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Taron Egerton starring as Elton John in the film Rocketman
Paramount Pictures

The best movies to stream on Amazon Prime Video

These are the unmissable films you can catch up on with Prime in Australia right now

By Time Out editors
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Prime is no slouch in the local streaming market, with plenty of great shows to binge. But it also has a strong range of movies: cinema greats, recent releases and guilty pleasures. Feast your eyes on musical crowd pleasers like Rocketman and Pitch Perfect, engrossing sagas like The Godfather Part II and Heat, and cult classics like The Big Lebowski. Here's our list of the very best, all available to stream at time of writing. 

Not on Prime? Check out our list of the most comforting Netflix movies. 

Photo: Andrew Cooper

Once Upon a Time In Hollywood

5 out of 5 stars
Film Comedy

The sort of high-wire, playfully enjoyable riff on movies that only Quentin Tarantino could get away with, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a massively fun shaggy-dog story that blends fact and fiction, inserting made-up characters at the heart of real, horrible events (Charles Manson horrible) and then daring history to do its worst. The film is also a love letter to Los Angeles and the film industry, bringing tongue-in-cheek storytelling together with exquisite craft and killer lead performances from Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio. And yet, it’s still very much a Tarantino film, trading in genuine emotion one minute, unapologetically silly the next. 

Photo: Jonathan Prime / Universal

Yesterday

4 out of 5 stars
Film Comedy

There’s a lot that’s mind-bendingly corny about director Danny Boyle and writer Richard Curtis’s Yesterday, a peppy ‘what-if?’ musical comedy that imagines a world in which the Beatles never existed. Your ability to spend time in its big-hearted, dad-joke world might lie with your tolerance for Ed Sheeran making fun of himself: if you can cope with those sort of inventions along with the film’s hit-and-miss gag rate and its happy-clappy view of modern Britain, then its endless sugar rush of Beatles covers and endearing performances from the likes of Lily James and newcomer Himesh Patel make it hard not to like. It also has a strange cameo, bold and not what you expect, and maybe the best screen jokes so far about Google searches. (Type ‘John Paul George Ringo’ in a Beatles-less universe and what do you get? ‘Pope John Paul II’ of course.) 

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Rocketman

4 out of 5 stars
Film Drama

Taking the old-fashioned highs of an MGM musical and pairing them with the deep lows of an addiction drama, Rocketman is a turbo-charged rock fantasia that pushes hard against the boundaries of the medium as it zips through the first four decades of Elton John’s life. The songs explode from the screen, time jumps catapult the story forward with exhilarating élan and even the emotional stuff lands, for the most part. Sure, Elton John purists will be here until Christmas pointing out the flaws in the chronology and the liberties taken with real-life events, but they’ll be doing it dancing in the aisles. 

Photo: Matt Nettheim

The Nightingale

4 out of 5 stars
Film Drama

Clare (Aisling Franciosi), a 21-year-old Irish convict in 1820s Tasmania, has served her seven-year sentence and is desperate to be free of her abusive master, Lieutenant Hawkins (Sam Clafin). When Hawkins refuses to release her from his charge Clare's husband retaliates, and she becomes the victim of a terrible crime at the hands of the lieutenant and his cronies. Unable to secure justice from the British authorities, Clare decides to pursue Hawkins, who leaves his post suddenly to secure a captaincy up north. Unflinching in its portrayal of sexual violence, The Nightingale is a harrowing sophomore effort from The Babadook's Jennifer Kent.  

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Big Lebowski
Universal Pictures

The Big Lebowski

4 out of 5 stars
Film Drama

The Dude abides... The Coen brothers' most popular film, The Big Lebowski is a comedic noir about bowling, a severed toe, White Russians and a guy named Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski (Jeff Bridges). The Dude doesn't want any drama in his life but must embark on a quest with his bowling buddies after his rug is destroyed in a twisted case of mistaken identity. Watch it on Prime and discover why it's one of the biggest cult movies ever. 

Requiem for a Dream

5 out of 5 stars
Film Drama

Director Darren Aronofsky peaked early with this 2000 masterpiece about the horrors of drug addiction. Sara Goldfarb (Ellen Burstyn, Oscar nominated) is a lonely widow who is revitalised by the prospect of appearing on television as a game show contestant, while her son Harry (Jared Leto), his girlfriend Marion (Jennfier Connelly) and his friend Tyrone (Marlon Wayans) have devised an illicit shortcut to wealth and ease. Lulled by early successes, Sara, Harry, Marion cling to the delusions that are slowly destroying their lives.

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Love and Other Drugs

4 out of 5 stars
Film Comedy

A memoir called The Hard Sell: Memoirs of a Viagra Salesman seems unlikely material for a romcom. Indeed, rocket-paced, raunchy and operating at a heightened level of excitement, the movie seems to have taken a little dose of Viagra itself. Jake Gylennhaal's pharmaceuticals rep tries courting a sad, smart and highly sexed Anne Hathaway in a film combining big laughs with an eye-opening exposé of big pharma and a poignant love story. Love and Other Drugs amuses and informs as it touches and titillates. 

Inglourious Basterds

5 out of 5 stars
Film

One of Tarantino's best movies begins in German-occupied France, where Shosanna Dreyfus (Mélanie Laurent) witnesses the execution of her family at the hand of Nazi Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz in his first Oscar-winning performance for this director). Elsewhere in Europe, Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) organises a group of Jewish soldiers to engage in targeted acts of retribution. Known to their enemy as "The Basterds," Raine's squad joins German actress and undercover agent Bridget Von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger) on a mission to take down the leaders of the Third Reich. A richly entertaining, freewheeling rewrite of history, the film makes a good companion piece to Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, also on Prime. 

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Pitch Perfect

4 out of 5 stars
Film Comedy

Rebel Wilson rose to stardom in this likeable sleeper hit starring Anna Kendrick as Beca, a college misfit muscled into a singing group populated by mean girls, sweet girls and weird girls. When Beca takes the acoustic singing group out of their world of traditional arrangements and perfect harmonies into all-new mash-ups, they fight to climb their way to the top of the cutthroat world of college a cappella.

Airplane!
Paramount Pictures

Airplane! aka Flying High

4 out of 5 stars
Film Comedy

Food poisoning strikes the crew and passengers of a 747, and it is up to a former fighter pilot, his old flame, and an uncouth doctor to land the plane safely. The original and best of the movie genre spoofs, this gloriously nutty 1980 romp is notable for introducing audiences to the deadpan comedic potential of Leslie Nielsen, hitherto known as dramatic actor. Surely the best cheer-up movie on Prime (and don't call me Shirley).

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Bridesmaids
Photograph: Universal Pictures

Bridesmaids

4 out of 5 stars
Film

Get a script stuffed with crackling one-liners, a talented cast and the creative team responsible for the likes of Freaks and Geeks and the result can be every bit as disgracefully enjoyable as its finest phallocentric equivalent. Bridesmaids is the brainchild of Saturday Night Live alumnus Kristen Wiig, who plays Annie, a put-upon, mid-thirties single woman whose already fragile ego takes a knock when she finds out that her sole remaining unmarried friend, Lillian (Maya Rudolph), is getting hitched. 

Bumblebee
Paramount Pictures

Bumblebee

4 out of 5 stars
Film

With Bumblebee, director Travis Knight (director of the animated Kubo and the Two Strings) takes the Transformers franchise back to ’80s Amblin movies like ET and The Goonies and the original Hasbro toy designs. The result, for once, won’t give you a headache. Hailee Steinfeld plays Charlie, a tomboyish 18 year old mourning her dad. Mechanically inclined and desperate for a car, she brings home a beaten-up VW Beetle that turns out to be a robot alien from the planet Cybertron. Might an unlikely friendship materialise? One threatened by John Cena’s uptight military man and two enemy Decepticons (voiced by Angela Bassett and Justin Theroux)? You'll just have to see. 

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The Godfather and The Godfather: Part II
Paramount Pictures

The Godfather: Part II

5 out of 5 stars
Film

Hugely influential on today's novelistic, gritty, antiheroic TV shows, Francis Coppola's 1974 sequel to the first Godfather (also on Prime) tells two parallel stories. The Corleone family moves to Nevada and make the casino business their major income source under the leadership of the increasingly paranoid and malevolent Michael (Al Pacino). In contrast is the flashback tale of his father Vito (Robert De Niro), his escape from Sicily as a young boy and his subsequent rise to power in New York's Lower East Side during the turn of the century. An epic essay in the dark heart of American capitalism, Part II is absolutely essential viewing (but don't bother with Part III – it's a stinker).

Grease

4 out of 5 stars
Film Drama

There are some who feel that the much-overlooked Grease 2 is the superior film. But for the full nostalgia fix you need to go back to high school with Pink Lady Sandy (Olivia Newton-John), leader of the bad-boy T-Birds, Danny (John Travolta), Rizzo (Stockard Channing) and a rockin' and rollin' all-star cast. Or was it all just a dream in the mind of the drowning Sandy, as a popular internet theory argues? You decide.

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Star Trek

4 out of 5 stars
Film Sci-Fi

JJ Abrams' 2009 prequel (albeit a parallel-universe prequel) to the 1960s TV show gives the young James T Kirk (Chris Pine) an origin story in which he has a lot of growing up to do before earning the loyalty of Spock (Zachary Quinto), Bones (Karl Urban), Uhura (Zoe Saldana) and Scotty (Simon Pegg). It's clever, fast-paced, and a huge amount of fun, and you'll be humming Michael Giacchino's theme tune for weeks.

No Country for Old Men

5 out of 5 stars
Film

The Coen Brothers' adaptation of a Cormac McCarthy novel won four Oscars including Best Picture. It's a dark and deeply ironic crime drama in which a poacher (Josh Brolin) makes off with $2 million he finds in the desert at the scene of a botched drug deal, only be pursued by hit man Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), the most fearsome and relentless incarnation of death since the Terminator. Tommy Lee Jones has the final word (literally) as the philosophical lawman investigating the trail of destruction. 

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Heat

5 out of 5 stars
Film Thriller

A ruthless professional thief (Robert De Niro) and a fanatical detective (Al Pacino) go mano-a-mano in Michael Mann's epic-scale crime saga. The two stars were both in The Godfather Part II but this 1995 film was the first time they appeared on screen together – and the last until 2019's The Irishman (over on Netflix). It features one of the most spectacular heists in movies, and its three nail-biting hours fly by. 

The Truman Show

5 out of 5 stars
Film Fantasy

Jim Carrey gives a remarkable performance as a man learning that his entire life in a storybook coastal village has been the subject of a live, 24-hour-a-day, womb-to-tomb television drama. Peter Weir's evocative comedy anticipated reality TV landmarks such as Big Brother, and today plays like an existential comedy (aren't we all, in the end, the stars of our own shows?), an essay in the limits of free will, and a chilling portrayal of mental illness. Ed Harris is impressive as the reality show's Godlike creator. 

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Green Book

4 out of 5 stars
Film Comedy

Call this actors’ duet sentimental and simplistic at your own peril. Green Book may well move you, possibly to tears, at the thought of real social change and kindness (at a time when we need it badly). Something of a reverse Driving Miss Daisy, it charts a road trip into racism shared by two well-worn stereotypes, characters that, almost surprisingly, come from real life – a true tale that happened in 1962. Tony "Lip” Vallelonga (a pizza-chomping Viggo Mortensen) is a brutal NYC club bouncer prone to howyadoins. On the hunt for work, he gets an unlikely gig at the invitation of Don Shirley (cryptic Mahershala Ali, superb), a finicky black jazz pianist who requires a tough driver to escort him on a tour of the Deep South. Both actors shade their roles with unexpected nuance and a generosity of spirit. 

Love Actually
Photograph: Universal Pictures

Love Actually

4 out of 5 stars
Film Comedy

Oh hush, naysayers. Richard Curtis earns the laughs and tears in his 2003 ensemble comedy in which everyone, from the bachelor Prime Minister of the UK (Hugh Grant) to an ageing rock star (Bill Nighy), finds love of some sort. Ten separate but intertwining stories lead up to a Christmas Eve climax; Liam Neeson, Keira Knightley, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Alan Rickman and Martin Freeman are part of the sprawling all-star cast that even includes Chiwetel Ejiofor, Laura Linney and Andrew The Walking Dead Lincoln (blink and you may miss January Jones and Rowan Atkinson too).     

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