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25 Hidden Gem Movies You Probably Forgot Were On Netflix

You probably didn't even realize these great movies were on Netflix.
11/21/2018 10:50am ET | Updated 5 hours ago

The Netflix homepage has a bad habit of hiding good movies from you.

This homepage works hard to recommend the company’s now-endless stream of Netflix Originals. Since the homepage only has so much space, great non-Netflix movies tend to get lost.

Netflix knows that companies like Disney will soon launch competing streaming services. When that happens, Disney and the other competitors will stop sharing their content with Netflix. To ensure its survival, Netflix must get you to love its Netflix Originals and more or less forget about the other shows and movies.

But until that time comes (likely sometime next year), you can still watch tons of great non-Netflix movies on Netflix. And since the Netflix homepage doesn’t offer an easy option to see the “best” and “most critically acclaimed” movies it has to offer, I figured making such a list would be valuable.

All of the recommended movies below came out at least five years ago, since I figured the Netflix algorithm tends to recommend newer content. I also tried to avoid extremely obvious great movies like “The Godfather” and super popular movies like “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.”

These are the kinds of movies that Netflix simply doesn’t have much of a business reason to recommend to you.

I made a similar list a few months ago, but given the constant turnover on the service, many of the recommended movies from back then are already no longer available. So this new list has mostly new suggestions for the movies you can watch right now.

And if you want to stay informed about what’s joining Netflix on a weekly basis to keep up with that endless stream of new content, be sure to subscribe to the Streamline newsletter.

"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"
"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" on Netflix.
Ji Sub Jeong/HuffPost

Streamline makes recommendations for streaming shows and movies. Every Saturday, Streamline highlights the best shows to watch online, with a focus on Netflix.

“Burn After Reading”

Premise: Confident idiots keep stumbling into situations they can’t understand. When a blackmail goes awry, these buffoons must deal with a Rube Goldberg machine of awful.

Genre: Intrigue comedy.

Runtime: 1 hour, 36 minutes.

“Lincoln”

Premise: President Abraham Lincoln tries to keep the country and his life together in the waning days of the American Civil War. These goals appear futile at times and the subsequent struggle takes its toll.

Genre: Biopic war story.

Runtime: 2 hours, 30 minutes.

“Million Dollar Baby”

Premise: Maggie Fitzgerald tries to become a professional boxer. She quickly discovers the brutal side effects of the job.

Genre: Boxing thriller.

Runtime: 2 hours, 12 minutes.

“Marie Antoinette”

Premise: Marie Antoinette marries at 15 and takes over France at 19. Then her world falls apart.

Genre: Period-piece comedy.

Runtime: 2 hours, 3 minutes.

“Hot Fuzz”

Premise: An overly qualified British constable has to deal with bureaucratic machinations that reassign him to a supposedly sleepy town. He soon discovers this place is anything but calm. The constable partners with an under-qualified local to fight a massive conspiracy.

Genre: Action comedy.

Runtime: 2 hours, 1 minute.

“Drinking Buddies”

Premise: Two people who are clearly perfect for each other work at a Chicago brewery together. But both already have relationship partners. Then the two couples go on a trip that shakes things up.

Genre: Romantic comedy.

Runtime: 1 hour, 30 minutes.

“Unforgiven”

Premise: Men exercise vigilante justice in Wyoming, which goes against the wishes of a sheriff. A gun-heavy battle ensues, despite the sheriff trying to keep his domain gun-free.

Genre: Gun-slinging Western.

Runtime: 2 hours, 10 minutes.

“Cold Mountain”

Premise: W.P. Inman gets wounded in the American Civil War while fighting with the Confederates. He decides to try to trek home to rejoin his wife.

Genre: Period-piece drama.

Runtime: 2 hours, 34 minutes.

“Heat”

Premise: A detective tries to stop a notorious thief from pulling off one more job before retirement. While the two play a cat-and-mouse game, their home lives become more complicated. The detective and the thief begin to value each other’s talents.

Genre: Heist thriller.

Runtime: 2 hours, 50 minutes.

“The Aviator”

Premise: Howard Hughes has ambitions of taking over the world. Then the world becomes too much for him.

Genre: Expansive biopic.

Runtime: 2 hours, 50 minutes.

“The Constant Gardener”

Premise: A diplomat’s wife gets murdered after the couple relocates to Kenya. The diplomat tries to figure out who did it and what happened.

Genre: Mysterious murder.

Runtime: 2 hours, 9 minutes.

“In Bruges”

Premise: Ray and Ken are hit men who need to hide after a job. They end up in Bruges, Belgium, and spend time hanging out with the locals.

Genre: Action comedy.

Runtime: 1 hour, 47 minutes.

“Milk”

Premise: Harvey Milk tries to become a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, which would make him the first openly gay politician to be elected to public office in California. His goal causes a violent backlash from a homophobic resistance.

Genre: Political biopic.

Runtime: 2 hours, 8 minutes.

“No Country for Old Men”

Premise: Llewelyn Moss finds a drug deal gone awry in the desert and steals the money. Then dangerous people hunt him down.

Genre: Action thriller.

Runtime: 2 hours, 2 minutes.

“Atonement”

Premise: Briony Tallis accuses her older sister’s lover of a crime he didn’t commit, which sends him to jail. The lives of all three change for the worse.

Genre: Period-piece love story.

Runtime: 2 hours, 3 minutes.

“Blue Valentine”

Premise: Cindy and Dean fall in love but probably aren’t right for each other. As the years pass, resentment starts filling the cracks of their relationship.

Genre: Romantic drama.

Runtime: 1 hour, 52 minutes.

“The Informant!”

Premise: Mark Whitacre decides to help the U.S. government bring down the business he works for. He’s a bumbling informant, but he gets results.

Genre: Dramatic comedy.

Runtime: 1 hour, 48 minutes.

“Moon”

Premise: Sam Bell works as an astronaut on the moon, sending resources back to Earth. Then he makes a discovery that causes him to question his very existence.

Genre: Sci-fi drama.

Runtime: 1 hour, 37 minutes.

“Good Will Hunting”

Premise: A young man facing a jail sentence and working as a janitor at MIT solves a previously unsolved math equation. A judge agrees to release this man as long as he has a new caretaker and gets regular therapy sessions. The therapy sessions end up transforming his life.

Genre: Feel-good drama.

Runtime: 2 hours, 6 minutes.

“Kill Bill: Vol. 1” (and “Vol. 2”)

Premise: An assassin tries to leave that life and get married. Her former boss (and former lover) gets jealous and tries to kill her and her wedding party. She survives, but goes into a multiyear coma. When she wakes up, she decides to get revenge on her former boss and his associates ― by killing them.

Genre: Action thriller.

Runtime: 1 hour, 51 minutes.

“Children of Men”

Premise: The world has gone infertile for nearly two decades. This spurs humanity into chaos across the globe. Refugees abound and a desperate government fights back brutally. But then there’s a glimmer of hope.

Genre: Dystopia thriller.

Runtime: 1 hour, 49 minutes.

“Role Models”

Premise: Two guys work as energy drink spokespeople. They travel around in a ridiculous car with horns, nursing hangovers with the terrible energy drink. Then one of them snaps, which leads to court-ordered community service. Through mentoring kids, the two listless adults find a new love for life.

Genre: Romantic comedy.

Runtime: 1 hour, 39 minutes.

“Julie & Julia”

Premise: A woman wants to be a writer and decides to pursue that dream by tapping into her deep admiration for the famous food personality Julia Child. She starts a blog about cooking Child’s recipes and this new project finds a wide audience. Meanwhile, the movie also focuses on the actual life and early career of Child.

Genre: Biopic comedy.

Runtime: 1 hour, 58 minutes.

“Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”

Premise: A man meets a woman that he likes. But to date her, he needs to defeat her villainous exes. Life imitates the world of cartoon superheroes and zany, jokey battles ensue.

Genre: Romantic comedy.

Runtime: 1 hour, 52 minutes.

“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”

Premise: A new treatment allows people to erase memories ― specifically, people can choose to forget about a person. After a couple goes through a hardship, one of the partners decides to go through this treatment to wipe away the former lover.

Genre: Romantic dystopia.

Runtime: 1 hour, 48 minutes.

CORRECTION: The plot details of “Good Will Hunting” and “Unforgiven” have been revised.