Best Netflix movies: action, comedy, and more

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Netflix is one of the oldest and most popular streaming services, though its competition has heated up substantially in recent years. Over its long history Netflix has built up a massive library of over 17,000 titles globally, so finding something to watch can be a little intimidating. We rounded up over 25 best Netflix movies we feel are a great place to get started, encompassing all the major genres.

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Netflix is still the leading premium streaming service, with over 200 million worldwide subscribers. It offers thousands of movies and TV shows to binge watch, including its always growing list of original films and series, including Stranger Things, The Witcher, Bridgerton, and many more.

Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this list of the best movies on Netflix regularly as new ones make it to the streaming service.

Best action movies on Netflix

Skyfall (2012)

What you need to know:

  • Rating: PG-13
  • Runtime: 2 hours, 23 minutes
  • Director: Sam Mendes
  • Main cast: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Mardem, Ralph Fiennes
  • Genre(s): Action, spy
  • Critical reception: 81% Metacritic, 7.8 IMDB

Skyfall sees a worn-out and older James Bond return to his duties after a terrorist attack on MI6’s headquarters. The overall tone of this film is a bit darker than many of its predecessors, though in a good way.

If you’re a James Bond fanatic, you’ll love this one. If you haven’t watched Bond in years or are new to Bond? This is absolutely a good choice if you want to dive into the world of Bond, though there are plenty of other James Bond movies that are also worth the watch.

Enola Holmes (2020)

What you need to know:

  • Rating: PG-13
  • Runtime: 123 minutes
  • Director/Creator: Harry Bradbeer
  • Main cast: Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill, Sam Claflin
  • Genre: Action, Mystery
  • Critical reception: 68% Metacritic, 6.6 IMDB

Enola Holmes finds her world turned upside down when her mother goes missing, and her brothers Sherlock and Mycroft decide to send her to a finishing school for young women. Enola has other plans, deciding to solve the mystery of her missing mother all by herself.

This is a great action movie to watch with the whole family, though it will probably be a bit too much for younger kids. There’s some mild violence and cussing, but overall it’s a family-friendly movie that takes a unique spin on the Sherlock Holmes mythos.

Army of the Dead (2021)

What you need to know:

  • Rating: R
  • Runtime: 2 hours, 28 minutes
  • Director: Zack Snyder
  • Main cast: Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Matthias Schweighofer
  • Date released: May 21, 2021
  • Critical reception: 57% Metacritic, 5.7 IMBD

Army of the Dead is one part zombie thriller, one part crime drama. The movie takes place in a post-zombie outbreak world. A group of mercenaries gamble their lives on what they hope to be the greatest score of their lives as they make their way to a ruined Las Vegas, overrun with zombies.

Gory yet fun, this isn’t a movie for young ones but should be fine for teens and older. If you love zombie movies, this one scratches that itch though it doesn’t exactly break any major ground. For those that aren’t into zombie movies typically? You might still find yourself surprised like I did. It’s a good crime thriller, the zombie angle just helps set it apart from those types of films.

Red Notice (2021)

What you need to know:

  • Rating: PG-13
  • Runtime: 1 hour, 58 minutes
  • Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
  • Main cast: Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, Gal Gadot
  • Genre(s): Action
  • Critical reception: 37% Metacritic, 6.3 IMDB

Red Notice follows an FBI profiler (played by  Dwayne Johnson) in his attempt to capture a wanted art thief (Ryan Reynolds). At least until it all goes wrong, and the profiler is forced to work with the thief to catch an even more elusive target.

If you’re looking for a fun, fast popcorn flick, you won’t be disappointed. The story is pretty standard fare, and its twists are arguably predictable. It’s not a ratings darling either, but it’s actually a fun watch and does better with average viewers than critics.

Best comedy movies on Netflix

Men in Black (1997)

What you need to know:

  • Rating: PG-13
  • Runtime: 98 minutes
  • Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
  • Main cast:  Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Linda Fiorentino
  • Genre(s): Comedy
  • Critical reception: 37 Metacritic, 6.3 IMDB

What if there were people tasked with keeping us safe from the things that go bump in the night? That’s the Men in Black. When an LA cop starts to realize there may be aliens among us, he joins the shadowy organization, which manages human-alien relations without the world knowing, and begins his training as a new extraterrestrial threat emerges.

If you’re looking for something fun, campy and relatively safe for all but the youngest viewers, we recommend checking this film out. Smith and Jones have a great chemistry on stage as work partners J and K, and while the movie isn’t exactly full of surprises, it has a lot of charm and there are plenty of laughs to be had.

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)

What you need to know:

  • Rating: PG-13
  • Runtime: 89 minutes
  • Director: Jay Roach
  • Main cast: Mike Myers, Elizabeth Hurley, Michael York
  • Genre(s): Comedy
  • Critical reception: 51% Metacritic, 7.0 IMBD

One of the biggest sleeper hits of the 90s, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery became of a massive pop-culture phenomenon, even spawning two (far less good) sequels.  Mike Myers plays a secret agent in this parody of James Bond and spy fiction. When his nemesis Dr. Evil is frozen, Austin has himself frozen too, to be thawed out when the evil mastermind returns. Now back and ready for action in the 90s, Austin is a man out of time who needs to adapt to the present day to thwart Dr. Evil’s plans of world domination.

This movie has a lot of sexual humor, though it’s mostly of an innuendo nature. Probably not the best for families unless all your kids are teens, but it’s a nostalgia romp if you’re seen it before and absolutely worth watching if somehow you missed it during the 90s.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

What you need to know:

  • Rating: PG
  • Runtime: 89 minutes
  • Director: Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones
  • Main cast: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Michael Palin
  • Genre(s): Comedy
  • Critical reception: 70% Metacritic, 7.3 IMBD

After gaining a cult following for their work on the BBC comedy show Monty Python’s Flying Circus and a movie based on it, this group of sketch comedians blew audiences away with their first original film. Monty Python and the Holy Grail remains one of the funniest movies ever made (and maybe the best film about the myth of King Arthur too). If you’ve never seem it, prepare to start quoting a ton of its famous lines. You can also catch the entire run of Monty Python’s Flying Circus and Monty Python’s Life of Brian on Netflix.

From killer bunny rabbits to knights who say nee, this film has plenty of goofy but family-friendly comedy. It’s far from high-brow, but it is funny enough even younger child might just get a kick out of it.

Addams Family movie (1991)

What you need to know:

  • Rating: PG-13
  • Runtime: 1 hour, 39 minutes
  • Director/Creator: Barry Sonnenfeld
  • Main cast: Anjelica Huston, Christina Ricci, Raul Julia, Christopher Llyod
  • Genre(s): Dark Comedy, family
  • Critical reception: 68% Metacritic, 7.3 IMDB

Addams Family has seen a ton of spin-offs and reboots since the debut of the original in the 1964, including the highly popular Wednesday series. Probably the most famous spin-off is the 1991 Addams Family movie centered around the kooky and creepy family. 

This is a great movie for both fans of the Addams Family in general, and the new series Wednesday. While there’s a lot of slapstick violence, the movie is pretty tame for all ages and even my five-year-old loves this one. Overall it’s great comedy and one that’s good for all ages. 

The Nice Guys (2016)

What you need to know:

  • Rating: R
  • Runtime: 115 minutes
  • Director: Shane Black
  • Main cast: Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, Margaret Qualley
  • Genre(s): Dark Comedy
  • Critical reception: 51% Metacritic, 7.0 IMBD

A down-on-his-luck P.I. and a gruff enforcer reluctantly team up when a girl goes missing. As they did deeper, they realize they’ve stumbled upon a much bigger conspiracy than just a missing girl and find themselves up against some very dangerous people in this hilariously dark comedy-mystery from the director of Lethal Weapon.

If you’re looking for a fun action flick, you won’t be disappointed. It has plenty of dark humor, sexually suggestive scenes and language, and is a heck of a lot of fun.

That’s just scratching the surface on Netflix comedies

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Best kids and family movies on Netflix

The Mitchells Vs. The Machines (2021)

What you need to know:

  • Rating: PG
  • Runtime: 1 hour, 54 minutes
  • Director/Creator:  Michael Rianda
  • Main cast: Danny McBride, Maya Rudoph, Abbi Jacobson, Michael Rianda
  • Genre(s): Family, animation, comedy
  • Critical reception: 68% Metacritic, 7.6 IMDB

The Mitchells are your typical quirky but well-meaning family, and like most of us not everything in their life is perfect. Particularly strained is the relationship between Katie and her father as she prepares to go off to college, hoping to meet people who truly understand her. Something she can’t say she feels about her own dad. Hoping to make things better between them, Katie’s father takes the whole family on one last family road trip before Katie goes off for college. It is a pretty ordinary premise… until the robot invasion.

If you’re looking for a feel-good family film about coming together as a family in a crisis, you’ll love this. The humor and art style can also be very quirky and odd, which for my family made the movie even more enjoyable and memorable.

The Sea Beast (2022)

What you need to know:

  • Rating: PG
  • Runtime: 119 minutes
  • Director: Chris Williams
  • Main cast:Karl Ubran, Zaris-Angel Hator, Jared Harris, Marianne Jean-Baptiste
  • Genre(s): Family/kids, action, animation
  • Critical reception: 74% Metacritic, 7.1 IMDB

For hundreds of years, humans and sea monsters have been at war with monster hunters traversing the seas with the aim of hunting the beasts to extinction. Everything changes when a young girl named Maisie Brumble stows away on a legendary sea monster hunter’s ship. Together they eventually encounter a sea beast and learn everything they know about them is wrong.

While Sea Beast has a very B-movie feel in terms of animation and voice acting, it’s actually a pretty charming film. You’ll definitely get some How to Train Your Dragon and even Moana vibes from this film, though obviously the quality isn’t to that level.

Klaus (2019)

What you need to know:

  • Rating: PG
  • Runtime: 97 minutes
  • Director: Sergio Pablos
  • Main cast: Jason Schwartzzman, Sergio Pablos, JK Simmons, Norm Macdonald, Joan Cusack
  • Genre(s): Family/kids, action, animation
  • Critical reception: 65% Metacritic, 8.1 IMDB

This charming Christmas flick centers around a selfish postman who all but flunks out of the postal academy. Hoping to force him to finally get his act together, the academy sends the postman to a frozen town in the deep north. Here is a town where no one gets along and no one mails any letters. Eventually, the postman meets a reclusive toymaker named Klaus and sets in motion a scheme to get out of town and back in the good graces of the academy.

If you want a fill good Christmas story this is going to hit the mark. If you’re just looking for a good family film, I will say my kids often watch this one even outside the holiday season. It has a good story, memorable characters, and a unique take on the Santa origin story.

Paddington (2015)

What you need to know:

  • Rating: PG
  • Runtime: 97 minutes
  • Director: Paul King
  • Main cast: Hugh Bonneville, Julie Walters, Sally Hawkins
  • Genre(s): Family/kids, action, animation
  • Critical reception: 77% Metacritic, 7.3 IMDB

Based on the classic children’s book series, Paddington centers around a young bear who leaves the jungles of Peru to find a new home and reunite with a man that once helped his bear family in the juggle. Unfortunately, the trip doesn’t go as well as planned, and Paddington finds himself alone. That is until he finds a new family willing to take him in. All finally seems well finally, until he becomes sucked up in a plot that centers around the man who once helped their family.

This is a good movie for younger kids in particular but older kids might find the pacing and story a bit boring. For example, my newly turned teen won’t watch this one anymore, but my 5 and 9-year-olds still love it to this day.

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (2022)

What you need to know:

  • Rating: PG
  • Runtime: 97 minutes
  • Director: Paul King
  • Main cast: Hugh Bonneville, Julie Walters, Sally Hawkins
  • Genre(s): Family/kids, action, animation
  • Critical reception: 79% Metacritic, 7.9 IMDB

No, this isn’t the Disney Tom Hanks remake, thank goodness. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio is a unique retelling of the famous classic story, but with some pretty unique changes to the typical formula. For one, it is set in fascist Italy during World War 2.  The titular puppet is also much more rudimentary in design and looks less like a real boy, than the Disney versions at least.

Keep in mind this is a darker and somewhat sadder take on Pinocchio, and that means it’s not for really young kids. It has a great message though, and for older kids (say 10+) it could be great. Heck, even adults with no little ones will find this worth the watch.

There are plenty more Netflix kids and family movies where that came from

mitchells netfix

Best drama movies on Netflix

Rebecca (2020)

What you need to know:

  • Rating: PG
  • Runtime: 97 minutes
  • Director: Paul King
  • Main cast: Hugh Bonneville, Julie Walters, Sally Hawkins
  • Genre(s): Drama, romance
  • Critical reception: 46% Metacritic, 6 IMDB

A young woman named Lily finds herself swept up in a brief romance with the man of her dreams. Soon after they are married, and she arrives at her husband’s family estate. That’s when things get complicated. Lily is actually her husband’s second wife, with the first wife, Rebecca, passing away in a boating accident prior to the events of the film. Soon she finds herself haunted by Rebecca’s legacy as she struggles to find her place in this new life.

If this movie sounds familiar, that’s because it’s a remake of the original Alfred Hitchcock classic. While the original is critically the better film, this new take feels more modern and is easier to watch and relate to in today’s world than the 1940s version.

The Good Nurse (2022)

What you need to know:

  • Rating: R
  • Runtime: 121 minutes
  • Director: Tobias Lindholm
  • Main cast:Eddie Redmayne, Jessica Chastain, Kim Dickens
  • Genre(s): Drama
  • Critical reception: 65% Metacritic, 6.8 IMDB

This crime thriller drama centers around the true story of serial killer Charles Cullen, told from the eyes of Nurse Amy Loughren who is shocked to learn Cullen is responsible for killing dozens of patients during his tenure at the hospital.

If you like true crime dramas, you’ll want to give this one a chance. We also really appreciate that the story is told from the eyes of someone other than the serial killer, which is a nice break from all the other true crime dramas blowing up right now (for example, Dalhmer).

Tick, Tick… Boom! (2021)

What you need to know:

  • Rating: PG-13
  • Runtime: 115 minutes
  • Director: Lin-Manuel Miranda
  • Main cast: Andrew Garfield, Alexandra Shipp, Robin de Jesus
  • Genre(s): Drama
  • Critical reception: 74% Metacritic, 7.5 IMDB

Tick, Tick… BOOM! is an autobiographical musical based on the life of Jonathan Larson, the playwright behind the massive hit Rent. The movie actually was penned by Larson, prior to his death and marks the directorial debut of Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Whether you love Rent or somehow managed to never see it, this is still a movie worth watching largely due to Andrew Garfield’s impressive performance. Garfield brilliantly steps into the shoes of Larson in what is arguably the best performance from the actor to date.

The Wonder (2022)

What you need to know:

  • Rating: R
  • Runtime: 103 minutes
  • Director: Sebastian Lelio
  • Main cast: Florence Pugh, Tom Burke, Kila Lord Cassidy
  • Genre(s): Period piece, drama
  • Critical reception: 71% Metacritic, 6.6 IMDB

The Wonder is a period drama that takes place in the Irish Midlands during 1862. The movie centers around an English nurse who travels to a small village to observe a young girl who has completely stopped eating, and yet somehow has yet to see any visible negative affects. The mysterious illness not only garners the attention of medical doctors and nurses, but people from all across the country who want to witness the girl who doesn’t eat.

The Wonder is perfect for those that like period pieces and mysteries. It’s also very loosely based on a true story. Well, kind of. Back in the 1800s there were many so-called ‘fasting girls’ who claimed they didn’t need to eat for weeks. Most said it was a work of God. Again, this movie is inspired by these events though obviously not shackled to them.

Best fantasy and sci-fi movies on Netflix

The Adam Project  (2022)

What you need to know:

  • Rating: PG-13
  • Runtime: 1 hour, 46 minutes
  • Director: Shawn Levy
  • Main cast: Ryan Reynolds, Walker Scobell, Mark Ruffalo
  • Genre(s): Sci-fi, Action, Adventure, Family
  • Critical reception: 55% Metacritic, 6.7 IMDB

After crashing landing in the past, fighter pilot Adam Reed inadvertently teams up with his much younger 12-year-old self on a mission to save the future and unravel a deep conspiracy.  From there they learn that not everything about their past is as it seems.

Ryan Reynolds seems to be in everything these days, though that’s not a bad thing depending on who you ask. If you enjoy the actor and his brand of comedy (this is similar-ish to Free Guy, for example) you’ll like this one. Even better is Walker Scobell’s performance as a young Adam Reed. The actor perfectly nails the mannerisms of Ryan Reynolds to convincing effect.

Don’t Look Up (2021)

What you need to know:

  • Rating: R
  • Runtime: 2 hours, 25 minutes
  • Director: Adam McKay
  • Main cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep
  • Genre(s): Scifi, political satire, comedy
  • Critical reception: 49% Metacritic, 7.2 IMDB

It was just an ordinary day for two relatively unknown astronomers until they notice a small blimp on their data, which soon leads them to confirm planet-killing asteroid is heading towards Earth on a collision course. The two attempt to convince the public of the threat, but find themselves thwarted by rich business people and politicians along the way.

Don’t Look Up is very much political satire and the humor can be a little dry and arguably preachy. If you enjoy these kind of movies, the film gives us a hard look at how easily politicians and business people can manipulate the general public.

The School for Good and Evil (2022)

What you need to know:

  • Rating: PG-13
  • Runtime: 2 hours, 27 minutes
  • Director: Paul Feig
  • Main cast: Kit Young, Sophia Ann Caruso, Cate Blanchett
  • Genre(s): Fantasy
  • Critical reception: 30% Metacritic, 5.8 IMDB

Two best friends learn of a magical school called the School for Good and Evil from their local bookshop owner. Hoping to escape her life in the village, one of the girls attempts to run away and join the school. The other attempts to stop her. Yet both end up magically taken to the school. Even more interesting, one is sent to the school for good while the other is sent to the opposing side.

The storyline might sound a bit like other similar movies such as Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and in some ways, it is. If you enjoy movies like that, you’ll enjoy this one too. While it’s not a ratings darling it’s still a fun popcorn flick that’s easy to recommend.

What happened to Monday? (2017)

What you need to know:

  • Rating: R
  • Runtime: 2 hours, 3 minutes
  • Director: Tommy Wirkola
  • Main cast: Noomi Rapace, Glenn Close, Marwan Kenzari
  • Genre(s): Action, Sc-fi, Mystery
  • Critical reception: 47% Metacritic, 6.8 IMDB

In the future overpopulation has become a big problem and so a government institute is tasked with the job of enforcing a one-child limit per families. And children born in violation of the law are quickly hunted down and put to sleep. But there is one family with more than one child, a group of septuplets who lived their whole lives acting as one person. Now the government is on to them, and the chase begins.

If you like fast-paced dystopian action, What Happened to Monday is going to scratch that itch. It can get pretty violent at parts, and so definitely is more for adults and teens than younger age groups.

Best thriller and horror movies on Netflix

His House (2020)

What you need to know:

  • Rating: NR
  • Runtime: 1 hour, 33 minutes
  • Director: Remi Weekes
  • Main cast: Wunmi Mosaku, Sope Dirisu, Matt Smith
  • Genre(s): horror, thriller
  • Critical reception: 72% Metacritic, 6.5 IMDB

A group of asylum seekers are allowed to enter the country but are sent to a house that they are told they can’t leave no matter what. At first life seems great in the new place, until the hauntings begin and yet no one believes them. Forced to stay at the house or return to a war-torn country, the family decides to fight back for their house.

This is an intense supernatural film, but it’s not as scary as it is a physiological thriller. The unrated film isn’t for young audiences and really even is best for older teens or adults only.

The Ritual

What you need to know:

  • Rating: R
  • Runtime: 1 hour, 34 minutes
  • Director:David Bruckner
  • Main cast: Rafe Spall, Arsher Ali, Robert James-Collier
  • Genre(s):  Horror, mystery, thriller
  • Critical reception: 57% Metacritic, 6.3 IMDB

After the sudden death of a friend, four college friends set out on a camping trip meant to pay tribute to the deceased. Unfortunately, things quickly begin to fall apart when the four realize they are being stalked by… something.

Even if you’re not a big horror fan, film buffs will appreciate the gorgeous cinematography here. Shot on location in the Carpathian Mountains, it’s a wonderful piece of cinema just for the location shots. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the film is pretty scary, too.

Spiderhead (2022)

What you need to know:

  • Rating: R
  • Runtime: 1 hour, 47 minutes
  • Director: Joseph Kosinski
  • Main cast: Chris Hemsworth, Miles Teller, Tess Haubrich, Jurnee Smollett
  • Genre(s): Psychological thriller, Sci-fi, action, drama
  • Critical reception: 54% Metacritic, 5.4 IMDB

Spiderhead is the name of a special penitentiary that experiments on inmates using experimental drugs, in exchange for shortened prison sentences. According to the genius behind the drugs, these tests are important work and will help better humanity in the long run. After inmate Jeff is transferred to Spiderhead he quickly begins to question the real purpose of the drug trials, as well as the ethics surrounding the experiments.

Oxygen (2021)

What you need to know:

  • Rating: PG-13
  • Runtime: 1 hour, 41 minutes
  • Director: Alexandre Aja
  • Main cast: Melanie Laurent, Mathieu Amalric, Malik Zidi
  • Genre(s): Sci-fi, Thriller
  • Critical reception: 67% Metacritic, 6.5 IMDB

Imagine waking up to find yourself in an enclosed cryogenic chamber with no memories of getting there. Even worse, there’s only about 90 minutes left until you die from lack of oxygen. That’s the premise behind the 2012 film Oxygen. She must find a way to get out before it’s too late.

If you don’t like subtitles, you might not enjoy this one. Still, it’s intense, suspenseful and manages to do a lot considering its limited setting inside a cryogenic chamber.

There’s more horror to be found on Netflix

Scary horror movies Netflix featured

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