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 Goldfinger and Chinatown, the arthouse darlings like Sorry to Bother You and The Wrestler, and the pure entertainment gems like Total Recall 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: November 8, 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.
While Chinatown comes with the baggage of being directed by disgraced filmmaker Roman Polanski, any true film buff shouldn't be discouraged from watching it on Hulu, despite that black cloud. Widely considered one of the greatest American films in history, Chinatown is a 1974 neo-noir mystery starring Jack Nicholson as hard-boiled detective Jake "J.J." Gittes, a man who at first believes he's simply been hired by a wife to follow her husband. What unfolds from there is a web of backstabbing and deceit, leaving Jake unsure who to trust. Faye Dunaway and John Huston also star.
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
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.
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.
Over a decade before Twilight dominated the box office, Anne Rice's smoldering undead were sparking fantasies in moviegoers. 1994's Interview with the Vampire adapts Rice's 1976 novel of the same name, from her Vampire Chronicles series. Tom Cruise stars as charismatic but selfish bloodsucker Lestat, alongside Brad Pitt's Louis, who's turned by Lestat in 1791. The duo's life together is the primary focus of the film, including Lestat's eventual turning of 10-year-old Claudia (Kirsten Dunst). Rice's vampire tale is a devilishly inviting Hulu pick.
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.
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.
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.
Of the more than 20 James Bond films made to date (lots of which are currently on Hulu), many fans would consider 1964's Goldfinger - directed by Guy Hamilton - to be the absolute best. Similarly, of all the actors to play 007 onscreen, many would still champion original actor Sean Connery as the best Bond, and by his third outing as the iconic character in Goldfinger, he was fully owning the role. Also, generally beloved by fans is titular villain Auric Goldfinger (Gert Frobe), an affably evil psychopath with delusions of grandeur, and his employee turned Bond love interest, Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman).
A small cabin-bound horror movie made on a low budget, 1981's The Evil Dead launched the directing career of Sam Raimi, set star Bruce Campbell on the path to becoming a B-movie icon, and created an enduring franchise. When Campbell's Ash and his group of friends head to a remote cabin, they discover an ancient book called the Necronomicon, and without thinking, play translated passages of the book via a tape recorder. This awakens an ancient evil, one out to possess and/or kill every single one of them. The story continues in Evil Dead II, also available on Hulu.
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.
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.
A legal thriller based on a novel by prolific author John Grisham, 1993's The Firm stars Tom Cruise as Mitch McDeere, an up-and-coming lawyer recruited by a Memphis law firm. Unfortunately, the firm isn't what it first appears, and before long Mitch and his family find themselves in grave danger. Gene Hackman, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Holly Hunter, Ed Harris, and Hal Holbrook also star in this tense tale, now available 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
Jim Carrey can be a bit of a controversial figure nowadays, with his outspoken political stances, but 1997's Liar Liar sees him at basically the height of his powers as a comic actor. Carrey plays Fletcher Reed, an attorney way more concerned with his status and bank account than ethics. While Fletcher loves his son, and misses his ex-wife, his workaholic attitude causes him to miss lots of important moments. This leads Fletcher's son Max to make a wish that for one day, his dad can't tell a lie. That premise allows Carrey to completely cut loose with the physical comedy he's so good at, making Liar Liar a great pick for a night of laughs on Hulu.
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.
The directorial debut of the late, great John Singleton, Boyz n the Hood is a drama centered on Tre Styles (Cuba Gooding Jr.), and follows his life after going to live with his dad (Laurence Fishburne) in gang-infested South Central Los Angeles. A critical and commercial hit, Boyz n the Hood earned two Oscar nominations, and featured a cast full of present and future big names, including Angela Bassett, Ice Cube, Morris Chestnut, Nia Long, and Regina King.