The 25 best movies on Netflix (July 2018)

An image from Hot Fuzz - one of the best movies on Netflix

In case you hadn't realised by now: I'm a massive Netflix geek. Each week I vow to bring you the best movies on Netflix, updating this list based on a number of highly-classified algorithms to ensure you're getting the greatest films available on the service right now. And this latest update has a distinct cult-y whiff about it, with the seriously underseen Miracle Mile now available along with the likes of The Nice Guys, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, Looper, and serial killer staple Seven. You’ve really no excuse not to watch something top notch tonight - so get streamin’. Oh, and if you're after the very latest additions? Head on over to see what's new on Netflix

25. The Edge of Seventeen (2016)

Region: UK

The movie: After pretty much stealing the show from Jeff Bridges in the 2011 True Grit remake, Hailee Steinfeld comes into her own in this spiky coming-of-age comedy. Sure, she’s absolutely slayed in her supporting roles, but it’s here that she’s in her element. Cast as edgy (geddit?) high school junior Nadine, it’s Steinfeld’s central performance that grounds this most excellent teen comedy which dabbles with troubles and strife of being a kid who no-one takes seriously. Nadine’s journey begins as she tells her teacher Mr. Bruner (Woody Harrelson) that she’s going to kill herself, and the movie unfolds as we learn why she feels that way.

Why it's worth watching: This is head and shoulders above the rest of the so-called “teen comedies” out there, most of which are bereft of actual jokes. Steinfeld’s brilliant as Nadine, nailing the line deliveries perfectly, but it’s writer-director Kelly Fremon Craig’s zingy script that recalls the best of Heathers and the warmth of Juno.

24. Train to Busan (2016)

Region:  US

The movie: Your daily commute might be a nightmare, but trust me, it’s peachy compared to the antics people have to deal with in Train to Busan. This bunch find themselves in the unfortunate position of sharing a very busy train with a very hungry horde of the undead. Having to group together is the only way they’ll combat the flesh-munchers. Well, until the humans start squabbling and fighting amongst themselves, and then it’s anybody’s guess who will survive.

Why it's worth watching: Whoever said zombie movies are dead, is either trying to make a funny or hasn’t seen this crackin’ South Korean horror outing. Think of this as the perfect genre mashup: part 28 Days, part Snowpiercer, and part utterly bananas, you haven’t seen anything quite like this before.

23. The Departed (2006)

Region: US

The movie: The concept of over-stuffing a film with A-listers was of no concern to Martin Scorsese when he set about constructing a remake of the 2002 Hong Kong Infernal Affairs. Jammed to the rafters with stars, The Departed wastes no time in getting stuck into its tangled plot, that unravels in Boston where Irish mob boss Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson) plants one of his crew (Matt Damon) with the local cops, while the police do the same with state trooper Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio). That’s just for starters.

Why it's worth watching: Going up against an original that’s well-loved by critics and fans alike is no easy feat, yet this is Scorsese we’re talking about. Whether or not you loved or even saw the original doesn’t matter. Plus, this includes Mark Wahlberg’s finest performance to date (not counting The Happening, obvs).

22. The Nice Guys (2016)

Region: UK

The movie: Channeling the best elements of every buddy cop movie and crafting something wholly unique, Shane Black’s action comedy noir The Nice Guys is simply one of the funniest flicks of recent years. Ryan Gosling stars as Holland March, a broke private eye living it up in ‘70s Los Angeles. After getting hired to investigate the mysterious death of a fabled porn star, he soon meets Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) - a thuggish enforcer, who quickly becomes his partner-in-crime. A madcap scramble 

Why it’s worth a watch: Black, who penned the sorely under-seen Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, sculpts fantastically far-fetched dialogue and bonkers scenarios, and his characters are juuuust a hair’s breadth away from becoming caricatures. It’s that great combo that makes Gosling and Crowe the action duo of the decade. 

21. Scream 2 (1997)

Region: US

The movie: Two years after the events of the first Scream, and Sidney Prescott is Ghostface’s crosshairs again. Relocating to college doesn’t stop the masked killer with a penchant for horror movie trivia and senseless slaughter, who targets Sid, Randy, Dewey, Gale and her new school pals with glee. Director Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson effortlessly combat sequel fatigue by packing Scream 2 with even more scares, gloriously tense stalk sequences, and some of the finest back-and-forth banter between killer and victim that rivals Scream’s Drew Barrymore cold open.

Why it’s worth a watch: This is how you do a truly solid sequel. Taking what made the first one strike a chord with horror hounds, Scream 2 raises the stakes (or should that be blood-soaked knife?) considerably, adding loads of memorable nail-biting sequences that will stay with you… and make you really never want to join a sorority.

20. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Region: UK

The movie: The second collaboration for Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio, with the latter on top form as Wall Street shark Jordan Belfort, whose sleazy brand of idiocy is more entertaining than you’d expect. The Wolf of Wall Street, as all good Scorsese pics, charts Belfort’s rise as a stockbroker who seeks fortune and fame, cataloguing the amusing by-products of his journey, that includes copious amounts of drug-taking, fraud, and general debauchery.

Why it’s worth watching: So many reasons, really. The classic Scorsese rise-of-the-underdog story structure, gorgeous tracking shots, penchant for utter decadence at every opportunity… but the best of them involve DiCaprio completely out of his gourd.

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

Region: 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 watching: 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. In Bruges (2008)

Region: UK, US

The movie: This superb tragi-comedy from Three Billboards director Martin McDonagh pairs Colin Farrell's first-time hitman with Brendan Gleeson's veteran assassin. Reeling from the aftermath of a job gone awry, the duo hide out in Belgium to wait for stuff to blow over. Then they do what any person would do in Bruges; they go sightseeing and ponder the meaning of life. After that point, the laughs come thick and fast.

Why it’s worth watching: It's Farrell's finest role to date, as he struggles with the enormity of his actions. And if that insane dwarf fight is anything to go on, I have but one question: when will we see his Farrell’s next foray into comedy?

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

Region: UK

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 watching: 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 watching: 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.