For years, Netflix prepared for the day when Hollywood studios would create their own streaming services. Regardless, Netflix has still maintained its position as king of the streaming mountain with a wide selection of films from other studios. But at the end of the month, Netflix is going to say goodbye to some terrific flicks. Fortunately, there’s still time to catch these fantastic movies before they depart for some other streaming service. If you can make yourself available to sit down for a few hours, we’ve already put in the legwork and created a list of the best movies you can watch on Netflix before the end of April. Make your plans now!
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Blackfish is an acclaimed documentary that has had a profound effect on the real world. This film tackles the issue of orca whales in captivity at Sealand of the Pacific and SeaWorld. It primarily focuses on Tilikum, an orca who was captured in the early ’80s before he became a “performer” alongside his fellow captive whales. Tilikum was unusually aggressive, and his captivity led to the deaths of three people over the years. Blackfish also presents a strong argument that enforced captivity dramatically shortens the life span of orcas, and it led to a dramatic reduction of whales as performers in theme parks.
Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite
Runtime: 83 minutes
The Dark Knight (2008)
Batman Begins is also on Netflix through the end of April, but The Dark Knight, the second film in Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, is the one you really need to make time for before the month comes to a close. As Batman/Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) continues his quest to clean up Gotham City, he forms a partnership with District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) that may allow Bruce to leave his alter ego behind. Unfortunately, the Joker (Heath Ledger) has other ideas. The late actor won an Oscar for his terrifying performance as the Clown Prince of Crime. From top to bottom, this is a superhero film for the ages.
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Stars: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Heath Ledger, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal
Director: Christopher Nolan
Runtime: 152 minutes
I Am Legend (2007)
Richard Matheson’s novel, I Am Legend, had been adapted twice before the 2007 movie that finally shared its name. Although the movie takes some liberties with the original story, it does capture the overwhelming sense of isolation, loneliness, and danger in the book. Will Smith stars as Dr. Robert Neville, a man who may be the last uninfected person alive in New York three years after a virus killed most of the human population. The majority of the survivors became vampirelike Darkseekers. With little left to live for, Robert spends his days hunting for Darkseekers so he can develop a cure. But at night, the creatures hunt him.
Rotten Tomatoes: 68%
Stars: Will Smith, Alice Braga, Charlie Tahan, Dash Mihok, Salli Richardson
Director: Francis Lawrence
Runtime: 101 minutes
The Indian in the Cupboard (1995)
Director Frank Oz adapted Lynne Reid Banks’ children’s novel, The Indian in the Cupboard. In the story, a 9-year-old boy, Omri (Hal Scardino) is given an old cabinet and a key that turns out to have incredible power. Omri soon discovers that the cabinet and key can bring toys to life, including his Native American warrior figure, Little Bear (Litefoot). However, Little Bear was a real person who had his own life two centuries earlier. Over time, Omri and Little Bear forge a close connection. Chaos ensues when Omri shares the secret of the cabinet with a friend, and Little Bear isn’t the only toy that comes to life.
Rotten Tomatoes: 73%
Stars: Hal Scardino, Litefoot, Lindsay Crouse, Richard Jenkins, Rishi Bhat
Director: Frank Oz
Runtime: 96 minutes
Matthew McConaughey is Mud in the movie that shares his name. Mud is on the run for killing a man who abused his former lover, Juniper (Reese Witherspoon). Two young boys, Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland), encounter Mud hiding out in a landlocked boat. In exchange for the boat, the boys agree to help Mud stay ahead of the law. However, the family of the man killed by Mud has come to town to seek their revenge, and they don’t care who they have to hurt as long as Mud dies by their hands.
Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan, Sam Shepard, Michael Shannon, Joe Don Baker, Ray McKinnon
Director: Jeff Nichols
Runtime: 130 minutes
Mystery Men (1999)
Despite appearances to the contrary, Mystery Men is actually based on a real comic book. For the record, Bob Burden’s Flaming Carrot Comics was the source material. While Mr. Furious (Ben Stiller), The Blue Raja (Hank Azaria), The Shoveler (William H. Macy), and The Bowler (Janeane Garofalo) are far from household names, this movie is stacked with comedic talent. Greg Kinnear’s Captain Amazing was the primary hero of Champion City until he released his old rival, Casanova Frankenstein (Geoffrey Rush). With Captain Amazing out of the way, a motley crew of would-be heroes has to come together and save the city themselves.
Rotten Tomatoes: 61%
Stars: Ben Stiller, Hank Azaria, William H. Macy, Greg Kinnear, Janeane Garofalo, Paul Reubens
Director: Kinka Usher
Runtime: 120 minutes
No one could ever accuse Platoon of romanticizing the Vietnam War. Writer and director Oliver Stone created the story from his own experiences in Vietnam. Charlie Sheen stars as Chris, a soldier who soon finds himself in the middle of an ideological conflict within his own unit. Sgt. Barnes (Tom Berenger) believes in victory at all costs, even if it means committing war crimes. By contrast, Sgt. Elias (Willem Dafoe) has a more moral approach to war and he hasn’t abandoned his basic humanity. When Barnes goes too far, he moves to eliminate Elias and later Chris as well. War is hell, and not everyone is coming home from this.
Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
Stars: Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe, Keith David, Forest Whitaker
Director: Oliver Stone
Runtime: 120 minutes
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan is one of the most harrowing war films in modern cinema. But it’s also a powerful story and masterfully executed on all levels. Matt Damon plays Pfc. James Francis Ryan, the last surviving member of his siblings in the theater of war. In the closing days of World War II, Capt. John H. Miller (Tom Hanks) and his unit are ordered to find James and bring him home to his family. That’s easier said than done, and an enormous sacrifice is needed to see this mission through to the end.
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Stars: Tom Hanks, Edward Burns, Matt Damon, Tom Sizemore, Jeremy Davies, Vin Diesel
Director: Steven Spielberg
Runtime: 169 minutes
Sherlock Holmes (2009)
Robert Downey Jr. is one of the rare American actors to portray the Great Detective, Sherlock Holmes, on the big screen. In Sherlock Holmes, Downey is joined by Jude Law as Dr. John Watson. But in this incarnation, John has far less tolerance for Sherlock’s eccentricities, and he can’t wait to get away from him so he can marry Mary Morstan (Kelly Reilly). However, the return of Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) forces Sherlock and John to face an even greater threat: A seemingly supernatural reign of terror led by Lord Henry Blackwood (Mark Strong) … after his apparent demise.
Rotten Tomatoes: 69%
Stars: Robert Downey Jr. Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, Mark Strong, Eddie Marsan
Director: Guy Ritchie
Runtime: 129 minutes
Before Bong Joon-ho won an Oscar for Parasite, he adapted the graphic novel Le Transperceneige for the big screen as Snowpiercer. In a dystopian future where the Earth is overtaken by freezing temperatures, humanity’s survivors are gathered on a train called Snowpiercer that must constantly stay in motion. However, the rich and elite live in comfort at the front of the train while the ordinary people suffer in the tail cars. Curtis Everett (Chris Evans) leads a rebellion with the help of Namgoong Minsoo (Song Kang-ho). But the train’s creator, Wilford (Ed Harris), won’t give up his supreme power without a fight.
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Stars: Chris Evans, Song Kang-ho, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer, Ewen Bremner
Director: Bong Joon-ho
Runtime: 126 minutes