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Must-Watch Netflix Movies Coming In 2021 And Beyond

In spite of the relative novelty of Netflix as a major film studio, plenty of massive stars have already worked with the streamer on projects of wildly varying scope. Netflix has become a regular producer of Oscar bait like The Irishman and this year's most nominated film in Mank, but it also produces plenty of action movies, comedies, and horror movies that debut exclusively on the service. 

In 2021, the studio has plenty of high-profile projects for viewers. While some of these movies may have been originally intended for theatrical distribution, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to many more movies with major actors debuting only on Netflix or another streaming service. Now, Netflix is mixing titles that it produced from the start with others that it acquired at some point after they were made. Here's a look at the best Netflix has to offer in 2021 and beyond, in every genre imaginable.

Things Heard and Seen

Literary adaptations are Netflix's bread and butter, and Things Heard and Seen is the latest in that particular pipeline. The movie is based on the novel All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage, and is set to star Amanda Seyfried and James Norton. It follows a woman and her husband as they leave Manhattan to start a life in a small town, only to discover that her husband and their new home are both harboring secrets. 

This high-level description hews pretty close to the book, which follows a big city transplant as she's forced to grapple with secrets that she didn't know were hidden from her. Things Heard and Seen is directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, and it's unclear how much it will drift from the book on which it's based. When it hits Netflix on April 29 of this year, it could either fade into obscurity, or become one of the year's defining thrillers. 

The Woman in the Window

The Woman in the Window is based on the blockbuster novel of the same name, and stars Amy Adams as an agoraphobic doctor who spends a little too much time watching the lives of her neighbors. One day, she sees something she shouldn't have at her picture-perfect neighbor's house, and the rest of the book's thriller elements kick in from there. 

Adams isn't exactly a stranger to pulpy material. She was the star of Sharp Objects, a miniseries based on a thriller that managed to pull plenty of real pathos from the pages of its source material. The Woman in the Window, which is directed by Atonement and Pride & Prejudice director Joe Wright, could bring a similar level of prestige to fairly trashy material. 

The Woman in the Window also stars Gary Oldman and Anthony Mackie, and is sure to be highly entertaining. The Woman in the Window hits Netflix on May 14. 

Army of the Dead

Just a few months after Zack Snyder's cut of Justice League hit HBO Max, the director is debuting another new project. This one, titled Army of the Dead, is a sort-of-sequel to his directorial debut, Dawn of the Dead, which hit theaters more than 15 years ago. The film follows a group of mercenaries in the aftermath of a zombie outbreak who decide to venture into a quarantine zone in order to pull off the ultimate heist. 

None of the stars of Dawn of the Dead are returning for this film. It instead stars Dave Bautista, Matthias Schweighöfer, Theo Rossi, Tig Notaro, and Ella Purnell, among others. Like many movies now hitting Netflix, Snyder's film finished shooting before the COVID-19 outbreak began. 

Although the movie hasn't been received by general audiences yet, Netflix is apparently confident in what they've seen. They've already ordered a prequel film into development focused on Schweighöfer's character, and Schweighöfer also directed the project, which finished shooting in December of 2020. The film, which will be called Army of Thieves, is set during the early days of the zombie outbreak. 

Zack Snyder's Army of the Dead hits Netflix on May 21. 


Beckett has the kind of cast that makes it a must-see even before you know anything else about it. The movie, which follows a couple who are ensnared in a dangerous conspiracy while on vacation in Greece, stars John David Washington, Alicia Vikander, Boyd Holbrook, and Vicky Krieps.

Since his breakthrough performance in BlackKklansmen, Washington has proven to be a star in the making with roles in films like Tenet and Malcolm and Marie. Vikander won an Oscar a few years back and she remains a star worth paying attention to. Holbrook often plays villains, and Krieps is best known for her starring role opposite Daniel Day-Lewis in Phantom Thread. Ferdinando Cito Filomarino is set to direct the project, and Call Me By Your Name director Luca Guadagnino will serve as a producer. Given the all-star lineup that's been assembled, Beckett, which was previously titled Born to be Murdered, promises to be a thriller in the truest sense of the word.


Through much of 2020, the world looked like it was living through an apocalypse. As things (hopefully) begin to return to normal in 2021, audiences may have more time for a little dystopian fiction in their meda diet. Awake is set in an apocalyptic future in which all technology has stopped functioning, and humanity has lost the ability to sleep. Gina Rodriguez stars in the movie as a woman who, with some help from her daughter, may have found a way to reverse the crisis that the world finds itself dealing with. 

The movie also stars Jennifer Jason Leigh, Barry Pepper, and Finn Jones in supporting roles, and was directed by Mark Raso. Netflix has had major success in the past with projects set in dystopian futures like Bird Box, and it's possible that Awake could be the latest in that lineage. Gina Rodriguez has been a rising star in Hollywood for some time now, and it's about time for her to get her signature breakout movie role. When Awake hits Netflix, we'll find out whether this project is her leap into mega-stardom. 

Don't Look Up

Jennifer Lawrence has been acting less frequently in recent years. The last film she appeared in was X-Men: Dark Phoenix, but the last project she truly starred in was 2018's Red Sparrow. Now, the actress is set to return with Don't Look Up, which also stars Leonardo DiCaprio and was written and directed by The Big Short director Adam McKay. 

The movie is clearly one of Netflix's biggest projects this year, and features a truly bonkers cast even without factoring in the leads. The cast also includes Timothée Chalamet, Cate Blanchett, Meryl Streep, Jonah Hill, Chris Evans, Ariana Grande, and Kid Cudi. Given the cast that's been assembled for the project, it's clear that Netflix has a lot of hopes that Don't Look Up could factor into the awards race. 

The movie focuses on two low-level astronomers who are attempting to warn mankind about an asteroid that will soon destroy Earth. The astronomers go on a media tour to achieve this goal, and the movie has readily apparent parallels to the real-world problems humanity faces around climate change. McKay, DiCaprio and Lawrence have all been fairly outspoken about their feelings about the climate crisis, and it seems that they've now decided to make a movie about it. Given the high-profile nature of the project, expectations for the movie will also be quite high, and we're excited to see whether Don't Look Up will be able to meet them.

Escape from Spiderhead

Although Chris Hemsworth will always be Thor to many, the actor has taken many risks outside of the Marvel universe. His latest project is Escape from Spiderhead, which also stars Miles Teller and Jurnee Smollett. Based on a short story by George Saunders, the movie is set in the near future, and follows two convicts who grapple with their pasts even as they're being experimented on by their captors. The experiments involve the use of mind-bending drugs, which could take the movie in a wide variety of different directions. 

Directed by Joseph Kosinski, who also directed Top Gun: Maverick and Oblivion, it seems safe to say that Escape from Spiderhead is going to have a few action set pieces scattered throughout its run time and it's possible that the movie could feature a number of trippy, surreal dream sequences. Escape from Spiderhead doesn't have an official release date but is set to premiere in 2021.

The Guilty

Adapted from a popular and acclaimed Danish movie of the same name, The Guilty features an all-star cast both in front of and behind the camera. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as a police officer who's demoted to desk duty and feels conflicted after he receives a 9-1-1 call from a woman who claims she's been kidnapped. 

In addition to Gyllenhaal, the movie also stars Ethan Hawke, Riley Keough, Paul Dano and Peter Sarsgaard and was written by True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto. If that pedigree wasn't enough, Antoine Fuqua is directing the film. The director knows how to create arresting thrillers, especially in the world of law enforcement. His most famous movie is probably still Training Day, which won Denzel Washington an Oscar and offered a look at a side of policing that most audiences at the time weren't accustomed to seeing.

The Harder They Fall

A revenge western is always worth watching, and that's especially true when your cast is as stacked as the cast of The Harder They Fall. The film stars Jonathan Majors as Nat, an outlaw who reassembles his former gang in order to seek revenge on the man who murdered his parents. In addition to Majors, the movie also stars Idris Elba, Regina King, Zazie Beetz, Delroy Lindo, and LaKeith Stanfield. 

Along with Concrete Cowboy, which was released earlier this year, The Harder They Fall is seeking to redefine the rules of the western, and force the stories of Black people into the narrative. Directed by Jeymes Samuel, who is best known for his work as a singer-songwriter, The Harder They Fall could be an incredibly promising title when it hits Netflix in 2021. Majors, who starred in Lovecraft Country after breaking out for his performance in The Last Black Man in San Francisco, is proving to be a major talent, and he's buoyed by a crew of all-stars. 

The Last Letter From Your Lover

Author Jojo Moyes has already had some success on the big screen thanks to the adaptation of her blockbuster novel Me Before You. With The Last Letter From Your Lover, Netflix is attempting to replicate some of that success, and make another movie that will reduce audiences to weepy messes. 

The movie tells a dual narrative. It follows Ellie, a present day journalist in London who discovers letters from the 1960s between Jennifer Stirling (Shailene Woodley) and Anthony O'Hare (Callum Turner) and becomes obsessed with the love story that unfolds within them. Ellie becomes more and more determined to discover the identities of the lovers described in the letters, one of whom loses their memory in a car accident. 

Jones, in particular, seems excited by the role. "The moment I was sent the script, the stars just aligned," she told Entertainment Weekly. "I liked how human it was; it was just an immediate response. It had such fun to it, as well as being quite emotional." 

Like all of Moyes's novels, The Last Letter From Your Lover is above all else, a movie designed to make its reader inconsolable. The film adaptation, which is being directed by Augustine Frizzell, will surely leave audiences in a puddle of their own tears whether it's any good or not. 


Kate is a revenge thriller with a twist. Mary Elizabeth Winstead stars as an assassin who discovers that she has 24 hours left to live, and decides to use that time to track down the person who ensured her death and make sure that he pays for it. The film also stars Michiel Huisman and Woody Harrelson, and was directed by Cedric Nicolas-Troyan.

Kate is the latest entry in the new trend of female assassin centered action movies, including Atomic BlondeRed Sparrow, and Black Widow. It's unclear whether Kate will be a contemplative, moody film, or one that's more focused on the action set pieces that it will undoubtedly feature. Regardless, though, it's clear that the recent surge in movies about women who kill is here to stay, at least for the near future. The date for Kate's release on Netflix hasn't been announced yet, but it's safe to say that the movie will thrill plenty of people when it eventually debuts on the service sometime in 2021. 


Based on a novel by Walter Dean Myer, Monster follows a young boy whose world is turned completely upside down after he's accused of murder. Kelvin Harrison Jr. — best known for arthouse films like Luce and Waves — stars in the lead role, and he's surrounded by supporting players like Jennifer Hudson, John David Washington, Jeffrey Wright and A$AP Rocky. 

The film is coming from first-time director Anthony Mandler, who to this point is best known now as a director of music videos. He's worked with Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj, and the Jonas Brothers. Now that Mandler is moving his talents into a longer format, it's hard to know exactly what to expect. Even so, given the serious nature of the subject matter and the all-star cast he's managed to assemble, there's plenty of reason to be hopeful about Monster.

Monster is set to hit Netflix on May 7. 

The Power of the Dog

A new project from acclaimed filmmaker Jane Campion is always a reason for celebration, and The Power of the Dog is no exception. The film tells the story of a pair of brothers whose rivalry intensifies after one of them gets married. The film is based on a novel by Thomas Savage and is set on a ranch. Jesse Plemmons and Kirsten Dunst, who are a couple in real life, lead the cast of the film, which also includes Benedict Cumberbatch and Thomasin McKenzie. 

Campion has not directed a feature film since 2009's Bright Star. In the past decade, she's instead produced two seasons of Top of the Lake, a crime show set in her native New Zealand. The series received critical acclaim, but many film buffs have been eagerly anticipating Campion's return to moviemaking. The Power of the Dog will be that return, and it'll hopefully hit Netflix at some point in 2021. 

Red Notice

Red Notice feels like a Fast and Furious film without the franchise tag. The movie, which stars Ryan Reynolds, Dwayne Johnson, and Gal Gadot, follows an Interpol agent who is charged with tracking down the world's most notorious art thief. The movie is an action comedy that reteams Johnson with director Rawson Marshall Thurber, who he's already worked with on Central Intelligence and Skyscraper

It's unclear exactly what tone Red Notice will strike. Reynolds' presence suggests that the movie will feature some quips, and Johnson is known to be fairly capable as a comedic performer. Red Notice is one of the biggest projects that Netflix has coming down the pike in 2021, thanks mainly to the all-star cast that has been assembled for the film. 

Thus far in his career, Johnson has largely starred in movies that debuted in theaters, and Red Notice represents one of his first moves toward the world of streaming. The movie doesn't have an exact release date yet, but Netflix gave it plenty of hype in its 2021 trailer for the year, so the movie should be out before we see 2022.

Sweet Girl

The main appeal of Sweet Girl is likely to be Jason Momoa doing his best impersonation of Liam Neeson in Taken. The movie stars Momoa as a man out for revenge following the death of his wife (Marisa Tomei), even as he attempts to protect his daughter. The movie is directed by Brian Andrew Mendoza, who is making his feature directorial debut. 

Other than Momoa and Tomei, the cast of Sweet Girl isn't full of super well-known faces. The movie also stars Isabela Merced, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Raza Jaffrey and Adria Arjona. This is another project that has been sitting on the shelf for awhile. Filming on the project began in November of 2019 and concluded in February of 2020, before COVID lockdowns began in the US. It's unclear exactly when the movie will hit Netflix, although when it does, fans of Momoa's will likely be eager to see what he's like when he's not playing Aquaman or Khal Drogo.

tick, tick...BOOM

Lin-Manuel Miranda is already known as a hugely prolific creator. The mind behind In the Heights and the Broadway smash Hamilton rocketed to fame following the latter show's success, and has remained a prominent figure ever since. Although Miranda has composed music for films, and has even helped to shepherd In the Heights to the big screen, he has yet to step into the director's chair himself, until now. 

tick, tick...BOOM stars film stars Andrew Garfield as an aspiring Broadway composer whose goal is to write the next great Broadway phenomenon, even as he worries that his upcoming 30th birthday means he's missed his window. 

Although the movie certainly has parallels to Miranda's life, it's based on the semi-autobiographical musical of the same name by the late Jonathan Larson, writer and composer of Rent. It will be interesting to see how Miranda's sensibilities work with or against a text that he didn't actually create. tick, tick...BOOM doesn't have a premiere date yet, but it's supposed to hit Netflix in 2021

The Last Mercenary

There was a time when Jean-Claude Van Damme was the biggest action star in the world. Although that time has definitely passed, Van Damme is clearly out to prove that he's still got what it takes. In The Last Mercenary, he stars as a former secret service agent who has to defend his son against allegations that he's smuggling drugs and arms as part of a scheme cooked up by the mob. 

Although Van Damme is not as widely beloved as he once was, action fans of a certain age are certainly thrilled to hear that he's got a new film coming down the pike. Even younger action fans who missed Van Damme's first wave of popularity may find that there's a lot to love when it comes to his action persona. The Last Mercenary is directed by David Charhon, and it doesn't yet have an official release date on Netflix. 

Fear Street

This is a horror franchise worth getting excited about. The Fear Street films adapt R.L. Stine's novels of the same name, and follow a group of teenagers in a town in Ohio who begin investigating a string of murders that may be connected. Fear Street is the first installment, but the books were a series, and the first film and as well as the two sequels were shot at the same time

There were initial plans to release each film in the series in theaters with space in between, but that plan eventually changed. Now, Deadline reports that Netflix is planning to release each installment in the franchise a month apart, which will allow each movie some breathing room and keep the conversation around the franchise at a fever pitch. 

Although most of the members of the cast are young unknowns, there are some familiar faces filling out the supporting cast for the project. Those faces include Gillian Jacobs and Ashley Zukerman. While it's unclear when the first movie in this trilogy will be released, Netflix is clearly hoping to keep viewers hooked the platform by providing a regular dose of scares. 


Marilyn Monroe has been the subject of many documentaries and made-for-TV movies, but there's never been a big budget Hollywood blockbuster about her. Now, Norma Jean is set to get just that when Ana De Armas plays the hugely famous actress in Blonde. The film is based on a Joyce Carol Oates book of the same name, and will also star Adrien Brody, Julianne Nicholson, and Bobby Cannavale. 

The movie is set to take a more comprehensive look at Monroe's career, including her rise to prominence and her eventual death at a tragically young age. 

De Armas had her breakout role in 2019's Knives Out, in which she was paired against a number of enormous movie stars and more than held her own. Now, it seems that De Armas working to prove that she has what it takes to become one of Hollywood's go-to leading ladies. Andrew Dominik is set to direct Blonde, which doesn't have an official release date yet. 


Lena Waithe is one of the most prolific creators on the planet, and her latest project is set to make its debut on Netflix. Beauty tells the story of a rising pop story who's in a relationship with a butch lesbian. When she signs a major recording contract, her identity and her relationship begin to disappear. The film is set to star Gracie Marie Bradley, and will be directed by Andrew Dosunmo. 

Although Waithe is not a musician, the story of Beauty seems to speak at least partially to her own experience as a young, Black lesbian who is suddenly faced with enormous levels of success. Waithe has experienced this success in recent years thanks to both her on-camera roles and her work as a screenwriter behind the scenes. Now, it seems Waithe may be writing a story about what it means to reckon with your fame, and how you can remain true to yourself inside of a system of celebrity that is designed to sand off the rough edges of a person's identity. 

Beauty doesn't have an official release date yet, but will hit Netflix at some point in the future. 


Halle Berry has been a reliable on screen presence for years, but with Bruised, shes both starring and hopping behind the camera. In the film, she plays a former MMA fighter who is working to regain custody of her daughter and make a return to her career in the ring. Movies about fighters have been a consistent part of Hollywood's history, and they're often well received. 

In recent years, films like Creed, Warrior, and even Million Dollar Baby have proven that there are still plenty of new stories you can tell in the world of professional fighting — especially when combined with family drama outside the ring. As such, the genre of MMA and boxing films remains alive and well in modern cinema, and now it's Berry's turn to enter the ring. Bruised will also be the first real opportunity to see whether Berry has a future as a director.