The 19 Best Movies on Netflix Right Now (September 2020)

Sit back, relax, and hit play; it doesn't get any better than this

Netflix is the proverbial 800-pound gorilla of the streaming game with nearly 4,000 titles available to stream, and new ones being added all the time. That's a lot of content! We screened hundreds of movies to pull these entertainment gems out of the rough, including entries in various genres, Netflix originals, and brand new titles on the service.

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Class of '83 (2020): Best Hindi-Language Crime Drama

Bobby Deol in Class of '83


IMDb rating: 6.4

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller

Starring: Bobby Deol, Vishwajeet Pradhan, Anup Soni

Director: Atul Sabharwal

Motion Picture Rating: TV-14

Running Time: 98 minutes

Class of '83 is based on a book by the same name by crime journalist Hussain Zaidi. Set in 1980s Bombay, a former cop (Booby Deol) seeks to clean up the corruption in the force when he takes over as dean of the police academy. Can he work within the system to change it?

This Hindi-language crime drama is a Netflix exclusive. It paints an accurate picture of the time period and serves as an inspirational tale about being the change you want to be in the world.

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Les Misérables (2012): Best Musical Adaptation on Netflix

Les Misérables 2012 promotional image

Universal Pictures 

IMDb rating: 7.6

Genre: Drama, History, Musical

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway

Director: Tom Hooper

Motion Picture Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 158 minutes

One of the most famous musicals of the modern era, Les Misérables was originally based on Victor Hugo's 1862 novel. It's the story of Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman), who is on the run for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister. His brush with the law results in a political transformation, and he eventually gets swept up in the Paris Uprising of 1832.

Whether you've seen the play or not, the movie is worth a watch. With a powerhouse cast and iconic soundtrack, it's no wonder that the film took home three Golden Globe Awards, four British Academy Film Awards, and numerous Oscar nominations.

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Septembers of Shiraz (2015): Best 20th Century Historical Drama

Selma Hayek in Septembers of Shiraz

 Momentum Pictures


IMDb rating: 6.1

Genre: Thriller

Starring: Salma Hayek, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Adrien Brody

Director: Wayne Blair

Motion Picture Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 110 minutes

Based on a 2007 novel by Dalia Sofer, Septembers of Shiraz takes place in Iran during the 1979 revolution. In the early months of the uprising, a Jewish scientist named Isaac Amin (Adrien Brody) is imprisoned and stripped of his fortune. After enduring torture, he is released from prison and allowed to flee with his wife (Selma Hayek). You won't learn much about the history of Iran, but it's a nice tale about the perseverance of the human spirit.

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1BR (2019): Best Horror Movie About Evil Apartments

Nicole Brydon Bloom in 1BR

Dark Sky Films

IMDb rating: 5.8

Genre: Drama, Horror, Thriller

Starring: Nicole Brydon Bloom, Giles Matthey, Taylor Nichols

Director: David Marmor

Motion Picture Rating: Not Rated

Running Time: 90 minutes

Sarah's (Nicole Brydon Bloom) new Hollywood apartment seems a little too good to be true. Her neighbors are welcoming, and the guy next door (Clayton Hoff) takes an immediate liking to her. However, when night time comes, she hears disturbing noises that no one else seems to notice. What exactly is going on in her new home?

1BR relies more on subtle tension than violence and gore to scare audiences. Most of the action takes place in a single building, creating a claustrophobic mood.

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Night Comes On (2018): Best Intense Emotional Thriller With a Young Cast

Dominique Fishback in Night Comes On

 Samuel Goldwyn Films


IMDb rating: 6.6

Genre: Drama

Starring: Dominique Fishback, Jill Rene, Tatum Marilyn Hall

Director: Jordana Spiro

Motion Picture Rating: Not Rated

Running Time: 86 minutes

After getting released from juvenile detention on her 18th birthday, Angel LaMere (Dominique Fishback) vows to take care of her 10-year-old sister and avenge their mother's death. The emotionally gripping plot and energetic young cast will have you hooked until the grisly final scene.

Night Comes On is available to watch on Netflix starting August 27.

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Lingua Franca (2019): Best LGBT Themed Film About Immigration in America

Isabel Sandoval in Lingua Franca

 JHR Films

IMDb rating: 6.4

Genre: Drama

Starring: Isabel Sandoval, Eamon Farren, Lynn Cohen

Director: Isabel Sandoval

Motion Picture Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 89 minutes

An undocumented transwoman named Olivia (Isabel Sandoval) takes a job in New York taking care of an elderly Russian woman. Unable to obtain legal status, she begins to pursue a relationship with the woman's grandson (Eamon Farren)

Lingua Franca is a semi-autobiographical story from director and lead actress Sandoval. Featuring an original script and relevant themes, it's likely to present a fresh perspective to audiences.

Lingua Franca is available to watch on Netflix starting August 26.

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John Was Trying to Contact Aliens (2020): Best Short Documentary About UFOs

John Shepherd in John Was Trying to Contact Aliens


IMDb rating: 6.1

Genre: Documentary, Short, Biography

Starring: John Shepherd, John Litrenta

Director: Matthew Killip

Motion Picture Rating: TV-PG

Running Time: 16 minutes

Need to watch something short and sweet? Check out this documentary about John Shepherd, a man who spent 30 years trying to communicate with extraterrestrials by broadcasting music into outer space. Unfortunately, he never found aliens, but he did make an unexpected human connection.

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Jurassic Park (1993): Best Cautionary Tale About Messing With Mother Nature

Sam Neil faces off with a T-Rex in Jurassic Park

 Universal Pictures

IMDb rating: 8.1

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Starring: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum

Director: Steven Spielberg

Motion Picture Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 127 minutes

Over two decades after it's first theoretical run, Jurassic Park still holds up, perhaps even better than its recent sequels. Through a combination of giant animatronics and novel computer animation techniques, the film captures the majesty of our prehistoric ancestors on a scale that was previously unimaginable.

Arguably Steven Spielberg's best movie, Jurassic Park won three Oscars for its groundbreaking special effects. Along with Jurassic Park III, a new spin-off series called Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous also comes to Netflix in August.

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Being John Malkovich (1999): Best Existential Postmodern Dark Comedy

John Cusack in Being John Malkovich

 USA Films

IMDb rating: 7.7

Genre: Drama, Comedy, Fantasy

Starring:  John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener

Director: Spike Jonze

Motion Picture Rating: R

Running Time: 97 minutes

In this exceptionally cerebral comedy, an unemployed puppeteer (John Cusack) has a change of luck when he discovers a door leading directly to the mind of real-life actor John Malkovich. That concept is strange enough on its own, but things get even weirder when Malkovich himself goes through the door.

Being John Malkovich received three Oscar nominations for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actress in 1999. More than 20 years later, there really isn't anything else quite like it.

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The Perfection: Best Romantic Psychological Thriller With LGBT Characters

Logan Browning and Allison Williams play violin in The Perfection

IMDb Rating: 6.1

Genre: Drama, Horror, Thriller

Starring: Allison Williams, Logan Browning, Alaina Huffman

Director: Richard Shepard

TV Rating: TV-MA

Running Time: 90 minutes

In the beginning, The Perfection appears to be a sweet story about a budding relationship between two young musicians named Lizzie (Logan Browning) and Charlotte (Allison Williams). However, things quickly go from cute to creepy when Lizzie begins having disturbing hallucinations about bugs crawling under her skin.

The horror genre is notorious for lacking complex LGBT characters, so The Perfection feels like a breath of fresh air in that regard. If you're not a fan of horror, though, you should definitely skip this one.

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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004): Best Thought Proviking Sci-Fi Romance Story

Kim Carey and Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Focus Features

IMDb rating: 8.3

Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Romance

Starring: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Tom Wilkinson

Director: Michel Gondry

Motion Picture Rating: R

Running Time: 108 minutes

After a falling out, ex-lovers Joel (Jim Carrey) and Clementine (Kate Winslet) have their memories of each other erased, only to end back together. The sci-fi love story unfolds in a nonlinear fashion, exploring the growing complexities of relationships over time.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind received an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, and Kate Winslet was nominated for Best Actress. Today, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind could pass for an average episode of Black Mirror, but it was quite innovative for its time.

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Ocean's 13 (2007): Best Comedic Heist Movie With an All-Star Cast

Promotional poster for Ocean's 13

 Warner Bros

IMDb rating: 6.9

Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller

Starring: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Motion Picture Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 122 minutes

Criminal mastermind Danny Ocean (George Clooney) is back with his team of bandits for yet another dirty job. This time, their out for vengeance against a corrupt casino owner who double-crossed one of Ocean's friends. Of course, they plan to get revenge by scamming the scammer and stealing his profits for their own gain.

Ocean's 13 didn't get as much attention as the first two entries in the trilogy, but if you enjoyed those movies, you'll get a kick out of this one. While neither Julia Roberts nor Catherine Zeta-Jones return to their respective roles from the previous films, you'll notice new familiar faces like Al Pacino and Ellen Barkin.

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The NeverEnding Story (1984): Best Family Film Set in a Fantasy World

Promotional poster for The NeverEnding Story

 Warner Bros

IMDb rating: 7.4

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Family

Starring: Noah Hathaway, Barret Oliver, Tami Stronach

Director: Wolfgang Petersen

Motion Picture Rating: PG

Running Time: 102 minutes

In The NeverEnding Story, a young boy (Noah Hathaway) who recently lost his mother finds solace in a fantasy book. The deeper he gets into the story, the more the fictional world starts seeping into reality.

The NeverEnding Story is a classic family flick that features amazing animatronics and early use of CGI. While some of the human performances come off as hokey, you'll likely never forget giant creatures like the Rock Eater or Falkor the Luck Dragon.

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Into the Spider-verse (2018): Best Animated Super Hero Gut Punch

Into the Spider-Verse

Sony Pictures Entertainment

IMDb rating: 8.4

Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure

Starring:  Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld

Director: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey

Motion Picture Rating: PG

Running Time: 117 minutes

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse isn't just the best animated super hero movie on Netflix right now. There's a strong argument that it might be the best Spider-Man movie ever, animated or otherwise. The animation might seem jarring at first, but that's intentional, so stick it out. The overall effect, once you get used to it, is visually stunning.

Beyond technical excellence, Into the Spider-Verse tells a gripping story on a few different levels. As a familiar Spider-Man (Chris Pine) fades away, teenage Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) rises to take his place, and a glut of other web-slingers from other worlds descend on New York. This is Miles' story though, and it's a beautifully-told gut punch that weaves themes of family and responsibility into a truly great superhero film.

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District 9 (2009): Best Darkly Comedic Sci-Fi Apartheid Allegory

District 9


IMDb rating: 7.9

Genre: Sci-fi, Action, Thriller, Dark Humor

Starring: Sharlto Copley, David James, Jason Cope

Director:  Neill Blomkamp

Motion Picture Rating: R

Running Time: 112 minutes

District 9 looks like a by-the-numbers Sci-Fi action flick on the surface, but you're in for a big surprise if that's all you expect when you hit play. Telling the story of troubled aliens that have been swept up into a South African ghetto, and are now in the process of being moved off that land to make room for development, District 9 is highly informed by director Neill Blomkamp's childhood spend under apartheid.

While District 9 is a perfectly serviceable Sci-Fi thriller, with all the right parts in all the right places, it has a lot to say about subjects like apartheid, immigration, segregation, and humanity that are just as relevant now as they were when the movie came out.

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Uncut Gems (2019): Best Adam Sandler Vehicle That Will Make You Uncomfortably Anxious

Uncut Gems


IMDb rating: 7.5

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller

Starring: Adam Sandler, Julia Fox, Idina Menzel 

Director: Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie

Motion Picture Rating: R

Running Time: 135 minutes

Uncut Gems is the latest Adam Sandler flick to stream exclusively on Netflix, and it's also the most worth watching. This movie can be difficult to stomach at times, and everything from the overly loud Daniel Lopatin score to characters that perpetually shout over one another seems designed to put the viewer on edge, but it's an unforgettable roller coaster ride if you can manage to hang on to the end.

The story follows dirtbag diamond hustler Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler) as he makes a series of increasingly frustrating decisions. He's a gambling addict who seems to always have a plan to hit big, but with predictable results. Things heat up when basketball star Kevin Garnett (Kevin Garnett) takes a shine to Howard's million dollar opal, and Howard quickly descends into a self-destructive whirlwind that will have you holding your breath all the way through.

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Silence of the Lambs (1991): Best Psychological Horror Served With Fava Beans and Chianti

Silence of the Lambs


IMDb rating: 8.6

Genre: Thriller, Crime, Drama

Starring: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Lawrence A. Bonney

Director: Jonathan Demme

Motion Picture Rating: R

Running Time: 118

In this nail-biting thriller, junior FBI agent Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) plays an increasingly uncomfortable game of cat and mouse with convicted cannibal Doctor Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) in the hopes that the imprisoned killer will help her track down the deadly serial killer known as Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine). Lecter agrees to help Starling if she will assist in his transfer to a different facility, and the game is on.

Silence of the Lambs is one of those films that has wormed its way into the collective pop culture consciousness so deep that you're likely to recognize certain lines and scenes even if you've never seen it. It took home five academy awards out of seven nominations, including best picture, best actor, and best actress, and all well deserved.

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Pan's Labyrinth (2006): Most Bewitching Fairy Tale For Adults

Pan's Labyrinth

Warner Bros.

IMDb rating: 8.2

Genre: Fantasy, Drama

Starring: Ivana Baquero, Ariadna Gil, Sergi López

Director: Guillermo del Toro

Motion Picture Rating: R

Running Time: 118

This mutation of the Alice in Wonderland mythos is a fairy tale that's definitely not for kids, if the rating wasn't enough of a clue. Director Guillermo del Toro brings us a visually arresting world, seamlessly entwining an overgrown mythical labyrinth with a real world rooted firmly in post-civil war Spain. It won three Oscars and dozens of other awards.

Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) is the young step-daughter of a cruel officer in the fascist Falange regime (Sergi López). Faced with a terrible reality, she retreats into a world populated by fantastic creatures, such as a demonic faun, and a creature with eyes in the palms of its hands, but Ofelia's fantasy world is mirrored darkly by the real world.

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Dolemite is My Name (2019): Best Over-the-Top Biopic

Eddie Murphy in Dolemite is My Name.


IMDb rating: 7.3

Genre: Biography, comedy, drama

Starring: Eddie Murphy, Keegan-Michael Key, Mike Epps, Wesley Snipes

Director: Craig Brewer

Motion Picture Rating: R

Running Time: 118 minutes

This Netflix-exclusive biopic biopic introduces Rudy Ray Moore (Eddie Murphy) as a struggling comedian, and it catches fire as he creates the titular Dolemite character, puts out a successful comedy record, and subsequently gets in way over his head attempting to finance and produce a movie. Murphy is fantastic in the role of Moore, capturing both the bombastic nature of the Dolemite character and Moore's more human moments when he doffs the wig and homburg hat.

Along the way he picks up a fantastic supporting cast of characters, including a writer (Keegan Michael Key), a co-star and protege (Da'Vine Joy Randolph), and a director and antagonist (Wesley Snipes). Snipes in particular turns in a delightfully over the top performance as he attempts to hold together the ramshackle production.