30 essential movies you should stream on Netflix today

Netflix isn't all about binge watching TV shows. It's also good for binge watching movies.

If you're looking for a cinematic adventure for the weekend, there's no need to lament the demise of Blockbuster or even head out to buy a new Blu-ray. Your trusty Netflix subscription offers a massive selection of feature films to choose from, with some even available to stream in 4K Dolby Vision.

We've pulled together our list of 30 films that everybody should watch on Netflix. So forget your plans to head to the cinema this weekend, curl up on the couch and hit play on one of these fantastic movies on the streaming platform.

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1. The Incredibles


IMDB rating: 8.0 | Runtime: 115 minutes
Still one of the best superhero movies ever made, The Incredibles combines Pixar's passion for character development with story elements from iconic comics like Watchmen and produces a film that is both deep and endearing, and perfect for the whole family.

2. Drive


IMDB rating: 7.8 | Runtime: 100 minutes
2011's Drive tells the story of a Hollywood stunt driver who spends his nights as a getaway driver for a series of armed heists. The film is great in and of itself, but throw in the Gosling factor as the driver and you've got yourself an incredible viewing experience.


3. Trainspotting


IMDB rating: 8.2 | Runtime: 94 minutes
Danny Boyle's dark 1996 comedy revolves around heroin addict Renton, played by Ewan McGregor in the role that really shot him to super stardom. Somehow funny and depressing, the original is much-watch cinema (unlike its recent sequel).


4. The Sound of Music


IMDB rating: 8.0 | Runtime: 174 minutes
The hills are alive with Julie Andrews and Nazis (and the sound of music). The 1965 musical about the von Trapp family still stands up strong more than 50 years after its original release and is still worth spending a night in to watch (and sing along to).


5. Captain America: Civil War


IMDB rating: 7.9 | Runtime: 147 minutes
The third movie in the Captain America series was practically an Avengers movie aside from the lack of Thor and Hulk, but despite the massive raft of characters the Russo brothers still managed to make a coherent, spectacular blockbuster with some epic set piece battle scenes.


6. Beasts of No Nation


IMDB rating: 7.8 | Runtime: 137 minutes
The first real Netflix Original feature film, Beasts of No Nation tells the story of a child soldier in war-torn Africa. It's harrowing viewing and won't leave you with a warm, uplifted feeling inside, but is an incredible story all the same.


7. Back to the Future


IMDB rating: 8.5 | Runtime: 116 minutes
The story of a time-travelling Delorean, its high-school driver and its crazy old inventor changed lives in the mid-80s. It's spawned its own trilogy, a heap of video games and is the go-to reference point for time travel in popular culture.


8. The Jungle Book


IMDB rating: 7.5 | Runtime: 106 minutes
A real-life (well, real actors and CGI) recreation of the iconic animated Disney film, The Jungle Book is worth watching both for the incredibly detailed animals (who talk) and for Bill Murray singing Bear Necessities as the bear Baloo.


9. Schindler's List


IMDB rating: 8.9 | Runtime: 195 minutes
This black and white telling of the story of Oskar Schindler, the German businessman who saved more than 1,100 Jews during the holocaust in World War II, runs for more than three hours but is so powerful it won seven Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director.


10. The Lego Movie


IMDB rating: 7.8 | Runtime: 100 minutes
Set in a Lego-filled world with minifigures who believe the intentions of Lord Business are good, Emmet Brickowski, Wyldstyle and others band together to stop the evil businessman from taking over the world.


11. The Dark Knight


IMDB rating: 9.0 | Runtime: 152 minutes
The best of the Dark Knight trilogy thanks to Heath Ledger's magnificent performance as The Joker, The Dark Knight set the benchmark for what films based on comic books could achieve with a good script, impressive visuals and epic performances.


12. Okja


IMDB rating: 7.4 | Runtime: 120 minutes
Okja, a large animal, had been Mija's sidekick for 10 years before the Conglomerate, Mirando Corporation, takes Okja and tries to ship the animal off to New York. Mija sets out on a recovery mission to try and bring her great friend back.


13. The Discovery


IMDB rating: 6.3 | Runtime: 102 minutes
After a scientist proves the existence of an afterlife, the world is suddenly overwhelmed with people looking to end their current life in order to get to the next one. This Netflix Original stars Robert Redford and was an official selection in the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.


14. Philadelphia


IMDB rating: 7.7 | Runtime: 125 minutes
In one of Tom Hanks' most powerful roles (which says something in itself), Philadelphia tells the story of a gay lawyer fired from a prestigious law firm after he contracts AIDS, and the homophobic lawyer who decides to represent him in the court case.


15. How to Train your Dragon


IMDB rating: 8.1 | Runtime: 98 minutes
Arguably the best Dreamworks animated film to date (yes, better than Shrek), How to Train Your Dragon combines dragons with vikings and an incredible journey of friendship that is fun for the entire family.

16. Moana


IMDB rating: 7.6 | Runtime: 107 minutes
Disney's 56th animated movie Moana is set on the Polynesian islands of Hawaii, Tahiti and Tonga around 2000 years ago. Moana (voiced by Auli'i Cravalho) sets out on a journey to try and save her people and meets Maui (voiced by Dwayne Johnson) who helps her along the way.


17. Braveheart


IMDB rating: 8.4 | Runtime: 178 minutes
Mel Gibson dons the kilt to play William Wallace, the Scotsman who used his intellect and anger to wage war against the cruel English King Edward in an attempt to free Scotland from the English empire. Epic action is matched by the incredible script and Gibson's performances in front of and behind the camera.


18. To Kill a Mockingbird


IMDB rating: 8.3 | Runtime: 129 minutes
Many Australians will recognise this film as part of their studies of the Harper Lee book of the same name, but the 1962 film version of To Kill a Mockingbird is so good it won lead actor Gregory Peck an Oscar in his portrayal of a Southern lawyer defending an African American against a false rape charge during the Great Depression.


19. Pulp Fiction


IMDB rating: 8.9 | Runtime: 154 minutes
This groundbreaking film made Quentin Tarantino a household name, with its honest depictions of violence, memorable script and strategic mixing up of the film's timeline. Even more than 20 years later Pulp Fiction stands apart as a cinematic piece of art.


20. The Little Prince


IMDB rating: 7.8 | Runtime: 108 minutes
Based upon the classic French children's book Le Petit Prince, The Little Prince is a charming tale about childhood, life and the magic you find when you allow yourself to feel.


21. I Don't Feel at Home in this World Anymore


IMDB rating: 7.0 | Runtime: 93 minutes
After she's burgled, nursing assistant Ruth has a bit of an existential crisis and decides to track down the thieves with the help of her neighbour. It's an enjoyable effort and another Netflix Original film to watch on the streaming service.


22. Argo


IMDB rating: 7.7 | Runtime: 120 minutes
He may be Batman to a whole new generation of filmgoers, but Ben Affleck is more than just the most recent actor to become the bat: he's also an accomplished actor and director. His directorial interpretation of an undercover Hollywood producer helping the CIA in Iran won him an Oscar for this film.


23. Whiplash


IMDB rating: 8.5 | Runtime: 107 minutes
How far do you need to go to be the best in the competitive world of music? Whiplash tells the story of a teacher who will stop at nothing to drive his students towards greatness, even if it's abuse. J.K. Simmons absolutely owns the role of Fletcher, the teacher.


24. The Silence of the Lambs


IMDB rating: 8.6 | Runtime: 107 minutes
While the books that The Silence of the Lambs was based on did well, it was really the performances of Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins in this film that made Hannibal Lecter one of the best known villains of the 20th century. And watching the movie, it's easy to see why.


25. Good Will Hunting


IMDB rating: 8.3 | Runtime: 126 minutes
Both Ben Affleck and best bud Matt Damon are bona fide superstars these days, but back in 1997 the duo hit the big time as screenwriters, winning an Oscar for their film Good Will Hunting. The movie's real star though is Robin Williams, whose turn as the psychiatrist Sean makes the movie so endearing.


26. Bright


IMDB rating: 6.5 | Runtime: 117 minutes
The 2017 Netflix action film Bright, starring Will Smith and Joel Edgerton, takes place in a world where humans and fictional creatures live together within society. The tension is high between the LAPD partners but they have to work together to find a dangerous weapon.


27. The Truman Show


IMDB rating: 8.1 | Runtime: 103 minutes
Another example of how good Jim Carrey can be as a leading actor, The Truman Show is a hyperbolic take on reality TV in a time before the Kardashians and the ubiquity of the Internet. It's also a stark reminder how much technology has changed in 20 years.


28. Seven


IMDB rating: 8.6 | Runtime: 127 minutes
This thrilling murder mystery starring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman as cops hunting down a serial killer is intense, dramatic and oh so messed up when you get to the end that it will throw you out of your seat in rage and wonder, even on multiple viewings.


29. Life is Beautiful


IMDB rating: 8.6 | Runtime: 116 minutes
Only the second film to be nominated for both the Best Picture and the Best Foreign Film Academy Awards, Life is Beautiful manages to reflect on the atrocities of the Second World War and deliver a funny, beautiful experience.


30. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story


IMDB rating: 7.8 | Runtime: 133 minutes
Set between Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars IV: A New Hope, Rogue One is a standalone (one of three planned) sci-fi action movie starring Felicity Jones and Diego Luna. The Rebel Alliance dives deep into Imperial territory to try and steal the plans to the Death Star.


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Nick Broughall

Nick is an award-winning journalist with 15 years experience writing about the latest technology. He has edited the Australian versions of some of the country’s leading technology publications, including Gizmodo, TechRadar and T3 magazine, as well as contributing to sites like the Sydney Morning Herald, Cnet, Lifehacker and news.com.au. In 2016 he was awarded the Best Reviewer title at the 14th Annual IT Journalism Awards and has been a finalist for the best reviewer, best consumer technology journalist and best news journalist on multiple occasions over the years. Currently, Nick is the Group Publisher for the Technology and Telco categories at finder and enjoys finding ways to communicate how technology helps to make life better.

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