This list is updated monthly to reflect recent availability and to showcase films currently streaming on Netflix, whether we’re talking classics or modern gems.
Netflix offers roughly a gazillion different movies available through its streaming platform — well, approximately a gazillion. While the landmark service might become surprisingly accurate with its suggestions once you’ve been using it for a while, it’s still often tough to find something worth watching amid the trove of terrible choices.That being the case, we’ve taken the time to wade through the ridiculous amount of content in order to bring you a list of some of the best films currently available on Netflix. Planning your weekend has never been easier.
New for October
Amanda Knox is a controversial figure — and a well-known one at that. In 2007, the foreign-language student and her boyfriend were wrongly convicted of murdering her fellow flatmate while in Italy, resulting in an eight-year legal battle that saw rampant misogyny, shaky forensic evidence, and shoddy journalism placed at the forefront. In the aptly titled Amanda Knox, directors Brian McGinn and Rod Blackhurst don’t so much recount the events as much as they examine the web of incompetence pervading the sexualized tabloid narrative, thus creating a riveting procedural that’s chock-full of enlightening interviews with Knox and those closest to her.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Any self-respecting movie buff has seen this movie more times than they can count, but we just couldn’t leave it off the list. The plot follows protagonist Ferris Bueller, who convinces his entire school that death is knocking at his door so he can skip school, then hits the streets of Chicago with his girlfriend and best friend for a day of complete and utter debauchery. It’s a warmhearted comedy about innocence and growing up, chock-full of Chicago landmarks and unforgettable scenes. Oh, yeaaaaah.
Dazed and Confused
Richard Linklater’s first coming-of-age comedy got its name from a Led Zeppelin song, which is fairly representative of the movie as a whole. Several of today’s Hollywood heavies, including Matthew McConaughey and Ben Affleck, appear in the film, which follows a group of high-school students as they prepare to finish the school year. Full of drugs, booze, and plenty of ‘70s-inspired hijinks, Dazed and Confused became a cultural touchstone to an entire generation of teenagers, one with an ensemble cast that’s nearly as good as its killer soundtrack.
James Cameron’s take on the 1912 disaster has it all. The iconic film won Academy Awards for both Best Picture and Best Director, and subsequently spent 12 years at the top of the list of highest-grossing films of all time. It tells the story of Rose (Kate Winslet), now nearly 100 years old, who recalls her experience as a 17-year-old passenger aboard the ill-fated RMS Titanic, which hit an iceberg in the north Atlantic and sunk, killing more than 1,500 passengers. A strapping Leonardo DiCaprio plays Winslet’s beloved counterpart, who saves her from jumping overboard before the two helplessly — albeit, briefly — fall in love.
A surprisingly tame film from nightmare sculptor Tim Burton, Big Eyes is based on the true story of Margaret Keane (Amy Adams), a painter whose husband, Walter (Christoph Waltz), took credit for her works, hoarding the fame and profits for himself. The movie largely traces the course of their relationship, from a meet-cute at an art show, to their divorce and subsequent court battle, while examining how their relationship grows strained and abusive along the way. Although it plays out like a traditional small-scale drama, Big Eyes has enough of Burton’s signature weirdness to keep the audience off-kilter.
Once Upon a Time in the West
Once Upon a Time in the West is the direct result of the late Sergio Leone trying to retire from the same genre that made him an international icon in the mid-’60s. It’s a spaghetti Western at heart, one pertaining to an unyielding gunslinger named Frank (Henry Fonda) and the Western expansion of the railroad, but it also represents a notable shift from Leone’s earlier work. Regardless, its profound influence on filmmakers such as Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese cannot be overstated, nor can its subtle irony or the ample references to previous Westerns and literature.
One of the quintessential action films of the 1980s, Top Gun follows a young, cocksure pilot named “Maverick” (Tom Cruise), who enrolls in the Navy’s elite program for fighter pilots. Brash and reckless, Maverick quickly makes enemies of both his superiors and his classmates, particularly fellow ace pilot “Iceman” (Val Kilmer). In addition to some thrilling aerial fight scenes and plenty of ‘80s machismo, Top Gun has an iconic soundtrack, with enough screaming guitars and synths to get any viewer’s adrenaline pumping.
From director John Hillcoat comes The Road, a post-apocalyptic thriller based on Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer-winning novel of the same name. The film takes place years after an unspecified cataclysmic event has killed the vast majority of life on this planet — leaving the remaining pockets of civilization to break down down into lawless packs of cannibals — and follows a father (Viggo Mortensen) and son Kodi Smit-McPhee) as they struggle to make it through the forsaken wasteland with little more than a pistol. Packed with a feasible concept of societal entropy, the well-adapted drama is worth a watch (or three) even if you haven’t read the book. It’s horrifying, brutal, and haunting in the most beautiful way possible.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Truman Capote’s brilliant novel about an unlikely connection between a struggling writer and a New York socialite was the toast of literary circles. The film adaptation — which sees Audrey Hepburn playing the iconic Holly Golightly — did wonders with Capote’s written word and faithfully re-creates this wonderful, romantic tale. George Peppard and Mickey Rooney also star in the film, though it’s Hepburn’s performance which easily steals the show.