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The most-watched movies of all time on Netflix

Published Jun 20th, 2023 8:00PM EDT
Red Notice on Netflix
Image: Frank Masi/Netflix

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In 2023, Netflix remains one of the most popular of the major streaming services, with a vast library of movies and shows catering to all sorts of tastes and preferences. The streaming giant’s library is so extensive, frankly, that it can sometimes feel a little daunting when you’ve got some time to spare and are looking for something new to watch.

To help out at least the movie buffs among you, what you’ll find presented below is the current ranking of the most-watched Netflix movies of all time, as of June 2023, to help guide you to at least some of the best content that the platform has to offer. The most viewed movies below include everything from action-packed thrillers to heartwarming dramas, and you should have no trouble finding something you’ll enjoy on this list.

Red Notice and Don’t Look Up lead the list

Let’s get into what the data currently reveals. Dividing the raw numbers of hours accumulated by the individual runtime of each of these popular Netflix films, which is the company’s new way of calculating top titles, Netflix’s most-watched movies ever are as follows:

  1. Red Notice (2021) — 230.9 million views
  2. Don’t Look Up (2021) — 171.4 million views
  3. The Adam Project (2022) — 157.6. million views
  4. Bird Box (2018) — 157.4 million views
  5. The Gray Man (2022) — 139.3 million views
  6. We Can Be Heroes (2020) — 137.3 million views
  7. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022) — 136.3 million views
  8. Extraction (2020) — 135.7 million views
  9. Spenser Confidential (2020) — 129.1 million views
  10. Purple Hearts (2022) — 127.2 million views

Each of these films has amassed an impressive amount of viewership within the first 91 days of their release, solidifying their status as the 10 must-watch movies on the streaming platform.

Don't Look Up on Netflix
Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence, in the Netflix movie “Don’t Look Up.” Image source: Niko Tavernise/Netflix

You might ask, though: What makes a film Like Purple Hearts, Bird Box, The Gray Man, or Extraction among the top, “most-watched” movies on Netflix? That’s actually something of a moving target that’s changed over the years. The answer more or less lies in the total number of hours a movie was streamed over its first 91 days on the service following its premiere date — but it’s also a little more complicated than that.

Netflix tracks the raw number of viewing hours that its movies rack up over that time period — and the company then estimates a very rough audience size based on dividing the movie’s aggregate hours viewed by its total runtime.

Among other things, this calculation of Netflix’s most-watched movies helps prevent a shorter movie from being at an automatic disadvantage compared to a longer feature film (since this calculation spreads out the time spent watching a movie evenly over its total audience).

Netflix app on a smartphone
In this photo illustration, the Netflix logo in the App Store is seen displayed on a smartphone screen. Image source: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

How Netflix measures success

Having said all that, let’s take a closer look at the ranking above. What does it really mean to see that Red Notice — the 2021 action-comedy starring Gal Gadot, The Rock, and Ryan Reynolds — is the most-watched Netflix movie? Or that, say, Bird Box is ranked at #4, ahead of the Russo Brothers’ The Gray Man? And why is Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery ranked higher than Purple Hearts?

Netflix has explained that there’s “no perfect streaming metric” by which the success of a movie or TV show can be comprehensively judged. Its ranking calculations, instead, are weighted toward engagement, and movies now have 91 days as opposed to 28 previously to try and grab a spot on this all-time top most-watched movies chart.

Red Notice, for example, found itself at the top of the list of the most-watched movies on Netflix as a result of the following:

This particular Netflix movie — which boasts a stellar cast and a fun romp of a story that unfolds in gorgeous locales around the world — racked up 454.2 million raw hours viewed by Netflix audiences following its initial availability. Dividing that raw total by a runtime of 1 hour and 58 minutes results in a total of 230.9 million. So, now, we have two pieces of the puzzle — one, a very imperfect measure of the Netflix audiences for individual movies. And two, a more empirical snapshot of that audience’s behavior (via the raw hours viewed).

Importantly: It must be stressed, again, that whereas Netflix previously ranked its movies and TV shows on the basis of raw hours viewed, the streaming service now prioritizes “average views” as the determinative ranking factor.

The most watched Non-English movies on Netflix

We should also add that Netflix’s content offering extends well beyond English-language films and TV shows. Netflix didn’t grow to be one of the most popular streaming services by only focusing on its home market of the US. And if we’re going to talk about any ranking of the most watched movies on Netflix, it’s only right that we also broaden the lens to include films that also showcase stories and perspectives from markets around the world, from France to Korea and so many other countries and territories.

All Quiet on the Western Front on Netflix
Felix Kammerer as Paul Bäumer on the set of “All Quiet on the Western Front.” Image source: Netflix

The titles, below, are currently the top non-English movies on the streaming service at the moment based on hours viewed. And they serve, among other things, as a remember that great cinema and storytelling transcends borders and language barriers — that great films can resonate with viewers, no matter where they live.

  1. Troll (2022) – 103 million views
  2. The Platform (2019) — 82.8 million views
  3. Through My Window (2022) — 61.1 million views
  4. Blood Red Sky (2021) — 60.9 million views
  5. AKA (2023) — 56.6 million views
  6. My Name is Vendetta (2022) — 56.4 million views
  7. Black Crab (2022) — 53.9 million views
  8. All Quiet on the Western Front (2022) — 52.1 million views
  9. Below Zero (2021) — 48.6 million views
  10. Loving Adults (2022) — 47.3 million views
Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.