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Veteran subscribers would agree that the ever-evolving catalog of movies on Amazon Prime Video is in endless supply. There is almost too much to choose from, which often leads to more time scrolling to find the best movies on Amazon Prime Video than actually spent enjoying the film.
This is something any movie buff can empathize with, as some might start the night interested in an action-packed romance before wanting something more fantastic with a humorous twist. Then, there are moments when the young ones pop in wanting to join in on the fun, meaning something more family-friendly is in order.
Luckily, you can find all of that and more on Amazon Prime. Of course, as any frequent streamer should know, access to that much content is both a blessing and a curse. Allow us to help narrow down your search with our picks for the best films currently available to stream as of May 1, 2021, unless otherwise specified.
Minority Report (2002)
In a futuristic world in which crime can be prevented, a police chief (Tom Cruise) races to clear his name of a murder he has not yet committed in Minority Report - director Steven Spielberg’s visually thrilling and thoroughly inventive take on a Phillip K. Dick story.
The Truman Show (1998)
A man (Jim Carrey) begins to question his own reality while still unaware that his whole life is the most popular show on television called The Truman Show - a heart-breaking and thought-provoking media satire way ahead of its time.
Ted Chiang’s short story “Story of Your Life” serves as the basis of Arrival - a breathtakingly unique twist on the alien “invasion” genre starring Amy Adams as a linguistics expert hired to figure out how to communicate with Earth’s strange new visitors.
Scent Of A Woman (1992)
Al Pacino won his sole Academy Award for playing a blind retired US Army colonel in Scent of a Woman, also starring a young Chris O’Donnell as a prep school student hired to look after him while his academic career is in jeopardy by an impending court cast.
One of the first films to prove writer and director Mike Flanagan’s skills as one of the horror genre’s greatest storytellers was Oculus, starring Karen Gillan and Brenton Thwaites as siblings struggling to prove an antique mirror is truly responsible for their parents’ grisly deaths years earlier.
I Am Not Your Negro (2016)
Director Raoul Peck uses the words of late, prolific author and activist James Baldwin’s unfinished novel Remember This House (as read by Samuel L. Jackson) to craft a shockingly timely depiction of racial injustice with I Am Not Your Negro, which recieved an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature.
The Sixth Sense (1999)
A child psychologist (Bruce Willis) struggles to help a boy (Academy Award nominee Haley Joel Osment) who claims he can see ghosts in The Sixth Sense, the clever supernatural thriller with an iconic twist ending that made writer and director M. Night Shyamalan and instant household name.
Writer and director James Cameron redefined the Alien movies timeline and, arguably, the sci-fi genre itself with Aliens, the action-packed first sequel to Ridley Scott’s brilliant 1979 horror thriller, which earned Sigourney Weaver an Oscar nomination and a reputation as one of the most badass women in cinematic history.
Zack And Miri Make A Porno (2008)
Desperate for money, two platonic friends and roommates (Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks) set their sights on making it in the adult film industry in Zack and Miri Make a Porno, a surprisingly sweet, while unsurprisingly filthy, romantic comedy from writer and director Kevin Smith.
An Officer And A Gentleman (1982)
Richard Gere plays a Navy brat struggling to complete his training to be a Naval pilot in An Officer and a Gentleman, one of the most iconic, Oscar-winning romantic dramas of all time.
The French Connection (1971)
Gene Hackman won his first Academy Award for playing Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle, an New York detective searching for an elusive drug smuggler, in The French Connection - director William Friedkin’s timeless crime thriller that also won four other Oscars, including for Best Picture.
While not actually based on a true story as the marketing and opening title card claims, Joel and Ethan Coen’s Fargo is a highly realistic and often funny Midwestern murder mystery starring Nomadland’s Frances McDormand in her first Academy Award-winning role as a pregnant police chief on the trail of a couple of hitmen hired by a struggling used car salesman (William H. Macy) to kidnap his own wife.
Almost Famous (2000)
Writer and director Cameron Crowe tells the fictionalized account of his own experiences as a concert tour journalist in Almost Famous, in which a high school student is given the chance to write a Rolling Stone cover story about an up-and-coming rock band in the early 1970s.
How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998)
By her friend’s suggestion, a successful workaholic (Angela Bassett) takes a Jamican vacation that grows into a journey of self-rediscovery in How Stella Got Her Groove Back - a fun, inspiring romance that also stars a young Taye Diggs.
West Side Story (1961)
Before director Steven Spielberg’s remake hits theaters in December 2021, be sure to revisit the original cinematic update of West Side Story - an exhilarating, musical retelling of Romeo and Juliet set within the furious rivalry between two New York Gangs, one white and the other Latino.
Tropic Thunder (2008)
A guerilla-style plan to make a realistic war movie goes wrong, leaving its eccentric cast stranded in the jungles of Vietnam in Tropic Thunder, a thoroughly hilarious and infamously bold Hollywood satire from star and director Ben Stiller.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)
Jason Segel writes and stars in the uproarious and heartfelt “romantic disaster comedy” Forgetting Sarah Marshall as a TV music composer whose post-break-up Hawaii trip is interrupted by his actress ex (Kristen Bell) and her new rock star beau (Russell Brand).
How To Train Your Dragon (2010)
The bumbling son of a village’s top dragon hunter (Jay Baruchel) discovers an injured firebreather and strikes up a relationship that could change his world forever in How to Train Your Dragon - the first in Dreamworks Animation’s hit adventure trilogy.
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Wes Anderson writes and directs one the most winning celebrations of young love ever put to film in Moonrise Kingdom, which follows an orphaned boy (Jared Gilman) and girl with divorcing parents (Kara Hayward) outrunning their adult peers to be together in 1960s New England.
Waiting To Exhale (1995)
Future Oscar-winning actor Forest Whitaker made his feature-length directorial debut with this adaptation Terry McMillan’s novel Waiting to Exhale, which chronicles the romantic struggles of four Black women, including Angela Bassett and the late Whitney Houston, who sang several songs from the stirring soundtrack.
The Abyss (1989)
The Oscar-winning special effects in writer and director James Cameron’s The Abyss, in which a team of divers tasked to retrieve a missing nuclear submarine make an otherworldly discovery underwater, set the precedent for what the visual effects in Terminator 2: Judgment Day would accomplish two years later.
48 Hrs. (1982)
Witness the birth of a movie star in Eddie Murphy's first feature film 48 Hrs., a hilarious and thrilling buddy movie in which the then 21-year-old plays an ex-con who teams up with a hardened cop (Nick Nolte), much to his chagrin, on a two-day hunt for a pair of vicious murderers in San Francisco.
The Terminal (2004)
As his country is suffering a war-torn governmental collapse that makes him ineligible to enter the United States, a European visitor (Tom Hanks) is forced to make himself at home inside New York's John F. Kennedy Airport where he grows close with an attractive flight attendant (Catherine Zeta Jones) and other employees in the endearing romantic dramedy The Terminal, from director Steven Spielberg.
Sound Of Metal (2020)
Riz Ahmed received a Golden Globe nomination for his performance in the powerful, heartbreaking, and inventively executed Amazon Prime original Sound of Metal as a rock and roll drummer struggling with his own identity and purpose when he begins to lose his hearing.
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1992)
One of director Steven Spielberg's most iconic, successful, and heartwarming family-friendly adventures is E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, the story of two young, lonely people (one from Earth and one from outer space) who form a bond that redefines the meaning of "close" while figuring out how to help the alien visitor find his way home.
Rain Man (1988)
Tom Cruise is at his most emotionally grounded and Dustin Hoffman is at his most Oscar-winningly transformative is as a selfish auto dealer and the autistic savant older brother who never knew he had director Barry Levinson's beautifully told drama Rain Man, which also won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1989.
Shine A Light (2008)
See The Rolling Stones like never before as only a filmmaker and famed fan like Martin Scorsese could capture in Shine a Light, which combines an archival chronicle of the legendary, almost literally immortal rock band's decades-long career with intimate footage from their monumental, two-night performance at New York's Beacon Theater in 2006.
You’re Next (2011)
Before helming a new interpretation of one of the most iconic monster mash-ups of all time, director Adam Wingard (from a screenplay by his frequent collaborator Simon Barrett) introduced a new interpretation of the home invasion thriller with You’re Next that is refreshingly clever, relentlessly action packed, and tastefully funny when it is not offering some of the most shockingly revolting kills in recent memory.
The Last Black Man In San Francisco (2019)
After returning to his birthplace in California, a man struggles to feel at home again for a variety of devastating reasons in the A24 produced drama The Last Black Man in San Francisco, a stunning semi-autobiographical retelling of star and co-writer Jimmie Fails’ life story from first-time director Joe Talbot that also features Lovecraft Country star Jonathan Majors.
Witness the life of the genius singer, songwriter, and piano player Elton John like you could never imagine in Rocketman - director Dexter Fletcher’s whimsical musical biopic starring Taron Egerton in a Golden Globe-winning performance that sees him disappear into the role of the beloved artist while boldly making the role all his own at the same time.
The Prestige (2006)
The world of magic would never look the same after the shocking secrets revealed in Christopher Nolan’s surreal, mind-boggling period piece The Prestige, in which Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman as a pair of talented rival illusionists who grow increasingly and devastatingly desperate to surpass one another in a long-standing battle of wits.
Moulin Rouge! (2001)
Quite possibly the peak of Baz Luhrmann’s eye for visually intoxicating, dream-like glimpses of yesteryear set to a modern soundtrack is the Oscar-winning musical Moulin Rouge!, starring Ewan McGregor as a poet who falls for Nicole Kidman as the star performer at the immoral, titular establishment in late 19th Century Paris.
Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan (1982)
James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and his trusted Enterprise take on a legendary nemesis (Richard Montalban) in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, which is considered by most Trekkies to be the finest cinematic continuation of Gene Roddenberry’s original cult favorite TV series.
Gretel And Hansel (2020)
Director Osgood Perkins puts a darker spin on an already quite dark bedtime story in Gretel and Hansel, which stars young Samuel Leakey as young boy who encounters a dubious old woman (Alice Krige) with his older sister, played by It star Sophia Lillis, fully earning her Scream Queen status.
One Night In Miami (2020)
In her first feature-length directorial effort, Academy Award-winning actress Regina King guides four actors at the top of their game (Leslie Odom Jr., Aldis Hodge, Kingsley Ben-Adir, and Eli Goree) as four of the most famous faces of the 1960s civil rights movement in their prime in One Night in Miami, which writer Kemp Powers' also adapts from his own acclaimed stage play.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
Taiwanese-born director Ang Lee became one of the most sought after filmmakers in America due to the success of his stunning kung-fu hit Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which also earned the 2001 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.
Knives Out (2019)
Agatha Christie would have been proud of Knives Out, truly a "whodunnit like they’ve never done it before" from writer and director Rian Johnson that incorporates a stellar cast (most notably Daniel Craig's dazzling detective role) and inventively puzzling twists on the mystery thriller structure that never cease you keep you guessing.
With the recent resurgence of Twilight Zone-esque anthology TV series, many films have unsurprisingly attempted to emulate similar styles of analogous, sci-fi social commentary, with Vivarium (starring Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg trapped in a terrifying maze bearing a soulless resemblance to an idyllic suburb) being one of the more unique and persistently unnerving.
Fighting With My Family (2019)
A former professional wrestler's daughter (future Oscar nominee Florence Pugh) tries to make it in world of WWE with help from Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (appearing as himself) in. Fighting with my Family, which is based on the life of Saraya-Jade Bevis, or "Paige" as she is better known as in the ring.
Bill Paxton puts in double duty as the director and one of the central characters of Frailty, a deeply disturbing drama with a killer twist conclusion starring Matthew McConaughey as the son of man with a fanatical, dangerous obsession with hunting demonic forces who decides to confess his father's deeds as he witnessed them throughout his youth to an FBI agent (Powers Boothe).
As she continues to process a horrific tragedy and endure a rocky relationship with her longtime beau (Jack Reynor), Dani (Florence Pugh) is awfully unprepared for the traumatic and devastating events in store at Midsommar, the seemingly serene, titular Swedish festival in Ari Aster's second, alarmingly successful attempt at unlocking the darkest corners of his audience's souls.
The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019)
An on-the-run criminal (Shia LaBeouf) welcomes an aspiring professional wrestler with Down's Syndrome (Zack Gottsagen in his feature-length acting debut) onto his makeshift sailboat for a trip to find a new scene that becomes a journey self rediscovery in The Peanut Butter Falcon, one of the sweetest and most inspiring dramas in recent years.
Super 8 (2011)
As the director of alien flicks like the aforementioned E.T. and a producer on family adventures like The Goonies, it makes sense that Steven Spielberg would sing on as an EP on a film that pays tribute to the ideas and tones of both like director J.J. Abrams' Super 8, in which a group of aspiring pre-teen filmmakers catch a glimpse of something beyond their imaginations while trying to make their B-movie in 1979.
Well, a subscriber to the streaming giant certainly cannot ask for a better assortment of flicks for the ultimate binge. Or could they? What do you believe is the best of the best movies on Amazon Prime Video currently available to stream the moment?