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.
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.
Don’t have Amazon Prime Video yet? Sign up for a free 30-day Amazon Prime trial using the link below:
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.
1. The Farewell (2019)
How do we say goodbye to loved ones diagnosed with a terminal illness? This is the question The Farewell explores. The movie follows Billi — a 30-year-old aspiring writer who has a close relationship with her grandmother. When Nai Nai (paternal grandmother) is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and is given only months to live, Billi drops her life in New York and travels to Changchun to spend what little time is left with her grandmother. But she clashes with her extended family when it is revealed that the diagnosis has been kept hidden from Nai Nai.
The Farewell is one of the best movies of 2019 and one of the biggest Oscar snubs in recent years. It explores the different cultural approaches to universal struggles and does so in a very moving way. If you didn’t have the chance to watch it in the cinema, do yourself a favor and watch it on Amazon Prime Video.
2. Midsommar (2019)
Writer-director Ari Aster delivers yet another surreal horror experience in Midsommar. Dani joins her boyfriend and several of his friends on a trip to a remote Swedish settlement to celebrate their fabled mid-summer festival. Grief-stricken after the loss of her sister and parents, she reluctantly tries to participate in local customs and activities. But things escalate from mildly bizarre to terrifying when the group witnesses a pagan ättestupa ritual.
Midsommar builds its horror and absurdity slowly and purposefully. Just as you think you’ve witnessed the most outlandish event yet, another tops it with its ludicrousness. The cinematography is eerily bright and colorful, creating a masterful juxtaposition between the visuals and the horrifying events unfolding on the screen. It’s one of the best horror films of recent years and without a doubt one of the best movies on Amazon Prime Video.
3. 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.
4. True Grit (2010)
Modern westerns are few and far between and great ones are even harder to find. But True Grit is the best movie of its genre on Amazon Prime Video. Written and directed by the Coen brothers, True Grit is the second adaptation of a 1968 Charles Portis novel of the same name. The Academy Award-nominated film tells the story of Mattie — a feisty but determined young girl who hires US Marshal Cogburn to pursue the outlaw who killed her father.
She wants to accompany Cogburn on his quest, but is left behind because of her age and gender. Meanwhile, Cogburn teams up with Texas Ranger LaBoeuf to split the reward. Stubborn and single-minded, Mattie catches up to them and refuses to turn back. Hailee Steinfield is excellent as Mattie, and Jeff Bridges (Cogman) and Matt Damon (LaBoeuf) complete the unlikely trio with their great performances. It is not only a great western, but one of the best movies you can watch on Amazon Prime Video.
5. Lady Bird (2017)
The struggles of adolescence are masterfully portrayed in Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut Lady Bird. At times a brutally honest coming-of-age tale, the film follows Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson, played by Saoirse Ronan. As many of us have, Christine rebelliously dreams of escaping to a bigger, “more cultured” city after she graduates from her catholic high school.
We see her struggle with classes, have turbulent relationships with friends and family, and face the fear and confusion that comes with impending adulthood. It’s what makes Lady Bird is one of the most honest and captivating teenage films put to screen. It’s a movie every young adult should watch. Even if you are past your teen years, you might see a lot of yourself in Lady Bird.
6. 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.
7. Hereditary (2018)
If you enjoy films which break from the traditional horror mold, Hereditary should be on the top of your list. The story begins with the death of Ellen Graham — a secretive and private woman. As her daughter Annie, played by Toni Collette, tries to deal with the grief of losing her mother, sinister secrets slowly begin to unravel.
The directorial debut of Ari Aster, Hereditary is a slow nightmarish burn. It is truly unsettling on a visceral level, so much so that’s hard to take your eyes off the screen. This is further accentuated by the masterful cinematography and exceptional performances of all involved, especially Toni Collette. It is one of the best horror films released in recent years and one of the best movies on Amazon Prime Video.
8. 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.
9. Annihilation (2018)
Based on a novel of the same name, Annihilation is one of the strangest films on our list. This mind-bending sci-fi horror takes biology professor Lena, played by Natalie Portman, on a surreal expedition. Entering an anomalous zone called “the shimmer”, she and her companions discover an other-worldly jungle that is mutated and overgrown out of control.
Related: The 10 best sci-fi movies on Netflix
Their goal is to find the source of the anomaly and stop the shimmer from expanding. The special effects and cinematography are breathtaking, and the pacing makes you just as lost and on edge as the characters. Annihilation also raises questions about nature and humanity’s place among it. It can be deeply disturbing at times, but also quite profound. It stands out for all the right reasons, making it one of the best movies on Amazon Prime Video.
10. 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.
11. The Avengers (2012)
The Marvel Cinematic Universe would have never become what it is today without The Avengers. Although relatively recent, the first team-up of Earth’s mightiest heroes is a modern day comic book movie classic. The film offers Joss Whedon’s signature blend of action spectacle interspersed with light-hearted comedy. It will appeal even to those that are not fans of superhero flicks — you only need to have a very cursory knowledge of the MCU to enjoy The Avengers. Watching the solo movies will only enhance the experience.
But Captain America, Iron Man, and the gang aren’t the only ones to pay attention to. Tom Hiddleston gives a compelling and sometimes hilarious performance as villain Loki. Before Thanos, Loki was often considered the best villain of the series and for good reason. If you want to watch a fun and thrilling flick, you can’t go wrong with The Avengers. It’s entertaining, unpretentious, and one of the best movies on Amazon Prime.
12. Millenium Actress (2001)
In the west, Satoshi Kon’s name is most commonly associated with two of his films: Perfect Blue and Paprika. However, one of the Japanese director’s masterpieces is overlooked and underrated — Millennium Actress. Its story beings as an old and acclaimed movie studio is about to be torn down. Two journalists set to interview its most famous retired actress Chiyoko.
Don’t miss: The best anime on Amazon Prime Video
Her story is told through marvelous animated visuals and interwoven layers of different narratives. Time periods and locations blend, as do moments from the silver screen, reality and dreams. The result is a stunning and surreal experience, typical of Satoshi Kon’s signature style. Even if you are not usually drawn to animated films, Millennium Actress is without a doubt one of the best movies you can watch on Amazon Prime Video.
13. 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 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.
14. The Disaster Artist (2017)
If there is a film that is synonymous with “so bad it’s good”, it would be Tommy Wiseau’s The Room. Dug up from obscurity by Internet reviewers in recent years, it was panned as one of the worst movies ever made. The Disaster Artist unveils the story of the now infamous film and the bizarre personality behind it.
James Franco transforms himself into Tommy, nailing his unique accent and mannerisms. The film is funny, ridiculous, but sometimes brutally honest. Yet, it shows a vulnerable and relatable side to someone who was mercilessly mocked. It expertly portrays Tommy’s misguided but passionate attitude towards film, as well as the genuine friendships he makes in the process of fulfilling his ambition. The star-studded cast, including Seth Rogan and Dave Franco, all do a great job in bringing the story to life. Of course, watching The Room first will give you a better understanding, but it is not necessary to enjoy The Disaster Artist.
That’s it for our list of best movies on Amazon Prime. For even more Prime related content, check out the scrolling widget below: