Netflix has no shortage of good TV shows. With drama hits like Bridgerton and The Crown to comedies like Sex Education and Never Have I Ever, your queue is bound to be filled with binge-worthy series for every genre. But the streamer has some gems in the film department as well, whether it’s a sweet YA romance like To All The Boys I Loved Before or award-worthy titles like The Power of the Dog and Dolemite is My Name.
Here are the 40 best Netflix original films, unranked.
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This Rebecca Hall-directed film is one of Netflix’s greatest, even though it’s greatly under-appreciated. (Not a single Oscar nomination!) Passing is based on Nella Larsen’s 1929 novella of the same name and follows two childhood friends and their racial identities. Starring Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga, this film brings the term “racial passing” to life and shows the consequences of passing as white.
A biopic of Rudy Ray Moore, this 2019 film is one of Netflix’s best films ever made. Maybe it’s Eddie Murphy’s jaw-dropping performance as Moore or the never-ending humorous scenes, but you can’t help but re-watch this Craig Brewer-directed film. A true Oscar snub.
Another great from the legend Spike Lee. This war film follows four Vietnam veterans who honor their fallen squad leader by returning to Vietnam to find his remains as well as their buried treasure.
If you’re looking for an accurate portrayal of divorce on film, it’s Marriage Story. Starring Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver, this Noah Baumbach-directed drama follows a couple who’s going through a divorce on opposite ends of the country.
Though this film is marketed as a rom-com, it’s more of a self-love story. And a damn good one too. Jennifer Anniston and Danielle Macdonald star as a beauty pageant-obsessed mother and her plus-size daughter who are at odds with each other.
Second-chance romances are the best, hands down. Not convinced? Watch Always Be My Maybe, a 2019 rom-com about two childhood friends (played by Aly Wong and Randall Park) who reconcile 15 years after a fling ended badly.
This psychological thriller follows a former police officer turned 9-1-1 operator (Jake Gyllenhaal) and his journey to saving a distressed caller. But, is the distressed caller the one who really needs saving? Or is this 9-1-1 operator in way over his head? Watch and find out.
Arguably Netflix’s most intriguing film, this picture is about Marla Grayson, a con artist (Rosamund Pike) who steals her elderly patient’s assets through court-appointed guardianship. But when Grayson steals from the wrong person, she now has to make amends if she wants to stay alive.
The Fundamentals of Caring
Selena Gomez and Paul Rudd star in a heartbreaking tale that delves deep into grief, illness, and forgiveness. Bring the tissues if you’re watching this tearjerker.
A beloved Timothee Chalamet performance, The King is a somewhat historical war feature that tells the rise of Henry V after his father dies. The action scenes are subliminal, but the slow-burn romance between Chalamet and Lily-Rose Depp’s characters gives the somewhat mediocre action flick some sparks.
Considered one of the greatest films of the 2010s, Roma is a semi-autobiographical tale about director Alfonso Cuarón’s upbringing in Mexico City. Equal parts humorous and sad, this feature is the go-to drama for all the feels.
Who doesn’t love a psychological thriller? Directed by Maggie Gyllenhall, The Lost Daughter is about a college professor whose obsession with a mother and her young daughter on vacation opens up wounds from her own past as a mom. With amazing performances from Olivia Colman and Dakota Johnson, this adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s novel is unlike any other.
Starring Zendaya and John David Washington, this film may have mixed reviews from critics but is still a damn good watch. Of course, Zendaya’s performance is spectacular but what really makes this Sam Levinson-directed feature one of Netflix’s top-tier movies is the black-and-white cinematography. Euphoria fans will appreciate.
Zombie flicks will never not be popular. So, it’s no surprise that this Zack Synder-directed film is on the list. It just might become your go-to stream for those late Friday movie nights.
Jennifer Lawrence returned to Hollywood to star in this dark comedy about the end of civilization due to climate change. Whether it’s the cast’s performances (Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill are in the star-studded lineup) or the film’s realistic allegory to our current plight with environmentalism, Don’t Look Up hits hard.
A romantic comedy that almost any Black girl can relate to, Nappily Ever After shows the difficulty of loving your natural hair, especially when you’ve always been told to do the opposite.
Kristen Bell stars as the bride left at the altar who then goes on her honeymoon vacation with her estranged father. And of course, because it’s Kristen Bell, expect the laughs.
If you loved Vanessa Kirby’s performance as Princess Margaret in The Crown, then you need to stream this drama film. Pieces of a Woman is about a woman (Kirby) who sues her midwife after she suffers from a miscarriage.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
With Viola Davis and the late Chadwick Boseman co-starring in this biopic, you know the film is good. Critics agreed too, considering Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom was nominated for numerous Oscars and was considered one of the best films of 2020.
The Harder They Fall is one of its kind. An all-Black Western that brings Afrocentrism into the 19th century American West, the film garnered critical acclaim for its storytelling, cinematography, and performances.
To the Bone may be controversial, according to the critics, but it’s also an eye-opening journey into the intricacies of eating disorders and mental illness. Lily Collins nails her performance as 20-year-old Ellen who suffers from anorexia and refuses to get better, even though she’s physically suffering from her disorder.
Netflix excels at biopics and The Two Popes is another example of that. The 2019 drama follows the aftermath of the Vatican leaks scandal and Pope Benedict XVI’s attempt to convince Pope Francis to resign.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
Young adult rom-coms can be good films too! Though the high school romance and drama can be quite cheesy, TATBILB is still comforting to watch at the end of the day. Plus, who doesn’t love looking at Noah Centineo’s face?
A young girl raises a genetically modified pig (the titular Okja) after it was delivered to a meat shipping plant in the United States. The “super pig” may be cool to watch, but what really draws in viewers is the relationship between the girl and Okja.
Fans of The Godfather will love this modern-day mafia flick, especially since it stars fan-favorites like Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. The story, shootouts, and dialogue are *chef’s kiss*, if you can get over the conspicuous CGI de-aging of our favorite stars.
An interesting look into racism from the perspective of two WWII veterans (one Black, the other white), Mudbound shines a light on the often-ignored experiences of Black war veterans.
Millie Bobby Brown stars as Sherlock Holmes’ younger sister, Enola Holmes, in this mystery movie. Sherlock may be used to being in the spotlight, but this is where finally Enola shines. It also helps that Brown does a hell of a good job of portraying her.
It’s 1968 and seven people were just charged by the federal government with conspiracy and anti-American activities after a protest broke out at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Based on the real-life court case, The Trail of Chicago 7 shows a behind-the-scenes look at anti-Vietnam protests and the lengths the United States government was willing to go to protect its war secrets.
Though the Academy Awards didn’t think Jane Campion’s Western drama deserved an Oscar, we sure do. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog takes a critical look at toxic masculinity while following two brothers on a Montana ranch.
Idris Elba plays another Black rancher, but this time he co-stars with Stranger Things actor Caleb McLaughlin. Based on Greg Neri’s novel Ghetto Cowboy, this flick shows a real-life look into Black horse-riding culture.
Oh, young love. The best teenage rom-coms are the ones with the most unexpected love interest and that’s what The Half of It gives us. I’m not going to spoil the plot too much, but let me say this: This film is for all the pre-teens and young adults who go through unrequited love.
Another rom-com with a twist. Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell star as two overworked assistants who set up their terrifying bosses so their lives can become more manageable. But as we all know, when you’re playing Cupid, you’re more likely to be hit with the arrow.
This film from Cary Fukunaga follows a young boy who becomes a child soldier as his home engages in a civil war. A nightmarish story of war, Beasts of No Nation may be an excellent film, even if its story brings you to tears.
One of Netflix’s sleeper hits, this trio of horror films follows a young girl and her girlfriend as they try to solve a centuries-old mystery in their haunted town. The plot may sound like your average thriller flick, but it’s a lot more horrifying.
Calling all Ryan Reynolds fans. The actor stars as a time-traveling pilot who recruits his younger 12-year-old self to save the future.
There’s nothing Robert Pattinson can’t do and that includes having a Southern accent. Pattinson, Tom Holland, Sebastian Stan, and more star in this thriller about somewhat-evil characters living in rural Ohio and West Virginia post-World War II.
You can’t end a best Netflix film list without including this. Someone Great shows us a different side of a relationship—what it means to grow through a heartbreak. There’s no happily ever after in this rom-com, but that’s okay. Sometimes, the end goal of a romantic film isn’t to find love, but rather to show its beauty as well as its thorns.
Melanie Curry is an Editorial Assistant at Hearst Magazines, where she does a little bit of everything for all Hearst brands.
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