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The best movies on Amazon Prime Video
Over the years, Amazon Prime Video’s library has expanded massively and now includes many critically-acclaimed and entertaining movies. So, if you are planning a film night, we have selected some of the best Amazon Prime movies currently available on the platform for your consideration.
Read more: What’s new on Amazon Prime Video
Movie taste can be very subjective, but we have picked films that are either classics, audience favorites or critical darlings that we think you will enjoy. With a variety of genres on the list, there is something for everyone! Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video you can stream today.
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The best movies on Amazon Prime Video
Editor’s note: The list features the best movies on Amazon Prime Video (from the US catalog) and only movies that don’t require you to pay an extra rental fee to watch. We will be regularly updating the list as films are added and removed from the Prime Video catalog.
Being The Ricardos (2021)
The Golden Age of Television may not have been better than when I Love Lucy was on the air in the 1950s. One of the first, and still one of the best, sitcoms ever made, the show and its stars, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, it set the quality standards for all television shows ever since. This 2021 Amazon Prime Videos original, set during a week of taping a typical episode of I Love Lucy, gives us a glimpse behind the scenes at the making of the show, and of its two stars.
Written and directed by one of the best modern TV creators, Aaron Sorkin, the movie has stand out performances by Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball and Javier Bardem as Desi Arnaz. You can also check out a new documentary on Amazon Prime Video, Lucy and Desi, that goes into more detail about their lives.
The Rock (1996)
Michael Bay is known as one of the best action movie directors ever, and this 1996 film may be his best. It certainly has an excellent cast, led by Sean Connery as a jailed British secret agent named John Mason. He’s recruited by the FBI to lead a SEAL team into Alcatraz, which has been taken over by a squad of renegade US Marines and mercenaries, led by General Frank Hummell, played by Ed Harris. He’s got hostages and is threatening San Fransico with a chemical attack unless reparations are made to the families of the many soldiers who died under his command.
The film also has Nicholas Cage playing FBI chemical weapons specialist Stanley Goodspeed, who has to disarm the rockets that have the deadly chemicals. The interplay between Cage and Connery is some of the best parts of the movie, and there’s also lots of action, explosions, and shooting that Bay is known for. It’s a lot of fun and one of the best movies on Amazon Prime Video.
The Handmaiden (2016)
From the director of the critically acclaimed Old Boy, Park Chan-wook, comes the Handmaiden — a strange tale of deception and betrayal loosely based on the Victorian crime novel Fingersmith. Set in Japanese-occupied Korea, the film sees Sook-hee become a maid to the wealthy Japanese heiress Lady Hideko and her uncle Kouzuki.
As Sook-hee settles in, she and the heiress become closer. Lady Hideko’s story is revealed to us through a series of flashbacks as their relationship develops. At the same time secrets and deceptions slowly begin to unravel all around the characters. As is typical of Park Chan-wook’s work, The Handmaiden is visually stunning and just as masterful in its storytelling. It is full of unexpected twists and turns that will surprise even the most intuitive viewers. It’s one of the best movies on Amazon Prime Video and it will keep you glued to your seat.
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
This 1991 movie won multiple Academy Awards including Best Picture. It’s certainly an excellent film even though it has some truly scary scenes. Jodie Foster plays an FBI trainee who gets the call to check up on Hannibal Lecter, a very smart serial killer and cannibal, while in prison. However, events start happening that cause Foster’s character of Clarice Starling to get involved in stopping another serial killer that’s on the loose. She needs Lector’s help, but will he use this opportunity to assist for his own gain.
Foster won the Academy Award for Best Actress for this role, and Anthony Hopkins did the same for Best Actor. His performance as Lecter is pretty much perfect. It’s one of the best movies you can watch on Amazon Prime Video.
The Lighthouse (2019)
Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson play two lighthouse keepers who are passing the time away on a remote lighthouse in the late 19th century. Things start to get scary, and very weird, as the two men fight both each other and their own sanity. This black-and-white movie is highly atmospheric and creepy, and it’s one of the best movies on Amazon Prime Video.
Honey Boy (2019)
The struggles of former child actors are often the subject of mockery from tabloid media. Yet, we rarely get to hear actors’ side of the story in such a poignant way as we do in Honey Boy. Written by Shia LaBeouf and directed by Alma Har’el, this film is largely based on LaBeouf’s own turbulent life. We follow the main character Otis in the aftermath of his childhood rise to fame — his drug abuse and consequent rehab, and his broken relationship with his father (played by LaBeouf). Glimpses of Otis’ difficult childhood are seen through flashbacks, allowing us to piece the story of his life together.
Honey Boy is an excellent drama that has already received much critical acclaim after its world premiere at Sundance. Even if the subject matter might not seem like something that you’d be interested in, we recommend checking it out regardless. Honey Boy will quickly draw you in and keep your attention until the end. It’s among the best Amazon Prime Video original movies.
One Night In Miami (2021)
This Amazon Prime Video original movie may be one of its best exclusive films yet. It’s already received a number of Golden Globe nominations and is generating Oscar buzz. Actor Regina King makes her directorial debut with this film. This is an adaptation of a play that fictionalizes a real meeting in Miami between four black icons in various roles: Malcolm X, Cassius Clay (before he renamed himself Muhammad Ali), Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown.
While we may never know what these four people really discuses during that night in Miami in the early 1960s, the film itself is a powerful look at how these people might have discussed the growing civil rights movement of the time. It also shows how far that movement still needs to go in the present day.
We Need to Talk About Kevin (2012)
Tilda Swinton is excellent in almost any role, and We Need to Talk About Kevin is one of her best performances. In this psychological thriller she takes on the role of Eva — a struggling mother who is trying to understand her difficult son Kevin. As we see him grow up, he becomes more and more detached and disinterested, while she begins to resent and fear him.
The movie poses the familiar nature vs nurture question, but it also dives deeper into more uncomfortable territory. We often see Eva’s concerns being dismissed by those around her. It’s not hard to sympathize with her thanks to Tilda Swinton’s stunning performance. But we also see her struggle to bond with Kevin and get frustrated easily. Ezra Miller, playing teenage Kevin, is often chillingly emotionless. This leaves us with the question of whether he is a product of Eva’s behavior. The film allows you to reach your own conclusions, but it will stick with you long after you have watched it.
Joel and Ethan Coen have directed tons of great movies, but most everyone agrees that Fargo is their best. This film has equal amounts of humor and drama, as it tells the tale of a pathetic loser, played by William H Macy, who hires two men to kidnap his wife. The dumb idea is that the kidnappers will ask the wife’s father for ransom, and when he pays it, Macy’s character will get some of it to pay off debts. Of course, this kidnapping doesn’t go as planned.
In addition to Macy’s character, we also meet Frances McDormand as a very pregnant police chief who tries to solve this crime. She won an Academy Award for Best Actress for this role, and the movie also won for best original screenplay. It’s a must watch.
The Report (2019)
With a name like The Report, you might expect a dry bureaucratic drama, but this film has much more to offer. Senate staffer Daniel Jones, played by Adam Driver, is on a mission to expose the inhumane treatment and torture of suspected terrorists in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks. Although he is met with constant roadblocks, Jones in determined to uncover the truth, even to the detriment of his own health and relationships.
The Report shines a light on a dark chapter of recent American history, but it also showcases the inner workings of the political system and its flaws. It is a film that will leave a lasting impression and it’s certainly one of the best Amazon Prime Video original movies you can watch.
The Terminator (1984)
After working as an artist and special effects team member on B-pictures (and once as a director on a movie so bad he tried to take his name off it), James Cameron hit pay dirt with his 1984 masterpiece. In the “present day” of 1984, two soldiers from the future are battling each other in Los Angeles. One is a human who is trying to protect the mother of the future leader of the resistance. The other is a cold cyborg, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, sent back in time by the AI computer to kill that woman so it can win the war of the future.
This movie has it all: humor, action, a bit of romance, and some of the best-remembered one liners in movie history. It’s one of the best movies on Amazon Prime.
Three years after The Terminator, we got another version of a cyborg. This time, he’s a good guy, a former Detroit police officer who gets killed. However, his brain and head are put inside a robot body by a pretty evil corporation to serve as the ultimate law enforcement agent. However, things get really interesting when Robocop starts to remember who he was in the past. Director Paul Verhoeven puts in lots of action, but also some social commentary and satire about big business, the media, and more in this classic. It is without a doubt one of the best movies you can watch on Amazon Prime Video.
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
If you need a bit of cheering up with everything that has been going on recently, you can’t go wrong with this wholesome classic. It’s a Wonderful Life tells the story of George Bailey, a small-town man with grand ambitions that never seem to go his way. Facing overwhelming debt and possible arrest, in his desperation George wishes he was never born.
Listening to him is Clarence — an angel that trying to earn his wings. The angel takes George on a journey, showing him how different life in Bedford Falls would be without him and how many lives he has truly touched. It’s a Wonderful Life is a simple but moving tale that teaches us not to give into despair and to value what we have. It’s not only one of the most uplifting, but one of the best movies on Amazon Prime Video.
The Great Escape (1963)
This movie gives its version of a very real incident in World War II, where over 70 Allied prisoners of war planned and executed a mass escape from a Nazi prison camp. The movie, of course, takes some liberties with the real story, but it’s still highly entertaining. It also has an all-star cast, including Richard AttenboroughJames Gardner, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, and especially Steve McQueen, who has a memorable motorcycle chase sequence.
Best Movies on Amazon Prime – Honorable Mentions
Here are a few more movies you can check out on the service that didn’t quite make our list:
- Saving Private Ryan – Steven Spielberg’s excellent World War II movie has Tom Hanks leading a group of US soldiers who have to find an Army private to bring him back home.
- Borat Subsequent Moviefilm – Sacha Baron Cohen returns to his role as Borat in this combination of scripted comedy and documentary that looks at the current culture of the United States.
- The Big Sick – This movie about a Pakistan-born man who tries to court, and then help, his US girlfriend is based on the real-life of comedian Kumail Nanjiani.
- The Tomorrow War – This Amazon Prime original is a sci-fi war film about people in the present getting recruited to fight an alien invasion of Earth in the future.
- Walk The Line – The life of country music superstar Johnny Cash is shown in this docudrama that received several Academy Award nominations.