There are a lot of movies on Netflix, so finding the right ones for you can be tricky. While there are a ton of categories to choose from, undoubtedly one of the biggest is action and adventure. Full of everything from pirates to superheroes to globe-spanning journeys, adventure films are designed to wow audiences. However, with so many to choose from one has to wonder what the best adventure movies are on Netflix.
If you want something scarier, consider reading our list on the top 30 underrated horror films of all time or checking out our picks for the best sci-fi movies on Netflix.
When picking our choices, we did not limit ourselves to pure adventure films. This genre typically melds with others such as action, science fiction, and even comedy. Given Netflix’s library is on constant rotation, we will be updating this piece every month with new entries and taking out ones that aren’t online anymore. Make sure to check back with us each month to see if any great, new adventure films have been added!
(Author’s Note: This list is in no particular order.)
1. Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
Release Date: June 12, 1981
IMDB Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Starring: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman
Perhaps one of the most important and well-known adventure films of all time, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark is a phenomenal film. The film follows archeologist Indiana Jones as he attempts to stop the Nazis from obtaining the Ark of the Covenant. Full of terrific actions, great humor, and endearing characters it’s hard not to fall in love with this film. Directed by Steven Speilberg, this is a classic action/adventure movie that should be seen at least once by everyone. If you are new to the genre and don’t know where to start, make Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark your first choice.
2. Spy Kids
Release Date: March 31, 2001
IMDB Rating: 5.5 out of 10
Starring: Antonio Banderas, Carla Gugino, Alan Cumming
Spy Kids is one of those weird and wacky children films that feels like a 9-year old’s fever dream. The story follows two young children who learn that their parents are spies after they become captured by an evil villain. With the fate of the world and their parent’s at stake, the siblings must embrace the life of a spy to save them. At it’s core, Spy Kids is a fun, entertaining ride that is full of neat gadgets, good action set pieces, and plenty of slapstick humor.
3. National Treasure
Release Date: November 19, 2005
IMDB Rating: 6.9 out of 10
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha
National Treasure is a perfectly ridiculous movie but it’s a damn good time. The plot revolves around a treasure hunter searching for clues on some of the United States most historical items and locations. Audiences will be sent across the United States to some of the most important landmarks in the country’s history. Director Jon Turteltaub never lets his film get too serious, as many elements lean into the comedic aspects of the story. This isn’t a film that aspires to be anything more than just a relaxed, entertaining time.
4. Thor: Ragnarok
Release Date: November 3, 2017
IMDB Rating: 7.9 out of 10
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchet, Mark Ruffalo
The third entry in Marvel’s Thor franchise, Ragnarok continues the adventures of everyone’s favorite Asgardian god. After being defeated by a new evil, Thor and his brother Loki are stranded on a new planet. Undoubtedly the best of the Thor films, director Taika Waititi delivers a fantastic film full of thrilling action, witty comedy, and some truly emotional moments. All of the characters are fantastic and Cate Blanchet’s evil goddess Hela is one of Marvel’s best antagonists. Even if you’re unfamiliar with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s difficult to not enjoy Thor: Ragnarok.
Release Date: June 19, 1998
IMDB Rating: 7.6 out of 10
Starring: Ming-Na Wen, Eddie Murphey, Miguel Ferrer
One of Disney’s most iconic animated films, Mulan follows the story of a young girl turned warrior when she joins China’s fight against The Huns. Beautifully animated, Mulan focuses less on romance and more on how this conflict affects the different characters. Despite being short on songs, Mulan has some of the catchiest tunes in Disney’s entire library. A fantastic film for both children and adults, Mulan has stood the test of time for a reason.
6. Sherlock Holmes
Release Date: December 25, 2009
IMDB Rating: 7.6 out of 10
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachael, McAdams
If you’re a fan of Sherlock Holmes than you should absolutely see director Guy Ritchie’s take on this famous detective. Full of style, humor, and great action, Sherlock Holmes is a fast-paced film that’s elevated by its fantastic performances. Both Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law have fantastic chemistry, making it difficult not to smile when they’re on screen. The story is full of fun twists and solid action that keeps the film moving at a blistering pace.
Release Date: April 2, 2004
IMDB Rating: 6.9 out of 10
Starring: Ron Pearlman, John Hurt, Doug Jones
Directed by Guillermo del Toro, Hellboy is a dark and thrilling comic book film that remains one of the most faithful adaptations of this character. The story revolves around a demon raised to fight other paranormal monsters, which is just as entertaining as it sounds. Yet, Hellboy goes beyond its great action, as Del Toro focuses on the different characters and their relationships with one another. Pearlman delivers a steller Hellboy that’s both intimidating and downright lovable. Just skip the new movie and watch this one instead.
8. Eight Legged Freaks
Release Date: July 17, 2007
IMDB Rating: 5.4 out of 10
Starring: David Arquette, Kari Wuhrer, Scott Terra
Arachnophobes beware, Eight Legged Freaks is full of giant spiders of all shapes and species. While Eight Legged Freaks may have the trappings of a horror film, it’s actually rather funny thanks to director Ellory Elkayem’s focus on the B-movie aesthetic. Revolving around a small town overrun with mutated spiders, Eight Legged Freaks is a joyous throwback to drive-in films and late night creature features. If you are hungering for a movie that isn’t afraid to poke fun at itself then Eight Legged Freaks might be for you.
9. Blood Diamond
Release Date: December 8, 2006
IMDB Rating: 8.0 out of 10
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou, Jennifer Connelly
For those looking for something a bit more serious and violent, Blood Diamond is a depressing, but engaging film. Following the brutal diamond trade in Africa, Hounson plays a father who has been thrust into this world after his family is captured. What follows is an uncompromising look at the violence in Africa and how those survive in the chaos. It’s a brutal film, but one that is exceptionally well made and acted. Africa is also haunting and beautiful, with the movie taking us on a journey across a variety of different regions. Don’t pass up on this excellent film.
10. Love, Death & Robots
Release Date: March 15, 2019
IMDB Rating: 8.8 out of 10
Starring: Scott Whyte, Nolan North, Matthew Yang King
So we’re breaking our rules a bit for this one, but Love, Death & Robots is such a short television series that it could double as an anthology film. A collection of science fiction and cyberpunk stories, each episode explores different themes tied to this genre. Boasting a collection of different animation styles, Love, Death & Robots is jaw-droppingly gorgeous and quite deep despite the tight time constraints. Even though some stories are better than others, Love, Death & Robots is a must watch for sci-fi fans.
11. The Da Vinchi Code
Release Date: May 19, 2006
IMDB Rating: 6.6 out of 10
Starring: Tom Hanks, Ian McKellen, Audrey Tautou
Perhaps one of the most famous books of the 21st century, this film adaptation of The Da Vinchi Code is an entertaining little adventure film. Focusing on a professor thrust into a Vatican conspiracy, The Da Vinchi Code is full of action, drama, and some intruiging theories. While the movie can go off the rails at times, director Ron Howard embraces some of the silliness. Elevated by terrific performances from an all-star cast, this is a solid film to just sit back and enjoy.
12. The Mummy
Release Date: May 7, 1999
IMDB Rating: 7.0 out of 10
Starring: Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah
Unlike the 2019 remake, The Mummy is a wildly entertaining film that embraces some of the best aspects of the adventure genre. Despite the silly premise and mixed tone, director Stephen Sommers delivers a lively film that’s bursting with imagination. Don’t expect a deep film about the nature of humanity, that’s not what The Mummy is going for. Instead, prepare yourself for an action-filled romp as a group of explorers tries to stop an evil mummy from reuniting with his lost love.
Release Date: June 27, 1997
IMDB Rating: 7.3 out of 10
Starring: Tate Donovan, Susan Egan, James Woods, Danny DeVito
Hercules is one of those Disney movies that rarely gets mentioned alongside other animated classics like Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, and The Lion King. This is a shame because Hercules is a delightful film that has great characters, catchy songs, and gorgeous visuals. Despite suffering from a few tonal issues, Hercules is a great movie for both adults and kids. Plus, you get to see Danny DeVito voice a grumpy, out of shape Saytr and who doesn’t want that?
14. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Release Date: December 15, 2017
IMDB Rating: 7.2 out of 10
Starring: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley
The eighth entry in the core Star Wars series, The Last Jedi is a bold and controversial film that has divided the fanbase. A lot of this is due to director Rian Johnson’s decision to move away and subvert the typical Star Wars formula. Following the aftermath of the previous Star Wars film, The Last Jedi sees the Resistance being chased by The First Order. It’s this cat and mouse structure that helps carry the momentum from scene to scene. With the latest installment recently announced, we recommend checking out this movie at least once before seeing the ninth and final installment.
15. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Release Date: May 24, 1989
IMDB Rating: 8.2 out of 10
Starring: Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, Alison Doody
The third Indiana Jones film is considered by many to be the best in the franchise. Focusing on archeologist/adventurer Indiana Jones’s relationship with his father, this is a far more emotional journey. Full of action and humor, The Last Crusade has some terrific setpieces that stand as some of the best in the adventure genre. Harrison Ford is fantastic as always, but the real surprise is how entertaining Sean Connery is as Indiana’s father. Both actors have incredible chemistry, which helps sell their complicated history.
Release Date: August 9, 2002
IMDB Rating: 5.9 out of 10
Starring: Vin Diesel, Samuel L. Jackson, Asia Argento
This is a very, very, very silly movie. Directed by Rob Cohen, xXx revolves around an extreme sports athlete turned into a government spy. It’s ridiculous, over the top, and an excellent action/adventure film to turn on if you want to shut your brain off for a couple of hours. If you don’t expect much from xXx then you should have a generally good time with this flick. Just make sure to skip the sequel, it’s just plain awful.
17. Swiss Army Man
Release Date: July 1, 2016
IMDB Rating: 7.0 out of 10
Starring: Paul Dano, Daniel Radcliffe, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Swiss Army Man is a surreal, but charming film that doesn’t get enough love. Set on a deserted island, Swiss Army Man follows the story of a man who befriends a dead body in order to keep his sanity. Saying anything more would spoil some of the movie’s best moments, but rest assured it’s way more entertaining than it sounds. Radcliffe is absolutely phenomenal and Dano’s journey is simply captivating. Simultaneously hilarious and heartwarming, Swiss Army Man is a wonderful film from start to finish. Seriously, don’t skip this film while it’s on Netflix.
18. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Release Date: May 25, 1975
IMDB Rating: 8.3 out of 10
Starring: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle
And now for something completely different. Monty Python and the Holy Grail sees the famed British comedy troop assuming the role of knights hunting for this mystical item. As to be expected, the writing is stellar, making the movie instantly quotable. If you’ve never seen this film we strongly encourage you to give it a try. There’s a very good reason this is considered one of the most iconic comedy films of all time.
19. The Fifth Element
Release Date: May 9, 1997
IMDB Rating: 7.7 out of 10
Starring: Bruce Willis, Gary Oldman, Milla Jovovich
A cult classic, The Fifth Element is set in the future where a being visits Earth every five thousand years to protect humanity. Unfortunately, the being is killed early on and its power is infused into an artificial human which subsequently escapes. The Fifth Element isn’t breaking any new ground, but the sheer confidence in Luc Besson’s direction sells the movie. This is a film bursting with creativity despite the fairly predictable plot. Just don’t take the film too seriously, it’s not aiming to be anything more than a wild, imaginative journey.
20. Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle
Release Date: December 7, 2018
IMDB Rating: 6.5 out of 10
Starring: Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Benedict Cumberbatch
The second of two live-action Jungle Book adaptations, Mowgli is directed by acclaimed actor Andy Serkis. Visually stunning, Serkis delivers a beautiful, yet haunting depiction of a young human raised by various animals in the jungle. Boasting an impressive, all-star cast of voice actors, Mowgli is a terrific and different adaption of this Disney animated film. Make no mistake, this is a much darker take that respects the source material, while simultaneously forging its own vision.
21. Avengers: Infinity War
Release Date: April 27, 2018
IMDB Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo
This is the big one. Avengers: Infinity War is the culmination of over ten years of Marvel films condensed into a two-part epic. With the second half hitting theaters at the time of writing this, Avengers: Infinity War follows Earth’s mightiest heroes trying to stop the evil alien Thanos from obtaining six powerful stones that can decimate the universe. There’s a lot going on and while the movie is still enjoyable without any prior MCU knowledge, this film is clearly for the fans. Avengers: Infinity War is one of the most ambitious crossovers in film history.