The best movies on Netflix (July 2020): great Netflix films to stream today
The best Netflix movies right now - fantastic movies to stream.
These are the best movies on Netflix, the great flicks old and new that have arrived on the service recently and are already proving to be popular. Netflix has made quite the name for itself as a purveyor of top quality, original TV content. But that’s only half the story for the world’s premier streaming service. It’s also a great source of films, from Originals to classics, blockbusters to indie films.
UPDATE: July is here and with it a number of great classic movies - including The Big Lebowski and Scarface. We has also gone through the archives and found a number of gems that need to be on the best movies on Netflix list. These include: Warrior, America Psycho and Boyz N The Hood.
That's one of the main reasons we love the Netflix film library, it may not be comprehensive, but it does turn up its fair share of established cinematic treats. Netflix also seems to be getting better and better at producing its own original movies - you only have to look at Roma and The Irishman to see this.
Here, then, is a round up of some of the best recent additions to the Netflix film library. Do keep in mind that the non-Netflix Originals will likely be on borrowed time, so don’t drag your feet on pressing that play button if you see something you like. Some titles tend to stay on Netflix for years, others are gone within a month or so.
- If it's television you are after, then head to our best Netflix TV Shows guide or perhaps take a look at one of the best Netflix originals
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The best movies on Netflix right now
1. Silence of the LambsWatch now on Netflix
FBI trainee Clarice Starling (played by Jodie Foster) is tasked with talking to Hannibal Lecter (played by Anthony Hopkins) about a recent spate of murders. The thing is, the talks take place within a maximum-security asylum because Lecter is a psychiatrist-turned-cannibal who knows a thing or two of his own about murdering people. It's a fantastic thriller filled with psychological twists and turns as well as a fair amount of gore and suspense.
More ways to watch: HD Digital download
2. The TerminatorWatch now on Netflix
The Terminator is a horror movie. A low-budget, cult one at that and a far cry from where the franchise had found itself. Watch the original again and you'll be surprised at just how grindhouse the film is. Arnold Schwarzenegger is terrifying at the Terminator, while Linda Hamilton's performance as Sarah Connor - the one being targeted - starts off as 'woman in peril' and morphs brilliantly into the heroine that we know and love from the second movie.
3. Inglorious BasterdsWatch now on Netflix
Inglorious Basterds (nope, that's not a typo) is an alternate history about plans to assassinate Nazi Germany's Nazi leaders. It follows the story of a French Jewish cinema owner (played by Melanie Laurent) and a team of Jewish American solders led by Aldo Raine (played by Brad Pitt). It's fun, gory and full of all the violence and smart dialogue you'd expect from a Tarantino movie.
4. A Quiet PlaceWatch now on Netflix
Starring real-life couple John Kransinski and Emily Blunt (and written and directed by the former), The Quiet Place is one of the tensest horror movies you will ever watch. The premise: monsters that prey on people are roaming the world. They have super hearing so any survivors have to walk around in silence to survive. It's a shame the sequel has been delayed but we're glad the original is now on Netflix.
5. Reservoir DogsWatch now on Netflix
The film that put Quentin Tarantino’s name on the map, then proceeded to blow a hole through said map with a shotgun. Reservoir Dogs remains a visceral treat with one of the tensest denouements in cinematic history, as a crew of violent criminals pick through the bloody aftermath of a bungled jewellery store heist. The question of who is to be trusted soon becomes secondary to who will get to keep all their body parts.
6. Ex MachinaWatch now on Netflix
Written and directed by the fantastic James Garland (of The Beach and Annihilation fame), Ex Machina follows the story of Caleb (played by Domhnall Gleeson), who wins a contest at work to meet the founder of the company he works for, the reclusive Nathan (played by Oscar Isaac). But all isn't as it seems in Nathan's super fancy and futuristic home in the middle of nowhere. He claims he wants Caleb to test one of his AI creations, but really his motives are much more nefarious. This is a nail-biting sci-fi movie that not only looks fantastic and harks to classic gothic fiction, but poses some interesting philosophical questions about artificial intelligence, consciousness and what it means to be human.
7. DunkirkWatch now on Netflix
The brilliant thing about Netflix is that you can watch movies and TV shows on whatever screen you want - even your phone. Please don't do this when watching Dunkirk, Chris Nolan's war masterpiece. The film - which follows three different people and timelines in the world war II - needs to be watched on the biggest screen possible with the loudest sound system. It's that good.
8. PrisonersStream now on Netflix
Before he ventured into Blade Runner territory, director Denis Villeneuve made this superb, dark thriller about a missing girl and her friend. Hugh Jackman stars as the father who takes matters into his own hands when the police leads lead to nothing. Things get very dark indeed, but this is a brilliant edge-of-you-seat rollercoaster.
More ways to watch:HD Digital download
9. BeetlejuiceWatch now on Netflix
Tim Burton may have gone off the boil of late, but the movies he made with Michael Keaton are still utterly sublime. A year before Batman, Keaton teamed up with Burton for Beetlejuice, a macabre comedy about a mischievous spirit who helps a newly dead couple try and rid their (old) home of its new occupants. It's fantastical, goofy and dark - and it's all held together by the brilliance of Keaton's central performance. Say his name three times, go on... we dare you.
10. NightcrawlerWatch now on Netflix
Jake Gyllenhaal shines in the lead role of Nightcrawler as Louis Bloom, a man who records violent scenes and car crashes late at night around Los Angeles before selling the footage to a local TV station. It's a hard-hitting thriller that raises important questions about journalism and the public's desire to be the first to see horrific scenes on their TV. It received widespread critical acclaim when it was released in 2014 and was nominated for an Academy Award.
11. 12 Years A SlaveWatch now on Netflix
Some movies aren't meant to be enjoyed, but experienced. This is one of these movies. Whatever brutality besets those on the screen, just remember that these events happened in real life. 12 Years A Slave is an astonishing piece of work by director Steve McQueen. It holds a mirror up to a part of US (and British) history that should not be forgotten - watch this movie and we assure you that you won't forget it anytime soon.
12. Enter The DragonWatch now on Netflix
This movie singlehandedly moved Hong Kong kung-fu cinema away from the cult cinemas and into the mainstream and all thanks to its star, Bruce Lee. The plot is a little hackneyed (a bunch of fighters are brought to an island by a rich stranger and are told to fight each other) but the action is some of the best you will ever see. There's a reason this movie has been rehashed by the world's best action directors and doted upon by Quentin Tarantino - although the Bruce Lee scene in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is a disappointment -it's fantastic fun.
13. Wonder WomanWatch now on Netflix
And there was us thinking that the DCU was dead and buried. It tried, and failed, to emulate what Marvel did but where Man of Steal showed promise, Batman V Superman was too dark and let's not talk about Justice League. Wonder Woman, though, is a fantastic romp - it's World War historical setting works, er, wonders for the movie and Gal Gadot is sublime as Wonder Woman. The best thing is that Chris Pine could have been cast as the overbearing leading male, but he is very much in the shadow of Gadot. We can't wait to see what Wonder Woman 84 brings.
More ways to watch:HD Digital download
14. The FighterWatch now on Netflix
Director David O'Russel knows how to get performances out of his actors, and Fighter his perhaps his greatest achievement. The movie is about a boxer given a chance to achieve greatness and get out of the shadow of his older brother, who could have been a contender buy has been ravished by drugs. It's a tale of fighters delicately told, with duelling performance by Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale.
15. Lost in TranslationWatch now on Netflix
When it comes to screen chemistry, not many movies can beat the spark that can be found between Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson in Lost in Translation. It's a beautiful lo-fi movie, filled with fantastic music and an underlying feeling of alienation and being alone in a strange country. Murray is an actor in Japan doing a commercial, where he meets Johansson - someone who seems to give his life purpose.
16. GoodfellasWatch now on Netflix
A movie that has re-entered our best Netflix movies list, thanks to it coming back to the service. This is Scorcese’s masterpiece - a true-life tale of Henry Hill, a mobster turned informant, who recounts his colourful life with the mafia. Ray Liotta has never been better as Hill, while Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci steal the show as larger-than-life mobsters.
17. Spirited AwayWatch now on Netflix
Perhaps the greatest animation ever made (it's certainly the best thing by Studio Ghibli), Spirited Away is a masterclass of emotions. Filled with the supernatural and the wonderful you have some to expect from anime, the movie focuses on Chihiro, a 10-year-old girl who is unhappy about moving house. It turns out, though, her new home is near something called The Land of Spirits. Beautiful stuff.
18. I, TonyaWatch now on Netflix
Margot Robbie's career is filled with fantastic performances. Whether it's the manipulative wife in Wolf of Wall Street, the brilliant and barmy Harley Quinn or her royal performance as Mary Queen of Scots, she manages to nail her character every time. Her best, though, is as Tonya Harding in I. Tonya. Every emotion is wrapped up in a true tale that never vilifies or accepts the extremes Harding went to for glory
19. Dumb and DumberWatch now on Netflix
Comedy classic Dumb and Dumber may be 26 years old now (wow!) but that doesn't mean it isn't as funny as it was the first time we saw it. Starring comedy duo Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels it's about two friends who go on a road trip to return a briefcase full of cash to its rightful owner.
20. The IrishmanWatch now on Netflix.
"I hear you paint houses?" That line sets the scene for The Irishman, an epic 3.5 hour movie that is everything you want from a Martin Scorsese / Robert DeNiro link-up. This is a film about Frank Sheeran, a hitman and his ties to the mob. It spans decades and while the de-aging doesn't always work, this is a movie that demands to be watched on the biggest screen possible - slightly ironic, given many of you will be giving it a spin on your smartphones first.
21. The MartianWatch on Netflix now
While there are plenty other sci-fi gems on Netflix we could have chosen - including Looper - we have a massive soft spot for The Martian. Based on the book by Andy Weir (which you can devour in one sitting and is punch-the-air good), the movie sees Matt Damon's Mark Watney stranded on Mars, after his craft crashes. What seems like an impossible place to survive at the beginning starts to look liveable, thanks to Watney's ingenious fixes. Directed by Ridley Scott, this is the director's best work in years.
22. Midnight CowboyWatch now on Netflix
Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman star in this classic 1969 drama about an unlikely friendship between prostitute Joe Buck (played by Voight) and conman Ratzo Rizzo (played by Hoffman). Based on a 1965 novel of the same name, it scooped three Academy Awards when it was first released and is considered one of the best American films ever made.
23. ContagionWatch now on Netflix
We don't think it's a coincidence that Netflix has added Contagion to its movie catalogue this month – and it's already proving to be a big streaming hit. It turns out there must be something oddly cathartic about watching a movie about a pandemic that has similarities to what we're going through right now – but in actual fact is much worse. Of course you'd expect that from a Hollywood movie about a pandemic. There's great performances here from the likes of Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard, Matt Damon and Laurence Fishburne. But having said that, if you're worried about what's happening right now, it might be best to skip this one and check out something lighter instead.
24. InceptionWatch now on Netflix
A heist movie set in the dream-state mind of someone. That's the basic premise of Inception, a high-concept, high-octane thriller by Christopher Nolan that's tough to understand but fantastic to watch. Leonardo DiCaprio leads the dream bandits who are looking to win big by delving into the subconscious of others. Nolan's next movie Tenet is said to have links to Inception, which makes us even more excited for it
25. My Neighbour TotoroWatch now on Netflix
Studio Ghibli classic My Neighbour Totoro is now on Netflix - and will be one of the first of many new Ghibli movies coming to the streaming platform soon. This 1988 animated movie written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki tells the story of two girls (Satsuki and Mei) who befriend wood spirits.
26. MoneyballWatch now on Netflix
This is old-school filmmaking at its finest. Based on a true story, Brad Pitt stars as general manager of the Oakland As. He needs to build a team, with little money, and decides to ‘moneyball’ the situation - choosing players that aren’t exceptional but they all have certain characteristics needed to make a great team. Jonah Hill also stars as the economics graduate that helps Pitt come up with his analytics. As with all the best sports movies, you don’t need to know a thing about baseball to enjoy this movie.
27. Monty Python’s The Life of BrianWatch now on Netflix
You can take your pick of Python movies as both The Holy Grail and The Meaning of Life are also on Netflix but, for us, The Life of Brian is Monty Python’s absurdist masterpiece. The movie caused controversy when first released but that doesn’t really come through now, given the likes of the South Park crew pushing this even further. But what remains is a fantastically funny movie that shows Python in its prime. Lovely stuff.
28. Marriage StoryWatch now on Netflix
Marriage Story is a devastating but poignant look at a marriage slowly breaking up and the effects it can have when there is a child in the picture. This is Noah Baumbach’s latest, and best, drama and is loosely based on the filmmaker’s own divorce experience. It stars Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson and is a must watch (but bring some tissues).
29. Uncut GemsStream on Netflix now
One of the most stressful movies you will ever watch, Uncut Gems should come with an anxiety warning. But it is worth it as this is one of the best movies of the year, and some of the best work Adam Sandler has done. The plot is slight: a jeweller tries to pull off something that will make him a whole lot of money - unless it goes wrong and then everything is at stake.
30. Children of MenWatch now on Netflix
If Contagion is the movie that best sums up the world right now, Children of Men is the chilling near future that will almost definitely happen. The premise is pure sci-fi: people have stopped reproducing for a mysterious reason and no children are being born as a result. Chris Owen becomes embroiled in a situation where he has to protect the one pregnant woman. Directed by Alfonso Cuarón, who went on to win Oscars for both Gravity and Roma, this is one of the best films made in modern times - it’s a masterpiece.
31. Gone GirlWatch now on Netflix
Another David Fincher classic. Based on the hugely successful novel by Gillian Flyn, Gone Girl is the twisted tale of a man (Ben Affleck) who is trying to find his missing wife who’s mysteriously disappeared. In a story where nothing is what it seems, Fincher uses sleight of hand in his filmmaking to confuse things further - then everything comes together in a shocking conclusion. This, alongside Zodiac, can be seen as big-budget trials for the atmosphere he created in his crime show Mindhunter.
32. The Big ShortWatch now on Netflix
Given we may well be slipping into yet another economic crisis, this true story is about the illegal hedge fund traders who shorted the market back in 2008, when many in the US were losing their homes, the people made money betting against the banks. The film is packed with star power, with Brad Pitt, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Christian Bale all starring and it manages to make light work of some heavy subject matter.
33. You Were Never Really HereWatch now on Netflix
When a movie by Scottish director Lynne Ramsay arrives, everyone needs to sit up and pay attention. You Were Never Really here is perhaps her best yet. Starring Joaquin Phoenix as an enforcer embroiled in the capture of a teenage girl, it's a slow-moving brutal film that will leave a sour taste in your mouth. Not one for a fun Saturday afternoon viewing then, but make time for it and you will be rewarded.
34. ScarfaceWatch now on Netflix
If there was an '80s movie that reeks of the decade it was made, Scarface is it. It is full of excess: Al Pacino’s acting, the coke mountains, the costumes and the houses - all over the top and brilliantly so. It’s perfect for a film that’s about the rise of Tony Montana, an immigrant who, in search of the American dream, leads a lavish life of crime.
35. Dolemite Is My NameWatch on Netflix
It's great to see Eddie Murphy back to his best in this biopic of Rudy Ray Moore, a comedian in the 70s who hits the big time with his rude, crude alter ego - a pimp named Dolemite. Moore made a big-screen version of Dolemite, dipping his toes into the blacksploitation movement at the time but he's also seen as one of the forefathers of rap. This movie brilliantly shows off all of this and more.
36. The Big LebowskiWatch now on Netflix
The Coen brothers have created the ultimate stoner movie in The Big Lebowski, a sprawling movie that’s part film noir with (literally) baked in black comedy. Jeff Bridges’ Dude is a cult figure now and with good reason - he’s fantastic in the part. But the supporting cast are equally as good, including the slimy Jesus (John Turturro), the picked-on Donny (Steve Buscemi) and the borderline psychotic Walter (John Goodman). And how can we forget Julianne Moore, as the unhinged Maude Lebowski.
37. Boyz N The HoodWatch now on Netflix
It’s hard to shake the fact that John Singleton was just 24 when he was nominated for Best Director for Boyz N The Hood, a movie that sparked an uprising in Hollywood that proved that there was a space for the voice of disenfranchised black people in Tinseltown. It’s a film that brilliantly exposes the social problems found in South Central Los Angeles at the time, a theme that is still relevant today. Its hip-hop soundtrack is iconic, its main stars Ice Cube and Cuba Gooding Jr impress and the movie plays out like a war film, with America at war with itself. Sound familiar?
38. The Social NetworkWatch now on Netflix
The beginnings of Facebook doesn’t sound like the most riveting of stories but it really is, thanks to David Fincher’s fantastic film. We follow Mark Zuckerberg from a geek who wants to get laid, to a geek that wants to rule the world - and it’s fantastic to watch. It’s played like a thriller and Fincher manages to make people typing just as riveting as them fighting for Facebook’s future in the courts.
39. WarriorWatch now on Netflix
Gavin O'Connor’s exceptional drama is wrought with emotion, packed with punches and contains a trio of towering performances from Joel Edgerton, Tom Hardy and Nick Nolte. The plot is slight: two estranged brothers find themselves against each other after they both decide to compete in an MMA tournament. It’s a sports movie, sure, but there’s enough here for everyone to like.
40. HereditaryWatch now on Netflix
It’s always good when a horror movie transcends the schlock and seediness that the genre pumps out at a regular rate (which is still great, if you are in that sort of mood). Hereditary is brutal and breathtaking - focused on an artist, played perfectly by Toni Collette, whose mother passed away. The death uncovers some shocking truths and even more shocking supernatural goings on.
41. American PsychoWatch now on Netlfix
American Psycho recently celebrated its 20th birthday and it hasn’t aged a bit. It’s as sharp as ever, thanks to a sublime performance by Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman, the Wall street ‘psycho’ of the title. Director Mary Harron packs a lot into the movie: there’s a constant feeling that Bateman is close to being caught, yet he continues. He’s a symbol in the film - the 80s personified, showing that if someone represented all the greed, power, bad music tastes and everything else from that decade they would, well, flip.
42. Call Me By Your NameWatch now on Netflix
This romantic drama from director Luca Guadagnino won a number of awards when it was first released in 2017. It's about 17-year-old Elio (played by Timothée Chalamet) and 24-year-old Oliver (played by Armie Hammer) and their sexual relationship over one summer. It was so well received that it's even been confirmed there'll be a sequel.
More ways to watch:HD Digital download
43. Da 5 BloodsWatch now on Netflix
Spike Lee's latest joint is one of his best movies. Delroy Lindo heads up a fantastic cast, in a film which sees four black army veterans return to Vietnam to find the remains of their squad leader (played by Chadwick Boseman). Shot in differing aspect ratios, with numerous flashbacks, the movie tackles black discontent, both in the Vietnam war and now. Given what's happening in the world at the moment, there is no better time to watch this movie.
44. La La LandWatch now on Netflix
One of the loveliest movies to come out in recent years, La La Land is a great big throwback to the Hollywood musicals of old. Starring the brilliant Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling as two people who fall in love while trying to make it big as an actress and piano player respectively. While it doesn't turn out quite how you expect, the movie is a love letter of sorts to movies.
45. Lady BirdWatch now on Netflix
A coming-of-age movie from Greta Gerwig about a teenager called Christine or 'Lady Bird' (played by Saoirse Ronan) growing up in California who is desperate to attend a prestigious east-coast university. It's about young love, friendship and family, which will have you laughing and, probably, crying in equal measures.