From prestige dramas to sci-fi satire, here's a list of must-watch original movies that reflect the streamer's emergence as a production powerhouse.

There was a time when the best movies were made by large production companies in Hollywood before being trotted out for a theatrical premiere and an eventual release on DVD and living on a streaming service like Netflix. More and more, however, those days seem to be a thing of the past — now, some of the best movies are produced by the streamers themselves. In 2022, two of the Best Picture nominees at the Oscars were actually Netflix original movies (though the trophy went to another streamer, AppleTV+, for CODA). It seems that we can no longer ignore the fact that Netflix has become one of the production companies to watch. Here are the best Netflix original movies ready to stream now.

All Quiet on the Western Front
Credit: Netflix

All Quiet on the Western Front (2022)

Based on the 1929 literary novel — which was later adapted into an Oscar-winning movie in 1930, a made-for-TV movie in 1979, and finally, a film released theatrically and on Netflix in 2022 — the German language war movie remains one of the starkest examples of anti-war sentiment in cinematic history. All Quiet follows Paul Bäumer (Felix Kammerer) a young German recruit over the course of the 18 months he spends serving in Northern France on the frontlines of World War I's Western Front. Director Edward Berger's film focuses on Paul's transformation; the longer the war rages on, the further the young man drifts from youthful, patriotic enlistee, to battle-hardened soldier, traumatized by what he's seen and those he's lost.

An aesthetic experience, EW critic Leah Greenblatt writes that "the spectral score by composer Volker Bertelmann is gorgeously unsettling, and the cinematography achieves a kind of painterly, panoramic grandeur." It remains to be seen whether 2022's version of the film will receive the same Academy recognition as its predecessor, but either way, we ranked All Quiet on the Western Front number seven on our list of the 10 best movies of 2022. — Ilana Gordon 

Watch All Quiet on the Western Front on Netflix.

Credit: Red Crown Prods/Participant Media/Come What May Prods/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

Beasts of No Nation (2015)

The powerful war drama Beasts of No Nation follows a brutal civil war in Africa as told through the eyes of a child soldier. Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga and starring Abraham Attah and Idris Elba, the film is a harrowing, confronting look at humanity in the face of the devastation of war. After its release on Netflix, it was a huge success on the platform, being viewed in North America over 3 million times in just 10 days. However, despite its critical and relative commercial success, it didn't receive any Oscar nominations.

Beasts of No Nation may not be filled with A-lister Hollywood stars, but it is one of Netflix's greatest films to date. As EW's Leah Greenblatt notes, "It's a credit to Fukunaga as a filmmaker — and his outstanding cast, nearly all of them first-timers aside from Elba — that Beasts is both audaciously styled and heartbreakingly human in scale." — I.G.

Watch Beasts of No Nation on Netflix.

Credit: François Duhamel/Netflix

Dolemite is My Name (2019)

Los Angeles in the 1970s is a terrible place to live if you're struggling, and aspiring show business professional Rudy Ray Moore (Eddie Murphy) can't seem to break in. After years of working a dead-end job as a record store manager and grinding for stage time, Rudy creates a character inspired (or stolen, depending on how literal you want to get) by a homeless man who wanders into his store. Armed with a new name, new vocabulary, and new wardrobe, Rudy as Dolemite starts taking over the comedy scene — but he's not content to stop there. Determined to turn Dolemite into a blaxploitation karate film starring himself, Rudy cobbles together a screenwriter (Keegan-Michael Key), a celebrated character actor (Wesley Snipes), and a comedian (Da'Vine Joy Randolph), and decides to do it himself.       

Based on the true story of Rudy Ray Moore, a comedian, filmmaker, and godfather of rap, Dolemite is My Name is a period biopic that perfectly balances jokes and heart. Mike Epps, Craig Robinson, and Tituss Burgess help round out a stacked cast, but it's Murphy, EW's critic writes, who "brings so much hope and hunger and pure life force to the role that he makes you believe in every punchline, pelvic thrust, and spectacularly misplaced karate kick." — I.G. 

Watch Dolemite is My Name on Netflix.


Don't Look Up (2021)

What will the end of the world look like? Don't Look Up has an answer to the question — and unfortunately, it doesn't look good. In Adam McKay's dark comedy, we see a depiction of how the modern world  — or in this film's case, a cavalcade of ineffectual politicians, livestreamers, and interfering billionaires  — reacts to the most dire of situations. The four-time Oscar-nominated film has an absurdly stacked cast that includes Meryl Streep, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Rylance, Jennifer Lawrence, Timothee Chalamet, Ariana Grande, Melanie Lynskey, and Cate Blanchett.

"The way to reach people is to open their hearts, and the way to do that is with a joke," Streep told EW. And that's exactly what Don't Look Up attempts to do. While it may initially seem to be an over-the-top, fairly easy-going comedy, the film packs an emotional, intellectual punch. "This movie came from my terror about the climate crisis and the fact that we live in a society that tends to place it as the fourth or fifth news story, or even deny that it's happening, and how horrifying that is, but at the same time [how] preposterously funny," McKay said to EW. It's a darkly parodic film with a somewhat eerie message about humanity — that when the end of the world does come, we may be too busy to even notice. — Meg Walters 

Watch Don't Look Up on Netflix.

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022). Daniel Craig as Detective Benoit Blanc. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022.
Credit: Netflix

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022)

Rian Johnson is a man who laughs in the face of genre: from fantasy blockbusters like Star Wars to whodunnit comedies, this writer and director gets around. And after a three year hiatus, he and everyone's favorite pastel-clad detective, Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) are back with a second addition to their Knives Out franchise. Released both in theaters and on Netflix, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery tells the story of a friend group caught up in the allures of money, fame, power, and murder — but in all truthfulness, the film is just as effective as travel propaganda for the Greek island on which the story is set. 

Miles Bron (Edward Norton) is a tech billionaire prototype who organizes a murder mystery at his island estate, and pays for his close circle of friends:a controversial beauty influencer (Kate Hudson), an ambitious scientist (Leslie Odom Jr.), an aspiring United States senator (Kathryn Hahn), a Joe Rogan-esque Twitch streamer (Dave Bautista), and his barely-legal girlfriend Whiskey (Madelyn Cline). The weekend is interrupted by the appearance of an old friend and current enemy, Cassandra Brand (Janelle Monae), as well as the unanticipated arrival of Detective Blanc. Glass Onion pales slightly when directly compared to the first film in the franchise, but as our critic writes, the sequel is not here for that. "It's here strictly to dazzle you with money and murder and famous-people pandemonium, then sharpen its knives for the next installment." — I.G.

Watch Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery on Netflix.

HUSTLE. (L-R) Juancho Hernangomez as Bo Cruz and Anthony Edwards as Kermet Wilts in Hustle. Cr. Scott Yamano/Netflix © 2022.
Credit: Scott Yamano/Netflix

Hustle (2022)

"Guys in their 50s don't have dreams," says Adam Sandler's character, Stanley Sugerman, in the sports film Hustle. "They have nightmares and eczema." Sugerman is unwilling to admit it, but he hasn't given up on his fantasy of becoming an NBA coach, even though he's spent his life on the road working as an international scout for the Philadelphia 76ers. After finally receiving a promotion to assistant coach, Stanley is able to realize his professional dreams and spend more time at home with his wife (Queen Latifah) and daughter. But when Stanley's mentor dies, precipitating a changeup in the Philadelphia 76ers front office, Stanley finds himself demoted back to talent scout. During a trip to Spain, he discovers Bo Cruz (former Toronto Raptors player Juancho Hernangómez), an unknown baller with an undeniable gift. But if Stanley is going to convince the league to take Bo seriously, both he and the budding athlete will need to put in some serious work.

"Sandler and Hernangomez have a sweet, goofy chemistry, somewhere between razzing and familial," EW's Leah Greenblatt writes, "and the on-court sequences are consistently electric." Co-produced by LeBron James, the film offers up a solid plot and a cornucopia of basketball star cameos, so if you like uplifting sports movies, this one is a slam dunk. — I.G.

Watch Hustle on Netflix.

Credit: Netflix

Mank (2020)

The 2020 Netflix film Mank tells the story of the making of Orson Welles' famous 1941 classic, Citizen Kane. Directed by David Fincher, the film stars Gary Oldman as Herman J. Mankiewicz, or 'Mank', the "scathing social critic and alcoholic screenwriter," as he struggles to complete the screenplay of Citizen Kane on time. Oldman is joined by an all-star cast that includes Amanda Seyfried, Tom Burke, Lily Collins, Charles Dance, and Tom Pelphrey.

Written by Fincher's late father, the film was shot in black-and-white and aimed to recreate some of the cinematographic style of Welles' film. It was nominated for ten Academy Awards and won in the Production Design and Cinematography categories — while it only won two awards, it still took home more than Citizen Kane. As Entertainment Weekly's Leah Greenblatt notes in her review of the film, it may not be for everyone, but it is the ultimate film for lovers of old Hollywood: "part love letter, part cautionary tale, and still somehow a mystery." — M.W.

Watch Mank on Netflix.

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
Credit: David Lee/Netflix

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020)

Chadwick Boseman could hardly have chosen a better vehicle to demonstrate his limitless talent than Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, a film which ended up serving as the celebrated actor's final onscreen performance. Paired opposite the film's other star — Viola Davis, who disappears into the role of the eponymous Ma Rainey, a famous blues singer and force of nature — the two conjure up what our critic describes as an "acting masterclass" of a performance. 

Adapted from August Wilson's 1984 play, the film tells the story of Ma and her group of Black bandmates as they attempt to record in a Chicago studio during the 1920s. What should be a straightforward day of music grinds to a halt as the artists struggle to deal with personality clashes, an ambitious trumpeter named Levee (Boseman), and the band's mercurial front woman. Also starring Taylour Paige (Zola) as Ma's love interest, Ma Rainey is a must-see for its homage to the titular blues legend and its importance in the Chadwick Boseman acting canon. It's he, our critic says, "who makes both the bitter and the sweet of the story sing: a pointed arrow of hurt, hope, and untapped fury, heartbreakingly alive in every scene." — I.G.   

Watch Ma Rainey's Black Bottom on Netflix.

Marriage Story
Credit: Wilson Webb/Netflix

Marriage Story (2019)

Marriage Story was a smash hit from Netflix that garnered six Oscar nominations and one win (for Laura Dern in the Best Supporting Actress category). Directed by Noah Baumbach and starring Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, and Dern, the film follows a married couple going through an increasingly thorny divorce. 

While it's not always an easy watch, Marriage Story offers an unflinching, heart-wrenching look at how the practicalities and legalities of divorce can tear apart the people involved. "They've lost their voices; they've lost a sense of who they are," Baumbach told EW. "They're trying to figure out what they believe anymore. And that's a dangerous place, I think, for a couple to find themselves." — M.W.

Watch Marriage Story on Netflix.

Credit: Netflix

Mudbound (2017)

Two families are mired in poverty, each with a son who fought bravely in World War II only to return to the Mississippi Delta with nothing but PTSD to show for their troubles. But the only difference between the Jacksons and McAllans is the color of their skin. Dee Rees' Mudbound follows the two families as they fight their wars both abroad and within the home, and discover that trauma bonds deeper than blood.

Jason Mitchell is exceptional as Ronsel Jackson, bringing emotional honesty to a war hero who, because of the color of his skin, is treated like anything but. Also featuring an all-star ensemble that includes Mary J. Blige, Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, and Garrett Hedlund, EW's critic writes that "Mudbound is never preachy, reductive, or undercut by its own good intentions. Just the opposite. It's a deeply felt American tale told with heart and humanity." — I.G. 

Watch Mudbound on Netflix.

Credit: Carlos Somonte/Netflix

Roma (2018)

Roma was arguably Netflix's first big original movie that really caught the attention of critics and film buffs alike. It was the first Netflix film to receive a Best Picture nod at the Oscars and ultimately won the award for Best Foreign Language Film. Directed by Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity, Children of Men) and starring a cast of relatively unknown Mexican actors, the black-and-white film follows Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), a housekeeper for an upper-class family in the 1970s where Cuarón himself grew up.

"I hope that the film is not telegraphing or trying to make a statement. It's like life," Cuarón told EW. "Life is a fresco… like a huge mural in which we choose our own experience and we taint everything through the prism of our own experience." Like life, Roma is a complex, sprawling film that is light on the plot and heavy on the atmosphere. With plenty of long, wide shots, it sends its viewers diving headfirst into Cuarón's version of 1970s Mexico City and ultimately, packs a weighty, emotional punch. — M.W. 

Watch Roma on Netflix.


The Harder They Fall (2021)

The traditional Western movie gets a shot of adrenaline and style in The Harder They Fall, one of the few cowboy films in which all the main cast are played by Black actors. Nat Love (Jonathan Majors) is a former slave turned cowboy hero whose tragic, Batman-esque origin story has led him down a path of vigilantism. Love uses his outlaw status to rob worse outlaws, and the biggest offender working is Rufus Buck (Idris Elba), aided by his loyal crew, including Trudy Smith (Regina King) and Cherokee Bill (LaKeith Stanfield). When Love was a child, Buck murdered his parents in front of him, and all these years later, Love is still desperate for revenge. Aided by US Marshall Reeves (Delroy Lindo) and his former lover and current saloon owner Mary (Zazie Beetz), Love is ready to face off against Buck — only to learn the two have more in common than he could ever have believed.  

Loosely based on the true story of Nat Love, co-executive produced by Shawn Carter, and serving as director Jeymes Samuel's debut film, The Harder They Fall is a sleek feature with a killer soundtrack and more quick draws than a sketching class. A Western with all the hallmark shootouts and showdowns of a cowboy classic, The Harder They Fall is a film that feels both old and new. — I.G.

Watch The Harder They Fall on Netflix.

The Irishman
Credit: Netflix

The Irishman (2019)

You'd probably expect any film directed by Martin Scorsese and starring the legendary trifecta of Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci to be nothing short of exceptional — and Netflix's The Irishman does not disappoint. The 2019 film is based on I Heard You Paint Houses, the 2004 memoir of Frank Sheeran, who found himself embroiled with a Philadelphia-based Italian mob.  

This is essential viewing for film fans of all kinds, but especially if your favorites include the likes of The Godfather, Goodfellas, or Taxi Driver. As EW's Leah Greenblatt puts it, it's "kind of caps-lock Scorsese — the greatest hits of his career revisited once more, with feeling." The film famously used CGI to 'de-age' its three stars, so The Irishman is one of the first films to follow its characters across several decades without having to cast multiple actors for the same role. Just make sure to set aside plenty of time, as this epic effort from De Niro and Scorsese clocks in at three-and-a-half hours. — M.W.

Watch The Irishman on Netflix.

The King
Credit: Netflix

The King (2019)

Based on Shakespeare's Henriad plays, The King tells the story of King Henry V (Timothee Chalamet) as he comes of age and reluctantly takes England into a brutal war with France in the pursuit of peace. The film also stars Robert Pattinson, Joel Edgerton, Ben Mendelsohn and Lily-Rose Depp.

While on the surface, The King is a typical muddy, bloody war film, it has many more layers with Chalamet's fierce moral compass as Hal, Edgerton's cunning intelligence as Falstaff, and Pattinson's caricature-like portrayal of the slightly deranged French Prince Louis. And while the film may be light on female characters, Depp becomes "not just the film's conscience, she's the bellwether of a better king—and the woman who might one day come to rule him, too." — M.W.

Watch The King on Netflix.


The Lost Daughter (2021)

Complicated women take center stage in the stripped down plot of The Lost Daughter, a shimmering adaptation of author Elena Ferrante's 2006 novel. Olivia Coleman and Jessie Buckley bless us with their performances of protagonist Leda Caruso at different ages of her life. The current version of Leda (played by Coleman) is an academic on a solo holiday in Greece, where she meets a young mother named Nina (Dakota Johnson) struggling to handle her active 3-year-old. Leda and Nina bond over the difficulties of motherhood, their interactions informed by the flashbacks of Leda's past history with her own two daughters. 

Maggie Gyllenhaal's directorial debut  — which she also wrote — The Lost Daughter is a brilliant psychological drama that feeds on the fire stoked by our perceived failures as parents, and the shame that parents — especially mothers — feel when making choices to prioritize their own well-being over that of their children. Also starring Peter Sarsgaard, Ed Harris, and Paul Mescal in supporting roles, The Lost Daughter shines because of the performances of the three women at its center (Colman and Buckley were both so intoxicating in their shared role of Leda that they joined the small group of actors who have scored Oscar nods for playing same character in same movie). As a film, an EW writer calls The Lost Daughter "one of the best of the year," adding, "But it's really a call to compassion, which makes it transcendent." — I.G. 

Watch The Lost Daughter on Netflix.

The Power of the Dog

The Power of the Dog (2022)

The Power of the Dog, directed by Jane Campion and starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, and Kodi Smit-McPhee, is a 1920s western based on the book of the same name by Thomas Savage that follows Phil, a gruff cowboy, and his brother's new family who have recently moved onto the ranch. The film picked up a staggering 12 Oscar nominations and won Best Director, with Campion becoming the third female director ever to win the award.  

The four central actors each give remarkable performances. Cumberbatch is deeply complex and arresting as Phil. "He's really beautiful and also a little scary, and he's charismatic," Campion explained to EW. Smit-McPhee also gives an astoundingly nuanced performance as Peter: "He really brings something magical and other to it, that surpasses the book's version of Peter," she added. Unlike old-school westerns, The Power of the Dog is a dark, twisted, slow burn of a film that hinges on emotion, manipulation, secrets, and desire. — M.W. 

Watch The Power of the Dog on Netflix.


The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)

The Trial of the Chicago 7 is a 2020 Netflix original that (loosely) recounts the true story of seven men who find themselves on trial after a large protest against the Vietnam War during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, The Trial of the Chicago 7 bears his recognizable fast-paced, verbose style and features an almost impossibly starry ensemble cast that includes Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jeremy Strong, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Mark Rylance, Frank Langella, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Michael Keaton.

As Sorkin told EW, The Trial of the Chicago 7 took 12 years to make after he first thought of bringing the famous court case to life on screen. Nevertheless, it still came at a remarkably appropriate political moment. "It's funny, I've been asked, did the script change at all to mirror the times?" he said. "And no, it didn't; the times changed to mirror the script." While this film may tell a story of a war and a group of protestors from over 50 years ago, it's surprisingly relevant to modern audiences. The ensemble alone is enough to make this film worth watching, but it also bears a few poignant messages about power, politics, and social justice. — M.W. 

Watch The Trial of the Chicago 7 on Netflix.

The Two Popes
Credit: Peter Mountain/Netflix

The Two Popes (2019)

Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles mines heart and humor from the holiest places in his biographical drama, The Two Popes. In the wake of the real-life Vatican Leaks scandal, Pope Benedict XVI (Anthony Hopkins) hopes to abdicate the papacy but finds he must first convince his former rival, Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce), not to pursue an early retirement so he might assume the role instead.

Adapted from New Zealand writer Anthony McCarten's play by the same name — which is inspired by the 2013 papal transition — the film tracks the German Benedict and the Argentinian Bergoglio (soon to be Pope Francis) as the two wax philosophic on everything from God and their own perceived failings to soccer and the Swedish pop band ABBA. EW's Leah Greenblatt writes, "Together, Hopkins and Pryce lift Popes above its loose patchwork of monologue, flashback, and personal reckoning, and let the movie get down to its truest root: scaling the mystery that makes all men, even the most seemingly unknowable and sacrosanct, human." — I.G. 

Watch The Two Popes on Netflix.

The White Tiger

The White Tiger (2021)

An Indian Hindi-language comedy-drama, The White Tiger's title refers to a special kind of person; a once in a generation thinker. The movie tells the story of Balram (Adrarsh Gourav), a successful entrepreneur whose career belies his impoverished beginnings. Adapted from a 2008 novel and nominated for an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, the Ramin Bahrani-directed film elevates the story from the classic tale of rags-to-riches by grounding itself in the moral and ethical sacrifices Balram must make to rise above the paralyzing circumstances into which he was born.

Also starring Priyanka Chopra Jonas as Pinky — the American-raised wife of Balram's employer — The White Tiger handles heavy themes of class, caste, and what one owes family with a light touch. Of course, none of this would be possible without Gourav, who EW's critics says delivers a breakout performance: "Through his eyes, Balram's singular story — in all its wild, exuberant improbability — roars to life." — I.G.

Watch The White Tiger on Netflix here.

tick, tick...BOOM!

Tick, Tick… Boom! (2021)

A movie musical directed by Hamilton's Lin-Manuel Miranda, Tick, Tick…BOOM! is based on the stage show of the same name by Jonathan Larson, the composer of Rent. Starring Andrew Garfield in the leading role and an ensemble cast of Vanessa Hudgens, Alexandra Shipp, Jordan Fisher, Robin de Jesus, and Bradley Whitford, the film loosely follows Larson's own life as a struggling songwriter as he turns 30 in 1990s New York City. 

Told in a series of flashbacks that come to life on screen during a performance of the stage version of Tick, Tick…BOOM!, the biopic of sorts takes you on a painfully relatable journey of friendship, heartbreak, and being an artist. With numerous Broadway cameos and Easter eggs, it's the perfect, heartfelt ode to musical theater, and the remarkable Jonathan Larson is at the center of it all. "He's a warrior for art and love and the soul, and he wants everyone to sing their song," Garfield told EW. "He wants everyone to be their own particular note in this grand harmony of a truly meaningful life." — M.W.

Watch Tick, Tick…Boom! on Netflix.

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By Ilana Gordon and Meg Walters