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Best Netflix movies: the 30 best films you can stream right now

Image of the monster from The Sea Beast
(Image credit: Netflix)

Putting together a list of the best Netflix movies in 2022 is no easy task.

Films come and go on the streamer on an almost weekly basis, so it can be tricky to keep track of what's available at any given time. What's more, with increased competition from the likes of HBO Max and Disney Plus – services whose parent studios want exclusive streaming rights to their respective back catalogs – Netflix's movie offering is being squeezed year-on-year. 

That being said, the streaming giant has been dropping a new Netflix original movie every week throughout 2022, and, in addition to those original flicks, its existing deals with other studios remain in place – meaning there's still plenty of choice when it comes to deciding what to watch.

To take the heavy lifting out of choosing, then, we've put together a list of the 30 best Netflix movies available to stream right now. We regularly update the below entries with the latest original films and returning classics alike, and also replace the titles taken off Netflix to keep our recommendations as fresh as possible.

Skyfall, Titanic and Spider-Man count among the latest additions to our list, though many of the movies included below are also Netflix originals, which is why Netflix remains, for us, the best streaming service in 2022 – despite the ever-improving competition (and its recent subscriber woes).

Below, you'll find our pick of the best movies on Netflix in the US right now. 


Skyfall 

Daniel Craig as James Bond standing next to his Aston Martin in Skyfall

(Image credit: Sony Pictures/MGM Studios)

A surprise addition to Netflix in August, Skyfall – the twenty-third James Bond movie and one of the very best entries in the decades-spanning series – is about as close to perfect evening entertainment as it gets. 

Sam Mendes directs this darker take on 007, which finds Bond forced to return to action when a disgruntled agent from M's past comes back to haunt her. Javier Bardem is exquisite as the villainous Silva, proving more than a match for Daniel Craig's usually indestructible Bond – though Skyfall as a whole is a much more emotional affair than we've come to expect from the franchise. Lives are lost, tears are shed, and Adele kicks the whole thing off with an absolutely killer title track. 

The Sea Beast

Jacob and Maisie in The Sea Beast

(Image credit: Netflix)

Another new addition to our list of recommendations is The Sea Beast, a Netflix-produced animated adventure that proves Disney doesn’t have a monopoly on layered, child-friendly storytelling. 

Directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Chris Williams (Moana, Big Hero Six), the movie follows Jacob Holland (voiced by The Boys’ Karl Urban), a celebrated sea monster hunter whose life is upended when a young girl, Maisie Brumble (newcomer Zaris-Angel Hator), stows away on his ship. 

Charming, action-packed and beautifully-rendered, The Sea Beast was praised by audiences and critics alike upon its release in July, and serves as further proof that Netflix should think twice about scaling back its animation department in response to recent subscriber losses. 

Titanic

Still image of Jack and Rose in Titanic

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

What can we say about Titanic that you don't already know? James Cameron's sweeping maritime epic was, for more than a decade, the highest-grossing movie of all time (before it was dethroned by Cameron's equally ambitious sci-fi adventure, Avatar, in 2009) and has remained a pillar of both Hollywood and popular culture at large ever since its industry-shaking release in 1997. 

This 195-minute romantic adventure follows a pair of ill-fated lovers, Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rose (Kate Winslet), who meet aboard the titular ship during its famously disastrous maiden voyage in 1912. Titanic is credited with catapulting the careers of its two stars, but the film also set the benchmark for the large-scale movie-making we often take for granted today. Put simply, this one is necessary viewing for cinema lovers – catch it on Netflix while you can. 

Spider-Man

Tobey Maguire suited up in Spider-Man 2002 movie

(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

It may not include Spider-Man: No Way Home, but Sam Raimi's beloved web-crawler trilogy finally made its way onto Netflix in August. Spider-Man 2, in particular, remains one of the best superhero movies ever made, but we've decided to highlight the entry that set the template for every superhero origin movie that would follow. 

In 2002's Spider-Man, a young student, Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire), gets bitten by a radioactive spider that imbues him with special powers. After learning a harsh lesson about power and responsibility, he decides to become the titular superhero, Spider-Man – saving New York from all manner of criminals, eventually including the villainous Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe). Raimi's series debut feels slightly dated in a couple of ways, but it's still great fun, boasting an incredible ensemble cast that includes Kirsten Dunst, James Franco and, of course, J.K. Simmons.

Hustle

Adam Sandler in Hustle

(Image credit: Netflix)

If you were frustrated by the sudden disappearance of Uncut Gems from the US version of Netflix in May, fear not: Hustle, a surprisingly entertaining basketball drama, landed on the streamer in June to fill its Adam Sandler-sized hole.

After discovering a once-in-a-lifetime player with a rocky past abroad, a down-on-his-luck Philadelphia 76ers scout, Stanley Sugerman (Sandler), takes it upon himself to bring the young phenom to the States without his team's approval. Against the odds, the pair must work to prove that they both deserve to make it big in the NBA. 

That synopsis might sound like standard sports drama fare, but Hustle earned unexpectedly glowing reviews ahead of its muted release earlier this year. In our own assessment, we called the movie a “rousing redemption tale that provides further evidence of Sandler’s ability as a damn fine actor.” Trust us: this is no Jack and Jill.

Mission: Impossible

Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible (1996)

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures )

The one that started it all for over-the-top action franchise, Mission: Impossible rappelled its way onto Netflix in June. This 1996 spy thriller introduced audiences to Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt for the first time, and the seemingly invincible action hero hasn't taken his foot off the gas since (Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1, the seventh entry in the series, is due to arrive in 2023). 

Scarface director Brian De Palma helms this twist-laden feature about an American special agent (Cruise) falsely accused of murdering his entire team. The likes of Ving Rhames, Jean Reno, Jon Voight and Emmanuelle Béart also star in Mission: Impossible, which still boasts some of the most iconic action sequences every put to screen. Two other Mission movies, Mission: Impossible II and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, are also available to stream on Netflix now. 

The Hurt Locker

Still image from The Hurt Locker

(Image credit: Summit Entertainment)

Kathryn Bigelow's searing bomb disposal thriller, The Hurt Locker, returned to Netflix in June to take its place among the very best war movies on the streamer. The Best Picture-winning 2008 film follows an Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit who, while fighting in the Iraq war, find themselves feeling the pinch of intense psychological stress.

The Hurt Locker stars Marvel movie regulars Jeremy Renner and Anthony Mackie, as well as the likes of Ralph Fiennes and Guy Pearce, and was recently selected for preservation in the US National Film Registry as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." Yes, it's really that good. 

Once Upon a Time in America

A still from Once Upon a Time in America

(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

We'll kick this one off with a warning: Once Upon a Time in America is long. And we're not just talking The Batman long (2h 56m), but 3h 49m long. Still, there's a reason why Sergio Leone's sweeping crime epic is described as such, and the time is well worth investing at least once in you're life if you're keen to completely immerse yourself in the grimy underbelly of Prohibition-era New York City. 

Loosely based on Harry Grey's novel The Hoods, Once Upon a Time in America tells the decade-hopping tale of Noodles (Robert De Niro), a one-time criminal who returns to Manhattan to confront the mistakes of his ugly past. It's hard to summarize a near-four-hour-long movie in just a few lines, but this is a story that bears all the hallmarks of a Shakespearean tragedy: loyalty, love, friendship, betrayal and vengeance. Come for the cultural significance, but stay for Leone's masterful direction. 

The Gentlemen

Matthew McConaughey in The Gentlemen

(Image credit: Miramax)

Guy Ritchie’s The Gentlemen is, well, quintessentially Guy Ritchie – and that's a great thing. The British director's latest foul-mouthed crime caper follows an American marijuana kingpin's (Matthew McConaughey) efforts to sell off his narcotics empire. Charlie Hunnam, Henry Golding, Michelle Dockery, Jeremy Strong, Eddie Marsan, Colin Farrell and Hugh Grant make up the movie's stellar supporting cast, with every character boasting their own brand of humor (and unique style of violence).

We recently reported on Netflix's ongoing negotiations to green-light a new TV show based on The Gentlemen, so there's never been a better time to get yourself acquainted with Mickey, Raymond and the rest of this motley (though admittedly dysfunctional) crew.

The Hand of God

Still image of a family on a motorcycle in The Hand of God

(Image credit: Netflix)

The Hand of God marks the movie-making return of beloved Italian director Paolo Sorrentino, and tells the semi-autobiographical of tale of a young man (Filippo Scotti, standing in for a teenage Sorrentino) grappling with the pressures of growing up in 1980s Naples. 

As well as referring to the infamous goal scored by Argentine footballer (and Napoli legend) Diego Maradona at the 1986 World Cup, the film's title alludes to a tragic and life-affirming event that forces its protagonist to grow up quicker than he'd otherwise like. To say more risks spoiling The Hand of God's most tender moments, though the movie's beautiful locations, hypnotic camerawork and larger-than-life characters ensure it ranks among Sorrentino's best work. If you're a fan of Luca Guadagnino's Call Me by Your Name, add this one to your watchlist. 

Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood

Still image of astronaut from Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood

(Image credit: Netflix)

If you’re keen to mix up your movie-watching diet in 2022, they don't come much more unconventional than Netflix’s Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood. Boyhood director Richard Linklater returns to filmmaking duties with this animated feature, which tells the story of the 1969 moon landing from multiple perspectives. 

The movie shares the visual style of Linklater’s previous animation, 2006's A Scanner Darkly, and features the voice talents of Jack Black, Zachary Levi and Glen Powell. Despite its needlessly lengthy title, Apollo 10 1/2 is a genuinely unique take on one of history’s most iconic moments, and serves as yet more proof of Netflix's willingness to invest in boundary-pushing storytelling. 

Blade Runner 2049

A still from Blade Runner 2049

(Image credit: Warner Bros)

Director Denis Villeneuve rocked Hollywood in 2021 with his starry adaptation of Frank Herbert's seminal space adventure, Dune, but it was his ambitious 2017 sequel to Ridley Scott's Blade Runner that proved he had the filmmaking chops to tackle big-budget (and beloved) sci-fi material.

Set 30 years after the events of Scott's 1982 original, Blade Runner 2049 follows LAPD officer K (Ryan Gosling), who, after stumbling upon an existential secret, goes looking for former blade runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford). Every bit as visually stunning as its predecessor, 2049 is a more-than-worthy companion piece to one of cinema's most iconic movies – and now it's on Netflix, it's also good preparation for the in-development Blade Runner TV show.

Dunkirk

watch dunkirk free movies online

(Image credit: Warner Bros)

Having washed up on Netflix in March 2022, Christopher Nolan (opens in new tab)'s Dunkirk tells of the titular World War II evacuation through the very different perspectives of soldiers on land, in the sea and in the air. Its ensemble cast includes youngsters Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Harry Styles and Barry Keoghan (alongside veterans Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh and Tom Hardy), though it's the movie's incredible sound and scale that establish Dunkirk as one of the best in Nolan's repertoire.

If nothing else, watch this one for the sequence in which Hardy ditches a spitfire to the rousing narration of Churchill's famous parliament speech – it's powerful stuff. 

The Lost Daughter

Dakota Johnson and Olivia Colman in The Lost Daughter

(Image credit: Netflix)

The powerhouse trio of Olivia Colman, Dakota Johnson and Jessie Buckley lead the line in Maggie Gyllenhaal's directorial debut, The Lost Daughter, which is reason enough to sit up and take notice. In this slow-burn psychological drama, a college professor vacationing in Greece is forced to confront her troubled past after befriending a woman and her young daughter. 

Based on Elena Ferrante's novel of the same name, the movie poses poignant and often uncomfortable questions about parenthood and independence, and was near-universally praised upon release at the turn of 2021.

Phantom Thread

Daniel Day-Lewis in Phantom Thread

(Image credit: Universal / Focus Features)

Shortly after director Paul Thomas Anderson's latest effort, Licorice Pizza, hit this year's awards circuit, Netflix added his previous film, Phantom Thread, to its content library in the US. One of 2017's best movies, this one tells the story of a dressmaker (Daniel Day-Lewis) in 1950s London who falls for a young waitress (Vicky Krieps). 

That might sound like a potentially boring narrative, but Phantom Thread is actually masterfully-shot, poignant exploration of what it means to be an artist, combining Oscar-winning costume design with a stunning soundtrack (from Radiohead and frequent Anderson collaborator Johnny Greenwood) to rank among its director's finest work. Catch it before it's gone. 

The Power of the Dog

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Power of the Dog

(Image credit: Netflix)

It’s safe to say that Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog was the critical hit – and potentially best movie – of 2021. Widely praised for its slow-burning psychological drama, it follows the story of a menacing rancher (Benedict Cumberbatch) who doesn’t take kindly to the arrival of his brother’s new wife (Kirsten Dunst) and her son (Kodi Smit-McPhee).

Cumberbatch arguably gives a career-best performance as the volatile Phil Burbank here, which undoubtedly made interesting prep for next year’s Doctor Strange 2. It's a slow-burner, for sure, but The Power of the Dog is a masterful piece of filmmaking – so much so that Campion picked up a BAFTA and an Oscar for her troubles.

tick, tick...BOOM!

Andrew Garfield in tick, tick...BOOM!

(Image credit: Netflix)

Well, it turns out that Spider-Man (okay, Andrew Garfield) can sing.

In Lin-Manuel Miranda’s directorial debut, promising young theater composer Jonathan Larson (Garfield) navigates love, friendship and the pressures of life as an artist in New York City on the cusp of his 30th birthday.

Incidentally, tick, tick...BOOM! is actually based on the semi-autobiographical musical of the same name by Larson himself, whom Garfield plays in this one, so fans of the playwright (and musicals in general) should find lots to love here.

The Harder They Fall

The Harder They Fall Netflix

(Image credit: DAVID LEE/NETFLIX © 2021)

Arriving nine days before the most expensive film Netflix has ever made – the Dwayne Johnson-starring Red Notice – The Harder They Fall marks the feature film directorial debut from Jeymes Samuel. Its budget might be a lot smaller than The Rock's globe-trotting caper, but The Harder They Fall is one of the best Netflix movies to come out to date, which says a lot about Samuel's eye for detail, the movie's all-star cast and its pulsating plot.

After Rufus Buck (Idris Elba) is sprung from prison by his former gang, Nat Love (Jonathan Majors) rounds up his own posse of lawmakers to exact revenge on the man who murdered his parents. The likes of Delroy Lindo (Da 5 Bloods), Zazie Beetz (Deadpool 2) and Lakeith Stanfield (Knives Out) also star in this Western flick that pays tribute to the Black cowboys who are often overlooked in similar productions. 

Scarface

Al Pacino in Scarface

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Let's stick with the gangster theme, shall we?

A remake of the 1932 film of the same name – and one of the best crime flicks of the 20th century – Scarface tells the story of Cuban refugee Tony Montana (Al Pacino), who arrives penniless in 1980s Miami but rises the ranks to become a powerful drug lord.

Perhaps best known for its iconic dialogue lines ("the eyes, Chico, they never lie" and "say hello to my little friend," in particular), Brian De Palma's Scarface is in fact a sweeping, emotional tale of a human being corrupted by greed and confused by a misplaced sense of family duty.

The King

The King

(Image credit: Netflix)

Another Netflix original movie, The King stars Timothée Chalamet as Henry V, a young man forced to navigate the worlds of politics, war and treachery after unexpectedly becoming king of England in the 15th century. This one contains all the fanfare you'd expect from a modern medieval movie, and boasts an excellent cast including Robert Pattinson, Joel Edgerton and Sean Harris. For a reported budget of just $20 million (although you wouldn't know it), director David Michôd managed to produce one of the most engaging and visually stunning historical dramas around.

Army of the Dead

Best Netflix movies - Army of the Dead

(Image credit: Netflix)

Army of the Dead is Zack Snyder’s first feature film since his increasingly acrimonious split with Warner Bros, and it’s everything that his DC superhero movies weren’t: bright, colorful, action-packed, funny and topical, even if its 45-minute introduction is a little self-indulgent.

Dave Bautista leads a strong cast as Scott Ward, a former zombie-stomping war hero who’s approached with an intriguing proposal by casino owner Bly Tanaka (Hiroyuki Sanada). The assignment? Enter a zombie infested Las Vegas, break into Tanaka’s casino vault, escape with his $200 million assets and Ward and his group will receive $50 million to split between them as a reward.

Yes, the movie is as chaotic as that plot makes it sound, and with a sequel on the way in the near future, Army of the Dead is a must-watch for fans of gratuitous blood and gore.

The Mitchells vs the Machines

Best Netflix movies - The Mitchells vs the Machines

(Image credit: Netflix)

Originally intended for a theatrical release, Netflix bought this new animated movie from Sony and producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller – best known as the minds behind The Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street, and also part of the team behind Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (opens in new tab). It's exactly as charming and funny as those movies, too. 

Katie Mitchell (Abbi Jacobson) is an aspiring filmmaker who's about to head to college – until her dad, conscious that they've been drifting apart, cancels her plane ticket and insists on a family roadtrip. Halfway through this fraught journey, an AI takes revenge on its billionaire creator, and the world is suddenly under duress from smart robots. 

A lot of Spider-Verse's visual touches cross over into this film, too, with 2D annotations and drawings on the already-pretty 3D visuals. Most of all, it's nice to see Netflix backing a family movie that's not just full of talking dogs and other hackneyed nonsense so often seen in CG kids' fare. 

Rush

Rush still image

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Rush is a biographical sports movie about the heated rivalry between Formula 1 drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda – played here brilliantly by Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl respectively, in one of Ron Howard's best movies in recent memory. The film portrays their rivalry as lucky playboy vs hotheaded strategist, and while it might exaggerate real-life events somewhat, it's a riveting movie. Along with documentary Senna and dad-friendly flick Ford Vs Ferrari, Rush is one of the best movies about racing around – don't miss it on Netflix. 

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Best Netflix movies Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

(Image credit: David Lee/NETFLIX)

Based on the play by August Wilson – and despite the gorgeous period set dressing and costume design, it definitely feels very stage-y – Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is one of the best Netflix original movies of recent years. Viola Davis stars as legendary 'Mother of Blues' Ma Rainey, and the film focuses on one fraught recording session with Ma and her band, and the tension between the musician and her white producers and management. 

Meanwhile, the late Chadwick Boseman stars as Levee, an innovative trumpet player who struggles to find his place in the music scene, amid bandmates who don't always take him seriously. It's a sad but insightful movie that explores how culture is worth protecting and valuing, in a world where it's easily taken and monetized, and the film truly comes to life in its amazing musical sequences. Don't miss it.

Always Be My Maybe

always

(Image credit: Netflix)

You may know Always Be My Maybe's leading lady Ali Wong from her raucous Netflix stand-up specials, but it's as a successful celebrity chef that she really hits her stride. After a failed engagement, Wong's character Sasha Tran heads to her hometown of San Francisco to setup a new restaurant, only to run into her old bff played by Randall Park. Through the turbulence of the relationship, a sudden fling with actor Keanu Reeves and despite the differences in careers, the two try to make it work, and the journey from old friends to lovers is a joy to watch.

Beasts of No Nation

Still image from Beasts of No Nation

(Image credit: Netflix)

We won't beat about the bush – Beasts of No Nation is a tough watch. No Time to Die's Cary Fukunaga directs this harrowing feature, which follows the journey of a young orphan (Abraham Attah) forced into becoming a child soldier by a fierce warlord (Idris Elba) during an unnamed African civil war. 

An adaptation of Uzodinma Iweala's novel of the same name, Beasts of No Nation is a masterfully-shot story documenting the human cost of conflict, and places the uncomfortable realities of war front and centre. This isn't one to watch with the kids, but sitting through its two-hour narrative is an enlightening, dare-we-say necessary movie experience.  

The Irishman

Best Netflix movies: The Irishman

(Image credit: Netflix)

This threateningly long Scorsese pic attracted attention for the extensive effects work used to de-age its old stars (opens in new tab), and it's a creative decision that's sometimes distracting. But there's no denying the appeal of seeing De Niro, Pesci and Pacino in the same movie together for likely the last time, and this life-spanning, mostly rewarding crime epic is a suitable tribute to their collective talents. It's a languid film – and not a patch on Goodfellas – but absolutely among the best Netflix movies the streaming service has financed to date. The Irishman is about the life of Frank Sheeran (De Niro), as he recounts his long association with the Bufalino crime family, and infamous union leader Jimmy Hoffa (Pacino). 

Da 5 Bloods

Best Netflix movies: Da 5 Bloods

(Image credit: Netflix)

Spike Lee's entry in the Vietnam War canon is unlike anything else before it. Focusing on the black American experience of the war, it's about a group of soldiers who return to the country decades later in their old age to retrieve the remains of their squad captain (played in flashback by Chadwick Boseman). At the same time, they seek out buried gold they left behind years before – though they're not alone in this pursuit. The movie flips from being a mournful tale of trauma to a bonkers action film with almost no notice, too, but the mix here works. 

Okja

best netflix movies: Okja

Image credit: Netflix

If you've enjoyed Bong Joon Ho's Best Picture winner Parasite, you might want to check out his previous movie, Okja, which is still one of the best Netflix originals on the platform. It tells the bizarre tale of a young girl and her best pal, an enormous creature called Okja, whose friendship comes under threat when a nasty CEO (Tilda Swinton) has evil plans for the titular animal. It's a refreshing movie with a nice angle of animal activism – a very different proposition to Parasite, for sure, but one that also demonstrates the director's ability to blend genres. 

Roma

Best Netflix movies: Roma

(Image credit: Netflix)

An astonishing ode to motherhood in all forms, Roma is the most personal film to date from visionary director Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men, Gravity). On paper, it's is not the easiest sell – a subtitled black and white film about a live-in housekeeper spoken almost entirely in Spanish and the indigenous Mixtec language. But Cuarón's 2018 critical hit is nonetheless riveting from a cinematic standpoint (especially when watched through the streamer's 4K Ultra HD setting). More a series of vignettes than a traditional three-act story, it examines the life of a Mexico City family in the early 1970s during a time of great social upheaval. Roma is still necessary Netflix viewing for cinema aficionados in 2022.  

Axel Metz
Axel Metz

Axel is a London-based staff writer at TechRadar, reporting on everything from the latest Tesla models to newest movies as part of the site's daily news output. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and a degree in English Literature means he can occasionally be spotted slipping Hemingway quotes into stories about electric sports cars.


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