While Netflix may be Britain’s streaming platform of choice, Amazon Prime should not be overlooked. In fact, when it comes to great films, Prime could be the one to beat. It might not match Netflix for original content but Amazon Prime hosts Oscar winners, modern favourites like the two ‘Paddington’ films.
In fact, with such a big catalogue of films that are all included with your Prime subscription, picking something to watch can be completely overwhelming. That’s why we've picked and updated the best films streaming now on Amazon Prime for your viewing pleasure, including recently added films like ‘The Hunger Games’ and 2019 horror ‘Midsommar’.
Prefer Netflix to Amazon Prime? See the best films streaming now on Netflix here.
The best films on Amazon Prime Video
In her behind-the-camera debut, actor-turned-director Olivia Wilde shows off something rarer than technique or comic timing: she’s got loads of compassion. ‘Booksmart’ invents a socially awkward, Ivy League-bound duo, Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) and Molly (Beanie Feldstein from ‘Lady Bird’) who reevaluate their choices when they realise that abstinence and studying aren't the only route to a stellar university career. The classic high-school ‘types’ – the spoiled loner, the spaced-out drama chick, the buff bro – are all given the chance to evolve into genuine characterisations over the space of a single sex-positive night.
It’s hard to work out where facts end and the fantasy begins in this charming ballooning adventure set against a sweet version of Victorian London. The historic expedition the movie is all about – an attempt to break the world flight altitude record – did happen, just not quite like this. But you’ll want to suspend all disbelief, hold tight to the wicker basket and go along for the ride.
With 2018’s ‘Hereditary’, horror movie auteur Ari Aster made the night a place of terror and gory shocks. He returned a year later with this savage yet evolved slice of Swedish folk horror that managed to put us off daylight too. But this hallucinatory follow-up proves the director to be a scare master with no peer.
Jillian Bell shines as the titular character in this enearing and earnest film about self-acceptance and body positivty that, thanks to some complex comedy about health, fat-shaming and the relentless forward momentum of being a New Yorker, sidesteps any cheesy pitfalls.
Don’t be put off by the dystopian nautre of this Jennifer Lawrence blockbuster (or the fact that there are three sequels to watch, too), as what ‘The Hunger Games’ really highlights is that even in the darkest times there’s hope. Could be just what’s needed right now.
They say you should write what you know, and it pays off in Mindy Kaling’s latest screenplay, directed by Nisha Ganatra. The comedian-actress-writer also stars as Molly Patel, a new hire in the writers’ room of a long-running talk show whose ratings have begun to slide, while Emma Thompson is firey as the award-winning host, Katherine Newbury. This is a warm comedy that might not tread new ground but is comfrotingly uplifting all the same.
Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani, the real-life couple who penned this film, give us a Pakistani-American culture-shock romance that isn’t awash with clichés. We meet Emily (Zoe Kazan plays Gordon’s on-screen surrogate) and Kumail (Nanjiani plays a version of himself) just before Emily falls into a coma. Suddenly for Kumail, there’s heartache, hospitals and parents to deal with.
What Gurinder Chadha’s ‘Bend It Like Beckham’ did for football, her effervescent latest does for Springsteen. And Sony Walkmans. And double denim. For viewers of a certain age – if you ever owned a Level 42 cassette, that’s you – there’s loads of easy ’80s nostalgia to feast on. ‘Blinded by the Light’ is about connecting with music in a way that finds you a tribe and respite from your worries – even when they’re as grave as the racist thug stalking you across your estate.
If Nate Parker’s ‘The Birth of a Nation’ was a fierce corrective to DW Griffith’s 1915 namesake, this Oscar winner dismantled the cosy myths of ‘Gone with the Wind’ piece by piece, showing slavery as the traumatic, brutalising prison it was. The big houses in Brit director Steve McQueen’s Best Picture winner (and surprise commercial hit) are filled only with moral cowards (Benedict Cumberbatch’s William Ford) and drunken monsters (Michael Fassbender’s Edwin Epps). One, McQueen’s film suggests, is as bad as the other. Thankfully, the soulful Chiwetel Ejiofor as free-born New Yorker Solomon Northup and Lupita Nyong’o (spectacular in her breakthrough role) make it as much a cry of defiance as a litany of miseries.
Avoid this film if your instinctive reaction to all things infectiously sweet and sincere is spontaneous toe curling. Director is John Carney, who made the scruffy-gorgeous musical ‘Once’ for pennies on the streets of Dublin, repeats the formula with proper money and stars. But what makes it special is that it’s not another romance about finding a man. It’s about finding your people, about being a bit lost in your twenties and not knowing who you are or what you want to be. And it’s got bucketfuls of charm.
David Fincher’s cult classic stars Edward Norton as an unfulfilled, disenfranchised and emasculated automobile recall specialist who, with the help of his new friend Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), starts an illicit street fighting club and an anarchist group might be a film about Gen X’s anxieties. But is it about rejecting rampant consumerism, or is it, as the screenwriter Jim Uhls has it, actually a romcom?
Benedict Cumberbatch lends his chiseled cheekbones to the real-life story of Bletchley Park code-breaker Alan Turing. The talented mathematician worked tirelessly to break the Enigma during WWII, but there’s more to this movie than maths and victory rolls. It’s Turing’s secret, and his tragic fate, that leaves a lasting impression.
Lenny Abrahamson’s powerful adaptation of Emma Donoghue's novel is the sort of film that unfolds slowly. Both Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay, who play mother and son Joy and Jack, are breathtaking, and their story of abduction, captivity and escape plays out with sensitivity.
Set in 1950s New York, this is a swooningly gorgeous romance from auteur Todd Haynes (‘Velvet Goldmine’, ‘I’m Not There‘). Cate Blanchett is Carol, a wealthy wife and mother who falls in love with a 19-year-old aspiring photographer (Rooney Mara). Everything about ‘Carol’ is exquisite.
This cosy film follows a book group hastily invented by friends who have been caught after curfew by Nazi soldiers. Soon this fictitious society is meeting for real – and burying secrets in its midst. Five years on, Lily James’s novelist gets a letter from one of the group, who’s found her name inscribed in one of their books. Heading to the island, she discovers that her penpal is a dashing farmer (Michiel Huisman) and that the group is hiding some painful wartime memories.
We knew the moment we clapped eyes on Moses, the young anti-hero of this ferocious Brixton-set alien-invasion comedy, that the young actor who played him meant serious business. Now John Boyega is the hero in ‘Star Wars’ – but there’ll always be a place in our hearts for this witty sci-fi romp.
Timothée Chalamet does major things in this new movie – things that no other actor of his generation is attempting – in this film about a college-bound kid derailed by drugs based on the dual father-son memoirs of David and Nic Sheff.
One of the best movies about the War on Terror, Kathryn Bigelow’s ‘The Hurt Locker’ is smart and a brilliant white-knuckle action movie. The film is set in Baghdad during the Iraq conflict, with scriptwriter Mark Boal basing the story on his time as a journalist embedded with a bomb disposal squad – portrayed in the film as a suicidally brave band led by a gung-ho sergeant (Jeremy Renner).
Not the movie the notorious ice-skating flameout Tonya Harding probably deserves – but happily (for us) the one she’s gotten – ‘I, Tonya’ is a dazzlingly complex and exuberant treatment of a disgraced figure.
‘Stan & Ollie’ is a wistful, heartfelt celebration of the friendship between comedy giants Stan Laurel (Steve Coogan) and Oliver Hardy (John C Reilly), which contains plenty of cosy movie-biz nostalgia and some mishaps with hats. Thankfully, it doesn’t get bogged down in too much that’s familiar to a niche audience, although fans will be pleased by the sprinkling of some of the pair’s classic lines.
A girl on the cusp of adolescence is inducted into a threatening fantasy world where she discovers her own power. It’s a familiar story well suited to the dreamlike parallel reality of cinema: Alice, Wendy and Dorothy all embarked on similar journeys. ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ is another version of the tale, but an unusual one in that it isn’t suitable for children. Not only is it violent, but its lessons – in the inadequacy of fantasy as a countermeasure to repression – might have sensitive youngsters chucking in the towel.
All you really have to know about this surprising and emotive music doc is that you should see it. Anyone who enjoyed, say, ‘The Buena Vista Social Club’ or ‘Anvil: The Story of Anvil’, will surely go for this too. It tells the unlikely story of Sixto Rodriguez, a gifted but way-under-the-radar Detroit-based Hispanic singer-songwriter, and, like those other films, it enshrines a deeply moving idea that, in our cynical, superficial world, an authentic spirit will somehow, somewhere find its way to listeners’ hearts.
A film that feels harsher, funnier and more horribly timely with each passing year, Chris Morris’s savage satire about a troupe of hapless, pratfalling Islamic terrorists out to bomb the London marathon shouldn’t be half as funny as it is. Rubber dinghy rapids, bro!
Buy, rent or watch 'Four Lions'
Chillier than a winter’s morning, this story of love, lust and religion is full of deep brewing forces that tear against each other against the rigid backdrop of a greyish North London. It essentially a three-hander, with Rachel McAdams, Rachel Weisz and Alessandro Nivola all understatedly mesmerising in an unshowy story of Orthodox Jewish traditions that grips throughout.
The key movie of the Bush era, David Fincher’s masterpiece hides its true subject, obsession, under a maze of gruesome data. The city is terrorized by a ghost, and good men lose their way. It’s a movie about a serial killer that feels like it was written by one.
Oscar Isaac struggles to crack the New York folk music scene – and track down the Gorfein’s cat – in this beautifully obtuse and really quite sad Coen brothers comedy-drama. It’s loosely inspired by real-life folkster Dave Van Ronk and paints a melancholy picture of counter-cultural dysfunction. It’s all well and good penning anthems of intergenerational discontent and protest, it seems to say, but sometimes you just need a good winter coat.
Mae Whitman has oodles of charm as the down-to-earth lead of this harmlessly predictable high school comedy. Realising she’s known as the ‘duff’, a Designated Ugly Fat Friend, guys talk to to get to their hotter mates, she sets about reinventing herself. But a message of acceptance wins out in the end.
American director and playwright Kenneth Lonergan's film isn't about rebounding as much as coping. That’s what makes it so dark and courageous; it says that, for some people, there won’t be any moving on from grief. Moveover, Casey Affleck burns the screen in the early scenes, building up a portrait of a solitary existence. It's a film of almost unbearable honesty.
However cynical a pose you try to maintain, Paddington Bear will find the chinks in your armour. Voiced with perfect innocence by Ben Whishaw and gorgeously animated by Framestore, this profoundly likeable bear consistently toes the line of maximum charm without slipping into schmaltz. Miraculously, that’s also as true of this sequel as it was of his first big-screen outing, as the film goes bigger and darker without losing focus on the small acts of kindness that make its ursine hero great.
John Le Carré is a big fan of this film adaptation of his classic spy thriller, calling it ‘edgier’ and ‘sexier’ than the classic BBC series. Gary Oldman stars as the spy boss George Smiley, hauled out of retirement to investigate a mole inside MI6. The plot cast is stupendous – in no particular order of greatness – John Hurt, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Tom Hardy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Toby Jones, Ciarán Hinds and Simon McBurney.
Buy, rent or watch 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy'