This Oscar-winning sports drama just crashed the Netflix top 10 — and it’s 90% on Rotten Tomatoes

The cast of "King Richard" lead by Will Smith as Richard Williams
(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Between watching “Challengers” in theaters and playing a load of TopSpin 2K25 on PS5 over the last week, I’ve been on a real tennis kick as of late. And it looks like I’m not the only one judging by the latest entry in the Netflix U.S. most-watched list. 

“King Richard” arrived on Netflix less than a week ago (on April 24), and has already made its way into the streaming service’s top 10. It currently ranks in the No. 3 spot behind rom-com “Anyone But You” and the family-friendly “Smurfs: The Lost Village”. It’s even tracking ahead of Netflix’s own “Rebel Moon - Part Two: The Scargiver.” 

I recently rewatched this sports drama and enjoyed it even more the second time. So, if you’re looking for a high-quality flick, with an awards-caliber leading performance, be sure to consider “King Richard”. And if you need more details, here’s everything you need to know… 

What’s “King Richard” about?  

“King Richard” sees Will Smith fully inhabit the role of Richard Williams, the highly determined father of tennis legends Venus and Serena. Richard has grand ambitions for his daughters from birth, and rather than leave anything to chance he’s even created a meticulously 78-page plan to ensure their success in the competitive sport.

The movie opens in Compton, California as Richard trains his two young athletic prodigies on public tennis courts. Whether in the baking heat, or torrential rain, Richard’s resolve remains unwavering, and despite the seemingly impossible odds, and numerous roadblocks along the way, he continues to push his daughters to ensure their clear potential is reached. 

This biographical drama doesn’t just look at Richard’s steadfast mission to shape two tennis superstars, it also touches on the man’s faults, and his tricky relationship with his wife, Oracene "Brandy" Price (Aunjanue Ellis). It’s a fascinating character study of a driven, but flawed, individual, who was eventually proved very right as his daughters became legends of not just tennis, but of sports as a whole. 

“King Richard” reviews — here’s what critics said 

King Richard was a hit with critics when it was released in November 2021. The sports drama currently holds a strong 90% rating on the review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes, and its audience score is even more impressive at an almost-perfect 98%. 

Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times was one of the many critics to lavish praise on Smith’s leading performance. “ Funny and inspirational, [Smith] disappears into the role of the man obsessed with bringing his daughters to the top of their game,” said Roeper. 

CNN’s Brian Lowry echoed the above sentiment: Smith aces the performance, which is the main attribute in elevating the story above the standard sports-movie conventions.” And A. O. Scott of the New York Times also had plenty of positive things to say about the movie including "King Richard" stirs up a lot of emotion while remaining buoyant and engaging.”

Not all the reviews were predominantly positive. Some critics argued the movie didn’t go far enough with its portrayal of Richard as a flawed figure. These included Jesse Hassenger of AV Club, who said “the movie keeps enough of Richard's messy past off screen to feel like a hagiography with a few concessions, rather than a true warts-and-all portrait.” 

Should you stream “King Richard” on Netflix?  

Will Smith as Richard Williams in King Richard

(Image credit: LANDMARK MEDIA / Alamy Stock Photo / Warner Bros. Pictures)

If you’re looking for a deeply compelling drama then “King Richard” is a must-watch on Netflix. Smith won the Oscar for his performance — let’s not talk about his actions on the night of the ceremony — and fully disappears into the role of Richard Williams. Plus, the biographical movie can be easily enjoyed by tennis fans, and those unable to swing a racket alike. 

I strongly recommend adding “King Richard” to your Netflix watchlist, especially if you’re planning to see “Challengers” in theaters at some point, as the two make for a great double bill. Meanwhile, if you want even more streaming recommendations, check out our guide to the best movies in the Netflix most-watched list

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Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.