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)
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.
Artsy Sci-fi on Amazon Prime
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Meta Movies on Amazon Prime
The Disaster Artist (2017)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Seeing The World in Numbers
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.
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.
WWI Drama Film
Paths of Glory (1958)
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.
Insane Movies on Prime
Jacob’s Ladder (1990)
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.
Jurors and Judges
12 Angry Men (1957)
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.
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.
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.
Landmark Race Relations Film
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967)
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Woody Allen Relationship Drama
Blue Jasmine (2013)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Classics on Amazon Prime
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Amazon Prime Oscar Winners
The Pianist (2002)
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.
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.
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.