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The Coolest Movies on Netflix Instant Watch

Updated on August 10, 2015

Oh, Netflix...

We love cool movies. And we love Netflix. So what are the coolest movies on Netflix Instant Watch? I mean, really cool. Explosions cool. Monte Carlo cool. Mustachioed Bond villains cool. Steve McQueen cool.

What movies can attest to this level of coolness? Well, none really. I built that up too much, and now here we are, with deflated hopes. Sorry.

There really are no movies out there that are quite as cool as Steve McMuffin, but we here at the Institute of Platitudinous Research have culled the archives to find out which movies are the coolest of those currently available through Netflix Instant Watch's video streaming service. We've slaved day after day, eating popcorn kernel after popcorn kernel, sleeping then napping then sleeping then scratching, to figure out which movies hold the trophy for slyness and swagger.

So get out your tuxedos and cocktail dresses, blow the dust off that 1961 Je Blah Francais champagne you've been hiding, light yourself a smooth candy cigarette (the kind that tastes like chalk and wicker), and flip on one of these screen beauties. I promise these movies are so cool, you'll be tap-dancing circles around Bogart, giving Sinatra atomic wedgies, and prank-calling Eastwood in no time!

Total Recall

By 1990, Arnold Schwarzenegger was box-office gold. And he didn't disappoint as the lead in Total Recall. Paul Verhoeven directs this sci-fi action flick about a construction worker who decides one day to take a fantasy vacation wherein he receives a memory implant and experiences life as a spy. But the fun escape he was hoping for becomes something else entirely.

This is a really cool movie. The plot skips right along at a quick beat and there is lots of intrigue. A great film, Total Recall co-stars Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside, and Rachel Ticotin. A must for any action buff. And apparently there was a remake made in 2012? Okay, I haven't seen it, but I guarantee just from looking at the cover of the box that it is lacking any of the fun schlockitude of the original.

Reservoir Dogs

This is the one that made Quentin Tarantino a household name. Reservoir Dogs is a film that stars some of the coolest people of all time -- Michael Madsen, Harvey Keitel -- and it concerns itself with a bank robbery gone bad.

A stickup crew made up of professionals try to rob a jewelry store, but the cops are there waiting for them. The majority of the movie takes place at the warehouse rendezvous, where one by one each of the robbers return battered and confused. They argue with each other over the mystery of why the cops were there, how they got away, and who's the one who snitched. In the process, fights break out, guns are pulled, and there's even a little torture.

This is one of the coolest flicks ever. It cemented Michael Madsen as a guy you don't want to mess with, it gave us a new kind of grittiness that we've long wished for from cinema, and the scriptwriting by Tarantino is unlike anything else out there (well, except other Tarantino movies).

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

What can you say about this movie that hasn't already been said? I know, I say that a lot in these review things (ahem, my review of Lost), but here I mean it. Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman) and Sundance (Robert Redford) are two gun-toting bank robbers in the wild west. They get themselves into all kinds of trouble with the law, the banks, and bounty hunters, and they always seem to escape by the slimmest margin.

This is the action movie in its prime. It's also a great old-timey homage to westerns, a la Sergio Leone. It also features quite possibly the two coolest actors ever, together, and in very cool roles.

Jackie Brown

Yep, Quentin Tarantino gets a second spot on this list. How could he not? You tell me Reservoir Dogs and Jackie Brown are not two of the coolest things out there. I mean, these are just great.

Jackie Brown is my favorite Tarantino flick, just edging out the Kill Bill movies. Everything the guy ever put to screen was undoubtedly cool, but Jackie Brown was able to synthesize all of the B-movie soul and incandescent writing style with a full-fledged, straight action plot. Whereas most of his films are told in parts and include many smaller stories that make a whole (Pulp Fiction, anyone?), Jackie Brown eschews a lot of this for a more subtle and thoughtful film. All the indicators of a Tarantino joint are still there, just cooled down a bit.

The ensemble cast is led by Pam Grier starring as the eponymous flight attendant, who must stay one step ahead of both the law and an unpredictable pimp (Samuel L. Jackson). Robert Forster, Bridget Fonda, Robert De Niro, Michael Keaton, and Chris Tucker co-star.

The acting, the action, the writing, the soundtrack -- all blend to make for a hypnotic filmic experience. Made in 2002, the film feels like it was made in the early nineties, yet it also feels way ahead of its time. Tarantino is at the top of his game here, and yet the film never seems to be trying to prove anything. And that adds to the allure.


Jean-Pierre Jeunet directed this 2001 French film about a young woman who has a unique view of the world. It's a fun and stylish movie that is endlessly charming.

Audrey Tautou stars as Amelie, who enjoys the small things in life. We see her as a shy waitress at a small cafe, where she does her daily routines. We see flashbacks to a childhood where the home was unloving and neurotic. Amelie goes through life pretty much invisible, until one day she receives news that changes everything.

She starts experiencing the world and forming sometimes small yet meaningful connections with others. She starts seeing her life with a kind of purpose.

This film did really well at the box-office, and for good reason. It's a smart film that has a lot to offer. And even with subtitles, it's still one of the most accessible and evocative films you'll find.

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    • Geoff Morova profile image

      Geoff Morova 5 years ago from South Dakota

      Netflix is a great place to watch some older movies. However, most of the new releases aren't on the instant watch list and you still have to rent the actual DVD. It's still completely worth the $7.99/month, though, because you also get TV shows.

    • mattdigiulio profile image

      mattdigiulio 5 years ago

      Kawika, thanks for pointing that out. I wonder how many great martial arts flicks there are on Netflix? Best, Matt

    • KawikaChann profile image

      KawikaChann 5 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place

      The coolest thing is to surf the movies, I find myself fishing out martial art flicks in the foreign tabs all the time. If you find a good one, you are most satisfied because you were entertained, and you didn't even have to put on pants to watch it!!! Peace. Kawi.

    • mattdigiulio profile image

      mattdigiulio 5 years ago

      Stina, that's great news. I'm glad my list could be of some use to you. All the best, Matt D.

    • Stina Caxe profile image

      Cristina 5 years ago from Virginia

      This is a fantastic list. Since i haven't seen all of these I am sure you have just saved me some time next time I am bored and browsing Netflix for something to entertain me!

    • mattdigiulio profile image

      mattdigiulio 5 years ago

      Hahah Stigma. The Netflix selection up there is crappier than down here? Is this true? In this case, maybe I should make a few Canada Netflix lists?

    • Stigma31 profile image

      Stigma31 5 years ago from Kingston, ON

      Great hub...always up for a cool movie. Even though I am in Canada and our selection sucks....good picks! Voting up!

    • theclevercat profile image

      Rachel Vega 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Dang! I tried to add Battle Royale to my queue and it's gone. Oh well, guess I'll catch it another time. Thanks so much for these lists -- it's like having a private shopper. ;^) (Reservoir Dogs NEVER gets old!)

    • Life as a Blog profile image

      Monty Hamilton 5 years ago from Austin, Texas

      William Goldman, the screenwriter of Butch and Sundance, is one of my favorite writers, so it has always been one of my favorite flicks (plus you can't go wrong with Newman and Redford). Also love Reservoir Dogs, Dirty Harry, and Ghost Dog! Great article!

    • mattdigiulio profile image

      mattdigiulio 5 years ago

      Mona Lisa is one of my favorites. Sorely underrated. Thanks!

    • Cogerson profile image

      Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

      You have listed some pretty awesome movies....with Butch Cassidy, Reservoir Dogs and Dirty Harry being favorites of mine....glad to see Mona Lisa get a shout out.....Michael Caine is awesome as the villain and Bob Hoskins is outstanding as the hero....voted up and useful.

    • mattdigiulio profile image

      mattdigiulio 5 years ago

      Hey Aubrey, Thanks! I'll be coming out with lists for the horror and foreign genres next. Lemme know if you have any movie ideas.

      Best, Matt

    • CrazedNovelist profile image

      A.E. Williams 5 years ago from Hampton, GA

      Good job. I've only seen Reservoir Dogs (It is an awesome movie). Thanks for the Netflix update... would love to see more in other genres.


    • mattdigiulio profile image

      mattdigiulio 5 years ago

      Thank you Chen Suen! I love it when people find stuff they've either seen or want to see. Battle Royale is a twisted head-trip but a darn good time. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Chen Suen profile image

      Chen Suen 5 years ago from Arcadia, California

      Great suggestions! I haven't watched all of these so I'll have to add them to my queue. Battle Royale is a good one. Whenever I tell people about this movie, people usually have no idea what the move is about. It's a pretty sick and twisted plot. I haven't seen Hunger Games yet, but it sounds like something similar. THanks again!

    • mattdigiulio profile image

      mattdigiulio 5 years ago

      rcrumple -- Thanks! I couldn't agree more, that bike ride scene never seems like it will end!

    • rcrumple profile image

      Rich 5 years ago from Kentucky

      Good Post! Butch & Sundance is the definitive "cool" western of all time, bar none. By mixing action, romance & comedy it fits the bill. However, if I have to listen to "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" one more time, I'll probably find a train to blow up! Enjoyed!