Good movies on Netflix that you really need to watch

Pans Labyrinth and Catch Me If You Can on Netflix. Pic credit: Warner Bros/DreamWorks

If you’re looking for some really good movies to watch on Netflix but aren’t sure which ones to go for, then don’t worry because we have a simple list of some of the best movies you really need to watch, right here.

Netflix has thousands of movies on its streaming platform, and sometimes it can be a little overwhelming and downright confusing to locate a perfect film.

Many of us suffer from spending hours just trying to decide what film to dedicate our precious time to watch. How many of you have ended up going to bed without having selected anything? We feel your frustration.

Well, hopefully, this list of outstanding movies will set you on the right track. In no particular order, here are 15 very entertaining watches.

Updated in October 2021: Every month, Netflix adds new movies and drops many others from the streaming service. As a result, many movies we add to the list might end up axed from the site, but the good news is that other great movies come along to take their place.

Every month, we will update this article by removing movies that are no longer available to watch while we add great movies to replace them.

Zodiac (2007)

Jake Gyllenhaal and Robert Downey Jr. in Zodiac. Pic credit: Paramount

David Fincher directed the movie Zodiac in 2007. The movie followed the case of the Zodiac Killer, which never provided a killer convicted for the cold case murders.

In his movie, Fincher suggested who the killer might have been, but the movie is best known for its incredible cast, including Robert Downey Jr and Jake Gyllenhaal as the journalists covering the case and Mark Ruffalo as the detective on the case.

The movie was a minor success but remains one of Fincher’s masterpieces.

Malcolm X (1992)

Denzel Washington as Malcolm X
Denzel Washington as Malcolm X. Pic credit: Warner Bros.

In 1992, Spike Lee brought the world a movie telling the story of the rise and fall of Malcolm X.

Denzel Washington starred as Malcolm X, from his days raised in a poor Michigan household to his rise to becoming one of the most important figures concerning equal rights in the 1960s.

The movie only picked up two Oscar nominations, one for Washington, but didn’t win one. However, it outlived those Oscar snubs as it was added to the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 2010.

Blade Runner (1982)

Harrison Ford on the Blade Runner poster
Harrison Ford on the Blade Runner poster. Pic credit: Warner Bros

The movie considered the seminal science fiction movie and one of the greatest in film history hit Netflix in September 2021.

Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner is on the streaming giant, and it is the Final Cut, adding in what Scott created but the studio edited out in the original release.

Harrison Ford is Deckard, a Blade Runner whose job is to hunt down replicants – androids created to serve humanity. The replicants he is sent to take out are ones that have developed an advanced level of being and consider themselves living beings.

The one he hunts down in this movie is Roy Batty, played by Rutger Hauer, and the entire movie is the template for what smart sci-fi should look like.

Jaws (1975)

Roy Scheider in Jaws. Pic credit: Universal

One of the best horror movies of all time arrived on Netflix in September 2021.

Steven Spielberg’s Jaws is the movie that popularized the idea of summer blockbusters and launched Spielberg’s massively successful directing career.

The movie was about a summer beach vacation town that refused to shut down the beaches despite a shark attack. This led to more deaths and three men were sent out to try to bring down the giant Great White Shark.

This movie resulted in business in beach towns dropping for years.

Catch Me If You Can (2002)

Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch Me If You Can
Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch Me If You Can. Pic credit: Dreamworks

Catch Me If You Can is a 2002 Steven Spielberg movie based on a true story and starring the dynamite combo of Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio.

DiCaprio is Frank Abagnale, a teenager who becomes a master forger and begins to take on the life of different people, including becoming an airline pilot through forged documents.

Hanks is FBI agent Carl Hanratty, who has taken it upon himself to try to figure out who this man really is and bring him to justice.

The movie picked up two Oscar nominations.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

The cast of Ferris Bueller's Day Off
The cast of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Pic credit: Paramount

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is a teen comedy from 1986 starring Matthew Broderick in the lead role.

In this movie, Beuller decides to skip school and enjoy a day in the town. However, while it starts out good, his principal doesn’t believe he is really sick and sets out to prove otherwise.

The movie remains a beloved comedy classic to this day, with crowd-pleasing moments and a character it is almost impossible not to follow to the ends of the Earth.

Inception (2010)

The best action movies on Netflix (July 2020)
The Christopher Nolan movie Inception. Pic credit: Warner Bros

In 2010, Christopher Nolan brought the world one of his mind-bending sci-fi action movies.

Inception starred Leonardo DiCaprio as part of a team that breaks into people’s minds and steals their memories.

He is offered a chance to have his full criminal history erased if he plants new ideas in the memory of a CEO of a major corporation.

The movie won four Oscars, while also picking up a nomination for Best Picture.

Magnolia (1999)

Magnolia by PT Anderson
Magnolia by PT Anderson. Pic credit: New Line Cinema

In 1999, film auteur P.T. Anderson created his masterpiece. The movie is Magnolia and it tells the interconnected stories of several people living in San Francisco.

The cast was phenomenal, with Tom Cruise, Philip Baker Hall, Philip Seymour Hoffman, William H. Macy, Alfred Molina, Julianne Moore, John C. Reilly, Melora Walters, and the final movie performance of the late Jason Robards.

Each of the characters had their own story, but all the character’s lives were intertwined with each other, proving that even the slightest moment could change everyone’s lives forever.

Shutter Island (2010)

Shutter Island
Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo in Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island. Pic credit: Paramount

The Martin Scorsese horror-thriller Shutter Island hit Netflix in February 2021, based on the suspense novel by Dennis Lehane (Mystic River).

This movie stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo as two federal agents sent to Shutter Island, a mental prison, to investigate a patient that disappeared.

This is a movie where nothing is as it seems, and there are deep mysteries to unfold. It is also one of Scorsese’s rare journeys into the horror film genre.

Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

Pan's Labyrinth
Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth. Pic credit: Warner Bros

It might be easy to look at the scary-looking monsters and creatures in Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth and think it is just another horror movie.

This fantasy tale is much more than a horror film. Having more in common with fairy tales than horror, this is a movie that looks at the real fear based in the real world and sees the world of creatures as a place to escape.

Ofelia is a 10-year-old girl whose mother marries Captain Vidal of the Francoist Spanish military, hunting down rebels. He takes his new family to a remote destination to live, as the war rages around them.

It is here that Ofelia finds a way into the underworld and discovers her destiny.

There Will Be Blood (2007)

There Will Be Blood
Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood. Pic credit: Paramount Vantage

Paul Thomas Anderson has created some of the most breathtaking indie-style films of the last three decades, and There Will Be Blood might be his best.

Daniel Day-Lewis stars as Daniel Plainview, an oilman in this loose adaptation of Upton Sinclair’s Oil! Plainview is striking oil at the expense of towns that he leaves dead in his wake in the film.

He meets a young evangelist named Eli (Paul Dano), who tries to stand in his way. What results is a battle of wills where one man must fall.

The film, which can be compared to classic horror movies like Dracula, picked up eight Oscar nominations with Day-Lewis winning Best Actor.

Fruitvale Station (2013)

Fruitvale Station
Michael B. Jordan and Kevin Durand in Fruitvale Station. Pic credit: The Weinstein Company

With the recent spotlight on police violence in the United States, the 2013 film Fruitvale Station proves this is nothing new in the country.

The movie is based on the true-life story of Oscar Grant, who was murdered by a police officer who shot him in the back and claimed he thought he was using his taser.

The movie was a critical success and allowed debut director Ryan Coogler and star Michael B. Jordan to move on to make some major Hollywood blockbusters in Creed and Black Panther.

The movie won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and the Best First Film award at Cannes.

The Irishman (2019)

A shot from The Irishman
Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro were just two of many big names to star in The Irishman. Pic credit: Netflix

And we’re back with Martin Scorcese for his 2019 gangster epic made especially for release on Netflix, The Irishman. This movie runs for a whopping 209 minutes, but it’s worth every second.

Loosely, very loosely, based on the true-life story of the antics of Frank Sheeran, aka The Irishman, a mafia errand boy who managed to get himself involved in the infamous murder/disappearance of Teamster union boss Frank Hoffa.

The movie used groundbreaking age-altering technology to be able to track the lives of the main characters for decades, without having to change actors.

It’s wonderful to see Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro back working together, and throw in Al Pacino as Frank Hoffa… What are you waiting for?

Roma (2018)

Scene from Roma
The movie Roma follows the fortunes and misfortunes of cleaner Cleo in Mexico City. Pic credit: Netflix

Alfonso Cuarón’s beautiful film is set in 1970s Mexico City and revolves around Cleo (played by Yalitza Aparicio), who is a cleaner for a middle-class family. She is no ordinary cleaner as she’s considered almost like a member of the family.

Her employers agree to take her in when she accidentally falls pregnant. The movie follows a year in the life of Cleo as she comes to terms with motherhood and deals with the other major upheavals in her environment.

It is a semi-autobiographical look at Cuarón’s childhood growing up in Mexico City. Roger Ebert described this movie as a “masterful achievement in filmmaking as an empathy machine, a way for us to spend time in a place, in an era, and with characters, we never would otherwise.”

The Oscars agreed with Ebert and gave it three awards.

Uncut Gems (2019)

A shot from Uncut Gems
Adam Sandler plays a New York jeweler in this gritty crime thriller. Pic credit: Netflix

Adam Sandler, as we all know, cut his teeth doing comedy, so it’s rather strange and even a little unsettling to see him starring in this very tense thriller. However, he puts in a fantastic performance.

Written and directed by Josh and Benny Safdie, the script tells the story of Howard Ratner (Sandler), a New York jeweler with a severe gambling problem. As he gets further into trouble, he resorts to doing whatever it takes to stay afloat.

This taut, anxiety-driven film, is one of the best movies of 2019.

Interesting fact, Sandler was nearly choked to death on the set by a couple of extras in a stunt that almost went very wrong indeed.

That’s it, folks, enjoy your Netflix viewing.


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