20 Hidden Gem Movies You Probably Forgot Were On Netflix

Todd Van Luling

Gone are the days you could go to the Netflix homepage and immediately get straightforward recommendations for the best movies on the service. Now the company fills its homepage with auto-playing advertisements for its own Original movies, shows, comedy specials and seemingly countless other forms of content. Instead of the best thing to watch, you might get served the best promotional picture that entices you to click.

On top of this, the endless stream of new shows and movies ― from Netflix and other companies ― means it has become increasingly easy to forget about great projects that debuted mere months ago.

So with these things in mind, I figured it might be helpful to make a short list of great Netflix movies that have basically become hidden. For this list, I stuck to movies that roughly came out in the previous decade and ones that are not considered classics and aren’t extremely popular but are still highly respected. For example: “The Lord of the Rings” isn’t on this, as I assume you probably already know you can watch that on Netflix.

I’m thinking there probably was a time in your life not that long ago when you wanted to watch these, but then the world conspired to bury them out of your consciousness. So this list serves as a gentle reminder to say: Hey, these movies exist and you can watch them on Netflix right now.

And if you want to stay informed about what’s joining Netflix on a weekly basis to keep up with that endless stream of new content, be sure to subscribe to the Streamline newsletter.

"The Aviator" on Netflix. ("The Aviator")
(Ji Sub Jeong/HP)

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Premise: Sam Bell works as an astronaut on the moon, sending resources back to Earth. Then he makes a discovery that causes him to question his very existence.

Genre: Sci-fi drama.

Runtime: 1 hour, 37 minutes.


“Marie Antoinette” 

Premise: Marie Antoinette marries at 15 and takes over France at 19. Then her world falls apart.

Genre: Period-piece comedy.

Runtime: 2 hours, 3 minutes.

“Inside Man” 

Premise: Dalton Russell robs a bank but then ends up having to create a hostage situation. Detectives try to get the hostages freed but this job keeps spiraling out of control.

Genre: Action thriller.

Runtime: 2 hours, 9 minutes.


“The Aviator”

Premise: Howard Hughes has ambitions of taking over the world. Then the world becomes too much for him.

Genre: Expansive biopic.

Runtime: 2 hours, 50 minutes.


“Blue Valentine”

Premise: Cindy and Dean fall in love but probably aren’t right for each other. As the years pass, resentment starts filling the cracks of their relationship.

Genre: Romantic drama.

Runtime: 1 hour, 52 minutes.



Premise: Em Lewin and James Brennan work at a bad amusement park. They struggle to figure out the meaning of their lives, but remain hopeful.

Genre: Romantic comedy.

Runtime: 1 hour, 47 minutes.


“The Truman Show” 

Premise: Truman Burbank lives in a bubble where everyone in his life is an actor and hidden cameras are everywhere. He just doesn’t know it yet.

Genre: High-concept comedy.

Runtime: 1 hour, 43 minutes.


“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”

Premise: George Smiley comes out of retirement during the Cold War. He tries to flush out a Soviet agent in the MI6.

Genre: Intrigue thriller.

Runtime: 2 hours, 2 minutes.


“In Bruges”

Premise: Ray and Ken are hitmen that need to hide after a job. They end up in Bruges, Belgium, and end up hanging out with the locals.

Genre: Action comedy.

Runtime: 1 hour, 47 minutes.


“The Reader” 

Premise: Michael Berg had an affair with an older woman while he was a teenager. Then World War II ends and he discovers the woman is on trial for war crimes as a Nazi.

Genre: Period-piece drama.

Runtime: 2 hours, 4 minutes.


“Boogie Nights”

Premise: Eddie Adams stumbles into the nascent porn industry in California. He becomes a star.

Genre: Period-piece comedy.

Runtime: 2 hours, 35 minutes.


“The Game”

Premise: Nicholas Van Orton has a fairly boring life as a banker. Then he agrees to participate in a large game that he can’t seem to escape.

Genre: Mind-bending thriller.

Runtime: 2 hours, 9 minutes.


“Cold Mountain”

Premise: W.P. Inman gets wounded in the American Civil War while fighting with the Confederates. He decides to try to trek home to rejoin his wife.

Genre: Period-piece drama.

Runtime: 2 hours, 34 minutes.


“No Country for Old Men” 

Premise: Llewelyn Moss finds a drug deal gone awry in the desert and steals the money. Then dangerous people hunt him down.

Genre: Action thriller.

Runtime: 2 hours, 2 minutes.



Premise: Briony Tallis accuses her older sister’s lover of a crime he didn’t commit, which sends him to jail. The lives of all three change for the worse.

Genre: Period-piece love story.

Runtime: 2 hours, 3 minutes.


“Eyes Wide Shut”

Premise: Dr. William Harford has a night of moral debauchery with a sex cult. His justification comes from the shaky impetus that his wife almost cheated on him. 

Genre: ?!?

Runtime: 2 hours, 39 minutes.


“Finding Neverland”

Premise: J.M. Barrie befriends a widow and her children. This inspires him to write “Peter Pan.”

Genre: Period-piece kids movie.

Runtime: 1 hour, 46 minutes.


“The Informant!”

Premise: Mark Whitacre decides to help the U.S. government bring down the business he works for. He’s a bumbling informant, but he gets results.

Genre: Dramatic comedy.

Runtime: 1 hour, 48 minutes.

“Million Dollar Baby” 

Premise: Maggie Fitzgerald tries to become a professional boxer. She quickly discovers the brutal side effects of the job.

Genre: Boxing thriller.

Runtime: 2 hours, 12 minutes.


“Up in the Air” 

Premise: Ryan Bingham travels across the country to fire people for bosses that don’t want to do it themselves. Without any real home or relationships, he has become existentially untethered.

Genre: Dark romantic comedy.

Runtime: 1 hour, 49 minutes.


CORRECTION: This article originally stated that “Zodiac” was on Netflix. That movie left the service earlier this year. It has been replaced on this list with another David Fincher movie, “The Game.”

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.