Long before Netflix began producing its own original content, the company began as an alternative to video rental stores like Blockbuster for people who wanted to watch movies. In the past two decades, much has changed: Blockbuster has all but vanished, and streaming has become the dominant medium. The company once best known for sending red envelopes containing DVDs is now primarily utilized as an online streaming service that has changed the way people access entertainment.
Unlike Blockbuster, which emphasized volume and selection, Netflix has been turning to original content. Indeed, Netflix’s overall selection has declined sharply just as its exclusive, in-house content has expanded. Despite the decrease in movie options, Netflix still boasts an impressive collection of films in its library.
PrettyFamous — an entertainment research site from Graphiq — sorted through the thousands of titles and ranked the 50 best movies available on Netflix. The team used six data points to assign each film a Smart Rating on a scale of 0 to 100.
1. Rotten Tomatoes' Critic Tomatometer
2. Rotten Tomatoes' Audience Score
3. Metacritic's Metascore
4. IMDb Rating
5. Gracenote's movie rating
6. U.S. box office performance (inflation-adjusted)
The list skews strongly toward recent films, as 17 of the 50 were made since 2010. This likely has to do with both Netflix and the online rating sources. Netflix is incentivized to license more recent, popular movies, and sites like Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes have more comprehensive ratings for films released after the turn of the millennium. The '90s is the next most-represented decade, with 11 movies making the cut. Three '90s films appear in the top eight, while the other five were all made in 1985 or earlier.
Our top 50 includes a plethora of genres, with dramas, comedies, adventures and documentaries all represented. We'll start at No. 50 and work our way up to the best film available on Netflix.