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40 Movies To Watch On Netflix Right Now

The movies you may have forgotten about, but shouldn't have.

Netflix has a high turnover rate for its movie library. Some films, like those in “The Matrix” trilogy, seem to be caught in an endless cycle of leaving and returning to the service. And since the Netflix home screen often promotes Netflix Original content above all else, it’s easy to miss the full breadth of movies available on the service.

With that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of excellent movies from the last couple of decades that are now on Netflix. I skipped Netflix Original films (such as “Marriage Story” and “The Irishman”), since the company does plenty to advertise those. I also refrained from recommending super-popular movies, such as the “Indiana Jones” series because I figure fans will find those easily enough.

Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill in "Moneyball" on Netflix.
Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill in "Moneyball" on Netflix.

Basically, I wanted to recommend movies that will elicit an “Oh yeah, that movie” response, as these are all films that earned critical acclaim during their time, but may not be top of mind anymore.

That said, some of the movies on this list are still massively popular and highly praised. So, there’s really no hard rule here, except for sticking to movies I think you’ll like.

Read on for the list with accompanying trailers and additional info.

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In this biographical sports drama, the general manager of the Oakland A’s, Billy Beane, teams up with a quantitative baseball researcher in the early 2000s to develop a new mathematical approach to choosing overlooked talent in the major league.

“Moneyball” earned six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture.

Runtime: 2 hours, 13 minutes

Notable cast: Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Brad Pitt, Chris Pratt and Robin Wright

Aaron Sorkin co-wrote the screenplay, based on a nonfiction book of the same name by Michael Lewis.

In this biographical drama, the fun-loving entertainment journalist David Frost pays former President Richard Nixon to do a television interview following Nixon’s departure from the White House in the mid-1970s. Frost hopes the interview will serve as the public trial Nixon never got and Nixon thinks he can steamroll over the typically unserious journalist and appear sympathetic.

The movie earned five Oscar nominations, including Best Picture.

Runtime: 2 hours, 2 minutes

Notable cast: Kevin Bacon, Rebecca Hall, Frank Langella, Sam Rockwell and Michael Sheen

Ron Howard directed while Peter Morgan wrote the screenplay.

In this period drama, a family strains while living in a remote part of Montana in the early 1960s as money doesn’t come easy, and the love between parents no longer exists.

Runtime: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Notable cast: Bill Camp, Jake Gyllenhaal, Carey Mulligan and Ed Oxenbould

Paul Dano directed, while he also co-wrote the screenplay with Zoe Kazan, basing the script on a novel of the same name by Richard Ford.

In this biographical drama, the “Spotlight” investigative team at The Boston Globe uncovers decades of child sex abuse by both local and international Roman Catholic priests, a discovery that’s particularly chilling given the city’s close relationship with the church.

“Spotlight” earned six Academy Award nominations, winning for Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture.

Runtime: 2 hours, 9 minutes

Notable cast: Brian d’Arcy James, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery and Stanley Tucci

Tom McCarthy directed.

In this neo-noir thriller, a man who makes his money through nefarious acts discovers he can clean up his resume by becoming a video stringer for local television stations ― all he has to do is be the first person with a camera at the most grisly night scenes in Los Angeles.

“Nightcrawler” earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay.

Runtime: 1 hour, 57 minutes

Notable cast: Riz Ahmed, Jake Gyllenhaal, Bill Paxton and Rene Russo

Dan Gilroy directed and wrote the screenplay.

In this fantasy comedy, a man starts to hear a narrator voice for his life and fears he’s losing his mind until he discovers a famous living author is the narrator as she’s writing a book, somehow, about him and he’s living out the book, somehow, in real time.

Runtime: 1 hour, 53 minutes

Notable cast: Will Ferrell, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, Queen Latifah and Emma Thompson

In this crime thriller, a pair of brothers repeatedly need to escape bigger and bigger threats after unsuccessfully robbing a bank. At the same time, one of the brothers tries to protectively look out for the other one, who is developmentally disabled, but the watchful brother keeps bringing more trouble in the process.

Runtime: 1 hour, 42 minutes

Notable cast: Barkhad Abdi, Buddy Duress, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Robert Pattinson, Benny Safdie and Taliah Lennice Webster

Josh and Benny Safdie directed while Josh co-wrote the screenplay.

In this comedic drama, a wealthy family living in mid-1980s New York City breaks apart as the parents separate and all the members deal with their own ennui of wanting to live more meaningful lives but feel perpetually stuck as they flail through life’s challenges.

Runtime: 1 hour, 21 minutes

Notable cast: William Baldwin, Jeff Daniels, Jesse Eisenberg, Owen Kline, Laura Linney and Anna Paquin

Noah Baumbach directed and wrote the screenplay.

In this comedy, a 1951 Hollywood studio’s tough-guy fixer puts out various fires around town, including keeping stars on track to do their work, shaping gossip columnist stories and investigating a partnership between scriptwriters and the communist Soviet Union.

The movie earned one Academy Award nomination for Best Production Design.

Runtime: 1 hour, 46 minutes

Notable cast: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, Scarlett Johansson, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and Channing Tatum

Joel and Ethan Coen directed and co-wrote the screenplay.

In this sci-fi romance, a new technology allows people to erase the memories of other people (such as past partners) from their brain, creating a new dynamic to existing rocky relationships as one person in the partnership can truly opt out and erase all lingering doubts.

Runtime: 1 hour, 48 minutes

Notable cast: Jim Carrey, Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Wilkinson, Kate Winslet and Elijah Wood

Michel Gondry directed while Charlie Kaufman wrote the screenplay.

“Her” (2013)

In this speculative dramatic comedy, a newly single man in a futuristic city falls in love with a Siri-like operating system.

“Her” won one Academy Award and earned four nominations. The movie won for Best Original Screenplay and notably received a Best Picture nomination.

Runtime: 2 hours, 6 minutes

Notable cast: Amy Adams, Bill Hader, Scarlett Johansson, Rooney Mara, Joaquin Phoenix, Chris Pratt, Kristen Wiig and Olivia Wilde

Spike Jonze directed the movie and wrote the screenplay.

In this gambling thriller set in 2012 New York City, a jeweler with a gambling addiction accepts extreme risks in both his personal life and professional life on a day-to-day basis.

Runtime: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Notable Cast: Julia Fox, Kevin Garnett, Idina Menzel, Adam Sandler and LaKeith Stanfield

The Safdie brothers directed and co-wrote the screenplay.

In this coming-of-age drama/comedy set in early 2000s Sacramento, California, a teenager dreams of a culture-filled life in New York City while finishing her last days of a tumultous high school experience.

“Lady Bird” earned five Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture.

Runtime: 1 hour, 34 minutes

Notable Cast: Timothée Chalamet, Beanie Feldstein, Lucas Hedges, Tracy Letts, Laurie Metcalf and Saoirse Ronan

Greta Gerwig directed the movie and wrote the screenplay.

In this revisionist Western set in the southern United States in 1858, an enslaved man convinces a bounty hunter to help him free his wife from a cruel, sadistic plantation owner.

“Django Unchained” earned five Academy Award nominations and won two categories: Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (Christoph Waltz).

Runtime: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Notable Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx, Samuel L. Jackson, Christoph Waltz and Kerry Washington

Quentin Tarantino directed the movie and wrote the screenplay.

In this period drama set in the early 1900s West Coast, an oilman tries to expand his drilling empire through any means necessary.

“There Will Be Blood” earned nine Academy Award nominations and won two categories: Best Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis) and Best Cinematography.

Runtime: 2 hours, 38 minutes

Notable Cast: Paul Dano and Daniel Day-Lewis

Paul Thomas Anderson directed the movie and wrote the screenplay.

In this biographical drama set in the mid-2000s at Harvard University, Mark Zuckerberg and his friends create Facebook and then Zuckerberg stabs his friends in the back as the company grows.

The movie earned eight Academy Award nominations, including for Best Picture. It won three Oscars: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Music Score and Best Film Editing.

Runtime: 2 hours

Notable Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Armie Hammer, Rashida Jones, Rooney Mara, Max Minghella and Justin Timberlake

David Fincher directed the movie, and Aaron Sorkin wrote the screenplay.

In this mystery thriller set in the late 1960s and early 1970s around the the San Francisco Bay Area, reporters and law enforcement officers team up to try and find the “Zodiac” killer.

The movie didn’t earn any Academy Award nominations, but has since been ranked high in many best-of-the-21st-century lists.

Runtime: 2 hours, 37 minutes

Notable Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Jake Gyllenhaal and Mark Ruffalo

David Fincher directed the movie.

In this biographical comedy set around the turn of the millennium in California, the aspiring actors Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero make a movie that is now considered to be the worst of all time.

“The Disaster Artist” earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Runtime: 1 hour, 44 minutes

Notable Cast: Alison Brie, Dave Franco, James Franco, Seth Rogen and Jacki Weaver

Franco directed the movie.

In this biographical drama set in the British royal palaces during the late 1990s, the royal family mourns the death of Princess Diana and debates whether Queen Elizabeth II should break with tradition to speak to the nation.

“The Queen” earned six Academy Award nominations, including a win for Best Actress for Helen Mirren in the title role.

Runtime: 1 hour, 43 minutes

Notable Cast: James Cromwell, Helen Mirren and Michael Sheen

Peter Morgan, who would go on to create Netflix’s “The Crown,” wrote the screenplay.

In this drama set in 1962 around Southern California, a grieving, homosexual university professor mourns the death of his partner and considers suicide before experiencing a life-affirming night.

“A Single Man” earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor (Colin Firth).

Runtime: 1 hour, 39 minutes

Notable Cast: Colin Firth, Matthew Goode, Nicholas Hoult and Julianne Moore

Tom Ford directed the movie and co-wrote the screenplay.

In this black comedy set in 1967 Minnesota, a Jewish professor grapples with the collapse of his family, health and professional aspirations as everything that seemingly can go wrong does.

“A Serious Man” earned two Academy Award nominations: Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay.

Runtime: 1 hour, 46 minutes

Notable Cast: Richard Kind and Michael Stuhlbarg

The Coen brothers directed the movie and wrote the screenplay.

In this dark fantasy set in 1940s Spain, a young girl, who might be a reincarnated princess of the underworld, travels through a magical labyrinth, escaping the horrors of a new stepfather involved in the violent aftermath of the Spanish Civil War.

“Pan’s Labyrinth” earned six Academy Award nominations and won three categories: Best Production Design, Best Cinematography and Best Makeup and Hairstyling.

Runtime: 1 hour, 58 minutes

Notable Cast: Ivana Baquero, Doug Jones, Sergi López and Maribel Verdú

Guillermo del Toro directed the movie and wrote the screenplay.

In this espionage thriller based on a John le Carré novel and set in 1970s Cold War Europe, a British intelligence officer comes out of retirement with the goal of finding a mole.

“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” earned three Oscar nominations, including Best Actor for Gary Oldman.

Runtime: 2 hours, 2 minutes

Notable Cast: Along with Oldman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth, Ciarán Hands and Tom Hardy.

In this comedic drama, a single mother and her younger neighbors help raise a young boy in Santa Barbara, California, during the end of the 1970s.

“20th Century Women” earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay.

Runtime: 1 hour, 59 minutes

Notable Cast: Annette Bening, Billy Crudup, Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig, Alia Shawkat and Lucas Jade Zumann

In this psychological drama, an aimless war veteran stumbles into a nascent religious cult in 1950.

“The Master” earned three Academy Award nominations: Best Actor (Joaquin Phoenix), Best Supporting Actor (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Best Supporting Actress (Amy Adams).

Runtime: 2 hours, 18 minutes

Notable Cast: Amy Adams, Laura Dern, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rami Malek, Joaquin Phoenix and Jesse Plemons

Paul Thomas Anderson directed the movie and wrote the screenplay.

In this psychological thriller, a successful heart surgeon has a man die during an operation, leading the man’s son to try and get revenge.

“The Killing of a Sacred Deer” won the Best Screenplay award at the Cannes Film Festival

Runtime: 2 hours, 1 minute

Notable Cast: Bill Camp, Raffey Cassidy, Colin Farrell, Barry Keoghan, Nicole Kidman, Alicia Silverstone and Sunny Suljic

Yorgos Lanthimos directed the movie and co-wrote the script.

In this historical comedy, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin dies, leading his close associates to try and grab power for themselves in his absence.

“The Death of Stalin” earned two British Academy Film Award nominations: Outstanding British Film and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Runtime: 1 hour, 47 minutes

Notable Cast: Simon Russell Beale, Steve Buscemi and Jeffrey Tambor

Armando Iannucci directed the movie and co-wrote the screenplay.

In this coming-of-age drama, a high school student in the ’90s has clinical depression and leans on friendships to help him get through this stage of life.

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” earned various accolades from film festivals and institutions across the globe. But most prestigious would be its MTV Movie Awards nomination for “Best Kiss” between Emma Watson and Logan Lerman. The two lost to Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in “Silver Linings Playbook.”

Runtime: 1 hour, 43 minutes

Notable Cast: Logan Lerman, Ezra Miller, Paul Rudd and Emma Watson

In this drama, a gay Black man searches for parent figures and feels he must suppress his identity while growing up in Miami, Florida.

“Moonlight” won earned eight Academy Award nominations and won three categories: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali) and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Runtime: 1 hour, 51 minutes

Notable Cast: Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Andre Holland, Jharrel Jerome, Janelle Monáe, Trevante Rhodes and Ashton Sanders

Barry Jenkins directed the movie and wrote the screenplay.

In this absurdist comedy, a recently single man must find a partner within 45 days or he’ll be forcibly turned into a lobster.

“The Lobster” earned one Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay.

Runtime: 1 hour, 59 minutes

Notable Cast: Jessica Barden, Olivia Colman, Colin Farrell, John C. Reilly, Léa Seydoux, Rachel Weisz and Ben Whinshaw

Yorgos Lanthimos directed the movie and co-wrote the screenplay.

In this period drama, Steve Jobs becomes one of the most venerated tech leaders in history while ignoring friendships and familial obligations.

“Steve Jobs” earned two Academy Award nominations for Best Actor (Michael Fassbender) and Best Supporting Actress (Kate Winslet).

Runtime: 2 hours, 2 minutes

Notable Cast: Jeff Daniels, Michael Fassbender, Seth Rogen and Kate Winslet

Danny Boyle directed the movie, while Aaron Sorkin wrote the screenplay.

In this satirical thriller, the world has frozen over and only the highly segregated occupants of a train survive.

“Snowpiercer” served as director and writer Bong Joon-ho’s American breakout. He would later go on to create “Parasite,” which recently won Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

Runtime: 2 hours, 6 minutes

Notable Cast: Jamie Bell, Chris Evans, Ed Harris, Tilda Swinton, Kang-Ho Song and Octavia Spencer

Bong Joon-ho directed the movie and co-wrote the screenplay.

In this comedy, nuns in a convent break religious rules and wreak havoc.

“The Little Hours” has a long cast of comedy stars from the 2010s.

Runtime: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Notable Cast: Fred Armisen, Alison Brie, Dave Franco, Jemima Kirke, Kate Micucci, Nick Offerman, Aubrey Plaza, John C. Reilly, and Molly Shannon

In this animated superhero movie, a young, Black Spider-Man discovers the existence of other universes (and other Spider-Men) that will come to help him save his own universe.

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” won the Best Animated Feature category at the Academy Awards just last year.

Runtime: 1 hour, 57 minutes

Notable Cast: Mahershala Ali, Nicolas Cage, Kimiko Glenn, Kathryn Hahn, Brian Tyree Henry, Jake Johnson, Zoë Kravitz, Shameik Moore, John Mulaney, Chris Pine, Liev Schrieber, Hailee Steinfeld, Lily Tomlin and Lauren Vélez

Phil Lord co-wrote the screenplay.

In this romantic comedy, a divorced man with bipolar disorder meets someone new while living with his parents in a Philadelphia neighborhood.

“Silver Linings Playbook” earned eight Academy Award nominations. The movie won Best Actress for Jennifer Lawrence.

Runtime: 2 hours, 2 minutes

Notable Cast: Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Tucker

David O. Russell directed and wrote the movie.

In this action drama, a Hollywood stuntman also works as a getaway driver for violent criminals.

“Drive” earned one Academy Award nomination for Best Sound Editing.

Runtime: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Notable Cast: Albert Brooks, Bryan Cranston, Ryan Gosling, Christina Hendricks, Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Ron Perlman

Nicolas Winding Refn directed.

In this psychological mystery drama, a young man in South Korea stumbles into a deceptive situation of complicated friendship.

“Burning” made President Barack Obama’s list of favorite movies of 2018.

Runtime: 2 hours, 28 minutes

Notable Cast: Yoo Ah-in, Jeon Jong-seo and Steven Yeun

In this horror thriller, a punk rock band accidentally witnesses a crime by a white power skinhead group and subsequently becomes the new targets of the skinheads’ violence.

“Green Room” established Jeremy Saulnier as one of the best contemporary horror directors.

Runtime: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Notable Cast: Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat, Patrick Stewart, Anton Yelchin

Jeremy Saulnier directed the movie and wrote the screenplay.

In this drama, residents of a cheap motel in Florida try to make ends meet. The poverty of the motel residents contrasts with the lavish tourism of Disney World only miles away. In the planning stage, Disney referred to the theme park as “The Florida Project.”

The movie earned one Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor (Willem Dafoe).

Runtime: 1 hour, 51 minutes

Notable Cast: Willem Dafoe, Caleb Landry Jones and Brooklynn Prince

Sean Baker directed and co-wrote the screenplay.

In this comedic drama, a gay comedy writer moves back to his conservative household to help take care of his mother, who is dying of cancer.

Former “Saturday Night Live” co-headwriter Chris Kelly wrote this movie, which helped him make the wonderful Comedy Central show “The Other Two.” That show also stars Molly Shannon.

Runtime: 1 hour, 37 minutes

Notable Cast: Maude Apatow, Jesse Plemons, Molly Shannon and Bradley Whitford