Amazon Prime Video: 30 Best Movies to Watch Online on Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video, or simply Prime Video, is an over-the-top subscription video-on-demand streaming and rental service from Amazon.com, Inc., offered as a stand-alone service or as part of Amazon’s Prime subscription. Amazon. Wikipedia
- Launched: September 7, 2006; 15 years ago
Users: 175 million; (as of April 29, 2021)
Headquarters: Seattle, Washington, United States
Subsidiaries: Video Direct
Best Adventure Amazon Prime Video Original
The Lost City of Z (2016)
Based on the life of British adventurer Percy Fawcett, The Lost City of Z takes you deep into the Amazon jungle in search of an ancient lost city. If that setup for adventure isn’t tempting enough, the film stars Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson and Tom Holland…with a mustache. A beautiful and grand movie made with great care, The Lost City of Z may move slower than you think, but that only enhances its fascinating psychological layers.
Amazon Prime Video Crime
I’m Your Woman (2020)
Not your typical crime thriller, I’m Your Woman follows the perspective of a mobster’s wife, played by The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s Rachel Brosnahan. A betrayal forces Jean to flee with a newborn baby and a bodyguard, Cal (Arinzé Kene), a former partner of her husband. The neo-noir set in the 70s revolves around themes such as racial tensions, privilege and survival. It proceeds at a surprisingly steady pace, giving you time to absorb the powerful psychological impact of Jean’s new situation.
Best Romance Amazon Prime Video
Sylvie’s Love (2020)
While Sylvie’s Love is, at its core, an old-fashioned love story, its romantic romance is remarkably refreshing: a black-focused period drama that isn’t dominated by issues of race and bigotry. Set in an aesthetically charming 1960s New York City, it follows Sylvie and Robert, who are given a chance to reconnect after a summer romance five years prior. They both work on the music, and the film’s soundtrack, featuring Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson and more, helps transport you to this resplendent place.
The Big Sick (2017)
The Big Sick introduced the world to Kumail Nanjiani, who co-wrote the film based on his real-life romance with partner Emily V. Gordon. After the pair go on some promising dates, Emily inexplicably falls ill and must be put into an induced coma. While Kumail meets his concerned parents at the hospital, his own Pakistani family continues to arrange dates for him with other women. Not only ready for cultural comedy scenarios, The Big Sick is also a realistic and heartfelt story of an interracial couple.
Best Drama Amazon Prime Video Original
Being the Ricardos (2021)
Aaron Sorkin writes and directs this biographical drama based on the relationship between I Love Lucy stars Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. It stars Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem as Ball and Arnaz, respectively. In other words, expect fast-paced dialogue, memorable lines, and rich retorts. Standout Kidman embodies the actress and comedian, bringing heart to the couple’s complex romantic and professional relationship.
The Electrical Life of Louis Wain (2021)
Benedict Cumberbatch stars in this biographical film about English artist, inventor, businessman, and caretaker Louis Wain. Set in the late 19th century, it follows a man who, after taking in a stray kitten, creates surreal cat paintings that made him world famous. They also seem to reflect his own declining sanity. A feel-good drama with a typically gripping lead performance from Cumberbatch, this warm portrait is full of fantasy, even if it’s a bit uneven.
Small Axe (2020)
A sublime anthology that does not lose control in its five films. Small Ax is a collection of distinct stories about West Indian immigrant life in London from the 1960s to the 1980s. All are directed by Steve McQueen, who is working exquisitely at his best (when isn’t he?), creating stories like the courtroom drama Mangrove, based on the 1971 trial of the Mangrove Nine and starring Black Panther’s Letitia Wright. He takes a seat and devours this enormous achievement.
Sound of Metal (2019)
Sound of Metal garnered a slew of Oscar nominations, including best picture and best actor for standout Riz Ahmed. (Won in two categories: Best Sound and Best Film Editing.) He plays Rubén, a punk-metal drummer who unfortunately begins to lose his hearing. In addition to battling drug addiction, Ruben is forced to adjust to his new life in the deaf community and learn American Sign Language. The film’s stunning sound design immerses you in Ruben’s suspenseful story and the experiences of those around him.
Selah and the Spades (2019)
If you like the genre of dark things that happen in boarding schools, then Selah and the Spades could be the theme to sign up for. A senior leads a faction called the Spades that sells drugs to other students. But Selah is about to graduate, so he must find the right candidate to carry on his legacy. Beautifully shot and guided by the unique lens of first-time director Tayarisha Poe, this is a taste of even better things to come.
Honey Boy (2019)
Shia LaBeouf wrote the screenplay for this autobiographical film about a child actor and his relationship with his father. We follow Otis, who is traumatized after days on set accompanied by his father, a former rodeo clown. LaBeouf actually plays the character inspired by his father, which gives Honey Boy even more psychological layers. This is fascinating film therapy from a singular perspective.
Cold War (2018)
Following lovers of different backgrounds and temperaments, Pawel Pawlikowski’s historical drama is set in a devastated Poland after World War II. Zula is an ambitious young singer feigning a peasant identity, while Wiktor is a jazz musician auditioning for a state-sponsored folk music ensemble. Politics is handled elegantly, and black-and-white images are sharp and beautiful. For an 88-minute delight of a sumptuous, passionate and nearly impossible love story, look no further than Cold War.
King Lear (2018)
King Lear is, of course, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s play, but two powerful forces help this one stand out: Anthony Hopkins and Black Widow scene-stealer Florence Pugh. Not to mention Emma Thompson! This adaptation is set in an alternate universe during the 21st century, where London is under strict military control. Lear is willing to divide his kingdom between his three daughters, but not all accept. If you’re okay with the Shakespearean dialogue, just sit back and marvel at Hopkins and a stacked cast, including Emily Watson, Jim Broadbent, and Andrew Scott.
Pass Over (2018)
Before you jump into this Spike Lee movie, keep in mind that it’s technically a recorded stage play. And yet, it somehow captures the cinematic magic, thanks in no small part to compelling performances from Jon Michael Hill and Julian Parker. They play two young men who dream of the promised land from their fixed spot on the sidewalk. Educational, moving, funny and surprising, Pass Over will keep you on your toes longer than you think.
Manchester by the Sea (2016)
Get ready for Amazon’s first big, prestigious movie to hit you in the chest. A broken man who has experienced terrible loss becomes the guardian of his teenage nephew. Lee Chandler’s story will hit you with one emotional blow after another, as will the immense performances from the likes of Michelle Williams. Another Kenneth Lonergan achievement, Manchester by the Sea is an unforgettable and full-bodied narrative.
In signature Jim Jarmusch style, this low-key indie zeroes in on the finer details of everyday life with a distinctive sense of humor. Over the course of a week, Paterson follows a bus driver and poet named Paterson who listens to passengers talk, walks his dog, and stops for beers at his local bar. Only Adam Driver makes all of that infinitely watchable. Dotted with the idiosyncratic characters who live in a New Jersey town, Paterson offers a wise take on life, delving into the personal setbacks and new paths that are woven around him.
Best Horror Prime Video Original
Black Box (2020)
This stunning directorial debut from Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour Jr. pushes the same emotional buttons as an episode of Black Mirror. It centers on Nolan Wright (Mamoudou Athie), a man who survives a car accident, but now suffers from amnesia. After failing to pick up his 10-year-old daughter from school, he undertakes an experimental treatment that leads to chilling results. Part of a Blumhouse anthology, this sci-fi horror plays familiar cards, but will satisfy thanks to a focus on character and an unexpected twist at the end.
Luca Guadagnino’s horror image framed in a gloomy art house window won’t be for everyone, but for those who go down the rabbit hole of his prestigious Berlin dance school, a twisted treat awaits. Tilda Swinton is the regal head teacher, mentoring the resourceful young Dakota Johnson. She beware: flexible dancers bring new contortions to body horror. It’s a long movie, over two and a half hours, but if you like disturbing imagery and a touch of witchcraft, there are a couple of jaw-dropping scenes you’ll want to stick around for.
Best Musical drama Movies Amazon Prime Video Original
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (2021)
This coming-of-age musical drama is based on the true story of British schoolboy teenager Jamie Campbell, who secretly dreams of becoming a drag queen. Peppered with songs from the original score of the stage musical, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie will lift you up with optimism, hitting all the right feel-good grooves.
Guava Island (2019)
This story comes from the minds of an all-star team, including Donald Glover, his brother Stephen Glover, and Atlanta collaborator Hiro Murai. Donald Glover voices Deni Maroon, a free-spirited musician who lives with Kofi, played by none other than Rihanna. Deni encounters several obstacles in her quest to put on a music festival for her island community, exploring big themes like capitalism throughout the short 56-minute film. He does note that Rihanna doesn’t sing, but overall this musical is catchy and sweet enough to be worth a look.
Best Thriller Amazon Prime Video Original
The Mad Women’s Ball (2021)
Mélanie Laurent directs, co-writes and stars in this emotional French thriller set in the late 19th century. Laurent is Geneviève, a nurse trying to free Eugénie (Lou de Laage), a woman in an insane asylum when her family finds out that she communicates with spirits. Driven by standout performances from its two leads, The Mad Women’s Ball poignantly sweeps away the inequalities of the era in its haunting melodrama. An accomplished watch.
Blow the Man Down (2019)
The Coen brothers meet Wes Anderson in this dark comedy thriller directed by two bright young female leads. Set in a snowy fishing town in Maine, Blow the Man Down follows the sisters, played by Morgan Saylor and Sophie Lowe, as they try to hide a man’s body after he attacked one of them and she fought back. While on their criminal adventure, they find themselves unearthing the dark secrets of the city’s matriarchs, turning this into a black mystery. It’s as wonderful as it sounds.
You Were Never Really Here (2017)
A psychological thriller starring a pre-Joker Joaquin Phoenix? Yes, more people need to see You were never really here. Lynne Ramsay’s masterful take on a story about a hit man who is hired to rescue a politician’s daughter from a human-trafficking ring is raw, brutal and mercifully straight to the point, running for a tense 90 minutes. . With Phoenix playing his role as a brilliant and committed actor, You Were Never Really Here is more than your average thriller.
The Handmaiden (2016)
Even if you’ve heard good things about The Handmaiden, nothing can prepare you for the crazy turns this exquisite South Korean film takes. Classified as an erotic psychological thriller, The Handmaiden contains explicit scenes that you should probably avoid watching with parents around. It all begins with a con man who woos a Japanese heiress with the intention of committing her to an insane asylum once they marry. But her pickpocket partner, posing as her maid, gets sidetracked from the plan. If you’ve been getting into South Korean movies thanks to Parasite, this is a must-watch.
Best Sci-fi Amazon Prime Video Original
The Map of Tiny Perfect Things (2021)
Following in the footsteps of Palm Springs, The Map of Tiny Perfect things is a romantic comedy that explores the lives of its protagonists through a time loop. Katheryn Newton and Kyle Allen play Margaret and Mark, two teenagers who repeat the same day over and over again. His cute encounter involves saving someone from being thrown into a pool by a beach ball. Charming and heartfelt, this is a solid if not totally perfect visualization.
The Vast of Night (2019)
The Vast of Night is a curious indie sci-fi flick from debut director Andrew Patterson that plays with narrative in clever ways. The long, wide shots take us after two young radio workers investigating an audio frequency they believe could be traced back to aliens. The distinctive setting of 1950s New Mexico and characters delivering monologues with the soft intonations of those on the radio create a spooky atmosphere with a satisfying payoff.
Best Amazon Prime Video Comedy
Uncle Frank (2020)
Do you need more Paul Bettany in your life? Of course it does, especially since WandaVision is done and dusted. Try Uncle Frank, a road movie set in the 1970s about a gay man and his relationship with his family, including his niece and college student Beth (Sophia Lillis from the It and I Am Not Okay With This movies). The couple crosses the United States to attend a funeral, while Frank is torn between letting his partner Wally (Peter Macdissi) accompany them. A comedy with sharp edges, Uncle Frank finally leaves you on a positive note.
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020)
Nearly 15 years after Kazakh journalist and TV personality Borat first appeared on our big screens, he’s back to pranking unsuspecting Americans while delivering incredibly incisive cultural commentary. In Borat 2, or Later Borat Movie: Delivering a Prodigious Bribe to the American Regime for the Benefit of the Once-Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, Borat travels to the US to offer his daughter Tutar (played by a revealing Maria Bakalova) to the Vice President Mike Pence. during the 2020 presidential election and the COVID-19 pandemic. Prepare to cringe at double political incorrectness before succumbing to raucous laughs.
Get Duked! (2019)
A teen horror-comedy thriller with a dash of social commentary. What combination! Get Duchy! follows three lazy students, a nerd, and their worldly teacher as they head to the Scottish Highlands to try and win a prize that involves navigating the area using only a paper map. It all gets a little more exciting when the four teens end up fending for themselves against the murderous killer Duke, played by the brilliant Eddie Izzard. The whole young ensemble is fantastic, playing to a sizzling tight script. Boy Scouts meets Attack the Block, Get Duked! it’s chaos walking around, cursing and eating questionable local flora.
Brittany Runs a Marathon (2019)
An enjoyable comedy, yes, but Brittany Runs a Marathon is also close to us, focusing on the things we all obsess over: food, body image, and exercise. Brittany, played by easily relatable Jillian Bell, receives strong advice from her doctor to lose weight and cut out her partying lifestyle. She starts running, taking all the difficult steps towards the goal that will change her life. Watch it from your couch and then get inspired to go for a run.
Late Night (2019)
Written by and starring Mindy Kaling, Late Night follows an acclaimed news show host whose ratings are on the decline. She hires an Indian-American writer to shake up her room of white writers. Never preaching, while arguing in favor of transforming Emma Thompson into a real-life talk show host, Late Night is an animated comedy with hints of The Devil Wears Prada. That alone should be a solid reason to watch it.
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