Three faces from Netflix international movies, each looking at something in the distance

Netflix‘s offerings extend far beyond the big-budget blockbusters of Hollywood.

They might not be the first movies that pop up on your trending section, but the streaming giant has an excellent range from around the world — and we’ve rounded up the best of them below. (In this case, we’re defining “international” as anything that wasn’t made in the U.S.).

From the gritty coming-of-age realism of the French film Divines and the suspense of Oxygen to the dazzling Japanese anime of Bubble and the riotous comedy of New Zealand’s The Breaker Upperers, here are the best international movies now on Netflix.

1. Atlantics

A woman and a man embrace outdoors while bright green lights shine in the background.

Mati Diop’s “Atlantics” won the Cannes Grand Prix in 2019.
Credit: Netflix

A hazy mystery that flicks between dream and nightmare, Atlantics tells the story of a group of young men who leave Senegal by boat after their construction boss refuses to pay them. Writer-director Mati Diop seamlessly weaves genres in this debut, with romance and detective story gradually making way for something altogether eerier. Claire Mathon’s sunlit cinematography is the perfect backdrop, while Fatima Al Qadiri’s score only adds to this film’s beauty. As the winner of the 2019 Cannes Grand Prix and Senegal’s Academy Award entry for Best International Feature Film, Atlantics is also one of Netflix’s best original movies of that year. — Sam Haysom, Deputy UK Editor

Where to watch: Atlantics is now streaming on Netflix.

2. The Breaker Upperers

Two women stand next to each other outdoors; one raises binoculars.


Credit: Netflix

This hidden gem comes from New Zealand, the fertile comedy ground that gave us Taika Waititi, Flight of the Conchords, and What We Do in the Shadows. Waititi collaborators Jackie van Beek, James Rolleston, and Jemaine Clement team up for a deeply quirky buddy comedy about two long-time besties with a bonkers — but brilliant — business model. Need someone to dump your partner so you can avoid a messy confrontation? Call on Jen and Mel (co-writers/co-directors/co-leads van Beek and Madeleine Sami). For a reasonable fee, these fearless Breaker Upperers will impersonate police officers, play pregnant, or even fake your death to help you ghost an ex. Whatever the shenanigans, van Beek and Sami sparkle. Booming with wild humor and big heart, this comedy is guaranteed to leave you cackling.* — Kristy Puchko, Deputy Entertainment Editor

Where to watch: The Breaker Upperers is now streaming on Netflix.

3. Divines

Two women sit looking at a third woman.

Houda Benyamina’s “Divines” is a tough but captivating watch.
Credit: Netflix

Fair warning: This one is not an easy watch. Although French director Houda Benyamina’s Divines does have some lighter moments, it’s really a warts-and-all story about the grim reality of growing up in poverty — and the lengths some people might go to in order to escape it. The film follows Dounia (Oulaya Amamra) and Maimouna (Déborah Lukumuena), two teenage best friends who start working for charismatic local drug dealer Rebecca (Jisca Kalvanda) to try and make a living on the outskirts of Paris. The characters and acting are both perfect, the script is sharp and thoughtful, and the world it portrays is as captivating as it is terrifying. — S.H.

Where to watch: Divines is now streaming on Netflix.

4. First They Killed My Father

A young girl lies against a grassy bank.

“First They Killed My Father” is based on Loung Ung’s powerful memoir.
Credit: Netflix

Set during the brutal 1975 takeover by Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, First They Killed My Father shows the horrors of war from the perspective of a 5-year-old girl. Based on the memoir by Loung Ung and brilliantly directed by Angelina Jolie, the movie follows the Ung family as they’re forced from their home and made to endure separation, forced labour, and violence at the hands of the new regime. The film is unrelentingly tense from the beginning and very hard to watch at times, but it’s also a moving insight into humanity’s ability to overcome even the most devastating of traumas. — S.H.

Where to watch: First They Killed My Father is now streaming on Netflix.

5. His House

A man sitting in water is approached by dark figures through an orange mist.

Ṣọpẹ Dìrísù as Bol Majur in “His House”.
Credit: Aidan Monaghan / Netflix

The best types of horror films are more than just a trickbox of scares. Some are character studies, others explore deeper themes or grapple with complex social issues, and a few manage to move you in more ways than just a raising of the pulse. British writer-director Remi Weekes’ debut His House does all of the above at once.

Following asylum seekers Bol (Ṣọpẹ Dìrísù) and Rial (Wunmi Mosaku) as they arrive in the UK from South Sudan only to be thrust into an unforgiving world of bureaucracy and racism, His House melds drama with a claustrophobic haunted house mystery. Noises echo in the walls, and Bol’s fear and paranoia grow along with ours. But it’s only as the movie progresses, and Jo Willems’ creative cinematography starts hinting at what took place in the past, that the true horror of His House is revealed.* — S.H.

How to watch: His House is now streaming on Netflix.

6. Hunt for the Wilderpeople

A man and a boy holding guns walk through the woods.

Julian Dennison and Sam Neill in “Hunt for the Wilderpeople.”
Credit: Piki Films / Kobal / Shutterstock

Taika Waititi’s last New Zealand-set film, released after What We Do in the Shadows (the movie) but before Thor: Ragnarok, follows a spiky, defiant young teenager named Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison), who finds himself and his dog Tupac on the lam in the New Zealand bush with a cantankerous and reluctant carer (Sam Neill), pursued by a dogged but well-meaning child services agent (Rachel House). Dennison is a gift in this, his toughness and sweetness and indignant speeches creating one of the most instantly memorable, lovable teenage characters in recent memory (which he reprised in Deadpool 2). And Neill’s gruff “Uncle” Hec traces the contours of the “taciturn old fella comes to care for the scrappy kid” arc with so much nuance it feels made anew. The utter genius House, meanwhile, who Waititi rightly yoinked into the MCU with him in Ragnarok, almost steals the show as the hysterically relentless “villain” of the film. (“I’m like the Terminator. You’re like Sarah Connor. In the first one, before she could do chin-ups.”) 

It’s an occasionally devastating coming-of-age tale for both main characters, a story of the revelation that you can go much farther when you let other people in. But more than anything, it’s hysterically funny.* — Caitlin Welsh, Australia Editor

How to watch: Hunt for the Wilderpeople is now streaming on Netflix.

7. I Lost My Body

An animated man sits next to an animated woman by a window.

Jérémy Clapin’s “I Lost My Body” is adapted from Guillaume Laurant’s novel.
Credit: Netflix

If you like your movies beautifully crafted, tear-inducing, and loaded with clever symbolism, Jérémy Clapin’s I Lost My Body deserves a place on your list. Adapted from Guillaume Laurant’s novel, the César-winning, French animated fantasy/drama begins with its main character Naoufel (Hakim Faris, Dev Patel in the English dub) losing his hand. It then splits into two intertwined narratives that follow 1) Naoufel’s childhood backstory and 2) Naoufel’s severed hand journeying across the city of Paris in an attempt to be reunited with its owner. (Yep, I know how that sounds, but it’s actually a whole lot more poetic than that description would suggest.) As much a coming-of-age drama as it is a meditation on fate and destiny, I Lost My Body is the kind of film that will stay with you long after the credits have rolled. — S.H.

How to watch: I Lost My Body is now streaming on Netflix.

8. Ip Man

A serious-looking man stands in a martial arts stance.

Donnie Yen stars in “Ip Man.”
Credit: Mandarin / Kobal / Shutterstock

The Ip Man movies are some of the greatest martial arts movies in recent decades, period. The martial artist at their centre, Ip Man, is best known as the teacher of perhaps the most influential artist of all time, Bruce Lee. The first movie, from 2008, begins five years before Lee’s birth and is an incredible and inspiring film that lays out the more relaxed style of the Wing Chun martial art form as Man defends himself and those around him from Chinese challengers and later the invading Japanese military. The subsequent movies follow the development and spread of martial arts around the world in the 20th century with some of the most impressive action scenes in martial arts film history, starring Donnie Yen as Ip Man. If you enjoy the first film, the next three, all of which are on Netflix, are excellent follow-ups, ending with the bleeding of Chinese martial arts into the U.S. with the help of Lee. — Kellen Beck, Entertainment Reporter

How to watch: Ip Man is now streaming on Netflix.

9. Klaus

An animated man in a hat looks up at a large animated man with a white beard.


Credit: Netflix

Sometimes all you really want to watch is an animated movie about Christmas. Spanish director Sergio Pablos crafts a beautiful Father Christmas origin story in Klaus, an adventure that starts with an arrogant postman being banished to a gloomy island in the north before leading on to the unlikely friendship he forms with a surly and reclusive toymaker. It has pretty much everything you’d want from an animated family movie: colourful characters, wonderfully-imagined landscapes, and the perfect combination of slapstick humour and dry sarcasm. — S.H.

How to watch: Klaus is now streaming on Netflix.

10. Oxygen

A woman lies on her back in a metal container.

Not one to watch if you’re claustrophobic.
Credit: Netflix

A futuristic twist on the fear of being buried alive, Alexandre Aja’s Oxygen is a claustrophobic nightmare about a woman who wakes up in a cryogenic box with no idea of who she is or how she got there. The good news? She’s able to communicate with the outside world via a robotic medical unit called M.I.L.O. The bad news? Nobody she speaks to seems willing to come clean with her, and her oxygen reserves are quickly spiraling toward 0 percent. Mélanie Laurent perfectly captures the short-breathed dread of this role, and Christie LeBlanc’s screenplay has enough twists and turns to keep the story racing along at a heart-pounding pace. Just tread carefully if you have a fear of tight spaces — this one won’t be a fun watch for claustrophobics.* — S.H.

How to watch: Oxygen is now streaming on Netflix.

11. The Platform

An elderly man sitting on a prison bed holds a knife and a book.

Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia’s “The Platform” is an unsettling sci-fi thriller.
Credit: Netflix

Prison cells stacked one on top of the other, with holes in the floor and ceiling. Randomly assigned levels that change each month. And a platform of food that gets slowly lowered from the very top, getting sparser and sparser with each floor it descends. This is the concept at the centre of Spanish director Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia’s The Platform, a disturbing sci-fi thriller that wears its capitalist analogy plainly on its prison garb sleeve. It’s one of those rare gems where the execution is as strong as the idea at its core, driven by an excellent screenplay from David Desola and Pedro Rivero that’s dripping with horror and suspense. If you’re a fan of movies like The Cube or Saw, this is well worth checking out. — S.H.

How to watch: The Platform is now streaming on Netflix.

12. Ravenous (Les Affames)

A woman holding a gun stands in the mist.


Credit: Netflix

Robin Aubert’s Ravenous is like Canada’s answer to The Walking Dead. Set in a rural village in Quebec, the movie follows a disparate group of survivors in the aftermath of a mysterious event that’s led to a large chunk of the population — you guessed it — suddenly developing an appetite for human flesh. The zombies in Ravenous are fast and hungry, the characters are varied, and the film has a quiet sense of realism that sets it aside from your typical zombie blockbuster. — S.H.

How to watch: Ravenous is now streaming on Netflix.

13. Rocks

A group of children stare into the camera.

The cast of “Rocks” truly make Sarah Gavron’s film.
Credit: Altitude Films

Suffragette director Sarah Gavron’s coming-of-age film Rocks was hands down one of the best British films of 2020. Written by Nigerian-British playwright and screenwriter Theresa Ikoko alongside writer Claire Wilson, the film is an empowering, moving, superbly-acted ode to the underestimated resilience of teenage girls. 

Newcomer Bukky Bakray is outstanding as London teenager Olushola — everyone calls her “Rocks” — whose mother suddenly abandons her and her younger brother Emmanuel (D’angelou Osei Kissiedu). Wanting to avoid going into foster care, Rocks must come up with every plan she can to care for her brother, all while attempting to continue life as normal around her friends. Kosar Ali is exceptional as her best friend Sumaya, while Shaneigha-Monik Greyson brings intensity to new girl Roshé.* — S.C.

How to watch: Rocks is now streaming on Netflix.

14. Roma

A group of people huddle together on a beach.

Make time for Alfonso Cuarón’s Oscar-winning film “Roma.”
Credit: Carlos Somonte

The first foreign-language film to win an Oscar for best director, Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma greets viewers at the intersection of personal reflection and cinematic excellence. The black-and-white film follows live-in housekeeper Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), an Indigenous woman who works for an affluent family in Mexico City, finding a sense of humanity that is uniquely memorable.* — Alison Foreman, Entertainment Reporter

How to watch: Roma is now streaming on Netflix.

15. Sir

A man and woman sit facing each other in a dark room.

Ashwin (Vivek Gomber) and Ratna (Tillotama Shome) in “Sir.”
Credit: Netflix

First-time feature director Rohena Gera sticks the landing with 2018’s Sir, which was only released in cinemas in November 2020 and hit Netflix early in 2021. It’s essential Indian cinema. Tillotama Shome stars as Ratna, a live-in housemaid to upper-middle-class Ashwin. Housemaids are common in India, where the film is set, but Ratna and Ashwin develop a slow-simmering and socially unthinkable love. 

With Gera’s writing and direction, this unlikely story never feels forced. The love blooms organically, in furtive looks and hefty silence and the trust they develop as Ashwin recovers from a broken engagement and Ratna tells him about her late husband. The result is a film so soft and stirring that it will stay with you long after it ends.* — Proma Khosla, Entertainment Reporter

How to watch: Sir is now streaming on Netflix.

16. Incantation

A woman closes her eyes and holds her hands back to back in a dark room.

Don’t go into this one lightly.
Credit: Netflix

Kevin Ko’s Taiwanese horror freaked people out so much that it even started a TikTok challenge and managed to become the all-time highest-grossing horror film in Taiwan. “When one imagines horror movies, it’s almost impossible to not associate them with jump scares, monsters, or slashers,” wrote Rizwana Zafer for Mashable. “Incantation does not rely on any of those typical horror movie factors, so it’s not really ‘scary’ in the traditional sense. Instead, Ko manages to terrify us using suspense and dread, built on the intimacy and psychological terror of the heroine. He plays on our deepest fears to scare us, incorporating elements of gore, trypophobia, and the eeriness of the unknown, that something evil is always lurking in the background.”* — S.H.

How to watch: Incantation is now streaming on Netflix.

17. Seoul Vibe

Three men and a woman stand arm in arm, staring at another woman.

Life in the fast lane.
Credit: Song Kyungsub / Netflix

Moon Hyun-sung’s high-speed thriller mixes violence and comedy, following a group of five would-be racers in the run-up to the 1988 summer Seoul Olympics.

“This one is for fans of the early days of The Fast and the Furious, when the stunts were all drifting and not escaping submarines, going to space, and pushing torpedoes away with one’s bare hands,” wrote Mashable’s Shannon Connellan in her review. “There’s no NOS here; the biggest tech upgrade you’ll see is Joon-gi sitting in the backseat hand-pumping water to cool Dong-wook’s car engine during a race. But the film includes multiple customisation montages of the Sanggye-dong Supreme Team tinkering on their own heist-friendly designs, which F&F fans will love, along with some seriously impressive stunt sequences — the last of which teeters on late-F&F drama.

“Seoul Vibe is the kind of big action heist movie made for stuffing popcorn in your face and audibly ‘woah’-ing at. Don’t overthink it — just get in.” — S.H.

How to watch: Seoul Vibe is now streaming on Netflix.

18. Bubble

Two anime characters, one male and one female, stare at each other through a swarm of glowing bubbles.

Dazzling animation.
Credit: Netflix

You know The Little Mermaid. I know The Little Mermaid. We all know The Little Mermaid. But do you know what it looks like when you add in parkour battles in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo? From Attack on Titan director Tetsuro Araki and Japanese animation studio Wit Studio comes Netflix’s latest sublime anime, Bubble, which puts a more dazzling spin on the disaster-caused apocalypse genre and blends it with Hans Christian Andersen’s tragic mertale.*S.C.

How to watch: Bubble is now streaming on Netflix.

19. #Alive

A man wearing headphones faces a camera while comments scroll up on the left of the screen.

Live-streaming the apocalypse.
Credit: Netflix

Written by Cho Il-hyung and Matt Naylor, and directed by Il-hyung, #Alive is a South Korean zombie flick for the modern era. Oh Joon-woo (Yoo Ah-in) is a video game streamer and one of the last humans in his city not currently trying to eat brains. Trapped in his apartment alone, Joon-woo is about to give up hope, until a fellow survivor, also trapped in her apartment, catches his attention with a laser pointer. #Alive was the first Korean film to top the Netflix Movies Worldwide chart, and it’s no wonder why — with its focus on isolation and connection, it’s a fresh and engaging take on the well-traveled zombie genre.* — Kristina Grosspietsch 

How to watch: #Alive is streaming on Netflix.

20. Mirai

An anime kid standing on the grass stares up at a grownup.


Credit: YouTube / Studio Chizu

When 4-year-old Kun’s (Moka Kamishiraishi) parents tell him he’s going to have a baby sister, he’s excited at first. But when the baby, Mirai (Haru Kuroki), arrives, he has trouble adjusting to sharing his mom and dad’s attention. Seeking solace, Kun disappears into the garden behind his house, where he embarks on a magical adventure with the grown-up version of Mirai that puts his relationship with his family in a whole new perspective. This is a deeply warm, funny, and insightful piece from veteran Japanese director and animator Mamoru Hosoda. Nominated for the Best Animated Feature Film Academy Award in 2018, Mirai is the perfect, feel-good choice for family movie night.* — KG

How to watch: Mirai is streaming on Netflix.

Asterisks (*) indicate the entry has been modified from a previous Mashable list.

UPDATE: Sep. 17, 2022, 5:00 a.m. EDT This list has been updated to reflect current Netflix streaming options.

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