50 best movies to watch on Netflix right now

There are some award-winning, thought-provoking, genre-changing movies streaming right now on Netflix – here's our pick of the very best.

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Enola Holmes

Escapism is arguably more important than ever during these uncertain times, and a good film has been a popular method for the last 100 years or so.


Fortunately, movie buffs have never had as many options as they do today, with the arrival of streaming services bringing countless choices into the comfort of your home.

Netflix really does have something for everyone, with a vast selection encompassing a varied list of genres and some of the best films to be released in recent memory.

As well as their line-up of old favourites, Netflix has also invested heavily in producing their own original features, including the latest from acclaimed film-makers Spike Lee, Charlie Kaufman and Martin Scorsese.

But if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the range of choice on the platform, we’ve made things easy for you by compiling a list of our top 50 films on Netflix below.

If you’re looking for something short-form, have a look at our handy collection of the best TV series on Netflix and find your next binge-watch!

So, browse our list and see what you fancy – and keep checking back here as we keep this page up to date with the hottest picks.

Last updated 25th September 2020

Enola Holmes (2020)

Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown is back on our screens as Sherlock Holmes’s sleuth younger sister in this brand-new Netflix Original, alongside the likes of Henry Cavill, Sam Claflin and Helena Bonham Carter.

Based on American author Nancy Springer’s novels of the same name, Enola Holmes stars Brown as the titular character, a smart and perceptive young woman who sets out to find her eccentric mother (Bonham Carter), who disappears on the morning of her 16th birthday.

While avoiding her strict older brothers, who try to place Enola in a finishing school for “proper” young ladies, the amateur detective finds herself becoming involved in a much bigger mystery surrounding fellow runaway Viscount Tewkesbury.

Featuring a star-studded cast, including Killing Eve’s Fiona Shaw and Chewing Gum’s Susie Wokoma, this Netflix film isn’t one to miss, especially considering Henry Cavill’s “softer” take on the iconic Sherlock. And it’s proved a real hit with Netflix viewers already.

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More on Enola Holmes

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019)

The third entry in Keanu Reeves’s action saga doesn’t disappoint, delivering yet more brutal fights and ambitious stunts, while also expanding the world of the title hitman.

As the entire assassin underworld turns on him, Wick will have to use every weapon in his arsenal if he has any hope of survival, which includes calling in a favour from an old friend: Halle Berry’s Sofia (and her particularly deadly pets). Quite possibly the pinnacle of modern action film-making.

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Read our full John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum review

I’m Thinking of Ending Things (2020)

Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Adapation) has established a track record as one of the most innovative writer/directors in Hollywood, and his latest – adapted from Iain Reid’s novel of the same name – is a nightmare journey into the psyche of a young woman who is taken by her boyfriend to meet her family in a secluded farm.

With a terrific cast that includes Jesse Plemons, Jessie Buckley, Toni Collette and David Thewlis, this is about as unconventional as it gets – but will be sure to leave you both haunted and scratching your head…

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Read our full I’m Thinking of Ending Things review
I’m Thinking of Ending Things explained: what happened in Charlie Kaufman’s surreal new Netflix movie? (spoilers!)

Room (2015)

Captain Marvel star Brie Larson broke out in this acclaimed drama that tells the harrowing story of a woman and her five-year-old son, who have been held captive for years in an isolated shed. They hatch a daring escape plan, which allows young Jack his first look at the outside world, but integrating into society after such a traumatic childhood will be no easy task.

Larson gives a powerhouse performance in the lead role, earning an Academy Award for her performance, while young Jacob Tremblay is equally heartbreaking in his feature debut. Room was directed by Lenny Abrahamson, who went on to direct BBC Three’s Normal People, so it’s no surprise how well it juggles heartfelt scenes and hard-hitting drama.

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Read our full Room review

Da 5 Bloods (2020)

Da 5 Bloods on Netflix by Spike Lee
The cast of Da 5 Bloods (Netflix)

The latest Spike Lee picture seems to have flown under the radar somewhat, but that’s a crying shame as it truly is a superb and timely watch.

Da 5 Bloods follows a group of Vietnam war veterans as they return to the country in the present day, searching for the remains of their fallen commander and the treasure he left behind. It’s an emotional journey that will see them confront their traumatic memories of the brutal conflict and the men it turned them into, while also exploring broader themes about the experiences of black people in the United States.

Delroy Lindo (The Good Fight), Clarke Peters (The Wire), Norm Lewis (Scandal), Isiah Whitlock Jr (BlacKkKlansman) and the late and much-missed Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther) play the original Bloods, with Jonathan Majors representing the next generation. It’s a fantastic ensemble cast that provide strong performances across the board, some of which could well be recognised during this year’s awards season – so get ahead of the curve and watch Da 5 Bloods now.

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First Man (2018)

Ryan Gosling in First Man
Ryan Gosling in First Man

Brand-new to Netflix is this look at the life of astronaut Neil Armstrong (played by Ryan Gosling), from his early days in 1961 as a NASA test pilot, based on the book by James R Hansen.

By the late 1960s, as Armstrong becomes emotionally distant from his wife (Claire Foy) and family, he embarks on a space mission that leads to him becoming the first man to walk on the moon. The build-up to the mission and Armstrong’s eventual blast-off is painted in precise yet never clinical detail via some dazzling special effects, but the work of both Gosling and Foy is equally as breathtaking. They are magnificent together.

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Read our full First Man review

Deadpool (2016)

Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool
Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool

It’s Marvel – but not as we know it – as Ryan Reynolds’s sweary, lairy, kick-ass avenger gives the X-Men series an X-rated shake-up in this oddball spin-off.

He stalks the Marvel universe but, as the man himself tells us time and again, Deadpool is no hero – he has the super strength, just not the mind-set. There’s no doubting that Ryan Reynolds is in his element, cracking wise as well as knocking heads together with a delicious dark sense of humour.

Reynolds spent years trying to persuade studio suits to give this movie the green light, his character having made a brief appearance in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine. For them, it’s a dicey proposition because it so relentlessly (and refreshingly) mocks the superhero ethos that has made Marvel billions, regularly breaking the fourth wall to bring the audience in on the joke.

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Read our full Deadpool review
When is Deadpool 3’s release date? Cast, trailer and latest news

Shutter Island (2010)

Leonardo DiCaprio stars in Shutter Island (2010)

Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio team up for this suspenseful thriller, which follows US Marshal Teddy Daniels as he conducts an investigation into a missing person on the grounds of a remote asylum for the criminally insane.

As he gets to know the staff and the patients, Daniels quickly finds himself not knowing who to trust; the many twists and turns in this film will have you feeling the same. Mark Ruffalo (Avengers), Ben Kingsley (The Jungle Book) and Michelle Williams (Venom) also star.

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Read our full Shutter Island review

Inception (2010)

Joseph Gordon Levitt and Leonardo DiCaprio in Inception
Joseph Gordon Levitt and Leonardo DiCaprio in Inception

Christopher Nolan’s latest offering Tenet is currently wowing – and confusing – cinema-goers in equal measure, and Inception is another of the director’s mind-bending movies. It really does have the capacity to make your brain hurt, so you’ll need to remove all distractions.

Leonardo DiCaprio stars as a talented thief uses hi-tech devices to enter other people’s dreams so he can steal their secrets. An industrialist hires him to perform a far more challenging job – to implant an idea into a corporate heir’s mind, so he will think it is his own. However, the mission is compromised by the thief’s own troubled psyche…

Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Caine and Cillian Murphy also feature in the all-star cast.

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Read our full Inception review

Extraction (2020)

Chris Hemsworth in Extraction (Netflix)
Chris Hemsworth in Extraction (Netflix)

This Netflix action movie, released back in April, proved so popular that a second instalment is already in the works. From first-time feature director Sam Hargrave, with Avengers: Endgame directors Joe and Antony Russo serving as executive producers (and Joe also having written the script), Extraction stars Thor’s Chris Hemsworth and tells the story of black-market mercenary Tyler Rake, who is sent to Bangladesh to rescue the kidnapped son of a drug lord. It’s tense, well paced, a solid star vehicle for Hemsworth and contains just the right amount of genuinely exciting action to keep most viewers firmly glued to their seats.

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Read our full Extraction review

Marriage Story (2019)

Marriage Story Netflix
Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver in Marriage Story (Netflix)

On the face of it, Marriage Story shouldn’t be as an enjoyable watch as it is, given that it’s about a relationship falling apart and all the emotions that come with that. Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver play the couple who decide to get divorced in this award-winning masterpiece from writer/director Noah Baumbach and put in some of the best performances of their career, which really deserved more award attention than they got.

It will make you laugh. It will make you smile. And if you are married, it will make you pray that you never get divorced…

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Read our full Marriage Story review

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor in To All The Boys I've Loved Before
Noah Centineo and Lana Condor in To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (Netflix)

A sweet, precisely executed romcom, which serves as an homage to the best films of the genre from the 1980s and 90s. Lana Condor stars as Laura Jean Covey, a Korean-American high-schooler whose world is turned upside-down when a box of private love letters that she penned to her crushes is distributed to its intended recipients. Based on the YA trilogy by Jenny Han, it became one of Netflix’s most successful original films in 2018. Watch out for a break-out performance from mini Mark Ruffalo, Noah Centineo (as Peter Kavinsky).

Once you’ve watched this, the long-awaited sequel PS I Love You is waiting for your attention, and there’s a third and final instalment on the way.

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The Irishman (2019)

The Irishman

A passion project long in the making, Netflix’s The Irishman sees director Martin Scorsese reunited with Robert De Niro for their ninth collaboration. The gangster biopic centres on Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran (De Niro), who recalls his involvement in the disappearance of his longtime friend Jimmy Hoffa (played by Al Pacino). The film was constantly in the news up to its release; from its CGI de-aging used on De Niro, Pacino and Joe Pesci, to the sheer unwieldy length of this epic (it’s a whopping 3 hours 30 minutes, so you’ll need plenty of popcorn).

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The Irishman review: Scorsese’s film is a meditative, remorseful gangster epic

13th (2016)

13th, Netflix

Following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and subsequent Black Lives Matter protests across the world, Netflix recently made racial inequality documentary 13th free to watch to non-Netflix subscribers, which has seen a 4,000% increase in streams.

The title of this potent film refers to the 13th Amendment: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.” “Punishment for crime” is the key qualifier here, as Ava DuVernay’s (When They See Us) documentary explores the injustices at the heart of America’s penal system.

13th secured Netflix its first BAFTA.

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Read our full 13th review

Roma (2018)

Yalitza Aparicio as Cleo, Marco Graf as Pepe, Carlos Peralta Jacobson as Paco, and Daniela Demesa as Sofi in Roma, written and directed by Alfonso Cuarón. Image by Alfonso Cuarón.
Roma is written and directed by Alfonso Cuarón

Winner of three Oscars, Gravity director Alfonso Cuarón’s semi-autobiographical film about a maid working for an upper-middle class family in Mexico City in the 1970s is visually stunning, deeply moving and well worth your time. The director, known for Gravity and Children of Men, brings this beautiful story to life as we follow housekeeper Cleo as she, and her family, face societal and political issues. Largely touted as one of the best films of 2018 – and applauded by critics globally – it also scooped two Golden Globes, for best director and best foreign language film. Unmissable.

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Read our full Roma review

The Imitation Game (2014)

Mathematician Alan Turing possessed one of the greatest minds of his generation, and one that helped win the Second World War. Benedict Cumberbatch gives an Oscar-nominated turn as the genius whose heroic efforts at Bletchley Park were shrouded in secrecy, and whose homosexuality eventually deprived him of the liberty he fought for.

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Read our full The Imitation Game review

Uncut Gems (2020)

Adam Sandler stars in Uncut Gems
Adam Sandler stars in Uncut Gems on Netflix

We should probably start by warning you you’re in for a tense and stressful two hours if you choose to watch Uncut Gems in one sitting. The Safdie brothers’ (Good Time) film takes funnyman Adam Sandler and turns him into a New York City jeweller risking everything to banish his debts and escape the collectors after him. Sandler is unrecognisable, but that’s no bad thing. We’d go as far as to say he was robbed this award season. 

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Adam Sandler responds to 2020 Oscars snub for Uncut Gems

Indecent Proposal (1993)

Would you pay $1 million to sleep with Demi Moore? Robert Redford thinks she’s worth it, as he puts the proposal to Moore’s husband, Woody Harrelson, after learning they need the money. The interesting “would you do it?” premise of Adrian Lyne’s drama goes slightly awry as the moral issues are dumped in favour of all three main characters simply showing how selfish they are, and as a result this is probably best viewed as a commentary on the excesses and emptiness of the early 1990s. But, with these leads, who are we to quibble? Just tune in to watch Redford and Moore doing what they do best, with Harrelson giving them a run for their money.

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BlacKkKlansman (2018)

A recent addition to Netflix, Spike Lee here is in raging and righteous form as he relays the extraordinary story of Ron Stallworth, the black police officer who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in 1972 with the assistance of Jewish cop Flip Zimmerman. As playful as it is political, the vibe is authentic, the period detail tasty, yet BlacKkKlansman burns with contemporary anger and concludes on an impossibly affecting, painfully relevant note.

Winners of the best adapted screenplay gongs at both the Oscars and the BAFTAs in 2019.

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Read our full BlacKkKlansman review

Fighting with My Family (2019)

Florence Pugh in Fighting with My Family
Florence Pugh in Fighting with My Family

This feel-good charmer following the true journey of superstar wrestler Paige (Florence Pugh) from her humble beginnings in Norwich to becoming the youngest ever Divas Champion is an unqualified smackdown success. Written/directed by Stephen Merchant and executive produced by Dwayne Johnson, it’s an unapologetic soap opera in spandex…

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Read our full Fighting with My Family review

Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)

Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible: Fallout

While the seventh Tom Cruise Mission Impossible movie may be delayed due to COVID-19, in the meantime we can reminisce with Ethan Hunt and his IMF team, as they (mostly Cruise) defy the laws of gravity as they attempt to save a mission that’s gone wrong – and prevent a nuclear disaster – in 2018 instalment Mission: Impossible Fallout.

The film, which also co-stars Rebecca Ferguson and Superman actor Henry Cavill, includes Cruise’s real-life death-defying jump from one building to another in London – which saw the actor break his ankle.

Watch now on Netflix

Read our full Mission: Impossible – Fallout review

Okja (2017)

Prepare to cry if you watch this heartwarming tale from Bong Joon-Ho (if he sounds familiar, that’s because he dominated the most recent award season with his latest film Parasite).

Okja is a slightly odd story following a girl and her best friend, a large, weird animal called Okja. Soon the pair find themselves battling the CEO (Tilda Swinton) of a huge company who wants to take Okja away. There’s a clear agenda underlying the story, animal activism is a strain throughout, and the film doesn’t shy away from that. Joon-Ho’s wonderfully refreshing odd style blends with slight preachy notes, but it comes together to give you a beautiful film.

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Read our full Okja review

The Twilight Saga (2008-2012)

Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson in Twilight

Netflix recently added all five films from the franchise – Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn: Part One and Breaking Dawn Part Two – based on Stephenie Meyer’s bestselling fantasy novel series to its service.

Meyer claims that the idea for the Twilight quartet came to her in a dream about a human girl and a vampire boy whose love was forbidden. They became flesh as Washington-state high-schooler Bella Swan (immortalised here by Kristen Stewart) and more-than-a-century-old (but forever trapped in the body of a 17-year-old) hunk Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson). And their on-off relationship lies at the heart of a saga whose books have sold well over 100 million copies – the majority to “young adults” (as publishers respectfully categorise hormonal teens) – which in turn became a hugely successful film series.

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State of Play (2009)

Political cover-ups in Washington, who’d have thought? Russell Crowe stars as dogged journalist Cal McAffrey seeking the truth about the death of a congressman’s (Ben Affleck) mistress in this slick adaptation of the 2003 BBC TV mini-series of the same name. The intricately woven plot sees McAffrey chasing down a high-ranking politician (an unusually sinister Jeff Daniels) and rankling his editor (a typically hard-nosed Helen Mirren).

Crowe took the role at the 11th hour, after Brad Pitt dropped out. He was actually making Robin Hood with Ridley Scott at the same time, so his time in make-up was spent mostly swapping between two very different hair styles…

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Read our full State of play review

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)

Tim Blake Nelson in The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Netflix)
Tim Blake Nelson in The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Netflix)

This was meant to be six individual episodes for a Netflix TV series, but when you get movie legends the Coen brothers you kinda have to see where they take you. The result is this, an elegant anthology of frontier tales that affectionately celebrates the Western in inimitable style. Although the opening comic yarn starring Tim Blake Nelson (O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Syriana) as a singing prairie hero in a white Stetson gives the film its potentially misleading title, it’s hardly typical of what follows, but then again nothing is…

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Read our full The Ballad of Buster Scruggs review

Zodiac (2007)

Robert Downey Jr and Jake Gyllenhall in Zodiac
Robert Downey Jr and Jake Gyllenhall in Zodiac

In the late 1960s and early 70s, the Zodiac Killer terrorised San Francisco and taunted the police and media with cryptic messages. New to Netflix this month is director David Fincher’s intricate take on the story.

Focusing on the police and press investigation into the murders, Fincher’s film follows cartoonist Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal), flamboyant reporter Paul Avery (Robert Downey Jr) and grizzled police inspector David Toschi (Mark Ruffalo) as they try to crack the case. It’s over two-and-a-half hours of obsessively gritty procedure that really finds the drama in the details.

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Read our full Zodiac review

Mamma Mia! (2008) and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018)

Admittedly, it helps to be an Abba fan watching these movies, but you’d have to have a heart of stone to fail to be touched by the heartwarming, feel-good messages. And the starry cast sing to varying degrees of success, which is all part of the fun.

Meryl Streep plays ageing rock chick-turned-hotel owner Donna, whose daughter Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) is about to get married on the Greek island where they live. But the wedding is thrown into chaos when three of Donna’s ex-lovers (Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgård) turn up. Each has a case for being Sophie’s father, but only one stakes a claim on Donna’s heart.

The original film was followed up ten years later by Here We Go Again!, which was recently added to Netflix. It follows a familiar fairy-tale formula, but it’s a musical worth taking a chance on….

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Read our full Mamma Mia! review

Read our full Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again review

Streaming services we think you might like…

Hereditary (2018)

Toni Collette in Hereditary

Few horror movies in recent times have petrified audiences quite as much as Ari Aster’s feature debut, which boasts an exceptional turn from Toni Collette in the lead role and some of the most memorable – and terrifying scenes – of all time.

The film is at once an exploration of grief, a discussion of the legacy of family and just a good old-fashioned horror movie, with a masterful command of mood and atmosphere. It draws on classics of the genre including Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist and The Shining – and just a year later Aster would prove that he was by no means a one-hit wonder, writing and directing an arguably even greater horror movie in Midsommar.

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Read our full Hereditary review

Annihilation (2018)

Controversial and divisive, Annihilation had a rocky start in life. After struggling to find a distributor, Netflix picked up the international rights to Ex_Machina director Alex Garland’s film. The sci-fi/horror film is based on book series The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff Vandermeer and follows a group of scientists as they head into Area X, a quarantined area of the planet, where a lot of weird things have started happening. They have no idea what they’ll find, and they’re not all being honest as to why they’re going. Natalie Portman stars and puts in a convincing performance when everything around her is, well, beyond comprehension. 

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Read our full Annihilation review

Spy (2015)

Melissa McCarthy stars in Spy (2015), directed by Paul Feig
Melissa McCarthy stars in Spy (2015), directed by Paul Feig

While it would be fair to say that Melissa McCarthy comedies are rather hit and miss, with noticeably more misses in recent years, Spy stands out as one of her rousing success stories. She teams up with Bridesmaids director Paul Feig for this story about a desk-bound CIA employee who is thrust into dangerous fieldwork when her partner is killed and many more active agents are put at risk. What follows is a truly hilarious take on a Mission: Impossible-style action flick, with McCarthy on top form as well as Jason Statham in a brilliantly utilised supporting role.

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Read our full Spy review

Mudbound (2017)

Dee Rees and Mary J Blige in Mudbound (Netflix, JG)
Dee Rees and Mary J Blige in Mudbound (Netflix, JG)

Director and screenwriter Dee Rees gathered together a potent cast, including singer/actress Mary J Blige, British star Carey Mulligan and rising Hollywood heavyweight Jason Mitchell, to tell the story of two families in 1940s rural America – one black, one white – who struggle to live and work together in post-Second World War America.

The movie created a lot of buzz at the time of release and was nominated for four Oscars, including best supporting actress for Blige. A moving and powerful exploration of bitter race relations, part of Netflix’s Black Lives Matter collection.

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Read our full Mudbound review

Demolition Man (1993)

Recently arrived on Netflix, this slick vision of the future comes pretty close to being Sylvester Stallone’s best ever film. Wisely keeping his tongue stuck firmly in his cheek, Stallone plays a maverick cop who is frozen alive in 1996 and held in cryonic suspension for a crime he did not commit. Decades later, he is defrosted to hunt down an old sparring partner, the spectacularly psychopathic Wesley Snipes, who has escaped from his deep frozen state and is creating havoc in the now crime-free Los Angeles (renamed San Angeles).

The writers have a lot of fun sending up modern-day political correctness in this caring vision of the future – violence, red meat and sex are among the items on the banned list – and director Marco Brambilla delivers the goods when it comes to the all-important action set pieces.

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Read our full Demolition Man review

The Two Popes (2019)

Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce in The Two Popes (Netflix)
Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce in The Two Popes (Netflix)

Here’s a mouthwatering prospect: two veteran British thesps in a barnstorming, virtual two-hander based on a play by screenwriter Anthony McCarten.

Anthony Hopkins plays doubt-ridden, conservative Pope Benedict XVI as a wounded bear during his meeting with his reluctant and progressive successor Cardinal Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce) – later Pope Francis – at the former’s Italian retreat in 2013… The film was nominated for two Oscars.

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Read our full The Two Popes review

Zoolander (2001)

If you’re in need of laughs – and who isn’t these days? – this rapier-sharp satire on the fashion industry from director/star Ben Stiller is a non-stop giggle from start to finish.

Stiller excels as dim male model Derek Zoolander, who is stunned to find his career going downhill thanks to the arrival of an equally vacuous rival (Owen Wilson) – but who fails to realise he is merely a pawn in a dangerous game of international espionage and world domination… Will Ferrell, Milla Jovovich, Christine Taylor and David Duchovny also star.

Watch on Netflix

Read our full Zoolander review

The Martian (2015)

The Martian

Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig and Chiwetel Ejiofor star in this sci-fi thriller. A manned mission to Mars is abruptly abandoned and one crew member (Damon) is left for dead. But he survives and discovers it will take many years to get home but he only has enough resources for one month…

At times, The Martian can be really breathless and it will leave you racing towards the end to see if our plucky hero can make it home. And director Ridley Scott brings vivid life to the drama.

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Read our full The Martian review

Beasts of No Nation (2015)

Idris Elba is best known for star-making turns as a drug dealer in US TV series The Wire and as troubled cop John Luther in the acclaimed BBC drama, but this role is altogether more sinister. He plays a commander of child soldiers in West Africa for this extraordinary Netflix film from the director of the first season of HBO’s True Detective. Based on the highly acclaimed novel by Nigerian author Uzodinma Iweala, the movie brings to life the gripping tale of Agu, a child soldier torn from his family to fight in the civil war of an African country.

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Read our full Beasts on No Nation review

Schindler’s List (1993)

Based on Thomas Keneally’s bestseller Schindler’s Ark, Schlinder’s List is probably Steven Spielberg’s finest work and possibly the best feature about the Holocaust. It tells the story of Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson), a chancer who inexplicably (the film doesn’t attempt to unravel his complexity) risked his own life to save those of 1,100 Jews working in his Krakow factory.

Superbly made with sentimentality mostly held at bay and splendidly played by Neeson, Ben Kingsley and Ralph Fiennes as the brutal Nazi commander, the film was the deserved winner of seven Oscars, including best picture and best director. The only splash of colour in the film is the red coat worn by a little girl whom we follow to her death.

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Read our full Schlinder’s List review

American Psycho (2000)

American Psycho

In 1991, Bret Easton Ellis’s novel American Psycho shocked those that read it. Wall Street broker Patrick Bateman’s cool attitude to his day job and night-time pursuits left people shaken up. The murderous character was brought to life in 2000 in the film of the same name. Co-scripted by Mary Harron and Guinevere Turner, the movie is perhaps a less shocking take on the tale, but no less gripping. Christian Bale goes all out to flesh out killer Bateman, capturing that crazy-eyed sociopath perfectly. Those eggshell business cards, though…

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Read our full American Psycho review

The Nightingale (2018)

Jennifer Kent terrified millions with her feature directorial debut The Babadook in 2014 – and she returned four years later with something altogether different but no less remarkable.

The Nightingale – which stars Aisling Franciosi and Sam Claflin – tells a story set against the cruel backdrop of colonial atrocities in 1830s Tasmania, as a young Irish woman seeks revenge against a sadistic lieutenant who raped her and killed her husband and baby.

In doing so she teams up with a local Aboriginal tracker named Billy for help with navigation and protection, and although they bicker at first, the two bond over their shared mistreatment at the hands of their colonial oppressors. It’s a brutal, unflinching watch – but an extremely rewarding and unforgettable film.

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Being John Malkovich (1999)

John Cusack in Being John Malkovich

As  movie scripts go, few can be more bizarre than that penned by Charlie Kauffman for this 1999 film, which sees a struggling puppeteer Craig Schwartz find a secret passage that leads directly to the inside of John Malkovich’s head. The film, directed by Spike Jonze, is packed with irreverence and more than its fair share of offbeat humour, and was a huge critical success on its release.

Following his discovery, Craig and his attractive co-worker Maxine begin a business that allows people the chance to also experience the inside of Malkovich’s head, and the two strike up a relationship that also involves Craig’s restless wife. John Cusack, Catherine Keener and Cameron Diaz all star – in addition to Malkovich, who gamely plays himself.

Watch on Netflix

Read our full Being John Malkovich review

La La Land (2016)

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in La La Land
Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in La La Land

If ever there was a film to banish the blues, it’s La La Land. Writer/director Damien Chazelle’s toe-tapping follow-up to the Oscar-winning Whiplash sees him trade the abusive relationship between a hot-headed mentor and an aspiring drummer for the high and low notes of a love affair, played out against the backdrop of Tinseltown itself. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling play antagonists-turned-lovers Mia and Sebastian – she’s a barista and jobbing actress; he’s a pianist eager to open a jazz club – with them both suffering countless setbacks as they strive to make it big. It may not have won the best picture Oscar – but it is guaranteed to make your heart soar.

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Read our full La La Land review

What Happened, Miss Simone? (2015)

A Netflix Original and part of its Black Lives Matter collection, this biographical documentary film charts the volatile life and fluctuating fortunes of jazz legend Nina Simone, featuring interviews with family and friends, diary entries and previously unseen footage. It’s a wholly satisfying portrait of a formidable talent and was unsurprisingly nominated for an Academy Award – a must for fans of the genre.

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Read our full What Happened, Miss Simone? review

The Great Hack (2019)

THE GREAT HACK (2019), David Carroll (Associate Professor Parsons School of Design)
The Great Hack (2019) features David Carroll (Associate Professor, Parsons School of Design)

Data is now the world’s most valuable commodity. In this unnerving documentary, New York design school professor David Carroll is a man on a quest to acquire his own data. His journey takes him to London and Cambridge Analytica – the consultancy closed down in 2018 after a scandal involving unsuspecting Facebook users having their data harvested and then used for political gain. Think twice about clicking away your personal details…

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The King’s Speech (2010)

Is there such a thing as “too British to fail”? The King’s Speech ticks every box in this regard: a true story involving royalty, period costume and war, with an “issue” at its heart, namely, reluctant King George VI’s stutter and his mastery of this speech impediment in time to unite the nation against Hitler in 1939.

The film earned a total of four golden Oscar statuettes (including best picture) and the highly coveted Academy Award for best actor for Colin Firth, to go along with a remarkable haul of seven BAFTAs. It cost around £10 million to make, which is small change in Hollywood blockbuster terms, and went on to notch up box-office receipts of more than £46 million in the UK and £85 million in the States – and that’s before DVD sales come into the equation. A right royal winner all round.

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Vertigo (1958)


It’s almost impossible to pick the best Alfred Hitchcock movie – Psycho, The Birds, North by Northwest, the list goes on. Few of the great directors’ works, however, can be said to be quite on the same level as his 1958 thriller Vertigo – considered, with good reason, to be among the very best films of all time.

The film stars James Stewart as the retired, acrophobic Detective John “Scottie” Ferguson, who is approached by an old acquaintance with a tantalising case that lures him out of retirement. Ferguson is hired to follow the acquaintance’s wife (Kim Novak), who is judged to have been behaving strangely, and he quickly becomes obsessed with the case – especially after the woman in question commits suicide – with dangerous consequences for himself.

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A Quiet Place (2018)

John Krasinski in A Quiet Place
John Krasinski in A Quiet Place

Part heartfelt Spielbergian family drama, part quirky Carpenter-esque creature feature, writer/director/star John Krasinski’s sensational shocker A Quiet Place was an instant sci-fi horror classic. A Quiet Place II may have been delayed thanks to coronavirus, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the original starring Emily Blunt and Krasinski while we wait.

Regarded as one of the best horror movies in recent times, it became a smash hit when first released. In a post-apocalyptic very near future, blind insectoid monsters with super-sensitive hearing have wiped out most of humanity. A family has to survive along with a few survivors, whispering and using sign language to communicate as creatures chase them down solely on the noises they make. Expect tense situations, and a few heart-stopping moments in this must-see movie.

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The Breakfast Club (1985)

Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall in The Breakfast Club
Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall in The Breakfast Club

The John Hughes teen movie classic has finally made its way to Netflix, allowing a whole new generation to be introduced to the gang of Sherman High School misfits stuck together in detention who gradually learn they have more in common than they realised.

Starring Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Ally Sheedy and Paul Gleason, this is an absolute must-watch if you haven’t seen it already – and if you have, well, there’s no time like the present to be reminded that we’re all “a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal”.

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Monos (2019)

This unusual war film was named one of the best of last year by a host of critics. It stars Julianne Nicholson and Moisés Arias and tells the story of a group of commandos who are tasked with guarding a captured American engineer in an unnamed country in Latin America. The picture won notable praise for its lyrical and often surreal style and for the uniformly tremendous appearances from its cast – as the group of guerrillas are plunged further and further into a downward spiral.

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Read our full Monos review

Wild at Heart (1990)

Wild At Heart - Nicolas Cage & Laura Dern

This film is every bit as crazy as you’d expect from a collaboration between David Lynch and Nicolas Cage: a recently released convict and his girlfriend Lula (Laura Dern) rush through the Deep South as they are pursued by a range of bad guys set upon them by Lula’s disapproving mother.

All of Lynch’s usual quirks are present in much force. The film is packed with eccentric characters, unusual visuals and a hypnotic soundtrack as well as all sorts of bizarre and unexplained detours. An impressive ensemble cast includes a slew of Lynch favourites, including Harry Dean Stanton, Isabella Rossellini, Grace Zabriskie and Jack Nance, while Willem Dafoe makes a memorable appearance as a crazed villain.

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The Truman Show (1998)


There’s little question about it: this funny, thought-provoking genre-defying classic is perhaps Jim Carrey’s finest performance of the 1990s (sorry, Ace Ventura). However, that’s largely due to the film’s intriguing set-up: Carrey plays Truman Burbank, a seemingly everyday man who slowly learns his life is the subject of a live 24-hour reality show. And don’t worry: that’s not a major spoiler. It’s just the basic synopsis of the film, with the real surprise coming in what Carrey’s character does with the newfound knowledge.

Complete with stunning visuals, sharp dialogue and ahead-of-its-time satire on the reality TV industry, The Truman show represents a much-watch for film buffs and philosophers alike.

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The Big Lebowski (1998)

The Big Lebowski

Every film fan has a favourite Coen brothers’ film, and for an awful lot of people that is The Big Lebowski, the cult stoner comedy classic starring Jeff Bridges as one of cinema’s most unforgettable slackers – the dressing-gown-wearing, white-Russian-sipping The Dude.

The movie sees the character dragged into a noir-ish mystery plot after he has mistaken for a millionaire, and what follows is a hilarious adventure as The Dude enlists his best friends – the team-mates on his bowling team – to help get him out of the mess.

The Big Lebowski is comfortably one of the most quotable of all time and stands with the very best films of the ’90s. And if this one isn’t for you – well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.

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Read our full The Big Lebowski review


Looking for something else to watch? Check out our best TV series on Netflix, best comedy on Netflix and best horror movies on Netflix.