Last Updated: October 26th
Even though the streaming wars are heating up and every studio/network seems to be building their own platform, Netflix still has, arguably, the best movie library of them all. They’re getting better at categorizing them too, but when you have a film library that big, it’s hard to make sure all of the worthwhile titles get seen. That’s where we come in. Let this must-watch list be your guide to the overcrowded streaming landscape and an end to the mindless scrolling through Netflix’s movie catalog. There’s something for everyone here and it’s all good.
1. Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Run Time: 115 min | IMDb: 8.5/10
The Indiana Jones franchise has been housed on Amazon Prime for a while now, but it’s finally making its way to Netflix with the streaming platform hosting all four feature films. Of course, nothing beats the original, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and as far as travel and adventure go, this movie has everything you could possibly want. A hero with a love for archeology and whips? Check. An adventure to recover a stolen artifact with destructive powers? Check check. Harrison Ford beating up Nazis while uttering sarcastic one-liners and with a twinkle in his eye? Did movies even exist before this?
2. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
Run Time: 133 min | IMDb: 8.7/10
Jack Nicholson stars in this dark drama about a criminal who cops an insanity plea to avoid jail time and finds more than he bargained for at his court-ordered psych facility. Nicholson plays McMurphy, a delinquent who hopes to serve the remainder of his prison sentence in a cushy mental hospital. His plans are thwarted by a strict, manipulative nurse in charge of the facility against whom McMurphy actively rebels. He recruits his fellow patients in his plot to cause chaos at the facility, liberating some, dooming others, and ensuring he meets his own tragic fate. The film has been hailed as one of the best of all time, and it’s certainly one of Nicholson’s best performances — both reasons enough to watch.
3. There Will Be Blood (2007)
Run Time: 158 min | IMDb: 8.2/10
Daniel Day-Lewis stars in this gritty, Oscar-winning drama from Paul Thomas Anderson playing a turn-of-the-century prospector, who risks his faith and his family for oil. Daniel Plainview is a shrewd, callous businessman who adopts the orphaned son of a dead employee to make himself look more appealing to investors. When he hits oil in California, he wages a war with a local preacher and his family who stand in the way of Daniel’s progress. Violence and yes, plenty of blood, follow.
4. Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (2018)
Run Time: 117 min | IMDb: 8.5/10
The Oscar-winning animated film follows a young kid named Miles, who becomes the web-slinging hero of his reality, only to cross paths with other iterations of Spider-Man across different dimensions who help him defeat a threat posed to all realities. Mahershala Ali, John Mulaney, and Jake Johnson make up the film’s talented voice cast, but it’s the striking visuals and daring story-telling technique that really serves the film well.
5. The Irishman (2019)
Run Time: 209 min | IMDb: 8.7/10
Martin Scorsese delivers another cinematic triumph, this time for Netflix and with the help of some familiar faces. Robert De Niro and Al Pacino team up (again) for this crime drama based on actual events. De Niro plays Frank Sheeran a World War II vet who finds work as a hitman for the mob. Pacino plays notorious Teamster Jimmy Hoffa, a man who frequently found himself on the wrong side of the law and the criminals he worked with. The film charts the pair’s partnership over the years while injecting some historical milestones for context. It’s heavy and impressively cast and everything you’d expect a Scorsese passion-project to be.
6. Fargo (2006)
Run Time: 98 min | IMDb: 8.1/10
Before FX gave us some spectacular follow-up formatted for TV, the Coen brothers introduced us to the cold, weirdly-accented world of murder and cover-up in Fargo, a thriller continues to stand the test of time. The premise is probably familiar by now: a criminal mastermind’s plan goes awry thanks to the ineptitude and bungling of his henchman and the persistence of a dogged policewoman (the unfairly-talented Frances McDormand). Still, it’s worth a rewatch.
7. Roma (2018)
Run Time: 135 min | IMDb: 7.8/10
Oscar-winning writer/director Alfonso Cuaron delivers what may be his most personal film to date. The stunningly-shot black-and-white film is an ode to Cuaron’s childhood and a love letter to the women who raised him. Following the journey of a domestic worker in Mexico City named Cleo, the movie interweaves tales of personal tragedy and triumph amidst a backdrop of political upheaval and unrest.
8. Casino Royale (2006)
Run Time: 144 min | IMDb: 8/10
Casino Royale marks Daniel Craig’s first James Bond entry, but he plays the suave MI6 agent like he’s been doing it for decades. The film gives fans of the spy franchise a soft reset, as we’re introduced to the new Bond when he sets off on his first mission as 007. Bond’s tasked with catching a private banker funding terrorist operations by beating him in a high-stakes game of poker in Montenegro, and he’s joined by Vesper Lynd (a terrific Eva Green), an MI6 accountant with a secret that threatens to derail the mission and may cost Bond his life.
9. Taxi Driver (1982)
Run Time: 114 min | IMDb: 8.3/10
Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, and Cybill Shepherd star in this Martin Scorsese crime thriller about a veteran with mental health issues who works a night job, driving a taxi around New York City. De Niro plays Travis Bickle, a Vietnam war vet who moonlights as a cap driver to cope with his insomnia. During a long shift, he contemplates assassinating a politician to help out the woman he’s fallen in love with (Shepherd) and killing a pimp after befriending an underage prostitute (Foster). It’s a wild ride, full of darkly comedic moments, and an even more harrowing looks at the consequences of war.
10. Spotlight (2015)
Run Time: 129 min | IMDb: 8.1/10
Public scandal often makes for good drama, but that’s not why Todd McCarthy’s biographical re-telling of one of the most shocking cases of child sex abuse in the Catholic Church makes this list. Yes, the film has a famous list of names attached, including Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, and Michael Keaton. Yes, it’s a true story about a group of Boston Globe investigative journalists, who uncovered decades-worth of corruption and molestation accusations buried by leaders of the church. Yet with McCarthy’s restrained direction, the film rejects the trope of glorifying its heroes and sensationalizing its narrative to instead give us an accurate, detailed, and unbiased look at history.
11. Pan’s Labryinth (2006)
Run Time: 118 min | IMDb: 8.2/10
Guillermo Del Toro’s fantasy war epic focuses on a young girl named Ofelia, who grows up during a time of political unrest in her native Spain after a brutal Civil War ravages the country. Ofelia escapes the horrors committed by her stepfather when she accepts a challenge from a magical fairy, who believes her to be the reincarnation of Moanna, the princess of the underworld. If she completes three tasks, she’ll achieve immortality. The film is a play on folklore and fables from Del Toro’s youth, but there’s an undercurrent based in reality — the real cost of war — that grounds this film and makes it even more compelling.
12. Django Unchained (2012)
Run Time: 164 min | IMDb: 8.4/10
Another Quentin Tarantino classic, this violent visit back in time to America’s era of slavery carries major Western vibes and gives Lenoard DiCaprio a refreshing turn as the film’s big bad, a plantation owner named Calvin Candie. Tarantino favorite Christoph Waltz plays a German bounty hunter who teams up with Jamie Foxx’s Django, a former slave looking to free his wife (Kerry Washington) from Candie’s clutches. There’s a lot of gore and uncomfortable dialogue and over-the-top action, really, everything you’d expect, but DiCaprio, Waltz, and Foxx make it all worth it.
13. Zodiac (2007)
Run Time: 157 min | IMDb: 7.7/10
Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr., and Mark Ruffalo star in this mystery crime thriller directed by David Fincher. The manhunt for the Zodiac killer — a criminal who committed several murders in the Bay area in the late ’60s and early ’70s — has spawned decades and garnered plenty of media attention, but the film dives deeper into the cost of the search, particularly the toll it’s taken on the men and women reporting on it. Gyllenhaal plays a newspaper cartoonist who becomes obsessed with the case, decoding ciphers sent by the killer and targeting a man he believes could be the Zodiac. Downey Jr. plays a crime reporter who partners with Gyllenhaal on the case and leaks information to the police. It’s a thrilling game of cat-and-mouse fueled by some gripping performances by its male leads.
14. Her (2013)
Run Time: 126 mins | IMDb: 8/10
Spike Jonze imagines a world in which Artificial Intelligence can become something more than just a personal assistant program. Joaquin Phoenix plays Theodore Twombly, a depressed introvert going through a divorce who starts up a relationship with an OS named Samantha. Things get serious before Theodore begins to realize that romance with an A.I. is more complicated than he thought. What follows is a thoughtful exploration of love, relationships, and the ways human beings find connection in a plugged-in world.
15. The Social Network (2010)
Run Time: 120 min | IMDb: 7.7/10
It’s hard not to watch this Aaron Sorkin-penned, David Fincher-directed masterpiece and have your viewing experience colored by Facebook, and founder Mark Zuckerberg’s, many political misdealings. Jesse Eisenberg plays the boy genius, an outcast whose brainchild is the product of a bad breakup and sexism. He partners with Andrew Garfield’s business-minded Eduardo Saverin and the two create the famous social networking site before Zuckerberg outs his friend and alienates himself. The story isn’t new, but watching it play out is still thrilling, mostly because Eisenberg is just so damn good at being a dick.
16. Drive (2014)
Run Time: 100 min | IMDb: 7.8/10
A stone-faced Ryan Gosling steers us through the criminal underworld created by director Nicolas Winding Refn in this high-speed thriller. Gosling plays a near-silent stunt driver who moonlights as a getaway man. When he gets involved with his next-door neighbor and her young son, his carefully cultivated life is thrown into chaos, forcing him to align with criminals and take on risky jobs to protect the pair and keep a firm grip on the wheel.
17. The Trial Of The Chicago 7 (2020)
Run Time: 129 min | IMDb: 8/10
Aaron Sorkin’s star-studded courtroom drama is finally here, and besides carrying some serious Oscar buzz, it’s also delivering a handful of ridiculously good performances from its impressive cast. That cast includes everyone from Succession’s Jeremy Strong to Sacha Baron Cohen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Keaton, Eddie Redmayne, and Watchmen breakout Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. The film follows the true story of a group of anti-Vietnam war protesters charged with conspiracy counts and inciting riots during a demonstration at the 1968 Democratic Convention. We heard that Strong asked Sorkin to tear-gas him for this thing so, yeah, it should be an intense watch.
18. Kung Fu Hustle (2004)
Run Time: 99 min | IMDb: 7.8/10
The early aughts action-comedy borrows elements from famous Kung Fu films of the ’70s and pairs them with a completely ridiculous plot and some impressive cartoon-style fight sequences to produce a wholly original flick that we guarantee you’ll marvel at. The film follows the exploits of two friends, Sing and Bone, who impersonate gang members in the hopes of joining a gang themselves and inadvertently strike up a gang war that nearly destroys the slums of the city. Of course, the real draw here is the absurdist, over-the-top comedy that takes place during some of the film’s biggest action sequences. It’s laugh-out-loud funny, but only if you check your brain at the door.
19. The Notebook (2004)
Run Time: 123 min | IMDb: 7.9/10
It wasn’t over and it still isn’t over… our love for this sticky-sweet melodramatic romance from Nicholas Sparks that is. Netflix knows what the people want — a rain-soaked Ryan Gosling professing his undying love for Rachel McAdams — and the streaming platform is giving it to us. The movie is a staple of the romance drama, and, whether you love it or hate it, Gosling and McAdams have chemistry and talent that’s undeniable. Be warned though, as sweeping as this love story is, it’s also devastatingly heartbreaking, and there are more than a few scenes that require an abundance of tissues as a viewing companion.
20. Pride & Prejudice (2005)
Run Time: 129 min | IMDb: 7.8/10
Keira Knightley stars in this dramatic adaptation of a beloved Austen novel. Ask any British literature fan, and they’ll tell you the best interpretation of this story is either the ’90s mini-series (with Colin Firth) or this Joe Wright masterpiece. There’s no middle ground. Knightley plays Elizabeth Bennet, an independent, quick-witted young woman, who resents her mother’s schemes to find herself and her group of sisters’ husbands to advance their station in life. She also, ironically, ends up falling for a wealthy, aloof lord named Mr. Darcy (Matthew Macfayden), and it’s their contentious, electric romance that fuels much of the action.
21. The Lobster (2015)
Run Time: 119 min | IMDb: 7.1/10
Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz star in this dark, absurdist comedy about a man searching for love under some very strange circumstances. Farrell plays David, a man whose wife recently left him. David is sent to a hotel where he’s told he must find a mate within 45 days or be turned into an animal. While there, David witnesses strange rituals and must follow strict rules in order to find love, but it’s not until he ventures into the woods, where the “loners” live, that he pairs up with a woman (Weisz) who may be his soulmate. It’s weird, eccentric, and the perfect Farrell-starring vehicle.
22. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)
Run Time: 112 min | IMDb: 7.5/10
Edgar Wright’s 2010 action comedy about a hapless boy, who must defeat evil ex-boyfriends in order to win the hand of the girl he loves, is a fast-paced ride that bombards the senses. Michael Cera plays a loveable goof in the titular hero, a young man enamored with a woman named Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). In order to be with his lady love, Scott must fight her evil exes (six guys, one girl), who challenge him to truly strange contests. The film is a cinematic mash-up of Japanese anime and gamer culture, intended for the crowd who grew up on Nintendo and comic books, but it brings plenty of laughs all the same.
23. Lady Bird (2017)
Run Time: 94 min | IMDb: 7.5/10
Greta Gerwig’s love letter to her hometown of Sacramento, California follows Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf as they navigate the often-frustrating relationship between mother and daughter. Ronan plays “Ladybird,” a young woman attending Catholic school who longs for the culture and change of scenery that New York City promises. Her mother, Metcalf, is overbearing and overprotective, and the family’s lack of money and social standing contributes to a rift between the two. Some hard truths are explored in this film, but watching Ronan manage teenage angst, first love, and everything in between will give you all kinds of nostalgia.
24. I’m Thinking Of Ending Things (2020)
Run Time: 134 min | IMDb: 6.8/10
Charlie Kaufman’s latest film is based on a book of the same name and stars Chernobyl’s Jessie Buckley as a young woman meeting her boyfriend’s parents for the first time, which normally would be a happy event except she’s secretly been planning to break up the with the guy. That guy is Jesse Plemons, who seems to be in everything these days, and along with Toni Collette and David Thewlis who play his parents, they make for hellish dinner mates. There’s a sinister vibe permeating everything about this straightforward plot so if you think you know how this ends, let us be the first to tell you: You don’t have a clue.
25. Moonlight (2016)
Run Time: 111 min | IMDb: 7.4/10
Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight will always be remembered for winning the Academy Award for Best Picture after a mix-up that initially named La La Land as the winner. But that’s just an asterisk attached to a momentous coming-of-age story set over three eras in a young man’s life as he grows up in Miami, grappling with the sexuality he feels will make him even more of an outcast while searching for guidance that his drug-addicted mother (Naomie Harris) can’t provide. The film is both lyrical and moving and won justifiable acclaim for its talented cast, including a Best Supporting Actor award for Mahershala Ali as a sympathetic drug dealer.
26. Marriage Story (2019)
Run Time: 136 min | IMDb: 8.1/10
Noah Baumbach’s star-studded divorce drama is pure Oscar bait, but in the best way. The film takes a look at messy breakups with Scarlett Johansson playing an actress and mother named Nicole, who is intent on separating from her stage director husband Charlie (Adam Driver). Laura Dern and Ray Liotta play their hard-hitting lawyers, who don’t help in diffusing the tension and resentment building between the pair when Nicole moves herself and their son across the country. It’s an intimate look at the emotional wreckage of a divorce and the struggle to put a family back together again, and it’s carried by some brilliant performances by Driver and Johansson.
27. Uncut Gems (2019)
Run Time: 135 min | IMDb: 7.5/10
This adventurous mindf*ck starring Adam Sandler finally landed on Netflix, and our only advice before watching this criminally-good romp is this: prepare yourself for a wild, over-the-top ride. Sandler gives one of his best performances, and the Safdie Brothers prove they’ve got a knack for crafting thrillers textured with grit and a realness that just can’t be beaten.
28. The Devil All The Time (2020)
Run Time: 138 min | IMDb: 7.1/10
This time-hopping drama set in the backwoods of West Virginia is basically an excuse for director Antonio Campos to assemble his own Avengers-style squad of Hollywood A-listers. Seriously, everyone’s in this thing — Tom Holland, Robert Pattinson, Bill Skarsgård, Eliza Scanlen, Sebastian Stan, Mia Wasikowska, Riley Keough, Jason Clarke, Haley Bennett, that kid who played Dudley in the Harry Potter franchise. The whole gang’s living in shacks and picking up hitchhikers only to murder them later and speaking in tongues and falling victim to generational trauma. It’s a heavy watch, and there’s not really a happy ending, but boy does Pattinson deliver a batsh*t crazy turn as a perverted preacher.
29. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Run Time: 108 min | IMDb: 8.3/10
Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet star in this sci-fi romance about a couple reliving their romance following a painful break-up. The movie stars Winslet as the free-spirited Clementine, who decides to have her memories of a past relationship with beau Joel (Carrey) erased. Once Joel learns of this, he too decides to erase their time together, and the film is a reverse narrative of their love story, charting their break-up and all the things that led up to it. It’s a quirky romance, one that ends on a hopeful note and has just enough futuristic tech to feel worthy of the genre.
30. Catfish (2010)
Run Time: 87 min | IMDb: 7.1/10
Before he scored his own MTV show, filmmaker Nev Schulman was exposing cons on the internet in this documentary, that basically introduces the term “catfish” to the cultural lexicon. The film captures Nev’s growing online-only friendship with a young woman and her family, exposing the secrets and lies they’re keeping along the way and reminding us all: you really can’t trust people.
31. I Lost My Body (2019)
Run Time: 81 min | IMDb: 7.6/10
This beautifully animated French fantasy film follows the story of a young man named Naoufel, or rather, his hand which has been severed from his body and spends most of the film escaping labs and trying to get back to its owner. The film flits between the past and present, watching Naoufel’s life unfold from a young orphan to an accidental carpenter’s apprentice — which is how he lost his appendage — all while exploring themes of love, loss, and destiny.
32. Da 5 Bloods (2020)
Run Time: 154 min | IMDb: 6.9/10
Any Spike Lee joint is worth a watch, but this genre-bending thriller about a group of black Vietnam War vets returning to the battlefield decades later feels especially timely. That’s because Lee manages to shed light on a little-known part of our shared history: the way our country treated Black soldiers returning from the war, but he also raises the stakes with a subplot that includes a buried treasure hunt and a heartwrenching mission to retrieve the remains of a fallen comrade. The cast, which includes Black Panther’s Chadwick Boseman, is brilliant, the story is gripping, and you’ll probably be seeing more talk of it come awards season, so go ahead and watch it now.
33. Y Tu Mama También (2002)
Run Time: 106 min | IMDb: 7.7/10
After a stint in Hollywood, Alfonso Cuarón returned to Mexico for this story of two privileged high school boys (Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal) who road trip with an older woman (Maribel Verdú) in search of an unspoiled stretch of beach. In the process, they discover freedom like they’d never imagined — and maybe more freedom than they can handle. Cuarón’s stylish film plays out against the backdrop of Mexican political upheaval and plays with notions of upturning the established order on scales both large and small, all the while suggesting that no paradise lasts forever.
34. Nightcrawler (2014)
Run Time: 117 min | IMDb: 7.9/10
Jake Gyllenhaal stars in this truly bonkers crime thriller from Dan Gilroy about a con-man who muscles his way into L.A.’s crime journalism scene and very quickly becomes the star of his own reporting. Lou Bloom (Gyllenhaal) is a petty thief who stumbles his way into the stringer profession — photojournalists who chase crime scenes to sell the footage to local TV stations. As Lou begins to record more exciting crimes, demand for his work grows and he starts staging scenes, obstructing police investigations, and inserting himself in high-speed chases to get the best shot. It’s a twisted, depressing look at the ethics of journalism and the consequences of consumerism, and Gyllenhaal has never been better.
35. Mudbound (2017)
Run Time: 134 min | IMDb: 7.4/10
Netflix spent much of 2017 trying to establish itself as an alternative to movie theaters as a place to find quality new films. The results were mostly strong, and none stronger than Mudbound, Dee Rees’ story of two families — one white and one black — sharing the same Mississippi land in the years before and after World War II. Rees combines stunning images, compelling storytelling, and the work of a fine cast (that includes Jason Mitchell, Carey Mulligan, Garett Hedlund, Jason Clarke, and Mary J. Blige) to unspool a complex tale about the forces the connect black and white Americans and the slow-to-die injustices that keep them apart.
36. Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
Run Time: 117 min | IMDb: 8.0/10
Matthew McConaughey’s Dallas Buyer Club is a searing look at how the world failed the LGBTQ community during the devastating AIDS crisis. McConaughey stars as Ron Woodruff, a man diagnosed with the disease in the 80s during a time when the illness was still misunderstood and highly stigmatized. Woodruff went against the FDA and the law to smuggle in drugs to help those suffering from the disease, establishing a “Dallas Buyers Club” and fighting in court to the right to aid those in need. The story is all the more powerful because it’s true and McConaughey delivers one of the best performances of his career as Woodruff, a man who changes his entire outlook on life after being dealt a tragic blow.
37. Snowpiercer (2013)
Run Time: 126 min | IMDb: 7.1/10
Chris Evans stars in this sci-fi thriller from auteur Bong Joon-ho. The film, set years into the future following a devastating ice age caused by mankind, follows Evans’ Curtis who lives in poverty on a train that continuously circles the Earth and contains all that remains of human life. Curtis is part of the “scum” that the people relegated to the back of the train while the “elite” enjoy the privilege of wealth and status that comes with living in the front. Curtis sparks a rebellion that ends in bloodshed and a devastating reveal when he makes it to the train’s engine room and discovers just how the elite have been fueling their operation. It’s a dark, grimy action piece that should give fans a new appreciation for Evans’ talent.
38. I Am Not Your Negro (2016)
Run Time: 93 min | IMDb: 7.8/10
This documentary, narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, is based on the unfinished manuscript, Remember this House, by James Baldwin. The author and civil rights activist recounts the history of racism in the United States through personal observations and his relationships with friends and leaders like Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. It’s a beautifully-shot, sobering reminder of how far we have yet to go when it comes to equality.
39. It Comes At Night (2017)
Run Time: 86 min | IMDb: 7.4/10
Writer/director Trey Edward Shults followed up his unnerving family portrait in 2015’s Krisha with a look at another family under the most desperate of circumstances. After an unknown illness has wiped out most of civilization, a number of threats — both seen and unseen — come for a family held up in their home out in the wilderness. It’s a subtle, dream-like tale that stars Joel Edgerton and Christopher Abbot as two patriarchs intent on keeping their families safe, no matter the cost.
40. Frost/Nixon (2008)
Run Time: 122 min | IMDb: 7.7/10
Michael Sheen and Frank Langella deliver award-winning performances in this biopic from director Ron Howard. The film covers the series of post-Watergate TV interviews Nixon (Langella) did with British talk-show host David Frost (Sheen) and how they served as a public trial of sorts for the world’s once most powerful man. Frost is the empathetic underdog here trying to score the story of his career while Langella plays Nixon with a cheeky, knowing authority that makes you glad you aren’t in Sheen’s shoes.
41. Frida (2002)
Run Time: 123 min | IMDb: 7.4/10
Salma Hayek turns in an inspired performance of the famed revolutionary artist Frida Kahlo in this early aughts biopic. Hayek plays the visionary in her later years, as she navigates a tense, passionate marriage with fellow artist Diego Rivera (Alfred Molina) and works to define her voice amidst crippling health problems. There’s plenty of joy to be found in her triumphs, but Hayek is at her best when the film asks her to display her emotional range, focusing on Kahlo’s lowest moments to paint a full portrait of a woman who would one day make history.
42. Cape Fear (1991)
Run Time: 128 min | IMDb: 7.3/10
Robert De Niro and Nick Nolte star in this Southern crime thriller about a convicted rapist who’s release from prison after serving a 14-year sentence and decides to use his newfound freedom to stalk the family of the lawyer who convicted him. Nolte plays Sam Bowden, a lawyer and family man who made sure his client Max Cady (De Niro) was convicted for his heinous crimes. Cady comes back with a vengeance, using his knowledge of the law, knowledge he gained while in prison, to hunt down those closest to Bowden in order to get revenge on his former attorney. De Niro plays a particularly nasty bad guy, but Nolte is more than up for the challenge here.
43. The Hateful Eight (2015)
Run Time: 167 min | IMDb: 7.8/10
It seems almost perverse to think about watching The Hateful Eight at home, given how big a deal Quentin Tarantino made of its 70mm format at the time of its release. And while it looks great on the big screen it’s not like that’s an option right now. And, in some ways, the film feels just at home on the small screen, since it’s at heart a chamber mystery that brings together a collection of unsavory characters (Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, and Jennifer Jason Leigh among them) as mystery and murder unfold in their ranks.
44. Green Room (2015)
Run Time: 95 min | IMDb: 7/10
When a punk rock group accidentally witnesses the aftermath of a murder, they are forced to fight for their lives by the owner of a Nazi bar (Patrick Stewart) and his team. It’s an extremely brutal and violent story, much like the first two features from director Jeremy Saulnier (Blue Ruin and Murder Party), but this one is made even tenser by its claustrophobic cat-and-cornered-mouse nature. Once the impending danger kicks in, it doesn’t let up until the very end, driven heavily by Stewart playing against type as a harsh, unforgiving, calculating character.
45. The Two Popes (2019)
Run Time: 125 min | IMDb: 7.6/10
Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce play off each other in this fictionalized comedy about two of the most powerful men in the Catholic Church. Hopkins plays Pope Benedict XVI near the end of his tenure as he struggles with the disillusionment of his role and his faith. Pryce plays Cardinal Bergoglio (who would later become Pope Francis) who’s also going through a crisis of faith and wishes to leave his post. What follows is two hours of two of the greatest actors paling around with each other, delivering some laughs as they get deep about the philosophical leanings of these two great men.
46. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Run Time: 122 min | IMDb: 7.7/10
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence star in this drama that’s equal parts rom-com and a harrowing look at mental illness. Cooper plays Pat Solitano, a former high school teacher who recently completed a stint at a mental institution. Things aren’t going well for Pat. He’s moved back in with his overbearing parents (a wickedly-funny Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver), his now ex-wife cheated on him, he doesn’t get along with his therapist, and he’s operating under the delusion that if he gets fit and gets his sh*t together, he can get his wife back. Lawrence plays Tiffany, a young woman with problems of her own. She’s depressed after the death of her husband and prefers sex with strangers to drown the pain. The two strike up a friendship that pushes both to their mental and emotional limits. It’s a messy, complicated love story, which makes for a nice change of pace if sappy-sweet rom-coms just aren’t doing it for you.
47. An Education (2009)
Run Time: 100 min | IMDb: 7.3/10
Carey Mulligan stars in this 1960s coming-of-age drama from screenwriter Nick Hornby. Mulligan plays Jenny, a bright, gifted young woman with plans to attend Oxford University after completing her studies. She meets and falls for an older man named David (Peter Sarsgaard) who treats her to the finer things in life. Believing him to be a man of taste and means, her parents allow Jenny to travel with David, even become engaged to him before the truth about his past is revealed. As disappointing as the ending of this film is, it’s an interesting look at a young woman’s introduction to the world and to love.
48. Burning (2018)
Run Time: 148 min | IMDb: 7.6/10
Walking Dead alum Steven Yeun stars this psychological thriller from South Korean filmmaker Lee Chang-dong. Yeun plays Ben, a rich millennial with a mysterious job who connects with a woman named Shin Hae-mi on a trip to Africa. The two journey back home together where Ben meets Shin’s friend/lover Lee Jong-su. The three hang-out regularly, with Lee growing more jealous of Ben’s wealth and privilege while he’s forced to manage his father’s farm when his dad goes to prison. But it’s when Shin disappears, and Lee suspects Ben’s involvement, that things really go off the rails.
49. Eurovision Song Contest: The Story Of Fire Saga (2020)
Run Time: 123 min | IMDb: 6.6/10
Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams take on the planet’s most-watched singing competition with this campy comedy about an Icelandic duo named Fire Saga, who are set on achieving glory on the world’s biggest stage. Ferrell and McAdams play Lars Erickssong and Sigrit Ericksdottir, artists chosen to represent their nation in the Eurovision Song Contest, a real competition that features musicians from all over the world, who are often performing in wild get-ups. Dan Stevens almost steals the show while Pierce Brosnan and Demi Lovato make appearances. We’re calling it now: “Volcano Man” is going to be a bop for the ages.
50. The Perks Of Being A Wallflower (2012)
Run Time: 100 min | IMDb: 8/10
This coming-of-age indie is based on a beloved book, but if fans were worried that the story of a depressed teenager who finds friends and a sense of belonging in a group of lovable misfits wouldn’t translate on screen, they shouldn’t have been too concerned. Stephen Chbosky wrote the novel, but he also penned the screenplay and directed this flick, which sees Logan Lerman play Charlie, the social outcast, and Emma Watson play Sam, the alt-pixie-dream girl he falls for. Everyone’s good in this, but it’s Ezra Miller’s Patrick who really stands out.
Recent Changes Through October 2020:
Removed: The Silence of the Lambs, Spaceballs
Added: Casino Royale, Trial of the Chicago 7