Wondering what to watch next on Netflix? Here, we bring you a list of the best films on Netflix UK right now, ranging from action and adventure to thrillers and documentaries. There are so many good films on Netflix, but sometimes it can be too much choice and it’s really tricky to search through so we’ve sifted through the lot to come up with the ultimate list of movies that we think you’ll enjoy.
This list was checked in January 2018, and we update it every month, but movies are changing on Netflix every day. That might mean that one or two of these movies are no longer available to watch by the time you come to read this article, and some good new films may have emerged. Let us know in the comments section below if your favourite movie is available on Netflix but not included here and we’ll endeavour to add it very soon.
Let’s get down to business then. Here are the best movies to watch on Netflix in the UK right now.
Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Southern’ takes on slavery with the sort of black, anarchic tone that only he could get away with. Jamie Foxx is the titular former slave out for revenge, Christoph Waltz the gleeful bounty hunter at his side, and Leonardo DiCaprio gets a rare chance to show his sinister side as plantation owner Calvin Candie. Django Unchained doesn’t pull any punches, but then it wouldn’t be Tarantino if it did.
If they were as colourful and exciting as they are in this ‘70s cult classic, we’d all be a lot more accepting of criminal gangs. After being framed for murder, the Warriors have to trek across New York to their Coney Island home, along the escaping the likes of the Baseball Furies, the Lizzies, and the Rogues. Any time someone sticks a load of empty beer bottles on their fingers and starts clinking them together, you have The Warriors to thank.
Stanley Kubrick’s only comedy still manages to be one of his most political films, its farcical take on the Cold War cutting uncomfortably close to the bone. Peter Sellers is brilliant in three (!) separate roles, the script is endlessly quotable, and it’s just about the only film out there that can leave you in fits of laughter over the nuclear apocalypse.
Not many films climax with a five-minute sex scene between two stop motion-animated puppets, and even fewer could make that sex scene one of the most genuine and human in years, but then Anomalisa isn’t just any film. Charlie Kaufman’s latest may explore the mundanity of the ordinary, but it is anything but.
The Coen Brothers’ classic black comedy recently inspired an anthology TV show of the same name (also on Netflix, as it happens), and it remains one of their best. The plot – a desperate car salesman hires two criminals to kidnap and ransom his own wife – is great, but it’s the none-more-quaint Minnesota setting that makes Fargo utterly unique.
There are plenty of Woody Allen films on Netflix right now, but Annie Hall is almost certainly his best – and makes a brilliant introduction to his work if you’re new to it. It’s a wall-to-wall barrage of jokes, from high-brow philosophical references to low-brow slapstick and sex jokes, but behind it all there’s some genuine insight into modern relationships.
From Dusk Till Dawn
Written by (and co-starring) Quentin Tarantino and directed by Robert Rodriguez, From Dusk Till Dawn was always going to be a bit nuts. There are vampire strippers, a penis pistol, and holy water guns, and that’s barely scratching the surface. The only part we can’t quite get our heads around is buying that Tarantino and George Clooney are brothers.
Setting aside the excellent Making a Murderer series, Netflix generally punches below its weight when it comes to documentaries. It may not look like it, but Pumping Iron is a notable exception, following a pre-fame Arnold Schwarzenegger as he trains for the 1975 Mr. Olympia and Mr. Universe bodybuilding competitions. It’s a great look into a weird sport, and an amazingly candid insight into the actor before he learnt to manage his public image.
A true love letter to film itself, Cinema Paradiso is a touching reminder of just how deeply cinema can affect us all. Framed as a flashback, the film follows a young film-obsessed boy in post-WWII Sicily, charting his youth and adolescence, ever accompanied by the flicker and whirr of the projector. It’s sweet, heartfelt, and absolutely beautiful.
Beasts of No Nation
Netflix’s first original film may boast Idris Elba in its cast, but great as he is, he’s not the real star here. That honour belongs to Abraham Attah, the Ghanaian teenager who makes his acting debut here as a young boy dragged into service as a child soldier in a vicious civil war. Unsurprisingly it’s pretty troubling stuff, but it’s undeniably powerful and difficult to forget.
The Shawshank Redemption
Regularly hailed as the best film of all time, Shawshank has become one of those films that you just have to see at some point in your life, even if you feel like you’ve already had most of the plot ruined by other people’s constant references to it. It’s smart, it’s touching, and it has the archetypal wise-old-Morgan-Freeman character. What more could you want?
Under the Shadow
Set in Tehran during the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s, this Persian-language is that rarest of things: a horror movie that feels genuinely new. That’s in part thanks to the relatively novel monster (the shadowy Djinn), partly the setting, and partly the brilliant central performance from Narges Rashidi. It also manages the neat trick of being totally terrifying while shedding hardly a single drop of blood.
‘Charming’ doesn’t quite cover how delightful Sing Street is. This musical jaunt is set in ’80s Dublin, following the endlessly earnest Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) as he sets up a school rock band with the purest of intentions: to win over a pretty girl. The group veers from genre to genre (and outfit to outfit), charting the shifting landscape of ’80s pop music, but every iteration is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople
If your only association with New Zealand and the cinema is The Lord of the Rings, you need to watch Hunt for the Wilderpeople. Taika Waititi’s weird coming-of-age film in the New Zealand bush (ahem) is as endearing as it is unique. Julian Dennison is unforgettable as the foul-mouther wannabe rapper child who gets thrown into the foster care of Sam Neill’s outdoorsman, in the finest double act we can remember.
Mad Max: Fury Road
Hands down the best action film of the last decade, Fury Road is a nitro-powered kick up the arse for an aged franchise that surely no-one thought would ever be so good again. Original director George Miller returned at the age of 67 (!) to shoot this relentless desert chase movie, a labour of love packed with practical effects, gnarly body horror, and cars upon cars upon cars. We really can’t praise it enough.
Shaun of the Dead was an infectious, loving tribute to decades of zombie and horror flicks, and the same team (and then some) returned a few years later for Hot Fuzz, which does much the same for action. Massive, over-the-top, silly fights in a sleepy English village, all held together by a deep (and genuine) affection for the likes of Bad Boys 2 and Point Break.
Follow-ups Elysium and Chappie may have disappointed, but District 9 is a great reminder that Neill Blomkamp was once one of the most promising directors in the world. This South African sci-fi makes the most of a modest budget to tell a startling, compelling apartheid allegory, with aliens as the downtrodden ‘other’. It’s smart, grimy, and upsetting throughout – and still one of the best directorial debuts in years.
This pitch black comedy follows two Irish hitmen laying low in Bruges, Belgium – and none too happy about it. Colin Farrell proves once and for all that he’s a lot more than just a pretty face, Brendan Gleeson perfects his withering glare, and it somehow continually finds the funny side of the darkest parts of human nature.
The best horror films tend to have a knack for finding the scary side of the most innocent aspects of our life. That’s the approach The Babadook does, turning a kids’ picture book character into the creepiest movie monster around. Most importantly, this is the sort of smart horror that’s driven by character, and never leaves you quite certain that the monster wasn’t in your head all along…
‘Slick’ is about the only word that gets close to summing up Drive, the neon-infused crime move from Nicolas Winding-Refn and starring the unnaturally handsome Ryan Gosling. The electronic soundtrack is dripping with style, the opening car chase is astounding, and Gosling is near his best at the centre of it all – and sporting cinema’s finest jacket since James Dean.