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Best Netflix movies in May 2020

Best Netflix movies May 2020
(Image credit: Netflix)

Everybody's staying at home right now, which means you have all the time to watch the best Netflix movies. We've scoured Netflix for the highest-rated films (based on Rotten Tomatoes scores) to bring you a multiplex's worth of cinematic quality that you can watch from the comfort of your home.

There's something for everyone on our list of best Netflix movies, whether you're searching for classic cult comedies, emotionally gripping high school dramas, iconic foreign action films and thoughtful documentaries. And if you want to watch these movies with friends in other places, check out our Netflix Party guide.

This list has its fair share of critically-beloved movies, and if you're looking for less well-known titles, check out our Netflix hidden gems guide for films and shows that most aren't as familiar with.

Recent additions to the collection of best movies on Netflix include Oscar-nominated films A Marriage Story and The Irishman and frothy favorites like To All the Boys I've Loved Before. Our best Netflix movies collection could keep you bingeing for days.

The best Netflix movies to stream now


Best Netflix movies: Tigertail

(Image credit: Netflix)

A delicate, elegant love story that spans continents and decades, Tigertail comes from writer/director Alan Yang, an Emmy winner and co-creator of Master of None. Pin-Jui is a poor young man from Huwei ("tiger tail") who falls for a wealthy girl, Yuan Lee, but ends up losing touch with her. Pin-Jui jumps on an opportunity to go to America, but years of grueling work leave him a shell of himself and unable to connect with his daughter. When a chance to revisit the past comes along, he takes it, hoping to change his life into the one he always wanted.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 79%

Stars: Hong-Chi Lee, Tzi Ma, Christine Ko

Director: Alan Yang

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Dolemite Is My Name

Best movies on Netflix: Dolemite Is My Name

(Image credit: François Duhamel/Netflix)

A strong example of a veteran actor who's "still got it," Dolemite Is My Name stars Eddie Murphy as Rudy Ray Moore, the comedian who became the iconic blaxploitation character Dolemite. But while Murphy owns the film outright, we get another actor coming out from the shadows to wow us, with Wesley Snipes stealing scenes as D'Urville Martin, the director who Moore clashes with. But while the film is stocked to the brim with great actors (including Keegan-Michael Key, Craig Robinson and Tituss Burgess), this is still Murphy's film. This is one of the best movies on Netflix overall.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 97%

Stars: Eddie Murphy, Wesley Snipes, Da'Vine Joy Randolph

Director: Craig Brewer

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Marriage Story

Best Netflix movies: A Marriage Story

(Image credit: Wilson Webb/Netflix)

Director/writer Noah Baumbach is continuing to improve as he matures, as evidenced by his latest feature: Marriage Story, released both in theaters and on Netflix. While Baumbach has fared well in fractured family tales before, this film stands out for deftly telling both sides of the chaotic divorce at its core. Of course, that would mean little without strong acting, and the leading performances of Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver make the emotional trauma real for all watching. In short: watch to understand the meme of the film's stars arguing, keep watching to engage with one of the best Netflix movies.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 97%

Stars: Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, Laura Dern

Director: Noah Baumbach

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The Irishman

Best movies on Netflix: The Irishman

(Image credit: Netflix)

Forget all of the Scorsese vs comic book movies debate, the only drama you need to know about in this conversation is how good the famed director's latest film, The Irishman, is. One of the best movies on Netflix is long enough to be broken into 4 digestible 'episodes' that are about 52 minutes each. And this crime thriller utilizes each and every moment to build suspenseful situations for Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Al Pacino, with the latter portraying Jimmy Hoffa, a good friend of De Niro's character.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 97%

Stars: Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Al Pacino

Director: Martin Scorsese

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Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse

Best Netflix movies: Spider-Man Into The Spider-Verse

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Animation)

Into The Spider-Verse isn't just one of the best superhero or animated movies, it's one of the best films in a long time. Sure, it's filled with Spider-fan service, but the story of Miles Morales, a teen struggling with life at a new school and a feuding family, lives and breathes inside of all of the masked drama. On top of that, Spider-Verse innovates in its animation, at levels that feel wholly unique and utterly alive. Plus, its cast includes Peter Porker, a Spider-Pig, voiced by comedian John Mulaney, and Spider-Man Noir, a gumshoe-esque take on Spidey, voiced by Nick Cage. Why haven't you hit play already? 

Rotten Tomatoes score: 97%

Stars: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali

Director: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman

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El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie

Best Netflix movies: El Camino

(Image credit: Ben Rothstein / Netflix)

Breaking Bad fans have had it good. First, they got a prequel in the series Better Call Saul. Then, they got a sequel in this one-off movie, which follows Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) after the events of the Breaking Bad series finale. Last we saw Jesse, he was driving off after being held captive. But breaking free is just the first step in a fraught journey for Jesse, who has to figure out how to leave his life behind and start over. Does this movie need to exist? No, but it's deeply satisfying to hang out with Jesse again and to see so many Breaking Bad cameos. 

Rotten Tomatoes score: 91%

Stars: Aaron Paul, Jesse Plemons, Bryan Cranston

Director: Vince Gilligan

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Avengers: Infinity War

Best Netflix movies: Infinity War (2018)

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

As the Marvel Cinematic Universe films stacked one on top of the other, they created a dizzying  degree of difficulty for this inevitable mega-crossover. Yet, thanks to a cast of fantastic actors taking Thanos (the ultimate megaboss, who looks jarringly like what would happen if Grimace became human) seriously, it all came together. Marvel (pun intended) at its jaw-dropping opening scenes, where the mad titan casually slices through your favorites. Gasp as Captain America manages to own the screen with a minimal amount of dialogue. Watch it soon, as Infinity War is expected to move over to Disney Plus in mid-2020.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 85%

Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson

Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

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Incredibles 2

Best movies on Netflix: Incredibles 2

(Image credit: Pixar)

Incredibles 2 manages to soar to the lofty expectations set by the iconic original. Taking place right after the first film, the Parr family is dealing with a world that fears their mutant powers, which often leave the city of Metroville in shambles. The shift from the suburbs to the urban environment is just one of many ways where the film refreshes itself. Bob attempts to be a great stay-at-home dad, but toddler Jack Jack's powers make for the most difficult child rearing you'll find in a family film. The real focus, though, is on Helen venturing into the field, becoming the face of super-powered individuals, which the public has turned on.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 94%

Stars: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson

Director: Brad Bird

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Best Netflix movies: Roma

(Image credit: Netflix)

This beautifully-shot black-and-white film gives director Alfonso Cuarón a chance to show a slice of his past. Taking place in Mexico City in the early 1970s, Roma focuses on an indigenous woman who serves a white family, as they all fight to survive calamity after calamity. From betrayals to natural disasters, Roma throws the kitchen sink at this family, and then tacks on the Corpus Christi Massacre of 1971. Emotionally harrowing, this Academy Award-nominated film (and one of the best dramas on Netflix) demands you watch with tissues or some other coping mechanism.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 96%

Stars: Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira

Director: Alfonso Cuaron

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Black Mirror: Bandersnatch

Best Netflix movies: Black Mirror Bandersnatch

(Image credit: Netflix)

Those video games you love don't make themselves, as you seen in Bandersnatch, which highlights the hazards of overworked employees. Since this is a Black Mirror film, though, everything goes crazy as the audience is given the ability to direct the protagonist's actions, turning the movie into a choose-your-own-adventure experience. The many forking twists of the film mean that its advertised 90 minute run time can stretch to 150 minutes, if you find all of its endings and story points.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 72%

Stars: Fionn Whitehead, Will Poulter, Craig Parkinson

Director: David Slade

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To All the Boys I've Loved Before

Best Netflix movies: To All the Boys I've Loved Before

(Image credit: Netflix)

Netflix may be single-handedly reviving the romantic comedy genre, thanks to charming and winning films like To All the Boys I've Loved Before. Yes, it's a teen flick, but the story and performances appeal to adults, too, making it one of the best romantic comedies on Netflix. Lana Condor stars as Lara Jean Covey, a high school girl whose previously non-existent love life spirals out of control  when the letters she wrote to her crushes are mailed out. When popular jock Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo) receives one, he hatches a plan with Lara Jean to solve their respective romantic problems by pretending to be a couple. But in true rom-com fashion, they start to catch feelings for each other.  — Kelly Woo

Rotten Tomatoes score: 97%

Stars: Lana Condor, Noah Centineo

Director: Susan Johnson

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The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Best Netflix movies: Ballad of Buster Scruggs

(Image credit: Netflix)

The Coen Brothers do it again, with a sumptuous short story slab of Western storytelling. Starring a whole host of A-list actors, and James Franco, the anthology has been nominated for three Academy awards and is a movie that wriggles through both comedy and blood-speckled violence seamlessly. Yes, it’s a satire on Westerns, and yes there’s plenty of Coen-esque characters involved, but beneath the pastiche this is a love letter that tips a cowboy hat to the movies of old.— Marc Chacksfield

Rotten Tomatoes score: 91%

Stars: Tim Blake Nelson, James Franco, Liam Neeson, Zoe Kazan

Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

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Best Netflix movies: Moonlight

(Image credit: A24)

Chiron's life is a tragic story of self discovery, where fleeting moments of peace and acceptance don't last long before reality crashes in. Moonlight spreads his life across three chapters, and the first two — an adolescent story of bullying followed by a high school experience filled with self-doubt — set up a brutal conclusion in adulthood. There, Chiron's spirit has calcified until an important figure from his past finds him, and forces him to confront his truths. While that all may sound brutal and unforgiving, writer/director Barry Jenkins fills the Best Picture Oscar winner with so much vulnerability and heart, all without manipulating audiences' emotions.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 98%

Stars: Trevante Rhodes, Mahershala Ali, Janelle Monae

Director: Barry Jenkins

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Best Netflix movies: 13th

(Image credit: Netflix)

A Netflix original, 13th, directed by Ava DuVernay, is an in-depth look at the prison system. She examines the intersection of racism and mass incarceration in the United States. The film is named for the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibited slavery and freed the slaves. Public figures like Angela Davis, Van Jones and Cory Booker make captivating appearances.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 97%

Stars: Angela Davis, Cory Booker, Henry Louis Gates

Director: Ava DuVernay

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Beasts of No Nation

Best Netflix movies: Beasts of No Nation

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Cary Joji Fukunaga directed Beasts of No Nation: a wartime drama based on the 2005 novel by Uzodinma Iweala. In a fictional African country, a war breaks out, which separates the young Agu (Abraham Attah) from his family. Now, he must navigate the war-torn country, evading hostile militia forces and coming face-to-face with senseless violence. This one's not just one of the best movies on Netflix but an original to boot.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%

Stars: Idris Elba, Abraham Attah

Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga

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Best Netflix movies: Room

(Image credit: A24)

Before Brie Larson got the role of Captain Marvel, she starred in Room, one of the most emotionally gripping (and devastating) films in years. In it, she stars as Joy, a woman who has been held in captivity for seven years, during which she gave birth to a son, Jack, who she raised in a single room. Their captor, "Old Nick" is Jack's father, who repeatedly sexually attacks Joy throughout those years, during moments when Jack is asleep in the closet. While the film's subject matter is incredibly jarring, the performances by Larson and Jacob Tremblay (who plays Jack) provide incredible depth, especially as the film deals with grieving.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 93%

Stars: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay

Director: Lenny Abrahamson

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Ex Machina

Best movies on Netflix: Ex Machina

(Image credit: A24)

If you fear a future filled with cyborgs, one that's jam-packed with philosophical debates about what's right and what's amoral, have I got a film for you. In Ex Machina, a young programmer named Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson) wins a contest to visit Nathan Bateman, a reclusive CEO (Oscar Isaac), who's seen as a genius on par with Steve Jobs. There, he discovers that his exec has secretly crafted a humanoid robot who's passed the Turing test that proves the ability to exhibit human-level intelligence, and named her Ava. And then things get weird, as Ava's behavior suggests that Bateman's a malicious god to his creation. While this intense sci-fi film is both well-written and beautifully shot, Oscar Isaac's brilliant performance grounds the film in the kind of creepy humanity we see in tech execs every day.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%

Stars: Alicia Vikander, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson

Director: Alex Garland

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What Happened, Miss Simone?

Best Netflix movies: What Happened Miss Simone

(Image credit: Netflix)

Nina Simone was a celebrated singer who did as much for the world of music as she did for the perception of black singers in the United States. Liz Garbus directed this documentary about Simone's life, working with Lisa Simone Kelly, Nina's daughter, as the executive producer. in addition to being on our best Netflix movies list, the film has already been showered with awards, praising its accuracy and quality.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 89%

Stars: Nina Simone

Director: Liz Garbus

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Best Netflix movies: Her

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Spike Jonze's Her is a quiet masterpiece of near-futuristic fiction. In this vision of our upcoming tomorrow, the Alexas of the world have evolved into truly personal digital assistants, with actual artificial intelligence, that live in our earpieces. Joaquin Phoenix's leading performance as Theodore grounds the film in a relatable melancholy that goes away once he meets "Samantha" (Scarlett Johansson), the AI in his earbud who he develops a shockingly intimate relationship with.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 94%

Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Scarlett Johansson

Director: Spike Jonze

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Frances Ha

Best Netflix movies: Frances Ha

(Image credit: IFC Films)

Noah Baumbach directed Frances Ha: a comedy-drama about a dancer who's struggling to get by in both her profession and her relationships. Greta Gerwig plays the title role, and also contributed her talents to the film's screenplay. Shot entirely in black and white, Frances Ha is the kind of film that's a little thoughtful, a little familiar and a little challenging, but tremendously entertaining.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%

Stars: Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner, Adam Driver

Director: Noah Baumbach

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Best Netflix movies: Drive

(Image credit: Alamy)

Bouncing between cool and awkward can be harrowing for some movies, but Drive manages to swerve between those lanes artfully. Its soundtrack, which arguably overshadows the film itself, turns nimbly shot heist scenes into jaw-dropping sequences that will have you white-knuckling your seats. And once Ryan Gosling's character (listed as "Driver" in credits) gets out from behind the wheel, he finds time to romance Irene (Carey Mulligan), which starts off smooth but starts to sputter when her husband Standard Gabriel (don't ask about Deluxe Gabriel) comes out of prison, and all of the characters become involved in a complex web of drama.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%

Stars: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Oscar Isaac

Director: Nicolas Winding Refn

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Best Netflix movies: Inception

(Image credit: Melissa Moseley)

If you've somehow stayed un-spoiler'd about this massive epic sci-fi film, pop some popcorn and turn up the volume and prepare to have your mind blown. In Inception, Leonardo DiCaprio leads an all-star cast (including Ellen Page, Tom Hardy and Joseph Gordon-Levitt) as Dom Cobb, a thief with the power to enter dreams and steal ideas. But along the way, the imaginary cities come crashing down and Dom's internal struggles hurt his mind, pushing him to go on one last con.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 87%

Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy

Director: Christopher Nolan

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Scott Pilgrim vs The World (2010)

Best movies on Netflix: Scott Pilgrim vs the World

(Image credit: Universal)

One of the most rewatchable films of all time, Edgar Wright's adaptation of Bryan Lee O'Malleys graphics novels glows with geek brilliance. While the story is rather simple — local doof wants to date girl, but must first defeat her seven evil exes in combat — the film's retro gamer aesthetic filled many an audience with joy. Because how else will you know a foe has been vanquished than by the sounds of coins falling out of their body and onto the floor? While star Michael Cera takes up a ton of the run time, this movie is packed with top-tier costars, including Chris Evans, Anna Kendrick, Brie Larson, Aubrey Plaza and Jason Schwartzman.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 81%

Stars: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Chris Evans

Director: Edgar Wright

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Pan's Labyrinth

Best Netflix movies: Pan's Labyrinth

(Image credit: Teresa Isasi)

Not to overhype Pan's Labyrinth, but the first time I saw it, I left the theater saying to my then-roommate "that's why we go to the cinema." A beautifully-shot fable about a little girl who may have a royal background, set in Nazi-held Spain, the film takes a turn for the creepy and bizarre when a faun arrives and encourages our hero through bizarre trials in the hedgemaze garden on the estate of her stepfather, Captain Vidal. Sadly, Pan's Labyrinth is one of the best Netflix movies but also one that keeps coming and going from the streaming service. So if it's not there when you next look for it, it could be back in a month's time.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 95%

Stars: Ivana Baquero, Sergi Lopez, Maribel Verdu

Director: Guillermo del Toro

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The Ring

Best Netflix movies: The Ring

(Image credit: DreamWorks )

America's fascination with the Japanese water-demon section of horror films began with The Ring, Gore Verbinski's remake of the 1998 Koji Suzuki novel of the same name. Even if you've never seen The Ring, you might be familiar with its central concept: Rachel (Naomi Watts) is a journalist investigating a mysterious death that appears to be tied to a supposedly-cursed video tape. Can she uncover the secrets of this cassette tape before she too dies? Let's hit Play and find out.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 71%

Stars: Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, Brian Cox

Director: Gore Verbinski

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Howards End

Best Netflix movies: Howards End movie

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Classic)

The country home of Howards End belongs to the wealthy Wilcox family, associates with the poorer but still well-to-do Schlegels. The film takes place between the house and London, following the two families, along with the Schlegels’ other friends, the impoverished Basts, over the years, and showing how wealth, power and the class system complicate their relationships.— Richard Priday

Rotten Tomatoes score: 94%

Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, Vanessa Redgrave

Director: James Ivory

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Tremors (1990)

Best Netflix movies: Tremors (1990)

(Image credit: Alamy)

Comedic horror is a tightrope that Tremors walks expertly for a taut 96 minutes. It's also a great way to see star Kevin Bacon in a different light than you're probably familiar with, as he stars as Valentine McKee, a handyman whose adventures begin when he leaves — and then returns to — Perfection, Nevada. Along the way, Val and his buddy Earl (Fred Ward) run across graboids, these hole-burrowing beasts that are terrorizing the towns. While it failed to meet box office projections, critics appreciated its humor and how it's a throwback to even earlier, campier, horror films. So did we, which is why it made our list of best Netflix movies.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 85%

Stars: Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward

Director: Ron Underwood

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Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Best Netflix movies: Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark

(Image credit: Paramount)

From the iconic face-melting scene to tons of classic adventure moments, Indy's first adventure does the miraculous: turning a history teacher into an action hero. Retrieving a super-powered treasure isn't easy, though, as Dr. Jones is besieged by Nazis, snakes and a certain ex. Even if you've never seen Raiders, you've seen countless references to this iconic gem that will always have a place on our list of best Netflix movies.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 95%

Stars: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, John Rhys-Davies

Director: Steven Spielberg

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