Lasse Hallström/ Paramount Pictures
There are a lot of movies on Netflix for your viewing, but to avoid endless searching through categories that just push the same titles over again, we’ve created a list of the best movies, 75 to be exact, to watch on the streaming platform. This list is regularly updated as Netflix adds and removes titles, with new additions to this list indicated with an asterisk. Originally published on May 12, 2020.
1. 13th (2016)
After directing “Selma” Ava DuVernay directed this documentary about the systemic racism rooted in America’s prison system. It has resurfaced recently due to the protests for Black Lives Matter, but its message has been relevant for decades. This film is essential for understanding racism in America, and a solid documentary from a successful Black woman director.
2. About Time (2013)
In a way it’s about time travel, but with more emotional moments than science fiction. As a young adult, Tim (Domhnall Gleeson, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”) finds out from his father that all the men in the family can relive and redo any moment in their lives. Tim uses that power to get things perfect with his dream girl, Mary, played by Rachel McAdams (“Doctor Strange,” “The Notebook”). The film follows how Tim learns from his ability throughout his life, so get your tissues ready.
3. The Artist (2011)
In the style of silent films from the early 1900s is this five-Oscar winner about two Hollywood stars looking to establish themselves with a new film as the industry moves towards sound. This film is both an individual masterpiece and a love letter to a bygone era. This movie proves that silent films were not just stepping stones to the real works of art, but are works of art in their own right.
4. The Dig (2021) *
Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”) and Ralph Fiennes (“The Grand Budapest Hotel”) star in this World War II period piece about a woman who hires an amateur archaeologist to excavate two burial mounds on her estate before the war breaks out. This movie is based on the 2007 novel “The Dig” by John Preston who reimagined the real excavation of Sutton Hoo, a ship buried within one of the mounds, which dates to the 6th or 7th century. It creates a portrait of humanity, ranging from the choices made to serve our country, to be true to ourselves and the connection we feel to those who came before us.
5. Atlantics (2019)
If you’re looking for a foreign film, or just a love story with more diversity, try this film from Mati Diop, the first Black woman director to compete at the Cannes Film Festival. Her debut film is set in Senegal, Africa, and it tells the story of Souleiman, an underpaid construction worker, and Ada, who is set to marry another man. After Souleiman leaves on a boat for a better life, Ada’s marriage is thwarted by a fire on her wedding day, with some people accusing the recently departed Souleiman. A beautifully captured love story with a supernatural element, you won’t regret watching this masterpiece.
6. Audrey (2020)
A look into the extraordinarily glamorous actress of the century, the 2020 documentary, “Audrey”, helps audiences to peel back all the glitz and glam to get a glimpse of the real Audrey Hepburn. Her family’s collection of never-before-seen footage from Hepburn’s childhood offers an intimate glimpse into the young actress‘ painful childhood and her journey to stardom.
7. The Bling Ring (2013)
Based on a true story, a group of teenagers uses the internet to stalk celebrities in order to rob their homes. Of course, there are consequences, but this underrated film is a look into fame, celebrity culture and privilege all told by a talented cast, including Emma Watson (“Little Women”), Taissa Farmiga (“The Nun”), and Israel Broussard (“To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before”).
8. Bright Star (2009) *
Based on the remaining years of romantic poet John Keats and his romance with Fanny Brawne, Ben Whishaw and Abbie Cornish star in this intimate period piece. Academy Award winner Jane Campion’s writing and direction creates an immersive experience with intelligent dialogue that pays tribute and showcases the spiritual resonance of John Keats’ poetry.
9. Captain Fantastic (2016)
The Cashes live off the grid. Away from capitalist and fascist America, away from the indoctrination of public school, away from commercial excess, father Ben Cash (Viggo Mortensen, “Green Book”) teaches his six kids how to think for themselves and survive on their own. When Ben’s bipolar wife falls ill, it forces the family out of their wilderness retreat and into American society, where they must confront their upbringing, values and independence. This film is filled with affection and sadness, making the audience question their relationship to society and family in the process.
10. Catch Me If You Can (2002) *
What’s better than watching a Steven Spielberg film about Tom Hanks chasing a con-man Leonardo DiCaprio across the world? Based on the true story of Frank Abagnale, a successful con man who disguised himself as a pilot, doctor and prosecutor while committing check fraud all before the age of 19. If you’ve been watching “The Flight Attendant” on HBO Max this quarantine, check out this older film with the same flighty fizz of a watch.
11. Chef (2014)
As the original “Chef” release, follow Jon Favreau as he directs and stars in this film about a chef’s next steps in the search for creative liberty and good food. Chef Carl Casper travels to Miami to team up with his ex-wife, son and friend in launching a food truck, and subsequently, Casper’s original passion for cooking. A heartwarming, but stomach-rumbling, watch.
12. A Knight’s Tale (2001) *
This medieval romantic comedy follows Heath Ledger (“The Dark Knight”) as William Thatcher, a peasant who passes himself off as a knight and goes on a quest to win the heart of the maiden Jocelyn (Shannyn Sossamon) through a jousting tournament. Set to a soundtrack of classic rock songs, “A Knight’s Tale” blends contemporary themes with elements of its inspiration, “The Knight’s Tale” by Geoffrey Chaucer, who is portrayed by Paul Bettany (“WandaVision”) in the movie.
13. The Conjuring (2013)
A staple of the modern horror genre that has spawned many sequels, “The Conjuring” follows paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, played by Patrick Wilson (“Aquaman”) and Vera Farmiga (“Godzilla”). They attempt to rid a farmhouse of an evil spirit, but quickly realize they may have gotten themselves involved in a case that will consume them. Don’t watch alone.
14. Crip Cramp: A Disability Revolution (2020)
This is a documentary about Camp Jened, a camp for disabled teens in 1970s New York, right down the road from Woodstock. The film follows the free spirted teens as they become activists for disability rights and incite a movement for accessibility legislation. The film won the Audience Award at Sundance Film Festival, but its release was cancelled due to COVID-19. Give it a watch, you won’t regret it.
15. Da 5 Bloods (2020)
Spike Lee’s new film probably could not have come at a better time. “Da 5 Bloods” offers a captivating story of Black history, and subsequently a different view of the Vietnam War. The cast, including Delroy Lindo (“Malcolm X”), Norm Lewis (“Just Mercy”), and Clarke Peters (“The Wire”), play veterans in their return to Vietnam in search of their fallen squad leader and buried treasure. It is equal parts touching and brutally graphic, but a staple in Lee’s catalog. You can read The Seahawk’s full review here.
16. Monster House (2006) *
Looking for a fun Halloween themed movie? Look no further than this animated comedy which follows a trio of kids as they investigate the nightmarish house in their neighborhood that is rumored to be the vacant home of a man who ate his wife. Featuring voice acting from Steve Buscemi (“Reservoir Dogs”), Mitchel Musso (“Hannah Montana”) and Maggie Gyllenhaal (“The Dark Knight”) this movie is a perfect for a spooky October movie night.
17. Django Unchained (2012) *
Django, played by Jamie Foxx (“Baby Driver”) accompanies a German bounty hunter (Christopher Waltz, “Spectre”) on a hunt for the South’s most-wanted criminals two years before the Civil War. After successful missions and gaining his freedom, Django makes it to an infamous plantation where his wife (Kerry Washington, “Little Fires Everywhere”) is still a slave. You know what you are getting into with a Tarantino movie, but it is an entertaining tale of adventure and fairytale history.
18. Dolemite Is My Name (2019)
Did you miss Eddie Murphy? The iconic comedian, whose last acting role was in 2016’s “Mr. Church,” Murphy plays real-life comedian Rudy Ray Moore, for which Murphy received a Golden Globe nomination. Murphy blends his legendary humor with the hilarious alter-ego of Moore, Dolemite. Set in the 1970s, the movie follows Moore’s creation of Dolemite to how that character went down in film history as an anti-establishment sensation.
19. Do the Right Thing (1989) *
Set in a Brooklyn neighborhood, on one of the hottest days of the summer, the film explores racial tension and conflict between its residents. Mookie (Spike Lee) works at a local pizzeria under Sal (Danny Aiello, The Godfather Part II) and his sons (John Turturro, “The Big Lebowski) (Richard Edson, “Super Mario Bros.”). Things become complicated however when Buggin’ Out (Giancarlo Esposito, “The Mandalorian”) calls Sal out for not appropriating his restaurant for Black people, who make up most of his customers. Boasting vibrant colors, stellar acting and timely themes, this is a liberating social drama that will be hard to forget.
20. The Edge of Seventeen (2016) *
“The Edge of Seventeen” put all previous teen angst movies of the 2010s to shame with teen angst expert and “Dickinson” actress Hailee Steinfeld as the outshined younger sister, Nadine. Her life is awkward, her confidant is her teacher (Woody Harrelson, “The Hunger Games”), and her best friend (Haley Lu Richardson, “The Politician”) starts dating her all-star brother (Blake Jenner, “Glee”). Watch this if you want a teen comedy that isn’t outdated or unbearably stereotypical.
21. The Florida Project (2017)
Another color-soaked and youth-obsessed movie from the A24 production company, “The Florida Project” is the story of a young girl, her friends and the naivety of childhood summers on the outskirts of Walt Disney World. Moonee and her friends experience the wonder of endless summer, oblivious to the real-world problems of the adults around her. Not only is it a visual stunner, but the movie examines innocence and the lack of it from a raw, but never demeaning, perspective.
22. The Forty-Year-Old Version (2020)
Created by Radha Blank, this autobiographical film follows Blank as herself, a playwright. She is nearly 40 and trying to retain her authenticity as an artist while also navigating the landmines of being a Black woman in New York City. She takes up hip-hop and blends her talent of storytelling with quick-witted musical rhymes. This film is all at once funny, intimate, romantic, awkward and refreshing.
23. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) *
In director John Hughes’ 1980s’ teen classic, Matthew Broderick shines as school skipper and fourth-wall breaker Ferris Bueller. After feigning being sick, Ferris skips school for the day and heads to downtown Chicagowith his friend and girlfriend. With the high school principal hot on their trail, Ferris engages in comic and spirited hijinks that bring on tremendous laughs. Culturally iconic and quotable, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” is a film you’ll fall in love with and want to watch repeatedly for years to come.
24. Fruitvale Station (2013)
Ryan Coogler, director of “Creed” and “Black Panther,” is a talented director well-accustomed to bringing Black stories to life on screen. This is his early feature film starring Michael B. Jordan as the young Afro-American Oscar Grant, taking the audience through his relationships with various friends, family and enemies in Oakland, California, where Coogler grew up. Without spoiling the ending, the climax and resolution of the film will resonate with America’s current relationship with race and racism but retain its power under Coogler’s intentional direction.
25. Gerald’s Game (2017)
There’s nothing better than a Stephen King adaptation if you’re looking for something in the horror genre to take your mind off today’s events. “Gerald’s Game” is a Netflix original and depicts the fear and survival of a woman left handcuffed to a bed after a sexual game is interrupted by her husband’s fatal heart attack. Jessie, played by Carla Gugino (“The Haunting of Hill House”), begins hearing voices and seeing figures, making her wonder if she should fear her imagination or the real things that come to haunt her in the night. It’s a movie that will sit with you for a while, the performances making it equally hard to forget.
26. Gladiator (2000) *
Director Ridley Scott delivers an enriching epic with “Gladiator.” The multiple Oscar-winning picture stars Russell Crowe as the heroic General Maximus Decimus Merideus and Joaquin Phoenix as the treacherous Emperor Commodus. After the execution of his family and being left for dead, Maximus is forced into slavery and emerges as a gladiator to reclaim freedom for his fellow slaves and vengeance for his family. This epic pairs strongly intricate production design with pulse-pounding action sequences to compliment an emotional storyline unlike anything anyone has ever seen.
27. Good Time (2017)
If you like Robert Pattinson post– “Twilight,” you should check out this movie where he plays a devoted older sibling that will do anything to get his brother out of prison after a bank robbery gone wrong. His search for a solution leads him through the depths of New York’s criminal underground in this underrated thriller.
28. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society (2018)
The title itself is intriguing enough, isn’t it? In the aftermath of World War II, London writer Juliet (Lily James, “Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again”) exchanges letters with a unique book club and eventually decides to take a break from her successful but incomplete life with her new fiancé Mark (Glen Powell, “Hidden Figures”) to travel to the small island where the book club takes place. After finding inspiration and possibly true love on the island, Juliet must pick between two stories for herself. This movie sounds predictable, and in some ways is, but it’s a good enough film with great performances (including some “Downton Abbey” alums) that make it a solid movie night choice if you’re looking for something sweet.
29. Hail, Caesar! (2016)
When a Hollywood star (George Clooney) disappears in the middle of filming, the production studio deploys their fixer, a person to clean up the messes celebrities make before the press gets to them. This film is inspired by the 1950s career of Eddie Mannix who was considered the best fixer of the classic film era, with Josh Brolin (“Avengers: Endgame”) playing Mannix. This is a perfect comedy and with an all-star cast, so don’t pass it over.
30. The Holiday (2006) *
For those in search of the slice-of-life in movies, “The Holiday” offers that and charismatic characters. The romantic comedy follows Iris (Kate Winslet) and Amanda (Cameron Diaz), two women from opposite continents, as they exchange homes with one another as escape from the aftermath of their own heartbreaks. During the exchange, they each become smitten by the native men (Jack Black and Jude Law) of their new homes. What ensues is a heart-warming romantic comedy that is reinforced by strong chemistry between co-stars and the wholesome Christmas setting. Even if you do not watch it now, it is a great film for getting into the holiday spirit.
31. Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)
Before Taika Waititi directed “Jojo Rabbit” and “Thor: Ragnarok,” he directed this film about young boy Ricky learning to survive in the New Zealand wilderness after he runs away to avert child services. His foster uncle Hec goes after him, and the two are stuck relying on each other until the national manhunt for Ricky finds him. This film is sweet and funny, often in the same scenes, and ultimately a great watch.
32. I Am Not Your Negro (2016)
Based on the unfinished James Baldwin novel, this documentary is a look at Black life in America. Considering the recent upheavals over this country’s continued racism, this is a particularly poignant watch that everyone should see.
33. I’m Thinking of Ending Things (2020)
From the writer of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” comes this thriller that methodically unravels like snow falling until it buries you under its weight. Starring Jessie Buckley (“Chernobyl,” “Judy”) stars as a girlfriend on the edge of breaking up with her boyfriend, Jesse Plemons (“The Irishman”) driving through the middle-of-nowhere snow to meet his family. What unfolds is a psychological turnover that will make you dread something without knowing what that something is. You can read The Seahawk’s full review here.
34. Inception (2010) *
Aside from “Memento” and “The Dark Knight Trilogy,” “Inception” is a film that set the template for the mixture of action and complex themes that viewers can expect from a Christopher Nolan film. Nolan expertly blends the heist genre’s dramatic thrills with a compound theme of dreams. Leonardo Dicaprio stars as dream thief Dominic Cobb who is offered the biggest heist of his career: to implant an idea in a businessman’s (Cillian Murphy, “Peaky Blinders”) mind. If Cobb successfully completes the job, his criminal record will be erased, and he can reunite with his family. This sci-fi action film presents an intriguing premise and high-octane action sequences alongside an ensemble cast featuring Joseph Gordon-Levitt (“Looper,” “50/50”), Elliot Page (“The Umbrella Academy”) and Tom Hardy (“Mad Max Fury Road”).
35. The Irishman (2019)
If you have not seen this film by now, you’re probably not a huge fan of Martin Scorsese or you have been avoiding this film’s almost 4-hour runtime. If you’re in the latter category, let me assure you that runtime is well earned and worth it. Starring Scorsese favorites, Robert De Niro plays Frank Sheeran who becomes a part of the Bufalino crime family led by Bill Bufalino, played by Joe Pesci in 1950s Pennsylvania. Frank also becomes the right-hand man to Jimmy Hoffa, the notorious union leader with ties to the family. Scorsese tells this story with more patience and attention to character than some of his earlier films, but it nonetheless delivers his brand of crime drama.
36. Pineapple Express (2008) *
Perfect for fans of “Superbad” and other early 2000s Judd Apatow movies, this stoner classic buddy comedy stars Seth Rogen (“Superbad”) and James Franco (“The Disaster Artist”) as a drug dealer and process server on the run from a drug lord attempting to prevent them from sharing evidence on a murder Dale Denton (Rogen) witnessed.
37. The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017) *
Orphan teen Martin (Barry Keoghan, “Dunkirk”) latches on to the family of his dead mother’s heart surgeon, causing the pristine family to contract a mysterious illness where they can’t move their legs or eat. Martin tells the family this is a punishment and a debt must be paid. Starring Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman, this film is an unsettling thriller about sins and how they can be remedied.
38. Lady Bird (2017)
Before she played the beloved Jo in “Little Women,” Saoirse Ronan played Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson. Christine, preferred name Lady Bird, is bored of high school, small towns, and her mother, played by Laurie Metcalf. Along with the other Greta Gerwig star protégé Timothée Chalamet as the bad boy Kyle, Ronan expertly expresses the confinement one feels on the precipice of adulthood but stunted by school, motherly constraint and societal expectations. Also don’t miss the “Booksmart” Beanie Feldstein shining in a supporting role. You must add this to your watchlist.
39. Loving (2016)
Loving is the real last name of Richard and Mildred, an interracial couple concealing their relationship from the Virginia authorities in the midst of 1958 anti-miscegenation laws. After being found and arrested by the police, the couple and their baby are banished from Virginia for 25 years, which they violate to see their family. After being caught again, their case goes all the way to the Supreme Court. Based on a true story, this film is both heartwarming and heartbreaking, but a good watch.
40. Magnolia (1999) *
“Magnolia” may be director Paul Thomas Anderson’s most emotional and complex film of his career. Set in San Fernando Valley, the film has a sprawling storyline featuring an ensemble cast of characters. Notable stars include Phillip Seymour Hoffman (“The Master”), Alfred Molina (“Spider-Man 2”), Julianne Moore (“The Big Lebowski”), and Tom Cruise. This contemplative work reflects on themes of forgiveness, love and personal happiness. Even with the three-hour runtime, this one’s worth the watch.
41. Malcom X (1992) *
Spike Lee continues his line of socially conscious films in the powerful biopic “Malcolm X.” Denzel Washington gives it his all in his Oscar-nominated performance of the titular real-life figure. Washington portrays the leader with a commanding presence in a film spanning years from his youth up to the last moments leading to his death. The pairing of Lee’s intricately stylized direction and Washington’s captivating performance creates an unforgettable biopic that represents and pays tribute to Malcolm X’s life and beliefs.
42. Mank (2020)
Ever heard of “Citizen Kane”? The title character of this film, Herman Mankiewcz, helped produce and write the screenplay, and this film pays homage in true black and white fashion by detailing the backlot behind the iconic film. Starring Gary Oldman (“The Laundromat”), Amanda Seyfried (“Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again”) and Lilly Collins (“Emily in Paris”), this film will transport you to the world of Old Hollywood. While obviously aimed at cinephiles, this film can be a good watch for all because of its nostalgic cinematography and transformative performances. You can read The Seahawk’s full review here.
43. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020)
Chadwick Boseman’s last film also stars Viola Davis in August Wilson’s stage play adapted for the screen. Taking place over the course of an afternoon, the blues singer Ma Rainey is late for a rehearsal while the rest of her band waits, telling stories and uncovering truths about each other they never thought to inquire about. When Rainey arrives, it awakens a dispute between the band’s white managers and the Boseman’s ambitious horn player. This is a great film to watch for the performances and also the commendable adaptation from stage to screen.
44. Marriage Story (2019)
We all know “Marriage Story” from that meme of Scarlett Johansson (“Avengers: Endgame”) and Adam Driver (Star Wars: The Force Awakens”) yelling at each other, and while they were sort of picked on for their dramatics, this movie offers beautiful performances from both. It is a simplistic story, but personal and interesting in the way that every couple’s relationship is unique. This movie examines the reality of divorce and the beauty of a relationship in all its stages. You can read The Seahawk’s full review here.
45. The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (2017)
Ever the devotee of family conflict, Noah Baumbach directs a story of the Meyerowitz family gathering to celebrate their father’s lifetime achievements as an art professor and sculptor. Along with Adam Sandler, this film has a lot of talent including Dustin Hoffman (“Spielberg”), Ben Stiller (“Zoolander”), Emma Thompson (“Last Christmas”), and Adam Driver (“Marriage Story”). It is a film concerned with the small moments and how they come together to create a meaningful whole.
46. Million Dollar Baby (2004) *
The Clint Eastwood-directed sports drama is the heart-wrenching tale of a woman eager to break gender barriers and enter the world of boxing. A waitress named Maggie (Hilary Swank, “Freedom Writers”) shows up to a boxing gym in Los Angeles and begins training under fight trainer Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood), as well as receiving guidance from Dunn’s friend Scrap (Morgan Freeman). The film packs an emotional punch from the dynamic range of performances from the main leads and its motivational spirit.
47. Monty Python and The Holy Grail (1975)
The Monty Python comedy group is responsible for movie spoofs on stories ranging from the meaning of life and Jesus. With one of their best movies, the comedy group parodies the legend of Arthur and his quest for the Holy Grail. This a movie for someone who wants something different than the usual comedies on Netflix (or has watched them all).
48. Mudbound (2017)
If you like period dramas, or even if you don’t, this movie is for you. Nominated for four Oscars, “Mudbound” is the story of two families, one Black and one white, that are sharecroppers on the same land in post-World War II Mississippi. It is a story about trauma and injustice caused by unmoving social hierarchies and generations of prejudice. This is all told by a remarkable cast including “The Great Gatsby” alums Carey Mulligan and Jason Clarke, along with Jason Mitchell (“Straight Outta Compton”) and Grammy-winning artist Mary J. Blige.
49. My Fair Lady (1964)
This stage-to-screen adaptation stars Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle, a cockney working-class woman recruited by professor Henry Higgens, played by Rex Harrison, so he can teach her how to speak and act like a proper lady. Higgens’ bet turns into a romance the more time he spends with Eliza, but their separate classes and backgrounds cause them to clash. If you’re in the mood for a classic, this one full of song and romance is a great pick.
50. My Octopus Teacher (2020)
Winner of this years’ Best Documentary prize at the Oscars, “My Octopus Teacher” is the story of Craig Foster and his development of a relationship with a wild octopus. Foster has spent years swimming and studying in the oceans of Africa, but when he meets this curious octopus, he devotes his time to studying her, building a bond unlikely in the wild.
51. No Direction Home: Bob Dylan (2005)
Martin Scorsese is known for his mafia dramas, but he also directed one of the greatest documentaries of all time with this chronicle of the iconic musician Bob Dylan. This film is not just for fans of Dylan or music lovers; it’s for everyone that wants to learn a little more about American music. Scorsese captures Dylan’s life in concert footage, interviews and conversations with Dylan’s closest confidants.
52. Okja (2017)
2019’s Oscar-winning director Bong Joon-ho‘s 2017 film “Okja” is the story of South Korean girl Mija and her best friend, a genetically modified super-pig. Then the animal is kidnapped by a multinational corporation from New York intent on breeding the animal to make more super-pigs. Like all Joon-ho’s films, “Okja” offers social commentary through satirical tales and genre-blending, making this one brutal yet incredibly sentimental watch.
53. Once Upon A Time In America (1984) *
Robert De Niro and James Wood headline this epic crime drama directed by Italian filmmaker Sergio Leone. Two men who’ve known each other since they were boys and bonded with one another involve themselves in the criminal lifestyle and rise as Jewish gangsters in New York City. The film is a tragic look at how friendship and other relationships are deeply affected by involvement with organized crime; as well as how organized crime’s supposed perks are countered by regrettable acts or decisions. As a gangster film that flies under the radar due to De Niro’s work with Scorsese and “The Godfather Part II.” This film is poetic in its storytelling and an unforgettable watch.
54. The Piano (1993) *
Director Jane Campion’s Oscar-winning period drama stars Holly Hunter (“The Incredibles”), Harvey Keitel (“Pulp Fiction”), and Sam Neil (“Jurassic Park”). Ada McGrath is an electively mute woman who is sent to New Zealand, along with her young daughter and their prized piano, for an arranged marriage to a wealthy frontiersman. However, she then falls for Baines, the friend and worker of the frontiersman. The spirituality and eroticism of this film makes it an emotionally moving and detailed watch.
55. Pieces of a Woman (2020)
Really, only the first 30 minutes of this film belong on this list, but the entire movie is watchable due to Vanessa Kirby’s (“The Crown”) committed performance. The film starts with a one-shot scene of Martha’s (Kirby) home birth, with her husband (Shia LaBeouf) and midwife by her side. Then tragedy strikes and Martha must spend months trying to find ways to continue with life, including ridding herself of things and people that do not serve her anymore. There are simply not enough stories broaching this subject and centering women’s stories, so for that, this film appears here.
56. Roma (2018)
Winning Best International Feature Film, Best Cinematography and Best Director at the 2019 Oscars, Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” is a black and white look into Cleo, a domestic worker for a family in 1970s Mexico City. After her employer’s husband runs away with his mistress and Cleo finds out she is pregnant, the two women take their children on a much-needed vacation together. The film is intimate, meditative and beautifully shot.
57. School of Rock (2003) *
In this modern comedy classic, Jack Black stars as Dewey Finn, a rock band guitarist whose overzealousness gets him kicked out of the band. Late on the rent money he owes to a couple he lives with, Dewey takes on a substitute teacher position to a prep school’s 4th grade music class and readies them for The Battle of The Bands. The only catch is that the teaching position is meant for his friend, whom he’s impersonating. This comedy brings the best out of Jack Black in what might be the most unforgettable role of his career.
58. She’s Gotta Have It (1986)
One of Spike Lee’s earlier films, this film follows independent Nola as told through the eyes of her three lovers, each of them pining for her to commit to them individually. Lee shows the importance of a Black woman’s independence and unconventional relationship with sexuality that was provocative for its time. Nonetheless, he provides an interesting commentary on the way society perpetuates gender norms and monogamy.
59. Shutter Island (2010)
Another Martin Scorsese-Leonardo DiCaprio team-up, “Shutter Island” is a mystery/thriller with a 50s aesthetic set in an island mental hospital. Exciting stuff. DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo play U.S. marshals tasked with investigating a recent patient escape. As they interview patients and workers, both men are plagued by bad memories and paranoia, thinking the staff lured them to the island, which is eventually cut off from the mainland by a storm, to trap them there or kill them. As always, Scorsese and DiCaprio will not let you down with this movie night pick.
60. Silver Linings Playbook (2012) *
David O. Russell’s dramatic comedy is one of the most memorable films of 2012. Pat Solitano Jr. (Bradley Cooper) is a former teacher with bipolar disorder recently released from a psychiatric institution after being separated from his wife. Pat connects with widow Tiffany Maxwell (Jennifer Lawrence), who decides to help him rekindle his marriage if he joins her for a dance competition. This equally explosive and romantic drama is defined by its impressive cast that includes Robert De Niro, Chris Tucker (“Rush Hour”) and Jacki Weaver (“Animal Kingdom” (2012)). This film is not only an exploration of mental recovery, but a commentary on the importance of friendship and companionship.
61. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006) *
The movie that produced many memorable quotes about life in the South, this NASCAR centric sports comedy stars Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly and Sacha Beron Cohen as team of race car drivers vying for first place on the track. This movie follows Ricky Bobby (Ferrell) as he falls from grace and attempts to reconcile with his distant father to regain his once prominent role as a respected father, husband and driver.
62. Step Brothers (2008) *
Director Adam McKay (“Talladega Nights,” “HBO’s “Succession”) reteams with Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly for a story of two adult men who are forced to live together after their single parents marry each other. As the feud between the stepbrothers threatens their parents’ relationship, the two men are given a month to find a job or be kicked out of the house. What ensues is a collection of immature antics and extensive humor that adults will come to love or hate from this wild classic.
63. Suffragette (2015)
Based on true events surrounding the women of the early British feminist and suffrage movement, this film depicts the events of women’s history that often get pushed aside in school teachings. It is a movie about powerful and courageous women being played by very talented actresses, including Meryl Streep, Helena Bonham Carter and Carey Mulligan.
64. Titanic (1997) *
James Cameron’s multi-billion-dollar-making film is a visually stunning love story that everyone should watch. Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet portray an unbreakable bond as lovers from two social classes who are aboard the Titanic when it crashes in 1912. The film can be defined as a tragedy due to the ill fate of the vessel and the loss of life that came with it. The two leads give electrifying performances that become more cherished in time given the friendship the two stars share in real-life. Even after years of parody and later having its box office record broken by Cameron’s “Avatar” (2009), this film remains an iconic and emotional viewing experience.
65. There Will Be Blood (2007)
A California oilman, Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis), will do anything to keep his business afloat, taking advantage of anyone and everyone, including his adopted son and business partner, whose father died on one of his oil rigs. Daniel buys preacher Eli Sunday’s (Paul Dano, “Okja”) farm because Eli wants to use the money to build a church, but the two men’s clashing desires are the conflict of this film about family, greed, religion and revenge.
66. Tigertail (2020)
After emigrating from Taiwan to the United States, factory worker Grover reflects on his life in Taiwan involving young love and the generations of the family he has produced in America. Looking back on his life, he focuses on regrets and the disconnection he feels with his current circumstances. This film is emotional and pensive, a character examination more than a movie hinged on its plot.
67. Total Recall (1990)
An Arnold Schwarzenegger classic, “Total Recall” is about a man, haunted by a recurring dream about Mars, that decides to book a stay at a virtual reality clinic. They implant a memory chip into his brain, but something goes wrong and instead of subscribing to a new reality, he remembers his old one where he was a secret agent fighting against a takeover from Mars. What follows is an action-packed attempt to save his memory and the world.
68. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)
From the director of “The Social Network,” Aaron Sorkin, comes a film about a trial from decades ago but feels like it’s happening right now. It kind of is. This movie packs it in from start to finish, including in the male star department with Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen, Yahya Abdul- Mateen II, John Carrol Lynch and Jeremy Strong as anti-Vietnam protesters from a myriad of different progressive organizations. Sorkin makes a great attempt at giving a full view of the trial while also humanizing its participants, even if he doesn’t nail them down completely. It’s a timely and entertaining watch. You can read The Seahawk’s full review here.
69. The Two Popes (2019)
A film about two old white Christian guys having a long conversation does not sound like an exciting movie. To be fair, when you watch this film, it won’t be full of twists and turns. However, it is the dedication of the two lead actors that will keep you engaged with this film. Set in 2012, Anthony Hopkins (“Silence of the Lambs”) plays Pope Benedict as he requests permission to retire after facing scandal and self-doubt. He chooses the eventual Pope Francis, played by Jonathon Pryce (“Pirates of the Caribbean”), as his replacement, even though they have completely different philosophies on how to run the Church. What unfolds is an intriguing story of unlikely friendship and positive debate on religion in modern times.
70. Uncut Gems (2019)
Everyone was excited to learn one of Adam Sandler’s best performances was coming to Netflix. Unfortunately snubbed at the Oscars, this movie shows off Sandler’s chops in a drama role to the praise of many audiences. He plays a New York jeweler and that makes high-stakes bets to keep his business and life afloat. You should see for yourself what all the praise is about. You can read The Seahawk’s full review here.
71. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
This is one of Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio’s first movies, and it proved their acting talent immediately. Depp plays the title character, a small-town young man caring for his obese mother and mentally disabled younger brother, played by DiCaprio. Along with those responsibilities and an affair with a local woman, Gilbert is trying to navigate a life he can call his own without abandoning his family.
72. The White Tiger (2021)
Priyanka Chopra Jonas produces and stars in this tale based on a novel of the same name. Balram (Adarsh Gourav) is a resourceful yet poor entrepreneur in India that scores a job as a driver for two rich travelers on their return from America. He works hard for them, but it takes one night to learn how the class system and betrayals of the upper class will never allow him to succeed—so he vows to become a master of the system himself.
73. Wind River (2017) *
For anyone who’s never seen Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen in a non-Marvel production, “Wind River” is a neo-Western thriller that brings out some of the best performances in the two stars’ careers. After discovering the body of a young Indian Woman on the Wind River Indian Reservation, seasoned game tracker Cory Lambert (Renner) teams up with F.B.I. agent Jane Banner (Olsen) to find the culprits involved in her murder. Upon investigation, the duo unearths dark secrets and unpredictable circumstances that led to her demise. Directed by Taylor Sheridan (“Sicario,” “Hell or High Water”), this tense thriller acknowledges the high number of indigenous women who are raped and murdered both inside and outside of their reservations.
74. Zodiac (2007) *
David Fincher demonstrates his mastery of investigative subject matter and eye for enthralling talent in this bone-chilling slow-burn thriller. Based on the real-life Zodiac killings that shook America between the 1960s and 1980s, Fincher draws focus on the investigation from the perspective of a cartoonist (Jake Gyllenhaal, “Spider-Man: Far From Home”), an alcoholic reporter (Robert Downey Jr., “Avengers: Endgame”) and a police detective (Mark Ruffalo, “Thor: Ragnarok”). Fincher advances the story of the case by showing how the three men develop an obsessive nature over it. Viewers will also be shaken by Fincher’s reenactment of the murder scenes as they add an eerier layer to the real-life events. For those who can set aside the time, “Zodiac” is an introspective watch that will force viewers to adopt an investigative mindset over the killer who remains uncaptured as of today.
75. The Zookeeper’s Wife (2017)
Based on the non-fiction book about Polish zookeeper Antonina Żabińska, this film follows Jessica Chastain (“It Chapter Two) as Antonina, a Warsaw zookeeper along with her husband and son when World War II breaks out in Europe. Their zoo is destroyed and consolidated by the German invasion, causing many animals to perish or be set free. With their extra space, the two hide and evacuate hundreds of people fleeing the Nazis, all under the nose of German occupation and surveillance.