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We’re always looking for new movies to watch. We trek to theaters on the weekends seeking the latest feature Hollywood has to offer. We subscribe to streaming services like Netflix in order to have the best films at our fingertips. It can get overwhelming, at times, choosing the right movie to watch. So many films, so little time.
Cinema Blend – as always – is here to help. We have scoured the land to find the best movies on Netflix. You could click off this list and watch any of these movies streaming right now. How did we choose the films? This list was constructed by combining the IMDB Top 300 movies and the Rotten Tomatoes Top 100 Movies into one master list. We then checked each one to see if it was available to stream. In theory, this means we have a list that represents both critical opinion and common moviegoer opinion. These are the Best Movies On Netflix Right Now.
What are you waiting for? Start watching some amazing movies, starting with:
12 Angry Men12 Angry Men is a film that defines the word "timeless." The themes of racial prejudice and its influence in the judicial system are themes that Sidney Lumet pioneered in the era of the film’s release, but have grown stronger with each remake the film has encountered. Its message of fair trial by jury above all, no matter who’s on trial, is something that still resonates to this day. While there are several versions, the 1957 version with Henry Fonda and Jack Klugman is the one you should watch, as it’s just that damned good of a film and ensemble to experience for the first time.
Airplane!You know how they say, "they don’t make ‘em like they used to" when it comes to certain films? Airplane! is one of those movies: partly because it’s spoofing a film franchise that practically no one remembers at this point, and partially because most films that attempt this machine gun approach to humor fall flat on their faces. It helps that straight men Leslie Nielsen, Robert Stack, and Lloyd Bridges are all in on the joke, but Robert Hays and Julie Hagerty provide a hysterically sweet center to the film as star crossed lovers who were torn apart by the very thing that pulled them apart: airplane related trauma!
All About EveAll About Eve was nominated for fourteen Academy Awards, but that’s somehow less impressive than saying four of its female stars were nominated in the acting categories: two for Leading Actress and two for Supporting Actress. None of them won, likely because they split the votes, but the nominations themselves are evidence enough of how thoroughly brilliant the acting is here. In fact, it’s almost as good as the screenplay by Joseph L Mankiewicz, which follows the tumultuous relationship between a female starlet and those around her.
AmelieThe best part about Amelie isn’t any specific plot point or even a random conversation. It’s the quirky and whimsical energy the romantic comedy is able to build up. Using vibrant settings, unusual characters and plenty of cuts, the film is able to build a pace, momentum and overall feel all its own. Amelie isn’t the type of movie one would ever forget. It’s filled with too much heart and too much eccentricity for that. So, love it or hate it, everyone should experience the manic, strange film for themselves.
Amores PerrosOften described as "the Mexican Pulp Fiction," Amores Perros introduced the cinematic community to Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Babel, Biutiful) and launched what became known as his "Death Trilogy." While dogs – and dog fighting – are important to the three stories told in Amores Perros, the dingy and hard-hitting narratives have more to so with the concept of loyalty, and how betrayal runs through the characters’ plotlines. Though rough around the edges, Amores Perros announces a vibrant filmmaker with a powerful voice, one eager to intro the world to his rarely-seen corner of Mexico.
Anatomy of a MurderOtto Preminger’s engrossing legal thriller Anatomy of a Murder lands on this list for the respect it commands equally from critics and attorneys. Many (OK, most) consider it the greatest, most accurate courtroom depiction put on film, with an acute ear for criminal proceedings and for the authentic, common people whose lives often hang in the balance of a trial. It boldly goes after taboo subjects of rape and murder, treating them with a refreshing, black-and-white clarity. When it comes to the legal tensions of the courtroom-drama genre, few –if any – are more riveting than Preminger’s Oscar-nominated masterpiece.
Annie HallWoody Allen's brand of neurosis is not for everyone, but Annie Hall seems to be the most accessible for those who even barely tolerate his schtick. Diane Keaton's titular character provides a comedic counterpart that those who can’t identify with Allen’s nerdy antics, but her chemistry with Woody Allen’s Alvy helps even those most removed from his brand of humor find something to laugh about. Any good relationship has two sides to it, and any good relationship movie (like Annie Hall) can show both sides and laugh equally at them. If all else fails, it has that really funny sequence where Alvy silences a pretentious critic by breaking the fourth wall and introducing said critic to the artist they were criticizing. Now there’s something we all can agree is funny.
The ApartmentBilly Wilder appears twice on this list, and both films of his represent the two genres he did the best: comedy and noir drama. In the case of The Apartment, Wilder’s sensibilities give Jack Lemmon’s C.C. Baxter a lovable disposition and a not so lovable scenario, as his apartment is the designated spot for executive affairs. Yet with everything that’s thrown at him to compensate his reluctant compliance, the one thing he wants in life is the companionship of Shirley MacLaine. With a touch of darkness to itself, The Apartment knows when to play the right cards and when to "shut up and deal."
Apocalypse NowIt nearly killed director Francis Ford Coppola and his entire cast and crew making the war epic Apocalypse Now, but in honest recollection the whole thing seems absolutely worth it. Set during the U.S. conflict in Vietnam, the movie tells the story of an army captain Bejamin L. Willard (Martin Sheen), as he travels with a small platoon trying to hunt down U.S. Army Special Forces Colonel Walter E. Kurtz (Marlon Brando), who has gone utterly and completely out of his mind. With its film is easily not only one of the best films of the 20th century, but also one of the most important. If you’re not sold on Apocalypse Now by the time the napalm drops to the tune of "This is the End" by The Doors in the first scene, then I don’t know how to help you.
The Avengers (2012)One of the younger entries on the list, The Avengers only proves how good of an overall film it is by maintaining a spot this high for two years after its initial release. Of course, this could speak to the tastes of cineastes of today versus yesterday, but the fact still remains that The Avengers is Joss Whedon’s way of bringing back the classic blockbuster. You can laugh, you can feel, and you can root for someone’s ass to be kicked into another dimension… all in the same movie. Also, this is a good movie to keep on hand for a refresher every time a new Marvel movie comes to theaters.
Battleship PotemkinYou’ll notice that most of the titles featured on this list were released within the last three decades except director Sergei M. Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin, having been released all the way back in 1925. Made just a few years after the Russian Revolution and the fall of the Tsarist autocracy, the movie is in many ways a propaganda film but also an important historical landmark. Admittedly the pacing is a bit slow for modern audiences, but the truth is a truly spectacular bit of filmmaking, the most well-renowned scene being the famous "Odessa Steps" sequence, which is packed with some of the most shocking, emotional moments you’ve seen on the big screen.
The Bicycle ThiefFor anyone who has ever searched for the perfect film, Vittorio De Sica's tragic drama recounts the struggles of a father and son as they try to retrieve their missing transportation, a bike that assists father Antonio in his struggles at work, putting food on the table for his family. He learns to bond with son Bruno as they search for the missing cycle, but as the time passes, it becomes a Neo-Realist tragedy, the inevitable and agonizing loss of hope. The more modern revision to "The Bicycle Thieves" maybe too-specifically implicates the audience, particularly in regards to those heartbreaking final ten minutes. Knowing the film as The Bicycle Thief restores much of the poetry of De Sica's timeless classic.
BraveheartMel Gibson was a star long before Braveheart took its nearly three hour runtime to more than $200,000 at the box office, but to many, this was the film that turned him into MEL GIBSON. Even with a dazzling supportin cast, Gibson’s William Wallace carries the film on his back and even directs the hell out of it. In fact, a case could probably be made that Braveheart is one of the films on this list that’s most consistently watched to this day. And why not? It’s inspirational. It’s historical, and during its best moments, it’s really, really badass.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance KidYou know what Hollywood really needed more of? Movies with both Paul Newman and Robert Redford. Unfortunately, there were only two made: the brilliant crime thriller The Sting, and, the absolutely brilliant Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Truly one of the greatest westerns ever, the movie is simply an extremely fun journey with the titular true-life outlaws as they find themselves in and out of trouble leading the notorious Hole-in-the-Wall Gang. In addition to its great story and characters, the film is also absolutely beautiful, courtesy of director George Roy Hill and cinematographer Conrad Hall, and features a hall of fame-worthy final shootout.
Cinema ParadisoYoung Salvatore lives for the films, the only respite from his hardscrabble life of working class misery. At home, he's a playful, troublemaking imp. But as a projectionist with kindly old friend Alfredo, he's a gatekeeper, allowing the world a peek into a place of infinite pleasures and endless joy. Giuseppe Tornatore's elegiac memoir is a valentine to the movies, a tribute to the ways in which the cinema helps shape our world and allow us to follow a path to even greater enlightenment. The extended version is accepted as a final cut by some, but without that extra footage, the original is tighter, more tragic, and ultimately more affecting.
City of GodFernando Meirelles and Katia Lund's City of God is not an easy movie to watch. Set in the dangerous and violent neighborhoods of1960s and 1970s Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the plot follows two young boys as they grow up and take divergent paths in life, one becoming a professional photographer and the other a crime lord/drug dealer, and it’s a story filled with some very harsh realities. All the same, the film is intensely visceral and powerful, and possesses images that will be burned in your mind for days. It’s certainly a lot to take in, but it’s also incredibly worth it as a cinematic experience.
Das BootGerman for "The Boat," Wolfgang Petersen’s Das Boot portrays the tedium and pressure of life onboard a U-boat. You’ll feel like you have enlisted. But the realism captured by Petersen and his crew over the duration of a difficult, year-long shoot has helped Das Boot earn the recognition of being one of the most realistic (and most difficult) war pictures to endure. Don’t wait for a happy ending. This movie doesn’t ask for it, doesn’t earn it, and doesn’t deliver it. War is hell, and so is this spectacularly grueling film.
The Diving Bell and the ButterflyMovies about physical limitations either bring out the best or worst in a director. Either the obstacles of the protagonist hinders the storyteller, or the director finds inventive ways around the handcuff and creates a work of art that truly soars. Diving Bell is on this list because filmmaker Julian Schnabel found incredible ways to convey the locked-in syndrome of Jean-Dominique Bauby, who learned to communicate – and live a full life – by blinking one eyelid. It’s a fascinating journey, and a devastating film, about perseverance, triumph and love. Really!
Donnie DarkoIf you’re into more of an ensemble cast type of film, then Donnie Darko is an excellent choice. Sure, the focus of the story is on Jake Gyllenhaal’s Donnie, but the events he goes through in his troubled 80’s childhood wouldn’t be as effective if there weren’t some really good supporting players in his corner. Even Drew Barrymore and Patrick Swayze, two of the decade’s hugest stars, lend a degree of support to Gyllenhaal’s troubled savior, who navigates a life that borders on a dramatic tragedy and a horror thriller. Each twist lands square in the middle of both realms, leading to an ending that never wears itself out.
Double IndemnityFred MacMurray, much like his directorial collaborator Billy Wilder, knew how to turn on the charm in equally seductive and goofy means. In Double Indemnity, MacMurray ventures into the former territory as an insurance agent who falls for the wrong woman and is willing to kill to be near her. Homicide and honeysuckle soak this thriller that helped define a genre that has inspired many modern filmmakers to follow in its footsteps. All because the right man went to the right house at the wrong time, simply to renew an automotive insurance policy. Ain’t it always the luck when a femme fatale enters the picture?
DownfallMost World War II films focus on the European front, and even more only focus on the Allied Forces part of the story. Oliver Hirschbiegel’s Downfall (or Der Untergang, in its native German) not only focuses on the last moments of the Nazi Party, it focuses on Hitler himself and his life in those final days. It’s been parodied to death, but the truth is, the infamous scene of Hitler’s rage still holds up on its own. That scene alone Downfall worth watching, as it shows just what we tend to forget about World War II. Hitler, despite all of the jokes we make today and the casual nature in which we throw his name around, was an evil we should never hope to encounter again.
Elite Squad: The Enemy WithinThe sequel to Jose Padilha's pulse-pounding Elite Squad does what all great sequels do in upping the ante considerably. Padilha's intense original gave the audience what was basically a full-on analysis of the biology of the world of the BOPE, Brazil's military-based police force, and their endless war against the drug dealers in the slums of Rio de Janeiro. The Enemy Within, however, plays more like an out-and-out autopsy, viewing the system from within. The picture again tackles multiple story strands like the first film, but it focuses mostly on BOPE cop Nascimento (Wagner Moura) as he works his way up the law enforcement chain, slowly being seduced by the amount of power one man can really have.
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