The Best Movies on Netflix Canada, According to Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes—the popular site that aggregates reviews from critics and creates a score that's "fresh" or "rotten"—has put together a list of the top movies ever based on adjusted score and number of reviews. From crime classics to Oscar-winning dramas, here are the best movies on Netflix Canada.
Photo: Warner Bros.
20. Heat (1995)
Number of reviews: 85
The iconic firefight in downtown L.A. may be Heat’s most celebrated element, but this ‘90s classic astonishes first and foremost as a piece of highly sophisticated modern noir. Despite standing on opposite sides of the law, Robbery-Homicide Detective Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) and professional thief Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) are essentially the same person: obsessive, hyper intelligent lost souls who know deep down that their lines of work will only destroy the ones they love. Meanwhile, the film’s main subplot—a hardened parolee (24’s Dennis Haysbert) trying to make a fresh start—adds real heart to the wreckage. More than 25 years after its release, every big screen cops-and-robbers tale is still made in Heat’s shadow.
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Photo: Sony Pictures Releasing
19. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
Number of reviews: 159
One of Asian cinema’s most indelible achievements, this Oscar-winning, box office smash is set in 19th-century China and follows Li Mu Bai (Chow Yun-fat) and Yu Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh), two warriors who are hot on the trail of the Green Destiny, a legendary sword stolen by the rebellious Jen (Zhang Ziyi). Almost every martial arts film made in the last 20 years owes a debt to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’s brilliant writing, design and choreography, but none have matched its scope and ambition.
Photo: Focus Features
18. Lost in Translation (2003)
Number of reviews: 232
Sofia Coppola’s wistful story of two lonely souls—washed-up movie star Bob (Bill Murray) and young newlywed Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson)—who meet and connect in Tokyo is a modern romantic classic. Fans of the film remember its ending—a momentous, and famously ambiguous, scene set to “Just Like Honey” by The Jesus and Mary Chain—and its colourful Tokyo sights, but Lost in Translation is first and foremost a film about small, quiet moments: drinks at the bar, watching TV late at night, inside jokes and solo day trips. Is there a more perfect film for our pandemic age than this one?
17. The Social Network (2010)
Number of reviews: 329
Before he was the CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg was just a Harvard student hellbent on showing off his intellectual superiority. Through a series of depositions, confrontations, failed dates and backroom deals, The Social Network explores the creation of the most revolutionary platform of the 21st century. Incisively written and directed, and led by breakthrough performances from Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield, this thought-provoking, often nasty biopic takes a long, hard look at the way we now connect with—and alienate—one another.
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16. Hell or High Water (2016)
Number of reviews: 284
In order to stop their family’s West Texas ranch from being foreclosed, two brothers (Chris Pine and Ben Foster) begin robbing small banks to pay off their mortgage. Meanwhile, clever Texas Ranger Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) is hot on the brothers’ tail and vows to ambush them at the scene of their next crime. A sleeper hit, Hell or High Water was nominated for four Academy Awards in 2017, including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor for Bridges.
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15. Baby Driver (2017)
Number of reviews: 395
When Baby (Ansel Elgort) puts in his earbuds and presses play, he’s the best getaway driver in the game. Baby works for Doc (Kevin Spacey), a criminal mastermind who assembles new crews for every armed robbery he plans, Baby being the only constant. When Baby repays his debt to Doc, he decides to quit his life of crime and devote himself to his love, Debora (Lily James)—but Baby’s criminal past threatens to destroy his future in unexpected ways. If you want non-stop action, a bangin’ soundtrack, and a good amount of soul, Baby Driver should be at the top of your Netflix Canada viewing list.
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14. The Hurt Locker (2009)
Number of reviews: 289
“The rush of a battle is often a potent and lethal addiction, for war is a drug,” says the title card before Kathryn Bigelow’s gritty film about an Iraq War Explosive Ordnance Team. The Hurt Locker’s narrative structure—it consists mostly of vignettes, and there are virtually no character arcs—remains potent. By depicting the same situations over and over again, The Hurt Locker achieves an unbearable sense of tension for much of its running time.
Photo: Warner Bros.
13. L.A. Confidential (1997)
Number of reviews: 161
One of the most indelible achievements in recent Hollywood history, L.A. Confidential is set in the 1950s and follows three wildly different cops—a by-the-book sergeant (Guy Pearce), a jaded vice detective (Kevin Spacey) and a corrupt plainclothes officer (Russell Crowe)—as they discover that a recent high-profile, seemingly open-and-shut case isn’t what it seems. Renowned for its intricate plot, exhilarating performances and depiction of Hollywood’s dark underbelly, L.A. Confidential received nine Academy Award nominations and won two, for Best Supporting Actress (Kim Basinger) and Best Adapted Screenplay. (It lost the rest to Titanic.)
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12. La La Land (2016)
Number of reviews: 466
The Oscar-winning La La Land charts the romance of aspiring actress Mia (Emma Stone) and devoted jazz pianist Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) from first meeting to break-up in the City of Dreams, delivering a bevy of tunes along the way. An unapologetic homage to the classic movie musicals of the 1950s and ’60s, La La Land features sensuous throwbacks to Singin’ in the Rain, The Band Wagon, West Side Story and The Young Girls of Rochefort.
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11. Leave No Trace (2018)
Number of reviews: 241
Leave No Trace, the second-most reviewed film to receive a 100 per cent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, tells the story of Will, an Iraqi War veteran suffering from PTSD (Ben Foster) who lives in a public park in Portland, Oregon, with his 13-year-old daughter Tom (Thomasin McKenzie). One day, they’re spotted, arrested and given food and a home by social services. Faced with this opportunity for a fresh start, Will struggles to overcome his demons and adjust to regular life, while his daughter feels her father is holding back her true potential.
Photo: Sony Pictures Releasing
10. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)
Number of reviews: 571
The year 1969 has come to be viewed by many as the end of the hippie movement. Abroad, U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War worsened, while the Tate-LaBianca murders at the hands of the Manson Family in August, along with the disastrous Altamont Free Concert in December, unleashed a long shadow stateside. But it wasn’t just America’s idealistic youth that felt their days were numbered. In Quentin Tarantino’s ramshackle Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, has-been actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and never-was stuntman Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt, who won an Academy Award for his role) feel increasingly useless in a system that no longer needs them. If that all sounds like heavy material, rest assured: Hollywood, which often blurs the line between reality and fantasy, is a wonderfully weird—and wild—tribute to a bygone era.
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9. Gravity (2013)
Number of reviews: 356
Immediately hailed as a modern classic and nominated for 10 Oscars, Gravity rewrites the rules of the sci-fi thriller and adds new ones too. After a routine spacewalk goes catastrophically wrong, two astronauts—the brilliant but inexperienced Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and the mission’s commander (George Clooney)—find themselves floating in outer space with nothing but each other. Visually dazzling and narratively taut, Gravity is a pulse-pounding survival story for the ages.
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8. Marriage Story (2019)
Number of reviews: 392
Boasting two career-defining performances and a brilliant script, writer-director Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story is a searing portrayal of divorce and fleeting love. Charlie (Adam Driver), a successful theatre director, and Nicole (Scarlett Johansson), a veteran actress, have been seeing a mediator to work through their marital issues. But one day, Nicole serves him divorce papers, setting the table for a painful custody battle for their son.
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Photo: United Artists Releasing
7. Booksmart (2019)
Number of reviews: 377
Is it possible to cram four years of debauchery into one night? That’s what the heroes of Booksmart—BFFs Molly Davidson (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy Antsler (Kaitlyn Dever)—aim to find out. On the final day of high school, the two straight-A seniors realize they should have had more fun, and plan to go to a graduation party to pursue their respective crushes. Throw in a few colourful characters, a murder mystery party theme, and one especially bad drug trip, and you’ve got one of the funniest—and most heartfelt—teen comedies in recent memory.
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6. Roma (2018)
Number of reviews: 404
Directed by Oscar-winner Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity) and set in the Colonia Roma neighbourhood of Mexico City in 1971, this semi-autobiographical film follows Indigenous live-in maid Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio, in her screen debut) and the wealthy household she cares for: Sofia, doctor husband Antonio, and their four young children. Soon, Cleo’s turbulent personal life begins to mirror the disintegrating marriage of her employers, while political tensions in Mexico boil over into full-blown violence. Photographed in stunning black-and-white, Roma is personal storytelling on the grandest scale imaginable.
5. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
Number of reviews: 392
After being bitten by a radioactive spider, Brooklyn teen Miles Morales gains superpowers similar to Spider-Man. But when Spider-Man is suddenly killed, Miles discovers that there are many high-flying superheroes from other dimensions just like him. Using his newfound capabilities, Miles must wage battle against Kingpin, a powerful crime lord who can open portals to other universes—and who was responsible for killing the original Spider-Man.
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4. The Graduate (1967)
Number of reviews: 83
Who would have thought a modest comedy-drama about a college grad’s affair with an older woman—and his subsequent infatuation with her daughter—would change movies forever? After all, The Graduate grossed almost $105 million in the U.S. ($859 million in today’s terms), launched Dustin Hoffman’s career and finally convinced American studio heads to tell more offbeat, youth-oriented stories on-screen. More than 50 years after its release, its wry observations on twentysomething malaise and the generation gap still ring true. (And we still picture the dazzling Anne Bancroft when listening to Simon & Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson” too.)
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3. The Irishman (2019)
Number of reviews: 455
As the director of Goodfellas, Casino and The Wolf of Wall Street, Martin Scorsese has often been accused of glorifying the lives of immoral men. With that in mind, The Irishman feels like a retort. Not one second of this 209-minute opus, which charts the life of Pennsylvania hit man Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) and his relationships with mob boss Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci) and Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino), could be mistaken for glamorous. After all, where’s the allure in killing your best friend, losing the love and trust of your family, and seeing history move on without you? The Irishman is both a moving portrait of a deeply flawed man and a fitting coda to the mob movie genre.
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Photo: Universal Pictures
2. Us (2019)
Number of reviews: 553
While on a beach vacation in Santa Cruz, California, Adelaide Wilson (Lupita Nyong’o) and her family are alarmed when four mysterious figures show up on their driveway. Soon, the Wilsons discover that the unwanted guests are actually their doppelgängers—and that these terrifying “others” want to take their place by any means necessary. Written and directed by Jordan Peele (Get Out), Us is a wildly imaginative mash-up of atmospheric horror and social commentary.
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1. Parasite (2019)
Number of reviews: 463
The success of Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite—it grossed over $250 million worldwide and became the first non-English language film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture—was a watershed moment for world cinema. Fortunately, it couldn’t have happened to a more timely movie. Bong’s razor-sharp critique of inequality in South Korea, in which the impoverished Kim family devise a series of schemes in order to work for the wealthy Park family, is fiendishly entertaining and wildly unpredictable. Parasite‘s greatest strength? It doesn’t place either family on a moral pedestal.
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