The 10 Best Movies on Netflix Right Now
With most of their advertising and press coverage focused on their growing library of original films and series, it’s easy to forget that Netflix is still in the business of acquiring current and classic movies from distributors. If you feel a little overwhelmed by their menu options on that front, take a look at our picks for the 10 best movies on Netflix right now.
1. WIND RIVER (2017)
The howling, inhospitable Wyoming territories in winter are the site of this capable thriller about a U.S. Wildlife tracker (Jeremy Renner) who teams with an FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) to solve the mystery of a dead body left to freeze in the middle of nowhere.
2. THE FOUNDER (2016)
Michael Keaton helps make this biopic about fast food giant Ray Kroc about something bigger than burgers: It's a look at an obsessive business mind. In the 1950s, milkshake machine hustler Kroc stumbled across the McDonald brothers and their novel idea of fast-service fries. Before they knew what was happening, Kroc was turning their modest ambitions into a national franchise.
3. DON’T THINK TWICE (2016)
A Los Angeles improv troupe (Keegan Michael-Key, Gillian Jacobs, Mike Birbiglia) is forced to confront their own insecurities when one is called up to a Saturday Night Live-esque sketch show. Alternately funny and heartbreaking, this independent film largely flew under the radar when it received a brief theatrical release in 2016. It's deserving of more attention.
4. THE WAVE (2016)
“Norwegian disaster movie” might not be a genre you’ve considered, but this well-made thriller might change your opinion. A geologist (Kristoffer Joner) has only 10 minutes to try and evacuate a coastal town—and his own family—after he discovers a tsunami is due to hit with no warning.
5. BOYHOOD (2014)
Boyhood works as a kind of time travel movie, as director Richard Linklater spent 12 years filming the adolescence of a Texan (Ellar Coltrane) from age six to 18. This lengthy production process made it possible for Coltrane to portray the character at various stages, from coming to grips with his parents' divorce as a young child to his high school graduation. In lesser hands, it would be a gimmick. For Linklater, it's a chance to mediate on encroaching independence.
6. LOCKE (2013)
The camera rarely wavers from Tom Hardy in this existential thriller, which takes place entirely in Hardy's vehicle. A construction foreman trying to make sure an important job is executed well, Hardy's Ivan Locke grapples with some surprising news from a mistress and the demands of his family. It's a one-act, one-man play, with Hardy making the repeated act of conversing on his cell phone as tense and compelling as if he were driving with a bomb in the trunk.
7. UP IN THE AIR (2009)
George Clooney puts his breezy charm to good use in this adaptation of Walter Kirn's 2001 novel about a corporate layoff specialist who romances a fellow frequent flyer (Vera Farmiga) and trains an apprentice (Anna Kendrick) in the ways of compassionate termination. Clooney received critical compliments for his work (not to mention an Oscar nomination, as did Farmiga and Kendrick), though director Jason Reitman (who earned three Oscar nods for the film) had a back-up plan if the actor hadn't accepted: He would have approached Steve Martin.
8. NATIONAL TREASURE (2004)
There's something for everyone—history buffs, conspiracy theorists, and Nic Cage enthusiasts—in this adventure about a cryptologist (Cage) who discovers a treasure map on the back of the Declaration of Independence.
9. QUIZ SHOW (1994)
Director Robert Redford takes a look back at the first reality TV craze: the 1950s quiz show phenomenon. Based on a true story, the brilliant-but-not-very-photogenic Herbert Stempel (John Turturro) is pushed out of the way for the slick Charles Van Doren (Ralph Fiennes), a contestant on the trivia show Twenty One, who kept advancing thanks to his wits ... and some help from the show's producers.
10. THE GODFATHER (1972)
Francis Ford Coppola's adaptation of Mario Puzo's novel has been hailed as the best film ever made. It's certainly the best to feature horse decapitation as a major plot point. While Marlon Brando makes for an indelible Don Vito Corleone, Paramount apparently wanted Ernest Borgnine for the role: Brando was thought to be too unreliable. Coppola insisted, and Brando won an Academy Award for his performance.