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The 50 best movies on Netflix UK

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We all know that Netflix is home to many TV gems - here's 50 of 'em, for starters - but it also offers a repository of cracking movies to delve into. We've scoured Netflix UK to pick out (in no particular order) 50 movies worth chilling with. Some are classics, some deeper cuts; all are worthy of your sofa time.

1. Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb (1964)

peter sellers kubrick dr strangelove

Peter Sellers warned us not to fight in the war room. But he didn’t say anything about laughing until our sides split during Stanley Kubrick’s hysterical political satire. When General Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden) declares nuclear war on the Soviet Union without telling anyone, said war room descends into a state of unadulterated panic. As Joint Chiefs of Staff President Merkin Muffley (Sellers) and General Buck Turgidson (George C. Scott) rush to stop the B-52 bombers reaching their target, a whole bunch of wild, infectious characters (including Sellers’ titular former Nazi) get caught in the crossfire. Kubrick at his absolute best.

Read our review here.

2. Battle Royale (2000)

battle royale class photo

Katniss and her fellow tributes had it tough, but the annual Hunger Games aren’t a patch on the Battle Royale Act. Shipped off to a deserted island, a bunch of Japanese high-school students face a fight to the death with only a randomly selected weapon and their wits to get them through. If you like your films emotional, action-packed and foreign, this should be top of your list. (We recommend you swerve the dire sequel, though.)

Read our review here

3. Hoop Dreams (1994)

hoop dreams black and white

William Gates and Arthur Agee dream of the NBA big leagues in this Oscar-nominated documentary. Both from dilapidated areas of Chicago, the pair are scouted by a private school in Westchester, Illinois. School work and injuries threaten to get in the way, but the boys' dreams never falter. Winning the Audience Award at Sundance and filmed over five years, if you’re ever in desperate need of a jolt of inspiration, look no further.

Read our review here

4. Reservoir Dogs (1992)

reservoir dogs

If you still haven’t seen the film that put Tarantino on the cinematic map, luckily it’s available for your streaming pleasure. Centring around a jewellery heist, paranoia sets in as those responsible think there may be a police informer within their rather colourful ranks. With Harvey Keitel, Michael Madsen and Tim Roth along for the ride and at the top of their hard men peak, you know things are going to get messy.

Read our review here

5. Election (1999)

reese witherspoon matthew broderick election

If you thought Reese Witherspoon was headstrong as Legally Blonde’s Elle Woods, just wait until you get a load of class president wannabe, Tracy Flick. Witherspoon plays the eager student giving Matthew Broderick’s teacher a headache in Alexander Payne’s Oscar-nominated comedy, proving she could be enterprising and incredibly competitive long before Woods came along.

Read our review here

6. Serpico (1973)

al pacino serpico

It’s terrifying to think there’s a generation who were introduced to Al Pacino via Adam Sandler and Sky Broadband adverts. But journey back four decades and you’ll find Serpico, earning Pacino his first lead actor Oscar nomination after being up for Best Supporting in The Godfather the previous year. Pacino is the titular police whistleblower in Sidney Lumet’s true life crime drama, a man who puts his life in danger by threatening to expose the corruption of his fellow New York policemen.

Read our review here

7. The Look Of Silence (2014)

the look of silence joshua oppenheimer

If you’ve not seen 2012’s The Act Of Killing, return to this when you have. Seen it now? Good. Joshua Oppenheimer’s follow-up to his critically-lauded and genuinely harrowing documentary is just as acclaimed and just as painful. This time Oppenheimer’s focus turns to a specific family who were affected by the 1965 Indonesian communist genocide and now live their life in silence. Not for the easily upset.

Read our review here

8. We Need To Talk About Kevin (2011)

john c. reilly ezra miller tilda swinton we need to talk about kevin

Unconditional love towards son Kevin (Rocky Duer, Jasper Newell, Ezra Miller) proves difficult for Eva (Tilda Swinton) as the youngster becomes increasingly volatile - and we’re not talking the odd tantrum before bed. Fans of the book will know what’s ahead, but that doesn’t stop Lynne Ramsay’s adaptation from being as hard-hitting as Kevin is unpredictable.

Read our review here

9. Monty Python’s And Now For Something Completely Different (1971)

john cleese monty python and now for something completely different

Alright, so it’s not The Holy Grail or The Life Of Brian, but this conglomeration of rerecorded sketches from the first and second series of Monty Python’s Flying Circus features such favourites as The Lumberjack Song, the Dead Parrot sketch and Hell’s Grannies. A great introduction to the Pythons for anyone who’s yet to venture into their surreal world.

10. Babel (2006)

brad pitt babel

Before Alejandro G. Iñárritu was tearing up the 2015 and ‘16 awards races with Birdman and The Revenant, 2006’s Babel was duking it out against The Departed and Little Miss Sunshine. Starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, Iñárritu’s third film features four stories that all revolve around a single gun. It’s worth it just for Rinko Kikuchi’s incredible Oscar-nominated performance.

Read our review here

11. There Will Be Blood (2007)

There Will Be Blood

What’s better than one Paul Dano? Two Paul Danos. The actor plays twin brothers Eli and Paul Sunday in Paul Thomas Anderson’s adaptation of Upton Sinclair’s novel. Preacher Eli does what no sane human should consider, going head-to-head with Daniel Day-Lewis’ oil prospector, Daniel Plainview. Greed, unbearable tension and milkshake follow: oil has never been so compelling.

Read our review here

12. The Conformist (1970)

The Conformist

Bernardo Bertolucci’s fourth film flits between 1917 and 1938, following Marcello Clerici’s (Jean-Louis Trintignant, last seen in Michael Haneke’s Amour) attempt to assassinate a former teacher whilst on his honeymoon. And who said romance is dead? One of the best entries on this list, flashbacks, sex and violence coalesce to brilliant effect in this Italian-language drama.

13. No Country For Old Men (2007)

No Country For Old Men

Josh Brolin’s Llewelyn Moss makes a big mistake when swiping two million dollars that he finds at the aftermath of a shootout. Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) and bowl-haircut-sporting Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) are soon hot on his tail - the former hoping he’ll turn himself in, the latter intent on murdering Moss. Bardem’s Bond villain may have been intimidating, but the Coens cemented Chigurh as one of the silver screen’s greatest sinners.

Read our review here

14. Beasts Of No Nation (2015)

Beasts Of No Nation

Cary Joji Fukunaga assembled a cast of mainly non-actors for this Netflix Original Film set in fictional, war-torn West Africa. A harrowing tale of growing up before your time, Beasts Of No Nation follows young Agu (Abraham Attah) as he is torn from his family and enrolled into child soldier ranks under Idris Elba’s Commandant. Boasting two central performances that will stay with you long after the credits, Beasts proves Netflix aren’t just serious about their original television content: they want to dominate film, too.

Read our review here

15. The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

Talented Mr Ripley

Matt Damon is Tom Ripley – aka a Manhattan lavatory attendant bored with his humble existence – in Anthony Minghella’s adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel. Tasked with bringing Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law) home from Italy for a fee, Ripley’s euro-activities get a little ugly, to say the least. Damon, Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett, and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman are on top form; which is all the incentive you need.

Read our review here

16. Downfall (2004)

Downfall

A Berlin bunker is the set for Oliver Hirschbiegel’s awards magnet, Downfall, aka, Der Untergang. Hirschbiegel’s next few projects The Invasion, and err, Diana didn’t quite hit the sweet spot (or any spot at all, for that matter), but we implore you to watch his take on Adolf Hitler’s final days, featuring a disturbingly accurate portrayal of Hitler by Bruno Ganz.

Read our review here

17. The Raid 2 (2014)

The Raid 2

Hands up if you predicted a Welshman would end up becoming one of cinema’s best ever martial arts directors. No, us neither. Gareth Evans continues to conjure up moves that beggar belief in his sequel to The Raid. Kicking off minutes after the first film’s end credits, the story continues with our hero Rama (Iko Uwais) leaving the tower blocks behind and taking on Jakarta’s criminal big guns. Containing one of the best kitchen scenes of all time, there’s nothing quite like this.

Read our review here

18. The Avengers (2012)

The Avengers

Iron Man! Captain America! Thor! Everyone’s favourite superheroes (unless you prefer DC, obviously) finally got the big screen treatment we’d been waiting for. And boy, did Joss Whedon deliver. Tom Hiddleston is the big bad first time around, going full Loki and being flung around by the Rufflehulk in the process. Don’t know who Loki is? Well, you’ve got some serious catching up to do before you see the superpals assemble.

Read our review here

19. Warrior (2011)

Warrior

Tom Hardy does his best caged bull impression as ex-Marine Tommy Conlon in Gavin O’Connor’s MMA drama. Going up against Hardy is no easy task, but Joel Edgerton gives it all he’s got as older brother Brendan. Paternal issues, alcoholism, estranged brothers: chuck in The National’s About Today during the film’s super-emotional climax and there won’t be a dry eye in the house.

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20. Fargo (1996)

Fargo

With two series of FX’s Fargo done and dusted, now is as good a time as any to catch up with the source material. As Jerry Lundegaard’s (William H. Macy) plan to get rich quick falters at every turn, he soon finds himself pursued by the very persistent – and very pregnant – police chief Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand). Sublime.

Read our review here

21. Pulp Fiction (1994)

Pulp Fiction

Don’t know who Vincent Vega is? Then you haven’t witnessed John Travolta at his absolute best. This ultra-violent, ultra-intertwined masterpiece is one of five Tarantino films available on UK Netflix. Jackie Brown, From Dusk Till Dawn, Kill Bill: Vol. 2 and – as mentioned earlier – Reservoir Dogs are also ready and waiting for you.

Read our review here

22. A Bronx Tale (1993)

Bronx Tale

Robert De Niro directs himself and Chazz Palminteri in this tale of crime and shifting loyalties. As Lorenzo’s (De Niro) son C (Francis Capra, Lillo Brancato) finds himself taken under local gangster Sonny’s (Palminteri) wing, the youngster struggles to veer away from inevitable tragedy. You’d have to wait until 2006 for De Niro's second directorial rodeo, The Good Shepherd.

Read our review here

23. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

Beverly Hills Cop

Eddie Murphy is Axel Foley, a cop who leaves Detroit for California after his best friend is murdered before his eyes. Pursuing the man who did it to the Golden State, Foley’s unconventional (but undeniably effective) ways keep the LA police force on their toes. Twenty three at the time of release, this is a comedic masterclass that leaves today’s young comics in the dust.

Read our review here

24. The Wolf Of Wall Street (2013)

Wolf Of Wall Street

Quaalude popping, dwarf tossing, and live fish swallowing – it can only be Scorsese’s The Wolf Of Wall Street. Telling the story of real-life stockbroker Jordan Belfort, this unbelievable rags to riches (and almost rags again) tale features a never better DiCaprio as the titular wolf; and the role he should, in hindsight, probably have won his first Oscar for.

Read our review here

25. It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

Wonderful Life

Handkerchiefs at the ready… Not every festive family favourite revolves around a man contemplating suicide, but Frank Capra’s tale of an angel helping James Stewart’s businessman George Bailey isn’t just for Christmas. (Promise.)

Read our review here

26. Good Will Hunting (1997)

Good Will Hunting

This Boston-set drama stars Matt Damon as MIT-janitor-turned-accidental-advanced-mathematics-student, Will Hunting. Damon and BFF Ben Affleck’s Gus Van Sant-directed screenplay earned them an Oscar, with Robin Williams receiving his fourth and final Oscar nomination (and only win) as Will’s therapist, Sean Maguire. How do you like them apples?

Read our review here

27. Mission: Impossible (1996)

Mission Impossible

Dun dun dun-dun, dun dun dun-dun… Ethan Hunt’s (Tom Cruise) first mission was to clear his name after being blamed for a failed mission that claimed the lives of his spy associates. This instalment may be pre-Benji (Simon Pegg), but Ving Rhames’ Luther is along for the ride.

Read our review here

28. Chinatown (1974)

jack nicholson chinatown

Jack Nicholson is Jake Gittes: a private detective hired by Faye Dunaway’s Evelyn Mulwray. Why? Because she thinks her husband is having an affair. But the Evelyn Mulwray that hired Gittes isn’t the real Mrs. Mulwray. Dunaway and Nicholson team up to crack the case in Roman Polanksi’s riveting LA-set neo-noir. Heavy on mystery and high on drama, the film earned Nicholson his fourth Oscar nomination.

Read our review here

29. Hannah And Her Sisters (1986)

Hannah And Her Sisters

Woody Allen’s 15th feature film has a cast to die for: Mia Farrow as the titular Hannah, Michael Caine, Max Von Sydow, Carrie Fisher, Dianne Wiest and Barbara Hershey just for starters. One of Allen’s very best, he plays a TV writer this time around; ex-husband to Hannah and a raving hypochondriac. Split into three arcs and bookended by Thanksgivings at Hannah’s, Allen’s yarns deal with love, lust and, as always, relatable insecurities.

Read our review here

30. Once Upon A Time In America (1984)

Once Upon A Time

King of the spaghetti Western Sergio Leone turned his gaze to the Lower East Side for this adaptation of Harry Grey’s novel. Spanning decades, we follow a group of Jewish gangsters (played by Robert De Niro and James Woods) who ultimately face their demons after a life of crime. Performances and Ennio Morricone score aside, Once Upon A Time In America is Leone’s final film, sadly dying five years later.

Read our review here

31. Munich (2005)

Munich

Eric Bana and Daniel Craig lead the meticulously planned charge in Munich, one of Steven Spielberg’s lowest-grossing, but most critically-acclaimed films. Based on the true life events of the 1972 Munich Olympics, a crack team must take down members of Black September - Palestinian terrorists responsible for the assassination of Israeli athletes. If you’re a Spielberg completist, this historical thriller is a tough - but essential - watch.

Read our review here

32. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

Ferris Bueller

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you might just miss it.” Wise words, Ferris. Matthew Broderick is the rebellious teen hell-bent on rubbing his principal up the wrong way in this John Hughes classic. Epic street parades, Ferraris, Charlie Sheen: bunking off has never been so fun.

Read our review here

33. The Thin Red Line (1998)

Thin Red Line

Oh look, it’s Jared Leto! And John Travolta! And John C. Reilly! Terrence Malick’s war epic may have left Bill Pullman, Mickey Rourke and Billy Bob Thornton on the cutting room floor, but the final version can be discovered on UK Netflix. Nominated for seven Oscars and complemented by a stellar Hans Zimmer score, Malick’s third film after a 20-year absence was well worth the wait.

Read our review here

34. The Apartment (1960)

The Apartment

Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine star in Billy Wilder’s controversial-for-its-time comedy about a New York clerk who realises he can get ahead at work by lending his apartment to company heads for their, erm, ‘extramarital activities’. Wilder’s follow-up to Some Like It Hot was a massive hit with audiences and critics alike. It stands the test of time, and then some.

Read our review here

35. Scream (1996)

Scream

Do you ever feel like you watch too many films? Sometimes sitting in front of the box for too long can prove mighty handy. At least, it does for the group of adolescents who utilise what they’ve learnt from the horror genre to fend off a masked serial killer on a stabby rampage. Wes Craven’s slasher is undoubtedly to blame for the insane amount of terrible parody films released each year, but none come close to this original genre spoof.

Read our review here

36. Coming To America (1988)

Coming To America

21-year-old African Prince Akeem Joffer (Eddie Murphy) descends on Queens, New York in pursuit of a wife - apparently pretending to be a student and working undercover at a fictional version of McDonald’s is the key. John Landis’ tenth feature saw him reteam with Murphy post-Trading Places and pre-Beverly Hills Cop III for another bout of quickfire hilarity and quotable antics.

Read our review here

37. Cinema Paradiso (1988)

Cinema Paradiso

Giuseppe Tornatore’s Oscar winner takes place in Italy - at the Cinema Paradiso, to be precise. Young Salvatore (‘Toto’, played by Salvatore Cascio) finds himself bewitched by the local picturehouse, falling under its spell and all it has to offer after losing his father in the World War II. A celebration of cinema and love, it’s also an ode to the dying art that is film projection.

Read our review here

38. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Shawshank Redemption

For Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) and 'Red' Redding (Morgan Freeman), prison is a place for friends as well as enemies. Thought of by many as the greatest film of all time (calm down Citizen Kane, we said ‘thought of’…), Frank Darabont’s adaptation of Stephen King’s short story Rita Hayworth And Shawshank Redemption demands your immediate attention if you are one of the lucky few yet to see it for the first time.

Read our review here

39. Capote (2005)

Capote

Another list, another great Philip Seymour Hoffman performance. Hoffman’s first and only Oscar was for his spookily accurate portrayal of writer Truman Capote. As a story about the murder of a Kansas family turns into his most famous book (In Cold Blood), Truman finds himself fascinated by one of the men responsible. You only need one incentive to add this to your watchlist: Philip. Seymour. Hoffman.

Read our review here

40. Into The Wild (2007)

Into The Wild

Sean Penn directed this true-life tale of 24-year-old Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch) as he gives up his worldly possessions and heads into the wilderness. Along the way, he encounters a wild Vince Vaughn, Kristen Stewart and Catherine Keener. Tautly directed and incredibly emotional, this begs the question, ‘Why isn't Emile Hirsch a massive star?’

Read our review here

41. To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)

Mockingbird

Racially-divided Alabama is rocked by lawyer Atticus Finch when he defends a young black man accused of rape in this adaptation of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Finch’s young children Scout (Mary Badham) and Jem (Phillip Alford) find their childhood bliss turned on its head in a film that earned more than ten times its budget and made Atticus Finch one of cinema's greatest characters.

Read our review here

42. The French Connection (1971)

French Connection

One of the best onscreen car chases of all time? Check. One of the best character nicknames of all time? Check. William Friedkin’s police drama follows Jimmy ‘Popeye’ Doyle (Gene Hackman) and partner Buddy ‘Cloudy’ Russo (Roy Scheider) as they attempt to intercept a massive drugs shipment. Friedkin would release The Exorcist a year later, two films that could not be more different but saw the director at the height of his career.

Read our review here

43. The Warriors (1979)

Warriors

It’s all-out street war in New York City as The Warriors are blamed for killing the leader of rival gang, The Gramercy Riffs. And all leader Cyrus wanted was gang unity... So much for that. As The Warriors attempt to journey home without being slaughtered one by one, the night kicks off in spectacular fashion. It’s fair to say that Walter Hill’s cult film makes West Ham and Millwall fans look like happy families.

Read our review here

44. Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid (1969)

Butch and Sundance

Paul Newman and Robert Redford – Butch and The Kid, respectively – abscond to Bolivia after one too many US train robberies bring them to the attention of the law. Leaders of the Hole-in-the-Wall gang, the pair are actually very cordial, despite their profession. As the authorities close in on them, the duo find themselves in a bit of a sticky situation. Possible side effects include having Burt Bacharach’s Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head stuck in your brain for a fortnight.

Read our review here

45. 12 Angry Men (1957)

12-Angry-Men

Did a young man stab his father to death? A 12-man jury have the ability to save him from certain execution if they can come to a different, unanimous conclusion. Henry Fonda stars in Sidney Lumet’s crime drama, facing quite the moral quandary as Juror eight out of 12. Whilst those around him view the young whippersnapper as guilty, Fonda tries to find a different approach. Taking place almost entirely within the jury room, high stakes and big performances are the order of the day.

Read our review here

46. Vera Drake (2004)

Vera Drake

London is whipped into a medical frenzy as Vera Drake (Imelda Stauntion) finds unwanted pregnancies directed her way: a 1950s Dr. Nick, if you will. At a time when abortion was illegal, Vera treads a fine line between helping and hindering society. But it’s not all back allies and induced miscarriages, with a very strong family thread running throughout. It’s not a particularly sunny affair, but Mike Leigh’s film received three Oscar nominations, including Staunton’s sole nod thus far.

Read our review here

47. Escape From Alcatraz (1979)

Escape-From-Alcatraz

A fictionalised version of the 1962 prisoner escape on Alcatraz, Donald Siegel’s film casts Clint Eastwood, Patrick McGoohan and Jack Thibeau on the island. As Eastwood’s Frank Morris attempts to bust out of the most secure (and apparently unbustoutable) prison on the planet, he and his fellow inmates hatch a plan involving flowers, spoons, and papier-mâché. Honestly, it’s like something off of Blue Peter. Escape From Alcatraz also marked Danny Glover’s film debut, fact fans.

48. The Magnificent Seven (1960)

Magnificent-Seven

Currently getting the remake treatment from Antoine Fuqua (starring Chris Pratt, Denzel Washington and more), it’s probably time you saw the original (starring Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Yul Brynner and more). John Sturges’ 1960 film is actually a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai - this remake inception runs deep.

Read our review here

49. Wall Street (1987)

Wall-Street

“Greed is good.” Or so says Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas). Inside information and greed are the name of the game in Oliver Stone’s pre-Wolf Of Wall Street stockbroker story. Charlie Sheen is Bud Fox, the young power-hungry padawan to Douglas’ Gekko, swept up in a life that his family (real-life dad Martin Sheen took on the role of Bud’s father) strongly disapprove of. If you only know Charlie Sheen for his television work, it’s time to meet him on Wall Street.

Read our review here

50. Natural Born Killers

Natural Born Killers

Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis wreak havoc across America as serial killer lovers, Mickey and Mallory Knox. Swept off her feet by Mickey (who in turn rescues her from an abusive father), the pair drive into the sunset - a sunset that involves mass murder, prison time, and Robert Downey Jr.’s tabloid journalist, Wayne Gale. With a story from Quentin Tarantino and breathtaking performances from its central duo, Natural Born Killers is one ride you do not want to miss.

Read our review here

Watched all of them already? We also have lists on the Best Documentaries on Netflix and the Best TV Shows on Netflix.

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