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 Silence of the Lambs and Reservoir Dogs, the arthouse darlings like Sorry to Bother You and Let the Right One In, and the pure entertainment gems like Independence Day 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: August 4, 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.
One of the most respected crime thrillers of the 1990s, Seven has style to spare, and was one of the films to first establish David Fincher as a director be reckoned with. Seven stars Brad Pitt as brash young detective David Mills, who partners up with soon to retire detective William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) in order to try and catch a serial killer who bases his murders on the seven deadly sins. Hauling in over $300 million at the box office on a $33 million budget, Seven was both a critical and commercial smash, and deserves to be revisited on Hulu.
Read More: 15 Awesome Facts You Didn't Know About Seven
22 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 recently added to Hulu 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.
21 The Silence of the Lambs
While not the first film to adapt author Thomas Harris' cannibalistic serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter for the big screen - that honor goes to 1986's Manhunter - 1991's The Silence of the Lambs is no doubt the most acclaimed, and is now on Hulu. Based on Harris' book of the same name, The Silence of the Lambs focuses on young FBI trainee Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster), who's abruptly enlisted to try and persuade an imprisoned Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) to help catch a new killer named "Buffalo Bill" (Ted Levine). Directed by the late Jonathan Demme, the film would go on to clean up at the Oscars, and it took until 2013's Hannibal TV series for the character to finally get his proper due again.
20 Reservoir Dogs
After all the acclaimed films made by director Quentin Tarantino, there are still many who would call his first film (and only one currently available on Hulu), 1992's Reservoir Dogs, their favorite. It's not hard to see why, as right from the beginning, all of Tarantino's directorial signatures were in effect, including his penchant for rapid fire dialogue, pop culture references, rampant profanity, and a nonlinear narrative. Reservoir Dogs tells the story of a five-man squad assembled for a diamond heist, and how all hell breaks loose once the plan goes sideways. Said thieves are played by Michael Madsen, Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Steve Buscemi, and Tarantino himself.
Read More: All of Quentin Tarantino's Movies, Ranked
19 An American Werewolf in London
There are many iconic movies about vampires, ghosts, witches, and demons, but unfortunately, the werewolf tends to come up short in that department, starring in more stinkers than hits. Arguably the best werewolf movie of all time is 1981's An American Werewolf in London, directed by John Landis, and now on Hulu. Boasting amazing practical creature effects that hold up today, the film tells the story of David Kessler (David Naughton), an American backpacking in Europe that ends up surviving a werewolf attack that kills his best friend. Unfortunately, it's not too long before David realizes he's now cursed to kill during the full moon.
18 Planes, Trains and Automobiles
While there are many iconic films set on or around holidays like Christmas, Halloween, and the 4th of July, one big occasion with less great movies than it deserves is Thanksgiving. Probably the most beloved of the bunch is 1987 comedy Planes, Trains and Automobiles, written and directed by John Hughes. Steve Martin stars as Neal Page, a stressed out marketing executive who's just trying to make it home to Chicago from New York City in time for the big day. Unfortunately, his attempts to do so keep getting intertwined with kind but bothersome salesman Del Griffith (John Candy). The two men's misadventures form the crux of the film, and both leads are up to the task. it may not be November, but Planes, Trains and Automobiles is worth a Hulu stream any time of the year.
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 Independence Day
While Will Smith may be one of the biggest movie stars in the world now, it's easy to forget that wasn't always the case. It wasn't until Smith starred in 1996's alien invasion blockbuster Independence Day that he was truly put on the map as a leading man, a status cemented by the following year's Men in Black. Director Roland Emmerich's film will never be confused for an Oscar-winner, but sometimes it's just fun to spend two hours enjoying a thrilling spectacle, and that's one thing Independence Day doesn't fail to provide on Hulu. Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman also star, with the latter giving perhaps the greatest motivational speech in film history.
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.
Shall we play a game? One of the most well-known movie lines of the 1980s, that question sets the plot of 1983's WarGames in motion. Matthew Broderick stars as young hacker David Lightman, who - without realizing it - gains access to a U.S. military supercomputer called WOPR. Once inside the system, David begins playing a "game" called Global Thermonuclear War, only to discover too late that the now confused computer is on track to cause a real life World War III. Ally Sheedy co-stars as David's friend Jennifer, while Dabney Coleman plays a NORAD systems engineer who 's eventually convinced David's unlikely story is true. WarGames remains worth playing on Hulu.
Read More: 10 Sci-Fi Movies That Predicted The Future
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.
Continually considered one of the funniest films in history, 1980 spoof comedy Airplane throws joke after joke at the audience with reckless abandon, and while all of them don't necessarily hit for everyone, most of them likely will. Granted, Airplane does contain some material likely to be viewed as a bit problematic by current standards, but when seen through the lens of when it was made, it's clear these jokes weren't intended to be malicious. Airplane might be best known for taking Leslie Nielsen, then primarily a dramatic actor, and turning him into a comedic force to be reckoned with. Anyone who hasn't experienced Airplane needs to take this flight while it's on Hulu.
8 Minority Report
Loosely based on a story by author Philip K. Dick, 2002 hit Minority Report brought together legendary director Steven Spielberg with A-List movie star Tom Cruise to create a sci-fi/thriller that proved a success with both critics and audiences, and remains a worthwhile Hulu pick. Cruise stars as John Anderton, the head of a controversial "PreCrime" division of law enforcement, which uses psychics to prevent crimes before they happen. When Anderton himself is pegged as a future murderer though, he's forced to do whatever it takes to clear his name.
Read More: 10 Sci-Fi Movies That Predicted The Future
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 Point Break
Starring two popular heartthrobs of the era, and revolving in part around surfing, 1991's Point Break might at first appear to be a disposable action flick. Directed by future Oscar-winner Kathryn Bigelow though, what Point Break is is a very good action flick that features a compelling relationship between its two leads, and a great choice for a Hulu streaming session. Keanu Reeves stars as FBI agent Johnny Utah, a rookie lawman tasked with infiltrating a gang of masked banked robbers dubbed the Ex-Presidents. That gang is led by Bodhi (Patrick Swayze), a charismatic criminal that Utah forms a surprising connection with.
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 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. That version is sadly not available via Hulu.