The 50 best movies on Amazon Prime right now

Ryan Epps

Last update: June 3, 2020.

An Amazon Prime membership comes with more than just cheap shipping prices. The service also offers a rapidly expanding library of streaming movies and TV series through its Amazon Prime Video feature.

To help subscribers sift through Amazon’s vault of films, we’ve identified some of the best movies available on the service. Just keep in mind that some titles might not become available until later in the month.

Prefer something else? We’ve also put together guides to the best shows on Amazon, the best movies on Hulu, the best movies on Netflix, and the best movies on Disney+.

The Vast of Night (2020)

This nostalgic throwback to classic sci-fi thrillers follows a young switchboard operator and a radio DJ whose discovery of a mysterious audio frequency sets off a series of discoveries that lead them deep into the unknown. The Amazon Studios film is the directorial debut of Andrew Patterson and has earned high praise from critics and streaming audiences alike for its suspenseful, low-budget spin on the genre.

Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Genre: Sci-Fi, Mystery
Stars: Sierra McCormick, Jake Horowitz
Director: Andrew Patterson
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 89 minutes

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Rocketman (2019)

Part musical fantasy, part biopic of legendary musician Elton John, Rocketman casts Taron Egerton as the inimitable performer and chronicles John’s evolution from a small-town prodigy to an international superstar. Filled with fantastic musical interludes based on some of John’s most popular songs and performed by Egerton, the film also features Jamie Bell as John’s longtime lyricist and writing partner Bernie Taupin, and Richard Madden as John’s first manager, John Reid.

Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Genre: Musical, Drama
Stars: Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden
Director: Dexter Fletcher
Rating: R
Runtime: 121 minutes
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Odd Thomas (2014)

Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin plays a small-town cook who can see the spirits of the deceased in this quirky supernatural thriller based on Dean Koontz’s novel of the same name. Odd’s desire to live a quiet life with his girlfriend is thrown into turmoil when a stranger arrives in town accompanied by a host of sinister entities only Odd can see, and soon he finds himself caught up in a mystery that puts the entire town — and possibly the world — in danger.

Rotten Tomatoes: 38%
Genre: Horror, Mystery
Stars: Anton Yelchin, Addison Timlin
Director: Stephen Sommers
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 96 minutes

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The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

One of the most unexpectedly unique horror films of the last decade, Drew Goddard’s The Cabin the Woods took the typical story of a group of teenagers tormented by sinister forces while staying in a remote cabin in an entirely new direction. Goddard and co-writer Joss Whedon toyed with and twisted the conventions of the genre in ways that no one saw coming, and the end result was a film that’s as funny as it is terrifying, and packed with hidden elements that demand multiple viewings. If you haven’t seen The Cabin in the Woods yet, it’s best that you know as little as possible going into this film — but if you have seen it, there’s a good chance you’ll end up watching it many times over.

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Genre: Horror
Stars: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins
Director: Drew Goddard
Rating: R
Runtime: 95 minutes

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Fast Color (2019)

Three generations of women with powerful abilities come together in this sci-fi thriller that explores racism and generational divides against the backdrop of a thrilling story about a woman pursued by sinister forces due to the power she wields. Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Lorraine Toussaint, and Saniyya Sidney star in the film.

Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Genre: Sci-Fi, Drama
Stars: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Lorraine Toussaint, Saniyya Sidney
Director: Julia Hart
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 100 minutes

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Boondock Saints (2000)

Two brothers from Boston find themselves on a divine mission to take down the Russian mob in this stylized 1999 action film that became a cult hit in the home entertainment world despite a series of behind-the-scenes issues that doomed its theatrical run. Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus play the MacManus brothers, whose bloody quest — and more than a little luck — turn them into local heroes and put them on a collision path with an eccentric FBI agent played by Willem Dafoe.

Rotten Tomatoes: 25%
Genre: Action, Comedy
Stars: Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus, Willem Dafoe
Director: Troy Duffy
Rating: R
Runtime: 110 minutes

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Minority Report (2002)

Steven Spielberg directed this eerily prescient (from a technology standpoint) film about a detective in the year 2054 who works in the “Precrime” division, stopping crimes before they happen. The film is based on a short story by acclaimed sci-fi novelist Philip K. Dick and casts Tom Cruise as a detective who finds himself on the run after the Precrime division identifies him as the future killer of a man he’s never met. Spielberg famously brought in a team of “futurists” to assist in conceptualizing and designing the technology that appears in the film — some of which has become reality in recent years.

Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Genre: Sci-Fi, Action
Stars: Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, Max von Sydow, Neal McDonough
Director: Steven Spielberg
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 140 minutes

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Escape from New York (1981)

This dystopian adventure from director John Carpenter (who also co-wrote, co-produced, and co-scored the film) is set in the far-flung future of 1997, after rampant crime prompts the U.S. government to transform the entire island of Manhattan into a maximum-security prison. Kurt Russell plays ex-soldier Snake Plissken, who’s given 24 hours to infiltrate Manhattan and rescue the U.S. president from criminals holding him for ransom after Air Force One is hijacked and brought down on the island. A seminal film in the ’80s action genre, Escape from New York inspired countless gritty adventures that hit Hollywood in the years following its release.

Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Genre: Sci-Fi, Action
Stars: Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine, Isaac Hayes, Donald Pleasence
Director: John Carpenter
Rating: R
Runtime: 99 minutes

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Murderball (2005)

This Academy Award-nominated documentary follows the players in a “quad rugby” league — a sport in quadriplegics in armored wheelchairs compete in a version of full-contact rugby that tests their fortitude and smashes stereotypes. The film follows several teams as they attempt to compete in the Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece, while exploring the players’ lives, what brought them to the sport, and what it means to them.

Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Genre: Documentary, Sports
Stars: Joe Soares, Mark Zupan, Robert Soares
Director: Henry-Alex Rubin, Dana Adam Shapiro
Rating: R
Runtime: 85 minutes

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The Avengers (2012)

It might seem strange given the current state of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but there was a time when no one thought a movie like The Avengers was possible. In 2012, Marvel Studios brought together the stars and supporting cast of multiple solo superhero films for a massive team-up that broke just about every box-office record possible and redefined “cinematic universe” for Hollywood. After Asgardian trickster Loki primes Earth for an invasion by an alien armada, it’s up to Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye to save the day. More than just an early installment of the MCU, The Avengers was a game-changer for the entire superhero genre.

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Genre: Fantasy, Action & Adventure
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johanson
Director: Joss Whedon
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 142 minutes

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Honey Boy (2019)

Shia LaBoeuf in Honey Boy

Shia LaBeouf’s debut script is directed by Alma Har’el and follows the life of child actor Otis Lort as he rises through young success to self-destructive Hollywood star. Navigating fame and his abusive, alcoholic father proves to be next to impossible as their contentious relationship crumbles across the course of a decade. LaBeouf also stars in this semiautobiographical tale that draws from his experience with his father.

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Shia LaBeouf, Lucas Hedges
Director: Alma Har’el
Rating: R
Runtime: 93 minutes

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True Grit (2010)

This Coen Brothers remake of the Western classic introduced the world to Hailee Steinfeld, who plays 14-year-old farm girl Mattie Ross. After her father is murdered by hired hand Tom Chaney, Ross sets out to catch the killer and bring him to justice. However, to catch Chaney, it’s going to take somebody with “true grit,” so Ross hires the toughest lawman she can find, U.S. Marshal Reuben J. “Rooster” Cogburn (Jeff Bridges). As the two pursue justice together, a bond forms that melts Cogburn’s icy heart and helps Ross find some closure and peace after her father’s death.

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Genre: Western, Drama
Stars: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin
Director: Joel & Ethan Cohen
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 110 minutes

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Mission: Impossible — Fallout (2018)

Mission: Impossible -- Fallout (2018)

The sixth installment in the long-running Mission: Impossible franchise, Fallout shows that the old series can still outpace younger ones when it comes to frenetic action and jaw-dropping spectacle. The film opens with secret agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), part of the Impossible Missions Force, attempting to secure some stolen plutonium cores. When the mission goes sideways, the cores fall into the hands of a terrorist group, forcing the IMF to hunt its members down. Their failure draws the ire of CIA Director Erica Sloane (Angela Bassett), who deploys the assassin August Walker (Henry Cavill) to follow Hunt’s trail. With a gripping plot and some awe-inspiring stunts, Fallout is top-notch espionage action.

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Genre: Action & Adventure
Stars: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Ving Rhymes, Simon Pegg
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 147 minutes

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High Life (2019)

Juliette Binoche in High Life

From award-winning French filmmaker Claire Denis, High Life is described as an erotic sci-fi horror film, but it really defies classification. It’s difficult to explain High Life in just a few words but we’ll try. Juliette Binoche stars as Dr. Dibs, overseer of a damned space mission that is sending criminals to attempt to extract energy from a black hole. Along the way, Dibs performs sexual experiments on the criminals that lead to their deaths. Ultimately, murderer Monte (Robert Pattison) is left alone with his daughter, trying to survive and thrive as they hurtle toward certain death.

Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
Genre: Science Fiction
Stars: Robert Patinson, André Benjamin, Mia Goth
Director: Claire Denis
Rating: R
Runtime: 110

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Come to Daddy (2020)

This tense and nail-biting mystery by Ant Timpson is expertly woven together via a narrative of fresh intrigue and the impeccable zaniness delivered by Elijah Wood. In Come to Daddy, Wood plays an overzealous middle-aged man, named Noval Greenwood, who arrives upon his long-lost father’s doorstep in the heated throes of a psychological dilemma. As he attempts to relive the past he never got with his father, a life of shadiness races to catch up with the elder Greenwood at the same time, clashing with each other in the most brilliant and thrilling way possible.

Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Genre: Mystery, Comedy
Stars: Elijah Wood, Stephen McHattie, Martin Donovan
Director: Ant Timpson
Rating: R
Runtime: 93 minutes

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Eighth Grade (2018)

As delightfully awkward as it is heartfelt and earnest, Eighth Grade is one of the more honest and true-to-life coming-of-age stories you’ll see. The directorial debut of comedian and actor Bo Burnham, Eighth Grade treats the terrors of growing up with a subtler touch, centering on 13-year-old Kayla (the revelatory Elsie Fisher) as she makes her way through the last week of middle school. Eighth Grade is a movie about middle school that stars real middle schoolers, which makes it funnier, more interesting, and vastly more cringe-inducing. If you ever went to a middle school pool party, Eighth Grade is for you.

Rotten Tomatoes: 99%
Genre: Comedy
Stars: Elsie Fisher, Josh Hamilton, Emily Robinson
Director: Bo Burnham
Rating: R
Runtime: 94 minutes

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Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)

Wrath of Khan

One of the most beloved films of the original Admiral Kirk Star Trek era, The Wrath of Khan finds the famous commander in the thick of a midlife crisis. However, the return of an old enemy looking for revenge and the threat of a doomsday device shake Kirk from his stupor and into action. A sci-fi classic, The Wrath of Khan sees two paragons of good and evil squaring off as the fate of multiple worlds hangs in the balance.

Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
Genre: Action & Adventure, Sci-Fi
Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Ricardo Montalban
Director: Nicholas Meyer
Rating: PG
Runtime: 113 minutes

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The Lost City of Z (2017)

Robert Pattison and Charlie Hunnam in Lost City of Z

Based on the 2009 book of the same name, The Lost City of Z tells the true story of British explorer Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam), who enters the Amazon at the dawn of the 20th century. In his travels, he unexpectedly discovers evidence of a previously unknown and advanced civilization that once existed in the region. Unsurprisingly, he is ridiculed and belittled by the British scientific and historical establishment, who consider the entire Amazon region a savage one. Undaunted, Fawcett returns to the jungle, determined to prove his case and discover the Lost City of Z.

Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Genre: Action & Adventure, Drama
Stars: Tom Holland, Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson
Director: James Gray
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 140 minutes

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Lakeboat (2000)

Born from the screenwriter’s 1970 play of the same name, Lakeboat is in a class of its own in showcasing the human condition. Akin to titans in film drama, such as Good Will Hunting and Legends of the Fall, David Mamet’s vivid tale explores the deep and dark wonders of the persona and how our experiences shape who we are in full. The narrative tracks a young Ivy Leaguer, Dale (Tony Mamet), in the throes of a life-altering event when taking up a summer job on the Great Lakes as a cook on a lake boat bulk carrier, the Seaway Queen. He is joined by eccentric boat hands, from the philosophical Fred (Jack Wallace) to the sea-loving Joe Pitko (Robert Forster), who all convene in an effort to speculate more broadly on the death of Dale’s predecessor, Guigliani (Andy Garcia).

Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Stars: Robert Forster, Charles Durning, Denis Leary
Director: Joe Mantegna
Rating: R
Runtime: 98 minutes

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The Great Escape (1963)

The Great Escape

Directed by John Sturges and based on the 1950 nonfiction book by Paul Brickhill, The Great Escape stands the test of time as an epic war film. It’s loosely based on real events — the escape of Allied prisoners from a German prisoner of war camp in World War II — and features a star-studded cast that includes Steve McQueen, James Garner, and Richard Attenborough. In this version of the story, the prisoners plan a mass breakout of a nearly inescapable camp, which involves an escape tunnel and a series of planes, trains, and boats to try and escape German-occupied Europe.

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Genre: Action & Adventure
Stars: Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough
Director: John Sturges
Rating: NR
Runtime: 170 minutes

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The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019)

The Last Black Man in San Francisco

Facing displacement from the home his grandfather built as a result of gentrification in his San Francisco neighborhood, Jimmie and his best friend, Mort, set out on a mission to reclaim the house before it is irreversibly changed. Their odyssey tests their friendship and forces them to question where they belong in the place they’ve always called home. A poignant, often intense journey, this film was nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards.

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Jimmie Falls, Tichina Arnold, Mike Epps
Director: Joe Talbot
Rating: R
Runtime: 120 minutes

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Fighting With My Family (2019)

A comedy based on the true story of WWE wrestler Paige, Fighting with my Family delivers on the story of a real-life wrestling family. Written and directed by Stephen Merchant, the film stars Florence Pugh alongside a strong cast that includes Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Lena Headey, Vince Vaughn, and others. Pugh and her brother (played by Jack Lowden) try out for the WWE and, when only one of them makes the cut, Pugh is forced to face the world of professional wrestling alone. It may have a bit of an underdog storyline that’s often used in sports, but there’s a sincerity and truth behind this story that makes it special.

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Genre: Comedy
Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Florence Pugh, Lena Headey
Director: Stephen Merchant
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 107 minutes

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The Report (2019)

The Report 2019

A political thriller that eschews car chases and assassination attempts for the unexpected tension of trawling through documents, The Report follows senate staffer Daniel Jones (Adam Driver), who is chosen by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Annette Bening) to investigate the destruction of CIA interrogation recordings in 2005. For years, Jones and his team pore over millions of pages of documents slathered in redactions, all while dodging the efforts of government officials to squash their effort. With an all-star cast and a particularly great performance from Driver, The Report is a tense thriller.

Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Adam Driver, Annette Bening, Jon Hamm
Director: Scott Burns
Rating: R
Runtime: 118 minutes

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It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

A classic Christmas movie with an iconic James Stewart performance, It’s a Wonderful Life follows George Bailey (Stewart), a banker in the town of Bedford Falls who is preparing to throw himself off a bridge. An angel named Clarence (Henry Travers) appears to save George, and takes him on a journey through the most important moments in George’s life, showing him all the good things he’s done for other people despite the costs to himself. It’s a Wonderful Life is a charming story about perseverance in the face of an often cruel universe, and the value of relationships.

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Genre: Drama, Science Fiction
Stars: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore
Director: Frank Capra
Rating: PG
Runtime: 135 minutes

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Escape from Alcatraz (1979)

Arguably one of the most iconic Clint Eastwood movies of all time, Escape from Alcatraz is the true tale of Frank Morris’s unprecedented flight from one of the most secure maximum security institutions in the U.S. at the time. Don Siegel’s dramatic recreation of the 1962 prisoner escape is remarkable in how it evokes the consistently ascending stresses of those involved, going to great lengths even to personify the Alcatraz prison as a monster of time in its own right.

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Genre: Action & Adventure
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Patrick McGoohan, Roberts Blossom
Director: Don Siegel
Rating: PG
Runtime: 112 minutes

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Manchester by the Sea (2016)

Manchester by the Sea (2016)

This bleak drama, directed by playwright Kenneth Lonergan, is set in the titular town of Manchester, a town Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) would prefer never to return to. Chandler lives out his days working as a janitor in Quincy, away from any connections to his past. Tragedy brings him home; his brother, Joe (Kyle Chandler), dies, leaving behind a teenage son, Patrick (Lucas Hedges), and a will asking Lee to take care of him. Manchester by the Sea is a deeply personal drama, examining the ways tragedy can wear away at a person’s soul, and whether it is possible to come back from the brink. Despite the premise, the movie is not gloomy from start to end; the script allows for plenty of humor and warmth throughout, making for a film that captures the complexity of life.

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Casey Affleck, Kyle Chandler, Lucas Hedges
Director: Kenneth Lonergan
Rating: R
Runtime: 135 minutes

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Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

In the soft shadows of The Gaslight Cafe, folk singer Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) croons that he “wouldn’t mind the hanging.” Leave it to the Coen Brothers to oblige him. Two of America’s most mercurial filmmakers, the Coens have approached both grim tragedy and madcap comedy in their films, sometimes at the same time. Inside Llewyn Davis falls on the bleaker end of the spectrum, following Davis as he attempts to get his music career on track in the wake of his musical partner’s suicide. His finances are not the only part of his life falling apart; his former lover, Jean (Carey Mulligan), pregnant with a child that is likely his, wants nothing to do with him. Davis’ struggle, set against the frost-glazed backdrop of New York, is a tragic one, but the film is not without humor, black though it may be. The characters surrounding Llewyn are as vibrant as he is cold, particularly Justin Timberlake as Jane’s new boyfriend (although Isaac’s future Star Wars nemesis also has a memorable musical cameo).

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Oscar Isaac, John Goodman, Carey Mulligan
Director: Ethan & Joel Coen
Rating: R
Runtime: 105 minutes

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The Handmaiden (2016)

The Handmaiden

From Korean director Park Chan-wook, award-winning director of OldboyThe Handmaiden is an intense, pulse-pounding crime drama set in the early 1900s during the Japanese occupation of Korea. The film follows two women — a young Japanese lady on a secluded estate, and the Korean woman who is hired as her new handmaiden. Little does the former know, though, that the latter is conspiring with a con man to defraud the woman out of her inheritance.

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Genre: Drama, Romance
Stars: Kim Min-hee, Ha Jung-woo, Cho Jin-woong
Director: Park Chan-wook
Rating: NR
Runtime: 145 minutes

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You Were Never Really Here (2019)

This Amazon Original was nominated for four 2019 Independent Spirit Awards, including Best Feature and Best Actor (Joaquin Phoenix). Phoenix stars as a traumatized veteran who harnesses his trauma into hunting down missing girls for a living. However, as his nightmares begin to overtake him and he continues to get in over his head, he begins to uncover a conspiracy that threatens to destroy or save him, depending on the paths he takes.

Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Genre: Mystery & Suspense
Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Judith Roberts, John Doman
Director: Lynne Ramsay
Rating: R
Runtime: 89 minutes

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Annihilation (2018)

Annihilation review

A group of female scientists is tasked with exploring the mysterious region known as “The Shimmer” — a quarantined zone along the southern coast of the U.S. filled with mutating plants and animals — in this adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer’s bestselling novel of the same name. Directed by Alex Garland (The Beach, Ex Machina), the film casts Natalie Portman as the team’s biologist, whose interest in the region became personal after her husband (Oscar Isaac) previously ventured into the quarantined zone and emerged in a rapidly deteriorating condition, without any memory of his experiences there. Widely regarded as one of the year’s best films, Annihilation also includes features Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, and Tessa Thompson in supporting roles.

Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Stars: Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, Oscar Isaac
Director: Alex Garland
Rating: R
Runtime: 115 minutes

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Troop Zero (2019)

Viola Davis in Troop Zero

From Beasts of the Southern Wild co-writer Lucy Alibar and directors Bert & Bertie, this Amazon Original follows a prodigiously bright girl (McKenna Grace) in 1977 rural Georgia who dreams of life in space. When she gets a chance to live her dream from a national competition, she recruits a ragtag troupe of Birdie Scouts to help her get there. Viola Davis, Allison Janney, and Jim Gaffigan also star in this heartwarming, often funny film.

Rotten Tomatoes: 66%
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Stars: Viola Davis, Jim Gaffigan, Mike Epps
Director: Bert & Bertie
Rating: PG
Runtime: 98 minutes

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Gloria (2013)

Gloria tells the spellbinding story of a 58-year-old woman who wants nothing more than to feel young again. Her journey to find happiness is pockmarked by random men, until meeting and falling head over heels for Rodolfo. Through moments of reverie and immense strife, Gloria finds the willpower to accept her age and grow into a woman of full potential. Not only was Gloria nominated for countless awards, but it was even chosen to be Chile’s Best Foreign Language Film for the 86th Academy Awards.

Rotten Tomatoes: 99%
Genre: Drama, Romance
Stars: Paulina Garcia, Sergio Hernández, Diego Fontecilla
Director: Sebastián Lelio
Rating: R
Runtime: 108 minutes

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Overlord (2018)

Overlord

Take any old World War II movie, cross it with a blend of Captain America and 28 Days Later, add a dash of JJ Abrams, and you’ll get something that looks a little like Overlord. And even that might not do it. A truly mind-boggling movie, Overlord is a horror and gore overdose that takes an extremely twisted view of World War II. Following a team of American troops who are sent on a secret mission to derail a Nazi super-soldier program, they soon discover the super-soldiers are more like the undead, and this mission is far more dangerous than they expected.

Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Genre: Action & Adventure, Horror
Stars: Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Pilo Asbæk
Director: Julius Avery
Rating: R
Runtime: 109 minutes

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Hereditary (2018)

Hereditary (2018)

After her mother dies, Annie Graham (Toni Collette) struggles to process her feelings while maintaining some semblance of order in her household. After another tragedy strikes her family, however, Annie can barely keep herself together, and her condition worsens as strange occurrences plague her and her family. Hereditary is an exquisitely crafted horror movie, with a tightly coiled plot and skillful camerawork that sells some truly gruesome moments.

Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Genre: Horror
Stars: Toni Collette, Milly Shapiro, Alex Wolf
Director: Ari Aster
Rating: R
Runtime: 127 minutes

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Lady Bird (2017)

Lady Bird (2017)

Greta Gerwig’s coming-of-age comedy exploded into one of 2017’s biggest hits, thanks to widespread acclaim for the performances of Saoirse Ronan (as rebellious teen Christine McPherson) and Laurie Metcalf (as her mother). Christine, who has decided that she only wants to be called “Lady Bird,” is trying to navigate the academic difficulties of high school — at a Catholic school, no less — while finding herself in various stages of love with two very different boys (rising stars Lucas Hedges and Timothée Chalamet). At the same time, Mom is working overtime to compensate for the layoff of her husband (Tracy Letts) and battling with instincts that are tanking her relationship with Christine. Gerwig draws heavily on personal experience for Lady Bird, crafting a thoughtful and relatable look at adolescence.v

Rotten Tomatoes: 99%
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Stars: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts
Director: Greta Gerwig
Rating: R
Runtime: 93 minutes

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A Quiet Place (2018)

A Quiet Place (2018)

Directed, co-written, and co-starring John Krasinski, A Quiet Place follows a family trying to survive after a race of alien creatures with hypersensitive hearing have eliminated much of humanity. Their efforts to live a normal life amid the ever-present threat of terrifying predators who can hear the slightest sound ratchets up the tension to nail-biting levels, and you’re likely to find yourself stifling your screams in keeping with the film’s theme. Krasinski’s wife, Emily Blunt, co-stars in the film and received significant acclaim for her performance, including a Screen Actors Guild Award. If you’re looking for some chilling Halloween fun, A Quiet Place will do the job, so be sure to catch up before the sequel arrives in March 2020.

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Genre: Horror
Stars: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmons
Director: John Krasinski
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 90 minutes

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Midsommar (2019)

Midsommar

Called an “operatic breakup movie” by director Ari Aster, Midsommar proves to be exactly that and more in this suspenseful film. It centers around an American couple with serious relationship issues who travel with friends to a midsummer festival. It gets significantly more violent and unsettling from there, with the setting of a remote Swedish village serving as the backdrop for a cult with less-than-admirable intentions, to put it lightly. It was a hit in summer 2019 and, if you’re up for a nearly 2.5-hour movie where the scares consistently and constantly creep up on you, it won’t take long to understand why.

Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
Genre: Horror
Stars: Florence Pugh, Liv Mjönes, Jack Reynor
Director: Ari Aster
Rating: R
Runtime: 140 minutes

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Logan Lucky (2017)

Logan Lucky (2017)

After losing his job, construction worker Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum) is desperate to reverse his fortune, and knows just the way to do it: Having worked on the Charlotte Motor Speedway, he knows all about the pneumatic tube system that moves money under the track. Jimmy recruits his one-armed brother Clyde (Adam Driver), sister Mellie (Riley Keough), and safe-cracker Joe Bang (Daniel Craig) for a heist. Unfortunately, a change in the construction schedule forces them to execute early, on the day of the Coca Cola 600 race. With a sharp sense of humor and memorable characters, Logan Lucky is a wild ride.

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Genre: Comedy
Stars: Chaning Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 119 minutes

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Bone Tomahawk (2015)

Kurt Russell in Bone Tomahawk

Bone Tomahawk is something of an unusual horror/thriller in the sense that it’s set in the American West in the 1890s. It looks and feels like a Western and yet it’s something significantly more sinister entirely. Following a small-town sheriff (Kurt Russell) who leads a motley crew into the desert to rescue some pioneers from a clan of cannibalistic, cave-dwelling Native Americans, it has the conceits of a Western but things get considerably darker and more grotesque as the heroes drift further and further from home. This Western meets Heart of Darkness gives you a thrill ride you won’t regret.

Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Genre: Western
Stars: Matthew Fox, Kurt Russel, Lilli Simmons
Director: S. Craig Zahler
Rating: NR
Runtime: 133 minutes

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Cold War (2018)

Best movies on Amazon Prime Cold War

Paweł Pawlikowski’s gorgeous historical drama Cold War follows Wiktor (Tomasz Kot) and Zula (Joanna Kulig), a music director and singer respectively, who meet and fall in love in Poland after the end of World War II. As the years drag on and the Soviet grip over Eastern Europe tightens, the two drift across borders, in and out of each other’s lives. Their turbulent romance, set against a backdrop of paranoia and repression, is messy but moving. Filmed in stark black and white, Cold War is a beautiful film full of masterfully composed shots.

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Joanna Kulig, Tomasz Kot, Borys Szyc
Director: Pawel Pawlikowski
Rating: R
Runtime: 89 minutes

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Under the Silver Lake (2019)

Andrew Garfield in Under the Silver Lake

We’ll keep it in comedy but this one could also go in the thriller section. Andrew Garfield stars as a loner in love with the girl next door (Riley Keough). When she mysteriously disappears, however, he sets off to find the parties responsible, unintentionally unraveling a string of crimes, murders, and strange coincidences in his East L.A. neighborhood. With set pieces designed to glorify the hilly side of Tinseltown, this fun, suspenseful thrill ride will keep you guessing with a tilted head.

Rotten Tomatoes: 58%
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Stars: Andrew Garfield, Riley Keough, Topher Grace
Director: David Robert Mitchell
Rating: R
Runtime: 139 minutes

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The Big Sick (2017)

The Big Sick (2017)

Comedian Kumail Nanjiani and comedy writer Emily V. Gordon adapted their real-life love story for film in The Big Sick, a charming romantic comedy that was one of Digital Trends’ favorite movies of 2019 and helped score Nanjiani and Gordon their own Apple TV+ show. The movie begins with Kumail (playing a loosely fictionalized version of himself) struggling to build a stand-up career, mining his Pakistani background for material. After a run-in with a heckler named Emily (Zoe Kazan) turns into a one-night-stand and eventually a relationship, the two start to run into troubles. For starters, Kumail’s parents want him to settle down with a Pakistani woman, leading them to break up. Making things even more complicated, an infection leaves Emily in a coma. While visiting Emily in the hospital, Kumail meets her parents, Terry (Ray Romano) and Beth (Holly Hunter), learning more about them and Emily as he processes his own feelings.

Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Genre: Romance, Comedy
Stars: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter
Director: Michael Showalter
Rating: R
Runtime: 119 minutes

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Rango (2011)

Johnny Depp stars as a former pet chameleon thrust into the harsh environment of the Mohave Desert in this hilarious animated adventure. It’s a uniquely fresh take on the Wild West concept, packed with plenty of comedic lines delivered by prominent actors like Isla Fisher, Alfred Molina, Timothy Olyphant, Bill Nighy, and more. Depp’s Rango finds himself in the town of Dirt and inherits the role of sheriff in a search for the town’s missing water. Directed by Gore Verbinski, he of Pirates of the Caribbean fame, Rango delivers the same sense of off-brand action that Depp has proven to thrive in.

Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Genre: Action & Adventure, Family
Stars: Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin
Director: Gore Verbinski
Rating: PG
Runtime: 107 minutes

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I Am Not Your Negro (2016)

I Am Not Your Negro (2016)

James Baldwin was one of the most influential writers of the late 20th century, penning numerous essays and acclaimed novels addressing issues of race at a time when racial friction seemed to be boiling over in America. Working from an unfinished Baldwin manuscript, director Raoul Peck has created I Am Not Your Negro, a documentary examining Baldwin’s views and how they apply not only to the tumults of the ’60s, but to modern America as well. Samuel L. Jackson narrates, infusing the material with a husky weariness. I Am Not Your Negro leaves one with the impression that Baldwin’s work has never been finished, and never been more important.

Rotten Tomatoes: 99%
Genre: Documentary
Stars: Samuel L. Jackson
Director: Raoul Peck
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 93 minutes

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Gimme Danger (2016)

Gimme Danger 2016

Although not as famous as many acts of the ‘60s, the Stooges proved to be a hugely influential rock band, with raw sound and avant-garde songwriting that laid the foundation for early punk and metal bands. It’s only fitting that no less a cinematic renegade than Jim Jarmusch would be the one to direct Gimme Danger, a documentary that tells the story of the Stooges through the words of its members, including Jim Osterberg (aka Iggy Pop). Fans of the band will appreciate the many anecdotes and insights into the philosophy of the band, while newcomers may quickly develop a taste for the music, which sounds as lively as anything released today.

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Genre: Documentary
Stars: Iggy Pop, Ron Asheton, Scott Asheton
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Rating: R
Runtime: 108 minutes

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Nuts! (2016)

Nuts! (2016)

This documentary from director Penny Lane examines the fascinating and terrifyingly prescient story of John R. Brinkley, an unlicensed doctor who, in the 1920s, became one of the most successful doctors in America, thanks to a truly bizarre operation he invented. At the behest of a man suffering from impotence, Brinkley implanted a pair of testicular glands from a goat into the patient’s scrotum. Although the procedure had no actual medical benefits (indeed, many subsequent patients would die from the operation), his patient was convinced it worked, and Brinkley soon had men and women coming to him in droves for miracle cures. Brinkley amassed a fortune, and he soon sought more power, establishing a successful radio station to broadcast his medical “wisdom,” and even running for governor of Kansas. Nuts! tells the story through interviews with historians, as well as charming animated reenactments.

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Genre: Documentary
Stars: Gene Tognacci, Andy Boswell, John Causby
Director: Penny Lane
Rating: NR
Runtime: 79 minutes

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Sriracha (2013)

Can’t get enough of Sriracha? Now it can fill your belly and your screens.

A condiment perhaps more widely used than ketchup or mustard, the spicy Sriracha “rooster sauce” takes center stage in this award-winning, short documentary. To help get the flick off the ground, director Griffin Hammond took to the popular crowdfunding website Kickstarter in 2013, successfully raising over $20,000 in pledges to just a $5,000 goal. Hammond’s knack for interesting storytelling allows this 30-minute documentary to properly celebrate one of food’s most beloved and popular sidekicks.

Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Genre: Documentary
Stars: David Tran, Randy Clemens, Adam Holliday
Director: Griffin Hammond
Rating: NR
Runtime: 33 minutes

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The Invisible War (2012)

The Invisible War (2012)

This documentary from award-winning director Kirby Dick explores the ever-increasing incidence of violent sexual assault within the U.S. military. The Invisible War features interviews with veterans from multiple branches of the United States Armed Forces, who recount the events surrounding their sexual assaults. Their stories express the lack of recourse in the justice system and the absence of emotional and physical care for the survivors. The survivors call for a change in the way the military handles sexual assault and hope for a shift to a more honest conversation.

Rotten Tomatoes: 99%
Genre: Documentary
Stars: Amy Ziering, Kirby Dick, Kori Cioca
Director: Kirby Dick
Rating: NR
Runtime: 97 minutes

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One Child Nation (2019)

One Child Nation (2019)

The 2019 Sundance U.S. Grand Jury Prize-winning documentary, One Child Nation, explores a policy many have heard of but few outside China have ever really understood. Chinese-born filmmakers Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang go deep on the 1980 policy — which barred families from having more than one child and fined them if they did — and the devastating consequences it had on both families and the nation as a whole. With gut-wrenching personal testimony and stories from those who lived through it, the film sheds a light on a frightening government program, one widely considered to be one of the biggest human rights violations in world history.

Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Genre: Documentary
Stars: Peng Wang, Logan Stuy, Jiamong Pang
Director: Nanfu Wang, Jialing Zhang
Rating: R
Runtime: 89 minutes

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The Last Waltz (1978)

The Last Waltz

Considered one of the greatest rockumentaries of all time, Martin Scorsese’s The Last Waltz intertwines footage from “The Band’s” farewell concert with backstage interviews. The star-studded tribute features performances by Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Ringo Starr, and other music luminaries. It’s peak Scorsese, with captivating performance cinematography and probing, personal interviews that reach into the inner psyche of one of rock’s greatest groups.

Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Genre: Documentary
Stars: Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, Neil Young
Director: Martin Scorsese
Rating: PG
Runtime: 117 minutes

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