Best Movies on Netflix Right Now (May 2022)

With over 1,500 original titles, Netflix continues to stay atop of the streaming wars pyramid thanks to their exclusive content offerings. Netflix has something for everyone, covering every genre and target demographic imaginable. Sure, everyone knows about popular series like Stranger Things, Squid Games, or Whatever New 10-Hour Horror Series Mike Flanagan Sucks Us All Into For Weeks, but when it comes to film, Netflix knows how to bring the genuine goods. With so many titles to choose from, it’s difficult sometimes to make heads or tails of what’s available, let alone what’s actually worth the sit down and stream. We’ve done the heavy lifting so you don’t have to, and figured out ten of the very best original Netflix films ready for your viewing pleasure.

If you’re interested in the latest films you can also take a look at our list of what’s new to Netflix in May 2022.

Best Netflix Movies

Please note: This list pertains to U.S. Netflix subscribers. Some titles may not currently be available on international platforms. This article is frequently amended to remove films no longer on Netflix and to include more original films that are now available on the service.

The King

Set in England during the 15th century, The King is the most recent film to explore the life of King Henry V. A story first dramatized by William Shakespeare in the late 1500s, we are given a glimpse of the king not as a proud and noble leader, but as a young man who still has some serious maturing to do. Timothee Chalamet stars as Hal, the hard-partying son of King Henry IV who ascends to the throne reluctantly, uneager to take on the responsibilities of all of England. But he can’t hide from his fate, and he will be given an opportunity to prove himself at the now-legendary Battle of Agincourt. With strong performances from Chalamet and Joel Edgerton as the part-buffonish, part-wise Sir John Falstaff, The King is a respectable period drama that doesn’t fail to engage.


By this point, we’ve seen plenty of animated films that tackle the mythos of Christmas. Between all the cutesy stop-motion animation of the 1960s that captured everything from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer to Jack Frost to the Little Drummer Boy, it feels like the well has to be pretty near dry. But there’s always room for one more Christmas origin story, and Klaus fits the bill perfectly. It begins when Jesper (Jason Schwartzman), an entitled young postman who expects to sail through life on his family connections, is sent to a remote Northern town to manage their tiny post office. There, he meets the reclusive Klaus (JK Simmons), whose wood-working abilities are second-to-none and will be put to good use when he works with Jesper to deliver toys throughout the town. Clever, endearing, and appropriately magical, Klaus is worth watching, especially around Christmastime.


Set in rural Mississippi, Mudbound explores the lives of two World War II soldiers – one black, one white – and their challenges in re-integrating into a deeply prejudiced society. Both have had experiences during the war that opened their eyes to the inequalities and bigotry of life back home, and their new perspectives have a way of ruffling feathers, with tragic consequences. Mudbound stars Garrett Hedlund, Jason Mitchell, and Mary J. Blige in a dramatic turn that would earn her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. A chilling depiction of the violent side of post-World War II society, Mudbound is a thoughtful, engaging story about race, class, and resistance to change.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Known for their work on the big screen, it was something of a surprise when Joel and Ethan Coen announced that they would be making a western exclusively for Netflix. But although the medium may be different, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs has many of the same qualities that made the Coen Brothers famous. It features a series of vignettes, capturing life in the Old West in ways that are often melancholy, frequently hilarious, and always entertaining. Tim Blake Nelson earns special attention as the singing cowboy Buster Scruggs, whose shootout opens the film. But it is the story of “Meal Ticket” that lingers with the viewer, where a young man with no limbs (Harry Melling) performs dramatic recitations while traveling from town to town, only to be replaced by a chicken who can supposedly solve math problems.

The Power of the Dog (2021)

The Power of the Dog is a meditative exploration of masculinity amidst the Old West. Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Phil Burbank, a grizzled Montana cowboy who runs a ranch alongside his soft-spoken brother George (Jesse Plemons), but has little patience for George’s new wife Rose (Kirsten Dunst) or her seemingly delicate teenage son Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee). As the story progresses, an aura of tension fills the ranch as Phil plays subtle mind games with Rose, upsetting the fragile balance of the homestead. Filled with top-tier performances from the entire cast and the stunning cinematography of traditional western landscapes from Ari Wegner, The Power of the Dog is a slow-burning visual feast that challenges conventional stereotypes of manliness, especially within the western genre.

tick, tick … Boom! (2021)

Up-and-coming Broadway playwright Jonathan Larson tragically died the night before RENT, the show that would redefine musical theater in the 1990s, premiered on Broadway. But before that, he was just another struggling artist in New York. Tick, tick … Boom! is the musical he wrote while grappling with his fear of growing older without having achieved his dreams. Although Andrew Garfield has a background in theater, his performance here is nonetheless a huge leap of faith, as he showcases hitherto unexplored musical abilities in the lead role of Jonathan Larson himself. Directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, tick, tick … Boom! is a love letter to theater fans everywhere, with more cameos from Broadway legends than you can shake a stick at.

MOXiE! (2021)

Adapted from Jennifer Mathieu’s novel of the same name by Tamara Chestna and Dylan Meyer, MOXiE! tackles the complicated subject of learning that you have cultural responsibility to get politically involved. That sentence may be as droll as they come, but MOXiE! is far from boring. Centering on 16 year old Vivian, the film follows a group of young girls as they explore their femininity and activism as young, marginalized, and sometimes pissed off young women. Viv will be forced to reckon with the fact that it’s not all about her, that she has a responsibility to help the women of color around her, and that not everyone’s activism looks the same.

The Harder They Fall (2021)

Director Jeymes Samuel’s The Harder They Fall is the type of quintessential Western film that fans of the genre have been missing over the years. While The Harder They Fall is a fictional tale, the Black cowboys it depicts are all based on the outlaws and lawmen of the time. Its absolutely stacked cast features the likes of Idris Elba, Jonathan Majors, Regina King, Lakeith Stanfield and so, so many more. Everyone’s having a hell of a time playing their respective characters, which results in a fun and sometimes heartfelt romp through the wild west.

If you’re looking for more like this you can take a look at our list of the best action movies on Netflix right now.

13th (2016)

From groundbreaking director Ava DuVernay, 13th is a documentary analyzing the connection between the 13th Amendment which abolished slavery throughout the United States and ended involuntary servitude except as a punishment for conviction of a crime, and the mass incarceration of Black citizens in America. 13th is a gripping documentary showcasing how despite the “abolishment” of slavery, that the continued systemic oppression of Black Americans through things like Jim Crow laws, the school-to-prison pipeline, the war on drugs, and the prison industrial complex have all contributed to what is essentially “slavery with extra steps.” The film was later nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 89th Academy Awards, and won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special at the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards.

I’m Thinking of Ending Things (2020)

The inside of Charlie Kaufman’s mind must be a fascinating and terrifying place to be. Based on Iain Reid’s novel of the same name, I’m Thinking of Ending Things feels like a waking fever dream of emotional duress and psychological torment. The story centers on a woman considering ending her relationship on the way to meet her boyfriend’s family, but that surface level synopsis does the film no justice. Kaufman has a history of making idiosyncratic cinema, with films like Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Synecdoche, New York, but this feels like his least accessible venture yet, and that’s not a bad thing. This is one that you’ll be thinking about and over analyzing long after the credits roll, and possibly find yourself wandering into your own personal struggles of existential instability in a way that only Kaufman movies can.

It seems impossible to make a romantic comedy these days now that the commonly accepted romcom tropes have all gone the way of the dodo, but Netflix’s film adaptation of Jenny Han’s 2014 novel of the same name was so successful, it lead to a trilogy of films and an upcoming spin-off. The film centers on teenage Lara Jean Covey (Lana Condor) who writes secret, soul-baring letters to her five crushes, but never intends to send them. After the letters get out (because of course they do), her entire world is thrown upside down and she must learn to navigate life, love, and being honest about her feelings. It’s a genuinely heartfelt look at teenage love in a way that never feels like it’s talking down to its intended audience, and brings to life relatable characters you won’t regret cheering for in a decade. Lara Jean is the newest teen movie queen.

The Irishman (2019)

If you’ve got three and a half hours and a love of Martin Scorsese films, The Irishman is an absolute must-see. Set in the 1950s, truck driver Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) gets involved with Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci) and his Pennsylvania crime family. As Sheeran climbs the ranks to become a top hit man, he also goes to work for Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino) — a powerful Teamster tied to organized crime. Scorsese is the king of cinematic organized crime, and The Irishman feels like an evolution for the genre, looking back at men whose lives have been defined by violence, and what their contributions have left them with at the end of their lives.

Ruth E. Carter not being nominated for Best Costume Design at the Oscars for Dolemite is My Name is a crime. Eddie Murphy stars in this biographical retelling of blaxploitation pioneer Rudy Ray Moore, and the production of his iconic film, Dolemite. The film went largely underseen upon its release, which is a genuine shame considering how wonderfully Murphy nailed his performance as “The Godfather of Rap.” Dolemite is My Name is a love letter to Moore, but a fair assessment of the chaotic lengths one man went through in order to tell his story, and try to capture the fame he knew he so deserved.

Marriage Story (2019)

The memes of Adam Driver punching a wall and crying are good, but the source material, Marriage Story, is great. If you’ve ever been in a relationship that has fallen apart, married or not, Marriage Story is downright gutting. Driver and co-star Scarlett Johansson star as a stage director and his actor wife as they struggle through a gruelling, coast-to-coast divorce that pushes them to their personal and creative extremes. Laura Dern won the Best Supporting Actress Award at the 92nd Academy Awards for her performance as lawyer Nora Fanshaw, and although the film is not autobiographical, the personal touch Noah Baumbach brought after his own divorce from Jennifer Jason Leigh is downright palpable.

Da 5 Bloods (2020)

Spike Lee really never misses, huh? In what is arguably his most ambitious film, Da 5 Bloods focuses on four Black veterans forced to battle the forces of man and nature when they return to Vietnam looking for the remains of their fallen squad leader and the gold fortune he helped them hide. Part historical drama, part heist movie, and part political thriller, Lee weaves an intersectional masterpiece topped with an all-star cast featuring Delroy Lindo, Jonathan Majors, Clarke Peters, Johnny Trí Nguyễn, Norm Lewis, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Mélanie Thierry, Paul Walter Hauser, Jasper Pääkkönen, Jean Reno, and Chadwick Boseman.

Netflix’ main competitor in the streaming wars is Disney+, and the juggernaut company feels almost untouchable when it comes to animated fare … that is until Netflix and Sony released the best animated film of 2021, The Mitchells vs. the Machines. The Mitchells seem like your average, slightly dysfunctional American family, but they must put their strife aside when AI assistance robots begin to take over the world. The premise sounds silly, but The Mitchells vs. the Machines is filled with so much heart it’s impossible not to fall in love with this family. Danny McBride, Abbi Jacobson, Alex Hirsch, Maya Rudolph, Michael Rianda, Olivia Colman, Fred Armisen, Eric Andre, and Doug the Pug all thrive in their voiceover roles, and this film proves that Netflix is a true contender in original animated programming.

If you’re looking for more like this you can take a look at our list of the best sci-fi movies on Netflix right now.

Okja (2017)

Before Bong Joon-ho took home Oscars for Parasite, the South Korean director delivered Okja for Netflix. The film centers on a young girl named Mija, who has served as a caretaker and companion to the massive “super-pig” named Okja in the mountains of South Korea. After a massive conglomerate takes Okja for themselves and transports the creature to New York City, Mija sets out on a rescue mission to find her friend, and stop the nefarious plans of the corporation’s image-obsessed CEO played by Tilda Swinton. Okja is easily one of Joon-ho’s best films, but there’s been little attention paid to it since its release in 2017. That needs to change. All hail the super-pig.


Roma is a stunning black-and-white drama set in 1970s Mexico about a woman named Cleo, the live-in housekeeper of a middle-class family. There’s a reason this film nabbed a whopping ten nominations at the 91st Academy Awards, became the first Mexican entry to win Best Foreign Language Film, the first foreign language film to win Best Picture, nabbed a second Best Director award for Alfonso Cuarón, and became the first time a director won Best Cinematography for their own film. Do Cuarón a favor and be sure to watch this film on the absolute biggest screen possible, because every frame is better than the last and deserves to be seen in all its glory.

How We Choose the Best Netflix Original Movies

Netflix’s Originals have become a force to be reckoned with in recent years, with the service going from a collection of other studios’ films and popular TV shows to a genuine content-churning machine. We try to focus on the Netflix Originals that have proven to be popular favorites as well as those movies that scored well on aggregate sites like Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic. In some cases, we may pick more surprising titles that aren’t as “buzzy” as some others on this list. The one common thread is that all these movies are truly worth your time.

Best Movies on Netflix by Genre:

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Author: Trina Lanning

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