The 25 best movies on Netflix (November 2018)

An image from Back to the Future - one of the best movies on Netflix

Struggling to find one of the best movies on Netflix to watch tonight? Don’t! When you think about it, we’re spoiled rotten today with choice. Too many movies. Too many genres. Back in the day, you’d be lucky enough to get one new release from Blockbuster on a Saturday night, never mind having several thousand at your fingertips. But, that leads to the exact opposite problem: what should you hit play on? Do you want to watch something new on Netflix, or perhaps fancy trying your luck with an older classic? Don’t distress. The cavalry - ahem, me - has arrived. 

Seriously, I’ve scoured the depths of those seemingly-endless listings to come up with the 25 best movies on Netflix, to appeal to every movie taste. And, as US and UK catalogues are both included in the listings, and we don’t want you to miss out, check our best VPN for Netflix. Now you've no excuse - so go get watchin'. 

25. The Truman Show (1998)

Region: US

The movie: Jim Carrey turns his comedic schtick into charm as Truman Burbank in this late ‘90s gem. Truman is a happy-go-lucky guy who doesn’t realise how unique his life truly is. Adopted from birth by a corporation, he is planted into a simulated world that’s kitted out with hidden cameras and microphones capturing his every move. At the controls is Christof (Ed Harris), the director of The Truman Show, a reality series that the entire globe watches religiously. Things start to change for Truman when all of a sudden a giant light falls from the sky...

Why it’s worth a watch: Twenty years old, and yet? Still utterly relevant. What is the cost of our entire lives being lived through screens? Will we ever really achieve happiness through consumerism? Is reality TV a load of old bunkum? All these questions are asked through some gorgeous cinematography, a dizzying plot and an ending that will make your heart ache. 

24. Back to the Future (1985)

Region: UK

The movie: Teen Marty McFly is accidentally sent back to 1955 when his good friend and scientist, Dr. Emmett "Doc" Brown, is shot after stealing plutonium to power his new time machine. Stuck in the past and with no way to return, Marty needs to find the 1950s Doc, convince his friend that he's from the future, and get back to 1985… all while trying to avoid his mother, who's accidentally fallen in love with him instead of Marty's father. Whoops. 

Why it's worth watching: You've already seen it, surely? You know it's great. So grab a blanket, snuggle down, and revisit one of the greatest movies ever made. You know all the words anyway, right?

23. The Endless (2017)

Region: US

The movie: Ever feel as if there is nothing new under the cinematic sun? I'm almost certain that's what led filmmakers Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead to craft each of their films, including their latest, The Endless. A seemingly "normal" tale of two brothers who, as teenagers, escaped the clutches of a cult, is flipped into a realm David Lynch would feel right at home in. This is not your normal genre outing, folks, as the siblings decide to return to their former homestead and discover that the cult is the least of their worries. 

Why it’s worth a watch: First of all, so you can say you saw one of Benson and Moorhead's earliest movies before the rest of the world caught on. Their horror sci-fi genre mash-up is a glorious headfuck of a movie, a deep dive into the human condition and how we respond to the monstrous - whether it’s a towering beast, or something inside of us.

22. To All the Boys I've Loved Before (2018)

Region: Worldwide

The movie: Netflix’s Original Content isn’t just about hard-hitting TV serials. Part of ‘flix’s attempt to reboot the rom-com, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a refreshing, lighthearted tale that revolves around the love life of one Lara Jean Covey (Lara Condor). After her older sister moves away to college, Lara Jean’s life changes when five secret love letters she had kept hidden somehow find their way into the hands of their recipients. One of the boys, Peter, enters into a fake relationship with Lara Jean - to wind up HIS ex, and to prove Lara Jean doesn’t fancy her sister’s ex. Confused? You won’t be, but you’ll love the optimism and John Hughes-esque atmosphere.

Why it’s worth a watch: For a high school rom-com set in 2018, it’s surprisingly light on teen tech. The kids use their cell phones (obviously), but the central conceit here revolves around a surprisingly sweet one - handwritten love letters. The rest of the movie’s charm spirals off from that notion, making this a rom-com likely to leave a lasting impression.

Read more: The 25 best romantic comedies that won't make you throw up

21. Cloverfield (2008)

Region: UK, US

The movie: Kicking off with a goodbye party, things take a turn when a giant monster crawls out of the ocean and starts tearing up the city. Partygoers flee to the street only to see the Statue of Liberty's head tossed down it like a bowling ball. From thereon out, director Drew Goddard keeps the pace up - thanks to a nippy running time - as a small group try to rescue a friend from a damaged building. That is, if they can make it through the subway tunnels...

Why it’s worth a watch: When Cloverfield landed ten years ago, it felt as if horror had truly exhausted the found footage schtick. How many more times would audiences have to bear the vomit-inducing camerawork of characters too brainless to stop filming and save their hides? Cloverfield made all those fears melt away. Gone were the teenagers trapped in the woods, replaced by urban twenty-somethings trapped in Manhattan. Godzilla told from the ground, this is truly scary stuff. 

Read more: The Cloverfield Paradox ending - 10 questions we need answered

20. Groundhog Day (1993)

Region: US

The movie: What would you do if you had to live the same day over and over? Harold Ramis' 1993 classic takes that concept and places it within the world of grumpy weatherman Phil Connors. Sick of covering news that he deems unimportant, Connors begrudgingly follows his producer Rita and cameraman Larry to the small town of Punxsutawney to shoot a segment on Groundhog Day. After putting in a lacklustre report on the festivities, he retires to bed. When he wakes he discovers that he's reliving the same day. The comedy gold lies in the montages wherein Phil experiments with the same scenarios again and again and again. Especially the Ned Ryerson one. 

Why it's worth a watch: Arguably Bill Murray's finest comedic role is as the constantly disgruntled Phil Connors. Groundhog Day simply wouldn't have its classic status without his performance, that wrings laughter and poignancy out of his predicament.

19. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

Region: UK, US

The movie: Ever wondered about the Rebels mentioned in the opening scrawl of the first Star Wars movie? So did SFX guru John Knoll, who thought that band of resistance fighters deserved their own movie and pitched the idea to Lucasfilm. The result saw up-and-comer Gareth Edwards take directorial control of a new type of Star Wars film, a spin-off untethered from the central Skywalker saga and instead focused on Jyn Erso, an ass-kicking Rebel with the best one-liners.

Why it’s worth a watch: Rogue One has its work cut out for it because anyone watching knows exactly where it’s going to end up. And yet, it comes packed with surprises and triumphs at every turn with new perspectives on a galaxy far, far away. Its handful of well-written characters (old and new) make for an absolutely killer connection to A New Hope. 

Read more: You know how Star Wars: Rogue One ends… but that might actually make it a better movie

18. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)

Region: Worldwide

The movie: The Coen brothers bring their unique style to a series of short tales told throughout the Old West. Over the course of six stories, the American frontier serves as a backdrop for a range of characters to come to the fore, to reveal their own truths about life in the American West. Sharp shooters, bank robbers, prospectors, and more lay bare their lives in these wildly different stories. 

Why it’s worth a watch: Coen fans tend to vary wildly on which is their favourite movie from the duo - and that’s why Buster Scruggs is a winner. It steals from across their career, snagging bits and pieces from their entire repertoire, linking together the six-part anthology flick through their signature style of black comedy and compelling drama. And the cast? To die for.

17. Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979)

Region: UK, US

The movie: Now approaching its 40th anniversary, Life of Brian still stands as one of the funniest films ever made. To prove that Holy Grail wasn’t a fluke, and eager to craft a winning follow-up, the Monty Python crew got together and gave us Life of Brian. Another period film, another set of ridiculous circumstances blended together to be as offensive as possible. This time, the focus is on a young Jewish man named Brian, who, through an unfortunate mixup, is heralded as being the Messiah. But he’s not. He’s a very naughty boy...

Why it’s worth a watch: Razor-sharp dialogue, witty one-liners, daft slapstick scenarios… there isn’t a type of comedy that Life of Brian doesn’t wrangle into its story. This is classic comedy cinema which will no doubt still be topping ‘best of’ lists in another forty years.

16. Hot Fuzz (2007)

Region: UK, US  

The movie: The juicy filling in the middle of Edgar Wright's Cornetto Trilogy brings back his trusted comrades Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as Nicholas Angel and Danny Butterman, two cops living in a quiet English 'burg. Where Angel is straight-laced, Butterman is more of a free spirit. They’re essentially an action movie duo happiest when spoofing their favourite blockbusters. It’s not all fun and games, though. Things inevitably go awry as they often do in quiet, idyllic movie villages when the bodies start to pile up...

Why it’s worth a watch: Imagine your favourite buddy cop movie. And now imagine it retold in a quaint West Country village through the cheeky, meta-tinted eyes of Pegg, Wright, and Frost. Who would have thought that two polar opposites - the blazing balls-to-the-wall sequences of the action genre and the snail’s pace of small-town life - would work so well together. This is how you homage. 

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