In the world of streaming subscription services, there's what's become known as the "big three." Netflix is still the biggest kahuna in the game, but Hulu and Amazon Prime are hot on its heels. Each service offers its own large selection of movies, with thousands of titles of various calibers included. Currently, Amazon Prime actually boasts the largest movie library of the three, but it could be argued that quantity isn't nearly as important as quality.
25 of the very best movie titles offered on Amazon Prime can be found below, featuring a mix of blockbuster hits, award-winning critical darlings, hilarious comedies, bone-chilling horror movies, and more. The list below attempts to include something for everyone, and thankfully, Amazon Prime's selection houses quite the robust grouping of worthwhile streaming choices.
Before the list begins proper, there are some important notes to be made. First the movies below are available to stream on Amazon Prime at the time of this writing. As movies expire, the list will be updated, and new great options will be added. Also, the 25 films below, while numbered for convenience, are not ranked. So the movie marked number one is not meant to necessarily be seen as superior to the movie at number 25.
Last updated: August 4, 2019
Once upon a time, Tom Hanks wasn't yet cemented as one of the best dramatic leads in Hollywood history. Instead, he was mostly known for doing comedies, such as Splash and Big. While he'd done some dramatic work beforehand, it was 1993's Philadelphia that really proved just how good Hanks was, winning him his first Oscar. Directed by Jonathan Demme, Philadelphia stars Hanks as Andrew Beckett, a corporate lawyer and gay man who's fired by his firm after being diagnosed with AIDS. Beckett sues his former employer, and is eventually represented by Joe Miller (Denzel Washington), who initially struggles with his own homophobia. A landmark film when it comes to Hollywood's representation of the LGBTQ community, Philadelphia is a sad, but moving Amazon Prime pick.
Most horror films are full of obvious supernatural threats, whether they be vampires, ghosts, demons. or even the occasional sadistic leprechaun. Sometimes though, a horror effort comes along to reinforce that at the end of the day, the fear of losing a loved one is one that audiences can't escape, even after the latest scary movie stops playing. One recent example of that type is 2018's critically lauded (89% on Rotten Tomatoes) Hereditary, directed by Ari Aster, and starring Toni Collette as Annie, an emotionally scarred mom who finds her life spinning more and more out of control following the death of her own mother. Hereditary has become a bit divisive in horror circles, but it's worth watching on Amazon Prime and judging for oneself.
One of the most famous authors in the world, horror master Stephen King has seen his work adapted for both the big and small screens countless times. Carrie (1976) was the very first though, which makes sense, as 1974's Carrie was King's first published novel. Sissy Spacek stars as the titular Carrie White, an outcast teenage girl who finds that the changes to her body brought on by puberty also awaken a powerful telekinetic ability, one capable of striking back at her tormentors, up to and including her religious zealot of a mother.
22 Dumb and Dumber
The debut film by directing duo the Farrelly Brothers, 1994's Dumb and Dumber will never be mistaken for an attempt at highbrow humor. Thankfully, it's rare that lowbrow humor is done this spectacularly well, and the film has gone on to be widely regarded as one of the funniest films of its decade. Casting Jim Carrey at the height of his comedic powers alongside Jeff Daniels (an actor then primarily known for his dramatic work) seemed like an odd choice at the time, but the pairing worked like a charm. Unfortunately, this magic didn't carry over for 2014's largely forgettable sequel, Dumb and Dumber To, which is thankfully not on Amazon Prime.
21 Eighth Grade
The feature writing and directing debut of comedian Bo Burnham, Eighth Grade wowed many in 2018 with its very relatable, and often very frank depiction of what it's like to be transitioning into one's teenage years. Most movies and TV shows tend to depict childhood and young adulthood as this time full of nothing but fun and carefree idealism, but in reality, many people spend their youths battling social awkwardness, dealing with anxiety, and struggling to fit in. Fronted by a great lead performance from Elsie Fisher, and bolstered by one of the best speeches ever given from a parent to their child onscreen, Eighth Grade isn't always easy to sit through, but it's consistently rewarding. Another impressive offering from Amazon Prime.
20 Some Like It Hot
Those looking to watch a classic comedy on Amazon Prime need look no further than 1951's Some Like It Hot, directed by Hollywood icon Billy Wilder, helmer of other golden age hits like Double Indemnity and Sunset Boulevard. Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon star as two Chicago musicians forced to assume female identities to get out of town after witnessing a gangland murder. Both quickly notice the singer of their new all-female band, played by Marilyn Monroe near the height of her stardom. Some Like It Hot includes some moments that are problematic by today's standards, but those willing to view it through a historical lens will still find plenty to enjoy.
19 12 Angry Men
Hollywood loves itself a good courtroom drama, and the movie that solidified just how worthwhile they could be was 1957's 12 Angry Men, ready to stream anytime on Amazon Prime. Directed by Sidney Lumet, 12 Angry Men's story is simple, yet compelling. A group of jurors, forced to deliberate together for hours in the same room, must come to a unanimous verdict about the guilt or innocence of an 18-year-old accused of murder. Such classic film heavyweights as Henry Fonda, Martin Balsam, Jack Klugman, E.G. Marshall, and Lee J. Cobb star.
18 Shutter Island
Directed by Martin Scorsese and starring his modern muse Leonardo DiCaprio, 2010's Shutter Island centers on U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels, who's sent to investigate a mysterious disappearance at a mental hospital on the titular island. Unfortunately for Teddy, nothing is what it seems, and the mystery threatens to swallow him whole. The star-studded cast also includes Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Max von Sydow, and Michelle Williams. Those looking for a thriller designed to keep them guessing should definitely stream Shutter Island on Amazon Prime.
17 The Return of the Living Dead
Long before Simon Pegg and Nick Frost combined laughs with flesh-eating zombies in 2004's Shaun of the Dead, director Dan O'Bannon unleashed 1985's The Return of the Living Dead on unsuspecting audiences. Often considered one of the best horror comedies ever, The Return of the Living Dead was set in a world in which events similar to those of George A. Romero's 1968 classic Night of the Living Dead really happened, and the movie was a cover story. Unfortunately, hapless warehouse workers Frank (James Karen) and Freddy (Thom Matthews) soon mistakenly release the Trioxin gas that brings the dead back to life, leading to brain-eating gory deaths and personality-filled talking zombies. A perfect choice for a night of Amazon Prime streaming fun.
16 Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
The Star Trek multimedia franchise has so far produced 13 feature films, but arguably the most iconic of those came early on, with 1982's Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, now on Amazon Prime. For better or worse, The Wrath of Khan changed gears from the metaphysical, exploratory adventure that was Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and did its best to turn Star Trek into more of a space action vehicle. Thankfully, it succeeded with most, and William Shatner's Captain Kirk yelling KHAN! at Ricardo Montalban's titular villain has become the stuff of legend.
15 Hard Candy
While stars Ellen Page and Patrick Wilson have since on to much greater fame in big studio projects, that doesn't mean they didn't still turn in terrific performances in director David Slade's 2005 suspense thriller Hard Candy. Page plays Hayley, a young woman who poses as a flirty teenager to lure in Jeff, a 30-something photographer, on an online chatroom. Jeff takes Hayley back to his place, but the tables quickly turn, as Hayley seizes control and attempts to punish Jeff for allegedly raping and murdering a local missing girl. Is Hayley right, or is there any merit to Jeff's protests that he's just a lonely man with poor judgment? Watch on Amazon Prime to find out.
14 The Machinist
While Oscar-winner Christian Bale has become well-known for his ability to transform himself physically for roles in acclaimed films like The Fighter and Vice, one of Bale's earliest transformations occurred for a film that didn't even receive a wide theatrical release. However, that doesn't mean 2004's The Machinist isn't worth watching on Amazon Prime. Directed by Brad Anderson, The Machinist stars Bale as Trevor Reznik, a man whose chronic insomnia issues have caused him to become horrifyingly emaciated. After Trevor causes an accident at work and loses his job, his mental state spirals downward fast. Jennifer Jason Leigh and Michael Ironside also star.
13 Ginger Snaps
The werewolf is one of horror's oldest monsters, dating back to the Universal classic The Wolf Man starring Lon Chaney Jr. One of the most creative spins on the werewolf story is 2000's Ginger Snaps, a Canadian indie from director John Fawcett that's gone on to cultivate a large cult fanbase. Goth sisters Ginger (Katharine Isabelle) and Brigitte (Emily Perkins) are obsessed with death, that is until death comes knocking via an attack by a werewolf on Ginger. Before long, Ginger becomes a murderous beast, and it's ultimately up to Brigitte to try and stop her reign of terror. This coming-of-age horror tale is well worth howling at on Amazon Prime.
12 Angel Heart
For those who love a good neo-noir mystery - and don't mind it being infused with some psychological horror - 1987's Angel Heart could be a great choice to give a spin on Amazon Prime. Director Alan Parker's film stars Mickey Rourke as Harry Angel, a private detective in 1955 tasked by the mysterious Louis Cyphre (Robert De Niro) with tracking down a man called Johnny Favorite. The search leads to New Orleans, and as things progress, Harry's world spirals downward. Lisa Bonet also stars, in a role that famously got her kicked off The Cosby Show.
11 Blue Velvet
If one's only exposure to director David Lynch is through the TV series Twin Peaks, they owe it to themselves to check out what may be Lynch's best movie, now on Amazon Prime. Also starring Kyle MacLachlan, Blue Velvet in many ways inspired Twin Peaks' colorful aesthetic, and its setting of a seemingly idyllic small town with horrors bubbling not far under the surface. The biggest of those horrors is violent madman Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper), a villain always seen taking hits off of a container of an unidentified gas. Like any Lynch film, it's surreal, but it's also more accessible than much of the director's work.
10 A Simple Plan
In a career that includes hit franchises like Evil Dead and Spider-Man, A Simple Plan has never been director Sam Raimi's most highly rated work, despite sporting a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. With it now on Amazon Prime, it's a perfect time to discover Raimi's 1998 neo-noir thriller, which was adapted from a novel by Scott B. Smith. Bill Paxton and Billy Bob Thornton star as brothers Hank and Jacob Mitchell, who find a crashed plane with millions of dollars onboard. With Hank's wife Sarah (Bridget Fonda) involved, an attempt is made to cover up what happened and keep their ill-gotten gains. Sadly, things go horribly wrong.
While 1995's Jumanji was never going to be an awards season darling, there's no question that it's an immensely fun watch, and a film that many who came of age in that decade look back on with fondness. The main reason for that is no doubt the late, great Robin Williams, who stars as Alan Parrish, a man whose spent decades trapped inside the titular board game after a turn gone wrong. Directed by Joe Johnston, Jumanji is a game still very much worth playing on Amazon Prime, and also lives on via the current video game-based sequels starring The Rock.
8 Leave No Trace
One of the most critically acclaimed films of 2018, director Debra Granik's Leave No Trace is a recent addition to Amazon Prime, and one worth checking out. Leave No Trace is the story of Will (Ben Foster) and his daughter Tom (Thomasin McKenzie), who begin the film living inside a public park in Portland, Oregon. The pair spends most of their time isolated, but after they're discovered and arrested by police, Will and Tom are forced to try and adjust to life within normal society. Tom finds herself being won over by the charms of a standard American life, but Will's war-induced PTSD won't allow him to change so easily.
7 The Disaster Artist
Every consummate film fan knows that sometimes a movie can be so bad that it's entertaining. An incredibly inept production can still be a work of art that came from good intentions and a passion for the project, and sometimes that shines through the screen, even if the movie in question objectively stinks. One such film is 2003's The Room, directed by and starring the notoriously eccentric Tommy Wiseau. Tommy is quite a character, so much so that 2017's acclaimed The Disaster Artist turned his story into a genuinely good film, and a great Amazon Prime pick. James Franco stars as Wiseau, and appropriately, directed The Disaster Artist as well.
6 Child's Play
In theory, a killer doll should be an easy villain to defeat. After all, it's tiny, and made of plastic. The wrinkle 1988's Child's Play adds into the mix is that Chucky has been possessed by the spirit of a dead serial killer via voodoo, and is thus supernaturally indestructible. Director Tom Holland's (no, not that one) film earned praise from both critics and audiences, and would go on to spawn a still ongoing franchise starring Chucky, voiced by Brad Dourif. A remake is coming soon, but the original remains a terror tale worth watching on Amazon Prime.
5 Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
Mike Myers may be known for many things - his years on Saturday Night Live, the Wayne's World movies, voicing Shrek - but arguably his greatest creation to date is Austin Powers. In his debut film, 1997's Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, the 1960s super-spy finds himself awoken from cryogenic stasis in the 1990s, upon the return of nemesis Dr. Evil (also Myers). A pitch-perfect parody of the James Bond series, Austin Powers would become a pop culture icon, although his two sequels aren't yet available on Amazon Prime.
4 Bone Tomahawk
Horror crosses over with many other genres, the most common being sci-fi and comedy. Less common is the horror/western mashup, but one of the best example of that combo is 2015's Bone Tomahawk, directed by S. Craig Zahler. Sporting an impressive 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, Bone Tomahawk never got a wide release in theaters, making its streaming run on Amazon Prime the first opportunity many will have had to see it. Like, From Dusk Till Dawn, Bone Tomahawk makes a sharp left turn into horror country, and exactly how it does so is best left unspoiled. The terrific cast includes names like Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox, and Richard Jenkins.
3 The Terminator
When director James Cameron made his sci-fi slasher movie The Terminator back in 1984, it's doubtful anyone anticipated it spawning a franchise of soon to be six films, a TV show, video games, comic books, and more. Yet, the tale of Sarah Connor's (Linda Hamilton) attempt to survive the relentless pursuit of the titular cyborg (Arnold Schwarzenegger) remains one of the most compelling pieces of action and suspense to come out of the decade of New Wave music and feathered hair, and is a prime Amazon Prime pick. Michael Biehn also stars as Sarah's human protector, Kyle Reese.
2 It's a Wonderful Life
There are certain movies that just about everybody associates with Christmas. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Home Alone. The Santa Clause. For the less jolly out there, Silent Night, Deadly Night. Arguably the most iconic Christmas movie in history though is director Frank Capra's 1946 classic It's a Wonderful Life. Quite possibly the most uplifting film about suicide ever made, It's a Wonderful Life stars Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey, a man whose attempted death is foiled by his guardian angel. George is then shown just how much worse the lives of those around him would be if he was never born, a premise that's since been ripped off endlessly. Christmas might be many months away, but it's always a wonderful time to watch It's a Wonderful Life on Amazon Prime.
1 Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Based on a 1954 novel by Jack Finney, 1956's Invasion of the Body Snatchers presents one of the most enduring alien invasion tales in pop culture history. The film has already been remade three times, and a fourth update is in development. Instead of spaceships and laser guns, Body Snatchers' aliens invade in a much more subtle way, replacing human beings while they sleep with duplicates that are physically identical, but devoid of emotion and the complexities that makes humans human. In addition to director Don Siegel's 1956 classic starring Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter, the 1978 remake starring Donald Sutherland and Brooke Adams is also streamable on Amazon Prime.