Picking the best Netflix movies is only getting harder this summer as, after adding a slew of great flicks last month, the streamer has only gone and done it again. The list of new to Netflix movies in August 2023 makes for pretty impressive reading, especially for fans of the Fast and Furious franchise.
With so much new content slated to hit the streaming service in the weeks ahead, you might find yourself facing a difficult decision when deciding what to watch next. And that’s a surefire way to wreck a movie marathon as you spend more time debating what to watch than actually watching. Our regularly updated list of the very best Netflix movies is a great starting point, but if you want to know which most recent additions are worth your time, you’ve come to the right place.
Below you’ll find my nine personal favorite movies that are new to Netflix this month, these films range from a melancholic romantic drama (with a killer soundtrack) to one of the best action movies of the 2010s. Plus, there’s a spunky rom-com and a modern-classic family-friendly animated movie as well. There’s something for just about every viewer on this list, so let’s jump right in…
(Please note all the movies on this list will be available to stream on Netflix starting Tuesday, August 1.)
The Jerk (1979)
Showcasing the talents of comedic genius Steve Martin in his first leading role in a feature film, The Jerk is an indisputable classic comedy. And like all good classics, it’s held up remarkably well even more than four decades on from its original release in 1979.
The Jerk sees Martin play Navin Johnson, a down-on-his-luck homeless person living in Los Angeles. The movie opens with Navin deciding to share his life story with the viewer, and what follows is a madcap adventure full of hijinks and absurdity. The eponymous character falls in love, becomes the target of a crazed gunman and even invents that little thing that sits in the middle of a pair of glasses that stops them sliding down your nose.
Lost in Translation (2003)
In 2003, Sofia Coppola (daughter of the revered director Francis Ford Coppola) followed up her critically acclaimed debut, The Virgin Suicides, with one of the best romantic dramas ever made, period. Lost in Translation is a stunning and sobering examination of isolation and the all-too-relatable sensation of feeling disconnected from those around you.
Set in Tokyo, the movie centers on the budding friendship between Bob Harris (Billy Murray), a washed-up movie star who’s come to the Japanese capital to film a whisky advertisement, and Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), an aimless young woman staying at the same hotel with her photographer husband. The pair find solace in each other as they discuss their fears, anxieties and hopes (or lack of) for the future. If you only watch one movie from this list, make it this one.
Despicable Me (2010)
The movie that birthed the infamous Minions — but don’t let that put you off, Despicable Me is a joyful animated flick that follows a supervillain named Gru (voiced by Steve Carrell) adopting a trio of orphans as part of his latest evil scheme. But while he originally takes these three children in to further his nefarious plans for world domination, he soon grows attached and learns that it might be more fun to be a superdad than superbad.
The Despicable Me franchise is easy to scoff at these days due to those blasted little yellow irritants, but don’t let your loathing for all things Minions-related stop you from enjoying what is a very fun family movie. The first Despicable Me has a huge heart and is restrained enough to not let the Minions run the show (later franchise entries don't hold back). Plus, Jason Segel gives a seriously excellent voice performance as the primary antagonist Vector.
Fast Five (2011)
Fast Five is the movie that turned the Fast and the Furious into one of the biggest action franchises in the history of cinema; even this year’s Fast X was still referring back to this much-loved entry more than 12 years later. An absolute fan favorite — and also a perfect starting point for newcomers — Fast Five is an adrenaline rush in movie form, and even if it seems small-scale compared to what would come later (nobody goes to space in this one), it remains the franchise’s peak.
The franchise’s street racing origins are left in the rearview mirror here because Fast Five is a straight-up heist movie. Set in Rio de Janeiro, expert driver Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and former cop Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) must unite a crack team in order to steal $100 million from a corrupt businessman. But on their tail is a no-nonsense U.S. agent named Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson). This is Fast and Furious at its very best.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
The quintessential teen comedy, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is a John Hughes classic that has been delighting viewers for more than 30 years. It made overnight stars of its leading cast, Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck and Mia Sara, and is stuffed full of iconic moments that are still referenced and parodied to this very day.
Opening on the simple premise of a high school senior faking an illness to skip class, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off quickly sees the titular character rope his hypochondriac best friend Cameron (Ruck), and his girlfriend Sloane (Sara), into a jampacked day of sightseeing and mischief across the city of Chicago. But the school’s dean (Jeffrey Jones) isn’t buying Ferris’ fakery and is determined to track the truant down in the hopes of exposing his slacking.
Friends with Benefits (2011)
You can probably guess what this rom-com is about just from the title alone, but if you’re not familiar with the term, it follows two platonic friends who decide to start sleeping together under the strict rules that neither of them develops any romantic attachment to the other. As you can probably guess, this doesn’t exactly go to plan when the duo begins to develop feeling for each other, and the situation gets complicated pretty quickly.
Starring Justin Timberlake (in his best acting role outside The Social Network) and Mila Kunis, alongside an excellent supporting cast including Patricia Clarkson, Woody Harrelson and Emma Stone, Friends with Benefits is a frothy comedy that is highly enjoyable, but hardly memorable. It’s no cinematic masterpiece, but if you’re looking for an easy watch after a long day, it's a great pick.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (2013)
The first Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs movie was a pleasant surprise back in 2009, and it was followed four years later by an equally enjoyable sequel. Aptly titled Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, this animated family film picks up where its predecessor left things and offers another zany adventure with a lovable cast of characters and a host of bizarre sentient food creatures.
Boasting a stellar voice casting with Bill Hader, Anna Faris, Will Forte, Andy Samberg, Neil Patrick Harris, Kristen Schaal and Terry Crews all lending their vocal cords to the film, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 is an animated film that the whole family can enjoy. Younger viewers will love the food come-to-life plot, while older audience members will be tickled by a few slightly more grown-up jokes. It’s a real feast of a film. Just make sure you've got a few snacks before you hit play because this movie is practically guaranteed to make you hungry!
Coming to America (1988)
An Eddie Murphy comedy classic, Coming to America is arriving on Netflix this month. The 1988 film sees Murphy play Akeem Joffer, the crown prince of the fictional African nation of Zamunda. Bored of his pampered lifestyle, and hoping to find somebody who will love him for who he is rather than for his status and title, Akeem travels to New York in search of a soul mate.
Renting an apartment in Queens, Akeem’s quest for a bride is a hilarious trip filled with slapstick humor. The film has stood the test of time, and Akeem has become one of Murphy’s most iconic characters. Its enduring reputation is so strong that a sequel was eventually released in 2021 via Prime Video.
The Wife (2017)
Featuring a truly stunning leading performance from Glenn Close, The Wife is based on the 2003 novel of the same name by American author Meg Wolitzer. In the wake of the movie’s release in 2017, Close won a slew of awards, including a Golden Globe, and was nominated for both an Academy Award and a BAFTA, alongside receiving plenty of acclaim from critics.
In this drama, Close plays Joan Castleman, an older woman who travels to Stockholm with her husband of 40 years, Joseph (Jonathan Pryce), who is set to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature. While her husband is lavished with praise from his peers, Joan’s resentment and dissatisfaction with her own life grows and soon the pair’s seemingly rock-solid marriage begins to unravel as longheld secrets and betrayals come to light.
More from Tom's Guide
Get the BEST of Tom’s Guide daily right in your inbox: Sign up now!
Upgrade your life with the Tom’s Guide newsletter. Subscribe now for a daily dose of the biggest tech news, lifestyle hacks and hottest deals. Elevate your everyday with our curated analysis and be the first to know about cutting-edge gadgets.
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.