Last Updated: March 15th
The Netflix name has meant many things during the company’s relatively short existence: a source for DVDs by mail, a pioneer of online streaming, a network responsible for some of the best shows not on TV, as the first half of the phrase that ends “and chill.” It’s never quite evolved, however, into what some have hoped it would, as the source for must see movies, new and old. When it comes to good films, Netflix’s streaming service isn’t close to being what it was at its height as a DVD-by-mail service: a place to watch anything from anywhere and any time. Looking for something new and indie? Netflix Instant probably has you covered. Looking for something beyond that description? The service is hit or miss. It’s a great place to watch old episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, not so great when it comes to watching Alfred Hitchcock movies.
Which isn’t to say there aren’t great films on the streaming service right now. There are. Narrowing them down to just 20 of the best Netflix films wasn’t easy. Nonetheless, here’s a ranked list of the best movies on Netflix streaming no film lover should miss, all of them just a simple click away. (If the list skews a little toward new films from the last few decades, that’s mostly because that’s how the streaming service skews.)
20. Heathers (1988)
At the tail end of a decade of teen films dominated by John Hughes movies came Heathers, which turned Hughes’ observations of high school cliques into black comedy. There’s no Saturday-morning detention long enough to bring piece to the warring factions of Westerburg High, so outsider JD (Christian Slater) decides to expose the underlying hypocrisy with the help of Veronica (Winona Ryder) — but without telling her there will be a corpse or two involved. Though much-imitated, Daniel Waters’ screenplay remains a model of dark wit. It’s still the take-no-prisoners high-school comedy all others want to be.