Welcome to the What’s on Netflix top 50 movies currently streaming on Netflix. This selection covers a mix of the best comedy, action, romantic, sci-fi and animated movies currently streaming on Netflix. We update this list every month with the new movies that have been added to Netflix.
We have left the Christmas reporting to it’s own sections and kept our December monthly list to our choice of the better movies streaming on Netflix. We are particluarly pleased that Full metal Jacket has returned to the list which gives Kubrick two in the top ten. There’s something here for everyone. These are our suggestions of 50 movies to watch on Netflix in December.
50. Must Love Dogs – 2005
Must Love Dogs is a romcom with a difference. In this charming piece starring the ever gorgeous Diane Lane and the ever reliable John Cussack, the dogs are the real stars. OK, it’s a romcom so it’s never goignt o set the world alight but as internet dating doesn’t appear to be going away in the near future (despite the best efforts of Ashle Madison) it has a relevance. An Cussack and Lane are great together.
49. The Great Gatsby – 1974
As is so often the case, the original was much better than the 2013 remake. This is a lavish production which is largely faithful to F. Scott Fitzgeralds book – perhaps a little too faithful. Before it’s release, The Great Gatsby was subject to enormous hype on which it failed to delver. This is a shame because the movie is better than the acclaim (or lack of it) that it originally received. some 40 years after it was made, it’s still worth a viewing.
48. Miss Congeniality – 2000
For a while, Sandra Bullock was everybody’s darling and it didn’t take much of a vehicle to get her on the screen. Miss Congeniality is a comedy and a good one. Set in the world of beauty pageants – well why wouldn’t you – Bullock is an undercover cop looking for a terrorist. A beuaty pageant terrorist? Now there’s a thing! Bullock was the movie’s producer and it was good enough to spawn a sequel which is alos streaming on Netflix.
47. Hitch – 2005
Hitch is a matchmaker – a successful one – who’s unfailing techniques don’t seem to work for himself. This is sitcom by any other name. Will Smith gives an unusually down key performance, perfect for the role. A chick flick that also works for men.
46. Lord of War -2005
The issue of arms dealing is murky and has rarely been visited in the movies. Nicholas Cage does a fine job as Yuri Orlov on the back of an excellent script. If there’s any morality in the arms trade, this movie attempts to find it but, essentially, this is a human interest story. Well worth a watch.
45. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny – 2016
The original Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon came exploding out of China, subtitled, in 2000. The miracles, spirits and gods of ancient China were delivered with mind-numbing cinematography, and there was a brief flurry of similar movies (Hero, House of Flying Daggers, etc.) that caught the western imagination. Is this Netflix Original sequel as good? Probably not. But the English language makes it easy to watch, and the story is compelling.
44. The Babadook – 2014
Looking to soil your pants? Sold. Being awarded the Empire Award for best horror, the Babadook takes your childhood fears and multiplies them to the point where you’re actually that scared little boy/girl who is afraid of the monster under your bed. This haunting tale tells the story of how one child’s book manages to come to life when the monster of the said book, haunts their family home. It was an Australian and Canadian movie collaboration, and the result is one of the scariest horror movies on Netflix.
43. The BFG – 2016
It’s always good to be able to add a quality kiddies movie to our top 50 and The BFG is an absolute delight. From the book by Roald Dahl and directed by Steven Spielberg this charming and lighthearted fantasy is brought to life through technology that simply didn’t exist when the book was originally written. Watch it as a family.
42. The Addams Family – 1991
The Addams Family is a dark comedy masterpiece. Developed from the cartoon series which launched in the New Yorker in 1938, the movie has been highly influential in Goth subculture. The character portrayals are immaculate and while it would have been easy to stray into nudity and profanity, the movie avoids this. It’s a great family watch. Now try and keep the catchy theme out of your head!
41. Jane Got A Gun – 2016
The Western has found popularity recently – Hateful Eight, Bone Tomahawk, and Slow West being good examples. Jane Got A Gun is, sadly, not quite in the same league and the production was fraught with difficulty. The idea of straight to video seems to be heading towards straight to Netflix. Having got that off our chest, the movie is far from a complete disaster. Lovers of the Western genre will be entirely satisfied when the gritty characters get their guns out and start shooting at each other.
40. Free Willy – 1993
Free Willy won many awards (if not an Oscar) and attracted a huge amount of attention because of its subject matter. The whole idea of keeping magnificent killer whales in captivity is pretty abhorrent and Free Willy seeks to deliver that message rather than milk the problem for money. The story is well constructed and delivered. There were three sequels and a cartoon version which speaks volumes about the general attitude to wild animals in captivity. This is a great family movie.
39. The Big Short – 2015
The comedy from 2015 was one of the highest rated movies of the year and is a real steal for Netflix and a great movie to watch. In a Wolf of Wall Street scenario, it takes you to Wall Street but just before the 2008 economic collapse focussing on a few budding and greedy bankers intent on making money before the impending collapse. It stars Steve Carrell as well as Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale and Brad Pitt.
38. Police Academy – 1984
This was the first of what was to become an enormous franchise (7 movies and a TV series) and, arguably, the best. As a cash cow, the franchise was extensively milked! This is childish humor and engineered laughs and it works. The concept of completely the wrong sort of person joining the police force is appealing and the movie made the careers of some fine comedy actors. With no rude words, Police Academy is eminently family friendly and should be watched for light relief on a regular basis.
37. Sand Castle – 2017
It is arguable that not enough time has yet passed for the movie industry to look at events in the middle east with any great authority. Sand Castle is a Netflix movie (Netflix are primarily TV producers) and the script could well have started out as a TV show. There are good lines and some pleasantly funny bits. This is a good movie dealing with a difficult subject matter. Perhaps it could have been better? You decide.
36. Goosebumps – 2015
Goosebumps is a family friendly monsters movie with some nice special effects and quality performances from a largely unknown supporting cast. Jack Black in the lead role is his usual competent self. Based loosely on the series of Shivers children’s books (Black’s character is rather shamelessly called Shivers) which were, in turn, a “rip off” of the earlier series of Goosebumps books. This is the end of a procession of, er, recycled material that actually works.
35. Tropic Thunder – 2008
With a host of comedy stars and many cameos from, amongst others, Tobey Maguire, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Lance Bass, Jon Voight, and Jason Bateman, Tropic Thunder works a lot better than it ought to. The premise of a bunch of actors on location becoming embroiled in a Vietnam is weak for an action comedy. It ought to be one or the other. But the dialogue is witty and the interplay between the cast strong. Lot’s of quotable quotes from this movie.
34. The Whole Nine Yards – 2000
Bruce Willis does comedy crime. Ho hum. The title is taken from colloquial Americanism; the idiom is entirely obscure. It basically means, er, everything. Who would of thought that a dentist could be a good guy? If you’re a fan of slapstick comedy and pratfalls, you’ll get a good laugh out of the movie but there’s more sophisticated comedy in here as well. The cast are all comfortable with comedy and have the necessary timing. A great movie it isn’t. An entertaining movie it is.
33. Fantasia – 1940
Back when colour TV’s were just becoming the big thing, Fantasia released from Walt Disney Studios. It was the third movie ever to be released by Disney and still holds up pretty well to today’s standards. Split into eight segments it makes for a perfect movie to watch over a series of sittings and features one of the most iconic Disney characters, Mickey Mouse. t features a superb score too from Leopold Stokowski and was one of the biggest selling points of the movie back when it released in 1940.
32. Beasts of No Nation – 2015
Beasts of No Nation was the movie that Netflix had in its inventory to change cinema forever. While it didn’t quite cause the revolution they were hoping for, it did leave Netflixers with one of the best movies of 2015. Thought-provoking and moving, the movie starred Idris Elba and followed the civil conflict in Africa.
31. The Commitments – 1991
The Commitments from the novel by Roddy Doyle is the story of an ill-fated Dublin soul band. While it’s often funny, sometimes moving and occasionally rather serious, it moves with a pace and the music is a delight. Several of the band members went to have successful singing careers in their own right and that is testament to what this movie is all about. It’s a celebration of some of the great songs from the soul stars of the 60s and 70s. And since half the great bands of all time have “The” in their name, it’s a shame that the Commitments never quite made it in the movie.
30. The Fury -1978
Ahead of its time The Fury was one of the scariest and most violent movies of the 1970s. With a strong cast and an eminently credible plot, the direction by Brain Di Palma makes The Fury a fine movie among his exceptional body of work. The special effects are particularly powerful and, towards the end of the movie, bring a darkness that really works.
29. Beauty and the Beast – 2014
The concept of beauty and the beast is one of the seven bases for every story ever told. As such, this just one of many versions that have been released as movies. The special effects are excellent and the acting perfectly OK. Not enough is made of the love story but, frankly, the kid’s audience at which it is aimed aren’t going to be bothered about that.
28. Zootopia -2016
One of the strongest offerings from Disney for several years, Zootopia will take it’s place in the pantheon of top animated movies. Animation need to be seamless (invisible perhaps) behind strong character creation and even stronger dialogue. Zootopia has it all. And because of this, like any good animated movie it works on many levels for young and old alike. There is still plenty of room for family viewing in the modern and you will be grateful for this movie. It’s destined for classic status.
27. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – 2005
Tim Burton and Johnny Depp strike again. Tim Burton and Danny Elfman strike again. Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter strike again. The list of usual suspects goes on. Unusually, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a departure from the gothic material that Burton is famous for. And that’s not a bad thing. His forays into childrens material are always well delivered and this is a nice delivery of Roald Dahls immortal book.
26. Hot Fuzz – 2007
The second movie in the Cornetto trilogy is by far my favorite and thankfully, streaming on Netflix. With Nick Frost and Simon Pegg back in action, this time, instead of fighting zombies they’re patrolling a quaint and quiet town in the countryside. But not all is as it seems. Yes, Simon Peggs runs into a fence. Watch it.
25. V for Vendetta – 2005
V for Vendatta is a futurist vision of a fascist regime in Great Britain and could easily have been hard work to watch. Fortunately it’s not. The bounce between Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving as the two protagonists works well. The Wachowski Brothers are gifted film makers and, while the action in the movie is oversold by the trailers, the end result is well up there with the best of their work. And the Guy Fawkes mask has made it’s way into modern culture too.
24. Best in Show – 2000
Being big fans of Spinal Tap, we love this movie from the same team. This is a “fly-on-the-wall” mockumentary – dogumentary perhaps – about dog shows and every line is a throwaway. You may have to watch it twice to get them all. And the true strength of the movie comes from the quality of the acting. Much of the dialogue was improvised which makes this so much better than your average pointless teenage flick. Keep an eye out for A Mighty Wind while you’re in this genre.
23. 9 – 2009
It would be easy to dismiss 9 as animation for animations sake. That would be wrong. While the concept is pretty surreal and the story rather indifferent, the delivery is very good. The bad guys are pleasantly bad and the good guys pleasantly endearing. This one draws you in and holds you. Against the backdrop of some exceptional artwork and great animation, this is probably not one for the kids. And therein lies the message. An animated movie for grown-ups has got be something special.
22. Gremlins -1984
Gremlins was released primarily as a family comedy but, frankly, it has plenty of rather gruesome bits. It was written by Chris Columbus who went on to success as a director on the first two “Harry Potter” movies and the first two “Home Alone” pictures. The Gremlins all have unique characters and the special effects steal the limelight. There’s no great morality tale here, just a piece of family entertainment that has stood the test of time.
21. Cool Runnings – 1993
Cool Runnings is a delightful family romp through the true story of the Jamaican entry into the world of bobsleigh. Coming from the Carribean, there are, of course, teething problems and this is where much of the comedy derives. John Candy puts in a fine performance as the disgraced Irving Blitzer. There are actually many themes in this movie that you might have missed when it was first released.
20. Hercules – 1997
Hercules is a true story. Really. It’s just very, very old. For a Disney movie, Hercules is quite exceptional in the depth of the wit and humor in the dialogue. James Woods as Hades is magnificent and the other voice overs work equally well. There has been plenty of urban myth over the years about subliminal “adult” material buried in the movie and you can follow that debate yourselves. Suffice it to say that you don’t need kids around for a viewing of Hercules. This stands on it’s own two feet as a movie for grown-ups.
19. Field of Dreams – 1989
Kevin Costner does sport. Again. This time it’s back to baseball – ref Bull Durham. Oddly for what is essentially a blokes movie, there’s no voilence and it’s actually a bit of a weepy. The film is based on a book implying it’s had more thought than a straight screenplay and it also has depths beyond pure sport. It digs into politics and does so well. The movie launched Ray Liottas career and James Earl Jones is his usual excellent self. This movie has far more going for it than might at first appear.
18. Moana – 2016
Not to be confused with the 2009 biopic about an Italian porn star of the same name, this is another Disney heroine movie in the vein of Mulan, Pocahontas, the Little Mermaid etc. This time we’re on a remote island in Polynesia to deal with the baddies. As you would expect, the Disney production is flawless and the movie works for adults and children alike. The songs are particularly strong and we can see the kids wanting to watch this over and over again.
17. On Golden Pond – 1981
Katharine Hepburn and father and daughter Henry and Jane Fonda star in a sentimental but unpretentious look at growing old. On Golden Pond won three Oscars from it’s ten nominations and was worthy or more. Henry Fonda was physically very frail at the time of filming and adds a depth to the movie that resonates to this day. Perhaps the true depth of the movie derives from the magnificent score by Dave Grusin. It’s worth watching for that alone.
16. Armageddon – 1998
This is the story of Bruce Willis efforts to save the world from yet another threat from space. It’s hardly a recruitment campaign for NASA, but they took it seriously enough to allow filming in normally restricted areas of their premises. The dialogue is excellent and witty, and it’s worth watching just for that. Wouldn’t it be great if it was a true story; but it’s not. It’s two and a half hours of pure escapism with great visuals, great sound, a love interest for the ladies and a happy ending. Couldn’t be better.
15. Metropolis – 1927
Metropolis is Fritz Lang’s seminal “vision of the future” movie. The very first cut of the movie ran for 210 minutes, something of a marathon for an early black and white movie. Subsequent releases have been cut to as low as 80 minutes. Like a silent movie, Metropolis relies entirely on its visual imagery to tell its story. And it’s not a happy story which is unusual for the era in which it was made. It’s influenced reaches into Star Wars where the design of C3PO was based on a robot from Metropolis. This is one for all movie connoisseurs.
14. Bridget Jones’s Baby – 2016
Bridget Jones’s Baby is the third in the enduring and endearing series. This is a romcom for sure (a British to boot) but there’s plenty in here for you strapping chaps as well. The story stands on it own but it would probably help to have seen the previous two. Renee Zellweger is brilliant as Bridget and she absolutely nails the plummy British accent. There is no reason why this franchise shouldn’t run and run.
13. Blood Diamond – 2006
Blood Diamond is a good movie made by another excellent performance from Leonardo DiCaprio. Will it join the pantheon of cinema greats? Probably not. Blood Diamond is more emotionally engaging than several of the spate of movies that examined various aspects of problems in Africa and it is easy to be encouraged by the sense of morality that the characters show in the face of some unpleaseant circumstances.
12. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – 2008
A deeply moving movie about the friendship between two young boys through the wire of a Holocaust concentration camp, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is an examination of the devastating effect of war on two innocents. The Holocaust is one of the indictments of the Germans during this desperate period of their history – “We were only following orders” – but that it should have been imposed on young children who knew nothing of the concept is beyond comprehension.
11. Grease – 1978
Grease is one of the all-time great feel good musical movies. A top cast belt out the songs and the boy meets girl story romps to a delightful conclusion. Both Olivia Newton John and John Travolta were established star in their own right when the movie was made and their pairing works perfectly.This is a movie to be watched on a regular basis. And, oh those trousers…
10. Who Framed Roger Rabbit – 1988
Acting on a green screen against cartoon characters has got to be one of the toughest things ever. Bob Hoskins delivers without a flaw. This triple Oscar winning cartoon (with a real person overlaid) works on many levels. With Looney Toons slapstick, Disney attention to detail and a hint of the Pixar to come, the comedy keeps on coming and there’s a happy ending. We like happy endings.
9. Dead Poets Society – 1989
Dead Poets is a morality movie with depths beyond compare. And it won the best screenplay Oscar to boot. Basically, a bunch of misfits at a posh school find their life missions through poetry inspired by their English teacher played by the excellent Robin Williams. While this fits firmly in the coming of age genre, it works for all age groups. It really will inspire you to try and make your life extraordinary.
8. Scary Movie – 2000
Scary Movie is one of those rare things – a good spoof movie. By good, we mean a good movie that doesn’t rely purely on comedy. The script can make you uncomfortable at times and the bumbling serial killer still has a sense of menace. Having said that, the comedy is excellent and often been referenced since the movie was released. The cast is functional rather than a collection of “A Listers” and this adds to the appeal and depth of the movie.
7. Eyes Wide Shut – 1999
Husband and wife off screen at the time, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman deliver in Stanley Kubricks last movie (he died before it was completed). Kubrick was never afraid to go where others might fear to tread and his examination of sex and sexuality is hidden in the dialogue. The movie was hyped as being very nearly a porno and it simply isn’t; there is nothing gratuitous about any of the erotica and this is a thought provoking masterpiece from the master.
6. Full Metal Jacket – 1987
R. Lee Ermey’s creation of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket is one of the finest war movie characters ever. Period. The first half of the movie is dominated by this towering and relentless performance with some of the best black comedy that can only come out of the Vietnam conflict. The second half of the movie moves to Vietnam and becomes a strong anti war statement from director Kubrick. And that rather makes it two movies. Frankly, if this is two for the price of one we’re all for it.
5. Jaws – 1975
From the first notes of genius composer John Williams’ score to the last scenes of the movie, Jaws takes control of your imagination and doesn’t let go. Part of the strength of the movie is the time it takes for us to get our first glimpse of the enormous shark. And what a glimpse; this is one of the best pieces of tension build up and release ever. And that’s just the beginning of the middle. There’s the end still to come. It’s worth noting that Jaws caused a widespread hatred of sharks, largely unnecessary but which has taken a devastating toll on the population.
4. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial – 1982
The genius that is Stephen Spielberg had the world spellbound with his vision of benign visitors from space quietly going about their business and leaving one behind. A very, very, very young Drew Barrymore is, arguably, the star of the show but the special effects are characterisations (based on Spielberg’s childhood) are all good. Especially the ET. This is still the 4th highest grossing movie of all time and “ET phone home” one of the most quoted lines of cinema history.
3. The African Queen – 1951
We’ve written before about this Oscar winner and are delighted to be able to write about it again. Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn are giants of the cinema screen and their delivery of the story of an extraordinary relationship between two ill-matched people is an object lesson in acting for the current generation. Set in Africa during the second world war, the story, frankly plays second fiddle to the unfolding love story and you can feel every emotion that the characters feel. This is a classic that should be on everyone’s “seen that” list.
2. Pulp Fiction – 1994
Pulp Fiction moves seamlessly between 4 simultaneous storylines with plenty of trademark Tarantino violence and humour. The big unanswered question is what is in the briefcase? There have been many speculations over the years but no definitive answers. Our favourite explanation is that it’s Marcellus’ soul and the band-aid on his neck is where it was taken out. But the way it shines, it could just be gold. The performances in Pulp Fiction are as good as it gets, Tarantino’s choice of music is superb, and the screenplay is a masterpiece. This movie works on every level.
1. Schindlers List – 1993
Another classic from the great Steven Spielberg, Schindlers List is the true story of the efforts of a conscientious German businessman to help Jews avoid the Nazi concentration camps. Oskar Schindler was not a particularly likeable person which makes this story even more remarkable. This is a long movie at over 3 hours but the 7 Oscars it won explain why it’s a must watch. Let’s hope it’s lessons have been learned for all time.