Best Amazon Prime Movies (June 2020) - Featured

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 catalog 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 additions! And, without further ado, in no particular order, the best movies on Amazon Prime!

‘How Long Have We Been on this Rock?’

The Lighthouse (2019)

Pattinson and DaFoe on The Lighthouse

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.

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Conclusion

Aye, went mad, he did. Raving about sirens, merfolk, bad omens and the like. In the end, weren’t no more sense left in him than a hen’s tooth.” Make sure to listen closely to Pattinson and DaFoe to get the most out of the excellent dialogue in The Lighthouse.

Artsy Sci-fi on Amazon Prime

Annihilation (2018)

Behind the Scenes Doc  •  Annihilation

Annihilation from Alex Garland continues the director’s hot streak of working on sci-fi epics. In the past, Garland has worked as a writer on 28 Days Later and Sunshine, and as writer and director of Ex Machina

If nothing else, Annihilation is a thought-provoking visual treat.

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Conclusion

Annihilation is a high-concept film that’s aimed at science-fiction lovers.

Classic Dystopian Action Flick

Escape From New York (1981)

Escape From New York re:View

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.

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Conclusion

Escape From New York is certainly hokey, but a fun story and some great style made it an icon of 80’s cinema.

Critical Darlings on Prime

The Farewell (2018)

Lulu Wang  •  The Farewell

The Farewell is largely based on a true story from the life of writer/director Lulu Wang, in which her family hides their grandmother’s medical illness from her.

Awkwafina is terrific starring in the film as Billi, a character who serves as a conduit for Wang’s experiences. 

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Conclusion

The Farewell is an emotionally touching film about love, family, and connections that span generations.

Amazon Movies Get Dark

You Were Never Really Here (2016)

You Were Never Really Here  •  Video Essay

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.

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Conclusion

You Were Never Really Here doesn’t hold anything back in its brisk runtime of 90 minutes.

Zombie Movie With New Life

Train to Busan (2016)

Train to Busan  •  Trailer

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.

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Conclusion

A sequel to Train to Busan, titled Peninsula, is scheduled to release in 2020.

Scary Movies on Amazon

A Quiet Place (2018)

How the Sound Effects Were Made in  •  A Quiet Place

Diegetic sound is king in the mega-hit horror film A Quiet Place; a film that established world-famous actor John Krasinski as an up and coming director.

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.

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Conclusion

Horror fans are sure to love the visually thrilling and tense A Quiet Place.

Movies About Movies

Sunset Boulevard (1950)

Sunset Boulevard  •  Video Essay

“I’m ready for my close-up.” Billy Wilder’s timeless classic Sunset Boulevard is a moving story of life on and off the titular Sunset strip.

Gloria Swanson gives an all-time great performance in the picture as Norma Desmond, a relic star of the Silent era of Hollywood.

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Conclusion

Sunset Boulevard is a brilliant examination of celebrity obsession and the fading fanfare of the limelight.

Masterful Biopic

Capote (2005)

Capote  •  Trailer

The late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman gives a masterclass performance portraying Truman Capote in the 2005 film Capote. The film isn’t so much about Capote himself but rather the writing of his magnum opus, In Cold Blood.

Perhaps no American novel has had as lasting of an impact on storytelling as In Cold Blood. Capote’s greatest work quite literally rewrote the rules of true-crime ethics, through intimate reporting and some of the most poetic prose of the 20th century.

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Conclusion

Seymour Hoffman won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his work in Capote.

Meta Movies on Amazon Prime

The Disaster Artist (2017)

The Disaster Artist  •  Trailer

The Disaster Artist is a film that exudes character in every scene. I suppose It would be hard not to though when making a movie about infamous writer, director, actor Tommy Wiseau, who became internationally famous for making the midnight classic film The Room.

James Franco steals the show in the role of Wiseau and also does a terrific job behind the camera.

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Conclusion

The Disaster Artist is loads of fun to watch and offers great critical insight into the business of Hollywood.

Date Night on Prime

Roman Holiday (1953)

Roman Holiday  •  Clip

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.

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Conclusion

Roman Holiday is the perfect date movie for cinema lovers.

True Stories on Prime

The Report (2019)

Director and Cast  •  The Report True Story

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.

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Conclusion

To this day, the full Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture remains classified.

Best Comedies on Amazon Prime

Logan Lucky (2017)

Logan Lucky  •  Trailer

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.

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Conclusion

Channing Tatum gives a career performance in the role of down on his luck construction worker Jimmy Logan in Logan Lucky.

Gentrification in the Bay

The Last Black Man in San Francisco

How the Last Black Man in San Francisco Was Made

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.

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Conclusion

Making a tale of the times is never an easy task -- but The Last Black Man in San Francisco does a tremendous job at it.

WWII on Amazon 

Downfall (2005)

Downfall  •  Trailer

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.

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Conclusion

Downfall displays the importance of film as an educational tool by showing us the horrifying events at the end of World War II.

Seeing The World in Numbers

Pi (1998)

Pi Movie  •  Trailer

Pi is the first directorial feature from renowned auteur Darren Aronofsky. Make no mistakes about it, Pi is mighty rough around the edges. Although it would go on to inspire stylistic decisions in some of the best Darren Aronofsky movies, Pi wasn’t quite there on its own.

However, if you’re a fan of Aronofsky’s works or of psychological thrillers, Pi is a must-watch.

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Conclusion

Pi was an enormous success at the box office, grossing over $3,000,000 against a $135,000 budget.

Coen Brothers on Amazon Prime

Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

Behind the Music  •  Inside Llewyn Davis

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.

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Conclusion

For fans of the Coen Brothers or American folk music, Inside Llewyn Davis is a must-watch.

WWI Drama Film

Paths of Glory (1958)

Paths of Glory  •  Trailer

Paths of Glory is often lost among the best films of Stanley Kubrick -- which is a shame because it’s really good. The great Kirk Douglas stars in the film as an Allied army colonel in World War I.

Perhaps the most enduring aspect of Paths of Glory is its famous long take that follows Douglas through the trenches. Director Sam Mendes has spoken on several occasions on the influence of Paths of Glory on his film, 1917.

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Conclusion

As far as Kubrick pictures go, Paths of Glory may be the most accessible and focused of them all.

Insane Movies on Prime

Jacob’s Ladder (1990)

Making of  •  Jacob’s Ladder

Jacob’s Ladder is widely regarded as a film with one of the best “twists” in cinema history. For me, the twist isn’t what makes Jacob’s Ladder a great film though, it’s the insanely creative visuals.

Here’s the plot set-up for Jacob’s Ladder: Demons stalk Jacob Singer (Tim Robbins) which causes him to slip into a fever-induced hysteria. What follows is a surrealist descent (or ascent) into the subconscious of a haunted man.

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Conclusion

Jacob’s Ladder is one of the greatest films to ever examine the psychological trauma of war.

Jurors and Judges

12 Angry Men (1957)

12 Angry Men  •  Video Essay

This is the film that changed everything for American cinema. Sidney Lumet’s classic drama pits twelve jurors in the boiler room on a hot, Summer’s day, as they decide on whether or not a man should be sentenced to death or allowed to walk free.

Henry Fonda gives a career performance in the role of Juror 8 -- a character who we can all learn from when considering the importance of another person’s life.

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Conclusion

Widely regarded as one of the greatest films of the 20th century, 12 Angry Men is near perfection from start to finish.

Meta-Biopic Movies on Amazon Prime

Honey Boy (2019)

Shia LaBeouf on writing Honey Boy

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.

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Conclusion

Honey Boy is an absolute winner of a film. Let’s hope that this is just the first of many screenplays written by Shia LaBeouf.

B&W Will Never Die

Cold War (2018)

Making of  •  Cold War

Paweł Pawlikowski's post-World-War II epic Cold War is a stunning picture about two lovers entangled in a changing society. Both Joanna Kulig and Tomasz Kot deliver excellent leading performances.

Cold War uses black and white cinematography to immersive effect, which creates a strong tone and visual style.

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Conclusion

Cold War is as visually stunning as it is thought-provoking and haunting.

Landmark Race Relations Film

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967)

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner  •  Clip

The magnitude of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner’s importance is hard to quantify without considering when it was produced. At the time of the film’s production, interracial marriage was still illegal in 17 U.S. states.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner stars Sidney Poitier and Katharine Houghton against one another as star-crossed lovers. Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy appear as Houghton’s parents, who pride themselves on being more liberal than they really are.

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Conclusion

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner was a landmark Hollywood film for the ways in which it showed interracial marriage.

Did You Know?

The Shrek 2 screenplay was largely inspired by William Rose’s script for Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.

Gerwig Breaks Out

Lady Bird (2017)

Behind the Scenes  •  Lady Bird

Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut Lady Bird is a stunning portrait of a young woman at odds with the world around her. In many ways, Lady Bird is sort of an anti-coming of age story.

Christine, AKA Lady Bird (Saoirse Ronan) wants so desperately to rid herself of all the things that make her conformist, (i.e., church, school, etc.) but in the end, she realizes that she’s better off embracing the things that connect her to the people she loves.

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Conclusion

Here’s to hoping for more collaborations between Greta Gerwig and Saoirse Ronan.

Mesoamerican Epic on Prime

Apocalypto (2006)

Making of  •  Apocalypto

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.

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Conclusion

Apocalypto is a visceral adventure film that’s told entirely in the Yucatec Maya Language.

Beach Boys on Amazon

Love and Mercy (2015)

Love and Mercy  •  Trailer

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. 

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Conclusion

Love and Mercy shows the making-of and the fallout of one of the greatest albums ever made: Pet Sounds.

The Best Movies on Amazon Prime Right Now

First Reformed (2017)

 Paul Schrader on  •  First Reformed

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.

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Conclusion

Despite the massive influence of both scripts, neither Taxi Driver nor First Reformed won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

Woody Allen Relationship Drama

Blue Jasmine (2013)

Blue Jasmine  •  Trailer

There’s no doubt about it, Blue Jasmine is one of Woody Allen’s best movies. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards and won one: Cate Blanchett for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role.

If you’re looking for Allen’s signature wit and humor, you won’t find much of it in Blue Jasmine. This is perhaps the most serious picture he’s ever made.

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Conclusion

Blue Jasmine is an engrossing drama on mental illness and what it means to take responsibility.

Amazon Prime Brings Classics

Charade (1963)

Behind the Scenes  •  Charade

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.

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Conclusion

Charade is a brilliant film, elevated by a script so sharp it could cut a diamond in two.

21st Century Spy Thriller

A Most Wanted Man (2014)

A Most Wanted Man  •  Anatomy of a Scene

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.

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Conclusion

Fans of Seymour Hoffman should make sure to see A Most Wanted Man for a signature, enrapturing performance.

Prime Jarmusch Movies

Paterson (2016)

Trailer  •  Paterson

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.

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Conclusion

Paterson is a captivating film about society, poetry and the human spirit; and it’s a film that came across at the right time.

Orson Welles on Amazon Prime

The Stranger (1946)

The Stranger  •  Trailer

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.

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Conclusion

The Stranger is one of Welles’ best early-works, and was one of his only majorly successful films at the box office.

Classic Movies on Amazon Prime

The African Queen (1952)

The African Queen  •  Trailer

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.

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Conclusion

The African Queen is one of director John Huston’s greatest works from the Hollywood Golden Age.

Classics on Amazon Prime

Murder on the Orient Express

Murder on the Orient Express  •  Trailer

Based on Agatha Christie’s novel of the same, Murder on the Orient Express is a creative detective film of murder in transit.

Although Murder on the Orient Express is just one of many Christie stories to follow the life of fictional detective Hercule Poirot, many regard it as the author’s best take on the character.

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Conclusion

Murder in the Orient Express has been adapted to the stage, film and television but the 1974 film remains the best visual interpretation.

Superhero Team-Up on Prime

The Avengers (2012)

The Avengers  •  VFX Behind the Scenes

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.

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Conclusion

Avengers assemble: your favorite Marvel superheroes are now available to view on Prime.

Prime Action Movies

Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018)

Mission: Impossible - Fallout  •  HALO Jump Behind the Scenes

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.

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Conclusion

Mission: Impossible - Fallout may very well be the best film in the world famous spy series.

Amazon Movies Literally

The Lost City of Z (2016)

Behind the Scenes  •  The Lost City of Z

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.

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Conclusion

In many ways, Indiana Jones is the fictional successor to the story of The Lost City of Z.

Gripping Dramas on Amazon

Manchester by the Sea (2017)

Making of  •  Manchester by the Sea

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.

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Conclusion

Manchester by the Sea is a focused story of a man and his nephew who are united by tragedy.

Amazon Prime Oscar Winners

The Pianist (2002)

The Pianist  •  Video Essay

Watching The Pianist is something akin to having a bowling ball dropped on your heart. The film is tense, taut, mortifying, captivating and inspiring all at once.

The Pianist is inspired by the true story of Władysław Szpilman, a Polish piano player of Jewish descent who becomes entrenched in the horrifying cross-hairs of the Nazi Reich.

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Conclusion

Adrien Brody gives one of the best performances in cinema history as Władysław Szpilman in The Pianist.

Amazon Prime Originals

The Big Sick (2017)

The Real Life Love Story of  •  The Big Sick

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.

Best Movies on Amazon Prime

Conclusion

In the face of tragedy, Nanjiani and Gordon deliver a story of absolute resilience that unites people across cultures.

Up Next

Best Movies on Netflix

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.

Up Next: Best Movies on Netflix →
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