Last Updated: April 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 ranked the 25 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.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. A Beautiful Mind (2001)
Run Time: 135 min | IMDb: 8.2/10
Russell Crowe’s follow-up to Gladiator traded in bloody arenas for blackboards and mathematics seminars. Crowe brought real-life mathematician John Nash to life in this thrilling drama directed by Ron Howard. Nash was a genius, but the film also shows the darker side of his gifted mind, especially once secret government agencies and cryptic missions begin to take shape.
4. Arrival (2016)
Run Time: 116 min | IMDb: 7.9/10
A methodic, thoughtful approach to an alien invasion story, Arrival follows linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) as she struggles to figure out a way to communicate with two creatures that have inexplicably shown up in Montana. While Louise tries to buy more time in understanding the visitors, she butts heads with the military side of the operation who keep pressuring her for quick answers. After its release, it exceeded expectations at the box office, grossing more than $200 million worldwide. That year it was nominated for seven Academy Awards, winning one for Best Sound Editing.
5. Lady Bird (2017)
Run Time: 94 min | IMDb: 7.5/10
Greta Gerwig’s love letter to her hometown of Sacramento, California follows Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf as they navigate the often-frustrating relationship between mother and daughter. Ronan plays “Ladybird,” a young woman attending Catholic school who longs for the culture and change of scenery that New York City promises. Her mother, Metcalf, is overbearing and overprotective, and the family’s lack of money and social standing contributes to a rift between the two. Some hard truths are explored in this film, but watching Ronan manage teenage angst, first love, and everything in between will give you all kinds of nostalgia.
6. Hereditary (2018)
Run Time: 127 min | IMDb: 7.3/10
Toni Collette stars in this terrifying nightmare by first-time director Ari Aster. The film charts the grief and shared trauma of the Graham family. Annie (Collette) is mourning the loss of her secretive mother, worrying over her inherited mental health issues and her children. When her son Peter accidentally kills his sister, hauntings begin happenings. Malevolent spirits, possessions, a seance gone wrong — this is pure nightmare fuel people.
7. First Reformed (2017)
Run Time: 113 min | IMDb: 7.1/10
A dark, morose examination on everything from faith and fidelity to climate change, grief, and mental health issues, Paul Schrader’s drama about a Protestant minister struggling to reconcile his beliefs with the changing world around him is a poignant, if heavy-handed, commentary on some pretty complicated universal themes. Ethan Hawke gives a stand-out performance as Reverend Toller, a man mourning the loss of his son, facing a terminal cancer diagnosis, and grappling with the reality of his dwindling church membership. He counsels a young woman named Mary (Amanda Seyfried) about her husband, who’s entered a dangerous state of depression over the very real issue of climate change; and through his relationship with her, Toller confronts his own demons and his community’s narrow-minded views. It’s by no means a fun watch, but Hawke is such an underrated actor that being surprised by his stroke of genius in this role is reason enough to stream.
8. 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.
De Laurentiis Entertainment Group
9. Blue Velvet (1987)
Run Time: 120 min | IMDb: 7.8/10
David Lynch’s Blue Velvet is more grounded in realism than some of his other abstract, dream-like works, but that only makes it more strange and offputting. After a college student (Kyle MacLachlan) finds a severed ear in a field, he gets involved with an emotionally damaged woman (Isabella Rossellini) and her deranged tormenter (Dennis Hopper), shaking up his seemingly idyllic hometown. It’s a raw and bleak tale, with plenty of Lynch’s trademark dark humor. Rossellini and Hopper are especially compelling every time they’re on screen, and the film earned Lynch his second Oscar nomination for direction.
10. Moonlight (2016)
Run Time: 111 min | IMDb: 7.4/10
Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight will always be remembered for winning the Academy Award for Best Picture after a mix-up that initially named La La Land as the winner. But that’s just as asterisk attached to a momentous coming-of-age story set over three eras in a young man’s life as he grows up in Miami, grappling with the sexuality he feels will make him even more of an outcast while searching for guidance his drug-addicted mother (Naomie Harris) can’t provide. The film is both lyrical and moving, and won justifiable acclaim for its talented cast, including a Best Supporting Actor award for Mahershala Ali as a sympathetic drug dealer.
11. Death At A Funeral (2007)
Run Time: 90 min | IMDb: 7.4/10
This dark British comedy has flown under the radar ever since its release, which is a real shame seeing as it has a star-studded cast and enough dry wit to keep the laughs coming. Matthew Macfadyen plays Daniel, a man living with his parents who must arrange his father’s funeral without the help of his more successful brother. On the day of the event, chaos erupts as Daniel’s father’s ex-lover (Peter Dinklage) blackmails the family with scandalous photos, and Daniel’s cousin accidentally doses her new boyfriend with LSD, thinking it’s Valium. Things only go (hilariously) down hill from there.
12. Eighth Grade (2017)
Run Time: 93 min | IMDb: 7.5/10
Comedian Bo Burnham’s directorial debut looks at the social anxieties of a young girl on the cusp of her high school career. Elsie Fisher plays Kayla, a pre-teen in her final week of eighth grade. She’s virtually friendless, choosing to spend her time creating inspiring Youtube videos that no one sees. When she decides to venture from her computer screen, attending pool parties and hanging out with older kids, she’s thrust into situations she’s not entirely ready for. The film is a painfully honest look at the pressure of growing up, the loss of innocence, and how social media can contribute to feelings of anxiety and isolation in teens, especially young girls who are forced to grow up much more quickly than their male counterparts.
3. mother! (2017)
Run Time: 121 min | IMDb: 6.6/10
Darren Aronofsky’s mystery thriller might best be described as “polarizing.” You’ll either tap into the various themes churning just under the surface of this thing, or you’ll walk away after the two hours are up thinking, “What in the hell did I just see?” Either way, the film does A LOT and it gives its A-list cast including Javier Bardem, Jennifer Lawrence, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Ed Harris, even more to chew on. Whether you love it or hate it, mother! is a film you need to see at least once.
14. 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.
15. 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.
16. Star Trek (2009)
Run Time: 127 min | IMDb: 8/10
JJ Abrams revived the Star Trek franchise nearly 10 years ago in much the same way he would eventually undertake a new chapter in the Star Wars universe: namely, a lot of lens flares, elaborately-planned action sequences, and a bit of quick-witted humor. It more than worked for this Spock/Kirk origin story, which focused on the two space venturing peers before they were on friendly terms. Chris Pine is all cocky bravado and misplaced daddy issues as Kirk, a rogue, if talented, captain in the making with a healthy aversion to authority. His foe-turned-ally Spock, is a man conflicted, straddling between two worlds both externally and internally. There’s plenty of bromance here, a few space battles, and some good-natured fun.
17. 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.
18. Wonder (2018)
Run Time: 113 min | IMDb: 8/10
This family drama based on an NY Times bestseller stars Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson as parents to a truly remarkable little boy named Auggie. Auggie has a facial deformity that affects his social life as he begins going to school for the first time. Since we’re nearing the holidays, and this is a time that’s all about families, it makes sense Amazon added this to their library. The kids will love it (and, hopefully, learn from it).
19. 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.
20. 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!.
21. The Disaster Artist (2017)
Run Time: 104 min | IMDb: 7.5/10
Only an actor as confusing and committed to swimming against the Hollywood tide as James Franco could direct this pseudo-biography of Tommy Wiseau, an aspiring filmmaker who made the wrong kind of noise in the industry with his theatrics while trying to get a feature film made. Wiseau in real life is an enigmatic kind of train wreck, and Franco plays him brilliantly here, injecting heart and a dreamy sense of possibility to his story.
22. 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.
23. 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.
24. 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.
25. 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.
Recent Changes Through April 2019:
Removed: Chinatown, The Virgin Suicides
Added: Short Term 12, Death at a Funeral