Netflix's Most-Watched Movie is a Decade-Old Russell Crowe Film Streamed 14.3 Million Hours

Netflix's Most-Watched Movie is a Decade-Old Russell Crowe Film Streamed 14.3 Million Hours
Image credit: Paramount Pictures, Legion-Media

Controversial movie has been resurrected by Netflix users.


  • On Netflix, it's not uncommon for movies and shows thought to be long forgotten to take off.
  • For example, a 10-year-old movie starring Russell Crowe spent five weeks in the Top 10 on the streaming service.
  • Despite the controversy surrounding its release, Netflix users are watching it with great enthusiasm.

Netflix is an absolutely amazing platform, because in addition to many original projects, the service puts no small emphasis on the acquisition of films and TV series, many of which were previously considered long forgotten. And it is access to such a vast library that allows Netlfix users to discover hidden gems, or projects that once generated a lot of hype, but for many reasons fell into the abyss of oblivion. The reasons for this sudden increase in interest in old TV series and movies are many (or it's a matter of pure coincidence), but the resurrection of some of them causes no small surprise.

So, up until last week, Darren Aronofsky's 2014 film starring Russell Crowe ranked among the Top 10 most-watched movies. Despite its commercial success and moderate critical acclaim, the film has been accompanied by a considerable amount of controversy, but that hasn't stopped Netflix subscribers from watching it for a total of 14.3 million hours in just two weeks ten years later. Let's find out what this movie is all about and the possible reasons for its sudden rise in popularity.

Divisive Biblical Drama with Russell Crowe

You have probably already guessed that this is Noah, a biblical drama that reinterprets the events described in the Book of Genesis (and also takes inspirations from the Book of Enoch) in an epic and even fantasy manner. It was directed by Darren Aronofsky, who also co-wrote the script with his longtime collaborator Ari Handel (with whom they developed the story for The Fountain). The film stars Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Douglas Booth, Ray Winstone and Marton Csokas.

Aronofsky is as talented a filmmaker as he is controversial since his films often provoke very polarizing opinions. For example, the aforementioned The Fountain received 53% from critics and 74% from audiences on Rotten Tomatoes, while the relatively recent The Whale received 64% from critics and 91% from audiences.

Noah, on the other hand, received moderately positive reviews from critics for its direction and acting, but unfortunately the plot absolutely enraged viewers of all beliefs: Jews and Christians criticized it for its overly loose interpretation of the Bible, while Muslims were outraged by portrayal of the prophets. The cast was also criticized for being predominantly white, with no actors of Semitic descent.

The Sudden Rise in Popularity of the Movie

However, Noah got a second life on Netflix: the week of March 4-10, Noah made its way into the Global Top 10 most watched movies for the fourth time, coming in at number ten. However, the very next week, from March 11 to March 17, it made its way to fifth place.

Overall, the movie was watched for a total of 14.3 million hours in the last two weeks. According to What's on Netflix, Noah remained in fifth place until March 17, then began to drop in the following days and disappeared from the radar on March 21.

While most old movies on Netflix make it to the Top of Most Watched by accident, in the case of Noah there is a logic to it. First, despite all the criticism of its interpretation of the sacred texts, the movie is still somewhat faithful to the Abrahamic beliefs, and there is a rather strong Christian audience on Netflix, which boosts the ratings of such historical and faith-based series and movies available on Netflix as The Chosen and Ordinary Angels.

Moreover, the movie turned out to be an entertaining blockbuster, making it perfect for a popcorn binge on the streaming service.