70 Of The Best Movies On Netflix, Film Companion
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Despite having thousands of movies to choose from, a sleek navigation system, and a hit-or-miss algorithm, it can be difficult to decide what to watch on Netflix. That is why we’re bringing you our list of 70 0f the best movies currently streaming on Netflix India (as of October 2020). Go forth and binge watch.

Dev D (2009)

Anurag Kashyap’s modern-day reimagining of Devdas is less of a breath of fresh air and more of a welcome punch to the gut. Whether it’s the depiction of complex female characters or how it blends music with narrative (it was composer Amit Trivedi’s breakout film), Dev D is less about plot and more about exploring the mind of its angst-fuelled protagonist.

Arrival (2016)

Amy Adams plays a professor of comparative linguistics tasked with communicating with aliens in Denis Villeneuve challenging sci-fi tale. Arrival expertly uses conventions of the genre to explore free-will, experiences and memory, in a film that is as personal as it is relatable.

℅ Kancharapalem (2018)

The heartfelt and deeply empathetic Telugu film from debut director Venkatesh Maha spans four love stories across religion, caste, and generation, and features a charming cast mostly made up of non-actors.

BlacKkKlansman (2018)

Spike Lee tells the extraordinary true story of a black police officer who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in 1972 with the assistance of a Jewish cop Flip Zimmerman in film which is as playful as it is deeply political. Oh and also Adam Driver and John David Washington. Enough said.

Her (2013)

Tender, soulful, and thought provoking, Spike Jonze’s film starring Joaquin Phoenix uses its bizarre sci-fi scenario to both comment on the modern reliance on technology as well as impart wisdom about the state of human relationships.

The Irishman (2019)

Martin Scorsese’s sprawling gangster epic remains one of the finest testaments to Netflix’s commitment to putting talent first and making the kinds of films the studio system has turned its back on. It’s Pesci, Pacino, De Niro and a fantastic 3 hours.

Marriage Story (2019)

Noah Baumbach’s heart-wrenching relationship drama, starring an excellent Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver, follows the undoing of a married couple, exploring the joy, love and searing pain of a relationship like few before him have.

Haider (2014)

Vishal Bhardwaj concluded his much-discussed Shakespeare trilogy with this modern-day adaptation of Hamlet, and transposed the story to Kashmir, masterfully using the Bard’s work to explore insurgency and conflict. Throw in a career-best performance from Shahid Kapoor and our case is made.

The Two Popes (2019)

Two legendary British thespians in a movie largely limited to their lengthy conversations becomes so much more in Fernando Meirelles’ The Two Popes. Anthony Hopkins plays doubt-ridden, conservative Pope Benedict XVI and Jonathan Pryce is Cardinal Bergoglio, his reluctant and progressive successor resulting in a masterclass in drama.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

A gut-bustingly hilarious cult classic which remains just as funny and wonderfully ridiculous, the Monty Python crew’s comic exploration of the Dark Ages has lost none of its silly charm.

Okja (2017)

A heart-warming and deeply empathetic fantasy feature from the one and only Bong Joon-ho, Okja uses the story of a girl and her best friend, a large, weird animal called Okja to making powerful statements about the modern meat industry.

Capernaum (2018)

Nadine Labaki’s Lebanese drama, based on a 12-year-old boy who decides to sue his parents for “child neglect,” is the highest-grossing Middle-Eastern film of all time. More importantly, it’s a stone-cold masterpiece.

Cold War (2018)

Pawel Pawlikowski’s sweeping monochromatic love story is the first and last word in post-war romance and artistic desire. It’s beautiful, intelligent and unforgettable.

Roma (2018)

Alfonso Cuaron’s most personal film is also his finest – an affectionate portrait of his childhood as well as modern Mexico City through the eyes of a young nanny. 

On Body and Soul (2017)

Ildiko Enyedi’s Hungarian love story – between a CFO of a slaughterhouse and his new health inspector – is the definitive portrait of introversion, loneliness, outcasts and kindred souls. 

Shoplifters (2018)

Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Cannes-winning family drama – about a “custom-made” Japanese family hoodwinking poverty – is both culturally scathing and heartbreakingly honest. 

Baahubali 1 and 2 (2015, 2017)

Despite its laundry list of accomplishments, SS Rajamouli’s game-changing, industry-altering two-part epic remains, above all, just great storytelling which proves Indian cinema can, in fact, be just as imaginative and expansive as its Western counterpart.

The Social Network (2010)

The best of Aaron Sorkin’s razor-sharp writing and David Fincher’s visual style come together to bring to life the riveting true story of the birth of Facebook in a film that resonates now more than ever.

The Edge of Democracy (2019)

Petra Costa’s Oscar-winning documentary, stalking the rise and fall of two Brazilian Presidents during the country’s socio-political crisis, is unflinchingly personal, and challenges our perception of “political” filmmaking. 

Aquarius (2016)

One of the finest Brazilian films of the last decade, Aquarius is a snapshot of bureaucratically backward Brazil through the story of a woman – the last resident of a building – who refuses to sell her apartment to a construction company. 

The Truman Show (1998)

The funny, thought-provoking film has become arguably one of the most revisited and discussed films of our time. Jim Carrey plays Truman Burbank, a seemingly everyday man who slowly learns his life is the subject of a live 24-hour reality show. The ahead-of-its-time film spoke volumes about everything from politics to the rampant rise of reality TV.

Birdman (2014)

Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s Best Picture-winning drama stars Michael Keaton as a washed-up superhero actor who struggles to revive his career with a Broadway play. The entire film was shot to resemble a single long take and its cast included Edward Norton, Zach Galifianakis, and Emma Stone. Need we say more?

The Edge of Seventeen (2016)

Arguably one of the best coming-of-age high school comedies in recent years, The Edge Of Seventeen stars Hailee Steinfeld as an awkward teenager navigating the trials of high school. Her heartfelt friendship with teacher-mentor, played by Woody Harrelson, alone makes this a wonderful watch.

My Happy Family (2017)

The brilliantly performed and progressive Georgian drama explores the perspective of a 50-year-old woman who “leaves” her entire family against societal odds.

Private Life (2018)

Tamara Jenkins paints a deeply personal portrait of a couple, played by Kathryn Hahn and Paul Giamatti, struggling with infertility, navigating the world of adoption and assisted reproduction.

I Lost My Body (2019)

The endlessly innovative and touching French animated film follows a severed hand looking for its human across Paris. It is a breathtaking sensory experience.

Thithi (2015)

In his award-winning Kannada-language film set in a remote village, Raam Reddy masterfully examines three generations of men in the aftermath of their 101-year-old patriarch’s demise. Made with a cast of non-actors, Thithi was a community a film – one where the community it’s set in becomes the film, where the reel and real blend together in the most wonderful ways.

Kahaani (2012)

Vidya Balan stars in what remains one of the best thrillers Hindi cinema has ever produced. Sujoy Ghosh’s film follows the mysteries surrounding a pregnant woman who travels from London to Kolkata in search for her missing husband.

Atlantics (2019)

Mati Diop’s haunting Senegalese supernatural drama stages a tender ghost story to spotlight issues of migration, refugee crises, loss and intimate grief. 

First They Killed My Father (2017)

Angelina Jolie’s Khmer-language war-period thriller is an empathetic, informative and unerringly elegant dissection of Cambodia’s bloody history through the eyes of a 5-year-old girl trained to be a child soldier. 

Sand Storm (2016)

A Sundance Grand Jury winner, Elite Zexer’s first film – an intense look at Israel’s patriarchal pillars through the experiences of a Bedouin mother and daughter – is driven by two of the finest performances in recent memory.

The Florida Project (2016)

Led by one of the most unforgettable young protagonists played by Brooklynn Prince, The Florida Project tells the story of a precocious six year-old and her ragtag group of friends all of whom live in the same run down motel. It follows not only their adorable adventures during summer break but also the hardships of poverty in modern America.

Divines (2016)

A Caméra d’Or winner, Houda Benyamina’s scintillating urban thriller – about two young female buddies hustling the streets of Paris – is a triumph of filmmaking, social commentary and doomed girlhood. 

Nightcrawler (2014)

A pulse-pounding thriller set on the streets of Los Angeles, Nightcrawler stars a phenomenal Jake Gyllenhaal as a man who rises to fame by recording violent events in the middle of the night.

Money Ball

This is based on the true story of Oakland Athletics and manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt), who attempt to build a competitive team by relying solely on statistical analysis, with help from a Yale graduate (Jonah Hill). Throw in the great Philip Seymour Hoffman and what you get is a deeply empathetic sports drama that’s more about people than it is about the number crunching.

Muramba

A charming take on the changing dynamics of modern relationships, the quirky Marathi comedy drama stars Amey Wagh and Mithila Palkar as a young couple who decide to part ways, something their parents can’t seem to come to terms with.

The Big Short (2015)

Filmmaker Adam McKay’s pivot from comedy legend to high drama director began with his scathing exploration of the 2008 global financial crisis. Led by an electric ensemble including Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt, The Big Short is as informative, insightful and innovative as it is drop dead entertaining.

Shirkers (2018)

Documentary filmmaker Sandi Tan turned the camera on herself in this remarkable documentary about a movie she made in Singapore as a teenager, which was then stolen by someone else.

Queen (2012)

No modern Bollywood film has encapsulated that feeling of a much-needed breather of fresh air, or resonated as widely and deeply with Indians everywhere quite like Queen. The flagbearer of ‘New Bollywood’ follows the story of Rani, a girl who decides to tour Europe on her own resulting in a journey of self discovery, independence and freedom.

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower (2012)

At a time when ‘high school movie’ is a light, fluffy flick, The Perks Of Being A Wallflower showed it could be infinitely more. The Perks Of Being A Wallflower is a delicate film which captures the pain, fragility, love and joy of being young like few before it have.

Tu Hai Mera Sunday (2016)

A story of five thirty-something friends who struggle to find a place in Mumbai to play football becomes so much more in the hands of debut director Milind Dhaimade who uses a feel-good light-hearted tale to explore gender, generational and religious divides along the way.

The Meyerowitz Stories (2017)

In this hopeful comedy-drama about how family can both connect and divide us, Noah Baumbach brought his distinctive voice to a story about a dysfunctional siblings and their dictatorial father brought to life by stellar performances from Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Allison Janney and Dustin Hoffman.

Gurgaon (2017)

Pankaj Tripathi is peak Pankaj Tripathi in this brooding Delhi-based crime drama about a kidnapping gone wrong. Gurgaon is a brutal, unforgiving film about the circle of violence and remains an achievement in how it creates mood and feeling to amplify its narrative.

Knock Down the House (2019)

Knock Down The House follows the campaign of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the now famed AOC, and three other female candidates as they run for Congress in 2018 resulting in one of the greatest political underdog stories seen on screen.

Klaus (2019)

One of Netflix’s first animation projects is a humorous, heart-warming take on the Santa Claus story with a rich new style of animation that feels as comfortable as it is refreshing.

Angamaly Diaries (2017)

Director Lijo Jose Pellissery’s electric gangster story remains one of the most talked about Indian films of recent years. With a cast of 86 fresh faces, he tells his tale of a bunch of outlaws on the streets of Angamaly with dizzying style. That now-iconic 11-minute long shot alone is worth the experience.

Sudani From Nigeria (2018)

Among the many recent gems of Malayalam cinema, Sudani From Nigeria is a beautiful story of friendship between a Nigerian football player stranded in a small Kerala village and its residents who take care of him. It’s a heartfelt story that argues that the things that bind us far outweigh those that divide.

Killa (2014)

With his Marathi film about an 11-year old boy who must adapt to a new life after his father’s death, Avinash Arun’s directorial debut succeeds in telling a simple story bursting with heart.

The Half Of It (2020)

Aside from being one of the best films of 2020 so far, Alice Wu’s film took a step away from the typical glossy high school movie and gave us characters who felt real and familiar. For a film to be made about love in this day and age that has something new to say is nothing short of a triumph.

13th (2016)

Ava DuVernay’s scathing documentary explores the injustices at the heart of America’s painful racial history by examining the systemic failures of the penal system.

A Quiet Place (2018)

Under the guise of a post-apocalyptic horror film, actor-turned-director John Krasinski offered a deeply emotional meditation on family and parenting that was as riveting as it was affecting.

Rang De Basanti (2016)

The film that stirred up a generation, the Aamir Khan-led ensemble drama about getting the youth to take a stand and call out social injustice, has never been more relevant.

Uncut Gems (2019)

The Safdie brothers had funnyman Adam Sandler showcase his remarkable dramatic chops in this frantic, hyper stressful tale of a New York City jeweller trying to outrun the debt collectors after him.

Mayurakshi (2017)

A tender father-son story about a man who visits his 84-year-old father who is slowly slipping into dementia, this Bengali film examines the shifting values across generations and the process of coming to terms with loss.

Aankhon Dekhi (2014)

Sanjay Mishra is exemplary in Rajat Kapoor’s philosophical film about a man who decides not to believe everything that he’s told until he sees it with his own eyes. A simple enough premise which becomes a layered, emotional story about family and modern society.

The Lunchbox (2013)

Arguably the finest Hindi film of the decade, Ritesh Batra’s film made urban isolation feel almost aspirational in his story revolving around Saajan (Irrfan Khan), a reclusive middle-aged office-goer, and Ila (Nimrat Kaur), a disenchanted housewife whose odd encounter with Saajan through a case of mixed up lunchboxes blossoms into a soulful romance.

Soni (2019)

Led by brilliant performances from Geetika Vidya Ohlyan and Saloni Batra, Ivan Ayr’s tale about two female police officers navigating bureaucracy and sexism in the Delhi police force injected a much-needed dose of refined realism to Hindi cinema’s portrayal of police.

Andhadhun (2018)

Sriram Raghavan’s celebrated thriller involves an allegedly blind pianist, a Shakespearean vamp, an ageing actor and blind rabbits. A delicious cocktail of black humour, suspense and drama, Andhadhun will keep you guessing till the very end. And beyond.

Udaan (2010)

Even 10 years on, Vikramaditya Motwane’s directorial debut about a sensitive boy and his abusive father remains a piece of storytelling so tender and personal, that none of the artists associated with it have touched these dizzying heights since.

LSD (2010)

Dibakar Banerjee’s anthology of three stories linked by a threadbare connection bursts through the clutter, both, in terms of its brutal narrative as well as its distinct CCTV-footage visual style.

Lagaan (2001)

Nearly 20 years after its release, Ashutosh Gowariker’s Lagaan remains just as memorable. One of Hindi cinema’s greatest underdog tales, a powerful script, impressive execution and an unforgettable soundtrack from A R Rahman made it one of three Indian films to bag an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. 

Amar Akbar Anthony (1977)

Manmohan Desai’s iconic film about three brothers who are separated in childhood and raised in different faiths has a galaxy of stars, a terrific performance by Amitabh Bachchan and Kader Khan’s infinitely quotable dialogue. What more could you want?

Super Deluxe (2019)

Thiagarajan Kumararaja’s delectable hotchpotch of dark comedy, drama and sheer unpredictability offers a unique cinematic experience that is fun, philosophical, zany and moving all at once.

Sillu Karrupatti (2019)

Halitha Shameem’s charming Tamil anthology is a breath of fresh air. Following four stories, the film shows the beginning of connections, leaving the conclusion to our own interpretation. 

Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo (2019)

Allu Arjun’s energetic action drama about a child separated from his parents at birth, only to be reunited later, offers a spree of entertainment with comedy, drama, and action.

Shor In The City (2011)

Filmmaking duo Raj & DK’s ability to weave a story that is at once surprising, disturbing and witty never fails to impress. Nowhere did that feel as raw and distinct as it did in Shor In The City, a film about about three interconnected stories in the maximum city.

Masoom (1983)

In a year where the biggest hit was the loud, gaudy Himmatwala, Shekhar Kapoor’s Masoom, with its realistic textures, nuanced performances and insightful narrative, seems to have sprung from some other filmmaking universe. The film follows a married man discovering that he has a son with another woman.

Cake (2018)

Asim Abbasi’s bold family drama made many sit up and take notice of Pakistani cinema once again. Cake examines dysfunction, masculinity and miscommunication while making you  laugh, smile and cry along the way. 

Visaranai (2015)

In a politically-motivated bid to close a high profile robbery case, policemen in Andhra Pradesh torture four innocent Tamil daily wage earners to confess to a theft they haven’t committed. The National Award-winning crime thriller directed by Vetrimaaran explores police brutality like few before it. 

Crazy Stupid Love (2010) 

Most successful rom-coms tend to win off the back of their laughs or their feels. Crazy Stupid Love acheives both.  The feel-good comedy follows newly-divorced Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) navigating singlehood with the help of a playboy played by Ryan Gosling, while trying to reconcile with his wife played by Julian Moore. Also Emma Stone.    

Special Mentions:

Bareilly Ki Barfi, Inception, La La Land, Swades, Ek Hasina Thi, Clockwork Orange, Demolition, The Old Guard, Udta Punjab, Revolutionary Road, Julie And Julia, Boogie Nights, Prisoners, The Matrix, Back To The Future

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