Watching: 50 Great Movies on Netflix

Also, 50 great TV shows.

By The Watching Team

Are you looking for a holiday weekend movie or TV binge? Regardless of what streaming service you subscribe to, we’re here for you. We’ve gone through Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and Disney Plus to find the best movies and TV shows on each service.


Here’s one of the 50 best movies on Netflix.

Michael Cera and Mary Elizabeth Winstead in “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.”Kerry Hayes/Universal Pictures

‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the World’

Edgar Wright helms this unique action/comedy with a zippy graphic-novel aesthetic. Though it’s based on a comic book series and filled with video game-inspired sequences, viewers need not be familiar with either; Wright merely borrows the high-energy visual language of those genres to tell his sweet story more exuberantly and playfully. “Pilgrim” snaps and crackles, veering from one disarming set piece to the next with verve and vitality; A.O. Scott praised its “speedy, funny, happy-sad spirit.” And it’s a “before they were stars” extravaganza, presciently filled with talented young actors (Brie Larson, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, Mae Whitman, Alison Pill, and many more) who were just about to pop.


Want a more immersive experience? Here’s the best TV on Netflix.

A scene from “Fauda.”Yes, via Netflix


This intense thriller was co-created by its lead actor, Lior Raz, who plays an IDF agent drawn out of retirement by the prospect of taking down a terrorist he thought he’d already killed. That one mission leads to unexpected complications and further side operations, some of them involving the hero’s going undercover with his adversaries. The matter-of-fact scenarios in “Fauda” are an attempt to reflect the tricky politics and daily sacrifices of crimefighting in Israel. Our critic wrote that its story “spirals out in increasingly messy strands of betrayal and violence.”


Have a Hulu subscription? It’s a lot to wade through. We can help!

A scene from “Chicken Run.”DreamWorks Pictures

‘Chicken Run’

Aardman Animations, the British stop-motion studio behind the Oscar-winning Wallace and Gromit shorts, made its feature debut with this delightful cross between barnyard farce and prison escape caper, in which a headstrong hen enlists a cocky circus rooster to help her and her friends flee their henhouse before the evil farmer turns them into pies. The animation is, per the company’s standard, breathtakingly meticulous. But parents will enjoy this one as much as their kids do, as the directors Nick Park and Peter Lord inject copious doses of droll British wit and winking nods to classic adventure movies. Our critic called it “immensely satisfying, a divinely relaxed and confident film.”

Amazon Prime doesn’t make it easy to find stuff. Luckily, we have done the work for you.

A scene from “Murder on the Orient Express.”Paramount Pictures

‘Murder on the Orient Express’

When people say, “They don’t make’ em like they used to,” Sidney Lumet’s Oscar winner is the kind of movie they’re usually talking about: a sparkling literary adaptation, handsomely mounted and elegantly acted by an all-star cast (including Sean Connery, Lauren Bacall, John Gielgud, Anthony Perkins, Vanessa Redgrave and Ingrid Bergman, who won an Oscar for her role). Albert Finney stars as Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot, who is called upon to figure out which passenger on the title train killed a man whom, it seems, they all had a motive to murder.

Disney Plus is full of animated classics. There are also great, newer movies, like this one.

Madina Nalwanga and Lupita Nyong’o in “Queen of Katwe.”Edward Echwalu/Disney

‘Queen of Katwe’

Disney live-action films don’t exactly have a tradition of gritty realism, but with “Queen of Katwe,” the director Mira Nair scrapes some of the gloss off the rousing true story of a Ugandan girl whose prodigious gifts as a chess player allow her to see the world beyond a Kampala slum. By taking the time to detail the day-to-day struggles of a desperately poor family, Nair adds power to the girl’s efforts to maneuver around the board. If “Hoosiers” made you cry, predicted A.O. Scott, “‘Queen of Katwe’ will wreck you.”

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