Best movies on Amazon Prime Video (August 2020)
We're panning for gold in the Amazon film library to bring you these brilliant Prime Video treats.
One of the best things about Amazon Prime Video: many people don't realise they have it at first. You get access with Prime subscription, so when the penny drops it feels like you get a Netflix-a-like for free - as this best movies on Amazon Prime Video list proves.
UPDATED: We've added a number of new movies to our best movies on Amazon Prime Video list. Knives out is now available to watch on the service and SnowPiercer is back to stream, too. Other movies added include Back To The Future and the brilliant. and new, How To Build A Girl.
It's not a perfect service. Spend long enough browsing and you'll find the equivalent of a VHS collection sat in the backroom of a charity shop for 10 years. E.T. rip-off Extraterrestrial Visitors and Hot Wax Zombies on Wheels are unlikely to feature on many must-watch lists.
However, Amazon Prime is home to hundreds of great films worth watching. We've picked out a few handfuls of our favourites, ones we think you should stream as soon as you get a free hour or two.
Upvote the movies you like, downvotes the ones you don't. Any if you think we've missed off an Amazon Prime Video essential movie, submit it to our team at the bottom.
Remember, new members can try Prime for 30 days for free.
- For TV recommendations, check out our shortlist of the best Amazon Prime series
Best Amazon Prime Video movies
1. Jurassic ParkStream now on Prime Video
All three of the original Jurassic Park's are on Amazon Prime but the latter two are not a patch on the original movie. This Spielberg classic has lost none of its awe since its debut in the 90s and the effects still hold up well. An absolute classic movie that needs to be seen by all.
2. The Wolf of Wall StreetStream now on Prime Video
Financial crimes. Big yachts. Piles of cocaine. Being chased by the FBI. Sounds like fun? It’s all there in The Wolf of Wall Street, based on the memoirs of Jordan Belfort.
And, America being America, Belfort still makes big bucks to this day as a motivational speaker.
The Scorsese film sizzles through its 3-hour runtime, and features career defining performances by Leonardo DiCaprio and Matthew McConaughey.
3. PaddingtonStream now on Prime Video
Haven’t seen Paddington or Paddington 2 yet? That kind of behaviour deserves a hard stare. But you can see both movies on Amazon Prime. This is a rare case where the sequel is of the same quality as the original. Many prefer it.
These 2014 and 2017 films are exemplars of family film-making done right. Kids will fall in love with Paddington, and there’s enough meat to the characters and story to lure in adults.
4. RoomStream now on Prime Video
A woman is held captive in a room below a suburban home. She is sexually assaulted by her captor, and gives birth to his son. Room doesn’t sound like the rosiest watch. But this is not just the story of incarceration, but also how the pair cope with the real world after they escape.
Room won Brie Larson a Best Actress Oscar in 2016. The novel on which it is based, also called Room, is not based on a true story. But it was inspired by the 2008 Joseph Fritzl case.
5. BooksmartStream now on Prime Video
The setup sounds familiar. Two young students realise they haven’t had nearly enough fun at high school, and try to make up for it the day before their graduation.
Booksmart is much more than your average teen flick, though. The two young women it follows have more depth than you might expect. And while the film is packed with laughs and the odd gross-out moment, there’s an emotional weight that does not feel contrived.
6. The Big SickStream now on Prime Video
Kumail Nanjiani is currently famed across the internet as the nerd who got "swole". But The Big Sick was a highlight of his pre-muscle days.
It was written by Nanjiani and his wife Emily Gordon, and is based on their own experiences of an interracial relationship and their struggles with Gordon’s health issues. It is real, relatable and dances effortlessly between its funny and serious sides.
7. MidsommarStream now on Prime Video
Horror films that deserve a spot on genre-agnostic “best” lists are rare. Midsommar is one of them.
A group of friends are invited to a trip to a tiny community living in the middle of nowhere in Sweden. What starts off as a bit of culture porn tourism rapidly goes downhill in disturbing and engrossing fashion.
8. 21 BridgesStream now on Prime Video
21 Bridges may lean heavily on its Avengers connections (Black Panther's Chadwick Boseman stars and it's produced by Anthony and Joe Russo. But it's a great movie in its own right, about a manhunt for some cop killers that essentially locks down New York City.
9. Stan & OllieStream now on Prime Video
Younger readers may not know Laurel and Hardy at all. And even the older millennials may only recall them from childhood with a faint whiff of embarrassment.
Stan & Ollie fleshes out these once titanic figures by first drenching them in pathos. We see Stan Laurel (Steve Coogan) and Oliver Hardy (John C. Reilly) in the twilight years of their careers, searching for relevance and a pay cheque in a world that appears to have fallen out of love with their schtick. There are laughs here, but Stan & Ollie is at its best when it makes you go a little misty-eyed.
10. The AeronautsStream now on Prime Video
This escapist fantasy is unlikely to feature on many top 10 all-time film lists. But it is an absolute must-see in 2020, when we can all do with a break from the real world.
A pilot (Felicity Jones) and nerdy meteorologist (Eddie Redmayne) are an unlikely team in a record-breaking hot air balloon trip into the sky. Tune your brain into The Aeronauts frequency and you’re in for one of the most charming live action family movies in years. There are sofa-clenching sections too.
11. Vast of the NightStream now on Prime Video
A really nice ultra low budget thriller that has one of the best tracking shots in it we have seen. In the 50s a DJ and switchboard operator find an audio signal that could well change a town in New Mexico forever. The movie keeps you guessing right up to the end. At times it feels like an extended Twilight Zone episode but it's all done so well.
12. Midnight SpecialStream now on Prime Video
Take a young boy with special powers and a pair of swimming goggles, add a touch of Spielberg magic and add Adam Driver and Michael Shannon as lead cast members. What could possibly go wrong? Jeff Nichols’ Midnight Special may not have been recognised as an all-time classic in the half-decade since it was released. But it is thoroughly worth a watch if you like your sc-fi adventures handled with a more grown-up approach.
13. Knives OutWatch on Amazon Prime Video now
This superb whodunnit from Rian Johnson is an hilarious, twisty movie that has an ensemble cast to die for. Daniel Craig is great playing against type as Benoit Blanc, a detective on the case of a dead father who may or may not have been killed by one of many eccentric people in his family. The movie will keep you guessing till the end but you’ll have a lot of fun doing it.
14. Killer JoeStream now on Prime Video
You'll want to wipe the sweaty Texas grime off of you after watching this, but Killer Joe is a superb swamp noir from William Friedkin. Starring Matthew McConaughey and Juno Temple, the story focuses on a corrupt cop and how he is about to change a family's life forever. Originally a play, it comes to ugl life on the big/small screen.
15. Back To The FutureWatch now on Amazon Prime Video
There’s not much to say about one of the greatest movies of all time, except that it is available to watch through Prime Video and is still as good as it was when released some 35 years ago. Michael J Fox is perfect as Marty McFly, a 17-year-old high school student who goes back in time thanks to a DeLorean and a nutty scientist called Dr. Emmett Brown.
16. HustlersStream now on Prime Video
Jennifer Lopez should have been up for an Oscar for her role in Hustlers. She is fantastic as the leader of a group of strip club employees who turn the tables on Wall Street execs who frequent their club. It's based on a true story and is a fascinating insight into those who hustle, why they hustle and where that eventually leads them.
17. SnowPiercerWatch now on Amazon Prime Video
Now that Bong Joon Ho has won the Oscar, it’s a great time to go through his back catalogue. SnowPiercer is a great place to start as it’s his first English-speaking movie, about a runaway train that houses the last remaining population after an apocalypse. Starring Chris Evans, it sounds like a popcorn-friendly blockbuster, but it’s much odder than that and all the best for it. This movie, thanks to the Weinsteins, was not released in the UK for a long time - but now you can watch it in all its glory seven years after its first small release.
18. BladeWatch now on Amazon Prime Video
Often overlooked when people talk about superhero movies, Blade was a massive hit when it was first released over 20 years go. There’s nobody better to play the titular Blade than Wesley Snipes and although we prefer its sequel, directed by (now Oscar winner) Guillermo del Toro - which is also on Prime Video - the original is a lot of fun with a fantastic opening scene that showers the movie in blood.
19. Wild RoseStream now on Prime Video
Wild Rose sounds like the perfect fodder for a by-the-numbers biography film. A young woman dreams of being a country singer, and this is her rocky road to some kind of success.
But the movie is far from ordinary, willing to lean heavily on our main characters flaws. For its first third, you may not even like Rose all that much. Its ability to play with this kind of fire without losing the audience’s interest is the sign of a quality flick.
20. How To Build A GirlWatch on Amazon Prime Video now
We suspect that How To Build A Girl was destined for the big screen but because of the recent Covid-19 situation it’s come straight to Amazon Prime. Whatever the case, we're glad it's here as it’s a great adaptation of Caitlin Moran’s fantastic novel. It’s set around the 90s music scene, a great backdrop for a story about a girl trying to make it as a teenage rock critic. Beanie Feldstein is superb as Johanna Morrigan, the main protagonist based loosely on Moran’s own life.
21. Game NightWatch now on Amazon Prime Video
Yes, it’s another one of those ‘adults do stupid things and get into big trouble’ movies but this one is, at times, inspired. Starring Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams and others as a group of couples who get together and try and outdo each other for a game night, the movie switches gears multiple times and has a lot of fun doing it.
22. The ReportWatch now on Prime Video
The Watch is a gripping look at the true story of those trying to hold the government account for its 'enhanced interrogation' practises in the events after 9/11. Adam Driver is superb as the senator looking into how the CIA conducted its business and the abnormalities in what they were doing, trying to uncover a level of brutality that nobody wanted the world to know about.
23. Lost in La ManchaStream now on Prime Video
Terry Gilliam spent decades trying to make a movie version of Don Quixote. It was finally released in the UK in January 2020, to a fairly muted critical and box office response.
But this documentary film about Gilliam’s attempts to shoot an earlier version of the film in 2000 is arguably far better. It’s a look into the pitfalls of the movie-making process, and Gilliam’s own maddening struggle to commit to film a story he clearly has deep affection for.
24. Inside Llewyn DavisStream now on Prime Video
Prime Video is not a rich resource for Coen brothers films. But we do get Inside Llewyn Davis, which fits comfortably into the Coen's top 10 best movies.
It’s a work of fiction, but based in part on the situation of (and real-life anecdotes from) Dave Van Ronk. He was a folk singer, part of the same scene of musicians as Bob Dylan. But where Dylan soared to success, Van Ronk did not. The film examines this kind of failure.
25. If Beale Street Could TalkStream now on Prime Video
This film has heavyweight pedigree. It is Barry Jenkins’ follow-up to Oscar Best Picture winner Moonlight, and was adapted from a novel by James Baldwin.
The Academy must have thought Jenkins had had enough love, because If Beale Street Could Talk is a much stronger film than some of that year’s Best Picture nominees. It’s an affecting story of a young black couple’s lives in New York.