35 Great Movies on Netflix This Week

Netflix has almost 250 million users worldwide, making it one of the most popular streaming services. And what exactly do those folks usually watch? What are great movies on Netflix specifically? 

To keep subscribers informed about its most popular titles, the streaming service releases a list of the top 10 movies it has seen over the last seven days once a week.

Besides an abundance of unique series and features, the service has put together a vast library of top-notch movies, both recent and vintage.

Top Great Movies on Netflix

Here are the 35 great movies on Netflix right now.

1. Chinatown

The neo-noir movies of the 1970s capitalized on the prevailing social climate; in a decade marked by a record-breaking level of mistrust towards institutions and authority, it is hardly surprising that the unwavering moral code of the committed detective was once again popular.

Great movies on Netflix do a better job of reviving the golden age of noir than Roman Polanski’s 1974 Best Picture nominee, which also fully capitalizes on the changes in public attitudes toward adult content by incorporating plot twists that previous pictures could only allude to. 

This tension, together with the stunning cinematography by John A. Alonzo and the outstanding performances by Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, and John Huston, produced one of the best movies.

2. Uncut Gems

The gritty New York street movie tradition has been largely preserved in the twenty-first century by Josh and Benny Safdie, whose films “Heaven Knows What” and “Good Time” vividly capture the sweaty desperation of ’70s Gotham cinema. 

With a career-high performance by Adam Sandler as a diamond dealer and seasoned gambler whose never-ending pursuit of one big score puts his livelihood on the line, their most recent film is also their best. 

3. Stamped From the Beginning

Oscar-winning documentarian Roger Ross Williams adapted the National Book Award-winning work by Ibram X. Kendi into a provocative meditation on the myths and truths surrounding American history. 

Examining the complex histories of Blackness, Whiteness, and White supremacy, Williams incisively and brilliantly blends historical information with modern viewpoints from a wide range of academics, writers, and activists. 

There is not much time for throat-clearing in the fast-paced 91-minute film; the outcomes are direct, provocative, and harsh.

4. Rustin

Although the most well-known person associated with the 1963 March on Washington was the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who gave one of the most famous speeches in modern history during the event’s peak, Bayard Rustin was the one who conceptualized and orchestrated it. 

He was an interesting character, a passionate advocate for civil rights who was also a former Communist (ditto) and openly gay. 

Taking its cues from Selma, “Rustin” focuses on a single, earth-shattering event instead of trying to sum up a life from birth to death. 

5. Gravity

Alfonso Cuarón, who also co-wrote the film with his son Jonás, won the Academy Award for Best Director for this exquisite yet straightforward tale of survival in space. 

The plot revolves around Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, two astronauts whose routine mission unexpectedly goes wrong and puts their lives in danger. 

It is a taut and concise ninety-one-minute film that spares no detail in its setup or explanation, reducing its situation to the most basic elements.

6. Charley Varrick

Besides being one of the most popular comedic actors of his time, Walter Matthau won an Oscar for his performance in this 1973 crime thriller directed by Don Siegel, who had achieved success with his earlier film, “Dirty Harry,” in 1971. 

The film’s title character, professional criminal and pilot Matthau, carries out a daring heist at a bank in a remote area of New Mexico, only to find out later that he has taken a large sum of money that has been laundered by the mob. 

Siegel stages several action set pieces with a strong sense of purpose, and his direction is elegant but effective. 

7. L.A. Confidential

Curtis Hanson (“Wonder Boys”), the director, turned James Ellroy’s understated but elegant crime novel into one of the greatest neo-noir thrillers of our day. 

This “tough, gorgeous, vastly entertaining throwback” mystery, which is set in the razzle-dazzle of 1950s Los Angeles, is a crackling mystery filled with framed murders, shady tabloid reporters, corrupt politicians, and dirty cops. 

However, Hanson recognizes (as Ellroy did before him) that this is more than just a good story; it’s a tale about the origins of corruption in the Los Angeles Police Department and beyond.

8. Boyz N the Hood

With the kind of fire and passion that only a beginner can muster, John Singleton’s first film captured the sense that they might not get another chance, so they had to make the most of it.

Singleton’s moving account of his upbringing in the Crenshaw neighborhood of Los Angeles launched the careers of several cast members, including Cuba Gooding Jr., Ice Cube, Angela Bassett, Morris Chestnut, Nia Long, and Regina King. 

For “saying something familiar with new dramatic force, and in ways that a wide and varied audience will understand,” Singleton received high marks from our critic.

9. I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore

At first, this incredibly inventive dark comedy reads like the cunning tale of a novice detective: Melanie Lynskey, our heroine, hits pawn shops and confronts criminals to get back her laptop and her grandmother’s silver after becoming irate with the police’s lack of response to her crime.

However, as she gets over her head, the tone of the movie gradually changes to something more akin to a thriller, especially when we meet the offenders, who are incredibly small time.

Such striking tonal contrasts could derail a lesser film, but Macon Blair maintains control throughout, and the marvelous Ms. Lynskey’s increasingly terrified reactions to her worsening circumstances keep the plot rooted in something close to reality.

10. The Wailing

The start of this unsettling and sometimes nauseating horror thriller from writer and director Na Hong-jin veers into darker, wilder territory from what starts as a police procedural in the vein of “Memory of Murder.” 

A policeman named Jong-goo (Kwak Do-won) is investigating a series of gruesome killings, and the rumors circulating him sway him: “All this happened after that Japanese man arrived.” 

Things get scary when Jong-goo realizes exactly what he is capable of and his family becomes involved in the investigation.

11. A Walk Among the Tombstones

Unfortunately, by the time this tense thriller arrived in theaters, Liam Neeson had already tarnished the goodwill of his third-act man-of-action career comeback with too many “Taken” sequels and rewatches; it’s far better than any of his previous films from the era. 

That’s partially because of the cast; Scott Frank (who would later work with him on “The Queen’s Gambit”) adapted and directed the film, which is based on one of Lawrence Block’s many fantastic novels. 

However, Neeson is also at the height of his powers, giving cop-turned-private eye Matthew Scudder a mix of righteous indignation, unwavering faith, and heartfelt regret.

12. Jackie Brown

As a love letter to two of his greatest inspirations, Quentin Tarantino wrote the screenplay for his follow-up to “Pulp Fiction”: Elmore Leonard for whom he rewrote the main role of a flight attendant caught between a gunrunner, the F.B.I., and the A.T.F. 

It has every characteristic of a Tarantino film: whimsical construction, endearing and melodic dialogue, quirky supporting cast members, and a nostalgic look. 

However, the film’s elderly leads, Grier and Robert Forster’s wise-cracking bail bondsman give it gravity and maturity that even Tarantino’s greatest films can’t match.

13. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

In Milos Forman’s adaptation of Ken Kesey’s novel, Jack Nicholson created one of his most iconic performances, and, he won his first Oscar. 

With this being one of the great movies on Netflix to win all five of the Academy Awards, Nicholson had plenty of competition. The final winner was Louise Fletcher, who won for her iconic portrayal of the tough Nurse Ratched. 

Nicholson’s free-spirited Randle Patrick McMurphy challenges Nurse Ratched’s strict rules at a state mental hospital.

14. School of Rock

Before a wave of distinctly adult-oriented filmmakers attempted to make family-friendly films, Richard Linklater, director of “Dazed and Confused,” and Mike White, creator of “Enlightened,” teamed up to tell the tale of a slacker musician.

Linklater’s direction is focused but not overbearing, and White’s screenplay is witty without being cutesy. 

The main attraction, though, is Jack Black in the lead part, which seems to be meant to highlight his dual talents for broad comedy and hard rocking. This show is endearing, captivating, and incredibly humorous. 

15. Wonder Woman

“Briskly shaking off blockbuster branding imperatives,” A.O. Scott wrote of Patty Jenkins’s big-screen interpretation of the beloved superheroine, “and allows itself to be something relatively rare in the modern superhero cosmos.” 

That rare something is enjoyable, as Jenkins (mostly) opts for a bright, colorful, and clever popcorn entertainment over the grim approach and CG-sludge aesthetic of many of her DC-interpreting brethren. 

Chris Pine plays a flawless fighter pilot who teams up with Gal Gadot to save humanity from evil during World War I. Gadot is a captivating actress who skillfully deflects bullets and wields her Lasso of Truth. The two share a lighthearted repartee. 

16. Training Day

Denzel Washington played a sleazy Los Angeles drug detective, stepping far beyond his typical mold of valiant heroes and men of virtue to win his second Oscar. Good-guy Denzel plays a bad guy, planting evidence, staging murders, and gleefully robbing his suspects. 

It’s downright electrifying to watch, and Ethan Hawke, who was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in this film, serves as a good audience surrogate, expressing growing dismay over a long, hot day at the corruption of his superior.

Director Antoine Fuqua deftly manipulates the tension and discomfort in their interactions, treating his star like a ticking time bomb that is just waiting to explode. 

17. Lady Bird

Taking place in her hometown of Sacramento, California, this humorous and perceptive coming-of-age tale marked Greta Gerwig’s (Barbie) directorial debut in a solo feature film. 

In the lead role, Saoirse Ronan dazzles as a subtly rebellious high school senior whose long-simmering resentment toward her mother boils over because she pursues love and popularity. 

Parent-child disputes are not unusual in teen fiction, but Gerwig’s astute screenplay cuts through the clichés and archetypes, daring to develop characters who are both deeply sympathetic and complexly flawed.

18. Silver Linings Playbook

For her outrageously sassy and unabashedly haunting performance in David O. Russell’s adaptation of Matthew Quick’s novel, Jennifer Lawrence took home the Oscar for Best Actress.

It’s a deft balancing act of seemingly incongruous tones and styles, slipping deftly from serious mental-health drama to screwball comedy to romance. It was praised by our critic as “exuberant” and “a delight.”

19. My Best Friend’s Wedding

The romantic comedy featuring Julia Roberts as the lead was presented as a vehicle for her comeback, suggesting that her roles in darker productions such as “Mary Reilly” and “Michael Collins” had taken her too far from her comfort zone. 

But this was no lighthearted romantic comedy; screenwriter Ronald Bass and director P.J. Hogan let Roberts play with the expectations of her audience, making it harder for them to feel sympathy for the actor by having her character have dubious motivations and behaviors.

Furthermore, Cameron Diaz is deftly employed as the object of her wrath; she is such a pleasant and upbeat character that we can’t help but wonder whose side we support.

20. Stand By Me

From broad comedy to great movies on Netflix to fantasy to rom-com to suspense to courtroom drama, Rob Reiner’s early directing career is an astounding demonstration of skillful genre-surfing. 

He tried his hand at coming-of-age dramas amid that incredible run and showed he could handle them as well. 

This understated yet unforgettable adaptation of Stephen King’s novella “The Body” delves into the setting and period, demonstrates a remarkable understanding of how boys communicate, and features outstanding performances.

21. The Sting

In their second on-screen partnership, Paul Newman and Robert Redford effortlessly recreated the magic of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” Few on-screen duos have ever conveyed affection and camaraderie as effortlessly as theirs. 

Set in the 1930s, this glittering, humorous con job features our dashing heroes putting together a massive scheme to defraud a dishonest banker, all set to the ragtime piano tunes of Scott Joplin. There are lots of twists and turns and endless charm.

22. Snowpiercer

In this exciting adaptation of the French graphic novel “Le Transperceneige,” director Bong Joon Ho demonstrated his skill at fusing class commentary with genre cinema, before his astounding four Oscar haul for “Parasite.” 

The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic snowscape where the last humans are traveling on an endless train ride. 

The messaging is still as relevant as ever, the action is compelling, and the performances are quirky. 

23. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

This new take on the classic story by Oscar-winning del Toro, who co-directed with Mark Gustafson, is not for the little ones. 

Set in fascist-era Italy, it explores the recurring theme of death’s inevitable nature while taking several dark, period-appropriate turns. 

However, older children and even creative adults will find a lot to like about this. The film itself appears as painstakingly handcrafted as Geppetto’s woodwork. 

24. High Flying Bird

In the rarest of creatures, director Steven Soderbergh teams up with co-star Andre Holland from “The Knick,” for a sports film that doesn’t feature any actual sports. Instead, Tarell Alvin McCraney’s screenplay centers on the business of professional athletics. 

It takes place during an NBA lockout, during which a powerful agent named Holland tries to use the disruption to upend not only the league but also all the established hierarchies and presumptions in organized sports. 

The film is directed by the reflexively nimble Soderbergh, who uses on-the-fly photography and interviews with real N.B.A. players to give the film a sense of documentary immediacy.

25. Descendant

The discovery of Clotilda’s remains in 2019, off the coast of Mobile, Alabama, confirmed a long-standing local legend: an illicit operation that took place five years before emancipation, long after such ships were declared illegal. 

The Clotilda was the last known ship to transport Africans into slavery to the United States. For the victims’ ancestors, this amounted to the excavation of a crime scene, raising a profound question.

26. The Imitation Game

In this Oscar-nominated biopic, Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley play British mathematician Alan Turing, who worked as a German code-cracker during World War II and invented a device that many believe to be the earliest example of a modern computer. 

The tortured genius of Alan Turing, who saved his country and was later prosecuted because of his homosexuality, is skillfully portrayed by Cumberbatch. 

Morten Tyldum’s directing skillfully blends the tragic counterpoint of his later mistreatment with the immediacy and intensity of the subject’s work.

27. Dragged Across Concrete

S. Craig Zahler, a writer and director, is establishing himself as a sort of old-school exploitation filmmaker, known for his unreservedly gritty and bloody takes on westerns, prison dramas, and now this cop-and-criminal picture. 

Starring as police detective partners suspended in a high-profile brutality scandal, Vince Vaughn and Mel Gibson turn to criminal activity to support their families. 

Zahler’s ability to stage a killer set piece is evident, and he shows a much-needed nuanced interest in the hazy, gray areas that define good from evil. “the Sea of Love” is an equally successful police thriller.

28. Carol

Todd Haynes, the director, skillfully and sensitively adapts Patricia Highsmith’s second novel, “The Price of Salt,” into a companion work to his earlier masterwork, “Far From Heaven.” As a suburban housewife in the 1950s, Cate Blanchett is amazing. 

She becomes so enamored with a bohemian shopgirl that she is willing to risk her entire comfortable life to follow her heart, just once. It’s “at once ardent and analytical, cerebral and swooning,” according to our critic.

29. Glass Onion

The world’s greatest detective, Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), continues his adventures as the world’s greatest detective. The writer and director, Rian Johnson, follows up his Agatha Christie-style whodunit hit “Knives Out” with this delightfully clever comedy mystery. 

Once more emphasizing the haves and have-nots, Johnson crafts a “classic detective story with equal measures of breeziness and rigor” around the gathering of a group of wealthy friends on the remote island of a Silicon Valley millionaire. 

The group includes Kate Hudson, Leslie Odom Jr., Dave Bautista, and Kathryn Hahn. Similar to Ana de Armas in the original, Janelle Monáe steals the show as the unexpected visitor.

30. Emily the Criminal

“Aubrey Plaza Becomes a Thief” is the synopsis that suggests a bone-dry comedy in which the criminal underworld and her deadpan persona clash ironically. 

However, “Emily the Criminal” isn’t that film at all; instead, it’s a “chilly, assured thriller,” a Michael Mann-esque procedural that succeeds (though unexpectedly). 

Besides providing what appears to be an insider’s perspective of this world of hustlers and thieves, writer and director John Patton Ford crafts moments of genuine tension. 

31. Marriage Story

In this intense drama reminiscent of Bergman, Noah Baumbach tells the tale of a loving couple who simply grew apart, but whose breakup is far from natural. Rather than chronicling the story of a marriage, it tells the story of its dissolution. 

Their shifting priorities and preferences regarding places to live lead to the hiring of attorneys, the depletion of savings, and the airing of long-held grudges and regrets best kept silent.

Baumbach can quickly transition from screwball comedy to open-wound drama in his screenplay, which is full of subtle, human touches and deft tonal changes. 

32. Miss Juneteenth

It is difficult to surpass this among all the great movies on Netflix that would have become sleeper hits if they hadn’t been released in 2020 and a theatrical push had been ruled out. 

Turquoise Jones, played by Nicole Beharie, is a single mother from Texas whose fifteen-year-old daughter Alexis Chikaeze is going to compete in the Miss Juneteenth pageant in her hometown, which Turquoise once won. 

The mother/daughter dynamics in Peoples’s screenplay are convincing and captivating, and the poignant questions of opportunities lost and gained are sensitively explored. 

33. Phantom Thread

In this strange, beautiful, darkly comic romantic fable, writer and director Paul Thomas Anderson re-teamed with Daniel Day-Lewis, whom he worked with on “There Will Be Blood.”

Day-Lewis plays fictional London-based fashion designer Reynolds Woodcock in the 1950s; Vicky Krieps plays Alma, his most recent mistress and inspiration. When he first meets her, he thinks she’s just another flimsy lover, but it turns out that he’s finally found his match in the waitress. 

“Phantom Thread,” which is masterfully rendered and exhilaratingly acted, starts as just another portrayal of a great and troubled artist before turning into something more perceptive (and strange). 

34. The Lost Daughter

Olivia Colman plays a professor on vacation whose tense interactions with a large, unruly American family send her down a rabbit hole of her memories, a switch-flip intermingling of past and present. 

Maggie Gyllenhaal, an actor turned filmmaker, writes and directs this adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s novel. The film becomes somewhat of a mystery as there is some backstory to sort out. 

However, the main reason “The Lost Daughter” stands out is its courage to delve into the most difficult times of parenthood, including the terrible sense of hopelessness and the need to flee. 

35. John Wick

The kinetic action beats of this lean, mean, stylish shoot-’em-up were created by first-time directors Chad Stahelski and (uncredited) David Leitch by drawing on their backgrounds as stuntmen and coordinators. 

But it’s not all flash; they have a talent for subtle world-building and effective exposition, which results in a narrative that is similar to a superhero origin story but much more cunning and nimble. 

There is a heartbeat beneath the unrelenting energy and endless cool of these great movies on Netflix. Real pathos is injected into Keanu Reeves’ role, and the filmmakers’ giddy approach gives some fairly stale action clichés new life.

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