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The 30 best movies to stream on Amazon Prime UK

Amazon has summer blockbusters, Oscar winners and indie darlings... and they're free for subscribers.

Written by
Time Out Film
&
Andy Kryza
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Netflix has become the Kleenex of the streaming world, but while the company behind Stranger Things is the dominant force in online entertainment, Amazon has become a haven for film geeks thanks to its massive array of old favorites and new gems. 

In a way, Amazon is like a video store, one where you can choose to rent a movie or own it outright. And for Prime members a huge chunk of the library is available to stream for free. To save you a little browsing time, we've cobbled together the best movies on Prime UK right now, including Bong Joon-ho's Oscar-winning Parasite, both Paddingtons and more than a few blockbusters of summer past. 

Stream these movies on Amazon Prime

The best films on Amazon Prime Video

  • Film
  • Drama

Director: Bong Joon-ho

Cast: Song Kang-ho, Cho Yeo-jeong, Lee Sun-kyun

South Korean wunderkind Bong's deliciously dark, Oscar-dominating social satire more than lives up to its reputation thanks to its engaging cast, meticulous design, pointed humor and its ability to play both sides of its eat-the-rich narrative with a balance of sympathy and disdain. It's a class comedy turned heist film with no tangible loot involved, a heartbreaking family drama that suddenly descends into a chaotic hellscape without losing its traction for a second. Fire up the ram-don and settle in for a masterclass.

Buy, rent or watch Parasite.

  • Film
  • Drama

Director: Regina King

Cast: Leslie Odom Jr, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, Kingsley Ben-Adir

Oscar-winner Regina King's strong directorial debut feature is an instant classic of the "what if" genre in which Cassius Clay (Goree), Jim Brown (Hodge), Malcolm X (Ben-Adir) and Sam Cooke (Oscar nominee Odom) spend an electric night together amid the backdrop of the Civil Rights movement they each impacted in a very different way. 

Buy, rent or watch One Night In Miami…

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The Big Sick (2017)
  • Film
  • Comedy

Director: Michael Showalter

Cast: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano

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.

Buy, rent or watch The Big Sick

  • Film
  • Thrillers

Director: Sergio Leone

Cast: Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Elizabeth McGovern, Danny Aiello, James Woods

Spaghetti western auteur Segio Leone's 1900s-set New York crime epic was once considered completely inaccessible due to its four-hour length, staggered chronology, dense cast and abrasive and violent content. In the age of prestige TV, that all sounds like a whimsical mid-afternoon watch. 

Buy, rent or watch Once Upon a Time in America.

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  • Film
  • Horror

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Cast: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles

Sixty years, three sequels, an ill-conceived remake and a five-episode TV series later, Hitchcock's proto-slasher's biggest surprise isn't necessarily what happens in that shower. Everybody already knows. What's most surprising is how genuinely chilling the film remains before and following its most iconic scene, with Perkins' sinisterly boyish performance still ranking among cinema's greatest and most complex villains.

Buy, rent or watch Psycho.

  • Film
  • Drama

Director: Lorene Scafaria

Cast: Jennifer Lopez, Constane Wu, Julia Stiles

This film could easily have been another vehicle for JLo to push her celebrity. Instead, as Ramona, a veteran stripper with a heart of gold, she gave us the performance of her career and a pole dance to Fiona Apple’s ‘Criminal’. Writer-director Lorene Scafaria draws out the humanity from a stellar cast, while weaving in implications of power, exploitation, materialism and corruption. The film inspires both pathos and horror at the misadventures of a group of women pushed to extremes in a world that worships the bottom line.

Buy, rent or watch Hustlers

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Palm Springs (2020)
Photograph: Neon

7. Palm Springs (2020)

Director: Max Barbakow

Cast: Andy Samberg, Christin Milioti, JK Simmons

This hipster take on Groundhog Day arrived at the exact moment most of us felt trapped in an infinite, inescapable time loop. Turns out its delirious, inventive and endearing tale of disaffected thirtysomethings forced to relive a destination wedding over and over was exactly what we all needed. 

Buy, rent or watch Palm Springs.

Buy, rent or watch Saint Maud.

Attack the Block (2011)
  • Film
  • Action and adventure

Director: Joe Cornish

Cast: John Boyega, Jodie Whittaker, Nick Frost 

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, with a Star Wars trilogy and a Steve McQueen film under his belt, John Boyega is officially returning to the Block in a sequel that hopes to capture the Amblin-meets-John-Carpenter charms of the original. If it's half as good as this sci-fi stunner, we're all in. 

Buy, rent or watch Attack the Block

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I Care A Lot (2020)
Photograph: Black Bear Pictures

9. I Care A Lot (2020)

Director: J Blakeson

Cast: Rosamund Pike, Peter Dinklage, Diane Wiest

For the first time since Gone Girl, Rosamund Pike breaks bad — really, really bad — in this hyper-stylized black comedy with ice coursing through its veins. Pike stars as a lioness of a con-woman who oversees court-appointed conservatorships (sound familiar?), only to bilk the elderly for all they're worth. Unfortunately for her — and fortunately for us — her latest mark has ties to a particularly violent gangster, pitting the rotten-to-the-core Pike in a game of cunning against all manner of sharks. 

Buy, rent or watch I Care A Lot.

Heat (1995)
  • Film
  • Thrillers

Director: Michal Mann

Cast: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Val Kilmer

Mann's slick, sprawling LA crime odyssey is a marvel of narrative juggling, with every character getting his or her due, from De Niro's noble thief and Pacino's jittery detective to Natalie Portman in a bit part as Pacino's disturbed stepchild. The film is best remembered for the explosive bank robbery at the center, and rightfully so: It's inarguably one of the best heist sequence put to film. And because even the smallest characters are fully fleshed out and lived-in, once the bodies start falling, every single casualty is its own tragedy. 

Buy, rent or watch Heat.

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  • Film

Director: Rose Glass

Cast: Morfyyd Clark, Jennifer Ehle

Glass' long-delayed, A24-backed debut finally released earlier this year, and for fans of religious horror, it was more than worth the wait. Eerie, deliberately paced and featuring a deeply committed performance by Clark, the tale of a disturbingly pious nurse caring for a hedonistic terminal patient turns its screws at a nearly torturously slow pace, and while plenty of shocks are present, this is a movie whose dread is intended to be marinated in over the course of its runtime.

Buy, rent or watch Saint Maud.

Paddington 1 + 2 (2014 & 2017)
  • Film
  • Family and kids

Director: Paul King

Cast: Ben Whishaw, Sally Hawkins, Hugh Bonneville

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. Bring on part 3!

Buy, rent or watch Paddington 2

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The Imitation Game (2014)
  • Film
  • Drama

Director: Morten Tyldum

Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode

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.

Buy, rent or watch The Imitation Game

John Wick: Chapter Two (2017)
  • Film
  • Action and adventure

Director: Chad Stahelski

Cast: Keanu Reeves, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ian McShane, Common

The baroque middle chapter of the Wick saga is easily the most subdued of Keanu Reeves' spectacular hitman opus, what with its descent into catacombs of Rome and almost Dantean narrative. Of course, this is a movie in which Reeves' Baba Yaga slaughters more than 100 rival killers using his car, firearms, knives, his bare hands and a pencil, so "subdued" is kind of a relative term.

Buy, rent or watch John Wick: Chapter 2.

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Zodiac (2007)
  • Film
  • Drama

Director: David Fincher

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr, Mark Ruffalo

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.

Buy, rent or watch Zodiac

Carol (2015)
  • Film
  • Drama

Director: Todd Haynes

Cast: Cate Blanchette, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson, Kyle Chandler

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.

Buy, rent or watch Carol

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Suspiria (1977)
  • Film
  • Fantasy

Director: Dario Argento

Cast: Jessica Harper, Stefania Casini

Giallo master Argento's best-known work remains a marvel, taking a incomprehensible story about a ballet school lorded over by a murderous witch and turning it into the most vivid fever dream of its era. Guided by an iconic score by Italian prog rock outfit Goblin, the film is delirious and unforgettable, packed with bold colors and boundary-pushing kills that liven up its acid-trip fairytale intensity. Amazon's Luca Guadagnino-directed 2018 reimagining is worth a look too, but Argento's vision remains essential viewing. 

Buy, rent or watch Suspiria

Amazing Grace (2019)
  • Film
  • Documentaries

Director: Alan Elliot

Cast: Aretha Franklin

Oh, nothing, just Aretha Franklin recording her beloved 1972 gospel album at a Baptist church in LA while Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts lurk in the audience. The long-unseen footage is a marvel, with Franklin in her prime very much proving why she never had any challengers to her throne… before or after her death in 2018.

Buy, rent or watch Amazing Grace.

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  • Film
  • Drama

Director: Guillermo del Toro

Cast: Ivana Baquero, Doug Jones, Lopez

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.

Buy, rent or watch 'Pan's Labyrinth'

Let the Right One In (2008)
  • Film

Director: Tomas Alfredson 

Cast: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson

Alfredson's achingly sad Swedish vampire tale (and the novel on which it is based) has inspired a remake, stage productions and an upcoming Showtime series, but nothing yet has topped the delicate balance of macabre horror and tendership on display in this chiller. Hedebrant shines as a lonely outcast who pines for the new kid (Leandersson), who happens to be a centuries-old bloodsucker trapped in eternal childhood. The shocks are plenty, but in the end the film works because of its honest and heartrending depiction of lonely souls just looking for companions… and maybe a few gallons of fresh blood.

Buy, rent or watch Let the Right One In.

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Searching for Sugar Man (2012)
  • Film
  • Documentaries

Director: Malik Bendjelloul

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.

Buy, rent or watch Searching for Sugar Man

The Hurt Locker (2009)
  • Film
  • Drama

Director: Kathryn Bielow

Cast: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Makcie

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). 

Buy, rent or watch The Hurt Locker

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A Hard Day's Night (1964)
  • Film
  • Comedy

Director: Richard Lester

Cast: Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, George Harrison

Peter Jackson's upcoming Beatles docuseries seeks to rewrite the narrative surrounding the Fab Four's fraught final years and reframe them as happier times. But you'll never see the Liverpoolian boy band happier, goofier or more dryly funny than in their madcap debut film in which they poke fun at Beatlemania on the streets of London in between performances. 

Buy, rent or watch A Hard Day's Night.

Sound of Metal (2020)
  • Film
  • Drama

Director: Darius Marder

Cast: Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke, Paul Raci

The great Riz Ahmed gives a revelatory, career-best performance in this somber, touching drama about a heavy-metal drummer coming to terms with the fact that his hearing is deteriorating at a rapid pace. With its landmark sound design and stunning central performances, the film is an absolute stunner, at once heartbreaking and uplifting. 

Buy, rent or watch Sound of Metal.

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Fight Club (1999)
  • Film

Director: David Fincher

Cast: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter

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 is 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?

Buy, rent or watch Fight Club

Room (2016)
  • Film
  • Drama

Director: Lenny Abrahamson

Cast: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay

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.

Buy, rent or watch Room

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Manchester by the Sea (2017)
  • Film
  • Drama

Director: Kenneth Lonergan

Cast: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams

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.

Buy, rent or watch Manchester by the Sea

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011)
  • Film
  • Thrillers

Director: Tomas Alfredson

Cast: Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Mark Strong, Colin Firth

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

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