The 15 Best Movies on Netflix Right Now (July 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.

01
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Dolemite is My Name (2019): Best Over-the-Top Biopic

Eddie Murphy in Dolemite is My Name.

Netflix

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.

02
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Kung Fu Hustle (2004): Best Love Letter to Wuxia Cinema

Kung Fu Hustle

Sony Pictures Entertainment

IMDb rating: 7.7

Genre: Action, Comedy, Fantasy

Starring:  Stephen Chow, Wah Yuen, Qiu Yuen

Director: Stephen Chow

Motion Picture Rating: R

Running Time: 99 minutes

Kung Fu Hustle is the story of would-be gangster Sing (Stephen Chow) as he attempts to become a villain, having decided as a child that good guys never win. The story here is of secondary importance though, as Chow pens an over-the-top love letter to Wuxia cinema as a whole.

This film is as much a comedy as it is a Kung Fu action flick, consistently raising the stakes with over-the-top set pieces and colorful characters. From the grumpy Landlady (Qiu Yuen), who stomps around Pig Sty Alley with curlers in her hair and a cigarette hanging off her lip, to the stylish, suited, axe-wielding Brother Sum and his Axe Gang, the characters are as fun and cartoonish as the high-flying Wuxia-inspired action.

03
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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 super hero film.

04
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Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986): Best Cult Classic Teen Comedy

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Paramount 

IMDb rating: 7.8

Genre: Comedy

Starring: Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara

Director: John Hughes

Motion Picture Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 103 minutes

The setup of this classic John Hughes comedy is pretty simple. Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) doesn't want to go to school, and he ropes his best friend Cameron (Alan Ruck) and girlfriend Sloane (Mia Sara) into his truancy scheme, breaking the fourth wall frequently to narrate their antics as they explore the city of Chicago.

Of course, it can't be that simple. Principal Rooney (Jeffrey Jones) knows Ferris is up to no good and sets out to catch him, and Ferris' sister (Jennifer Grey) is dealing with her own problems. This movie is full of classic moments that you're probably familiar with even if you haven't seen it, like Ben Stein's monotone economics lecture and repetitive call of "Bueller... Bueller..."

05
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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.

06
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E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982): Best Sci-Fi Adventure For the Whole Family

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

 Amblin Entertainment

IMDb rating: 7.8

Genre: Sci-fi, Family

Starring: Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Peter Coyote

Director: Steven Spielberg

Motion Picture Rating: PG

Running Time: 115 minutes

If you're looking for a fun adventure the whole family can enjoy, E.T. The Extraterrestrial is the best game in town. This movie tells the story of young Elliott (Henry Thomas), who finds a peculiar creature in his family's shed. The creature turns out to be an alien who wants nothing more than to phone home so his people can retrieve him, and Elliott sets out on the adventure of a lifetime to keep his new friend safe.

Featuring a soaring John Williams score, unforgettable set pieces like the moonlight bike ride, and an early performance by Drew Barrymore as Elliott's sister, this feel-good sci-fi adventure is a nostalgia machine. It should come as no surprise that it was nominated for nine Oscars, of which it walked away with four.

07
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Back to the Future (1985): Best Time-Traveling Science Fiction Comedy Adventure Flick

Back to the Future

Amblin 

IMDb rating: 8.5

Genre: Sci-fi, Comedy, Adventure

Starring: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson

Director: Robert Zemeckis

Motion Picture Rating: PG

Running Time: 116 minutes

Back to the Future has it all: time travel, an adventurous score by Alan Silvestri, a Delorean, and a name that doesn't really make any sense until the sequel. That sequel, of course, is also available on Netflix, along with the old-west themed final film in the trilogy, so why not set up a marathon?

The first, and best, the entry in the trilogy sees hot-headed Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox), meet up with mad scientist Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) and then ride a time machine (conveniently built into a Delorean) thirty years into the past. Trapped in the past, McFly struggles to make sure his parents get together, clashes with his father's bully, and even accidentally introduces Chuck Berry to the world a few years too early.

08
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Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012): Best Coming-of-Age Tear-Jerker

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

 Mr. Mudd / Summit Entertainment

IMDb rating: 8.0

Genre: Drama, Romance

Starring: Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller

Director: Stephen Chbosky

Motion Picture Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 103

This coming-of-age teen drama seems custom-built to tug on the old heartstrings. It's also also likely to be a nostalgia-bomb if you're a millennial who was coming-of-age anywhere between 1999 when the eponymous book came out and the release of the movie in 2012, or a mostly unknown hidden gem if you aren't.

The story here is centered on Charlie (Logan Lerman), a high school freshman who suffers from anxiety, depression, and painful shyness. It sees him make a few friends in seniors Patrick (Ezra Miller) and Sam (Emma Watson), who introduce him to a whole new world of experiences he'd never seen. This movie is dripping with teenage angst, and if you aren't immune to such things, it's a bit of a tear-jerker as well.

09
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Silence of the Lambs (1991): Best Psychological Horror Served With Fava Beans and Chianti

Silence of the Lambs

MGM

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.

10
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Groundhog Day (1993): Best Mind-Bending Romantic Comedy

Groundhog Day

 Columbia Pictures

IMDb rating: 8.0

Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

Starring: Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott

Director: Harold Ramis

Motion Picture Rating: PG

Running Time: 101 minutes

Groundhog Day is a delightful romantic comedy that sees weatherman Phil Connors (Bill Murray) trapped in a time loop. Traveling to the sleepy little town of Punxsutawney with his producer Rita Hanson (Andie MacDowell) and film crew, Phil is unpleasant, cranky, rude, and extremely vocal about not wanting to be there.

Murray turns in a fantastic performance as Phil deals with the time loop: committing crimes, learning new skills, and eventually trying to romance Rita Hansen. The romance is mostly on Phil's end, as Rita's memory is reset every morning along with everyone else in town, but she still manages to slowly mold him into a better person.

11
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Room (2015): Most Harrowing Indie Drama

Room (2015)

A24

 

IMDb rating: 8.1

Genre: Drama, Thriller

Starring: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Sean Bridgers

Director: Lenny Abrahamson

Motion Picture Rating: R

Running Time: 118 minutes

Room is a movie that can be a bit of a hard watch, and it isn't for everyone. It deals with some very heavy subject matter, and it opens with main characters Joy Newsome (Brie Larson) and her son Jack (Jacon Tremblay) as the captives of a man they refer to as Old Nick (Sean Bridgers.)

Joy and Jack live in a small shed they call Room, and Jack has never seen the outside world. For Jack, Room is the entire world. When their captor is eventually arrested, Joy and Jack are forced to deal with the world outside Room, with all the horrors and wonders that entails. Brie took home an Oscar for Best Actress, and the film was showered with various other awards.

12
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Uncut Gems (2019): Best Adam Sandler Vehicle That Will Make You Uncomfortably Anxious

Uncut Gems

 Netflix

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.

13
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District 9 (2009): Best Darkly Comedic Sci-Fi Apartheid Allegory

District 9

TriStar 

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.

14
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Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981): Best Tomb-Raiding Fantasy Action Adventure Flick

Raiders of the Last Ark

Paramount

IMDb rating: 8.4

Genre: Action, Adventure

Starring: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman

Director: Steven Spielberg

Motion Picture Rating: PG

Running Time: 115 minutes

The Indiana Jones franchise was conceived as George Lucas' love letter to the Saturday matinee adventure serials of his childhood, and Raiders of the Lost Ark is a nearly pitch perfect effort. Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is a history professor by day, but he spends the bulk of his time delving ancient ruins, fighting Nazis, and even sneaking in a bit of romance wherever he can.

Raiders of the Lost Ark took home a whopping five Oscars out of nine nominations, and it's the strongest entry in the franchise. The whole thing is actually available on Netflix though, so why not load up your own day-long Saturday matinee at home?

15
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Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018): Best Star Wars Movie That Isn't On Disney+

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Disney

IMDb rating: 6.9

Genre: Action, Sci-fi

Starring:  Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover

Director: Ron Howard

Motion Picture Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 135 minutes

Jonesing for your Star Wars fix, but you don't have a Disney+ subscription? The good news is that there's one hold out that hasn't yet fled Netflix for Disney's own streamer. It's Solo: A Star Wars Story, and it's the only game in town unless you're looking to jump ship from Netflix to Disney's streaming service.

Solo follows a young Han Solo (Harrison Ford) long before we met him in A New Hope, and it's essentially 135 minutes of fan service. It features fan favorites like Chewie (Joonas Suotamo) and Lando (Donald Glover), and introduces newcomers like Han's would-be mentor Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson). This may not be the best Star Wars movie, but it is a fun ride, and it's your only option on Netflix.