UPDATED: Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece Taxi Driver has been added to Netflix Australia’s lineup – find out why you need to watch it on page 2!
If you’re new to Netflix and want to find the best movies to watch, or you’re tired of browsing the app for 30 minutes before finding something to watch, you’ve come to the right place. With thousands of movies at your disposal, it’s easy to get stuck in binge-watching mode, but finding the honest-to-goodness best films can be a bit of a hassle.
In an effort to determine the best of the best, we’ve put together a list of the greatest possible films you can watch – curated by TechRadar editors and backed up with ratings from IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes – so that you don’t have to sift through the muck. We’ll keep this best-of list up to date with the latest movies that are must-watch, so you waste zero screen time searching.
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Wake in Fright
One of the most powerful and harrowing films in Australian cinema history, Wake in Fright forces audiences to take a good hard look at Australia’s destructively macho drinking culture. Marooned in a small outback town while he waits for a train to Sydney, schoolteacher John Grant (Gary Bond) stops in at a local pub to pass the time. Sounds innocent enough, right? Unfortunately for John, a chance encounter with a pack of local louts sends him on an incredibly dark odyssey into the Australian heart of darkness. As shocking and menacing as any horror movie, Wake in Fright is an extremely confronting masterpiece that requires a strong stomach.
IMDB Rating: 7.8, Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Following the enormous success of its original docu-series Making a Murderer, Netflix has once again returned to the ever-popular ‘true crime’ well with Amanda Knox. The Netflix Original documentary tells the harrowing story of an American exchange student who spent four years in an Italian prison after being convicted for the murder of her roommate, Meredith Kercher. Forced to endure the prosecution’s various character assassination tactics, including public slut-shaming, Knox maintains her innocence at all times, with her appeals eventually reaching Italy’s Supreme Court. Amanda Knox is an effective and truly eye-opening documentary that is not to be missed.
IMDB Rating: 7.0, Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Drive is the film that made it cool to love Ryan Gosling. Based on the novel of the same name by James Sallis, this pulpy thriller is one of the most stylish films of the last decade, having almost single-handedly revived the neon ’80s synth-pop scene. Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn (Bronson, Only God Forgives), Drive sees Gosling play a nameless stunt driver who works as a shady wheelman by night. When a job goes horribly wrong, this ‘driver’ must dispense violent justice to make things right for those he cares for. The film’s immense influence can be felt across all forms of media – the video game Hotline Miami, in particular, owes a large debt of gratitude to Drive. A loving ode to the early tough-guy crime movies of Michael Mann, Drive is essential viewing.
IMDB Rating: 7.8, Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
It shouldn’t have been possible for what is ostensibly the seventh entry in the 40-year-old Rocky franchise to hit as hard as the original film, both physically and emotionally, but that’s exactly what the franchise spin-off Creed has managed to do. Aside from being an inspired idea (Rocky is now the trainer and his pupil is Apollo Creed’s illegitimate son, Adonis), the film succeeds in large part thanks to the efforts of director Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station) and his star, Michael B. Jordan (also from Fruitvale Station). Through their collaborative efforts, the two have shown all the makings of what could become the next great Scorsese/De Niro-style partnership. It also features a tremendous Oscar-nominated performance from the Italian Stallion himself, Sylvester Stallone. A true knockout.
IMDB Rating: 7.7, Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
While the first rule of Fight Club may be that you shouldn’t talk about Fight Club, it’s extremely hard to keep quiet about a film as provocative as this. Though its messages are based in extremely dark satire, David Fincher’s film is as nihilistic and anarchistic as any major film studio has ever produced. Violent, gross and incendiary, Fight Club sees emasculated males bash each other’s faces in to make themselves feel manly once more. While the film’s themes are intended in jest, they certainly resonated strongly with certain fans, many of which would go on to start their own fight clubs. Despite being misunderstood by its biggest admirers, Fight Club is one of the must-see films of the late ’90s.
IMDB Rating: 8.9, Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Way back in 1999, The Matrix blew audiences away with its amazing special effects, mind-bending sci-fi plot, incredible wire-fu action scenes, wonderfully era-appropriate industrial soundtrack and spectacular bullet-time camerawork. Though writer-director siblings The Wachowskis would eventually follow it up with two lacklustre sequels, nothing could diminish the story of a virtual superhero named Neo (Keanu Reeves) and his awakening from a lifelike illusion. Neo learns that our world is just a virtual construct developed by machines in order to enslave humanity and use us as batteries to keep itself alive – not the best news to wake up to, that’s for sure. In the words of Keanu himself, The Matrix is one film that is guaranteed to make you say “whoa”.
IMDB Rating: 8.7, Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
One of the most charming and purely enjoyable films that Marvel has made to date, Ant-Man burrows its way into our hearts thanks to its light-hearted tone, likeable characters and comedic acumen. Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is an ex-con that just wants to do right by his daughter, so when the opportunity calls for him to use his thieving skills for good, he goes for it. Before long, Lang finds himself teaming up with genius creator Hank Pym (Michael Douglass) and Pym’s daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) to become Ant-Man, a superhero that can shrink to microscopic sizes. Fast, funny and full of heart, Ant-Man leaves a very big impression for someone so small.
IMDB Rating: 7.4, Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
City of God
If you’ve blasted your way through both seasons of Narcos and want another South American crime epic to get stuck into, consider City of God as your next destination. Based on true events that took place over three decades in the favelas (slums) of Rio de Janeiro, the film accurately recreates the lively and energetic vibe of Brazil, but also counters it some truly harrowing scenes of devastating violence. In the ‘City of God’, children brandish firearms and kill each other indiscriminately over petty drug deals. While that might sound like too much to bear, the terrific filmmaking on display from Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund will keep you on the edge of your seat, as will the film’s authentic performers and compelling story. One of the greatest films of all time, City of God is like Goodfellas scored to a samba beat.
IMDB Rating: 8.7, Rotten Tomatoes: 90%