Amazon Prime is easily Netflix’s biggest streaming rival in the UK, but many people don’t realise that when it comes to movies, Amazon has the big N beat hands-down.
Amazon’s library is bigger but also better, with a wide array of blockbusters bolstered by Oscar favourites and a genuinely fantastic line-up of indie and arthouse fare too – some of the best films of the last few years have boasted an Amazon Original logo.
Every single one of the films we’ve picked out here is currently included for free as part of the Prime subscription service, but if you’re not a subscriber then you can always rent or buy a digital copy directly from Amazon too.
If you’re looking for more inspiration you might also want to consider subscribing to one of the Amazon Prime Channels: these are add-on subscriptions for your Prime account that give you access to films from rival apps like Mubi or BFI Player, along with other films selected from distributors like Arrow Entertainment or MGM, which you can then watch from within the Amazon Prime interface and apps.
Got a favourite we didn’t include? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll be updating this piece regularly as the Amazon Prime film library changes.
Don’t have Prime? Take a look at our complete guide to Amazon Prime to find out more about the service and how to sign up.
Watch Parasite on Amazon Prime
2020’s Best Picture winner is an almost-perfect thriller. As surreal as it is twisty, this Korean-language flick skewers the class divide in modern Seoul in a story that’s distinctly local in flavour, but absolutely universal in its themes. Plus, once you’ve seen it you’ll be able to get on the ram-don noodle trend like everybody else.
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Watch Fantastic Mr. Fox on Amazon Prime
This stop-motion animation is Wes Anderson’s take on a family film: anarchic, oddball, but consistently charming. George Clooney is the smooth-talking Mr. Fox, joined by a cast of Anderson regulars in a film that loosely adapts the classic Roald Dahl book. This is no Disney cartoon, but it’s a beautiful film no matter your age.
Watch Ex Machina on Amazon Prime
Writer Alex Garland’s directorial debut – before he went on to do Annihilation and the TV series Devs – is a sinister meditation on artificial intelligence and control. Oscar Isaac is the egomaniac tech billionaire trying to create new life, Alicia Vikander his robotic design, and Domhnall Gleeson the poor bystander who gets caught in the middle and must decide who to trust.
Watch Suspiria on Amazon Prime
After the runaway success of Call Me By Your Name, Luca Guadagnino could have made almost any film he wanted – so he did an about turn from that sweet, hesitant romance and straight into abject horror. His remake of ’70s giallo classic Suspiria is nothing like the original – so adjust your expectations – but is a moody, meditative horror that uses a hypnotic Thom Yorke soundtrack to lull you into an almost trance-like state – before jolting you out with some striking moments of violence.
Watch Point Break on Amazon Prime
An action classic that’s earned its reputation – and Hot Fuzz reference – Point Break sees Keanu Reeves play against type as a straight-laced fed who has to pretend to be a surfer dude to catch bank robber cum thrillseeker Patrick Swayze. Genuinely thoughtful, a phenomenal skydiving finale, and probably the best foot-chase in Hollywood history.
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Watch Borat Subsequent Moviefilm on Amazon Prime
Amazon probably spent a lot to secure exclusive rights to Borat 2, released just ahead of the 2020 US presidential election as Sacha Baron-Cohen’s not-exactly-Kazakh reporter Borat returns to the States to explore life in the time of coronavirus. It’s not quite up there with the original, but it’s damn close, and more cutting in its politics than ever before.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Watch Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy on Amazon Prime
John le Carré’s most famous spy novel is brought to the big screen in impeccable form in this adaptation, which condenses the labyrinthine plot without losing any of its vital intricacy. It helps that the cast is phenomenal, from Gary Oldman as the central spook George Smiley through to the likes of John Hurt, Mark Strong, Toby Jones, Colin Firth, and more.
Watch Clue on Amazon Prime
Based on the board game of the same name (or rather, Cluedo if you’re in the UK like us), this is the quintessential murder mystery for people who’ve seen too many murder mysteries. With tongue stuck firmly into cheek, the film reels through every whodunnit trope you can think of before throwing everything at the wall in a fourth wall-breaking finale that puts Deadpool to shame.
Watch Room on Amazon Prime
A film about a abducted teenage girl living her life out in a garden shed was never likely to be a cheery affair, so the fact that Room is ultimately uplifting is a testament to the film. Brie Larson is the girl who’s lived the last few years in captivity, raising her son to believe that ‘Room’ is the entire world. Larson’s great, Jacob Tremblay is phenomenal as the kid, and the result is one of the most powerful films in years.
Attack the Block
Watch Attack the Block on Amazon Prime
Who do you want watching your back in an alien invasion? The police? The military? How about the resident teenagers of a London housing estate? Joe Cornish’s brilliant sci-fi/horror/comedy thing pits south London’s finest up against glow-in-the-dark alien nasties in a battle for the block. There’s a great sense of humour – though it never looks down on the locals – and some of the coolest looking extraterrestrials in years.
Colour Out of Space
Watch Colour Out of Space on Amazon Prime
Nicolas Cage meets HP Lovecraft in the match-up we can’t really believe didn’t come sooner. This off-beat adaptation of one of the horror icon’s lesser-known stories pitches Cage as an alpaca farmer (bear with us) whose idyllic family love is disrupted when an asteroid crashes into his yard. From there, things get…weird. Don’t expect a lot of plot, do expect Nic Cage in full unhinged mode. One to watch with your eyes covered.
Watch The Terminator on Amazon Prime
T2: Judgment Day may boast the more iconic moments, but don’t sell the original Terminator short. Arnie is properly terrifying as the grimly determined cyborg threat, with the movie teetering between pure horror and the all-out action the franchise became.
Watch Free Fire on Amazon Prime
Director Ben Wheatley is best known for dark, twisted thrillers, but here turns his hand to another genre entirely: the ’70s action blowout. A gun deal gone wrong leaves two groups of crooks trapped in a warehouse together with bullets flying every which way. Funny, anarchic, and constantly creative, this is probably the director’s best film yet.
Watch Vice on Amazon Prime
Christian Bale transforms once again – and this time he’s practically unrecognisable as former Vice-President to George W. Bush, Dick Cheney. This surreal and unflinchingly honest biopic shows how the man rose to power through The White House, and ultimately played a huge part in some of the biggest political scandals of the noughties.
The Big Sick
Watch The Big Sick on Amazon Prime
Kumail Nanjiani stars in this rom-com adapted from his own life, which sees a relationship in its early stages shaken by serious illness. You just have to look at Nanjiani’s real-life marriage to know the film has a happy ending, but along the way it’s a smart comedy that’s refreshingly honest and free from the standard Hollywood cliches.
Watch Hustlers on Amazon Prime
Hustlers came out of nowhere to become a massive hit. Based on a true story, Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu are two New York strippers who find their income plummeting in the wake of the 2008 crash, and decide to make up for it by swindling the bankers that came out of the financial crisis unscathed.
Watch Pacific Rim on Amazon Prime
Guillermo Del Toro is equally adept at art-house Oscar hits (Pan’s Labyrinth, The Shape of Water) and all-out action (Blade 2, Hellboy 2). It won’t surprise you to learn that this giant-robots-fighting-gianter-monsters movie is firmly in the latter camp. It’s big and it’s dumb, but despite that there’s a real craft to this movie, and a genuine love for the kaiju stories that inspired it. As is so often the case though, skip the sequel.
Watch The Farewell on Amazon Prime
Awkwafina may be best known in Hollywood for her comedic turns in Crazy Rich Asians and Ocean’s Eight, but it’s this dramatic lead turn that should make her a star. The true story of a Chinese family’s attempt to celebrate a grandmother’s life – without letting her know that she’s dying – is tragic, comic, and utterly beautiful.
The Imitation Game
Watch The Imitation Game on Amazon Prime
The Imitation Game is a dramatic retelling of Alan Turing and the Enigma Machine, but there are multiple layers to it. On the one hand, you get to see the tense race at Bletchley Park as the team attempt to crack the code to gain the upper hand against the Germans in WW2. On the other hand, we see Turing’s personal struggle with his identity as a gay man in a time of intolerance. It’s a brilliant and nuanced historical watch.
Watch The Wailing on Amazon Prime
If you like straightforward scares and thrills from your horror, then The Wailing might not be up your street. After a string of murders rock a small town, some suspicions turn to the recently arrived Japanese stranger, while others turn to superstition to explain the violence. This Korean thriller is dense with ambiguity to the bitter end, denying the audience any easy answers or comforting resolution, but once it grabs your attention it refuses to let go.
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