What are the best movies to watch on Netflix in India? Well, Netflix can boast of the fact that it offers more “good” choices than its two big competitors, Disney+ Hotstar and Amazon Prime Video. Below is the longest list we’ve ever made. It also affords more variety, with films from the US, the UK, India, Japan, Brazil, France, Germany, Ghana, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Lebanon, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Spain, and Uruguay. And not only does Netflix make more original films (than Disney+ Hotstar), which consist of award-winning works from Alfonso Cuarón and Martin Scorsese, but they are also more easily and widely available (than Prime Video). Netflix is pouring money into Indian films too, with the likes of Shah Rukh Khan and Karan Johar producing them, though quality is an issue there.
To pick the best movies on Netflix, we relied on Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic, and IMDb ratings to create a shortlist. The last of these was preferred for Indian films given the shortfalls of reviews aggregators in that department. Additionally, we used our own editorial judgement to add or remove a few. This list will be updated once every few months if there are any worthy additions or if some movies are removed from the service, so bookmark this page and keep checking in. Here are the best films currently available on Netflix in India, sorted alphabetically.
12 Years A Slave (2013)
Duped into slavery on the account of a job, Steve McQueen’s adaptation of a free New York black man’s (Chiwetel Ejiofor) 19th-century memoir is an incredible true story, and an important watch.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
In Stanley Kubrick’s highly-influential sci-fi film, humanity charts a course for Jupiter with the sentient computer HAL 9000, to understand the discovery of a black monolith affecting human evolution. It’s less plot, and more a visual and aural experience.
3 Idiots (2009)
In this satire of the Indian education system’s social pressures, two friends recount their college days and how their third long-lost musketeer (Aamir Khan) inspired them to think creatively and independently in a heavily-conformist world. Co-written and directed by Rajkumar Hirani, who stands accused in the #MeToo movement.
Inspired by a true story, a 27-year-old radio journalist (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is diagnosed with spinal cancer and learns the value of friendship and love as he battles the rare disease.
The Age of Innocence (1993)
Martin Scorsese displays restraint with this adaptation of Edith Wharton’s 1920 novel of the same name, about the grandeur and hypocrisy of 1870s high society, that follows an attorney (Daniel Day-Lewis) who is engaged to fellow attorney and socialite (Winona Ryder), and then falls for her livelier cousin and heiress (Michelle Pfeiffer) who’s separated from her husband.
American History X (1998)
In a film that’s more relevant today than when it was made, a neo-Nazi white supremacist (Edward Norton), who served three years in prison for voluntary manslaughter, tries to prevent his younger brother from going down the same path.
American Hustle (2013)
In the late 1970s, two con artists (Christian Bale and Amy Adams) are forced to work for an FBI agent (Bradley Cooper) and set up a sting operation that plans to bring down several corrupt politicians and members of the Mafia. Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner star alongside.
Andaz Apna Apna (1994)
Two slackers (Aamir Khan and Salman Khan) who belong to middle-class families vie for the affections of an heiress, and inadvertently become her protectors from a local gangster in Rajkumar Santoshi’s cult comedy favourite. Salman is a convicted poacher, out on bail, and accused of culpable homicide, pending appeal.
Inspired by the French short film L’Accordeur, this black comedy thriller is the story of a piano player (Ayushman Khurrana) who pretends to be visually-impaired and is caught in a web of twists and lies after he walks into a murder scene. Tabu, Radhika Apte star alongside.
Apollo 13 (1995)
Ron Howard dramatises the aborted Apollo 13 mission that put the astronauts in jeopardy after an on-board explosion ate up all the oxygen and forced NASA to abort and get the men home safely.
A 65-year-old widow and retired music critic, the last resident of the titular apartment building in the Brazilian coastal city of Recife, refuses to sell her flat to a construction company that has big plans in mind. The film offers a scathing look at the country’s socio-political issues.
Ben Affleck directs and stars in this film about a CIA agent posing as a Hollywood producer scouting for location in Iran, in order to rescue six Americans during the US hostage crisis of 1979.
Based on Mary Norton’s 1952 book The Borrowers, the film explores the life of a four-inch-tall family who live in secret in the walls and floors of a human household, changes after their titular teenage daughter is discovered by a new 12-year-old boy who moves in. It is co-written by Hayao Miyazaki.
Amy Adams plays a professor of comparative linguistics in this alien first-contact film from Denis Villeneuve, which explores free-will, experiences, memory, and destiny, and masterfully delivers both personal and global messages. Jeremy Renner co-stars.
Article 15 (2019)
Ayushmann Khurrana plays a cop in this exploration of casteism, religious discrimination, and the current socio-political situation in India, which tracks a missing persons’ case involving three teenage girls of a small village. A hard-hitting, well-made movie, though ironically, it was criticised for being casteist itself, and providing an outsider’s perspective.
The Avengers (2012)
Earth’s mightiest heroes — including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and the Hulk — come together in this groundbreaking Marvel team-up from writer-director Joss Whedon to stop Thor’s adopted brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and his alien army from subjugating mankind.
The Aviator (2004)
With Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes and Cate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn, Martin Scorsese dives into the life of the aviation pioneer and film producer, who grapples with severe OCD while his fame grows.
Set in the 1970s amidst the hills of Darjeeling, writer-director Anurag Basu tells the tale of three people (Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, and Ileana D’Cruz) as they learn to love while battling the notions held by society.
Beasts of No Nation (2015)
With civil war raging across a fictional African nation, this Netflix Original focuses on a young boy who’s trained as a child soldier by a fierce warlord (Idris Elba), and the effects it has on him.
Before Sunrise (1995)
In the first chapter of Richard Linklater’s long-drawn-out trilogy, two idealistic twentysomethings, an American man (Ethan Hawke) and a French woman (Julie Delpy), spend the night together walking around in the Austrian capital of Vienna.
The Big Short (2015)
Starring Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt, a look at Wall Street’s penchant for self-profit in a vicious loop that caused the 2007–08 global financial meltdown.
Alejandro G. Iñárritu won three Oscars including Best Picture for this tale of a washed-up superhero actor (Michael Keaton) who struggles to revive his career with a Broadway play. Known for appearing as if it was shot in a single take, it also starred Edward Norton, Zach Galifianakis, and Emma Stone.
Blade Runner (1982)
One of the most influential cyberpunk films ever made is about a burnt-out cop (Harrison Ford) who reluctantly agrees to hunt down a group of fugitive “replicants”, synthetic humans with a limited life-span who aren’t allowed to live on Earth.
Blue Valentine (2010)
Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams lead this drama that shifts between time periods to depict a couple’s courtship and how their marriage fell apart.
Das Boot [The Boat] (1981)
One of the most authentic war movies ever made chronicles the life of a German submarine crew during World War II, as they go through long stretches of boredom and periods of intense conflict, while trying to maintain morale in a capsule 10 feet by 150 feet hundreds of metres under the surface.
The Bourne trilogy (2002-07)
Technically not a trilogy, but the first three chapters — Identity, Supremacy, and Ultimatum — starring Matt Damon in the lead as the titular CIA assassin suffering from amnesia were so good that they changed the longest-running spy franchise of all-time: James Bond.
The Breadwinner (2017)
This animated film follows a 11-year-old girl living under Taliban rule in Afghanistan, who disguises herself as a boy to provide for her family after the father is taken away without reason. Uses wonderfully-drawn vignettes to stress on the importance of storytelling.
Bulbul Can Sing (2019)
Three teenagers battle patriarchy and the moral police as they explore their sexual identities in Rima Das’s National Award-winning drama — and pay for it dearly. Das writes, directs, shoots, edits, and handles costumes.
C/o Kancharapalem (2018)
Set in the eponymous Andhra Pradesh town, this Telugu film spans four love stories across religion, caste, and age — from a schoolboy to a middle-aged unmarried man. A debut for writer-director Venkatesh Maha, featuing a cast mostly made up of non-professional actors.
In the award-winning, highest-grossing Arabic film of all time, a 12-year-old from the slums of Beirut recounts his life leading up to a five-year sentence he’s handed for stabbing someone, and in turn, his decision to sue his parents for child neglect.
Cast Away (2000)
After his plane crash-lands in the Pacific, a FedEx employee (Tom Hanks) wakes up on a deserted island and must use everything at his disposal and transform himself physically to survive living alone.
Castle in the Sky (1986)
In the first film officially under the Studio Ghibli banner, a young boy and a girl protect a magic crystal from pirates and military agents, while on the search for a legendary floating castle. Hayao Miyazaki writes and directs.
Catch Me If You Can (2002)
Based on a real-life story, a young con man (Leonardo DiCaprio) forges cheques worth millions of dollars, and escapes the clutches of a seasoned FBI agent (Tom Hanks) for years.
Chupke Chupke (1975)
Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s remake of the Bengali film Chhadmabeshi, in which a newly-wedded husband (Dharmendra) decides to play pranks on his wife’s (Sharmila Tagore) supposedly smart brother-in-law. Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan also star.
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Set in a near-future dystopian Britain, writer-director Stanley Kubrick adapts Anthony Burgess’ novel of the same name, commenting on juvenile delinquency through the eyes of a small gang leader who enjoys “a bit of the old ultra-violence”.
Cold War (2018)
Jumping either side of the Iron Curtain through the late 1940s to the 1960s, Oscar-winner Paweł Pawlikowski depicts the story of two star-crossed lovers, as they deal with Stalinism, rejection, jealousy, change, time — and their own temperaments.
Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
Refusing to accept a death sentence from his doctor after being diagnosed with AIDS in the 1980s, the true story of an electrician and hustler (Matthew McConaughey) who smuggles banned medications from abroad.
The extraordinary true story of amateur wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat (Aamir Khan) who trains his two daughters to become India’s first world-class female wrestlers, who went on to win gold medals at the Commonwealth Games.
The Dark Knight (2008)
In the second part of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, regarded as the greatest comic book movie ever, Batman (Christian Bale) faces a villain, the Joker (Heath Ledger), he doesn’t understand, and must go through hell to save Gotham and its people.
Dazed and Confused (1993)
Years before they hit big, writer-director Richard Linklater assembled an ensemble cast that featured Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey, and Milla Jovovich for this coming-of-age comedy set on the last day of school in mid-seventies Texas, USA.
The Departed (2006)
Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon star as an undercover cop and a mole in the Boston police, respectively, trying to identify each other in Martin Scorsese’s remake of the 2002 Hong Kongese original called Infernal Affairs (also on the list). Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, and Martin Sheen also star.
Despicable Me (2010)
Likely best remembered for the tiny yellow henchmen — Minions — who have been absorbed into Internet culture, the first chapter of this animated franchise was a romp from start to finish, as a supervillain (Steve Carell) adopts three orphans as cover for the heist of his life.
Anurag Kashyap offers a modern-day reimagining of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s Bengali romance classic Devdas, in which a man (Abhay Deol), having broken up with his childhood sweetheart, finds refuge in alcohol and drugs, before falling for a prostitute (Kalki Koechlin).
Winner of Cannes’ top prize, three Sri Lankan refugees — including a Tamil Tiger soldier — pretend to be a family to gain asylum in France, where they soon realise that life isn’t very different in the rough neighbourhoods.
Dil Chahta Hai (2001)
Farhan Akhtar’s directorial debut about three inseparable childhood friends whose wildly different approach to relationships creates a strain on their friendship remains a cult favourite. Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan, and Preity Zinta star.
Django Unchained (2012)
Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, a German bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) helps a freed slave (Jamie Foxx) rescue his wife from a charming but cruel plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio).
A stuntman moonlighting as a getaway driver (Ryan Gosling) grows fond of his neighbour and her young son, and then takes part in a botched heist to protect them from the debt-ridden husband.
Christopher Nolan’s first historical war movie chronicles the evacuation of Allied soldiers from the French beaches of Dunkirk in World War II, using his love for non-linear storytelling by depicting three fronts — land, sea, and air — in time-shifted ways.
Easy Rider (1969)
A landmark film of its era, this road buddy drama from Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda — the two directed, produced, wrote and starred, in varying capacities — explored the counterculture of 1960s USA, including the hippies, drugs, and communes, through the viewpoint of two bikers (Hopper and Fonda) travelling the American Southwest with the money from a cocaine deal.
The Edge of Seventeen (2016)
In this coming-of-age comedy, the life of an awkward young woman (Hailee Steinfeld) gets more complex after her older brother starts dating her best friend, though she finds solace in an unexpected friendship and a teacher-slash-mentor (Woody Harrelson).
Shekhar Kapur helms this 16th-century period piece about Queen Elizabeth I of England (Cate Blanchett) and focuses on the early years of her reign — the ascent, threats, and plots — after the death of her half-sister. Blanchett won the Golden Globe and BAFTA for her role, which she would reprise in a mediocre 2007 sequel, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, not on streaming.
End of Watch (2012)
Before he made a terrible sci-fi remake of his own film, writer-director David Ayer took a near-documentarian lens to the day-to-day police work of two partners (Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña) in South Los Angeles, involving their friendship and dealings with criminal elements.
The Endless Trench (2019)
A few years into the Spanish Civil War in 1936, a newly-married man and a big critic of the dictator Francisco Franco hides himself underneath his house in fear of being killed by the Franco-led Falangists, not knowing that he will stay there for the next 33 years.
Escape from Alcatraz (1979)
Clint Eastwood leads this prison thriller that dramatises the 1962 real-life escape from the San Francisco Bay island of the same name. Noted for its economical approach that’s tense and thrilling from start to finish.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
An estranged couple (Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet) begin a new relationship unaware they dated previously, having erased each other from their memories, in what stands as writer Charlie Kaufman’s defining work.
The Exorcist (1973)
One of the greatest horror films of all time, that has left a lasting influence on the genre and beyond, is about the demonic possession of a 12-year-old girl and her mother’s attempts to save her with the help of two priests who perform exorcisms.
The Florida Project (2017)
Set in the shadow of Disney World, a precocious six-year-old girl (Brooklynn Prince) makes the most of her summer with her ragtag playmates, while her rebellious mother tries to make ends meet with the spectre of homelessness always hanging over them. Willem Dafoe stars alongside.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
In John Hughes’ now-classic teen picture, a high schooler fakes being sick to spend the day with his girlfriend and his best friend, while his principal is determined to spy on him.
Fruitvale Station (2013)
Black Panther writer-director Ryan Coogler’s first feature offered a look at the real-life events of a young California man’s (Michael B. Jordan) death in a police shooting in 2008. Winner of two awards at Sundance Film Festival.
Full Metal Jacket (1987)
Stanley Kubrick follows a US marine nicknamed Joker from his days as a new recruit under the command of a ruthless sergeant, to his posting as a war correspondent in South Vietnam, while observing the effects of the war on his fellow soldiers.
A bunch of eccentric paranormal enthusiasts start a ghost-catching business in New York, and then stumble upon a plot to wreak havoc by summoning ghosts. Gave birth to one of the most iconic song lyrics in history.
The Godfather Part II (1974)
Francis Ford Coppola’s follow-up to his original — on Amazon Prime Video — depicts two tales in parallel, Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) at the top of the pecking order while offering a look back at his father’s (Robert De Niro) past, and is considered by some to be better than its predecessor.
Gol Maal (1979)
A chartered accountant (Amol Palekar), with a knack for singing and acting, falls deep down the rabbit hole after lying to his boss that he has a twin, in this Hrishikesh Mukherjee comedy.
Gone Girl (2014)
Based on Gillian Flynn’s best-selling novel and directed by David Fincher, a confounded husband (Ben Affleck) becomes the primary suspect in the sudden mystery disappearance of his wife (Rosamund Pike).
Good Night, and Good Luck. (2005)
George Clooney directs and stars in this intentionally black-and-white film set during the early days of TV journalism in 1953, which follows veteran host Edward R. Murrow and his producer (Clooney) as they look to bring down Republican US Senator Joseph McCarthy for his anti-Communist actions. A film that’s become more important in the Trump era.
Considered as one of the best gangster films of all time, it brought Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro together for the sixth time. Based on Nicholas Pilegg’s 1985 non-fiction book Wiseguy, it tells the rise and fall story of mob associate Henry Hill, his friends and family between 1955 and 1980.
Gran Torino (2008)
A Korean War veteran (Clint Eastwood) decides to help reform his Hmong neighbour (Bee Vang), who was pressured into attempting to steal the former’s most prized possession, a 1972 Ford Gran Torino, as the gateway into a local gang.
Two US astronauts, a first-timer (Sandra Bullock) and another on his final mission (George Clooney), are stranded in space after their shuttle is destroyed, and then must battle debris and challenging conditions to return home.
The Guard (2011)
In this buddy comedy, an eccentric, cantankerous small-town Irish cop (Brendan Gleason) and a morally-upright, humourless FBI agent (Don Cheadle) must work together to take on an international drug smuggling gang that’s involved in the disappearance of a fellow police officer.
Vishal Bhardwaj’s Shakespearean trilogy concluded with this modern-day adaptation of Hamlet, that is also based on Basharat Peer’s 1990s-Kashmir memoir Curfewed Night. Follows a young man (Shahid Kapoor) who returns home to investigate his father’s disappearance and finds himself embroiled in the ongoing violent insurgency.
Harishchandrachi Factory (2009)
The father of Indian cinema, Dadasaheb Phalke, sets out to make his — and the country’s — first feature-length moving picture production, while being ostracised and ridiculed in early 20th century British India. In a meta-turn of events, this is writer-director Paresh Mokashi’s first film, about the first man to make a film in India.
Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi (2003)
Set against the politically-charged backdrop of the Emergency in the 1970s, writer-director Sudhir Mishra’s film revolves around three friends (Kay Kay Menon, Chitrangada Singh, and Shiney Ahuja) whose lives are transformed in the wake of the turbulent period.
A lonely man (Joaquin Phoenix) falls in love with an intelligent computer operating system (Scarlett Johansson), who enriches his life and learns from him, in Spike Jonze’s masterpiece.
How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
Brought up in a world where Vikings have a tradition of being dragon slayers, a young teenager becomes an unlikely friend with a young dragon and learns there may be more to the creatures than everyone thinks.
Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)
After a witch curses an unconfident young woman called Sophie with an old body owing to her growing friendship with a flamboyant wizard called Howl, she attempts to discover a cure while she takes shelter in the boy’s large home that can move itself, and is caught in Howl’s resistance against a warring kingdom. Hayao Miyazaki writes and directs.
In 1930s Paris, a boy who lives alone in the walls of a train station tries to figure out the mystery involving his late father and his most treasured possession, an automaton, that needs a key to function. Martin Scorsese directs.
I, Daniel Blake (2016)
After a heart attack that leaves him unable to work, a widowed carpenter is forced to fight an obtuse British welfare system, while developing a strong bond with a single mother who has two children. Winner of the Palme d’Or.
I Lost My Body (2019)
In this animated Cannes winner, a severed hand escapes from a lab and scrambles through Paris to get back to his body, while recounting its past life that involved moving to France after an accident and falling in love.
In This Corner of the World (2016)
Set in Hiroshima during World War II, an 18-year-old woman agrees to marry a man she barely knows in this animated Japanese film, and then must learn to cope with life’s daily struggles and find a way to push through as the war rages on around her.
Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Directed by Steven Spielberg off a story by George Lucas, an eponymous archaeologist (Harrison Ford) travels the world and battles a group of Nazis while looking for a mysterious artefact, in what is now often considered as one of the greatest films of all-time.
Infernal Affairs (2002)
Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-winning The Departed is a remake of this original Hong Kongian film, in which a police officer is working undercover in a Triad, while a Triad member is secretly working for the police. Both have the same objective: find the mole.
Into the Wild (2007)
Based on Jon Krakauer’s nonfiction book, Sean Penn goes behind the camera to direct the story of a top student and athlete who gives up all possessions and savings to charity, and hitchhikes across America to live in the Alaskan wilderness.
The Irishman (2019)
Based on Charles Brandt’s 2004 book “I Heard You Paint Houses”, Martin Scorsese offers an indulgent, overlong look at the life of a truck driver (Robert De Niro) who becomes a hitman working for the Bufalino crime family and labour union leader Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino).
John Wick (2014)
In the first part of what is now a series, a former hitman (Keanu Reeves) exits retirement to find and kill those that stole his car and killed his dog. Less story, more action, with the filmmakers drawing on anime, Hong Kong action cinema, Spaghetti Westerns, and French crime dramas.
Jurassic Park (1993)
It might be over 25 years old at this point but watching the very first Jurassic film from Steven Spielberg — based on Michael Crichton’s novel, which he co-adapted — is a great way to remind yourself why the new series, Jurassic World, has no idea why it’s doing.
National Award-winning director Hardik Mehta concocts a tribute to Bollywood’s character actors with this tale of a washed-up actor (Sanjay Mishra) who comes out of retirement after realising that he’s one film away from the magic number of 500, hoping to end on a memorable high.
A pregnant woman (Vidya Balan) travels from London to Kolkata to search for her missing husband in writer-director Sujoy Ghosh’s National Award-winning mystery thriller, battling sexism and a cover-up along the way.
Khosla Ka Ghosla! (2006)
After a powerful property dealer (Boman Irani) holds a middle-class, middle-aged man’s (Anupam Kher) newly-purchased property to ransom, his son and his son’s friends devise a plot to dupe the swindling squatter and pay him back with his own money. Dibakar Banerjee’s directorial debut.
Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)
A coming-of-age story of the young titular witch, who opens an air delivery business, helps a bakery’s pregnant owner in exchange for accommodation, and befriends a geeky boy during her year of self-discovery. Hayao Miyazaki writes and directs.
Kung Fu Panda (2008)
After an obese kung fu enthusiast panda is supposedly mistakenly chosen as the Dragon Warrior to fight an impending threat, he is unwillingly taught by an elderly master and his students who have been training for years.
Lady Bird (2017)
Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut is a coming-of-age story of a high school senior (Saoirse Ronan) and her turbulent relationship with her mother (Laurie Metcalf), all while she figures out who she wants to be through friendships and short relationships.
Set in Victorian India, a village farmer (Aamir Khan) stakes everyone’s future on a game of cricket with the well-equipped British, in exchange for a tax reprieve for three years.
Lage Raho Munna Bhai (2006)
In this sequel to the 2003 original (also on the list), the Mumbai underworld don (Sanjay Dutt) starts to live by the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi to impress a radio jockey (Vidya Balan) he’s smitten with. Some felt it dumbed down Gandhism. Co-written and directed by Rajkumar Hirani, who stands accused in the #MeToo movement.
Leave No Trace (2018)
After a tiny mistake gives them away, an Iraq War veteran (Ben Foster) suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and his 13-year-old daughter (Thomasin McKenzie) are forced back into the real world, having spent years living off the grid in the remote forests of Oregon, USA. Based on Peter Rock’s novel “My Abandonment”.
The Little Prince (2015)
Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s 1943 novella is given the animation treatment, in which an elderly pilot (Jeff Bridges) recounts his encounters with a young boy who claimed to be an extra-terrestrial prince to his neighbour, a young girl. Rachel McAdams, James Franco, and Marion Cotillard also voice.
A Little Princess (1995)
Alfonso Cuarón directs this tale of a young girl who is forced to become a servant by the headmistress at her New York boarding school, after her wealthy aristocratic father is presumed dead in World War I.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003)
Peter Jackson brought J.R.R. Tolkien’s expansive Middle-Earth to life in these three three-hour epics, which charts the journey of a meek hobbit (Elijah Wood) and his various companions, as they try to stop the Dark Lord Sauron by destroying the source of his power, the One Ring.
A Cannes winner about the social ills of life in modern Russia, told through the eyes of two separated parents who are drawn back together after their 12-year-old child goes missing. From award-winning director Andrey Zvyagintsev.
A nonagenarian atheist (Harry Dean Stanton) goes on a spiritual journey and comes to terms with his own mortality, in what would poetically prove to be the final on-screen appearance of its lead nonagenarian character actor.
The Lunchbox (2013)
An unlikely mistake by Mumbai’s famously efficient lunchbox carrier system results in an unusual friendship between a young housewife (Nimrat Kaur) and an older widower (Irrfan Khan) about to retire from his job.
Lupin the Third: Castle of Cagliostro (1979)
In legendary Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki’s feature debut, a dashing master thief enlists the help of a long-time nemesis in the police and a fellow thief to rescue a princess from an evil count, and put an end to his counterfeit money operation.
Marriage Story (2019)
Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver play an entertainment industry couple going through a divorce, which pulls them — and their young son — from New York to Los Angeles, the two different hometowns of the protagonists.
Neeraj Ghaywan ventures into the heartland of India to explore the life of four people in his directorial debut, all of whom must battle issues of caste, culture and norms. Winner of a National Award and the FIPRESCI Prize at Cannes.
Merku Thodarchi Malai (2018)
Set along the mountainous border that divides the Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala — the location is a character in its own right — a labourer desires of owing his own patch of land but struggles with the political powers that-be. A debut effort for director Lenin Bharathi that’s better off when it’s not chasing a narrative.
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
An overlooked, veteran boxing trainer (Clint Eastwood, who also directs) reluctantly agrees to train a former waitress (Hilary Swank) to help achieve her dreams, which leads to a close father-daughter bond that will forever change their lives.
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)
After the agency he works for is wrongly implicated in the bombing of the Kremlin, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and a new team are forced to go rogue and clear their employer’s name in this fourth entry of the franchise.
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)
With the organisation he works for disbanded and his country after him, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) races against time to prove the existence of the schemers pulling the strings in this fifth chapter. Introduced Rebecca Ferguson to the franchise.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
The legendary British comedy troupe mix their talents with the tale of King Arthur and his knights, as they look for the Holy Grail and encounter a series of horrors. A contender for the best comedy of all-time.
Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979)
Satire so cutting that it was banned for years in the UK and elsewhere, Life of Brian saw Monty Python turning their eyes on more long-form storytelling. The Life of Brian is the story of a young Jewish man born on the same day and next door to Jesus Christ, who gets mistaken for the messiah.
A Netflix Original, this World War II drama is set in rural Mississippi, and follows two veterans — one white and one black — who return home, and must deal with problems of racism in addition to PTSD.
Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. (2003)
After his parents find out he has been pretending to be a doctor, a good-natured Mumbai underworld don (Sanjay Dutt) tries to redeem himself by enrolling in a medical college, where his compassion brushes up against the authoritarian dean (Boman Irani). Co-written and directed by Rajkumar Hirani, who stands accused in the #MeToo movement.
My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
Set in post-war rural Japan, a heart-warming tale of a professor’s two young daughters who have adventures with friendly forest sprits. Hayao Miyazaki writes and directs.
Mystic River (2003)
Three childhood friends reunite after a brutal murder, in which the victim is one’s (Sean Penn) daughter, another (Kevin Bacon) is the case detective, and the third (Tim Robbins) is suspected by both. Clint Eastwood directs.
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
A thousand years into a post-apocalyptic future, where giant mutant insects roam a “toxic jungle”, the young titular princess of the Valley of the Wind who can communicate with said creatures attempts to bring peace between nature and mankind. Meanwhile, a kingdom plans to use an ancient weapon to kill all the insects. Hayao Miyazaki writes and directs.
Jake Gyllenhaal plays a freelance video journalist with no ethics or morals who will do anything to get the best footage of violent crimes that local news stations love. A feature directorial debut for screenwriter Dan Gilroy.
Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
In this first of Steven Soderbergh’s trilogy, which features an ensemble cast including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon, Danny Ocean (Clooney) and his eleven associates plan to rob three Las Vegas casinos at the same time.
Part environment parable and part skewer of corporatisation, this underappreciated Netflix Original by Bong Joon-ho tells its story of a young Korean girl and her best friend — a giant pet pig — while effortlessly crossing genres.
On Body and Soul (2017)
A shy, introverted man and a woman who work at a Hungarian slaughterhouse discover they share the same dreams after an incident, and then try to make them come true.
Only Yesterday (1991)
A Studio Ghibli production about a 27-year-old career-driven Tokyo woman who reminisces about her childhood on her way to the countryside to see her sister’s family. Isao Takahata writes and directs.
Paan Singh Tomar (2012)
A true story of the eponymous soldier and athlete (Irrfan Khan) who won gold at the National Games, and later turned into a dacoit to resolve a land dispute. Won top honours for film and actor (Khan) at National Awards.
Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
In Guillermo del Toro’s fantastical version of Spain five years after the civil war, Ofelia — a young stepdaughter of a cruel army officer — is told she is the reincarnated version of an underworld princess but must complete three tasks to prove herself.
Peepli [Live] (2010)
With elections around the corner, a farmer about to lose his land due to an unpaid government loan seeks help from an apathetic politician, who suggests he commit suicide to benefit from a government programme that helps families of deceased farmers. An incisive satire of farmers’ suicides in India, and the media and political circus surrounding it. Produced by Aamir Khan and wife Kiran Rao.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
Emma Watson stars in this coming-of-age comedy based on the novel of the same name by Stephen Chbosky, who also wrote and directed the film. Watson plays one of two seniors who guide a nervous freshman.
Phantom Thread (2017)
Set in the glamourous couture world of 1950s post-war London, the life of a renowned dressmaker (Daniel Day-Lewis), who is used to women coming and going through his tailored life, unravels after he falls in love with a young, strong-willed waitress.
A lawyer (Amitabh Bachchan) comes out of retirement to help three women (Taapsee Pannu, Kirti Kulhari, and Andrea Tariang) clear their names in a crime involving a politician’s nephew (Angad Bedi). Won a National Award.
A satirical comedy-drama that probes religious dogmas and superstitions, through the lens of an alien (Aamir Khan) who is stranded on Earth after he loses his personal communicator and befriends a TV journalist (Anushka Sharma) as he attempts to retrieve it.
Porco Rosso (1992)
Transformed into an anthropomorphic pig by an unusual curse, an Italian World War I ace fighter veteran now works as a freelance bounty hunter in 1930s Adriatic Sea in the Mediterranean. Hayao Miyazaki writes and directs.
Princess Mononoke (1997)
Set in a fantastical version of 14th-century Japan, the last prince of a rural tribe ventures out to find a cure for an infection that’s slowly killing him, and encounters a giant wolf goddess and her titular human companion — “mononoke” is Japanese for spirit / monster. An environmental fable that warns of the dangers of industrialisation. Hayao Miyazaki writes and directs.
A Quiet Place (2018)
In a post-apocalyptic world filled with monstrous creatures that are blind but can hear you from afar, a family is forced to live out their lives in silence if they wish to survive. Emily Blunt and John Krasinski star, with the latter also as director.
Rang De Basanti (2006)
Aamir Khan leads the ensemble cast of this award-winning film that focuses on four young New Delhi men who turn into revolutionary heroes themselves while playacting as five Indian freedom fighters from the 1920s for a docudrama.
An anthropomorphic rat (Patton Oswalt) who longs to be a chef tries to achieve his dream by making an alliance with a young garbage boy at a Parisian restaurant. From Pixar.
The Remains of the Day (1993)
Made by the duo of Ismail Merchant and James Ivory, this based-on-a-book film is about a dedicated and loyal butler (Anthony Hopkins), who gave much of his life — and missed out on a lot — serving a British lord who turns out to be a Nazi sympathiser.
The Revenant (2015)
Leonardo DiCaprio and director Alejandro G. Iñárritu won Oscars for their work on this semi-biographical Western film set in the 1820s, which tells the story of frontiersman Hugh Glass and his quest for survival and justice amidst severe winters.
Alfonso Cuarón revisits his childhood in the eponymous Mexico City neighbourhood, during the political turmoil of the 1970s, through the eyes of a middle-class family’s live-in maid, who takes care of the house and four children, while balancing the complications of her own personal life.
In a tiny village in the Indian state of Maharashtra, a fisherman’s son and a local politician’s daughter fall in love, which sends ripples across the society because their families belong to different castes. Currently the highest-grossing Marathi-language film of all time.
Al Pacino delivers one of his best performances as a Cuban refugee who arrives in 1980s Miami with nothing, rises the ranks to become a powerful drug kingpin, and then falls due to his ego, his paranoia, and a growing list of enemies.
In this dark, gripping thriller from David Fincher, two detectives — one new (Brad Pitt) and one about to retire (Morgan Freeman) — hunt a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his motives. Kevin Spacey co-stars, who stands accused in the #MeToo movement.
Secret Superstar (2017)
Though frequently melodramatic, this coming-of-age story — produced by Aamir Khan and wife Kiran Rao — of a Muslim girl from Vadodara who dreams of being a singer dealt with important social issues and broke several box office records during its theatrical run.
Sense and Sensibility (1995)
Jane Austen’s famous work is brought to life by director Ang Lee, about three sisters who are forced to seek financial security through marriage after the death of their wealthy father leaves them poor by the rules of inheritance.
The Shining (1980)
Stephen King’s popular novel gets the film treatment from Stanley Kubrick, about a father who loses his sanity in an isolated hotel the family is staying at for the winter, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and the future.
Winner of the top prize at Cannes, the story of a group of poverty-stricken outsiders scraping together an under-the-radar living in Tokyo, whose life is upended after they take in a new, young member. Hirokazu Kore-eda writes, directs, and edits.
Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, and Liam Neeson play 17th-century Jesuit priests in this over two-and-a-half-hour epic from Martin Scorsese that finds two said priests travelling to Edo-era Japan, where Christians are persecuted, to find their mentor and spread Catholic Christianity.
A Silent Voice: The Movie (2016)
Based on the manga of the same name, a coming-of-age story of a school bully who tries to make amends with a hearing-impaired girl he tormented back in the day, after the tables are turned on him.
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Two people (Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper) with pain and suffering in their past begin a road to recovery while training together for a dance competition, in what becomes an unlikely love story.
The Sixth Sense (1999)
In writer-director M. Night Shyamalan’s best film to date, a child psychologist (Bruce Willis) tries to help a young boy (Haley Joel Osment) who can see and talk to the dead.
Chris Evans stars in this sci-fi from Bong Joon-ho, which takes place in a future ravaged by an experiment, where the survivors live on a train that continuously circles the globe and has led to a punishing new class system.
The Social Network (2010)
The tale of Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg gets a slight fictional spin, as it explores how the young engineer was sued by twin brothers who claimed he stole their idea, and sold lies to his co-founder and squeezed him out.
A short-tempered young policewoman and her cool-headed female boss must contend with ingrained misogyny in their daily lives and even at work, where it impacts their coordinated attempts to tackle the rise of crimes against women in Delhi.
After failing to land the title role in Ben-Hur, Kirk Douglas optioned a book with a similar theme, about a slave who led a revolt — known retrospectively as the Third Servile War — against the mighty Roman Empire. Won four Oscars and was named as one of the best historical epics.
Spirited Away (2001)
The only non-English-language film to win the Oscar for best animated movie is about a 10-year-old girl called Chihiro who wanders into the spirit world with her parents, where the elders are turned into giant pigs. Chihiro then must work in a bathhouse to discover a way to return to the human world. Hayao Miyazaki writes and directs.
The Stranger (1946)
A war crimes investigator hunts a high-ranking Nazi fugitive (Orson Welles, also director) hiding in the US state of Connecticut, who is also duping his naïve new wife.
Super Deluxe (2019)
An inter-linked anthology of four stories, involving an unfaithful wife, a transgender woman, a bunch of teenagers, which deal in sex, stigma, and spirituality. Runs at nearly three hours.
Shah Rukh Khan stars a successful NASA scientist in this based on a true story drama, who returns home to India to take his nanny to the US, rediscovers his roots and connects with the local village community in the process.
Taare Zameen Par (2007)
Sent to boarding school against his will, a dyslexic eight-year-old is helped by an unconventional art teacher (Aamir Khan) to overcome his disability and discover his true potential.
The Tale of The Princess Kaguya (2013)
In the most expensive Japanese movie ever made, which is based on a 10th-century folktale, a tiny girl, found inside a bamboo stalk, grows rapidly into an exquisite young woman and attracts many suitors. She sets out a series of impossible tasks for them, for which she will ultimately pay a price.
Meghna Gulzar and Vishal Bhardwaj combine forces to tell the story of the 2008 Noida double murder case, in which a teenage girl and the family’s hired servant were killed, and the inept police bungled the investigation. Uses the Rashomon effect for a three-pronged take.
In this award-winning Kannada-language film, set in a remote village in the state of Karnataka, three generations of men reflect on the death of their locally-famous, bad-tempered 101-year-old patriarch. Made with a cast of non-professional actors.
The Town (2010)
While a group of lifelong Boston friends plan a major final heist at Fenway Park, one of them (Ben Affleck) falls in love with the hostage from an earlier robbery, complicating matters.
Train to Busan (2016)
Stuck on a blood-drenched bullet train ride across Korea, a father and his daughter must fight their way through a countrywide zombie outbreak to make it to the only city that’s safe.
Tropic Thunder (2008)
Ben Stiller directs and stars in this satirical action comedy alongside Robert Downey Jr. and Jack Black as actors dropped into the jungle during the Vietnam War to film a movie. The plan to film them with hidden cameras goes horribly wrong, as you can imagine, in no part thanks to everyone’s giant egos.
The Truman Show (1998)
Jim Carrey plays a naïve insurance salesman who discovers that his family members are actors and that this whole life has been a reality TV show, and then decides to escape. But that’s easier said than done in a world where nothing is as it seems.
Tu Hai Mera Sunday (2016)
Five thirty-something friends struggle to find a place in Mumbai where they can play football in peace in this light-hearted rom-com tale, which explores gender divides and social mores along the way.
A Twelve-Year Night (2018)
The future president of Uruguay, José Mujica, and his fellow left-wing urban guerrilla group Tupamaros members struggle to survive over a decade of torture and confinement after they are imprisoned by the then-military dictatorship in 1973.
The Two Popes (2019)
Inspired by real life, the tale of friendship that formed between Pope Benedict XVI (Anthony Hopkins) and Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce), the future Pope Francis, after the latter approached the former regarding his concerns with the direction of the Catholic Church.
Vikramaditya Motwane made his directorial debut with this coming-of-age story of a teenager who is expelled from boarding school and returns home to the industrial town of Jamshedpur, where he must work at his oppressive father’s factory.
Udta Punjab (2016)
With the eponymous Indian state’s drug crisis as the backdrop, this black comedy crime film depicts the interwoven lives of a junior policeman (Diljit Dosanjh), an activist doctor (Kareena Kapoor), a migrant worker (Alia Bhatt), and a rock star (Shahid Kapoor).
Uncut Gems (2019)
A charismatic, New York-based Jewish jeweller and a gambling addict (Adam Sandler) ends up in over his head in this taut thriller, struggling to keep a lid on his family, desires, business, and enemies.
The Untouchables (1987)
With mobster Al Capone (Robert De Niro) making use of the rampant corruption during the Prohibition period in the US, federal agent Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) hand picks a team to expose his business and bring him to justice. Brian De Palma directs.
Up in the Air (2009)
A corporate downsizing expert (George Clooney) who loves living out of a suitcase finds his lifestyle threatened due to a potential love interest (Vera Farmiga) and an ambitious new hire (Anna Kendrick).
Before Chhapaak, this Parvathy-starrer Malayalam-language social drama delivered a more nuanced and deeper exploration of the seed of acid attacks and how they aim to push women to the fringes of society, through the tale of an aspiring pilot fighting for her dreams — and justice.
Village Rockstars (2017)
A young Assamese girl of a widow pines to own a guitar and start her own rock band, but societal norms routinely get in the way. Rima Das writes, directs, shoots, edits, and handles costumes.
Visaranai [Interrogation] (2015)
Winner of three National Awards and based on M. Chandrakumar’s novel Lock Up, the story of four Tamil laborers who are framed and tortured by politically-motivated cops in the neighbouring state of Andhra Pradesh. Vetrimaaran writes and directs.
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)
Cheese-loving, eccentric inventor Wallace and his intelligent, often perplexed dog Gromit, who run a humane pest relocation business, are employed by a woman hosting the annual gardening competition to take care of a tribe of rabbits. Won the Oscar for best animated movie.
A Wednesday! (2008)
Neeraj Pandey’s film is set between 2 pm and 6 pm on a Wednesday, naturally, when a common man (Naseeruddin Shah) threatens to detonate five bombs in Mumbai unless four terrorists accused in the 2006 Mumbai train bombings case are released.
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
A young man (Johnny Depp) busy caring for his autistic brother (Leonardo DiCaprio) and morbidly obese mother (Darlene Cates) faces unexpected challenges after he starts to fall in love with a new woman (Juliette Lewis) in town. Depp is accused of domestic abuse and violence by his ex-wife, though he maintains he’s the victim.
When Marnie Was There (2014)
Based on Joan G. Robinson’s 1967 eponymous novel, introverted 12-year-old girl Anna is sent to a summer home in a sleepy, seaside town, where she befriends the mysterious, blonde-haired titular girl who lives in an abandoned mansion and asks Anna to keep their secrets from everyone. The final film for Studio Ghibli.
Whisper of the Heart (1995)
14-year-old Shizuku, a bookworm who dreams of becoming a writer, discovers that all the library books she reads have also been read by one Seiji, a mysterious boy who is intent on pursuing his love for violin-making in Italy. Inspired by Seiji’s drive and an antique item that catches her eye, Shizuku begins to pen her own story. Written by Hayao Miyazaki.
The Wife (2017)
Glenn Close won multiple awards, including the Golden Globe, and immense praise for her role as the ignored wife of a Nobel Prize-winning writer (Jonathan Pryce) who begins to question her life choices after nearly forty years of marriage. Close is arguably better than the film is.
The Wind Rises (2013)
In this true story what was to be Hayao Miyazaki’s final film before he reversed his retirement, young Jiro Horikoshi’s dreams of being a pilot are shattered because he wears spectacles, and instead, he ends up pursuing airplane design, with his creations used by the Japanese in World War II.
Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
The decade-long international manhunt for Osama bin Laden is the focus of this thriller from Kathryn Bigelow, dramatised as and when needed to keep a CIA intelligence analyst (Jessica Chastain) at the centre of the story.
Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011)
Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar, and Abhay Deol star as three childhood friends who set off on a bachelor trip across Spain, which becomes an opportunity to heal past wounds, combat their worst fears, and fall in love with life.
David Fincher signed on Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, and Robert Downey Jr. to depict a cartoonist’s (Gyllenhaal) obsession with figuring out the identity of the Zodiac Killer in the 1960s–70s.
A student looking for his parents (Jesse Eisenberg), a man looking for a favourite snack, and two con artist sisters join forces and take an extended road trip across a zombie-filled America, while they all search for a zombie-free sanctuary.