The 75 Best Movies on Netflix Right Now (December 2021)

Trying to find the best movie to watch on Netflix can be a daunting challenge. We’ve all been there. You’ve decided you’re going to watch something. You have the entirety of Netflix at your disposal, including even a pared-down list of films you’ve already bookmarked to watch at a future date. But then there’s the choosing. You’ve gotta find something that fits your mood, or something you and your friend/significant other/couch companion can agree on. You spend hours browsing, and by the time you stumble on something you think maybe is the one, it’s too late, you’re too tired, and indecision has won out.

Never fear, though, because we here at Collider have a guide to help you find the perfect Netflix movies available in the U.S. We’ve thumbed through the library and assembled a list of some of the best films currently available for streaming, from classics to hidden gems to new releases and beyond. This list of the best movies on Netflix is updated weekly with all-new choices, so be sure to return the next time you’re looking for something great to watch.

Editor’s note: This post was last updated on December 3.

  • Recently Added: Tick, Tick… Boom!, Gladiator, 21 Jump Street, Bram Stoker’s Dracula
  • Recently Expired: School of Rock, A Single Man, Inception, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
  • Expiring Soon: The Guest, Gladiator, Pan’s Labyrinth, Magnolia

RELATED: Here’s What’s New on Netflix in November 2021

Minority Report

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writers: Scott Frank and Jon Cohen

Cast: Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton, and Max von Sydow

There’s no shortage of excellent sci-fi films on Steven Spielberg‘s resume – or excellent films in general, for that matter – but for my money, Minority Report is one of his very best. And his most prophetic, as the fairly terrifying surveillance-centric documentary All Light Everywhere reaffirms. Of course, that was on purpose. In creating his exceptional Philip K. Dick adaptation, Spielberg assembled a group of the world’s foremost futurists and scientists to predict what lies ahead, and unfortunately for use, they were fairly on the mark. But it also made for one of the great contemporary sci-fi films, and while there’s much to ponder in the accuracy of Minority Report‘s predictions, none of that heaviness translates to the film itself, which is a firecracker of action-packed sci-fi intrigue from start to finish. – Haleigh Foutch


Tick, Tick… Boom!

Image via Netflix

Director: Lin-Manuel Miranda

Writers: Jonathan Larson and Steven Levenson

Cast: Andrew Garfield, Alexandra Shipp, Robin de Jesús, Joshua Henry, Judith Light, Vanessa Hudgens

Hamilton and In the Heights creator Lin-Manuel Miranda directs the long-awaited film adaptation of RENT creator Johnathan Larson‘s Tick, Tick… Boom! The result is an excellent movie musical that’s every bit a love letter to theater itself as much as it is to Larson and his tragic tale of short-lived genius. Which is perhaps what makes Miranda such an exceptional fit for the material in his filmmaking debut, and not just because his every-damned-award-winning musical Hamilton is all about capturing the beauty and tragedy of short-lived genius: the Broadway polymath has also been vocal about how Tick, Tick… Boom! influenced and inspired him as a creator, and he even starred in a production of the show several years ago. Equally at home is Andrew Garfield as Larson himself, showcasing a hell of a singing voice and yet another outstanding performance that will lift you up, rake you through the anxiety of excellence, before absolutely breaking your heart. It’s a beautiful film based on a beautiful piece of writing, and whether you’re a fan of Garfield’s, Miranda’s, Larson’s, or just the theater dahling, it’s a moving testament to those who openly embrace ambition, earnestly love performance, and believe that both give them the power to change lives. – Haleigh Foutch


Image via Universal Pictures

Director: Ridley Scott

Writers: David Franzoni, John Logan, William Nicholson

Cast: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed, Derek Jacobi, Djimon Hounsou, Richard Harris, Tommy Flanagan

Between The Last Duel and The House of Gucci, Ridley Scott is having a hell of a year, which might have you in the mood to revisit some of the prolific filmmaker’s best movies. In that regard, you can never go wrong with Gladiator. The Oscar-winning 2000 historical drama is one of Scott’s finest works, epic in every sense of the word, from the breathtaking sword-and-sandals action to the extraordinary scope and command of Scott’s filmmaking, which transports you to the Roman empire and makes the ancient politics feel present and palpable. No small credit for that is also due to the tremendous performances, and Gladiator is full of them, but especially Russell Crowe, who stars as General Maximus Decimus Meridius, a soldier and confidante to the Emperor who returns from victory only to wind up fighting for his life again – this time in the gladiator ring. Gladiator is a massive film and Crowe carries it all with an impeccably balanced performance, both tough and tender. And wisely understated. In less expert hands, this type of role easily becomes a broad portrait of heroics, but Crowe’s nuanced performance always bleeds through the broad strokes, grounding the epic saga in small moments of humanity. Oh, and the tiger fight remains a bonafide banger of cinematic action that hasn’t lost a beat of its breathless intensity, all these years later. – Haleigh Foutch

21 Jump Street

Image via Columbia Pictures

Directors: Phil Lord and Christopher Miller

Writer: Michael Bacall

Cast: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Brie Larson, Dave Franco, Rob Riggle, Ice Cube, Ellie Kemper, Jake Johnson

Nobody takes a “terrible on paper” idea and turns it into a winning movie quite like Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. The duo behind Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and The LEGO Movie reinvented the 80s crime comedy 21 Jump Street into one of the funniest new comedies of the 21st Century. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum star as police officers who are tasked with going undercover at a high school to take down an emerging designer drug. It’s one of those genre hybrids that accomplishes everything it wants to, an action-comedy that’s as propulsive as it is laugh-out-funny, and a high school comedy that’s as heartwarming as a John Hughes film. – Haleigh Foutch

Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Image via Columbia Pictures

Director: Francis Ford Coppola

Writer: James V. Hart

Cast: Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves, Richard E. Grant, Cary Elwes, Sadie Frost, Billy Campbell, Tom Waits, Monica Bellucci

Among the most stunning, sumptuous, heck – downright decadent – horror romances ever put on film, Francis Ford Coppola‘s take on Dracula is both one of the most faithful to Bram Stoker’s text and one of the most imaginative in its adaptation. Gary Oldman stars as the title blood-sucker, a fearsome warrior turned seductive living dead who sets his sights on Winona Ryder‘s Mina, believing her to be the reincarnation of his long-lost love. It’s a technical marvel of a movie, from the striking costumes to the luxurious sets and finely-crafted miniatures Coppola used to bring such a sense of scale and otherworldliness. And it also happens to based on one of the most enduring, enchanting horror stories of all time. – Haleigh Foutch

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Image via Warner Bros.

Director: Guy Ritchie

Writers: Joby Harold, Guy Ritchie, Lionel Wigram

Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey, Djimon Hounsou, Aidan Gillen, Jude Law, Eric Bana

Arthurian legend gets a full Guy Ritchie makeover in King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, and it’s some of the most delightful nonsense in recent memory. Charlie Hunnam stars as the reimagined Once and Future King; all snark, swagger, brawling with the boys, the rest of the Ritchie signatures. Reinventing the legendary ruler as a London – nay, Londinium – street kid who discovers a world of magic and begins his journey to the throne, Legend of the Sword never takes itself too seriously and relishes in the kinetic street fights, heightened melodrama of royal affairs, and the world of wild creatures in equal measure. And Daniel Pemberton‘s score freaking rips – almost five years later and it’s still on my regular Spotify rotation. There are plenty of dark and dense Arthurian adaptations out there, but if you’re looking for one that lets loose and enjoys the most heightened, fantastical parts of the saga, Legend of the Sword is a blast, and as a longtime defender, I’m thrilled the film is finally having a moment on streaming. – Haleigh Foutch

Mars Attacks!

Image via Warner Bros.

Director: Tim Burton

Writer: Jonathan Gems

Cast: Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close, Annette Bening, Pierce Brosnan, Natalie Portman, Sarah Jessica Parker, Danny DeVito, Martin Short, Jack Black

A strikingly nihilistic, extremely goofy, and underneath it all, very clever and wickedly enjoyable sci-fi spectacle, Tim Burton‘s Mars Attacks! might be the last time the filmmaker did something really, truly weird. And it’s a hoot! A self-righteous cabal of US leaders find themselves up against the universe’s shittiest most bellicose little aliens and everything that ensues is pure pandemonium. Equal parts a send-up of vintage B-movie sci-fi and real-world politics, Mars Attacks! Is as funny as it is mean-spirited, and it’s a movie folks just hated when it first came out. But don’t buy into the bad hype on this one, because it rips, and while cultural sensibilities might not have matched up with the film’s outrageous, campy satire at the time (see also: Starship Troopers), modern audiences might find themselves more ready to laugh along as the bumbling fools in charge to Burton’s chaotic intergalactic creatures of carnage. – Haleigh Foutch


Image via New Line Cinema

Director: Adam Shankman

Writer: Leslie Dixon

Cast: Nikki Blonsky, Zac Efron, John Travolta, Michelle Pfieffer, Christopher Walken, James Marsden, Amanda Bynes, Queen Latifah, Brittan Snow, Elijah Kelley, Allison Janney

Inspired by John Waters’ 1988 film of the same name, Adam Shankmans film adaptation of the Broadway musical Hairspray is a full-on fun time that knows just how to make the best of its cast’s many, many talents. Set in 1962 Baltimore, during the age of integration, the film stars Nikki Blonsky (who made her film acting debut on the film and walked away with a Golden Globe nomination) as Tracy Turnblad, who lands a spot on the Corny Collins Show and learns some tough but sweet life lessons along the way. Blonsky is a force of good energy, and Christopher Walken and John Travolta are impeccably, improbably matched as her loving parents. The ensemble is fabulous across the board, including an oh-so-swoon-worthy Zac Efron as her paramour Link Larkin, and Adam Shankman directs the hell out of the musical numbers, making Hairspray a wall-to-wall blast to watch that will undoubtedly have you tapping your toes. — Haleigh Foutch


Image via Warner Bros.

Director: David Fincher

Writer: James Vanderbilt

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Chloe Sevigny, Robert Downey Jr., Anthony Edwards, Brian Cox, and John Carroll Lynch

Whether you’re inspired by the latest news surrounding the case or just looking for one of the best thrillers of all time, Zodiac is a movie where you can never go wrong. David Fincher‘s 2007 true crime film is pretty much a masterpiece, from its exceptional soundtrack and cinematography to the outstanding ensemble that includes Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, and Robert Downey Jr., all doing some of their career-best work. From Se73n to Mindhunter, Fincher’s fascination with the subject matter of serial killers and blurring the lines between genres has brought about some of the most compelling storytelling on film and TV alike, but Zodiac not only sets the bar for this particular set of his works, it might just be the best dang thing he’s made yet. – Haleigh Foutch

The Holiday

Image via Sony Pictures Releasing

Writer/Director: Nancy Meyers

Cast: Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Jack Black, Eli Wallach, Edward Burns, Rufus Sewell

Nancy Meyers’ 2006 romance The Holiday isn’t just a top-tier delightful holiday rom-com, it’s one of those feel-good movies that hits the right spot, no matter what time of year it is. Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet star as two women on opposite sides of the globe, fed up with their lives, who decide to do a house swap. Hollywood producer Amanda (Diaz) sets off for the quiet cottage life while British journalist Iris (Winslet) prepares to soak up some California sun, and once they settle in, they both unexpectedly fall in love. Naturally. Jude Law has never been more radiant or dangerously charismatic, Jack Black has never been more endearing, and those Nancy Myers’ dream homes? Well, they’re just as stunning as ever. It’s a no-fail good time that always makes you feel better after you watch it, and a fantastic example of why Myers is one of the greats. – Haleigh Foutch


Image via Netflix

Director: David Yarovesky

Writers: Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis

Cast: Winslow Fegley, Krysten Ritter, Lidya Jewett

A delightful “gateway horror” film for the whole family (ok, maybe not the super young kids), Nightbooks is adapted from the book of the same name and follows two kids trapped by a vicious (but fabulous) witch who demands a new scary story each night. Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23 and Jessica Jones star Krysten Ritter is giddily glamorous and genuinely menacing as the big bad witch in question, and director David Yarovesky (Brightburn) does a fantastic job translating horror staples into family-friendly fare, making for a film that’s genuinely spooky, but still a whole ton of fun. Further credit to Yarovesky, Nightbooks is also one of the best and most distinct-looking Netflix originals in recent memory and it takes care to build out its world of magic and horror with a stylish flourish. Speaking of style, don’t even get me started on Ritter’s glittering costumes because I could write a novel of praise. Whether you’re looking for a new spooky season favorite, or you’re just looking for a good spooky movie regardless of the season, Nightbooks is a creepy, creative treat. – Haleigh Foutch

Watch Nightbooks on Netflix


Image via Universal Pictures

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writers: Peter Benchley and Carl Gottlieb

Cast: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gray, and Murray Hamilton

There are few directors who exploded onto the scene as fully formed as Steven Spielberg. At 29 years old, with his third feature film, Spielberg gave us the masterwork that is Jaws. Stack this up against the work of any filmmaker in the history of cinema, and the filmmaking prowess and storytelling genius on display at least matches the best of the best. This simple story of a shark terrorizing a small beach town during summer not only originated the “Summer Movie Season” but also served to make legions of moviegoers terrified to go into the water. It’s just as effective today as it was in 1975, making this all-timer a great watch at any given moment. – Adam Chitwood

Watch Jaws on Netflix


Image via Netflix

Director: Sara Colangelo

Writer: Max Borenstein

Cast: Michael Keaton, Amy Ryan, Stanley Tucci, Tate Donovan, and Lauren Benati

I know a drama set in the wake of 9/11 is a tough sell, but Worth is absolutely one of the best films of 2021. Based on a true story, it follows an attorney in Washington D.C. who is tasked with figuring out exactly how much each of the 9/11 victims’ families will receive as part of insurance payouts, literally deciding each person’s worth. He battles bureacracy and cynicism at every turn, and is touched by his interactions with the victims’ families. Michael Keaton and Amy Ryan give terrific performances here, and Stanley Tucci is a scene-stealer as always. — Adam Chitwood

Watch Worth on Netflix

Silver Linings Playbook

Image via The Weinstein Company

Writer/Director: David O. Russell

Cast: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker, and Julia Stiles

While Silver Linings Playbook was billed as an “Oscar movie,” scoring eight nominations including Best Picture, at heart it’s really just a solid romantic comedy. Bradley Cooper plays a man suffering from bipolar disorder who moves back in with his parents after being released from a psychiatric hospital. He meets a recently widowed young woman (Jennifer Lawerence) who vows to help him get back with his ex-wife, but wouldn’t you know it, while training for a big dance competition Cooper and Lawrence accidentally fall in love. It’s charming and offbeat, owing to filmmaker David O. Russell’s unique sensibilities, and Cooper and Lawrence (in an Oscar-winning performance) have tremendous chemistry. – Adam Chitwood

Watch Silver Linings Playbook on Netflix

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Image via Netflix

Director: George C. Wolfe

Writer: Ruben Santiago-Hudson

Cast: Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman, Glynn Turman, Colman Domingo, and Michael Potts

The 2020 film Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is a powerhouse showcase for the acting talents of all involved, including Chadwick Boseman in his final live-action performance. Based on the stage play of the same name, the film chronicles a day in the life of iconic recording artist Ma Rainey as she assembles her team to record a new album on a hot summer day in 1927. Tensions rise and the dialogue crackles between these various characters, as Boseman’s trumpeter dreams of making it big on his own while the temperamental Ma Rainey knows what lies ahead all too well. This is an excellent performance-driven drama. – Adam Chitwood

Watch Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom on Netflix


Image via New Line Cinema

Director/Writer: Paul Thomas Anderson

Cast: John C. Reilly, Julianne Moore, Jeremy Blackman, Tom Cruise, Philip Baker Hall, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ricky Jay, William H. Macy, Alfred Molina, Jason Robards, and Melora Walters

If you’re in the mood to watch a really intense drama, it doesn’t get much more intense than Magnolia. After Boogie Nights put him on the map in a big way, filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson next decided to craft an intimate drama on the scale of a sprawling epic. The result is a three-hour opus following a variety of different characters on different emotional journeys that intersect in some way or another – Tom Cruise is a misogynistic self-help guru; William H. Macy is a former game show wiz kid; Julianne Moore is the trophy wife of a famous producer. By PTA’s own admission the film is a bit overstuffed, but it’s still one of the biggest and boldest swings of the 90s and almost certainly will make you cry. – Adam Chitwood

Watch Magnolia on Netflix

The Sum of All Fears

Image via Paramount Pictures

Director: Phil Alden Robinson

Writers: Paul Attanasio and Daniel Pyne

Cast: Ben Affleck, Morgan Freeman, James Cromwell, Liev Schreiber, Philip Baker Hall, and Colm Feore

Once upon a time, Ben Affleck made a Jack Ryan movie – and it was pretty good! 2002’s The Sum of All Fears was released at a time when audiences were turning their backs on Affleck, but the film has aged really well. It’s a taught Tom Clancy thriller in which Affleck plays a CIA analyst racing against the clock to stop nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia, which is being triggered by an Austrian Neo-Nazi. It’s a tense governmental thriller, but also genuinely shocking when you get into the third act. – Adam Chitwood

Watch The Sum of All Fears on Netflix

Django Unchained

Image via The Weinstein Company

Director/Writer: Quentin Tarantino

Cast: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, Don Johnson, Walton Goggins, and James Remar

Quentin Tarantino’s most financially successful film to date remains his 2012 Western epic Django Unchained, which is set in 1858 and tells the story of a freed slave’s (Jamie Foxx) quest to save his wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) from the clutches of a ruthless plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio) – with the help of a German bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz), of course. Django Unchained is tremendously unsettling in terms of providing an unflinching glimpse at the lives of slaves in America (and the cruelty inflicted upon them), but it also has that Tarantino touch that makes it wildly entertaining – a combination that may strike some as odd or in poor taste. However you fall, DiCaprio’s menacing performance is undeniably among his very best, Foxx’s arc is particularly impressive, and it’s hard to argue with Waltz’s Oscar win for his supporting turn. – Adam Chitwood

Watch Django Unchained on Netflix

The Fear Street Trilogy

Image via Netflix

Director: Leigh Janiak

Writers: Leigh Janiack and Phil Graziadei (Part One), Zak Olkewicz (Part Two), Phil Graziadei and Leigh Janiak and Kate Trefry (Part Three)

Cast: Kiana Madeira, Olivia Scott Welch, Benjamin Flores Jr., Sadie Sink, and more

Inarguably one of the best Netflix originals ever, the Fear Street trilogy is the perfect binge-watch. This adaptation of the R.L. Stine book series is an interconnected trilogy of horror movies, each with its own tone and twist on the slasher genre, bound by characters and mythology. The action begins in Fear Street: 1994, which introduces the town of Shadyside where everything bad always tends to happen. A group of teenagers find themselves hunted down by a bevy of serial killers from the town’s past, only to discover the culprit may be a centuries-old curse. The second film, Fear Street: 1978, is a summer camp slasher that goes into Shadyside’s past to recount a horrific event while revealing more of the mythology until the third and final movie, Fear Street: 1666, works as an origin story for the curse and the Shadyside Witch. These movies absolutely rule, and are perfect for a Friday night date night. – Adam Chitwood

Watch Fear Street on Netflix


Image via The Weinstein Company

Director: Bong Joon Ho

Writer: Bong Joon Ho and Kelly Masterson

Cast: Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Jamie Bell, Olivia Spencer, Ed Harris, Song Kang Ho

Oscar-winning Parasite filmmaker Bong Joon Ho‘s first English language film is a strange little beast. Set in an Ice Age post-apocalypse set off by failed climate control experiment, the entire film takes place within the confines of an ever-running global train that is home to the few survivors. A none too subtle spin on class warfare, Snowpiercer follows the desperate inhabitants of the lower-class posterior of the train, where they survive on disgusting gelatinous nutrition bars (and in truly dire times, something much worse), as they stage a violent coup against the privileged, indulgent elite at the front of the train. Chris Evans turns his Captain America charisma and command to its darkest incarnation as Curtis, the man at the forefront of the rebellion who leads the charge to take over the engine room. Along the way, Snowpiercer travels through the caste system of the train cars, each new carriage a bizarre and fully-rendered habitat of its own, and paints a microcosmic picture of a warped society entirely contained on a single train. It also packs in some visceral combat scenes and an all-timer performance from Tilda Swinton. – Haleigh Foutch

Watch Snowpiercer on Netflix

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https://collider.com/best-movies-on-netflix-streaming/ The 75 Best Movies on Netflix Right Now (December 2021)

Bobby Allyn

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