Amazon Prime Video is chock-full of great movies but it’s a nightmare trying to find them. Unlike Netflix which offers strong curated playlists, Prime Video does a poor job of highlighting all the amazing movies on its service. Don’t fret though, we’ve scoured the depths of Prime’s film catalogue to deliver our list of the best movies on Amazon Prime right now.
We’ll be updating this list every month as movies come and go on Prime, so be sure to check back for new, great additions!
Classic Dystopian Action Flick
Escape From New York (1981)
Is there anything more quintessentially 80’s than Kurt Russell as action anti-hero Snake Plissken? Filmmaker John Carpenter made two films that starred Russell as Plissken, Escape From New York and Escape From L.A. The former of those two is by far the better movie.
Escape From New York takes place in a dystopia in which the entirety of NYC is turned into a prison. One night, Air Force One is hijacked and the President is taken hostage within the prison. Snake Plissken is tasked with saving the President for his freedom.
Pattinson on Prime
High Life (2019)
The Robert Pattinson renaissance is in full swing, evident by his starring roles in films like Good Time, The Lighthouse, and yes, High Life. If you’re expecting High Life to be anything like Pattinson’s early works, you’re in for a rude surprise.
High Life is an intimate sci-fi story with a brilliant plot. Sadly, the film never quite finds its footing. But still, due to some brilliant cinematography and a great performance from Pattinson, High Life is worth checking out.
Concert Classic on Prime
Stop Making Sense (1984)
Jonathan Demme’s Stop Making Sense is a documentary feature that showcases the legendary Talking Heads concert of the same name.
The film is filled with frenetic energy from start to finish. Few “concert films” feel as realistic as Demme’s classic Stop Making Sense.
Familiar, Formulaic, but Fun
Creed II (2018)
Although it isn’t quite as good its 2015 franchise reboot Creed, Creed II is sure to scratch that “Rocky” itch for fans of the series. Michael B. Jordan does a good job in the lead role of Adonis Creed, the son of series favorite Apollo Creed.
Forty-two years after the release of the original Rocky, Sylvester Stallone returned to co-write the screenplay and act in Creed II.
Hitchcock’s Prelude to War
The Lady Vanishes (1938)
The Lady Vanishes is one of Alfred Hitchcock’s most underrated films. Over the years, it’s mostly been lost to his more famous films, but those looking for a classic hidden gem will likely find a lot to love.
Margaret Lockwood stars in the film as a young woman who gets caught in the crossfire of international espionage. Looking back, it’s amazing how prescient the subject matter of the film was.
Gripping Dramas on Amazon
Manchester by the Sea (2017)
It’s no wonder why Casey Affleck won the Oscar for Best Actor for Manchester by the Sea — it’s an engrossing, nuanced, and impactful performance. It's a tragedy that doesn't overstay its welcome or overstep its bounds.
Affleck isn’t the only stellar actor that holds up Manchester by the Sea though. The film is also supported by great performances from Lucas Hedges and Michelle Williams.
Don’t Go Breaking My Heart
Taron Egerton gives a knockout performance portraying Elton John in Rocketman -- a film that explores the highs and lows of Sir Elton’s tenure in the limelight.
The production design in Rocketman is incredible. Elton John is well known for his colorful costumes on and off the stage. The wardrobing department for the film did a great job of recreating some of his most iconic outfits.
WWII on Amazon
Downfall is a harrowing recreation of the last days of Adolf Hitler’s life and the Nazi Reich. Make no mistakes, Downfall is difficult viewing, but it very well may be the most accurate depiction of the descent of one of the worst people in human history.
Historians, anthropologists and cinephiles are sure to appreciate Downfall in equal measure.
Indie Darling Debut
Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead have emerged as one of the most exciting filmmaking duos in American cinema. Their feature debut Resolution is a tense horror film that is as mind-bending as it is thought-provoking.
Benson and Moorhead’s 2017 film The Endless is a spiritual successor to Resolution.
Big Apple Gangster Classic
King of New York (1990)
Rounding out the cast are Laurence Fishburne and Wesley Snipes, who are both excellent in supporting roles.
Gus Van Sant Drama
Joaquin Phoenix stars in Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot as the late cartoonist John Callahan, who was paralyzed after a car accident at the age of 21. The film was written and directed by Gus Van Sant in 2018.
Jonah Hill, Jack Black, and Rooney Mara all give excellent performances in supporting roles.
In the Shadow of War
Last Flag Flying (2017)
Is there any filmmaker in the world who’s slept on more than Richard Linklater? It’s not hyperbole to say that he’s made four or five of the best films of the past 30 years.
But even after all his success, Linklater’s name is rarely mentioned in the same breath of Tarantino, Nolan, or Paul Thomas Anderson. Last Flag Flying is one of Linklater’s most recent features and stars Steve Carrell, Laurence Fishburne, and Bryan Cranston as three marines united due to tragedy.
Movies About Movies
Sunset Boulevard (1950)
Gloria Swanson gives an all-time great performance in the picture as Norma Desmond, a relic star of the Silent era of Hollywood.
Fraternal Fight Night
Warrior was largely overshadowed by another fighting movie released around the same time, David O. Russell’s The Fighter. Both films are great, but the latter definitely stole a lot of the former’s thunder.
Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton star across one another in Warrior as two brothers competing at a mixed martial arts tournament.
Orson Welles on Amazon Prime
The Stranger (1946)
The Stranger was one of Orson Welles’ last works before he was exiled from Hollywood and moved to Europe. As with most Orson Welles pictures, his fingerprints are over the production; he served as director, lead actor and co-writer of The Stranger.
There aren’t many movies of the World-War II era that stand up to the test of time as well as The Stranger.
Classic Movies on Amazon Prime
The African Queen (1952)
Hollywood legend Humphrey Bogart won the Academy Award for Best Lead Actor in The African Queen opposite fellow Academy Award winning actor Katherine Hepburn.
The African Queen isn’t about a queen from Africa but rather named after the name of the boat that the two main characters use to travel downstream to escape the threat of war.
Amazon Prime Originals
The Big Sick (2017)
It takes a heart of stone not to love The Big Sick. The script for the film was written by Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon and is based on the true story of the couple’s journey from a casual relationship to the throws of love.
The entire principal cast: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Ray Romano and Holly Hunter are phenomenal in the films as well.
Superhero Team-Up on Prime
The Avengers (2012)
At the time of its release, The Avengers was the biggest movie in the world. This was before Star Wars came back, and long before “the greatest superhero team-up film” Avengers: Infinity War was released.
The Avengers screenplay laid the groundwork for bringing together the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it will forever be regarded as one of the most important commercial films ever made.
Don’t Dance With the Devil
The Wailing (2016)
The Wailing received a lot of critical acclaim when it came out in 2016 -- and for good reason, the film is tense, thrilling, and tough to watch. Few horror films in recent years have stuck with me quite like The Wailing.Na Hong-jin directs the film, which follows the events of a small village ravaged by a mysterious infection that causes people to kill their families.
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
The Silence of the Lambs cleaned up at the Oscars in 1992, winning “the big 5” awards for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Anthony Hopkins), Best Actress in a Leading Role (Jodie Foster), Best Director (Jonathan Demme), and Best Writing (Ted Tally).
Amazon Movies Literally
The Lost City of Z (2016)
The Lost City of Z is a greatly enjoyable film for anyone who loves a good adventure. Charlie Hunnam stars in the picture as British explorer Percy Fawcett, a determined spirit who sacrifices nearly anything at the cost of finding the famed lost city of Z.
The cast is rounded out with great supporting performances from Tom Holland and Robert Pattinson as well.
Coppola Slow Burn Thriller
The Conversation (1974)
Francis Ford Coppola’s 1974 undisputed classic The Conversation is a paranoid tale about the death of privacy. Gene Hackman stars in the film as a surveillance expert who becomes embroiled in a matter of life and death.
The Conversation was released in the midst of the Watergate scandal and received critical acclaim for its timely themes of voyeuristic guilt and occupational integrity.
Best Comedies on Amazon Prime
Logan Lucky (2017)
Logan Lucky is director Steven Soderbergh’s best film since his 2001 masterpiece Ocean’s Eleven. It makes sense why the film works so well too, many of the themes of the Ocean’s franchise are expanded upon here in a new setting.
Aside from a strange last scene, Logan Lucky is a thrilling ride of robbery at the race-track.
True Stories on Prime
The Report (2019)
They say that history is written by the victor, but in this case, history was redacted by those in power. The Report is a film that aims to expose CIA corruption to the masses, but unfortunately was lost in the 2019 Oscar season shuffle.
Adam Driver commands the screen in the role of former FBI investigator Daniel Jones, while Annette Bening gives a masterful performance portraying U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein.
Critical Darlings on Prime
The Farewell (2018)
Awkwafina is terrific starring in the film as Billi, a character who serves as a conduit for Wang’s experiences.
Horror Runs in the Family
Ari Aster’s directorial debut Hereditary marked the debut of an exciting new voice in American cinema. The film is not perfect; in many ways, it’s far from it. But if you’re willing to suspend disbelief and roll with the genre tropes, you’ll find a good amount to like in Hereditary.
Hereditary quickly became A24’s highest grossing film upon release and has garnered a cult-following with horror fans.
‘How Long Have We Been on this Rock?’
The Lighthouse (2019)
Director Robert Eggers made a name for himself with his 2015 film The Witch. His second feature, The Lighthouse, proved that he wasn’t just a one-hit wonder. Much can be said about Eggers’ decision to shoot the film in a square 19:16 aspect ratio, but what he does put in the frame is often brilliant.
Robert Pattinson and Willem DaFoe star in the film and both give excellent performances. The Lighthouse is a movie that demands repeat viewings and close attention to detail.
Amazon Movies Get Dark
You Were Never Really Here (2016)
Joaquin Phoenix gives a tour de force performance in the awfully violent carnage-film You Were Never Really Here.
For what You Were Never Really Here lacks in narrative clarity, it makes up for in visual style, which ultimately amounts to a film that leaves a deafening imprint in the landscape of experimental filmmaking.
Gentrification in the Bay
The Last Black Man in San Francisco is a product of a successful crowdfunding campaign, started by director Joe Talbot and writer/actor Jimmie Fails. In 2017, Plan B Entertainment bought into the hype and further funded the project.
The Last Black Man in San Francisco received rave reviews from critics upon release for its timely story and great performances.
CGI Render of a Classic
The Adventures of Tintin (2011)
The Adventures of Tintin marked a massive collaboration between some of modern cinema’s brightest minds, including Steven Spielberg (director), Peter Jackson (producer), Steven Moffat (writer), Edgar Wright (writer), and Joe Cornish (writer).
Despite all of the talent associated with it, The Adventures of Tintin never quite came together perfectly. That’s not to say it was bad by any means, it just didn’t live up to the lofty expectations.
Amazon Prime Brings Classics
I absolutely love Charade. It’s so unabashedly a riff on Hitchcock thrillers, that it’s hard to think that Hitchcock didn’t make the film himself. Charade is carried by Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn who command the screen with their infectious chemistry.
Charade is suspenseful, witty and endearing; three things that add up to make it a true masterpiece of the thriller genre.
Scary Movies on Amazon
A Quiet Place (2018)
A Quiet Place is a visceral film that puts its actors front and center. That’s a good thing too as the whole cast does a great job in their many minutes of screen time.
A Stroll in the Rain
Midnight in Paris (2011)
Midnight in Paris is a beautifully shot film that features one of the best screenplays of the 21st century. The film also features an all-star cast that includes Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, and Tom Hiddleston.
Most Woody Allen movies use a central theme to create a narrative throughline -- Midnight in Paris is no exception. In Midnight in Paris, the past is always more special than the present.
Prime Jarmusch Movies
Jim Jarmusch directs this off-beat drama about a man named Paterson who drives a bus in a town called Paterson. Few movies in recent memory recreate small-town America with as intricate of details as Paterson does.
Paterson is further supported by great lead performances from Adam Driver and Golshifteh Farahani.
21st Century Murder Mystery
Knives Out (2019)
The Best Movies on Amazon Prime Right Now
First Reformed (2017)
Paul Schrader made cinema history in 1976 with his highly influential screenplay for Taxi Driver; a timely, nihilistic story of a decaying society. At just thirty years old, critics argued that Schrader’s Taxi Driver script was sure to be his magnum opus.
But in 2017, Schrader eclipsed his own high standard of Taxi Driver with the wildly reverent First Reformed; an audacious, beautiful film that challenges the very core of the human spirit.
Zombie Movie With New Life
Train to Busan (2016)
Zombie movies have become a largely tired sub-genre due to a lack of innovation and a heavy reliance on cliches. But in 2016, Yeon Sang-ho breathed new life into the sub-genre with Train to Busan -- one of the best zombie movies of the 21st century.
If you’re looking for a visceral action film that will also make your skin crawl, Train to Busan is a perfect fit.
Meta-Biopic Movies on Amazon Prime
Honey Boy (2019)
Few American celebrities are as polarizing in the limelight as Shia LaBeouf. At just 14 years old, LaBeouf accrued national fame for starring in the Disney Channel original series Even Stevens. In the near two decades since, LaBeouf has starred in blockbuster hits like Transformers but has also struggled mightily with alcohol abuse and arrests.
One such arrest led to court-ordered rehab, where LaBeouf wrote the autobiographical script for Honey Boy, an unflinchingly intimate story of familial turmoil, love and the effect of stardom.
To Catch a Thief (1955)
To Catch a Thief makes great use of Cary Grant and Grace Kelly’s natural chemistry. The film follows the pair as they engage in a metaphorical game of cat and mouse across the French Riviera.
If you’re looking for one of Alfred Hitchcock’s darker works, To Catch a Thief isn’t it. This is a mostly breezy rom-com with elements of thriller mixed in.
Prime Action Movies
The Mission: Impossible films are everything big-budget cinema should be; fast-paced, well-made and invigorating to watch. After over twenty years in the role of Ethan Hunt, Tom Cruise has shown no signs of slowing down.
In addition, Henry Cavill (and his infamous mustache) does a great job of supporting the action with a great performance.
Best Movies on Amazon Prime Right Now
Ernest and Celestine (2012)
Ernest and Celestine is a tender animated movie about a bear and a mouse who can’t be friends due to societal demands. The visuals of Ernest and Celestine are absolutely beautiful -- featuring pastel-like watercolor drawings.
Although Ernest and Celestine was originally released in French, the English dub is the only version available on Prime. Don’t worry though, it features some great voice performances from Forest Whitaker, Mackenzie Foy, and Lauren Bacall in one of her last roles.
Mesoamerican Epic on Prime
Mel Gibson’s Mayan-era epic has benefitted from some great critical analysis in the fourteen years since release. Many historians and anthropologists have cited the film as one of the most accurate depictions of Mayan culture in cinema history.
If you’re looking to journey back into the past, all the way to 16th century Mesoamerica, Apocalypto may be the movie for you.
21st Century Spy Thriller
A Most Wanted Man (2014)
A Most Wanted Man is a riveting slow-burn spy thriller based on the novel of the same name by John le Carré. Phillip Seymour Hoffman stars in the film as a German spy.
A Most Wanted Man was one of the last films Seymour Hoffman completed before his untimely death.
I’ll Be Back, With Weapons
The Terminator (1984)
Arnold Schwarzenegger became a star after starring in Conan the Barbarian two years prior, but The Terminator remains his most iconic role.
Date Night on Prime
Roman Holiday (1953)
It takes a heart of stone to not get swept away in the stirring romanticism of Roman Holiday. Hollywood legends Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn star in this classic romantic-comedy that follows the relationship of a princess and the newspaperman who’s desperate to get the inside scoop from her.
The chemistry between Peck and Hepburn is tangible, even when viewed nearly 70 years after its release.
Coen Brothers on Amazon Prime
Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
The Coen Brothers’ intimate period-drama Inside Llewyn Davis is a stirring recreation of the American folk music industry. Oscar Issac stars in the film as the titular character, who doesn’t quite fit in with the “changing times.”
Perhaps the best part of Inside Llewyn Davis is its soundtrack, which was largely inspired by the work of folk revivalist Dave Van Ronk.
Emotionally Charged Gangster Movie
Ash is Purest White (2018)
Ash is Purest White is a remarkably “modern” gangster movie from the mind of Jia Zhangke. Both Zhao Tao and Liao Fan give excellent performances in the roles of two combative lovers.
Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of Ash is Purest White is its breathtaking cinematography, composed by Eric Gautier.
Beach Boys on Amazon
Love and Mercy (2015)
Love and Mercy is a nuanced portrait of the life of Beach Boys’ mastermind Brian Wilson. Paul Dano and John Cusack portray Wilson in the film in a dual-role; and both actors do an excellent job.
Many people know The Beach Boys as the symbol for 1960’s surf-rock, but few know what was going on behind the scenes during the group’s meteoric rise.
B&W Will Never Die
Cold War (2018)
Cold War uses black and white cinematography to immersive effect, which creates a strong tone and visual style.
The Best Movies on Amazon Prime Right Now
Big Fish (2011)
I can think of no greater compliment I could give a film, other than to say that watching Big Fish is a singular experience. Full disclosure, Tim Burton isn’t my favorite director, and at times I find his films self-indulgent, but kudos to him for always sticking to his vision.
Big Fish strikes a rare emotional balance between its visuals and its narrative. Oh, and the film is also aided by some great performances from Ewan McGregor, Billy Crudupp, Marion Lohman, and Albert Finney.
Best Movies on Netflix - Updated Monthly
Still looking for something else to watch? Don’t worry, Netflix might have the perfect film for you. In this next article, we break down the best movies that are on Netflix right now by looking at acting, filmmaking, writing and watchability.