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Matt Kamen WIRED Staff

The 17 Best Movies on Amazon Prime Right Now

Jake Gyllenhaal standing on a street at night with other people in the background

In Recent years, Netflix and Apple TV+ have been duking it out to have the most prestigious film offerings, but some of the best movies are on Amazon Prime Video. The streamer was one of the first to go around picking up film festival darlings and other lovable favorites, and they’re all still there in the library, so if they flew under your radar the first time, now is the perfect time to catch up.

Our picks for the 16 best movies on Amazon Prime are below. All the films in our guide are included in your Prime subscription—no renting here. Once you’ve watched your fill, check out our lists for the best shows on Netflix and best movies on Disney+ if you’re looking for something else to watch. We also have a guide to the best shows on Amazon if that’s what you’re in the mood for.

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There’s been no shortage of controversy over director Doug Liman's update of the classic ’80s action flick, from arguments over its supposed cinematic release to its use of CGI for some aspects of its bone-crunching fight scenes. Step back from the real-world drama though, and this is a fun, turn-brain-off-now way to kill a lazy afternoon. Swapping in the Florida Keys for the original’s Missouri setting, and trading Patrick Swayze’s James Dalton for Jake Gyllenhaal’s brooding Elwood Dalton—now with a tortured past as a UFC fighter, of course—this still delivers a satisfying tale of one man clearing out local crime lords, one brutal fistfight at a time. It’s far from high art, but sometimes that’s exactly what you need. If you’re still not sold, it’s worth noting that the 1989 original is also currently on Prime for you to compare and contrast.

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

Adapted from the stage play of the same name—which in turn was based on a true story—this joyful musical charts the journey of Jamie New (Max Harwood). Bullied at school for being gay, and estranged from his homophobic father, Jamie dreams of escape through the art of drag—and when he finds a mentor in retired drag performer Hugo Battersby (a scene-stealing Richard E. Grant), he's soon on his way to bringing his inner queen “Mimi Me” to life. Rooted in Sheffield, England, it's a tale that dances between themes of class and culture while celebrating the importance of self-expression and the liberating power of drag.

Every high school has its social hierarchy, and PJ (Rachel Sennott) and Josie (Ayo Edebiri) are at the bottom of theirs. Known as the “ugly, untalented gays” even to the faculty, their only hope of getting with two of the school's most popular cheerleaders, Isabel (Havana Rose Liu) and Brittany (Kaia Gerber), is, err, setting up an all-girl fight club to teach them how to handle their cheating, disrespectful jock boyfriends. OK, it might sound like the set-up to some dodgy ’70s exploitation flick—and with an approach to violence that straddles the line between raucous and ridiculous, it's never a million miles removed from that—but Bottoms is far smarter and more subversive than its premise would suggest. Defying expectations at every turn, this is the queer, rage-filled, hilarious twist on the high school comedy you (probably) never knew you needed.

Oxford student Oliver Quick (Barry Keoghan) is having trouble fitting in at the prestigious British university—until he befriends the popular Felix Catton (Jacob Elordi). Handsome, rich, and born to the landed gentry, Felix brings the awkward, socially invisible Oliver into his circle, eventually inviting him to spend summer at the family estate, Saltburn. But as Oliver works his way into the family's graces, his obsession with Felix takes increasingly dark and deranged turns. Oscillating between black comedy and psychological thriller, writer and director Emerald Fennel ( Promising Young Woman ) frames the film in 4:3 aspect ratio for a tighter, almost voyeuristic viewing experience that makes its frequently unsettling moments even more uncomfortable. Having attracted plenty of debate since its 2023 release—not least for how it questionably navigates its themes of class and social inclusion— Saltburn was one of the year's most divisive films, but one that demands your attention.

Courtroom dramas are rarely laugh riots, but this tale of funeral home director Jeremiah O'Keefe (Tommy Lee Jones) and his flashy lawyer Willie Gary (Jamie Foxx) taking on a major player in America's "death care" system brings a dark sense of humor to already grim proceedings. This is no comedy though. Based on true events, director Maggie Betts' ( The Novitiate ) latest drama retells a real-life legal case that exposed massive inequality in funereal care and the way Black communities were being regularly overcharged. Foxx and Jones are in top form throughout, but it's Jurnee Smollett as Mame Downes, Gary's rival attorney who threatens to outpace him at every turn, whose performance threatens to steal the whole movie. For a film about death, The Burial proves warmly life-affirming.

A Million Miles Away

Charting the life of José Hernández, this biopic—based on Hernández's own book—mixes the aspirational with the inspirational as it follows its central figure's rise from, in his own words, migrant farm worker to the first Mexican-American astronaut. Michael Peña is in fine form as Hernández, painting a picture of a man almost myopically driven to reach space, no matter the cost, while Rosa Salazar impresses as his wife Adela, refusing to fade into the background even as she puts her own dreams on pause for José to chase the stars. In lesser hands, this could all be cloying—a twee tale of hard work and achieving the American Dream, with a dash of NASA promo material on the side, but director Alejandra Márquez Abella has her lens as focused on the small beauties of life here on Earth as the splendor and sheer potential of space. A rare delight.

Red, White, and Royal Blue

Look, this is clearly a “best film” by a highly specific metric—and that metric is “gloriously cheesy trash.” Adapted from Casey McQuinston's best-selling novel, this intercontinental rom-com charts the relationship between First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz (Taylor Zakhar Perez) and Prince Henry (Nicholas Galitzine), the "spare" to the British throne, going from rivals through to grudging respect, and ultimately groundbreaking romance. It's often ludicrous, including an inciting incident seeing the pair falling into a wedding cake, a tabloid-worthy tryst in a hotel room, and political intrigue surrounding Alex's mother, President Ellen Claremont (Uma Thurman, vamping scenes with a bizarre “Texan” accent), but it's all just irresistibly wholesome and upbeat. Red, White, and Royal Blue is the movie equivalent of pizza—not good for you, but still delicious.

Shin Masked Rider

If you’re sick of cookie-cutter Hollywood superhero movies, then this ground-up reboot of one of Japan’s most beloved heroes deserves your attention. Helmed by Hideaki Anno ( Evangelion , Shin Godzilla, Shin Ultraman —“shin” meaning “new” or “true” in Japanese), this revamps the 1971 TV series Kamen Rider. Like that show, it follows motorcyclist Takeshi Hongo (Sosuke Ikematsu). Kidnapped by the terrorist organization S.H.O.C.K.E.R. and forcibly converted into a powerful cyborg, Hongo escapes before being reprogrammed as an agent of the group, instead using his newfound powers to take down its forces. However, unlike the original, Anno’s approach taps into the body horror of the core concept, while also challenging his characters—and audience—to hang onto their intrinsic humanity in the face of a world trying to dehumanize them. It’s more violent than you’d probably expect, often showing the grisly outcome of regular people getting punched by superpowered cyborgs and monsters, but never gratuitous. While those with some understanding of the source material will get more out of Shin Masked Rider , it’s an exciting outing for anyone looking for something a bit fresher from their hero movies.

Sure, nowadays Michael Jordan is a bona fide sports god, and Nike’s Air Jordan sneakers are still arguably  the court shoe—but that wasn’t the case back in 1984. Jordan was a rookie, and Nike was about to close down its basketball shoe division. Enter Sonny Vaccaro (Matt Damon), a talent scout for the footwear maker who has spotted a rising star in North Carolina who could turn everything around—he just needs to convince everyone else that Jordan is worth betting the company on. We all know how that panned out, so thankfully  Air is more than a two-hour advert for shoes. Damon, Jason Bateman, Chris Tucker, and director Ben Affleck all deliver strong performances—only to be utterly eclipsed by Viola Davis in a magnetic and powerful, if somewhat underutilized, turn as matriarch Deloris Jordan—while Alex Convery’s script keeps the drama on the people and personalities involved, rather than the boardroom. In an age of franchises and endless blockbusters,  Air is the sort of character-focused film that rarely gets made anymore, and is all the more enjoyable for it.

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Kazakh” TV reporter (even if he speaks Hebrew) travels back to the US, 14 years after his last feature-long escapade. This time Baron Cohen has brought his (Bulgarian-speaking) teenage daughter along, with the mission of giving her “as a gift” to some powerful American politicians—initially Mike Pence, then Rudy Giuliani. In classic Boratic fashion, the mockumentary follows the wacky duo on a cavalcade across Trump’s America, filming candid performances by unsuspecting characters ranging from QAnon believers to Republican activists to prim debutantes, all the way to Giuliani himself. Even the coronavirus pandemic, which struck America as the film was being shot, is subverted as a comedic plot point. Baron Cohen delivers, with the expected repertoire of shock gags and deadpanned verbal enormities, and he manages to land some punches at the expense of bigots, too. In contrast to its 2006 predecessor, many of the pranks and stunts here seem more aimed at eliciting the audience’s nervous laughter than at exposing America’s heart of darkness, but it remains a worthy—and funny—watch.

Shotgun Wedding

A raucous spin on the traditional romcom,  Shotgun Wedding lures viewers with a cliché setup—a ceremony on a tropical island, with hijinks courtesy of bickering in-laws—before exploding, literally, into an action escapade as the wedding party is taken hostage by violent pirates. If we’re being honest, it’s a little hammy and self-aware in places, but leads Jennifer Lopez and Josh Duhamel are clearly having so much fun as bride and groom Darcy and Tom, whose special day turns into an often hilariously gory battle for survival, that it’s easy to be swept along for the ride. With a solid supporting cast, including the ever-entertaining Jennifer Coolidge as the mother of the groom stealing every scene she graces with her gloriously chaotic presence, this is a wedding worth RSVPing to.

Aisha (Anna Diop) is a Senegalese woman working as a nanny for a rich couple in New York City, hoping to earn enough to bring her son and cousin to join her in America. However, her future is at the mercy of her employers, who seem content to leave Aisha to raise their daughter, Rose, while often withholding her pay. As the stress of the power imbalance weighs on her, Aisha begins having strange dreams of drowning, worsened by her fears of abandoning her own child. The feature debut of director Nikyatu Jusu,  Nanny contrasts the horror of the immigrant experience in modern America with something darker, while swapping the expected tropes of hope and opportunity for a palpable sadness for culture and community left behind.  Nanny takes a slow-burn, psychological approach to its scares, but Diop is phenomenal throughout, and the meticulous pacing and gorgeous cinematography means every frame lingers.

Coming 2 America

Relying on nostalgia to carry new entries in long-dormant series can be risky business, but Eddie Murphy’s return to the role of Prince—now King—Akeem of Zamunda more than three decades after 1988’s Coming to America shows how to do it right. Drawn back to the US in search of a son he never knew he had, Akeem—and the audience—gets to reunite with familiar faces from the first film, before director Craig Brewer ( Hustle and Flow ) reverses the formula and tests the American characters with a trip to Zamunda. With a sharper, smarter, and more globally aware script than the original, Coming 2 America defies the odds to be a comedy sequel that stands up to the reputation of its predecessor.

Thirteen Lives

Director Ron Howard’s latest gathers a top-notch cast—including Viggo Mortensen, Colin Farrell, and Joel Edgerton—for a dramatization of the 2018 Tham Luang cave rescue, where a Thai junior soccer team and their assistant coach were trapped in the flooded cave system. As an international effort mounts to save the children, the challenges of navigating miles of underwater caverns become ever more dangerous, and Howard masterfully captures every perilously claustrophobic moment of it. A nail-bitingly tense movie with some ingeniously shot aquatic scenes, Thirteen Lives is a testament to one of the most difficult rescues ever performed.

One Night in Miami …

Based on the play of same name, One Night in Miami follows four icons of culture, music, and sports—Malcolm X, Jim Brown, Sam Cooke, and Muhammad Ali—at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, a converging and pivotal point in their lives and careers. Meeting in a motel room in the wake of Ali’s—then still Cassius Clay—heavyweight victory over Sonny Liston in 1964, the four men discuss their roles in the movement and society as a whole, all while the audience knows the weight of history is bearing down on them. The close confines of much of the film reflect its theatrical roots, but this feature directorial debut from Regina King perfectly portrays the larger-than-life personalities of its cast. Kingsley Ben-Adir is on fire as Malcolm X, with Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odom Jr., and Eli Goree—as Brown, Cooke, and Ali—all utterly magnetic.

Produced by Amazon, The Report is an engrossing depiction of the US Senate's investigation into the CIA's “enhanced interrogation” program—how it came to be, who knew about it, and how the CIA massaged the facts to support its efficacy. Adam Driver stars as Daniel Jones, the lead investigator who plowed an increasingly lonely path to the truth, battling against political resistance and CIA interference all the way. Driver is, as is his habit these days, superb, and the film's 82 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes is well earned.

Sound of Metal

Punk-rock drummer and recovering addict Ruben starts experiencing hearing loss, and it threatens to upend his entire life. Faced with an impossible choice between giving up his hearing or giving up his career, Ruben begins to spiral, until his girlfriend Lou checks him into a rehab center for the deaf, forcing him to confront his own behavior as much as the future he faces. Riz Ahmed is in spectacular form as the troubled Ruben, while Olivia Cooke’s turn as Lou, who suffers with her own demons, including self-harm, is riveting. Fittingly enough, Sound of Metal also features incredibly nuanced use of sound—and its absence—as director Darius Marder crafts one of the finest dramas in recent years.

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By Jason Bailey

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As Netflix pours more of its resources into original content, Amazon Prime Video is picking up the slack, adding new movies for its subscribers each month. Its catalog has grown so impressive, in fact, that it’s a bit overwhelming — and at the same time, movies that are included with a Prime subscription regularly change status, becoming available only for rental or purchase. It’s a lot to sift through, so we’ve plucked out 100 of the absolute best movies included with a Prime subscription right now, to be updated as new information is made available.

Here are our lists of the best TV shows and movies on Netflix , and the best of both on Hulu and Disney +.

Geena Davis is in the passenger seat of a car with Susan Sarandon, who is driving. Five police cars are behind them.

‘Thelma & Louise’ (1991)

Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis are dangerously good in this Ridley Scott road movie, which became the center of a national conversation for its portrait of two modern women who reject toxic masculinity. Sarandon and Davis play friends whose weekend getaway is derailed by an attempted sexual assault; when they strike back, they find themselves on the run. Callie Khouri won an Oscar for her screenplay. “It reimagines the buddy film with such freshness and vigor that the genre seems positively new,” our critic wrote. (Harvey Keitel also astonishes in “ Bad Lieutenant .”) Watch it on Amazon

‘Call Me By Your Name’ (2017)

Sometimes a movie can seem to meander, running on vibes and nostalgia, and then snap itself together with full emotional force in its closing passages. That’s what happens in Luca Guadagnino’s adaptation of the novel by André Aciman (with a screenplay by the great James Ivory, of Merchant-Ivory productions). Timothée Chalamet is remarkable in the leading role of Elio, a withdrawn young man who falls in love for the first time with a visiting graduate student (Armie Hammer). The rural Italian locations are gorgeous, and the supporting players are charming (particularly Michael Stuhlbarg as Elio’s understanding father). But most important, and impressive, is Guadagnino’s skill at capturing the sheer intoxication of one’s first flush of love and playful lust. (“ Summer of 85 ” and “ Cinema Paradiso ” are similarly nuanced coming-of-age stories.) Watch it on Amazon

‘Erin Brockovich’ (2000)

Julia Roberts won the Academy Award for best actress — and Steven Soderbergh solidified his status as one of Hollywood’s great contemporary journeyman directors — with this ruthlessly intelligent yet undeniably crowd-pleasing drama, based on a true story. Roberts plays the title character, a tough-as-nails single mom in deep debt who talks her way into a nothing job at a law firm, only to become the key investigator in a horrifying case of corporate malfeasance. Albert Finney (himself nominated for an Oscar) is terrific as her seen-it-all boss. Our critic praised the picture’s “ offbeat pacing ” and “sharp sense of visual detail.” (For more Oscar-winning acting, watch “ My Left Foot .”) Watch it on Amazon

‘The Holdovers’ (2023)

Nearly two decades after the triumph of “Sideways,” the director Alexander Payne and the actor Paul Giamatti reunited for this bittersweet comedy-drama. Giamatti stars as Paul Hunham, an unapologetically miserable (if masterfully insulting) instructor at a boarding school who finds himself stuck spending the Christmas break with a smarmy student (Dominic Sessa) and a grieving cafeteria manager (Da’Vine Joy Randolph). Giamatti finds poignant new notes for the kind of acerbic character he’s made his specialty, Oscar-winner Randolph is both uproarious and heartbreaking and newcomer Sessa shows real promise. And Payne uses the look, feel and ephemera of ’70s cinema to make a film that not only recalls the work of masters like Hal Ashby, but earns comparison to it. (Ashby’s influential “ The Last Detail ” and “ Shampoo ” are also streaming on Prime.) Watch it on Amazon

‘Whiplash’ (2014)

The “La La Land” director Damien Chazelle’s breakthrough feature was this 2014 hybrid of sports movie and musical melodrama, in which a young jazz drummer (Miles Teller) at a Juilliard-inspired music school comes under the tutelage — or, perhaps, the thumb — of an uncompromising professor and conductor (J.K. Simmons). It’s a complicated tale of the sacrifices one must make in pursuit of excellence. Teller is an ideal anchor for such a story, projecting a mixture of both arrogance and uncertainty, and Simmons deservedly won an Oscar for his nightmare-fuel performance as the merciless mentor. Watch it on Amazon

‘Malcolm X’ (1992)

Denzel Washington turns in one of his finest, fiercest performances in this thrilling, powerful biopic from the director Spike Lee, who tells the story of the civil rights activist on an epic, “Lawrence of Arabia”-sized scale. It’s a story of evolution, following Malcolm X’s progression from petty thief to religious leader to international figure, refusing to reduce his theology and philosophy into easy catchphrases or simple explanations. Our critic called it “an ambitious, tough, seriously considered biographical film that, with honor, eludes easy characterization.” (Washington also electrifies in “ Glory .”) Watch it on Amazon

‘Titanic’ (1997)

Few expected James Cameron’s dramatization (and fictionalization) of the 1912 sinking of the RMS Titanic to become a nearly unmatched commercial success (it was the top-grossing movie of all time for over a decade) and Academy Award winner (for best picture and best director, among others); most of its prerelease publicity concerned its over-budget and over-schedule production. But in retrospect, we should have known — it was the kind of something-for-everyone entertainment that recalled blockbusters of the past, deftly combining historical drama, wide-screen adventure and heartfelt romance. And its stars, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, became one of the great onscreen pairings of the 1990s. Our critic called it “a huge, thrilling three-and-a-quarter-hour experience.” (For more romance, watch “ The Notebook ” or “ Heaven Can Wait .”) Watch it on Amazon

‘Neighbors’ (2014)

The future “Platonic” stars Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne first teamed up for this wildly funny and surprisingly thoughtful comedy, which merges the reliable tropes of the frat-house flick (drugs, booze, sex and bodily functions) with more mature material concerning marriage and family. Mac (Rogen) and Kelly (Byrne) are new parents, still coming to terms with their metamorphosis into boring ol’ adults — a transition writ large when a fraternity, led by the unreasonably buff Teddy (Zac Efron) buys the house next door. High jinks ensue, but not always along expected lines, and the cast (which also includes Ike Barinholtz, Jerrod Carmichael, Carla Gallo and Lisa Kudrow) finds the nuances in potentially stock characters. (For more wild comedy, try “ Bottoms ” and “ Blockers .”) Watch it on Amazon

‘Kicking and Screaming’ (1995)

The “Marriage Story” and “Frances Ha” director Noah Baumbach made his feature debut with this wry and witty 1995 indie comedy. He tells a story of 20-something ennui, as four university pals (played with verve by Chris Eigeman, Josh Hamilton, Carlos Jacott and Jason Wiles) knock around their college town in the year after graduation, not quite sure what to do with themselves. Baumbach’s dialogue is crisp and quotable, and the relationships are uncommonly rich, thanks in no small part to the performances of Olivia d’Abo, Parker Posey and Cara Buono as the endlessly patient women in their lives. (If you like the shaggy vibe of this one, try John Cassavetes’s “ Minnie and Moskowitz ” and “ Husbands .” ) Watch it on Amazon

‘West Side Story’ (1961)

Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents’s ingenious musical adaptation of “Romeo and Juliet,” which updated its setting and story to the streets and gangs of New York, remains one of the towering achievements of the Broadway stage. So it’s no surprise that it spawned one of the great movie musicals. The original stage director and choreographer Jerome Robbins and the filmmaker Robert Wise shared directorial duties, thrillingly placing the show’s songs and dances on the real streets of New York City while using the proximity and intimacy of the camera to render the longing and loss of the story even more poignant. Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer perform admirably in the leads, but Rita Moreno and George Chakiris steal the show in support — and won Oscars for their efforts. (Fans of ’60s cinema should also check out “ Lilies of the Field .”) Watch it on Amazon

‘Out of Sight’ (1998)

This delightful adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s crackling crime novel starred George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez, and returned Steven Soderbergh to the movie mainstream. Yet Soderbergh’s cockeyed sensibility is what makes “Out of Sight” so special: the film’s “ sleek moodiness and visual sophistication ” elevates what could have been yet another “Pulp Fiction” riff into something distinctive and pleasurable. And the casting is genius, not only in the two leads (who generate enough sparks to power a small country) but a jaw-dropping ensemble that includes Ving Rhames, Don Cheadle, Catherine Keener, Steve Zahn, Isaiah Washington, Viola Davis and Albert Brooks. Watch it on Amazon

‘The Dead Zone’ (1983)

The director David Cronenberg rarely made traditional horror films, and his adaptation of the best seller by Stephen King is no exception. It’s as much science-fiction as horror, focusing on a regular Joe (Christopher Walken, muted and effective) who comes out of a coma with the ability to see the futures of those he touches. This thoughtful and tricky picture is as interested in moral dilemmas and historical ramifications as it is in thrills and chills; our critic found it “unsettling” and “ quietly forceful .” (For more spooky stuff, try “ From Beyond ” or “ Bird With the Crystal Plumage .”) Watch it on Amazon

‘A Thousand and One’ (2023)

The writer and director A.V. Rockwell begins this wrenching character drama in New York City circa 1994, nicely recapturing the look and feel of Gotham indies of that era. But that’s not just window dressing. While ostensibly telling the story of a young woman trying to raise her son after a stint at Rikers Island, Rockwell adroitly incorporates relevant reminders of the city’s history into her characters and their ongoing struggle, reminding us that “quality of life” policing and the dirty business of gentrification are never purely policy issues. Yet it’s more than just a polemic; Teyana Taylor is shattering as the mother in question, Josiah Cross is charismatic and sympathetic as her son as an older teenager, and the revelations of the closing scenes are wrenching and powerful. (If you like heart-wrenching dramas, try “ Morvern Callar ” and “ The Way Back .”)

Watch it on Amazon

‘Clerks’ (1994)

In 1994, a scrappy, movie-crazy kid brought his chatty, low-budget debut to Sundance and took the town by storm, winning a filmmakers’ trophy for dramatic features. But Kevin Smith wasn’t trying to impress anyone with the slickness of his debut feature; he embraced the low budget, shooting his grainy movie during late nights at the convenience store and video shop where he worked (and which inspired the events of the film). Ultimately, its surveillance-camera aesthetic was to the picture’s benefit; it captured a particular kind of pop-culture-obsessed slacker, and became a defining ode to Generation X. Watch it on Amazon

‘I Am Not Your Negro’ (2017)

This stunning documentary concerns the life and writings of James Baldwin, but it’s less focused on tracing the arc of its subject’s life than on the potency of his words . Director Raoul Peck uses as his framework the notes of Baldwin’s unfinished book “Remember This House,” in which Baldwin was attempting to reckon with the legacies of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Medgar Evers; guided by Baldwin’s passages, Peck constructs an urgent and audacious essay about our past and our present. Our critic called it “a concise, roughly 90-minute movie with the scope and impact of a 10-hour mini-series.” Watch it on Amazon

‘Rain Man’ (1988)

Dustin Hoffman won his second Oscar for his meticulously wrought performance as Raymond Babbitt, an autistic savant who meets his brother Charlie (Tom Cruise) for the first time after the death of their father. But “Rain Man” is not a heartfelt, tear-jerking family drama; it’s “ a becomingly modest, decently thought-out, sometimes funny film ” in which Charlie, a small-time hustler, has to drag his brother on a cross-country road trip to fight what he feels is an unfair inheritance. In retrospect, though Hoffman collected all the awards and accolades, this is Cruise’s film — he’s the character who changes between the beginning and the end — and it’s a marvelous performance, expertly revealing and exploring the psychological cracks in the gleaming golden-boy persona he spent the ’80s perfecting. (Cruise’s smash “ Top Gun: Maverick ” is also on Prime; for more Oscar-winning acting, watch “ My Left Foot .”) Watch it on Amazon

‘Monster’ (2003)

The power of Charlize Theron’s Oscar-winning performance in this film from Patty Jenkins goes much deeper than a physical transformation into the real-life serial killer Aileen Wuornos. Theron manages to provoke both fear and sympathy in her portrayal, capturing not only Wuornos’s rage and dangerousness but also her love for a kind woman (Christina Ricci, also excellent). Jenkins (who later directed “Wonder Woman”) makes no apologies for Wournos’s acts, but neither does she minimize them, telling Wuornos’s story with grace and nuance and allowing her actors the space to bring these haunted souls to life. Watch it on Amazon

‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ (1978)

The original 1956 version ( also streaming on Prime ), in which alien invaders implant themselves in humans and take on their form, was widely seen as an allegory for the Red Scare. This “ dazzling remake ,” as our critic described it, is updated and released from that context, but it found another in post-hippie, health-obsessed San Francisco. The stakes are lower, but the remake has a self-aware sense of humor and a decent proportion of gross-outs and jump-scares, as well as an ending that’s just as creepy as the original’s. Watch it on Amazon

‘Thief’ (1981)

The director Michael Mann made his big-screen debut with this moody thriller, and with much of his distinctive aesthetic already in place: sleek photography, synthesized music, insider dialogue and a keen interest in the interior lives of men who make their living in crime (either committing or solving it). James Caan is riveting as a used-car salesman who moonlights as a safecracker, while Tuesday Weld is sweetly sympathetic as the young woman who seems to offer a road out. But the film’s scene stealer is the great character actor Robert Prosky, who turns his customary warmth and affability into the deceptive shell of a truly malevolent boss. (For more vintage action, check out “ The Warriors ” and “ The Great Escape .”) Watch it on Amazon

‘The Burial’ (2023)

Maggie Betts’s adaptation of Jonathan Harr’s 1999 New Yorker article feels like a throwback to the John Grisham thrillers of the era, and that’s intended as high praise; we just don’t get many of these mid-budget, middlebrow, crowd-pleasing courtroom dramas anymore. The sharp script tells the true story of a flashy personal injury lawyer (Jamie Foxx) who argues the hard-to-win case of the owner of a funeral home (Tommy Lee Jones) who is taking on a giant corporation for breaking an oral agreement. The tropes of the courtroom drama are well-deployed, yet thornily augmented by the sticky racial dynamics of its Deep South setting. Foxx dazzles — he always excels in this kind of showboat role — and Jones’s quiet dignity is an effective counterpoint.

‘Mansfield Park’ (1999)

Filmmakers never seem to tire of adapting Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility,” “Pride and Prejudice” and “Emma,” but they seem comparatively uninterested in her 1814 coming-of-age story, “Mansfield Park.” That’s one of the many reasons to check out this “ smart, politically pointed screen adaptation ” from the screenwriter and director Patricia Rozema, who remains faithful to the spirit of Austen’s novel while indulging in a handful of fascinating modifications. Frances O’Connor is dazzling in the leading role, and Jonny Lee Miller, Alessandro Nivola, Embeth Davidtz, James Purefoy, Hugh Bonneville and the playwright Harold Pinter lend able support. (For more period drama, stream Akira Kurosawa’s “ Ran .”)

‘Silver Dollar Road’ (2023)

Early in the new documentary by Raoul Peck (“I Am Not Your Negro”), Gertrude Reels remembers her father’s deathbed wish: “Whatever you do, don’t let the white man have my land.” That land, a 65-acre spread (including acres of invaluable waterfront property) in Carteret County, North Carolina, has been at the center of a long, complex legal battle for decades. Not all gentrification happens in the cities, and Peck’s keenly observed “ intimate portrait ” follows this family through years of injustice and wrangling, capturing (and sharing) their indignation. Watch it on Amazon

‘Women Talking’ (2022)

The writer and director Sarah Polley, adapting the novel by Miriam Toews , tells the haunting tale of an insular religious community ripped apart by the actions of its predatory men. Those crimes are seen briefly, in flashback; the primary focus of Polley’s film is a long, difficult debate between several of the women in the community about what will happen next. Assembling a cast of first-rate actors (including Jessie Buckley, Claire Foy, Judith Ivey, Rooney Mara, Frances McDormand and Ben Whishaw), Polley turns what could have been a polemic into an urgent, thoughtful morality play. Watch it on Amazon

‘Some Like It Hot’ (1959)

Two jazz musicians (Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis) disguise themselves in drag to escape some gangsters, but one of them falls for a seductive singer (Marilyn Monroe, in one of her best performances), while the other becomes the object of a millionaire’s desire. Both uproariously funny and tight as a drum, “Some Like It Hot” works through every complication of its farcical setup, landing not only on a picture-perfect conclusion but also on one of the best closing lines in all of cinema. Our critic called it “ a rare, rib-tickling lampoon .” (Wilder and Lemmon’s “ The Front Page ” is also on Prime.) Watch it on Amazon

‘Capote’ (2005)

In 1959, the famed novelist and bon vivant Truman Capote traveled to Kansas to write about the shocking murder of the Clutter family; the resulting book, “In Cold Blood,” all but created the nonfiction novel. It also changed the author forever, according to this biographical snapshot by the director Bennett Miller, which argues that Capote’s interactions with (and betrayal of) the killers Dick Hickock and Perry Smith haunted him for the rest of his life. Philip Seymour Hoffman won a much-deserved Oscar for his stunning work in the title role, and much as his performance eschews impersonation in favor of psychological truth, “Capote” jettisons the clichés of the cradle-to-grave biopic, focusing instead on this moment in the writer’s life and career and then and zooming in. (Hoffman is also magnificent in Paul Thomas Anderson’s “ The Master .”) Watch it on Amazon

‘The Accused’ (1988)

Jodie Foster won her first Academy Award for her forceful turn in this brutal but essential sexual-assault drama. It’s a hard film to watch, particularly in its relentless dramatizations of the rape, and yet it is not without hope or catharsis, and it prompts fascinating (and still very poignant) questions about responsibility, harassment and victim blaming. Foster’s performance is still a stunner: Detailed and grounded, her character refuses to pander for sympathy or “likability.” Our critic deemed it “ a consistently engrossing melodrama .” Watch it on Amazon

‘Road to Perdition’ (2002)

This adaptation of the graphic novel by Max Allan Collins (itself inspired by the “Lone Wolf and Cub” manga and film series) was only the second feature film from the director Sam Mendes. Yet it plays like an elegy, a film about endings, mortality and what we leave behind. It was the final film of the award-winning cinematographer Conrad L. Hall, whose visions of Depression-era America here are staggeringly evocative, and one of the final onscreen appearances for Paul Newman. The actor nabbed one last Academy Award nomination for his work as the patriarch of a crime family, caught between his irresponsible biological son (a pre-Bond Daniel Craig) and his beloved surrogate son (Tom Hanks, in a rare and affecting non-hero turn). Watch it on Amazon

‘Apocalypse Now’ (1979)

Francis Ford Coppola’s loose, Vietnam-era adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” was a notoriously troubled production, harassed by weather woes, political struggles, budget and schedule overages and problems with actors. Considering how much drama occurred offscreen, it’s somewhat miraculous that the final product is so singular and powerful — an awe-inspiring fusion of ’60s psychedelic film, ’70s genre reimagining and classic wide-screen epic, its ambition even more striking in this extended “Redux” cut from 2001 . Our critic called it “ a stunning work .” (For more vintage action, check out “ The Warriors ” and “ The Great Escape .”) Watch it on Amazon

‘Schindler’s List’ (1993)

After almost 20 years of popcorn moviemaking, Steven Spielberg proved himself to be not only a serious dramatist but also one of our most gifted historical chroniclers with this 1993 film. In it, he tells the true story of Oskar Schindler (the Oscar nominee Liam Neeson), a German businessman and member of the Nazi party who became the unlikely savior of more than 1,000 Jewish workers in his factories. Our critic wrote that Spielberg directed the film “ with fury and immediacy .” (For more Oscar-nominated acting, stream “ Sounder ” and “ The Dresser .”) Watch it on Amazon

‘The Birdcage’ (1996)

Robin Williams and Nathan Lane are warm, winning and hilarious in this clever riff on the classic French comedy “La Cage Aux Folles.” The screenwriter Elaine May and the director Mike Nichols smoothly reconfigure the material for the Clinton-era culture wars — our critic praised its “ giddy ingenuity ” — building the kind of farce in which each half-truth and outright deception leads to another, creating a house of cards that grows funnier and more precarious the higher it climbs. Watch it on Amazon

‘Rear Window’ (1954)

James Stewart stars as an antsy magazine photographer recovering from an on-the-job injury whose nosy but harmless observation of his apartment-complex neighbors turns deadly in this “ tense and exciting ” nail-biter from the director Alfred Hitchcock. Grace Kelly is his high-society girlfriend who joins him in his amateur investigation of a possible murder. It’s a deliciously good mystery, and more besides; as in his best films, Hitchcock uses the genre story as clever cover for his explorations of voyeurism, sexual frustration and guilty impulses. (Hitchcock’s “ Psycho ,” “ Vertigo ” and “ The Birds ” are also on Prime.) Watch it on Amazon

‘The Graduate’ (1967)

This wryly funny drama from Mike Nichols, adapted from the novel by Charles Webb, has become such an entrenched piece of popular culture, it is easy to lose track of what great entertainment it is. But it is: Using Dustin Hoffman as his marvelously dry-witted vessel, Nichols dramatizes youthful ennui with a skill rarely seen in American cinema. Our critic called it “ funny, outrageous, and touching .” (Nichols’s “ Carnal Knowledge ” is also streaming on Prime.) Watch it on Amazon

‘Fried Green Tomatoes’ (1991)

Fannie Flagg’s best-selling book “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe” got the big-screen treatment via director Jon Avnet (“Up Close and Personal”). Kathy Bates plays a housewife who finds escape from her unsatisfying life in the stories a nursing home resident (Jessica Tandy) tells her about her hometown; Mary Stuart Masterson, Mary-Louise Parker and Cicely Tyson are among the residents whose yarns she spins. Some of the edges of Flagg’s book have been sanded down to make this adaptation, which is regrettable — but as it stands, it’s a lovely film, capably crafted and poignantly played. Watch it on Amazon

‘The Deer Hunter’ (1978)

The writer and director Michael Cimino won the Oscars for best picture and best director for this harrowing drama, one of the first American films to deal with the ramifications of the Vietnam War on those who fought it. Robert De Niro, John Savage and (in an Oscar-winning turn) Christopher Walken, star as friends from a Pennsylvania steel town who head off to do their patriotic duty, though their experiences during the war and beyond it are far more complicated. Meryl Streep is marvelous in her big-screen breakthrough role, while John Cazale (“The Godfather”) makes his final film appearance as a pal back home. Our critic at the time wrote, “its vision is that of an original, major new filmmaker.” (The post-Vietnam revenge thriller “ Rolling Thunder ” is similarly harrowing.) Watch it on Amazon

‘The Night of the Hunter’ (1955)

The esteemed character actor Charles Laughton made his one and only trip behind the camera for this haunting small-town thriller, which melds the conventions of film noir and Hitchcock-style suspense with a healthy taste of Southern Gothic. Robert Mitchum crafts a chilling, unforgettable performance as Harry Powell, a mysterious stranger who romances a widowed mother (a superb Shelley Winters) whose children seem to be the only ones capable of seeing the evil within him. Our critic called it “ clever and exceptionally effective .” (If you love classic dramas, stream “ The Swimmer .”) Watch it on Amazon

‘On the Waterfront’ (1954)

The director Elia Kazan (“A Streetcar Named Desire”) and the star Marlon Brando teamed up for this hard-hitting drama of corruption and betrayal among the longshoreman working the docks of Hoboken, N.J. Brando won his first Academy Award for his tortured and sensitive turn as Terry Molloy, a dockworker torn between doing the smart thing and doing the right thing; Eva Marie Saint also won an Oscar for her work as the woman who could love him. Our critic called it “ moviemaking of a rare and high order .” (For more classic drama, stream Douglas Sirk’s “ Magnificent Obsession ” and “ All That Heaven Allows .”) Watch it on Amazon

‘Take Shelter’ (2011)

This unsettling thriller from the writer and director Jeff Nichols (“Midnight Special,” “Loving”) harnesses its dread and tension not from the impending apocalypse, but from the reliability of its harbinger; we’re never quite certain about the visions of the protagonist (Michael Shannon). He plays the role with grounded authority and wild-eyed abandon as he is consumed with the fear that something bad may happen to his wife (Jessica Chastain) and daughter (Tova Stewart). Chastain conveys the frustrations and fears of a woman who wants to follow her husband, but perhaps not this far. Our critic called it “ a perfect allegory for a panicky time .” Watch it on Amazon

‘Bull Durham’ (1988)

Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins were all propelled to the next level of stardom by this 1988 sleeper hit from the writer-director Ron Shelton, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s a laid-back charmer, endlessly funny and casually sexy, and it gives all of them the opportunity to do what they do best: it features Costner shooting straight, Sarandon smoldering and Robbins playing an amiable goofball. Our critic praised its “ spirit and sex appeal .” (Sports film fans will also enjoy “ Air .”) Watch it on Amazon

‘Young Adult’ (2011)

We’ve seen countless stories of nasty, selfish people who go on a voyage of self-discovery and come out the other side as better, wiser souls. This acidic comedy-drama asks: What if that journey didn’t take? Mavis Gary ( Charlize Theron , in take-no-prisoners mode) is a bitter young-adult author who returns to her hometown in hopes of reuniting with her high-school boyfriend, his picture-perfect married life be damned. A film that zigs when you’re certain it will zag, “Young Adult” tells a satisfying story that is also a sly critique of the conventions of modern moviemaking. Our critic praised its “ brilliant, brave and breathtakingly cynical heart .” Watch it on Amazon

‘Desperately Seeking Susan’ (1985)

The director Susan Seidelman was just trying to make a small New York movie — a slightly more mainstream portrait of the downtown art scene than her breakthrough picture “Smithereens” — when she cast a somewhat popular club performer in the title role of this delightful comedy. By the time the film came out, that actress, Madonna, had become one of the biggest stars on the planet. Yet her persona doesn’t eclipse Seidelman’s screwball-tinged presentation; the character of the free-spirited Susan is something of a celebrity to Roberta (Rosanna Arquette), the suburban housewife who first lives vicariously through her, and ends up taking on her identity. “Susan” is energetic and engaging, while simultaneously capturing a distinct moment in the city’s subculture. (For more ’80s comedy, stream “ Airplane! ” and “ The Blues Brothers .”) Watch it on Amazon

‘The Aviator’ (2004)

Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese’s next collaboration, after 2002’s “Gangs of New York,” was this uncommonly nuanced biopic of the notoriously reclusive and eccentric millionaire Howard Hughes. DiCaprio ages several decades as Hughes, who goes from the boy genius of a Texas tool company to a celebrated film producer, pilot and tycoon — all while dealing with various mental maladies. Scorsese’s stylish direction vividly captures the 20th-century settings, while DiCaprio ably conveys both the brilliance and madness of the man. (Scorsese’s “ The Last Temptation of Christ ” and “ The Last Waltz ” are also streaming on Prime Video.) Watch it on Amazon

‘Chinatown’ (1974)

The neo-noir films of the 1970s, and particularly the era’s plethora of private eye movies, took advantage of the temperature of the times; in a decade where distrust of authority and institutions was high, it’s not surprising the unshakable moral ethos of the dedicated detective was again in vogue. Few films reanimate the golden age of noir as expertly as Roman Polanski’s best picture nominee. The beauty of John A. Alonzo’s cinematography and the Oscar-nominated performances of Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway resulted in one of the finest films of the decade. (For more iconic ’70s cinema, stream “ Saturday Night Fever .”) Watch it on Amazon

‘12 Angry Men’ (1957)

Sidney Lumet (“Serpico,” “Network,” “Dog Day Afternoon,”) made his feature directorial debut with this “ incisively revealing ” ensemble piece — one of the great courtroom dramas, or more accurately, jury room dramas. Twelve jurors huddle up to determine the fate of the man they’ve just watched on trial for murder, and what seems to be an open-and-shut conviction is complicated by the questions and protestations of a single juror (Henry Fonda). Lee J. Cobb is his primary antagonist; Jack Warden, Martin Balsam and E.G. Marshall are among the impressive cast. (Fans of classic cinema will also enjoy “ The Best Years of Our Lives ” and “ It’s a Wonderful Life .”) Watch it on Amazon

‘The African Queen’ (1952)

Humphrey Bogart won his only Oscar for his role as the gin-soaked roughneck at the helm of the titular vessel; this was also his only on-screen pairing with his fellow icon Katharine Hepburn. Most of what happens is predictable, from the outcome of the dangerous mission to the eventual attraction of the opposites at the story’s center, but the actors and John Huston’s direction keep the viewer engaged and entertained. Our critic praised the picture’s “ rollicking fun and gentle humor.” (The Bogart-fronted “ The Barefoot Contessa ” is also on Prime.)

‘Strawberry Mansion’ (2022)

Kentucker Audley and Albert Birney wrote, directed and edited this “ soulful sci-fi oddity ” — a true indie with a look, sound and feel all its own. Audley is also the deadpan leading man, a government auditor in a not too distant future, where citizens are taxed for the extravagancies of their dreams. It’s a digital process, so he meets a considerable challenge in the form of the batty Bella (Penny Fuller), whose dreams are still analog, leaving him with thousands of videotapes to watch and log. And that’s when things start getting really weird. Audley and Birney’s wild screenplay adroitly captures the touch-and-go intricacies of dream logic, the special effects are impressively D.I.Y. and the humor is deliriously cockeyed throughout. (If you like quirky indies, try “ Ghost World .”) Watch it on Amazon

‘Cassandro’ (2023)

“The exotico has lost, like always,” shrugs the announcer of the low-rent wrestling match, which doesn’t really bother Saúl (Gael García Bernal) all that much — he’s “the runt,” and he’s got problems of his own. One of the pleasures of Roger Ross Williams’s comedy-drama, which is loosely based on a true story, is how steeped it is in the lore of the lucha libre, the traditions and characters and lingo that give this world its juice. Saúl, a cheerfully, unapologetically gay wrestler, devises a flamboyantly theatrical new character: an exotico, yes, “but he wins. ” (Roberta Colindrez plays his trainer.) Williams deftly dramatizes how this persona, and his success with it, changes everything, and while he follows the standard sports-underdog playbook, the picture’s overwhelming exuberance and kindness set it apart.

‘Catherine Called Birdy’ (2022)

The “Girls” creator and star Lena Dunham is about the last person you’d imagine to direct a film adaptation of a children’s book set in 13th-century England. (Perhaps that’s why she did it.) What she accomplishes is a minor miracle: a delightful film that inserts a modern comic sensibility into the past, without resorting to anachronism or satire. She gets a big assist from the star (and “Game of Thrones” alum) Bella Ramsey, who brings the title character to vivid, playful life, involving us in her tribulations and frustrations, as her oft-drunken father (Andrew Scott, the “hot priest” of “Fleabag”) desperately attempts to marry her off. Our critic called it a “winning,” “ headstrong comedy .” Watch it on Amazon

‘Guys and Dolls’ (1955)

The classic gangster movie gets a snazzy musical makeover in this bouncy film adaptation of the Broadway hit, itself based on the colorful New York characters of Damon Runyon’s fiction. Joseph L. Mankiewicz (“All About Eve”) directs with energy and pizazz, coaxing cheerful, engaged performances out of Frank Sinatra, Jean Simmons, Vivian Blaine and that most unlikely of crooners, Marlon Brando. Our critic called it “as tinny and tawny and terrific as any hot-cha musical film you’ll ever see.” (For more Sinatra, stream “ The Man With the Golden Arm ”; for more classic musical fun, stream “ South Pacific ” or “ Oklahoma! ”) Watch it on Amazon

‘A Quiet Passion’ (2017)

This vibrant and playful exploration of the life of Emily Dickinson comes from the fertile mind of the great British writer and director Terence Davies (“The Deep Blue Sea”), who so frequently and masterfully unearths raw desires and emotional truths. This time, he has the good fortune of partnering up with Cynthia Nixon; she adroitly dramatizes Dickinson’s journey, emphasizing the humor and happiness of her earlier years and how that joy gradually dissipated. (Her cheerful interactions with her sister, played with warmth by Jennifer Ehle, place the role closer to her “Sex and the City” breakthrough than you might expect.) This is filmmaking that is searing, smart and often sublime.

‘Memento’ (2000)

Christopher Nolan made his first big splash with this, his second feature film, a stylish film noir riff that tells its familiar story in an exuberantly inventive way: In order to mirror the disorientation of its protagonist, Leonard (Guy Pearce), who has lost his ability to create new memories, Nolan tells the story by ordering its scenes in reverse chronology. As Leonard pursues an investigation of his wife’s murder, revelations fold back on themselves and betrayals become clear to the audience before they’re known to him. Yet even without that narrative flourish, “Memento” would be a scorching piece of work, loaded with sharp performances, moody cinematography and a noir-inspired sense of doom. (Nolan’s “ Interstellar ” is also on Prime, as is the similarly stylized “ Run Lola Run .”) Watch it on Amazon

‘Selma’ (2014)

Ava DuVernay directs this “ bold and bracingly self-assured ” dramatization of the events surrounding Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1965 marches for voting rights in Selma, Ala. DuVernay is telling the story not of a man but of a movement; the picture bursts with the urgency of promises unkept. David Oyelowo is astonishing as King, capturing the unmistakable cadences but also the man — uncertain, jocular, determined. The stellar ensemble cast includes Dylan Baker, Carmen Ejogo, André Holland, Stephan James, Wendell Pierce, Tim Roth, Tessa Thompson, Lorraine Toussaint, Tom Wilkinson and Oprah Winfrey. Watch it on Amazon

‘The Lady From Shanghai’ (1948)

Orson Welles attempted to repair his flailing film career (and his marriage to Rita Hayworth, whom he cast as a femme fatale) in this moody and visually striking film noir. Welles portrays a crewman hired to sail Hayworth and her husband’s yacht, and finds himself drawn into a wicked web of deception, sex and murder. As was often the case with his later works, “Shanghai” suffered from extensive studio interference and reshoots. But even in its expurgated form, this is an expert potboiler, and its oft-imitated house-of-mirrors climax is as gripping as ever. Our critic called it “at once fluid and discordant ,” and “filled with virtuoso set pieces.” (Hayworth’s iconic turn in “ Gilda ” is also on Prime.) Watch it on Amazon

‘In A Lonely Place’ (1950)

This hard-edged and harrowing drama from the director Nicholas Ray (“Rebel Without a Cause”) has elements of not only shadowy noir but movie-biz roman à clef, yet it ultimately takes on a much bigger subject: the recklessness, jealousy and distrust of a dysfunctional relationship. Humphrey Bogart turns in perhaps his finest screen performance, as the troubled and unstable Hollywood has-been, while Gloria Grahame is dizzyingly complex as the woman who could save him if she can survive him. Ray’s dark direction and the shockingly downbeat conclusion make for a rich and honest picture that still seems decades ahead of its time. (The Bogart-fronted “ The Barefoot Contessa ” is also on Prime.) Watch it on Amazon

‘Rosemary’s Baby’ (1968)

It looks, at first glance, like the perfect New York City romance: a roomy apartment on the Upper West Side, a beautiful wife and her handsome actor husband, a baby on the way. Look closer. Roman Polanski’s “ mainstream masterpiece ” is a chilling examination of the terror that lurks just beneath those shiny surfaces, beneath the wide-eyed good intentions of new friends and the cheerful opportunism of the young couple at it center. Mia Farrow does some of her finest acting as the increasingly sickly mother-to-be, John Cassavetes is appropriately devil-may-care as her career-minded husband, and Ruth Gordon won an Oscar for her work as the couple’s nosy next-door neighbor. Watch it on Amazon

‘The Limey’ (1999)

On the heels of “Out of Sight,” the director Steven Soderbergh further fused art-house experimentation and genre storytelling in this tale of a revenge-seeking ex-con (Terence Stamp, in a career-best performance). The film combines fractured timelines, stream-of-consciousness editing and even clips from an earlier Stamp performance (in Ken Loach’s “Poor Cow”). In doing so, Soderbergh turns what could’ve been a “Death Wish” remake into a thoughtful, mournful, elegiac meditation — on family, on forgiveness, on the past in general and the ’60s in particular. (Thriller fans should also try “ The Big Easy .”) Watch it on Amazon

An earlier version of this article misspelled an actor's surname. It's Yul Brynner, not Brenner.

An earlier version of a picture caption misspelled an actor’s surname. He is Joe Mantegna, not Mantenga.

An earlier version of this article referred imprecisely to the character Jerry Lundegaard’s occupation in the film “Fargo.” He is a car salesman, not a used car salesman.

An earlier version of this article misstated the year “House of Games” was released. It was 1987, not 1986.

An earlier version of this article misidentified the year in which “California Split” was released. It is 1974, not 1978.

An earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to Michelle Williams’s character in “Take this Waltz.” She is married, but she is not a mother.

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The 30 Best Movies on Amazon Prime Video Right Now

Call Me By Your Name.

This list is regularly updated as movies rotate on and off of Amazon Prime Video . *New additions are indicated with an asterisk.

Amazon has a little bit of everything on their streaming service, but they don’t have an interface that makes it particularly easy to find any of it. They also love to rotate out their selection with reckless abandon, making it hard to pin down what’s available when you want to watch a movie. It’s the kind of digital minefield that demands a guide. That’s where we come in! This regularly updated list will highlight the best films currently on Prime Video, free for anyone with an Amazon Prime account, including classics and recent hits. There’s truly something here for everyone, starting with our pick of the week.

This Week’s Critic’s Pick

*call me by your name.

Year: 2018 Runtime: 2h 11m Director: Luca Guadagnino

One of the best films of the 2010s, this drama stars Timothee Chalamet as a boy who discovers his own sexuality when he’s wooed by an older man, played by Armie Hammer. Delicate and moving, Call Me By Your Name is remarkable for how true it feels, anchored by great performances throughout, not just from the two leads but the amazing Michael Stuhlbarg too.

How We Pick Our Films

Critic Brian Tallerico watches and writes about movies and TV every day. To curate this list, he dives into Prime Video’s catalogue to surface acclaimed, surprising, or otherwise noteworthy titles — using his taste and a lifetime of cinema study as his guide, instead of whatever the algorithm happens to be pushing. After triple-checking to make sure they’re still available, he watches each, organizes them by category, then writes his recommendation. We highlight more than just Oscar winners or popcorn flicks: These films present interesting ideas, made an impact on cinema, and changed our culture. Read on to find something to watch.

12 Angry Men

Year: 1957 Runtime: 1h 32m Director: Sidney Lumet

Sidney Lumet’s American classic impacted not just the courtroom dramas that would follow but the very judicial process. Who hasn’t gone into jury duty thinking they would be the “Juror 8” in their group, the one willing to really look at the case before rushing to justice? Henry Fonda gives one of his most iconic performances in a movie that holds up six decades after it was released.

King of New York

Year: 1990 Runtime: 1h 43m Director: Abel Ferrara

The amazing Abel Ferrara directed this crime epic that oozes with style. Three decades after its release, it’s still one of the most cited films of this kind of its era. One of the main reasons for that is the cast. Christopher Walken leads the way as the legendary drug lord Frank White, but the whole ensemble here is amazing, including Laurence Fishburne, David Caruso, Wesley Snipes, Steve Buscemi, and Giancarlo Esposito.

Year: 1999 Runtime: 1h 28m Director: Steven Soderbergh

Steven Soderbergh directs a searing performance by Terence Stamp in his thriller about a Brit who comes to California trying to find his missing daughter, and those who may be responsible for hurting her. Soderbergh rarely missteps and The Limey is one of his most underrated films, a perfectly paced angry shout of a movie that matches its captivating leading man.

Year: 2001 Runtime: 1h 53m Director: Christopher Nolan

Christopher Nolan announced himself to the world with this Sundance thriller that really reshaped the indie and eventually the blockbuster landscape. Guy Pearce gives one of his best performances as a man with such severe memory loss that he has to use his body to remind himself of the details he needs to solve a mystery. It’s still so clever and riveting.

Out of Sight

Year: 1998 Runtime: 2h 2m Director: Steven Soderbergh

Steven Soderbergh only makes good movies, and one of his best remains this crime dramedy that features George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez at the peak of their blinding star power. An ode to old-fashioned noir/crime films with a modern twist, Soderbergh’s adaptation of the Elmore Leonard novel of the same name is one of the most purely entertaining films ever made.

Passion Fish

Year: 1992 Runtime: 2h 15m Director: John Sayles

The brilliant writer/director John Sayles delivered one of his most beloved films in this 1992 drama about a soap opera star (Mary McDonnell) who has been paralyzed after being hit by a cab. She returns to her family home, where she crosses paths with a nurse (Alfre Woodard) who refuses to give up on her. It’s moving in a way that feels genuine, never manipulative.

* Rear Window

Year:  1954 Runtime:  1h 52m Director:  Alfred Hitchcock

Rear Window  is the gateway drug for young people learning about the Master of Suspense. It’s the perfect film to introduce someone in your family to Hitchcock. Jimmy Stewart stars as a man stuck in a wheelchair with the apartments across his courtyard as his only entertainment. When he thinks he witnesses a murder, movie history is made.

* Schindler’s List

Year: 1994 Runtime: 3h 15m Director: Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg’s personal masterpiece is the saga of Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson), who saved the lives of hundreds of Jewish refugees in Poland during the Holocaust. Spielberg is one of our greatest film historians, telling chapters of world history in a way that only he can, and this drama remains one of his most notable achievements, a reminder of the power of extreme good even in the face of extreme evil.

Year:  2015 Runtime:  2h 1m Director:  Denis Villeneuve

Denis Villeneuve has become one of the biggest directors in the world on the back of beloved films like  Blade Runner 2049  and  Dune , but  Sicario  was really his breakthrough, a thriller about an FBI agent (Emily Blunt) who gets drawn into the war between the U.S. government and the Mexican drug cartels. Benicio Del Toro gives one of the best performances of his career here.

Take Shelter

Year: 2011 Runtime: 2h 1m Director: Jeff Nichols

Jeff Nichols wrote and directed this film that features the best film work by his regular collaborator, Michael Shannon. The actor plays a young husband and father who starts to have visions of the end of the world that leads him to think he may be prophetic. An allegory for mental illness and acceptance, Take Shelter is a riveting drama with an unforgettable ending.

Year: 1997 Runtime: 3h 14m Director: James Cameron

More than just a blockbuster, this Best Picture winner was a legitimate cultural phenomenon, staying at the top of the box office charts for months. And the headline-grabbing story of the Titan submersible in Summer 2023 certainly gives this flick new relevance. There was a point when it felt like not only had everyone seen the story of Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rose (Kate Winslet), but most people had seen it twice. And they’re probably all going to watch it again now.

Year: 1958 Runtime: 2h 8m Director: Alfred Hitchcock

A common choice for the best film of all time, Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece works on multiple levels at the same time. On the surface, it’s a brilliant thriller about a detective (James Stewart) who becomes obsessed with a woman (Kim Novak) he’s been hired to follow, but it also reflects Hitch’s own life and career in the way it plays with perspective and image. It’s quite simply one of the best films ever made.

Year: 2014 Runtime: 1h 46m Director: Damien Chazelle

Damien Chazelle may still be startled by the divisive response to last year’s Babylon, but he can go back to the near-universal praise for the film that really broke him, earning one of its stars an Oscar and getting a nomination for Best Picture. Chazelle’s drama about a perfectionist drummer and his militaristic teacher thrilled viewers from the minute it premiered at Sundance. It was a major piece of pop culture, a film that feels like it’s being referenced more every year.

A Knock at the Cabin

Year: 2023 Runtime: 1h 40m Director: M. Night Shyamalan

One of the most inventive directors of his era adapted a screenplay for the first time when he tackled Paul Tremblay’s stunning 2018 novel The Cabin at the End of the World . Shyalaman does some bad things to the final act, but this is still worth a look for its incredible craft and an excellent performance from Dave Bautista as the leader of a group of people who believe that a sacrifice must be made to stop a pending apocalypse.

High Tension

Year: 2005 Runtime: 1h 29m Director: Alexandre Aja

This movie is bonkers. Directed by Alexandre Aja (and sometimes called Switchblade Romance ) it stars Cecile de France and Maiwenn as two young woman who go to a secluded farmhouse, where they’re attached by a serial killer. The twist ending to this brutal film will likely either make it or break it for you. Note: Shudder also added a few other French Horror Wave films, including Inside and Martyrs —both essential for horror fans, neither for the faint of heart.

Year: 2007 Runtime: 1h 59m Director: Bong Joon-ho

The success of Parasite brought an entirely new, larger audience to the work of Bong Joon-ho, and they probably loved this riveting genre piece about a giant monster living in the Han River. Parasite star Song Kang-ho plays the patriarch of a family that’s forced into action when the creature kidnaps his daughter. When it was released, it became the highest-grossing South Korean film of all time.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Year:  1978 Runtime:  1h 55m Director:  Philip Kaufman

There’s a reason that Hollywood keeps returning to Jack Finney’s novel  The Body Snatchers —it strikes at a common fear that our neighbors and loved ones aren’t who they were yesterday. The best film version of Finney’s tale is the ‘70s one with Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Veronica Cartwright, Jeff Goldblum, and Leonard Nimoy. A riveting unpacking of ‘70s paranoia, this is a truly terrifying movie.

Year: 1979 Runtime: 1h 29m Director: Don Coscarelli

Another low-budget flick that produced an empire, Don Coscarelli’s totally bonkers 1979 film isn’t as much an influential genre classic as it is kind of unlike anything before or since. Who can forget the first time they saw Angus Scrimm as The Tall Man, one of the best horror characters of his era? The crazy plot here is secondary to the unforgettable imagery and style. There’s a reason it spawned four sequels and has a very loyal cult following 40 years later.

Year: 1960 Runtime: 1h 48m Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Often on lists of the best movies ever made, Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller undeniably changed the genre forever. With its drastic POV shift and stunning mid-film murder, no one had ever seen a movie that played with structure like this one before. It’s still a riveting piece of work, a movie in which one can find new tricks and joys with every single viewing.

Year: 2005 Runtime: 1h 25m Director: Wes Craven

With one of his last great movies, the master of horror Wes Craven proved he could also do thrills without supernatural monsters. Red Eye is a film that Alfred Hitchcock would have loved, the story of an average woman (Rachel McAdams) terrorized by the guy in the seat next to her on a red-eye flight to Miami. Cillian Murphy is chilling in this memorable, tight little genre movie.

* Airplane!

Year: 1980 Runtime: 1h 27m Directors: Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker

Movies just don’t get much funnier than this classic from David Zucker, Jerry Zucker, and Jim Abrahams. Robert Hays, Julie Hagerty, and Leslie Nielsen star in a parody of the disaster flicks of the ‘70s but Airplane! has far transcended its roots to become one of the most quotable and beloved comedies of all time. It’s held up.

Year: 1994   Runtime: 1h 32m Director: Kevin Smith

Kevin Smith rocked the indie filmmaking world with his comedy that was shot for almost nothing and became a worldwide hit. Films at the convenience and video stores at which Smith worked in real life with his buddies, no one could have expected that this comedy would still be influencing writers a quarter-century later.

Ghost World

Year: 2001 Runtime: 1h 51m Director: Terry Zwigoff

Based on the Daniel Clowes graphic novels of the same name, this quirky comedy stars Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson as two aimless friends trying to figure out what to do next with their lives. As one appears to be moving on, Birch’s Enid becomes obsessed with a reclusive older man named Seymour, who is played perfectly by Steve Buscemi.

Year: 1989 Runtime: 1h 43m Director: Michael Lehmann

Talk about a movie ahead of its time. Coming-of-age teen comedies were never quite as wonderfully cynical before this movie about four teenage girls whose lives are upended by the arrival of a new kid, played by Christian Slater. More than just seeking to destroy the damaging cliques at his new school, Slater’s character has plans for something a little more permanent in this comedy that really shaped the teen genre for years to come.

* The Holdovers

Year: 2023 Runtime: 2h 13m Director: Alexander Payne

Paul Giamatti and Da’Vine Joy Randolph were Oscar-nominated for this phenomenal comedy (and Randolph won!), which was exclusive to Peacock but has now escaped out to Prime Video. The ‘70s-set story of a boarding school over holiday break already feels like a comedy classic, a movie that people will be watching, especially around the end of the year, for generations to come.

Year: 1989 Runtime: 2h 6m Director: Tim Burton

The modern superhero movie owes an incredible debt to what Tim Burton did in 1989 with Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, and Kim Basinger. It wasn’t the first superhero movie, but it felt darker and different from the candy-coated men in tights movies that came before, especially the superior sequel, also on Prime.

* Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Year: 2001 Runtime: 2h Director: Ang Lee

One of the most successful foreign language films of all time, Ang Lee’s wuxia epic was so popular that it landed an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, along with nine other nominations (winning four). It’s a gorgeous epic based on the Chinese novel by Wang Dulu that stars the legendary Chow Yun-fat, Michelle Yeoh, Zhang Ziyi, and Chang Chen. It hasn’t aged a day in the over-two decades since its release.

The Great Escape

Year: 1963 Runtime: 2h 52m Director: John Sturges

Classic action! The star power is blinding in this epic war film about prisoners of war who escape a German camp during World War II. It’s led by Steve McQueen, but also includes great turns from James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson, Donald Pleasance, James Coburn, and many more.


Year: 2014 Runtime: 2h 49m Director: Christopher Nolan

The most underrated film from the director of The Dark Knight and Oppenheimer remains this 2014 sci-fi epic, a film that’s better if you approach it as an emotional journey instead of a physical one. Matthew McConaughey gives one of the best performances of his career as an astronaut searching for a new home for mankind, and realizing all that he left behind to do so. It’s a technical marvel with some of the most striking visuals and best sound design of Nolan’s career.

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The best Amazon Original movies right now

HBO Max and Netflix may get all the press, but Amazon’s Prime Video service has quietly built up an impressive library of movies, TV shows, and documentaries to watch. Whether you’re looking for a sci-fi blockbuster, a thought-provoking documentary, or a hilarious comedy, Prime Video will have something to keep you entertained.

Recently, Amazon has invested heavily in original movies and acquisitions of films from other studios to stream exclusively on Prime Video. Today, the collection is impressive and deep, which could be problematic when you want to find something to watch.

To help you out, we’ve rounded up the best Amazon original movies that you can stream right now.

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Can’t find what you’re looking for? We also have helpful guides to the Best Amazon original series and the best Netflix original movies .

Ever wonder how a young man became a legend? That’s what director Ben Affleck explores in his new movie Air , which stars Matt Damon as Sonny Vaccaro, a gung-ho Nike salesman who believes a young basketball player named Michael Jordan will revolutionize sports and thus should be the face of Nike. In 1984, Nike dominated the running market , but basketball was its weakness as rival companies Converse and Adidas had all the best NBA players wearing their shoes. Vaccaro convinces Nike co-founder Phil Knight (Affleck) to devote all its resources to signing Jordan to wear its shoes, a gamble that eventually led to a billion-dollar empire.

In addition to Damon and Affleck,  Air also stars Viola Davis ( The Suicide Squad ) as Michael Jordan’s mother Deloris, Jason Bateman ( Ozark ) as Nike employee Rob Strasser; Marlon Wayans ( The Curse of Bridge Hollow ) as George Raveling, Jordan’s assistant coach on the 1984 U.S. Olympic team; Chris Messina ( Based on a True Story ) as Jordan’s agent, David Falk; Chris Tucker ( Rush Hour ) as Nike executive Howard White; Matthew Maher ( Our Flag Means Death ) as Nike designer Peter Moore; and Julius Tennon ( How to Get Away with Murder ) as Jordan’s father, James R. Jordan Sr.

Judy Blume Forever (2023)

Perhaps the most amazing thing about Amazon Studios’ new documentary Judy Blume Forever is that the author herself, Judy Blume, is not only still alive, but she was able to be an active participant in the movie. The film essentially tells her life story, often in her own words, as it chronicles her journey from a housewife to a beloved children’s author whose books are still widely read.

Several famous commentators also share their thoughts about Blume, including Molly Ringwald, Lena Dunham, Anna Konki, Samantha Bee, Mary H.K. Choi, and Jacqueline Woodson. But the ones who really stand out are the ordinary women whose lives were deeply touched by Blume and her stories.

Shotgun Wedding (2022)

Darcy (Jennifer Lopez) and Tom (Josh Duhamel) dreamed up the ultimate destination wedding.

Unfortunately, upon their arrival, the entire wedding party is taken hostage. Now, despite both individuals suffering from cold feet, as well as some opinionated and grumpy family members, everyone has to dig deep to give “‘Til Death Do Us Part” a whole new meaning.

Somebody I Used to Know (2023)

Dave Franco and Alison Brie team up for this romantic comedy that casts Brie as a workaholic television producer who decides to return to her hometown after suffering a professional setback.

The film is directed by Franco and co-written by him and Brie, and has her character reconnecting with her currently engaged first love (Jay Ellis). Their reunion sets off a series of events that has everyone getting in touch with who they are and who they really want to be in life and love.

Nanny (2022)

Argentina, 1985 (2022).

This critically acclaimed historical drama released in 2022 explores the events surrounding 1985’s “Trial of the Juntas,” in which the ringleaders of Argentina’s last bloody civil-military dictatorship were prosecuted.

The events that transpired became the basis for the most prominent war crimes trial since the Nuremberg Trials, and the first major trial for war crimes conducted by a civilian court. Nominated for an Oscar for Best International Feature (it lost to Netflix’s All Quiet on the Western Front ), Argentina 1985 also won a Golden Globe Award en route to becoming one of the country’s most celebrated films of all time.

Good Night Oppy (2022)

In the same way that audiences fell in love with Pixar’s cute Wall•E , watching  Good Night Oppy draws you into the gushy human emotion surrounding a robot roaming Mars 50 million miles away. But that’s because this documentary is as much about the people at NASA that made the Opportunity Mars Exploration Rover mission possible as it is about the rover itself.

Narrated by Angela Basset,  Good Night Oppy  tells the inspiring story of Opportunity, a six-wheeled, solar-powered vehicle that touched down on the Red Planet in January 2004 and was supposed to roam and explore the landscape for a predetermined 90 days. But beyond anyone’s expectations, Oppy’s mission endured for nearly 15 years before going dark. Told through interviews with many of the scientists and engineers on the project, as well as archival footage, this is a feel-good doc that’s not to be missed.

Thirteen Lives (2022)

Anything's possible (2022).

Amazon breaks the rom-com mold with this Gen Z romance that focuses on a trans high school girl navigating the troubles of dating while trans. Kelsa (Eva Reign) knows who she is, but she can’t control the stigma that her classmates fear they may endure from asking her out. Khal (Abubakr Ali), however, develops feelings for Kelsa that he can’t shake. So, despite knowing the drama that might ensue, Khal summons up the courage to ask Kelsa out and see where those feelings lead.

Billy Porter directs this off-the-cuff coming-of-age rom-com (enough hyphens for you?) that stars Eva Reign as Kelsa, a trans high school girl who is supremely confident in her skin yet can’t seem to find romance. That’s in part due to the stigma feared by her classmates should someone ask her out. But when Khal (Abubakr Ali) gets a crush on Kelsa, he summons the courage to ask her out, despite what his peers might say.

Emergency (2022)

Lucy and desi (2022), being the ricardos (2021), i want you back (2022), master (2022), the electrical life of louis wain (2021), annette (2021), the tomorrow war (2021), tom clancy's without remorse (2021), radioactive (2020), black box (2020), coming 2 america (2021), small axe (2020), one night in miami... (2020), sound of metal (2020), the vast of night (2019), the big sick (2017), manchester by the sea (2016), honey boy (2019), late night (2019), paterson (2016), the handmaiden (2016), suspiria (2018), beautiful boy (2018), editors' recommendations.

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Nick Perry

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Blair Marnell has been an entertainment journalist for over 15 years. His bylines have appeared in Wizard Magazine, Geek Monthly, SYFY Wire, Superhero Hype, Collider, DC Universe, and the official sites for Star Trek and Marvel. He also lends his pop culture expertise to Digital Trends on a variety of TV, movie, and streaming features.

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Jason is a writer, editor, and pop culture enthusiast whose love for cinema, television, and cheap comic books has led him to work in the entertainment industry. A proud graduate of both Whitman College (Adam West's alma mater!) and Syracuse University, he has worked at Marvel Entertainment, DC Comics, Warner Bros., and Screen Rant. At Digital Trends, he covers all things film and television, from ranking Alfred Hitchcock's best films to examining the everlasting neuroses of Larry David.  When he's not obsessing over the latest Marvel Studios trailer, you can find him either working or surfing the web looking for the perfect fudge brownie recipe.

While Netflix's best comedy movies in May aren't recent hits, it's hard to argue with an overdose of Jim Carrey, who stars in two of this month's new additions: Liar Liar and Dumb and Dumber To. Carrey was near his comedic peak in the former film, while the latter still has enough laughs to keep you satisfied. But if you're looking for some truly old-school comedies, Beverly Hills Cop and Top Secret! are both on Netflix as well.

At the moment, our roundup of the best comedies on Netflix is very skewed toward older films, as well as a handful of Netflix originals. But there are always new and classic comedies joining Netflix every month. And that's one of the best parts of the service.

Netflix is one of the most popular streaming services in the world, with nearly 250 million subscribers. And just what do those people tend to watch? In particular, what is the most popular movie on Netflix? Each week, the streaming service releases a list of its 10 most-watched movies over a recent seven-day period to keep subscribers in the loop regarding its most popular titles.

This wee4, another rom-com sits at the top of the Netflix rankings. Mother of the Bride, a romantic comedy starring Brooke Shields and Miranda Cosgrove, is the No. 1 movie on Netflix. Shrek, Unfrosted, The Judge, and Shrek Forever After round out Netflix's top five. Below, we've listed the top 10 movies in the U.S. from May 6 to May 12, along with general information about each film, such as genre, rating, cast, and synopsis.

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There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who use whatever is built into their TV to access all their streaming services, and those who know there's almost certainly something better out there.

There's nothing inherently wrong with the former group of people. Smart TVs come with built-in operating systems like Roku, Amazon Fire TV, or Google TV running the show, in which case you're well-covered. And bespoke TV operating systems — like LG's webOS, Samsung's Tizen, or even Vizio's Home Screen/Smartcast — have gotten better in recent years.

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Amazon Prime Video Review and Prices

Amazon Prime Video ranks No. 6 in our rating of the Best On-Demand Streaming Services. Read our review to see if Prime Video by Amazon is right for you.

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What Is Amazon Prime Video?

Amazon prime video review.

  • Amazon Prime Video Base Price

Amazon Prime Video (owned by Amazon) is among the best streaming services , scoring a 3.8 and earning it sixth place in our roundup. It also comes in at No. 6 in our rating of the Best Movie Streaming Services and No. 1 in Best Horror Film Streaming Services. It’s a versatile on-demand service that offers a large, impressive library of originals, as well as options to easily integrate other channels and streaming products, too. The service is included with an Amazon Prime membership, or you can subscribe to Prime Video as a standalone streaming service.

Amazon Prime Video Details

  • #6 in  Best Overall
  • #2 in  Best Horror Film Streaming
  • #6 in  Best Movie Streaming

Users who want to take advantage of other Amazon Prime benefits

Fans of Prime’s award-winning original series

Viewers who want to keep on-demand, purchased, and rented titles all in one place

Cord-cutters hoping to tune into sports, local news, and other live TV

Families looking for popular kids’ programming

Users easily confused by complicated interfaces

Amazon Prime Video is Amazon’s entry into the streaming arena. It's free for Amazon Prime members, or you can subscribe to it separately.

Prime Video is well known for its long lineup of award-winning original TV shows, including the dystopian “The Handmaid’s Tale”, science fiction classic “The Man in the High Castle”, as well as contemporary crime thriller “Reacher”. It also has a decent selection of movies, though the series are what carry the service.

You’ll be happy to know that Prime Video is pretty cheap, coming in at just $8.99 per month. A full Prime membership with Prime Video included goes for $14.99 per month or $139 per year.

That said, Prime Video’s library is a bit thin for children. If you want more content than what’s on offer, you can easily plug in live TV or even other streaming services, but you’ll end up paying for those, too.

A final strike against Prime Video is that it’s not exactly easy to use. The interface is a confusing mess, and help topics are terse and will often redirect you to community discussions that may or may not always be relevant to your issue.

Bottom Line: Prime Video is a great pick for anybody that likes sharp, well-written original TV shows while also having many of the other advantages of Prime membership.

What Is The Base Price for Amazon Prime Video?

Prime Video currently offers only one plan, which gives you full access to its entire library, depending on your region. This plan costs $8.99 per month. For $14.99 per month, you also get access to all the other benefits of an Amazon Prime membership, such as free shipping when ordering products through Amazon and the like.

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What Other Plans Does Amazon Prime Video Offer?

Prime Video has two plans, one for Amazon Prime members and one for everyone else. In addition, it's easy for people to add subscriptions to other streaming services. In this way, Prime Video can be a command center for all your online entertainment as well as being a library all its own. Some examples of the content you can add include multiple live sports channels, existing cable channels, as well as other streaming services, such as Showtime or Max .

Does Amazon Prime Video Have a Free Trial?

Amazon offers a 30-day free trial for Amazon Prime, which includes access to Prime Video (plus all the other Prime member perks, like fast delivery on Amazon purchases).

Yes, Prime Video offers a free 30-day trial. The only restriction is that you can’t have been a member of Prime in the last 12 months and that you have an active credit card to register.

What Channels Can You Watch With Amazon Prime Video?

Amazon Prime Video is primarily an on-demand streaming service, meaning it doesn’t offer much in the way of live TV shows. That said, it recently added the ability to watch CBS News, and you can also add subscriptions to other live TV channels through Amazon Prime Video.

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Choose the Amazon Prime Video Packages that’s right for you and start watching live sports, entertainment, and on-demand TV today.

Does Amazon Prime Video Have Local Channels?

Amazon Prime Video doesn't offer any local channels directly. However, you can add some through secondary subscriptions. Note that these will cost extra on top of the cost of Prime Video.

How To Watch Live Sports on Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Prime Video doesn't offer any sports channels itself, but you can add subscriptions via the service. Just go to the “channels” tab in your account overview and select whichever sports channels you like.

Visit our guide to the Best Sports Streaming Services of 2024 for more options.

How To Stream Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Prime Video can be streamed using apps on number of devices. The only real requirement seems to be that the app and device can access the internet. Among the devices available are all major web browsers, mobile devices that run either Android or iOS apps, as well as game consoles like the PlayStation and the Xbox.

Naturally, you can also watch Prime Video on Amazon’s very own Fire TV or Fire Stick, and Roku devices can also handle it. Set-top boxes should also be able to handle Amazon Prime Video, as, of course, all smart TVs.

Amazon Prime Video vs. the Competition

Amazon prime video vs paramount+.

Paramount+, which ties for No. 7 in our rating. Amazon Prime Video offers better programming, with more and better-quality TV shows, and also better pricing if you take Prime membership’s many benefits into account. That said, if you’re into sports in any way, Paramount+ is the much better choice as it offers a lot more in this regard, especially when it comes to American football or European or Brazilian soccer. When it comes to streaming in general, Paramount+ is no match for Amazon Prime Video, though.

Learn more in our Paramount+ review .

Amazon Prime Video vs. Apple TV+

Apple TV+ also ties for No. 7. Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+ both have a lot of content, Amazon prime Video offers more. Where Apple TV+ has a handful of famous shows, Prime Video has dozens, and even throws in Prime membership for a small extra fee, making it a great pick for people that like to order from Amazon. That said, if you’re a big fan of Apple, or already embedded in its ecosystem, the pendulum may swing back to Apple TV+.

Learn more in our Apple TV+ review .

Amazon Prime Video FAQ

Account owners can restrict access to what children using the account are able to watch or purchase. Access can be restricted differently by age group. Parental controls can also be customized across different devices.

Note: The Amazon Fire TV and Amazon Fire Tablet have their own parental controls that need to be adjusted and managed separately.

Each Amazon Prime Video account allows users to stream content on up to three devices simultaneously. However, Amazon Prime only allows two devices to simultaneously stream the same movie or TV episode. The same goes for downloads. Identical content can be downloaded on a maximum of two devices. Downloads expire after 30 days, at which point additional devices can download the identical content.

You can have up to six profiles per account, which includes both profiles for adults as well as for kids.

Amazon Prime Video doesn’t include cloud DVR or any other way to record live TV.

Amazon Prime Video is difficult to stream through most VPNs. This is because it’s very good at detecting VPN use, and each account is linked to a region or country, meaning you can’t just “hop” around as you do with other streamers. Still, you can try using a top VPN like ExpressVPN .

Learn more about VPNs here and see our rating of the Best VPNs of 2024 .

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15+ best movies on Amazon Prime Video

A prime mix of content for your next Prime Video movie screening.

Prime Video

When Amazon Prime Video first launched, it was tough to recommend as a viable replacement for Netflix’s TV shows or Stan’s movie dominance. Fast-forward to today, though, and with a quality selection of award-winning TV shows and, as you’ll see below, a solid selection of movies, Prime Video has grown into a worthy competitor for the big two names in streaming.

Have a gander at our picks for the best movies on Prime Video currently available in Australia.

Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Critically-acclaimed indie drama  Never Rarely Sometimes Always has finally found its way onto an Aussie streaming service after a year as a digital rental or buy exclusive, and we're so very glad it did.

It stars newcomer Sidney Flanigan as a 17-year-old girl who, discovering she's unexpectedly expecting, finds she has few options in her home state of Pennsylvania. Presented with an adoption brochure and an anti-abortion video, she confides in her cousin Skyler about the pregnancy. Together, they embark on a journey to a New York Planned Parenthood clinic to seek the help and support Sidney needs.

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You can’t watch it all, so we watch it for you.

If you like your comedies with a hefty side order of feels, look no further than Our Friend . Based on Matthew Teague's heartwrenching and beautifully written Esquire essay  (spoilers within),  Our Friend stars Casey Affleck and Dakota Johnson as Matthew and Nicole Teague, married parents to two daughters whose world is upturned by life-changing news. Without a moment of hesitation, the couple's best friend Dane Faucheux (played by Jason Segel) drops everything to move in with the family and help out, leaving behind his job, his friends, his apartment, his relationship and his entire life.

Though the film doesn't quite equal its source material in terms of its unflinching honest and raw depiction of terminal illness, it's still well worth a watch for the performances of Affleck, Johnson and Segel alone.

The Mauritanian

The Mauritanian  stars Tahar Rahim as Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a Mauritanian man suspected of terrorism yet held without charge in Cuba's Guantanamo Bay detention camp for 14 years. Based on Slahi's bestselling 2015 memoir  Guantanamo Diary , the film stars Tahar Rahim as Slahi and follows his intense legal battle for freedom.

Before he can give up completely, Slahi forms an alliance with defence attorney Nancy Hollander (Jodie Foster), her associate Teri Duncan (Shailene Woodley), and military prosecutor Lt. Colonel Stuart Couch (Benedict Cumberbatch). In their desperate, six-year-long fight for justice, the trio uncovers falsified evidence and a shocking conspiracy that goes all the way to the top.

The Map of Tiny Perfect Things

Yes, it's  another time-loop rom-com (Amazon seems to have a thing for them, see Palm Springs below), but we had to add  The Map of Tiny Perfect Things to our list because... well... it's just bloody cute, okay?

Kathryn Newton and Kyle Allen star as two teens who find themselves repeating the same day over and over again, with the entire town none the wiser. Upon realising they're both experiencing the same weird temporal anomaly, the duo begins spending most of their time together, trying to make the most of the situation. But while Mark (played by Allen) is keen to get unstuck from the time-loop, Margaret (Newton) is strangely reluctant...

I Care a Lot

Further asserting herself as the queen of enigmatic-woman-in-a-psychological-thriller roles, Rosamund Pike ( Gone Girl ,  An Education ) stars in this darkly comic thriller about a woman who, surprise surprise, isn't exactly who we think she is. After creating a shady career for herself as a court-appointed guardian for wealthy elderly people, con artist Marla Grayson may finally have met her match in Jennifer Peterson, a rich retiree with ties to some pretty dangerous folks.

It's funny, gripping, and will have you on the edge of your seat, with Pike's performance second to none, scoring her a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy).

One Night in Miami

One night in Miami, Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali (then Cassius Clay), Jim Brown and Sam Cooke came together in celebration of Ali's win over Sonny Liston. While no one but that group knows what really went down that night, this Amazon original imagines what it might have looked like. After the fight, the four meet up at X's motel room to celebrate and discuss the responsibility of being prominent, successful black men during the civil rights movement.

Regina King's direction is flawless, and the performances of Kingsley Ben-Adir as Malcolm X, Eli Goree as Muhammad Ali, Aldis Hodge as Jim Brown and Leslie Odom Jr. as Sam Cooke are impeccable. Keep an eye out for  One Night in Miami come awards season.

Looking for something new to stream tonight? These services offer free trials so you won’t pay a cent unless you decide to keep subscribed once your trial’s up.

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Sound of Metal

Oscar nominee Riz Ahmed gives a powerful, unforgettable performance in this directorial debut by Darius Marder. Ahmed plays Ruben, a drummer in a touring heavy metal duo who discovers he is rapidly losing his hearing and should avoid exposure to loud noises or else risk speeding up the process.

His girlfriend and bandmate Lou (played by Olivia Cooke) checks Ruben into a rehab facility for the hard of hearing, run by compassionate Vietnam War veteran Joe (Paul Raci). Though he soon realises that his hearing loss is not a handicap, he still must grapple with his new normal while still yearning for the life he once knew.

Palm Springs

The best comedy film on prime video.

Rom-coms tend to get a pretty bad rap, but if Palm Springs is anything to go by, they may be turning a corner. This Prime Video exclusive stars Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti as two strangers who meet at a wedding in Palm Springs, only to find themselves sucked into a vortex which traps them in a time loop. Totally normal stuff, right?

You'd be forgiven for wanting to write  Palm Springs off as yet another  Groundhog Day -esque tale, but it's done in such a refreshing, fun and heartwarming way that we'll happily let it slide. It's a ridiculously charming movie that'll  almost make you forget about the trash fire that was 2020.

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Borat is back and more outrageous than ever in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm , the long-awaited sequel to Sasha Baron Cohen's cult 2006 mockumentary. Despite claiming he was retiring the character in 2019, the film was shot, edited and completed in the midst of the craziness that has been 2020, with Amazon securing the rights and dropping it on Prime Video on 23 October.

After spending 14 years in a gulag for humiliating Kazakhstan, Borat is once again sent to the U.S. on a mission by the Kazakh government to deliver a monkey (not just any monkey, the Minister of Culture Johnny the Monkey) to none other than Donald Trump (failing that, Mike Pence). Joining Borat on his American adventure is his equally ridiculous heretofore unknown daughter, Tutar. Throw in COVID-19 and some drama surrounding Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and you're in for a wild ride.

The best horror film on Prime Video

If you’ve seen Robert Eggers’ other flicks, The Northman or The Lighthouse , and come away impressed with his detail-oriented and super-realist approach to genre filmmaking, then you might want to make the time to check out his debut feature: 2015’s The Witch .

Set in 17th century New England, this stripped down and period appropriate horror flick focuses on the interpersonal faultlines of a single puritanical family of settlers, which become increasingly fraught amid the disappearance of a child and an accusation of witchcraft.

The Vast of Night

The Vast of Night is a movie that does a lot with a little. In some ways, the indie film is a radio play come to life.

Set in a small New Mexico town circa 1950s, the plot centers follows an unlikely pair of friends who race around town over the course of a single night. Their goal? To chase down the source of a mysterious radio signal that may or may not extraterrestrial in origin.  The Vast of Night finds a lot of mileage with this lo-fi setup, giving its setting and characters a depth that's rare to find in science fiction thrillers with ten times the budget.

Based on the bestselling novel by Gillian Flynn and directed by Hollywood grunge auteur David Fincher, Gone Girl is a thriller that plays into all the usual tropes before flipping things into reverse and subverting them. The main thrust of the story features a disaffected husband (Ben Affleck) who falls under suspicion after his wife (Rosamund Pike) disappears under mysterious circumstances.

Adam Driver is the new household name whose role choices demand attention because his on-screen presence shows that, even when he’s in a divisive movie like The Last Jedi , his performances are always engrossing. The Report is an important movie in today’s global climate, which tells the real-world events of a decade-spanning investigation into the CIA’s use of torture to garner intelligence from suspected terrorists.

While far from escapist subject matter, it’s not altogether surprising that writer/director Scott Z. Burns is tackling this topic given his portfolio of political thrillers. The chewy content is brought to life by Driver and a top-tier cast, including Annette Bening, Michael C. Hall, and Jon Hamm. You definitely don’t need to see The Report more than once, but even that single viewing will stick with you.

Screenshot from The Lord of thre Rings: Rings of Power

The best 19 TV shows on Prime Video

Award-winning originals at a low monthly price.

One Child Nation

The best documentary on prime video.

China’s policy of only allowing couples to have one child came to an end in 2015, but One Child Nation is a documentary that digs deep into the history and impact of this generations-impacting decision. This is not surprising given the reality that the policy was in place for the better part of 40 years and is estimated to have prevented hundreds of millions of births.

One Child Nation explores the people and the consequences of this strict policy, in a story that unravels the extreme social experiment and how it was enforced. Far from a detached documentarian view, acclaimed director Nanfu Wang brings a lived experience to a story that is as personal as it is profound.

Brittany Runs a Marathon

Jillian Bell is a scene-stealing comedian who scores big-belly laughs in the likes of 22 Jump Street , Rough Night , and Workaholics . Clearly, she really should get her own movie. Brittany Runs a Marathon rights this wrong, with Bell in a titular role that succinctly sums up the plot.

Poor Brittany has a tendency lean into partying, unhealthy relationships, and not being fully employed. She’s in a rut, and she’s determined to overcorrect in her steps to improve her life by training towards running, jogging, and ambling a whole lot of steps in the none-too-easy New York City Marathon. Genuinely funny actors who usually play background roles have their comedic talents on full show in a fun flick that manages to pack plenty of humour and heart into an entertaining tale.

Beautiful Boy

At times heartbreaking, at others uplifting, Beautiful Boy is based on the intertwining memoirs of a drug addict and his father. This background sets the foundation for a powerful family drama that respects both addict and those closest to him, as Nic Sheff (Timothée Chalamet) wrestles with his addiction, subsequent relapses, and his recovery.

Steve Carrell flexes his dramatic chops once again, this time as Nic’s father who struggles with the ripple effects of navigating the best way to support his drug-addled son. Chalamet and Carrell are the heart of the movie and carry it through the ups and (many) downs. Just like how a family member’s drug addiction affects more than just the drug user, Beautiful Boy is crafted in such a way to be deeply affecting to an audience.

The best thriller on Prime Video

I want you to watch this as fast you can. Okay, so that’s a bastardised quote from David Fincher’s Fight Club , but it’s as relevant today as it was when this flick hits cinemas in late 1999. Fight Club was the perfect full stop to the 20th century, but its deconstruction of masculinity in the modern world and our consumer-addicted society is still just as relevant today.

If you’re not particularly interested in the movies philosophising, there’s still a whole lot more to appreciate. From The Dust Brothers’ killer soundtrack from to the dark comedy and intensely quotable dialogue, repeat viewings of Fight Club may not have the same jaw-dropping twist revelation as the first time you watched it, but there’s always something new to appreciate in this timeless tale.

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The 15 best drama movies to stream on Amazon Prime right now

From buzzy blockbusters to hidden gems, these films all deserve a spot on your watchlist.

Ilana Gordon is an entertainment, culture, and comedy writer originally from Connecticut. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

amazon movie reviews

Courtesy of Amazon MGM Studios; Courtesy of Aaron Ricketts/Focus Features; Newmarket Releasing/Courtesy Everett

The fact that dramas are often melded with other genres makes the category limitless. In some cases, art imitates life with big-name actors portraying the true lives of infamous criminals. Other films are more down-to-earth and understated, exploring subtle inner conflicts with nuance and sensitivity. Amazon Prime Video has hundreds of options either way, from Oscar winners like Manchester by the Sea and Witness to excellent newer films like Saltburn and A Thousand and One.

Here are Entertainment Weekly’s picks for the best drama movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.

Call Me by Your Name (2017)

There's no better place for a sexual awakening than northern Italy in the summer. Set in 1983, Call Me by Your Name tells the story of Elio ( Timothée Chalamet in his breakout performance), a 17-year-old whose life is upended after his academic father's new grad student Oliver ( Armie Hammer ) arrives to stay with the family. Sparks fly between the bookish Elio and the worldly Oliver, who steadily form a relationship despite their differences. A romantic coming-of-age drama twinged with tenderness and nostalgia, Call Me by Your Name meditates on themes of growing up, coming to terms with one's sexuality, and the depths of feeling found in young love. — Ilana Gordon

Where to watch Call Me by Your Name : Amazon Prime Video

EW grade: A– ( read the review )

Director: Luca Guadagnino

Cast: Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar, Esther Garrel, Victoire Du Bois

Related content: Call Me by Your Name director still wants to make a sequel with Timothée Chalamet

Fiddler on the Roof (1971)

This epic musical drama, adapted from the beloved stage musical, remains a powerful ode to the importance of tradition and community. Set in 1905, Fiddler on the Roof centers on Tevye ( Topol ), the patriarch of a Jewish family living in Tsarist Russia who deals with dwindling income, prejudice against his community, and multiple daughters who need to be married off. Through it all, Tevye and his family sing of their values and dreams for the future; as Tevye says, “Without our traditions, our lives would be as shaky as a fiddler on the roof!” Nominated for eight Academy Awards, Fiddler on the Roof is a timeless classic with themes that still resonate today. —Kevin Jacobsen

Where to watch Fiddler on the Roof : Amazon Prime Video

Director: Norman Jewison

Cast: Topol, Norma Crane, Leonard Frey, Molly Picon, Paul Mann

Related content: Hamilton director Tommy Kail to direct new film adaptation of Fiddler on the Roof

The Holdovers (2023)


The Holdovers transports us back to a very specific time and place. The setting is a 1970 New England boarding school, where cantankerous teacher Paul Hunham ( Paul Giamatti ) is tasked with looking after students who have nowhere to go during the Christmas holiday break. He develops a bond with Angus (Dominic Sessa), who has a difficult family situation, as well as Mary (Da'Vine Joy Randolph), the school's head cook who just lost her son in the Vietnam War. Together, the three muddle through the holidays, somehow, finding commonalities in their shared loneliness. " The Holdovers is a warm hug of a movie and the closest thing we've had to a new holiday classic in quite some time," writes EW's critic . "Perhaps largely because it reinvigorates the message of another beloved Christmas film with its poignant reminder that no man is a failure who has friends." —K.J.

Where to watch The Holdovers : Amazon Prime Video

Director: Alexander Payne

Cast: Paul Giamatti, Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Dominic Sessa

Related content: Alexander Payne sent The Holdovers star Da'Vine Joy Randolph 'two big boxes of cigarettes' to prepare for role

The Handmaiden (2016)

This mesmerizing psychological drama from writer-director Park Chan-wook would be impressive enough for its well-executed plot twists if it weren’t also one of the most elegantly made films of the modern age. Adapted from the Victorian-set novel Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, The Handmaiden transports the action to Japanese-occupied Korea, following a con man (Ha Jung-woo) who recruits a pickpocket (Kim Tae-ri) to help him seduce a wealthy heiress (Kim Min-hee). He poses as a count while the pickpocket becomes the heiress’ maid, to convince her to marry him and then put her in an asylum while he acquires her inheritance. As EW’s critic writes , “The rest is so suspenseful, sexy, and surprising that it would be a shame to say any more,” but you likely won’t expect what’s coming. —K.J.

Where to watch The Handmaiden : Amazon Prime Video

Director: Park Chan-wook

Cast: Kim Min-hee, Kim Tae-ri, Ha Jung-woo, Cho Jin-woong

Related content: The Handmaiden : How a Victorian-set novel became the Korea-set film

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

While primarily known as the quintessential Christmas movie, It’s a Wonderful Life can be enjoyed year-round. Feeling hopeless, George Bailey ( Jimmy Stewart ) is a man considering suicide while a wingless guardian angel from heaven, Clarence (Henry Travers), is tasked with intervening. Clarence accesses George’s backstory, learning about his childhood and how his selflessness ultimately led to feelings of regret, with an innocent mistake nearly sending him over the edge. The angel shows George what life in his hometown would have been like without him, causing George to appreciate the positive influence he’s had on his community. Its universal message and heartfelt performances have made It’s a Wonderful Life a classic worth watching every year. —K.J.

Where to watch It's a Wonderful Life : Amazon Prime Video

Director: Frank Capra

Cast: Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed , Lionel Barrymore, Henry Travers

Related content: It's a Wonderful Life is No. 1 on EW Presents: The Top 10 Holiday Movie Moments

The Lost City of Z (2017)

Aidan Monaghan/Bleecker Street Media/Everett

Based on the best-selling nonfiction book of the same name by David Grann , The Lost City of Z is an adventure drama about obsession and man’s need to explore uncharted worlds. The film centers on Percy Fawcett ( Charlie Hunnam ), a British major tasked with measuring the border between Brazil and Bolivia who discovers possible evidence of a lost city in the jungles of the Amazon. That possibility becomes his fascination, as Fawcett and his men embark on multiple expeditions over the years to the displeasure of skeptics in his community. Smart and sweeping in scope, The Lost City of Z is an absorbing epic about persistence and hope without resorting to cheap sentimentality. —K.J.

Where to watch The Lost City of Z : Amazon Prime Video

Director: James Gray

Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson , Sienna Miller , Tom Holland , Angus Macfadyen, Ian McDiarmid, Franco Nero

Related content: Charlie Hunnam went Method and ignored his girlfriend for The Lost City of Z

Manchester by the Sea (2016)

This devastating family drama follows a grief-stricken man’s journey to move on with his life. Casey Affleck stars as Lee Chandler, a handyman going through the motions of living until the death of his brother. He is surprised to learn that he’s now the legal guardian of Patrick ( Lucas Hedges ), his teenage nephew who has no desire to move away from home to stay with his uncle. As Lee helps Patrick through the grief process of losing his father, we come to understand how a traumatic event in Lee’s past led him to shut down emotionally. Moving and shockingly funny, Manchester by the Sea rightfully won Oscars for writer-director Kenneth Lonergan ’s screenplay and Affleck’s subtle masterclass performance. —K.J.

Where to watch Manchester by the Sea : Amazon Prime Video

EW grade: A ( read the review )

Director: Kenneth Lonergan

Cast: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams , Kyle Chandler , Lucas Hedges

Related content: Manchester by the Sea : Casey Affleck, Kenneth Lonergan on their special relationship

Monster (2003)

Charlize Theron won the Best Actress Oscar for her stunning transformation into real-life serial killer Aileen Wuornos in this gritty crime drama. Convicted of murdering seven men during her time as a sex worker, Wuornos was ultimately executed in 2002, and the film explores how what started as an act of self-defense spiraled out of control. Future Wonder Woman helmer Patty Jenkins made her feature directorial debut here, portraying Wuornos’ story with unflinching realism, but the film belongs to Theron for her fiercely committed portrait of a dangerous woman harboring intense emotional demons. —K.J.

Where to watch Monster : Amazon Prime Video

EW grade: N/A ( read the review )

Director: Patty Jenkins

Cast: Charlize Theron, Christina Ricci , Bruce Dern , Lee Tergesen

Related content: Recall the Gold: Did Charlize Theron deserve the 2003 Best Actress Oscar?

Paterson (2016)

This quietly poetic slice-of-life film follows a week in the life of Paterson ( Adam Driver ), a bus driver who happens to work in the New Jersey city of the same name. After hearing the buzz of passengers with their daily observations, Paterson writes poems in a notebook, which his wife, Laura (Golshifteh Farahani), wants him to share with the world. Driver delivers one of his most underrated performances as the curious, mild-mannered poet, proving to be a strong match for writer-director Jim Jarmusch ’s minimalist style. As EW’s critic writes , “There’s a hushed beauty to Paterson and Paterson that celebrates the way in which even the most ordinary, prosaic lives can be full of poetry.” —K.J.

Where to watch Paterson : Amazon Prime Video

Director: Jim Jarmusch

Cast: Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani, Barry Shabaka Henley, Cliff Smith, Chasten Harmon, William Jackson Harper , Masatoshi Nagase

Related content: NYFF 2016: Adam Driver says that parallel parking a bus is easier than writing poetry

A Quiet Passion (2017)

Cynthia Nixon stars as one of the world’s most well-known poets, Emily Dickinson, in this understated yet powerful biopic by Terence Davies. The film portrays Dickinson’s gifted mind from an early age, finding pleasure and poetry in her growing independence. She also finds value in family, rejecting suitors and expressing her observations on life and love through her career. As the title suggests, there is a sensitivity with which A Quiet Passion explores an artist’s relationship with her life and her work. And then there’s the poetry itself; as EW’s critic writes , “That’s where A Quiet Passion finds its most transcendent moments: in the immortal, extraordinary verses Dickinson left behind.” —K.J.

Where to watch A Quiet Passion : Amazon Prime Video

EW grade: B ( read the review )

Director: Terence Davies

Cast: Cynthia Nixon, Jennifer Ehle , Keith Carradine

Related content: A Quiet Passion trailer: Cynthia Nixon plays Emily Dickinson in Terence Davies' biopic

Road to Perdition (2002)

A Mob hitman seeks revenge after the death of his wife in this Depression-era crime drama. Tom Hanks plays Michael, the hitman whose eldest son witnesses a murder committed by his associate Connor ( Daniel Craig ), leading Connor to target Michael and his family. After Michael's wife and youngest son are killed, he goes on the run with his remaining son and calculates his best options for getting back at Connor. The handsomely crafted epic also features the final live-action performance by Paul Newman in a theatrical film, receiving one last Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Mob boss John Rooney. As EW's critic remarks , it is a unique pleasure to see two beloved stars as Hanks and Newman onscreen together, "two greats from two generations who each understand the power of underplaying and sharing the treasures of Conrad L. Hall's exquisite cinematography." —K.J.

Where to watch Road to Perdition : Amazon Prime Video

Director: Sam Mendes

Cast: Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Jude Law , Jennifer Jason Leigh , Stanley Tucci , Daniel Craig

Related content: From the EW archives: Tom Hanks talks Road to Perdition

Saltburn (2023)

With only a short film, Promising Young Woman (2020), and this perverse comedy-drama under her belt, Emerald Fennell has quickly become one of the most divisive directors working today. Saltburn explores obsession and class divisions in mid-2000s Britain, following outcast Oxford student Oliver Quick ( Barry Keoghan ) and his intense connection with Felix ( Jacob Elordi ), a popular student who comes from enormous wealth. After Felix invites Oliver to his massive country house over the summer, Oliver’s obsession turns into a disturbing problem, not just for Felix but for his entire family. EW’s critic calls Saltburn “a provocative, violent portrait of repulsion and desire,” one that will undoubtedly evoke a reaction from the viewer for better or worse. —K.J.

Where to watch Saltburn : Amazon Prime Video

Director: Emerald Fennell

Cast: Barry Keoghan, Jacob Elordi, Rosamund Pike , Richard E. Grant , Alison Oliver, Archie Madekwe

Related content: Nominated for nothing: The Academy should've bathed in Saltburn 's excesses

Sounder (1972)

Stanley Bielecki Movie Collection/Getty

This beloved Oscar-nominated drama follows a family of Black sharecroppers trying to get by in 1930s Louisiana. After the father, Nathan (Paul Winfield), is arrested for stealing ham and shipped off to an unknown work camp, eldest son David Lee (Kevin Hooks) takes a journey with the family dog, Sounder, to try and find him. Meanwhile, David Lee’s hard-working mother, Rebecca ( Cicely Tyson ), tries to hold down the fort at home and survive without her husband. Moving and genuinely inspirational, Sounder is a family-friendly film that pays tribute to a community rarely seen on screen in 1972, rightfully earning Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor for Winfield, and Best Actress for Tyson. —K.J.

Where to watch Sounder : Amazon Prime Video

Director: Martin Ritt

Cast: Cicely Tyson, Paul Winfield, Kevin Hooks

Related content: Revisiting Sounder : Cicely Tyson's first Oscar nod

A Thousand and One (2023)

Teyana Taylor earned multiple critics’ awards notices for her breakthrough performance in the underrated indie drama A Thousand and One . The actress/singer plays Inez, a recently released convict who wishes to reunite with her young son, Terry. Inez makes a snap decision to abduct Terry from the foster care system and proceeds to raise him to young adulthood in Harlem. In her feature directorial debut, A.V. Rockwell depicts the highs and lows of a special mother-son bond with grace and nuance, while a rapidly changing New York provides context to their struggles. —K.J.

Where to watch A Thousand and One : Amazon Prime Video

Director: A.V. Rockwell

Cast: Teyana Taylor, Will Catlett, Josiah Cross, Aven Courtney, Aaron Kingsley Adetola

Related content: Teyana Taylor went into A Thousand and One with something to prove: 'I feel like this was written for me'

Top Gun: Maverick (2022)

One of the most successful legacy sequels in recent years, Top Gun: Maverick was a big gamble that paid off with praise from critics, audiences, and awards voters. Thirty-six years after the original Top Gun , Tom Cruise returns as Capt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, a test pilot who agrees to train a new batch of star recruits, one of which is his deceased co-pilot’s son, Rooster ( Miles Teller ). The emotional throughline resonates, though Top Gun: Maverick ’s best weapon is director Joseph Kosinski ’s eye (and ear) for dazzling aerial sequences. As EW’s critic writes , the director “revels in the sonic-boom rush of their many flight scenes, sending his jets swooping and spinning in impossible, equilibrium-rattling arcs.” —K.J.

Where to watch Top Gun: Maverick : Amazon Prime Video

EW grade: B+ ( read the review )

Director: Joseph Kosinski

Cast: Tom Cruise, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly , Jon Hamm , Glen Powell , Ed Harris , Val Kilmer

Related content: Miles Teller has had 'conversations' with Tom Cruise about Top Gun: Maverick sequel

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Amazon Prime Video Review

Satisfying enough but still areas for improvement

amazon movie reviews

A solid video streaming service with an enjoyable roster of original content and a massive library. It’s A/V performance is satisfactory, but Prime Video still feels a little clunky and the amount of content available is overwhelming. This service could benefit from being trimmer and more streamlined.

  • Massive library
  • Gets newer releases quicker than Netflix
  • Satisfying AV performance
  • Live sports programming
  • Wide platform support
  • Lots of content behind paywalls
  • Dense interface
  • Original content not the most frequent
  • Curation doesn’t feel too personal

Key Features

  • Full HDR support HDR10+, Dolby Vision, and Filmmaker mode included
  • 30-day free trial Take advantage of a free trial to test out the service
  • Live sports Tennis and Premier League sports


They say it’s been a golden age for TV shows, and the streaming boom has made it easier to find our favourite series on demand.

One major player is Amazon with Prime Video. It launched in 2006, making the hop over to UK shores in 2014 when it gobbled up LoveFilm Instant.

Since then, it’s become an established player in the UK market alongside iPlayer, and despite not getting as much attention as Netflix and Disney+, it arguably has the widest breath of content; a library with access to classics and international features, as well as a line-up of original content and sports in 4K HDR.

How good is Prime Video? Let’s find out.

Supported devices

  • Vast device support

Like Netflix, Prime Video has wide availability. It’s on Amazon’s own devices in the Fire TV, Fire TV Stick , Echo, and Fire Tablets. Other streaming players include Chromecast , Nvidia Shield, Roku, Apple TV , Xiaomi, Strong, Sky Stream , and NOW among others, as well as set-top boxes from TiVO, Virgin Media, Sky Q and Humax .

Push beyond the Amazon ecosystem and there are Blu-ray players from LG, Panasonic, and Sony.

All the major TV brands carry the app as well as smaller ones whether it’s Hisense, LG, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, Sony, Skyworth, Sky Glass , Toshiba, Vizio, TCL, JVC, Sharp and Grundig.

Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, and Opera are covered for browsers, along with Android, iOS, and Windows platforms. Sony game consoles from the PS3 to the PS5 are supported, while for Xbox it’s the Series X/S consoles back to the Xbox One.

  • Visually better than before
  • So much content to wade through

Prime Video’s revamp of its interface in the summer of 2022 made it easier to navigate and visually better. Issues remain, but this is a better effort.

Prime Video new new interface

It mirrors the Fire TV interface with a carousel that cycles through content from Prime and partnered channels. The ten slots include new and popular titles as well as advertisements for other channels (such as Freevee and Lionsgate+ ). Weirdly, it cycles through the titles once and then stops.

Below are five sections: All, Movies, TV shows, Sports and Family. Stay on the main page and the first row is a floating one, sometimes it’s a row of suggested movies, other times it’s the UK top ten. Then it’s followed by original/exclusive content, and subscriptions to other channels, which has pushed the Continue Watching bar down the page.

Left Image

Personally, I’d prefer the ‘Continue…’ bar to be stationed higher – more like Apple TV+ . I believe streaming services should encourage you to finish what you’ve started rather than chuck more stuff at you.

If you’re using the TV interface, the auto play trailers when hovering on a title can get tiring. It can be turned off in the settings.

Press the green button on the TV remote and you can add a title to your watchlist, remove it or hide it from view, the latter useful for programmes that have switched from streaming to rent/buy that you don’t want to see anymore.

Prime Video expiring titlesAmazon Prime Video interface featuring Mad Max: Fury Road.

There’s also a row for titles leaving the service, which is a useful reminder. The number of titles in each row varies – Top ten is obviously just ten – but the ‘leaving’ row had over 100, while I stopped counting on the ‘new movies’ row after I hit 200. That number encourages endless idle scrolling, and suggests a streaming service more about quantity than being succinct.

Then there are legions of rows such as ‘Recently added movies’, live and upcoming events (usually sports but sometimes music), ones that focus on a genre (Horror, Thriller, Romantic, Westerns); suggested titles (because you watched…), themed rows (Leading women, Movies by Warner Bros., LGBTQ+ movies), content from Prime Video Channels – and on and on. Perusing the interface feels as long as a Rings of Power episode.

Prime Video popular movies

  • Full HDR support
  • Supports up to six profiles
  • Group watching possible

Prime Video supports up to six profiles (including kids profiles), and there are parental controls to set restrictions for what can be seen or bought in the store.

Prime Video profiles

Like other streaming services, Prime Video scales the A/V performance based on your equipment. Currently, there are no subscription tiers, but that’ll change when advertisements arrive in 2024 . If you don’t want to see ads, you’ll have to pay extra.

There’s the IMDb X-Ray feature, which I think is Prime Video’s secret sauce for film and TV nerds that goes into the details of the cast, and offers trivia and facts. I like this feature a lot, useful when you see an actor and have their name on the tip of your tongue.

Prime Video Dune X-ray ImdB

A/V support includes HDR10+ and Dolby Vision HDR, along with Filmmaker mode that’s automatically activated on Samsung and LG TVs. In terms of audio there’s Dolby Atmos , 5.1 or stereo. Subtitles, audio descriptions, and alternative languages are supported too.

Prime Video Daisy Jones AV details

A big issue, though, is Prime Video’s tagging of 4K HDR content, which is often incorrect. Dune (2021) claims to be a UHD title but it’s actually in HD, and the same is true for Wonder Woman 1984, Patriots Day, Bombshell. A Quiet Place, and La La Land. The stream never loads in UHD or HDR.

Prime Video also supports group viewing with its Watch Party . Up to 100 participants can join a session, but they must reside in your country. Watch Party is compatible with any Prime Video Channel or Freevee .

Prime Video Watch Party

  • A few suggestive rows
  • Doesn’t feel particular personal

Prime Video doesn’t reveal much about its curation – in fact, there’s nothing I can find online, so it’s hard to know what basis the algorithm is feeding you titles.

There are rows of movies/TV shows Prime Video thinks you’ll like. On the landing page for each title, there’s a row of content other customers have watched to spur some inspiration for finding something new. There are also rows with suggestions based on your watch history. Having seen Catching Fire the list started filtering young adult films like Allegiant and The Mortal Instruments.

Prime Video Dune likedAmazon Prime Video interface showcasing the movie

There’s a facility to rate titles like Netflix’s thumbs up/thumbs down, but all that really does is change the titles in the ‘because you like…’ row – it doesn’t appear to affect anything else. If you ‘liked’ something else afterwards, it’ll immediately change that row again, so all the titles that were previously there disappear.

Curiously, after I liked Amelie, that row suggested Amelie again, along with Manchester by the Sea (!), Annie Hall, Birdman, and Sound of Metal. If you give a title the thumbs down, it removes it from view.

It amounts to suggestions that don’t feel personal and more like new content Prime wants to put in front of your eyeballs. There are currently a lot of Tom Cruise films (perhaps a primer for Dead Reckoning’s home video release), as well as the Transformers series but I don’t remember watching anything related to those films.

Overall, curation feels by the numbers. Because I watched Dune the service recommended Catherine Called Birdy? I don’t see much of a connection between the two.

  • Vast library
  • Gets newer titles faster than Netflix

Prime Video (the UK version at least) has, according to Just Watch, a mammoth 12370 titles as of September 2023, which compares favourably to Netflix’s 7565 .

Of course, Prime Video licenses an enormous amount content from studios, while Netflix focuses on its original content (with a little help from Sony Pictures). Where Prime Video betters Netflix is that it gets ‘bigger’ films quicker. By quicker I don’t mean instant – usually less than two years – but more recent titles seem to pop up quicker than on Netflix.

Prime Video we think you like

As of September 2023, The Suicide Squad (2021) was available, as was The Matrix Resurrections (2021), King Richard (2021), In The Heights (2021), all Warner Bros.’ titles, incidentally. And there are smaller titles such as Till (2023), Women Talking (2023) and Alice, Darling (2023).

It’s also better in terms of older, cult films like the 80s version of Dune, 1984, Some Like It Hot, Heaven’s Gate, The Misfits, The Bishop’s Wife, Django, and The Killing (Kubrick version). If you’re looking for something from the past, Prime Video is quite decent, though it’s not too easy to find them.

Prime Video older titlesScreenshot of Amazon Prime Video interface with movie selections.

As a service, Prime Video has a habit of mixing streaming titles with content you can rent, buy, or sample with a free trial via Prime Video Channels. Prime Video functions more like Apple TV in that it is both a streaming service and a store. At least Apple TV (mostly) separates its store and streaming services – Amazon has its cake and eats with both a store section and a streaming section with content you can rent and buy. It’s inescapable.

Prime Video Buy Rent

Original content is an area Amazon hasn’t been as strong as its rivals. Apple TV+ is better despite launching much later. The issue is not necessarily quality – I’d say Prime Video’s roster of originals is good – but the frequency of titles doesn’t feel as regular as its rivals.

Prime Video Originals Exclusives

The Terminal List, Daisy Jones & the Six, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, The Peripheral, A League of Their Own, Invincible, and The Boys all range from good to very good (let’s ignore Citadel); and there is the sports-focused All or Nothing series, that’s good entertainment, though Netflix is catching up with Drive to Survive and Break Point.

Prime Video also has exclusives like Star Trek: Lower Decks, Vikings, and You Hurt My Feelings but these tend to lapse. Halt and Catch Fire and Mr Robot are no longer available, despite the poster art still saying ‘Amazon Exclusive’ even though Mr Robot is now on ITVX and Halt and Catch Fire is on Channel 4 (both are excellent by the way).

The original titles I listed don’t create as much buzz as much as the Disney+ MCU and Star Wars series (whatever you may think of them), or its FX titles (The Bear, Welcome to Wrexham). Apple TV+ has Ted Lasso, but also The Morning Show, Silo, Foundation, Hijack, For All Mankind, and Slow Horses. When was the last time you thought of watching an Amazon Original?

Prime Video Tennis

There are live sports, whether it’s ATP tennis tour or Premier League football, so if you like tennis, Prime is the service to subscribe to. There’s also an array of international titles on the service, content from India, Korea, anime, as well as Spanish language titles from South America.

There’s a lot of content on Prime Video, though the caveat is that not all of it is available through Prime streaming. Quantity is winning the battle over quality in some aspects of Prime Video’s performance.


  • Satisfactory AV performance
  • Not the widest Atmos support

Performance depends on the TV and sound system you have, but the performance is reliably good. Prime Video has enough content to take advantage of UHD resolution, HDR and Wide Colour Gamut.

LG G3 OLED Daisy Jones

Watching Daisy Jones on an LG and Samsung TV, and I preferred the Dolby Vision version. You can’t turn HDR off (or choose which one you want), but a few titles support both HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. From memory, Dolby Vision is prioritised, which is a slight surprise given Amazon was one of the early backers of HDR10+. Recently it’s added more titles in Dolby Vision, which is good to see given it’s the more common HDR format.

I wouldn’t class it as looking better than Apple TV+, which benefits from slicker production values (and almost certainly higher bit-rates). Filmmaker mode depends on your TV, and a premium OLED or Mini LED would bring out the best image quality; a cheaper LED set that doesn’t offer the best contrast, brightness of colour reproduction and a show like The Rings of Power can end up looking very mundane.

Samsung UE65BU8000 Rings of Power

The sound quality is good, though Dolby Atmos support is not as wide as I’d hoped, even on Amazon’s Originals. You’d like to think every original programme is in Atmos, but it varies – The Terminal List doesn’t have it, but Rings of Power does. That’s a disappointment, especially if you have an Atmos capable surround system.

Latest deals

Should you buy it.

If you’re a Prime subscriber

Prime Video comes part of an annual Prime sub, which means you get it as part of your subscription at no extra cost

If you want a streamlined service

You can stream, you can buy, you can rent; Amazon is happy whatever you do, but the amount of choice is overwhelming, not helped by content being behind paywalls either.

Final Thoughts

Prime Video is a solid service, with good AV credentials and a massive library, but it also offers an overwhelming amount of choice.

The interface is better, but curation doesn’t feel too personal; its roster of original programming is good, but others are stronger. It’s comparatively one of the more affordable options, but with a price hike set for 2024, you’ll need to pay more to avoid ads. That rather sums up Prime Video’s current state – the good points are quickly followed by caveats.

Prime Video is a video streaming service that’s nice to have but not yet essential for those who aren’t subscribers to Amazon Prime.

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Prime Video review: One of Prime's best perks or just a neat treat?

Not a must-have, but still valuable.

Dominique McElligott as Queen Maeve and Antony Starr as Homelander in Prime Video's The Boys

Tom's Guide Verdict

Prime Video is a great benefit for Amazon Prime members.

Some amazing shows and movies

X-Ray mode is neat

Live sports events and concerts

Included in Prime membership

Library doesn't stack up to Netflix's

Interface missing key options on non-Amazon devices

Why you can trust Tom's Guide Our writers and editors spend hours analyzing and reviewing products, services, and apps to help find what's best for you. Find out more about how we test, analyze, and rate.

A Prime Video review is kind of tricky. Many people will get Prime Video with their Amazon Prime membership, though you can buy a Prime Video membership a la carte (we just don't think anyone would). That said, Prime Video has become more interesting as it adds more and more live events and gains new hits here and there. Prime Video may not be the best streaming service overall, but it's definitely one of them.

Prime Video review: Pricing and availability

Prime Video is available on its own for $8.99 per month , but most people probably get the service as a part of their Amazon Prime ( $14.99 per month , $139 per year ). Since that's a lot of cash, make sure to familiarize yourself with our guide to the Amazon Prime member deals , which aren't as well-known.

The $15.49 Standard Netflix tier is more expensive, but doesn't have 4K streaming, which Prime Video does. You must pay $19.99 per month for 4K Netflix.

This means that on its own, the ad-free Prime video is less expensive than ad-free Hulu ($12.99 per month), ad-free HBO Max ($14.99 per month). It's only a buck cheaper than the ad-free versions of Paramount Plus and Peacock (both $9.99 per month).

The only ad-free streaming service cheaper than Prime Video is Apple TV Plus ($4.99 per month). 

Prime Video review: Interface

The single best part of Prime Video is that it wants to help you answer the question "wait, who is that?" Swipe up on your remote while watching a show or movie to peek into Amazon's X-Ray feature, which displays a list of the actors who are on screen at that moment. 

The Prime Video home screen on desktop

The biggest gripe we have with the Prime Video interface is that its best version is stuck on the Fire TV devices. After testing it on a Roku Ultra , Apple TV 4K , Fire TV Stick 4K Max and a Chromecast with Google TV , we saw that some valuable menu options aren't available on all devices. For example, the Fire TV Stick is the only one that had the Categories button in the top menu. 

Imagine Netflix hiding the ability to sort by category? On top of that, the Apple TV version doesn't even have the "Free to me" filter that takes out stuff you need to pay more to see (more on that below). Roku and Chromecast with Google TV versions of those apps also have the "Free to me" and Prime Video Channels sections.

it's great that Amazon gives users a wide array of access to content, but what about when you click on a show or movie, only to discover you need to pay or watch ads.

One potentially annoying part of the Prime Video experience is how the service mixes in things that aren't included in your Prime Video membership. That includes paid video on demand content and ad-supported content from sister services such as IDMb TV. On the web, Prime Video uses little flags (Ads, Prime, $) to show you what's what, but on non-Amazon streaming devices, you're having to look out for blue text that says "included with Prime Video" or a little "Prime" logo in the top right corner. While it's great that Amazon gives users a wide array of access to content, but it's annoying to click on a show or movie, only to discover you need to pay for it or watch ads.

Prime Video review: Shows

Amazon's library of original shows has some strong hits, and you can find many of them in our list of the best shows on Amazon Prime Video . That said, the service just doesn't feel like it competes with the heavy hitters such as Netflix. 

Alan Ritchson (as Jack Reacher), Martin Roach (as Picard) in a diner in an episode of Prime Video's Reacher

Amazon has its strong set of shows (and the Reacher season 2 renewal shows its latest just got here), but its output rates seem to not be at the same level. We'd include JustWatch's estimates on Prime Video's total movies and shows list , but those numbers appear to be inflated by including content you can get through Prime Video Channels, which cost extra). 

Prime Video review: Movies

While you can set up a good movie night with our list of the best movies on Amazon Prime Video , its originals don't really get the love or hype that you see on the best Netflix movies or best Hulu movies . 

For example, The Tomorrow War seemed neat, but it didn't really hit the way Netflix's Red Notice did — which might be a matter of the lopsided star-war of the posters, with Chris Pratt (already in his over-saturation phase) up against Ryan Reynolds, Dwayne Johnson and Gal Gadot. Michael B. Jordan's starring role in Tom Clancy's Without Remorse got a lot of hype, but that came and went as well. The Suspiria remake — which I didn't even know was an Amazon Original — is good, but also proved a bit divisive. For future flicks, note that the next best Prime Video movies may be in theaters first .

The Tomorrow War

2020 and 2021 saw Amazon earn some wins off of Coming 2 America and Borat 2, but those feel like they arrived ages ago. Amazon's acquisition of MGM , though, does suggest that the James Bond movies could be coming to Prime Video.

The service is somewhat strong on licensed films, though. A quick scroll through Prime Video shows titles including The Silence of the Lambs, Saving Private Ryan, The Prestige, The Usual Suspects, Heathers and the 2020 version of Emma (only with ads).

Prime Video review: Live events

Serena Williams (L) and Novak Djokovic perform in the US Open

There is one aspect where Prime Video does best Netflix: live events. Amazon actually plays ball, with select Thursday Night Football games, Premier League soccer  in the U.K. and Ligue 1 soccer in France. Amazon is also streaming Tennis in the the U.K. and Ireland, granting access to major events including the US Open and both WTA and ATP tours. While Netflix and Disney Plus don't dabble in this part of the pond right now, live sports are a growing feature in streaming services, such as Apple TV Plus getting Friday Night Baseball MLB games .

Prime Video is also getting into the world of live music and concert specials, most recently streaming Kanye West and Drake's event and a new Lizzo special.

These aren't a huge reason to sign up, but much like how Prime Video is a neat perk for Prime members , these events are nice to have — but all the more important for fans of the teams and stars on the field and stage.

Prime Video review: Supported devices

Prime Video, much like Netflix, is available everywhere . The below list should help confirm that your device supports it, but the clear and obvious fact is that Prime Video is ubiquitous. Which makes sense, because Amazon itself is everywhere. Most of these devices will see sales on Amazon Prime Day , for what it's worth.

  • Amazon Fire TV Sticks and Cubes , Fire TVs and Fire Tablets
  • Android devices
  • Roku devices
  • Nvidia Shield
  • Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD
  • iPhones and iPads
  • Web browsers: Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Safari, Opera
  • Windows 10, Windows 11 apps
  • macOS app for macOS 11.4 and higher
  • Smart TVs from LG, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony
  • Sony PlayStations including PS5 , PS4, PS4 Pro and PS3
  • Microsoft Xbox consoles including Xbox Series X and Series S , Xbox One and Xbox 360

Trying to squeeze every penny out of your Prime membership? Check out our Amazon buying tricks every Prime member should know so that you're not leaving money on the table. With the cost going up so much this year, there's no reason not to consider all the angles

Prime Video review: Bottom line

As this Prime Video review has shown, the service's biggest flaw is consistency. It doesn't seem to be churning out compelling content as often as say Netflix, and its apps vary across platforms as well. 

That said, I keep the Prime Video app on my streaming devices, even though I don't use it that often. You never know when Prime Video will drop a new season of something interesting, or have a licensed movie that you can't find anywhere else.

Henry T. Casey

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.

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Article updated on June 10, 2022 at 4:00 AM PDT

Amazon's Prime Video Review: Deep River of Content, But...

Amazon's messy menus can make finding TV shows and movies a chore.

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amazon movie reviews

Prime Video

  • Included with Amazon Prime subscription
  • Wide variety of movies and shows, including many critically acclaimed originals
  • Large collection of 4K UHD shows and movies
  • Offline downloads and user profiles
  • Can't watch shows as they air on other networks
  • Paid content mixed in with free content
  • Menus can be confusing

Epic fantasy series, theatrical film releases, Rihanna, MLB and football all share space on a common platform: Amazon's Prime Video . It's where you can watch the latest Savage X Fenty fashion show, originals such as Sound of Metal and  The Boys  or live concerts from artists like Carrie Underwood. 

The service tends to come behind Netflix , Disney Plus and Hulu in discussions about streaming, and teeters somewhere close to HBO Max 's massive subscriber numbers with over 75 million users. Yet the tech and retail giant's streaming arm is muscular in its own right with lots of high-quality original shows and movies, an impressive back catalog of older favorites (and B-movies you haven't heard of), Yankees games on Fridays and NFL on Thursday nights. 

If you already subscribe to Amazon Prime for the free shipping, the video offering is a really great included perk. And if you don't, it may still be worth paying $9 a month for, especially if you're interested in any of its Amazon Originals or its large movie selection.

On the other hand, Prime Video is more of a companion service to Netflix and Hulu, and weaker overall than both. It can't replace Netflix's massive catalog of originals and hit shows, and can't compete with Hulu's vast collection of TV both old and newly aired. If you don't already have a Prime subscription we'd definitely recommend choosing one of those two first -- but chances are you already get Amazon's video part for free.

Read more : Best Streaming Service of 2022: Netflix, Disney Plus, HBO Max, Hulu, Starz and More

How to get Prime Video 

The setup works in two ways. If you are one of the 150 million-plus people worldwide who subscribe to Amazon Prime for the free two-day shipping ($15 per month or $140 per year), Prime Video is included with the service. If you don't have an Amazon Prime account, you can still subscribe to Prime Video for $9 a month , which is one dollar less than Netflix's Basic Plan, and a few bucks more than Hulu's base ad-supported plan. Prime Video subscribers can add on subscriptions to HBO, Showtime, Starz, Paramount Plus and several other channels for an extra monthly cost as well.

Streaming Services Compared

Content: critically acclaimed tv, and loads of movies that are... less so.

Prime Video lists more than 200 Amazon Original series and movies on the site -- larger than Hulu's 100 or so originals, and smaller than Netflix's collection of 2,000. Amazon's Original series stand out for the amount of critical acclaim they've received: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Boys, Fleabag, Good Omens, The Man In The High Castle, Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan and Mozart in the Jungle all were nominated for or won Emmy awards in the past few years. These shows are typically made available on the platform a full season at a time. 

Later this year, Amazon's  Lord of the Rings prequel series  will debut on Prime Video as well. Amazon reportedly paid nearly $250 million for the rights, and it's estimated to cost up to $1 billion overall, making it the most expensive TV series ever. You'll also find exclusive original comedy specials, documentaries and reality shows.

Butcher and The Boys look cool lounging on cars in front of a private jet.

The Boys is one of Prime Video's most popular series.

The service has original movies, too, including Being the Ricardos, Coming 2 America, Hotel Transylvania: Transformania and a slew of Blumhouse co-productions. This is in addition to an extensive catalog of B-movies that are pretty terrible and super-fun to watch. But if you prefer to watch films of better quality, some of those exist, too. Just check out some of the platform's  sci-fi ,  fantasy  or  horror flicks . 

Another area where Prime Video stands out is its selection of kids' shows . You'll find favorites like Sesame Street, SpongeBob SquarePants, Shaun the Sheep and Thomas and Friends along with originals like Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny. 

While Prime Video is great for binge-watching original shows and older favorites, one downside is that there's no option to keep up with current shows like you can on Hulu, unless you subscribe to one of the channels for an extra cost. 

Not all Prime Video content belongs to the platform

Unlike Hulu and Netflix, Amazon sells TV shows and movies separately from its Prime subscription content, for rental and/or purchase, including newer releases like Sonic the Hedgehog 2 . 

These pay-to-rent (or buy) titles can show up on some Prime menus, too, mixed in with stuff you can stream "free" as part of your subscription. The mingling of content is confusing and can even seem like another incentive to buy something. But Amazon has since changed the Prime Video layout to make it clearer what's included in Prime (which typically has a blue Prime tag or ribbon) and what's paid for (which has a gold dollar sign tag). But this appears differently across different devices. 

While you can easily scroll through Prime Video's curated carousels, searching can be a hassle. That is, if you type in a specific title, the results can sometimes be mystifying. For example, I searched for Deadpool, and while five Deadpool movies popped up, so did Venom: Let There be Carnage, Cocomelon, Sonic the Hedgehog, Trolls, Jurassic World, Baywatch, Date Night and a bunch of other unrelated fare. This is one of Prime Video's sore points.

FreeVee free TV shows

Freevee is within Prime Video, but it's also separate. Yes, it's a little confusing.

Then there's Freevee. Formerly known as IMDb TV, it's Amazon's free, ad-supported streaming service and its library is listed within Prime Video as a "channel." Depending on where you're watching (on a PC, for example), some Freevee titles appear in a designated row in Prime Video. If you're searching for a specific title like Deadpool 2 or Bewitched, it will either say, "Free with Freevee" or show up in your search results under Prime Video with the words, "Included with your Freevee subscription." While you automatically have access to Freevee with a Prime Video subscription, you don't need a paid subscription to any Amazon service to watch Freevee originals, shows or movies.

Otherwise Prime Video's interface is pretty similar to those of Netflix and other streaming services. At the top, you'll see tabs for Search, Home, Free, Movies, TV shows, Channels, My Stuff and Settings. As you scroll, you'll see personalized categories like Movies based on your viewing, Popular movies and TV shows we think you'll like and live stream offerings followed by more typical ones like Trending TV. Prime Video's nested menus operate similarly to those on Netflix. Click a title and you'll see a description, an IMDb score and the ability to Watch Now if it's included with Prime, as well as check out other rental or purchase options. If the title you choose is not included with Prime, this page will show you how much it would cost to rent or buy on the platform.

Prime Video's best features

A character from The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power looks serious

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power cost an estimated $1 billion to produce

One cool feature that differentiates Prime Video from other streaming services is called X-Ray. Thanks to Amazon's ownership of IMDb, you can scroll up while playing a given show or movie and see information on cast members, the music playing and trivia in real time -- helping you avoid "wait, don't I know that guy from somewhere?" syndrome. Another perk: Prime Video is generally ad-free. You may see a short promo for an Amazon Original before a show. But Prime Video doesn't run regular advertising, so you won't see ads for things like soda or trucks during any commercial breaks in your programming. The exception is within the Freevee category. To aid your binge planning, Prime Video does tell you what new shows are coming up for the month, which Hulu does as well but Netflix does not. Most Amazon Original movies and shows, along with several others, are available to stream in 4K Ultra High Definition with HDR . This is great news, since in our experience, HDR actually delivers a more noticeable picture quality improvement, especially on a good TV, than 4K resolution. You'll need a 4K UHD display and a streaming device that supports the format. Prime now allows you to create separate user profiles like Netflix, Hulu and Disney Plus do, with users being able to add up to six different profiles, including kids' profiles, on one account. A kids' profile comes with content suitable for ages 12 and under, and the purchase/rent function is automatically disabled. Parents can also set up additional parental controls -- like PINs -- for any device by navigating to  Prime Video Settings > Parental Controls on a web browser.

You can download Prime Video titles to watch offline if you have a Fire tablet, or the Prime Video app for iOS or Android. One note though: Any of your downloads will be still accessible on a kids' profiles, regardless of rating.

Is paying for Prime Video worth it if you don't have Amazon Prime? 

Depends on what you're looking for in a streaming service. If you're a big fan of movies (good, bad and everything in between), a Prime Video subscription might be worth it for the extensive film catalog -- especially if you can use it to replace pricey digital rentals. The growing collection of quality Amazon Originals is also a big draw -- especially since there are no ads in any shows. And the large number of 4K HDR offerings is a plus for those with 4K TVs. 

But if you're more of a TV show binge-watcher and the Amazon Originals don't spark your interest, you may be just fine with your Netflix or Hulu subscription. Either way, you can try out Prime Video free for 30 days -- just make sure you cancel before it auto-renews.

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Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Three Pines’ On Prime Video, Where A Police Detective Investigates Murders In A Tiny Village In Quebec

Where to stream:.

  • Three Pines
  • Stream It Or Skip It

Stream It Or Skip It: 'The 8 Show' On Netflix, A Dark Comedy Where People Join A Strange Game Show Where Time Is Literally Money

Stream it or skip it: 'pillowcase murders' on paramount+, a docuseries about the serial murders of women in texas retirement communities, stream it or skip it: 'family practice mysteries: coming home' on hallmark mystery, a solid murder procedural that's darker than most hallmark fare, stream it or skip it: 'the big cigar' on apple tv+, about huey p. newton's escape to cuba with the help of a film producer.

If you go over Alfred Molina’s IMDb listing, you see over two hundred appearances. And he’s played everything, from a cop in a  Law & Order spinoff to Hercule Poirot to Doctor Octopus. Still, when he appears on our screens, we’re always glad to see him, because he brings depth to whatever role he does. He plays a cop again in a new Quebec-set mystery series on Prime Video , and he makes it a whole lot better than it should be.


Opening Shot: “Tiothiá:Ke (Montreal)”. A protest over the disappearance of Indigenous women takes place outside the station of the Sûreté du Québec (SQ), the provincial police. A senior detective in glasses watches the protests from a window.

The Gist: Chief Inspector Armand Gamache (Alfred Molina) is sympathetic to the families who are protesting; thousands of Indigenous women have disappeared or been murdered over the past few years, and the SQ has done little to none about it. He even comes to the defense of the mother and sister of one of those victims, Blue Two-Rivers (Anna Lambe), when they’re physically restrained by the officers trying to control the crowd.

He drives Blue’s mother Arisawe (Georgina Lightning) and sisters Missy (Crystle Lightning) and Kara (Isabel Deroy-Olson) home. He asks a colleague to run a plate related to the case, though the colleague thinks like the rest of the SQ, that Blue just ran away.

In the village of Three Pines, CC de Poitiers (Simone-Élise Girard), who just released a tell-all book, is off sleeping with her photographer, Saul Petrov (Iannicko N’Doua-Légaré) and completely ignoring her passive husband Richard (Robert Moloney) and their daughter Crie (Roberta Battaglia). Later, at a Boxing Day curling tournament, de Poitiers sits in a metal chair, then all of a sudden gets hot. Blue fluid drips around her feet. Then suddenly, she’s electrocuted and collapses dead in the chair.

Gamache is sent to Three Pines to investigate — he thinks it’s punishment for driving the Two-Rivers family home. He’s met there by Inspector Jean-Guy Beauvoir (Rossif Sutherland), Sergeant Isabelle Lacoste (Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers) and over-eager local officer Yvette Nichol (Sarah Booth). With the help of Yvette, they set up a situation room in the gallery of Bea Mayer (Tantoo Cardinal), who is surprised to see an Lacoste, who is Indigenous, in the SQ.

As Gamache presses on, he gets news about Blue Two-Rivers; she’s been seen alive in Brooklyn. However, Missy thinks that she’d call if she were still alive. And while Blue haunts his dreams, he starts to realize that everyone who was present when CC de Poitiers died likely had a reason to want her dead.

What Shows Will It Remind You Of?   Three Pines has a few similarities to  Alaska Daily , with regards to the storyline about the disappearance of thousands of young Indigenous women. But in essence, the show is more like a traditional detective show along the lines of Acorn’s many detective shows, like  Whitstable Pearl , Midsomer Murders and others.

Our Take:   Three Pines  is based on Louise Penny’s  Inspector Gamache  novel series , and it’s trying to balance a few different police procedural genres to weave together a story that’s more complex than the average detective series.

You have the traditional mystery of CC de Poitiers’ murder — Gamache even confronts all the suspects during a book club meeting and talks about why each one might want to kill her, like he’s Hercule Poirot (which Molina has played in the past) — but there’s also a more in-depth story that represents the very real disappearance of thousands of Indigenous women in Canada and Alaska. In addition, Gamache has some mysteries in his own life, which he’ll need to confront as he investigates both cases.

It all flows together pretty well, mainly because of Molina. It’s not exactly the first time he’s played a police detective, but he still makes Gamache unique from the other times he’s played a cop, mainly because he’s so effective at showing Gamache’s vulnerabilities. He’s not the typical SQ cop who sees these missing person cases as runaways and basically give the families no answers, but he still has to fight against the mistrust the Indigenous population has towards law enforcement.

A quality supporting cast and a light sense of humor also helps. Not every aspect of the show is light and airy, but it seems to know when it needs to be serious and when it needs to lighten things up. Because of this,  Three Pines give viewers an interesting murder case to follow, quirky small-town folks with secrets, and a more serious case that tests its main character’s abilities. What else can a viewer want?

Sex and Skin: Besides CC waking up next to Petrov, there isn’t any in the first episode.

Parting Shot: When Yvette asks Gamache which one of the townspeople killed CC, he quotes  Frankenstein and says, “What if it was all of them?”

Sleeper Star:  We’ll give this to Claire Coulter, who plays cursing town eccentric Ruth Zardo, who totes around her pet duck all over town.

Most Pilot-y Line: CC screams at her husband and daughter, “The only mistake around here was getting married to you and giving birth to that.” “That” is her daughter. Wow, that’s cartooinshly cruel.

Our Call: STREAM IT. Alfred Molina and a fine supporting cast elevates  Three Pines above the standard detective drama, if only because it smoothly operates on more than one level.

Joel Keller ( @joelkeller ) writes about food, entertainment, parenting and tech, but he doesn’t kid himself: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Salon, , , Fast Company and elsewhere.

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Amazon Prime review

Amazon prime is a consistently brilliant service with so much choice.

An image of the Amazon Fire TV. Image Credit: Amazon

TechRadar Verdict

Amazon Prime offers incredible value for money, with an abundance of features including TV, movie and music streaming, as well as free next-day delivery on items and a whole lot more. In our opinion, getting Prime is a no-brainer.

Fast delivery

'Free' streaming video and music

Outstanding value

Loads of extra perks

Ecosystem locks you in

No desktop video app

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Amazon is impossible to ignore. It's the dominant force in online shopping with so many different services under the same umbrella. It has changed the way most of us shop for good. 

Amazon Prime launched in the US in 2005 and throughout Europe in 2007 as a free shopping scheme. But since then, Amazon has added a great many of new features to Prime, creating a true must-have service.

It offers, most famously, a range of free, super-fast delivery options depending on your postcode or ZIP code. In certain areas of the UK, for example, you can get same-day delivery or even Prime Now delivery, which brings you lots of items within two hours.

There's also a whole selection of other benefits, including music streaming and access to a vast catalogue of movies and TV shows, including Prime originals like The Boys and forthcoming Lord of the Rings TV show, The Rings Of Power , all available via Amazon Prime Instant Video. 

For everything Prime offers you have to pay just $14.99 per month in the US or £7.99 per month in the UK . You can also pay for a full year in one for a cheaper per-month cost: the annual fee is $139 in the US and £79 in the UK.

There's still the option to have a month's free trial of Prime too. If you've had Prime or a Prime trial in the last year you'll miss out, but Amazon tends to reset this so if you've been away long enough you can get back in with a free month.

If that wasn't enough to convince you, every July Amazon holds Amazon Prime day , which is a day of deals available exclusively to Amazon Prime members. It's good for us because we get good deals, and it's good for Amazon as it's able to drive Prime sign-ups.

US: Amazon Prime free 30-day trial | UK: Amazon Prime free 30-day trial

Prime is a clever idea, and one that's not really replicated by any other retailer. Sure, Netflix streams movies and TV shows, but it's more expensive than Prime and doesn't have the ability to make things arrive at your house in less than 24 hours as well. Prime isn't a pure video service, but it offers one that's very good. 

So what exactly do you get for your money?

amazon movie reviews

Free shipping There's the famous next-day delivery in the UK and two-day delivery in the US, while same-day delivery is also available in certain areas, as well as Prime Now, which brings you certain items in two hours or less.

amazon movie reviews

Free Kindle books If you're a Kindle owner, then a Amazon Prime membership will get you access to a free ebook every month from the Kindle First service and another free book from the Amazon Kindle Lending Library.

amazon movie reviews

Amazon Prime Instant Video You'll also get access to the Amazon Prime Video streaming service with hundreds of movies and TV shows, including The Marvellous Mrs Maisel, Wheel Of Time and The Summer I Turned Pretty.

  • Check out our list of the best Amazon Prime TV shows to watch right now.
  • Fancy a film instead? These are the best Amazon Prime movies .

amazon movie reviews

Prime Music And, of course, there's also Amazon Music Unlimited, which offers free music streaming of millions of tracks, plus Prime Photos for backing up your photographs from a phone or computer.

No matter what the service offers, and the faults that it has - which we'll explore - the key thing to remember here is that Amazon Video alone is worth the Prime subscription. It's cheaper than Netflix per year, and everything else that Prime offers can be considered as an added bonus. And there's a LOT of extras. 

amazon movie reviews

Amazon Prime Video 

We've given Amazon Prime Instant Video a full test over here , but we'll cover most of the important points again in this review. This streaming service has had more names than Cordozar Calvin Broadus, Jr. over the years, and it forms an important part of what Amazon Prime offers.

It is, essentially, a streaming service like Netflix but it's also included in your yearly (or monthly) Prime subscription. It's really very impressive value.

The service is available through a series of apps across all types of smart devices. If you've got a TV, Blu-ray player or other media player from the last couple of years chances are it'll have the Amazon Prime Video app. There are also bespoke apps for Android and iOS. The only real omission is desktop - to use Prime Video on a computer you need to go via the main Amazon website which isn't a great user experience really. There is no Windows 10 app and no modern UI like you get with Netflix.

amazon movie reviews

Downloading shows to your phone or tablet

Amazon also allows you to download shows to your devices, a feature that Netflix also has.

This means that you can watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on the plane, or off the grid, without anyone knowing. One big limitation of this is that you can only have 25 items downloaded at once. That's an account limit too, not a device restriction. So if you have two tablets, you'll only be able to sync 25 items across both. I hit this limit, and I'm not entirely sure what else I had downloaded. 

On downloads we'd urge you to select "best" quality for downloads. On an iPad Pro the medium setting didn't have anywhere near enough detail for our tastes.

Picture and sound quality

Amazon also offers 4K and HDR video, and the selection of TV shows and movies is very good, and growing. Amazon does a lot of deals with international broadcasters to bring their shows to Prime while also investing plenty in its own content. Picture and sound quality is, overall, excellent.

The best Amazon player is, weirdly, the Amazon Fire TV. If Amazon is going to be a big part of your video at home, get a Fire TV. It does Netflix brilliantly too as well as broadcast TV catchup apps.

amazon movie reviews

Sorting the 'included with Prime' from the 'not included with Prime'

As a service Prime Video is excellent, the shows and films are varied but watch out for the slightly frustrating upsell.

That's to say, not every show you might see listed on Amazon Video is included in the subscription - known as Amazon Prime Instant Video. Some must be paid for separately. That's somewhat understandable, and it's good that there's more on offer, but even so it lacks the clarity of Netflix, and many have mentioned it as a frustration.

amazon movie reviews

Prime Music

  • US: Get your Amazon Prime free 30-day trial
  • UK: Get your Amazon Prime free 30-day trial

Prime Music is a nice little bonus to go along with your Prime subscription. It doesn't cost extra, but includes 2 million tracks and curated playlists. It's not a rival for Spotify, but some people will likely find it good enough and just buy any albums they want to listen to that aren't included. 

The nice thing about the Music service is that it also allows you to upload your own music as well as keeping a backup of any music you purchase from Amazon. If you buy a CD direct from Amazon, in most cases those tracks will get added to your online streaming package too. This makes this a nicely rounded service, and a real boost given it's free, or "included" if you prefer.

Amazon offers a desktop app too, which actually works quite well. It can be used to listen to the streaming library, your own uploaded music as well as past purchases. You can also use it to download your music. 

Overall we wouldn't cancel a Spotify subscription for Prime Music, but again it's a wonderful bonus that would really suit someone who doesn't want a full-blown music service. And, to point out the obvious you're getting the whole of Prime for much less than a year's Spotify subscription. 

Amazon Kindle Lending Library. Image Credit: Amazon

Amazon Prime's Kindle Lending Library 

A short point on the Kindle Lending Library, as it doesn't offer a huge amount, but is still a nice bonus. As part of your Amazon Prime membership, you can borrow one book from the Kindle store per calendar month.

There are 600,000 titles that are involved in the Library deal, and the Harry Potter books are included. Interestingly some books - Harry Potter included - have compilations, which count as one book. To borrow through the library, just search for something you want. If it's included, there will be a Prime logo on your Kindle or Fire tablet next to the title.

Again, the Kindle Library is one of those features that just sweetens the whole Prime deal. It's not enough to get you to part with your money on its own, but when considered in the wider offer it becomes part of an irresistible package. 

There is another service called "Kindle Unlimited" which costs $9.99 in the US and £7.99 per month in the UK and allows you to borrow pretty much any Kindle book. There is a library of over one million books, and thousands of audiobooks on offer for this fee. 

Amazon Kindle Lending Library. Image Credit: Amazon

Amazon Prime Kindle First 

This is a simple one, but it's also a bit weird. It's the sort of thing you'd never expect, nor ask for, but its existence is rather delightful. It's a free (or sometimes low-cost) offering that gives you early access to one of six pre-release books per month.

The books are chosen by editors, and not yet available to the general public. You select the one you want and off you go. Even non-subscribers can do this, but you have to sign-up to a newsletter, and anyone leaving the newsletter will no longer get the cheap/free books.

Amazon Kindle Lending Library. Image Credit: Amazon

Amazon Prime Photos 

Another simple idea, with Amazon Photos you download an app from your phone's app store and you can then upload and save unlimited photos on Amazon's cloud service. This works like Google Photos or Apple 's iCloud - files are automatically uploaded so you know your shots are always backed up, and you get unlimited storage too. 

Again, this is a service that you could pay a lot of money for, but Amazon just uses it to sweeten the deal. You can store photos directly from a phone, and there are also PC and Mac apps for your computer. 

Like all the services of this type you should use it if you can, as it will keep your images backed up. The only slight warning you should bear in mind is that if you cancel your Prime, then you'll drop back to the standard storage allowance. You do get 90 days to re-download any images you uploaded though.

amazon movie reviews

Amazon Prime delivery 

When Amazon Prime launched it was really the next day (UK) / two-day (US) delivery that was "Prime". As time has gone on the service has evolved and added in new features, but it was the fast, free delivery that kicked it all off. 

At the most basic level, it allows you to place an order on a Monday and, as long as you don't miss the cut off time, get it Tuesday/Wednesday. In some regions you can also opt for an evening delivery if you order early enough. Be warned though, the stock available for a same-day evening delivery is not as comprehensive as that for next day. Amazon will tell you what options you have for delivery though so you can decide before you buy.

A lot of the value of Prime comes from the fact that shipping costs money from many of Amazon's competitors. And Amazon also usually has the lowest prices for popular items. So you tend to pay less total with Amazon provided you do a fair amount of online shopping.

amazon movie reviews

Amazon Prime Early Access

Another aspect of Prime's shopping is access to what's called "Early Access". This gives Prime customers a 30-minute head-start on the day's lightning deals. These are price-reduced products that are available in limited numbers for a limited time. On very popular items it's handy to be able to see them before the general public, as you can reserve one and jump the queue. 

In reality Lightning Deals and Early Access are of limited appeal because you have to simply be in the mood to spend money on something, but have no idea what you might actually want or need. It can be handy for Christmas and Birthday presents, where the deals act as inspiration.

amazon movie reviews

Amazon Pantry 

Pantry costs extra - there's a $5.99 delivery charge in the US (£2.99 in the UK) but what it gives you is a box that you can fill with various items. It's nifty for things like bottled water, confectionary, and other supplies.

There are sometimes free shipping deals too, which add to the attractiveness of this. That said, the whole business of Amazon's grocery and household goods is way too complicated. There are at least three different services that offer the same range of things, and all are billed differently. Amazon Fresh, for example, is an additional monthly subscription over your Prime membership. 

This one might suit some people, but it's sort of hidden away. We only found it because we were testing Prime for this review.

amazon movie reviews

Amazon Prime Now 

I'm lucky enough to live in an area served by Prime Now, a service which offers you delivery of certain items within one hour. In traditional Amazon style there is some considerable confusion about the various services.

There is another service, called Amazon Fresh, which is designed entirely for, you guessed it, food.

Prime Now is also another one of the Amazon services that, for some reason, needs its own app. In the US there's a website to order from, but the UK doesn't offer this so you have to use your phone. This is fiddly and a reasonably poor user experience. We asked the Amazon UK team if it was changing this, it told us it had no current announcement to make. 

Where Amazon Prime Now comes into its own - and the good thing about the app - is the incredibly precise order tracking. Amazon drops you a text when the package leaves the depot and from then on you can see the name of your delivery driver and his location. If you're out for some reason, this could be incredibly useful as it gives you time to get home for the delivery. 

amazon movie reviews

Now offers delivery slots that are either "within the next hour" or slots of two hours after that. I made my order at roughly 6pm, and was able to get a slot of 8pm to 10pm. You can also pick the next day if you want, but really this is about same day delivery for items you want quickly.

We ordered some fresh fruit and vegetables in our Amazon Prime Now order, specifically because even normal supermarkets mess this sort of thing up. They arrived in good condition, without bruises.

There is also some considerable promise here. You could wake up in the morning, discover you didn't have anything for lunch, and have a delivery within a few hours. That's an interesting addition to the home delivery market, and one that could be a nifty bonus for those in eligible areas.

There is some weirdness though. For example, Amazon asks if you'd like to tip the delivery driver. But it doesn't do this after the package has been placed in your hands, it does it when you're buying.

Also, it's not made clear if the driver knows if you tipped or not.

Prime is really an incredible service that offers all sorts of benefits. For a modest subscription fee you get all of the things mentioned above thrown in. It's cheap, useful and even if you just use next day, or evening delivery a handful of times it's arguably worth it. 

Factor in Prime Video, and you find yourself with a proposition that's nearly impossible to turn down. It costs less over a year than Netflix, and you get a lot more for your money. 

Amazon Prime logo. Image Credit: Amazon

You can also learn about Walmart Plus , including the price, benefits, and how it compares to Amazon Prime.

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More From Forbes

‘fallout’ dethroned in amazon prime video’s top 10 list by a new offering.

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This article was published on 5/13 and republished on 5/15.

Fallout has proven to be an enormous success for Amazon Prime Video , an exceptional new sci-fi universe that has already been greenlit for a second season, and has pleased both fans of the video game and newcomers.

Given that Amazon has fewer original offerings at a given time than say, Netflix, its top 10 ranking does not change all that often, and Fallout was ruling the roost for quite a while. But now something has come along to knock it down, which I can’t say I’m too surprised by.

Amazon Prime Video does not separate out movies and TV shows from its Prime originals top 10 list, so it is in fact a movie that has unseated it. That would be The Idea of You, the Anne Hathaway romantic comedy that debuted on Prime instead of in theaters.

The Idea of You

The Idea of You is based on a book by Robinne Lee, following the story of a woman who ends up dating a younger, famous musician. The adaptation has scored solid reviews from critics, an 83%, which is pretty high for the genre. Audience scores are lower, 68% on Rotten Tomatoes, but on Amazon itself it has 4.5 stars with many more reviews in. Hathaway in particular has been praised for her performance here.

amazon movie reviews

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The rest of the list reflects on the issues with Amazon, that its big shows are few and far between and need to have really, really long lifespans because of the lack of new content. I think that Them: The Scare should be doing better than #5 as a new show, as it has a perfect 100% score, which I think it deserves. The list also shows us just how popular Reacher is, still at #8 despite coming out all the way back in December of 2023. That’s a wild amount of staying power. The same goes for Invincible season 2, the back half at least, albeit that came out more recently.

We already know what’s about to top the list soon enough here. That would be The Boys season 4, far and away Amazon’s most talked-about series, which will debut a month from today exactly on June 13. And once that happens, I would expect it to stay on the list for a Reacher-amount of time. It actually may even reappear before launch as people watch past seasons to catch up or refresh their memories, as it’s been a while.

But yeah, watch Fallout. I think I may actually watch The Idea of You now.

Update (5/15): Well, well, well, will you look at that? Fallout is now back on top, with The Idea of You falling to #2 instead, after just a few days on top.

Given the way the Amazon list works, combining both movies and TV shows into one, I can’t say I’m all that surprised. You watch a single movie for two hours and your done, while a TV show like Fallout takes four times as long to get through, so it stands to reason that shows in general would have a lot more staying power than movies.

Again, I don’t think there’s anything that will top Fallout outside of maybe a brief surge from some random new movie, but the one thing that will unseat it permanently is going to be Season 4 of The Boys, but that’s not until mid-June.

Give that Fallout is Amazon Prime’s second-most watched show ever, which they’ve now reported, I suspect it’s going to pull a Reacher and hang out inside the top 10 for months to come. With The Boys still a month away, it’s going to be spending a lot of time near the top for now.

Does Prime Video have a content pipeline problem? I’d say no. I would much prefer there be fewer shows that are worth watching than Netflix’s shotgun blast of new content every week. Lately, I think Prime Video has a pretty good record of quality that makes up for its quantity, and I’d like to see them maintain that.

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Pick up my sci-fi novels the Herokiller series and The Earthborn Trilogy .

Paul Tassi

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‘The Greatest Love Story Never Told’ Review: Jennifer Lopez Learns Love’s Cost in Revelatory Making-Of Doc

With his unexpectedly intimate chronicle of her $20 million passion project "This Is Me...Now: A Love Story," documentarian Jason Bergh chips away at the blocks on which Lopez' pop superstardom was built.

By Todd Gilchrist

Todd Gilchrist

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With her ninth album “This Is Me…Now,” Jennifer Lopez promised to be more honest and vulnerable than ever before — a bookend to 2002’s “This Is Me…Then” in which she would “tell her side” of the romances that for decades have been one-dimensionally splashed across the pages of tabloids worldwide. Even as a lifelong fan, I was skeptical just how far back she’d draw the curtain given the meticulous control she’s exerted over her career.

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Lopez subsequently decides to bankroll the project herself — an endeavor which Affleck observes is historically risky in Hollywood. Emboldened by members of her inner circle, including Affleck and longtime manager Benny Medina, she enlists director Dave Meyers (“I’m Real (Remix)”) and begins coordinating the logistics of the most ambitious undertaking of her career.

The production details themselves are surprisingly candid, starting with the original price tag of $30 million — later trimmed to $20 million after she is forced to finance it herself. Prospective co-stars come and go, such as Anthony Ramos (“In the Heights”), who elects to remain loyal to his pal Marc Anthony, her ex-husband. “I’m not playing me,” she counters. (Invited to play various members of a Zodiac-sign roundtable or her fictional friend circle, Taylor Swift, Jason Momoa and Khloe Kardashian all pass or are otherwise unavailable.) After Lopez reaches out to Jane Fonda, who became her friend after shooting “Monster In Law” together in 2005, the elder headline magnet worries first about putting this album into the world at all, then about whether or not it will be perceived as sincere. “I was so worried about Ben after the Grammys,” Fonda says, referring to Affleck’s seeming grumpiness at the 2023 ceremony, before Lopez reassures her.

When not otherwise choosing between different viscosities of mud or fretting over an inoperable conveyor belt, Lopez unexpectedly lets all of her insecurities hang out — and it is powerful stuff. Reflecting on her reunion with Affleck, she confesses that during their time apart, “I didn’t think much of myself, and so the world didn’t think much of me.” She delves into the relationships with her mother (narcissist) and father (workaholic) that led her to feel so desperate to prove her worth, both personally and professionally. Following the completion of “Rebound,” a sequence in which her character is tethered — sometimes violently — with one on-screen lover, she exhales a cathartic sigh of relief: “I’ve definitely been manhandled … and a couple of other unsavory things,” she admits.

The encouragement Affleck offers her, such as when she’s convinced that the project will be a disaster, underscores both their shared love and her inexperience with the prospect of true failure. It’s obvious she’s never before put herself out into the world with so much at stake, but you also see that it’s precisely because of his support — thoughtful and indefatigable — that she felt confident to attempt it in the first place. That Bergh defines their personalities so distinctly (there’s something perfect and darling about her complete indifference to his excitement about Meyers’ truck full of camera lenses), and yet highlights how well they complement one another, lends profundity to his portrayal of their relationship.

But even if unintentional, “The Greatest Love Story Never Told” remarkably achieves the greatness to which the other two parts of this triumvirate aspire. As the career-long recipient of pervasive and too-often-unflattering media coverage, not to mention the immediate beneficiary of a career-spanning documentary just two years ago with “Halftime,” Jennifer Lopez entered her “This Is Me…Now” era running the distinct risk of overexposure. By harnessing not just the drive that made her a superstar but the fragility (especially personal) inherent in its maintenance, Jason Bergh’s film accomplishes something unexpected: offering audiences a truly new way to look at her.

Reviewed online, Feb. 20, 2024. Running time: 87 MIN.

  • Production: (Documentary) A Prime Video release of an Amazon MGM Studios presentation of an Artists Equity production. Producers: Dani Bernfeld, Jason Bergh, Gillian Brown, Courtney Baxter, Lindsay Utz, Stephan Bielecki, Caitlin Alba-Rothstein, Eliza Comer.
  • Crew: Director: Jason Bergh. Camera: Alexander D. Paul. Editors: Grace Zahrah, Lenny Mesina, Jennifer Horvath. Music: Meredith Ezinma Ramsay.
  • With: Jennifer Lopez, Ben Affleck, Jane Fonda, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, Dave Meyers, Jenifer Lewis.

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After seeing hundreds of films a year, it’s easy to forget that sometimes the surest and sometimes best pleasure comes from simple comfort food. Director Maggie Betts’ “The Burial,” a throwback '90s inspirational courtroom drama pitched to extreme comedy, comes as simple and sweet as a summer Southern breeze when flashy personal injury lawyer Willie E. Gary ( Jamie Foxx ) arrives in Mississippi to defend the mild-mannered Jeremiah O’Keefe ( Tommy Lee Jones) against a multi-billion dollar corporation. 

“The Burial” has several wonky components, like thin characters, an oddly framed rivalry, and an anti-climactic ending. And yet, Betts’ crowd-pleasing story of unlikely partners turned friends is undeniably entertaining. It dramatically begins a few months prior, when a broke Jeremiah—an owner of several funeral homes and a burial insurance business—ventures with his longtime lawyer Mike Allred ( Alan Ruck ) to Vancouver, BC, to sell three funeral homes to CEO Ray Loewen ( Bill Camp ). A deal was struck on Lowen’s yacht, but four months have passed, and Lowen hasn’t signed the contract. Only the young Hal ( Mamoudou Athie ), a newly minted attorney and family friend, is suspicious: He thinks Loewen is waiting out Jeremiah, hoping the taciturn American’s business crashes, leaving the entire funeral home chain buyable for pennies on the dollar. Hal convinces Jeremiah not only to sue, but to do so in the predominantly Black Hinds County. Here enters Willie E. Gary. 

Most mixed-race “We Must Overcome” films like “ Green Book ,” “ The Help ,” and “The Blind Side” falter by trying to fix the long span of racial inequities within the space of a trite feel-good story, in which only the white character truly feels redeemed and recompensed by credits end. But “The Burial” doesn’t believe it can solve microaggressions, inequality, and racism in its 126-minute runtime. It’s also not affixed to healing Jeremiah of some guilty conscience. Rather, Foxx as Willie is the actual lead in one of his best, most vibrant, and funny performances in recent memory (though “ They Cloned Tyrone ” is a 2023 highlight for him, too). 

In fact, Willie, who really wants to be taken seriously (and make good money), is the only fully sketched character. Jeremiah is mostly functional; apart from his business and large family (he has 13 children) and his wife ( Pamela Reed ), we don’t learn much about him beyond his reserved personality (a quiet verve Jones can play in his sleep and always very well). We don’t even see his kids. The same can be said about Willie’s wife, Gloria ( Amanda Warren ), and Jeremiah’s lawyers, Hal and Mike. A similar observation follows Mame Downes ( Jurnee Smollett ), a distinguished attorney Loewen hires when he realizes he needs Black attorneys to win in a Black county (we never really revisit the sketchiness of Hal reaching out to Willie, unbeknownst him, under the guise of the same tactic). Mame and Willie become friendly rivals—there’s awkward, charged dialogue between them that reads on the borderline of skeevy—leading to sharp tactics in the courtroom and sharp actorly decisions by Smollett as her character navigates representing a wretched white man. 

“The Burial” isn’t really about race, but race is certainly all around it, and it takes place in the shadow of the O.J. Simpson trial (Willie often dreams of facing Johnnie Cochran). The terrible racial history of the South is prominently featured: a measured Mamoudou as Hal faces microaggressions, while the National Baptist Convention becomes the key to the case and adds more heart, frustration, and ache to the film. 

“The Burial” also relishes in culturally specific Black humor. Willie is an inherently hilarious character: gaudy, in over his head, and self-effacing. Foxx plays all those components wonderfully without diminishing Willie to buffoonish levels. He also takes pleasure in Willie's rhythmic, melodiously signifying speech (the showdown between Foxx and Camp at the film’s climax is a tremendous instance of the actor’s play with layered meaning). Doug Wright and Betts’ comedically attuned screenplay and costume designer Mirren Gordon-Crozier ’s rich costumes combine to craft further sight gags, from Willie and his wife appearing on “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” in velvet leisurewear to the lines of Willie’s extravagant suits. 

Thrumming through this prototypical David vs. Goliath film is Foxx's heart and soul. Even when the courtroom scenes fall into overly familiar visual patterns, Foxx adds tension, frivolity, and a sense of rigor, elevating “The Burial” from its common bones to a stirring, distinctive comedy with high re-watch value. 

This review was filed from the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival. "The Burial" premieres in select theaters on October 6th and will be available on Prime Video on October 13th. 

Robert Daniels

Robert Daniels

Robert Daniels is an Associate Editor at Based in Chicago, he is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association (CFCA) and Critics Choice Association (CCA) and regularly contributes to the  New York Times ,  IndieWire , and  Screen Daily . He has covered film festivals ranging from Cannes to Sundance to Toronto. He has also written for the Criterion Collection, the  Los Angeles Times , and  Rolling Stone  about Black American pop culture and issues of representation.

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The Burial (2023)

Rated R for language.

126 minutes

Jamie Foxx as Willie E. Gary

Tommy Lee Jones as Jeremiah O'Keefe

Jurnee Smollett

Mamoudou Athie

Pamela Reed

Bill Camp as Ray Loewen

Amanda Warren

Dorian Missick

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From 'The Iron Claw' to 'The Idea of You,' here are 10 movies you need to stream right now

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Sure, you could surprise your mom with a trip to the movie theater to see some smart apes or Ryan Gosling . But if she'd rather spend Mother's Day hanging at home – and she loves movies, too – there are plenty of options to make the holiday entertaining.

Netflix, Amazon's Prime Video, Peacock, Max, Apple TV+, Paramount+ and others boast all sorts of streaming films for fans with various tastes, from comedy and horror to an Anne Hathaway double feature. There are recent theatrical releases like Zac Efron's buzzy pro wrestling drama , a restored 1970 Beatles movie available for the first time in decades, plus a slew of original flicks such as  Jerry Seinfeld's Pop-Tarts movie , a new film adaptation of a John Green book and a return to the film world for Brooke Shields, in a Netflix flick perfect for moms of all stripes.

Here are 10 notable new movies you can stream right now:

'The American Society of Magical Negroes'

Yarn sculptor Aren (Justice Smith) is recruited by wise mentor Roger (David Alan Grier) into a secret organization of Black agents whose mission is to keep white people comfortable, and Aren's first assignment turns messy when love gets in the way of the job. It's a satirical take on the "magical negro" trope that makes some points about race and culture before losing its way (and any sort of bite) when the film turns into a predictable rom-com.

Need a break? Play the USA TODAY Daily Crossword Puzzle.

Where to watch: Peacock .

'The Book of Clarence'

An entertaining blast rather than being blasphemous, the biblical epic stars LaKeith Stanfield as the title character, a weed dealer in Jerusalem circa A.D. 33 who sees the respect Jesus gets and touts himself as "the new messiah." Directed by Jeymes Samuel ("The Harder They Fall"), it's a bold, thought-provoking retelling of the resurrection story through the lens of Black culture that anyone can relate to, believer or not.

Where to watch: Netflix .

Like "Carol" painted with some noir-ish shades, the 1960s-set thriller casts Thomasin McKenzie as the title character, a mousy secretary at a Boston boys prison who lives at home with an abusive dad (Shea Whigham) drinking himself to death. Eileen gets a pick-me-up at work with the arrival of sophisticated psychologist Rebecca (Anne Hathaway), who pulls the fragile younger woman into unfortunate circumstances.

Where to watch: Hulu .

'The Idea of You'

There's a bit of a "Notting Hill" vibe to this rom-com starring Hathaway as 40-year-old divorced mom Solène, who reluctantly takes her teen daughter to Coachella and inadvertently meets – and sparks a spicy romance with – Hayes (Nicholas Galitzine), lead singer of a popular boy band. It's a lot more serious and emotionally wrought than you might expect, but Hathaway nails her character's layered nuance as Solène's relationship goes viral.

Where to watch: Prime Video .

'The Iron Claw'

A very ripped (and amazing) Zac Efron, Jeremy Allen White and Harris Dickinson play members of the Von Erich pro wrestling dynasty in this gripping 1980s-set biopic. Raised by their ex-wrestler father (Holt McCallany), the Von Erichs find success in the ring while navigating a series of tragic losses outside it in director Sean Durkin's touching story of Americana mixed with sibling rivalry, parental pressure and brutal despair.

Where to watch: Max .

'Let It Be'

For Beatles fans or music lovers in general who've just never seen it, Michael Lindsay-Hogg's restored 1970 documentary is a fascinating, candid look at the Fab Four recording the "Let It Be" album, bickering, goofing off and also creating timeless gems. Not as exhaustive or drama-filled as Peter Jackson's "Get Back" docuseries – which pulled from Lindsay-Hogg's wealth of footage – it's still a groovy watch of musical geniuses at work.

Where to watch: Disney+ .

'Mother of the Bride'

It's nice to see Brooke Shields still relevant, and as a lead in a rom-com no less. ("Suddenly Susan" hive, rise up!) But this cheeseball affair is only for Shields completists: The actress plays a famous geneticist whose daughter (Miranda Cosgrove) drops the bomb that she's suddenly getting married, and then the protective mom finds out at the destination wedding in Thailand that the father of the groom is her college ex (Benjamin Bratt).

'Prom Dates'

What could easily be just another R-rated "one crazy night" teen comedy gets a boost from its lively main characters. Jess (Antonia Gentry) and Hannah (Julia Lester) made a pact to have the perfect senior prom at 13, but on the eve of the big night, Jess dumps her cheating beau and Hannah comes out as a lesbian. When they have to scramble to find the perfect dates, assorted shenanigans and, of course, personal growth ensue.

Where to watch: Hulu , Disney+ .

'Turtles All the Way Down'

Adaptations of John Green's young adult novels (including "The Fault in Our Stars") have been a mixed bag, but this one's the best if just for its effectiveness in capturing mental health struggles. Aza (Isabela Merced) dreams of going to college, has ride-or-die pal Daisy (Cree) in her corner and reconnects with camp friend Davis (Felix Mallard), though her crippling OCD – and fear of germs and infection – is a constant threat to foil each one.


Jerry Seinfeld's delightfully ridiculous directorial debut explores the origins of Pop-Tarts with an extremely silly not-so-true story and tons of gags and cameos. The comedian and Melissa McCarthy play Kellogg's employees tasked in 1963 with creating a toaster pastry before their competitors, a processed food spin on the space race that also involves a milk mafia, disgruntled breakfast cereal mascots and a heap of nostalgia.

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Celebrate 20 years of THE SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS MOVIE for the first time in 4K UHD. Dive into a comedy adventure that's bigger, better and more absorbing than the rest - the movie debut of that undersea sensation, SpongeBob SquarePants! There's trouble bubbling up in Bikini Bottom, King Neptune's crown is missing, and Mr. Krabs has been accused of stealing it! Together with his best pal Patrick, SpongeBob sets out to treacherous Shell City to reclaim Neptune's crown and save Mr. Krabs, in a spectacular adventure filled with "over-the-top, under-the-sea action and non-stop laughs!"* Featuring the voice talents of Tom Kenny (SpongeBob), Alec Baldwin, Jeffrey Tambor, Scarlett Johansson and a special appearance by David Hasselhoff, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie is an uproariously funny comedy.

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Review: The True Horseman of the ‘Fallout’ Apocalypse

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The True Horseman of the ‘Fallout’ Apocalypse

Amazon’s adaptation of the video game knows what americans should really be afraid of..

  • U.S. Foreign Policy
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The year is 2077. Resources are scarce, and global inequality is at an all-time high. Long-simmering tensions between the United States and China erupt into active warfare when Chinese paratroopers land in Alaska to seize its oil reserves and the United States, in return, launches a counteroffensive into the Chinese mainland. Under the looming threat of nuclear escalation, a few lucky citizens enter underground shelters, bracing for the fallout. There’s a flash on the horizon, as what was once just a war spirals into the Great War—a nuclear apocalypse.

This is the premise of Fallout , one of the most popular video game series of the past 30 years. Set in a post-apocalyptic United States, the Fallout universe is equal parts absurd, philosophical, and alarmingly realistic. Players are just as likely to have conversations about Hegelian dialectics as they are to encounter giant robots satirically devoted to squashing Communism.

Now, around 26 years after its debut, the beloved series is getting the silver screen treatment. The television adaptation of Fallout , released on Amazon Prime Video on April 10, has been an instant success —Amazon’s most watched U.S. television premiere of all time.

The show follows a path familiar to those who played the games: a protagonist ventures out into the blasted wasteland of the future and must navigate the perils of vicious mutated bears, radiation exposure, and the messy politics of survivor factions warring for power. However, it makes one major, telling departure, providing a new answer to the question of who to blame for starting nuclear Armageddon. In doing so, it puts forth an incisive argument about the growing disharmony between American politics and what Americans actually believe could threaten their way of life.

(Warning: Major spoilers ahead.)

Ella Purnell as Lucy in Fallout . Amazon Prime Video

Prime Video’s Fallout adaptation is mostly set two centuries after the Great War, in the year 2296. We follow Lucy (Ella Purnell), a kindhearted, resilient young woman who has spent her entire life living in a vault, one of many massive subterranean fallout shelters built under a government contract by the powerful company Vault-Tec that enabled human civilization to survive the Great War.

Lucy lives in the seemingly idyllic Vault 33 with a small, meritocratic community of residents clad in matching blue jumpsuits. But when her father is kidnapped by mysterious intruders from the surface, she chooses to leave her vault and search for him among the ruins of what was once California. What she finds, however, is a Wasteland dotted with struggling communities where pure water is a precious commodity and human life is cheap.

It is in this world where viewers meet the Ghoul (Walton Goggins), a ruthless bounty hunter who survived the apocalypse but has a tortured form of immortality due to radiation exposure. He now roams the Wasteland, hunting for clues about the fate of his family. Eventually, however, it is revealed that the Ghoul was once known as Cooper Howard, an actor who starred in Western movies. Through his flashbacks, we are provided the most sustained look in the entire Fallout series of what life was like before the bombs were dropped.

The United States of the 2070s is in many ways a retrofuturist fusion with the 1950s. Housewives have jet-powered helper robots yet take photos of their children with flashbulb cameras. Soldiers drive vintage Chevy pickups yet are equipped with advanced armor that grants them super strength. The United States is a racially diverse society, its social problems instead defined by income inequality and the loss of individual freedom in the face of a Fordist-like garrison state, yet McCarthyist posters warning of Communist infiltration abound.

In Fallout canon, “Communist” has always been a reference to China, the unmistakable primary antagonist of the United States. There is plenty of evidence for this. The United States’ resource war with China is what eventually precipitates nuclear exchange. In two of the series’ more recent video games, the player encounters human and material leftovers of this conflict. In Fallout 4 , the player meets a surviving Chinese submarine captain who describes carrying out orders to nuke Boston. In Fallout 76 , rusty Chinese drones are among the first hostile characters the player meets. (Although a creator of the original 1997 Fallout game did, decades later, eventually claim that China was the “ first ” to drop the bombs, none of the games intend to point a finger at who caused the end of the world.) The conflict between China and the United States is ultimately background noise, an accepted context for a narrative experience that, if anything, positions both governments as culpable for its horrors.

Aaron Moten plays a member of the Brotherhood of Steel in Fallout . Amazon Prime Video

Yet in the television adaptation, the showrunners have offered up a clear culprit for the apocalypse—and it’s not China. As Howard’s storyline carries the viewer through the prewar United States, the show is keen to highlight the Red Scare sweeping his Hollywood circles and to linger on fleeting news clips about faltering peace negotiations. But unlike the video games, the United States’ enemy in this war is never identified beyond terms like “Communists” and “the Reds.” The audience never hears “China” once in the show’s eight hour-long episodes.

After a conversation with a blacklisted former costar, Charles Whiteknife (Dallas Goldtooth), Howard eventually discovers a conspiracy that reveals the true power pulling the strings. Vault-Tec, a gluttonous partner of a contract state , had taken advantage of the U.S. government’s privatization of its core function—ensuring the survival of its citizenry—and realized its monopoly over fallout shelters would be most lucrative if there was nowhere else to live. As Whiteknife put it, they have a “fiduciary responsibility to keep the war going.” Knowing this, not only did Vault-Tec actively stop research that could have alleviated the energy shortages driving the world to war in the first place, but it also planned to drop the bomb itself to ensure its return on investment.

In the video game series, Vault-Tec was merely one of many unscrupulous companies that operated prior to the apocalypse, occupying a supporting antagonistic role. But now, the television version of Fallout pins the blame for the apocalypse solely on an American company—rather than on a Chinese government that presumably ordered a nuclear strike.

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Given the current state of U.S.-China relations, and China’s place in the Fallout canon up to this point, the move is a little confusing. In a world beset by anarchy and slavery, why turn Vault-Tec into the villain when it had been previously implied that governments were responsible for the apocalypse? Why completely omit China from any mention of conflict?

The cynics among us may be quick to assume that this move indicates the showrunners’ desire to appeal to Chinese audiences, as is the case with many Hollywood films that have sought to access the Chinese box office. But China already blocks Prime Video, and Amazon MGM—the studio behind Fallout —has no known corporate links to Chinese investment. Given that, there’s reason to believe something more interesting is potentially underway, particularly given the current political climate.

Over the past decade , political rhetoric against China has become totalizing, and the 2024 U.S. presidential election is poised to become a competition of which candidate will be “tougher on China.” Commentators have long noted that the U.S. discourse on China is unproductive , can limit diplomatic options for de-escalation, and may contribute to anti-Asian racism. Yet both Democrats and Republicans, especially in battleground states, continue to frame beating China as a central tenet of their foreign-policy agendas.

If both U.S. President Joe Biden’s and former President Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric are to be taken at face value, Americans should theoretically be primed for a story that implicates China in the downfall of American well-being.

Instead, Fallout ’s choice of villain may be tapping into an uncomfortable truth: Americans appear to be far less anxious about threats coming from beyond our borders than governance failures at home.

While public concerns about China have undoubtedly risen , most Americans are actually more worried about domestic issues. In its 2023 survey, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs found a significant majority—81 percent of those surveyed—expressed greater concern about internal threats than external ones. Chapman University’s annual Survey of American Fears found in 2023 that Americans’ top fears were about “corrupt government officials” and “economic/financial collapse.”

Almost a decade after its hazy origins in the 2016 presidential election cycle, it seems that the political fixation on China is misplaced in the eyes of voters. Pew Research Center polling from earlier this year found that, despite their otherwise polarized views, both Democratic- and Republican-leaning respondents agreed that making Social Security more financially sound, creating more jobs, reducing the influence of money in politics, and improving education should be among the United States’ top policy priorities.

Fallout ’s narratives have often resonated as political critique. Fallout 3 , released in 2008, made remnants of the U.S. government the villains of its story, explicitly describing how American leaders left their citizens to die while they hid in bunkers. It was a villain appropriately reflective of its own time, amid tumbling public trust in a Bush administration that repeatedly lied to justify the war in Iraq and also appeared incapable of correcting the impending financial crisis. Amid real-life, high-profile scandals in the tech and science communities that made clear the hollowness of technocratic Utopian messaging, the antagonists of 2015’s Fallout 4 were, appropriately, a secretive faction of scientists that ran experiments on residents of the Wasteland.

By choosing Vault-Tec, a rapacious corporation feasting on defense contracts, as the show’s true antagonist—particularly while public perceptions of corporations are at historic lows— Fallout offers an acute reading of the current political moment. The series’ latest installation makes clear that the end of the world, in all its bizarre humor, is a product of the worst aspects of ourselves, not from some malevolent anti-American force. Even China, as an equal participant in the nuclear exchange that underwrites the entire premise of Fallout , is ultimately a distraction from the true horseman of the apocalypse: a private, unregulated capitalist body with every appalling feature of present-day American corporations rolled into one.

As American politicians make opposing China the foreign-policy mule to which they pin their election hopes, they will encounter a persistent, uncomfortable truth—that Americans in this decade might be more afraid of the failures of their own country than they are of the world.

Syrus Solo Jin is a Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of Chicago, where he specializes in the history of U.S. military-building, the Korean War, and U.S.-East Asian relations. He is currently a National Fellow for the Jefferson Scholars Foundation. Twitter:  @SyrusJin

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Ryan's World the Movie: Titan Universe Adventure

Ryan's World the Movie: Titan Universe Adventure (2024)

Ryan is back for his most epic adventure yet. When his twin sisters, Emma and Kate, get sucked into a mystical comic book, Ryan has no choice but to rise up as the great big brother he is an... Read all Ryan is back for his most epic adventure yet. When his twin sisters, Emma and Kate, get sucked into a mystical comic book, Ryan has no choice but to rise up as the great big brother he is and jump in after them. Adventures, battles, and hilarious debacles ensue, as Ryan and his f... Read all Ryan is back for his most epic adventure yet. When his twin sisters, Emma and Kate, get sucked into a mystical comic book, Ryan has no choice but to rise up as the great big brother he is and jump in after them. Adventures, battles, and hilarious debacles ensue, as Ryan and his friends navigate the Titan Universe and bring everyone back home safely before his parents ... Read all

  • Albie Hecht
  • Rose Frankel
  • 1 nomination

Ryan Kaji, Dan Rhodes, and Evangeline Lomelino in Ryan's World the Movie: Titan Universe Adventure (2024)

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Jack Reid

  • Magician Dan Rhodes
  • Combo Panda …

Scott Whyte

  • Dark Titan …
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  • Production, box office & more at IMDbPro

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Ryan's World

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  • August 16, 2024 (United States)
  • United States
  • Sunlight Entertainment
  • Vertigo Entertainment
  • See more company credits at IMDbPro

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  • Runtime 1 hour 23 minutes

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