Hulu has a lot of great movies - here are the 25 best films on the streaming service. In an age of options, less feels like more. While Netflix has an ever-expanding library, Hulu offers a more focused collection of great movies. Because volume isn’t the objective, Hulu succeeds in curating a batch of excellent films.
There are the iconic classics like The Matrix and Lethal Weapon, the arthouse darlings like Sorry to Bother You and Punch-Drunk Love, and the pure entertainment gems like The Fifth Element and Shrek. Hulu keeps it simple, and offers something for everybody. Here are the 25 best movies that you can watch on Hulu right now.
Before we start, first a disclaimer. modern streaming libraries are like carousels, always moving and always changing. The films in this list are available on Hulu at the time of writing. We’ll be updating this top 25 list frequently, so keep an eye out for Hulu’s latest and greatest offerings. Also, the list isn't ranked from worst to best, so a lower number is not meant to denote higher quality. It's just a list of 25 great movies.
Last updated: October 1, 2019
While it slipped through awards season without much hype, Detroit remains one of 2017’s best films. Rotten Tomatoes awarded it an 84% for its “gut-wrenching dramatization of a tragic chapter” in American history. Director Kathryn Bigelow tackles the 1967 incident in Motor City with aplomb, deftly guiding a sprawling cast (led by John Boyega and Will Poulter) through a maze of tension, bigotry, and survival. Detroit streams exclusively on Hulu.
24 The Fifth Element
One of the most unique sci-fi films of its decade, director Luc Besson's 1997 hit The Fifth Element served to launch the career of future Resident Evil franchise lead Milla Jovovich into the stratosphere, and is now on Hulu. Bruce Willis stars as Korben Dallas, a 23rd century cab driver who ends up unwillingly thrust into a quest to save the Earth when Leeloo (Jovovich) jumps off into a building into his flying vehicle. The two are opposed by Jean-Baptiste Emmanuel Zorg (Gary Oldman), a brash villain working on behalf of a great cosmic evil.
While Marvel Studios' Black Panther might be the first superhero film starring an African-American lead to become a massive blockbuster hit, one shouldn't discount the impact made by Wesley Snipes' Blade in 1998, which definitely paved the way for a black cinematic superhero like T'Challa. Director Stephen Norrington's film wasn't exactly a box office smash (although it did perform quite respectably), but Snipes fit the Blade role so well that many fans still wish he'd play it in the MCU. Blade II - a sequel some believe tops the original - is on Hulu also.
Read More: Every Blade Film & TV Appearance, Ranked
22 The Matrix
One of the biggest pop culture phenomenons of its time, 1999's The Matrix put sibling directors The Wachowskis on the map. The Matrix's quite brilliant premise is that the world and everyone in it is in fact a computer simulation powered by the very humans that dwell there, after a catastrophic war between mankind and machines. One day, Thomas Anderson aka Neo (Keanu Reeves), a mild-mannered computer programmer by day and hacker by night, is woken up to the sad reality of his situation by Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), leaders of a human resistance effort seeking to expose The Matrix to the public. Sequels The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions are also available on Hulu.
21 Basic Instinct
While 1992's Basic Instinct is most remembered for a particularly scandalous scene involving Sharon Stone, the movie as a whole is quite the enthralling neo-noir suspense thriller. Directed by Paul Verhoeven, Basic Instinct stars Michael Douglas as detective Nick Curran, who makes the mistake of becoming romantically involved with murder suspect Catherine Tramell (Stone). Well, depending on one's definition of romance. One of the biggest hits of the 1990s, Basic Instinct made over $350 million, and is a Hulu pick definitely aimed at adults.
20 Lethal Weapon
Directed by 1980s mainstay Richard Donner, 1987's Lethal Weapon still stands as one of the quintessential examples of how to do a "buddy cop" action movie right. Mel Gibson stars as Martin Riggs, a suicidal sergeant with a short fuse and nothing to lose. Riggs gets partnered up with by the book lawman Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover), leading to a slowly blossoming friendship, and one of film's most beloved duos. Lethal Weapon would spawn three successful sequels, and a TV reboot that aired on FOX. All are currently available on Hulu too.
The second feature to be directed by award magnet filmmaker Alexander Payne (and one of three on Hulu), Election is based on Tom Perotta's 1998 novel of the same name, and takes a darkly comic look at high school life through the lens of a hotly contested election for student body president. Reese Witherspoon stars as Tracy Flick - an ambitious overachiever who sets her sights on the office - while Matthew Broderick plays frustrated teacher Jim McAllister, who makes it his mission to try and crush the often manipulative girl's dreams.
While director Oliver Stone is most closely associated nowadays with his penchant for conspiracy theories and being outspoken politically, that doesn't mean his films aren't still by and large brilliant, and worth checking out on Hulu. One of the best is 1986's Platoon, which is based on Stone's own experiences serving in the Vietnam War. The cast is loaded with talent, including Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe, Keith David, Forest Whitaker, and even Johnny Depp in an early role. War truly is hell, and Platoon presents that reality more vividly than the vast majority of movies.
Any dedicated horror fan has surely had their soul torn apart multiple times by Hellraiser's Pinhead (Doug Bradley) by this point. Director Clive Barker (adapting his own novella) crafted one of the most enduring tales of terror to come out of the 1980s, spawning one of the longest-running horror franchises out there as well. Hellraiser may only have a 68% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but it's a certified classic of the genre, and needs to be watched by anyone who enjoys a good fright flick. Direct sequel Hellbound: Hellraiser II is also part of Hulu's roster.
To some, Michael Fassbender is a young Magneto. To others, he’s a two-time Academy Award nominee. To a select few, he’s the gonzo pop musician and eponymous hero in Frank, the offbeat artist who became more famous for his oversized paper-mâché mask than his music. Directed by Lenny Abrahamson (Room), Frank earned a 92% Rotten Tomatoes score and remains a cult classic to adventurous Hulu viewers looking for a changeup in their visual diet.
One of Screen Rant's favorite movies of 2018, Annihilation is a visionary sci-fi film written and directed by Alex Garland, who previously made his directing debut with the equally arresting Ex Machina. Natalie Portman stars as Lena, one of the only survivors of an expedition into a realm called "The Shimmer," which serves as home to places and creatures beyond anything known to the natural world. Sporting an 89% RT score, Annihilation just arrived on Hulu, and also stars Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, and Oscar Isaac.
14 The Naked Gun
Most would likely argue that no director ever made better parody films than Mel Brooks, and while that might be true, the Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker team sure came close with 1988's The Naked Gun. Based on the short-lived TV series Police Squad!, the new to Hulu film made a comedy icon out of Leslie Nielsen, who stars as bumbling lieutenant Frank Drebin. The Naked Gun's jokes fly at a rapid pace, never letting viewers catch their breath, and while they don't all hit, enough do. Infamously, O.J. Simpsons also appears, prior to his murder charges.
Made back in the days when director Mel Brooks could seemingly do no wrong, Spaceballs is a hilarious parody of the original Star Wars trilogy. While it wasn't quite a critical hit, Spaceballs has earned itself a gigantic cult following in the decades since its release, and features terrific comedic performances from greats like Bill Pullman, John Candy, Rick Moranis, Joan Rivers, and even Brooks himself as the wise sage called Yogurt. Stream it on Hulu and get ready to laugh.
12 A Quiet Place
While John Krasinski might always be best known for playing Jim on iconic sitcom The Office, 2018's acclaimed sci-fi/horror film A Quiet Place demonstrated that he has just as much talent behind the camera. Directed, co-written by, and starring Krasinski, A Quiet Place centers on a family living in the aftermath of an apocalyptic alien invasion. The invading creatures are deadly, and hunt by sound, meaning that the Abbott clan has to spend most of their life in silence. Unfortunately, things eventually go wrong, and the monsters come calling. Krasinkski's real-life wife Emily Blunt co-stars in this prime Hulu pick.
While 2019's theatrical arrival of director M. Night Shyamalan's latest film Glass didn't exactly set the world on fire, that doesn't diminish the greatness of its predecessors, the first being 2000's Unbreakable, recently added to Hulu. After surviving a deadly train crash without a scratch, mild-mannered security guard and family man David Dunn (Bruce Willis) comes to discover that he possesses powers beyond normal men, and that he's destined for greatness as a superhero. Guiding him down this path is Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson), a mysterious man with secrets of his own.
10 Punch-Drunk Love
The fourth feature to be directed by perennial critical darling Paul Thomas Anderson, 2002's Punch-Drunk Love offered a showcase for comedy icon Adam Sandler's then-unknown dramatic chops as Barry Egan, a desperately lonely man with severe rage issues. Sadly, said chops have only been glimpsed a few times since, with Sandler mostly content to stick to his usual wheelhouse of slapstick comedies like Grown Ups. Still fans of Sandler the actor will always have this critically acclaimed film to remember him by, and stream on Hulu.
9 The Wrestler
While Mickey Rourke's career resurrection didn't end up leading to much outside of an Oscar nomination, his performance as Randy "The Ram" Robinson in Darren Aronfosky's The Wrestler remains terrific. Inspired in part by multiple tales of past-their-prime pro wrestlers who just can't let go of the spotlight, Randy's story is a tale of heartache, regret, and sometimes, a little bit of hope. Fans still debate whether Randy survived his fateful leap off the top rope, but there's no debate about The Wrestler's merit as a Hulu pick.
8 Total Recall
Iconoclastic director Paul Verhoeven has been called many things over the course of his career, but he's certainly never been called boring. One of his biggest mainstream hits is 1990's Total Recall, an adaptation of the Philip K. Dick sci-fi story "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" that features Arnold Schwarzenegger near the height of his powers as a movie star. The twisty plot largely defies a short-form explanation, but on the surface, the story kicks off when blue-collar worker Douglas Quaid (Schwarzengger) seeks the services of Rekall, a company capable of implanting memories of a Mars vacation he's never actually had. There's never been a better time for Hulu users to take their own trip to Verhoeven's Mars.
The film that put Dreamworks Animation on the map, 2001's Shrek stars Mike Myers as the titular ogre, a creature gruff on the outside but caring on the inside. Despite not wanting to do anything but hang out in his swamp, Shrek is compelled to go on a quest to rescue Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) by the villainous Lord Farquad (John Lithgow). By his side is Donkey (Eddie Murphy), a fast-talking animal who can't help annoying Shrek with his constant chatter. Shrek spawned a franchise of three sequels and multiple specials, and is worth checking out on Hulu.
6 Rosemary's Baby
Although director Roman Polanski is quite rightfully disgraced nowadays for being a convicted rapist, but that doesn't mean his classic films are suddenly any less great. One of the best is 1968's Rosemary's Baby, a deservedly revered entry into the horror canon. Mia Farrow stars as the titular character, a young woman who sees her life get more and more unraveled after she and her husband move into a mysterious New York City apartment building. Before long, she begins to suspect that every single person in her orbit might be involved in a demonic conspiracy. Those who haven't seen it owe it to themselves to meet Rosemary's Baby on Hulu.
A biopic about former U.S. vice president Dick Cheney was always going to be a controversial, divisive prospect, especially one directed by Adam McKay with a sharp satirical edge. In the end, 2018's Vice ended up earning mostly praise from critics, and multiple Oscar nominations, including one for Christian Bale's eerily accurate performance as Cheney. Bale famously put on lots of weight for the role, and is almost unrecognizable at a glance. Vice's all-star cast also includes Amy Adams, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, and more. Vice is worth a stream on Hulu, especially during these current politically-charged times.
Read More: Christian Bale’s 10 Greatest Roles, Ranked
4 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 Hulu. 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.
3 Sorry to Bother You
One of the most uniquely creative movies of 2018, director Boots Riley's debut is a thought-provoking look at American race relations, framed through a dystopian comedic lens. Sorry to Bother You stars Lakeith Stanfield as Cassius "Cash" Green, who gets a job as a telemarketer, only to discover that putting on his "white voice" is what gets the money rolling in. Sorry to Bother You is a film not really suited to being summed up in a paragraph, but its 93% Rotten Tomatoes score kind of speaks for itself. Check it out on Hulu.
A darker than dark comedy, Heathers was written by Daniel Waters and directed by Michael Lehmann, and sports a huge cult following, which is sure to only get bigger via Hulu. Winona Ryder stars as Veronica Sawyer, a high school student who runs afoul of former friends the Heathers, a trio of rich, popular girls that rule teen society with an iron fist. After being wronged by them, Veronica makes the mistake of teaming up with outcast bad boy J.D. (Christian Slater) in order to get revenge. Sadly, J.D.'s idea of revenge is straight up murdering his enemies.
1 The Goonies
One of the most beloved films of the 1980s, The Goonies embodies the decade's Spielbergian-style of kid adventure movies more than any other. A clear influence on Stranger Things, director Richard Donner's film focuses on the titular group, headed up by future star Sean Astin and Corey Feldman, as they seek a legendary pirate treasure in an attempt to save their families' homes. Complicating things is a family of criminals who also want the loot. A young Josh "Thanos" Brolin plays Astin's older brother in this Hulu treasure.