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Movies & TV

10th Jul 2023

18 of the best movies you can only watch on Netflix

Rory Cashin


If you haven’t seen all of these Netflix movies, then you’ve got some fun homework ahead you.

While Netflix is always good at adding new shows that everyone is absolutely obsessed with, or adding some big movies to its library that we know we already love, they’re also in the business of creating their own original movies that are then only available on their streaming service.

Their very first original movie was released in 2015 (anyone else remember Beasts Of No Nation?), but we’ve trawled through every original Netflix movie that has arrived in the years since then, and picked out the best 18 of them all.

So, in alphabetical order, we begin with…


2022’s Best International Picture Winner was also a frontrunner for Best Picture overall at the Oscars, and with good reason. An incredibly intense and visceral look at the realities of World War I, through the eyes of one soldier just wanting to survive.


Spike Lee assembles an incredible cast including Delroy Lindo, Jonathan Majors, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Paul Walter Hauser, Jean Reno and Chadwick Boseman to tell this war drama about four Vietnam veterans who return to where their leader was killed, and also to the spot where they buried a fortune in gold decades earlier.


Netflix hasn’t had great luck with action movies (see: 6 Underground, Red Notice, The Gray Man, Interceptor), but these Chris Hemsworth-starring thrillers are head-and-shoulders above the rest in the genre, thanks to its minimal fussing about with plotting, allowing it to dedicate solely on violent, The Raid-esque action sequences.


The sequel to Knives Out relocates genius detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) to the isolated island of a billionaire (Edward Norton) celebrating his birthday with his closest friends… but a murder puts a stop to the festivities. Massively entertaining and immediately rewatchable.


Winner of 2022’s Best Animated Feature at the Oscars, as you’d expect from GDT, this particular retelling of the classic fairy tale is warped, dark and twisted… and all the better for it!


Yes, Scorsese’s crime epic might have been better served as four episodes, each about an hour long, instead of this bum-numbing 210-minute behemoth. But there is still no denying his storytelling prowess, especially when he bolts it to an incredible cast including Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci and Harvey Keitel.


Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut is a powerful, uncomfortable drama that feels like it is performing open-heart surgery on the idea of motherhood, family and generational trauma. Olivia Colman being incredible should come as no surprise, and she’s ably supporting by an incredible supporting cast including Ed Harris, Dakota Johnson, Peter Sarsgaard, Jessie Buckley and Paul Mescal.


The final film appearance of Chadwick Boseman sees him play a talented but egotistical musician, immediately at loggerheads with legendary performer Ma Rainey (Viola Davis), during a recording session of her hit jazz songs. Despite taking place in 1927, the constantly-simmering racial tensions at the centre of the story remain as topical as ever.


Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver are a couple who clearly love each other, but they’re just not suited to be married to each other. That is the simple but impossible central conceit for this equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking comedy drama. Bonus points for a scene-stealing Laura Dern.


One of the best animated movies of all time, with one of the highest jokes-per-minute rates imaginable. The folks behind The LEGO Movie and Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse send us on a apocalyptic road trip with a dysfunctional family, with spot-on voice performances and a huge, heartfelt message at its core. Check out our interview with the movie’s director right here:


Two men (Garrett Hedlund and Jason Mitchell) return from World War II, both changed men, but discover that their home in Mississippi has not changed at all. Incredible performances, brilliantly directed, charged with the impact of racism and social division that, unfortunately, is still all-too-relevant in the States today.


Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga headline Rebecca Hall’s directorial debut, starring as two friends who haven’t seen each in other since high school, and discover they have taken very different paths in their adult lives. An incredibly delicate and stylish drama, bringing out the best in its two incredible leading performers.


An oddly unnerving romantic Western, with an acidic performance by Benedict Cumberbatch as a man who usually evokes fear from those around him, until he meets his brother’s (Jesse Plemons) new wife (Kristen Dunst) and her son (Kodi Smit-McPhee). A web of complicated emotions and relationships begin to weave around this central foursome, with Jane Campion winning the Best Director Oscar for her troubles.


Probably the movie on this list you’ve heard the least about. An author (Kathryn Hahn, proving she’s incredible in everything she’s a part of) undergoes multiple fertility treatments in an attempt to get pregnant, which begins to put her relationship with her husband (Paul Giamatti) to the test. A brilliantly low-key comedic drama.


The movie that made everyone sit up and take notice of the original films that were being made by Netflix, this semi-autobiographical tale by writer/director Alfonso Cuaron about the life of a maid in 1970s Mexico went on to win three Oscars, including Best Director and Best International Feature.


While most of Adam Sandler’s output with Netflix has resulted in some truly horrendous comedies (The Ridiculous 6? The Do-Over? Hubie Halloween??), there have been some exceptions. Uncut Gems is the biggest rule-breaker of them all, a 135-minute long anxiety attack about a New York jeweller trying to make it through the day.


This Ireland-set psychological drama tells the apparently-based-on-a-true-story tale of a nurse (Florence Pugh) who arrives in a small town to investigate the phenomenon of a young girl who claims to have survived four months without eating.

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