The 20 Best Original Netflix Movies Worth Watching
Everyone raves about Netflix’s original TV series. And rightly so. However, if they don’t interest you, why not switch your attention to the original Netflix movies worth watching?
Netflix’s production of original movie content continues to grow. And while they’re not all theatrical gems, many of them are movies worth watching, especially as Netflix isn’t afraid to make movies more traditional Hollywood studies won’t touch.
So, in no particular order, here are the best original Netflix films to watch right now.
1. Beasts of No Nation (2015)
Drama, War | IMDb: 7.7 | RT: 92%
It’s perhaps fitting that Netflix’s first original feature film remains one of its strongest titles, even to this day. Beasts of No Nation is the impressive yet heart-rending tale of a young West African boy whose life is torn apart by war and forced to join a rebel faction to survive.
With strong direction from True Detective’s Cary Fukunaga and powerful performances by Idris Elba and Abraham Attah, this is the kind of film that transports you into another world and leaves its mark on you for a long time.
2. Uncut Gems (2019)
Crime, Drama, Thriller | IMDb: 7.6 | RT: 92%
Uncut Gems is a triumphant return to the big screen for Adam Sandler, who puts in one of his best performances ever. Given his past few outings on the silver screen, you could be forgiven for glossing over a film featuring Sandler—but Uncut Gems is well worth your time.
Sandler plays a jewelry store owner who pawns an NBA championship ring, then promptly takes cash and places a series of high-stakes bets that could lead to the ultimate windfall. The result is a thrilling balancing act between family, business, and the most important thing of all—his life.
3. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)
Comedy, Drama, Musical | IMDb: 7.3 | RT: 91%
The Coen Brothers carry a powerful reputation for storytelling, and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs doesn’t disappoint. It’s a beautifully shot western with a packed cast, featuring Tim Blake Nelson, Liam Neeson, James Franco, and Tom Waits, to name but a few.
So, what sets The Ballad of Buster Scruggs apart from the rest? Well, it’s actually six short screenplays woven into a single film. The Coens wrote the stories over a 20-year period, only receiving funding from Netflix to finally piece the tale together once it emerged the streaming service would take a chance on unique projects.
4. Mudbound (2017)
Drama | IMDb: 7.4 | RT: 97%
Mudbound is a critically acclaimed historical drama set in Mississippi during World War II that follows two families who not only share farmland but also all the social and economic struggles of the time. It’s a moving tale that speaks to the human heart and sheds light and wisdom on many of our own modern struggles.
5. Roma (2018)
Drama | IMDb: 7.7 | RT: 95%
Roma is the multi-Academy Award-winning drama from director Alfonso Cuarón, following a year in the life of a middle-class family’s maid in Mexico in 1970.
The film is Cuarón’s tour de force, featuring stunning black and white cinematography, incredible scale, and a story intermingling personal growth and tragedy with events that shaped a nation. Throughout, Roma is gripping, intriguing, and, ultimately, a beautiful journey.
6. Okja (2017)
Adventure, Drama | IMDb: 7.3 | RT: 86%
Okja is a South Korean film that follows a rural young girl, her budding friendship with a strange new animal, and the lengths she’s willing to go to in order to save that animal’s life when it’s threatened.
The film contains a lot of not-so-subtle social commentary, but never so much as to spoil the experience. If you’re a fan of director Bong Joon-Ho’s other films (The Host, Mother, Snowpiercer), then you should check it out.
7. The Irishman (2019)
Biography, Crime, Drama | IMDb: 7.9 | RT: 96%
Crime, drama, mobsters, De Niro, Pacino, Pesci, and Scorsese. Need I say more? The Irishman is a journey through the ages of the Italian American mob, as told through the eyes of an aging mafia hitman.
It’s a long watch, coming in at over three hours. During that time, you’ll see younger versions of the main characters, manipulated using pioneering technology, and hear numerous intersecting events that shaped crime in the USA.
The Irishman picked up nine Academy Award nominations, notable for both Al Pacino and Joe Pesci receiving nominations for Best Supporting Actor.
8. The Fundamentals of Caring (2016)
Comedy, Drama | IMDb: 7.3 | RT: 77%
The Fundamentals of Caring is the story of a cynical boy with muscular dystrophy who drives away all his caretakers, until one day he meets his match. This heart-warming buddy comedy film is more than just laughs and drama; it’s an exploration of what it means to care and the importance of genuine friendship as a component in emotional healing.
9. High Flying Bird (2019)
Drama, Sport | IMDb: 6.2 | RT: 93%
Steven Soderbergh’s sports drama covers a whirlwind 72-hour period behind the scenes during a league lockout. The story focuses on a player’s agent attempting to find a new deal for his client during the lockout period, protecting the interests of his player while ensuring he can play in the NBA when the league resumes.
Interestingly, High Flying Bird is filmed entirely on an iPhone 8, from start to finish. As incredible as that sounds, it isn’t the first film that Soderbergh has shot on an iPhone (the first being psychological horror, Unsane). You wouldn’t know or even suspect that Soderbergh shot the film on a phone most people use to browse Instagram.
10. I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore (2017)
Comedy, Suspense | IMDb: 6.9 | RT: 89%
Despite its genre labels, I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore sits in a class of its own.
When a depressed nursing assistant returns from work one day to find her home burglarized and is brushed aside by the police, she decides to take matters into her own hands. But if you think you know where this story goes, you’re mistaken.
The excellent performances from Melanie Lynskey and Elijah Wood elevate this above its generic premise.
11. Dolemite Is My Name (2019)
Biography, Comedy, Drama | IMDb: 7.3 | RT: 97%
Eddie Murphy rolls back the years in this dramatic comedy, offering a biography of filmmaker Rudy Ray Moore’s life. Moore was well known for playing the character of Dolemite in his stand-up routine, while the character also appeared in a series of blaxploitation films.
It is a heartfelt performance from Murphy, his affinity for the subject matter clear in his portrayal of Dolemite.
12. To the Bone (2017)
Drama | IMDb: 6.8 | RT: 71%
To the Bone is an insightful look at one person’s struggle with anorexia and the obstacles that can get in the way of recovery. Not to say that all anorexia stories mimic this one, but it’s insightful, nonetheless. The performance by lead actress Lily Collins is captivating, and the film’s dark humor brings levity to what could have been a depressing tale.
13. The Meyerowitz Stories (2017)
Drama, Comedy | IMDb: 6.9 | 93%
The Meyerowitz Stories is a comedy-drama that follows the siblings of a family struggling to emerge from the shadow of their father, a successful sculptor, and professor.
What we really like about The Meyerowitz Stories is the casting. Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, and Elizabeth Marvel play the estranged siblings, linked together through their combined efforts to succeed in their own right, analyzing and illustrating a familiar family dynamic. Add in Dustin Hoffman as the father, and you have a great movie on your hands.
14. Gerald’s Game (2017)
Horror, Suspense | IMDb: 6.6 | RT: 91%
What do you do when you go on a weekend trip to a remote lake house, agree to be handcuffed to the bed as a way to spice up your romantic life, and then get stranded because your partner has a heart attack and dies? Gerald’s Game has fun with that question and succeeds thanks to Carla Gugino’s remarkable performance.
Stephen King film adaptations tend to be a little hit-or-miss, but you can mark this one down in the “hit” column. For others that pass muster, check out the best Stephen King movies to stream .
15. Set It Up (2018)
Romance, Comedy | IMDb: 6.5 | RT: 92%
Who says romantic comedies are dead? Netflix doesn’t agree, that’s for sure. Set It Up follows the tried and tested rom-com formula: matchmaking, calamity, hilarity, misunderstandings, and of course, falling in love.
Like all rom-coms, you should go in with an open mind. Expect little, and you’ll have a pleasant enough time watching two assistants attempt to force their bosses together, only to realize that they’re a perfect match for each other.
16. ARQ (2016)
Suspense, Sci-Fi | IMDb: 6.4 | RT: 43%
ARQ is a time-loop suspense film with a heavy dose of “science fantasy.”
A couple is stuck in a makeshift laboratory that keeps repeating the same day from the same moment, all while fending off a group of intruders who want to steal a valuable device they possess.
All in all, this is a fun popcorn flick that doesn’t pretend to be anything more.
17. The Other Side of the Wind (2018)
Drama | IMDb: 6.8 | RT: 83%
Netflix takes chances on its original films, allowing interesting ideas to flourish. So, what better project to bring to the world than a new Orson Welles picture. That’s right, a new film from the legendary actor, writer, director, and producer, over 30 years since his passing.
The story behind The Other Side of the Wind is as remarkable as the film itself. Welles began filming in 1970, working on the project when his time and funding allowed. However, it ran into financial and legal trouble, and production struggled.
The filming was completed after Welles’ death in 1985, and several attempts were made to piece the various reels together. In 2018, Netflix released the film to critical praise, bringing Welles back to the screen once more.
Welles final outing follows the story of fictional veteran Hollywood director Jake Hannaford, who was attempting to resurrect his career through the production of a flashy “modern” film.
Winding through friends, enemies, the media, and a lot of booze, Hannaford’s journey explores how Welles saw the distancing of the Golden Age of Hollywood sliding into the contemporary era, and the effect it had on those working the scene.
18. Win It All (2017)
Comedy, Drama | IMDb: 6.2 | RT: 85%
Win It All follows an everyday gambling addict who, as fate would have it, comes across a lot of dirty money, gambles it all away, and becomes indebted to the criminal whose money he lost. The clock starts ticking as he scrambles to win it all back, and possibly even get his life back together in the process.
19. I Lost My Body (2019)
Animation, Drama, Fantasy | IMDb: 7.6 | RT: 96%
I Lost My Body is a stunning French animation detailing how a severed hand longs to reconnect with its host body. It sounds grim, but I Lost My Body brings some dark humor to an animated fantasy adventure that winds throughout the streets of Paris. I Lost My Body packs in the action, and the animation and illustration are brilliant to boot.
You can watch the original version in French with English subtitles, or switch to the English dub if you prefer.
20. Annihilation (2018)
Adventure, Drama, Horror | IMDb: 6.9 | RT: 88%
If you like science fiction horror, Alex Garland’s Annihilation should be right up your street.
Annihilation follows a team of scientists entering “The Shimmer,” a quarantine area full of mutant and toxic plants, animals, and more, all waiting to be discovered. The team, lead by Natalie Portman, encounter a steady stream of horrific animals and an environment that does not want to be explored.
Portman turns in an excellent performance, and Garland’s previous work on Ex Machina shines through to create a mysterious and gripping sci-fi horror movie.
More Netflix Movies Worth Watching
If you don’t have Netflix but feel compelled to try it out in order to watch these films, remember that you could just download Netflix Originals for free instead. Or, if you’re looking for more films to watch, check out the best movies to watch on Netflix.
Do you still need more to watch? Then here’s how to find movies you will love on Netflix .
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