We’ve all been there: Flipping through Amazon Prime Video’s movie offerings, but stuck wondering Uh, what’s good? The commercial giant’s streaming service has quietly collected a giant archive of films, and since 2006, has released a number of acclaimed films under the Amazon Studios banner, like Sound of Metal, Manchester By the Sea, Selah and the Spades, Paterson, and Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria remake.

But along with originals, there are tons of back catalogue picks just waiting to be discovered in the platform’s, let’s say, challenging UX. So we’ve looked through the service and cherry-picked some of our favorite films currently on the platform to try out. Without further ado, here are the top 20 best films to stream on Prime Video right now.


12 Angry Men

The 12 Angry Men of 12 Angry Men sit at a table

Image: MGM

Sidney Lumet’s 1957 film 12 Angry Men is one of the most acclaimed courtroom dramas ever produced, and for good reason. Starring an ensemble cast including Henry Fonda (who also produced the film alongside Reginald Rose), Martin Balsam, John Fiedler, Lee J. Cobb, E.G. Marshall, and more, the film is single room drama centered on a randomly selected jury tasked with deliberating the innocence or guilt of a young Puerto Rican boy accused of murdering his father. More than just a legal drama, 12 Angry Men is a microcosm of mid-century America society, coalescing a powder keg of disparate, volatile personalities into a situation that challenges them to do justice by one life, all while knowing that any one of them could be potentially find themselves in the same situation. —Toussaint Egan


Beasts of the Southern Wild

Hushpuppy meets the Auroch in Beasts of the Southern Wild.

Image: Fox Searchlight Pictures

2012’s Beasts of the Southern Wild stars Quvenzhané Wallis as Hushpuppy, an inquisitive 6-year-old girl living with her father in a small community on an island in the Louisiana bayou called “the Bathtub.” When nature is suddenly thrown into disarray, causing mammoth prehistoric beasts known as aurochs to reawaken as the ice caps melt, Hushpuppy’s father falls ill. In an effort to restore balance to the universe and bring her father back from the brink of death, Hushpuppy goes in search of her lost mother for answers and respite. A whimsical coming-of-age drama with beautiful cinematography, Beasts of the Southern Wild is an eccentric premise made memorable and beautiful through the power of Wallis’ stirring lead performance, which earned her an Academy Award nomination at the age of nine. —TE


Blade of the Immortal

Manji and Rin facing off against a crowd of sword fighters in Blade of the Immortal.

Image: Magnet Releasing

Based on Hiroaki Samura’s historical martial arts fantasy manga series of the same name, 2017’s Blade of the Immortal stars Takuya Kimura as Manji, a ruthless swordsman who wanders the countryside of feudal Japan on a quest to kill enough “evil” men in order to undo the curse that renders him immortal yet still susceptible to injury and pain. Enlisted by Rin Asano (Hana Sugisaki), an orphaned teenager whose family was slaughtered by a villainous band of sword fighters to be her bodyguard, Manji swears to protect her on her own quest for vengeance with the hopes that her vendetta will eventually set him free. Takashi Miike (13 Assassins, Ichi the Killer) is the perfect director to tackle this material, rendering Manji’s many mutilations at the hands of his opponents with gleeful physical humor, gory detail, and stylish grace as he and Rin cut a swath through their adversaries. —Toussaint Egan


Burning

Jong-su (Yoo Ah-in) wanders through a field.

Photo: Well Go USA Entertainment

Lee Chang-dong’s Burning easily ranks as one of the most engrossing psychological thrillers of the 2010s. Based on a 1992 short story by The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle author Haruki Murakami, the film focuses on the story of Lee Jong-su (Yoo Ah-in), an aspiring writer who reunites with his childhood friend Hae-mi (Jeon Jong-seo) after years apart … or does he? Soon after Jong-su meets Ben (Steven Yeun), a “friend” of Hae-mi’s whose extravagant lifestyle, vague occupation, and seemingly iron-clad hold over Hae-mi conjures feelings of suspicion and jealousy within Jong-su. When Hae-mi suddenly disappears one day, Jong-su’s desperate search to find her unearths a web of implications that shake him to his core. Burning is a mystery-thriller that thrives on insinuations conveyed through a triumvirate of masterful performances between Yoo, Lee, and especially Yeun, whose portrayal as Ben sincerely ranks as one of the most unsettling on-screen antagonists in recent memory. —TE


Coherence

Nicholas Brendon, Maury Sterling, Lorene Scafaria, Alex Manugian, Lauren Maher, and Emily Baldoni in Coherence (2013)

Photo: Oscilloscope Laboratories

Writer-director James Ward Byrkit’s 2013 sci-fi thriller Coherence is a taut puzzle box of multidimensional weirdness and fraught existential terror. Holding it all together are strong performances led by Emily Baldoni, Homeland’s Maury Sterling, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Nicholas Brendon. If you’re hungry for an intriguing blend of mumblecore cinema and sci-fi horror, Coherence is it. —TE


Deja Vu

Denzel Washington as Special Agent Douglas Carlin viewing a past projection of his dead wife in Deja Vu.

Photo: Touchstone Pictures

Long before John David Washington’s leading role in Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, his father Denzel Washington starred in his own time-twisting sci-fi action film directed by the late Tony Scott. Washington stars as Doug Carlin, an ATF agent who joins a top-secret government program in the wake of a terrorist attack on a New Orleans ferry that claims the life of his wife. Using cutting-edge technology in the form of an experimental headset, Carlin must peer through the folds of space-time to investigate the events of the fateful day as they are happening in order to discern the identities of those responsible and bring them to justice. Washington’s second collaboration with Scott following 2004 ‘s Man on Fire is an exhilarating whodunnit packed with explosive action, shocking twists, and frenetic pulse-pounding cinematography that’s well worth a revisit. —TE


Drug War

Sun Honglei as police captain Zhang Lei pointing a pistol in Drug War (2012)

Photo: Variance Films

Though Johnnie To might go unrecognized by a majority of Western filmgoers, he’s one of the most prolific Hong Kong directors of his generation, renowned for his tense action crime thrillers and gangster dramas. Drug War, To’s first feature produced in mainland China, is as excellent an introduction to his work as any. It’s a tightly wound cat-and-mouse game focusing on Zhang Lei (Sun Honglei), a relentless police captain trying to topple an illicit drug cartel, and Timmy Choi (Louis Koo), a mid-level drug smuggler who agrees to cooperate with police in order to escape the death penalty for his offenses. If you’re looking for a taut, pulse-pounding crime film with blistering action and dark twists, Drug War is a must-see. —TE


Evangelion: 3.0+1.0: Thrice Upon a Time

Evangelion Unit 13 and Evangelion Unit 01 dueling with spears

Image: Studio Khara/Amazon Prime Video

The final installment in the Rebuild of Evangelion theatrical tetralogy finds the anti-Nerv organization Wille on ropes as Shinji, Rei, and Asuka muster the resolve to prevent yet another apocalyptic “Impact” event. If you haven’t watched the previous three films in the series — or for that matter, the original 1995 anime and 1997’s End of Evangelion — you’ll probably want to do that before watching this one, to save yourself some confusion. But with that said, Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time is a thrilling and fulfilling conclusion to one of the most influential and iconic anime in the history of the medium. —TE


The Farewell

The gathered family in The Farewell.

Image: A24

Inspired by a true story, Lulu Wang’s 2019 comedy drama The Farewell stars Awkwafina as Billi, a headstrong Chinese-American woman who returns to China after learning of her beloved grandmother’s terminal diagnosis. In a collective effort to shield their matriarch from the emotional burden of the news, Billi’s parents orchestrate a fake wedding as a means of bringing the extended family together for one last farewell. Irreverent, poignant, and achingly beautiful, The Farewell is an stirring ode to the strength of familial love and an fascinating exploration of the tangled intersecting forces of grief, culture, and identity. —TE


Fargo

frances mcdormand in fargo

Photo: Gramercy Pictures

The Coen brothers’ black comedy crime film Fargo stars Frances McDormand as Marge Gunderson, a pregnant police chief investigating the murder of a state trooper and inadvertently set on the trail of an attempted kidnapping orchestrated by a hapless insurance salesman (William H. Macy). Deftly weaving between hilarious tragicomic awkwardness and grisly true crime-adjacent thrills, Fargo is an essential work in the Coens’ long and illustrious oeuvre that’s as entertaining now as it was back in 1996. —TE


The Handmaiden

Kim Min-hee and Kim Tae-ri in Ah-ga-ssi (The Handmaiden)

Photo: Amazon Studios / Magnolia Pictures

Oldboy director Park Chan-Wook’s elegant and elaborate erotic thriller set in 1930s Korea was released to near-unanimous acclaim back in 2016, leaving audiences and critics clamoring for Park’s next turn at the director’s chair. Based on Sarah Waters’ 2002 novel Fingersmith, the film follows Nam Sook-hee (Kim Tae-ri), a woman hired to work as a maid to a Japanese heiress (Kim Min-hee) in a sinister plot to despoil her inheritance. Things quickly take several dozen turns however, escalating into an intricate web of seduction and deception as Sook-hee and the heiress are brought ever closer together. Whether you’ve seen it before or not, now’s as perfect time as any to see what all the fuss is about while Park begins filming his upcoming his romantic murder mystery Decision to Leave this year. —TE


The Lighthouse

Thomas (Willem Dafoe) and Ephraim (Robert Pattinson) in front of the lighthouse.

Photo: A24

Director Robert Eggers and his brother Max conceived of The Lighthouse as a ghost movie, but it plays more like an abstract vampire film. In the two-hander, Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe play the attendants of a lighthouse on a diminutive island off the coast of New England in the 1890s. The two men — both named Thomas — have no companionship but each other and the light of the lighthouse. The Fresnel lens that casts light across the sea becomes a point of fixation, an immortal beacon that saps the men of their very will. Eggers and his film are part of the recent push of critically lauded horror films. If you enjoy The Lighthouse, you should also try Eggers’ debut, The Witch. —Chris Plante


Melancholia

Justine, Claire, and Leo wait out the Earth’s final moments.

Photo: Magnolia Pictures

Lars von Trier’s Melancholia stars Kirsten Dunst (Maria Antoinette) as Justine, a young bride who experiences a depressive episode on the eve of her wedding. When a rogue planet known as Melancholia appears hurtling towards Earth on a crash-collision course, Justine’s sister Claire struggles to maintain composure in the face of imminent disaster, while Justine navigates a strange euphoric resignation that washes over her in the planet’s last days. Melancholia is an achingly beautiful, somber, and harrowing journey through depression and ennui and one of von Trier’s finest films to date. —TE


The Night of the Hunter

Robert Mitchum as Preacher Harry Powell in The Night of the Hunter (1955).

Image: Turner Classic Movies

The sole film produced by actor-director Charles Laughton, The Night of the Hunter is hailed by many to be one of the most masterful films ever committed to screen. At the heart of the movie’s enduring legacy is Robert Mitchum’s iconic performance as Harry Powell, a misogynistic serial killer with a flair for silver-tongued theatricality. Centering initially on Powell’s plot to romance a gullible widow to uncover the whereabouts of a stolen cache of $10,000, the film later unfolds into an odyssey across a rich expanse of stark silhouetted environments as the widow’s children desperately attempt to allude the mad preacher’s murderous intent. If you’re looking for a classic thriller with beautiful imagery, a moving score, and memorable performances, The Night of the Hunter boasts all those in ample amount. —TE


Predator

The Predator sans thermoptic camouflage

Photo: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Much like the film’s namesake, John McTiernan’s 1987 sci-fi action film Predator appears to be one kind of movie before reveal itself to be a whole other one several times over. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Carl Weathers, the film follows an elite paramilitary rescue team sent on a mission to rescue hostages held captive by guerrilla dissidents in a Central American rainforest. So far, so Contra. It’s not until after they arrive that they realize that something far deadlier, far more extraterrestrial in nature is skulking through the forest and picking them off one by one. With nothing and no-one else to help besides their wits and each other, the team will mounts a desperate last stand against a predator who will not stop until their mission is fulfilled. —TE


The Prestige

a man holds a glowing orb in The Prestige

Photo: Buena Vista Pictures

Nolan’s 2006 The Prestige, much like a magic trick, is (roughly) composed of three parts, or acts. The first part is exposition, where we’re introduced to the film’s protagonists in the form of two rival illusionists played by Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale vie to become the greatest living magician of their time. The second part is the premise, where things sour in the wake of a devastating on-stage accident, pitting the two men on a life-long collision course that transforms their professional rivalry into a perilous blood feud. The third part is the climax, where the film takes everything we thought we knew about these characters and turns those assumptions on their head to pull off the single greatest cinematic twist of Christopher Nolan’s career. Oh, and David Bowie is here dressed up like Nikola Tesla. Are you watching closely? —TE


Robocop

Robocop gives a guy the middle finger spear

Image: Arrow Video

Paul Verhoeven’s Robocop is not only one of the most quotable action movies of its era but a powerful satire of Reagan-era social policies that explicates the dehumanizing force of rote bureaucracy and policing on the individual. Peter Weller is Alex Murphy, a Detroit city police officer murdered in the line of duty who is resurrected by an unscrupulous mega-corporation with hopes of privatizing law enforcement. Murphy’s personal journey from an unfeeling implement of state-sponsored violence into a conscious being who rediscovers his humanity and exacts justice on the apparatus of crime and exploitation that created him is one of the best sci-fi movies of the late 20th century. Plus, it’s got a scene of a guy getting shot in the dick, and another of a man being transformed into a goopy mutant before being mowed over by a van. I’d buy that for a dollar! —TE


The Silence of the Lambs

Dr. Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) and Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) in “The Silence of the Lambs.”

Image: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Jonathan Demme’s 1991 psychological horror thriller adapted from Thoms Harris’ novel of the same name, is regularly cited as one of the greatest films of all time. And for good reason – it quite simply is. Anthony Hopkins’ performance as verbosely cruel and calculating Dr. Hannibal Lecter has indelibly stamped itself on the face of popular culture, while Jodie Foster’s turn as the intrepid FBI agent Clarice Starling ranks as one of her best. Both roles earned the Oscar for Best Actor and Best Actress at the 64th Academy Awards in addition to the coveted award for Best Picture, a hat trick that firmly secured the film’s place in the canon of American Cinema. The Silence of the Lambs is one of Demme’s most masterful accomplishments; a dark and cerebral horror movie made resonant via its moving performances. —TE


Time

Fox and Rob Richardson in a still from the documentary Time.

Photo: Amazon Studios

Compiled from hundreds of hours of video tape recorded over nearly 20 years, Garrett Bradley’s documentary Time is a profound examination of the American penal system that concentrates on the souls affected by it from start to finish. Bradley’s subject, Sibil Richardson, is a mother, wife, entrepreneur, educator, and fighter. But when life left her and her husband Robert hopeless, and in charge of a roost of small children, the married couple resorted to armed robbery, which ultimately ended in Robert being locked up with a 60-year prison sentence. After serving three years before being granted clemency, Sibil exits prison and immediately begins the juggling act of caring for her children, keeping the family afloat, and taking every measure to reunite with her husband, who she believes deserves a second chance at life.

Throughout her journey, Sibil keeps a camera rolling, and it’s a gift — she is bursting with joy, even in the gravest moments of reality. Bradley stitches together the found footage with a clockmaker’s touch, relying on the 60-year-old jazz tunes of Ethiopian nun Emahoy Tsegu Maryam Gubrou to create a temporal ebb and flow. Whatever your politics, whatever your taste for nonfiction film, Time is a genuine masterpiece that Amazon wisely picked up for its growing Originals catalogue. —MP


Train to Busan

A bloodied Seok-woo (Yoo) looks over his shoulder.

Image: Well Go USA Entertainment

Imagine if, instead of eating cockroaches and warding off ax-wielding thugs on their way to the one-percenter front carriage, the passengers aboard the Snowpiercer train warded off zombies. OK, OK, stop imagining: Train to Busan is better than anything you’ll come up with. Propulsive, bloody and glimmering with that dark whimsy particular to Korean cinema, animator-turned-live-action-director Yeon Sang-ho’s take on the zombie apocalypse wears its heart on its sleeve … until the flesh-eating undead tear the heart to shreds. It’s a father-daughter story. It’s a husband-wife story. It’s a who-deserves-to-live-and-die survivor narrative. It’s a people story trapped in a high-speed rail train, where the only hope of escape is a well-timed leap into the baggage shelf. It’s a hell of a movie. —Matt Patches



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