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The 12 Best Netflix Original Movies to Watch Right Now

Wondering what to choose for movie night? Here are our top recommendations.

abrar-al-heeti2
abrar-al-heeti2
Abrar Al-Heeti Technology Reporter
Abrar Al-Heeti is a technology reporter for CNET, with an interest in phones, streaming, internet trends, entertainment, pop culture and digital accessibility. She's also worked for CNET's video, culture and news teams. She graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Though Illinois is home, she now loves San Francisco -- steep inclines and all.
Expertise Abrar has spent her career at CNET analyzing tech trends while also writing news, reviews and commentaries across mobile, streaming and online culture. Credentials
  • Named a Tech Media Trailblazer by the Consumer Technology Association in 2019, a winner of SPJ NorCal's Excellence in Journalism Awards in 2022 and has three times been a finalist in the LA Press Club's National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.
Abrar Al-Heeti
4 min read
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The Trial of the Chicago 7 is a moving depiction of real-life events surrounding the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

Netflix

Over the last several years, Netflix has made a name for itself in the cinematic world, releasing original films that have dominated industry awards shows like the Oscars and the Golden Globes. So, with plenty of films to choose from on the streaming service, which should you pick for movie night? 

Here are our recommendations for the 12 best Netflix original movies. And if you'd rather go with a series, check out our picks for the best TV shows to watch on Netflix.   

Read moreBest Streaming Services of 2024

The Irishman
Netflix

The Irishman (2019)

This mobster film from director Martin Scorsese features a gripping (and gory) storyline, and stellar performances from lead actors including Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Al Pacino. Based on the book I Heard You Paint Houses, the movie chronicles the life of truck driver Frank Sheeran (De Niro) in 1950s Philadelphia, who becomes a hitman for the Italian-American Mafia. It's an epic that's both fascinating and unsettling, and if you've got the patience for the 209-minute runtime, it's worth a watch. 

Benoit Blanc, played by Daniel Craig, looks askance with his arms cross inside a large glass atrium

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022)

A standalone sequel to 2019's hit film Knives Out, Glass Onion follows detective Benoit Blanc's (Daniel Craig) mission to uncover a mysterious death, after tech billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton) invites friends to his private Greek island. The film features fun plot twists, and is broken up by lighthearted humor and aloof characters played by an all-star cast. 

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Netflix

Leave the World Behind (2023)

An absorbingly unsettling psychological thriller, Leave the World Behind chronicles the strange events that arise during a family's getaway at an opulent rental home. A blackout renders their phones, TVs and other electronics useless, and two strangers show up at the door. TikTok has been flooded with clips and analyses of this apocalypse movie, with people reflecting on potential "hidden messages" and real-life parallels. Check it out and see what you make of it.

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Netflix

Marriage Story (2019)

A moving depiction of the dissolution of a marriage, this film poignantly captures the struggle of trying to keep a family together. The performances are what really sell Marriage Story, as Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson artfully use emotion to paint a realistic, gut-wrenching picture of worlds falling apart.

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Netflix

The Two Popes (2019)

Inspired by a true story, The Two Popes is about an unlikely bond between Pope Benedict XVI (Anthony Hopkins) and the future Pope Francis (Jonathan Pryce), two different men with varying viewpoints who convene at a pivotal moment for the Catholic Church. Don't be deceived by the title or general premise -- this isn't a movie preaching religion. Rather, it's a deeper exploration of the human condition and finding connection -- in this case, while navigating faith.

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Netflix

Roma (2018)

Beautiful cinematography and an emotionally moving storyline come together in Roma, a drama about a live-in maid (Yalitza Aparicio) who works for a middle-class family in Mexico City in the 1970s, amid political and social unrest. It's an intimate and personal film from Oscar-winning director Alfonso Cuarón, loosely based on his own upbringing. 

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Netflix

The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)

This impactful film chronicles the real events surrounding the Chicago Seven, a group of people charged with conspiracy by the US government, in connection with an uprising at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. It features an impressive cast, including Eddie Redmayne, Jeremy Strong, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Sacha Baron Cohen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

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Netflix

Nimona (2023)

This animated drama, based on the graphic novel of the same name, is set in a futuristic medieval world, in which a knight (Riz Ahmed) is framed for a crime. A shapeshifting teenager named Nimona (Chloë Grace Moretz) -- whom he's been trained to destroy -- may be his only hope for proving his innocence.

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Ali Güler/Netflix

The Swimmers (2022)

This biographical film tells the story of two sisters, Yusra (Nathalie Issa) and Sarah Mardini (Manal Issa), who escape war-torn Syria. Amid all the strife and upheaval, Yusra works toward her dream of swimming in the Olympics. It's a touching narrative of hope and survival.

Three soldiers holding up guns in a murky trench
Reiner Bajo/Netflix

All Quiet on the Western Front (2022)

A World War I drama based on the classic novel of the same name, this epic depicts the horrors of war through the eyes of 17-year-old German soldier Paul Bäumer (Felix Kammerer). At first enthused about joining the army -- in spite of his parents' wishes -- Bäumer gets a violent wake-up call. All Quiet on the Western Front was a dominating force at the 95th Annual Academy Awards, as it was nominated for nine Oscars and ultimately walked away with four, including Best International Feature Film.

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Netflix/Amazon Prime

I Care A Lot (2020)

A con woman and legal guardian (Rosamund Pike) makes a living swindling her elderly clients, until she meets her match. This comedy thriller is unique in that you'll deeply despise the main character, but still want to stick around for the ride. 

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Netflix

The Mitchells vs. the Machines (2021)

This one's a fun watch for the whole gang. When the quirky Mitchell family embarks on a cross-country road trip, things quickly go south as they find themselves in the midst of a robot apocalypse. Now, they face the not-so-small task of saving humanity. The writing is clever and humorous, and you'll have fun identifying all the big-name cast members who lend their voices to characters.