Big Hollywood studios used to be responsible for making all the top films, which would then make their debut in theaters before making their way to home video and services like Netflix. Nonetheless, it appears that era is becoming increasingly obsolete. These days, many of the top movies are made by streaming services themselves.
Netflix’s library of movies is always growing and changing, but the company’s own movies will never be taken down. Netflix’s original content has always been of high quality, and the streaming service has a long history of loving movies and making them well.
We’ve put together lists of the best Netflix original films of all time.
Beasts of No Nation
The first Netflix original film opened to positive reviews and went on to win awards despite its risky production. “Agu” is the story of a young Ghanaian boy, played by Abraham Attah, who is forced to join a regiment led by an intimidating commandant, played by Idris Elba. The young soldiers lose friends in war and are mistreated by the commandant; Agu worries that he has turned into a monster as a result.
- Genre: Drama, War
- Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga
- IMDB Rating: 7.7 / 10
- Stars: Abraham Attah,Emmanuel Affadzi, Ricky Adelayitor
In his most recent film, Okja, a young girl bonds with her genetically enhanced super pig, which she names “Okja.” This is before Bong Joon Ho won an Oscar for recommending we eat the affluent. When the moment comes for Okja to be taken away and presumably slaughtered for public consumption, Ahn Seo-Hyun plays a teary-eyed Mija who cannot handle the separation.
Mija runs away to Seoul to save her best friend and bring the evil Mirando Corporation, which started the super pig experiment, to justice. Okja has a clean and simple narrative, but Bong’s fingerprints are all over the deliciously offbeat performances by Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, Jake Gyllenhaal, and others, as well as the brief Easter eggs the director included for kicks.
- Genre: Drama, Action, Adventure
- Director: Bong Joon Ho
- IMDB Rating: 7.3 / 10
- Stars: Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, Seo-hyun Ahn
Mank is a Netflix movie coming out in 2020 that tells the story of how the famous 1941 movie Citizen Kane was made. Gary Oldman plays Herman J. Mankiewicz, or “Mank,” the “scathing social critic and alcoholic screenwriter” in this film directed by David Fincher about the writer’s battle to finish the script for Citizen Kane on time.
The film was written by Fincher’s late father and was shot in black and white in an attempt to replicate Welles’ cinematic aesthetic. Both its production design and cinematography earned Oscars. It was nominated for a total of ten awards.
Despite only sweeping up two prizes, that’s more than Citizen Kane ever managed to bring home. Although not everyone will enjoy it, critic Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly called it the “perfect film for admirers of old Hollywood” because it is “half love letter, part cautionary tale, and still somehow a mystery.”
- Genre: Drama,Comedy, Biography
- Director: David Fincher
- IMDB Rating: 6.8 / 10
- Stars: Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried, Lily Collins
Netflix’s The Irishman features the great acting trio of Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci, so it stands to reason that the viewer would expect nothing less than excellence. I Heard You Paint Houses, Frank Sheeran’s memoir from 2004, is the inspiration for the 2019 film about a man who becomes mixed up with the Italian mafia in Philadelphia.
For movie buffs of any stripe, but especially those whose all-time favorites are gangster classics like The Godfather, Goodfellas, or Taxi Driver, this is must-see entertainment. It’s “kind of caps-lock Scorsese — the greatest successes of his career replayed one more, with heart,” as EW’s Leah Greenblatt called it.
The Irishman is famous because it was the first movie to successfully follow its characters through several decades without having to use different actors in the same role. It did this by using CGI to make its three stars look younger. This three-and-a-half-hour epic from De Niro and Scorsese requires plenty of viewing time.
- Genre: Drama,Crime, Biography
- Director: Martin Scorsese
- IMDB Rating: 7.8 / 10
- Stars: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci
If you want the same success as the top 1%, you have to be willing to make sacrifices that most people would rather avoid. No one gets the quote until they put in the blood, sweat, and tears required to accomplish greatness.
This pattern of hard labor and sacrifice is universal; whether your goal is to complete a marathon, launch a great business, or put on a jaw-dropping concert, it will always look the same. Homecoming is a close look at the singer’s life as she got over having a baby and got ready for her Coachella 2018 performance. Homecoming is the perfect Friday night home movie for everyone wishing to relax and have a good time, Beyonce fans or not.
Homecoming is also a very personal album because it gives a more in-depth look into Beyoncé’s mind at a time when she was anxiously awaiting her return to the stage and trying to get used to her new body after giving birth. The entirety of the movie is triumphantly moving in a genuine way, and it is fantastic.
The dance, singing, remixes of Beyoncé’s repertoire, wardrobe changes, and special guest stars make Homecoming well worth the viewing experience, despite the fact that it is almost two hours long.
- Genre: Drama,Mystery, Thriller
- Director: Micah Bloomberg, Eli Horowitz, Sam Esmail
- IMDB Rating: 7.4 / 10
- Stars: Stephan James, Bobby Cannavale, Hong Chau
There are moments when one’s age is nothing but a number. Radha, a playwright and teacher, starts to think about rapping when she realizes that her life isn’t giving her what she wants and that she hasn’t reached any of her goals. It makes little difference that Radha is only a few weeks away from turning 40; her determination and ambition keep her going, even when her family and friends are critical of her. In this inspiring story, Radha shows us that it’s never too late to become anything, no matter what it is.
- Genre: Comedy, Romance
- Director: Judd Apatow
- IMDB Rating: 7.2 / 10
- Stars: Steve Carell, Catherine Keener, Paul Rudd
Divorce Film, written and directed by Noah Baumbach, is many things: a powerful drama about family, a heartbreaking story about lost love, and perhaps even a tentatively hopeful piece about what comes next in life’s story. But more than anything, it’s just a darn good movie, and Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson, who play a couple going through a nasty breakup, both provide performances that are among the best of the year.
Every scream, sob, and anguished glance dives straight to your heart thanks to these two actors and a brilliant supporting ensemble that includes Laura Dern, Alan Alda, and Ray Liotta. The running time of the film is 137 minutes.
It’s not an easy movie to watch, but it will leave you thinking about love long after you’ve wiped your eyes.
- Genre: Comedy, Romance
- Director: Noah Baumbach
- IMDB Rating: 7.9 / 10
- Stars: Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, Julia Greer
Dick Johnson is Dead
Although we will all face mortality at some point in our lives, this does not make the impending loss of a loved one any less difficult to endure. The director Kirsten Johnson, however, does not shy away from confronting this bleak truth; rather, she looks it square in the eye. A daughter assists her ailing father in making final preparations for his life.
In the 1 hr 29 minute documentary, Dick Johnson Is Dead, she murders her own elderly father several times over the course of a series of staged deaths. These deaths range from the unremarkable (such as a fall down the stairs) to the startling (a falling air conditioner).
She accompanies him to his funeral on occasion, and in other moments, she follows him all the way up to heaven. In the meantime, she thinks about their relationship, talks about how sad it is that he will have to leave, and describes him as a sweetheart. Dick Johnson Is Dead is a movie that tries to imagine the impossible and, in doing so, finds a way to celebrate life while also dealing with the idea of death. Dick Johnson Is Dead is alternately ludicrous, amusing, and absolutely heartbreaking.
- Genre: Drama, Documentary, Biography
- Director: Kirsten Johnson
- IMDB Rating: 7.4 / 10
- Stars: Michael Hilow, Ana Hoffman, Dick Johnson