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The best movies on Netflix (January 2020): great Netflix films to stream today

The best Netflix movies right now - fantastic movies to stream.

The best movies on Netflix (January 2020): great Netflix films to stream today
Becca Caddy
15 January 2020

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:The biggest movie to land on Netflix UK this week is Wonder Women. When the DCU looked like it was in disarray, Wonder Woman came along and showed the world just how to do a super hero movie. It's so good, it's made our best Netflix movies list. Others that didn't quite make our list but are still decent movies are Legend, starring Tom Hardy twice as the Kray twins, and Steve Jobs, the biopic of the founder of Apple.

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. We’re not saying Roma was robbed at the Oscars, but yeah. Roma was robbed at the Oscars.

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.

The best movies on Netflix right now

The best movies on Netflix right now

1. Goodfellas

Stream Now (Netflix)

There’s never a bad time to rewatch Martin Scorsese’s hugely influential gangster epic, which is an adaptation of a true story recounted by Nicholas Pileggi. Ray Liotta plays Henry Hill, who went from tough mob enforcer to FBI informant over the space of 25 chaotic years. Goodfellas became famous for a whole bunch of reasons, not least of which is a memorable turn from Joe Pesci as the psychotic mobster Tommy DeVito.

This movie is also available to buy now on Amazon.

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The best movies on Netflix right now

2. Reservoir Dogs

Stream Now (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.

This movie is also available to buy now on Amazon.

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The best movies on Netflix right now

3. Silence of the Lambs

Stream Now (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.

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This mind-bending sci-fi masterpiece from Christopher Nolan is a perfect mix of fantasy, future shock and drama. It's about a group who delve into the depths of dreams in order to plant and shape someone's beliefs. This might sound abstract, but works very well on screen. Everyone is plugged into the 'dream machine' and then gets to work influencing their surroundings, whether that's a ski slope, hotel or Parisian streets.

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The best movies on Netflix right now

5. City of God

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Shot on location in some of Rio de Janeiro's poorest neighbourhoods, City of God is set in the 1970s and follows the story of two men who are destined for different paths. Rocket (played by Alexandre Rodrigues) is a photographer who documents drug-related violence in the city. Whereas José "Zé" Pequeno (played by Leandro Firmino da Hora), is a drug dealer who uses Rocket's photos to increase his fame.

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The best movies on Netflix right now

6. Ex Machina

Stream Now (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.

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The best movies on Netflix right now

7. The Terminator

Stream 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.

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One of the first blockbusters, Jaws is a masterpiece of suspense cinema. We may not see much of the titular shark, but its presence is felt throughout the entire movie. The small fishing town of Amity finds itself terrorised by a killer Great White shark, and it's up to its police chief to save the day.

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The best movies on Netflix right now

9. Spider-Man Homecoming

Stream now (on Netflix)

Spider-Man may have gone through far too many reboots, but this movie is Spider-Man done right. Tom Holland is the perfect age to play the teenage web slinger, while Michael Keaton's bad guy is flawed and ferocious in equal measure. Who knows where the Marvel Universe is set to go now End Game has come and gone, but with superheroes like this one sticking around, it's in good hands

This movie is also available to buy now on Amazon.

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The best movies on Netflix right now

10. Enter The Dragon

Stream on Netflix now

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.

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The best movies on Netflix right now

11. Prisoners

Stream 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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The classic 1960 horror film Psycho is now showing on Netflix and it's truly one of the most eerie and suspenseful movies ever made – famously without any actual violence shown on screen. It's directed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock and it's about a secretary (played by Janet Leigh) and her stay at a motel, run by Norman Bates (played by Anthony Perkins) where things are not as they seem.

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The best movies on Netflix right now

13. The Irishman

Stream 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

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The best movies on Netflix right now

14. Nightcrawler

Stream Now (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.

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The best movies on Netflix right now

15. Call Me By Your Name

Stream Now (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.

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The best movies on Netflix right now

16. You Were Never Really Here

Stream 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.

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The best movies on Netflix right now

17. Wonder Woman

Watch 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.

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The best movies on Netflix right now

18. Blade Runner 2049

Stream now on Netflix

It may not have gotten the box-office return that it deserved but that doesn't stop this sequel to Blade Runner from being one of the most visually arresting movies you will see. The plot follows K, a new replicant officer who finds himself mixed up in one of the biggest mysteries of them all. It's slow paced, but brilliant executed and blends seamlessly into the Blade Runner world Ridley Scott originally created.

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The best movies on Netflix right now

19. Marriage Story

View 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).

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The best movies on Netflix right now

20. Midnight Cowboy

Stream Now (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.

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