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 Shining 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: June 6, 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.
Director Kevin Smith's path to his current exalted status among geeks began with 1994 indie hit Clerks, his film debut. Shot in black and white and made on a tiny budget, the recently added to Hulu film introduced Smith's rapid fire, foul-mouthed, joke-filled writing style, while focusing on a day in the working life of best friends Dante (Brian O'Halloran), and Randal (Jeff Anderson). It also served as the debut of Smith's trademark characters Jay and Silent Bob, played by Jason Mewes and Smith himself.
Following the smash success of 2003's kinda sorta zombie film 28 Days Later came a steady string of imitators, some good and some bad. By 2009, the zombie subgenre has become very crowded, but thankfully, director Ruben Fleischer's Zombieland was able to stand out from the pack. An expert blend of comedy and undead shenanigans, Zombieland stars Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin as a mismatched group of apocalypse survivors that end up becoming a makeshift family. There's never been a better time to check Zombieland out on Hulu, as sequel Zombieland: Double Tap hits theaters this fall.
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 Shining
Jack Nicholson played many memorable roles over the course of his long career, but few proved quite as iconic as The Shining's Jack Torrance, a recovering alcoholic writer who found himself pushed over the edge of madness by the malevolent spirits residing inside the remote Overlook Hotel. Based on Stephen King's classic novel of the same name, director Stanley Kubrick's film was never a favorite of the author, but audiences couldn't disagree more. There are few horror films even on the level of The Shining, and it's a must watch for Hulu subscribers.
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 Mission: Impossible
While the more recent entries in the Mission: Impossible movie franchise have seen Tom Cruise seemingly competing with himself to see how many crazy stunts he can possibly survive, director Brian De Palma's 1996 debut film in the series was much more focused on espionage. That's not to say that Mission: Impossible doesn't contain its share of thrilling action sequences, but the stealth aspect of the spy game was much more prominent early on, especially in the iconic sequence involving Ethan Hunt dangling from a cable while attempting not to be discovered. Anyone who became a fan via the higher-octane sequels owes it to themselves to give the original a spin on Hulu.
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.
13 Paranormal Activity
While many of the sequels are of questionable value, that doesn't mean lovers of a good scare should hesitate to stream 2007's Paranormal Activity on Hulu. Directed by Oren Peli, the extremely low-budget film tells a rather simple story about a young couple (Katie Featherston, and Micah Sloat) that's haunted by a terrifying supernatural force in their home. While many people have grown to hate the found-footage sub-genre of horror films, Paranormal Activity is an example of the form done right.
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 Fatal Attraction
Perhaps the most iconic cinematic example of the dangers of an affair gone wrong, 1987's Fatal Attraction was a critical and commercial smash. Directed by Adrian Lyne, Fatal Attraction stars Michael Douglas as married man Dan Gallagher, who has a steamy weekend-long fling with Alex Forrest (Glenn Close) while his family is away. Things go sideways fast when Dan attempts to return to his marriage and move on from Alex, who (famously) isn't willing to be ignored. Before long, Alex threatens not only Dan's family, but his very life. Fatal Attraction is just as arresting a watch on Hulu today as it was over 30 years ago.
9 Knocked Up
The second directorial effort from prolific comedic filmmaker Judd Apatow, 2007's Knocked Up cemented the film career of Seth Rogen, who proved he could lead a story. Rogen stars as Ben Stone, a perpetually stoned slacker who drunkenly hooks up with Allison Scott (Katherine Heigl), an ambitious employee of the E! cable network. Due to a misunderstanding, the pair doesn't use protection, leading to an unplanned pregnancy. The unlikely couple is then presented with the choice of how to move forward, and whether they want to do it together. Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann also star in this great Hulu pick.
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 Hulu, and also lives on via the current video game-based sequels starring The Rock.
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.
Technically titled Borat! Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, director Larry Charles' 2006 comedy put Sacha Baron Cohen on the map, although most of his work since has failed to match Borat's pop culture relevance. The Borat character first debuted on Cohen's Da Ali G Show, and contrary to today's hyper-sensitive cultural environment, Charles' film seems to revel in pushing comedic boundaries. While some of Borat's gags haven't aged well, others remain biting, such as several unscripted sequences in which Cohen's character interacts with Americans that quickly expose themselves as pretty awful people. Borat's style of humor isn't for everyone, but it's worth watching on Hulu and making up one's own mind.
5 Tucker & Dale vs. Evil
One of the lesser-known movies on this list, 2010's Tucker & Dale vs. Evil only received a limited theatrical release, but that doesn't make it any less a great option for a night of Hulu viewing. Directed by Eli Craig, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil stars Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine as the titular duo, mild-mannered hillbillies living in West Virginia. Tucker and Dale are nice people, but resemble the type of backwoods villains seen in many a horror movie, and a series of comic misunderstandings lead a group of young friends to believe the two capable of murder. A lesson in not judging a book by its cover, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil is a great blend of slasher and comedy.
Read More: 15 Funniest Ever Horror Comedies
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.