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 Academy Awards classics like Terms of Endearment and Rocky, the arthouse darlings like Babel and The Hunt, and the pure entertainment gems like Raiders of the Lost Ark and Goon.
Hulu keeps it simple and offers something for everybody. Here are the 25 best movies that you can watch on Hulu right now.
Last updated: August 2, 2018
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.
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. Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure
At first glance, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure - director Stephen Herek's ridiculous time-traveling comedy starring Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter as a pair of wannabe rockstars - might seem like an odd choice for a list like this, but despite its wild premise, the film is both critically acclaimed (78% on RT) and widely beloved. Bill S. Preston, Esq. and Ted "Theodore" Logan are of course soon set to reunite the Wyld Stallyns for a belated third movie, but it'll likely never get better than their original adventure with Rufus (George Carlin).
Director Denis Villeneuve solidified his reputation with Arrival, perhaps the most intimate science fiction movie in recent years. Critics awarded it a 94% Rotten Tomatoes score, and domestic fans boosted its box office to over $100 million. Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker help ground this mind-bending adventure. Should you have any questions about that ending, we've got you covered.
22. Jackie Brown
The third feature film by director Quentin Tarantino, Jackie Brown is an adaptation of author Elmore Leonard's 1992 novel Rum Punch, and stars blaxploitation legend Pam Grier in the titular role of a stewardess of runs afoul of a crime lord. In many ways a tribute to Grier's classics like Foxy Brown, Jackie Brown's star-studded cast also includes Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster, Bridget Fonda, Michael Keaton, and Robert De Niro. While not as highly regarded as predecessor Pulp Fiction, critics still loved Jackie Brown, which holds an 86% score on RT.
Read More: All of Quentin Tarantino's Movies, Ranked
The second feature to be directed by award magnet filmmaker Alexander Payne, 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.
20. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is considerably longer than the F. Scott Fitzgerald short story that inspired it. Clocking in at a whopping 166-minute run-time (and a 72% Rotten Tomatoes score), David Fincher’s epic returns your time with a surfeit of emotion. If you like Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett and the imagination of the guy who wrote The Great Gatsby, you won’t want to miss this one.
While it took director Martin Scorsese 25 years to make Silence, his commitment and passion are fully evident in every frame of the movie. As the title suggests, this is a quiet and interior film, a study of faith and persecution set in 17th Century Japan. Silence is a deeply transporting experience fueled by actors Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson, and Adam Driver. Though largely ignored by the Oscars, Silence garnered an 84% Rotten Tomatoes score.
18. Jacob's Ladder
Those looking for a film designed to unsettle and mess with one's mind need look no further than Jacob's Ladder, directed by Adrian Lyne. Tim Robbins stars as Jacob, a Vietnam vet whose experiences have left him experiencing bizarre hallucinations, some of which include things so strange and chilling that they're bound to leave the viewer also questioning what they're seeing onscreen. Sporting a 69% on RT, genre fans generally regard the film with high esteem. It's also notable for having inspired much of the aesthetic of the Silent Hill video game franchise.
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 viewers looking for a changeup in their visual diet.
If you’re a hockey fan and have ever laughed at National Lampoon movies, Goon deserves to be on your roster. Directed by Michael Dowse and penned by Jay Baruchel and Evan Goldberg, this slapstick comedy is packed with laughs, action, and memorable one-liners. Seann William Scott leads the fray with Eugene Levy, Kim Coates, Alison Pill and Live Schreiber in this Rotten Tomatoes 82%-fresh comedy.
14. The Hunt
Foreign films are in short supply on Hulu, but director Thomas Vinterberg’s The Hunt closes the gap. Mads Mikkelsen stars in the haunting drama that earned him the Best Actor Award at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival (and a 94% Rotten Tomatoes score for the movie). The Hunt is perhaps more relevant than ever, asking questions about the power of accusation and mass hysteria.
The final act of director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s “Death Trilogy,” Babel weaves a complicated story into a compelling drama. The narrative unfolds when a random act of violence in the Middle East gets an American tourist (Cate Blanchett) wounded. As her husband (Brad Pitt) seeks medical attention, the event makes international headlines and interlinks additional narratives in Japan, the United States, and Mexico. Released in the middle of a war-ravaged 2006, Babel earned a 69% Rotten Tomatoes score and a bundle of Academy Awards nominations.
12. Pretty Woman
Perhaps the quintessential romantic comedy, director Garry Marshall's Pretty Woman rocketed lead actress Julia Roberts to superstardom. The tale of a rich businessman (Richard Gere) who hires a prostitute to accompany him to some social events, only to fall in love with her, is now one of the most well-known in cinema history. Made for $14 million, Pretty Woman grossed $463 million worldwide, and earned Roberts an Oscar nomination. Critical reviews weren't glowing (62% on RT), but that's never hindered the film's popularity, or its staying power.
11. American Psycho
While landing the role of Batman in Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy may be what cemented Christian Bale as an A-list star, just a few years earlier, the actor drew raves for his portrayal of yuppie serial killer Patrick Bateman in director Mary Harron's American Psycho. An adaptation of Brett Easton Ellis' controversial 80s-set book, the film excises some of Ellis' more upsetting sequences, but still manages to craft one of the most fascinating horror films of its decade. For his part, Bale is a revelation, exuding both undeniable menace and his own odd charm.
10. Rain Man
One of the many triumphs to come out of the 1980s from director Barry Levinson, Rain Man tells the unlikely story of slick, fast-talking hustler Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise, in one of the early roles that proved to audiences that he was capable of far more then headlining popcorn fare like Top Gun), who is shocked to find out his father's sizable estate is being passed on almost entirely to autistic savant Raymond (Dustin Hoffman), an older brother he never knew he had. A critical darling, Rain Man picked up four Oscars, including Best Picture, and Best Actor for Hoffman.
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.
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 (57% on RT), 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.
7. Taxi Driver
Often cited as one of legendary director Martin Scorsese's best films, 1976's Taxi Driver also features one of the greatest performances to come out of the long acting career of Robert De Niro. Written by Paul Schrader, Taxi Driver stars De Niro as Travis Bickle, an already tightly wound Vietnam veteran who finds himself slowly becoming more and more disillusioned with society after witnessing the rampant crime and corruption in New York City. Bickle of course eventually snaps, going on one of cinema's most infamous violent rampages.
6. Who Framed Roger Rabbit
One of many 80s and 90s gems to be directed by Oscar-winner Robert Zemeckis, 1988's Who Framed Roger Rabbit was a true breakthrough when it came to films that blended live-action with animation. Set in a world where cartoons are real and live among the population, WFRR stars Bob Hoskins as grizzled detective Eddie Valiant, who's hired to investigate whether Roger's wife Jessica is cheating on him. When Jessica's suspected lover dies, it's up to Eddie to solve the case and clear Roger's name before the evil Judge Doom can bring out "The Dip."
5. Shaun of the Dead
The film that turned British comic actor Simon Pegg into a stateside superstar - as well as made director Edgar Wright a Hollywood mainstay - Shaun of the Dead marketed itself as the first rom-zom-com, or romantic zombie comedy. To its credit, the film succeeds at balancing each element, working well as a kickass horror film, hilarious comedy, and charming look at Shaun's evolution into a more worthy suitor for ex-girlfriend Liz. The first installment in Pegg, Wright, and co-star Nick Frost's "Cornetto Trilogy," Shaun was followed by Hot Fuzz and The World's End. Critics dug it too, leading to an impressive 92% Rotten Tomatoes score.
4. The Usual Suspects
While the various sexual misconduct allegations surrounding director Bryan Singer and star Kevin Spacey sadly loom a bit large over The Usual Suspects at this point, that doesn't change the fact that the film itself is a terrific (89% on RT) mystery, and sports one of the most game-changing twist endings ever. Centered on the interrogation of a small-time crook named Roger "Verbal" Kint (Spacey), the plot spins a web of intrigue around mythical criminal Keyser Soze, who nobody alive has ever actually seen. Chazz Palminteri, Kevin Pollak, Benicio Del Toro, Gabriel Byrne, and Stephen Baldwin also star.
3. This Is Spinal Tap
Probably the most famous and well-regarded example of the mockumentary genre in history, director Rob Reiner's This Is Spinal Tap is one of those movies that even if one hasn't seen it, they've likely seen references to it hundreds of times. Sporting a towering 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, This Is Spinal Tap's hilarious portrait of a fictional British metal band is right up there with Monty Python and the Holy Grail when it comes to comedies that have successfully permeated western pop culture at large. This film goes to eleven.
A darker than dark comedy, Heathers was written by Daniel Waters and directed by Michael Lehmann, and sports a huge cult following. 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. Let the Right One In
Released in a decade where vampire cinema was dominated by the sparkly Twilight, director Tomas Alfredson's Swedish hit Let the Right One In was exactly what the classic creature needed to remind audiences that despite their affliction, vampire movies don't have to suck. Lina Leandersson stars as Eli, an ageless vampire with the appearance of a child, and Kare Hedebrant plays Oskar, the bullied young boy she enters into an unexpectedly sweet relationship with. The film was later adapted stateside by Matt Reeves, with Chloe Grace Moretz in the Eli role.
We will continue to update this list as new movies become available on Hulu, so be sure to check back soon!
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