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The Best Rated Netflix Instant Movies

Updated on August 11, 2015

Oh Netflix...

What are the best rated movies on Netflix Instant Watch? Which movies are critically the best, out of everything Netflix Instant has to offer?

We here at the Institute for Advanced Platitudinous Research have once again delved into the subject of the best Netflix Instant Watch movies, and this time we wanted to know what the highest-rated, most critically acclaimed films were. So what did we do? Well, we turned on our TV sets, blew the dust off the Roku, set up a few pillows, got out a gallon of Haagen-Dazs, and promptly got down to business.

There are many -- some would argue too many -- I would argue too, too many -- ways to collate, quantify, and otherwise differentiate some movies from other movies. After much research, we decided to use what is probably the most reputable movie ranking system out there: Rotten Tomatoes.

We have worked tirelessly -- eating handfuls of Smartfood, staring at the wall -- to bring you these results.

Oh Ratings, How Subjective You Are...

The way that Rotten Tomatoes ranks movies is to collect all known reviews for a movie from prominent critics, and makes a total percentage score from all those reviews. You are left with a percentage amount of critics who liked a film. For instance, the classic Errol Morris documentary The Thin Blue Line has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 100%, because every single critic they could find liked it.

Now granted, this doesn't mean case-by-case that anything with 100% critic approval means it's always going to be better than something with a lower score. The Terminator (100% RT score) is a fun and taut action movie, but it is very totally not a better flick than Annie Hall (98%) or Fargo (94%). So don't hold these scores to be truth. But, they are useful for denoting that a movie is very good and that the average film-goer will likely think so. It's a tough marker to beat.

We have listed here a selection of the Netflix Instant movies that have a perfect 100%, the best rating possible on Rotten Tomatoes. You can see this list below. For more information on Rotten Tomatoes, visit their website here. It's grand.

Netflix Instant Movies With 100% Ratings On Rotten Tomatoes

(click column header to sort results)
The Square
Waste Land
All About Eve
The Terminator
The Conformist
Man On Wire
The Taste of Others

Not a huge selection, it's true. But think of it as quality over quantity. Each film featured here not only has a pristine score from major critics across the board (and across the world), but each brings its own flavor and ingenuity which helped it to land on such an exclusive list.

Below, you will find a couple of capsule reviews of my favorites from this list. Perhaps you will find something of interest.

Review: Man On Wire

Documentarian James Marsh really broke the mold in 2008 when he directed the fantastic Man On Wire, the story of high wire walker Philippe Petit and his epic crossing of the World Trade Centers.

In the documentary we get in-depth retellings by Petit and his band of friends, all of whom inject theatricality and much emotion into the otherwise deadpan proceedings. The story winds us through Petit's early life, into his early flirtations with high wire walks, to finally his greatest feat, the walk between the Twin Towers, the photographs of which will stay with any viewer.

Petit's nerves are no doubt made of steel, but his words are near-poetic as he regales about his viewpoint on life and softly recounts circumstances that would make the average person shriek or have a breakdown. The movie is a warm and clear account of Petit's risk-taking artistry.

Review: The Terminator

More than a decade before Titanic and two before Avatar, James Cameron directed The Terminator. And while it was wildly successful at the box office like everything else he's done since, The Terminator had the rare combination of a dark, grinding sci-fi framework with a schlocky B-movie soul.

It is likely one of the most perfect action movies ever made. Arnold Schwarzenegger seemed built for the role of advanced robot mercenary from the future, in a role that would cement his stardom and carry the one-time Mr. Universe into a huge career that would include being governor (yep, of a state) and starring in many more Terminator films. Linda Hamilton co-stars as Sarah Connor, and she brings a mix of vulnerability and intensity to the part that made her the obvious choice.

In a nutshell, the story is that a robot is sent back in time to eliminate a woman who will someday give birth to John Connor, the leader of the human resistance against sentient robots. Great so far. Arnold is sent back in time and, donning a leather outfit and a shotgun, makes his way through L.A., wreaking havoc as he tries to find and terminate Sarah. But a soldier from the future is also sent back in time, to protect Sarah, and the two evade and fight the machine to awesome effect.

And while there are a bunch of sequels in this franchise, this film's immediate sequel Terminator 2: Judgment Day is the only one that comes close. Many people like it more than the original. There's a lot to it -- it's a bigger movie with larger stunts and crazier chases, and yet it somehow keeps a lot of the stripped-down nature that made the first movie so good. And yet, in its enormity, the second movie does lose a bit of the B-movie fun, instead becoming a less imaginative entry in the genre that the first film had refreshed in such a revolutionary way.

In Closing...

Okay, I get it, I talked a little too much about The Terminator back there. About 500 words too much. I know. Thank you for bearing with me. But I just was on a roll, and you know how it goes when you start using flowery language and elucidating on the parameters of... oh god, okay I'll stop now.

In closing, thank you for checking out the best rated films on Netflix Instant Watch. It's a fun and interesting list I think, though like I said earlier there are plenty of movies that are not here that I think are better. Sometimes, the movies that everybody agrees are good are not as good as the movies some think are great while others don't like or just don't get. Annie Hall and Fargo are great examples. A lot of critics -- the vast majority -- liked Annie Hall, but not quite all of them did. And yet I would say it's a better movie than The Terminator.

And with that huge revelation, I'll say thank you and good evening.

Survey Says!

How often do you agree with Netflix ratings?

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    • girishpuri profile image

      Girish puri 

      8 years ago from NCR , INDIA

      Indeed an addition to my knowledge, useful hub

    • Life as a Blog profile image

      Monty Hamilton 

      8 years ago from Austin, Texas

      Looks like I have some catching up to do on Netflix! Great hub!

    • mattdigiulio profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Los Angeles

      I can relate! It took me a bit to warm up to an otherwise slow-moving flick, but I have to say that George C Scott is one of my favorites so it compensated somehow.

      Thanks! Matt

    • theclevercat profile image

      Rachel Vega 

      8 years ago from Massachusetts

      I started "The Hospital" several months ago (twice!), but I just couldn't get into it. I'll have to check out "New York in the Fifties." Thanks for the list!

    • mattdigiulio profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Los Angeles

      Hi there, moonlake. I have not seen all of these, but the three I reviewed at the bottom of the Hub I have seen and loved. I highly recommend The Thin Blue Line. Let me know if you get a chance what kind of genres you're interested in and I can refer some your way!

    • moonlake profile image


      8 years ago from America

      I'm going to check these out. I have never seen any of them. Netflix has had very few we have liked. Voted up.

    • mattdigiulio profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Los Angeles

      DPresley - I agree totally. I never heard of half of these flicks before I went about my "research" (if you can really, seriously call it that.) Confessions is a fantastic film. Let me know if you have any wishes for future Netflix hubs. Best, Matt

    • DPresley profile image


      8 years ago from Arizona

      There were so many films I have never seen before on this list. Definitely going to have to check a few out...confessions of a Superhero was great though. Nice hub!

    • mattdigiulio profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Los Angeles

      Hey, billybuc, thanks for your thoughts. Best, Matt

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      8 years ago from Olympia, WA

      That was pretty interesting! I don't think I've seen 10% of that list. Guess I'd better get busy!


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