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Best movies on Netflix to watch right now (October 2021)

Dances with Wolves and Uncut Gems on Netflix
Dances with Wolves and Uncut Gems on Netflix. Pic credit: Orion/Netflix

When It comes to Netflix, there are a ton of great movies to choose from, but sometimes the choices can seem overwhelming.

When someone is looking for a good comedy, drama, action movie, animated effort, or foreign-language film, there are plenty to choose from.

However, it is a little tougher when looking for something of high quality, whether an award-winning movie or a critically praised film.

We have you covered. From the best Oscar winners and contenders to the movies that sent critics into a state of euphoria, Netflix has the catalog.

Here is a look at some of the best movies on Netflix to see as of this month.

Updated in October 2021: Every month, Netflix adds and subtracts several movies from its streaming service. With that in mind, there will be a lot of changes in many months, so we will come in and edit this article in the future to reflect these changes.

Malcolm X (1992)

Denzel Washington as Malcolm X
Denzel Washington as Malcolm X. Pic credit: Warner Bros.

In 1992, Spike Lee brought the world a movie telling the story of the rise and fall of Malcolm X.

Denzel Washington starred as Malcolm X, from his days raised in a poor Michigan household to his rise to becoming one of the most important figures concerning equal rights in the 1960s.

The movie only picked up two Oscar nominations, one for Washington, but didn’t win one. However, it outlived those Oscar snubs as it was added to the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 2010.

Gladiator (2000)

Russell Crowe in Gladiator
Russell Crowe in Gladiator. Pic credit: DreamWorks

Ridley Scott directed one of his most successful movies in 2000 with Gladiator.

The movie took place in 180 AD when a Roman war general named Maximus stood loyally by his king. However, when the king died, betrayed by his son, Maximus was reduced to slavery and eventually the role of a gladiator.

Russell Crowe starred as Maximus and eventually led all the slaves and gladiators to freedom when he challenged the new king, while also avenging the murder of his own family.

Gladiator won five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Russell Crowe. It was also a box office success, making $457 million, the second-highest movie of the year.

Mystic River (2003)

Mystic River
Sean Penn and Kevin Bacon in Mystic River. Pic credit: Warner Bros.

Sean Penn and Kevin Bacon star as Jimmy and Sean, childhood friends who grew up to become an ex-convict and a police detective, respectively.

A third childhood friend, Dave, was kidnapped and sexually abused for days as a child and grew up with some serious problems as a result.

When Jimmy’s daughter is murdered, he believes Dave is guilty and sets out for vengeance while Sean is investigating the case, believing that Dave might not be guilty after all.

Django Unchained (2012)

Christoph Waltz and Jamie Foxx in Django Unchained
Christoph Waltz and Jamie Foxx in Django Unchained. Pic credit: The Weinstein Company

Quentin Tarantino was back in 2012 with Django Unchained, the story of a bounty hunter and a freed slave working together.

Jamie Foxx is Django, a slave sold and separated from his wife Broomhiilda (Kerry Washington). While transported by the men who bought him, a bounty hunter named Dr. King Schultz frees him with the condition that Django helps him.

King knows Django can help him find his latest targets and promises to also help the former slave find his wife and help free her.

Leonard DiCaprio also stars as a plantation owner named “Monsieur” Calvin J. Candie, the man who holds Broomhilda’s freedom in his hands.

Blade Runner (1982)

Harrison Ford on the Blade Runner poster
Harrison Ford on the Blade Runner poster. Pic credit: Warner Bros

The movie considered the seminal science fiction movie and one of the greatest in film history hit Netflix in September 2021.

Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner is on the streaming giant, and it is the Final Cut, adding in what Scott created but the studio edited out in the original release.

Harrison Ford is Deckard, a Blade Runner whose job is to hunt down replicants – androids created to serve humanity. The replicants he is sent to take out are ones that have developed an advanced level of being and consider themselves living beings.

The one he hunts down in this movie is Roy Batty, played by Rutger Hauer, and the entire movie is the template for what smart sci-fi should look like.

Jaws (1975)

Jaws
Roy Scheider in Jaws. Pic credit: Universal

One of the best horror movies of all time arrived on Netflix in September 2021.

Steven Spielberg’s Jaws is the movie that popularized the idea of summer blockbusters and launched Spielberg’s massively successful directing career.

The movie was about a summer beach vacation town that refused to shut down the beaches despite a shark attack. This led to more deaths and three men were sent out to try to bring down the giant Great White Shark.

This movie resulted in business in beach towns dropping for years.

My Fair Lady (1964)

My Fair Lady
Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady. Pic credit: Warner Bros

My Fair Lady was a 1964 musical drama adapted from the stage musical of the same name by George Bernard Shaw.

In the movie, Audrey Hepburn played a poor flower seller named Eliza Doolittle who has an arrogant professor named Henry Higgins make a bet that he can teach her to speak proper English to make her more “proper” in high society London.

My Fair Lady won eight Academy Awards, named one of the best movies of all time by the American Film Institute.

There Will Be Blood (2007)

There Will Be Blood
Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood. Pic credit: Paramount Vantage

Paul Thomas Anderson has created some of the most breathtaking indie-style films of the last three decades, and There Will Be Blood might be his best.

Daniel Day-Lewis stars as Daniel Plainview, an oilman in this loose adaptation of Upton Sinclair’s Oil! Plainview is striking oil at the expense of towns that he leaves dead in his wake in the film.

He meets a young evangelist named Eli (Paul Dano), who tries to stand in his way. What results is a battle of wills where one man must fall.

The film, which can be compared to classic horror movies like Dracula, picked up eight Oscar nominations with Day-Lewis winning Best Actor.

Dances with Wolves (1990)

Dances with Wolves
Kevin Costner in Dances with Wolves. Pic credit: Orion Pictures

Kevin Costner directed and starred in Dances with Wolves in 1990, based on the novel by Michael Blake.

In the movie, Costner is a Union Army lieutenant named John J. Dunbar who travels to the American frontier, searching for a military post. Along the way, he deals with the Native American tribe, the Lakota.

Dances with Wolves received 12 Oscar nominations and won seven of them, including Best Picture and Best Director.

Do the Right Thing (1989)

Spike Lee in Do the Right Thing
Spike Lee in Do the Right Thing. Pic credit: Universal

In 1989, Spike Lee created his masterpiece in Do the Right Thing.

The movie had a day in the life of a Bed Stuy neighborhood when the intense heat and racial tensions reached a peak. It resulted in a huge riot in the streets that concluded with the police showed up and choked one black man to death.

The movie picked up Oscar nominations was added to the Library of Congress in its first year of eligibility, and picked up a pristine Criterion release.

It hit Netflix in September 2021, allowing people to rediscover this masterwork.

Fruitvale Station (2013)

Fruitvale Station
Michael B. Jordan and Kevin Durand in Fruitvale Station. Pic credit: The Weinstein Company

Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther) stars in Fruitvale Station as Oscar Grant, a man who was shot and killed by BART police officers in 2009.

Ryan Coogler, who directed Black Panther, helmed the movie, which was his directorial debut. Fruitvale Station won the Grandy Jury Prize at Sundance and won the Best First Film award at Cannes.

Kevin Durand and Chad Michael Murray portrayed the BART cops who were involved in the incident. The movie takes place over one day, the last of Oscar’s life.

Uncut Gems (2019)

Uncut Gems
Adam Sandler in Uncut Gems. Pic credit: A24

Released in 2019, Adam Sandler shocked the world with his performance in the Netflix thriller movie Uncut Gems.

The actor, known mostly for his low-brow comedies, turned in an intense role as a jeweler who gets in too deep with his betting addiction and ends up fearing for his life as he continues to dig in deep to save himself.

Film fanatics shouldn’t have been surprised. Sandler proved he could be great with auteurs, as he showed in Punch Drunk Love with P.T. Anderson in 2002.

This time, he worked with Benny and Josh Safdie, the men who helped Robert Pattinson turn in one of his most critically acclaimed roles in Good Time.

Magnolia (1999)

Magnolia by PT Anderson
Magnolia by PT Anderson. Pic credit: New Line Cinema

In 1999, film auteur P.T. Anderson created his masterpiece. The movie is Magnolia and it tells the interconnected stories of several people living in San Francisco.

The cast was phenomenal, with Tom Cruise, Philip Baker Hall, Philip Seymour Hoffman, William H. Macy, Alfred Molina, Julianne Moore, John C. Reilly, Melora Walters, and the final movie performance of the late Jason Robards.

Each of the characters had their own story, but all the character’s lives were intertwined with each other, proving that even the slightest moment could change everyone’s lives forever.

Midnight Run (1988)

Charles Grodin and Robert De Niro on a bus in Midnight Run. Pic credit: Universal

Midnight Run is a 1988 comedy action thriller with Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin electrifying the screen.

The plot has a bounty hunter (De Niro) trying to bring in a mob accountant (Grodin) after he embezzled $15 million from the mob.

However, as he tries to pull off this task, they two find themselves on the run from gangsters, corrupt federal officers, and rival bounty hunters.

The deadpan humor makes this a movie that is just as fun to watch today as it was over 30 years ago.

The Theory of Everything (2014)

The Theory of Everything
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything. Pic credit: Focus Features

Before the world got to know him as Harry Potter character Newt Scamander, actor Eddie Redmayne starred in The Theory of Everything as the brilliant Stephen Hawking.

The film told the story of Hawking’s amazing life and focused on the relationship between the physicist and his wife, Jane (Felicity Jones).

The movie was a critical darling, with Redmayne winning the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance as Hawking. The film also picked up four other Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture.

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