Last Updated: December 5th
While it may live in the shadow of other better-known streaming services, Hulu, once regarded simply as “that TV thing,” has managed to maintain itself as a viable competitor in terms of offering a great variety of content online. This includes an impressive selection of quality movies, but it’s not always easy to browse through their catalog if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Which begs the question: What is the best movie on Hulu right now? From iconic classics to contemporary indie fare, here’s a look at the 30 best films available to stream, ranked.
1. If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)
Run Time: 119 min | IMDb: 7.2/10
Barry Jenkins follows up the success of Moonlight with this adaptation of a James Baldwin masterpiece. Told in a nonlinear style, the film recounts the romance of Tish and Fonny, two young Black lovers living in 1970s New York. When Fonny is accused of a heinous crime, Tish and her family fight to prove his innocence. The story is heartbreaking and hopeful at the same time, and Regina King puts in an Oscar-winning performance as Tish’s devoted mother.
2. The Wrestler (2008)
Run Time: 109 min | IMDb: 7.9/10
Mickey Rourke gives a career-defining turn as a washed-up wrestler forced into retirement who finds life outside the ring nearly unbearable. After a heart attack pushes Randy “The Ram” Robinson to leave the sport, he tries to make a go of it as a deli worker at a supermarket. He reconciles with his estranged daughter, strikes up a romance with a stripper, and begins to get his life on track before drugs, booze, and his unruly temper cause chaos in his already fragile routine.
3. I, Tonya (2017)
Run Time: 120 min | IMDb: 7.5/10
As flashy and over-the-top as the sequin-spandex numbers that graced the ice back in the ’80s, I, Tonya manages to straddle a thin line. It’s both a biopic of one of the most notorious female athletes in the history of figure skating and a raucous comedy intent on mocking everything troubling about American culture at the time. Margot Robbie is brilliant in her role – playing a woman tortured by talent and her inability to capitalize on it – and you can literally hear Allison Janney chewing every scene she’s in as Harding’s narcissistic, chain-smoking mother. Plus that parrot bite is as funny as you could hope.
4. Election (1999)
Run Time: 103 min | IMDb: 7.3/10
Matthew Broderick plays a depressed high school teacher, who tries to manage his imploding marriage while facing off against a determined and cunning student in this dark comedy that features Reese Witherspoon in one of the best performances of her career. Witherspoon plays Tracy Flick, an overachieving student with dreams (of becoming the student body president) that are quickly dashed by the school’s popular jock. Tracy’s willing to go to extreme lengths to win the race, but when Broderick’s Mr. McAllister thinks to intervene, his own failing personal life is put on display.
5. 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.
6. Vice (2018)
Run Time: 132 min | IMDb: 7.2/10
Adam McKay’s controversial biopic lands on Hulu with its impressive cast of Oscar-winners including Christian Bale, who undergoes a mind-blowing transformation to play former Vice President Dick Cheney. The film follows the build-up to Cheney’s White House appointment, as he gains power first as a Washington insider, then as the man pulling the strings of the Bush administrations. Amy Adams plays his supportive, just as morally compromised wife, Lynne, with Sam Rockwell turning in a hilarious performance as Bush himself.
7. Winter’s Bone (2010)
Run Time: 100 min | IMDb: 7.2/10
A film noir set in the Ozarks of Missouri, Winter’s Bone was the breakthrough role for Jennifer Lawrence, who plays Ree Dolly, a 17-year-old who looks after her family since her father disappeared. With the looming threat of losing her home, Ree goes in search of her missing father and enters into a world of distrust and violence. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and though it didn’t take any Oscars home, it did win the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.
8. Sorry to Bother You (2018)
Run Time: 111 min | IMDb: 7/10
Boots Riley’s directorial debut comes courtesy of this dark, absurdist comedy that manages to weave themes of class and capitalism into a bonkers tale about a telemarketer living in Oakland who figures out a way to use his “white voice” to make sales. As he moves up the ladder, selling while hiding his identity, he’s pulled into a conspiracy that forces him to choose between cashing in at humanity’s expense or joining his friends in a rebellion against the system. Lakeith Stanfield gives a riveting turn as Cassius Green, Cash, the kid at the center of this bizarre story, and Tessa Thompson gives a commendable performance as Cash’s radical feminist girlfriend, Detroit.
9. The Beatles: Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years (2016)
Run Time: 137 min | IMDb: 7.8/10
Set during the touring years of The Beatles’ career, from 1962-1966, director Ron Howard crafts an intimate portrayal of the world’s most popular band with the help of both Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, along with widows Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison. Featuring 4K restorations of some of the band’s most memorable concerts, this documentary is a must for any film lover, Beatles fan or otherwise.
10. A Quiet Place (2018)
Run Time: 90 min | IMDb: 7.6/10
John Krasinski’s breakout horror flick has made its way to Hulu. The film stars Krasinski and his wife, Emily Blunt, as a couple trying their best to raise their family in the middle of an apocalypse where the slightest sound might attract other-worldly creatures intent on hunting them down and killing them. It’s a thrilling turn for both actors, with twists you don’t see coming and a satisfying ending.
11. Chinatown (1974)
Run Time: 130 min | IMDb: 8.2/10
Faye Dunaway and Jack Nicholson star in this neo-noir about a private investigator who becomes entangled in a government scheme. Nicholson plays Jake Gittes, a P.I. hired by Evelyn Malwray (Dunaway) to follow her husband and report on his dealings. It turns out, Mr. Malwray was at the center of a government cover-up as the local water authority was trying to run people off their land by drying up their water source. There’s a lot going on here — corruption, a twisted family secret, romance, and plenty of violence — but watching Nicholson confusedly sort through it all is most of the fun.
12. Ben Is Back (2018)
Run Time: 103 min | IMDb: 6.7/10
Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges star in this heartbreaking family drama about a mother struggling to reconnect with her son who’s in the midst of a long battle with addiction. Roberts plays Holly, who returns home on Christmas Eve to find her son Ben (Hedges) waiting for her. Ben’s been in rehab after getting hooked on prescription pills following a snowboarding accident in high school and has plans to celebrate the holiday with his family before returning to treatment. Those plans are quickly thwarted by old foes looking to use Ben to sell and smuggle drugs, and by the death of a close friend of Ben’s who he may have introduced to pills. Roberts and Hedges are both magnetic in their roles, playing a tortured familial bond to great effect. It’s not a fun watch, but it is an impactful one.
13. The Nightingale (2018)
Run Time: 136 min | IMDb: 7.2/10
Australian director Jennifer Kent follows up her surprise success, The Babadook, with another dark tale, this time one that follows a young woman on a path of revenge. Aisling Franciosi plays Claire, an Irish convict sent to Tasmania in 1825 who chases a British officer (Sam Claflin) through the wilderness intent on making him pay for the crimes he committed against her and her family. Along the way, she recruits help from an aboriginal tracker and the two navigate racial tensions and prejudice on their quest. Franciosi is magnetic as Claire, a woman who refuses to let the horrible abuses she’s suffered break her and Claflin seems to delight in playing the villain of this story.
14. Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2 (2003-04)
Run Time: 120 min | IMDb: 8.1/8.0
A master assassin (Uma Thurman) is betrayed by her former associates and left for dead, only for her to awaken from her coma and vow to take uncompromising vengeance. Even if one isn’t a fan of Quentin Tarantino behind the camera, it’s impossible to say that watching his movies isn’t a distinct experience. Each piece of the Bride’s journey, while very different, fits together perfectly throughout the two films. Tarantino’s recognizable comedy, music selections, and slight self-indulgence come through in Kill Bill, which has just the right (and an excessive) amount of tongue-in-cheek and fake blood, respectively.
15. Heathers (1988)
Run Time: 103 mins | IMDb: 7.3/10
Helping to close out a decade of memorable teen films on a dark note, Heathers is a savagely funny deconstruction of the frivolousness of popular cliques that helped set the tone of many dark comedies that would follow in its wake. The plot involves a popular group of girls known as The Heathers who invite Veronica Sawyer (Winona Ryder) to join them, guaranteeing that she would gain popularity by association. Eventually, Veronica finds herself teaming up with a dangerous sociopath (Christian Slater) in an attempt to break the Heathers’ tyrannical hold on the school.
16. Akira (1988)
Run Time: 124 min | IMDb: 8.1/10
Loosely based on the ground-breaking manga of the same name, Akira is considered a landmark in Japanese animation, as well as one of the best animated films ever produced. Set in a dystopian future in 2019, a teenager named Tetsuo gains tremendous telekinetic powers after a motorcycle crash, eventually going mad with power before bringing the military-industrial complex to its knees. A live action adaptation has been in the works in some form since 2002, but remains in development purgatory for the time being.
17. Stronger (2017)
Run Time: 119 min | IMDb: 7/10
Jake Gyllenhaal and Tatiana Maslany star in this biographical drama about Boston Marathon bombing survivor Jeff Bauman. Bauman lost both his legs during the terrorist attack as he cheered on his girlfriend who was competing in the race. Gyllenhaal brings the man’s inspiring true story of resilience and recovery to the screen, fully immersing himself in the role and showing the painful aftermath of trauma. There are bits about the terrorists and the coordinated manhunt for them, but the film shines when it focuses on Gyllenhaal.
18. Shrek (2001)
Run Time: 90 min | IMDb: 7.9/10
We know what you’re thinking. Shrek? Really? An animated comedy about an ugly green ogre who rescues a princess, befriends a donkey, and saves a kingdom. Look, it’s a common misconception that Shrek was only for kids. Mike Meyers, Eddie Murphy, and Cameron Diaz all voiced characters in the film, and there were plenty of mature jokes that probably flew right over the kiddos’ heads. Torturing a sweet Gingerbread Man, interspecies hookups, and a show-stopping song and dance number to wrap things up makes this a family-friendly comedy that the adults won’t snooze through.
19. Mission Impossible: Fallout (2018)
Run Time: 127 min | IMDb: 7.8/10
Tom Cruise is joined by Superman himself, Henry Cavill in this latest installment in the action franchise. Cruise returns as Ethan Hunt who leads his IMF team but is joined by Cavill’s CIA Agent, August Walker, who’s tasked with monitoring the group after a mission gone wrong. Hunt is tracking some missing plutonium before a terrorist group called The Apostles can weaponize it against the world but he’s thwarted by a surprising enemy.
20. We Need To Talk About Kevin (2011)
Run Time: 112 min | IMDb: 7.5/10
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.
21. Big Fish (2003)
Run Time: 125 min | IMDb: 8/10
This fantasy-comedy from Tim Burton stars Ewan McGregor as a young Edward Bloom, a man with a gift for story-telling and a lust for life. In the present, Edward Bloom is an old man, on the outs with his son and on his deathbed. His son Will (Billy Crudup), having grown up hearing his father’s tall tales, believes he’s lied to him his entire life. As Edward narrates his life, the fantastical adventures he went on, meeting Will’s mother, joining a circus, saving a town, meeting a big fish, Will decides to investigate his father’s claims and discovers that the truth is just a matter of perspective. In the end, the film is about reconciliation and appreciating life to its fullest.
22. Fyre Fraud (2019)
Run Time: 96 min | IMDb: 6.8/10
The war of the Fyre docs kicked off earlier this year with Hulu releasing their surprise flick just days before Netflix’s planned exposé. Both films rehash the same basic plot: a young entrepreneur scams thousands of millennials and investors out of millions of dollars, but Hulu’s movie takes a closer look the aftermath and damage caused by Billy McFarland and Ja Rule, in addition to interviews and close looks at the events of the Fyre Festival disaster with a critical eye.
23. Annihilation (2018)
Run Time: 115 min | IMDb: 6.9/10
Natalie Portman leads this cast of badass women investigating a natural phenomenon that is slowly invading Earth. Portman plays Lena, a biologist who leads a team of women consisting of a psychologist (Jennifer Jason Leigh), a scientist (Tessa Thompson), and a paramedic (Gina Rodriguez) into “The Shimmer,” a quarantined zone mutated by alien DNA that seems to be transforming matter at will and spreading further each day. Past teams, including one led by Lena’s husband (Oscar Isaac), have disappeared in The Shimmer and Lena goes searching for a clue as to what happened to them and how she can save her husband — who returned changed from his mission. The entire journey is filled with bizarre happenings tied to meta-commentary about evolution and the human condition but honestly, the coolest thing about this movie is its cast and the kick-ass characters they play
24. Magic Mike (2008)
Run Time: 117 min | IMDb: 6.1/10
While it would be easy to play the world of male strippers for a cheap joke, but director Steven Soderbergh went for surprising nuance with Magic Mike. Yes, Matthew McConaughey bares his oiled chest and crows at a mob of horny women about whether they’re “lawbreakers,” but it takes a turn towards more dark comedy, balancing the gyrating thighs with the downside of easy money, adoring crowds, and a life lived fast. Not only did Magic Mike kickstart the McConaissance, it proved that Channing Tatum had acting chops beyond his dance moves. The ladies of Tampa — and everywhere else — will be eternally grateful.
25. Hunt For The Wilderpeople (2016)
Run Time: 101 min | IMDb: 7.9/10
A charming, unconventional story about what it means to be a family, Hunt for the Wilderpeople follows a juvenile delinquent named Ricky (Julian Dennison), who is adopted by a couple living on a farm in a remote region of New Zealand. After Ricky fakes his suicide and escapes into the bush, his (reluctantly) adopted father Hec (Sam Neill) goes looking for him, and after a series of mishaps, the two are forced to survive in the woods together for months. It was released during SXSW in 2016 (you can read our review here), and after rave reviews from critics the world over, it’s gone on to become the highest-grossing film in New Zealand history.
26. Love, Gilda (2018)
Run Time: 88 min | IMDb: 7.4/10
Before the Tina Feys, Amy Poehlers, and Maya Rudolphs of the world made Saturday Night Live a female-led powerhouse, comedian Gilda Radner starred on the sketch comedy series. She’s an icon, an absolute legend in the world of stand-up, and she played her bigger-than-life characters on the show with a kind of quirky abandon that made you laugh at them and care for them all at once. This doc looks back at her career, her struggles in an industry that wasn’t always accepting of her gender, and her brushes with more serious issues, like illness and eating disorders. Despite those serious topics, it’s a breezy, feel-good watch for comedy lovers of every generation.
27. Coherence (2014)
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.
28. The Square (2017)
Run Time: 142 min | IMDb: 7.3/10
This Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film follows Christian, an art curator whose life starts to unravel after he’s robbed and a new controversial piece opens at his exhibit. Co-starring Elisabeth Moss, Dominic West, and an aggressive man-ape artist, the movie shifts seamlessly from an awkward and bitingly funny satire to a dramatic examination of life. Despite a running time of 150 minutes, it never seems to lag, jumping from extremely tense moments to eccentric characters while being undercut with haunting music. Like a work of modern art, it’s very much left open to interpretation.
29. Colossal (2017)
Run Time: 109 min | IMDb: 6.2/10
A decidedly unusual twist on the giant monster movie, Nacho Vigolando’s Colossal follows Gloria (Anne Hathaway), an unemployed writer who moves back to her hometown after her boyfriend Tim (Dan Stevens) breaks up with her. After moving into her childhood home, Gloria’s heavy drinking starts to take a toll on her before she starts to realize that she may have a significant connection with a towering monster that spontaneously appears over Seoul, South Korea.
30. Cloverfield (2008)
Run Time: 85 min | IMDb: 7.0/10
Disappointing sequel 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 bombs drop, the friends document their journey. The directing by Matt Reeves is superb, almost too good, because you often feel like a part of the action, for better and worse.
Recent Changes Through December 2019:
Added: Kill Bill 1 & 2