This list is updated monthly to reflect recent availability and to showcase films currently streaming on Netflix, whether talking classics or modern gems.
Netflix offers roughly a gazillion different movies available through its streaming platform — well, approximately a gazillion. However, 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 Instant. Planning your weekend has never been easier.
New for August
The Little Prince
When French author and pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupéry sat down in his Central Park South apartment to write The Little Prince in 1943, he likely never anticipated the lasting impact the story would have on children’s literature. And while the original story tells the tale of a pilot — one who crash-lands in the Sahara and comes upon a young, golden-haired boy who lives on an asteroid — director Mark Osborne’s modern adaptation for Netflix is a two-part affair.
Much of the film centers around an over-controlling mother (Rachel McAdams) and her daughter (Mackenzie Foy), the latter of who befriends a neighbor (Jeff Bridges) and quickly learns the story of the Little Prince. What follows is charming, dual narrative that brilliantly uses CGI and stop-motion animation to examine the essence of the human spirit, the compelling merits of exploration, and the strangeness of becoming a so-called “adult.” It is strange, after all.
No Country for Old Men
The Coen Brothers are known for cutting even their bleakest films with moments of levity. Such isn’t the case with No Country for Old Men, however, a Western which stays true to the grim, fatalistic source material. Based on the Cormac McCarthy novel of the same name and set in Texas in the ‘80s, the plot concerns hunter Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin), a hunter who stumbles upon the remains of a drug deal gone wrong and a bag of money.
Moss takes the money, not realizing that the bag contains a tracking device, and is quickly pursued by a Mexican cartel and Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), an unstoppable hitman less concerned with the money than with teaching everyone he comes across a lesson. The Coens are at the top of their game here; despite the savagery of its subject matter, this is one of the best-looking Westerns of all time. The Coens wisely leave much to the writing to McCarthy, only changing elements here and there, and actors like Bardem wring a great deal out of the sparse but heavy dialogue.
The Resurrection of Jake the Snake
Aurelian Smith Jr. — better known by his ring persona, Jake “the Snake’ Roberts — is a former professional wrestler who dominated the WWF in the late-’80s and ‘90s. As “The Snake,” Smith was notorious for submitting his opponents, taunting them, and even torturing them with his live snake, Damien the Python. Sadly, however, the former wrestler spent the better part of the following decades battling addictions to alcohol and crack cocaine, both of which took a heavy toll on his physical health, family, finances, and even his pet python.
That said, The Resurrection of Jake the Snake follows fellow wrestler “Diamond” Dallas Page — who found post-wrestling success as a yoga teacher — and his efforts to rehabilitate Smith and Scott Hall, another friend and former WWE superstar. The candid doc sometimes feels like a reality show and an infomercial for Page’s enterprise, sure, but the interviews with wrestling greats such as Steve Austin, Chris Jericho, and Adam Copeland render it a comeback story with plenty to offer. Apparently, the only place to go from rock bottom is up.
If you like smart, gut-wrenching thrillers, you must watch this movie. Norwegian actor Aksel Hennie plays Roger Brown, an art thief who finds himself in hot water after stealing a rare painting from an ex-mercenary and expert tracker, and his oddball fight to stay alive will keep you on the edge of your seat. It’s the highest-grossing Norwegian film of all time, one teeming with dark humor and offering a gritty twist on the familiarity likened to author Jo Nesbø’s novel of the same name.
When first released in 1999, Sleepy Hollow was the strangest and most fully-realized of Tim Burton’s works since Batman Begins. It was based on Washington Irving’s short story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, which reeled around New York detective Ichabod Crane (Johnny Depp) and his investigation into the deaths of a host of decapitated victims. The charismatic cast and excellent set design give what would be an excessive slasher flick its true character, while Depp’s steadfast performance and the bizarre special effects endow the age-old tale with a modern touch. It all makes for a film that excels when it comes to atmosphere, even if the tongue-in-cheek nature of the story sometimes retracts from the film’s overall image. And if that weren’t appealing enough, it features a dude who stalks the town headless.