Greatest Motion pictures on Netflix Proper Now (November 2020)

Trying to find the best movie to watch on Netflix can be a daunting challenge. We’ve all been there. You’ve decided you’re going to watch something. You have the entirety of Netflix at your disposal, including even a pared down list of films you’ve already bookmarked to watch at a future date. But then there’s the choosing. You’ve gotta find something that fits your mood, or something you and your friend/significant other/couch companion can agree on. You spend hours browsing, and by the time you stumble on something you think maybe is the one, it’s too late, you’re too tired, and indecision has won out.

Never fear, though, because we here at Collider have a guide to help you find the perfect Netflix movies available in the U.S. We’ve thumbed through the library and assembled a list of some of the best films currently available for streaming, from classics to hidden gems to new releases and beyond. This list of the best movies on Netflix is updated weekly with all-new choices, so be sure to return the next time you’re looking for something great to watch.

For even more curated streaming recommendations, check out our lists for the Best TV Shows on Netflix Right Now and Best Movies on Amazon Prime Right Now and Best Horror Movies on Netflix Right Now and Best Sci-Fi Movies on Netflix Right Now and Best TV Shows on Amazon Prime Right Now.

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Easy A

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Image via Screen Gems

Director: Will Gluck

Writer: Bert V. Royal

Cast: Emma Stone, Dan Byrd, Penn Badgley, Amanda Bynes, Thomas Hayden Church, Lisa Kudrow, Cam Gigandet, Patricia Clarkson, and Stanley Tucci

If you’re looking for a teen romcom with wit and charm to spare, 2010’s Easy A is an excellent choice. The story is partially inspired by The Scarlet Letter as Emma Stone plays a charismatic high schooler named Olive who, on a whim, pretends to hook up with a classmate to help hide the fact that he’s gay. This leads to many other classmates coming to her asking her to lie about hooking up in exchange for gifts, leading to a sullied reputation that she embraces a la The Scarlet Letter. Stone is already a movie star in this early film from her career, and the film is surprisingly smart and engaging at every turn. It also features Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson as two of the best movie parents in cinematic history. – Adam Chitwood

Ocean’s Eleven

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Image via Warner Bros.

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Writer: Ted Griffin

Cast: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Carl Reiner, Elliot Gould, Bernie Mac, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Eddie Jemison, and Shaobo Qin

There’s an effortlessly cool vibe to Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Eleven that makes it one of the most rewatchable movies ever made, and while it’s certainly a heist film, it’s also hilarious. Soderbergh’s cast plays the whole thing with a dryness that suits the suave con men looking to rob a Las Vegas casino, and clearly George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, etc. are having a blast. So yes, while Ocean’s Eleven is a thrilling heist movie all its own, it’s also sneakily one of the best films of the 21st century. – Adam Chitwood

Carol

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Image via The Weinstein Company

Director: Todd Haynes

Writer: Phyllis Nagy

Cast: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson, Jake Lacy, and Kyle Chandler

Carol is a sumptuous, sensual love story told with elegance and grace. Based on the book The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith, the film takes place in 1952 Manhattan, where an aspiring photographer (Rooney Mara) crosses paths with a glamorous married woman (Cate Blanchett), the titular Carol. The film explores homosexuality in the mid-20th century, as Carol has a couple decades more experience as a closeted lesbian than this young woman. The two strike up a relationship that is fraught with fear, lust, and true love, and director Todd Haynes captures it all in a way that never feels exploitative. Cinematographer Ed Lachman shoots the film to look like an old photograph or a half-forgotten memory, and before you know it you’ve been swept off your feet. – Adam Chitwood

ParaNorman

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Image via Focus Features

Directors: Sam Fell and Chris Butler

Writer: Chris Butler

Cast: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Casey Affleck, Anna Kendrick, John Goodman, Alex Borstein, Leslie Man, Jeff Garlin, Elaine Stritch, and Tucker Albrizzi

If you’re looking for a fun family movie that’s also genuinely spooky and has a surprising message, I urge you to check out ParaNorman. The stop-motion animated film hails from LAIKA, the same studio behind Coraline and Kubo and the Two Strings, and it’s absolutely one of their best films. It revolves around a young kid named Norman who has the ability to see and speak with the dead, which comes in handy when his small Massachusetts town is overrun by terrifying ghosts. The story draws heavily from iconic 80s movies like The Goonies and E.T. but never feels derivative, and actually carries with it a surprising and emotional message about bullying and anger, and the complexity of emotions that kids can sometimes feel. It’s also just a ton of fun. – Adam Chitwood

Moneyball

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Image via Sony Pictures

Director: Bennett Miller

Writers: Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin

Cast: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Chris Pratt, and Robin Wright

Brad Pitt gives one of the best performances of his career in the 2011 sports drama Moneyball, which went through a fraught development period (Steven Soderbergh was fired from directing three days before shooting was supposed to begin) but came out pretty spectacular on the other end. Based on a true story, Pitt plays Bill Beane, a former baseball player and current general manager of the Oakland Athletics who takes a gamble on using statistics instead of scouts to build his team. Jonah Hill earned an Oscar nomination for his dramatic turn as sabermetrics guru Peter Brand, while Philip Seymour Hoffman is unsurprisingly a scene-stealer as the team’s manager who opposes this abnormal method. Bennett Miller directs the film with a quiet introspection as Beane looks back on his how own past has shaped his best and worst tendencies, and the film works well as a parallel to Pitt’s transition from “Hollywood hunk” to thoughtful performer. As a bonus, the screenplay gets a crackerjack boost from Aaron Sorkin, whose scenes stick out in the best way. – Adam Chitwood

Enola Holmes

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Photo by Alex Bailey/Legendary

Director: Harry Bradbeer

Writer: Jack Thorne

Cast: Millie Bobby Brown, Louis Partridge, Henry Cavill, Sam Claflin, and Helena Bonham Carter

Enola Holmes is one of the best and most charming Netflix original movies released thus far. Based on the book series of the same name by Nancy Springer, the period mystery follows Millie Bobby Brown’s titular character, who is the youngest Holmes sibling and has been raised nearly in solitude by her single mother. But when she awakes one day to find her mother is missing, she takes matters into her own hands and sneaks into London to solve the case. The film is tremendously fun as Enola fearlessly follows leads and hunts for clues, but it’s also a surprisingly touching mother-daughter story with legitimately feminist themes. The script actually takes time to consider what it means to be a woman in a man’s world in a way that’s organic (and important) to the story at hand. It’s one of Brown’s best performances, but Henry Cavill is also a delight as Sherlock Holmes himself. Once the movie ends you’ll be begging for Netflix to make many more sequels. – Adam Chitwood

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

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Image via The Orchard

Director/Writer: Taika Waititi

Cast: Sam Neill, Julian Dennison, Rhys Darby, Rima Te Wiata, and Rachel House

Before Taika Waititi made one of the best MCU movies to date, and before he won an Oscar for Jojo Rabbit, he made a delightful New Zealand adventure movie in which a grumpy Sam Neill is forced to team up with a foul-mouthed child when the two are the target of a manhunt throughout the New Zealand bush. It’s based on an existing book, but in tone and execution Hunt for the Wilderpeople oftentimes feels like an adaptation of a Roald Dahl book we never knew about. It’s delightful and whimsical and a little terrifying, with Waititi’s playful anarchy filling the whole thing out for good measure. This movie is guaranteed to put you in a good mood.

Fargo

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Image via Gramercy Pictures

Director: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

Writers: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

Cast: Frances McDormand, William H. Macy, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare, John Carroll Lynch.

The Coen Brothers are two of the best filmmakers in history, and their darkly comic 1996 crime thriller Fargo is among their multiple masterpieces. Constantly engaging and surprising at every turn, the film is anchored by a stellar performance from Frances McDormand as mild mannered heroine Marge Gunderson. Like any good Coen Brothers film, it’s chock-full of unforgettable characters, but the duo also do some of their best visual work here with more than a few iconic shots populating the film. It’s a mystery, it’s a drama, it’s a comedy—Fargo is a Coen Brothers film through and through. – Adam Chitwood

Lady Bird

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Image via A24 and Merie Wallace

Director/Writer: Greta Gerwig

Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, Timothée Chalamet, Beanie Feldstein, Odeya Rush

I’m so glad Lady Bird exists and that it functions as an announcement that Greta Gerwig is not only a major talent, but also a talent that can go beyond herself. My fear going into Lady Bird was that the movie would be too autobiographical and Gerwig would have unintentionally created a parody of her mumblecore roles. Instead, she provided a film that was personal and specific. It’s a movie that relishes its lived-in relationships while never being exclusionary.

On my first viewing, I found the movie to be a very good example of the coming-of-age dramedy. Upon a repeat viewing, I see it as one of the best examples the genre has to offer. Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf are both amazing as they relish both the highs and lows of their mother-daughter relationship, and watching Lady Bird’s rocky senior year of high school, complete with all the honest missteps a teenager makes, turns Gerwig’s debut into an unforgettable feature. – Matt Goldberg

A Knight’s Tale

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Image via Sony Pictures Releasing

Writer/Director: Brian Helgeland

Cast: Heath Ledger, Paul Bettany, Rufus Sewell, Shannyn Sossamon, Laura Fraser, Alan Tudyk, Mark Addy, Berenice Bejo, James Purefoy

A Knight’s Tale is one of those purely joyful movies that goes down smooth no matter what mood you’re in. Heath Ledger is at the height of his heartthrob phase, unleashing that megawatt charm with, frankly, reckless abandon and showcasing the commanding screen presence that would make him an awards favorite before his untimely death. And he’s surrounded by an ace ensemble, with Paul Bettany, Alan Tudyk, Laura Fraser, and Mark Addy keeping up the comedy while Ledger smacks down the swoons. Writer/director Brian Helgeland reimagines the classic underdog sports tale in the realm of lords, ladies, and jousting knights, positively pumping up the jam with an anachronistic soundtrack full of bops and bangers, from Queen to David Bowie to Heart. If you forgot how good this soundtrack is, do yourself a favor and add it to your playlist asap, but the music doesn’t just objectively own, it further brightens up the spirits of this jovial peak-summer feel-good film, and ramps up the energy of the action scenes. In short, A Knight’s Tale will, in fact, rock you. — Haleigh Foutch

The Back to the Future Trilogy

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Image via Universal Pictures

Director: Robert Zemeckis

Writers: Robert Zemeckis & Bob Gale

Cast: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, and Thomas F. Wilson

Surely one of the most rewatchable movie trilogies of all time, Back to the Future is pure entertainment. The production of the first film was famously difficult, with the recasting of the role of Marty McFly forcing the crew to reshoot much of the film. But in the end, the imagination of Robert Zemeckis shined through, as Back to the Future offers up one of the best time travel movies ever made. This film absolutely soars, mixing nostalgia for the 1950s with a tremendous tinge of sci-fi. The first sequel, Part II, offers a terrific wish-fulfillment view of the future before going back to the 50s in eye-popping fashion, and Part III travels to the Old West to give the franchise the sendoff it deserves. All three are well worth watching pretty much whenever you want to feel joy. – Adam Chitwood

Y Tu Mamá También

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image via IFC Films

Director: Alfonso Cuarón

Writers: Alfonso Cuarón and Carlos Cuarón

Cast: Maribel Verdú, Gael García Bernal, and Diego Luna

Before he made Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban or Children of Men or Gravity, filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón directed the erotic masterpiece Y Tu Mamá También. The Spanish-language coming-of-age drama follows two teenage best friends who go on a road trip with a woman in her late twenties, only to discover much more about each other and themselves. It seems like a trite premise, but the film is lovingly crafted and gorgeously shot by Oscar-winning cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki. Cuarón captures teenage ennui brilliantly, and while this is a “coming-of-age” story, the focus isn’t entirely on the young boys—Maribel Verdú’s chararacter is fully realized as Cuarón explores the anxieties and fears of adulthood, all set against the backdrop of a sunny, sex-filled roadtrip. This is undoubtedly one of the best films of the 21st century so far. – Adam Chitwood

13th

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Image via Netflix

Director: Ava DuVernay

Writers: Spencer Averick and Ava DuVernay

Ava DuVernay follows up her acclaimed film Selma with a searing documentary that looks at the mass incarceration of minorities following the passage of the 13th amendment. As the documentary points out, it’s not just ingrained cultural racism that results in the widespread incarceration of African-Americans and other minorities.  There’s a financial incentive as well, and it’s good business to lock people up.  13th systematically goes through the decades following the passage of the 13th amendment to show how black people were targeted by the media, by the government, and by businesses to create a new form of slavery.  It is a movie that will infuriate you, depress you, and hopefully spur you to action against a system that done egregious harm to our fellow citizens.  – Matt Goldberg

Her

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Image via Warner Bros.

Director/Writer: Spike Jonze

Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Olivia Wilde, and Chris Pratt

Filmmaker Spike Jonze’s 2013 film Her garnered a few snickers when the premise was revealed: A story of a man who falls in love with his operating system. But when folks got a look at the film, they weren’t laughing. Her is one of the best films of the decade—a deeply felt, gorgeous, heartbreaking story of love, loneliness, and what it means to be a human on the planet Earth. Joaquin Phoenix delivers a phenomenal lead performance, and Scarlett Johansson is magnificent in the voice role of Samantha. The cinematography by Hoye van Hoytema is warm and inviting, the score by Arcade Fire is immensely moving. This is a film that’s pretty much perfect from top to bottom, and by the end you my find yourself in a puddle of tears over just how darn beautiful the whole thing is. Do yourself a favor and give Her a shot. – Adam Chitwood

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

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Image via Sony

Directors: Bob Perischetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman

Writers: Phil Lord, Rodney Rothman

Cast: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Brian Tyree Henry, Lily Tomlin, Zoe Kravitz, John Mulaney, Kimiko Glenn, Nicolas Cage, Kathryn Hahn, Liev Schreiber

“Anyone can wear the mask.” That’s the theme of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which makes it not just one of the most inspiring superhero movies ever made, but also one of the most important. While the film’s protagonist is Miles Morales, a mixed race high school student living in New York City who gets bit by a spider and gains superpowers, the movie expands the world into a “multi-verse” as various Spider-People from other dimensions come into Miles’ life. Spider-Gwen, Spider-Ham, Spider-Man Noir all have different backgrounds and motivations, but they all rose above adversity to become the hero their world needed. The crux of the film is the relationship between Miles, who’s not yet ready to lead, and an alternate universe Peter Parker, who’s going through a mid-life crisis and reluctantly mentors the young, new Spidey. It’s an endearing, hilarious, and touching the relationship, and the film is packed with themes of friendship, heroism, and family that make it a tremendously positive viewing experience for youngsters. – Adam Chitwood

Midnight Special

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Image via Warner Bros.

Director/Writer: Jeff Nichols

Cast: Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver, Sam Shepard, and Jaeden Martell

If you’re into grounded, indie sci-fi movies you’ll want to check out Midnight Special. This underrated 2016 film takes place in Texas and follows a father (Michael Shannon) who is forced to go on the run with his son (Jaeden Martell) when it turns out his son has special powers. Chased down by both the government and a cult, the bond between father and son is tested in various ways. Adam Driver plays an NSA communications analyst who has his own vested interest in the boy, and while this sounds like the plot of a superhero movie, Nichols approaches the material in an extremely realistic and grounded manner. It’s a Sundance movie with stunning performances and minimalist visual effects, putting a heavy focus on character over plot twists or giant set pieces. And Shannon gives a deeply soulful turn as the boy’s father. – Adam Chitwood

Wildlife

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Image via IFC Films

Director: Paul Dano

Writers: Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan

Cast: Carey Mulligan, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ed Oxenbould, and Bill Camp

The 2018 directorial debut of actor Paul Dano is a handsomely crafted and emotionally overwhelming chronicle of a marriage falling apart, all seen through the eyes of the couple’s young boy. Based on the book of the same name by Richard Ford, Wildlife takes place in 1960 and follows a couple (Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal) and their teenage son as they move to Montana. Shortly after arriving, the father loses his job and is forced to take the only work he can – going off and fighting wildfires, leaving his wife and son behind to fend for themselves. Mulligan gives a quietly devastating performance as a single mother doing her best, and Gyllenhaal brings a seething intensity to the role of a man trying to hide his shame. Dano directs the whole thing with the care and confidence of a veteran auteur (his handle on shot composition is truly stunning), and the screenplay by Dano and Kazan is assured and poetic. This is a deeply emotional and mature family drama that proves Dano is the real-deal behind the camera, and it’s also lowkey one of the best films of the last few years. – Adam Chitwood

Pride and Prejudice

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Image via Focus Features

Director: Joe Wright

Writer: Deborah Moggach

Cast: Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfadyen, Brenda Blethyn, Donald Sutherland, Tom Hollander, Rosamund Pike, Jena Malone, and Judi Dench

The classic Jane Austen novel Pride and Prejudice has been adapted many, many, many times, but it’s entirely possible that Joe Wright’s 2005 film is the best ever. Keira Knightley leads the film as Elizabeth Bennet, a headstrong young woman who strikes up a hot-and-cold relationship with the enigmatic Mr. Darcy (played by Succession’s Matthew Macfadyen). The cinematography and production design are absolutely lush, and Dario Marianelli’s score is beautiful and vibrant, but it’s Wright’s actors that really make this thing soar and the chemistry between Knightley and Macfadyen is absolutely tremendous. – Adam Chitwood

How to Train Your Dragon 2

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Image via DreamWorks Animation

Director/Writer: Dean DeBlois

Cast: Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller, Kristen Wiig, Djimon Hounsou, and Kit Harington

The best film in the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy is also the most emotional one. The 2014 sequel How to Train Your Dragon 2 takes place five years after the events of the first film and finds Hiccup coming into contact with his long-lost mother (played by Cate Blanchett) and battling a madman (Djimon Hounsou) who wants to take over the world. Compassion and empathy are prominent themes in this “kids movie” that may or may not leave parents in puddles of tears by its end. It’s a testament to Dean DeBlois’s filmmaking skills (with an assist by cinematographer Roger Deakins) that this movie is as great as it is, and as a bonus you get a truly wonderful score by composer John Powell. – Adam Chitwood

Nightcrawler

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Image via Open Road Films

Director/Writer: Dan Gilroy

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Riz Ahmed, Rene Russo, and Bill Paxton

An utterly dark yet compelling thriller in the vein of Taxi Driver, the 2014 film Nightcrawler features one of Jake Gyllenhaal’s best performances ever. He plays an odd and hungrily ambitious freelance photographer named Lou who goes to grotesque lengths to capture exclusive footage of grisly crime scenes in Los Angeles. Riz Ahmed is heartbreaking as Lou’s assistant and Rene Russo gives an Oscar-worthy performance as the morning news director at a local station. If you’re into dark thrillers with standout performances, give this one a watch. – Adam Chitwood

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