The best movies on Netflix (September 2022): the best Netflix films
The best Netflix movies right now - fantastic movies to stream.
There is nothing like loading up Netflix with the intention of watching a movie and then getting TOTALLY overwhelmed with the amount of choice available. We have been there, believe us, and that is what prompted us to create this best Netflix movies guide.
That's right, 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.
UPDATE: One of the most controversial movies ever made by Netflix has arrived. Blonde - a hyperreal look at the life of Marilyn Monroe - was given the controversial NC-17 rating, thanks to its graphic scenes. Based on the brilliant book by Joyce Carol Oates, the movie has a stellar central performance by Ana de Armas but Andrew Dominick's unflinching, morbid look at Marilyn will divide many. Blonde is released 28 September.
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.
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 The Power Of The Dog 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.
Additional reporting: Becca Caddy
NOTE: The following Netflix movies are available in the UK. We have added other regions where we can.
The best movies on Netflix right now
1. Se7enStream now (Netflix)
Yes, the serial killer in the movie is now more problematic thanks to its actor, but if you can look beyond this then Se7en is a classic of the crime genre. Based on a killer who is offing people using the seven deadly sins, it’s a twisty tale that keep surprising you right up until the horrific end reveal.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Monty Python’s 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.
6. 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.
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7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. The DigStream now (Netflix)
The Dig is fantastic old-school filmmaking. Based on a true story, it tells the tale of one of the most important archeological finds in the UK of all time and the person person whose land in Sutton Hoo is at the centre of it all Edith May Pretty. Carey Mulligan is superb as Pretty (although it does mean that her age is somewhat skewed as a result) and Ralph Fiennes is great as the archeologist hired for the dig.
11. The Trial of the Chicago 7Stream now (Netflix)
The Trial of the Chicago 7 is Aaron Sorkin on top form. He writes and directs this true story about the uprising at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. There’s an all-star cast that bolsters the movie but the real star is the dialogue.
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. SicarioWatch now on Netflix
This tense thriller about border agents and their battle with drug lords is a fantastic watch, with electrifying performances from Emily Blunt and Benicio del Toro. This isn't an easy watch but it is uttery compelling throughout.
16. Don't Look UpStream now (Netflix)
Adam Mckay's satire on environmentalism doesn't hit as hard as it should - boy, we would have loved to have seen someone like Armando Iannucci tackle this one - but there is a lot to like about Don't Look Up. A team of scientists have found that a comet is hurtling to earth and will almost definitely hit the planet. The problem is that the government doesn't want to believe the facts, the general public don't want to believe the facts and everyone is told (literally) 'don't look up'. The all-star cast, including Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence, are ace and well worth the watch.
17. News of the WorldStream now (Netflix)
No, it isn't about the rise and fall of the British newspaper but News of the Worldis swooping drama focused on a civil war vet that goes from town to town reading the news to people. Along the way he picks up an abandoned girl and tries to get her back to her relatives. Both Tom Hanks and newcomer Helena Zengel are superb, as is director Paul Greengrass' adept eye.
18. 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).
19. The Mitchells Vs The MachinesWatch now (Netflix)
From the geniuses behind Gravity Falls, The Mitchells Vs The Machines is a fun, frantic look at what technology is doing to the world and how if you stick together as a family things might well be okay. A great mix of animation and some stellar voice acting makes this one a must watch.
20. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindWatch now on Netflix
Even some 18 years on, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind has lost none of its power to stun. One of the most inventive movies in recent years, it's a sci-fi movie about someone who is offered the opportunity to erase bad memories. What ensues is a strange, mesmerising love story.
21. MidsommerWatch now (Netflix)
A frankly terrifying look at the Swedish tradition, Midsommar is a high-art horror movie that will get under your skin. Packed with grizzly deaths, bizarre rituals and Florence Pugh in the biggest flower garland you will ever see - this is a brutal, brilliant movie.
22. Taxi DriverStream now on Netflix
One of the greatest movies of all time is currently streaming on Netflix. This one needs no introduction, other than it is Scorsese's finest link-up with Robert DeNiro, with a plot that is prescient in our current volatile online world.
23. RomaStream now (Netflix)
Alfonso Cuarón directed and wrote this fantastic fable about a housekeeper of a middle class family in Columbia. The movie, shot in stark black and white won Cuarón another Oscar, which is utterly impressive given the non actors who appear in the film. The movie is a semi autobiographical and has more heart in its two hour run time than most of the movies you can watch on Netflix right now.
24. AkiraStream now (Netflix)
One of the greatest depictions of a future dystopia ever committed to film and perhaps the most famous anime ever, Akira is a beautiful and brutal post apocalyptic cyberpunk tale that showcases the events after a future World War (well, in 2019). It’s hard to believe the movie is now over 30 years old as it looks like it could have been made today.
25. Blade Runner 2049Watch now on Netflix
While Dune has cemented Denis Villeneuve as one of the best directors around right now, Blade Runner 2049 had already proved how adept he is at adapting classic sci-fi fare.
26. The Gray ManStream now on Netflix
This one needs no introduction. The Gray Man is the most expensive Netflix movie ever made and stars Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans as warring hitmen who are trying to outdo each other after secrets from the CIA are unleashed. It's bombastic and pretty brainless in places but this one is far more fun than the critics make it out to be.
27. HustleStream on Netflix
Adam Sandler you infuriate us. One minute you are releasing some comedy crap where he has clearly phoned it in. The next minute he is making low-key masterpieces like Hustle. This tale of a down-and-out basketball scout who thinks he has found the next NBA sensation is just brilliant filmmaking - and Sandler is superb in the role.
28. The Wolf Of Wall StreetStream (Netflix)
Director Martin Scorsese has created another modern masterpiece with Wolf Of Wall Street. With Leonardo DiCaprio now his actor of choice for movies, the two work perfectly in sync here - DiCaprio plays stock broker Jordan Belfort masterfully, his acting as excessive and hedonistic as Scorsese's direction.
29. The Adam ProjectWatch now on Netflix
Not all Netflix original movies work but we have a soft spot for The Adam Project, an old-school family sci-fi movie that gives its own unique twist to time travel. Ryan Reynolds is a fighter pilot who travels back in time to help save the world with his 12 year old self and late father.
30. Tick...Tick...Boom!Stream now (Netflix)
An emotional rollercoaster, Tick...Tick...Boom! is the true story of Rent creator Jonathan Larson and his struggle to get a play made that audiences love, all while trying to figure out his own life. It's beautifully told by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Andrew Garfield is utterly mesmerising in the main role. There won't be a dry eye in the house after this one ends.
31. The NightingaleWatch now on Netflix
Jennifer Kent, the director of The Babadook, decided to focus on a whole new area of horror for Nightingale Clare - that of revenge. Set in 19th Century Tanzania it’s a tough watch, following Aisling Franciosi Clare, a Irish servant, who is sexually abused and assaulted by her boss, Lieutenant Hawkins (Sam Claflin). As retribution, she heads with a black guide to track down Hawkins and his group. What ensues is not for the faint-hearted.
32. The White TigerStream now (Netflix)
This adaptation of the exceptional novel by Aravind Adiga which won the Man Booker Prize in 2008. The White Tiger centres on Balram Halwai, a village boy who rises from his caste but hides some pretty dark secrets while he does it. As book adaptations go, this is faithful to the text and is a great watch.
33. The Power Of The DogWatch now on Netflix
A masterful movie that has been given a lot of Oscar love, and for good reason. Jane Campion has created a western that's all about identity, both physical and sexual. This is a taut psychological thriller that will stand the test of time - and if there is a better performance by Benedict Cumberbatch, then we are yet to see it.
34. The Lost DaughterStream now (Netflix)
You could watch The Lost Daughter with 10 people and all of you will come out with a different interpretation of what happened - as is the brilliance of the movie. Directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal (her debut), it focuses on Olivia Coleman, a college professor who goes on holiday and starts to see similarities in her relationship with her daughter (in the past) with what is happening with another woman in the present. The film isn't afraid to show that unequivocal love doesn't always happen between parents and their children.
35. RRRStream now on Netflix
RRR is a 3-hour fantasy that is like nothing you have seen before. Packed with very impressive CGI, it's an exhaustive look at 1920's India and two revolutionaries who fight against the British Empire. With fight scenes as epic as any Marvel movie (with an inventiveness that goes beyond), RRR is a jaw-dropping spectacle that needs to be seen. It's worth noting that Netflix has the Hindi version of the movie, which was originally shot in Telugu.
36. Pieces of a WomanStream now (Netflix)
Pieces of a Woman has a central performance by Vanessa Kirby that's nothing short of Oscar worthy. But, be warned, it's not for the faint hearted as she goes through a traumatic pregnancy that's show in a heart-wrenching 23-minute sequence. The rest of the film shows the aftermath of what happens and is a devastating but compelling watch.
37. The StingStream (Netflix)
One of the best buddy movies ever made, The Sting takes the on-screen chemistry of Paul Newman and Robert Redford - first seen together in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid - and transposes it to a tale of two grifters. From the soundtrack to the acting and the assured direction, this is one fun movie.
38. Army of the DeadWatch now (Netflix)
God it's brainless, man it's an hour too long, but Army of the Dead is also a fun movie that see Zak Snyder creating an amazing world where the dead have taken over Las Vegas and a group of mercs are flown in to raid a vault of all of its money. Even if you just watch the credit sequence on this one, it's well worth your time.
39. Kung Fu HustleStream (Netflix)
One of the best kung fu movies of the 2000s, Kung Fu Hustle mixes high-kicking action with ACME cartoon style japes, with lead actor/director Stephen Chow proving himself as a mix of Bruce Lee and Buster Keaton. The 40s gangster setting is fantastic as are the stunts on show.
40. WhiplashStream (Netflix)
Literal blood, sweat and tears were shed by lead actor Miles Teller who portrays an upcoming jazz drumming protege who is trained by maniacal mentor JK Simmons. Damien Chazelle is no stranger to mixing music with movies - he also made La La Land - but it's done to perfection in Whiplash.
41. HeatStream (Netflix)
One of the greatest crime movies ever made, Heat is a taut thriller with Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino at odds with each other as cop and robber. Michael Mann's realism while filming the heists is breathtaking and when the two movie giants meet in that cafe scene (the first time the've ever been on screen together) it's perfectly done. With Heat 2, the book out now, this one is well worth revisiting.
42. The Sea BeastStream now on Netflix
Proving that Netflix can match Disney for animation, The Sea Beast is an epic fantasy based on a time when sea monsters were the norm and brave sea-faring folk would go to war with them. Directed by Chris Williams who has brought us some brilliant Disney movies, including Big Hero 6, this is a family adventure movie that everyone will love
43. Cop LandStream (Netflix)
Director James Mangold - who is helming the upcoming Indiana Jones movie - made his debut with Cop Land, a beautifully nuanced movie about a small town sheriff who starts to uncover mob corruption in his small town. Sylvester Stallone's acting has never been better in this one, he outshines the likes of Robert DeNiro and Harvey Keitel and Ray Liotta, which is no easy thing to do!
44. I’m Thinking of Ending ThingsStream now (Netflix)
Charlie Kaufman movies are always unconventional and brilliant and I’m Thinking of Ending Things is of no exception. The movie is conventional enough in its plot - a woman (Jessie Buckley) spends time with her boyfriend’s family after the weather turns bad. But what ensues is an exploration of the mind and all the complications that come with this.
45. Ma Rainey’s Black BottomStream now (Netflix)
Sadly this is the final film of Chadwick Boseman, who died of cancer in 2020. But what a film it is, based on the play of the same name by August Wilson. Based on the life of Ma Rainey (Viola Davis), an under-appreciated but hugely influential blues singer. The movie is set, mostly. in the confines of a recording studio but its themes of race and racism echo what was happening in 20s America at the time.
46. His HouseWatch now on Netflix
Netflix has got something of a gem with His House. It's a scary film, focus on a haunted house of sorts that an immigrant family moves into. But the horror doesn't start there but within the system of trying to make a life for themselves in the UK. This really is a pertinent must watch.
47. The SouvenirWatch now on Netflix
Joanna Hog used her own experiences at film school to create this story of a young women who embarks on a career as an artist, but her relationships with her mother and new love are costing her. The sequel to this movie is out now, so it's well worth catching up on this brilliant first film.
48. Yes. God, YesWatch now on Netflix
This is a decent stab at a coming-of-age story that has a focus on the coming, thanks to Alice (Natalia Dyer) having a sexual awakening that makes here start to question her Catholic faith. This film is lean, at just 77 minutes so it breezes by with a fantastic central performance by Dyer.
49. MankWatch now (Netflix)
A thrill ride through 30s Hollywood, Mank is David Fincher at his finest, offering up a love letter to the movies and using every inventive trick to make you think that you are in that period. At its heart, the movie is about a bed-ridden, rather obstinate, Herman Mankiewicz, the writer of Citizen Kane. Throughout we see the Hollywood system at work, shot with a deft eye that homages the 30s brilliantly. Fincher here is actually directing his late father's script. He doesn't just do it justice, but has created a classic in the process.
50. 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.
Need more of a Netflix fix? Then these guides are for you:
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- Best Netflix UK Shows
- Best Netflix Originals
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