Last Updated: January 19th
Amazon Prime is way more than just a way to get your electronics and books in two days or less. There’s a wide breadth of good movies and TV shows out there to choose from if you know what you’re looking for.
To help you out, we’ve rounded up the 35 best movies on Amazon Prime right now. From new Oscar winners to classic titles, you might be surprised as to what the service has available.
Sound of Metal (2019)
Run Time: 120 min | IMDb: 7.8/10
Riz Ahmed stars in this powerful, heartbreaking Amazon original movie from director Darius Marder. Ahmed plays a heavy-metal drummer named Ruben who, along with his girlfriend and the band’s lead singer Lou (Olivia Cooke) hopes to make it big in the music scene. His plans are thrown for a loop when he begins to lose his hearing, putting his life, and his love for music, in jeopardy.
The Farewell (2019)
Run Time: 100 min | IMDb: 7.7/10
Awkwafina stars in this dramedy from director Lulu Wang that got a fair amount of Oscar buzz this season. The story follows a Chinese family, who discovers their beloved grandmother has only a short time to live. Instead of telling her, they keep the news to themselves, planning a wedding so that everyone can gather to say their goodbyes. It’s a dark comedy to be sure, but it’s given heart by some brilliant performances including Shuzhen Zhao as the central Nai Nai.
Run Time: 147 min | IMDb: 7.2/10
Nauseating. Disturbing. A total mindf*ck. Those are all fitting descriptions of Ari Aster’s Hereditary follow-up, a sophomore outing that gleefully embraces the very worst of humanity and shines an unforgiving light on those universal flaws. It’s a horror story, sure, but it’s a relationship drama at its core, flavored with pagan rituals, brutal killings, unsettling imagery, and all-consuming grief. Florence Pugh gives a career-defining performance as Dani, a young woman reeling from a terrible familial tragedy who accompanies her distant, disinterested boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor) and his college bros to a small Swedish village to celebrate the summer solstice.
A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)
Run Time: 146 min | IMDb: 7.1/10
Jude Law and Haley Joel Osment star in this mind-bending drama from Steven Spielberg about a highly-advanced robot on a quest to become real. Osment plays an artificial child named David, given to a human family whose own son is suffering from a rare illness. David is accepted and loved, until the human boy makes a miraculous recovery, becomes jealous of his new “brother” and orchestrates his exile. From there, David goes in search of answers as to what he is and why he was created, a perilous journey that proves eye-opening. Osment is eerily perfect in the starring role and Spielberg injects just enough emotional tension to make us care past the thrill of the hunt for answers in this world that feels alarmingly possible.
The Virgin Suicides (1999)
Run Time: 97 min | IMDb: 7.2/10
An early work of director Sofia Coppola, this film based on a 1993 novel of the same name, follows the story of the Lisbon sisters, five girls aged 13-17 who make a suicide pact after their youngest sibling kills herself. A sense of mystery and aloofness adds to the girls’ appeal when it comes to the neighborhood boys, through whom much of the story is told. Confined to their house after the death of their sister, the girls find ways of communicating with the outside world through secret phone calls and late-night trysts. Eventually, the sisters make good on their pact, but Coppola chooses to find a sense of freedom and validation in their decision to commit suicide, one that paints the end of the film in a strangely victorious light.
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
Run Time: 107 min | IMDb: 7.7/10
George Clooney, John Turturro, and Tim Blake Nelson star in this period comedy, playing a trio of escaped convicts on the hunt for buried treasure. While they try to find their ticket to riches and freedom, a dogged detective pursues them, forcing the group to come up with imaginative, ridiculous ways to evade the law. Look, this movie’s great, but let’s not kid ourselves — we’re here for the soundtrack.
28 Days Later (2002)
Run Time: 113 min | IMDb: 7.6/10
Starring Cillian Murphy and Brendan Gleeson, this British horror flick follows a pretty unlucky bike courier who wakes up from a coma and finds his city not only deserted but filled with the undead. The reason? A group of animal rights activists freed a chimp carrying a virus that caused the entire human population to, well, you know, drop-dead and then reanimate and crave human flesh. The group tries to make their way to safety, a place untouched by the virus, but you can guess how well that goes.
The Avengers (2012)
Run Time: 143 min | IMDb: 8/10
The mind-boggling success of the Marvel Universe this decade makes it easy to forget it’s humble, fantastically-written origins. We’re talking about the first Avengers team-up, a modest affair in comparison to the universe-spanning, dimension-hopping Endgame, but one that still holds up as a worthy outing for our O.G. heroes. This film marked the first time Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Thor, Natasha Romanoff, Bruce Banner, and Clint Barton shared any real screentime and while most of the fighting is done in-house, the team pulls it together to take on a scheming Loki and his invading army of earth-destroying space monsters in the end.
Fast Color (2018)
Run Time: 100 min | IMDb: 5.9/10
Gugu Mbatha-Raw stars in this sci-fi thriller about a woman on the run who must return home to the family she abandoned once word of her supernatural abilities spreads. Mbatha-Raw plays Ruth, a woman whose seizures trigger earthquakes. Her mother and young daughter also have telekinetic abilities and when Ruth comes home to escape a dogged scientist determined to experiment on her, she begins trying to understand her powers with their help while also staying under the radar.
The Last Black Man In San Francisco (2019)
Run Time: 121 min | IMDb: 7.4/10
Jimmie Fails plays himself in this semi-autobiographical drama about a young man’s attempts to reclaim his childhood home. Fails and his best friend, Mont (Jonathan Majors), visit the old Victorian house where Fails grew up, only to find it in disarray. When the current tenants find themselves embroiled in a fight for ownership, forced to move out while the battle plays out in court, Jimmy and Mont move in, fixing up the place and fighting to restore some of the neighborhood’s old school charm.
Cabin in the Woods (2011)
Run Time: 95 min | IMDb: 7/10
Chris Hemsworth stars in this Whedon creation directed by Drew Goddard that’ll make you wary of ever going on a mountain retreat again. Hemsworth plays one of a group of five friends who head to the woods for some R&R. The remote cabin they stay at quickly becomes a hellish prison they struggle to escape from.
Erin Brockovich (2000)
Run Time: 131 min | IMDb: 7.3/10
There’s a reason Julia Roberts took home an Oscar for her performance in this biopic from Steven Soderbergh. She’s absolutely magnetic as the titular Brokovich, a single mom working her way up the corporate ladder who discovers a passion for helping others through the law. Brokovich is dogged in her pursuit for justice — the real-life inspiration for the character single-handedly brought down one of the biggest energy companies in California — but it’s the quieter, more emotional moments Roberts is able to deliver that feel even more worthy of her “Best Actress” win.
Almost Famous (2000)
Run Time: 122 min | IMDb: 7.9/10
This cult comedy from director Cameron Crowe has earned a dedicated fan following amongst rock-and-roll lovers. Based on Crowe’s own experiences as an underaged music journalist for Rolling Stone, the film follows a 15-year-old kid named William Miller, who goes on the road with rock band and becomes entangled in their exploits. Billy Crudup and Frances McDormand also star, but it’s Kate Hudson, who plays the magnetic groupie Penny Lane, who really steals the film.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
Run Time: 120 min | IMDb: 7.9/10
Ang Lee’s Oscar-winning martial arts flick defied the odds to become one of the most influential films in the genre, crossing multicultural barriers and introducing audiences to some great talents in the international acting world. The film follows the story of Li Mu Bai, an accomplished Wudang swordsman who retires his legendary weapon only to be pulled back into a battle with his arch-nemesis, a woman who killed his master years earlier and seeks to claim his sword for her own. There’s more happening plot-wise — Bai has a love interest in another skilled warrior, Yu Shu Lien, and they’re both forced to face off against a Wudang prodigy that’s been studying under their enemy — but the real draw here is the perfectly-mapped-out fight sequences, which include just enough special effect to be awe-inducing, but not too much to distract from the beautiful choreography that Lee puts on display.
It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
Run Time: 130 min | IMDb: 8.6/10
James Stewart stars in this holiday flick about a down-on-his-luck businessman who laments his suburban life. George Bailey wishes for a different, more successful life, one unencumbered by a wife and kids but when his wish is granted and an angel shows him what life would be like without him, Bailey must figure out how to make the most of the present. Stewart is magnetic in the role and though it’s thought of as a Christmas classic, this film can and should be enjoyed year-round.
Short Term 12 (2013)
Run Time: 96 min | IMDb: 8/10
This film by Destin Daniel Cretton (the guy Marvel’s tapped to direct Shang-Chi) marks the first leading role for Brie Larson. Long before her Captain Marvel days, Larson was playing Grace Howard, a young woman navigating life as a supervisor of a group home for troubled teens. Other soon-to-be stars like Lakeith Stanfield and Rami Malek also have a role in this thing but it’s Larson’s vehicle and she’s in full command of it.
Run Time: 85 min | IMDb: 7.4/10
Jonah Hill’s directorial debut is a nostalgic ode to growing up in the 90s. The film follows a 13-year-old kid named Stevie who spends one summer in L.A. navigating between his troubled home life and a new group of friends that push to him to test his own boundaries. The movie is heavy in skater culture, a scene L.A. was known for at the time, but it’s also an introspective look on making the transition from boyhood to adulthood, and how perilous that time can be.
Knives Out (2019)
Run Time: 130 min | IMDb: 7.9/10
Call us jaded, but few movies that are as hyped up as this Rian Johnson whodunnit actually live up to the hype. You’ve got an A-list cast that’s somehow managing to share the screen and carve out singular moments for their characters despite a packed plot. You’ve got a story with twists and turns and darkly comedic gags you could never see coming. And you’ve got Johnson, who managed to make an original film that actually competed with, and surpassed, some established franchises at the box office. Something’s got to be wrong with this movie, right? Wrong. It’s as layered and nuanced and perfect as Chris Evans’ waffle-knit sweater. Enjoy.
Run Time: 85 min | IMDb: 7/10
Disappointing sequels aside, the original installment in J.J. Abrams’ Cloverfield trilogy remains one of the greatest works of found-footage in the history of film. Most of that is because the narrative style lends itself to the tension, chaos, and horror of fleeing a monster destroying New York City. The film follows a group of friends caught in the bedlam after a Godzilla-like creature begins attacking the Big Apple. While trying to save each other and make it out of the city before the bombs drop, the friends document their journey. The directing by Matt Reeves is superb, almost too good, because you often feel a part of the action, for better and worse.
Run Time: 140 min | IMDb: 8.2/10
Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton star in this gritty MMA-inspired family drama. Hardy and Edgerton play estranged brothers who meet in the ring decades after their family was torn apart by drug use and their father’s (and excellent Nick Nolte) abuse. Hardy plays Tommy, a war vet running from a terrible experience overseas. Edgerton plays Brendan, a high school science teacher participating in underground fighting rings to make some extra cash. The two square off in the ring, where more than just blows are traded.
Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father (2008)
Run Time: 95 min | IMDb: 8.6/10
When filmmaker Kurt Kuenne’s childhood friend Andrew Bagby is killed and his suspected killer/ex-girlfriend reveals she’s pregnant, Kurt decides to make a documentary chronicling Andrew’s life. While largely a love letter to a man who touched the lives of many for Zachary, the son he never met, Dear Zachary also tells the starkly bitter side of a broken Canadian legal system that directly endangered a baby. We follow the drawn-out custody battle between Andrew’s parents and Zachary’s mother, interspersed with loving snapshots into the Bagby family. The story sucks you in, but it’s also the at times comedic, fast-paced, and downright enraging documentary style of the film that breaks up the emotional tale.
Late Night (2019)
Run Time: 102 min | IMDb: 6.6/10
Mindy Kaling and Emma Thompson team up for this comedy that imagines the grit and humor it takes to lead a late-night talk show as a woman. Thompson plays Katherine Newbury, an accomplished TV personality who fears she may lose her talk show because of declining ratings and competition from a younger, male comedian. She hires Molly (Kaling) a comedy writer with little experience to diversify her team, and the two women weather hilarious mishaps and a few scandals to bring the show back on track.
Lost In Translation (2003)
Run Time: 102 min | IMDb: 7.7/10
Bill Murray and a terrific Scarlett Johansson star in Sofia Coppola’s Oscar-winning dramedy. Murray plays Bob Harris, an aging movie star who has outlived his time in the spotlight and is finding it hard to move on. Johansson plays Charlotte, a young woman neglected and just a bit lost herself. The two form a quirky, thought-provoking bond that gives some much-needed enlightenment and us the chance to witness the actors’ comedic chemistry first hand.
Honey Boy (2019)
Run Time: 94 min | IMDb: 7.4/10
Shia LaBeouf writes and stars in this semi-autobiographical tale of his time as a child star. Noah Jupe plays the younger version of himself while LaBeouf plays his controlling, often abusive father. The two live in motel rooms in L.A. while Otis (Jupe) works on a popular kids TV show. Their relationship becomes strained as Otis ages, and his dad James (LaBeouf) grows resentful of his son’s success. Lucas Hedges plays an elder Otis, who struggles with all kinds of addictions because of his rough, unconventional upbringing. It’s a tough watch but one that feels refreshingly honest, and you can’t deny LaBeouf’s talent and courage in telling such a raw, intimate story.
The Handmaiden (2016)
Run Time: 144 min | IMDb: 8.1/10
Based on a historical crime novel set in Victoria-Era England, Park Chan-wook’s lavish, mesmerizing thriller focuses on two young women fighting to escape oppression by the men in their lives. Chan-woo has traded the stuffy British countryside for Japanese-occupied Korea, telling the stories of Lady Hideko and her handmaiden Sook-hee in three parts, weaving a tale of passion, betrayal, dark secrets, and revenge with grander themes of imperialism, colonial rule, and patriarchal corruption. The two women are the draw of the film with both resorting to illicit, illegal, morally compromising schemes in order to gain their freedom, but love is an unintended consequence that leaves the third act — one you might think you have figured out halfway through the film — completely unpredictable.
The Big Sick (2017)
Run Time: 120 min | IMDb: 7.6/10
Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon drew from their own unusual love story for their script about a Chicago comic named Kumail (Nanjiani) who falls in love with Emily, a woman (Zoe Kazan) who falls into a coma while in the midst of a rift in their relationship created by the expectations of Kumail’s traditional parents. The funny, moving romantic comedy also features strong supporting work from Ray Romano and Holly Hunter as Emily’s parents, who form an awkward bond with Kumail as they wait for Emily’s recovery.
You Were Never Really Here (2017)
Run Time: 89 min | IMDb: 6.8/10
Joaquin Phoenix stars as a troubled hitman with a dark past in this thrilling crime flick from Lynne Ramsay. Phoenix plays Joe, a gun for hire, former military man and FBI agent, who spends most of his time rescuing victims of sex trafficking. He’s recruited to save a Senator’s daughter from a brothel that caters to high-end clientele, but the job thrusts him into the center of a conspiracy that costs him everything and ends in blood and tragedy. It’s a relentless slog to be sure, but it works because Ramsay is more interested in profiling the man, not the hits he makes.
The Lighthouse (2019)
Run Time: 109 min | IMDb: 7.6/10
Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe star in this truly bonkers period drama from Robert Eggers. It’s a beautifully shot portrait of two men slowly driven to the brink of insanity by their choice in career — they’re stuck alone on a slab of rock, looking after a crumbling lighthouse. Pattinson masturbates to visions of mermaids, and Dafoe gets drunk and does a jig. To say anything more would be spoiling the fun.
Beautiful Boy (2018)
Run Time: 120 min | IMDb: 7.3/10
Steve Carell and Timothee Chalamet star in this heartbreaking drama about a father trying to save his son from a drug addiction that’s slowly eating away at his family. Carell plays David, a New York Times writer who struggles to help his son Nic (Chalamet) after he falls victim to a worrying drug habit. He has moments of sobriety, attending college, living with his mother in L.A., and working at a drug clinic to help others battling the disease. Yet eventually, his addiction returns, and Nic is powerless to fight it. David is forced to choose between sacrificing his family and his own sanity or continuing to help his son. Both Carell and Chalamet give powerful performances that elevate what essentially is an emotionally restrained look at father-son relationships and the landmines they navigate.
Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
Run Time: 104 min | IMDb: 7.5/10
A portrait of a particular moment in music history, when the folk revival found young musicians discovering their voices in old styles and old songs, Inside Llewyn Davis stars Oscar Isaac as a singer/songwriter who can never quite translate his talent into professional success. Joel and Ethan Coen both exactingly recreate early ‘60s New York and use it as the site of one of an affecting tale of the clash between artistic impulses and the needs of the material world, a theme they’d previously explored with Barton Fink and would pick up again with Hail, Caesar!.
Fighting With My Family (2019)
Run Time: 108 min | IMDb: 7.1/10
Dwayne Johnson and Lena Headey star in this family drama about a pair of siblings with dreams of making it in the WWE. Only one, Florence Pugh’s Saraya, actually makes it, but the road to wrestling stardom is riddled with fake friends, sexism, parental drama, and self-doubt. There’s plenty of great matchups here — body slams, cage matches and the like — but the real draw is Pugh, who completely disappears in the role.
We Need To Talk About Kevin (2011)
Run Time: 110 min | IMDb: 7.2/10
Eva Khatchadourian (Tilda Swinton), who’s unwilling and unable to properly care for her troubled son Kevin, watches her life unravel as her husband (John C. Reilly) ignores their problems and Kevin grows more and more sociopathic and violent. The story jumps around in time, showing Swinton’s character as both a new mother who blames her son for ruining her life and as a woman who eventually blames herself for what becomes of her son. Swinton proves once again that she’s the actress that indie movies need for complex characters that live their lives in grey areas. At its core, We Need To Talk is about the importance of proper parenting, communication, and probably therapy. And it’s not for the faint of heart.
Logan Lucky (2017)
Run Time: 118 min | IMDb: 7.1/10
Ten years after his last Ocean‘s entry, Steven Soderbergh revisits the heist genre, this time centering on a pair of unlucky brothers (Channing Tatum and Adam Driver) working a scheme to rip off a big NASCAR race. Memorable side characters, rapid-fire dialogue, and charismatic performances keep the story from becoming too predictable even for a twist-filled heist tale. Soderbergh was even able to cut out major studios and keep complete creative control over the movie, thanks to streaming services and international distribution. It’s a largely light-hearted movie, and frankly, that’s necessary sometimes.
The Man From Nowhere (2010)
Run Time: 119 min | IMDb: 7.8/10
A mysterious pawnshop owner (Won Bin), whose only friend is a child that lives next door, tears the local criminal presence apart after she’s kidnapped. This South Korean thriller from Lee Jeong-beom follows a similar format to such films as Léon: The Professional and Man On Fire of “guy with a shady past protects little girl”, but The Man From Nowhere still crafts an original tale of a heartbroken man out to save the only thing he has left in this world. The action sequences are bloody and intense, and Bin’s stoic performance brings a painful depth to the brutal savior.
Run Time: 89 min | IMDb: 7.2/10
Coherence is one of those low-budget sci-fi stories that is extremely tough to explain without either giving too much away or requiring an extended entry. Essentially, a group of friends sifts through their own issues and insecurities during a mind-bending paradoxical experience. Taking place almost entirely in the same room on a single night, the characters struggle to find answers just as much as the viewer. It’s a challenging yet enthralling film, perfect for those who love to overthink things.
Recent Changes Through January 2021
Removed: Inception, The Departed, Fargo, Raging Bull, Hereditary, Inglorious Basterds, Eighth Grade
Added: Sound of Metal, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Erin Brokovich, 28 Days Later, Warrior, Cloverfield, Lost in Translation