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Matt Kamen WIRED Staff

The 15 Best Movies on Amazon Prime Right Now

Two people wearing tuxedos and one person wearing a sequin dress while drinking cocktails and smoking in a dimly lit room

Over the past year or so, Netflix and Apple TV+ have been duking it out to have the most prestigious film offerings ( congrats, CODA !), but some of the best movies are on Amazon Prime Video. The streamer was one of the first to go around picking up film festival darlings and other lovable favorites, and they’re all still there in the library, so if they flew under your radar the first time, now is the perfect time to catch up.

Our picks for the 10 best films on Amazon Prime are below. All the films in our guide are included in your Prime subscription—no renting here. Once you’ve watched your fill, check out our lists for the best shows on Netflix and best movies on Disney+ if you’re looking for something else to watch. We also have a guide to the best shows on Amazon if that's what you're in the mood for.

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Oxford student Oliver Quick (Barry Keoghan) is having trouble fitting in at the prestigious British university—until he befriends the popular Felix Catton (Jacob Elordi). Handsome, rich, and born to the landed gentry, Felix brings the awkward, socially invisible Oliver into his circle, eventually inviting him to spend summer at the family estate, Saltburn. But as Oliver works his way into the family's graces, his obsession with Felix takes increasingly dark and deranged turns. Oscillating between black comedy and psychological thriller, writer and director Emerald Fennel ( Promising Young Woman ) frames the film in 4:3 aspect ratio for a tighter, almost voyeuristic viewing experience that makes its frequently unsettling moments even more uncomfortable. Having attracted plenty of debate since its 2023 release—not least for how it questionably navigates its themes of class and social inclusion— Saltburn was one of the year's most divisive films, but one that demands your attention.

Jingle bells, Batman smells, Robin … takes over protecting Gotham City solo on a cold Christmas Eve, when the Caped Crusader is away on Justice League business. Focusing on the Damian Wayne incarnation of Robin—here taking on the mantle of “Little Batman”—this sees Damian facing off against the likes of the Penguin, Bane, and Mr. Freeze, desperate to prove he's ready to join the family business permanently by saving Christmas from the Joker's evil plans. Proof Batman stories don't always have to be grim sojourns into Bruce's tortured psyche, this festive animated treat is a delight, crammed with loving details for fans of the comics while serving as a fantastic entry point for newcomers. Art director Guillaume Fesquet's unique approach, based on the style of Ronald Searle , offers one of the most distinctive takes on the Dynamic Duo in their eight decades of existence, too.

Courtroom dramas are rarely laugh riots, but this tale of funeral home director Jeremiah O'Keefe (Tommy Lee Jones) and his flashy lawyer Willie Gary (Jamie Foxx) taking on a major player in America's "death care" system brings a dark sense of humor to already grim proceedings. This is no comedy though. Based on true events, director Maggie Betts' ( The Novitiate ) latest drama retells a real-life legal case that exposed massive inequality in funereal care and the way Black communities were being regularly overcharged. Foxx and Jones are in top form throughout, but it's Jurnee Smollett as Mame Downes, Gary's rival attorney who threatens to outpace him at every turn, whose performance threatens to steal the whole movie. For a film about death, The Burial proves warmly life-affirming.

Charting the life of José Hernández, this biopic—based on Hernández's own book—mixes the aspirational with the inspirational as it follows its central figure's rise from, in his own words, migrant farm worker to the first Mexican-American astronaut. Michael Peña is in fine form as Hernández, painting a picture of a man almost myopically driven to reach space, no matter the cost, while Rosa Salazar impresses as his wife Adela, refusing to fade into the background even as she puts her own dreams on pause for José to chase the stars. In lesser hands, this could all be cloying—a twee tale of hard work and achieving the American Dream, with a dash of NASA promo material on the side, but director Alejandra Márquez Abella has her lens as focused on the small beauties of life here on Earth as the splendor and sheer potential of space. A rare delight.

Look, this is clearly a “best film” by a highly specific metric—and that metric is “gloriously cheesy trash.” Adapted from Casey McQuinston's best-selling novel, this intercontinental rom-com charts the relationship between First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz (Taylor Zakhar Perez) and Prince Henry (Nicholas Galitzine), the "spare" to the British throne, going from rivals through to grudging respect, and ultimately groundbreaking romance. It's often ludicrous, including an inciting incident seeing the pair falling into a wedding cake, a tabloid-worthy tryst in a hotel room, and political intrigue surrounding Alex's mother, President Ellen Claremont (Uma Thurman, vamping scenes with a bizarre “Texan” accent), but it's all just irresistibly wholesome and upbeat. Red, White, and Royal Blue is the movie equivalent of pizza—not good for you, but still delicious.

If you’re sick of cookie-cutter Hollywood superhero movies, then this ground-up reboot of one of Japan’s most beloved heroes deserves your attention. Helmed by Hideaki Anno ( Evangelion , Shin Godzilla, Shin Ultraman —“shin” meaning “new” or “true” in Japanese), this revamps the 1971 TV series Kamen Rider. Like that show, it follows motorcyclist Takeshi Hongo (Sosuke Ikematsu). Kidnapped by the terrorist organization S.H.O.C.K.E.R. and forcibly converted into a powerful cyborg, Hongo escapes before being reprogrammed as an agent of the group, instead using his newfound powers to take down its forces. However, unlike the original, Anno’s approach taps into the body horror of the core concept, while also challenging his characters—and audience—to hang onto their intrinsic humanity in the face of a world trying to dehumanize them. It’s more violent than you’d probably expect, often showing the grisly outcome of regular people getting punched by superpowered cyborgs and monsters, but never gratuitous. While those with some understanding of the source material will get more out of Shin Masked Rider , it’s an exciting outing for anyone looking for something a bit fresher from their hero movies.

Sure, nowadays Michael Jordan is a bona fide sports god, and Nike’s Air Jordan sneakers are still arguably  the court shoe—but that wasn’t the case back in 1984. Jordan was a rookie, and Nike was about to close down its basketball shoe division. Enter Sonny Vaccaro (Matt Damon), a talent scout for the footwear maker who has spotted a rising star in North Carolina who could turn everything around—he just needs to convince everyone else that Jordan is worth betting the company on. We all know how that panned out, so thankfully  Air is more than a two-hour advert for shoes. Damon, Jason Bateman, Chris Tucker, and director Ben Affleck all deliver strong performances—only to be utterly eclipsed by Viola Davis in a magnetic and powerful, if somewhat underutilized, turn as matriarch Deloris Jordan—while Alex Convery’s script keeps the drama on the people and personalities involved, rather than the boardroom. In an age of franchises and endless blockbusters,  Air is the sort of character-focused film that rarely gets made anymore, and is all the more enjoyable for it.

Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Kazakh” TV reporter (even if he speaks Hebrew) travels back to the US, 14 years after his last feature-long escapade. This time Baron Cohen has brought his (Bulgarian-speaking) teenage daughter along, with the mission of giving her “as a gift” to some powerful American politicians—initially Mike Pence, then Rudy Giuliani. In classic Boratic fashion, the mockumentary follows the wacky duo on a cavalcade across Trump’s America, filming candid performances by unsuspecting characters ranging from QAnon believers to Republican activists to prim debutantes, all the way to Giuliani himself. Even the coronavirus pandemic, which struck America as the film was being shot, is subverted as a comedic plot point. Baron Cohen delivers, with the expected repertoire of shock gags and deadpanned verbal enormities, and he manages to land some punches at the expense of bigots, too. In contrast to its 2006 predecessor, many of the pranks and stunts here seem more aimed at eliciting the audience’s nervous laughter than at exposing America’s heart of darkness, but it remains a worthy—and funny—watch.

A raucous spin on the traditional romcom,  Shotgun Wedding lures viewers with a cliché setup—a ceremony on a tropical island, with hijinks courtesy of bickering in-laws—before exploding, literally, into an action escapade as the wedding party is taken hostage by violent pirates. If we’re being honest, it’s a little hammy and self-aware in places, but leads Jennifer Lopez and Josh Duhamel are clearly having so much fun as bride and groom Darcy and Tom, whose special day turns into an often hilariously gory battle for survival, that it’s easy to be swept along for the ride. With a solid supporting cast, including the ever-entertaining Jennifer Coolidge as the mother of the groom stealing every scene she graces with her gloriously chaotic presence, this is a wedding worth RSVPing to.

Aisha (Anna Diop) is a Senegalese woman working as a nanny for a rich couple in New York City, hoping to earn enough to bring her son and cousin to join her in America. However, her future is at the mercy of her employers, who seem content to leave Aisha to raise their daughter, Rose, while often withholding her pay. As the stress of the power imbalance weighs on her, Aisha begins having strange dreams of drowning, worsened by her fears of abandoning her own child. The feature debut of director Nikyatu Jusu,  Nanny contrasts the horror of the immigrant experience in modern America with something darker, while swapping the expected tropes of hope and opportunity for a palpable sadness for culture and community left behind.  Nanny takes a slow-burn, psychological approach to its scares, but Diop is phenomenal throughout, and the meticulous pacing and gorgeous cinematography means every frame lingers.

Relying on nostalgia to carry new entries in long-dormant series can be risky business, but Eddie Murphy’s return to the role of Prince—now King—Akeem of Zamunda more than three decades after 1988’s Coming to America shows how to do it right. Drawn back to the US in search of a son he never knew he had, Akeem—and the audience—gets to reunite with familiar faces from the first film, before director Craig Brewer ( Hustle and Flow ) reverses the formula and tests the American characters with a trip to Zamunda. With a sharper, smarter, and more globally aware script than the original, Coming 2 America defies the odds to be a comedy sequel that stands up to the reputation of its predecessor.

Director Ron Howard’s latest gathers a top-notch cast—including Viggo Mortensen, Colin Farrell, and Joel Edgerton—for a dramatization of the 2018 Tham Luang cave rescue, where a Thai junior soccer team and their assistant coach were trapped in the flooded cave system. As an international effort mounts to save the children, the challenges of navigating miles of underwater caverns become ever more dangerous, and Howard masterfully captures every perilously claustrophobic moment of it. A nail-bitingly tense movie with some ingeniously shot aquatic scenes, Thirteen Lives is a testament to one of the most difficult rescues ever performed.

Based on the play of same name, One Night in Miami follows four icons of culture, music, and sports—Malcolm X, Jim Brown, Sam Cooke, and Muhammad Ali—at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, a converging and pivotal point in their lives and careers. Meeting in a motel room in the wake of Ali’s—then still Cassius Clay—heavyweight victory over Sonny Liston in 1964, the four men discuss their roles in the movement and society as a whole, all while the audience knows the weight of history is bearing down on them. The close confines of much of the film reflect its theatrical roots, but this feature directorial debut from Regina King perfectly portrays the larger-than-life personalities of its cast. Kingsley Ben-Adir is on fire as Malcolm X, with Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odom Jr., and Eli Goree—as Brown, Cooke, and Ali—all utterly magnetic.

Produced by Amazon, The Report is an engrossing depiction of the US Senate's investigation into the CIA's “enhanced interrogation” program—how it came to be, who knew about it, and how the CIA massaged the facts to support its efficacy. Adam Driver stars as Daniel Jones, the lead investigator who plowed an increasingly lonely path to the truth, battling against political resistance and CIA interference all the way. Driver is, as is his habit these days, superb, and the film's 82 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes is well earned.

Punk-rock drummer and recovering addict Ruben starts experiencing hearing loss, and it threatens to upend his entire life. Faced with an impossible choice between giving up his hearing or giving up his career, Ruben begins to spiral, until his girlfriend Lou checks him into a rehab center for the deaf, forcing him to confront his own behavior as much as the future he faces. Riz Ahmed is in spectacular form as the troubled Ruben, while Olivia Cooke’s turn as Lou, who suffers with her own demons, including self-harm, is riveting. Fittingly enough, Sound of Metal also features incredibly nuanced use of sound—and its absence—as director Darius Marder crafts one of the finest dramas in recent years.

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The Best Movies on Amazon Prime Video Right Now

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By Jason Bailey

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As Netflix pours more of its resources into original content, Amazon Prime Video is picking up the slack, adding new movies for its subscribers each month. Its catalog has grown so impressive, in fact, that it’s a bit overwhelming — and at the same time, movies that are included with a Prime subscription regularly change status, becoming available only for rental or purchase. It’s a lot to sift through, so we’ve plucked out 100 of the absolute best movies included with a Prime subscription right now, to be updated as new information is made available.

Here are our lists of the best TV shows and movies on Netflix , and the best of both on Hulu and Disney +.

‘Get Out’ (2017)

When Jordan Peele’s crossover to feature filmmaking was announced, many who were familiar only with his work as half of the sketch comedy team Key & Peele presumed he would continue to work in that wild comic style. No one could have predicted that he would turn the entire horror genre upside down, but that’s exactly what he did with this nail-biting combination of social commentary and scary movie. What begins as a “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” riff — a wealthy young white woman (Allison Williams) bringing her Black boyfriend (Daniel Kaluuya) home to meet her parents — turns into something far more sinister and unpredictable; Peele’s directorial instincts are striking from the first frame onward. Watch it on Amazon

Christopher Walken, in a black coat, stands outside in the snow. A house is behind him.

‘The Dead Zone’ (1983)

The director David Cronenberg rarely made traditional horror films, and his adaptation of the best seller by Stephen King is no exception. It’s as much science-fiction as horror, focusing on a regular Joe (Christopher Walken, muted and effective) who comes out of a coma with the ability to see the futures of those he touches. This thoughtful and tricky picture is as interested in moral dilemmas and historical ramifications as it is in thrills and chills; our critic found it “unsettling” and “ quietly forceful .” Watch it on Amazon

‘A Thousand and One’ (2023)

The writer and director A.V. Rockwell begins this wrenching character drama in New York City circa 1994, nicely recapturing the look and feel of Gotham indies of that era. But that’s not just window dressing. While ostensibly telling the story of a young woman trying to raise her son after a stint at Rikers Island, Rockwell adroitly incorporates relevant reminders of the city’s history into her characters and their ongoing struggle, reminding us that “quality of life” policing and the dirty business of gentrification are never purely policy issues. Yet it’s more than just a polemic; Teyana Taylor is shattering as the mother in question, Josiah Cross is charismatic and sympathetic as her son as an older teenager, and the revelations of the closing scenes are wrenching and powerful. (If you like atmospheric dramas, try “ Monster’s Ball ” and “ Eve’s Bayou .”)

Watch it on Amazon

‘Return to Seoul’ (2022)

The French artist Park Ji-Min makes an astonishing film debut in the leading role of this “ startling and uneasy wonder ” from the writer and director Davy Chou. She stars as Freddie, born in South Korea but adopted and raised in Paris, who (cue the title) returns to Seoul for reasons unclear. She claims she has no interest in tracking down her birth parents but does so anyway, setting into motion a chain of events that significantly change who she is and what she wants. Chou’s direction is blissfully confident — even when you’re not sure where he’s going, his command of mood and tone carry the picture through — and Park is a real find, an actor who is able to convey seemingly contradictory emotions simultaneously. (Admirers of this one may also enjoy the similarly emotional and thought-provoking “ One Fine Morning .”)

‘Clerks’ (1994)

In 1994, a scrappy, movie-crazy kid brought his chatty, low-budget debut to Sundance and took the town by storm, winning a filmmakers’ trophy for dramatic features. But Kevin Smith wasn’t trying to impress anyone with the slickness of his debut feature; he embraced the low budget, shooting his grainy movie during late nights at the convenience store and video shop where he worked (and which inspired the events of the film). Ultimately, its surveillance-camera aesthetic was to the picture’s benefit; it captured a particular kind of pop-culture-obsessed slacker, and became a defining ode to Generation X. (Smith’s “ Chasing Amy ” is also on Prime.) Watch it on Amazon

‘I Am Not Your Negro’ (2017)

This stunning documentary concerns the life and writings of James Baldwin, but it’s less focused on tracing the arc of its subject’s life than on the potency of his words . Director Raoul Peck uses as his framework the notes of Baldwin’s unfinished book “Remember This House,” in which Baldwin was attempting to reckon with the legacies of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Medgar Evers; guided by Baldwin’s passages, Peck constructs an urgent and audacious essay about our past and our present. Our critic called it “a concise, roughly 90-minute movie with the scope and impact of a 10-hour mini-series.” (Prime is also streaming the bio-documentary “ John Lewis: Good Trouble .”) Watch it on Amazon

‘Young Adult’ (2011)

We’ve seen countless stories of nasty, selfish people who go on a voyage of self-discovery and come out the other side as better, wiser souls. This acidic comedy-drama asks: What if that journey didn’t take? Mavis Gary ( Charlize Theron , in take-no-prisoners mode), a bitter young-adult author who returns to her hometown in hopes of reuniting with her high-school boyfriend, his picture-perfect married life be damned. A film that zigs when you’re certain it will zag, “Young Adult” tells a satisfying story that is also a sly critique of the conventions of modern moviemaking. Our critic praised its “ brilliant, brave and breathtakingly cynical heart .” Watch it on Amazon

‘Us’ (2019)

Jordan Peele followed up the massive critical and commercial success of “Get Out,” his Oscar-winning feature debut from 2017, with this similarly potent brew of horror, social commentary and bleak comedy. Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke star as upper-class parents whose family vacation is disrupted by the appearance of silent but terrifying visitors. Are they home invaders? Common criminals? Supernatural doppelgängers? Or something even more sinister? As with “Get Out” before it and “Nope” after, Peele has as much fun building dread and atmosphere as he does delivering shock thrills, slyly threading in pop-culture shout-outs and obscure historical references to keep audiences equally puzzled and frightened. (For more spooky stuff, try “ From Beyond ” or “ Bird With the Crystal Plumage .”) Watch it on Amazon

‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ (1978)

The original 1956 version ( also streaming on Prime ), in which alien invaders implant themselves in humans and take on their form, was widely seen as an allegory for the Red Scare. This “ dazzling remake ,” as our critic described it, is updated and released from that context, but it found another in post-hippie, health-obsessed San Francisco. The stakes are lower, but the remake has a self-aware sense of humor and a decent proportion of gross-outs and jump-scares, as well as an ending that’s just as creepy as the original’s. Watch it on Amazon

‘High Noon’ (1952)

This classic Western from the director Fred Zinnemann is best remembered for its innovative construction, in which a small-town marshal’s looming standoff with a revenge-seeking outlaw is dramatized in real time. The film was widely read as an allegory for the film industry blacklists of the era — the screenwriter Carl Foreman was deemed an “uncooperative witness” by the House Un-American Activities Committee. But “High Noon” also cleared an important path for the future of the Western, replacing the usual genre high jinks with thoughtful explorations of masculinity and violence; our critic called it “ a rare and exciting achievement .” (If you like Westerns, try “ Stagecoach ,” “ Breakheart Pass ” or “ One-Eyed Jacks. ”)

‘The Taking of Pelham One Two Three’ (1974)

One of the greatest of all “gritty Gotham” movies — our critic called it “a movie that really catches the mood of New York and New Yorkers” — this darkly funny, white-knuckle thriller from the director Joseph Sargent concerns four armed men who take a subway car hostage, demanding a million-dollar ransom for the lives of the passengers. Robert Shaw is coolly ruthless as the leader of the gang while Walter Matthau is at his hangdog best as the cynical transit cop hot on their trail. (Matthau’s Oscar-winning turn in “ The Fortune Cookie ” is also on Prime.)

‘The Burial’ (2023)

Maggie Betts’s adaptation of Jonathan Harr’s 1999 New Yorker article feels like a throwback to the John Grisham thrillers of the era, and that’s intended as high praise; we just don’t get many of these mid-budget, middlebrow, crowd-pleasing courtroom dramas anymore. The sharp script tells the true story of a flashy personal injury lawyer (Jamie Foxx) who argues the hard-to-win case of the owner of a funeral home (Tommy Lee Jones) who is taking on a giant corporation for breaking an oral agreement. The tropes of the courtroom drama are well-deployed, yet thornily augmented by the sticky racial dynamics of its Deep South setting. Foxx dazzles — he always excels in this kind of showboat role — and Jones’s quiet dignity is an effective counterpoint. (For more courtroom drama, try “ And Justice for All .”)

‘Mansfield Park’ (1999)

Filmmakers never seem to tire of adapting Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility,” “Pride and Prejudice” and “Emma,” but they seem comparatively uninterested in her 1814 coming-of-age story, “Mansfield Park.” That’s one of the many reasons to check out this “ smart, politically pointed screen adaptation ” from the screenwriter and director Patricia Rozema, who remains faithful to the spirit of Austen’s novel while indulging in a handful of fascinating modifications. Frances O’Connor is dazzling in the leading role, and Jonny Lee Miller, Alessandro Nivola, Embeth Davidtz, James Purefoy, Hugh Bonneville and the playwright Harold Pinter lend able support. (Admirers should also check out the similarly spiky “ Lady Macbeth . ”)

‘Silver Dollar Road’ (2023)

Early in the new documentary by Raoul Peck (“I Am Not Your Negro”), Gertrude Reels remembers her father’s deathbed wish: “Whatever you do, don’t let the white man have my land.” That land, a 65-acre spread (including acres of invaluable waterfront property) in Carteret County, North Carolina, has been at the center of a long, complex legal battle for decades. Not all gentrification happens in the cities, and Peck’s keenly observed “ intimate portrait ” follows this family through years of injustice and wrangling, capturing (and sharing) their indignation. Watch it on Amazon

‘Tár’ (2022)

Cate Blanchett is Lydia Tár, an acclaimed orchestral conductor, composer and instructor whose precariously balanced life and career begin to collapse around her in this “ cruelly elegant, elegantly cruel ” character study from the writer and director Todd Field (“In the Bedroom”). Blanchett was nominated for best actress at last year’s Oscars for her electrifying turn as a woman whose genius has long excused her considerable flaws; Nina Hoss is terrific as the longtime partner who can no longer look the other way. Field directs the story of Lydia’s fall from grace with chilly, riveting precision and welcome psychological nuance. (For more Oscar-nominated acting, try “ The Dresser .”) Watch it on Amazon

‘Step Brothers’ (2008)

Before he became the director of important, issues-minded films like “Vice” and “Don’t Look Up,” Adam McKay trafficked in pure, unapologetic silliness. And that silliness reached its apex with this explosively funny, frequently filthy comedy, re-teaming his “Talladega Nights” stars Will Ferrell (who co-wrote, with McKay) and John C. Reilly as adult man-children who still live with their parents (Mary Steenburgen and Richard Jenkins) and are forced into a sibling relationship when their parents wed. What begins as suspicion and rivalry develops into absolute mayhem, with Ferrell and Reilly at their most manic and Steenburgen and Jenkins finding endless variations on parental patience and embarrassment.

‘Women Talking’ (2022)

The writer and director Sarah Polley, adapting the novel by Miriam Toews , tells the haunting tale of an insular religious community ripped apart by the actions of its predatory men. Those crimes are seen briefly, in flashback; the primary focus of Polley’s film is a long, difficult debate between several of the women in the community about what will happen next. Assembling a cast of first-rate actors (including Jessie Buckley, Claire Foy, Judith Ivey, Rooney Mara, Frances McDormand and Ben Whishaw), Polley turns what could have been a polemic into an urgent, thoughtful morality play. Watch it on Amazon

‘12 Angry Men’ (1957)

Sidney Lumet (“Serpico,” “Network,” “Dog Day Afternoon,”) made his feature directorial debut with this “ incisively revealing ” ensemble piece — one of the great courtroom dramas, or more accurately, jury room dramas. Twelve jurors huddle up to determine the fate of the man they’ve just watched on trial for murder, and what seems to be an open-and-shut conviction is complicated by the questions and protestations of a single juror (Henry Fonda). Lee J. Cobb is his primary antagonist; Jack Warden, Martin Balsam and E.G. Marshall are among the impressive cast. Watch it on Amazon

‘Witness’ (1985)

In this taut crime drama from director Peter Weir (“Picnic at Hanging Rock,” “Dead Poets Society”), Harrison Ford stars as John Book, a Philadelphia police detective investigating a murder whose only witness is a young Amish boy. So he follows the boy and his mother (Kelly McGillis) back to their insular community to protect them. Weir deftly intermingles this suspenseful mystery story with an affecting human drama, in which Book finds himself drawn not only to the small Amish town but also to the young mother. McGillis is wonderfully conflicted as a woman who wants only to do right, and Ford’s multifaceted performance serves as a fine reminder that he can play real, flawed people, not just popcorn icons. (If you like your cop thrillers with a bit more spice, try “ The Big Easy ” or “ In the Cut .”) Watch it on Amazon

‘The African Queen’ (1952)

Humphrey Bogart won his only Oscar for his role as the gin-soaked roughneck at the helm of the titular vessel; this was also his only on-screen pairing with his fellow icon Katharine Hepburn. Most of what happens is predictable, from the outcome of the dangerous mission to the eventual attraction of the opposites at the story’s center, but the actors and John Huston’s direction keep the viewer engaged and entertained. Our critic praised the picture’s “ rollicking fun and gentle humor.” (Fans of classic cinema will also enjoy “ The Best Years of Our Lives ” and “ It’s a Wonderful Life .”)

‘Mission: Impossible’ (1996)

You couldn’t throw a stone in a multiplex in the 1990s without hitting a big-screen adaptation of a boomer-era TV series, but Tom Cruise’s take on the ’60s spy show ended up with a bigger cultural footprint than its inspiration. The bigger-is-better ethos of the franchise resulted in movies that felt like movies , not just overblown TV episodes. That’s very much the case in this first installment, with the baroque genre stylist Brian De Palma imposing his trademark trick photography, Dutch angles and sure hand for suspenseful set pieces. (The fourth film in the series, “ Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol ,” is also on Prime, as is the smash sequel “ Top Gun: Maverick .”)

‘Professor Marston and the Wonder Women’ (2017)

The life that the “Wonder Woman” creator William Moulton Marston (Luke Evans) shared with two women — his wife (Rebecca Hall) and their lover (Bella Heathcote) — and their experimentation with polyamory and bondage helped inspire the popular comic book character, as well as some of her more controversial early imagery. Angela Robinson, the movie’s writer and director, draws clear parallels from their lives to the character’s, drawing frames from the comic book with the precision and wit of a good documentary and providing welcome context for the recent resurgence in her popularity. But “Wonder Women” is most remarkable for the nuance it gives to its central relationship, treating what could have been a giggly sexcapade with genuine complexity and sensitivity. In the end, this “ sly and thoroughly charming Trojan horse of a movie ” is not just another biopic; this is a lovely story about not only finding love, but understanding and accepting it, on its own terms.

‘Something Wild’ (1986)

This thrillingly unpredictable rom-com/crime movie mash-up from the director Jonathan Demme (“The Silence of the Lambs”) begins as a boy-meets-girl movie with a slightly psychosexual edge, seeming to tell the story of how a wild girl (Melanie Griffith) and a straight guy (Jeff Daniels) meet in the middle. Then Ray (a sensational Ray Liotta) turns up and hijacks the entire movie, turning it into something much darker and more dangerous. Throughout, Demme keeps the focus on his colorful characters and sharp dialogue. (“ Mr. & Mrs. Smith ” is a somewhat more conventional but nevertheless entertaining action-comedy-romance.)

‘Across 110th Street’ (1972)

One of the most hard-edge and thought-provoking pictures of the so-called Blaxploitation cycle, this New York action drama pairs Anthony Quinn and Yaphet Kotto as detectives investigating the blood-spilling robbery of a mob-controlled numbers bank in Harlem. The case is a dangerous intersection of organized crime interests, a conflict exacerbated by the contrasts between these two cops — Black and white, young and old, idealistic and corrupt — resulting in an explosive and decidedly un-Hollywood conclusion. (For more ’70s action, check out “ Foxy Brown ” and “ Coffy .”) Watch it on Amazon

‘The Hurt Locker’ (2009)

Winner of the Oscar for best picture (and for best director for Kathryn Bigelow), this harrowing war drama concerns a team of bomb specialists in Iraq — with a particular focus on Staff Sgt. William James (Jeremy Renner), who’s a bit of a loose cannon. Bigelow mines palpable, sweaty tension from this terrifying work, but she doesn’t settle for cheap thrills; the film is most intense when dealing with James’s internal conflicts and his psychological battles with his team. our critic called it “ a viscerally exciting, adrenaline-soaked tour de force .” (Other best picture winners on Prime include “ In the Heat of the Night ” and “ Forrest Gump .”) Watch it on Amazon

‘Jiro Dreams of Sushi’ (2012)

The chef Jiro Ono’s 10-seat sushi-only Tokyo eatery is recognized worldwide and is less a restaurant than a temple. According to those who know and work with him, it’s an extension of his personality; he’s meticulous, detail-oriented, doggedly dedicated to his craft. But has that perfectionism made him (or the people around him) happy? David Gelb’s mouthwatering documentary poses that question and further explores the chef’s philosophies of life and work, while also painstakingly capturing the careful preparation of Ono’s culinary gifts and lovingly lingering on the results.

‘Devil in a Blue Dress’ (1995)

Denzel Washington is terrific — smolderingly sexy, offhandedly funny, endlessly engaging — as Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins, a ’40s-era private detective, in this beautifully crafted adaptation of Walter Mosley’s novel, from the director Carl Franklin (“One False Move”). Yet even with that great performance at its center, Don Cheadle steals the show as “Mouse,” Rawlins’s troublemaking best friend; this was Cheadle’s breakthrough role, and he makes every scene crackle with energy and unpredictability. “Devil” was based on the first of 14 Rawlins novels (to date), and in a just world, we’d have seen Washington play him 13 more times. But at least we got this one. (For more period drama, stream “ Sounder ” or “ First Cow .”)

‘Strawberry Mansion’ (2022)

Kentucker Audley and Albert Birney wrote, directed and edited this “ soulful sci-fi oddity ” — a true indie with a look, sound and feel all its own. Audley is also the deadpan leading man, a government auditor in a not too distant future, where citizens are taxed for the extravagancies of their dreams. It’s a digital process, so he meets a considerable challenge in the form of the batty Bella (Penny Fuller), whose dreams are still analog, leaving him with thousands of videotapes to watch and log. And that’s when things start getting really weird. Audley and Birney’s wild screenplay adroitly captures the touch-and-go intricacies of dream logic, the special effects are impressively D.I.Y. and the humor is deliriously cockeyed throughout. (If you like quirky indies, try “ Ghost World .”) Watch it on Amazon

‘Support the Girls’ (2018)

The writer and director Andrew Bujalski (“Funny Ha Ha,” “Computer Chess”) creates what looks, on its shiny surface, like a sunny workplace comedy along the lines of “Working …” or the Chotchkie’s scenes in “Office Space.” But he’s up to something much slyer, a smart examination of class and gender politics in one of their most pointed playgrounds: a Hooters-style sports bar and grill, where customers leer at scantily clad waitresses while the manager, Lisa (Regina Hall), tries to keep temperatures cool (and maintain her own sanity). It’s a “ stealth charmer ,” with a richly textured anchoring performance by Hall and a sparkling supporting turn by Haley Lu Richardson, a “White Lotus” favorite. Watch it on Amazon

‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ (2018)

Barry Jenkins followed up the triumph of his Oscar-winning “Moonlight” with this “ anguished and mournful ” adaptation of James Baldwin’s 1974 novel. It is, first and foremost, a love story, and the warmth and electricity Jenkins captures and conveys between stars KiKi Layne and Stephan James is overwhelming. But it’s also a love story between two Black Americans in 1960s Harlem, and the delicacy with which the filmmaker threads in the troubles of that time, and the injustice that ultimately tears his main characters apart, is heart-wrenching. Masterly performances abound — particularly from Regina King, who won an Oscar for her complex, layered portrayal of a mother on a mission. (Fans of character-driven indie fare should also check out “ A Family Thing ” and “ Frank .”) Watch it on Amazon

‘Cassandro’ (2023)

“The exotico has lost, like always,” shrugs the announcer of the low-rent wrestling match, which doesn’t really bother Saúl (Gael García Bernal) all that much — he’s “the runt,” and he’s got problems of his own. One of the pleasures of Roger Ross Williams’s comedy-drama, which is loosely based on a true story, is how steeped it is in the lore of the lucha libre, the traditions and characters and lingo that give this world its juice. Saúl, a cheerfully, unapologetically gay wrestler, devises a flamboyantly theatrical new character: an exotico, yes, “but he wins. ” (Roberta Colindrez plays his trainer.) Williams deftly dramatizes how this persona, and his success with it, changes everything, and while he follows the standard sports-underdog playbook, the picture’s overwhelming exuberance and kindness set it apart. (Sports film fans will also enjoy “ The Longest Yard ” and “ Air .”)

‘Night Comes On’ (2018)

This Sundance sensation is a heart-wrenching story of grief, pain, regret and struggle. The director and co-writer Jordana Spiro tells the story of Angel (Dominique Fishback), released from jail on the eve of her 18th birthday and torn between getting her life together and finishing the crime that put her there. Spiro adopts a no-nonsense approach, digging into the probationary process and the various ways in which the deck is already stacked against her protagonist. In an unforgettable performance, Fishback eschews showy moments for a lived-in authenticity. Watch it on Amazon

‘Blackfish’ (2013)

In investigating the death of a trainer at SeaWorld, the director Gabriela Cowperthwaite traces the sordid history of the capture of killer whales and their training to perform for audiences, creating a masterly juxtaposition of SeaWorld’s own commercials and promo videos with grisly tales of accidents, attacks and public relations spin. Paced like a thriller and written like a deft courtroom summation, it is intelligent, methodical and harrowing; our critic called it a “ delicately lacerating documentary .” (Documentary fans should also seek out the scorching “ The Tillman Story .”)

‘Raging Bull’ (1980)

Robert De Niro won his second Academy Award for his fiercely physical and psychologically punishing performance in this searing adaptation of the autobiography of the middleweight champion Jake LaMotta . The stylish boxing sequences are visceral and overwhelming, shot and cut to approximate the disorientation and violence of the sport. But the most disturbing sequences are those of LaMotta in his home, terrorizing his wife (Cathy Moriarty, in an electrifying debut) and terrifying his brother and manager, Joey (Joe Pesci, also remarkable). It’s a relentlessly downbeat piece of work, but the force of De Niro’s performance and the energy of Martin Scorsese’s direction are hard to overstate, or to forget. At the time, our critic called it Scorsese’s “ most ambitious film as well as his finest.” (De Niro and Moriarty are also excellent in “ Cop Land ”; for more Oscar-winning acting, watch “ My Left Foot .”) Watch it on Amazon

‘Catherine Called Birdy’ (2022)

The “Girls” creator and star Lena Dunham is about the last person you’d imagine to direct a film adaptation of a children’s book set in 13th-century England. (Perhaps that’s why she did it.) What she accomplishes is a minor miracle: a delightful film that inserts a modern comic sensibility into the past, without resorting to anachronism or satire. She gets a big assist from the star (and “Game of Thrones” alum) Bella Ramsey, who brings the title character to vivid, playful life, involving us in her tribulations and frustrations, as her oft-drunken father (Andrew Scott, the “hot priest” of “Fleabag”) desperately attempts to marry her off. Our critic called it a “winning,” “ headstrong comedy .” Watch it on Amazon

‘Compliance’ (2012)

This Sundance sensation from the writer and director Craig Zobel tells a story so unbelievable, it had to be true : A man calls a fast-food restaurant, claiming to be a police officer, and instructs the manager to interrogate an employee on suspicion of theft. With the caller’s explicit instructions, the manager proceeds to humiliate and assault the young woman because that’s what a (supposed) person of authority said to do. Zobel crafts his film as both a morality play and a steadily tightening noose, its escalating discomfort complemented by the credible performances of Ann Dowd as the manager, Dreama Walker as the victim and Pat Healy as the caller. (Zobel’s follow-up, “ Z for Zachariah ,” is also on Prime.)

‘Superman’ (1978)

The superhero movie as we know it began here, a Man of Steel origin story breathlessly advertised with the legendary tagline, “You’ll believe a man can fly.” And indeed we did, so convincing were the visual effects that gave Superman his powers. But what made “Superman” so great was the director Richard Donner’s attention to the human details, from the earnestness of the hero’s small-town Kansas youth to the sweetness of the Clark Kent/Lois Lane/Superman love triangle to the wily characterization of Gene Hackman’s Lex Luthor. But the key to it all is Christopher Reeve, who creates a compelling two-part characterization as Superman and his alter ego, and turns this potentially corny figure into one of the great screen heroes. Our critic called it “ good, clean, simple-minded fun .” (The wonderful “ Superman II ” is also on Prime.)

‘Guys and Dolls’ (1955)

The classic gangster movie gets a snazzy musical makeover in this bouncy film adaptation of the Broadway hit, itself based on the colorful New York characters of Damon Runyon’s fiction. Joseph L. Mankiewicz (“All About Eve”) directs with energy and pizazz, coaxing cheerful, engaged performances out of Frank Sinatra, Jean Simmons, Vivian Blaine and that most unlikely of crooners, Marlon Brando. Our critic called it “as tinny and tawny and terrific as any hot-cha musical film you’ll ever see.” (For more classic musical fun, stream “ The Wiz ,” “ South Pacific ” or “ Oklahoma! ”) Watch it on Amazon

‘The Magnificent Seven’ (1960)

Six years after Akira Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai,” John Sturges produced and directed this remake, relocating Kurasawa’s epic from feudal Japan to the American West. But the bones of the story remain the same: a village is terrorized by outside forces, and hires a small band of outlaws to help them fight back. Sturges’s marvelous ensemble cast includes some of the toughest guys in the movies — including Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn and Eli Wallach — along with Yul Brynner, elegant yet credible, as the leader of the guns for hire. Elmer Bernstein contributes the memorable score. Watch it on Amazon

‘A Quiet Passion’ (2017)

This vibrant and playful exploration of the life of Emily Dickinson comes from the fertile mind of the great British writer and director Terence Davies (“The Deep Blue Sea”), who so frequently and masterfully unearths raw desires and emotional truths. This time, he has the good fortune of partnering up with Cynthia Nixon; she adroitly dramatizes Dickinson’s journey, emphasizing the humor and happiness of her earlier years and how that joy gradually dissipated. (Her cheerful interactions with her sister, played with warmth by Jennifer Ehle, place the role closer to her “Sex and the City” breakthrough than you might expect.) This is filmmaking that is searing, smart and often sublime.

‘Pariah’ (2011)

Dee Rees made her feature directorial debut with this heartfelt and thoughtful story about a Brooklyn teenager (the “ incandescent ” Adepero Oduye ) named Alike (pronounced ah-LEE-kay) and her delicate attempt to come out as a lesbian — fully aware of the resistance she will face from her controlling mother (Kim Wayans). Rees, who also penned the screenplay, tells this semi-autobiographical tale like a richly detailed short story, well-versed in the lives these characters live, the neighborhoods they inhabit and the lies they tell each other in order to coexist. But she also captures the seductiveness of the subcultures Alike begins to explore and the alternative they present: the choice to live one’s truth, with no apologies.

‘The Long Goodbye’ (1973)

Robert Altman adapted Raymond Chandler’s late-period Philip Marlowe novel as only he could: idiosyncratically, by updating the hard-boiled story’s setting to the feel-good California of the 1970s and casting one of the era’s most of-his-time actors, Elliott Gould, in the role made famous by Humphrey Bogart. Purists resisted, and some critics scratched their heads. But Gould is brilliant, Altman’s direction is brash and confident, and this “ tough, funny, hugely entertaining movie ” homes in on the character’s essential, outsider nature, while ingeniously rethinking the conventions of the genre. (Mystery fans will also love “ No Way Out .”)

‘Memento’ (2000)

Christopher Nolan made his first big splash with this, his second feature film, a stylish film noir riff that tells its familiar story in an exuberantly inventive way: In order to mirror the disorientation of its protagonist, Leonard (Guy Pearce), who has lost his ability to create new memories, Nolan tells the story by ordering its scenes in reverse chronology. As Leonard pursues an investigation of his wife’s murder, revelations fold back on themselves and betrayals become clear to the audience before they’re known to him. Yet even without that narrative flourish, “Memento” would be a scorching piece of work, loaded with sharp performances, moody cinematography and a noir-inspired sense of doom. (Nolan’s “ Interstellar ” is also on Prime.) Watch it on Amazon

‘Selma’ (2014)

Ava DuVernay directs this “ bold and bracingly self-assured ” dramatization of the events surrounding Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1965 marches for voting rights in Selma, Ala. DuVernay is telling the story not of a man but of a movement; the picture bursts with the urgency of promises unkept. David Oyelowo is astonishing as King, capturing the unmistakable cadences but also the man — uncertain, jocular, determined. The stellar ensemble cast includes Dylan Baker, Carmen Ejogo, André Holland, Stephan James, Wendell Pierce, Tim Roth, Tessa Thompson, Lorraine Toussaint, Tom Wilkinson and Oprah Winfrey. Watch it on Amazon

‘The Villainess’ (2017)

The opening sequence of this South Korean action extravaganza is such a stunner — a breathless, ultraviolent eight-minute one-killer-takes-on-an-army set piece — that you wonder how the director Jung Byung-gil can possibly top it. Improbably, the hyperkinetic climax, a bone-cracking sequence on a speeding city bus, does just that. But “The Villainess” offers more than empty thrills. Though best explained to Western audiences as a gender-flipped “John Wick,” the narrative that plays out between those memorable bookends has a potent emotional core and a complex dual timeline structure, explaining exactly how the ruthless killing machine at the story’s center became who (and what) she is. (For more stylized action, try “ The Crow .”)

‘Bridesmaids’ (2011)

Kristen Wiig stars in and co-writes (with her frequent collaborator Annie Mumolo) this comedy smash from the director Paul Feig. Wiig is Annie, an aimless baker who is asked to serve as the maid of honor for her lifelong pal, Lillian (Maya Rudolph). This duty sets off an uproarious series of broad comic set pieces and thoughtful introspection; both the comedy and drama are played to the hilt by an ensemble that includes Rose Byrne, Jon Hamm, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ellie Kemper, Chris O’Dowd and an Oscar-nominated Melissa McCarthy. (For more female-fronted comedy, try “ Pitch Perfect .”)

‘Appropriate Behavior’ (2015)

Desiree Akhavan writes, directs and stars in this devastatingly funny, breathtakingly candid and unexpectedly sexy comedy-drama. She’s is a singular comic voice, and since she’s playing a variation on herself (a bisexual Brooklynite filmmaker and daughter of immigrants), the picture boasts an offhand candor and casual approach to ethnicity, class and identity that makes it distinctive even among the indie set. Our critic praised the picture’s “ clever and unpredictable turns of phrase .” (For more candid, sexy comedy, try “ Afternoon Delight .”) Watch it on Amazon

‘Licorice Pizza’ (2021)

The writer and director Paul Thomas Anderson picked up nominations for best director, best original screenplay and best picture for this richly textured, quietly bittersweet and frequently funny story of growing up in the San Fernando Valley in the 1970s. The actor Cooper Hoffman is charismatic and charming as a young would-be entrepreneur; the musician Alana Haim, in a star-making performance of astonishing depth, is the perpetually out-of-reach object of his affections. It’s the kind of movie that sneaks up on you with its warmth and insight. Our critic called it “ a shaggy, fitfully brilliant romp .” (“ Armageddon Time ” and “ Summer of 85 ” are similarly nuanced coming-of-age stories.) Watch it on Amazon

‘Killer Joe’ (2012)

Matthew McConaughey’s unexpected comeback from a no-man’s-land of forgettable rom-coms and dumbed-down star vehicles was just getting underway when he took on the title role of this brutal, twisted, brilliant adaptation of the play by the Pulitzer and Tony winner Tracy Letts. As a ruthless murderer for hire plunged into the disarray of a vile, trashy family, McConaughey miraculously twists his movie-star charisma and golden-boy looks into something cold, hard and frightening. The director William Friedkin (“The French Connection,” “The Exorcist”) squeezes the trailer-home setting like a vise, creating creeping dread and pitch-black humor from the bleakest of setups. (If you love crime movies, try “ 52 Pick-Up ” or “ The Killing .”)

‘Trainspotting’ (1996)

The director Danny Boyle brought the cult novel by Irvine Welsh to the screen as a visceral experience, chasing the relentlessly energetic narrative like the drug addicts at its center chase a high. Ewan McGregor found a star-making role in the protagonist, Renton, a Scottish miscreant who insists he chooses the dangers of addiction over a life of suburban prescription; Robert Carlyle is the supporting standout as the scariest member of his crew. “ It rocks to a throbbing beat ,” our critic wrote, “and trains its jaundiced eye on some of the most lovable lowlifes ever to skulk across a screen.”

An earlier version of this article misspelled an actor's surname. It's Yul Brynner, not Brenner.

An earlier version of a picture caption misspelled an actor’s surname. He is Joe Mantegna, not Mantenga.

An earlier version of this article referred imprecisely to the character Jerry Lundegaard’s occupation in the film “Fargo.” He is a car salesman, not a used car salesman.

An earlier version of this article misstated the year “House of Games” was released. It was 1987, not 1986.

An earlier version of this article misidentified the year in which “California Split” was released. It is 1974, not 1978.

An earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to Michelle Williams’s character in “Take this Waltz.” She is married, but she is not a mother.

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Andrew Lincoln and Danai Gurira, the former stars of “The Walking Dead,” reprise their roles on “The Ones Who Live,”  a six-part spinoff mini-series. Will fans of the AMC zombie horror series follow?

When Kelvin Harrison Jr. and Aaron Pierre signed on to play Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, respectively, in the new National Geographic series “Genius: MLK/X,” the actors knew their imperative was to make their iconic characters as human as possible .

How did Kingsley Ben-Adir become Bob Marley for “Bob Marley: One Love”? Despite little outward resemblance, the actor worked for months to get the reggae luminary’s look, sound and movement right .

If you are overwhelmed by the endless options, don’t despair — we put together the best offerings   on Netflix , Max , Disney+ , Amazon Prime  and Hulu  to make choosing your next binge a little easier.

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The 28 best Prime Video movies to stream in February 2024

Looking for the best Prime Video movies around? TechRadar's entertainment experts have you covered

Oliver Quick in a fancy tuxedo sat outside in a chair with a huge looming stately home in the background in Saltburn, one of the best Prime Video movies

If you're looking for the best Prime Video movies available right now, you're in the right place. In our list below, we've picked the very best films on Amazon 's primary streaming service that are well worth watching. 

The good news is that if you already have an Amazon Prime subscription, the best Prime Video movies in the guide below are all free to watch. That's why we rate Prime Video so much and think it's easily one of the best streaming services . But although Prime Video has a fantastic selection of films, not all of them are worth your time. That's why we've created this guide to help you find the best Prime Video movie for you. We've included epic high fantasy, gripping drama, creepy horror and more. What we're saying is, there's something for everyone here. 

If you only want the newest films to land on Prime Video, then take a look at our new Prime Video movies guide. Otherwise, keep reading our pick of the best Prime Video movies to stream today.

Jumanji is a thrilling adventure film that the whole family can enjoy. It’s been a firm favorite with audiences since its release back in 1995, and now it’s available on Prime Video to add a bit of excitement to your dull January. 

Jumanji follows the story of a mysterious board game that brings jungle hazards into the real world. Alan Parrish (played by Robin Williams), gets trapped inside the game as a child and is released decades later by two unsuspecting kids. What follows is a whirlwind of fun, adventure and (mild) danger as they strive to finish the game. This beloved classic film blends humor, heart and a high-stakes adventure that has mass appeal and can be watched time and time again.

Saltburn is a visually stunning, thrilling and fairly controversial new Prime Video movie from director Emerald Fennell (known for Promising Young Woman ). Initially set in Oxford, England, it follows the story of Oliver Quick, an Oxford University student who becomes fixated on fellow student Felix Catton (Jacob Elordi) who invites him to  spend the summer at his family's estate, Saltburn.

What follows is a funny, disturbing and deliciously grotesque story of classic extravagance and debauchery with plenty of unexpected twists along the way. However, the less said about the story, the better. Part black comedy and part psychological thriller, Saltburn has a similar aesthetic vibes to a Baz Luhrmann film, yet the story reminds us of The Talented Mr Ripley. 

Mission Impossible 1-4

There are now seven movies in the Mission Impossible series, and the first four are all available to stream now on Prime Video. These include the OG, Mission: Impossible , Mission: Impossible 2 , Mission: Impossible III and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol .

All of these films star the incredibly dynamic Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt, the main protagonist of the series and field agent of the Impossible Mission Force, a government agency that only handles the most dangerous and high-stakes missions. If you love action, suspense and the most bonkers action sequences imaginable, you'll enjoy the Mission Impossible series.

Watching all four of these movies is also a fun journey through through the evolution of action cinema, filled with Cruise's truly death-defying stunts and cutting-edge special effects that have defined a genre.

Foe is a sci-fi movie-meets-psychological thriller based on a book by Iain Reid of the same name. Now, this isn't the best movie you'll watch in 2024, but it does have an unusual premise, as well as a few unexpected twists. If you're a fan of quieter, speculative sci-fi, you'll enjoy it.

Foe is set in 2065 when the Earth is becoming less habitable. A new settlement called OuterMore is being established in space, and a lottery system is introduced to decide who will be allowed to live there. Anyone who movies to OuterMore is replaced with an AI substitute that look and act just like humans. The movie follows the story of a young couple (played by Saoirse Ronan and Paul Mescal) who live on an isolated farm in the Midwest when one of them is selected for relocation.

Totally Killer

One of the most recent movies in our guide, Totally Killer is best described as a comedy horror, which pays tribute to 80s-era slasher movies and time travel films. It follows the story of Jamie (played by Kiernan Shipka) whose mother is murdered by the Sweet 16 Killer who went on a murdering spree 35 years earlier. Jamie travels back in time (naturally) to find her mother and catch the killer back during his original spree.

It's a homage to legendary movies from both sci-fi and horror, like Back to the Future and Scream. Yes, it sounds like a bonkers mash-up of genres, but we promise that although it's not winning any awards, it's an incredibly fun watch nonetheless. 

Set in 1995, The Burial is loosely based on the true story of Jerry O'Keefe, played here by Tommy Lee Jones. O'Keefe is a struggling funeral home owner facing financial difficulties who agrees to a contract with a man called Raymond Loewen of the Loewen Group to help him make ends meet. But Loewen doesn't see their agreement through, and a bitter battle ensues. What follows is a riveting story that sees Jerry hiring a man called Willie E. Gary to help him (Jamie Foxx), a bold and showy personal injury layer. 

Both Tommy Lee Jones and Jamie Foxx have been praised for their contrasting performances, making an unexpected legal team that take the story on some unexpected twists and turns. If you enjoy high stakes courtroom dramas with two fantastic leads, The Burial is a must-watch.

John Wick: Chapter 4

John Wick: Chapter 4 is the latest instalment in the hyper-violent, neon-drenched series of movies about retired assassin John Wick (Keanu Reeves). In John Wick: Chapter 4, John's feud with the High Table (a council of notorious crime lords) continues, which pits him against a whole new cast of villains, including the Marquis Vincent Bisset de Gramont, played brilliantly here by Bill Skarsgård. 

Expect mind-blowing action sequences, some super quotable one-liners from the titular character, a mouth-watering aesthetic and a fast-paced, frenetic soundtrack from one of the best Prime Video movies.

We loved that this movie explored the murky depths of the rich, dark history and lore of the Wick-iverse. Find out more about what we thought of the film in our John Wick: Chapter 4 review . If you're new to the series or feel like it's time for a re-watch, take a look at our guide to how to watch the John Wick movies in order , or read our review of prequel show The Continental: From the World of John Wick .

Elvis is director Baz Luhrmann's ( Romeo & Juliet, The Great Gatsby) interpretation of the life of American rock and roll singer and actor Elvis Presley (Austin Butler). As you might expect from a flick by Luhrmann, it's bold, flashy and fantastic-looking, laced with a lot of heart-aching tragedy. 

Interestingly, the story is told from the perspective of Presley's manager, Colonel Tom Parker, played here by Tom Hanks. Austin Butler was highly-praised for his portrayal of Elvis and bagged several prestigious awards. Reassuringly, the movie also got the seal of approval from Presley's family who have all been vocal about the portrayal of Elvis and his life.

The James Bond movie collection

If you're a fan of 007, then we've got some great news for you. Nearly every  James Bond  film that's ever been made is available to watch on Prime Video. Unfortunately there are a couple of notable absences, including Daniel Craig’s 007 movies  aside from 2015’s  Spectre . But still, this is the first time the  vast majority of the Bond films have been available on Prime Video since April 2022 , which means anyone who's a fan of the legendary spy will want to catch up with as many of the older titles as they can.

Yep, that's right. With the James Bond movie collection arriving on Prime Video, you'll be able to binge on all of the  Sean Connery  James Bond  films ,  Roger Moore 007 movies , and  Pierce Brosnan  James Bond  flicks  in one sitting. If don't know which era of Bond you want to watch first, or if you're up for the challenge of watching every 007 movie from start to finish, take a look at our  James Bond  movies in order  guide first.

Edge of Tomorrow

Edge of Tomorrow, also called Live, Die, Repeat (which we personally prefer), is a very entertaining sci-fi thriller with a truly refreshing take on time travel. 

It follows the story of Major William "Bill" Cage (Tom Cruise) who’s flung into combat with aliens, known as Mimics, with no military experience. These aliens get a military advantage by travelling through time to learn more about how to defeat us, which means Cage finds himself trapped in a time loop, living the same day and the same battle over and over alongside Sergeant Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt).

We highly recommend this movie for both sci-fi fans and action movie lovers, because it combines a deeply compelling time travel thread with intense combat scenes. But it’s not just about the big flashy sequences, Cruise and Blunt are on top form here and deliver two heart-warming character arcs that you won’t be able to pull your eyes away from. 

If you're in the US, you won't be able to stream Edge of Tomorrow on Amazon Prime, take a look at our new Hulu movies guide instead.

Interstellar

It's not often that we think movies deserve to be called epic, but that's how we'd describe Interstellar , a sci-fi movie that weaves a story across space and time all in the name of love, discovery and saving humanity – see, we told you it's epic!

Interstellar is set in a dystopian future and follows the story of a team of astronauts who must travel through a wormhole that's discovered near Saturn in order to find a new home for humanity. What follows is a sprawling adventure filled with wonder, heartache and a dash of cosmic horror. 

If you're a fan of science-fiction, there's a lot to love here with beautiful new worlds and wondrous space-faring scenes. But at its core, this is a movie about human relationships and the lengths people will go to help the ones they love. See where it placed in our Christopher Nolan movies ranked guide.

Best described as a psychological drama, Tár is about a fictional conductor called Lydia Tár (played by Cate Blanchett), known all over the world for her talent and passion. However, she faces numerous accusations of misconduct and must navigate what that means while she experiences a worrying sensitivity to sound, nightmares, pain and hallucinations.

This certainly isn't a feel-good film, but we highly recommend it for a no holds barred look at the intoxicating side effects of power and it won so big during awards season for a reason. At times the movie is tense and fast-flowing, but at others it lingers and is deeply meditative. Giving us an opportunity to burrow under the skin of the mostly impenetrable Lydia Tár. Needless to say, the always fantastic Cate Blanchett is truly phenomenal as Lydia Tár – you won't be able to take your eyes off her.

Three Thousand Years of Longing

If you're looking for a dose of rich and, at times, sensual fantasy then we've got you. Three Thousand Years of Longing is a visually-stunning movie from acclaimed director George Miller ( Mad Max, Babe and Happy Feet ). 

Three Thousands Years of Longing is about a professor, played by Tilda Swinton, who finds an antique bottle on a trip to Istanbul and discovers a djinn (a spirit), played by Idris Elba, inside of it. The djinn offers to grant the professor three wishes but also tells her three stories about his past, explaining he wound up trapped inside a bottle.

His tales whisk us back thousands of years to royal romances, heart-breaking schemes, murder and lust. Three Thousands Years of Longing is the perfect film to watch if you're seeking some fantastical escapism and romance that isn't twee but epic in its intensity. 

She Said 

If you enjoy movies based on true stories, especially dramas about journalistic integrity and the toxicity of the film industry, then She Said is a must-watch. 

She Said is based on the real events that took place in 2017 when New York Times reporters Megan Twohey, played by Carey Mulligan, and Zoe Kazan, played by Jodi Kantor, began the investigation that exposed Harvey Weinstein's abuse and sexual misconduct. 

Although it's not an easy watch, She Said is a powerful story with fantastic acting from Kazan and Mulligan throughout. It's chilling to see just how close they came to not being able to tell the important stories that ended up convicting Weinstein and igniting the #MeToo movement that followed. 

Gangs of Lagos

Gangs of Lagos tells the tale of Obalola and the lives of his friends, Gift and Ify, as they grow up on the busy and chaotic streets of Isale Eko, a neighbourhood in Lagos, Nigeria.

A film centered on family, friendship and betrayal, while also exploring the impact of violence and politically-affiliated gang culture in Nigeria, Gangs of Lagos isn't an easy Sunday afternoon watch – especially when you consider that it's based on true stories from Isale Eko. It's also the first Amazon movie to be mad in Africa; the pioneering flick being the first of many international projects that should arrive on Prime Video throughout 2023.

Nope  is a scary sci-fi movie that’ll leave you thinking about UFOs long after the credits have rolled. Jordan Peele ( Get Out, Us ) writes, directs, and produces  Nope , while the fantastic Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer are the movie’s leads. They play horse-wrangling siblings who are determined to capture video evidence of a UFO but, as you might expect, get much more than they bargained for. 

Nope  is a must-watch for anyone who loves a good, tense, and cerebral film. Although the story centers on a UFO – a trite and generic plot point, we're sure you'll agree – it’s unlike any other extraterrestrial-style movie you’ve seen. That’s a huge testament to Peele’s innovative storytelling talent, as well as the performance of Kaluuya and Palmer. Read our  Nope  review  for more on what we liked about it.

Top Gun: Maverick

It was Q2 2022 when Top Gun: Maverick landed in theaters and wowed many with its box office performance. Now, the Oscar nominee has finally arrived in your home thanks to Prime Video (it's also available on Paramount Plus ). 

You'll want to check it out, too. Maverick is an action-packed, fast-paced movie with impressive special effects, top-class performances and top-tier set-pieces that'll leave your jaw on the floor. Its story is a little formulaic at times, but it’s nonetheless well worth a watch.

If you loved the original Top Gun movie you’ll love this one, too. It’s just as fun, exciting, and edge-of-your-seat tense as the first. You won’t be able to take your eyes off Tom Cruise’s electric performance as Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell and, as mentioned, there are top performances from its younger stars, too, especially Miles Teller as Lieutenant Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw. Read our exclusive chats with director Joseph Kosinki about the mind-boggling number of cameras used on set and how the film got the green light in the most Tom Cruise way possible .

Palm Springs

There have been plenty of phenomenal time loop movies over the years, including Source Code and Edge of Tomorrow. But for a take that's less edgy sci-fi and has more of the humor, charm, and romcom threads, Palm Springs should be your next port of call.

Two strangers called Nyles (Andy Samberg) and Sarah (Cristin Milioti) meet at a wedding and find they're the only ones living the day over and over. According to reports, the creators were heavily inspired by Groundhog Day, but wanted a fresh take on the time loop trope, which is why the movie begins with Nyles already in the loop. Samberg fans or those of a quirky, sci-fi disposition will love this. US viewers can also catch it on Hulu .

Devotion tells the tale of an African American fighter pilot in the Korean war, who has suffered unspoken racial injustices during his time in the US military. Isolated from his white colleagues, Jesse Brown (Jonathan Majors) finds it hard to trust anyone – until he meets Glenn Powell (Tom Hudner). Together, they make heroic sacrifices that result in them becoming two of the most celebrated pilots in history. 

Based on the novel of the same name, Devotion is full of thrilling aviation and deep racial tension, which it navigates very well. It's been well-received by critics and audience alike, bringing in a terrific 82% on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Sound of Metal

Riz Ahmed shines in the lead role of Sound of Metal , a thoughtful and provocative movie about grief, addiction, and identity. He plays Ruben, a metal drummer who begins to experience hearing loss. He’s told to eliminate loud noises, but continues to perform, worrying that his career, relationship, and life as he knows it could soon be over. 

Sound of Metal is a challenging watch at times, but one of the best Prime Video movies as it's also deeply moving and introspective. You’ll need to be in a certain mood to watch it, but when you do, you’ll be blown away. A crowd-pleasing flick that was nominated for numerous Academy Awards in 2019, winning in the Best Sound and Best Film Editing categories. Easily one of the best Prime Video movies around.

The Big Sick

Here’s a cool fact about The Big Sick: it’s written by writer, producer, and podcast host Emily V. Gordon, plus actor, comedian and screenwriter Kumail Nanjiani (the duo are married), and is inspired by their real-life relationship. It’s a story about an interracial couple, played by Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan, who have to deal with cultural differences when Emily becomes seriously ill. 

It’s a funny and heartfelt movie, and feels fresher and smarter than a lot of more recent rom-coms. Critics and cinephiles agreed, too, with it being chosen by American Film Institute as one of the top 10 films of the year when it came out in 2017. It was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. 

One Night in Miami

One Night in Miami comes from Regina King, who makes her directorial debut. The story is based on a 2013 stage play of the same name – written by filmmaker and playwright Kemp Powers – which itself is inspired by a real meeting that took place in February 1964 at the Hampton House in Miami. 

During that supposed event, Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Muhammad Ali (Eli Goree), Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge), and Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr) gathered to celebrate Ali’s title win against Sonny Liston. Events unfold over the course of a single night as the legendary quartet talk about power, race, discussing their roles in the Civil Rights Movement, and the culture of the era. It's one of the best Prime Video movies around and, when it was first released, was nominated for several Academy Awards. 

Manchester by the Sea

Manchester by the Sea is a heavy movie. It’s about a depressed and grief-stricken man who needs to care for his teen nephew after his brother dies. Understandably, then, it focuses on themes of guilt, responsibility, and families. 

It’s masterfully told and beautifully acted by Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams in the lead roles. The film received critical acclaim, winning Academy Awards for Best Actor for Affleck and Best Original Screenplay, and was considered one of the best films of 2016 by most critics.

The Vast of Night

The Vast of Night is a 2019 sci-fi mystery set in 1950s New Mexico. It’s loosely based on real events, including the Kecksburg UFO incident – an unidentified fireball being spotted in the sky – and the Foss Lake disappearances, which saw a group of teens and adults mysteriously go missing. 

The film follows young switchboard operator Fay Crocker (played by Sierra McCormick) and radio DJ Everett Sloan (Jake Horowitz) who discover an audio frequency that they think could be extra terrestrial. It’s an engrossing thriller that’s lo-fi and yet shows a lot of film-making skill.

Honey Boy is loosely based on actor Shia LaBeouf’s childhood and his relationship with his father – the title of the movie coming from his nickname as a kid. LaBeouf wrote the screenplay and also stars in it but, rather than play himself, he portrays his father. It follows the troubled relationship between 12-year-old Otis, who is finding some success as a TV star, and his abusive father, who signs himself up as Otis' guardian.

LaBeouf allegedly wrote the script as a form of therapy when he was in rehab. For that reason, it’s a difficult watch and feels very raw. Strangely, though, it’s oddly therapeutic for the viewer, too. At its core, this is a movie about a man’s struggles to understand himself and forgive himself, as well as his past trauma.

Licorice Pizza 

Licorice Pizza is a US comedy-drama written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, a filmmaker famous for movies like Boogie Nights, Magnolia , and There Will Be Blood. 

It's follows the development of a young couple’s relationship in the early ’70s, played by the exceptionally talented Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman. With its laidback and meandering charm, there’s a kind of dreaminess to the movie at times. Equally, though its plot doesn’t unfold in a conventional way. And, although it’s a comedy, it's heartfelt with unexpected action and tension, too. One of the best Prime Video movies available today.

This Amazon Original is a supernatural horror inspired by Dario Argento's classic 1977 Italian film of the same name. It stars Dakota Johnson as an American woman who enrols at a prestigious dance academy in Berlin but, unfortunately for her, it’s run by a coven of witches. Tilda Swinton bizarrely but convincingly co-stars in three roles. 

Not for the faint-hearted, you can expect weirdness, gruesome scenes, and lots of deliciously disconcerting atmosphere from this one. Unlike the original film, which used exaggerated colors, it has a bleak and bare palette. Suspiria wasn't a box office hit but, if you like odd, atmospheric movies, it's a great choice.

Everything Everywhere All At Once

Everything Everywhere All At Once is a brilliant and bonkers movie that's won multiple awards on the 2023 circuit.

It tells the tale of Evelyn (played by the wonderful Michelle Yeoh), who discovers she's connected to multiple alternate universes and could be the key to defeating a dark and unknowable cosmic threat. Ke Huy Quan, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Stephanie Hsu also deliver terrific performances as the movie's supporting cast.

Everything Everywhere All At Once is a mind-bending, genre-defying adventure big on action, comedy and, heart. And, after its multi-award winning performance at this year's Academy Awards – read our piece on the 2023 Oscars biggest winners and losers – it's one you simply can't afford to miss.

For more Prime Video-based coverage, read our guide on the best Prime Video shows . Alternatively, see how much a Prime Video subscription costs , or get the lowdown on Reacher season 2 and The Rings of Power season 2 .

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Becca Caddy

Becca is a contributor to TechRadar, a freelance journalist and author. She’s been writing about consumer tech and popular science for more than ten years, covering all kinds of topics, including why robots have eyes and whether we’ll experience the overview effect one day. She’s particularly interested in VR/AR, wearables, digital health, space tech and chatting to experts and academics about the future. She’s contributed to TechRadar, T3, Wired, New Scientist, The Guardian, Inverse and many more. Her first book, Screen Time, came out in January 2021 with Bonnier Books. She loves science-fiction, brutalist architecture, and spending too much time floating through space in virtual reality. 

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Best movies on Amazon Prime Video in February 2024

The best movies on Amazon Prime Video to please audiences of every type

Kaley Cuoco and David Oyelowo star in Prime Video‘s Role Play

The best movies on Amazon Prime Video give you the grand cinematic experience right in the comfort of your own home. Why deal with a crowd or expensive snacks from the concession stand when a subscription to Amazon Prime comes with access to one of the best streaming services ?

Not only does an annual Prime subscription give you free two-day shipping, but you also get unlimited streaming of both licensed and original movies. That includes classic blockbusters and newer hits, as well as a bunch of hidden Prime Video features you may have missed . 

With thousands of titles at your fingertips, though, finding the best movies on Amazon Prime Video doesn't need to involve hours of scrolling. Our recommendations range from quirky comedies to chilling horror movies to serious dramas. 

We've also got tips for mastering Amazon's most popular streaming device, so check out our guide for how to use the Fire Stick . And, if you're heading abroad, you'll need an Amazon Prime VPN to access everything you pay for.

Best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now

Why you can trust Tom's Guide Our writers and editors spend hours analyzing and reviewing products, services, and apps to help find what's best for you. Find out more about how we test, analyze, and rate.

'Role Play'

Emma (Kaley Cuoco) is a suburbanite with a deadly secret. Living a seemingly normal life with her husband Dave (David Oyelowo) and their two kids in New Jersey, she's the picture of a great wife and mom. Emma finds herself scrambling for an explanation when her secret life as an assassin is exposed. When another assassin (Bill Nighy) crashes date night with Emma in his crosshairs, she's forced to come clean. How's that for spicing up a seven-year marriage? - BV

Oliver Quick (Barry Keoghan) is a struggling Oxford student who finds himself entwined in the world of his affluent classmate Felix Catton (Jacob Elordi). Invited to spend the summer at Catton's family's lavish Saltburn estate, Oliver soon finds himself mired in a realm of privilege and hidden agendas, where every kindness masks a potential betrayal. There’s also a deluge of scenes you may or may not have been spoiled on through TikTok already – so keep an eye out for those especially spicy moments. - BV

Hen (Saiorse Ronan) and Junior (Paul Mescal) are a couple living a quiet, isolated life. Everything changes one day when an enigmatic stranger arrives, offering them a bewildering opportunity that threatens the very fabric of their relationship. With their partnership already on the verge of tatters, Junior is called to work on a space station. But his absence isn’t the real issue. It soon becomes about who – or what – is  replacing him while he's away. - BV

'Yesterday'

Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) is a musician who's down on his luck and on the verge of turning his back on the medium entirely. That all changes after a bus accident inexplicably erases The Beatles from the public's collective memory. As Jack claims the band's iconic hits as his own, he catapults to stardom in ways he never could have expected. Of course, now that he has all he's ever wanted, what will he have to give up? And will his true friends and loved ones stay by his side if they find out the truth?

Inglourious Basterds

Quentin Tarantino's reimagining of WWII is a gritty, blood-soaked adventure that's equal parts morbid and hopeful. The film follows Brad Pitt and his horrific fake Italian accent as the charismatic leader of a fearless band of Nazi-hunters and Mélanie Laurent as a Jewish cinema owner with a vendetta. However, it's Christoph Waltz's Oscar-winning portrayal of a chillingly charismatic Nazi colonel that steals the show. This flick is classic Tarantino through and through, but if we're watching Nazis get what they deserve, you already know it's going to be a good time. 

Top Gun: Maverick

I didn't know I felt the need for speed again, but Top Gun: Maverick made me realize what I’d been missing. Before release, Maverick felt like a sequel nobody asked for, but it proved to be a blast, the kind of old-school, crowd-pleasing action film that is missing among the wave of CGI-heavy superhero flicks. 

Tom Cruise puts every last ounce of his daredevil personality into this sequel. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell is an ace test pilot who still likes to make trouble for his superiors. His former rival, Admiral Tom "Iceman" Kazansky (Val Kilmer) assigns him to train an elite group of Top Gun grads to carry out a dangerous mission. The group includes Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw (Miles Teller), who happens to be the son of Maverick's late friend Goose. - KW

My Policeman

Don’t worry, darling – Harry Styles isn’t done making movies yet. His last film may have circled down the drain due to non-stop gossip (and poor reviews), but the former One Direction band member is still heading toward a film career. 

In My Policeman, he stars as a gay cop in 1950s Brighton. Tom Burgess is in the closet, though, married to teacher Marion (Emma Corrin, aka Princess Diana from The Crown). He has a secret affair with museum curator Patrick (David Dawson). Years later, the older version of Tom (Linus Roache) has a reunion with older Patrick (Ruper Everett) that is both unexpected and painful. - KW

Catherine Called Birdy

This passion project written and directed by Lena Dunham is an adaptation of Karen Cushman’s 1994 Newbery Medal-winning children’s book. Set in the 13th century, the medieval coming-of-age story follows Lady Catherine aka Birdy (Game of Thrones alum Bella Ramsey) as the sassy, smart daughter of financially-downturned nobles. 

Her father Lord Rollo (Andrew Scott) wants to sell her off to a wealthy husband, but the rebellious Birdy finds a way to evade almost all the suitors. Unfortunately, she’s betrothed to a rich man she calls Shaggy Beard (Paul Kaye) and she’ll have to resort to desperate measures to get out of the marriage. - KW

Thirteen Lives

Hollywood loves making melodramatic movies that rip from the headlines about real-life perilous events. Tom Hanks has starred in several of them (see: Sully, Captain Phillips). He is surprisingly not involved in Thirteen Lives, though it’s directed by frequent collaborator Ron Howard.

The survival flick chronicles the 2018 Tham Luang cave rescue of a local junior football team and their coach, who were trapped by a heavy rainfall for 18 days. Their plight gained worldwide interest and drew international rescue teams. Viggo Mortenson stars as Richard Stanton and Colin Farrell is John Volanten, the divers who found them. They must race around the clock to extract the teens from the cave before the next monsoon hits. - KW

Don't Make Me Go

Six years after #StarringJohnCho went viral on social media, there is still a decided lack of movies and shows starring the insanely charismatic actor. Cho really deserves more headlining opportunities (the short-lived Cowboy Bebop series hardly counts), so it’s great to see him headlining this heartwarming road trip flick.

Max is a single dad who is diagnosed with a terminal illness. In an attempt to bond with his teen daughter Wally (Mia Isaac), he proposes a cross-country journey. Wally, who doesn’t know his secret, reluctantly agrees after being promised driving lessons. They head to New Orleans for Max’s college reunion, where he hopes to encounter Wally’s long-absent mother. - KW

No Time to Die

Daniel Craig's last ride as James Bond flips the character on its head. No longer 007, Bond's brought out of retirement to go on a rescue mission. He's recruited by CIA agent Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) to retrieve kidnapped MI6 scientist Valdo Obruchev and his top-secret weapon project Project Heracles. Along the way, he meets Nomi (Lashana Lynch), who's taken his iconic code-number. Together, they infiltrate the headquarters of the nefarious Safin (Rami Malek), a terrorist who seeks to unleash Heracles into the world. 

All the Old Knives

Chris Pine and Thandiwe Newton star in this tense thriller as spies and ex-lovers who play a smoldering cat-and-mouse game over dinner — shades of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Henry has been tasked by his CIA boss (Lawrence Fishburne) to look into an old case: a plane hijacking that ended with the deaths of everyone on board, including the terrorists. The disaster still haunts the CIA to this day, especially since they suspect a mole might’ve leaked info to the terrorist — and Celia is a prime suspect. Henry must wine and dine her to dig for the truth, but as the meal progresses, it begins to feel like one of them might not make it to dessert. 

I Want You Back

Breaking up is hard to do, which is why Peter (Charlie Day) and Emma (Jenny Slate) are scheming to get their partners back. After meeting randomly in their office building, they bond over the fact that both were unexpectedly dumped. 

Misery loves company, so when they see their exes Anne (Gina Rodriguez) and Noah (Scott Eastwood) have moved on with new people, they hatch a desperate plot to torpedo the new romances. Emma offers to seduce Logan, Anne's new boyfriend, while Peter attempts to befriend Noah and discourage him from pursuing Ginny (Clark Backo). What could go wrong? Everything! 

Book of Love

Ahead of Valentine’s Day, Prime Video unveils this light, gentle rom-com about uptight English writer Henry (Sam Claflin) whose novel is a massive failure everywhere but Mexico. When he’s invited to take a promotional tour through the country, he meets the book’s translator, Maria (Verónica Echegui), who will be traveling with him. 

Soon, Henry discovers why his book is such a success in Mexico — Maria has rewritten it as an erotic novel. He’s furious, but also finds himself very attracted to her. You can probably guess how this story ends. 

The Tender Bar

Ben Affleck is in front of the camera and George Clooney is behind it for this adaptation of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist J. R. Moehringer’s memoir, which recounts his childhood in Long Island. The fatherless young J.R. (Daniel Ranieri, then Tye Sheridan) grows up sitting at the bar tended by his Uncle Charlie (Affleck). His financially-strapped mother (Lily Rabe) has big aspirations for him, and as J.R. struggles to achieve them, he returns to the bar again and again to receive Charlie’s support and advice.

As a director, Clooney has delivered a string of unmemorable films (The Midnight Sky, anyone? Suburbicon?), and The Tender Bar doesn’t exactly break the streak. But if you’re in the mood for a heartwarming, sweet story anchored by a terrific performance from Affleck, then this is your ticket.  

Being the Ricardos

There’s nothing Aaron Sorkin loves more than going behind the scenes of a television show. He did it with Sports Night, then again with the indulgent Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and most recently (and perhaps most egregiously) with The Newsroom. He’s back at it again in this movie about the stars of I Love Lucy. For the youths, that was a sitcom that aired on CBS in the 1950s. 

Nicole Kidman makes yet another transformation into the flame-haired Lucille Ball, while Javier Bardem plays her husband and creative partner Desi Arnaz. Several personal crises coalesce during one week of production, threatening to derail the show and the couple’s careers. 

The Electrical Life of Louis Wain

Benedict Cumberbatch is already getting awards season notice for The Power of the Dog, but that’s the only movie he’s in this fall. In this biopic, Cumberbatch stars as the eccentric artist Louis Wain, whose trippy, anthropomorphised paintings of cats helped transform the public perception of felines. His work is widely credited as starting the widespread adoption of cats as pets. 

The movie follows Wain from the late 1800s to the 1930s, as he seeks to unlock the “electrical” mysteries of the world. His ruminations lead his art to become more stylized and psychedelic, but also give him more insight into the love he shares with wife Emily (Claire Foy). Watch now

Adam Driver’s oeuvre can best be summed up as “extremely eclectic,” and this trippy dramedy falls right in. He plays a stand-up comedian named Henry McHenry (really) who falls in love with a world-renowned opera singer, Ann (Marion Cotillard). The passionate and glamorous couple soon have a daughter, Annette — portrayed by a wooden marionette puppet (yes, really). But as Ann travels the world singing, Henry's career begins to suffer and their marriage unravels. After a tragedy, Annette develops a mysterious ability that stuns her father and the world. 

Without Remorse

This feature-film spinoff from the Jack Ryan franchise tells the origin story of John Clark (Michael B. Jordan), a fan-favorite character in Tom Clancy's books. Before he's John Clark, he's John Kelly in the movie, which starts with the Navy SEAL successfully leading a top-secret op against former Russian soldiers. In retaliation, the group murders his pregnant wife and Kelly vows to avenge her. Kelly teams up with a fellow SEAL (Jodie Turner-Smith) and a shadowy CIA agent (Jamie Bell), but their mission ends up exposing a vast international conspiracy that threatens to trigger war between the U.S. and Russia. Kelly finds himself torn between personal honor and loyalty to his country as he and his allies try to avert disaster and reveal the powerful figures behind the conspiracy. 

Coming 2 America

Did we really need yet another sequel of a long-past movie? Probably not, but in these (still) pandemic times, I’m happy to see Eddie Murphy’s old gem unearthed and given a new shine. There’s some head-scratching retconning in Coming 2 America , but just wave it away. Murphy’s Prince Akeem, now king of Zamunda, returns to Queens to find his long-lost son Lavelle (Jermaine Fowler) because his country’s sexist policies won’t let any of his daughters inherit the throne. Lavelle and his mom (Leslie Jones) become the new fish out of water, as they travel to Zamunda for a very awkward family reunion. 

Sound of Metal

This powerful, affecting drama follows the journey of Ruben (Riz Ahmed), a metal drummer who begins to lose his hearing. It's a devastating development, because his entire identity is wrapped up in playing and listening to music. When he spirals into addiction, his girlfriend Lou (Olivia Cooke) checks him into a rehab center for the deaf, where he grapples with his new normal. Ahmed delivers a stunning performance in one of the best movies on Amazon Prime. 

Love and Friendship

Kate Beckinsale is at her most charming in this fizzy, crackling adaptation of Jane Austen's novel Lady Susan. The recently widowed lady uses those charms (and other, more wicked tactics) in a scheme to ensnare a rich new husband. Her plan is complicated by the fact that she's having an affair with a married man. It's a blast watching Beckinsale ratchet up her powers of flirtation as she pursues a clueless suitor. And Chloe Sevigny is perfect as Lady Susan's droll American friend. 

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Sacha Baron Cohen is back as his most (in)famous character — journalist Borat Sagdiyev of Kazakhstan. He's returning to America, right in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, to get close to President Donald Trump. Chaos, of course, ensues. This time, he's joined by daughter Tutar (Maria Bakalova), who he's offering as a bride to Vice President Mike Pence, then later to Rudy Giuliani. A scene involving the latter has sparked a ton of online chatter. 

The Big Sick

This delightful and nuanced romantic comedy is based on the real-life courtship of comedian Kumail Nanjiani and wife Emily V. Gordon. Nanjiani plays a version of himself, while Zoe Kazan takes on Emily's role. Their budding relationship is halted first by Kumail's expectation of an arranged marriage with a Pakistani woman of his parents' choice, then by Emily falling extremely ill. Kumail wants to win her back, but to do that, he first has to win over her parents (Ray Romano and Holly Hunter). We may know how it ends, but the journey to get there is worth watching. 

The Handmaiden

One of 2016's darkest, sexiest, most intense films, The Handmaiden tells the story of the devious Sook-hee (Kim Tae-ri) and the enterprising Count Fujiwara (Ha Jung-woo) during the Japanese occupation of Korea. Fujiwara is a con artist who plans to milk a wealthy Japanese heiress for all that she's worth, while Sook-hee is a pickpocket whom he contracts to pose as, you guessed it, the heiress's handmaiden. But as Sook-hee grows closer and closer to the heiress, alliances shift and double-crosses become inevitable. The film doesn't pull any punches on violence or eroticism, but it doesn't shy away from a gripping story or complex characters, either. 

A highly anticipated remake of a classic 1977 Italian horror film, Suspiria stars Dakota Johnson as a young woman who joins a German dance company, only to find out that the whole operation is run by witches. (Don't you just hate it when that happens?) Seeing the supernatural drama unfold is one reason to watch this film; Tilda Swinton represents three others. In Suspiria, you get a triple-dose of Swinton: as a choreographer, a (male) therapist and one more role that might be a bit of a spoiler — but it's worth the buildup. Suspiria is one of those films that people tend to either love or hate, depending on their tolerance for weird gore and an outlandish tone. But it's better to get something unique than something that plays it safe. Watch now

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Kelly Woo

Kelly is the streaming channel editor for Tom’s Guide, so basically, she watches TV for a living. Previously, she was a freelance entertainment writer for Yahoo, Vulture, TV Guide and other outlets. When she’s not watching TV and movies for work, she’s watching them for fun, seeing live music, writing songs, knitting and gardening.

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The 25 Best Movies on Prime Video

From Jordan Peele masterpieces to Oscar-winning classics.

nope ending explained jordan peele is oj dead

Nope (2022)

Jordan Peele's follow-up to Get Out and Us totally defies genre. Nope follows the Haywood siblings, played by Keke Palmer and Daniel Kaluuya, as they attempt to film an unidentified flying object in the sky above their ranch. Part-horror movie, part-Western, and many parts science fiction, Nope is filled with incredible performances and unbelievable twists.

Licorice Pizza (2021)

Haim's Alana stars in this comedy drama from acclaimed director Paul Thomas Anderson. Set in the '70s, Licorice Pizza follows a 15-year-old kid named Gary and his unlikely romance with a 25-year-old photography assistant. The film was nominated for three Oscars and features a score by Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood.

Good Will Hunting (1997)

The film that put Ben Affleck and Matt Damon on the map. Damon takes the lead as Will, a gifted 20-year-old working as a janitor at MIT, who finds himself in trouble with the law. To avoid jail time, Will undergoes therapy sessions with Sean (Robin Williams), and an unexpected bond forms. Minnie Driver plays Will's love interest Skylar.

Candyman (2021)

Nia DaCosta's reimagining of Candyman modernizes a horrifying classic, which you can also watch if you dare. The movie follows artist Anthony (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) who finds inspiration in the Candyman myth and the local Cabrini-Green housing projects. Little does he know, his fascination with the iconic figure will be life-changing.

House of Gucci (2021)

Lady Gaga and Adam Driver team up for this retelling of Maurizio Gucci's 1995 murder-for-hire , orchestrated by his ex-wife, Patrizia Reggiani, who married into the legendary family. Maurizio was the grandson of Guccio Gucci, who founded the luxury fashion house. Jared Leto, Salma Hayek, and Al Pacino co-star.

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street is based on Jordan Belfort's memoir, and sees Leonardo DiCaprio portray the stockbroker's life of excess. Examining corruption on Wall Street, the film co-stars Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, and Jonah Hill, and features one of DiCaprio's best comedic performances.

Creed (2015)

In this spin-off from the Rocky franchise, Michael B. Jordan stars as Adonis, the son of heavyweight champ Apollo Creed. Adonis seeks out Rocky Balboa to train him to become a fighter just like his father. Sylvester Stallone returns in the iconic role, and hands the baton to a new generation. Jordan recently made his directorial debut with Creed 3 .

The Lost City (2022)

Sandra Bullock stars as Loretta, a frustrated romance author, whose true passion is archaeological history. At a book launch, she clashes with Dash (Channing Tatum), the model who portrays the hero on all her book covers. However, when Loretta goes missing, Dash steps up to the plate and proves what he's really capable of... sort of.

A Simple Favor (2018)

Anna Kendrick stars as Stephanie, a vlogger and single mom who becomes friends with the impossibly chic Emily, a mother with some scandalous secrets. However, when Emily goes missing, Stephanie feels compelled to find out what really happened to her friend. A sequel, reuniting Lively and Kendrick , is in the works.

Top Gun: Maverick (2022)

The long-awaited sequel to 1986's Top Gun was a smash hit at the box office and includes Lady Gaga's "Hold My Hand," which led to a jaw-dropping performance at the Academy Awards. Tom Cruise reprises his role as Maverick, this time training a group of new recruits. Why not make it a double-bill and revisit the original first?

Speed (1994)

1994's Speed helped catapult Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves to superstardom, and made us all ship their seriously steamy chemistry. In case you've somehow missed this classic, Speed is a high-octane thriller in which a bus is rigged to explode if it drops below 50 miles per hour. Bullock plays an unstoppable passenger, while Reeves is a police officer attempting to stop the explosion.

Late Night (2019)

In this script from Mindy Kaling, Emma Thompson stars as a late-night talk show host trying to save her career. She hires Molly (Kaling), an Indian-American writer who she hopes will shake things up in a writers' room filled with middle-aged white men. This delightful comedy might have flown under the radar upon its release, but it's most definitely worth a watch.

Whiplash (2014)

In this film from the writer-director of La La Land , Miles Teller stars as Andrew, a jazz drummer studying under the renowned yet punishing Terence, played to perfection by J. K. Simmons. While trying to please his seriously deranged teacher, Andrew's world turns to chaos. Who knew the world of jazz drumming could be this gripping?

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris (2022)

In this adaptation of the 1958 novel Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris , Lesley Manville stars as Ada, a widow and cleaning lady who begins lusting after a Dior dress owned by one of her clients. When she suddenly comes into some money, Ada drops everything and makes a solo trip to Paris to make her dreams come true. For anyone who's ever dreamed of owning a bespoke Dior couture gown.

Fences (2016)

Denzel Washington directs and stars in the movie adaptation of August Wilson's play, Fences . The film follows Troy, a Black man whose dreams of becoming a baseball player were destroyed by racism. The injustice has a ripple effect through his entire life, and the lives of his family members. Viola Davis plays Rose, Troy's wife, starts to realize what she's lost because of her marriage.

To Catch a Thief (1955)

Alfred Hitchcock's To Catch a Thief stars Cary Grant as John, a former cat burglar who has since retired to the French Riviera. However, police instantly suspect John when jewels start going missing. Grace Kelly plays the wealthy Francie, who John meets while trying to hunt down the real thieves.

Coming 2 America (2021)

Coming 2 America , the long-awaited sequel to 1988's Coming to America, sees Eddie Murphy reprise his role as Prince Akeem of Zamunda. Desperately in need of an heir, Akeem finds out that he unknowingly fathered a son during his time in New York. As a result, he returns to the city to seek out his offspring in the hopes of forging a relationship.

Somebody I Used to Know (2023)

Dave Franco directs wife Alison Brie in a romantic comedy co-written by the pair. Reality TV showrunner Ally (Brie) returns to her hometown when her series is canceled. There, she reunites with Sean (Jay Ellis), an ex-boyfriend she's never really gotten over. However, he's about to get married, and Ally decides to insert herself into his wedding weekend.

Pulp Fiction (1994)

Quentin Tarantino brought together a stellar Hollywood cast for 1994's Pulp Fiction , a crime movie with multiple storylines intricately woven together. While John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson portray an unforgettable hitmen duo, Uma Thurman's performance as Mia, the wife of a crime boss, proved she was a force to be reckoned with.

The Virgin Suicides (1999)

Sofia Coppola's adaptation of Jeffrey Eugenides' novel marked her directorial debut and her first collaboration with Kirsten Dunst. Set in the '70s, the film follows five sisters who are constrained by their strict religious parents. While fighting against the rigor of their home life, the sisters try to engage in normal teenage experiences, for which they're punished.

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  • Entertainment

The Best Movies to Stream on Amazon Prime Right Now

Plus, what's coming to Prime Video in March.

Karisa Langlo

  • Over a decade of writing and editing experience

No Time to Die is one of the many great movies you can stream free on Amazon Prime Video.

Daniel Craig as James Bond, taking aim with a pistol

One of the best things about an Amazon Prime membership (besides the free two-day shipping, of course) is the robust streaming platform access that comes with your annual subscription fee. In addition to original TV shows and movies created by Amazon Studios, Prime Video also includes hundreds of other movies you can stream for only the cost of your membership . (Not to mention all the additional titles you can rent for just a few bucks extra.) 

Read on to discover the gems we surfaced in Amazon's Prime Video back catalog. We've also rounded up the highlights from the full list of movies that Amazon is adding to the platform in March.

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Coming to Prime Video next month (March)

Amazon is introducing about a hundred new movie titles to its streaming platform in March, some buzzier than others. Here's just a handful of the most anticipated films you'll be able to stream free on Prime Video next month.

  • A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
  • Being John Malkovich (1999)
  • Big Daddy (1999)
  • Capote (2006)
  • Carrie (1976 & 2013)
  • Cloverfield (2008)
  • Creed I & II (2015, 2018)
  • Dazed and Confused (1993)
  • Good Will Hunting (1998)
  • Lost in Translation (2003)
  • Pulp Fiction (1994)
  • Rocky I , II , III , IV , V & Rocky Balboa (1976-2006)
  • The Manchurian Candidate (2004)
  • Jackass Forever (2022)
  • Nope (2022)
  • Top Gun: Maverick (2022)
  • But I'm a Cheerleader (2000)

More to stream on Prime Video

  • The Absolute Best Sci-Fi Movies on Prime Video
  • The Best Horror Movies on Prime Video to Watch Right Now
  • The Best Fantasy Movies on Prime Video You Can Watch Right Now
  • Prime Video: The 35 Absolute Best TV Shows to Watch

The best movies streaming free on Amazon Prime Video

It can be hard to sift through all the noise on a platform this chock-full of stuff. So we did a deep dive to surface the gems hiding in Prime Video. All the below titles, from comedy and romance to action and sci-fi/fantasy, are rated as "favorable" – most above 70 – on Metacritic. 

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The popular animated feature has spawned three sequels, numerous spin-offs and a veritable cottage industry of memes. Revisit the franchise's humble origins, and Mike Meyers' Scottish accent (fun fact: not an original component of the movie ). Meyers plays the titular ogre, who must find a way to rescue Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) and clear his home-sweet-swamp of pesky fairy-tale characters for good. Prime Video isn't known for its family fare, but Shrek is a good bet for kids.

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In a bit of perfect casting, young Reese Witherspoon stars as Tracy Flick, a character whose Type A personality and mega-ambition have made her somewhat of an archetype and have colored many of the actress' subsequent roles. Matthew Broderick plays her high school social studies teacher, who makes it his mission to stymie Tracy's run for class president.

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Bridesmaids

It's a rom-com where the "rom" is the friendship between always-a-bridesmaid Annie (Kristen Wiig) and bride Lillian (Maya Rudolph) in the lead-up to the latter's big day. Hilarity ensues as Annie's downward spiral threatens to disrupt her best friend's wedding, and rival bridesmaid Helen (Rose Byrn) swoops in to pick up the pieces. It's a surprisingly poignant film about growing up and growing apart, punctuated with set pieces like the infamous "shittin' in the street" scene.

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Take the Brat Pack, add the specter of murder-suicide, and you've got Heathers, a pitch-black teen comedy that's less laugh-out-loud funny and more... gesturing at the idea of humor (and that gesture is a middle finger). Winona Ryder plays Veronica Sawyer, the only member of her croquet-playing clique not named Heather. When sociopathic newbie J.D. (Christian Slater) arrives at school, Veronica finds herself caught up in an increasingly messy – and violent – revenge plot against the popular crowd she once belonged to.

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Thelma and Louise

Did you know Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis both received Best Actress Academy Award nominations for their roles in this iconic road trip flick? The tale of two friends on the lam achieved both critical and commercial success, cementing it as an instant classic back in 1991. It's a must-watch if you haven't seen it yet, but also a must-rewatch for a lazy Sunday afternoon on the couch. Bonus: Thelma and Louise gave Brad Pitt one of his earliest film roles.

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Manchester by the Sea

Looking for total emotional annihilation? Look no further than Amazon Studios' 2016 melodrama about grieving divorcee Lee (Casey Affleck), who unexpectedly becomes the guardian to his teenage nephew Patrick (Lucas Hedges). The film can be a real gut-punch, but its phenomenal performances – which netted a Best Actor Oscar for Affleck and a nod for both Hedges and Michelle Williams, playing Lee's ex-wife Randi – turn the potential schmaltz into something much deeper, and grimmer.

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Apocalypse Now

Francis Ford Coppola's epic war film got a 2001 Redux with 49 extra minutes of footage, which you can stream in its entirety with an Amazon Prime membership. Based loosely on Joseph Conrad's 1899 novella, Heart of Darkness, Coppola's version swaps the setting to the Vietnam War and brings in Marlon Brando to portray the evil Colonel Kurtz. 

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Almost Famous

See Kate Hudson's breakout role in this cult dramedy from 2000, which features original music penned by Peter Frampton. Patrick Fugit stars as William, an upstart music journalist covering (fictional) band Stillwater for Rolling Stone. Hudson plays Penny Lane, a Stillwater groupie (who would reject that epithet). As William travels with the band for the sake of his story, he gets wrapped up in all the drama you'd expect from the world of rock n' roll.

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The King's Speech

Colin Firth plays King George VI in this 2010 period film about the relationship between the new king and his speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush), who worked to help him cope with his stutter in advance of delivering his first radio broadcast speech in 1939, when Britain declared war on Germany.

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Director Sean Baker famously shot this color-saturated indie on an iPhone 5, but beneath its slick postproduction, the film's lo-fi provenance doesn't show. Set in the seedy underbelly of LA, Tangerine follows trans sex-worker Sin-Dee Rella (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez), who's just gotten out of jail to find out her pimp-boyfriend's been cheating on her. It's part drama, part farce, part... Christmas movie (really).

Sci-Fi/Fantasy

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Rosemary's Baby

One of the best horror films for scaredy-cats who still want to feel a little spooked, Rosemary's Baby stars Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes as a young couple who move into a new Manhattan apartment building just before their family expands. But the neighbors seem a little too interested in Rosemary's future bundle of joy, and after a while one starts to doubt there'll be any joy at all.

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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

If you could erase all memories of your ex and avoid all the heartbreak that comes after a relationship ends, would you? That's the question at the center of this 2004 Charlie Kaufman film, starring Kate Winslet as Clementine and Jim Carrey as her ex-boyfriend Joel. Both Clementine and Joel elect to have the fantastical medical procedure done post-breakup, in an apparent endorsement of the "ignorance is bliss" adage. But memory is a tricky thing.

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A group of friends (Joel Courtney as Joe, Elle Fanning as Alice) inadvertently film a train crash while making a zombie movie for a Super 8 film contest. Things start to get weird, and when the footage is unearthed, the friends realize there may be a lot more to the story, and the crash may not have been an accident.

Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth.

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The Hunger Games

Amazon's got all four of The Hunger Games films streaming free with a Prime membership, which means you can spend more than nine hours watching Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence), Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and the other denizens of Panem compete for their lives and fight back against the corrupt President Snow (Donald Sutherland).

Prepare to be mindblown by 2013's Coherence.

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CNET's Monisha Ravisetti calls this low-budget indie sci-fi film "shockingly good" and says it'll "force you to question your own sanity." Coherence, starring Emily Foxler and Maury Sterling, is the kind of twisty, philosophical mind-bender that's better the less you know going in. The basic premise: A group of friends attend a dinner party on the night a comet passes overhead, and absolute chaos ensues. We cannot recommend this one enough .

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The Northman

Based not on Hamlet but on its source material (the Scandinavian legend of Amleth), The Northman is the story of a son avenging his father's death at the hands of his uncle. (If you're no Shakespeare buff and this still sounds awfully familiar, The Lion King shares the same lineage.) Alexander Skarsgård plays Amleth in this blood-soaked historical revenge epic.

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To Catch a Thief

Cary Grant and Grace Kelly star in this classic thriller set in the French Riviera. Grant plays a retired jewel thief who sets out to catch a new cat burglar who's begun imitating his old style. It's an absolute must-see for Hitchcock completists and those who just want to take a trip to the South of France.

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O Brother, Where Art Thou?

An Odyssey retelling set in 1930s rural Mississippi, this Coen Brothers film from 2000 is perhaps best known for its bluegrass/folk soundtrack, which won an album of the year Grammy Award. The film follows three escaped convicts, led by Ulysees Everett (George Clooney), in search of buried treasure. Like its source material, O Brother is an adventure story about a man who just wants to go home.

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No Time to Die

The latest in the James Bond franchise , 2021's No Time to Die is also Daniel Craig's last hurrah as agent 007. With a theme song by Billie Eilish and a cast that includes Rami Malek, Léa Seydoux and Ralph Fiennes, this entry in the Bond canon could do a lot worse.

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Mission: Impossible

It doesn't get more action-packed than Tom Cruise reprising his role as IMF agent Ethan Hunt. The first four Mission: Impossible films are all available to stream free with a Prime Video membership, which sounds like a great way to while away a weekend as you wait for this summer's Dead Reckoning Part One theatrical release.

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Licorice Pizza

Paul Thomas Anderson's indie romance follows woman-child Alana (Alana Haim) as she befriends actual teenager Gary (Cooper Hoffman) in 1970s LA. With a vintage soundtrack, sepia-toned photography and overall mumblecore vibe, Licorice Pizza is the quirky throwback rom-com we all need right about now.

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Juliet, Naked

Based on the Nick Hornby novel of the same name, this rom-com stars Rose Byrne and Chris O'Dowd as unhappy couple Annie and Duncan, whose relationship is further strained when Annie strikes up an unlikely friendship with washed-up rockstar Tucker (Ethan Hawke), who happens to also be the subject of a fan site run by Duncan.

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Peter Dinklage stars as the title character in the latest adaptation of the Cyrano de Bergerac tale. In this version, dwarfism replaces Cyrano's large nose as the source of his self-doubt, and everyone sings. 

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Sixteen Candles

In John Hughes' directorial debut, Molly Ringwald plays Sam, whose 16th birthday appears to have been forgotten by her family. In the long tradition of teen movies, Sixteen Candles mixes raunch with romance, as Sam pines for the dreamy Jake Ryan (Michael Schoeffling) and fends off advances from The Geek (Anthony Michael Hall).

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A time travel romance starring Rachel McAdams? No, it isn't  The Time Traveler's Wife (that one's streaming free on YouTube, though). In 2013, McAdams made another romance with a similar sci-fi twist, this one co-starring Domhnall Gleeson as love interest Tim. When Tim finds out he has the ability to travel back in time and redo things that didn't go right the first time, his forays across the space-time fabric have unexpected consequences for his love life.

Documentary

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I Am Not Your Negro

Based on an unfinished James Baldwin manuscript, this Academy Award-nominated, Samuel L. Jackson-narrated documentary interrogates the history of racism in the United States through Baldwin's personal recollections of the assassinations of three civil rights leaders: Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. 

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Man on Wire

It was "the artistic crime of the century": Tightrope walker Philippe Petit performed a high-wire walk between Manhatttan's Twin Towers in 1974, an endeavor that was as illegal as it was dangerous. After his arrest, the act was immortalized in this 2008 documentary, which is part heist movie, part breathtaking athletic feat.

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This 2013 blockbuster documentary investigates the ethics of keeping orcas ("killer whales") in captivity, centered on Tilikum, a Seaworld orca that was involved in three deaths. The film cast Seaworld in a much darker light, arguing that captivity causes extreme stress and aggression in orca whales. The impact of the film was so great that Seaworld has since phased out its live orca shows.

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The Queen of Versailles

Real estate moguls Jackie and David Siegel were in the middle of building their very own Palace of Versailles – a 90,000-square-foot mansion outside Orlando, Florida, which would've been one of the largest single-family homes in the country – when the Great Recession of 2008 brought the entire house of cards tumbling down. The 2012 documentary that came out of it reads a bit like a Real Housewives spinoff, but through the lens of incisive social commentary about the fall of the American Dream.

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Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Jiro Ono, 85 at the time of this film, is thought of by many as the best sushi chef in the world. This 2011 documentary shines a light on the extreme care he puts into his craft, positioning sushi as an intricate art form on the world's stage, and follows his two sons as they contemplate one day filling their father's shoes.

More great movies to stream free on Amazon Prime Video

  • If Beale Street Could Talk
  • Sorry to Bother You
  • Saturday Night Fever
  • The Talented Mr. Ripley
  • About a Boy
  • Wolf of Wall Street
  • Erin Brockovich
  • A Quiet Place 2
  • Lars and the Real Girl
  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
  • A.I. Artificial Intelligence
  • The Black Phone
  • World War Z
  • Harold and Maude
  • Never Been Kissed
  • House of Gucci
  • Rocky III, Rocky IV and Rocky V
  • Jurassic World Dominion
  • Children's/Family
  • Documentary/Reality
  • Amazon Prime Video

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The 50 Best Movies on Amazon Prime Right Now, Updated for February 2024

Where to stream:.

  • Manchester By The Sea
  • Decider Lists

All The Streaming Services With Free Trials In 2024: Hulu To Paramount+

7 movies like 'the notebook' that will make you swoon, the 14 best valentine's day movies streaming on hulu in 2024, 14 valentine's day movies to stream on prime video in 2024.

Free two-day shipping is nice, sure, but have you seen all the movies your Amazon Prime subscription gives you access to? As if all the original content produced by Amazon Studios was not enough, the streamer also boasts one of the most impressive and varied catalogs of other movies available for your viewing pleasure. (For starters, they actually have more than a handful of titles made before the year 2000.) You can both brush up on some classics from Hollywood’s studio era or watch a recent under-the-radar indie sensation. They have plenty of recent crowd-pleasing hits with familiar names as well as a plentiful supply of foreign films should you be looking to do some cinematic tourism.

Rather than waste time scouring that extensive catalog for your next watch, let Decider guide you toward the service’s top offerings. Whether it’s catching up with an old favorite or discovering a new one, we’ve found and updated the 50 Best Movies on Amazon Prime Right Now (updated for February 2024). Whatever movie-watching mood you’re in, Amazon Prime almost certainly has a title for it.

RELATED: NEW ON AMAZON PRIME: February 2024

‘air’ (2023).

MCDAIRR ZU004

DIRECTOR: Ben Affleck STARS: Matt Damon, Viola Davis, Ben Affleck RATING: R

A movie that makes heroes out of middle-aged marketing guys? Heck yes! Air turns corporate strategy into high-stakes drama as Nike makes its improbable bid to win over Michael Jordan. The conclusion is foregone, but the lead-up to it is still riveting – in large part because the creative powers of Ben Affleck and Matt Damon also have an eye toward what it means at large for talent to profit off their own likeness.

Watch Air on Amazon Prime Video

'The Vast of Night' (2020)

The Vast of the Night

DIRECTOR: Andrew Patterson STARS: Sierra McCormack, Jake Horowitz, Gail Cronauer RATING: PG-13

Get in on the ground floor with director Andrew Patterson before he goes supernova. His debut feature The Vast of Night is an enticing sci-fi tale about a young switchboard operator and a disc jockey uncovering what might be an extraterrestrial transmission in the ’50s. This scrappy start shows an impressive mastery of both form and mood – just imagine what he can do with a big budget.

Watch The Vast of Night on Amazon Prime Video

‘The Lost City’ (2022)

channing-tatum-naked-lost-city

DIRECTORS: Aaron and Adam Nee STARS: Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum, Daniel Radcliffe RATING: PG-13

Is The Lost City basically just doing Romancing the Stone – romance novelist and rugged suitor meet-cute in the jungle – for a new generation? Sure. But if you don’t need novelty and just want to see the sparks fly between a type A Sandra Bullock heroine and a lovable Channing Tatum himbo, then this is a guaranteed great night in. The Lost City delivers on romance and comedy, with a number of cunning belly laughs that far outshine the familiarity of the script.

Watch The Lost City on Amazon Prime Video

‘Ghost Town’ (2008)

GHOST TOWN, from left:  Ricky Gervais, Greg Kinnear, 2008. ©Paramount/courtesy Everett Collection

DIRECTOR: David Koepp STARS: Ricky Gervais, Greg Kinnear, Téa Leoni RATING: PG-13

Gervais might be best known for his acidic wit, and there’s plenty of it on display here as he plays a misanthropic Manhattan dentist who begins to see ghosts. But Ghost Town also serves his snark with a hearty helping of earnest emotion and sincerity. For a movie about the undead, it has surprisingly profound things to offer the living.

Watch Ghost Town on Amazon Prime Video

‘Heathers’ (1988)

heathers-netflixRT-back-to-school

DIRECTOR: Michael Lehmann STARS: Winona Ryder, Christian Slater RATING: R

If you think ‘80s high school movies were nothing other than the optimistic comedies of John Hughes, look no further than Heathers . This high-concept satires skewers the conformity of cliques by imagining the popular girls as literally all named Heather. Winona Ryder’s Veronica is good enough to be among the Heathers but also smart enough to realize the group’s inanity. Once that pent-up anger crosses paths with Christian Slater’s volatile J.D., their school will have no idea what hit them.

Watch Heathers on Amazon Prime Video

'Sylvie's Love' (2020)

SYLVIES LOVE AMAZON REVIEW

DIRECTOR: Eugene Ashe STARS: Tessa Thompson, Nnamdi Asomugha, Eva Longoria RATING: PG-13

Eugene Ashe takes us back to the ’50s with his gorgeous romance Sylvie’s Love – not only in setting but also in sensibility. This is a film that sincerely believes in love at first sight as well as connections that can persevere against all odds, which is exactly what must come to pass for there to be any chance for jazz saxophonist Robert (Asomugha) and aspiring TV producer Sylvie (Thompson). There’s enough old-fashioned sincerity and charm in every sumptuously colored frame to make you swoon.

Watch Sylvie's Love on Amazon Prime Video

‘The Hunt’ (2013)

DIRECTOR: Thomas Vinterberg STARS: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Susse Wold RATING: R

No director knows how to command the screen presence of Mads Mikkelsen quite like his Danish compatriot Thomas Vinterberg. Their mightiest collaboration remains Cannes prize-winner The Hunt , a moving moral drama where Mikkelsen plays a modest schoolteacher accused of an unspeakable crime. He observes the frightening speed at which a lie can erode the trust and faith he built up over decades in his town … and wonders how much he can push back before he’s pushed out of polite society altogether. Check your simplistic ideas about “cancel culture” at the door and let Vinterberg absorb you in the thorniness of a complicated situation.

Watch The Hunt on Amazon Prime Video

'It's a Wonderful Life' (1946)

its-a-wonderful-life

DIRECTOR: Frank Capra STARS: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore RATING: PG

It need not be Christmas to enjoy Frank Capra’s classic! While the snowy setting certainly gives It’s a Wonderful Life a fun seasonal glow, its message of the power of an individual life to ripple through a community resonates every week of the year. Though some might use the director’s name as an insult to deride maudlin movies – “Capra corn” – this is evidence that sincere emotion can inspire and charm if executed with indisputable earnestness.

Watch It's a Wonderful Life on Amazon Prime Video

'What the Constitution Means to Me' (2020)

WHAT THE CONSTITUTION MEANS TO ME AMAZON

DIRECTOR: Marielle Heller STARS: Heidi Schreck, Mike Iveson, Rosdely Ciprian RATING: Not Rated

The best of Broadway is available in your living room! Marielle Heller’s rendering of Heidi Schreck’s informative, passionate one-woman show democratizes the play for a global audience to see. And better yet, the camera brings us even closer to the star than possible when sitting in the audience – making the impact of Schreck’s scorching monologue about how the lives of the women in her family interact with the Constitution land with an even more personal impact.

Watch What the Constitution Means to Me on Amazon Prime Video

‘The General’ (1926)

The General

DIRECTORS: Buster Keaton, Clyde Bruckman STARS: Buster Keaton, Marion Mack RATING: Not Rated

Tom Cruise’s stunt work has nothing on Buster Keaton, cinema’s original daredevil showman. His silent-era comic caper The General reminds us that there’s no more expressive instrument than the human body. If you can bracket the unsavory plot element that Keaton’s wannabe heroic soldier is on the side of the Confederacy, you’ll find his endearing and epic journey to impress the girl of his dreams a wild ride worth taking.

Watch The General on Amazon Prime Video

'Selah and the Spades' (2020)

Selah and the Spades

DIRECTOR: Tayarisha Poe STARS: Lovie Simone, Jharrel Jerome, Jesse Williams RATING: R

The world of prep school intrigue gets a stylish upgrade by way of Tayarisha Poe. Unlike the normal precocious protagonists of the genre, Lovie Simone’s Selah is not itching to leave her high school halls. She relishes the power she holds over the social factions too much to relinquish it easily, so she takes great pride in grooming her successor. Selah and the Spades may give heightened, almost Shakespearean, stakes to the action, but Poe resists the urge to turn her characters into easy stereotypes.

Watch Selah and the Spades on Amazon Prime Video

'The Report' (2019)

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DIRECTOR: Scott Z. Burns STARS: Adam Driver, Annette Bening, Jon Hamm RATING: R

Need any more proof Adam Driver has the range? It’s hard to think of a role more diametrically opposed to Kylo Ren than his modest, unassuming Congressional staffer Daniel Jones in The Report . He’s tasked with getting to the bottom of the CIA’s torture program, an arduous assignment that mostly means he’s left to sort through mountains of documents. The fact that Driver can make this long process both compelling to watch and morally urgent speaks volumes to his talents as an actor.

Watch The Report on Amazon Prime Video

‘Nanny’ (2022)

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DIRECTOR: Nikyatu Jusu STARS: Anna Diop, Michelle Monaghan, Sinqua Walls RATING: R

There have been countless “social thrillers” to pop up in the wake of Get Out ’s success – most of which are garbage. Not so for Nikyatu Jusu’s Sundance-winning Nanny , a film that lambasts the contemporary realities of an undocumented African caregiver watching over the young daughter of a wealthy Manhattan family. Jusu really takes the film to the next level by connecting the struggles of Aisha (Anna Diop) to stories of mythological resonance. It’s horror by virtue of what it covers as well as how Jusu covers it.

Watch Nanny on Amazon Prime Video

‘Selma’ (2014)

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DIRECTOR: Ava DuVernay STARS: David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tom Wilkinson RATING: PG-13

No access to MLK’s speeches, no problem for director Ava DuVernay. Selma is the cure for the contemporary biopic, framing a pivotal moment in the civil rights movement as the result of something more complex than just the cult of personality. It was more than just Dr. King, portrayed in all his heroism and humanity by David Oyelowo, who made it happen. It was a collective, urgent effort mobilized to prompt action from a Johnson administration content to drag its heels on voting rights until the issue proved more politically expedient.

Watch Selma on Amazon Prime Video

‘Meet the Parents’ (2000)

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DIRECTOR: Jay Roach STARS: Robert DeNiro, Ben Stiller, Blythe Danner RATING: PG-13

Sure, the great Robert DeNiro gives us the odd The Irishman here and Silver Linings Playbook there, but he’s mostly spent this millennium having fun on screen in silly roles that don’t physically or emotionally tax him. It’s always clear that he’s enjoying himself, although we can’t always say the same as audiences. Meet the Parents , though, is a laugh riot through and through as DeNiro’s ex-CIA agent Jack Byrnes puts his prospective son-in-law played by Ben Stiller through the ringer. It’s not as easy as Stiller’s male nurse Greg Focker thought to join their familial “circle of trust,” and watching him squirm is the stuff of cringe comedy gold.

Watch Meet the Parents on Amazon Prime Video

'Cold War' (2018)

Cold War

DIRECTOR: Pawel Pawlikowski STARS: Joanna Kulig, Tomasz Kot, Borys Szyc RATING: R

Know that feeling of watching a performer for the first time and sensing you’ll follow their career forever? That’s the thought that passed through my head seeing Joanna Kulig in Cold War , a tale of star-crossed lovers trying to navigate love, art, and politics in Communist-controlled Poland. Even in black and white, Kulig’s star burns incandescently as Zula, an entrancing and gifted jazz singer with self-destructive tendencies.

Watch Cold War on Amazon Prime Video

'Landline' (2017)

Landline

DIRECTOR: Gillian Robespierre STARS: Jenny Slate, Edie Falco, John Turturro, Abby Quinn RATING: R

Ready for a ’90s period piece? Like it or not, Gillian Robespierre is taking you there in Landline to reflect on some formative years when her understanding of love was forged by dealing with the realities of divorce and infidelity. This dramedy strikes a tricky balance between somberness and silliness, something it navigates nimbly thanks to deeply felt performances by the movie’s entire central family.

Watch Landline on Amazon Prime Video

'Annette' (2021)

Annette

DIRECTOR: Leos Carax STARS: Adam Driver, Marion Cotillard, Simon Helberg RATING: R

Leos Carax has long been somewhat of an enfant terrible in French cinema, and his biggest effort to date does not back down from the unabashed weirdness that defines his work. This tribute – or perhaps parody? – of the rock opera feature the ironic tunes of cult band Sparks, the prickly brashness of Adam Driver as a self-destructive artist, and a titular baby wonder that simply must be seen to be believed. You may love Annette , or you may hate it. What’s unlikely, though, is that you feel indifferent watching this truly singular piece of cinematic art.

Watch Annette on Amazon Prime

'His Girl Friday' (1940)

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DIRECTOR: Howard Hawks STARS: Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy RATING: Not Rated

With all due respect to today’s stars, they really don’t make romantic leads like they used to. The chemistry between Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell practically jumps off the screen in His Girl Friday , one of the most beloved screwball comedies of the Hollywood studio era. It’s a madcap blast as Grant’s newspaper editor Walter tries to lure back his lost love/former star reporter, Russell’s Hildy, by giving her one final assignment he knows she can’t resist … and might struggle to escape.

Watch His Girl Friday on Amazon Prime Video

'One Night in Miami…' (2020)

ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI MOVIE

DIRECTOR: Regina King STARS: Kingsley Ben-Adir, Leslie Odom Jr., Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge RATING: R

“Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Jim Brown and Sam Cooke walk into a hotel room…” might sound like the setup to a bad joke. But in the hands of Regina King, it’s the starting point for a fascinating debate over how to wield Black cultural power in a world that was finally beginning to accept it. One Night in Miami… nimbly balances an exploration of both who these men were and what they meant.

Watch One Night in Miami… on Amazon Prime Video

‘A Hero’ (2021)

A HERO 2021 AMAZON PRIME VIDEO REVIEW

DIRECTOR: Asghar Farhadi STARS: Amir Jadidi, Mohsen Tanabandeh, Fereshteh Sadr Erfai RATING: PG-13

No one crafts a moral drama quite like Asghar Farhadi. The Iranian master filmmaker won’t just have his works examined among other great artists of the screen – his scripts will be dissected like Shakespeare or Chekhov. A Hero provides an excellent look at Farhadi’s craft in microcosm. Start with a situation that is placid yet unstable, drop in one seemingly small action, and watch the status quo of that world unravel in front of our eyes. Here, it’s imprisoned debtor Rahim appearing to commit a highly moral action that bolsters his case for release … but Farhadi quickly and thrillingly shows how nothing is ever as open-and-shut as it appears.

Watch A Hero on Amazon Prime Video

'Sound of Metal' (2020)

SOUND OF METAL MOVIE

DIRECTOR: Darius Marder STARS: Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke, Paul Raci RATING: R

What is gained when a sense is lost? Riz Ahmed’s high-flying metal drummer Ruben finds out as he loses almost all hearing and must contemplate the new limitations and possibilities that come from his condition. Powered by Ahmed’s vulnerable and humanistic performance, Sound of Metal forms a moving tribute to how disability can open up the world rather than shutting it down. (Winner of the 2021 Academy Awards for Best Editing and Best Sound.)

Watch Sound of Metal on Amazon Prime Video

‘Let the Right One In’ (2008)

Let the Right One In

If Twilight convinced you that vampires were too sexy to be scary, let Let the Right One In dispel you of such notions. This chilling Swedish film foregrounds its horror in the innocence of youth as a bullied boy strikes up a connection with a beguiling girl next door for psychological support. She’s of course got a dark secret, but the film treats that as secondary to the secret bond she shares with her neighbor. Don’t come expecting schlock as the craftsmanship on display from director Tomas Alfredson is quite exquisite.

Watch Let the Right One In on Amazon Prime Video

‘Licorice Pizza’ (2021)

LICORICE PIZZA

DIRECTOR: Paul Thomas Anderson STARS: Alana Haim, Cooper Hoffman, Bradley Cooper RATING: R

Paul Thomas Anderson has conjured visions of the 1970s before in Boogie Nights , yet they’ve never had such heart and warmth as this sun-soaked vision of the San Fernando Valley in his youthful years. Licorice Pizza has that ambling, aimless feeling of growing up but not necessarily coming of age. This amusing tale of two youthful spirits finding themselves amidst a pile-up of odd misadventures is as electrifying as the needle-drops powering the film.

Watch Licorice Pizza on Amazon Prime Video

'The Handmaiden' (2016)

The Handmaiden

DIRECTOR: Park Chan-wook STARS: Tae Ri Kim, Kim Min-hee RATING: Not Rated

Get over the one-inch barrier, as Bong Joon-ho memorably dubbed subtitles, and throw yourself into the wacky world of Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden . This tantalizing triptych plays thrice through the story of Korean handmaiden Sook-hee (Tae Ri Kim) as she attempts to swindle her Japanese employer Lady Hideko (Kim Min-hee). But the con is far more complicated and complex than initially meets the eye – perhaps because you’ll be distracted by the stunning costumes, set design and camerawork to realize all the sneaky maneuvers happening. It’s a funny, erotic and thrilling ride worth strapping in for.

Watch The Handmaiden on Amazon Prime Video

‘Uncle Buck’ (1989)

Uncle Buck

DIRECTOR: John Hughes STARS: John Candy, Amy Madigan, Macaulay Culkin RATING: PG

No film captures the magic of John Candy – taken from us far too soon in 1994 at just 43 years old – quite like Uncle Buck does. As the ultimate black sheep in the family, Candy’s Uncle Buck called into duty to watch his nieces and nephew when tragedy strikes for his sister-in-law. The shenanigans are just out of control in the best possible way as Buck’s good intentions clash with his dunderheaded actions.

Watch Uncle Buck on Amazon Prime Video

‘Transit’ (2019)

PRIME VIDEO SALE 2022

DIRECTOR: Christian Petzold STARS: Franz Rogowski, Paula Beer RATING: Not Rated

Everything about the dialogue and scenario in Christian Petzold’s Transit indicates the story occurs in World War II-era Marseille. Everything about the visuals, though, suggest a story taking place in the present day. Petzold wants us to sit in that dissonance and, instead, find the resonance of how an age-old story could convincingly repeat itself in the current climate. If someone wanted to remake Casablanca today, it’d look a whole lot like this film’s tale of languishing lovers looking to flee their surroundings but not necessarily one another.

Watch Transit on Amazon Prime Video

'Paterson' (2016)

PATERSON, Adam Driver, 2016. © Amazon Studios /Courtesy Everett Collection

DIRECTOR: Jim Jarmusch STARS: Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani, William Jackson Harper RATING: R

Want to wrap yourself in a warm blanket of a movie? Look no further than Paterson , starring Adam Driver as a modest New Jersey bus driver with a passion for writing poetry. There’s no artificial conflict, no cliched struggling artist tropes — just a thoughtful and earnest look at how people can carve out space for artistic fulfillment in the midst of mundanity.

Watch Paterson on Amazon Prime Video

‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’ (2011)

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DIRECTOR: Lynne Ramsay STARS: Tilda Swinton, Ezra Miller, John C. Reilly RATING: R

A decade out, Lynne Ramsay’s We Need to Talk About Kevin only grows in relevance. Our society continues to struggle in reckoning with the “mother of a monster” figure given the plague of disaffected young men committing acts of unspeakable violence. Ramsay never gets preachy or didactic in her exploration of the nature vs. nurture debate, instead letting her propulsive visuals pull us deep into the tortured psyche of Tilda Swinton’s Eva Khatchadourian. Don’t expect easy answers from the film, but Ramsay’s challenges and provocations will undoubtedly deepen your emotional understanding of this new cultural archetype.

Watch We Need To Talk About Kevin on Amazon Prime Video

'The Big Sick' (2017)

THE BIG SICK, l-r: Zoe Kazan, Kumail Nanjiani, 2017. ph: Nicole Rivelli/courtesy Everett Collection

DIRECTOR: Michael Showalter STARS: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Ray Romano, Holly Hunter RATING: R

If it weren’t based on a true story, the concept of The Big Sick might sound too ridiculous to believe. A couple in the throes of puppy love breaks up, and a guy decides to stay by that ex-girlfriend in the hospital as she falls into a coma from an unexplained illness? Not a usual stop on the way to “happily ever after,” but the unconventional love story of Kumail Nanjiani (playing himself) and Emily V. Gordon (played by Zoe Kazan) is all the stronger for leaning into the unconventional and unique. The alchemic mix of humor and heart is perfectly calibrated for an exuberant watching experience.

Watch The Big Sick on Amazon Prime Video

'Lovers Rock' / 'Small Axe' (2020)

SMALL AXE LOVERS ROCK

DIRECTOR: Steve McQueen STARS: Amarah-Jae St. Aubyn, Micheal Ward, Shaniqua Okwok RATING: TV-MA

Is it a movie, or is it TV? Let’s just leave that Twitter debate aside for now and say one thing is certain: Steve McQueen’s Small Axe anthology, a collection of five feature-length films, is absolutely outstanding. If you only have time for one piece of his chronicle memorializing London’s West Indian community as it pushed back against discrimination, make it Lovers Rock . This slender volume documents an unheralded form of resistance: collective joy. Here, that bliss all takes place on the dance floor where Black Britons congregate defiantly in a space all of their own.

Watch Lovers Rock on Amazon Prime Video

‘Jackass Forever’ (2022)

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DIRECTOR: Jeff Tremaine STARS: Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Chris Pontius RATING: R

No need to see any previous Jackass to appreciate the new Jackass Forever . All you need to know is that the boys are back, crazier and older than ever, to do some absolutely bonkers stunts. Sure, maybe you can watch these types of shenanigans on YouTube now, but there’s something to be said for the tremendous amount of planning that goes into ensuring enough camera capture their hijinks from every necessary angle. It’s a guaranteed gut-buster of a watch.

Watch Jackass Forever on Amazon Prime Video

‘Catherine Called Birdy’ (2022)

Catherine Called Birdy

DIRECTOR: Lena Dunham STARS: Bella Ramsey, Andrew Scott, Joe Alwyn RATING: PG-13

Let’s hear it for a new classic teen comedy! Never mind the Middle Ages setting, Lena Dunham’s take on beloved young adult novel Catherine Called Birdy has plenty to offer today’s middle schoolers (not to mention those older). This irreverent, quippy coming-of-age story vividly depicts that unique life stage where you’ve started to outgrow childhood but don’t quite have the mindset to grasp adulthood. Through it all, Bella Ramsey’s Birdy provides a delightful spirit guide through the colorful ensemble surrounding her in Medieval England.

Watch Catherine Called Birdy on Amazon Prime Video

‘The Queen of Versailles’ (2012)

The Queen of Versailles

DIRECTOR: Lauren Greenfield STARS: Jackie Siegel, David Siegel RATING: PG

The best way to understand the Great Recession is *removes glasses, checks notes* through the eyes of an obscenely rich couple building one of the most expensive houses in America? Artist Lauren Greenfield has devoted her career to staring at the funhouse mirror of wealth in a consumerist country, and she hits the jackpot with the Siegels as their dreams of building a palatial estate come to a screeching halt thanks to the 2008 financial crisis that collapsed the housing market. It’s a “riches to rags” story that can make you cackle, cringe, and contemplate in equal measure.

Watch The Queen of Versailles  on Amazon Prime Video

‘Interstellar’ (2014)

INTERSTELLAR, from left: Anne Hathaway, Matthew McConaughey, 2014. ph: Melinda Sue

DIRECTOR: Christopher Nolan STARS: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain RATING: PG-13

Christopher Nolan is not exactly well-known for his emotionalism, and some bristled at the sentimental streak running through his galactic drama Interstellar . Whether you think love can cut across dimensions or not, you can surely appreciate the methodical craftsmanship of this sci-fi story about a mission to the edges of space to save earth from extinction. Matthew McConaughey’s crying scene might have its own Know Your Meme page , but within the context of the movie, it works given the personal and global stakes underlining the moment.

Watch Interstellar on Amazon Prime Video

‘It’s Complicated’ (2009)

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DIRECTOR: Nancy Meyers STARS: Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin RATING: R

Nancy Meyers is perhaps best known for providing easygoing cinematic comfort food. You get all of that in It’s Complicated and more — as it turns out, she’s got a real knack for bawdy, brassy comedy. As Meryl Streep’s cozy divorcee weighs her romantic options between her good-natured architect (Steve Martin) and her remarried ex-husband (Alec Baldwin), Meyers finds a way to make a raunchy sex romp go down with the silky smoothness of a chocolate croissant.

Watch It’s Complicated on Amazon Prime Video

‘Burning’ (2018)

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DIRECTOR: Lee Chang-dong STARS: Steven Yeun, Yoo Ah-in, Jong-seo Jun RATING: Not Rated

If you loved the sincerity of Steven Yeun’s Oscar-nominated turn in Minari , broaden your knowledge of his formidable skills by watching him smolder in Korean drama Burning . This slow-burn of a film features the actor as the mysterious, magnetic Ben, a Gatsby-like nouveau riche South Korean with an unconventional hobby. Ben emerges out of nowhere as a romantic rival to the sheepish Jong-su, and his presence sparks a small flame that will soon engulf their lives. Give it time – the patience of director Lee Chang-dong really pays off.

Watch Burning on Amazon Prime Video

‘Clue’ (1985)

CLUE, Lesley Ann Warren, Martin Mull, Madeline Kahn, Michael McKean, Tim Curry, Christopher Lloyd, E

DIRECTOR: Jonathan Lynn STARS: Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, Eileen Brennan RATING: PG

It’s a little shocking that, more than 30 years later, Clue remains the only movie that’s really cracked the code of how to turn a board game into a successful movie. This murder mystery unfolds methodically but merrily, capturing all the fun of assuming a character and navigating a fixed set of rules. Having a stacked ensemble of fantastic thespians fully willing to commit to the bit is just the cherry on top.

Watch Clue on Amazon Prime Video

'You Were Never Really Here' (2018)

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DIRECTOR: Lynne Ramsay STARS: Joaquin Phoenix, Alessandro Nivola, Ekaterina Samsonov RATING: R

Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here plays out almost like the response to an unspoken prompt: how much can you strip away from a revenge movie and still have it satisfy as an action flick? Her minimalistic response is a chillingly sparse look at how a tortured soul busts up a ring of sex traffickers and nearly loses himself in the process. This role is the brooding ball of anger that should have won Joaquin Phoenix his Oscar.

Watch You Were Never Really Here on Amazon Prime Video

‘M3GAN’ (2023)

M3GAN STREAMING MOVIE REVIEW

DIRECTOR: Gerard Johnstone STARS: Allison Williams, Violet McGraw, Ronny Chieng RATING: PG-13

To quote the great Wendy Williams : she’s an icon, she’s a legend, and she is the moment. M3GAN, the killer talking AI doll who slays (literally), will sashay her way right into your heart as she curdles your spine. This is a new camp classic that proves sinful fun as it makes some quite insightful commentary on parenting in an automated world.

Watch M3GAN on Amazon Prime Video

‘10 Things I Hate About You’ (1999)

10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU, Heath Ledger, Julia Stiles, 1999

DIRECTOR: Gil Junger STARS: Heath Ledger, Julia Stiles, Joseph Gordon-Levitt RATING: PG-13

There was just something in the air of March 1999: teenagers were so desperate to be taken seriously that they had to graft their struggles onto classic literature. First came Cruel Intentions , a wicked transposition of Dangerous Liaisons onto boarding school brats, but then came a much tamer comedy: 10 Things I Hate About You . This youthful romance restages Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew in contemporary high school hallways as a popular Bianca (Larisa Oleynik) needs to pair off her irascible older sister Kat (Julia Stiles) so her old-fashioned father will allow the younger sibling to date. Despite the centuries-old source material, nothing feels dated about this madcap rom-com.

Watch 10 Things I Hate About You on Amazon Prime Video

‘Jurassic Park’ (1993)

Jurassic Park

DIRECTOR: Steven Spielberg STARS: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum RATING: PG-13

It’s hard to imagine, three decades later, just how awe-inspiring it must have been for audiences in 1993 to see the lifelike CGI dinosaurs of Jurassic Park roaming about. (If you saw it in theaters then, yeah, I guess this now makes you kind of old!) Good thing the film has more to offer than just historic VFX work. The film endures even as the magic of the effects fades because it’s a classic Spielbergian tale of how perilous situations necessitate the formation of makeshift families to support one another.

Watch Jurassic Park on Amazon Prime Video

‘How to Train Your Dragon’ (2010)

How to Train Your Dragon

DIRECTORS: Chris Sanders, Dean DeBlois STARS: Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Christopher Mintz-Plasse RATING: PG

How many animated films can claim they have Academy Award-winning cinematographer Roger Deakins (frequent DP for Denis Villeneuve and the Coen Brothers) as visual consultant? It’s clear to spot his influence in How to Train Your Dragon , which features soaring aerials that still dazzle even on the small screen. This story of a young Viking who seeks to help the very creatures his village seeks to hunt has a keen eye for action and a big, beating heart of compassion.

Watch How to Train Your Dragon on Amazon Prime Video

‘Moneyball’ (2011)

Moneyball

DIRECTOR: Bennett Miller STARS: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman RATING: PG-13

Sure, Moneyball is a baseball movie, but it’s really more of a business movie that achieves the improbable task of making statistical analysis sexy and exciting. Director Bennett Miller has a lot to do with turning this once-troubled production into one of the best movies about the sport, but much of the thematic heft comes from screenwriter Aaron Sorkin. The film feels of a part with the writer’s other movies about innovators, The Social Network and Steve Jobs , stories about disrupting industries rife with stagnation and thus revolutionizing the world.

Watch Moneyball on Amazon Prime Video

‘Sicario’ (2015)

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DIRECTOR: Denis Villeneuve STARS: Emily Blunt, Benicio del Toro, Josh Brolin RATING: R

Denis Villeneuve has become a master of sci-fi worlds in his most recent directorial outings, but his best work may still be the grounded terrestrial tale along the U.S.-Mexico border in Sicario . This gripping thriller gets into the murky middle-ground where the drug trade meets law enforcement … where there is no division as clean as a dividing line. Our spiritual guide through this dangerous territory is Emily Blunt’s Kate Macer, an FBI agent trying to keep her moral compass straight. Watching Blunt’s minute facial expressions register the confusion and horror swirling around her is truly the essence of cinema.

Watch Sicario on Amazon Prime Video

'Time' (2020)

Time Still 1

DIRECTOR: Garrett Bradley STARS: Fox Rich, Rob Rich II RATING: PG-13

Many documentaries can make us understand the cruel realities of the American prison system. But few manage to translate the way the institution can seep into every facet of a person’s life quite like Garrett Bradley does in Time , her documentary chronicle of Fox Rich’s decades-long crusade to be reunited with her incarcerated husband. The film smothers you in the purest form of love as it champions the virtues of fair justice and just mercy.

Watch Time on Amazon Prime Video

‘Raging Bull’ (1980)

RAGING BULL, Robert DeNiro, 1980. (c)United Artists. Courtesy: Everett Collection.

DIRECTOR: Martin Scorsese STARS: Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Cathy Moriarty RATING: R

To some extent, we have Robert De Niro to blame for the last four years of awards-bait acting; his incredible physical transformation to play both a lean and bloated iteration of boxer Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull solidified a notion of the best acting as the most visible acting. But any bitterness for yet another “he’s unrecognizable!” biopic fades away within minutes of watching the film itself. As LaMotta, a prizefighter who sabotages his own life and success thanks to ceaseless envy and doubt, he’s most effective at conveying self-destruction by exposing the character’s brooding inner world.

Watch Raging Bull on Amazon Prime Video

‘The Birdcage’ (1996)

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DIRECTOR: Mike Nichols STARS: Robin Williams, Gene Hackman, Nathan Lane RATING: R

The comic energies of Robin Williams and Nathan Lane are almost too much to contain within a single movie. Yet somehow, director Mike Nichols corrals them within his uproarious The Birdcage . This is a family film of the highest order – that’s not to say it’s for the whole family, just that it’s one of the most moving and hysterical tributes to how love makes a family. As two lovers and Miami night club owners, Williams and Lane put on the show of their lives to put on a clean-cut front to meet their son’s new conservative in-laws.

Watch The Birdcage on Amazon Prime Video

‘The Best Years of Our Lives’ (1946)

The Best Years of Our Lives

DIRECTOR: William Wyler STARS: Frederic March, Myrna Loy, Dana Andrews RATING: Not Rated

Director Steven Spielberg listed this as one of his all-time favorites … game recognize game. The Best Years of Our Lives is one of those movies you should carve out three hours of your life to feel your way through. This home-front drama about three soldiers returning home from World War II, each wounded physically or psychologically in their own way, is a remarkably empathetic tale about the enormous sacrifices made by servicemembers – including those who return home alive.

Watch The Best Years of Our Lives on Amazon Prime Video

'Manchester by the Sea' (2016)

Manchester-By-The-Sea

DIRECTOR: Kenneth Lonergan STARS: Casey Affleck, Lucas Hedges, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler RATING: R

Yes, it’s a bruising watch to see Casey Affleck’s Lee Chandler try to overcome the emotional baggage of his hometown and all his memories within it in Manchester by the Sea . But it’s a rewarding, uplifting one as well given that filmmaker Kenneth Lonergan paints an honest, human portrait of what it means to be there for the ones we love. This may very well be a perfect movie – I challenge anyone to name a single misjudged moment or a scene out of key. It’s less like watching a movie and more like paratrooping into a real scenario populated with authentic people.

Marshall Shaffer is a New York-based freelance film journalist. In addition to Decider, his work has also appeared on Slashfilm, Slant, Little White Lies and many other outlets. Some day soon, everyone will realize how right he is about Spring Breakers.

Watch Manchester by the Sea on Amazon Prime Video

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what are the best rated movies on amazon prime

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what are the best rated movies on amazon prime

The 37 Best Movies on Amazon Prime (February 2024)

Stop scrolling and watch one of these great films now

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Finding a good movie to watch on Amazon Prime Video can be difficult to say the least. While Amazon’s robust library of titles is available to every Amazon Prime subscriber, they don’t exactly make it easy to find what you’re looking for. That’s where we come in. Below, we’ve assembled a growing list of the best movies on Amazon Prime right now. Our carefully curated selection runs the gamut from crowd-pleasing blockbusters to Oscar-winning dramas to delightful rom-coms and beyond. There’s a little something for everyone, so stop the endless scrolling and simply choose one of these great movies to watch.

Check out our list of the best movies on Amazon Prime video below. The list will be updated weekly with new titles.

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“Zola” should have been a bigger deal. The 2021 comedy premiered at the Sundance Film Festival just before the pandemic and received a rapturous response — a laugh-out-loud comedy that devolves into a nightmare. Based on a Twitter thread, the film stars Taylour Paige as a waitress and part-time stripper who is convinced by her new friend (played by Riley Keough) to go on a road trip to Tampa. Insane hijinks ensue and Nicholas Braun turns in a hilarious performance as something of a himbo. This movie’s a ton of fun. –  Adam Chitwood

Good Will Hunting

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Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s breakout 1998 drama “Good Will Hunting” remains a stellar and poignant film all these years later. Damon and Affleck won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for their story of a genius janitor who struggles to reach his full potential. The Boston-set film also finds Robin Williams turning in one of his finest (and Oscar-winning) performances, with lovely direction from Gus Van Sant. –  Adam Chitwood

Baby Driver

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When filmmaker Edgar Wright left Marvel’s “Ant-Man” film, he turned to a very different kind of project he’d been itching to do for some time: “Baby Driver.” The 2017 film stars Ansel Elgort as a young getaway driver in Atlanta who obsessively listens to music. What makes “Baby Driver” stand out is the entire film is set to music, with car chases and action sequences playing to the beat of songs from The Beach Boys, The Commodores and T. Rex just to name a few. Jamie Foxx, Lily James, Jon Hamm and Jon Bernthal co-star in this wonderfully inventive twist on a crime actioner. –  Adam Chitwood

Mission: Impossible 1-4

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The first four “Mission: Impossible” movies are now streaming on Netflix, and they are a  great  hang. This is one of the best franchises still running, as Tom Cruise offers death-defying stunts and an entirely new vibe for each movie owing to a change in directors. Brian De Palma’s first entry is a sexy thriller, John Woo’s “Mission: Impossible 2” is a balletic actioner, J.J. Abrams’ “Mission: Impossible III” is nearly a rom-com and Brad Bird’s “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” brings the ensemble to the forefront for a full  team  movie. These films are spectacular. –  Adam Chitwood

Step Brothers

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One of the funniest movies ever made, “Step Brothers” is juvenile and brilliant in equal measure. Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly play two grown men still living with their single parents who are forced to live together as step brothers when their parents get married. What begins as a rivalry soon turns into camaraderie as these two struggle through arrested development. Kathryn Hahn, Adam Scott, Mary Steenburgen and Richard Jenkins co-star. – Adam Chitwood

Asteroid City

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Wes Anderson’s latest film  “Asteroid City”  is now streaming on Prime Video, and it’s one of his best. Released just this year, the story continues the Russian nesting doll structure that Anderson enacted so well in “The Grand Budapest Hotel” as it follows a troupe of actors who are performing a play about a bunch of people who end up quarantined in a 1950s desert after they’re visited by an alien. The film packs an emotional punch as Anderson was clearly inspired by the pandemic with this one, and it boasts yet another incredible cast that includes Jason Schwartzman, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hanks, Jeffrey Wright, Edward Norton, Bryan Cranston and Steve Carell.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith

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Before  Donald Glover’s new TV series  arrives, check out the original “Mr. and Mrs. Smith.” The 2005 film stars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie as a married couple whose relationship is on the rocks when they discover that each is actually a secret spy, keeping the secret from the other. When they’re individually tasked with taking each other out, sparks fly. Doug Liman, the filmmaker behind the “Bourne” movies and “Edge of Tomorrow,” directs this action rom-com with excellent action but an incredibly funny relationship at its center.

The James Bond Franchise

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OK so this is more than one film, but if you’re a James Bond fan you can now stream a slew of entries from the franchise on Prime Video. “A View to a Kill,” “Diamonds Are Forever,” “Die Another Day,” “Dr. No,” “For Your Eyes Only,” “From Russia With Love,” “Goldeneye,” “Goldfinger,” “License to Kill,” “Live and Let Die,” “Moonraker,” “Never Say Never Again,” “Octopussy,” “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” “Spectre,” “The Living Daylights,” “The Man With the Golden Gun,” “The World Is Not Enough,” “Thunderball,” “Tomorrow Never Dies” and “You Only Live Twice” are all streaming on Prime Video (phew). That’s in addition to the other Daniel Craig films (including “No Time to Die”) that are already streaming there. So plan yourself a marathon this month.

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Who doesn’t love a good legal thriller? They truly don’t make movies like “The Firm” anymore – a character-driven, two-and-a-half-hour mid-budget human drama. Based on the John Grisham book of the same name, the 1993 release stars Tom Cruise as a Harvard Law School graduate who lands a high-profile gig at a top law firm in Memphis, But as he gets deeper into the job, he starts to uncover secrets and conspiracies within. The late, great Sydney Pollack directs and the cast includes Jeanne Tripplehorn, Ed Harris, Holly Hunter and Hal Holbrook.

Bones and All

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The 2022 horror drama from “Call Me by Your Name” and “Suspiria” director Luca Guadagnino stars Timothee Chalamet and Taylor Russell as two young cannibals living in 1980s America, struggling to contain their impulses as they strike up a tenuous relationship. Based on the book of the same name by Camille DeAngelis, it’s a chilling, moving and sometimes sweet film that will rattle you to your bones with a stirring performance by Mark Rylance.

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Ridley Scott’s 2000 epic “Gladiator” took the Oscars by storm, winning Best Picture and Best Actor among others, and it still holds up as a tremendously exciting historical drama. Set in 180 AD, Russell Crowe stars as a Hispano-Roman general who is betrayed and forced into hiding following the murder of his family. He finds himself conscripted to become a gladiator, fighting to the death for the amusement of audiences, and eventually makes his way back to Rome where he comes face to face with the emperor who betrayed him. Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed, and Djimon Hounsou round out a terrific ensemble cast. – Adam Chitwood

How to Train Your Dragon

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Here’s something the whole family can enjoy. The 2010 DreamWorks Animation film “How to Train Your Dragon” is a deeply empathetic tale of a small Viking village and a young man named Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) who strikes up a friendship with an injured dragon, despite the village’s assertion that dragons are dangerous creatures not to be befriended. A sweet, heartwarming story ensues buoyed by a tremendous score from composer John Powell. – Adam Chitwood

The Truman Show

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If you’re itching for more meta fun after “Barbie,” check out “The Truman Show,” a film director Greta Gerwig says she looked towards for inspiration for her take on “Barbie.” Directed by Peter Weird, the 1998 film stars Jim Carrey as a man who has no idea that his entire life is being filmed for a reality TV show, and that his small town is actually an enormous soundstage in which every moment of his life is loosely scripted. It’s wholly unique and inventive, and came at a time when “reality TV” was first starting to take hold of audiences all over the world. In a testament to its quality, it holds up tremendously well today. – Adam Chitwood

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Have you ever wondered how Nike secured the rights to Michael Jordan’s likeness and created the unstoppable Air Jordan brand? Well, even if you haven’t, here’s a movie that explains it anyway. Matt Damon stars as Sonny Vaccaro, a plucky employee of upstart Nike (which was on the verge of shutting down its basketball division), who comes across a Freshman player that he thinks has what it takes – Michael Jordan (who is never fully seen, just glimpsed in archival footage and from the neck down). He’s got to convince his boss, Phil Knight (Ben Affleck), his fellow Nike colleagues (including Chris Tucker and Jason Bateman) and, most crucially, Jordan’s parents (played by real-life couple Viola Davis and Julius Tennon). Oddly charming and uplifting for a movie nakedly about the triumph of capitalism, it is smartly directed by Affleck and features a ton of winning performances. Even if you don’t care about the Air Jordan brand and how it was secured by Nike, you’ll still be utterly riveted. – Drew Taylor

Jackass Forever

Jackass Forever

If you’re looking to laugh your face off, go with “Jackass Forever.” The fourth film in the “Jackass” franchise finds the same old crew tackling brand new stunts, except this time they’re all in middle-age (which, honestly, makes the stunts ever funnier). There is a pure adrenaline rush that comes with watching this movie, but what makes it special is the camaraderie and love these guys have for one another — all while putting each other in terrible situations. — Adam Chitwood

A Simple Favor

what are the best rated movies on amazon prime

Few films are as surprising moment to moment as “A Simple Favor.” Truly, at any given turn, anything could happen in this candy-coated thriller/dark comedy. Anna Kendrick plays a vlogging single mother who suddenly finds the opportunity to step into the spotlight when her friend, a PR director for a fashion company (played by Blake Lively) goes missing. Henry Golding and Andrew Rannells co-star in this Hitchcock-inspired delight that you might be shocked to find hails from “Bridesmaids” and “Spy” filmmaker Paul Feig. – Adam Chitwood

Almost Famous

what are the best rated movies on amazon prime

One of the best films ever made about music, Cameron Crowe’s “Almost Famous” is a timeless classic. Inspired by Crowe’s earlier career as a music journalist, the film follows a teen named William (played by Patrick Fugit) who scores an assignment from Rolling Stone to write a story on an up-and-coming band named Stillwater. Embedded with the band on the road, William learns about life, love and friendship – although through Crowe’s unabashedly earnest prism, it never comes off as trite or rote. Crowe won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, and Kate Hudson was rightfully nominated for Best Supporting Actress. The impeccable ensemble also includes Frances McDormand, Billy Crudup, Jason Lee, Fairuza Balk, Anna Paquin and Philip Seymour Hoffman. – Adam Chitwood

I Want You Back

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A clever rom-com with a heck of a charming duo, Amazon’s “I Want You Back” stars Charlie Day and Jenny Slate as two strangers who bond after being dumped by their respective partners at the same time. Determined to get them back, they conspire together to sabotage their ex’s new relationships, building a complicated web of friendships, feelings and — of course — accidentally falling for each other. Day and Slate make for a fantastic pair of lovable wrecks at their worst, sparking believable chemistry while delivering the laughs. – Haleigh Foutch

face-off

Hong Kong action legend John Woo delivered one of his best American studio films with the 1997 favorite “Face/Off.” Starring John Travolta as family man FBI agent Sean Archer and Nicolas Cage as his criminal, identity-thieving arch-enemy Castor Troy, who takes over Archer’s life with the help of a plastic surgeon and a revolutionary face-swapping procedure. It’s a completely bonkers blast of a film, with two old-school movie star performances from Travolta and Cage, both of whom fully embrace Woo’s wild over-the-top vision of a cat-and-mouse crime thriller that never stops escalating the action. – Haleigh Foutch

what are the best rated movies on amazon prime

A contained spy thriller with a heck of a lead performance, “The Outfit” hails from Oscar-winning “The Imitation Game” writer Graham Moore who serves as writer and director on the story of an English tailor (played by Mark Rylance) who gets caught up in a mob war one night while working late in his shop on Saints Row. Zoey Deutch, Dylan O’Brien and Johnny Flynn co-star in the film which largely takes place in the same location, but is dripping with tension and packed with reveals. – Adam Chitwood

Licorice Pizza

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Every new Paul Thomas Anderson movie is reason to celebrate, but his 2021 film “Licorice Pizza” is truly one from the heart. The coming-of-age dramedy takes place in 1973 in the San Fernando Valley and follows a cocksure 15-year-old actor (Cooper Hoffman) who strikes up a friendship with a girl in her 20s (Alana Haim). The film navigates their nebulous relationship as well as the anxieties felt by each as they stare down young adulthood, and it’s all wrapped up in PTA’s hilarious and heartbreaking chronicle of life as a kid in 1970s Los Angeles. Come for the time capsule, stay for Bradley Cooper’s hilariously unhinged performance as producer Jon Peters. – Adam Chitwood

No Time to Die

NO TIME TO DIE

Daniel Craig’s final Bond film is at once epic and intimate. “No Time to Die” puts an emotional button on what’s been an emotional ride, as Craig finally infused 007 with a license to feel through his largely acclaimed series of films. In his final go-around, we begin with an extended prologue that puts a button (for now) on his relationship with Dr. Madeleine Swan (played by Lea Seydoux) following her debut in “Spectre.” But when a figure from Swan’s past resurfaces (played by Rami Malek), Bond gets swept back into a game of cat-and-mouse with the highest stakes he’s ever faced before. Swell supporting turns by Lashana Lynch and Ana de Armas as well as a refreshing visual palate from director Cary Joji Fukunaga ensure that with “No Time to Die,” Bond goes out on a high note. – Adam Chitwood

The Lost City of Z

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A Tom Holland adventure movie of a very different sort, “The Lost City of Z” is based on the David Grann book of the same name and follows a British explorer in the early 1900s who is sent to Brazil to search for a supposed lost city in the Amazon. Charlie Hunnam plays the explorer Percy Fawcett, Robert Pattinson plays fellow explorer Henry Costin and Tom Holland plays Percy’s son Jack. As directed and written by James Gray, “The Lost City of Z” is an enthralling story about colonialism and the relationship between a father and a son. – Adam Chitwood

Lucy and Desi

Lucy and Desi

If you’ve already seen Aaron Sorkin’s fictional account of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in “Being the Ricardos,” check out the Amy Poehler-directed documentary “Lucy and Desi.” The film explores the partnership between the “I Love Lucy” stars, offering an insightful and candid look at the relationship between the two buoyed by interviews with Lucie Arnaz Luckinbill, Norman Lear, Desi Arnaz Jr, Carol Burnett and Bette Midler. – Adam Chitwood

The Courier

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“The Courier” is a great “dad movie,” and that’s pejorative. This Cold War thriller is based on a true story and stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Greville Wynne, a British businessman who was recruited by the Secret Intelligence Service to serve as a messenger between a Russian spy source and the British government in the 1960s. What begins as an exciting romp turns deadly serious, and Cumberbatch commands the screen in the lead role (flanked by Rachel Brosnahan as his wife and Jessie Buckley as his handler). This one’s taut, compelling and surprisingly emotional. – Adam Chitwood

Brittany Runs a Marathon

what are the best rated movies on amazon prime

The 2019 comedy “Brittany Runs a Marathon” manages to be both hilarious and inspiring at the same time, as Jillian Bell stars as a twentysomething woman living in New York City named Brittany who decides to try and get her life together – and to start, she’s going to train to run the New York Marathon. But as Brittany gets deeper and deeper into running, making new friends along the way, she discovers that a change on the inside may be what’s most prudent to pointing her life in the right direction. Bell is fantastic in the lead role, and writer/director Paul Downs Colaizzo’s script is pleasantly surprising in where it takes Brittany’s story. – Adam Chitwood

what are the best rated movies on amazon prime

After he made the Oscar-winning romance “Call Me by Your Name,” filmmaker Luca Guadagnino took on a horror classic with 2018’s “ Suspiria .” Set in 1988 Berlin, the film stars Dakota Johnson as a young woman leaving her Mennonite family in Ohio to audition for and train as a dancer at an esteemed academy. But as her training continues, it becomes clear that perhaps this dance troupe has something more sinister, more witchy going on. The brilliance of Guadagnino’s take on the story is how it uses the supernatural horror to tell a real-life horror story about fascism, and the festering wound of evil. Tilda Swinton is mesmerizing pulling double duty here as the dance troupe’s leader and a male doctor curious about the goings-on at the school. – Adam Chitwood

what are the best rated movies on amazon prime

If a real-life investigative thriller in the vein of “All the President’s Men” is more your speed, check out “ The Repor t.” Released in 2019, the true-story drama stars Adam Driver as Daniel Jones, a staffer for Senator Dianne Feinstein (played by Annette Bening) who is tasked with investigating the CIA’s use of torture following the 9/11 attacks. Writer/director Scott Z. Burns crafts a film that is taught with tension, but also powerful in its pursuit of the truth. The ensemble includes Jon Hamm, Michael C. Hall, Corey Stoll, Ted Levine and Maura Tierney. – Adam Chitwood

what are the best rated movies on amazon prime

Screenwriter Mindy Kaling pulled from the world of late night television for her 2019 comedy “Late Night,” which stars Emma Thompson as a veteran late night TV personality who is in danger of being pushed out by the network, and enlists the help of a new (and inexperienced) writer (played by Kaling) to bring some diversity to her all-male writing staff. The comedy has shades of a mismatched buddy film, behind-the-scenes Hollywood tale and middle-aged drama, and it’s anchored by a terrific performance from Thompson as a woman struggling to keep up with the times. – Adam Chitwood

It’s a Wonderful Life

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If you’re looking to get into the holiday spirit, you can’t go wrong with Frank Capra’s 1946 classic “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The film stars James Stewart as George Bailey, a man extremely down on his luck who, after attempting to take his own life, is shown what life in his small town would look like had he never existed. While the film is ultimately uplifting, it’s far darker than many remember, and is a brilliant tale about life and the relationships we make (and take for granted) along the way. – Adam Chitwood

it's a wonderful life

If you’re into period dramas, the 2018 film “Cold War” is a must-see. Directed and co-written by Pawel Pawlikowski, the Polish-language drama takes place in Poland and France and begins in the 1940s before ending in the 1960s as it follows the relationship between a musical director and a young singer he discovers. Against the backdrop of their love affair, the war rages on. – Adam Chitwood

The Big Sick

what are the best rated movies on amazon prime

A romantic comedy straight from the heart, the based-on-a-true-story “The Big Sick” is delightful and emotional all at once. Written by Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, the film is based on the origins of their relationship as Gordon slipped into a coma soon after they started dating, and Nanjiani was forced to confront his own fears and contend with Gordon’s parents all with the uncertainty of her condition looming large. Zoe Kazan portrays Gordon in the film with a hearty dose of moxie, and Nanjiani delivers a complex performance that clearly pulls from the depths of his personal life – not just his relationship with Kazan’s character, but his own relationship to his family. – Adam Chitwood

The Handmaiden

what are the best rated movies on amazon prime

“Oldboy” filmmaker Park Chan-wook’s 2016 epic erotic drama “The Handmaiden” is absolutely one of his best films, and is a blast from start to finish. The psychological thriller plays out in three parts chock full of twists and turns, but begins as the story of a con man who conspires with a pickpocket to hatch a plan that would involve marrying a Japanese heiress and committing her to an asylum, thus stealing her wealth. But the film takes a number of turns as various romantic and sexual entanglements ensue. This one’s for adults only. – Adam Chitwood

Manchester by the Sea

manchester-by-the-sea-casey-affleck-michelle-williams

“Manchester by the Sea” is a brilliant film, but fair warning it’s also a significant bummer. This 2016 film won Oscars for Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay and stars Casey Affleck as a janitor living in Massachusetts who is suddenly tasked with caring for his nephew following his brother’s abrupt death. The event triggers substantial trauma that Affleck’s character has yet to process, and what follows is a somber, sometimes darkly funny and ultimately touching meditation on grief and guilt. – Adam Chitwood

One Night in Miami

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Regina King’s 2020 drama “ One Night in Miami ” is an excellent snapshot of a moment in time, and how four of the most famous African-Americans in history each approached the changing societal landscape of the 1960s. Set over the course of one night in 1964, the story follows four friends – Cassius Clay (Eli Goree), Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge) and Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.) – as a night of celebrating soon turns into a night of lively conversation about their roles and responsibilities to the African-American community. The film is cleverly drawn and tremendously compelling, and provides much food for thought as it connects the struggles of the 1960s to today. – Adam Chitwood

The Vast of Night

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If you like hidden gems, 2020’s “The Vast of Night” is one of the most exciting indies of the last few years. Set in 1950s New Mexico, the story takes place over the course of one evening where a young switchboard operator and a radio DJ pick up a mysterious audio frequency that may or may not be inhuman in nature. This small-scale sci-fi mystery is light on effects but heavy on evocative filmmaking, intrigue and dimensional characters. It’s so good, a scene with a man talking about his experience with aliens over the radio will have you on the edge of your seat. – Adam Chitwood

Sound of Metal

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2019’s “ Sound of Metal ” is an indie with a heart of gold – and an Oscar-winning one at that. The film stars Riz Ahmed as a metal drummer named Ruben who begins to lose his hearing. He leaves his bandmate to go to a facility for Deaf recovering addicts, where he begins to learn how to live his life differently but also struggles with his own demons. Ahmed gives a powerhouse performance, and the film’s sound design puts you right in Ruben’s headspace. – Adam Chitwood

Hearing Actors Playing Deaf Characters Riz Ahmed Julianne Moore Henry Zaga

Love and Friendship

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If it’s a lovely costume dramedy you’re in the mood for, 2016’s “Love and Friendship” is an absolute delight. Based on the Jane Austen novel “Lady Susan,” the film is written and directed by Whit Stillman and stars Kate Beckinsale as a recently widowed woman who sets out to secure wealthy husbands for herself and her daughter. A comedy of errors ensues, with Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny sharply leading an ensemble that also includes Stephen Fry, Tom Bennett and Xavier Samuel. – Adam Chitwood

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The 30 best movies on Amazon Prime Video to watch right now

Having a night in? Then kick back with one of the best movies on Prime Video

Ben Affleck in Air

The best movies on Amazon Prime Video can be hard to narrow down. There are so many films on the streamer, spanning genres from comedy to horror and everything in between, so it can be hard to choose which title to press play on when your next movie night rolls around.

But that's where we come in. We've narrowed down the platform's offerings to the 30 best movies on Amazon Prime Video, including new releases like Nike drama Air, starring Ben Affleck and Viola Davis, and other recent titles like coming-of-ager Licorice Pizza and documentary Good Night Oppy. There are also comedies like Borat 2 , Oscar winners like Manchester by the Sea , and horror flicks like Luca Guadagnino's Suspiria remake. So, grab your popcorn, kick back, and get adding to your watch list.

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The best movies on Amazon Prime right now

Ben Affleck is back in the director's chair with Air, which tells the real-life story of the deal between Nike and basketball superstar Michael Jordan. It concentrates on the days before he was a household name, which led to the creation of Air Jordans, one of the brand's most iconic shoes. As well as directing, Affleck also plays Nike co-founder Phil Knight, and the movie features a host of other big names including Matt Damon, Jason Bateman, Viola Davis, and Marlon Wayans.

Catherine Called Birdy

Lena Dunham, the brains behind hit drama Girls, is back in the director's chair for something a little different – a medieval coming-of-age comedy. The Last of Us star Bella Ramsey plays 14-year-old Lady Catherine – except she prefers to go by 'Birdy', and she'll go to any means necessary to avoid the unsuitable suitors her father (Andrew Scott) has lined up for her. Based on the '90s novel by Karen Cushman, Joe Alwyn and Billie Piper also star in this charming historical caper.

Nanny follows Aisha (Anna Diop), an undocumented immigrant from Senegal living in New York City and nannying for a wealthy family while she tries to raise enough money to bring her own child over to the US to join her. However, Aisha is hiding a dark secret that threatens to ruin her newfound American life. The movie, from first-time director Nikyatu Jusu, won the top award at Sundance Film Festival in 2022, making it the first horror movie to win the Grand Jury Prize.

I Want You Back

In rom-com I Want You Back, Charlie Day and Jenny Slate star as Peter and Emma, two 30-somethings who are dumped by their respective partners (played by Gina Rodriguez and Scott Eastwood) and are terrified that they've missed their shot at living happily ever after – especially when they learn that their partners have already moved on. So, they do what any normal, well-adjusted person would do and hatch a desperate plan to put an end to their exes’ new relationships and win them back. 

Selah and the Spades

Set at an elite Pennsylvania boarding school, Selah and the Spades is a Heathers-esque high school drama centering around Selah (Lovie Simone), the leader of dominant clique the Spades. On the verge of graduating, Selah needs to find someone to replace her as queen bee, and she finds a candidate in Paloma (Ghostbusters: Afterlife's Celeste O'Connor). However, it turns out that Celeste learns a little too well, and Selah soon starts to fear for her own place in the school hierarchy. Moonlight's Jharrel Jerome also stars.

Argentina, 1985

Set in – and you won't see this coming – Argentina in the mid-80s, Argentina, 1985 follows the Trial of the Juntas, in which members of the military government that ruled the country under the dictatorship of the National Reorganization Process between 1976 and 1983 were tried for the human rights abuses suffered during their ruling. The movie focuses on the prosecution team during their investigation and the trial itself, and it won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2023 ceremony.

Licorice Pizza

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, the coming-of-age drama stars a 15-year-old actor Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman) who falls hopelessly in love with an early-20s photographer's assistant named Alana Kane (Alana Haim). The HAIM sisters also make a cameo, as well as Tom Waits, George DiCaprio, and Bradley Cooper – who plays Jon Peters, a real-life American movie producer known for Batman (1989) and Barbra Streisand's remake of A Star Is Born. The film earned three Academy Award nominations including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay.

Good Night Oppy

Documentary Good Night Oppy tells the story of the Mars rover Opportunity – nicknamed Oppy. When it was launched in 2003, it was expected to operate for only 90 solar days (each lasting just over 24 hours). However, the remarkable rover explored Mars for nearly 15 years, searching the landscape for signs of water and recording unprecedented scientific discoveries. Documentary maker Ryan White is behind the camera and is also known for his direction of acclaimed docs like Assassins, Ask Dr. Ruth, and The Case Against 8 . His moving and heartfelt movie interviews engineers who were involved in the project and is narrated by Angela Bassett. 

The Tender Bar

After his striking performances in The Way Back and The Last Duel, Ben Affleck’s career Benaissance continues with this likeable, George Clooney-directed adaptation of J.R. Moehringer’s 2005 memoir about growing up in Long Island in the ’70s and ’80s. 

J.R., played wonderfully as a child by newbie Daniel Ranieri and later, less effectively, by Tye Sheridan, is a boy lacking both a name and a father, his deadbeat DJ dad (Max Martini) having long since flown the coop. But after his mother (Lily Rabe) reluctantly moves back in with his grumpy grandpa (Christopher Lloyd), J.R. finds the perfect replacement in her brother Charlie (Affleck), a straight-talking, straight-shooting mentor as willing to offer words of wisdom as he is to pour drinks. 

The Tender Bar’s subject is J.R.’s coming of age, showing how, through various adolescent experiences and a stop-start Yale romance with the rich and feckless Sidney (Briana Middleton), he came to find his authorial voice. Its theme, though, is fathers both real and surrogate, with J.R. eventually realising that you can’t beat an uncle who tends his own bar.

Being the Ricardos

Lucille Ball is one of the most important women – if not the most important woman – in American television history. Ball created and starred in iconic sitcom I Love Lucy with husband Desi Arnaz before becoming the first female head of a major Hollywood studio. Aaron Sorkin’s Being The Ricardos takes on the legend herself, with Nicole Kidman playing her, and Javier Bardem as partner Desi Arnaz. Nominated for a whole bunch of awards, this one's not one to miss.

Everybody's Talking About Jamie

An adaptation of the hit West End show of the same name, and based on a true story, Everybody's Talking About Jamie focuses on the titular Jamie New (Max Harwood), a student with dreams of becoming a drag queen – and who plans on attending prom in drag, despite opposition from his school. He's helped along the way by his mentor Hugo, AKA Loco Chanel (Richard E. Grant), best friend Pritti (Lauren Patel), and loving mother Margaret (Sarah Lancashire).

Sound of Metal

The feature directorial debut from Darius Marder (an established doc-maker), Sound of Metal is about a drummer, Ruben Stone (Riz Ahmed), whose life is upended when he suddenly develops drastic hearing loss. Ruben’s on the road with bandmate and partner Lou (Ready Player One’s Olivia Cooke) when the condition takes such a severe turn that he has no choice but to seek medical help. He winds up checking in to a home for deaf addicts that’s run by Joe (Paul Raci), a former veteran who helps his charges get to grips with their new way of living.

Infusing a vérité tone with poetry, Marder is a talent to watch. As Sound of Metal builds to its somewhat surprising third act, the cumulative effect is powerful and profound. And despite its tight focus and subtle character work, it absolutely rewards being seen on the biggest screen possible and with the best sound system, where its experiential sound design can deliver its fullest effect. A small film that hits big, Sound of Metal is a gem you’ll want to bang the drum for.

One Night in Miami

Taking its lead from the Peter Morgan school of speculative bio-fiction, Kemp Powers’ play-turned-film imagines what was said on the night activist Malcolm X (played by Kingsley Ben-Adir), singer Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.) and NFL star Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge) met in a hotel room with Cassius Clay (Eli Goree) to celebrate the latter becoming heavyweight boxing champion of the world.

It’s a dazzling, once-in-a-lifetime gathering of Black icons – though neither Powers nor director Regina King are content just to bask in their reflected glory. Instead, they set them in thrilling opposition, with Malcolm’s insistence they use their celebrity for the greater good of their race acting as the touch-paper for passionate, provocative and sometimes incendiary debate. The shifting power dynamics that ensue require our full attention, as well as an acceptance the action will rarely venture outside Malcolm’s claustrophobic motel suite.

Sylvie's Love

"Life’s too short to waste time on things you don’t absolutely love,” says Nnamdi Asomugha’s saxophonist to Tessa Thompson’s wannabe TV producer in Eugene Ashe’s second feature, itself a love-letter to classic Hollywood romances. 

Despite the unpromising title, this is certainly no time-waster – the two leads share a magnetic chemistry that overcomes the sometimes schematic plotting, with Declan Quinn’s handsome cinematography and a pitch-perfect soundtrack casting an irresistible spell. Submit to its soft-centred charms and it might just sweep you off your feet.

Uncle Frank

Starring  WandaVision ’s Paul Bettany and  It ’s Sophia Lillis, Uncle Frank is a road movie about a man confronting his past. Set in 1973, Frank (Bettany) and his niece Beth (Lillis) are set to take a road trip from New York City to South Carolina for a family funeral when they’re unexpectedly joined by Frank’s lover Wally (Peter Macdissi). It’s directed by Alan Ball, who wrote the Oscar-winning screenplay for  American Beauty  and created the TV shows Six Feet Under and True Blood.

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

"Very niiiiiice!" If you didn't say that in the voice of Khazakstan's most famous news reporter Borat, then this one may not be for you. Sacha Baron Coan returns as the eponymous Borat to cause more mischieve in America. This time, he's joined by his daughter, played by Maria Bakalova, who frankly steals the show. The cojones on these two performers to do some of the stuff they do...

The movie starts with Borat attempting to make peace with America by offering Kazakstan's head of culture, a monkey named Jimmy, as a gift to Vice President Mike Pense. The monkey gets eaten en-route, and Borat improvises by offering his daughter to Pense. Yes, it gets worse – so much worse – from there. 

Suspiria doesn't so much nail the Bechdel test as set fire to it and then do a naked victory dance around the flames. This is a film entirely about women and their bodies and their relationships – but that's not why you should get streaming this immediately.

You should see Suspiria because it's one of the most shocking horror movies in recent memory. Every second is calibrated to keep you rigid with suspense, tugging you further and further into its world of dance and the occult so skillfully that you reach the spectacular climax in what feels like mere minutes, despite the two hours and 30 minutes running time. Dakota Johnson and Tilda Swinton are excellent in this timely remake.

The Big Sick

Silicon Valley's Kumail Nanjiani writes and stars in this comedy based on his own marriage. The trials of cross-cultural romance come under scrutiny as stand-up comic Kumail falls for an American student at one of his shows. Not exactly the life his Muslim parents had in mind for him, but that’s the least of his concerns; shortly after they start dating, Emily falls into a coma, leaving Kumail to have to deal with her parents.

Billed as a traditional romantic comedy, The Big Sick has a lot more heart and edge than the posters and trailers would have you believe. The chemistry between Nanjiani and Holly Hunter and Ray Romano - as Emily's parents - provides most of the real grit. Realistic, and proof that there is still a lot of originality left in the genre, The Big Sick is one of the best movies on Amazon Prime Video.

Written by Shia LaBeouf himself, Honey Boy tackles the actors own relationship with his father and growing up in the spotlight. Directed by Alma Har'el in her narrative feature debut, the movie stars LaBeouf as his own father, Lucas Hedges, Noah Jupe, and FKA Twigs. It's a heart-wrenching exploration of forgiveness, as LaBeouf wrote the script as a form of therapy whilst in rehab. At a tight 90 minutes, it’s well worth your time this weekend to watch this moving portrayal of adolescence and a career-making performance from, well, everyone.

My Fake Boyfriend

Arrowverse alum Keiynan Lonsdale leads this super sweet romantic comedy about a young gay guy who’s hopelessly unlucky in love. To try and encourage him from getting back with his toxic ex for the umpteenth time, his best friends (The Suite Life of Zack and Cody’s Dylan Sprouse and Modern Family’s Sarah Hyland) force Cristiano on him, a fake social media boyfriend. But things soon spiral out of control when Andrew meets the real-life man of his dreams and the internet falls in love with his "relationship" with Cristiano. 

Brittany Runs a Marathon

Showcasing a breakout turn from Jillian Bell (Eastbound & Down, 22 Jump Street), this Sundance award-winner from playwright-turned-director Paul Downs Colaizzo ploughs a familiar furrow with honesty, hilarity, and heart. Inspired by a friend who made her own journey from couch potato to long-distance runner, Colaizzo’s film surrounds its hero, played by Bell, with an amusing selection of characters that range from a vacuous Instagram wannabe (Alice Lee) to new bestie Seth (Micah Stock). In the end, it’s Bell who makes Brittany a ringing success. 

Tasked by Senator Dianne Feinstein (a coolly commanding Annette Bening) with leaving no stone unturned, Senate staffer Daniel Jones – infused here with simmering indignation by a driven Adam Driver – systematically details the brutalities inflicted on all of the Agency’s 119 detainees. Having assembled his torture dossier, though, Jones faces another uphill struggle to get it published. As Matthew Rhys’ reporter ruefully observes, “they sent you off to build a boat they had no intention of sailing.” 

As vessels go, The Report is one so overloaded with names, dates, flashbacks, and acronyms it’s a wonder it stays afloat. That it does should be attributed not just to the dogged conviction Driver exudes as its righteous hero but also to the film’s unshakeable belief that the ugly truth will ultimately out. Burns’ film is not an easy watch, not least when it depicts what took place in Langley’s infamous “black sites”. Like the harrowing data that inspired it, though, it defies redaction. 

Beautiful Boy

Steve Carell plays David Sheff, a newspaper writer whose son, portrayed by Timothée Chalamet, disappears for two days. Upon his return, there are obvious signs of drug use, and Chalamet's Nic is taken to rehab. What follows is a heartbreaking story of a father-son bond that struggles as Nic relapses and goes in and out of medical facilities. With two powerhouse performances at its centre, Beautiful Boy showcases what these actors are capable of.

Manchester by the Sea

Boston janitor Lee (Casey Affleck) returns to the titular town in Massachusetts when his older brother Joe (Kyle Chandler) dies of a heart attack. A morose, taciturn loner given to communicating with his fists after too many beers, Lee is horrified to find that he has been named legal guardian of his teenage nephew Patrick (Lucas Hedges), whose ties to Manchester-by-the-Sea – hockey team, rock band, two girlfriends – mean Lee will need to stick around his hometown for a good while to come.

Under grey skies clogged with pellets of snow, the drama inches along, with flashbacks revealing that Lee was once married to Randi (Michelle Williams), who still lives in the area. True, withholding the source of Lee’s emotional shutdown for a late reveal is something you expect from a thriller rather than a sombre character study. But such is the authenticity on display elsewhere, it doesn’t feel schematic. If it’s thrills or cheer you’re after, you’re in the wrong place. Yet Manchester by the Sea offers its own particular joys, going places that few movies dare to consider these days.

Guava Island

Hiro Murai (Atlanta) makes his directorial debut with this beautiful, musical tale from Donald Glover. The Lando Calrissian actor portrays Demi, a man who wants to hold a great musical festival but is mugged in the run-up to the event. Glover's joined by Rihanna, who plays his musical inspiration and partner, and Letitia Wright. At just 56 minutes, Guava Island is a brisk sun-kissed slice of escapism.

Mike Leigh's grandest movie to date, Peterloo tells of the build-up to the horrendous Peterloo massacre in Manchester, UK. As with many of the director's films, this one's filled with righteous fury – anger that echoes today as much as it did in the early 1800s. It's an energising, difficult watch that occasionally leans too hard into the message. However, make your way through the 154-minute runtime, and you'll feel greatly rewarded.

The Vast of Night

Now for something a little different. The Vast of Night is an obscure '50s set science-fiction flick that centres on a DJ and switchboard operator who discover a strange radio frequency – one caused by extraterrestrial beings. We won't say anything more, for the mystery is half the fun. The other half is the eery atmosphere and brilliant central performances from Sierra McCormick and Jake Horowitz. There's also a fantastic tracking shot that has put director Andrew Patterson on the map.

Chadwick Boseman stars as Andre Davis, an NYPD detective known for hunting down cop killers. His speciality proves unfortunately handy when two robbers (Stephan James, Taylor Kitsch) raid a high-end wine store that’s actually a front for a massive drug-dealing operation. In the back room is 300 kilos of cocaine – far more than these two chancers were expecting. Before they know it, cops are everywhere, but Kitsch’s expert gunman shoots his way out, slaughtering eight boys in blue. 

The narrative gusto of the cops tightening a cordon around their suspects provides excitement and there’s some zingy, slang-heavy dialogue from Adam Mervis and Matthew Michael Carnahan (brother to director Joe). The corruption-filled final act helps elevate the film from being just another American cop movie.

Spike Lee doesn’t do subtle, but then he’s hardly cracking nuts. Chi-Raq, set in Englewood, Chicago, is a state-of-the-union address on America’s hot issues of gangs and guns. Full of righteous anger packaged in signature swagger, it’s as purposeful and provocative as any Spike Lee joint.

Updating Greek play Lysistrata to the windy city (where more Americans have been killed in the last 15 years than in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts combined), Chi-Raq sees rival gangs the Spartans and Trojans trading bullets. With no end in sight, Lysistrata (a terrific Teyonah Parris), the girlfriend of the Spartans’ leader, persuades womenfolk on both sides of the divide to take control of the situation. “No peace, no pussy,” goes their slogan, with the ladies modelling bling-tastic chastity belts until all weapons are discarded.

With its rhyming couplets, bursts of rap, swathes of broad humour, rampant machismo and a garishly suited Samuel L. Jackson serving as a one-man Greek chorus, this throbs with the kind of passion and (people) politics that so energised Do the Right Thing.

The Aeronauts

Felicity Jones plays the fictional balloonist Amelia Wren in The Aeronauts, co-starring Eddie Redmayne, who appears as scientist James Glaisher. Interestingly, the character of Amelia is a fictional character based loosely on elements of Amelia Earhart's life, whereas Glaisher was indeed a real man. While this movie Tom Harper may play loosely with history, it's a high-thrills adventure up into the skies that's captivating and heart-pounding. 

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Jack Shepherd

Jack Shepherd is the former Senior Entertainment Editor of GamesRadar. Jack used to work at The Independent as a general culture writer before specializing in TV and film for the likes of GR+, Total Film, SFX, and others. You can now find Jack working as a freelance journalist and editor.

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A young woman wearing a purple dress looks ahead, with dull bricks behind her, in The Handmaiden.

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The best movies on Prime Video right now

What to watch on Prime, from explosive thrillers to one of the scariest movies ever made

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We’ve all been there: flipping through Amazon Prime Video’s movie offerings, but stuck wondering, Uh, what’s good? The commercial giant’s streaming service has quietly collected a giant archive of films, and since 2006, has released a number of acclaimed films under the Amazon Studios banner, like Sound of Metal , Asghar Farhadi’s A Hero , Leos Carax’s Annette , The Vast of Night , and Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria remake.

But along with originals, there are tons of back catalog picks just waiting to be discovered in the platform’s, let’s say, challenging UX. So we’ve looked through the service and cherry-picked some of our favorite films currently on the platform to try out. Our latest update added The Suicide Squad as our editor’s pick for the month.

Editor’s pick: The Suicide Squad

(L-R) Joel Kinnaman, Alice Braga, Daniela Melchior, Idris Elba, and John Cena standing in a tropical forest clearing in The Suicide Squad.

Genre: Superhero action Director: James Gunn Cast: Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena

It wasn’t so long ago that James Gunn was persona non grata in Hollywood, having lost his job at Marvel in 2018 after becoming the target of right-wing trolls who surfaced old offensive jokes in a coordinated effort to smear him. Produced in the interval between Gunn’s initial firing and his subsequent rehiring to helm Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 , The Suicide Squad marked the most turbulent professional upswing of the director’s career to date. The result is a film that shares the same irreverent over-the-top tone of Gunn’s earlier work, albeit now with a gleeful sense of masochism as he takes the concept of this imprisoned team of DC Comics supervillains at its word, killing characters off at random and building something new from the detritus.

While admittedly it’s not all that high a bar to clear, Gunn’s movie improves on 2016’s Suicide Squad in almost every conceivable way. Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, and John Cena deliver a trio of terrific performances as Harley Quinn, Bloodsport, and Peacemaker; the action on the whole is exhilarating and entertaining; and hilarious cameos from the likes of Nathan Fillion, Pete Davidson, and more round out an overall satisfying superhero flick that knows better than to take itself too seriously. That’s not even mentioning David Dastmalchian’s breakout performance as Polka-Dot Man, a depressed superhuman with one of the most bizarre on-screen powers yet seen in a live-action superhero movie.

All in all, the film was a big win for both Gunn and Warner Bros. The Suicide Squad introduced the character of Peacemaker to the DC cinematic universe, whose story would later be expanded upon in the Peacemaker TV series created by Gunn. Not long after, Gunn was appointed as the co-CEO of Warner Bros.’ newly formed DC Studios . —Toussaint Egan

Catherine Called Birdy

a man wearing a chainmail snood holds up a young teenage girl

Genre: Coming-of-age comedy Director: Lena Dunham Cast: Bella Ramsey, Andrew Scott, Billie Piper

Lena Dunham’s delightful adaptation of the young adult novel set during medieval times is one of the best comedies of the year, anchored by warm and layered performances by Bella Ramsey and Andrew Scott and bringing a real teenage energy to a normally gray and dreary setting. — PV

From our review :

It isn’t a faithful adaptation of the book, but it’s the adaptation that works best for an audience discovering this story on screen. Catherine Called Birdy the movie tells a tighter story than the book’s delightful diary entries tell, and it needed a conclusion with more finality than a journal that simply runs out of pages. It’s an updated version of the story, but not updated out of cowardice over a tragic ending, or a “How do you do, fellow kids” misplaced attempt to appeal to young people by being “edgy” or “different.” Instead, the changes come from a desire to augment the best parts of the book. Catherine’s sharp narration and the insight into her daily Middle Ages life, juxtaposed with a more narratively cohesive conclusion, make the film stronger, and let Dunham seek her own path and audience.

Nicholas Brendon, Maury Sterling, Lorene Scafaria, Alex Manugian, Lauren Maher, and Emily Baldoni in Coherence (2013)

Genre: Sci-fi thriller Director: James Ward Byrkit Cast: Emily Baldoni, Maury Sterling, Nicholas Brendon

Writer-director James Ward Byrkit’s 2013 sci-fi thriller Coherence is a taut puzzle box of multidimensional weirdness and fraught existential terror. Holding it all together are strong performances led by Emily Baldoni, Homeland ’s Maury Sterling, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer ’s Nicholas Brendon. If you’re hungry for an intriguing blend of mumblecore cinema and sci-fi horror, Coherence is it. —TE

Fist of Fury

a shirtless Bruce Lee is ready for a fight in Fist of Fury

Genre: Martial arts drama Director: Lo Wei Cast: Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee followed up his first action movie, The Big Boss , with Fist of Fury , which saw Lee take over as action choreographer as well as in the leading role. Lee plays Chen Zhen, a martial arts student looking to defend the honor of his school from a Japanese dojo that has been harassing and bullying them after the death of Chen’s teacher.

Probably the most famous scene from this movie comes when Chen visits the dojo and pummels every student, and the teacher, one by one. This movie has been remade many times (Jackie Chan, Jet Li, and Donnie Yen all played Chen Zhen early on in their careers, and Chan briefly appears in this one), and the movie and character both earn their major legacy in the history of Hong Kong cinema and action cinema. — PV

The Handmaiden

Kim Min-hee and Kim Tae-ri in Ah-ga-ssi (The Handmaiden)

Genre: Psychological erotic mystery thriller Director: Park Chan-wook Cast: Kim Min-hee, Kim Tae-ri, Ha Jung-woo

Park Chan-wook is one of the greatest filmmakers working today, and his newest project Decision to Leave is my personal favorite movie of the year so far . He’s made many great movies (and a stellar TV show) over the years, but only one is available to watch on Amazon Prime: the excellent erotic historical mystery The Handmaiden .

Adapted from Sarah Waters’ novel Fingersmith , Park takes the story to Japan-occupied Korea, following a pickpocket and a con man who together conspire to steal a wealthy Japanese heiress’s fortune. A winding tale of seduction and intrigue, it’s a wonderful playground for Park to deploy his distinct style, and is aided by terrific performances by Kim Tae-ri (as the pickpocket/titular handmaiden), Kim Min-hee (as the heiress), and Ha Jung-woo (as the con man).

So while you wait to see Decision to Leave (or after you do ), go ahead and check in with (or revisit) The Handmaiden . You won’t regret it. — Pete Volk

The cenobite Pinhead in Hellraiser, with needles all up in his head

Genre: Horror Director: Clive Barker Cast: Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, Doug Bradley

Clive Barker’s 1987 directorial debut adapts his 1986 novella The Hellbound Heart to tell the story of Larry (Andrew Robinson) and Julia Cotton (Clare Higgins). The Cottons are a married couple who move into the home of Larry’s recently deceased brother, Frank (Sean Chapman), with whom Julia had a previous affair. After inadvertently being resurrected by a drop of blood spilled by Larry on the floor of the house’s attic, Frank seduces Julia into luring new men to the house so that he can drain their life force and fully regain his mortal form. Surrounding this core narrative is the the story of the Lament Configuration, a puzzle box Frank acquired before his untimely death. When solved, it conjures hellish beings known as Cenobites to the mortal plane of existence, which indulge in hellish exercises of sadomasochistic mutilation. Easily the best and most enduring of the Hellraiser movie series, Barker’s 1987 original is a must-watch for horror fans. —TE

what are the best rated movies on amazon prime

Genre: Action drama Director: Mari Selvaraj Cast: Dhanush, Lal, Yogi Babu

Karnan (Dhanush) is a young, temperamental man from a village in southern Tamil Nadu who wants to set the world right all on his own. His village is prevented from getting its own bus stop, causing great strife for people of all generations — their lack of mobility to the city prevents children from going to good schools, adults from getting good jobs, and simply makes life difficult for the villagers. Karnan fights and fights and fights to make things right, taking on opponents as varied as police officers, people from another local village, friends and family who simply want to help, and his own demons.

This Tamil-language drama from director Mari Selvaraj is influenced by a real-life incident where hundreds of police attacked a village in Tamil Nadu. One of the highest-grossing Tamil films of 2021, it is Selvaraj’s follow-up to the award-winning Pariyerum Perumal .

Karnan is a beautiful film with powerful visuals, a terrific soundtrack filled with folk genre songs from local Tamil Nadu musicians, strong leading performances, and a palpable righteous anger at unjustness in the world. — PV

Love & Friendship

what are the best rated movies on amazon prime

Genre: Comedy Director: Whit Stillman Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Morfydd Clark, Tom Bennett

After the death of her husband, Lady Susan Vernon (Kate Beckinsale) is looking for new husbands, plural — one for herself, and one for her only daughter, Frederica (Morfydd Clark). Lady Susan is an audacious flirt and a calculating schemer, and Beckinsale absolutely excels in the layered role, delivering a bold and unforgettable lead performance in an uproarious film. While writer-director Whit Stillman is known for modern day comedies of manners like Metropolitan and Barcelona , his 2016 adaptation of Jane Austen’s Lady Susan is still firmly in his creative wheelhouse and stands as one of the funniest comedies in recent memory. — PV

The best sci-fi movies to watch on Netflix this February

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25 highest-rated movies on Amazon Prime

Streaming services give us access to some of the best television and films at the press of a button. But with the likes of Netflix , Hulu , and Amazon Prime at our fingertips, it can be hard to decipher what is really worth the watch.

As of March 2021, there are more than 18,000 movie titles available to stream on Amazon Prime, which include every genre from thrillers, to romcoms, and horrors.

Sometimes, there really is such a thing as too much choice, so we've sifted through Amazon Prime's top-rated movie offerings, so that you don't have to.

In this dazzling lineup of award-winner favourites, films are ranked by IMBD scores plus Amazon customer ratings out of five.

25. Gravity (2013) 4.0 out of 5 stars

#68. Gravity

Alfonso Cuaron's Sci-Fi drama sees two astronauts marooned in space struggle for survival in the harsh climate of Outerspace.

Stream on Amazon Prime

24. Shutter Island (2010) 4.5 out of 5 stars

shutter island netflix

Martin Scorsese's intense psychological thriller follows Teddy Daniels and Chuck Aule, two US marshals, and their journey to an asylum on a remote island.

23. The Prestige (2006) 4.5 out of 5 stars

The Prestige

Set in late 19th century England, Christopher Nolan's drama follows an intense friendship that turns into rivalry between two fellow magicians.

22. Into the Wild (2007) 4.6 out of 5 stars

Into the Wild

A young man renounces all his worldly possessions to go on a life-changing journey across America.

21. No Country For Old Men (2007) 4.6 out of 5 stars

48 No Country for Old Men

A hunter's life takes a turn for the worse when he stumbles across two million dollars while strolling in the aftermath of a drug deal. The Coen brothers succeed once again, in a new take on an old Western.

20. Gran Torino (2009) 4.7 out of 5 stars

49 Gran Torino

Disgruntled Korean War veteran Walt Kowalski helps to reform his neighbour Thao, after he attempts to steal his beloved 1972 Gran Torino. Clint Eastwood wrote, produced, and starred in this American drama.

19. Batman Begins (2005) 4.7 out of 5 stars

02 Batman Begins

Christopher Nolen's Batman prequel explores the making of the iconic superhero, from his childhood through to time spent combat training in the Far East. An all-star cast of Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson and Katie Holmes features in this instalment to the Gotham City story.

18. The Dark Knight Rises (2012) 4.7 out of 5 stars

the dark knight rises streaming

Eight years after the events of The Dark Knight (the third instalment in the superhero trilogy), supervillain Bane forces Bruce Wayne to resume his role as Batman and save Gotham City from nuclear destruction.

17. The Godfather (1972) 4.7 out of 5 stars

1973: The Godfather

Director Francis Ford Coppola's mob masterpiece features Marlon Brando in his Oscar-winning role as the patriarch of the Corleone family.

16. Monsters, Inc. (2001) 4.7 out of 5 stars

Monsters, Inc.

Best friends Sulley and Mike are the top scarers working at the Monsters, Inc., Monstropolis. However, their lives take a turn when a two-year-old girl, Boo, enters their world.

15. Unforgiven (1992) 4.7 out of 5 stars

18 Unforgiven

Unforgiven tells the story of retired old west gunfighter William Munny (Clint Eastwood) begrudgingly taking on one last job.

14. toy story 3 (2010) 4.7 out of 5 stars.

44 Toy Story 3

Woody, Buzz, Jessie, and the crew, return in this family favourite animation. In the third film in the series, Andy leaves for college, and his toys are mistakenly delivered to a day care center.

13. L.A. Confidential (1997) 4.7 out of 5 stars

43 cbs-is-developing-a-crime-series-based-on-la-confidential-social

Full of twists and turns, Curtis Hanson 's film noir follows detectives from LAPD investigating multiple homicides. The trail leads to a wider look at corruption in 1950s Hollywood.

12. The Pianist (2002) 4.7 out of 5 stars

32 The Pianist

Poignant and heartbreaking, this biographical Second World War drama follows the downfall of an acclaimed Polish musician persecuted by the Nazis.

11. Toy Story (1995) 4.7 out of 5 stars

#15. Toy Story (1995)

Touted as one of the best movies of the '90s, this loveable animation about a motley crew of toys was the inspiration for three more films.

10. The Dark Knight (2008) 4.7 out of 5 stars

Joker

This mesmerizing sequel to "Batman Begins" follows the psychological and physical chaos unleashed by dark villain, the Joker.

9. The Truman Show (1998) 4.7 out of 5 stars

43 The Truman Show

Insurance salesman Truman Burbank (Jim Carey) starts to notice something is off in his picture-perfect suburban life. Little does he know, his whole reality is a staged TV show.

8. Saving Private Ryan 4.7 out of 5 stars

43 Saving Private Ryan

Following the Normandy Landings, a group of U.S. soldiers go behind enemy lines to retrieve a paratrooper whose brothers have been killed in action.

7. The Silence Of The Lambs (1991) 4.8 out of 5 stars

The Silence of the Lambs in 1991

Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster), an FBI agent, seeks help from Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), a psychopathic serial killer and former psychiatrist, in order to catch another serial killer who has been claiming female victims.

6. Aliens (1986) 4.8 out of 5 stars

Aliens

In this Sci-Fi horror, Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is sent back to the planet LV-426 to establish contact with an alien colony. But once there, she encounters the Alien Queen and her offspring and has to fight them to survive.

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5. Fight Club (1999) 4.8 out of 5 stars

38 fight-club

Two bored, white-collared professionals form an underground fight club in search of meaning. David Fincher's popular, but controversial film, is noted for its extreme violence and plot-twist ending.

4. The Help (2011) 4.8 out of 5 stars

The Help

Based on the novel of the same name, Tate Taylor's civil rights drama follows Skeeter Phelan (Emma Stone) an aspiring author who pens a book about the discrimination African-American maids face in her hometown.

3. Star Trek (2009) 4.8 out of 5 stars

Star Trek

Star Trek depicts Romulan time traveller Nero's bloody quest for revenge against Spock and the Federation in one of the most famous space franchises of all time.

2. Forrest Gump (1994) 4.8 out of 5 stars

1995: Forrest Gump

Loveable Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) lives a rich life full of childlike optimism. Robert Zemeckis' epic adventure film follows his quest to track down his childhood love, Jenny (Robin Wright).

1. The Matrix (1999) 4.8 out of 5 stars

Matrix

Keanu Reeves plays Thomas Anderson, a computer programmer, who gets involved in an underground war against powerful computers who have constructed his entire reality with a system called the Matrix.

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The 50 Best Movies on Amazon Prime Right Now (February 2024)

The 50 Best Movies on Amazon Prime Right Now (February 2024)

The best movies on Amazon Prime are certainly out there, but finding them can sometimes feel like panning for gold in an endless sea of silt. Amazon Prime Video is a streaming treasure trove teeming with some of the most esoteric and wonderful underseen movies of the past 80 years, though good selections can feel nearly impossible to cull from the sometimes overwhelming glut of weirdly terrible movies buried in the streamer’s nether regions. Sure, Amazon has that weird horror movie, or that great film noir, but how in the world are you and your grandmother supposed to know that? Coupled with the counter-intuitive, migraine-inducing browsing , and the service’s penchant for dropping a title unexpectedly only for it to reappear under a different link just as unexpectedly, it makes sense that Amazon’s best film offerings are a little tricky to nail down.

Who can keep track of any of this stuff?

Well, we can. Or, at least, we try. While Amazon Prime’s movie library comes and goes every month (sometimes churning through dozens of titles), we at Paste have curated our Best Movies on Amazon list with that difficulty in mind. We’ll be updating this list every week of 2023 to make sure it’s as fresh and accurate as possible, highlighting both Amazon originals and gems buried deep in its content mine. Ranging from the  Small Axe series to incredible anime and horror movies, our picks have got your back, no matter the genre you’re after.

Here are the 50 best movies on Amazon Prime right now:

1. One Night in Miami

Year: 2021 Director: Regina King Stars: Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odom Jr Rating: R Genre: Drama

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A barebones summary of One Night in Miami sounds like a dude’s delight movie: Four men out on the town, no attachments to keep them in line, and a limit to their evening revelry that extends skyward. But the four men are Sam Cooke, Cassius Clay, Jim Brown, and most of all Malcolm X; the town is actually the Magic City; and the specific evening is February 25, 1964, when heavyweight boxing champion Sonny Liston crossed gloves with Clay and lost his title in an upset. Subjects crossing the characters’ lips include, of course, boxing, and women, and rowdiness, but they’re joined by other, more important subjects like Black American identity, American identity, and how the two interact with one another. But that doesn’t rob One Night in Miami of the “delight” clause, thanks in no small part to crackling performances by a cast comprising a cadre of exceptional young actors (Eli Goree, Leslie Odom Jr., Aldis Hodge, Kingsley Ben-Adir), and directed with cool confidence by Regina King in her feature debut. Her adaptation of Kemp Powers’ stage play is a historical document written to presuppose what conversations these fellows might’ve had in private and away from prying ears, a compelling fiction rooted in reality. It’s also thoroughly entertaining, witty, and exuberant. This isn’t a film about meaningless carousing. It’s about conversations that actually matter. —Andy Crump

2. Licorice Pizza

Release Date: November 26, 2021 Director: Paul Thomas Anderson Stars: Alana Haim, Cooper Hoffman, Sean Penn, Tom Waits, Bradley Cooper, Benny Safdie Rating: R Genre: Drama/Comedy

Licorice Pizza is writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson’s second ode to Los Angeles in the early 1970s: A city freshly under the oppressive shadow of the Manson Family murders and the tail end of the Vietnam War. But while in his first tribute, Inherent Vice , the inquisitive counter-culture affiliate Doc Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) earnestly engages with his surroundings and follows the threads of societal paranoia all the way to vampiric drug smuggling operations and FBI conspiracies, Licorice Pizza ’s protagonist, 25-year-old Alana Kane (Alana Haim), refuses to follow any such thread. A bored, directionless photographer’s assistant, Alana nonchalantly rejects any easy plot-point that might help us get a grasp on her character. What are her ambitions? She doesn’t know, she tells successful 15-year-old actor Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman, son of Philip Seymour Hoffman) over dinner at a restaurant called Tail o’ the Cock. What interests and excites her? It’s hard to say. When Gary first approaches Alana while she’s working picture-day at his high school, it’s hard to imagine that Licorice Pizza isn’t going to follow the playful design of a sunny Southern California love story. Alana is instantly strange and striking, and—when Anderson introduces her in a languid dolly-shot with a mini-skirt, kitten-heels, slumped shoulders and a gloriously pissed expression—we are compelled to fall in love with her, just like Gary does, at first sight. Of course, Anderson quickly rejects the notion that Licorice Pizza is going to be a straightforward romance. Anderson knows that this ambling, disjointed structure reflects what it’s like to be young, awkward and in love. Each shot, filled with dreamy pastels, glows with a youthful nostalgia. Anderson and cinematographer Michael Bauman balance out this haziness with a unique control of the camera, implementing long takes, slow dollies, and contemplative pans galore. What is it that Alana gets from being friends with someone ten years younger than her? And why does Gary always return to Alana even when she tries her best to put him down? Like gleefully gliding through the streets of L.A. in the midst of a city-wide crisis, it’s a madness you can only truly understand when you’re living it.— Aurora Amidon

3. The Taking of Pelham One Two Three

Year: 1974 Director: Joseph Sargent Stars: Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw, Martin Balsam Rating: R Runtime: 104 minutes

A ’70s heater of logistics, infrastructure and thrills, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three pits New York City Transit cop Walter Matthau against a team of train hijackers led by Robert Shaw. It’s where Tarantino got the idea for Reservoir Dogs ‘ color-coded crooks and one of Matthau’s finest efforts. Gritty and detailed, with a conversational–sometimes blackly comic–tone that only makes its dangers feel more grounded and its mysteries more solvable, it’s one of the best New York movies ever made and features one of the best final shots in cinema. As a thriller, its optimism for the everyman gives it a rumpled, Columbo -like charm and its crunchy filmmaking put us right in the sweaty, sneezy mix. Die Hard and its descendants, meticulous and fun thrillers that don’t skimp on the jokes, have long looked back to the subway antics of The Taking of Pelham One Two Three .– Jacob Oller

4. Asteroid City

Release Date: June 16, 2023 Director: Wes Anderson Stars: Jason Schwartzman, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hanks, Jeffrey Wright, Tilda Swinton, Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Adrien Brody, Liev Schreiber, Hope Davis, Steve Park, Rupert Friend, Maya Hawke, Steve Carell, Matt Dillon, Hong Chau, Willem Dafoe, Margot Robbie, Tony Revolori, Jake Ryan, Jeff Goldblum Rating: PG-13 Runtime: 105 minutes

While The French Dispatch  crammed an impressive amount of narrative into its kinetic structure,  Asteroid City ’s journey to the intersection between California, Arizona and Nevada feels positively placid. The film is a story within a story, structured as a television show about a playwright trying to put together a production called “Asteroid City.” We bounce back and forth from the TV movie about the creation of the play, to a production of the play itself using the same characters, switching between black-and-white sequences narrated by a Rod Serling-like Bryan Cranston, and the Kodachrome splendor realized in the desert setting on the virtual stage. Thus, we have actors being actors playing actors, the kind of narrative playfulness that’s too often ignored when focusing on Anderson’s iconic visuals and soundtrack choices. The result is a meta-narrative constantly folding back on itself (in one of the film’s more playful moments, Cranston’s character accidentally appears in the color sequence, and quickly sees himself out), an alien invasion adventure story and family drama wrapped within the setting of a classic Western, where offramps literally lead nowhere and the seemingly regular shootout down the main street is the only interruption to what otherwise bucolic setting. From the opening moments, the immaculate production design explodes off the screen, the onscreen filigrees and dynamic color scheme a feast for the eye. There’s a mix between the stagey and the decidedly down to earth, with hand-painted signs advertising milkshakes dwarfed by background rock formations that are as theatrical as any Broadway flat. It’s but one way the film toys with our perception of the characters, both believing in their small and intimate moments, but always made aware of the artifice. There are of course many cinematic references, from the schlock of ‘50s sci-fi to more than a hint of  Close Encounters  that also fueled last year’s  Nope . There are also echoes to many of Anderson’s own films. There’s so much joy on screen, so much playfulness, that it’s perhaps churlish to complain about any missteps. While not as deeply moving as some, or downright thrilling as others in Anderson’s filmography, it’s a journey to the desert well worth taking.— Jason Gorber

5. Tucker & Dale vs. Evil

Year : 2010 Director : Eli Craig Stars: Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk, Katrina Bowden, Jesse Moss Rating: R Genre: Horror/Comedy

Let’s face it, hillbillies and their ilk have been getting the short end of the pitchfork in movies since the strains of banjo music faded in 1972’s Deliverance . And whether due to radiation ( The Hills Have Eyes ) or just good old determined inbreeding ( Wrong Turn and so, so many films you’re better off not knowing about), the yokel-prone in film have really enjoyed slaughtering innocent families on vacation, travelers deficient in basic map usage skills, and, best of all, sexually active college students just looking for a good time. But fear not, members of Hillbillies for Inclusion, Consideration & Kindness in Screenplays (HICKS)—writer/director Eli Craig has your hairy, unloofahed back. His film, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil , answers the simple question: What if those hillbillies are just socially awkward fellows sprucing up a vacation home and the young college kids in question are just prone to repeatedly jumping to incorrect, often fatal, conclusions? Think Final Destination meets the Darwin Awards. — Michael Burgin

6. The Green Knight

Year: 2021 Director: David Lowery Stars: Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander, Sarita Choudhury, Sean Harris, Ralph Ineson Genre: Drama, Fantasy Rating: R

When Sir Gawain departs Camelot, he rides past a scene of desolation. A once-prosperous forest stripped of its lush greenery by human hands, only splintered wood and dust remain. Through his journey, Gawain (Dev Patel) is greeted by similar, if not entirely equal imagery, constantly evocative of mankind’s awkward, unwanted presence within the natural world. One year prior, the Green Knight (Ralph Ineson) approached King Arthur (Sean Harris) and his Knights of the Round Table, conjured up by Gawain’s mother, Morgan Le Fay (Sarita Choudhury), seeking a participant for his Christmas Game. Should one of Arthur’s knights land a blow against him, the knight shall receive his mighty axe, but must seek him out exactly one year later to receive an equal blow in return. When Gawain, reluctant to accept though eager to bring honor to his name, agrees to the Green Knight’s terms, the humanoid creature only drops his axe and lowers his head to reveal an oaken neck, offering it to Gawain freely. Naturally, Gawain succeeds, but at what cost? The Green Knight retrieves his head and rides off into the night. Gawain understands he cannot do the same. Foliage sprouts in the stone cracks on the hall floor where the Green Knight’s blood has been spilt. David Lowery’s The Green Knight is a modern reckoning with a medieval fable. It’s a haunting, confounding, surprisingly erotic fantasy epic; a confrontation between man and nature, nature and religion, man and himself. Adapted from the anonymously authored Arthurian poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight , Lowery’s austere yet spellbinding take on the simple 14th century legend evokes the same questions as the original work, interrogating the cost of one’s life for the sake of one’s honor when there is only certainty that they will die. “Greatness? Why is goodness not enough?” pleads Esel (Alicia Vikander), Gawain’s lover, a sex worker, whom he holds at arm’s length. But the film and Gawain’s quest carry a message that stretches far beyond the fantastical world of King Arthur, one about humanity’s inherent frailty in the face of far-reaching environmental destruction and what gods they have foolishly chosen in place of nature. Obscurities are what anchor The Green Knight as Lowery leans into the ambiguity that defines the original text and replaces it with his own equally mystifying visual interpretations. By blending his abstract sensibilities seen in 2017’s A Ghost Story with the grand fantasy of his live-action Pete’s Dragon , Lowery has crafted a breathtaking, titillating adaptation of folklore with a denouement that carries real-world weight.– Brianna Zigler

7. Raging Bull

Year: 1980 Director: Martin Scorsese Stars: Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty, Joe Pesci Genre: Drama Rating: R

The best film of the 1980s contains one of the all-time-great feats of directing and one of the all-time-great feats of screen acting. The status that Martin Scorsese’s  Raging Bull  has achieved in the years since its release is completely earned. Watching it is a fully felt experience. Over the years, much has been made of the weight Robert De Niro gained while filming  Raging Bull  to authentically capture the physical transformation of boxer Jake LaMotta. While it’s a great symbol of his commitment, the pounds don’t begin to explain the depths of the character portrait he and Martin Scorsese created. The film looks unforgivingly at a fragile, insecure man who communicates his need for love with jealousy, anger and violence. Scorsese’s shots convey the overly suspicious workings of LaMotta’s head, then back out to coldly observe the horrific violence that ensues. Then there are the boxing scenes. Scorsese deserves endless praise for finding such lively, inventive ways to capture the experience inside the ring. But what’s really amazing is that he goes beyond a great sports scene. Each fight serves as a window into LaMotta’s soul. The camera movement, the quick edits, the sudden shifts in speed all reflect his mental state, his need to damage himself or cause damage to others. Such expressive, visceral filmmaking has rarely been equaled. —Michael Burgin

8. Strawberry Mansion

Year: February 18, 2022 Director: Kentucker Audley, Albert Birney Stars: Kentucker Audley, Reed Birney, Penny Fuller, Grace Glowicki, Linas Phillips Rating: NR Runtime: 90 minutes

The intangible logic of our subconscious minds is what fuels Strawberry Mansion , a dazed and dreamy jaunt through nostalgic reverie and existential anxieties. Co-directed by Albert Bimey and Kentucker Audley (who also stars), the film is an exercise in creating a dreamscape by way of capturing texture—a venture that renders enthralling, gorgeous and unsettling images as a result. Not only is Strawberry Mansion a genuine feast for the eyes, but its plot is far more cohesive and calculated than most dream-like narratives care to strive for. This ensures that none of the audience falls into their own movie-induced slumber while also serving as a boon to the project’s ethos—one that desperately urges us to pay close attention to the details and potential meanings of our dreams, as they might just be the very key to our survival. Set in the not-so-distant future, Strawberry Mansion follows James Preble (Audley), an auditor who works for a governmental agency that regulates “dream taxes,” a result of ads being projected into our most intimate mental moments. When he arrives at a sprawling Victorian abode with a magenta exterior, he believes he’s simply making a routine house call to address unpaid back taxes. An eccentric older woman named Bella (Penny Fuller) answers the door, and says she’ll only allow the tax man inside if he complies with her code: “To enter, you must lick the ice cream cone.” A bite-sized scoop of strawberry ice cream sits atop a small sugar cone—and though he’s reluctant at first, James eventually relents and licks the ice cream cone, a decision which effectively begins his odyssey of wading through thousands of VHS tapes containing Bella’s dreams. While he’s officially meant to be viewing these in order to collect data, he begins to fall in love with the younger version of Bella (Grace Glowicki) that serves as her constant avatar in dreamland. In fact, the auditor is so smitten that he hardly realizes the conspiracy he’s unwittingly landed himself within, spending all day in a clunky headset instead of piecing together the significance of how advertising and unpaid taxes converge. Always engrossing yet never laboriously abstract, Strawberry Mansion creates a delectable realm of reverie that’s easy to get lost in—though it can also feel tensely labyrinthine at times. Musing on the human capacity for love, greed and tenacity, it’s likely to make one misty-eyed during certain (sparse) moments of tranquility and personal peace, reflecting the beauty in realizing our own aspirations and impulses instead of blindly accepting what we’re told to be and do. The life that best suits us might be far-flung from the life we’re currently living, and sometimes it takes a ridiculous situation to unmoor us from the constraints of routine and ritual. Just remember: When in doubt, always be sure to lick the strawberry ice cream cone.– Natalia Keogan

9. Manchester by the Sea

Year: 2016 Director: Kenneth Lonergan Stars: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler Rating: R Genre: Drama

Loss and grief—and the messy, indirect ways people cope with the emotional fallout—were the dramatic linchpins of writer-director Kenneth Lonergan’s first two films, You Can Count on Me and Margaret . And so it is again with Manchester by the Sea , a commanding, absorbing work in which the sum of its impact may be greater than any individual scenes. As opposed to the intimate, short-story quality of You Can Count on Me , Manchester by the Sea bears the same sprawling ambition as Margaret , Lonergan draping the proceedings in a tragic grandeur that sometimes rubs against the film’s inherently hushed modesty. Casey Affleck as Lee Chandler is quietly magnetic as a man who can’t express himself at a time when he really needs to step up and be the patriarchal figure. Lucas Hedges and Kyle Chandler are also both quite good, their characters buried deep in the man’s-man culture of the East Coast communities in which the film is set. But especially terrific is Michelle Williams as Lee’s ex-wife, who has played haunted wives before, in Brokeback Mountain and Shutter Island . Here, though, she really pierces the heart: Her character never stopped loving Lee, but her brain told her she had to if she was ever going to move on with her life. In this film, she’s actually one of the lucky ones. Tragedies drop like bombs in Manchester By the Sea , and the ripple effects spread out in all directions. The movie’s ending isn’t exactly happy, but after all the Chandlers have gone through, just the possibility of acceptance can feel like a hard-earned victory. —Tim Grierson

10. You Were Never Really Here

Year: 2018 Director: Lynne Ramsay Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Ekaterina Samsonov, John Doman, Judith Roberts, Alex Manette, Alessandro Nivola Rating: R Genre: Thriller

Lynne Ramsay has a reputation for being uncompromising. In industry patois, that means she has a reputation for being “difficult.” Frankly, the word that best describes her is “unrelenting.” Filmmakers as in charge of their aesthetic as Ramsay are rare. Rarer still are filmmakers who wield so much control without leaving a trace of ego on the screen. If you’ve seen any of the three films she made between 1999 and 2011 ( Ratcatcher , Morvern Callar , We Need to Talk About Kevin ), then you’ve seen her dogged loyalty to her vision in action, whether that vision is haunting, horrific or just plain bizarre. She’s as forceful as she is delicate. Her fourth film, You Were Never Really Here —haunting, horrific and bizarre all at once—is arguably her masterpiece, a film that treads the line delineating violence from tenderness in her body of work. Calling it a revenge movie doesn’t do it justice. It’s more like a sustained scream. You Were Never Really Here ’s title is constructed of layers, the first outlining the composure of her protagonist, Joe (Joaquin Phoenix, acting behind a beard that’d make the Robertson clan jealous), a military veteran and former federal agent as blistering in his savagery as in his self-regard. Joe lives his life flitting between past and present, hallucination and reality. Even when he physically occupies a space, he’s confined in his head, reliving horrors encountered in combat, in the field and in his childhood on a non-stop, simultaneous loop. Each of her previous movies captures human collapse in slow motion. You Were Never Really Here is a breakdown shot in hyperdrive, lean, economic, utterly ruthless and made with fiery craftsmanship. Let this be the language we use to characterize her reputation as one of the best filmmakers working today. —Andy Crump

11. Memories

Year: 1995 Director: Koji Morimoto, Tensai Okamura, Katsuhiro Otomo Stars: Tsutomu Isobe, Hideyuki Hori, Yuu Hayashi Rating: NR Genre: Sci-Fi, Animated

After wrapping production on Akira in 1988, Katsuhiro Otomo returned in 1995 to helm his third anthology collection of short films, titled Memories . Initially scripted around the theme of the collection’s namesake, the anthology eventually yielded a series of three shorts, each directed by one of three of the most acclaimed directors working at the time, Otomo included. The collection’s first segment, “Magnetic Rose,” is unanimously praised as the anthology’s best and for good reason. Directed by Koji Morimoto and scripted by Satoshi Kon, “Magnetic Rose” is emblematic of the themes of perception, identity and uncertainty, which exemplify Kon’s work at its best, depicting the terrifying story of a deep space salvage cruise’s ensnarement in the siren wiles of an aristocratic opera singer. The anthology’s other two installments, Tensai Okamura’s “Stink Bomb” and Otomo’s “Cannon Fodder,” are worth the price of admission as well, the former a crassly comedic take on an extinction-level crisis and the latter a wartime parable animated with a intriguing Terry Gilliam-esque art style in one long take. Whatever your palate as anime film-goer, Memories is not to be missed.

12. The Big Sick

Year: 2017 Director: Michael Showalter Stars: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter Rating: R Genre: Rom-Com

The Big Sick can sometimes be awfully conventional, but among its key assets is its radiant view of its characters. Based on the first year in the relationship of married screenwriters Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, this indie rom-com has a mildly risky structure and some trenchant observations about the culture clashes that go on in immigrant families living in America. But what cuts deepest is just how profoundly lovable these people are. That’s not the same as being cutesy: Rather, The Big Sick is defiantly generous, understanding that people are horribly flawed but also capable of immeasurable graciousness when the situation requires. So even when the film stumbles, these characters hold you up. Nanjiani plays a lightly fictionalized version of his younger self, a struggling Chicago stand-up who is having as much success in his career as he in his dating life. Born into a Pakistani family who moved to the United States when he was a boy, he’s a dutiful son, despite lying about being a practicing Muslim and politely deflecting the attempts of his parents (Anupam Kher, Zenobia Shroff) to set him up in an arranged marriage. That’s when he meets Emily (Zoe Kazan), an American grad student with whom he’s instantly smitten. She swears she doesn’t want a relationship, but soon they fall for one another—even though Kumail knows it can’t work out. What’s most radical about The Big Sick is its optimistic insistence that a little niceness can make all the difference. — Tim Grierson

13. Hellraiser

Year: 1987 Director: Clive Barker Stars: Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence Rating: R Genre: Horror

The head villain/eventual hero (there’s a sickening number of terrible Hellraiser sequels) behind Clive Barker’s Hellraiser franchise is the Cenobite Pinhead, sent from the pits of his own personal hell dimension to drag you down into the depths with him. Where he tortures you. For eternity. All because you opened a fancy Rubik’s Cube. Pinhead has zero remorse, looking you dead in the eye as he delivers a deadpan promise to “tear your soul apart.” Oh yeah, and the Cenobites are indestructible. Personally, it turned me off to puzzle boxes forever. As in his fiction, Barker’s obsessions with the duality of pain and pleasure are on full display in Hellraiser , an icky story of sick hate and sicker love. — Rachel Haas

Year: 2023 Director: Gerard Johnstone Stars: Allison Williams, Violet McGraw, Amie Donald, Jenna Davis, Ronny Chieng, Brian Jordan Alvarez, Jen Van Epps Rating: PG-13 Genre: Horror, Comedy

Long before M3GAN hit theaters, the film’s titular cyborg, who can best be described as a mashup of Renesmee from Twilight (if she was a raging sadist) and a yassified Baby Annette , became a viral sensation. Somewhat miraculously, M3GAN manages to live up to its spectacular advertising. (Though in retrospect, this new triumph in horror camp shouldn’t be that surprising, as Malignant ’s James Wan and Akela Cooper, AKA the people who gave us this scene just last year, co-wrote the film). After losing both of her parents in a tragic car accident, young Cady (Violet McGraw) moves in with her aunt Gemma (Allison Williams), a toy company roboticist partially responsible for PurrpetualPetz: Stuffed animals that have human-like teeth and, among other things, take shits. Realizing she is not equipped to care for a youngster, Gemma makes it her mission to finish building M3GAN—or Model 3 Generative Android—a robot designed specifically to be your child’s most loyal BFF. Soon enough, M3GAN starts to take her “protect Cady at all costs” programming a little too literally (who could’ve seen that coming?), resulting in a string of darkly comical sequences of violence—one of which may or may not involve the talking doll zealously wielding a nail gun. M3GAN is more than just another solid entry into this horror subgenre. I might even be so bold as to say that it is horror’s newest camp classic, and M3GAN one of the greatest horror icons of recent years. M3GAN , somewhat miraculously, perfects the horror-comedy tone, able to consistently toe the line of too silly—from M3GAN’s passive-aggressive, condescending and sickly sweet timbre (nailed by Jenna Davis, the “penny nickel dime” girl from Vine ), to her raggedy blonde wig—without ever actually crossing it. M3GAN ’s most impressive feat, at the end of the day, is that it gives us cinematic sickos exactly what we want without sacrificing greatness in the process. And yes, what we want is a breakdancing, murderous doll. Is that such a crime?— Aurora Amidon

15. Small Axe: Alex Wheatle

Year: 2020 Director: Steve McQueen Stars: Sheyi Cole, Robbie Gee, Johann Myers Rating: NR Genre: Drama

Alex Wheatle is a coming of age story based on the early life of the eponymous award-winning YA author and is the penultimate film of McQueen’s Small Axe collection. Set in the ‘70s and early ‘80s, we follow Alex from his childhood in an orphanage of Dickensian cruelty to his Brixton youth, where he connects with his Blackness, to his being nurtured by a paternalistic Rastafarian cellmate in prison. Alex Wheatle is accomplished and devastating, with dynamic cinematography, a phenomenal soundtrack and a heartbreaking central debut performance from Sheyi Cole. In many ways, it feels like a melding of the other four Small Axe films: The systemic racism of Mangrove , the musical escapism of Lover’s Rock , the daddy issues of Red, White & Blue and the childhood cruelty of Education . But in its thematic overlapping, Alex Wheatle undermines its own significance. It doesn’t have the distinct identity of the other films and, while it’s always a pleasure to watch filmmaking at McQueen’s level, it doesn’t leave a lasting impression. —Leila Latif

16. The General

Year: 1926 Directors: Buster Keaton and Clyde Bruckham Stars: Joseph Keaton, Marion Mack, Glen Cavender Rating: NR Genre: Comedy

When Yankee spies steal his locomotive and kidnap his girlfriend, a Southern railroad engineer (“The Great Stone Face” Buster Keaton) is forced to pursue his two beloveds across enemy lines. While a few Charlie Chaplin pictures give it a run for its money, The General is arguably the finest silent comedy ever made—if not the finest comedy ever made. At the pinnacle of Buster Keaton’s renowned career, the film didn’t receive critical or box-office success when released, but it has aged tremendously. It’s a spectacle of story, mishmashing romance, adventure, action (chases, fires, explosions) and comedy into a seamless silent masterpiece. — David Roark

17. Train to Busan

Year: 2016 Director: Yeon Sang-ho Stars: Gong Yoo, Ma Dong-seok, Jung Yu-mi, Kim Su-an, Kim Eui-sung, Choi Woo-shik, Ahn So-hee Rating: N/A Genre: Horror

Love them or hate them, zombies are still a constant of the horror genre in 2016, dependable enough to set your conductor’s watch by. And although I’ve probably seen enough indie zombie films at this point to eschew them from my viewing habits for the rest of my life, there is still usually at least one great zombie movie every other year. In 2016, that was Train to Busan , a film that has since been added to our list of the 50 Best Zombie Movies of All Time . There’s no need for speculation: Train to Busan would undoubtedly have made the list. This South Korean story of a career-minded father attempting to protect his young daughter on a train full of rampaging zombies is equal parts suspenseful popcorn entertainment and genuinely affecting family drama. It concludes with several action elements that I’ve never seen before, or even considered for a zombie film, and any time you can add something truly novel to the genre of the walking dead, then you’re definitely doing something right. With a few memorable, empathetic supporting characters and some top-notch makeup FX, you’ve got one of the best zombie movies of the past decade. — Jim Vorel

18. Candyman

Year: 2021 Director: Nia DaCosta Stars: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Teyonah Parris, Colman Domingo, Tony Todd, Vanessa Estelle Williams Rating: R Genre: Horror

The problem with writing about Candyman is that you will inevitably have to write “Candyman” five times. What if my monitor suddenly craps out, leaving me to see a paranormal entity rocking a full-length shearling behind my dark reflection? Unlike many of the white Chicagoans in writer/director Nia DaCosta’s slasher sequel, I’m not foolish enough to tempt the Bloody Mary of the Near North Side. I am, however, still drawn to her update of the legend, which manages to pick up the original film’s pieces and put them back together in a compelling, reclamatory collage. Ignoring the rest of the Candyman series in favor of a direct follow-up to Bernard Rose’s allegory-rich 1992 slasher, DaCosta introduces fancy-pants artist Anthony (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) to the same urban legend that consumed lookie-loo grad student Helen Lyle. The original story adapted Clive Barker to U.S. racism and wealth inequality—particularly in Chicago, and even more particularly in Chicago’s Cabrini-Green projects. Now its homes and high-rises have been demolished or abandoned. A massive Target overlooks its northwest border, where you can buy athleisure and grab an in-house Starbucks before heading to Panera Bread. Gentrification may have neatly plastered over history, but that history cannot be so easily erased. “A story like that—a pain like that—lasts forever,” says Colman Domingo’s long-timer laundryman Burke. “That’s Candyman.” DaCosta makes it clear that Anthony’s pulled by the legend, by history, more intimately than Helen ever was, and updates her scares in turn. The nightmarish apartments and putrid bathrooms Helen crawled through and photographed neatly reflected the entity haunting them; but the projects have been paved over, and Candyman persists. DaCosta shoots the city accordingly, either in dividing straight lines, or fully warped: You never notice how Marina City’s towers look like beehives until they’re flipped upside-down. Spurred on by Anthony’s interest, Candyman’s now an inevitability in every reflective surface. You can’t look away from DaCosta’s inspired compositions and layouts, your eyes led from one dark corner to the next with an Invisible Man -like mastery of negative space. One of these days, you think, she’s going to run out of ideas about how to shoot a mirror kill. Not so, especially in her world of omnipresent, physically and psychically painful self-reflection. While the kills, perpetrated by a being mostly just seen in mirrors, are sometimes a bit too obfuscated by their gimmick to be viscerally satisfying, they slot in perfectly with the film’s themes and aesthetic even when they’re not dumping cascades of blood. The power of martyrdom, the cycles of economic exploitation, the blood price expected for progress—even if these ideas are imperfectly engaged with, they’re so compellingly introduced as to solidify Candyman as a must-see horror and a must-discuss tragedy.— Jacob Oller

19. Argentina, 1985

Release Date: October 21, 2022 Director: Santiago Mitre Stars: Ricardo Darín, Peter Lanzani, Claudio Da Passano, Alejandra Flechner, Norman Briski Rating: R Genre: Drama

The horrendous historical reckoning inherent to Santiago Mitre’s Argentina, 1985 is unmistakably evoked through the film’s title. The Argentine director, who is best known for political dramas that examine the country’s social follies, meticulously recreates the circumstances surrounding what’s considered the most ambitious trial against fascist human rights violations in Latin American history. Co-written by Mitre and Mariano Llinás (the filmmaker behind the four-part epic La Flor ), Argentina, 1985 is a stylistically assured procedural that manages to tastefully recount the mass torture, rape, killing and “disappearance” of more than 30,000 Argentine civilians by the military dictatorship during the so-called Dirty War that lasted nearly a decade from 1974 through 1983. Through capturing victim testimonies as they were presented in court during this months-long trial as well as the dogged pursuit for justice by a ragtag team of bravely dedicated prosecutors, the film wholly resists sensationalization, opting instead to faithfully reconstruct the events that culminated in a landmark win for social justice amid a shakily budding democracy. Ricardo Darín plays Julio César Strassera, the lead prosecutor of the Trial of the Juntas, who is initially fearful over the prospect of publicly presiding over the case against these murderous fascists, none more notorious than one-time acting ruler Jorge Rafael Videla. Obviously, Strassera’s apprehension is more than warranted: With the national wounds still raw from the junta’s merry mass extermination of citizens accused of opposing their rule, he immediately begins to fret for the lives of his wife and children. This anxiety manifests in subtle and overt ways — he loses sleep, relies on nerve-numbing cocktails and begins taking his son to school on the subway instead of risking the threat of car bombs being planted in his modest sedan. However, the pressure of this undertaking is partially lifted from his shoulders when deputy prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo (Peter Lanzani) joins the case. Together, they select a legal team to aid in their extensive, labor-intensive hunt for witnesses, incriminating documents and written statements that detail the nauseating cruelty and violence of the junta. While much of the film is focused on the collection of evidence and ensuing court case, Argentina, 1985 is also masterfully imbued with period-specific details in the costume and set design, painstakingly emulated from archival footage. Sumptuously captured by cinematographer Javier Juliá’s lens, these visual facets make the two-hour-and-twenty-minute runtime melt by. Of course, the film’s streamlined, never-clunky narrative is no doubt bolstered by Llinás’ involvement as co-writer. After helming an 808-minute feature in 2018, an 140-minute undertaking must feel like light work.— Natalia Keogan

20. Burn After Reading

Year: 2008 Directors: Joel and Ethan Coen Stars: George Clooney, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich Rating: R Runtime: 96 minutes

This Coen Brothers favorite has an unsurprisingly incredible cast, but can we take a moment to give all of the awards and props to Frances McDormand? Her Linda Litzke is one of the strangest, most hilariously bizarre characters to ever appear in a film, and yet there’s something completely familiar about her. She’s pursuing her own version of the American Dream, and the mess she leaves in her wake makes up the crux of this very black, very funny comedy. That she does so while all the other members of this ensemble do the same, and manage to entangle their own personal dramas with hers, makes this movie an entertaining way to spend an evening. Along with McDormand, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Tilda Swinton and Richard Jenkins (who plays the tragically adorable Ted) all give fantastic turns—unrecognizable, in many ways, from their typical fare which makes the story all the more enthralling.— Garrett Martin

21. We Need to Talk About Kevin

Year: 2012 Director: Lynne Ramsay Stars: Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, Ezra Miller Rating: R Genre: Thriller

We Need To Talk About Kevin concerns the experience of a mother (Tilda Swinton) struggling with the aftermath of a school massacre carried out by her son (Ezra Miller). In its narrative construction, it draws upon two key tropes: that of the “whydunnit” thriller, in which the mystery of the perpetrator’s motivations are a driving factor, and that of the family horror, in which some dark element tears a traditional household apart. Indeed, the real horror is not that a teenager chose total negation over the banality of normative family life—it’s that these appeared to be the only two choices available. Tilda Swinton is brilliant in the starring role as a mother who grapples with guilt about what her son has done and reflects on his childhood, wondering what, if anything, could possibly have been done differently when one gives birth to a “bad seed.” The heartbreaking nature of the film is perfectly encapsulated by the scene wherein Kevin as a child briefly drops his sociopathic tendencies while ill, giving Swinton’s character a brief chance to feel like a cherished mother, only to emotionally shut her out again as soon as his physical health returns, dashing her hopes that some kind of breakthrough had been made. —Donal Foreman

22. Evangelion 3.0+1.0: Thrice Upon a Time

Year: 2021 Director: Hideaki Anno, Mahiro Maeda, Katsuichi Nakayama, Kazuya Tsurumaki Stars: Megumi Ogata, Megumi Hayashibara, Yuko Miyamura, Maaya Sakamoto, Akira Ishida, Kotono Mitsuishi Rating: TV-MA Genre: Sci-Fi, Animation

Since 1995, Neon Genesis Evangelion has penetrated the cultural consciousness with giant robots, angsty teens and esoteric Biblical references. It is the story of Shinji Ikari, a young boy destined to pilot a giant robot called Unit-01 in a future where creatures called Angels are destined to destroy humanity. But Shinji resists his fate, complaining at every turn and freezing with indecision as the survival of humanity lies on his shoulder. It is truly a one of a kind franchise, the brainchild of the genius and deeply depressed Hideaki Anno. It is a franchise that has plagued him for over 25 years, from a series to a slew of movies that worked to rewrite a dissatisfying ending. Now, Anno is finally done. With the release of his latest and last piece of Evangelion media, Evangelion 3.0+1.0: Thrice Upon a Time , the time of the Angels has come to an end. Thrice Upon a Time is the fourth Rebuild of Evangelion film, which is a complete retelling of the events from the original series. The final film in the universe of Shinji, Asuka, Rei and EVAs may not be the best place for franchise novices to start, but it should be a great motivator. Rarely do anime franchises end on such a pitch perfect note, but Anno shows it is possible with Evangelion 3.0+1.0: Thrice Upon a Time . After decades of grappling with what this series means to him and using it as a mechanism to process his own emotional baggage, Anno has finally found closure within his broken world full of angst and hope. This is a gasp of relief, a stifled sob of pride that punctuates a cultural milestone. With the release of this film, Anno is finally free.— Mary Beth McAndrews

Year: 1945 Director: Edgar G. Ulmer Stars: Tom Neal, Ann Savage, Claudia Drake, Edmund MacDonald Genre: Thriller

A Poverty Row staple with an unknown cast peering into the post-war dark night of the soul, Detour has come to embody the best film noir has to offer—namely, that budget and schedule concerns indirectly enriched the artistic product, paring down a weightier script and even more bloated source novel into a precise, exquisitely sharp bit of storytelling economy. Trapped within the sweaty mind of always-broke jazz pianist Al Roberts (Tom Neal) as he heads West from New York to settle down with his girlfriend (Claudia Drake), a symbol of stable life for Roberts who absconded with his heart to try to “make it” in Hollywood, we’re stuck with only the unlucky guy’s version of events throughout his increasingly desperate trip. After all, his hitchhiking journey seems doomed to fail from the start, but it grows damn near bleak with the accidental cadaver-ing of a gregarious Charles Haskell (Edmund MacDonald) following a whirlwind buddy meet-cute, and then completely hopeless with the introduction of Vera (Ann Savage), an iconic femme fatale who doesn’t have to try hard to ensnare Roberts, by that point so far out of his league he’s got his pants pulled up well past his nipples. As much an efficient encapsulation of its genre as it is a noir drowning entirely within its own hell-bent nightmare, Detour is most impressive for how gracefully Ulmer can get the most out of so little. —Dom Sinacola

Release Date: January 7, 2022 Director: Asghar Farhadi Stars: Amir Jadidi, Mohsen Tanabandeh, Alireza Jahandideh, Sahar Goldoost, Fereshteh Sadr Orafaie, Sarina Farhadi Rating: PG-13 Genre: Drama

What’s the price for having a conscience? Iranian master Asghar Farhadi’s A Hero spirals out a good deed to all its messy conclusions, providing fertile ground for the filmmaker’s command of aesthetic realism and closeknit interpersonal dynamics. Rahim (Amir Jadidi), a jailed debtor, returns a bag filled with money that he found on leave. The consequences from that act, pushed and prodded and wheedled by Farhadi’s script—which adds a deft understanding of social media to a sharply constructed web of relationships and reputations—are an endurance test for the tear ducts. Doomed nobility is the biggest ask for Jadidi, but his big toothy smile and world-beaten posture allow him to find the perfect amounts of charm (whether genuine or off-putting) or pathos (which we know he’d hate) in Rahim. Sahar Goldoost, Maryam Shahdaei and Alireza Jahandideh make the film a truly potent ensemble drama, while Farhadi’s daughter, Sarina Farhadi, has a memorable return to the screen a decade since her last role, in Farhadi’s A Separation .— Jacob Oller

25. Small Axe: Red, White & Blue

Year: 2020 Director: Steve McQueen Stars: John Boyega, Steve Toussaint Rating: NR Genre: Drama

What Red, White & Blue has going for it are two extraordinary performances from John Boyega and Steve Toussaint. Boyega is charming as the fiery and conflicted Leroy Logan, a Black scientist who—following on a racist police attack on his father—decides to join the force to reform it from the inside. His father is played with equally compelling ferocity and dignity by Toussaint. There is so much to love in this film, as McQueen leans into his skill at suspense—ratcheting up the tension with incomparable style—and brings out performances that are able to convey so much without saying a word. However, the script doesn’t match the rest of the film, with clunky exposition and uncharacteristic sentimentality weighing down the actors. At its core, Red, White & Blue is not about police reform. In fact almost all of Logan’s fascinating career accomplishments take place long after the film’s credits roll. Rather, Red, White & Blue is focused on a complicated father/son relationship. Viewed through that lens (and likely through the lens of your own specific paternal hang ups) it soars. —Leila Latif

26. C’mon C’mon

Release Date: November 19, 2021 Director: Mike Mills Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Gaby Hoffmann, Woody Norman, Scoot McNairy, Jaboukie Young-White, Molly Webster Rating: R Runtime: 108 minutes

While continuing to mold his protagonists after his immediate family members—in C’mon, C’mon ’s case his (and fellow filmmaker Miranda July’s) nine-year-old son—writer/director Mike Mills presents a picture of sincere sentimentality rooted not in previously occupied states of nostalgia or raw lived experience, but rather forward-looking hopefulness for an ostensibly fraught future. A year after the death of their mother, broadcast radio journalist Johnny (Joaquin Phoenix) reaches out to his sister Viv (Gaby Hoffmann) to amend a recent lack of communication. While catching up, Viv reveals that her ex-husband Paul (Scoot McNairy) is in the midst of a bipolar episode in the Bay Area, and she feels compelled to go and convince him to seek inpatient care. Johnny has only one question: Who is going to watch her son Jesse (Woody Norman) while she’s away? Though originally tasked with watching his nephew for only a few days, extenuating circumstances lead to Jesse accompanying Johnny on an extensive city-spanning reporting project. Fittingly, the assignment finds Johnny and his colleagues conducting audio interviews with children across the country, gauging their thoughts on matters of the heart, mind and soul—specifically, what do they think the future will look like? Despite undertaking an intimate story about the oft-overlooked interiority and intelligence of American adolescents, Johnny finds himself wholly unsure about his ability to assume the role of caretaker for his own relative. While it’s true that a slew of films have previously explored the clash between children and impromptu guardians when assimilating to their newfound roles (John Cassavetes’ Gloria , most notably, as well as the Phoenix-starring 2017 Lynne Ramsey film You Were Never Really Here ), C’mon C’mon differs from its predecessors by maintaining the innate innocence of the children involved. It’s hard to imagine the film’s success without the dynamic chemistry between Phoenix and Norman, with the two seamlessly playing off one another’s dialogue and an air of childlike spontaneity permeating every interaction. Norman’s performance is a rarity in that it displays obvious talent while preserving a childlike playfulness that never feels over-acted. Though the central radio piece that Johnny and his colleagues gradually construct during the film is initially depressing in its assertion of just how cognizant young people are to the perils of the world that await them in adulthood, it is also heart-wrenching and hopeful in its honesty. Virtually none of the subjects interviewed perceive the future as entirely void of opportunity for improvement—and if at least some children truly believe that things can turn around for their generation, wouldn’t dismissing that tender optimism be the same exact brand of condescension that many of the kids express frustration with? In amplifying the diverse voices of American children through the film’s radio vérité subplot, C’mon C’mon proves that kids have some pretty insightful advice to impart, if only we’d just listen.– Natalia Keogan

27. Small Axe: Education

Year: 2020 Director: Steve McQueen Stars: Kenyah Sandy, Sharlene Whyte, Tamara Lawrance, Naomi Ackie Rating: NR Genre: Drama

Education is McQueen’s most personal and tender work, focused on the education of Black children in the 1970s. McQueen, now broadly recognized as a creative genius, was repeatedly told as a child by his teachers that he would never be capable of doing more than basic manual labor. In Education , he reopens those old wounds through Kingsley, a bright young boy who dreams of being an astronaut. Thanks to institutional racism and undiagnosed dyslexia, Kingsley is sent to a “special school” where he is placed alongside white children with intense and apparent learning disorders and other Black children who have no discernible reason for being there. Of all the films he has made, this one is scrubbed clean of most of McQueen’s stylistic signatures: The whole thing resembles a film actually made in the 1970s rather than a modern film in a ‘70s setting. By making a film rooted in his own memories, McQueen entirely transports us there. The film’s heroines are based on the real-life Black activists who fought for West Indian children’s futures and created the Saturday schools that nurtured McQueen. Education serves both as a beautiful tribute to their achievements across the community and in recognizing the talents of one of Britain’s most gifted artistic visionaries. —Leila Latif

28. Love & Friendship

Year: 2016 Director: Whit Stillman Stars: Kate Beckinsale, Chloe Sevigny, Xavier Samuel Rating: PG Genre: Comedy

The title of Whit Stillman’s latest comedy may be Love & Friendship , but while both are certainly present in the film, other, more negative qualities also abound: deception, manipulation, even outright hatred. Underneath its elegant period-picture surface—most obviously evident in Benjamin Esdraffo’s Baroque-style orchestral score and Louise Matthew’s ornate art direction—lies a darker vision of humanity that gives the film more of an ironic kick than one might have anticipated from the outset. Still, the humor in Love & Friendship is hardly of the misanthropic sort. As always with Stillman, his view of the foibles of the bourgeois is unsparing yet ultimately empathetic. Which means that, even as Stillman works his way toward a happy ending of sorts, the film leaves a slightly bitter aftertaste—which is probably as it should be. Such honesty has always been a hallmark of Stillman’s cinema, and even if Love & Friendship feels like more of a confection than his other films, that frankness, thankfully, still remains. — Kenji Fujishima

29. Small Axe: Lovers Rock

Year: 2020 Director: Steve McQueen Stars: Micheal Ward, Amarah-Jae St. Aubyn, Kedar Williams-Stirling, Shaniqua Okwok Rating: NR Genre: Romance

In Lovers Rock , McQueen untethers himself from a conventional narrative and leans into style, movement and feeling set over the course of a single house party in Notting Hill—an area of London that (in 1980) was largely populated by the West Indian community, but has since become one of the most expensive neighborhoods on the planet. This film is based generally on the parties the Black community held for themselves, as they were not welcome in London’s bars and nightclubs at the time. At the center of this film are Martha (Amarah-Jae St. Aubyn), a middle-class British Christian with Jamaican roots and the dreamy code-switching mechanic Franklyn (Micheal Ward). Released in a time of quarantines and social distances, the film had a rapturous reception, bringing a warmth into our homes and a longing to return to an evening of such possibilities. A single scene where the dance floor sings along to “Silly Games” by Janet Kay is McQueen at his greatest and most joyful, transporting the audience into a giddy hypnotic ecstasy. In many ways Lovers Rock is McQueen’s smallest film, but may end up being his most beloved. —Leila Latif

30. Small Axe: Mangrove

Year: 2020 Director: Steve McQueen Stars: Letitia Wright, Shaun Parkes, Malachi Kirby, Rochenda Sandall, Alex Jennings, Jack Lowden Rating: NR Genre: Drama

Mangrove is McQueen’s greatest film not only because it is an exceptional piece of filmmaking, but because it shows off virtually every one of McQueen’s strengths. The first half looks at the state-sponsored terrorizing of the Mangrove restaurant, a Notting Hill restaurant opened by Frank Crichlow (Shaun Parkes) in 1968 that became a hub for the West Indian community and British Black Panthers. After a demonstration protesting the Mangrove’s treatment is swarmed by the racist police force, nine of the participants (including Crichlow himself) are framed for inciting a riot. The second half of the film follows their trial and the toll it takes on them. From start to finish, McQueen fires on all cylinders, shining a light on a largely forgotten piece of history and drawing exceptional performances out of the entire cast (but in particular Parkes and Malachi Kirby). Many of Mangrove ’s most beautiful moments, including its climax, hold tight on Parkes’ face and let us experience intense pain, rage, fear, joy and relief through the bottomless wells of his soulful brown eyes. And it is thrilling: The earlier scenes of police, skulking down streets like apex predators, both disturb and terrify. But McQueen is able to accomplish seamless tonal shifts, with those same police officers’ interrogation in a later courtroom scene proving absurd and hilarious. Particular praise must also be given to cinematographer Shabier Kirchner. The use of camera in this film is as unpredictable as it is beautiful, making every moment visceral and riveting. McQueen picks out unusual shots and angles to give every scene the thoughtful composition of a Vermeer. There is a pure poetry to Mangrove , and an implicit footnote: The bravery of these activists will eventually be captured by a Black filmmaker and turned not only into his greatest work (so far), but perhaps the best British film of the decade. —Leila Latif

Release Date: October 7, 2022 Director: Todd Field Stars: Cate Blanchett, Noémie Merlant, Nina Hoss, Sophie Kauer, Julian Glover, Allan Corduner, Mark Strong Rating: R Genre: Drama

Lydia Tár’s fabled career can be summed up in one four-letter word: EGOT. The all-consuming subject of writer-producer-director Todd Field’s TÁR joins rank with Tracy Jordan as one of the only fictional forces of gravity to pull it off. A career composer, Tár (Cate Blanchett) climbed the ranks from prestigious orchestra to more prestigious orchestra until she mounted the top of the totem. A titan of the medium, a la Leonard Bernstein (her mentor), she’s managed to usurp critique through sheer contribution, an untouchable virtuoso. But power is fleeting. Once a symbol of modernity, a harbinger of artistic progress breaking ground for women conductors, now she breathes smoke. She doesn’t see it, but everyone else can–uncritical, exploitative, out of touch, legendary debris from an imploding generation hellbent on teaching a lesson. She’s come full circle in her philosophies by the time we meet her in her 50s. On a scale from The Assistant to TMZ, TÁR is as much the former as a Hollywood-made cancel-culture narrative can be. Most of the film snails along with a still yet compelling subtlety, hovering in the consequential despair of actions past, the spaces in between. The dry, tense tone is interrupted every so often by the discordant tuning of an orchestra, or an explosive performance at the conductor’s podium in Berlin, or a rare crumb of confession, until the mood suddenly shifts from slow spiral to imminent plane crash and the drama sets in. Field’s first film in 16 years lands with a thud. Not a crack, or a bang, or a boom, but a lead-heavy thud–the kind that shakes the earth after the toppling of a giant, slow-falling tree, one that takes two hours and 38 minutes to hit the ground. If we measured the maestro’s intelligence the way Schopenhauer did, by one’s “sensitivity to noise,” she’s all but illiterate at this point, incapable of sitting down at the piano without looking over her shoulder or going for a run in fear of her own footsteps. We witness it in slow motion with rapt attention, always out of the loop, Tár’s every move taking on more severity, more self-assurance, more insecurity, until it can’t.– Luke Hicks

32. Sound of Metal

Year: 2020 Director: Darius Marder Stars: Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke, Paul Raci, Lauren Ridloff Rating: R Genre: Drama

Ruben Stone (Riz Ahmed) is challenged by his rehab sponsor: Sit in a room completely silent. If you’re unable to do that, write about what’s going through your mind. As a recovering addict and blossoming rockstar, this is difficult to do by itself. But with Ruben’s rapidly deteriorating hearing, he fears the silence like no other. The Darius Marder-directed Sound of Metal explores a musician’s struggle with identity due to his new disability. An experiment of sound design paired with a stellar lead performance makes for a captivating film. Along with his girlfriend, Lou (Olivia Cooke), Ruben co-leads the metal band Blackgammon. They travel to gigs in their Winnebago and bond over the open road. Ruben loses his hearing in a sudden way, causing concern. Afraid, he goes to an audiologist to discover his hearing loss is pretty advanced. Concerned about his sobriety being in jeopardy from the shocking news, Lou convinces Ruben to go to a community retreat for the deaf. While there, he balances the warring feelings of learning to live and love himself as a deaf person and wishing for his old life. Boasting a solid story about profound loss (or is it simply profound change?), knockout performances by Ahmed and Paul Raci in a supporting role, and award-worthy sound design, Sound of Metal cuts through the clutter. But most importantly, it does so by prioritizing the deaf/hard-of-hearing community through its hiring of deaf talent, its use of deaf consultants and captions throughout the film. Marder’s film is the kind of movie that could’ve easily gone in the wrong direction (for all the right reasons). Instead, it sticks the landing. —Joi Childs

33. Mission: Impossible

Year: 1996 Director: Brian De Palma Stars: Tom Cruise, Jon Voight, Henry Czerny, Emmanuelle Béart, Jean Reno, Ving Rhames, Kristin Scott Thomas, Vanessa Redgrave, Emilio Estevez Runtime: 110 minutes

Yup—stop for a minute and contemplate that the first M:I film was directed by Brian De Palma. A guy known more for art house thrillers and anti-heroes helms the first in a possible franchise starring an A-list actor (before Hollywood was only interested in franchises), not to mention the first film Cruise ever produced, a risk in and of itself. And yet, it all worked: Mission: Impossible is a plot-heavy, intelligent, patient action film, establishing a cypher of an action star who would go on to perfectly serve every single director to come. By now, it’s expected that with every new film in the franchise, Tom Cruise will step up his stuntman game, and every new director will be given the chance to interpret Ethan Hunt as he (or she, we can only hope) sees fit. In Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation , Cruise asserts himself as perhaps the world’s most prominent asexual action hero, but 20 years ago no one had any idea what kind of conceptual framework he was putting into place. Mission: Impossible was a new breed of blockbuster action film, and the franchise’s longevity is clear evidence that, no matter what’s happened since, Tom Cruise is a guy whose risks seem to always pay off.— Dom Sinacola

34. The Vast of Night

Year: 2019 Director: Andrew Patterson Starring: Sierra McCormick, Jake Horowitz Rating: PG-13 Genre: Sci-Fi

The Vast of Night is the kind of sci-fi film that seeps into your deep memory and feels like something you heard on the news, observed in a dream, or were told in a bar. Director Andrew Patterson’s small-town hymn to analog and aliens is built from long, talky takes and quick-cut sequences of manipulating technology. Effectively a ‘50s two-hander between audio enthusiasts (Sierra McCormick and Jake Horowitz playing a switchboard operator and disc jockey, respectively) the film is a quilted fable of story layers, anecdotes and conversations stacking and interweaving warmth before yanking off the covers. The effectiveness of the dusty locale and its inhabitants, forged from a high school basketball game and one-sided phone conversations (the latter of which are perfect examples of McCormick’s confident performance and writers James Montague and Craig W. Sanger’s sharp script), only makes its inevitable UFO-in-the-desert destination even better. Comfort and friendship drop in with an easy swagger and a torrent of words, which makes the sensory silence (quieting down to focus on a frequency or dropping out the visuals to focus on a single, mysterious radio caller) almost holy. It’s mythology at its finest, an origin story that makes extraterrestrial obsession seem as natural and as part of our curious lives as its many social snapshots. The beautiful ode to all things that go [UNINTELLIGIBLE BUZZING] in the night is an indie inspiration to future Fox Mulders everywhere. —Jacob Oller

35. His Girl Friday

Year: 1940 Director: Howard Hawks Stars: Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy Rating: PG Genre: Comedy

Special effects have become so sophisticated that many of us have probably forgotten how much pure amazement you can wreak with a great story and a script that doesn’t let up for one second. This amazing, dizzyingly paced screwball comedy by Howard Hawks stars Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell, and takes us back into two of the decade’s hallmark preoccupations: The “remarriage comedy” and the intrigue and obsessiveness of the newspaper world. The minute Russell’s Lindy Johnson stalks into the newspaper office run by her ex-husband Walter Burns (Grant), you know it’s to tell him she’s getting remarried and leaving journalism to raise a family, and you know that’s not how it’s going to end. No high-suspense mystery here. What puts you on the edge of your seat in this film is how you get there. Hilariously acted and expertly filmed, His Girl Friday derives much of its comedic impact from the incredibly clever and lightning-fast banter of the characters. Don’t even think about checking your phone while you’re watching this. In fact, try to blink as little as possible. —Amy Glynn

36. Snowpiercer

Year: 2013 Director: Bong Joon-ho Stars: Chris Evans, Song Kang-ho, Tilda Swinton Rating: R Genre: Sci-Fi

There is a sequence midway through Snowpiercer that perfectly articulates what makes Korean writer/director Bong Joon-ho among the most dynamic filmmakers currently working. Two armies engage in a no-holds-barred, slow motion-heavy action set piece. Metal clashes against metal, and characters slash through their opponents as if their bodies were made of butter. It’s gory, imaginative, horrifying, beautiful, visceral and utterly glorious. Adapted from a French graphic novel by Jacques Lob, Benjamin Legrand and Jean-Marc Rochette, Snowpiercer is a sci-fi thriller set in a futuristic world: Nearly two decades prior, in an ill-advised attempt to halt global warming, the government inundated the atmosphere with an experimental chemical that left our planet a barren, ice-covered wasteland. Now, the last of humanity resides on “Snowpiercer,” a vast train powered via a perpetual-motion engine and governed by a ruthless caste system. Needless to say, this scenario hasn’t exactly brought out the best of humanity. Bong’s bleak and brutal film may very well be playing a song that we’ve all heard before, but he does it with such gusto and dexterous skill you can’t help but be caught up in the flurry. — Mark Rozeman

37. The Lost City of Z

Year: 2017 Director: James Gray Stars: Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller Rating: PG-13 Genre: Drama

James Gray’s The Lost City of Z is an anti-period movie. In the vein of The Immigrant , Gray’s glorious last film, Z is fascinated with its milieu (this time we begin across the Atlantic in Blighty, from 1906 to 1925) and luxuriously adorned with period detail—but the strangulated social climate and physically claustrophobic spaces of its ostensibly sophisticated Western society make that environment appear totally unappealing. Only once we reach the Amazon, untainted by Western hands, does the film relax, its beguiling score and open-air scenery turning inviting. There, in a land of uncomplicated tribes and indifferent wilderness, a man like soldier and explorer Major Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam) can find freedom from the narrow-mindedness infecting early 20th century Britain. Darius Khondji’s cinematography doesn’t just complement Gray’s movie, it deepens its meaning, strengthening the appeal of Fawcett’s jungle, endlessly verdant and mysterious where home in England appears dull and monotone. Every frame is sumptuous and misty-eyed, always pining for a lost era when adventurers might still find corners of the Earth completely untouched. (Gray may show little love for Empire, but he depicts colonial exploration in itself as a romantic adventure.) The film doesn’t make for much complexity, but it feels deeply. Like Fawcett, it aches—like his obsession, the jungle, it envelops, casting a lasting spell. —Brogan Morris

Year: 2013 Director: Pawel Pawlikowski Stars: Agata Trzebuchowska, Agata Kulesza, Dawid Ogrodnik, Joanna Kulig Rating: PG-13 Genre: Drama

A compelling examination of how the past can shape us even when we don’t know anything about it, Pawel Pawlikowski’s quiet Polish film takes place in the 1960s, when World War II has ended but still grips people’s lives. In the title role, Agata Trzebuchowska—with a well-tuned balance between naivete and curiosity despite being a non-professional actor—plays a nun-in-training who learns that her family was Jewish and killed during Nazi occupation. She embarks on an odyssey to find their graves with her cynical, alcoholic aunt Wanda (Agata Kulesza), former prosecutor for the communist government. The relationship between the two characters grows more and more complex as they go deeper down the rabbit hole of their family’s past. Shot in black-and-white and academy ratio (1.37:1) by cinematographers ?ukasz ?al and Ryszard Lenczewski, Ida uses its frame to distinct effect, often resigning characters to the lower third of the screen. The effect can be unsettling, but intriguing; that space could contain the watchful power of Ida’s lord, but it could also be nothing more than an empty void. After a life of certitude, Ida has to decide for herself. —Jeremy Mathews

39. If Beale Street Could Talk

Year: 2018 Director: Barry Jenkins Stars: Kiki Layne, Stephan James, Regina King, Brian Tyree Henry, Colman Domingo, Michael Beach, Teyonah Pariss, Aunjanue Ellis Rating: R Runtime: 117 minutes

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Time for our characters elliptical, and the love story between Tish (Kiki Layne) and Fonny (Stephan James) the rhythm we’ll return to over and over. As our narrator, Tish speaks in both curt statements and koans, Barry Jenkins’ screenplay translating James Baldwin’s novel as an oneiric bit of voyeurism: When the two finally consummate their relationship after a lifetime (barely two decades) of friendship between them and their families, the mood is divine and revelatory. Do people actually have sex like that? God no, but maybe we wish we did? And sometimes we convince ourselves we have, with the right person, just two bodies alone, against the world, in a space—maybe the only space—of their own. The couple’s story is simple and not: A cop (Ed Skrein) with a petty score to settle against Fonny connives a Puerto Rican woman (Emily Rios) who was raped to pick Fonny out of a lineup, even though his alibi and all evidence suggests otherwise. In the film’s first scene, we watch Tish visit Fonny in jail to tell him that she’s pregnant. He’s ecstatic; we immediately recognize that unique alchemy of terror and joy that accompanies any new parent, but we also know that for a young black couple, the world is bent against their love thriving. “I hope that nobody has ever had to look at anybody they love through glass,” Tish says. Do they hope? James and Layne’s performances, so wondrously in sync, suggest they must, one flesh with no other choice. As Tish’s mother, Regina King perhaps best understands the wickedness of that hope, playing Sharon as a woman who can’t quite get what she wants, but who seems to intuit that such progress may be further than most in her situation. Beleaguered but undaunted, she’s the film’s matriarch, a force of such warmth that, even in our fear watching as Tish’s belly grows and her hope wanes, Sharon’s presence reassures us—not that everything will be alright, but that everything will be. The end of If Beale Street Could Talk is practically a given—unless your ignorance guides you throughout this idiotic world—but there is still love in those final moments, as much love as there was in the film’s symmetrical opening. There’s hope in that, however pathetically little. —Dom Sinacola

40. Let the Right One In

Year: 2008 Director: Tomas Alfredson Stars: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar, Ika Nord, Peter Carlberg Rating: R Runtime: 114 minutes

Vampires may have become cinema’s most overdone, watered-down horror villains, aside from zombies, but leave it to a Swedish novelist and filmmaker to reclaim frightening vampires by producing a novel and film that turned the entire genre on its head. Let the Right One In centers around the complicated friendship and quasi-romantic relationship between 12-year-old outcast Oskar and Eli, a centuries-old vampire trapped in the body of an androgynous (although ostensibly female) child who looks his same age. As Oskar slowly works his way into her life, drawing ever-closer to the role of a classical vampire’s human “familiar,” the film questions the nature of their bond and whether the two can ever possibly commune on a level of genuine love. At the same time, it’s also a chilling, very effective horror film whenever it chooses to be, especially in the absolutely spectacular final sequences, which evoke Eli’s terrifying abilities with just the right touch of obstruction to leave the worst of it in the viewer’s imagination. The film received an American remake in 2010, Let Me In , which has been somewhat unfairly derided by film fans sick of the remake game, but it’s another solid take on the same story that may even improve upon a few small aspects of the story. Ultimately, though, the Swedish original is still the superior film thanks to the strength of its two lead performers, who vault it up to become perhaps the best vampire movie ever made. — Jim Vorel

41. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

Year: 2007 Director: Jake Kasdan Stars: John C. Reilly, Jenna Fischer, Raymond J. Barry, Kristen Wiig, Tim Meadows, Margo Martindale Rating: R Genre: Comedy

Although Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story claims to be a spoof of biopics and their extreme depictions of artists—especially musicians—biopics’ exaggerations are a reflection of the frailties and eccentricities of the artists which they profile, so it’s hard to distinguish a satire about biopics from a satire about musicians. Regardless of what category the film falls into, Walk Hard does not really tow the fine line of being clever so much as it provides a fun and absurd romp with heaps of laughs. John C. Reilly, who plays rising and troubled music star Dewey Cox, skillfully presents a dopey-yet-conniving and shallow-but-sincere character with a heart of fool’s gold. Looking something like Johnny Cash crossed with Tom Waits, Cox has multiple addictions, wives and musical phases. Aspiring to a level beyond greatness after he accidentally kills his brother by splitting him in half with a machete when they are young boys growing up in Alabama, Cox is compelled to compensate for the loss of his brother, leading to a life of excess and indulgence. But Reilly isn’t the only star of the film. Kristen Wiig shines as Cox’s frustrated wife and the mother of their seemingly infinite amount of children; as Cox’s other frustrated wife and duet partner, Jenna Fischer is superb. Tim Meadows is hysterical with a stand out performance as Cox’s bandmate who can’t seem to stop doing or introducing Cox to increasingly heavy drugs. Additionally, cameos from Jack White (Elvis Presley), Jack Black (Paul McCartney), Paul Rudd (John Lennon), Jason Schwartzman (Ringo Starr), Justin Long (George Harrison), Eddie Vedder, Jackson Browne and Lyle Lovett make the film even more ridiculous. Like most films of its ilk, Walk Hard may go too over-the-top to prove itself, but there is something charming about it, underscored by its genuine love of music and affinity for musicians. It is also obvious from one of the first lines in the film (“Guys, I need Cox!”) that this project neither takes itself too seriously nor asks the same of its viewers. —Pamela Chelin

42. Heathers

Year: 1989 Director: Michael Lehmann Stars: Winona Ryder, Christian Slater, Kim Walker Rating: R Genre: Comedy

As much an homage to ’80s teen romps—care of stalwarts like John Hughes and Cameron Crowe—as it is an attempt to push that genre to its near tasteless extremes, Heathers is a hilarious glimpse into the festering core of the teenage id, all sunglasses and cigarettes and jail bait and misunderstood kitsch. Like any coming-of-age teen soap opera, much of the film’s appeal is in its vaunting of style over substance—coining whole ways of speaking, dressing and posturing for an impressionable generation brought up on Hollywood tropes—but Heathers embraces its style as an essential keystone to filmmaking, recognizing that even the most bloated melodrama can be sold through a well-manicured image. And some of Heathers ’ images are indelible: J.D. (Christian Slater) whipping out a gun on some school bullies in the lunch room, or Veronica (Winona Ryder) passively lighting her cigarette with the flames licking from the explosion of her former boyfriend. It makes sense that writer Daniel Waters originally wanted Stanley Kubrick to direct his script: Heathers is a filmmaker’s (teen) film. — Dom Sinacola

43. The Long Goodbye

Year: 1973 Director: Robert Altman Stars: Elliott Gould, Nina van Pallandt, Sterling Hayden Rating: R Runtime: 107 minutes

It’s muggy in L.A. and Philip Marlowe (Elliott Gould) is shrouded in an opaque suit, a getup whose fabric one assumes barely breathes, especially with so much cigarette smoke clogging up its woolly pores. He’s a deeply square person—though it’s the early ’70s, he debatably makes smoking look cool, and though he lives in an apartment complex with a giggly group of young coeds given to shirtless shenanigans and still sweating off the hangover of Free Love, he’s a barely noticed figure. He’s a loose thread on the fallow fringes of a sophisticated city, a grown man with nothing better to do on a clear, late night than feed his cat … if he can even find it. Marlowe is a man of another time, “a born loser” as even one of his closest friends calls him. And the world into which Altman abandons him isn’t one of dark alleyways or the damp, wan glow of streetlamps—chiaroscuro be damned—it’s the bright dawn of something new and something disconcertingly shiny in America. The Long Goodbye is Altman’s stab at and devastation of film noir, pitting its beleaguered protagonist not against those stuffy, old, deeply ingrained mechanisms of institutionalized evil, but against a much younger brand of nihilism. In Altman’s noir-ish wasteland, there is nothing lurking beneath the surface—it’s all surface—and our only moral compass is a chain-smoking, asexual dweeb who isn’t so much righteous as he is just plain ignored. —Dom Sinacola

44. The Neon Demon

Year: 2016 Director: Nicolas Winding Refn Stars: Elle Fanning, Keanu Reeves, Christina Hendricks, Jena Malone Rating: R Genre: Horror

If Nicolas Winding Refn—anthropomorphic cologne bottle; asexual jaguar—is going to make a horror film, Nicolas Winding Refn will make a horror film about the things that scare Nicolas Winding Refn most: asymmetry, sex, fatherhood. In The Neon Demon , every character is either someone’s daughter or a deranged daddy figure, both thirsty for the kind of flesh only Los Angeles can provide, the roles of predator and prey in constant, unnerving flux. Part cannibal-slasher movie and part endlessly pretty car commercial, Refn’s film about a young model (Elle Fanning) making it in the fashion industry goes exactly where you think it’s going to go, even when it’s trying as hard as it can to be weird as fuck. But despite his best efforts, Refn sustains such an overarching, creeping atmosphere of despair—such a deeply ingrained sense of looming physical imperfection, of death—that it never really matters if The Neon Demon doesn’t add up to much of anything more than a factory showroom of the many gorgeous skins it inhabits, violently or not. —Dom Sinacola

45. It’s a Wonderful Life

Year: 1946 Director: Frank Capra Stars: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore Rating: PG Genre: Drama

Frank Capra’s Christmas fantasy actually kind of flopped at the box office when it was released, and put Capra on the out-to-pasture list as the studio decided he was no longer capable of scoring a hit. Then it was nominated for five Academy Awards and has become known as one of the most acclaimed films ever made. On Christmas Eve, suicidal George Bailey (the sublime Jimmy Stewart) receives a visit from a sort of junior angel who calls himself Clarence Odbody (Henry Travers). Clarence is charged with pulling Bailey off the ledge, in return for which he will be granted wings. So he shows Bailey visions of his life, progressing from his childhood, showing Bailey all the times he made someone’s live better (or outright saved it). Ultimately Clarence jumps into the river before George can do it; activating the suicidal man to save Clarence rather than kill himself. It’s not enough, so Clarence shows him what the world would look like if he’d never been born. When George sees that his existence has had and continues to have a positive impact on the world, he goes home to his family, Clarence gets his wings and happiness ensues. Yup, it’s a Christmas story. And it’s one of the most enduring ones for a bunch of reasons, including Stewart’s amazing performance and a beautiful script by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett along with Capra. (Both Stewart and Capra commented that it was their favorite of all the films they’d respectively worked on.) Timeless, big-hearted and disarmingly sincere, this film is one I defy you to have one cynical comment about. Go on: be cynical. You can’t, right? Right. Because it’s not possible. —Amy Glynn

46. The Handmaiden

Year: 2016 Director: Park Chan-wook Stars: Kim Tae-ri, Kim Min-hee, Ha Jung-woo, Cho Jin-woong Rating: NR Genre: Drama

There are few filmmakers on Earth capable of crafting the experience of movies like The Handmaiden so exquisitely while maintaining both plot inertia and a sense of fun. (Yes, it’s true: Park has made a genuinely fun, and often surprisingly, bleakly funny, picture.) The film begins somberly enough, settling on a tearful farewell scene as Sook-hee (Kim Tae-ri) is carted off to the manor of the reclusive and exorbitantly rich aristocrat Kouzuki (Cho Jin-woong), where she will act as servant to his niece, Lady Hideko (Kim Min-hee). But Sook-hee isn’t a maid: She’s a pickpocket working on behalf of Fujiwara (Ha Jung-woo), a conman scheming to get his mitts on Hideko’s assets. (That’s not a euphemism. He only wants her for her money.) The reveal of Sook-hee’s true intentions is just the first of many on The Handmaiden ’s narrative itinerary. Park has designed the film as a puzzle box where each step taken to find the solution answers one question while posing new ones at the same time. But you’re here to read about the sex, aren’t you? It’s in the sex scenes between the two Kims that Park shows the kind of filmmaker he really is. The sex is sexy, the scenes steamy, but in each we find a tenderness that invites us to read them as romance rather than as pornography. We’re not conditioned to look for humanity in pantomimes of a sexually explicit nature, but that’s exactly when The Handmaiden is at its most human. There’s something comforting in that, and in Park’s framing of deviance as embodied by the film’s masculine component. We don’t really need him to spell that out for us, but the message is welcome all the same. —Andy Crump

47. Return to Seoul

Year: 2022 Director: Davy Chou Stars: Park Ji-min, Oh Kwang-rok, Guka Han, Kim Sun-young, Yoann Zimmer, Louis Do De Lencquesaing, Hur Ouk-sook, Emeline Briffaud, Lim Cheol-hyun, Son Seung-beom, Kim Dong-seok Rating: R Runtime: 118 minutes

We first meet Freddie (Ji-Min Park) at age 25, when she impulsively travels to Seoul after a flight to Japan is canceled. We’re not given this context until well into the movie, instead thrown into Freddie’s life as she checks into a hostel and almost immediately starts accumulating Korean drinking buddies. Like the character, we have little choice over how we’re brought into this world or how we grow into it. Though Freddie may work furiously to hide it, she’s just as confused as we are. Uncertain if she belongs in this culture of her birth, or if she even wants to. Some of Freddie’s new friends speak fluent French, but most do not, which has the dialogue switching between Korean, French and English as the characters work to understand one another. It’s a depiction and theme that will continue throughout the film: The arduous work of human connection, especially across language barriers and cultures, and through the unique perspective of a transnational adoptee. While director Davy Chou may not exactly embody his subject matter, he is not unfamiliar with the experience of returning to a place you have never been (or have no memory of), looking for a kind of connection. The child of Cambodian parents who fled their home to escape the Khmer Rouge, Chou grew up in France, first visiting Cambodia at the age of 25. He uses Return to Seoul to, among other things, explore that first/second-generation immigrant experience of being complexly, confusingly torn between two cultures. However adept the filmmaking, such a piece would fall apart without the right central actor. Park is a revelation in what is, unbelievably, a debut performance. Regardless of when or where we find her, Park simultaneously imbues Freddie with a vulnerability and impenetrability, characterized by a vibrant, exhausting defiance she brings to each and every interaction. I cannot believe this is Park’s first role. Because we almost exclusively see Freddie during her visits to Seoul, it’s unclear what other factors—outside of her identity as a transnational adoptee—might influence her restlessness. Though I missed the larger context of Freddie’s life, Return to Seoul ’s commitment to staying in the moment creates an engrossing cinematic experience, an inextricable character portrait both intimate and fathomless.– Kayti Burt

48. Fist of Fury

Year: 1972 Director: Lo Wei Stars: Bruce Lee, Nora Miao, Riki Hashimoto, Huang Tsung Hsing Rating: R Genre: Action

Bruce Lee’s second feature is a definite upgrade over the rawness of The Big Boss , sporting a bigger budget, better production and a story more important to Lee’s values. His character, Chen Zhen, becomes a Chinese folk hero when he stands up to the invading Japanese occupiers—especially in the classic scene in which he breaks a sign reading “no Chinese and no dogs” in the local park. Fist of Fury marks Bruce Lee’s true arrival, fully formed as an action legend, and if there’s a precise moment when the audience can witness that happen, it’s the iconic dojo fight: Chen shows up at the Japanese training facility to absolutely go to town on everyone inside. Just how iconic would Bruce Lee become? Pretty much every piece of clothing Lee wore in any film became a symbol of martial arts badassery for decades to come, whether it’s a simple white shirt, or this film’s navy blue suit, or, of course, the yellow tracksuit from The Game of Death . That’s how you know the guy is a legend. —Jim Vorel

49. Top Gun: Maverick

Release Date: May 27, 2022 Director: Joseph Kosinski Stars: Tom Cruise, Jenifer Connelly, Miles Teller, Jon Hamm, Monica Barbaro, Ed Harris, Val Kilmer, Jay Ellis, Glen Powell, Lewis Pullman, Danny Ramirez, Greg “Tarzan” Davis Rating: PG-13 Genre: Drama

Not quite four years since Mission: Impossible–Fallout and much of Tom Cruise’s purpose remains the same—if it hasn’t exactly grown in religious fervor. In Top Gun: Maverick , the sequel to Tony Scott’s 1986 original, Cruise is Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, a man trapped in the past, refusing to advance his career as resolutely as he refuses to do much of anything besides continue to prove he’s the greatest pilot in the world—a title the film never forgets to remind the audience that Maverick earned long ago—and mourn his best friend, Goose (Anthony Edwards), who died 35 years ago in an accident for which Maverick still feels responsible. Tom Cruise is also, simply, “Tom Cruise,” the only notable show business scion left to throw his body into mind-numbing danger to prove that it can be done, to show a younger generation that this is what movies can be, what superstars can do. Must do. The more modern action films teem with synthetic bodies bursting apart at the synthetic seams, the more Tom Cruise builds his films as alters upon which to splay his beautiful sacrificed flesh. To that end, Joseph Kosinski is the precisely correct director to steer Cruise’s legacy sequel. As was the case with Kosinski’s Tron: Legacy , Maverick seems to exist to justify its existence, to update an IP that seems to only work in the past. For Top Gun this means translating Scott’s vision of sweat-drenched beach volleyball and unmitigated military spectacle into a soberer IMAX adventure, moving from the halcyon days of Reagan’s America to a world with no more need of a man like Maverick. “The future’s coming, and you’re not in it,” he’s told; every one of his superior officers appears to have no patience for him left. One can’t help but imagine that every new Tom Cruise vehicle is a way for him to reckon with that. Kosinski’s dogfights are pristine, incredible feats of filmmaking, economical and orbiting around recognizable space, but given to occasional, inexplicable shocks of pure chaos. Then quickly cohering again. If Scott’s action was a melange of motion never meant to fully cohere, keeping the American dream just that, then Kosinski is dedicated to allowing the audience a way into the experience. With his regular cinematographer Claudio Miranda, he revels in symmetry to keep the audience tethered. A wide glimpse of a dogfight in total, resembling a beach scene earlier, so suddenly appeared silently in the vast theater and unlike anything I’d ever really seen before, I gasped.– Dom Sinacola

50. Everything Everywhere All At Once

Year: 2022 Director: Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert Stars: Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan, James Hong, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jenny Slate, Harry Shum Jr. Rating: R Runtime: 146 minutes

Everything Everywhere All At Once follows Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh), a jaded, middle-aged laundromat owner who may or may not be involved in some minor tax fraud. Her tedious, repetitive life is thrown into total pandemonium, however, when her husband, Waymond (Ke Huy Quan)–or at least a version of him—alerts her to the existence of the multiverse on the elevator ride to an IRS meeting. He then explains that a powerful villain named Jobu Tupaki is in the process of constructing a universe-destroying force that only Evelyn has the ability to stop. And so Evelyn reluctantly plunges headfirst into the multiverse. The facts: There are an infinite number of universes that exist simultaneously, containing just about anything you could possibly imagine. The rules: To acquire different skills, you must picture a universe in which you inhabit that skill, whether it be inhumanly strong pinky fingers or a mastery of knife-fighting. (If you can think it up, it exists.) What follows, then, are roughly 140 frenetic minutes filled to the brim with dense, complex science, colorful setpieces and scenes that feel like they’ve been pulled straight out of dreams far too abstract to describe. As you can probably gather, Everything is not dissimilar to its title—and a lot to wrap your head around. If all this sounds intimidating (which, let’s be honest, how could it not?), rest assured that Everything is grounded by an effortlessly simple emotional throughline. Indeed, the film contains as much emotional maturity as it does cool concepts and ostentatious images (yes, including a giant butt plug and raccoon chef). At its core, it is a story about love and family, carried by the dazzling Yeoh in a subtle and unsentimental performance. Where Everything ’s emotional throughline is Evelyn’s relationship with her family, its visual thread manifests as a series of hypnotic, vertiginous action sequences, choreographed like a ballet by Andy and Brian Le. As a bonus, these sequences recall Yeoh’s iconic role in Ang Lee’s wuxia film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon . The directors do not shy away from the use of dizzying flashing lights, or rapidly shifting light sources that disorient the viewer. They also aren’t afraid to implement over-the-top images, like a person’s head exploding into confetti or a butt-naked man flying in slow-motion toward the camera. At the same time, movement between ‘verses feels seamless through Paul Rogers’ meticulous editing, as does the effortless fashion in which different aspect ratios melt into one another. If Everything Everywhere All at Once can be boiled down to one, simple question, it would be reflexive of its own title: Can you really have everything everywhere all at once? Whatever the characters’ answers end up being (I’ll let you discover that on your own), I am certain that the Daniels would say yes, of course you can.– Aurora Amidon

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Home » Streaming Service » Amazon Prime Video

Top 30 Best Movies On Amazon Prime Video of All Time

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Here are our Top 30 Best and Highest Rated Movies On Amazon Prime Video of All Time List. Keep this list handy for these excellent recommendations. This list will be updated bi-monthly. 

Prime Video was launched in September 2006, and since then, they have carved a niche in the original movies space that has featured some incredible films. The Prime Video library is massive, and it only got bigger when Amazon bought MGM in early 2022, adding thousands of movies, including the James Bond franchise. We’ve used the Rotten Tomatoes scores to establish the best Prime Video Original movies that you can stream right now. 

Last Updated: 9th October,2

Top 30 Best and Highest Rated Movies On Amazon Prime Video of All Time

30 . i’m your woman (2020).

Julia Hart co-wrote this film with her husband, Jordan Horowitz, about a woman trying to save herself and her baby from her husband. 

Official Premise : In this 1970s set crime drama, a woman is forced to go on the run after her husband betrays his partners, sending her and her baby on a dangerous journey.

Cast: Rachel Brosnahan, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Arize Kene

Rotten Tomatoes: 81%

29 . The Report

The 2019 drama led by Adam Driver is based on a true story of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program and was awarded praise by critics and landed Annette Bening in the Oscar conversation. 

Official Premise : Idealistic Senate staffer Daniel J. Jones, tasked by his boss to lead an investigation into the CIA’s post 9/11 Detention and Interrogation Program, uncovers shocking secrets.

Cast: Adam Driver, Annette Bening, Jon Hamm

Rotten Tomatoes: 82.00%

28 . Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020)

14 years after Borat shocked the world, he returned to the big screen to cause quite a stir. Like the original, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm landed an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. 

Official Premise : Borat returns from Kazakhstan to America and this time he reveals more about the American culture, the COVID-19 pandemic and the political elections.

Cast: Sacha Baron Cohen, Maria Bakalova, Tom Hanks

Rotten Tomatoes: 85.00%

27 . I Want You Back (2022)

Our very own M.N. Miller says I Want You Back may be predictable, but it can be absurdly funny and dangerously sweet.

Official Premise : Newly dumped thirty-somethings Peter and Emma team up to sabotage their exes’ new relationships and win them back for good.

Cast: Charlie Day, Jenny Slate, Scott Eastwood

Rotten Tomatoes: 86.00%

26 . Thirteen Lives (2022)

Our very own Andy Punter says about Thirteen Lives that Ron Howard plays all the right notes in this retelling of the dramatic rescue of a boys’ football team from a flooded cave-in. 

Official Premise : A rescue mission is assembled in Thailand where a group of young boys and their soccer coach are trapped in a system of underground caves that are flooding.

Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Colin Farrell, Joel Edgerton

25. A Million Miles Away

Critic Romeny Norton  said about A Million Miles Away , “ From working the fields to flying into space – the remarkable and inspiring true story of José M. Hernandez is the feel-good family film of the year. ”

Official Premise: A biopic about a farm worker named Jose Hernandez who went on to becoming a engineer and astronaut. 

Cast: Michael Pena, Rosa Salazar, Julio Cesar Cedillo

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87 %

24 . Brittany Runs a Marathon (2019)

22 Jump Street’s big villain Jillian Bell stars in this quirky comedy that highlights a woman’s journey in her attempt to run a marathon. 

Official Premise : A young woman decides to make positive changes in her life by training for the New York City Marathon.

Cast: Jillian Bell, Jennifer Dundas, Patch Darragh

Rotten Tomatoes: 88.00%

23 . Catherine Called Birdy (2022)

Our very own M.N. Miller said about Catherine Called Birdy that Lena Dunham has adapted the tricky source material of the young adult novel by Karen Cushman and turned out a delightful coming-of-age charmer.

Official Premise : A 14-year-old girl in medieval England navigates through life and avoids potential suitors her father has in mind.

Cast: Bella Ramsey, Billie Piper, Andrew Scott

22 . Get Duked! (2020)

Music Video director turned feature film director, Ninian Doff impressed critics with his wild over the top hip-hop comedy that made everyone laugh. 

Official Premise : An anarchic, hip-hop-inspired comedy that follows four city boys on a wilderness trek as they try to escape a mysterious huntsman

Cast: Lewis Gribben, Rian Gordon, Viraj Juneja

21 . Good Night Oppy (2022)

Good Night Oppy is a great adventure film for families because of its educational themes and ability to capture the human spirit’s appetite for unlimited possibilities.

Official Premise : The film follows Opportunity, the Mars Exploration Rover affectionately dubbed Oppy by her creators and scientists at NASA. Oppy was originally expected to live for only 90 days but she ultimately explored Mars for nearly 15 years.

Narrator: Angela Bassett

20 . Nanny (2022)

Nanny won one of the biggest awards at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival in The Grand Jury Prize which is quite impressive considering this is the directorial debut from Nikyatu Jusu. 

Official Premise : Immigrant nanny Aisha, piecing together a new life in New York City while caring for the child of an Upper East Side family, is forced to confront a concealed truth that threatens to shatter her precarious American Dream.

Cast: Anna Diop, Michelle Monaghan, Sinqua Walls

Rotten Tomatoes: 89.00%

19 . You Were Never Really Here (2018)

Lynne Ramsay adapted the film from the book by Jonathan Ames and directed Joaquin Phoenix to one of the best performances of his career. 

Official Premise : A traumatized veteran unafraid of violence tracks down missing girls for a living. When a job spins out of control, Joe’s nightmares overtake him as a conspiracy is uncovered leading to what could be his death trip or his awakening.

Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Judith Roberts, Ekaterina Samsonov

18. Cassandro

Prime Video entered the world of professional wrestling with following the true story of wrestler Cassandro who changed the world of wrestling with their quick rise to stardom. The film sits at an impressive 92% with critics on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Official Premise: Saúl Armendáriz, a gay amateur wrestler from El Paso, rises to international stardom after he creates the character Cassandro, the “Liberace of Lucha Libre.” In the process, he upends not just the macho wrestling world, but also his own life.

Cast: Gael Garcia Bernal, Roberta Colindrez, Joaquin Cosio, Raul Castillo

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92 %

17. Emergency (2022)

Emergency debuted at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival and at the festival, it won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award and was also a Grand Jury Prize nominee.  

Official Premise : Ready for a night of legendary partying, three college students must weigh the pros and cons of calling the police when faced with an unexpected situation.

Cast: RJ Cyler, Donald Elise Watkins, Sebastian Chacon

Rotten Tomatoes: 92.00%

16. Sylvie’s Love (2020)

Sylvie’s Love is a heartwarming, beautiful, and poetic love story that swoons you from start to finish, featuring a charming performance from Tessa Thompson. 

Official Premise When a young woman meets an aspiring saxophonist in her father’s record shop in 1950s Harlem, their love ignites a sweeping romance that transcends changing times, geography, and professional success.

Cast: Tessa Thompson, Nnamdi Asomugha, Eva Longoria

Rotten Tomatoes: 93.00%

15. The Vast of Night (2020)

The Vast of Night is a confident debut that blends its many inspirations in a lo-fi package with an abundance of B-movie charm.

Official Premise : One night in New Mexico, in the late 1950s, a switchboard operator and radio DJ discover a strange audio frequency which could change the future forever.

Cast: Sierra McCormick, Jake Horoqitz, Gail Gronauer

14. Wildcat (2022)

The 2022 documentary, that’s an inspirational tale of a soldier finding a second chance, has won the hearts of everyone that has watched it.  

Official Premise : Back from war in Afghanistan, a young British soldier struggling with depression and PTSD finds a second chance in the Amazon rainforest when he meets an American scientist, and together they foster an orphaned baby ocelot.

Cast: Dante Cueva Altamirano, Christian De La Cruz, Erick Scott Vargas Laura

13. Herself (2020)

Clare Dunne co-wrote and starred in this emotional family drama, Herself , directed by Mamma Mia! director Phyllida Lloyd. 

Official Premise : A young mother escapes her abusive husband and fights back against a broken housing system. She sets out to build her own home and, in the process, rebuilds her life and re-discovers herself.

Cast: Molly McCann, Clare Dunne, Ruby Rose O’Hara

Rotten Tomatoes: 94.00%

12. Lucy and Desi (2022)

Debuting at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, Lucy and Desi take a look at the two most iconic stars that changed the course of history in the world of TV. 

Official Premise : This film will explore the rise of comedian icon Lucille Ball, her relationship with Desi Arnaz, and how their groundbreaking sitcom I Love Lucy forever changed Hollywood, cementing her legacy long after her death in 1989.

Cast: Lucie Arnaz, Better Midler, Carol Burnett

11. Val (2021)

He won our hearts as Iceman in Top Gun , played a rockstar in The Doors, and wore the cape in Batman Forever . Val takes a look at the storied career of an acting legend. 

Official Premise : Documentary centering on the daily life of actor Val Kilmer featuring never-before-seen footage spanning 40 years.

Cast: Val Kilmer, Jack Kilmer, Mercedes Kilmer

10. Honey Boy (2019)

The film was written by Shia LaBeouf about his childhood and his relationship with his father. LaBeouf also plays his father in the film. 

Official Premise : A young actor’s stormy childhood and early adult years as he struggles to reconcile with his father and deal with his mental health.

Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Lucas Hedges, Noah Jupe

Rotten Tomatoes: 95.00%

9. Manchester by the Sea (2016)

The critically acclaimed film was nominated for six Academy Awards, with Casey Affleck taking home the Best Actor for his performance as Lee Chandler in the movie. 

Official Premise : A depressed uncle is asked to take care of his teenage nephew after the boy’s father dies.

Cast: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler

Rotten Tomatoes: 96.00%

8. Paterson (2016)

Two-time Academy Award nominee Adam Driver plays the lead role in this heartfelt drama centered around a bus driver.

Official Premise : A quiet observation of the triumphs and defeats of daily life, along with the poetry evident in its smallest details.

Cast: Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani, Nellie, 

7. A Hero (2021)

From Academy Award-winning director Asghar Farhadi comes this heartfelt drama that took home several Cannes prizes. 

Official Premise : Rahim is in prison because of a debt he was unable to repay. During a two-day leave, he tries to convince his creditor to withdraw his complaint against the payment of part of the sum. But things don’t go as planned.

Cast: Amir Jadidi, Mohsen Tanabandeh, Sahar Goldust

Rotten Tomatoes: 97.00%

6. Sound of Metal (2020)

The directorial debut of Darius Marder broke down barriers in 2022 with its impactful story of a drummer losing his hearing. The film went on to garner six Academy Award nominations and won two of them. 

Official Premise : A heavy-metal drummer’s life is thrown into freefall when he begins to lose his hearing.

Cast: Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke, Paul Raci

5. Argentina, 1985 (2022)

The 2022 film has garnered massive praise since its release including taking home Best Foreign Film at the 2023 Golden Globes.

Official Premise : A team of lawyers takes on the heads of Argentina’s bloody military dictatorship during the 1980s in a battle against odds and a race against time.

Cast: Ricardo Darin, Gina Mastronicola, Francisco Bertin

Rotten Tomatoes: 98.00%

4. Blow the Man Down (2020)

A small independent film about a small town that uncovers some massive secrets broke onto the scene in March of 2020 and never looked back. 

Official Premise : Mary Beth and Priscilla Connolly attempt to cover up a gruesome run-in with a dangerous man. To conceal their crime, the sisters must go deep into the criminal underbelly of their hometown, uncovering the town’s darkest secrets.

Cast: David Coffin, David Pridemore, Adam Wolf Mayerson

3. One Child Nation (2019)

In one of the more shocking documentaries, co-directors Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang take a look at China’s one-child policy. 

Official Premise : After becoming a mother, a filmmaker uncovers the untold history of China’s one-child policy and the generations of parents and children forever shaped by this social experiment.

Cast: Nanfu Wang, Zaodi Wang, Zhimei Wang

2. One Night in Miami (2020)

The story of four of the biggest personalities of the 60s discuss their roles in society, life, and the next steps in their legacy. One Night in Miami went on to get 3 Academy Award nominations. 

Official Premise : A fictional account of one incredible night where icons Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown gathered discussing their roles in the Civil Rights Movement and cultural upheaval of the 60s.

Cast: Aldis Hodge, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Leslie Odom Jr., Eli Goree

1. The Big Sick (2017)

Real-life married couple Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon loosey based The Big Sick on their relationship with the former starring in the lead role. Their writing led to the duo’s first Oscar Nomination.

Official Premise : Pakistan-born comedian Kumail Nanjiani and grad student Emily Gardner fall in love but struggle as their cultures clash. When Emily contracts a mysterious illness, Kumail finds himself forced to face her feisty parents, his family’s expectations, and his true feelings.

Cast: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter

And that ends our Top 30 Best and Highest Rated Movies On Amazon Prime Video of All Time List. What’s your favorite in this list? Comment below.

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Article by Ricky Valero

Ricky Valero joined Ready Steady Cut in January 2022 as a Film and TV writer and critic, and since then has published over 700 articles on the website. Ricky, a recognized movie critic, has been writing about films for almost a decade. Since joining the industry, he has covered numerous movie festivals, including Sundance Film Festival, AFI Fest, and SXSW Festival, and is a member of the prestigious Critics Choice Association.

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The 20 Best Action Movies on Amazon Prime Video Right Now

Superman: The Movie

This list is regularly updated as movies rotate on and off of  Prime Video . *New additions are indicated with an asterisk.

Action movies are typically among the most popular films available on DVD, VOD, and streaming services. People love to tune in, tune out, and escape while watching beautiful people doing impossible things. If you have an Amazon Prime subscription and are looking to do exactly that, its vast library contains some of the best action titles ever made, alongside its comedies , horror films , and family-friendly options. Amazon cycles films on and off of its service regularly, but these are the best action movies on Prime Video right now.

How We Pick Our Films

Critic Brian Tallerico watches and writes about movies and TV every day. To curate this list, he dives into Amazon Prime Video’s catalogue every month to surface exciting, white-knuckle action titles — using his taste and a lifetime of cinema study as his guide, instead of whatever the algorithm happens to be pushing. After triple-checking to make sure they’re still available, he watches each and writes his recommendation. We highlight more than just the thrilling crowdpleasers: Filmmakers use action to punctuate drama, lighten or heighten the mood of a movie, and explosively make an impact on cinema. Read on to find something to watch.

*Apocalypto

Year: 2006 Runtime: 2h 17m Director: Mel Gibson

Before he was shunned from Hollywood for being a garbage person and after he won Oscars for Braveheart , Mel Gibson directed this historical epic that has only grown in popularity in the years since its release. Casting unknown Native American and Indigenous actors, this period epic takes place in the year 1502 and tells of the journey of a hero named Jaguar Paw as his people are captured. A massive hit at the time, it’s only become a bigger one through cable airings in the years since.

Year: 1995 Runtime: 1h 31m Director: Michael Bay

When this action film was released, no one involved was anywhere near as big as they would become, including stars Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, and director Michael Bay. This flick is incredibly rewatchable, and the love for this series is still strong, as proven by the massive success of Bad Boys for Life , released just before the pandemic in 2020, and the current production of Bad Boys 4 .

Year: 1997 Runtime: 1h 33m Director: Jonathan Mostow

If you’re looking for a good, underrated thriller, look no further than this thriller about a road trip gone horribly awry. Jonathan Mostow directs the always-great Kurt Russell as a man who has some words with a truck driver and learns that road rage is never the answer. A mix of modern fears with a noir sensibility, this a tight, effective little movie of the kind that doesn’t really make it to theaters all that often anymore.

Casino Royale

Year: 2006 Runtime: 2h 24m Director: Martin Campbell

It’s hard to believe the most famous movie spy in history ever needed a comeback, but that’s really what happened when Daniel Craig stepped into 007’s shoes and it turned out to be one of the most acclaimed James Bond movies of all time. An origin story for the suave superspy, Casino Royale introduced new layers to the classic character, resulting in an action film that felt like it had real stakes. This is one of the best modern action movies, period, not just in the Bond franchise.

*The Fast and the Furious

Year:  2001 Runtime: 1h 46m Director: Rob Cohen

Who could have known what would come of the story of an undercover LAPD cop who tries to bust a group of hijackers when this relatively quaint action flick was released over two decades ago? It’s hard to believe that anyone involved expected that millions would still be invested in this franchise. The first half of the proper franchise (the premiere through Fast Five ) and the spin-off Hobbs & Shaw are currently on Prime Video. Marathon!

Year: 1986 Runtime: 1h 50m Director: Russell Mulcahy

There can be only one. Christopher Lambert stars as Connor MacLeod, who was born in the Scottish Highlands in the 16th century and killed there, only to discover that he was born immortal and is now a part of a massive secret war to leave only one highlander remaining. Yeah, it’s all really silly, but this movie became a massive cult hit, thanks in part to Lambert and Sean Connery’s fun performances.

Year: 2007 Runtime: 2h Director: Edgar Wright

The center of Edgar Wright’s Cornetto Trilogy (with Shaun of the Dead and The World’s End ) remains the best film in the bunch, and they’re all on Prime, by the way. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost play a pair of ordinary police officers who get sucked into a crazy case involving multiple murders in their small England town. Both a parody of action films and a legitimately great action film on its own terms, this is one of the best genre hybrids of the 2000s.

The Hurt Locker

Year: 2009 Runtime: 2h 6m Director: Kathryn Bigelow

The director of Near Dark and Point Break became the first female Oscar winner for Best Director for a film that also won Best Picture and stands now as one of the best movies made to date about the American soldier experience in Iraq. Jeremy Renner stars as an explosives expert, the kind of guy who goes in the room that everyone else runs from, and someone who brings home the trauma of what he sees overseas. As precise as the profession it captures, this movie has not one bit of fat on it, and it’s just as thrilling now as when it was released.

The Indiana Jones franchise

Year: 1981 Runtime: 1h 55m Director: Steven Spielberg

Everyone is getting cautiously excited for James Mangold’s Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny , releasing later this year. It’s the perfect time to catch up with the saga of cinema’s most beloved treasure hunter in the beloved first four (well, at least three) films in this franchise. The perfect Raiders of the Lost Ark and its three sequels are all on Prime, waiting for your marathon.

Interstellar

Year: 2014 Runtime: 2h 49m Director: Christopher Nolan

The most underrated film from the director of The Dark Knight and Oppenheimer remains this 2014 sci-fi epic, a film that’s better if you approach it as an emotional journey instead of a physical one. Matthew McConaughey gives one of the best performances of his career as an astronaut searching for a new home for mankind, and realizing all that he left behind to do so. It’s a technical marvel with some of the most striking visuals and best sound design of Nolan’s career.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Year: 2018 Runtime: 2h 8m Director: J.A. Bayona

The Chris Pratt-led reboot of the Jurassic franchise has been wildly commercially successful but critically panned, for the most part. Join us on this limb: This is the best of the new trilogy. It’s largely because the director of Society of the Snow and The Impossible knows how to do spectacle, especially in the back half of this movie, which contains some of the best filmmaking in the entire series, Spielberg films included.

*King of New York

Year: 1990 Runtime: 1h 43m Director: Abel Ferrara

The amazing Abel Ferrara directed this crime epic that oozes with style. Three decades after its release, it’s still one of the most cited films of this kind of its era. One of the main reasons for that is the cast. Christopher Walken leads the way as the legendary drug lord Frank White, but the whole ensemble here is amazing, including Laurence Fishburne, David Caruso, Wesley Snipes, Steve Buscemi, and Giancarlo Esposito.

*The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Year: 2001 Runtime: 2h 51m Director: Peter Jackson

The Oscar-winning franchise by Peter Jackson bounces around the streaming services with alarming regularity, now finding its way to Prime Video for an indeterminate amount of time. Watch the entire saga of Frodo Baggins, Samwise Gange, and the rest of the Fellowship while you can.

The Mission: Impossible franchise

Year: 1996 Runtime: 1h 50m Director: Brian De Palma

Do you think Tom Cruise thought he’d still be playing Ethan Hunt over a quarter-century after the first adaptation of the hit TV show about the super spy? He’s basically created his own James Bond with the excellent Dead Reckoning – Part 1 coming out last summer. Go back to where it all began with a film that looks downright quaint now compared to the sequels but a film that still plays perfectly. Note: The first four films in the franchise are on Prime Video, including the great Ghost Protocol .

Mr. and Mrs. Smith

Year: 2005 Runtime: 1h 54m Director: Doug Liman

It not only launched Brangelina , but Mr. and Mrs. Smith also launched a TV series adaptation that’s dropping on Prime in February 2024. Catch up before then with the tale of a married couple who discover that they’ve each been keeping secret lives as hired assassins from one another. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are charming in this film that made a fortune at the box office on largely their star power alone.

Year: 2014 Runtime: 1h 46m Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Right in the middle of the reemergence of Liam Neeson as an action star came this underrated genre flick about a former NYPD officer who is now a Federal Air Marshal on a doomed flight. When he receives a text that someone on board will be executed every 20 minutes, the clock starts on a film that’s undeniably goofy but still one of the better Neeson joints from this era.

Year: 2009 Runtime: 2h 28m Director: John Woo

One of the most influential action directors of all time helmed one of his most ambitious films in this period piece war epic set during the Battle of Red Cliffs in China almost two thousand years ago. In China, it was released in two parts that totaled over four hours, but American audiences got a single combined cut, which is the one currently on Prime Video.

Year: 2015 Runtime: 2h 1m Director: Denis Villeneuve

Denis Villeneuve has become one of the biggest directors in the world on the back of beloved films like Blade Runner 2049 and Dune , but Sicario was really his breakthrough, a thriller about an FBI agent (Emily Blunt) who gets drawn into the war between the U.S. government and the Mexican drug cartels. Benicio Del Toro gives one of the best performances of his career here.

Year: 1939 Runtime: 1h 36m Director: John Ford

It won’t play the same as modern action movies, but this could be the gateway to classic Westerns for someone in your family. Give them the gift of a flick that really changed the genre, in no small part because it really introduced the world to a young man named John Wayne. Based on a 1937 short story by Dudley Nichols, this is the tale of a group of strangers on a stagecoach as it travels through Apache territory. It has influenced too many action films since to count them all.

Superman: The Movie

Year: 1978 Runtime: 2h 23m Director: Richard Donner

It’s been over forty years since the world believed a man could fly. As the 2010s-20s DC Universe comes to a grinding halt, go back to one of the blockbusters that really changed the form, a movie that proved that comic book culture could be mainstream. Christopher Reeve gives a timeless performance as the title character in an acting turn that blends heroism and everyman qualities in a way that whoever plays Kal-El next should model.

Violent Night

Year: 2022 Runtime: 1h 51m Director: Tommy Wirkola

Who wants a different kind of Christmas movie this season? Hoping to start an annual tradition, Prime grabbed the streaming rights to this action flick about a Santa Claus (David Harbour) who ends up having to save a family from a group of mercenaries who have taken them hostage. It’s ridiculous in mostly the right ways.

Wonder Woman

Year: 2017 Runtime: 2h 15m Director: Patty Jenkins

A major chapter of the DC Universe is about to end, which means it’s time to assess what worked best. This is undeniably near the top of the list. Take the recent DCU drop to Prime to go back and check out the phenomenal and best non-Batman film in the modern DC Universe. Gal Gadot stars in the title role and really anchors what’s an old-fashioned adventure film, one that owes as much to serial action flicks of the ‘40s and ‘50s as it does to movies with Batman and Superman.

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The 10 best movies on amazon prime video in 2023.

Subscribed to Amazon Prime? Check out these great movies that you can watch for free!

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We've reviewed our guide, and because Election, In the Heat of the Night, and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring all left Prime Video, we've replaced them with three new picks.

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Dog day afternoon, his girl friday, licorice pizza, love & friendship, night of the living dead, the northman, shaun of the dead, to catch a thief.

Amazon Prime subscriptions include access to thousands of movies for free. If you're looking for something to watch, here are the best movies to watch for free with Amazon Prime Video.

UPDATE: 6/12/23

Before they made The Matrix , the Wachowskis debuted with the stylish crime thriller Bound , an early indicator of their bold filmmaking style. Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon play neighbors Violet and Corky, who experience an instant and powerful romantic attraction.

They hatch an elaborate plan to steal from Violet's mobster boyfriend (Joe Pantoliano), taking advantage of his sexist dismissal of their intelligence and strength. The Wachowskis demonstrate visual inventiveness in even the most basic interactions, and the chemistry between Tilly and Gershon is electrifying.

Watch on Amazon

Al Pacino gives one of his best performances as a sensitive bank robber in Sidney Lumet's mesmerizing true-crime drama Dog Day Afternoon . Nominated for six Oscars, it's set almost entirely within a small Brooklyn bank branch, where Pacino's Sonny and his partner Sal (John Cazale) hold employees hostage for hours after a robbery attempt gone wrong.

Lumet captures the heat and grime of a 1970s New York City summer, as crowds gather outside the bank to alternately cheer and jeer at Sonny. The film is a complex and nuanced take on an outlandish real-life event.

Cult classic Heathers is one of the best comedies on Amazon Prime . This dark satire takes on the teen movies of its era (the 1980s), bringing a violent edge to the story of an upstanding young woman falling in love with a rebellious bad boy. Veronica (Winona Ryder) and J.D. (Christian Slater) take their crusade against the vapid popular students at their high school to deadly extremes, while the movie retains a sense of the absurd. The filmmakers mix whip-smart dialogue with cutting commentary on conformity.

Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell star as bickering newspaper reporters (and ex-spouses) in Howard Hawks' classic comedy His Girl Friday . Hawks swaps the gender of one of the main characters of the popular play The Front Page, turning the story into a comedy about remarriage as well as a farce. The rapid-fire dialogue is filled with clever put-downs and wordplay, and Grant and Russell continually one-up each other as their characters pursue the biggest story of their careers (and also fall in love again).

Related: The 10 Best Movies on Netflix in 2023

Paul Thomas Anderson pays tribute to California's San Fernando Valley in the lovingly nostalgic romance Licorice Pizza . Set in 1973, it stars Cooper Hoffman as a scrappy teenage entrepreneur who falls for a slightly older woman played by musician Alana Haim.

Both of them are somewhat immature, figuring out their lives and their places in Los Angeles' sprawling, Hollywood-adjacent suburbs. Anderson captures the swooning, often foolish experience of young love alongside the changing social climate in a period of transition for the city and the country.

One of Amazon's best original movies , Love & Friendship is a delightful Jane Austen adaptation from filmmaker Whit Stillman. Based on Austen's early novel Lady Susan, the movie stars Kate Beckinsale as a ruthless, sharp-tongued social climber with witty rejoinders for everyone she meets. Love & Friendship adds a nasty edge to Austen's typical romantic narrative while still satisfyingly pairing off all the main characters in suitable marriages.

Related: The 10 Best Video Game Movies to Stream in 2023

The zombie genre wouldn't even exist without George A. Romero's landmark 1968 horror movie Night of the Living Dead . Romero pioneered most of the key elements of zombie movies with his creepy, low-budget film about the dead rising from the grave, hungry for human flesh.

Taking place mostly within an abandoned house where characters hide from the growing undead hordes, Night of the Living Dead creates indelible scares on minimal resources. It's one of the most influential movies of all time (in any genre).

Director Robert Eggers (The Witch) is known for his extreme attention to period detail, and he brings that same meticulous sense to The Northman . It's a visceral action movie set among Vikings in the ninth century, inspired by a story so old that it was the source material for William Shakespeare's Hamlet.

Alexander Skarsgard plays a warrior out for revenge, with Nicole Kidman as his long-lost mother and Anya Taylor-Joy as his witchy ally. Eggers stages brutal battles with impeccably recreated sets, costumes, and weaponry, immersing the audience in a far-off time and place.

Related: The 10 Best Original Movies on Hulu in 2022

Filmmaker Edgar Wright brilliantly parodies and pays homage to the zombie genre in Shaun of the Dead . Simon Pegg and Nick Frost play a pair of slacker friends who find themselves surprisingly adept at navigating the undead apocalypse, once they realize what's actually going on.

Shaun of the Dead is a warm comedy about friendship that's also an effective and sometimes scary horror movie. Wright's extensive knowledge of and affection for zombie films serves him well as he equally embraces and subverts the standard elements of the genre.

Alfred Hitchcock's To Catch a Thief is more lighthearted than many of the master of suspense's thrillers, but it's no less engrossing. Cary Grant plays an expert jewel thief whose retirement is threatened by an impostor robbing wealthy tourists on the French Riviera.

Determined to clear his name, the burglar, known as "the Cat," decides to catch the real thief. Along the way, he falls in love with a wealthy heiress played by Grace Kelly. It's a stylish caper that benefits from the stars' playful chemistry and Hitchcock's mastery of the camera.

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The 45 best movies streaming free on amazon for prime video members (december 2023), share this article.

It’s December, so it’s time to pop on your favorite Christmas music, decorate the tree and get ready for the big day.

It’s also time to check out what the best movies are on Amazon Prime Video this month.

While there are plenty of great films on Prime, we’ve tried to find a nice cross section of genres and tastes so that there’s a little bit for everyone with this list.

Not a Prime member?  You can sign up here , which will qualify you for watching all of these movies without having to pay individually for them.

But if you’re not a Prime member and are still looking for something good to watch, we can help with that too. Check out some of our other viewing recommendations:

  • The 50 best movies streaming on Netflix (November 2023)
  • The 35 best movies streaming on Paramount+ (November 2023)
  • The 50 best movies streaming on Max (November 2023)

No Time To Die

Top Gun: Maverick

All the President's Men

An American in Paris

Candy Cane Lane

50 First Dates

Made of Honor

The Day After Tomorrow

Conan O'Brien Can't Stop

How to Train Your Dragon

Eight Men Out

Jurassic Park

Knight and Day

Master and Commanders: The Far Side of the World

Meet the Parents

Miracle on 34th Street

Notting Hill

Raging Bull

The Bodyguard

Charlotte's Web

Hotel Rwanda

The Lost World: Jurassic Park

The Perfect Holiday

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The Terminal

10 Things I Hate About You

Along Came a Spider

The Fault in Our Stars

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The 17 best action movies on Amazon Prime Video right now

From franchise favorites to Oscar winners, here are the most thrilling features on the streamer.

David Bornfriend/A24; Jonathan Olley/Summit Entertainment/courtesy Everett Collection; Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection

As winter winds down, we start looking (quite far) ahead to the summer months and, in particular, action movies. What better way to keep warm on dark, chilly nights than watching gasoline-fuelled explosions and thundering gun battles? Amazon Prime happens to have an excellent selection of action movies, featuring a variety of sub-genres that provide just enough differentiation while still keeping things familiar.

The streamer offers everything from gritty thrillers with peak-80s decadence ( 52 Pick-Up ) to classic ‘70s exploitation ( Coffy ), recent Best Picture winners ( Everything Everywhere All at Once ), and box office favorites ( Top Gun: Maverick ). 

Below, EW runs down the best action movies on Amazon Prime right now.

52 Pick-Up (1986)

Cannon Films/Everett

Roy Scheider stars with Ann-Margaret in this fairly depraved adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s equally hair-raising novel. It concerns Scheider, as a straight-laced businessman, who comes up against a sleazy pornographer (John Glover) with a penchant for snuff films. 52 Pick-Up is an early template for what would become the classic Liam Neeson “don’t f--- with my family” movie, and this is one of the best examples of that niche genre.

Where to watch 52 Pick-Up : Amazon Prime Video

Director: John Frankenheimer

Cast: Roy Scheider, Ann-Margret, Vanity, John Glover, Clarence Williams III, Lonny Chapman

Related content: Elmore Leonard in film/TV gallery

The American (2010)

Giles Keyte/Focus Features/Everett

Anton Corbijn’s slow-burn, smoldering spy picture is one of the most soulful action movies made in the last quarter century. It boasts one of George Clooney ’s most interesting performances as a broken hitman on (say it together now) one last job in Rome. David Fincher ’s recent Netflix release, The Killer , owes a debt to Corbijn’s film while upping the action.

Where to watch The American : Amazon Prime Video

Director: Anton Corbijn  

Cast: George Clooney, Violante Placido, Paolo Bonacelli, Thekla Reuten, Irina Björklund

Related content: The 20 best George Clooney movies and shows, ranked

Baby Driver (2017)

Edgar Wright ’s exuberant near-musical stars Ansel Elgort as a tinnitus-suffering getaway driver who gets tied up with a couple of violent criminals ( Jon Hamm and Jamie Foxx ) whilst falling for a sweet-natured waitress ( Lily James ). The action is blazing and the writing quick and relentless, but the movie’s ace is its grounded and consistently surprising approach.

Where to watch Baby Driver : Amazon Prime Video

EW grade: A- ( read the review )

Director: Edgar Wright  

Cast: Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm, Kevin Spacey

Related content: The 8 major works of Edgar Wright, ranked

Bad Boys II (2003)

Even though it’s morally debauched and utterly vacuous, Bad Boys II is still an undeniably entertaining action movie, full stop. That highway chase with the cars being launched onto the road? Move over, Steven Spielberg, that’s art! The blind gunfight that culminates in a henchman getting an eye full of lead? Eat your hat, James Cameron!

Where to watch Bad Boys II : Amazon Prime Video

EW grade: N/A ( read the review )

Director: Michael Bay   

Cast: Will Smith , Martin Lawrence , Gabrielle Union , Jordi Mollá, Joe Pantoliano

Related content: Michael Bay says Bad Boys literally changed the game on Black actors

Blood Father (2016)

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Speaking of morally dubious actioners, this late-era Mel Gibson romp offers more than its fair share of thrills (and questionable curse words). He stars as the eponymous father, who gets out of prison and attempts to reunite with his estranged daughter (Erin Moriarty) before enacting revenge against her drug-dealing boyfriend ( Diego Luna ).

Where to watch Blood Father : Amazon Prime Video

EW grade: B ( read the review )

Director: Jean-François Richet

Cast: Mel Gibson, Erin Moriarty, Diego Luna, Dale Dickey, Michael Parks

Related content: The 40 best crime movies of all time

Coffy (1973)

Nobody did it quite like Pam Grier , and Coffy is proof. It’s not the most traditionally flashy or well-made of her ‘70s exploitation run, but it is the film most indicative of her talents and the era itself. Reteaming with Big Doll House director Jack Hill, Grier stars as a nurse who disguises herself as a sex worker to exact revenge on the pushers who got her sister addicted to smack.

Where to watch Coffy : Amazon Prime Video

Director: Jack Hill

Cast: Pam Grier, Booker Bradshaw, Sid Haig, Lisa Farringer, Robert DoQui

Related content: Pam Grier reflects on her most iconic roles from Coffy to Jackie Brown

Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (2023)

This adaptation of the iconic tabletop game is more fun than it had any right to be. Even if you’re not a Dungeon master, you’ll get a kick out of this rollicking buddy romp, which gets a great deal of mileage from its pitch-perfect blockbuster structure.

Where to watch Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves : Amazon Prime Video

EW grade: B+ ( read the review )

Director: John Francis Daley , Jonathan Goldstein

Cast: Chris Pine , Michelle Rodriguez , Sophia Lillis , Hugh Grant , Regé-Jean Page

Related content: Regé-Jean Page regrets wearing full armor in Dungeons & Dragons

Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022)

The Daniels rightfully won big at last year’s Oscars for this ambitious, moving, and exceedingly exciting genre-bender, which stars Michelle Yeoh as a put-upon laundress who gets a chance to see where her life could have gone. In addition to comedy, romance, and family drama, Everything Everywhere is also a breakneck action picture.

Where to watch Everything Everywhere All at Once : Amazon Prime Video

EW grade: B- ( read the review )

Director: Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert

Cast: Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan , Stephanie Hsu , Jamie Lee Curtis , James Hong

Related content: The ‘weird journey’ to make Everything Everywhere All at Once

Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw (2019)

This Fast and Furious spin-off stars Jason Statham and Dwayne Johnson as the titular ass-kickers who must face off against Idris Elba as some sort of mechanical-man hybrid. It's a wild movie that you must truly see to believe, a real How Did This Get Made? piece of media with a litany of crunchy, visceral effects.

Where to watch Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw : Amazon Prime Video

Director: David Leitch

Cast: Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson, Vanessa Kirby , Idris Elba, Eddie Marsan

Related content: Hobbs and Shaw connects to another Jason Statham movie

The Hurt Locker (2009)

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Kathryn Bigelow ’s stunning, episodic exploration of thrill-seeking bomb defusers amidst the Iraq War is still among the best pieces of nonfiction made about the so-called War on Terror, and the best thing star Jeremy Renner has managed to be a part of. It’s haunting and horrific, but it’s also a movie rooted in the drudgery and repetition of battle. It feels authentic, and the twists and dramatic contrivances are more than earned.

Where to watch The Hurt Locker : Amazon Prime Video

EW grade: A ( read the review )

Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Cast: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie , Brian Geraghty, David Morse, Christian Camargo

Related content: Kathryn Bigelow movies, ranked

The Lost City of Z (2017)

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James Gray’s film, adapted from Killers of the Flower Moon author David Grann’s nonfiction book, is a cracking old-fashioned adventure yarn. It stars Charlie Hunnam as fabled explorer Percy Fawcett, who discovers a previously unknown civilization during a trek into the Amazon jungle.

Where to watch The Lost City of Z : Amazon Prime Video

Director: James Gray

Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson , Sienna Miller , Tom Holland , Ian McDiarmid

Related content: Charlie Hunnam ignored his girlfriend for Lost City of Z

Mr. Majestyk (1974)

Current blockbuster The Beekeeper feels like a modern spin on Mr. Majestyk, complete with Jason Statham once again serving as our present-day Charles Bronson . This pared-down Elmore Leonard adaptation from 1974 stars the real Bronson as a rancher exacting revenge for his ruined crop.

Where to watch Mr. Majestyk : Amazon Prime Video

Director: Richard Fleischer

Cast: Charles Bronson, Linda Cristal, Al Lettieri, Lee Purcell, Paul Koslo

Related content: 28 great revenge movies

Nobody (2021)

Bob Odenkirk gave himself a career makeover with this clever, extremely violent John Wick riff about a nice-guy pushover who becomes a one-man vengeance machine after his family is terrorized during a home invasion. Odenkirk delivers another reliably gritty performance, and we expect nothing less from the upcoming sequel.

Where to watch Nobody : Amazon Prime Video

Director: Ilya Naishuller

Cast: Bob Odenkirk, Connie Nielsen , Christopher Lloyd , Aleksey Serebryakov, Michael Ironside

Related content: First look at Bob Odenkirk's action thriller Nobody : 'I get the s— kicked out of me’

Polite Society (2023)

Priya Kansara stars as Ria, whose sister (Ritu Arya) is marrying into a very suspicious family. Polite Society is a wild, genre-bending fight movie reminiscent of Richard Curtis comedies and David Cronenberg body horror.

Where to watch Polite Society : Amazon Prime Video

Director: Nida Manzoor

Cast: Priya Kansara, Ritu Arya

Related content: Polite Society director Nida Manzoor shares her inspirations

Sicario (2015)

Richard Foreman Jr./Lionsgate/Everett 

Denis Villeneuve honed his spectacle credentials with this labyrinthine, subversive thriller starring Emily Blunt as an idealistic FBI agent who goes toe-to-toe with a shadowy government official ( Josh Brolin ) and a mysterious hitman ( Benicio del Toro ). del Toro and Brolin returned for a 2018 sequel that, despite the presence of Catherine Keener , does not rise to the original.

Where to watch Sicario : Amazon Prime Video

Director: Denis Villeneuve

Cast: Emily Blunt, Benicio del Toro, Josh Brolin, Daniel Kaluuya , Raoul Trujillo

Related content: Emily Blunt finds her strength in Sicario

Top Gun: Maverick (2022)

Being an action movie fan is all about compartmentalizing their dubious politics. Such is the case in Joseph Kosinski ’s rocket-powered Top Gun sequel. It finds Maverick ( Tom Cruise ) returning to the flight school where he made his name to train a new band of recruits and battle against an unspecified enemy. 

Where to watch Top Gun: Maverick : Amazon Prime Video

Director: Joseph Kosinski

Cast: Tom Cruise, Miles Teller , Glen Powell , Jennifer Connelly , Ed Harris

Related content: Jerry Bruckheimer on why Top Gun: Maverick is Tom Cruise’s highest-grossing movie

Violent Night (2022)

Tommy Wirkola’s gooey, pleasantly icky Christmas action-comedy is a mix of childlike whimsy and gleeful gore. As a hard-drinking, oft-puking, ass-kicking Santa Claus, David Harbour is tasked with rescuing an insufferable family from a terrorist ( John Leguizamo ) who wants all of their money.

Where to watch Violent Night : Amazon Prime Video

Director: Tommy Wirkola

Cast: David Harbour, John Leguizamo, Beverly D’Angelo, Alex Hassell, Alexis Louder

Related content: Christmas Vacation star Beverly D'Angelo is back to reclaim her holiday movie crown in Violent Night

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The best action movies on Amazon Prime right now

Blair Marnell

Amazon Prime Video  has a great catalog, but it really delivers when it comes to action movies. By itself, Prime Video has the James Bond films and other select titles from the MGM film library. But if Prime Video didn’t have deals in place with Universal Pictures, Warner Bros., and Paramount, then its action lineup wouldn’t be nearly as impressive. This year alone, Prime Video has added recent hits like Fast X and Transformers: Rise of the Beasts , while also streaming classic action flicks like Conan the Barbarian and the original Mission: Impossible .

There’s also a lot of action schlock on Prime Video that would have once aired during late nights on cable television. But those aren’t the titles that get the most out of your Prime Video subscription. For the real thrills, check out our complete roundup of the best action movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.

If you’ve already burned through the Amazon Prime catalog, we’ve also put together a list of the best action movies on Netflix , the best action movies on Disney+ , and the best action movies on Hulu .

Fast X (2023) new

After nine movies, there’s an aura of invincibility around Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel). Even in Fast X , Dom survives things that no ordinary human could withstand, and his cars continue to defy the laws of physics and reason. So the only thing that can bring Dom down is a villain who is even more over the top than he is.

Aquaman star Jason Momoa fills that void in Fast X as Dante Reyes, the previously unrevealed son of one of Dom’s late enemies. Dante likens himself to the devil, and he lives up to that by stealing the private army of Cipher (Charlize Theron) and then targeting Dom, Dom’s wife, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), their son, Brian Marcos (Leo Abelo Perry), and the entire Fast Saga “family.” And unlike previous villains in the franchise, Dante doesn’t seem to make many missteps.

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Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (2023) new

You won’t miss the Bay-hem in Transformers: Rise of the Beasts . This movie is not without its flaws, but the action is far more comprehensible than in any of Michael Bay’s Transformers flicks. The film has a lot to juggle, as it continues the light reboot from Bumblebee while also introducing Optimus Primal (Ron Perlman) and his prehistoric-inspired Maximals from Transformers: Beast Wars .

Noah Diaz (Anthony Ramos) and Elena Wallace (Dominique Fishback) are the unwitting humans who find themselves caught up in the war between the Autobots and the evil Terrorcons who serve Unicron (Colman Domingo), a planet-eating Transformer who is bigger than most worlds. Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) may not be willing to fully trust his new human allies, but Mirage (Pete Davidson) is very eager to befriend Noah, and their bond carries the film.

Conan the Barbarian (1982) new

Jason Momoa may be a more modern action star, but there’s no comparison between Momoa’s 2011 reboot of Conan the Barbarian and the 1982 original starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Presentation is everything, and Schwarzenegger looks like he could have stepped off of the painted covers of the Conan paperbacks from Robert E. Howard.

The film doesn’t require any previous knowledge about Howard’s iconic hero, and it reworks Conan’s origin to give him a lifelong grudge against the cult leader known as Thulsa Doom (James Earl Jones). Although Conan escapes the bonds of slavery and finds love in the arms of Valeria (Sandahl Bergman), his desire for revenge may cost him everything he holds dear in the face of Doom’s power.

Mission: Impossible (1996) new

How long has Tom Cruise been making Mission: Impossible movies? Since the original film came out in 1996. So it’s somewhat jarring to see Cruise’s Ethan Hunt as a much younger man working under Jim Phelps (Jon Voight), one of the few returning characters from the Mission: Impossible TV show.

After a mission gone wrong leaves Ethan the only survivor on his team, he recruits disavowed IMF agents Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) and Franz Krieger (Jean Reno) to help him clear his name. But when two of Ethan’s supposedly dead teammates turn up alive, he’s forced to wonder if one or both of them has betrayed the IMF.

No Time to Die (2021)

Daniel Craig’s time as James Bond comes to an end in No Time To Die , and it’s the rare 007 film that provides closure for the character. After Bond is ambushed by Spectre, he blames his lover, Dr. Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux), for betraying him. Years later, Bond is pulled out of retirement by his CIA pal, Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright), for a simple mission with high stakes.

But nothing is ever simple with Bond. His nemesis, Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Christoph Waltz), is still trying to kill him from behind bars. And a new enemy, Lyutsifer Safin (Rami Malek), may prove to be more than either Bond or Blofeld can handle.

Top Gun: Maverick (2022)

No less than Steven Spielberg has claimed that Top Gun: Maverick saved Hollywood by pulling in blockbuster numbers that rival the pre-pandemic box office. Spielberg may be exaggerating a bit, but this is by far the biggest hit of Tom Cruise’s career and a sequel to one of his most iconic films.

Thirty years after Top Gun , Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Cruise) is still just a captain and a flight instructor, and he wouldn’t have it any other way. Yet even Maverick may have lost a step as he tries to train a new generation of Top Gun pilots. One pilot in particular, Lieutenant Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw (Miles Teller), proves to be particularly difficult for Maverick to deal with because he blames Pete for the death of his father, Nick “Goose” Bradshaw (Anthony Edwards), in the previous film.

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (2023)

The Dungeons & Dragons franchise gets another chance on the big screen in Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves , and it’s one of the most charming fantasy films to come along in ages. Star Trek ’s Chris Pine stars as Edgin Darvis, a bard and a professional thief who was betrayed by one of his companions, Forge Fitzwilliam (Hugh Grant), and imprisoned alongside his best friend, Holga Kilgore (Michelle Rodriguez).

When Edgin and Holga escape, they discover the true scope of Forge’s treachery, and they realize that they can’t retrieve Edgin’s daughter, Kira (Chloe Coleman), without help. That’s why they recruit their former partner, Simon Aumar (Justice Smith), and a shape-shifting tiefling druid, Doric (Sophia Lillis), for an audacious scheme to rob Forge and bring down his evil allies, the Red Wizards.

Violent Night (2022)

Nearly four decades ago, Die Hard reinvented what a Christmas film could be. In Violent Night , Christmas goes full Die Hard with Santa Claus (David Harbour) himself stepping into the John McClane role. This version of Santa was once a Viking warrior, and he’s lost faith in both humanity and Christmas.  

But when a dangerous thief calling himself Scrooge (John Leguizamo) robs a wealthy family led by their ruthless matriarch, Gertrude (Beverly D’Angelo), Santa stumbles upon Scrooge’s plan and hears the pleas of Gertrude’s granddaughter, Trudy (Leah Brady). Trudy is a true believer in both Santa and Christmas and the only one in her family who has a place on Santa’s nice list. Now, Scrooge and his minions are about to find out why they should have stayed on Santa’s good side.

Highlander (1986)

Ignore the reviews for Highlander . Critics at the time dismissed it, but Highlander became a cult classic in the ‘80s that spawned multiple sequels and even a few TV series. Christopher Lambert stars as Connor MacLeod, one of the few immortal warriors who still walk the Earth in the present.

Through flashbacks, Connor’s rivalry with his eternal nemesis, The Kurgan (Clancy Brown), plays out over the centuries before they face each other again for the ultimate prize. Connor’s friend and mentor, Juan Sánchez-Villalobos Ramírez (Sean Connery), taught him everything that he knows, including his most important lesson about the war of the immortals: “In the end, there can be only one.”

Train to Busan (2016)

Zombie apocalypse movies and TV shows come and go (and some stay way, way too long — The Walking Dead , we’re looking at you), but some are so good and unique that they linger in your psyche. South Korea’s Train to Busan is one such memorable film. It tells the story of divorced father Seok-woo (Gong Yoo), whose work-obsessed lifestyle is taking its toll on his young daughter, Su-an (Su-an Kim), so the pair board a train from Seoul to Busan to visit Su-an’s mother.

But wouldn’t you know it, all hell breaks loose when a strange virus suddenly grips the country, turning everyone infected into frenzied, blood-hungry zombies … and it’s found its way onto the train. With some absolutely stunning action sequences,  Train to Busan not only explores the chaos of everyone-for-themselves mass hysteria, but also how humans band together when in need.  

Samaritan (2022)

Jolt (2021), tom clancy's without remorse (2021), the tomorrow war (2021), the boondock saints (1999), editors' recommendations.

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Blair Marnell

Disney+ doesn't have as much original programming as it used to, and consequently, there's not as much incentive to stick around on a month-to-month basis. But fortunately, February does bring a handful of new and returning shows that should prove to be enticing for subscribers. Star Wars: The Bad Batch is coming back for its third and final season on February 21, and next month, Marvel's X-Men '97 will revive the world of X-Men: The Animated Series.

In the meantime, Disney+'s February premieres include National Geographic's Genius: MLK/X and an ambitious new animated miniseries called Iwájú. Beyond those three series, keep reading for the rest of our picks for the best shows on Disney+ right now.

If Netflix stopped producing TV shows today, it would still take more time than anyone reasonably has to catch up on everything that's already premiered. No one has that kind of time, and that's often the reason why Netflix originals tend to get buried if they aren't hits out of the gate. With so many new shows on Netflix arriving monthly, some of them don't even get the chance to break out.

That's why we maintain this list of the best hidden gems on Netflix, where you can find the shows that aren't always on everyone's radar. For February, we're spotlighting The Vince Staples Show, One Day, and The Tourist, a former Max original series that has migrated to Netflix and has a second season coming soon. Keep reading for the full lineup of the best hidden gems on Netflix.

Netflix may draw upon various Hollywood studios for its films, but the heart of its library is dominated by original movies. Without these flicks, Netflix would be completely dependent on its rivals to keep movie lovers happy. Instead, Netflix has built up such an impressive library of titles that it could be the top streamer based on the strength of its originals alone.

Granted, not every Netflix original movie hits the mark. But that's because Netflix tends to favor quantity over quality. Our list of the best Netflix original movies is meant to shine a spotlight on the top titles of the month. And for February, that includes The Kitchen, Players, and a delightful animated flick called Orion and the Dark. Keep reading, and you'll find even more Netflix originals to watch.

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Lover, Stalker, Killer

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  • Entertainment

The Best Valentine’s Day Movies for Kids

what are the best rated movies on amazon prime

T his Valentine’s Day , grab a bucket of popcorn and a box of conversation hearts and treat the kids in your life to a movie that is sure to make them fall in love.

Most rom-coms are a little too advanced in the love department for children and tweens, but this list includes romantic films appropriate for even the youngest members of the family. There are adaptations of swoonworthy YA classics like Little Women and awe-inspiring animated films that pull at the heartstrings like Spider-Man Across the Spider-Verse . Little Manhattan is a story of tweenage first love that will leave you wrecked (in a good way), while Disney’s The Princess and the Frog flips the script on the classic fairytale without completely ditching the happy ending. The best part is, every movie suggested here is G or PG-rated, so parents can rest assured that these L-O-V-E stories are family-friendly. 

Below, 14 of the best Valentine’s Day movies for kids of all ages. 

For Very Young Kids

Luca (2021)

Set on the gorgeous Italian Riviera, the coming-of-age Pixar film tells a fish out of water story, quite literally. When two young sea monsters, the incredibly nervous Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer) and his intrepid friend Luca (Jacob Tremblay), go looking for adventure in the human world they find that it’s not the dangerous cesspool Alberto’s parents (Maya Rudolph and Jim Gaffigan) claimed it would be. Instead, they discover the joys of Vespa riding, gelato, and self-acceptance in some of the most beautiful sights you’ll ever see. While the romance in Luca may not be overt, some consider it to be “ Pixar’s first gay movie .” Director Enrico Casarosa told The Wrap in 2022that the film is really focused on “pre-puberty” so “there’s no crush yet.” (Though he's said he is proud that the LGBTQ+ community has embraced the film.) No matter how you choose to interpret the film, it’s hard to deny the charming way in which it celebrates those friendships that help us become who we are.

Watch on Disney+

The Princess and the Frog (2009)

In 1920s New Orleans, Tiana (voiced by Dreamgirls ’ Anika Noni Rose) dreams of owning her own restaurant. But when she’s turned into a frog after kissing an arrogant amphibian, who claims to be a prince, she finds herself on a magical, mystical adventure through the bayous of Louisiana to find someone who can break the spell. The villain of Disney’s last hand-drawn feature, Dr. Facilier, a frighteningly charismatic voodoo witch doctor, may be too scary for some kids, but the love story at the core of the film should make even the littlest hearts go pitter-patter.

The Parent Trap (1998)

Lindsay Lohan and, well, Lindsay Lohan star in the remake of the 1961 Disney classic of the same name in which twins who were intentionally separated at birth by their divorced parents go from mortal enemies who meet by chance at summer camp to trusted allies in their pursuit to get their parents (played by Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson) back together by any means necessary. (Sorry, not sorry to dad’s camping-averse girlfriend Meredith Blake .) Hilarity definitely ensues (not to mention more than one romance) in Nancy Meyers’ heartwarming feature directorial debut about forgiveness.

Watch on Disney+ or rent it on Prime Video

Beauty and the Beast (1991)

It’s a tale as old as time, but the Disney classic offers a new take on the fairytale princess. Belle spends most of her time with her head in a book and is revered for her kindness, not her looks. She pushes the Beast, a prince who has been cursed for his selfishness, to be a more thoughtful being. In return, she learns not to judge a book, even the most beastly of them, by its cover.

Wall-E (2008)

The brainy animated Pixar feature, set 700 years after Earth was abandoned by all human life, follows a lonely garbage-collecting robot, who is more Charlie Chaplin than HAL 9000. He exists to clean up the mess they left behind, but when a far more advanced and cynical droid named EVA, short for Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator, shows up on his planet, he becomes more interested in wooing her than doing his job. Quiet and deliberate, this gentle film manages to make heady themes like conservation, consumerism, and over-reliance on technology accessible for still developing brains. (Its views on obesity, however, did not age as well.) Wall-E will leave even the tiniest of humans awestruck.

Elemental (2023)

Elemental City is a sprawling metropolis where earth, wind, fire, and water all live, but not necessarily together. For most of her life, Ember, a fiery young woman, has been told that the elements just shouldn’t mix. When she meets Wade, a water guy, she begins to wonder if everything she thought she knew was wrong in this technicolor Pixar kiddie rom-com about finding common ground.

For Older Kids

The Princess Diaries (2001)

In Garry Marshall’s sweet adaptation of Meg Cabot’s best-selling YA novel of the same name, Anne Hathaway plays Mia Thermopolis, a high school outcast who suddenly discovers her late father was the King of a small European country called Genovia. With help from her royal grandmother (played by Julie Andrews), Mia learns the tricks of the family trade and discovers that she ruled long before she donned a tiara. Sure, she gets the guy in the end (played by Robert Schwartzman), but finding self-love is what makes this ending truly happy.

High School Musical (2006)

Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens play star-crossed co-stars of their school musical in this Disney Channel Original that feels like Grease for kids. The seminal zillennial film is full of catchy tunes, teachable moments, and puppy love with none of the raunch. Even better, when your kids ultimately fall in love with HSM , you can show them the two sequels and the hilariously named Disney+ TV series, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, starring pop princess Olivia Rodrigo . We’re all in this together , right?

The Princess Bride (1987)

It’s inconceivable that kids won’t get a kick out of this witty swashbuckling adventure of a farmhand-turned-pirate (Cary Elwes) on a quest to save the woman he loves (Robin Wright). Despite being nearly 40 years old, The Princess Bride still feels as fresh as ever.

Watch on Disney+ or AMC+

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023)

The breathtaking sequel to 2018’s Into the Spider-Verse is a superhero movie that finally gives kids a couple to root for. Miles Morales, a.k.a. Earth-1610’s Spider-Man (voiced by Shameik Moore), is tasked with saving the world, but the Brooklyn teen just can’t fight his feelings for Gwen Stacey (Hailee Steinfeld). Across the Spider-Verse offers a big-hearted look at a crush that defies space, time, and the laws of attraction.

Watch on Netflix

Aquamarine (2006)

When a mermaid (played by Sara Paxton) shows up in their beachside town, tweenage best friends (Emma Roberts and JoJo) agree to help her in her quest to prove that love really does exist in exchange for one wish. The catch? They only have three days to make a human man fall in love with her. Oh, and any time her feet touch the water they disappear. (No, you’re not mistaken, this is basically the plot of the 1983 Tom Hanks/Daryl Hannah comedy Splash —but for kids!) Yet through their cross-species matchmaking, the girls begin to realize that love is all around them, but only if they choose to really see it.

Little Manhattan (2005)

When 10-year-old Gabe (a pre- Hunger Games Josh Hutcherson) realizes girls don’t have cooties, his life is turned completely upside down. He experiences all the hallmarks of a rom-com lead double his age: he struggles to look cool in front of his crush, attempts a makeover to impress her, and worries his palms will be too sweaty to hold her hand. Like most of the romantic relationships of one’s youth, this one doesn’t last all that long. But Little Manhattan offers a thoughtful look at the big effect a first love can have on even the smallest of hearts.

Watch on Hulu or rent it on Prime Video

Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

Introduce the young animation lover in your life to an animated cinematic masterpiece from Studio Ghibli that is as romantic as it is whimsical. After being cursed by a local witch, Sophie finds herself being swept off her feet by Howl, an enchanting wizard and resistance fighter. The film’s anti-war message —director Hayao Miyazaki was influenced by his opposition to the U.S.’s invasion of Iraq in 2003—may go over the heads of kids, but Sophie and Howl’s deep affection for one another will surely not.

Watch on Max

Little Women (2019)

Greta Gerwig ’s inspired take on Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel follows the March sisters—Meg ( Harry Potter ’s Emma Watson), Jo (Saoirse Ronan), Beth (Eliza Scanlen), and Amy (Florence Pugh)—from girlhood to womanhood. Their hearts get broken, but they put them back together again, often with their sisters’ help, learning important lessons along the way. The most crucial among them being that a woman doesn’t have to adhere to society’s views on what they should or should not be. There is someone out there who will love them for exactly who they are. It’s a sentiment that is as true now as it was when Alcott’s book was released more than 150 years ago. (And if they really fall for it, cue up a double feature with Gillian Armstrong’s also great 1994 adaptation .)

Watch on Hulu or Prime Video with a Starz subscription

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