Netflix offers a ton of movies to watch, perfect for a binge-watching session. Having grown itself to over 193 countries already, the largest streaming rental thrives because of the availability of great films that are sure to make anyone a movie-buff.
The most difficult part being a Netflix subscriber is to decide on what movie to watch. Every movie available to stream looks good and you surely don’t want to waste hours watching something that does not fit your taste. Well, we have a list of some of the best movies available to stream on Netflix at your disposal.
Find someone to watch it together, a friend, your family or a companion who you love to be around with because you’ll not know that you’ve spent hours after watching movies on this list. We’re constantly checking the Netflix library to assemble the list of some of the best movies ever made and all you need to do is run down your eyes through this list.
Check out the top 20 best movies on Netflix available on DVD and to stream!
Please note: This list was updated in August of 2017. This list is bound to change from Netflix contracting.
1. The Shawshank Redemption (DVD Only)
Initial release: 1994
Director: Frank Darabont
IMDb: 9.3/10 | Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%
Widely regarded as one of the most insightful and profound movies ever made, The Shawshank Redemption centers on the story of Andy Dufresne (played by Tim Robbins), a former banker who is wrongfully convicted of double murder. Andy cannot persuade anyone to believe in his innocence, and is sentenced to live in prison.
Andy is sent to serve his life sentence at Shawshank State Prison, located in Maine. This is a tough prison, but Andy manages to get to know and befriend a number of fellow prisoners. One of those prisoners is Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding (played by Morgan Freeman). “Red” is very wise, and is a loyal friend to Andy, although he doesn’t think that Andy will be able to deal with the agonies and pressures of being in prison at first.
The film explores the often unacknowledged wisdom of socially marginalized people, as well as the darkness and corruption of the prison system. Andy and his friends have to deal with cruel prison guards in addition to the corrupt Warden Norton (played by Bob Gunton).
2. Pulp Fiction (DVD Only)
Initial Release: 1994
Director: Quentin Tarantino
IMDb: 8.9/10 | Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%
Pulp Fiction is considered a must-see movie of the 1990s because of its brilliant and varied use of many different genre conventions as well as its irreverent and clever dialogue. The movie’s script was awarded an Oscar, and you will soon realize why when you see the film itself. Truly unique, Pulp Fiction features two hitmen (brilliantly played by John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson) who have strikingly abstract, philosophical discussions on various remarkably random subjects. The movie has also been noted for its costumes and settings, as well as its famous dance sequence involving John Travolta and Uma Thurman.
Pulp Fiction’s edgy subject matter led to extensive use of strong language and portrayals of drug use and graphic violence, thus causing its R-rating. However, this movie plays a strong role in film history and is one that every adult should see and appreciate. It encapsulates a great deal of its influences from the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s, and in turn is now an inspiration for new movie makers.
3. China Town (DVD Only)
Initial Release: 1974
Director: Roman Polanski
IMDb: 8.2/10 | Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%
An intriguing story of Jake Gittes, a private detective (played by Jack Nicholson) who is investigating a case of adultery. While he is doing so, he happens upon a vast conspiracy among local officials involving land use and water privatization. He refuses to be intimidated into abandoning his investigation and is able to discover the full extent of the truth.
Faye Dunaway plays Evelyn Mulwray, the woman who hires Jake for the initial investigation. It is Mr. Mulwray who is responsible for the construction of the water supply. It terms out, however, that “Evelyn Mulwray” is not the real wife of Mr. Mulwray. Eventually, it is Mr. Mulwray’s death that finally makes all the pieces of the puzzle at least begin to fall into place. Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway’s acting performances in the movie have been widely praised, and China Town is considered a seminal movie of the twentieth century.
4. Good Will Hunting (DVD Only)
Initial Release: 1997
Director: Gus Van Sant
IMBd: 8.3/10 | Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%
With a screenplay famously written by two of the film’s leading actors (Matt Damon and Ben Affleck), Good Will Hunting is a unique and captivating movie. Good Will Hunting tells the story of a young man and math genius named Will Hunting (played by Matt Damon), who works as a janitor at M.I.T in Boston.
Will Hunting grew up in a poor area of Boston, along with his close friend, Chuckie Sullivan (played by Ben Affleck). While working as a janitor at the famous M.I.T, he solves math problems on a board outside a classroom at night. The professor who posed the problems, Gerald Lambeau (played by Stellen Skarsgard), is brilliant and highly lauded, but not exactly the most empathetic of people. A professor at a nearby community college and acquaintance of Lambeau, Sean Maguire (Robin Williams), however, is much more understanding and sensitive, and he takes Will under his wing.
Sean Maguire is a psychologist as well as a professor, and like Will, he grew up in a working-class area. He and Will become very close friends, but not without some contention. Will eventually meets and falls in love with a British woman, but will they last?
5. Unforgiven (DVD Only)
Initial Release: 1992
Director: Clint Eastwood
IMDb: 8.3/10 | Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%
One of the most famous Westerns of all time, Unforgiven is a name indelibly linked with that of Clint Eastwood. Eastwood not only directed but also starred in the film. Unforgiven is notable for being very raw and much more realistic than the usual Hollywood Western. Clint Eastwood plays William Munny, a man who used to be an outlaw but is now working as a hog farmer.
There is a $1,000 bounty on the head of a cowhand in another town who injured a prostitute. Schofield Kid (played by Jaimz Woolvett) convinces Munny to work with him to collect the bounty. Munny does not want to but needs the money for his family. Another character called Ned Logan (Morgan Freeman) also joins them. We find that Munny is really quite a legend as a result of his former outlaw days, and people are overawed when he comes into town on his mission.
The sheriff of the town, Little Bill Daggett (played by Gene Hackman) is against the idea of the bounty, and a terrible fight erupts between him and Munny that leaves him begging for mercy.
6. Forrest Gump
Initial Release: 1994
Director: Robert Zemeckis
IMDb: 8.8/10 | Rotten Tomatoes Score: 72%
Starring Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump, an intellectually disabled but remarkably insightful man, Forrest Gump was easily one of the most prominent movies of the mid-90s. The story follows Forrest from his childhood to well into his adulthood, the only constants in his life really being the loyalty of his mother and his love for his childhood friend, Jenny Curran (played by Robin Wright). Jenny is a tortured soul, having been abused as a child, and drifts through life for quite some time.
Forrest eventually asks Jenny to marry him, but she declines. In probably the best example of Forrest’s quirky decisions and actions, he suddenly decides to run across the country. Jenny ends up with a young son whom she supports working as a waitress. Her son, also called Forrest, is understood to be Forrest’s son. Jenny and Forrest Gump are reunited when she becomes extremely ill, and they finally get married.
7. Django Unchained (DVD Only)
Initial Release: 2012
Director: Quentin Tarantino
IMDb: 8.5/10 | Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%
Django Unchained is a remarkable movie set in the pre-Civil War Southern United States. The protagonist, Django (played by Jamie Foxx), is a slave. Django’s unlikely companion on his journey is a bounty hunter looking for the Brittle brothers, who are murderers. This bounty hunter is called Dr. King Schultz (played by Christoph Waltz). Django is the sole person who can help him in his quest, and he does so. However, Django’s main goal is to track down and rescue his wife. She was sold away from him as a slave years beforehand.
Both searches (Schultz’s for the Brittle brothers, and Django’s for his wife) eventually culminate in finding “Candyland,” a terrifying plantation owned by a man called Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio). Django and Schultz lie about their reason for being there, and take the opportunity to explore. Calvin Candie is a ruthless man, and Django has to find a way to rescue his wife from his clutches.
8. Braveheart (DVD Only)
Initial release: 1995
Director: Mel Gibson
IMDb: 8.4/10 | Rotten Tomatoes Score: 78%
Mel Gibson not only produced and directed Braveheart, he starred in the film as well. Braveheart is an epic war drama, and focusses on a fictionalized version of the life and struggles of William Wallace. William Wallace was a Scottish historical figure who lived from around 1270 (the date of his birth is uncertain) to 1305, when he was executed by the English for treason.
William Wallace was a leader in the movement for Scottish independence, and Gibson portrays many of Wallace’s strategies and battles. Braveheart has been acclaimed as a masterpiece of cinematography, and highly praised for its costumes, settings, and acting. The movie is successful in portraying the main character’s life as both a fearless leader of men in battle, and a romantic man who deeply loved one woman. Wallace’s wife, Murron (played by Catherine McCormack), is attacked by one of the English guards, and later murdered. William Wallace avenges her death.
9. American Beauty (DVD Only)
Initial Release: 1999
Director: Sam Mendes
IMDb: 8.4/10 | Rotten Tomatoes Score: 86%
American Beauty is an interesting exploration of the hidden shadows of suburban America, and is widely recognized as one of the best movies of the late 1990s. The Burnham family manages to “keep up appearances” and the image of suburban happiness and perfection, but it is really and truly an illusion. Lester and his wife Carolyn no longer get along well, and Lester becomes infatuated with a teenage girl called Angela. Angela is the best friend of Lester’s daughter, Jane Burnham. Lester’s depression and “mid-life crisis” are what are purported to lead to these feelings. The movie is considered by many to be a quite unnervingly insightful story of unspoken emotions and anxieties, and this is one of the features that make the movie so unique.
The movie also features a subplot dealing with the friendship between Jane and a boy named Ricky who lives in the same suburban neighborhood. Ricky is abused by his father.
10. Boogie Nights (DVD Only)
Initial release: 1997
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
IMDb: 7.9/10 | Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%
Set in the late 1970s, the story of Boogie Nights occurs in the California adult film industry. The main character, Eddie Adams (played by mark Wahlberg), is a young man working as an underpaid restaurant busboy when he is by chance discovered by a man called Jack Horner. Jack Horner is an adult movie director, and he thinks that Eddie Adams shows a lot of potentials to be an actor in his films.
Eddie is recruited, and takes on the screen name, “Dirk Diggler.” Andy achieves success and fame quickly, but eventually his ego and partying gets out of control to the point where everything he has is at risk. This movie has been noted for its unique topic and perspective and is considered quite true to the period. Its setting of the late 70s adult film industry and quite explicit scenes cause this film to have a firm R-rating.
11. Mystic River (DVD Only)
Initial Release: 2003
Director: Clint Eastwood
IMDb: 8/10 | Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%
The story begins in 1975, focussing on a group of three young boys, Jimmy Markum, Dave Boyle, and Sean Devine. While they are playing outside, Dave Boyle is kidnapped. He is sexually abused for a short but horrific period before managing to escape, and is deeply traumatized. The movie then moves on to the boys’ adulthoods. Dave (Tim Robbins) continues to be adversely affected by his childhood abuse. When we find Jimmy Markum (Sean Penn) as an adult, we find that he has been in prison and is trying to get through life as an ex-con, and is a father of three children.
Jimmy’s daughter, Katie, is murdered, and Dave is suspected of committing the crime. Sean Devine is now a homicide detective, and he is required to conduct the investigation regarding Katie’s murder. Sean finds this very difficult, with so many emotions from the past raising their heads. Sean finds that the murderer might actually be Katie’s boyfriend.
12. Moonrise Kingdom
Initial Release: 2012
Director: Wes Anderson
IMDb: 7.8/10 | Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%
Recognized as a unique and quirky coming-of-age movie, Moonrise Kingdom is set in 1960s costal New England. It is the summer of 1965, and a twelve-year-old boy named Sam, who has been orphaned by his parents and is now in the care of a foster home, arrives at summer camp. A girl of the same age, Suzy, lives nearby, and the two meet and like one another immediately. As a result of their running off together, Sam loses his foster home. The two kids consequently run off together again with the resolution of not being found and never coming back.
They have simply gone off into the wilderness, and many people and groups from the rather eccentric town search for them. While the kids are still missing, a terrible hurricane strikes. Moonrise Kingdom features Bruce Willis as Captain sharp, Edward Norton as Scout Master Ward, and Bill Murray as Mr. Bishop. The movie received an Oscar nomination for its excellent screenplay.
13. Inglorious Bastards
Initial Release: 2009
Director: Quentin Tarantino
IMDb: 8.3/10 | Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%
Inglorious Bastards is a remarkable, acclaimed, and thought-provoking war drama and adventure movie. As a young girl in Nazi-occupied France, Shosanna Dreyfus saw Colonel Hans Landa, a cruel and brutal Nazi officer, kill her family. She vows to take revenge any way she can, and thankfully a number of years later has the opportunity to do so. She runs a well-respected movie theater. A German named Fredrick Zeller likes her romantically, and easily arranges for many high-ranking Nazis (including Hitler himself) to go to a premiere at her theater.
A group of Jewish-Americans called the “Basterds” also attend, and, like Shosanna, they are intent on the ultimate revenge against the Nazis. Inglorious Bastards has been widely recognized as a unique and well-produced film. The movie features Melaine Laurent as Shosanna Dreyfus, Brad Pitt as Aldo Raine, Michael Fassbender as Archie Hicox, and Diane Kruger as Bridget von Hammersmark.
14. Saturday Night Fever (DVD Only)
Initial Release: 1977
Director: John Badham
IMDb: 6.8/10 | Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%
Tony Manero (played by John Travolta) is nineteen years old, and his favorite thing in the world is to dance all night at his local disco every Saturday. Tony is an incredible dancer, and everyone admires him for this at the club. The disco is the only place where he really feels good about himself. Tony’s parents constantly compare him with his brother, who is a priest. Tony works at a paint store, and knows that it is a dead-end job. Tony meets Stephanie Mangano (played by Karen Lynn Gorney), and he and she train together for a dance competition.
Stephanie wants to move to Manhattan, and inspires Tony with her dreams. With its emblematic 1970s soundtrack, Saturday Night Fever is one of the most significant movies of the decade, rendered synonymous with disco club culture. The Bee Gees, one of the most popular bands of the 80s, played a major role in the film’s soundtrack.
15. E.T. (The Extra Terrestrial)
Initial Release: 1982
Director: Steven Spielberg
IMDb: 7.9/10 | 98%
E.T. (The Extra Terrestrial) is a science fiction, adventure, and family movie. Its main characters include a young boy named Elliot (played by Henry Thomas), his older brother, Michael, and his younger sister, Gertie (played by Drew Barrymore). Elliot is very lonely, and becomes friends with a stranded alien who he discovers. Elliot, Michael, and Gertie work to help E.T. get home, without telling their mother and avoiding involving the government. Elliot has some sort of special, psychic connection with E.T., who has special powers. E.T. even learns English, and the kids dress him up as a ghost for Halloween. Elliot and E.T. share a connection for the rest of their lives, even after the alien is finally able to leave for his home planet.
Steven Speilberg was inspired by his own childhood imaginary friend to create the E.T. character. E.T. (the Extra Terrestrial) enjoyed remarkable success at the box office.
16. The Sixth Sense
Initial Release: 1999
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
IMDb: 8.1/10 | Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%
Cole Sear (played by Haley Joel Osment) is a little boy who is able to see and communicate with the spirits of people who have died but are unaware of that reality. Cole’s mother, Lynn Sear (played by Toni Collette) is very worried about her son. He has not told her exactly what it is that he is experiencing, and she thinks that he has psychological problems of some sort. She has him visit a child psychologist called Dr. Malcolm Crowe. Cole is very afraid of his visitations, and has not told anyone about them.
Dr. Crow feels extremely discouraged to be visited by a distraught ex-patient on the same night that he gets a special award for his work. When he becomes involved in the treatment of Cole, he finds that he is having the same experiences as the upset ex-patient. Cold confides in Dr. Cole about the fact that he can see dead people.
Initial Release: 2013
Director: Alexander Payne
IMDb: 7.8/10 | Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%
Highly acclaimed, Philomena’s screenplay was based on The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by Martin Sixsmith (a BBC correspondent). This book was published in 2009, and chronicles the experiences of a mother who was forced to give up the baby she had as a teenager, by nuns at the convent at which she gave birth. The baby (a son) was sent to the United States and adopted there.
Martin Sixsmith (played in the movie by Steve Coogan) is bored after being excluded from the British Labour Party, and is looking for something to do. He is told about the story of Philomena, by Philomena’s daughter. Martin arranges to write a magazine article about Philomena, and in doing research he and Philomena (played by Judi Dench) end up travelling to the United States together to search for her long-lost son. Martin and Philomena learn a great deal about one another and themselves.
18. Hot Fuzz
Initial Release: 2007
Director: Edgar Wright
IMDb: 7.9/10 | Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%
Hot Fuzz is a very funny parody of the “buddy cop” genre. It is very successful and quite hilarious in its satire. The main character, Nicholas Angel (played by Simon Pegg) is a London police constable. He is excellent at his job, and the other police officers in his unit feel threatened by his performance. As a result, he is transferred to a small village called Sandford. He finds that his new partner is completely clueless and very slow on the uptake, and that the village itself is very boring. Literally nothing seems to happen there, and Nicholas has trouble finding ways to put his talents to use.
One day, it is discovered that two actors have been found decapitated in the village. While Nicholas’ partner and the rest of the village police think it is an accident and want to rule it as such, Nicholas insists that there is foul play involved. His investigation faces the roadblock of deliberate obstruction by the people of the village.
Initial Release: 2001 (2002 in the United States)
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
IMDb: 8.4/10 | Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%
Movie description: Amelie Poulain (played by Audrey Tautou) is a young woman who has lived in Paris her entire life. Her mother is dead. As a child, her father, Raphael Poulain (played by Rufus) had always thought that she had a heart defect, and homeschooled her and kept her very isolated as a result. Her father’s belief in her sickness really held her back in life generally.
Amelie has had very little contact with people in the wider world, and, as a result, has always really lived in a bit of a dream world. Amelia becomes inspired to help as many people as she can, and finds the love of her life, Nino Quincampoix (played by Mathieu Kassovitz). She eventually discovers that she is neglecting her own life’s journey. Amelie won the Goya Award for Best European Film, the European Film Award for Best Director and Best Film, and the Cesar Award for Best Original Score.
20. Scarface (DVD Only)
Initial Release: 1983
Director: Brian De Palma
IMDb: 8.3/10 | Rotten Tomatoes Score: 82%
Widely considered to be one of the best (if not the best) mob movie of all time, Scarface stars Al Pacino and was instrumental in launching the careers of now famous actresses Michelle Pfeiffer and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio.
The movie’s story centers on Cuban organized crime in the American city of Miami. Tony Montana (played by Al Pacino) is the main character. Tony Montana is a Cuban refugee, and he has no money at all when he first comes to the United States. From the beginning, he is drawn into crime and corruption. Unlike several of his friends, he manages to survive long enough to live in a multi-million dollar mansion purchased with the proceeds of crime. He marries a woman called Elvira (played by Michelle Pfeiffer), and they both become addicted to cocaine. Tony finds himself being told he can be kept out of prison if he kills a journalist.
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