16 Best Critically Acclaimed Thriller Movies on Netflix: 2020 Edition
Our list of best critically acclaimed crime and thriller movies on Netflix for 2020 includes classic titles like Gran Torino as well as new favorites like The Old Guard (based on a graphic novel with the same name).
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The government and a group of religious extremists pursue a man (Michael Shannon) and his son (Jaeden Lieberher), a young boy who possesses special powers.
After receiving a license to kill, British Secret Service agent James Bond (Daniel Craig) heads to Madagascar, where he uncovers a link to Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen), a man who finances terrorist organizations. Learning that Le Chiffre plans to raise money in a high-stakes poker game, MI6 sends Bond to play against him, gambling that their newest “00” operative will topple the man’s organization.
The Trial of The Chicago 7
The film is based on the infamous 1969 trial of seven defendants charged by the federal government with conspiracy and more, arising from the countercultural protests in Chicago at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. The trial transfixed the nation and sparked a conversation about mayhem intended to undermine the U.S. government.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
When Randle Patrick McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) gets transferred for evaluation from a prison farm to a mental institution, he assumes it will be a less restrictive environment. But the martinet Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher) runs the psychiatric ward with an iron fist, keeping her patients cowed through abuse, medication and sessions of electroconvulsive therapy. The battle of wills between the rebellious McMurphy and the inflexible Ratched soon affects all the ward’s patients.
#Alive is a 2020 South Korean zombie film directed by Cho Il-hyung. Starring Yoo Ah-in and Park Shin-hye, it is based on the 2019 script Alone by Matt Naylor, who co-adapted his script with Cho.
A small unit of U.S. soldiers, alone at the remote Combat Outpost Keating, located deep in the valley of three mountains in Afghanistan, battles an overwhelming force of Taliban fighters in a coordinated attack. The Battle of Kamdesh became the bloodiest American engagement of the Afghanistan War in 2009, and Bravo Troop 3-61 CAV became one of the most decorated units of the 19-year conflict.
This is a relatively new release that received a lot of critical acclaim.
A Clockwork Orange
In an England of the future, Alex (Malcolm McDowell) and his “Droogs” spend their nights getting high at the Korova Milkbar before embarking on “a little of the old ultraviolence,” while jauntily warbling “Singin’ in the Rain.” After he’s jailed for bludgeoning the Cat Lady to death, Alex submits to behavior modification technique to earn his freedom; he’s conditioned to abhor violence. Returned to the world defenseless, Alex becomes the victim of his prior victims.
The Old Guard
A group of mercenaries, all centuries-old immortals with the ability to heal themselves, discover someone is onto their secret, and they must fight to protect their freedom.
Retired auto worker and Korean War vet Walt Kowalski (Clint Eastwood) fills emptiness in his life with beer and home repair, despising the many Asian, Latino and black families in his neighborhood. Walt becomes a reluctant hero when he stands up to the gangbangers who tried to force an Asian teen to steal Walt’s treasured car. An unlikely friendship develops between Walt and the teen, as he learns he has more in common with his neighbors than he thought.
Another critically acclaimed pick that never gets old: Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen) leaves his university studies to enlist in combat duty in Vietnam in 1967. Once he’s on the ground in the middle of battle, his idealism fades. Infighting in his unit between Staff Sergeant Barnes (Tom Berenger), who believes nearby villagers are harboring Viet Cong soldiers, and Sergeant Elias (Willem Dafoe), who has a more sympathetic view of the locals, ends up pitting the soldiers against each other as well as against the enemy.
There Will Be Blood
Ruthless silver miner, turned oil prospector, Daniel Plainview moves to oil-rich California. Using his adopted son HW to project a trustworthy, family-man image, Plainview cons local landowners into selling him their valuable properties for a pittance. However, local preacher Eli Sunday suspects Plainviews motives and intentions, starting a slow-burning feud that threatens both their lives.
Suffering from insomnia, disturbed loner Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) takes a job as a New York City cabbie, haunting the streets nightly, growing increasingly detached from reality as he dreams of cleaning up the filthy city. When Travis meets pretty campaign worker Betsy (Cybill Shepherd), he becomes obsessed with the idea of saving the world, first plotting to assassinate a presidential candidate, then directing his attentions toward rescuing 12-year-old prostitute Iris (Jodie Foster).
A classic critically acclaimed title: In a not-too-distant dystopian future, when man’s most precious resource — oil — has been depleted and the world plunged into war, famine and financial chaos, the last vestiges of the law in Australia attempt to restrain a vicious biker gang. Max (Mel Gibson), an officer with the Main Force Patrol, launches a personal vendetta against the gang when his wife (Joanne Samuel) and son are hunted down and murdered, leaving him with nothing but the instincts for survival and retribution.
Los Angeles denizen Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) survives by scavenging and petty theft. He stumbles into a new career as a cameraman and — armed with a camcorder and police scanner — begins nocturnal forays across the city in search of shocking and grisly crimes. When he catches the eye of a shopworn news director (Rene Russo) who welcomes the chance to raise her station’s ratings, Louis goes to increasingly greater lengths to catch the “money shot.”
The 12th Man
After a failed anti-Nazi sabotage mission leaves his 11 comrades dead, Norwegian resistance fighter Jan Baalsrud finds himself fleeing from the Gestapo through the snowbound reaches of Scandinavia.
In the late 1960s and 1970s, fear grips the city of San Francisco as a serial killer called Zodiac stalks its residents. Investigators (Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Edwards) and reporters (Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr.) become obsessed with learning the killer’s identity and bringing him to justice. Meanwhile, Zodiac claims victim after victim and taunts the authorities with cryptic messages, cyphers and menacing phone calls.
Mystery Tribune’s coverage of the best crime, mystery and thriller movies and TV shows on Netflix, Amazon and many other services is available via our Watching Lists here.