Amazon Prime isn't just for next-day toilet paper anymore: your subscription includes countless movies to stream, ranging from recent blockbusters to old-school faves. Here's a slew of options for you, whether you're in the mood for sci-fi, rom-com, or anything in between. Happy watching!
1. American Beauty
Sam Mendes's suburban exposé stands out with stellar performances from high-caliber actors like Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening as the Burnhams, a not-so-perfect family working their way through midlife crises, bouts of infidelity, and the antics of their teen daughter, Jane (Thora Birch). But it's Jane's rebellious friend Angela (Mena Suvari) and boy next door Ricky (Wes Bentley) who push things to the tipping point, with a far darker ending that you might anticipate. Alan Ball's script is rife with small, powerful revelations, rich cinematography, and sparkling wit, widening the scope on quiet Everytown drama.
Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson's intoxicating stop-motion-animated drama mixes existential crisis and self-discovery in a way that's at once depressing as hell and uplifting. Honing in on a popular motivational speaker's business trip, the duo tackles the pitfalls of the mundane while making a movie that's anything but. David Thewlis and Jennifer Jason Leigh play characters so rich, you'll soon forget they're lending their voices to puppets.
3. Bone Tomahawk
This Western-by-way-of-Cannibal Holocaust offers the aging Kurt Russell a pure hero role. Because there’s nothing like troglodytes with a hunger for human flesh to vindicate the way of the gun. Touting a cannon of a six-shooter and a mustache to match, Russell’s no-bullshit sheriff leads a band of stand-up dudes into enemy territory. The sight of blood and guts and more blood and more guts and so much blood and so many guts doesn’t rattle him. He rides forward, determined, like a true badass.
4. The Conversation
If you think domestic surveillance is spooky, imagine how it feels for the guy on the other end of the microphone. Starring Gene Hackman in his prime, Francis Ford Coppola's subdued thriller builds paranoia out of an overheard conversation and the lengths to which one private investigator goes to uncover its meaning. Hackman’s Harry Caul can only get so close to his subjects, and Coppola plays by similar rules, making sound as essential to the viewing experience as picture. Wildly influential, this one will have you looking over your shoulder for days.
Ryan Coogler's ferocious boxing story is all about legacy. Watching Michael B. Jordan's Adonis Creed struggle to accept his own father's name becomes a complex metaphor for the movie's own tricky relationship with Sylvester Stallone's iconic 1976 original. How loyal to the past should we be? Coogler doesn't have the answers, but, like his work in Fruitvale Station, the director raises tough questions with tenacity and grace.
6. The End of the Tour
Follow Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) as he trails David Foster Wallace along the last stops of the book tour for his hugely successful, career-defining Infinite Jest. There's an awful lot of navel-gazing (too much, some argue) as the two dudes cruise through endless Midwestern winter landscapes and talk through their views on work and life, but Jason Segel's quiet, subtle performance as Wallace and the real-life friendship the film centers on are more than enough to capture your attention.
7. Ex Machina
Writer-director Alex Garland (28 Days Later, Never Let Me Go) made the movie we’ll remember when Google’s self-driving cars rise against their masters. Immaculately designed and researched, Ex Machina builds a trifecta out of the ultimate Silicon Valley bro (Oscar Isaac); Ava, the ideal robo-woman he believes is under his control (Alicia Vikander); and the audience's proxy, a regular Joe computer junkie enamored by Ava’s potential (Domhnall Gleeson). Over a weekend, they talk through philosophy, drink themselves stupid, and discover the ramifications of reckless innovations. Elegant, rambunctious, and terrifyingly prescient.
8. The Firm
The '90s were a golden era of sleek, movie-star-packed legal thrillers, and they don't get much better than director Sydney Pollack's The Firm. This John Grisham adaptation has a little bit of everything -- tax paperwork, sneering mobsters, and Garey Busey, for starters -- but there's one reason to watch this movie: the weirdness of Tom Cruise. He does a backflip in this movie. What else do you need to know?
9. From Russia with Love
With different 007 spy adventures in constant rotation, Amazon wants to be your gadget of choice when taking on our complete ranking of James Bond movies. Start with the currently available From Russia with Love, a down and dirty Ian Fleming adaptation, complete with life-or-death seduction, a handful of SPECTRE baddies and Sean Connery is at his most dashing. You'll also find worthy entries like Goldfinger, The Living Daylights, and The Spy Who Loved Me streaming on the platform.
10. Gangs of New York
This 19th century crime epic is probably not your favorite Martin Scorsese movie, but don't hold the Goodfellas director's considerable tough guy pedigree against him. In his first collaboration with Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio shakes off his heartthrob Titanic reputation by getting down and dirty as goatee-sporting tough guy Amsterdam Vallon. But Leo has an iceberg-sized problem: Daniel Day-Lewis. As the violent, ill-tempered Bill the Butcher, the method actor extraordinaire is a terror in a top hat, stealing the whole movie with his wild-eyed magnetism.
11. Green Room
Green Room is a throaty, thrashing, spit-slinging punk tune belted through an invasion-movie microphone at max volume. It's nasty -- and near-perfect. As a band of 20-something rockstars recklessly defend against a neo-Nazi battalion equipped with machetes, shotguns, and snarling guard dogs, the movie blossoms into a savage coming-of-age tale, an Almost Famous for John Carpenter nuts. Anyone looking for similar mayhem should check out director Jeremy Saulnier's previous movie, the low-budget, darkly comic hillbilly noir, Blue Ruin, also streaming on Amazon.
12. Interstellar (2014)
Sure, Interstellar may have as many plot holes as it does black holes, but that doesn't make Christopher Nolan's space odyssey any less mind-melting. Soaring intergalactic visuals and dense technobabble are grounded by Matthew McConaughey and Jessica Chastain’s powerful turns as a father and daughter separated while attempting to save the planet. So next time you're choosing between Amazon Prime and bed, do not go gently into that good night, but let Murph, Coop, CASE, and TARS whisk you away on an epic adventure that will probably not teach you anything about tesseracts, but will move and inspire you all the same.
13. Into the Wild
Jon Krakauer's book about the life and untimely death of Christopher McCandless is all the more poignant when soundtracked by Eddie Vedder. Emile Hirsch's McCandless waxes poetic about philosophy and alienates everyone who loves him, which can grate at times, but it's balanced out by the profound beauty of the wilderness. When McCandless' pride proves to be the ultimate peril, the outcome is no less tragic.
14. Iron Man
The Marvel Cinematic Universe began here. There's something almost quaint about Robert Downey Jr.'s first outing in the big red robo-suit, considering how gargantuan, star-powered, and overstuffed modern comic book movies have become. Back in 2008, director Jon Favreau brought a touch of Swingers-like bravado to a genre in desperate need of one-liners, irony, and self-awareness. Almost a decade later, almost all superhero movies share a part of this film's smirking DNA.
15. Legally Blonde
Reese Witherspoon's career is full of underestimated women, and Legally Blonde's Elle Woods is the queen. Elle's rise from sorority captain to justice-seeking attorney is brassy comedy outfitted with Hollywood trimmings. If we can hail the genius of network sitcoms, we can find room for Legally Blonde in the movie pantheon, a bubbly crowd-pleaser with a message to boot.
16. The Lobster
To examine modern love, this baroque, sci-fi rom-com basically splits into two movies: the first is an evisceration of Bachelor-esque monogamy logic, where Colin Farrell's David must find love in 45 days or be turned into an animal (of his choice -- the overlords aren't monsters). The second boots our hero to savage woods, where escaped singles plot terrorist attacks against their romance-obsessed society. Shaded with cool hues and orchestrated like a minor symphony, Farrell and Weisz balance the off-kilter dystopia with vibrant, sexual heat. Outrunning tranquilizer darts never looked so good. Like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Lobster is original, heartfelt, and an awful date movie. Luckily, that's not a factor for greatness.
17. Margin Call
The mathematical headache of the 2008 financial crisis makes for profane drama in this steely debut feature from writer and director J.C. Chandor (A Most Violent Year). With a cast including Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Demi Moore, Stanley Tucci, and Zachary Quinto, the movie goes for the talky, put-down-filled tone of David Mamet's classic Glengarry Glen Ross, turning a world of spreadsheets, mortgages, and neckties into a verbal bloodbath. Sometimes it plays like comedy. But, mostly, it feels like a horror movie.
18. Mission: Impossible
Tom Cruise's pet property grew the Ringling Bros of spy franchises, but Brian De Palma's introduction IMF superstar Ethan Hunt is a constant high of tension and intrigue. A bead of sweat rolling down Hunt's face during a tense stretch of dialogue explodes (with the help of red light/green light gum) into a aquarium tidal wave. The final set piece, a helicopter-vs.-train chase set in France's Channel Tunnel, is De Palma allowing the pot to boil over. If the infiltration of Langley doesn't have the same pizzazz as jumping between two skyscrapers, watch again; expert staging -- and the repetition of "toast" -- gives the slightest misstep consequence. Great action, like spycraft, is all about what goes wrong. Pair this with the most modern entry, Rogue Nation, also streaming on Amazon
19. No Country for Old Men
Like a blast from Anton Chigurh's cattle gun, No Country for Old Men came out of nowhere. In 2007, following a four-picture run of lesser works that ended with semi-clunkers Intolerable Cruelty and The Ladykillers, it seemed like the Coen Brothers had lost a step, sinking into an era of gentle self-parody. This movie, a neo-Western starring Josh Brolin, changed all that. Adapting Cormac McCarthy's brutal, uncompromising thriller, the filmmakers crafted their most purely suspenseful and terrifying film to date.
20. Raiders of the Lost Ark
Steven Spielberg shows his work at every step of his action masterpiece. Indiana Jones' first adventure is like a comic book, flipped through at 24 panels a second. Nazis drag our hero along Cairo's dusty streets, strongmen (and a whirling propeller) threaten to squash him to pulp in the fisticuffs of a lifetime, and a megaton boulder chases him through a cobwebbed labyrinth. Not once through it all does Spielberg slip in a throwaway cut or zig when he should zag just to disorient us. Raiders is immaculate, each angle worth printing out and hanging on the wall. After you're done with it, dive right into Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade, both on Amazon Prime.
21. Reservoir Dogs
Quentin Tarantino's debut is all talk, and mostly bullshit, spewing from the mouths of knuckleheads who just screwed up the diamond heist of a lifetime. Unencumbered by Hollywood’s rules, Tarantino deconstructs masculinity through monologue, standoffs, and the literal removal of body parts (the now-legendary ear scene deserves that status). Speaking of ears, Tarantino has one; the "tipping" scene alone is an apogee of crude, poetic vernacular. Reservoir Dogs will always feel primordial, an introduction to the writer-director's isms and a kickoff for endless imitators. For more of the real deal, head straight to Tarantino's classic, Pulp Fiction, also streaming on Amazon.
22. Room (2015)
The big-screen adaptation of Emma Donoghue's best-selling novel, about a mother raising her son in captivity after being abducted as a teenager, has built-in challenges. Most of the film takes place in an 11x11 garden shed. And the drama plays out from the perspective of a 5-year-old. But Lenny Abrahamson's film version is as much a cinematic triumph as the book was a literary one. Anchored by stirring performances from 9-year-old Jacob Tremblay and Oscar winner Brie Larson, who cements her status as one of the finest actresses working today, Room is a haunting tribute to survival in the most horrific of circumstances.
23. Selma (2014)
Ava DuVernay's thoughtful civil-rights drama is more complex than it appears to be. While Martin Luther King, Jr.'s historic voting-rights march from Selma, Alabama, is a history-class staple, the movie takes you into the diners, churches, and bedrooms where every detail of the plan was argued over. It reveals the strategy behind progress. Like Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, it's a movie that seeks to demythologize a beloved political figure, providing a richer portrait than anything we've ever seen before in the process.
24. Shaun the Sheep Movie
Sheep are not particularly expressive animals. Yet, somehow, in the skilled hands of Aardman Animation, the folks behind claymation classics like Wallace And Gromit and Chicken Run, sheep become oddly poignant, capable of wringing laughter and tears from even the most hardened city folk. With his watchful eyes, floppy ears, and tuffs of white cotton, Shaun is cuter than any Minion. Plus, come on: he’s the only character on this list with such a good theme song that it got its own remix.
Instead of offering detailed policy break-downs, prescriptive analysis of the situation at the border, or insights into minds of drug dealers, this film supplies one product: tension. From its riveting opening raid sequence to its chilling final stand-off at a motel, director Denis Villeneuve (Arrival) uses all the tropes of a sleek, militarized action thriller to examine the utter uselessness Emily Blunt's FBI character feels in the face of systematic failure. More video game than 60 Minutes-style investigation, it is throat-punch cinema, a doom-soaked Godspeed You! Black Emperor song of a movie, a sculpture chiseled with bullets.
26. Swiss Army Man
You might think a movie that opens with a suicidal man riding a farting corpse like a Jet Ski wears thin after the fourth or fifth flatulence gag. You would be wrong. Brimming with imagination and expression, the directorial debut of Adult Swim auteurs "The Daniels" wields sophomoric humor to speak to friendship. As Radcliffe's dead body springs back to life -- through karate-chopping, water-vomiting, and wind-breaking -- he becomes the id to Dano's struggling everyman, who is also lost in the woods. If your childhood backyard adventures took the shape of The Revenant, it would look something like Swiss Army Man, and be pure bliss.
27. The Talented Mr. Ripley
Can you really trust Matt Damon? That's the question driving this tasty soufflé of a psychological thriller adapted from a novel by Patricia Highsmith. The eternally boyish actor was especially innocent and naive looking here, fresh off the success of Good Will Hunting and Saving Private Ryan, but his Tom Ripley is a monster capable of manipulating Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow with sociopathic ease. Like super spy Jason Bourne , Ripley is the perfect role for Damon: you never quite know what's lurking under the surface.
28. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
Director Tobe Hooper's sun-cooked classic about a family of cannibals is a movie that lives up to its title. One of the most influential, controversial, and acclaimed horror films of all time, it's easy to make the mistake of thinking this 1974 nail-biter won't deliver the same gruesome shocks after years of sequels, remakes, and rip-offs. But somehow, it's only gotten scarier, weirder, and more powerful over time.
29. Top Secret!
From the demented minds who gifted us Airplane! comes this spy comedy that transcends the average James Bond spoof. A young Val Kilmer stars as Nick Rivers, an Elvis Presley-like heartthrob who becomes embroiled in a WWII Resistance plot. Top Secret! might be the most physical role the Top Gun star ever had; the sight gags include a scene shot entirely in reverse and a bar fight set underwater. Like Airplane!, its relentless and sublime.
30. Trading Places
Updating Mark Twain's The Prince and the Pauper for the Reagan era, this John Landis-directed comedy flips the fortunes of haughty businessman Louis Winthorpe (Dan Aykroyd) and charming con-man Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy), and all hell breaks loose. Though Jamie Lee Curtis, Ralph Bellamy, and Jim Belushi all appear, this is the Aykroyd and Murphy show, a schtick-filled, anarchic spectacle with two brilliant comics working at the peak of their powers.
Four vignettes -- the story of a boy caring for his first pup; Greta Gerwig as a soul-searching, pet-stealing suburbanite; a portrait of a college screenwriting professor; and an elderly dog owner's encounter with the younger generation -- comprise this wickedly comical, existentially provocative look at life with pets. Director Todd Solondz can be a cruel and unusual god to his characters, and while Wiener-Dog shocks, the movie has a fanciful side, sporting dancing-dog videos and plenty of aw-gosh cuddling. Owning a pet is a colossal emotional undertaking. Wiener-Dog is the rare movie that treats it like one.
32. Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
Though he had a long career filled with hilarious and dynamic performances, the late Gene Wilder will always be Willy Wonka. This witty adaptation of author Roald Dahl's timeless children's story has everything a kiddie classic needs: eye-popping costumes, catchy songs, and big physical gags that leave you rolling on the floor with laughter. But Wilder elevates the movie to something adults can enjoy too by adding genuine whimsy, wickedness, and a touch of melancholy. You'll be crying chocolate tears by the end.
33. The Witch
The Witch delivers everything we don't see in horror today. The backdrop, a farm in 17th-century New England, is pure misty, macabre mood. The circumstance, a Puritanical family making it on the fringe of society because they're too religious, bubbles with terror. And the question, whether devil-worshipping is hocus pocus or true black magic, keeps each character on their toes, and begging God for answers.The Witch tests its audience with its (nearly impenetrable) old English dialogue and the (anxiety-inducing) trials of early American life, but the payoff will keep your mind racing, and your face hiding under the covers, for days.
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