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!
Movies on Amazon Prime
1. 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. 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.
Meta-Biopic Movies on Amazon Prime
2. 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.
Classic Comedy on Amazon
How could one not love a film that was written/directed by John Hughes and that stars John Candy and Steve Martin? Planes, Trains and Automobiles sees both actors in peak form as two wayward travelers stuck with one another due to inclement weather.
If you’re looking for a riotous comedy with just enough drama to pull at the heartstrings, Planes, Trains and Automobiles is the movie for you.
Gripping Dramas on Amazon
4. 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.
B&W Will Never Die
5. Cold War (2018)
Cold War uses black and white cinematography to immersive effect, which creates a strong tone and visual style.
Gerwig Breaks Out
6. 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.
Amazon Prime Oscar Winners
7. 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.
Coen Brothers on Amazon Prime
8. 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.
WWII on Amazon
9. Downfall (2005)
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.
Amazon Prime Brings Classics
10. Charade (1963)
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.
Beach Boys on Amazon
11. 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.
Prime Jarmusch Movies
12. Paterson (2016)
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.
Amazon Prime Originals
13. 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.
Orson Welles on Amazon Prime
14. 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.
Prime Action Movies
15. Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018)
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.
Movies About Movies
16. 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.
Best Comedies on Amazon Prime
17. 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.
Scary Movies on Amazon
18. 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.
True Stories on Prime
19. 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.
Insane Movies on Prime
20. 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.
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.
Artsy Sci-fi on Amazon Prime
22. Annihilation (2018)
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.
Critical Darlings on Prime
23. The Farewell (2018)
Awkwafina is terrific starring in the film as Billi, a character who serves as a conduit for Wang’s experiences.
Classic Movies on Amazon Prime
24. 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 Movies Get Dark
25. 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.
Amazon Movies Literally
26. 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.
Meta Movies on Amazon Prime
27. 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.
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.