The 30 Best Movies on Netflix Right Now (June 2023)

The Ring.
Photo: Courtesy of Studio

This post is updated regularly as movies leave and enter Netflix. *New additions are indicated with an asterisk.

With hundreds of films from around the world on the streaming giant that changed the game, how does one even know where to start when they’re looking for something to watch? Start here! We have gone through the massive catalog of films available on Netflix and pared down the selection to an essential 30 titles, including action films, comedies, horror flicks, and even stuff for the whole family, with Netflix Originals peppered in throughout, alongside its licensed films. These are films that came from outside the Netflix pipeline to subscribers, and it will be regularly updated as flicks come and go from the Netflix catalog, starting with our pick of the week.

Year: 2002
Runtime: 1h 55m
Director: Gore Verbinski

There was a time there around two decades ago when Hollywood was obsessed with remaking Asian horror films with English-speaking casts. Most of them sucked. This one definitely did not. Naomi Watts stars in Gore Verbinski’s riveting version of the incredible Ringu from 1998 about a cursed videotape that kills viewers seven days after viewing it.

Year: 2017
Runtime: 2h 6m
Director: Luca Guadagnino

One of the best films of the 2010s, this drama stars Timothée Chalamet as a boy who discovers his own sexuality when he’s wooed by an older man, played by Armie Hammer. Delicate and moving, this is a remarkable drama because of how true it feels, anchored by great performances throughout, not just from the two leads but the amazing Michael Stuhlbarg too.

Year: 2018
Runtime: 1h 59m
Director: Barry Jenkins

Following up on a Best Picture win can be tough for any filmmaker but Barry Jenkins delivered with this lyrical and moving adaptation of the 1974 novel of the same name by James Baldwin. It stars KiKi Layne, Stephan James, Brian Tyree Henry, Colman Domingo, and the Oscar-winning Regina King in the story of a young couple struck down when he’s wrongly charged with a crime. It’s a masterful drama from one of the best American filmmakers.

If Beale Street Could Talk

Year: 2021
Runtime: 2h 6m
Director: Jane Campion

The film that finally won an Oscar for Jane Campion for directing is one of the most acclaimed in the history of the streaming giant. Campion helmed this adaptation of the novel of the same name by Thomas Savage, the story of a vicious landowner (Benedict Cumberbatch) who torments the new wife (Kirsten Dunst) of his brother (Jesse Plemons). A drama that plays like a thriller, this gorgeously rendered period piece unpacks themes of toxic masculinity and manipulation in a way that makes it impossible to turn away. It’s not just one of the best Netflix Original films, it’s one of the best, period, of the 2020s so far.

Year: 2000
Runtime: 2h 27m
Director: Steven Soderbergh

Steven Soderbergh and Benicio del Toro won Oscars for this epic examination of the illegal drug trade at the turn of the century. One of the incredible craftsman’s best films, it tackles no less than the entire structure of drugs in North America, intertwining stories of users, politicians, traffickers, and lawmen. Some of it feels a little dated, but the sheer force of the filmmaking will always be timeless.

Year: 2022
Runtime: 1h 59m
Director: Michael Morris

Andrea Riseborough is phenomenal as Leslie, an alcoholic who hits rock bottom and travels back to her hometown to find herself again. While some of the structure of this surprisingly Oscar-nominated film can be a bit by-the-numbers, it’s a stunning showcase for Riseborough, nicely accompanied by a supporting cast that includes Marc Maron, Owen Teague, and Allison Janney, all delivering.

Year: 2007
Runtime: 2h 36m
Director: Ridley Scott

Ridley Scott directed this epic gangster pic that saw two of the most charismatic actors of their generation work together on their first major project (no offense, Virtuosity fans). Denzel Washington plays this loose variation on the life of Frank Lucas, a legendary criminal who revolutionized the drug trade; Russell Crowe plays the detective who brought him down. Both men are great, but this is an awesome ensemble piece with great supporting work from a dozen or so character actors.

Year: 2011
Runtime: 1h 50m
Director: Joe Wright

Saoirse Ronan stars as the title character, who has been raised WAY off the grid by an ex-CIA father played by Eric Bana. He has taught her all the skills she needs to know to survive not only in the wilderness but should anyone try to come and find them. When Cate Blanchett does exactly that, Joe Wright’s film explodes in unforgettable action. It’s a great movie that inspired the Prime Video series of the same name.

Year: 1995
Runtime: 2h 50m
Director: Michael Mann

Robert De Niro and Al Pacino star in one of the best movies of the ‘90s, a stunning cat-and-mouse game between a career criminal and a workaholic cop. The book release of Heat 2 in 2022 brought a lot of people back to this movie, one that has held up remarkably well over the nearly three decades since it was released. It’s a masterpiece.

Year: 2006
Runtime: 2h 8m
Director: Spike Lee

Yes, Spike Lee once made a great action movie. The director of Do the Right Thing and Da 5 Bloods put his spin on the heist film with this great 2006 Denzel Washington vehicle. The regular collaborator plays an NYPD hostage negotiator, called in when a bank heist goes down on Wall Street. Tight and effective, this is just further evidence that Spike Lee can nail any kind of movie he chooses to make. This might be Lee’s most underrated movie. It hums.

Year: 2014
Runtime: 2h 30m
Director: Gareth Evans

Gareth Edwards wrote, edited, and directed the insane follow-up to his breakthrough hit that takes everything he did with The Raid and turns it up to 11! Like incredible action choreography? Unbroken takes? Stunts that defy the laws of physics? The Raid 2 is quite simply one of the best action movies of the last decade, a thrill ride from beginning to end.

Year: 1989
Runtime: 1h 54m
Director: Rowdy Herrington

As production on a remake of this cult classic (with Jake Gyllenhaal!) gets underway, why not go back and check out the original again? Patrick Swayze plays the bouncer at a totally average Missouri bar who ends up getting sucked into a violent world when he crosses paths with the wrong bad guy. Sam Elliott and Kelly Lynch star in a movie that feels like a perfect distillation of the many charms of Mr. Swayze.

Year: 1976
Runtime: 1h 59m
Director: John Avildsen

The one that started it all is on Netflix, waiting for you to do a catch-up before seeing Creed III in a few months. Go back almost five decades now to see the start of the Rocky Balboa saga in a film that truly took the world by storm, becoming the highest grossing film of 1976 on its way to winning Best Picture and making Sylvester Stallone a household name.

Year: 2022
Runtime: 3h 5m
Director: S.S. Rajamouli

One of the biggest films in the world in 2022, this crazy action flick really took off in the United States when it dropped on Netflix. It’s hard to put into words just how much movie you get with RRR. It’s kind of all the movies — musical, romance, comedy, action, drama. Whatever you’re looking for, it’s in here. You’ll want to watch it twice.

Year: 1997
Runtime: 2h 9m
Director: Paul Verhoeven

The bugs! No one else but the director of Robocop could have made this unforgettable sci-fi/action epic about giant bugs from outer space. On the surface, it’s a wildly entertaining action movie about young soldiers trying to stop an unimaginable force. Dig deeper and you’ll find richly rewarding satirical levels about the military complex and even fascism. However you enjoy it, just enjoy it while you can.

Year: 1991
Runtime: 2h 17m
Director: James Cameron

Any list of the best sequels ever made that doesn’t include this is flatly wrong. James Cameron took the ideas of his 1984 sci-fi breakthrough and expanded on them in this action masterpiece that reverses roles and made movie history. Linda Hamilton returns as Sarah Connor, the woman who knows that her son is the key to the future. She’s great but the movie belongs to Ah-nuld and, even more, Cameron, who flexes his action directing muscle here in unforgettable ways.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Year: 2022
Runtime: 2h 14m
Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood

Living legend Viola Davis stars in this retelling of the all-female warriors of the kingdom of Dahomey in the 19th century. She plays General Nansica, who trains young women to follow in her footsteps, and leads a rock star ensemble of future stars that includes Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch, and Sheila Atim. You’ll know all their names soon enough.

Year: 1978
Runtime: 1h 48m
Director: John Landis

One of the most influential comedies of all time, Animal House is also a great example of a flick in which the fun everyone was clearly having on set translated to the big screen. People forget how cheaply made this movie was and how most of the major players weren’t stars at the time. They were just a bunch of friends getting together to do something funny. And they made movie history.

National Lampoon’s Animal House

Year: 2022
Runtime: 2h 19m
Director: Rian Johnson

The writer/director of Knives Out returned in late 2022 with a sequel to that smash hit, exclusively on Netflix. Daniel Craig returns as Benoit Blanc, the casual crime solver who finds himself on a billionaire’s island in Rian Johnson’s latest comedy/mystery. Once again, Johnson assembles a murderer’s row of talent, including Kate Hudson, Janelle Monae, Ed Norton, Dave Bautista, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., and more. It’s smart, funny, and thoroughly entertaining.

Year: 1993
Runtime: 1h 41m
Director: Harold Ramis

Bill Murray does some of his best acting work in this story of Phil Connors, an ordinary weatherman who gets caught in a time loop on the February holiday that gives the movie its name. Not only is Groundhog Day consistently laugh-out-loud funny, it’s actually a pretty philosophically deep movie about how we better ourselves as human beings. It’s one of the best comedies of the ‘90s, a movie that plays even better three decades later.

Year: 2015
Runtime: 1h 55m
Director: Gregory Jacobs

A massive hit at the theaters back when people went to the theaters, this middle chapter of what is now a trilogy with 2023’s Magic Mike’s Last Dance is a raucous, joyous time at the movies, but it’s also a bit underrated given its subject matter. It’s a smart movie that understood things about the gig economy and making it in any business before other films. It also features another great turn from Channing Tatum, a true movie star.

Year: 1975
Runtime: 1h 29m
Director: Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones

During a hiatus between the third and fourth seasons of Monty Python’s Family Circus, the gang of mega-talented comedians decided to make movie history. Inspired by the King Arthur legend, Holy Grail is a timeless comedy, the rare kind of film that will still be making people laugh hundreds of years from now. And while the Monty Python boys were already famous, this film took them to another level, cementing their place in movie history.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Year: 1963
Runtime: 1h 59m
Director: Alfred Hitchcock

This American classic is often written off as lesser Hitchcock but a minor film from the Master of Suspense is a major film for anyone else. And the truth is that this story of a series of violent bird attacks in California is much better than its reputation, a truly terrifying study in filmmaking precision with a great turn from Tippi Hedren.

Year: 2017
Runtime: 1h 43m
Director: Mike Flanagan

Before he helmed The Haunting of Hill House, Mike Flanagan co-wrote and directed one of the best Netflix Original horror films in this adaptation of Stephen King’s 1992 novel of the same name. Carla Gugino is phenomenal as a woman who gets handcuffed to her bed by her toxic husband…and then he has a heart attack. As she tries to figure out how she will survive, she accesses the trauma of her past.

Year: 2004
Runtime: 1h 40m
Director: Zack Snyder

Long before anyone could imagine what The Snyder Cut would mean, Zack Snyder helmed this remake of one of the best horror films of all time, George A. Romero’s masterpiece of the same name. While very different in tone, this one totally works on its own terms, featuring excellent horror-action direction from Snyder and a great cast that includes Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, and Jake Weber.

Year: 1960
Runtime: 1h 48m
Director: Alfred Hitchcock

One of the most important movies of all time, this Hitch classic has held up better than nearly any film of its era. It’s partially because of its influence, which stretches through so many other thrillers and horror movies. It’s hard to put into words how breakthrough this movie was at the time, really changing the way people went to the theater — you had to see this one from beginning to end. Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins are fantastic, but it’s the master’s directorial hand that reshaped film history.

Year: 2010
Runtime: 1h 40m
Director: Chris Sanders, Dean DeBlois

The movies based on the book by Cressida Cowell comprise one of the best trilogies of the 2010s. It all started with this DreamWorks adventure film about a boy (Jay Baruchel) who befriends a dragon named Toothless, despite his people’s fear of the flying creatures. A classic tale of never judging a book by its cover, this a beautiful adventure tale, a movie with equal amounts of heart and spirit.

Year: 1996
Runtime: 1h 38m
Director: Danny DeVito

The musical version of the Roald Dahl classic is making waves on Netflix, and now they have finally also added the clever and funny 1990s edition of this tale of a precocious kid with superpowers. Mara Wilson plays the title character and real-life couple Rhea Perlman and Danny DeVito play her parents. The TV star also directed this charming flick that kinda bombed in theaters but developed a following on VHS and DVD.

Year: 2022
Runtime: 1h 56m
Director: Guillermo del Toro

The Oscar-winning director took his visionary skills to stop-motion animation with this instant classic, a retelling of the beloved fairy tale about the wooden boy who longed to be real. With spectacular voice work, this version reimagines Pinocchio during the period before World War II, allowing del Toro to explore his themes of innocence and violence again. It’s a deeply personal, beautiful film.

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Year: 2022
Runtime: 1h 46m
Director: Henry Selick

The director of A Nightmare Before Christmas and Coraline finally returned this year with this clever and twisted tale co-written by Oscar winner Jordan Peele. The comedian also co-stars as one of the title characters, the literal demons for a girl who blames herself for the death of her parents. Selick is a master of stop-motion animation and this project allows him to stretch his visual prowess in new, gross ways. It’s a new Halloween classic (that can be watched any time, of course!)

If you subscribe to a service through our links, Vulture may earn an affiliate commission.