Library of original films and licensed content, Netflix has become a premiere destination for movie watching. But which Netflix movies stand out from the pack as the streaming giant’s very best? Based on popularity, critical acclaim, and cultural impact, these movies represent the top echelon of Netflix’s cinematic offerings.
Most Popular Netflix Original Movies
Netflix has produced hundreds of original movies, only a select few have broken through to become massive pop culture hits.
The Irishman (2019)
Martin Scorsese’s sprawling crime drama generated huge buzz thanks to its legendary cast including Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci. Its de-aging visual effects and epic story were major draws, making it one of Netflix’s most watched releases.
Bird Box (2018)
This post-apocalyptic thriller starring Sandra Bullock spawned viral Internet challenges and became Netflix’s most viewed film with over 80 million households watching in the first month.
Carrying on Netflix’s action movie success, this Chris Hemsworth thriller drew huge audiences to become one of their most popular original movies globally.
In recent years, Netflix has released several prestigious drama films that rate among the best of the decade.
Alfonso Cuarón’s visually stunning black-and-white ode to his childhood nanny in 1970s Mexico won 3 Oscars and remains one of Netflix’s most acclaimed films.
Marriage Story (2019)
Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver both shine in this heart-wrenching portrayal of a marriage’s dissolution and the ensuing divorce. Lauded for its acting and writing, it earned 6 Oscar nominations.
David Fincher’s lavish origin story of Citizen Kane screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz dazzled with its period details and earned 10 Oscar nods including Best Picture.
Suspenseful thrills with twisty plots have always been a Netflix specialty. These standouts had viewers gripped.
Jake Gyllenhaal’s chilling turn as a sociopathic crime scene videographer captivated audiences. With a darkly riveting story, Nightcrawler provides edge-of-your-seat entertainment.
Beasts of No Nation (2015)
Idris Elba shines as a brutal warlord that recruits child soldiers in this harrowing war drama based in an unnamed African country. As heartbreaking as it is thought-provoking.
Gerald’s Game (2017)
Mike Flanagan’s adaptation of the Stephen King novel about a woman chained to a bed delivered psychological terrors and acclaim for Carla Gugino’s performance.
Netflix has recently produced acclaimed comedy films spanning satire, dramedy and slapstick.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)
The Coen Brothers lent their trademark irony and wit to this entertaining Western anthology film featuring six vignettes led by stars like Tim Blake Nelson and Liam Neeson.
Dolemite Is My Name (2019)
Eddie Murphy returned to form playing comedian Rudy Ray Moore in this uproarious biopic about Moore’s creation of his Dolemite alter ego. Murphy’s performance earned Golden Globe and Oscar nominations.
The Meyerowitz Stories (2017)
Starring Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, this bittersweet dramedy about siblings reuniting with their aging father garnered acclaim for Noah Baumbach’s writing and the cast’s chemistry.
Most Inspiring True Stories
Uplifting stories of real-life unsung heroes or pivotal historical moments have resonated powerfully.
Da 5 Bloods (2020)
Spike Lee’s emotional drama follows Black Vietnam veterans who return to locate their fallen squad leader and buried gold. The film meditates poignantly on Black experiences during the war.
This shocking documentary details Russian state-sponsored Olympic doping uncovered by the film’s director. Icarus exposes fraud in elite sports while documenting dangerous political retaliation.
Beyond awards, Roma’s intimate portrayal of a Mexico City family and the quiet strength of their maid left a profound impact. Touching on social issues, it resonated deeply.
Fan Favorite Action Movies
Adrenaline-charged action movies have thrilled Netflix subscribers eager for high-energy escapism.
In Bong Joon-ho’s touching action film, a girl tries protecting her giant pet pig from a greedy corporation. The imaginative story and CGI pig “Okja” created a family-friendly adventure.
The Old Guard (2020)
Charlize Theron leads a pack of immortal mercenaries in this buzzy comic book adaptation packed with stylish fight sequences. Fans clamored for more stories about its cool characters.
This underseen thriller stars Frank Grillo as a getaway driver caught in betrayal. Taut direction and stuntwork make Wheelman a riveting low-budget gem.
Acclaimed Foreign Language Films
Netflix also distributes stellar foreign language fare exposing viewers to diverse stories.
The Handmaiden (2016)
Park Chan-wook’s sexually charged Korean thriller about deceit and forbidden romance transfixed viewers while capturing best foreign film awards.
Miracle in Cell No. 7 (2019)
This popular Turkish drama tells the heartwarming story of a mentally disabled father wrongfully imprisoned. Its powerful acting brought audiences globally to tears.
The Platform (2019)
This allegorical Spanish sci-fi horror imagines prisoners housed in towers where food is distributed unequally floor by floor. Its social commentary and shocks enthralled genre fans.
Gripping true crime tales and incisive exposés of injustice represent Netflix’s standout documentary releases.
Making a Murderer (2015)
One of Netflix’s first viral hits, this series investigated the questionable murder conviction of Steven Avery. Its illuminating look at flaws in the justice system sparked outrage and debate.
Amanda Knox (2016)
This documentary revisits the globally publicized Amanda Knox murder trial using unprecedented interviews, provoking discussions on media bias, false accusations and miscarriages of justice.
Ava DuVernay’s scathing examination of systemic racism in the prison system argues that slavery has been perpetuated through mass incarceration. It was nominated for Best Documentary at the Emmys and Oscars.
Slate of prestigious award winners, popular smashes, conversation-starting docs and hidden gems, Netflix promo code boasts too many great films to list. But the streaming pioneer’s best movies engage audiences worldwide by delivering compelling stories distinguished by stellar filmmaking. Netflix will likely continue releasing quality cinema as their world domination continues.