UPDATED: Star Wars: The Force Awakens has travelled over to Australian Netflix from a galaxy, far, far away, and the Rocky-successor Creed has also jumped into the ring – read on to find out more!
If you're new to Netflix and want to find the best movies to watch, or you're tired of browsing the app for 30 minutes before finding something to watch, you've come to the right place. With thousands of movies at your disposal, it's easy to get stuck in binge-watching mode, but finding the honest-to-goodness best films can be a bit of a hassle.
In an effort to determine the best of the best, we've put together a list of the greatest possible films you can watch – curated by techradar editors and backed up with ratings from IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes – so that you don't have to sift through the muck. We'll keep this best-of list up to date with the latest movies that are must-watch, so you waste zero screen time searching.
Are TV shows more your scene? Here are the best TV shows on Netflix!
Wake in Fright
One of the most powerful and harrowing films in Australian cinema history, Wake in Fright forces audiences to take a good hard look at Australia's destructively macho drinking culture. Marooned in a small outback town while he waits for a train to Sydney, schoolteacher John Grant (Gary Bond) stops in at a local pub to pass the time. Sounds innocent enough, right? Unfortunately for John, a chance encounter with a pack of local louts sends him on an incredibly dark odyssey into the Australian heart of darkness. As shocking and menacing as any horror movie, Wake in Fright is an extremely confronting masterpiece that requires a strong stomach.
IMDB Rating: 7.8, Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Drive is the film that made it cool to love Ryan Gosling. Based on the novel of the same name by James Sallis, this pulpy thriller is one of the most stylish films of the last decade, having almost single-handedly revived the neon '80s synth-pop scene. Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn (Bronson, Only God Forgives), Drive sees Gosling play a nameless stunt driver who works as a shady wheelman by night. When a job goes horribly wrong, this 'driver' must dispense violent justice to make things right for those he cares for. The film's immense influence can be felt across all forms of media – the video game Hotline Miami, in particular, owes a large debt of gratitude to Drive. A loving ode to the early tough-guy crime movies of Michael Mann, Drive is essential viewing.
IMDB Rating: 7.8, Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
It shouldn't have been possible for what is ostensibly the seventh entry in the 40-year-old Rocky franchise to hit as hard as the original film, both physically and emotionally, but that's exactly what the franchise spin-off Creed has managed to do. Aside from being an inspired idea (Rocky is now the trainer and his pupil is Apollo Creed's illegitimate son, Adonis), the film succeeds in large part thanks to the efforts of director Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station) and his star, Michael B. Jordan (also from Fruitvale Station). Through their collaborative efforts, the two have shown all the makings of what could become the next great Scorsese/De Niro-style partnership. It also features a tremendous Oscar-nominated performance from the Italian Stallion himself, Sylvester Stallone. A true knockout.
IMDB Rating: 7.7, Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Possibly the most polarising film on this list, The Fountain is the kind of film that is seen as transcendent by its admirers and baffling by its detractors. By far the most deeply personal film that director Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler, Black Swan, Requiem for a Dream) has ever made, The Fountain is about man's inherent struggle with mortality, in this case, the inevitable death of a cancer-stricken soul mate. Tommy (Hugh Jackman) is a scientist who's desperate to find a medical breakthrough to save his dying wife, Izzi (Rachel Weisz), but in doing so squanders what little time he has left with her. A story spanning a period of a thousand years, The Fountain has Jackman and Weisz playing different versions of their characters in different eras, from the days of Mayans and conquistadors to a far off future that sees them hurtling through space towards a dying star. While not for everyone, The Fountain is an absolutely heart-wrenching experience that makes you truly appreciate those closest to you. Bring a box of tissues.
IMDB Rating: 7.3, Rotten Tomatoes: 51%
While the first rule of Fight Club may be that you shouldn't talk about Fight Club, it's extremely hard to keep quiet about a film as provocative as this. Though its messages are based in extremely dark satire, David Fincher's film is as nihilistic and anarchistic as any major film studio has ever produced. Violent, gross and incendiary, Fight Club sees emasculated males bash each other's faces in to make themselves feel manly once more. While the film's themes are intended in jest, they certainly resonated strongly with certain fans, many of which would go on to start their own fight clubs. Despite being misunderstood by its biggest admirers, Fight Club is one of the must-see films of the late '90s.
IMDB Rating: 8.9, Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Though Ben Affleck's directorial debut, Gone Baby Gone, was an exceptional film that hinted at his burgeoning filmmaking prowess, his follow-up, The Town, solidified the multitasking celebrity as one of Hollywood's biggest talents. A bank robber thriller in the vein of Heat and Point Break, The Town is set in a neighbourhood in Boston called Charlestown – described in the film as the 'bank robbery capital of America'. After taking a lady bank-teller named Claire (Rebecca Hall) hostage on a heist, Affleck pursues a relationship with her, hugely complicating things within his bank robbing crew. Will Affleck be able to leave his criminal life behind, or will Claire realise what he did to her and give him up to the authorities? The Town is a nail-biting action-packed adult thriller that will make you see Affleck in an entirely new light. We can't wait to see him direct The Batman.
IMDB Rating: 7.6, Rotten Tomatoes: 93%