Can’t decide what to watch on Netflix UK? Try one of these solid gold winners. Take your pick from hilarious comedy movies, brilliant cult favourites, reach-for-the-tissues-heartwarmers and Oscar-winning nail-biting dramas. Here's our (regularly updated) pick of the 50 best movies to watch on Netflix right now...
RECOMMENDED: The best new movies on Netflix
The best movies on Netflix UK
Director James Marsh
Cast Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones
Eddie Redmayne is simply mesmerising in the role of rockstar theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking in this heart-tugging drama. The film follows Hawking from cheeky but brilliant student at Cambridge, to falling in love with his future wife Jane, through to his declining health.
Watch it if you liked... 'The Danish Girl'
Director David Fincher
Cast Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris
David Fincher takes Gillian Flynn’s unputdownable bestseller and turns it into a chilling, stylish and wickedly confident thriller. On the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary Nick (Ben Affleck) finds shattered glass in his living room. His wife (Rosamund Pike) is nowhere to be seen and when police suspect the worst, Nick soon finds himself at the heart of a media frenzy in dire need of a murder culprit.Watch it if you liked… ‘The Girl on the Train’
Director Andrew Haigh
Cast Charlotte Rampling, Tom Courtenay
One of the best British dramas in recent years, this low-key, sensitive film follows a Norfolk couple about to celebrate their forty-fifth wedding anniversary. When the husband receives a letter from his past, the foundations of their entire relationship seem to crumble.
Watch this if you liked... ‘Another Year'
Director Damien Chazelle
Cast Miles Teller, JK Simmons
This is the first film by Damien Chazelle, the young writer-director of ‘La La Land’. It’s the story of a young drumming student in New York (Miles Teller) who falls under the spell of a terrifying teacher (JK Simmons). ‘Whiplash’ is tense and tough to watch – it plays more like a thriller, a horror even, than a straight drama. Whatever it is, it’s gripping and brilliant.
Watch it if you liked… ‘La La Land’
Director Marielle Heller
Cast Bel Powley, Kristen Wiig, Alexander Skarsgård
This coming-of-age comedy-drama set in 1970s San Francisco has Caitlin Moran-levels of humour and honesty. British actress Bel Powley plays a 15-year-old schoolgirl who sleeps with her hippy mum’s douchebag boyfriend (Alexander Skarsgård).
Watch it if you liked… ‘Submarine’
Director Terrence Malick
Cast Richard Gere, Brooke Adams
This rural romance is often described as the most beautiful film ever made. The story is simple – in 1916 America, lovers Gere and Adams pretend to be brother and sister so she can seduce a rich landowner. But the visuals are breathtaking, from steam trains plying through endless fields of wheat to a night-time inferno that’ll leave you speechless. Don’t watch it on the laptop, if you can help it – find the biggest screen you can.Watch it if you liked... ‘Badlands’
Director Martin Scorsese
Cast Harvey Keitel, Robert De Niro
One of the defining American movies of the ’70s, Martin Scorsese’s breakthrough feature draws on his own childhood in New York’s Little Italy for a story of chancers, fast-talkers and small-time gangsters. Harvey Keitel is the soul of the film as conflicted Catholic boy Charlie, but it’s Robert De Niro’s blistering turn as the wayward and unhinged Johnny Boy who really stands out.Watch it if you liked… ‘GoodFellas’
Director Adam McKay
Cast Steve Carell, Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt
This noisy, star-studded sort-of-comedy about the Wall Street sharks who made a killing from the 2008 financial crash came within a whisker of winning Best Picture at the Oscars this year. It’s not quite that good, but it’s hugely entertaining and unexpectedly educational.
Watch it if you liked… ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’
Director Lázló Nemes
Cast Géza Röhrig
Masterfully made and deeply unsettling, this historical drama throws the viewer right into the hell of the Holocaust as it follows one man, Saul (Géza Röhrig), as he goes about his horrifying business in Auschwitz in 1944. Saul is a Jewish prisoner, but he’s also one of the sonderkommando – a unit of Jewish prisoners forced to assist in the process of mass-murdering fellow Jews. It forces you to see a familiar subject with entirely new eyes.Watch it if you liked… ‘The Pianist’
Directors Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland
Cast Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart
Julianne Moore deservedly won an Oscar for her devastating performance as New York linguistics professor diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's. This heart-piercing, sensitive film will break your heart at least twice.Watch it if you liked… ‘The Fault in Our Stars’
Director John McTiernan
Cast Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman
When Time Out asked action movie experts (directors, actors and stuntmen) to vote for their number one film, ‘Die Hard’ won by a landslide. Why? Because this is a film with everything going for it: no-punches-pulled directing by John McTiernan, never-bettered action sequences, a witty and inventive script, not to mention Bruce Willis in a grubby vest.
Watch this if you liked... ‘Under Siege’
Director Robert Mulligan
Cast Gregory Peck, Brock Peters
For many, author Harper Lee’s lawyer hero Atticus Finch is the ultimate American hero: upstanding, righteous and kind to kids and the less fortunate. Gregory Peck played him to perfection in this powerful and moving adaptation of the beloved book.
Watch this if you liked... ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone’
Director Jonathan Glazer
Cast Scarlett Johansson
If you mostly know Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow in the Marvel movies, you might get a shock watching this experimental arthouse sci-fi movie – one that imagines an alien in female form suddenly appearing in the Scottish countryside. Strange and unsettling, ‘Under the Skin’ is based on the Michel Faber novel of the same name, and British director Jonathan Glazer delivers a spooky, stylish, provocative and defiantly alternative spin on classic sci-fi.Watch it if you liked… ‘Lucy’
Director Jim Henson
Cast David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly
David Bowie is the Goblin King, complete with terrifying eyebrows and eye-wateringly tight leggings, in this trippy kids’ movie. Sarah’s struggle to retrieve her baby brother from the labyrinth is a fantasy classic and total nostalgia-fest.
Watch this if you liked... ‘Willow’
Director Tom Hooper
Cast Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, Geoffrey Rush
Colin Firth picked up an Academy Award for his portrayal of King George VI. The intimate, engaging period drama follows Firth's George as he struggles to control his stammer while being unwillingly thrust into the royal spotlight. Rush plays Lionel Logue, his Australian speech therapist.
Watch it if you liked... 'The Young Victoria'
Director Richard Linklater
Cast Ellar Coltrane, Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette
Director Richard Linklater shot this unique coming-of-age indie over 12 years, filming his young lead actor Ellar Coltrane every summer as Mason. Over the course of the movie we watch as Mason tackles school, friendships, family breakdowns and the pressures of manhood. You’ve never seen anything quite like it.
Watch this if you liked... ‘Before Sunrise’
Director Terrence Malick
Cast Sean Penn, Jim Caviezel, Adrien Brody
Released the same year as ‘Saving Private Ryan’, this is the flipside of the World War II movie coin. Malick’s three-hour film is aimless and drifting, photographed in rich, lush colour and at times almost unbearably moving. Sean Penn leads the all-star cast as soldiers in the American assault on the Pacific islands in 1942.
Watch this if you liked... ‘The Tree of Life’
Director Amy Heckerling
Cast Alicia Silverstone, Paul Rudd, Brittany Murphy
This teen classic and iconic ’90s movie stars Alicia Silverstone as Cher, the spoilt Beverly Hills princess. It takes the plot of Jane Austen’s ‘Emma’ and uses it to paint the perfect parody of the pains of high school: popularity, virginity, douchebags and friendship.
Watch this if you liked... ‘Mean Girls’
Director Nicholas Ray
Cast Joan Crawford, Sterling Hayden
This magnificent feminist western is one for all you misfits and outsiders. Joan Crawford plays a brassy, no-bullshit bar owner who refuses to shut up shop when the puritanical townsfolk tell her to. Things turn ugly, and she’s forced to call on a travelling gunslinger (Sterling Hayden) for assistance. From subversive Hollywood master director Nicholas Ray, this is a stupendously smart and entertaining drama.Watch it if you liked... ‘Rebel Without a Cause’
Director Hal Ashby
Cast Ruth Gordon, Bud Cort
You can see traces of this hippy ’70s cult classic in Wes Anderson’s films. It’s a bonkers romance, in which suicide-obsessed 20-year-old Harold falls head-over-heels with fun-loving 79-year-old eccentric Maude.
Watch this if you liked... ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’
Director John Crowley
Cast Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen, Domhnall Gleeson
Saoirse Ronan gives a gorgeous performance in this adaptation of Colm Tóibín’s much-loved novel. She is Eilis, a young Irish woman who emigrates to New York in the early 1950s. After being virtually paralysed by homesickness, she falls for a handsome Italian-American.Watch this if you liked... ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’
Director Frank Darabont
Cast Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman
Tim Robbins is a banker wrongly convicted of murdering his wife. Morgan Freeman is the veteran prisoner who takes him under his wing. This adaptation of a Stephen King short story is a throwback in the best possible sense – a good old-fashioned story of survival and the redemptive quality of a cold beer after a long, hot day at work.
Watch this if you liked... ‘Stand By Me’
Director Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker
Cast Robert Hays, Julie Hagerty, Leslie Nielsen
The funniest film of all time? Joke for joke, this deeply silly disaster movie spoof probably takes that prize (though it lost out to ‘This Is Spinal Tap’ in our list of the 100 best comedy movies).
Watch this if you liked... ‘The Naked Gun’
Director John Hughes
Cast Matthew Broderick, Jennifer Grey
‘Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.’ So take it easy like Ferris would want you to. This classic teen comedy sees ultimate cool kid Ferris Bueller bunk off school and embark on a day of reckless adventure – with his school principal in hot pursuit.Watch this if you liked... ‘The Breakfast Club’
Director Errol Morris
How many movies have actually saved a man’s life? Documentary master Errol Morris’s extraordinary film digs into the facts behind the murder of a cop, proving the innocence of the man originally convicted of the crime.
Watch if you liked... ‘Making a Murderer’
Director Robert Luketic
Cast Reese Witherspoon, Luke Wilson
In this giddily enjoyable comedy classic, Reese Witherspoon takes on the male establishment and creates a modern feminist heroine. She plays Elle Woods, the airheaded-seeming California girl who gets dumped by her boyfriend, enrols into Harvard Law School to impress him and ends up a high-flying legal eagle in her own right.Watch this if you liked... ‘Election’
Director George Roy Hill
Cast Robert Redford, Paul Newman
The Western genre gets a 1960s hippy-era makeover in this Hollywood classic, in which Robert Redford and Paul Newman play a pair of devil-may-care outlaws with a breezy attitude and great hair.
Watch this if you liked... ‘Bonnie and Clyde’
Director Stanley Kubrick
Cast Peter Sellers, George C Scott
You won’t find a darker subject for comedy than Stanley Kubrick’s outrageous story of political brinksmanship and nuclear apocalypse, and you won’t find a sharper, smarter movie on Netflix (or anywhere). Wacky, witty, wild and endlessly quotable ('You can’t fight in here, this is the War Room!'), ‘Dr Strangelove’ is, quite simply, perfect.
Watch this if you liked... ‘Team America’
Director John McTiernan
Cast Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers
It’s Arnie v alien in this jungle shoot-’em-up classic. A reboot is on the horizon, but will it match the sheer guts-and-glory intensity of this perfect dumb-but-clever blend of action thrills and sci-fi chills?Watch this if you liked... ‘Aliens’
Director Jonathan Demme
Cast Melanie Griffith, Jeff Daniels
A loser (Jeff Daniels) is seduced into a life of petty crime, casual sex and free living by a femme fatale (Melanie Griffith) in this glorious road movie. It all starts out feisty, freaky and fun – but there’s a sting in the tale when bad boy Ray Liotta lurches onto the scene.Watch this if you liked... ‘Almost Famous’
Director Lindsay Anderson
Cast Malcolm McDowell, David Wood
One of the key British films of the 1960s (and the coolest), this groundbreaking blackly comic drama stars Malcolm McDowell as a rebellious public schoolboy battling the establishment by any means necessary.
Watch this if you liked... ‘A Clockwork Orange’
Director Richard Linklater
Cast Wiley Wiggins, Jason London
It’s the last day of high school in summer 1976, and the kids of Austin, Texas are ready to party. ‘Boyhood’ director Richard Linklater’s loose, freewheeling nostalgia trip through his own teenage years is funny, insightful and painfully sweet, packed with stars-to-be (Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey, Milla Jovovich) and cracking rock classics.Watch this if you liked... ‘Everybody Wants Some!!’
Director Frank Capra
Cast Claudette Colbert, Clark Gable
This will-they-won’t-they romcom was made in 1934 – but few movies have done it better since. Claudette Colbert stars as an heiress on the run and Clark Gable is the sharp-tongued reporter. ‘It Happened One Night’ deserved every one of its five Oscars.
Watch this if you liked... ‘When Harry Met Sally...’
Director Abel Ferrara
Cast Harvey Keitel, Victor Argo
Harvey Keitel delivers one of cinema’s most extreme, raw and literally naked performances as the gambling, drinking, sexually abusive junkie cop whose investigation into the rape of a nun leads him to question his meaningless, ugly existence. It’s hardly a subtle film – but it is a powerful, unforgettable one.Watch this if you liked... ‘Reservoir Dogs’
Director Gus Van Sant
Cast Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Minnie Driver
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck won the Best Screenplay Oscar for this heartfelt drama about a young maths prodigy (Damon) from a working class Boston background. Robin Williams gives one of his most memorable and tender performances as Damon’s long-suffering shrink.Watch this if you liked... ‘Dead Poets Society’
Director Fernando Meirelles, Kátia Lund
Cast Alexandre Rodrigues, Leandro Firmino
This breathtaking Brazilian film knocked audiences sideways in 2002 in the way it combined the grimness of Rio de Janeiro’s slums with a slick, frenetic filmmaking style. The story tells of two boys from the same area: one grows up to be a budding photographer; the other becomes a tough drug dealer. The film was nominated for four Oscars in 2004.Watch this if you liked... ‘Pulp Fiction’
Director Guillermo del Toro
Cast Ivana Baquero, Ariadna Gil
Guillermo del Toro reinvigorated the fantasy film with this haunting fairytale horror set during the Spanish Civil War, in which a young girl imagines an escape from her traumatic reality into an even darker world of monsters and spirits.
Watch this if you liked... ‘Crimson Peak’
Director Billy Wilder
Cast Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck
He’s an insurance man, she’s a femme fatale with an idea for a scam… when they met, it was murder. Bringing together director Billy Wilder (‘Some Like it Hot’), screenwriter Raymond Chandler (‘The Big Sleep’) and novelist James M Cain (‘The Postman Always Rings Twice’), this is one of the most perfect movies Hollywood ever produced.
Watch this if you liked... ‘LA Confidential’
Directors Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi
No, not the TV show. This is the original – the Coen brothers’ masterpiece of midnight-black comedy starring Frances McDormand (who won Best Actress at the Oscars) as pregnant cop Marge. She’s investigating a triple murder in small-town Minnesota. The films’s unbeatable combination of quirky humour and noir has been copied by the TV version.Watch this if you liked... ‘Fargo’ (the TV show)
Director Chris Columbus
Cast Macaulay Culkin, Catherine O’Hara
When eight-year-old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) is accidentally left at home after his family fly to France for Christmas on vacation, he thinks his dreams have come true (think ice cream for dinner and no bedtime). But the novelty soon wears off when a pair of bungling burglars target his home. A fun festive flick.Watch this if you liked... ‘Elf’
Director Quentin Tarantino
Cast Pam Grier, Samuel L Jackson
Blaxploitation icon Pam Grier received an unexpected career boost in 1997 when Quentin Tarantino cast her as Jackie Brown in his slow-burn adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s thriller ‘Rum Punch’. Grier plays an airline steward picked up by the feds at Los Angeles airport with cash and drugs destined for a gun trader.
Watch this if you liked... ‘Pulp Fiction’
Director Alfred Hitchcock
Cast James Stewart, Grace Kelly
A man in a wheelchair spies on his neighbours through a pair of binoculars. Some are funny, some weird, some sad… but is one of them a killer? ‘Rear Window’ might be Hitchcock’s funniest film – it’s certainly one of his best. Oh, and Grace Kelly is pure glamour.Watch this if you liked... ‘Blue Velvet’
Director Alfred Hitchcock
Cast James Stewart, Kim Novak
In 2012, ‘Vertigo’ was voted the greatest film of all time by more than 100 film critics in the movie bible Sight & Sound. What’s the all the fuss about? Well, Alfred Hitchcock’s psychological drama is the story of a San Francisco private eye (James Stewart) with a fear of heights, who’s hired to follow the wife of an old friend (Kim Novak). But it gets a whole lot darker and more disturbing than your average thriller. Interestingly, ‘Vertigo’ was actually a flop on its release.Watch this if you liked... ‘Rear Window’
Director Kenneth Lonergan
Cast Laura Linney, Mark Ruffalo
One of the most piercingly insightful films ever made about family and its fallout, this witty slice of US indie follows an aimless young man returning to his home town and turning his big sister’s life upside down. Playwright Kenneth Lonergan writes and directs with immense sensitivity.
Watch this if you liked... ‘The Squid and the Whale’
Director Howard Hawks
Cast John Wayne, Montgomery Clift
‘Yeeeeee-haw!’ This is one of the all-time great Hollywood westerns, as tyrannical cattleman Wayne leads his herd to Missouri only to come into conflict with his workers, notably adopted son Clift. This is a rousing, old-school spectacle, with a keen eye for masculine foibles.Watch this if you liked... ‘Westworld’
Director Norman Jewison
Cast Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger
Sidney Poitier is on fire as a black cop whose between-trains stopover in a small Southern town turns nasty when he’s accused of murder by corrupt cops in this tense thriller.Watch this if you liked... ‘Do the Right Thing’
Director Robert Altman
Cast David Arkin, Ned Beatty, Karen Black
One of the great American movies, this 1975 drama set in the country and western music industry is a slow burn, but it’s worth sticking with. Directed by indie legend Robert Altman, it’s an epic tapestry of a film, following more than two dozen musicians, managers, promoters gathered in Nashville, Tennessee for a music festival.Watch this if you liked... ‘The Man in Black’
Director Woody Allen
Cast Diane Keaton, Woody Allen
No ifs. No buts. This is Woody Allen’s best movie and quite possibly the classiest romcom ever made. It begins at the end of the relationship between New York comedian Alvy Singer’s (Woody Allen) and ditzy Annie (Diane Keaton).
Watch it if you liked... ‘Notting Hill’.
Director Liu Chia-Liang
Cast Liu Chia-Hui, Gordon Liu
Ask any hardcore martial-arts nerd what the best kung-fu movie of all time is, and there’s a good chance it’ll be this epic tale of a young revolutionary who travels to a Buddhist temple to learn the ways of the Shaolin. Wu-Tang Clan named an album after it, which is about as mighty an endorsement as we can think of.
Watch this if you liked... ‘Enter the Dragon’
Director Walter Hill
Cast Michael Beck, James Remar
The ultimate New York gang movie, ‘The Warriors’ took inspiration from real street crews to create its apocalyptic vision of a city run by the youth. The opening sequence is simply one of the coolest ever shot: can you dig it?
Watch this if you liked... ‘City of God’