Netflix Australia is quite literally inundated with a selection of some of the best movies to ever be released. But because there is such an endless selection, finding the absolute best movies to watch on Netflix is no easy task.
So, when you’re in the mood for a movie — and you actually want to watch it; it’s not a ‘Netflix and chill’ situation — but have no idea what to watch, we’ve done the hard work for you. Whether you’re a comedy man or prefer gritty thrillers, the following films are so good you won’t even be tempted to scroll your phone once you hit play.
So, put your popcorn in the microwave, grab yourself a beer and then enjoy one of the best movies on Netflix Australia:
In this Netflix movies story…
The Big Short
The Big Short is based on the book of the same name which tells the very true story of the small group of investors who, predicted that the housing market would crash, and, therefore, bet big and made a ton of cash when the economy did eventually crash. If you remember the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, this film manages to explain it in an enjoyable and insightful way.
With a stellar cast that includes Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt, if you’re after a smart comedy that’ll make you think, The Big Short is a great choice.
Blade Runner 2049
8.0 IMDb score, stars Harrison Ford & Ryan Gosling, Action & Drama, released in 2017
It’s rare for a sequel to be as good as the first film, but Blade Runner 2049 managed to do so. It’s also excellent as a stand-alone movie if you haven’t watched the original Blade Runner. Set 30 years after the first film, Gosling plays a Blade Runner (police officers who track and eliminate fugitive ‘replicants’ — robots that look just like humans) named K who discovers a long-kept secret that leads him to track down missing Blade Runner Rick Deckard.
Ford reprises his role, Deckard, from the first film and whether you’re a fan of the cult classic Blade Runner or just love neo-noir sci-fi movies, you’ll highly enjoy Blade Runner 2049.
7.5 IMDb score, written & directed by Taiki Waititi, Comedy & Drama, released in 2010
Set in New Zealand in the 80s, Boy is about a young child who finally gets the chance to know his estranged father. An unconventional coming of age story, that’s wonderfully hilarious with some truly heart-wrenching and gritty moments; something Taika Waititi excels at.
If you enjoyed Waititi’s more mainstream films like Jojo Rabbit and Thor: Ragnarok, you’ll love Boy.
The Bourne Identity
7.9 IMDb score, stars Matt Damon, Action, Mystery & Thriller, released in 2002
After being rescued at sea, a man with no memory must quickly figure out who he is, as he soon realises he’s being pursued by assassins. Wonderfully thrilling and fast-paced, The Bourne Identity is a great action film and was the beginning of an excellent action franchise.
If you like films like Mission Impossible or Casino Royale, you’ll love The Bourne Identity.
7.9 IMDb score, Drama & War, based on a true Australian war story, released in 1980
Based on a true story, Breaker Morant is compelling and bold. The film beautifully questions whether soldiers should be held accountable for their actions during war, and follows three Australian lieutenants as they face prosecution for killing prisoners. Despite the fact that they were acting under orders, their heads are put on the chopping block.
Breaker Morant is an unapologetically anti-war film but is so thought-provoking, every Australian should watch it at least once in their lifetime.
Catch Me If You Can
8.1 IMDb score, stars Tom Hanks & Leonardo DiCaprio, directed by Steven Spielberg, Crime & Drama, released in 2002
Suspenseful, clever, and with some light comedy thrown in for good measure, Catch Me If You Can centres around the very true story of Frank Abagnale Jr; a 17-year-old con man who managed to pass millions of dollars through forged checks. The film has a cat and mouse feel to it as FBI agent Carl Hanratty, played by Hanks, tries to track down and arrest Abagnale Jr, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, who relishes the chase.
If you enjoy well-written films paired with impeccable acting, Catch Me If You Can is a must-watch.
Dallas Buyers Club
8.0 IMDb score, stars Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner & Jared Leto, Biography & Drama, released in 2013
Set in 1985, a racist and homophobic cowboy learns that he is HIV positive. He ends up partnering with a transgender woman to smuggle AIDS medication that works but is not yet FDA approved into the US, not just for himself, but for other AIDS patients too.
Both McConaughey and Leto turn in fantastic performances – they both won Oscars for this film – and the film provides an insightful look into the scary American health care system.
7.7 IMDb score, stars Alicia Vikander, Domhnall Gleeson & Oscar Issac, Drama & Sci-Fi, released in 2014
Ex Machina follows an employee at a high-tech company who wins the chance to interact with a highly advanced human-looking android that was built by the company’s CEO. The android, Ava, has been equipped with artificial intelligence and you’ll spend the whole movie not knowing who to trust. Thrilling and face-paced, Ex Machina is truly a brilliant film.
Whether you’re fascinated by the idea of artificial intelligence or are terrified by it, Ex Machina explores the concept so well that you have to give it a viewing.
7.8 IMDb score, stars Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Michelle Dockery, Colin Farrell, Henry Golding & Hugh Grant, written & directed by Guy Ritchie, Action, Comedy & Crime, released in 2019
Mickey Pearson is a rich man thanks to the impressive marijuana empire that he runs in London. However, when he tries to sell his highly profitable business, word gets out and multiple shady characters try to steal his domain through bribery and blackmail.
The film is very ‘Guy Ritchie’ – British gangsters and an intricate plot – so, if you’re a fan of Ritchie, The Gentleman is definitely a film you’ll enjoy.
Going In Style
6.6 IMDb score, stars Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine & Alan Arkin, Comedy, released in 2017
Going In Style is an amusing heist film that starts with three lifelong friends who are all the victims of a corporate, yet immoral, bank restructure. This consequently leaves all three strapped for cash in their old age, and so, desperate to provide for their retirement plans and families, they hatch a plan to rob the bank for the pension money that’s rightfully theirs. Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Alan Arkin are all as brilliant as ever and clearly have fun in their respective roles.
If you’re looking for a light-hearted film that’ll give you a few good chuckles, Going In Style is a perfect option.
8.1 IMDb score, stars Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike & Neil Patrick Harris, Drama, Mystery & Thriller, released in 2014
When his wife Amy goes missing on their fifth wedding anniversary, writer Nick Dunne becomes the prime suspect in her disappearance. As he becomes thrust into the spotlight of a media storm, you’ll begin to wonder whether or not Nick did murder his wife.
Based on the best-selling book of the same name, Gone Girl is the perfect movie to watch on Netflix if you’re in the mood for a good thriller.
7.7 IMDb score, stars Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis & Ed Helms, Comedy, released in 2009
It’s the outrageous comedy that became an instant hit; if you haven’t seen The Hangover, what rock have you been living under? Four men go to Vegas for a bachelor party but in the morning the groom-to-be is missing and the remaining three men have no memory of the previous night. Many hi-jinx ensue as the men try to remember what happened and try to find their missing friend.
While some of the jokes haven’t aged well, The Hangover still has some hilarious moments and is one of those comedies that you can watch over and over again; especially if you’re in the mood for a film that’s not so serious.
7.6 IMDb score, stars Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster, Willem Dafoe, Christopher Plummer & Chiwetel Ejiofor, Crime & Drama, released in 2006
Directed by the iconic Spike Lee, this thriller heist film follows an elaborate bank heist that takes place in 24 hours. Inside Man stars Denzel Washington as Detective Keith Frazier, the hostage negotiator, and Clive Owen as the soft-spoken mastermind behind the heist. Smart with a few twists, this cat & mouse film is a must-watch.
If you love a good thriller and incredible acting performances, check out Inside Man.
7.4 IMDb score, stars Keanu Reeves, Action, Crime & Thriller, released in 2014
A legendary assassin, named John Wick, comes out of retirement when his dog — a gift from his late wife — is killed by a mobster. John Wick is, of course, filled with action and violence but unlike most films that focus on hitmen and mobsters, it’s not just bloody gore with no substance or plot. The characters in this film are nuanced and three-dimensional; especially John Wick himself, thanks to both excellent writing and Keanu Reeve’s flawless performance.
If you want to watch a well-done action flick, make sure you watch John Wick. You can also watch the second and third John Wick films on Netflix Australia too.
8.4 IMDb score, stars Joaquin Phoenix & Robert De Niro, Crime, Drama & Thriller, released in 2019
This gritty and grounded film explores the origin story behind Batman’s most famous nemesis, the Joker. With an Oscar-winning performance from Phoenix, stunning cinematography and a plot that leaves you feeling conflicted – the Joker does terrible things near the end of the film but you can kind of empathize with why he does them – this is one hell of a film.
If you’re a fan of Nolan’s Batman trilogy, you’ll love Joker.
7.9 IMDb score, stars Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana De Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Christopher Plummer & Toni Collette, Comedy & Crime, released in 2019
The only way to describe Knives Out is clever. Within the first ten minutes, you’ll think you’ve figured the whole murder mystery out, even before Daniel Craig’s character Benoit Blanc. But then the rug is pulled out from under you and you’ll be so engrossed in this witty comedy trying to figure out the puzzle. Enjoyable, compelling and refreshingly original; plus every member of the stellar ensemble cast is on their A-game acting-wise.
Knives Out is arguably better written than an Agatha Christie novel and is a movie you have to see at least once before you die.
And, while Knives Out will have no relation with the sequel Knives Out 2 – which we expect to be released later in 2022 – it will see Daniel Craig reprise his role to solve an entirely new mystery.
Meet The Parents
7.0 IMDb score, stars Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro & Owen Wilson, Comedy, released in 2000
When male nurse Greg Focker, played by Stiller decides he wants to propose to his girlfriend, he seeks the permission of her father, Jack Byrnes. However, Jack, played by De Niro, takes an instant disliking to Greg and hilarity ensues.
With fantastic ‘awkward’ comedy that Stiller excels at and De Niro’s impressive performance, Meet The Parents is a great film to watch if you’re in the mood to laugh.
7.4 IMDb score, stars Álvaro Morte (known for his role The Professor in Money Heist), Drama & Mystery, released in 2018
An incredible film that explores time travel themes and a compelling mystery, Mirage is a foreign film hailing from Spain. If you’ve watched Money Heist, you’ll recognise Álvaro Morte in Mirage, which centres on a 72-hour electrical storm that occurs in both 1989 and 2014. The main character Vera, whose present is 2014, seems to be able to save a boy from death in ‘89. However, preventing his death has terrible consequences for Vera.
Filled with suspense and intrigue, if you liked The Butterfly Effect, Mirage explores very similar themes in a very clever and emotional way.
7.6 IMDb score, stars Brad Pitt, Robin Wright & Jonah Hill, Biography, Drama & Sport, released in 2011
Moneyball follows the Oakland Athletics baseball team’s 2002 season and how their general manager Billy Beane attempted to assemble a competitive team. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards and is critically acclaimed for its story, direction and acting; particular Pitt’s and Hill’s.
If you liked The Big Short, The Blind Side or Ford v Ferrari, you’ll love Moneyball.
7.7 IMDb score, stars George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Andy García, Bernie Mac & Elliott Gould, Crime, Comedy & Thriller, released in 2001
An excellently executed heist film, Ocean’s Eleven follows Danny Ocean, played by Clooney, as he recruits a team to pull off the most elaborate heist of all time. There isn’t a single weak link, in terms of performance, in the stellar ensemble cast and the multiple and is such a compelling re-watchable film.
Whether you’ve seen it or not, you better add Ocean’s Eleven to your watch list.
7.2 IMDb score, stars Ray Romano, Comedy & Drama, released in 2019
Paddleton follows best friends, Michael and Andy, as they deal with Michael’s terminal cancer diagnosis. Michael wants to kill himself and embarks on a road trip to a pharmacy that’ll provide him with the appropriate medication to do so. Andy agrees to go on the road trip too in the hopes that he can convince Michael to fight the cancer.
Beautifully written with great performances, the only way to describe Paddleton is as a sad comedy that accurately portrays male friendship. You have to add this one to your ‘watch list’.
8.1 IMDb score, stars Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Brühl & Olivia Wilde, directed by Ron Howard, Action, Drama & Biography, released in 2013
Based on a true story, Rush follows the rivalry between Formula One drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda. Set in the 1970s, Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl both give brilliant performances as the F1 foes, Hunt and Lauda, while award-winning director Ron Howard has supplied the film with breathtaking racing sequences.
If you’re a fan of the Grand Prix or just love a good sports-action film, you have to watch Rush.
7.5 IMDb score, stars Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner & Blake Lively, Crime, Drama & Thriller, released in 2010
A proficient group of bank robbers, due to extenuating circumstances, are forced to take the bank’s assistant manager, Claire hostage during a robbery. In the aftermath of the theft (which was successful) one of the robbers starts a friendship with her to ensure she didn’t see anything incriminating during the robbery and hasn’t told the FBI anything of importance.
However, things get complicated when he begins falling in love with Claire. The Town is a great character-driven thriller with stellar performances from the cast; especially Renner and Affleck.
7.1 IMDb score, stars Heath Ledger & Rose Byrne, Comedy & Crime Thriller, released in 1999
Two Hands was the last Australian film Heath Ledger was involved with before his breakthrough role in 10 Things I Hate About You gained him international fame. Ledger plays Jimmy, a nineteen-year-old who unwittingly gets himself into major debt with a local gangster. To pay off his debt, Jimmy decides to rob a bank. A young Rose Byrne, well before her successful Hollywood acting career took off, plays Ledger’s love interest.
A quirky dark comedy, Two Hands is like an Australian version of Pulp Fiction, Goodfellas, and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.
The Wolf Of Wall Street
8.2 IMDb score, stars Leonardo Dicaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie & Matthew McConaughey, directed by Martin Scorsese, Crime, Comedy & Biography, released in 2013
The Wolf Of Wall Street is based on the true story of Jordan Belfort. Set in the late 80s and early 90s, the film centres around Belfort, played by DiCaprio, starting his own brokerage firm and then defrauding wealthy investors out of millions of dollars. Entertaining, raunchy, and exquisitely stylistic, there’s a reason your mates constantly bring up how good The Wolf Of Wall Street is.
If you haven’t seen this film, do so immediately; otherwise, The Wolf Of Wall Street is always a good choice if you’re in the mood for a re-watch.
8.3 IMDb score, stars Dean-Charles Chapman, George MacKay, Daniel Mays & Colin Firth, Action, Drama & War, released in 2019
As the film’s title suggests, 1917 is set in April 1917 and follows two British soldiers as they embark to deliver an urgent message… If their message is not received on time, 1600 men will be killed but the journey to achieve this mission is extremely dangerous.
With great visuals and an interesting plot, 1917 is a must-watch for those who love a good war film.