meet, hook up and then immediately part ways after a misunderstanding. They’re forced to play nice when a mutual friend invites them to a wedding in Australia, but wouldn’t you know it, they kinda start to like each other. Powell proves his leading man muster and this one’s a fun throwback.

Inside Man

inside-man-denzel-washington-chiwetel-ejiofor
Universal Pictures

Spike Lee’s 2006 thriller “Inside Man” is one of the director’s best and most entertaining films. The story opens in the aftermath of a bank heist, with those taken hostage giving their interviews to police about what happened. The film then flashes back to portray the events as they unfold, with Denzel Washington playing the detective trying to talk down the robber and kidnapper (played by Clive Owen) who seems to be harboring some kind of secret. Mind games ensue, and this one keeps you guessing all the way up through the end.

Moneyball

moneyball-brad-pitt
Sony Pictures

Brad Pitt gives one of his best performances in the 2011 drama “Moneyball,” an artful crowdpleaser in the best way. Directed by Bennett Miller and written by Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian, “Moneyball” charts former MLB flameout Billy Beane (Pitt) who’s now general manager of the Oakland Athletics and recruits a statistician with zero baseball experience (played by Jonah Hill in an Oscar-nominated performance) to help him shake up the team. The film is based on a true and controversial story, and while the sports angle is interesting, Pitt’s turn as a man filled with regret and shame hits you right in the gut.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
Sony Pictures

Impossibly, “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” might be even better than “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” which itself is nearly a masterpiece. The sequel — once again produced and written by Phil Lord and Chris Miller — finds Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) contending with the multiverse of Spider-People by going to various other universes, and squaring off against a unique antagonist known as The Spot (Jason Schwartzman) who keeps slipping through various universes. It builds to a climax worthy of comparisons to “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back,” no small feat.

The Killer

The Killer
Michael Fassbender in “The Killer” (Netflix)

David Fincher’s “The Killer” is a delightfully unique twist on the hitman movie. Written by “Seven” writer Andrew Kevin Walker, the film is broken up into chapters and follows an assassin played by Michael Fassbender in the wake of a hit gone wrong. But whereas most films would go right, “The Killer” goes left. There is precious little dialogue spoken out loud by Fassbender’s character as our insight into this machine-like presence comes from lengthy voiceovers. Fincher delights in immersing us into this man’s psyche as he world kinda sorta unravels.

the-killer-tilda-swinton

Glass Onion

glass-onion-daniel-craig-janelle-monae
Daniel Craig and Janelle Monae in “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” (Netflix)

You simply must, must, must watch “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” if you enjoy things like “fun” and “comedy.” This “Knives Out” sequel (once again written and directed by Rian Johnson) is a brand new mystery, with Daniel Craig’s Benoit Blanc as the only returning character from the original film. This time, he’s invited to a secluded island by a tech billionaire (played by Edward Norton), who has gathered a group of his closest friends – played by Kate Hudson, Dave Bautista, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr. and Janelle Monae – in Greece to play an elaborate murder mystery game. To say more would spoil the surprises, but suffice it to say this is just as thrilling, hilarious and surprising as the first “Knives Out” and you’ll want to watch it again immediately once it’s over.

glass-onion-daniel-craig

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Netflix

Guillermo del Toro’s first stop-motion feature film is as emotional as you’d expect, and this is “Pinocchio” like you’ve never seen the story before. Co-written and directed by del Toro, this adaptation features the voices of Ewan McGregor, David Bradley, Burn Gorman, Cate Blanchett, Finn Wolfhard, Ron Perlman and Tilda Swinton and offers up a fantastical twist on the Carlo Collodi Italian classic. Emotional and awe-inspiring in equal measure, and set against the backdrop of fascist Italy, this is a gorgeous work of art.

Mudbound

Netflix

The first film to ever earn a woman an Academy Award nomination for Best Cinematography, 2017’s “Mudbound” is a moving and compelling historical drama. Directed by Dee Rees and shot by Rachel Morrison, the film follows two World War II veterans as they return home to Mississippi, one white and one Black. Carey Mulligan, Jason Mitchell, Garrett Hedlund and Mary J. Blige anchor the terrific ensemble cast as the film tackles race relations in the past with a direct line to our present, packed with rich and complex characters.

Phantom Thread

phantom-thread-daniel-day-lewis
Focus Features

While “The Master” may be filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson at his most serious, “Phantom Thread” is him at his most playful. The acerbic romance stars Daniel Day-Lewis in his final onscreen role before his retirement and is set in 1954 London. Day-Lewis stars as a famous fashion designer who takes his meticulous process seriously. But when he strikes up a relationship with a waitress, his routine starts to get shaken up, and he must consider the impact said relationship will have on his work. This is Paul Thomas Anderson’s version of a twisted romantic drama, and the film is surprisingly funny.

The Power of the Dog

power of the dog
Netflix

Writer/director Jane Campion’s 2021 drama “The Power of the Dog” is a powerful and surprising film about, among other things, family. Set in 1925 Montana, Benedict Cumberbatch and Jesse Plemons play a pair of brothers whose strained relationship is pushed to the limit when Plemons marries a widowed single mother (played by Kirsten Dunst) on a whim, and brings her son (played by Kodi Smit-McPhee) to live with them on their ranch. The performances are top-notch all around, as Campion crafts a complex and tension-filled character-centric drama that’s certainly one of 2021’s best films.

tick, tick… BOOM!

tick-tick-boom-andrew-garfield
Netflix

“Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda makes his feature directorial debut with the Netflix musical “tick, tick… BOOM!,” based on the autobiographical stage musical by “Rent” creator Jonathan Larson. Andrew Garfield plays Larson, who is on the cusp of turning 30 and has yet to have a masterpiece staged on Broadway. As he puts the finishing touches on his sci-fi rock epic, he grapples with his own anxieties, his crumbling relationship with his girlfriend, and the impending AIDS epidemic that’s taking his friends far too quickly. The songs are incredible and the direction is inspired, but Garfield’s electric and soulful performance makes this a must-watch.

tick tick BOOM

Mank

Netflix

This one might come with a “For Cinephiles Only” warning, but if that describes you there’s much to love in David Fincher’s 2020 film “Mank.” Gary Oldman stars as Hollywood writer Herman J. Mankiewicz as the film chronicles his experience writing the screenplay for “Citizen Kane,” all while flashing back to events from his life that inspired certain characters and themes in what many consider to be the greatest film ever made. Fincher presents the film entirely in black-and-white (it won the Oscar for Best Cinematography), and Amanda Seyfried gives a terrific performance as Marion Davies while Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross compose a surprising original score.

Private Life

private-life-kathryn-hahn-paul-giamatti-image
Netflix

Kathryn Hahn has made a career out of scene-stealing supporting performances, but she takes center stage in writer/director Tamara Jenkins’ 2018 dramedy “Private Life.” Inspired by Jenkins’ own experience, Hahn and Paul Giamatti star as a middle-aged New York City couple struggling through infertility who decide to try and have a child through IVF. The film follows the ups and downs of infertility in heartbreaking detail, while also finding moments of humor throughout that ring true to life. Hahn and Giamatti are spectacular together, as they also chronicle how their journey strains their marriage.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Netflix

This Western anthology from the Coen Brothers is a delightful romp that builds to a shockingly emotional conclusion. “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” is made up of six different stories set in the Old West, each featuring different characters. Themes of mortality, morality and justice are prevalent throughout “Buster Scruggs” just as they are through the Coens’ other films, but this time all against a wonderful, slightly exaggerated Western backdrop. The stellar cast includes Tim Blake Nelson, Stephen Root, Zoe Kazan, Bill Heck, Liam Neeson and Brendan Gleeson.

Marriage Story

Netflix

Writer/director Noah Baumbach 2019’s drama “Marriage Story” is, ultimately, a divorce story, but it’s so richly drawn and beautifully acted that you’ll find your own heart breaking as you watch the conscious uncoupling of a pair played by Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver. This is far from a mean-spirited or even depressing film. Instead, while it does indeed chronicle the dissolution of a relationship (inspired by Baumbach’s own life) and how the divorce impacts their young son, “Marriage Story” smartly always keeps an eye on one very important fact: while these two individuals may be splitting up, that doesn’t mean the love they once had for each other wasn’t real. Driver and Johansson are terrific, and Laura Dern is a scene-stealer in her Oscar-winning supporting turn.

adam-driver

The Mitchells vs. the Machines

Netflix

If you’re looking for a movie the whole family can enjoy, the 2021 Netflix original “The Mitchells vs. the Machines” is an emotional crowd-pleaser that’s as funny as it is inventive. Directed by Mike Rianda and produced by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the film follows a family going on a cross-country road trip to send their eldest daughter Katie (Abbi Jacobson) to college, where she hopes to learn how to become a filmmaker. The family isn’t on the best terms when the road trip begins, which makes things even trickier when a robot uprising occurs, leaving the dysfunctional Mitchells as humanity’s last hope. This is a hilarious, colorful and heartfelt story about the importance of communication.

13th

Netflix

Netflix has a wide variety of documentaries to choose from, but Ava DuVernay’s 2016 film “13th” is a must-watch. The doc delves into mass incarceration in the United States, and how race and injustice intersect with the issue, through the prism of the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which abolishes slavery except as punishment for a crime. Through a number of interviews, DuVernay examines why a disproportionate number of Black people are incarcerated in the U.S., and how the current justice system perpetuates this injustice.

Enola Holmes

Netflix

One of the great things about Netflix is how it has a little bit of something for everyone, and in that vein, the YA-skewing “Enola Holmes” is a delight for the teenaged crowd (and beyond). Based on the young adult series of the same name by author Nancy Springer, the film stars Millie Bobby Brown as the younger sister of Sherlock Holmes (Henry Cavill). When her mother (Helena Bonham Carter) goes missing, Enola leaves the safety of her home compound and ventures into London to try and solve this mystery. Along the way, however, Enola learns that her mother kept many secrets of her own. This is a rollicking mystery-adventure that’s also a sweet and substantial coming-of-age story, all wrapped up in a gorgeous 19th century Victorian package.

Millie Bobby Brown in "Enola Holmes"

Set It Up

Netflix

If you’re into romantic comedies, you simply must check out “Set It Up.” This Netflix original is a throwback in the best way, as Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell have that Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks chemistry in a story about friends turning into lovers. They play overworked assistants to demanding bosses (played by Lucy Liu and Taye Diggs) and hatch a plan to set their bosses up in an effort to earn more free time themselves. But their scheming puts them in frequent close contact, during which sparks fly.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Piki Films

Before Taika Waititi took audiences by storm with “Thor: Ragnarok” and won an Oscar with “Jojo Rabbit,” he crafted a wonderfully whimsical comedy called “Hunt for the Wilderpeople.” The film stars Julian Dennison as a troubled youth who goes on the run with a cantankerous man (played by Sam Neill) when both are being hunted through a remote part of Australia. The film is packed with Waititi’s signature sense of humor and unique style, and Dennison and Neill make for one heck of a dynamic duo.

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

Netflix

The Netflix original comedy “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” is not just an incredibly funny film, it’s a surprisingly emotional one too. Based on an original idea by Will Ferrell, the “Elf” actor stars as one half of an Icelandic duo alongside Rachel McAdams, both of whom are thrust into the spotlight when they’re unexpectedly selected to compete in the international singing competition Eurovision. The film is packed with some genuinely great songs, and a sweet story about staying true to your roots in the face of immense growth.

The Fear Street Trilogy

Netflix

Everyone loves a good scare, but the “Fear Street” trilogy gives you three times the thrills for the price of one overarching story. These three interconnected films trace the origins of a witch’s curse on a small town, covering events in 1994 in the “Scream”-inspired first film, then heading back to 1978 for the summer camp slasher sequel, before concluding in the year 1666 for the third and final feature that reveals the origin story of the Shadyside witch. Colorful, fun and genuinely scary, the “Fear Street” trilogy tells a truly epic horror story.

Maya Hawke FEAR STREET PART ONE: 1994

Miss Americana

Netflix

The Taylor Swift documentary “Miss Americana” is full of surprises. While the film begins by chronicling Swift’s career, complete with the ups and downs it encompassed, it soon morphs into the origin story of a feminist as Swift begins to speak out on socio-political issues important to her. It’s a fascinating window into the management of fame, as some around her caution against making any kinds of political statements for fear of alienating her fanbase. Swift is honest throughout – or as honest as a documentary like this can be – and the film doesn’t shy away from tough moments like Kanye West infamously interrupting her at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards.

The Irishman

Netflix

Martin Scorsese’s 3-hour-and-40-minute gangster epic “The Irishman” is best viewed in one sitting – trust me. The brilliance of the film is in its construction, as Scorsese charts the career of a hitman for the mob from the 1950s up to the present day. But unlike the bombast of “Goodfellas,” this is a film where regret and grief hang over nearly every frame, subtly building until the mournful third act hits you like a ton of bricks. Robert De Niro’s Frank Sheeran spends his entire life killing people, and what does it all add up to? Scorsese gets downright philosophical with questions of morality and mortality, crafting a self-reflexive film about what it means to come to the end of your life and look back on what you’ve done, why you did it and whether it was all worth it in the end.

Da 5 Bloods

Da 5 Bloods

Spike Lee is not known for making bland films, and indeed his 2020 Vietnam veterans drama “Da 5 Bloods” is confrontational in the best way. The story revolves around four aging Vietnam War veterans who return to the Southeast Asian country to search for the remains of their fallen leader — and also a trove of buried treasure. Along the way they confront their own fears and differences, as Lee’s film delves into how America left an entire generation of soldiers behind.

Crip Camp

Netflix

Netflix is host to a ton of great documentaries, including “Crip Camp.” This Oscar-nominated 2020 film begins by showcasing archival footage from a camp in the 1970s that was created for teens with disabilities, before then following various individuals as they fought for disability rights. It’s a moving portrait of activism that shows just how far we’ve come as a country, and how far we have left to go.

mission-impossible-rogue-nation

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