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Best movies on Netflix to watch right now (January 2022)

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 January 2022: 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.

Stand by Me (1986)

Stand by Me
Stand by Me. Pic credit: Columbia Pictures

One of the greatest Stephen King movies ever made wasn’t even a horror movie. While everyone knows about The Shawshank Redemption, more people need to seek out and rediscover Stand by Me.

Directed by Rob Reiner (Misery), Stand By Me tells the story of a group of young boys who set out on a great adventure when they learn there might be a dead body in the woods.

The cast was fantastic, with Corey Feldman, River Phoenix, Jerry O’Connell, and Wil Wheaton as the young boys and Keifer Sutherland as the dangerous older teen that threatened their lives.

This is one of the best coming-of-age movies of the 1980s and might be the most understated Stephen King adaptation of all time.

Taxi Driver (1976)

Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver
Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver. Pic credit: Columbia Pictures

Martin Scorsese is one of the most respected voices of ’70s cinema and directed some of the best crime drama movies you will see on Netflix

One of these movies was the brilliant Taxi Driver in 1978, a film that picked up four Oscar nominations but was passed up for all four, including Best Director (Scorsese), Best Actor (Robert De Niro), and Best Supporting Actress (Jodie Foster).

The movie has De Niro starring as a Vietnam vet who takes an interest in a political intern (Sharon Stone) and a teenage prostitute (Foster) and is determined to protect them both at all costs.

True Grit (2010)

Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld in True Grit
Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld in True Grit. Pic credit: Paramount Pictures

In a movie no one could have expected a decade before its release, the Coen Brothers directed a western remake of an old John Wayne movie in True Grit.

The Coen Brothers cast Jeff Bridges as a lawman who agrees to accept money from a 14-year-old girl to go after an outlaw who killed her father. Hailee Steinfeld (Hawkeye) stars as the girl.

Also appearing in the movie is Matt Damon as a Texas Ranger who stands in their way, while Josh Brolin stars as Tom Chaney, the man who murdered the girl’s dad.

True Grit picked up 10 Oscar nominations, including for Best Actor and Best Director, but it didn’t win any awards.

Don’t Look Up (2021)

The cast of Don't Look Up
The cast of Don’t Look Up. Pic credit: Netflix

Released in 2021, Adam McKay directed the dark comedy Don’t Look Up. The movie was almost out of place in 2021 because it was often hard to laugh at situations that are all too real.

The movie starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence as two scientists who learn that a comet is racing toward Earth that could destroy all life on the planet.

The problem is that the politicians don’t care and ignore the threat while the world decides they are more interested in celebrity pregnancies and refuse to believe the scientists until it is too late.

The movie is a Netflix original and appears to be a front-runner for awards season.

Minority Report (2002)

Minority Report
Tom Cruise in Minority Report. Pic credit: Fox

Philip K. Dick wrote some of the most groundbreaking science fiction novels in history. He often approached issues of morality and the use of technology to break those moral codes.

Several of his stories became movies, including one that Spielberg directed — Minority Report.

The film starred Tom Cruise as a police officer in a dystopian future where technology working with a pair of precogs predicted crimes before they happened.

While the police had no problem arresting people before they ever committed a crime, when the machine claimed Cruise’s police officer was going to commit a murder, he went on the run to try to prove that he could stop the crime from happening.

Braveheart (1995)

Mel Gibson in Braveheart
Mel Gibson in Braveheart. Pic credit: Paramount

Mel Gibson directed and starred in the historical epic Braveheart in 1995.

The movie told the story of William Wallace, the Scottish warrior who led the Scots in the First War of Scottish Independence against King Edward I of England.

The movie was a massive success, picking up 10 Oscar nominations and winning for Best Picture and Best Director, while Gibson also won Best Director at the Golden Globes.

Moneyball (2011)

Moneyball
Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill in Moneyball. Pic credit: Columbia Pictures

Brad Pitt starred as Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane, the man who brought the idea of sabermetrics into Major League Baseball.

This is a true story that showed how a man who managed a team with a limited budget could build a contender by relying on computer stats over what the scouts see with their eyes.

The movie was a huge success for a sports movie, making $110 million worldwide and picking up six Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Pitt, and Best Supporting Actor for Jonah Hill.

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.

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.

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.