The best movies on Netflix right now
Here are EW's picks from Netflix's current crop of flicks to help you program your next movie night, from the most beautiful to the most thrilling to the best literary adaptation. Happy streaming!
All Quiet on the Western Front (2022)
Nearly a century after Hollywood's 1930 adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque's heralded novel, German director Edward Berger adapted his own version that feels all the more brutal considering the capabilities of modern filmmaking techniques. The film centers on a young German soldier who is forced to confront the horrors of World War I, presented to us with visceral battle sequences and lifelike sound design. It's a difficult watch, but a needed reminder of how senseless war can be. —Kevin Jacobsen
Wins EW's award for: Best Antiwar Message
File under: World War I, Brothers in Arms, German Cinema, War Is Hell
Talent: Felix Kammerer, Albrecht Schuch, Daniel Brühl
Related reading: The best World War II movies of all time
Da 5 Bloods (2020)
Spike Lee brings the experience of Black veterans to the screen in this epic war drama. Four Vietnam War veterans return to the country decades later to search for closure — as well as some buried treasure. Directed with propulsive energy and infused with dynamic performances, especially by Delroy Lindo in a true tour de force, the film is as urgent and raw as the best of Lee's oeuvre. The film also takes on added meaning due to the presence of Chadwick Boseman as their troop's fallen leader. —K.J.
Wins EW's award for: Most Urgent
File under: Vietnam War, Descent Into Madness, Oscar Snubs, Spike Lee Joints
Talent: Delroy Lindo, Jonathan Majors, Clarke Peters, Norm Lewis, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Chadwick Boseman
Related reading: Spike Lee on Da 5 Bloods, Chadwick Boseman, and overdue awards buzz
Emily the Criminal (2022)
Aubrey Plaza stars as Emily, a college graduate who works as an independent food delivery contractor. Faced with insurmountable student loans, she turns to credit card fraud out of desperation and finds herself surprisingly good at the job. The independent film cleverly demonstrates the weight of capitalism, particularly on the millennial generation, and the lengths to which we'll go to survive. —K.J.
Wins EW's award for: Best Argument for Student Loan Relief
File under: Cautionary Tales, Money Is the Root of All Evil, Antiheroes, New Jersey Accents
Talent: Aubrey Plaza, Theo Rossi, Megalyn Echikunwoke, Gina Gershon
Related reading: Aubrey Plaza on why her new thriller Emily the Criminal felt like pulling off a scam
Frances Ha (2013)
Before she was the acclaimed writer-director of Lady Bird (2017), Little Women (2019), and Barbie (2023), Greta Gerwig made her mark on cinema as a New York City dancer just trying to sort out her life in this indie favorite. Co-written by Gerwig and her partner, Noah Baumbach (who also directed), the film is an homage to the French New Wave, shot entirely in black and white and presented as a series of vignettes. The result is a portrait of life as a woman in modern-day NYC, with all of its ups and downs. —K.J.
Wins EW's award for: Best Coming-of-Age Story
File under: Mumblecore, Friendship Cinema, The Art of Dance
Talent: Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner, Adam Driver, Michael Zegen
Related reading: Frances Ha: Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach interview
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022)
Following up the success of 2019's Knives Out was a seemingly impossible task, but writer-director Rian Johnson proved with this installment that it was no fluke. Assembling another well-rounded cast that includes Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe, Dave Bautista, Kate Hudson, and Kathryn Hahn — in addition to the return of Daniel Craig's master detective Benoit Blanc — Glass Onion proves to be a prescient satire of tech-billionaires and the friends they screw over on the way to the top. —K.J.
Wins EW's award for: Best Cameos
File under: Whodunnits, Eat the Rich, Pop Culture References, Pandemic, Art Crimes, Hot Sauce Gags
EW grade: B+
Talent: Daniel Craig, Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., Jessica Henwick, Madelyn Cline, Kate Hudson, Dave Bautista
Related reading: Why director Rian Johnson is 'pissed off' about the title of Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio (2022)
Guillermo del Toro has long specialized in creating fantastical worlds full of monsters and gothic imagery, with sincere messages about curious outsiders who feel like they don't belong in the world. This made him the perfect fit for an adaptation of the classic Pinocchio story, which he and co-director Mark Gustafson transposed to the time of World War II Italy. Designed with gorgeous stop-motion animation, the timeless tale of a wooden puppet who comes to life and explores a dark and dangerous world is achingly sincere and resonant in today's uncertain times. —K.J.
Wins EW's award for: Most Stunning Animation
File under: Stop-Motion Animation, World War II, Fascist Italy, Original Musical, Gothic Imagery, Mature Themes
EW grade: N/A
Talent: Ewan McGregor, David Bradley, Gregory Mann, Burn Gorman, Ron Perlman, John Turturro, Finn Wolfhard, Cate Blanchett, Tim Blake Nelson, Christoph Waltz, Tilda Swinton
Hail, Caesar! (2016)
If Hail, Caesar! seems like an excuse for actors to play dress-up against the backdrop of Old Hollywood, then at least we appreciate them putting on a damn good show. The Coen brothers' mystery-comedy centers on a fixer (Josh Brolin) who must attend to a series of crises behind the scenes of a 1950s-era movie studio. While the overarching plot is compelling, the fun of Hail, Caesar! stems from its memorable set pieces, including a young actor (Alden Ehrenreich) who can't stop fumbling a line or a musical star's (Channing Tatum) homoerotic tap dancing number. —K.J.
Wins EW's award for: Best All-Star Cast
File under: Black Comedies, Old Hollywood Homages, Period Pieces, Tap Dancing
Talent: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, Scarlett Johansson, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Channing Tatum
Related reading: Watch Josh Brolin rough up George Clooney in Hail, Caesar! clip
It Follows (2015)
This supernatural horror favorite made waves in 2015 for using its minimalist approach to maximum effect. The low-budget film tells the story of a woman who has a sexual encounter that leads to her being haunted by a supernatural being. Imbued with dread and enhanced by a synth-y John Carpenter-esque score, It Follows will follow you for days after watching. —K.J.
Wins EW's award for: Best Indie Horror
File under: Supernatural Beings, Psychological Horror, Symbolism, John Carpenter Homages
Talent: Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Olivia Luccardi, Lili Sepe, Daniel Zovatto, Jake Weary
Related reading: It Follows: The secrets behind the indie horror hit
La La Land (2016)
Damien Chazelle's Technicolor ode to the fools who dream had the misfortune of being the only film to win and then lose the Oscar for Best Picture in the same night. Envelope-gate aside, losing that top award may have been the best thing for La La Land's legacy, as it now gets to stand on its own as an earnest throwback to the movie musicals of old. Aided by Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling's indelible chemistry, the film is earnest and bittersweet in all the best ways. —K.J.
Wins EW's award for: Best Pops of Color
File under: Original Musicals, Oscar Upsets, Traffic Jams, White Guys Saving Jazz
Talent: Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, John Legend, J.K. Simmons, Rosemarie DeWitt, Finn Wittrock
Related reading: Ryan Gosling reunites with La La Land star Emma Stone to remind everyone how they 'saved jazz'
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
There are a lot of comedies available on Netflix: romantic comedies; raunchy comedies; basically-just-dramas-but-wanted-a-Golden-Globe comedies; and just fully bad comedies. The second Monty Python feature, however, which uproariously lampoons Arthurian legend, is — forgive us — the holy grail of the streamer's comedic selection. If you haven't seen it, well, your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries. —Mary Sollosi
Wins EW's award for: Most Absurd
File under: '70s Movies, Arthurian Lit, British Humor, Flesh Wounds, Knights Who Say 'Ni!'
EW grade: N/A
Talent: Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Eric Idle, Michael Palin
Related reading: Celebrate 50 years of Monty Python's Flying Circus with these 20 essential sketches
The Nice Guys (2016)
The same year Ryan Gosling turned in a Golden Globe-winning performance for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy for La La Land, he was even funnier in this neo-noir comedy about a private eye and an enforcer who come together to solve a missing persons case. Gosling and Russell Crowe make for a surprisingly fun pairing in this groovy homage to the '70s, which is practically begging for a sequel. —K.J.
Wins EW's award for: Best Buddy Comedy
File under: Unlikely Pairings, '70s Pastiches, Slapstick Comedies
EW grade: B (read the review)
Talent: Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, Matt Bomer, Margaret Qualley, Keith David, Kim Basinger
Related reading: Nice Guys director Shane Black explains his obsession with Christmas: 'It's just a thing of beauty'
Based on the beloved Paddington Bear stories by Michael Bond, this 2014 film adaptation brought the anthropomorphic bear who hails from Darkest Peru and finds his way to London to the big screen. At a time when family-oriented films aim for the lowest common denominator, Paddington brings heart and wit, appealing to audience members of all ages. —K.J.
Wins EW's award for: Best Advertisement for Marmalade
File under: Very Good Bears, British Humor, Evil Nicole Kidman, Family Films
Talent: Ben Whishaw, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, Nicole Kidman
Related reading: It's true! Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky voiced Paddington in international release
The Power of the Dog (2021)
Acclaimed director Jane Campion returned to film after 13 years to helm this tense Western drama about a domineering rancher (Benedict Cumberbatch) who terrorizes his brother (Jesse Plemons), sister-in-law (Kirsten Dunst), and particularly her son, the sensitive Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee). The film, for which Campion won the Oscar for Best Director, comments on masculinity and sexual repression against the backdrop of 1920s Montana, carefully laying the groundwork for a knockout ending. —K.J.
Wins EW's award for: Best Neo-Western
File under: Revisionist Westerns, Homoerotic Cinema, Toxic Masculinity, Menacing Banjo
Talent: Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, Kodi Smit-McPhee
Do the ends justify the means? This is just one of many questions posed by Denis Villeneuve's 2013 thriller, which centers on a father (Hugh Jackman) whose young daughter is abducted, leading him to take matters into his own hands. The pensive drama unfolds like some of the best crime novels, with plenty of twists and turns to keep you invested through its two-and-a-half-hour runtime. —K.J.
Wins EW's award for: Best Thriller
File under: Crime Dramas, Vigilante Justice, Chilly Atmosphere
Talent: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo, Paul Dano
Related reading: Prisoners: Penning one of the year's most suspenseful thrillers
Netflix has proven itself to be a force to be reckoned with come Oscar season and its first original narrative feature to score a coveted statuette (for Best Cinematography, Best Foreign Language Film, and Best Director, though it unforgivably lost Best Picture to Green Book) was Alfonso Cuarón's deeply affecting chronicle of a live-in housekeeper to a Mexico City family, inspired by his own childhood. Marriage Story and The Irishman are extraordinary films from world-class directors, but Roma takes our crown as the streamer's greatest. —M.S.
Wins EW's award for: Best Netflix Original
File under: Mexican Cinema, Egregious Oscar Snubs, Found Families, Bad Boyfriends, Balancing on One Leg
Talent: Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira
Related reading: The biggest foreign film winners in Oscar history
RRR is one of the rare Indian films to crossover on a mainstream level, finding financial, critical, and awards success in the U.S. The epic action drama tells the fictionalized story of two real-life revolutionaries, Komaram Bheem (N.T. Rama Rao Jr.) and Alluri Sitarama Raju (Ram Charan), as they become friends despite unknowingly being on opposite sides of a major conflict. Bursting with energy and inventive action sequences that put Hollywood to shame, it's one of the most gripping three-hour films in years. —K.J.
Wins EW's award for: Most Movie
File under: Rise, Roar, Revolt; Tollywood Cinema, Action Epics, Killer Soundtracks, Dudes Rock
EW grade: N/A
Talent: N.T. Rama Rao Jr., Ram Charan, Ajay Devgn, Alia Bhatt, Shriya Saran, Samuthirakani, Ray Stevenson, Alison Doody, Olivia Morris
Related reading: Russo brothers and RRR director S.S. Rajamouli on the 'universal language' of blowing stuff up
Sorry to Bother You (2018)
An absurdist dark comedy with trenchant social commentary, Boots Riley's directorial debut stars LaKeith Stanfield as a telemarketer who adopts a "white" vocal inflection when speaking on calls, which proves fruitful. His positive success rate comes to the attention of the higher-ups, who promote him to a better position, only to discover the horrors of what the company is up to behind closed doors. —K.J.
Wins EW's award for: Most Unique
File under: Social Satires, Magical Realism, Labor Unions, Horses
EW grade: A– (read our review)
Talent: LaKeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Jermaine Flower, Omari Hardwick, Terry Crews, Patton Oswalt, David Cross, Danny Glover, Steven Yeun, Armie Hammer
The Woman King (2022)
Gina Prince-Bythewood's electrifying epic about the real-life group of all-woman warriors who protected their West African kingdom in the 1800s was a huge audience favorite when it was released in summer 2022. Starring Viola Davis as the unit's leader, The Woman King's strength lies in its message of sisterhood and bravery against seemingly insurmountable odds while providing genuine thrills on a semi-grand scale. —K.J.
Wins EW's award for: Biggest Crowdpleaser
File under: Strong Women Leads, Based on a True Story, Action Epics, Oscar Snubs
EW grade: B (read the review)
Talent: Viola Davis, Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch, Sheila Atim, John Boyega
Related reading: Viola Davis on embracing her warrior spirit for The Woman King
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