Starting with the release of Beasts of No Nation in 2015, Netflix Original Movies have been coming on in full force. It seems like there’s no lack of them today with tons more on the way. And it makes sense. With Netflix’s subscriber base of 125 million people, they can afford to produce their own movies. It’s also smart to get out from under the thumb of other production studios. However, this creates a problem. Which ones should we see and which should we forget? Well, we’re here to help you out. Using overall critic scores from Rotten Tomatoes, here are 25 Best Netflix Original Movies.
The Polka King - 59%
About a polish immigrant who becomes the King of Pennsylvania Polka, he ends up unwittingly running a successful Ponzi scheme and tries to cover it up as the FBI starts to investigate him. Based on a true story, this film starring Jack Black mixes comedy and tragedy together with great aplomb.
A Futile and Stupid Gesture - 61%
This dark comedy is about the rise and fall of the National Lampoon magazine and its creator Doug Kenney. With an all-star comedic cast and clever, funny writing, it’ll certainly have you both laughing and intrigued the whole way through.
Shimmer Lake - 63%
Starring Rainn Wilson, Shimmer Lake follows a local sheriff as he tries to solve three criminals and a bank heist gone wrong. Critics hail Rainn Wilson’s performance and call it a clever take on the crime genre with the storytelling told backward.
Small Crimes - 64%
Starring Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, known for his role as Jaime Lannister from Game of Thrones, this movie is about a former cop returning for redemption but finds himself back in the former hole he escaped. Critics called it an entertaining, dark crime thriller.
Spectral - 67%
This little-known science fiction adventure pits a group of soldiers against a powerful supernatural entity. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and is rife with fun action. Fans of a simple soldiers versus ghosts story will find something to like here.
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To The Bone - 68%
Based on real experiences, this film follows a woman as she struggles with anorexia. She ends up entering a hospital with an unconventional doctor and joins other patients as they go on a sometimes funny journey.
The Babysitter - 71%
Mixing both dark comedy and grisly horror together, this film is about Cole, who is pretty much afraid of everything. He’s also madly in love with his babysitter, that is, until he finds out the horrific truth about her.
The Fundamentals of Caring - 78%
A caregiver (Paul Rudd) takes his 18-year-old muscular dystrophy patient on a road trip where they find out about themselves and discover new people and places along the way. If you’re looking for a funny drama, look no further.
Pee-Wee's Big Holiday - 80%
Revived after decades of being out of the spotlight, Pee Wee Herman returns in another big adventure in this film. This time, his friend convinces him to go on his first vacation, and he ends up learning more about friendship and fate.
Barry - 82%
This is a biopic (biographical film) focusing on a young Barrack Obama during his time at Columbia University in 1981. In this film, he struggles to find his identity as he meets different communities and social circles.
A Christmas Prince - 83%
Fans of Lifetime and Hallmark Original Movies will devour this film almost instantly. It’s a simple holiday romance about a New York Times reporter traveling to Eastern Europe to report on a prince who is about to be crowned king. It’s cheesy, hopeful, ridiculous, and likely everything fans of the genre want it to be.
Cargo - 82%
Starring Martin Freeman, this post-apocalyptic zombie film takes a refreshing character approach to the genre and is further lifted by Freeman’s fantastic performance. Fans of The Walking Dead and zombie stories will surely want to check this one out.
1922 - 86%
This film starring Thomas Jane is based on a short story by Stephen King about a rural farmer faced with divorce and having his son taken away from him despite his son not wanting to leave. The farmer devises a plot to kill his wife, but the guilt of the act may be more than he can bear.
Okja - 86%
A science fiction that comes uncomfortably close to science fact, this movie is about a corporation that genetically engineers “super pigs” for human consumption. They host a contest to see which farmers around the world can raise the best super pig. A South Korean girl and her father end up being the winners, but the girl realizes it means losing her beloved friend Okja. Realizing what will happen to Okja, the girl sets out on a rescue mission.
Burning Sands - 87%
This film is about a raw journey through the underground hazing of a fraternity and a pledge trying to decide between honoring a code of silence and standing up against intensifying violence. Critics say the film successfully avoids stereotypes but also will make you leave with mixed feelings about how things were presented.
First They Killed My Father - 88%
Directed by Angelina Jolie, First They Killed My Father is a sobering story of a human rights activist as she tries to survive in Khmer Rouge era Cambodia. Rotten Tomatoes said it handles its subject matter “with grace, skill, and empathy.”
I Don’t Feel at Home In This World Anymore - 88%
This dark drama starring Elijah Wood is about a woman named Ruth fed up by human indecency when her house is broken into. She and her neighbor decide to form a vigilante group to hunt them down and seek justice.
Wheelman - 89%
Starring Frank Grillo, this film follows a getaway driver after a bank heist goes terribly wrong. With tons of money in his car and his family in the crosshairs, he needs to find out who set him up before it’s too late.
Gerald’s Game - 91%
Adapted from the novel by Stephen King, Gerald’s Game is about a married couple trying to rekindle their relationship by taking a vacation out to a secluded cabin. Gerald handcuffs his wife to the bed frame and before having sex, he suffers a fatal heart attack. Now, she (Carla Gugino) has to fight for survival while a mysterious figure lurks in the shadows.
Imperial Dreams - 91%
This drama stars John Boyega and is about a young father returning from prison to care for his son and become a writer but sees poverty and a flawed system stand in his way. Critics called it a dark but inspiring tale.
Beasts of No Nation - 91%
Directed by Cary Fukunaga and starring Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation is a harrowing and tragic tale of a West African warlord capturing children and turning them into soldiers.
The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) - 92%
With a rather formal and literary title, this film stars Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler, and Dustin Hoffman about siblings contending with the influence of their father. Critics have hailed the director and actors for creating a bittersweet lens of a common family dynamic.
Tramps - 95%
About a bag swap gone wrong by two uninitiated criminals, this comedy-romance follows them as they try to get the right bag back before things get even worse. Of course, during their escapades, they slowly become drawn to each other. Critics have called it a “genuine delight.”
Tallulah - 84%
A young vagrant (Ellen Page) takes care of a toddler abandoned by her mother and recruits her ex-boyfriend’s mom to help her. Critics called it “witty, charming, and by the end surprisingly moving.”
Mudbound - 96%
This film is set in the rural American south during World War II and is about two families pitted against each other by a brutal social hierarchy. As two veterans come back from the war and quickly become friends, they’ll soon run into trouble from a town they once called home but now feels foreign.
Need even more Netflix movie recommendations? You definitely need to read 25 Underrated Netflix movies.