Best movies on Netflix: 20 films you need to watch right now

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Want to find something to watch on Netflix without spending an hour flicking through movies? With thousands of options at your disposal, it's easy to get stuck in cinematic limbo. Finding the honest-to-goodness best films can be a bit of hassle.

We're here to help. 

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. 

Spend less time browsing through movies, and more time watching them. We'll keep this best-of list up to date with the latest movies that are a must-watch, so you waste zero screen time searching.

Are TV shows more your scene? Here are the best TV shows on Netflix!

1. Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

Love it or hate it, the 8th film in the Star Wars franchise is immortalized in the canon now. It stumbles in parts, slows to a crawl in others, and fails to do what you'd expect. Some might call these the markings of a failed film. But we'd say it's these traits - this break from tradition - that gave us a Star Wars film that we couldn't have ever imagined. Beyond simply defying expectations for the sake of it, The Last Jedi grapples with complex themes of morality in a new republic - with minority characters leading the charge as tried-and-true characters are laid to rest. This is jolting for a franchise that's been dominated by the same few characters for the last two decades but it's this change that pushes The Last Jedi in a new direction - one in which it can survive without its main heroes. It might not have the nostalgia of the originals or the fast, fun nature of Solo: A Star Wars Story, but sometimes we need to shed the skin tradition to create something new. (Hint: In case that's lost on you, that's the exact point that Yoda makes abundantly clear to Luke at the temple.)

IMDB Rating: 7.3, Rotten Tomatoes: 91%

2. Blackfish

Best movies on Netflix

Blackfish, the controversial nature documentary that follows a misunderstood and often violent killer whale in captivity at SeaWorld, made a huge splash when it was released in 2013. Its story has moved audiences to take action in a way that few other films have ever done, going so far as forcing lawmakers' hands to introduce legislation that will demand that SeaWorld release killer whales back into the wild. It's an emotional ride through the highs and lows of the aquatic entertainment industry, one that reveals the real consequences of keeping animals where they don't belong.

IMDB Rating: 8.1, Rotten Tomatoes: 98%

3. It Follows 

Considered a modern horror classic by many, It Follows sees a young girl (Maika Monroe) terrorized by a sexually-transmitted demon. This terrifying apparition looks different every time and will chase you relentlessly until you either pass it on by sleeping with someone else, or until it catches up to you and finishes you off for good. To make matters worse, if the person you pass it on to dies, it will turn its attention back to you again. Did we mention that it can only be seen by the people that have been 'infected', so your friends won't be able to help as much as they'd like to? Yeah, it kinda sucks. Stylish, atmospheric and with a terrific John Carpenter-inspired synth score, It Follows in an effective horror movie which may suffer a little from a few odd decisions by its characters, but is still well worth watching.

IMDB Rating: 6.9, Rotten Tomatoes: 97%

4. The Imitation Game

Best Movies on Netflix

There are plenty of great war films on Netflix (including Full Metal Jacket, coming up later on this list. But if you're looking for a different side of the battle, the one fought with minds and willpower rather than guns and grenades, watch The Imitation Game. Cumberbatch's Alan Turing and Keira Knightley's Joan Clarke are an interesting on-screen duo, and the race to beat the Nazi war machine adds palpable tension without ever showing a drop of blood.

IMDB Rating: 8.1, Rotten Tomatoes: 90%

5. Full Metal Jacket

An astonishing work of immense power, Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece Full Metal Jacket examines man's innate desire to kill, memorably told against the backdrop of the controversial Vietnam War. The film is split in two halves – the first, which is set at boot camp, follows a young recruit who is pushed right over the edge by an abusive drill sergeant. The latter half focuses on a military journalist who watches in horror as Vietnamese people are killed indiscriminately by the soldiers he's following for reasons they don't even understand. Will they make a killing machine out of him, too? Essential viewing for war film aficionados. 

IMDB Rating: 8.3, Rotten Tomatoes: 95%