For as many streaming services as there is currently are, Netflix remains possibly the premiere platform to watch movies and television shows. The first mainstream streaming service there was, it’s a platform that continues to boast some of the finest and most noteworthy movies you’ll find anywhere.
With a streaming catalog mixed between Netflix original movies and endless amounts of well-known movies like Scott Pilgrim, The Hateful Eight, and White Christmas, there’s no shortage of potential viewing options when it comes to Netflix’s impressive lineup of movies.
Here are some of the movies you can currently find streaming on Netflix that we’d recommend checking out.
Updated: December 7.
Reality: Squid Game: The Challenge (2023)
Two years ago, Netflix released the wildly popular South Korean web series, Squid Game. A high-stakes competitive tournament with death and a vast fortune on the line, the show quickly garnered widespread attention from viewers in 2021, becoming the most-watched series on Netflix by a vast margin.
As audiences continue to wait for the next installment of the series, Netflix has since developed a spin-off reality series based on Squid Game’s main premise. Adopting many of the same competitive games as the original show, Squid Game: The Challenge pits ordinary people in such classic children’s games as Red Light, Green Light, and Battleship.
With a total of 456 competitors and a grand prize of $4.56 million, Squid Game: The Challenge makes for one of the most high-stakes reality game shows ever aired. With nail-biting action around every corner, it’s a series that matches the suspense and intrigue of the initial Squid Game series.
Family: Leo (2023)
Adam Sandler is one of the most wildly inconsistent actors of his era. Fresh off a string of critically panned movies, Sandler will routinely release a phenomenal movie that defies audiences’ preconceived expectations–something that happens to be the case for Leo.
Terrified by the prospect of dying in his enclosure, an elderly classroom lizard (Adam Sandler) is taken out of his cage for the first time, using his past experiences to teach the younger students a thing or two about life.
Currently sitting at the top of this week’s most-watched movies list on Netflix, Leo alternates between uproarious comedy and plenty of relatable themes as well. A pitch-perfect comedy for the whole family, older audiences will find plenty to enjoy about the movie’s meditative depiction of aging, with younger viewers connecting to the fears and uncertainties one feels growing up.
Horror: Dampyr (2022)
Another movie performing incredibly well on Netflix’s most-watched movies this week, the Italian fantasy horror movie, Dampyr, has accrued quite a large contingent of fans since its recent debut to Netflix. A stark and macabre vampire film, Dampyr provides an intriguing fresh take on the traditional Dracula-inspired narrative.
In the Balkan peninsula in the early 1990s, a half-human, half-vampire monster hunter (Wade Briggs) wanders the war-torn countryside, aiding a group of soldiers in their fight against a bloodthirsty tribe of vampires.
Juxtaposing the Yugoslav Wars of the early 1990s with a shadowy vampire invasion, Dampyr may not appeal to everyone, but diehard horror fans will no doubt revel at this creative combination between the post-apocalyptic, war, and vampire genres.
Thriller: A Nearly Normal Family (2023)
A recent arrival to Netflix, A Nearly Normal Family is a palpitating thriller series from Sweden. A whodunit that focuses on grief, trauma, and the collective healing of a family ripped apart by tragedy, it’s a luminous miniseries perfectly deserving of its current acclaim.
Four years after their teenage daughter (Alexandra Karlsson Tyrefors) was violently assaulted, an ordinary family is once again thrust into the public light when their now 19-year-old daughter is accused of murder.
Based on M.T. Edvardsson’s best-selling novel of the same name, A Nearly Normal Family is a gripping family drama that takes on a variety of different guises. At once a drama series, it also draws on elements of a classic mystery, breaking down each family members’ personality, as well as how they’re mentally processing each traumatic incident in their life.
Fantasy: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)
As he tries to help his struggling band secure a record deal, free-spirited musician Scott (Michael Cera) falls in love with the mysterious Ramona (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). Shortly after they begin dating, however, Scott learns that he must battle Ramona’s seven evil exes in order to continue seeing her.
In the past month, Netflix has dropped the long-awaited follow-up to Edgar Wright’s 2010 cult classic, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. A fun and ambitious anime that lives up to Wright’s initial film, Scott Pilgrim Takes Off makes for a superb addition to the streaming service’s library, appeasing fans of the movie and Bryan Lee O’Malley’s original comic.
As worthwhile as the series is, it’s also worth noting how utterly fantastic Scott Pilgrim vs. the World truly is. Blurring the lines between film, video games, comic books, and anime, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World boasts little to any weaknesses whatsoever, whether in the form of its stunning visuals or its massive ensemble cast.
Animated: Scott Pilgrim Takes Off (2023)
Thirteen years after Edgar Wright’s ambitious adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s cult favorite comic book, Scott Pilgrim returns in the 2023 Netflix series, Scott Pilgrim Takes Off. A visually stunning anime featuring the entire cast of Wright’s film, it’s a joyous adaptation that lives up to the humor and action of O’Malley’s original series.
When her prospective new boyfriend Scott (Michael Cera) disappears after his first duel against the League of Evil Exes, American delivery girl Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) attempts to locate her lost lover.
A sequel and remake to both O’Malley’s comic series and Wright’s 2010 films, Scott Pilgrim Takes Off will please both longtime fans and viewers unfamiliar with O’Malley’s story. Between its colorful animation, impressive fight sequences, and ensemble voice cast, it’s a series that acts like a cross between a comedy anime, a ‘90s arcade game, and a zany underground comic book rolled into one.
Action: Godzilla vs. Kong (2021)
It’s the age-old question: Who would win in a fight, Godzilla or King Kong? Answering this question and all its explosive possibilities is the 2021 action monster movie, Godzilla vs. Kong, which pits Japan’s most famous movie monster against the original kaiju himself.
After Godzilla begins aggressively attacking human-populated areas along the coast, the mysterious organization known as Monarch organizes an expedition into the Hollow Earth with the help of the giant gorilla, Kong.
Another satisfactory entry in Legendary’s MonsterVerse series, Godzilla vs. Kong is a kaiju fan’s ultimate fantasy, featuring two literal giants in the genre going head to head in an all-out war for supremacy.
Drama: Harriet (2019)
Currently edging its way to the top of Netflix’s most-watched movies this week is the 2019 biographical drama, Harriet. Centered around one of the most heroic figures in American history, Harriet provides a moving portrait of its main historical figure with remarkable ease.
Escaping from her abusive masters in 1840s Maryland, the former enslaved servant “Minty” Ross (Cynthia Erivo) adopts the new name of Harriet Tubman, using her knowledge of the South’s backroads to assist the Underground Railroad.
Though guilty of over-dramatizing many details of Tubman’s life story, Harriet nevertheless underscores the importance of Tubman’s advocacy for human rights in the most disgusting chapter of U.S. history. Hopeful, terrifying, and refreshingly modern in its presentation, it’s one of the best biopics on Netflix right now.
History: The Crown (2016)
The sixth and final season of Netflix’s breakout series The Crown has officially arrived. Divided into two parts, the first half of season 6 dropped on Netflix this past week, almost a year after the passing of Queen Elizabeth II in September of 2022.
Jumping ahead in the historical timeline, the sixth season of The Crown follows the fallout from Prince Charles (Dominic West) and Princess Diana’s (Elizabeth Debicki) divorce, the ministerial appointment of Tony Blair (Bertie Carvel), and the tragic vehicular accident that claimed Diana’s life.
As with every season of The Crown before it, the sixth season of Netflix’s historical drama delivers a stirring portrait of Britain’s Royal Family, tracing many of the dramatic events they endured in the late ‘90s and early 2000s. With the second half of the season scheduled for release in mid-December, there’s no better time to catch up on The Crown than the present.
Anime: Blue Eye Samurai (2023)
In 17th century Japan, a wandering rōnin (Maya Erskine) of mixed heritage sets out in search of the Irish smuggler (Kenneth Branagh) who ruined her life.
Netflix has one of the most impressive lineups of anime TV series and movies out of any streaming service, featuring classic anime shows like Neon Genesis Evangelion and comically long series like One Piece.
Among the newest anime shows currently gaining fans’ attention is the brand-new North American series, Blue Eye Samurai. Rather than drawing inspiration from any pre-existing manga series, Blue Eye Samurai brings an entirely new story to the small screen, one rooted in action, sword fights, and some first-rate 3D animation.
War: Lone Survivor (2013)
Yet another movie nearing the top of Netflix’s most popular movies list this week, Lone Survivor offers a dramatic depiction of a failed U.S. military operation from mid 2005. A harrowing study of the U.S. combatants involved in the mission, it’s a breathtaking war movie that shines a light on several little-known heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
Deep behind enemy lines in eastern Afghanistan, a four-man team of U.S. Navy SEALs (Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, and Ben Foster) attempt to apprehend a notorious Taliban leader (Yousuf Azami) in the area.
Though perhaps spending a bit too much time on its impressive battle sequences, Lone Survivor does plenty of justice to its main storyline, as well as the historical SEALs who took part in the clandestine operation.
Comedy: The Farewell (2019)
Learning that their elderly matriarch (Zhao Shu-zhen) has only a few months left to live, a Chinese-American family reunites for a close gathering in Changchun, where they decide to keep the negative prognosis a secret.
A24 is well-known for giving voices to young and pre-established indie directors, specifically helping promising young talents like Ari Aster (Hereditary), Robert Eggers (The Lighthouse), and the Daniels (Everything Everywhere All At Once) gain a foothold in the film industry.
Included among this list of promising filmmakers is Lulu Wang, whose 2019 dark comedy, The Farewell, achieved significant success among widespread audiences. Drawing on a somewhat drier sense of humor, The Farewell poses some profound questions about the benefit of family secrets.
Romance: See You on Venus (2023)
Another earning performing exceptionally well on Netflix’s most-watched movies list, See You on Venus is a surprisingly refreshing romantic comedy, set against the backdrop of Europe’s most illustrious national wonders.
Embarking on a trip to Spain, an American teenager (Virginia Gardner) and her close friend (Alex Aiono) search for her birth mother somewhere in the country, growing closer and closer as they continue their unrelenting search.
On the surface, See You on Venus might seem like a melodramatic Lifetime or Hallmark movie, yet it’s anything but. Loaded with humor and emotion, it’s a film espousing the idea of coming to terms with one’s past in order to look ahead at one’s future.
Disaster: The Impossible (2012)
In late 2004, a massive earthquake struck the western coast of Indonesia, the resulting shock waves triggering large-scale destruction along the neighboring coastlines of the Indian Ocean. This historical tsunami and its devastating aftermath form the backbone of 2012’s disaster drama, The Impossible.
Spending their Christmas vacation in Thailand, an American family is torn apart by a large-scale tsunami that sweeps through the surrounding area, with each family member struggling to locate one other in the ensuing aftermath.
Featuring Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, and a young Tom Holland, The Impossible is a disaster movie with true heart and soul, empathizing with the victims and survivors who endured this horrendous 2004 disaster.
Slow Burn: The Killer (2023)
Three years after his previous collaboration with Netflix on the Oscar-nominated biopic Mank, director David Fincher returns with his latest cinematic outing, The Killer. A sleek neo-noir crime thriller, Fincher’s The Killer has already won strong reviews from early audiences fortunate enough to see it, serving as another impressive outing for the Hitchcockian filmmaker.
Botching an assassination in Paris, a professional hit man (Michael Fassbender) goes on the lam, dodging his former employers’ attempts to kill him.
In its basic premise and narrative progression, The Killer takes liberal inspiration from dozens of neo-noir films that came before it, including Le Samouraï, The Driver, Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai, and even John Woo’s 1989 similarly-named The Killer. Despite this, Fincher manages to inject his own creative sensibilities as a director into ‘23’s The Killer – a dark and disorienting film as downbeat as Gone Girl, Zodiac, or The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Superhero: Hellboy (2004)
Throughout his career, Guillermo del Toro has always made a habit of freely alternating between commercial blockbuster films and more niche arthouse movies. Following in the footsteps of his early 2000s releases–The Devil’s Backbone and Blade II – del Toro repeated this feat by adapting Mike Mignola’s ghoulish superhero, Hellboy, for the big screen.
Raised by his kindly surrogate father (John Hurt) his entire life, a mild-mannered demon from Hell (Ron Perlman) fights to protect Earth from the sinister forces seeking to destroy it.
The first entry in del Toro’s short-lived Hellboy series, 2004’s Hellboy may take extraneous liberties in bringing Mignola’s hero into the medium of film. Yet del Toro manages to retain the cosmic horror components of the original comic, infusing it with off-kilter comedy and impressive special effects.
Crime: Cop Land (1997)
It’s hard to think of a better ensemble piece than 1997’s Cop Land, a movie that pits the acting might of Sylvester Stallone, Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, and Ray Liotta into one epic crime drama.
Having grown tired of the crime in his town, a New Jersey sheriff (Stallone) stands up to the various corrupt New York police officers who frequent his community.
A bewitching neo-noir crime film, Cop Land focuses on two opposing sides of the same judicial system: the idealistic small-town police and the city detectives who bend the law for their own ends and purposes. Well-written and expertly directed, it also contains some incredible performances from every actor involved.
New Identity: Mutt (2023)
One of the finest arrivals to Netflix in recent memory, Mutt is a stunning indie drama that focuses on identity and sexuality. Set over the course of a single day in New York, Mutt tugs on viewers’ every heartstring, connecting them to a young adult struggling to find their place in the world.
Returning home in New York City after his gender transition, a young trans man (Lío Mehiel) reconnects with the estranged loved ones in his life, including his half-sister (MiMi Ryder), his father (Alejandro Goic), and his heterosexual ex-boyfriend (Cole Doman).
Ascending to the same heights as Brokeback Mountain and Call Me By Your Name, Mutt provides a full-fledged study of a person coming to terms with their new identity in life, bidding goodbye to their former selves and starting fresh.
Teen: Sixteen Candles (1984)
In the mid 1980s, soon-to-be ‘80s icon John Hughes directed the first of several phenomenal movies that helped redefine the teenage genre. Starting with 1984’s seminal Sixteen Candles, Hughes ushered in a golden age of teen comedies throughout the next decade, giving way to such cult classics as The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
Hoping to have the best sixteenth birthday celebration ever, high school sophomore Sam’s (Molly Ringwald) ambitious plans are thrown into jeopardy when everything starts going wrong on her special day.
Making his directorial debut with Sixteen Candles, Hughes sets many of the foremost characteristics that came to be associated with his films, including an in-depth examination of teen culture and a hearty blend between comedy and drama.
Sports: Nyad (2023)
After four unsuccessful attempts to swim the 110 miles from Havana to Key West, the 64-year-old swimmer Diana Nyad (Annette Bening) embarks on one final attempt to complete the 60-hour-long swim.
Throughout her career, long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad made history for her near-impossible physical feats, from swimming 28 miles around Manhattan to swimming 102 miles from the Bahamas to Juno Beach, Florida.
In 2013, an older Nyad once again defied expectations, becoming the third person to cross the Florida Straits (and the first to do so without the use of a shark cage). Overcoming arduous obstacles in her path, Nyad’s trek made history, her inspiring achievements on full display in Netflix’s recent biographical sports drama, Nyad.
Biopic: Rush (2013)
In the 1976 Formula One season, two world-class race car drivers (Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl) engage in a fierce professional rivalry that pushes each of them to the physical and psychological edge.
Like most historical biopics, Rush opts for a more sensationalized portrayal of its lead characters, presenting the famed Formula One rivalry between Britain’s James Hunt and Austria’s Niki Laudra with an exaggerated intensity.
In spite of this historical discrepancy, Rush does a fantastic job emphasizing the unique dynamic shared by both men on and off the race track. Personal friends in real life yet diehard rivals behind the wheel, Hunt and Laudra’s feud became the stuff of legend in racing history.
Comic Book: Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023)
Earlier this year, Sony delivered the highly anticipated sequel to their hit Spider-Verse series with Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. Like the original Into the Spider-Verse, Across the Spider-Verse totes another exceptional outing for the Spider-Verse franchise, characterized by some glowing visuals, an emotionally engaging story, and a hair-raising cliffhanger ending.
After earning the ire of an aspiring new villain known as the Spot (Jason Schwartzman), Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) comes into contact with the Spider Society – a coalition of Spider-People from every conceivable reality in the Multiverse.
Taking advantage of Marvel’s vast assortment of alternative universes, Across the Spider-Verse brings together practically every version of Spider-Man to ever exist, from Into the Spider-Verse’s Spider-Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld) and Peter B. Parker (Jake Johnson) to Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s iterations of the character. More than that, though, it focuses on Miles’ growing disconnect between his private identity and his role as Spider-Man–a rift that forms the backbone of Across the Spider-Verse.
Sci-Fi: Prometheus (2012)
As audiences race to their local movie theaters to see Ridley Scott’s newest historical epic–the Joaquin Phoenix-led Napoleon–viewers can always refresh themselves with some of Scott’s previous movies, like Gladiator, The Martian, or his 2012 sci-fi film, Prometheus.
In the late 21st century, an expeditionary crew of deep-space explorers arrive on a strange planet they believe holds the secrets to humanity’s creation.
A dense and ambiguous prequel to Scott’s 1979 masterpiece Alien, Prometheus’s pretentious philosophical tone may aggravate some viewers, but Scott’s examination of human origins is nothing short of mesmerizing. (Not only that, but Michael Fassbender utterly knocks it out of the park in his role as the malevolent android, David.)
Mystery: The Hateful Eight (2015)
As the weather gradually cools and everyone continues preparing for the holidays, there’s no better time to bust out any one of the holiday movies sitting in Netflix’s catalog. As enjoyable as it is to watch more light-hearted movies to commemorate the festivities, viewers with a stronger stomach might think about watching a more outside-the-box Christmas film like 2015’s The Hateful Eight.
In the mid 1870s, a group of eccentric individuals in the backwoods of Wyoming brave a severe winter storm by hiding out in an isolated cabin. As their stay at the cabin continues, the travelers begin butting heads, leading to some tense stand-offs that spill over into horrific acts of violence.
A postmodern Western mixed with a classic Agatha Christie novel, The Hateful Eight is Quentin Tarantino’s version of a whodunit, complete with all his signature trademarks as a director (the gory violence, the shocking plot twists, the nonlinear narrative). In addition to Tarantino’s theatrical version of the film, an extended version of The Hateful Eight is also available on Netflix, rounding out the movie’s runtime by roughly 25 minutes of added footage.
Documentary: American Symphony (2023)
In 2011, the esteemed journalist Suleika Jaouad was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia, with doctors giving her a 35% chance of surviving the disease. As Jaouad and her partner–the Grammy Award-winning musician Jon Batiste–grappled with her illness, the couple forged ahead in both their relationship and professional ventures, finding solace in their art.
American Symphony is a film showcasing Jaouad and Batiste’s incredible true-life story, characterized by dishearteningly low periods and unbelievable high points. In no uncertain terms, it’s one of the most affecting documentaries on Netflix right now.
While the bulk of the documentary focuses on Jaouad and Batiste’s individual relationship and personal ordeals, American Symphony also represents everyone’s ability to find comfort in romance, love, and creative feats, channeling their inner pain into something extraordinary.
Indie: Frybread Face and Me (2023)
Favorably trending on Netflix’s most-watched movies list this week is the warm-hearted independent drama, Frybread Face and Me. A coming of age film focused on identity and contemporary Indigenous American culture, it’s a multifaceted movie that tugs at the heartstrings of every member of the audience.
Traveling from San Francisco to spend a summer in Arizona with his grandmother (Sarah H. Natani), a young Navajo boy (Keir Tallman) bonds with his cousin (Charley Hogan), both of them adjusting to one another’s radically different backgrounds and worldviews.
Transcending the coming of age genre, Frybread Face and Me teaches viewers to appreciate the smaller moments of life, no matter how mundane or seemingly insignificant they might be. Utilizing a minimalist plot with little to any conceivable story, it’s among the most crowd-pleasing movies on Netflix right now.
Classic: White Christmas (1954)
There’s no end to the dozens upon dozens of movies one can watch for the holidays, from sentimental classics like It’s a Wonderful Life to family-friendly comedies like Home Alone. Falling more so into the former camp is the 1954 holiday film, White Christmas.
Returning home to Vermont after serving in World War II, a respected pair of musicians (Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye) try to save their former commanding officer’s (Dean Jagger) inn from shuttering its doors.
Starring the incomparable showman Bing Crosby, White Christmas remains a joyous musical to watch every time the holiday season rolls around. Led by Crosby’s charismatic performance and a tender soundtrack that includes–you guessed it–“White Christmas,” the film is every bit as enjoyable now as it had been nearly 70 years ago.
Underrated: The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019)
An unsung masterpiece from A24, The Last Black Man in San Francisco remains an awe-inspiring film for several key reasons. Directed by the 30-year-old Joe Talbot in his feature-length debut, the movie dramatizes the harrowing real-life experiences of lead actor, Jimmie Fails, liberally mixing fact with fantasy.
When the Victorian mansion his grandfather (Danny Glover) allegedly built opens up for sale, a young man in dire financial straits (Fails) does all he can to secure the house for himself, receiving some much-needed assistance from his best friend (Jonathan Majors).
With exceptional performances from supporting players like Majors, Danny Glover, and Tichina Arnold, The Last Black Man in San Francisco establishes itself as one of the most riveting movies from A24 yet. Between its powerhouse portrayals and gut-wrenching narrative, it’s a movie guaranteed to make you think and, perhaps, to even make you weep.
Richard Chachowski is an entertainment and travel writer who has written for such publications as Wealth of Geeks, Looper, Screen Rant, Fangoria, and Sportskeeda, among many others. He received his BA from The College of New Jersey and has been a professional writer since 2020. His geeky areas of interest include Star Wars, travel writing, horror, video games, comic books, literature, and animation.
Richard has been an avid consumer of movies, television, books, and pop culture since he was four-years-old. Raised on a diverse mix of Clint Eastwood Westerns, Star Wars, sci-fi and horror films, Alan Moore comics, and Stephen King novels, he eventually turned his various passions into a creative outlet, writing about film, television, literature, comics, and gaming for his high school and college newspapers. A traveling enthusiast, Richard has also managed to create a career out of journeying abroad, venturing to such awe-inspiring places as the Sonoran Desert of Mexico, the rainforests of Costa Rica, and the scenic coastline of Haiti. Upon graduating from TCNJ, Richard set his sights on a career in journalism, writing extensively about the art of traveling and the entertainment medium for various online publications. When he’s not busy making his way through The Criterion Collection, he can be found either reading or planning a trip somewhere (preferably someplace with a scenic hiking trail).