5 best classic movies just added to Prime Video with 95% or higher on Rotten Tomatoes

Prime Video app on a phone near popcorn and headphones
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Amazon Prime Video has added a lot of must-watch movies in May 2024. I already rounded up some of the most critically-acclaimed “modern” movies added including “American Fiction” and “Whiplash”, but the streaming service has also added a load of classic cinema favorites as well.

For clarification when I say “classic movies”, I’m talking about flicks from 1960 or earlier released during a period often referred to as the “Golden Age of Hollywood”. This era brought us legendary filmmakers like Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder and Sidney Lumet, and Prime Video just added some of the period's best movies from “Psycho” to “12 Angry Men”. 

If you appreciate classic movies, then Prime Video is the place to be right now. I’m rounding up the most celebrated picks added this month down below. Every single movie on this list scored at least 95% on the review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes. Now let’s take a trip through the halls of Hollywood history….

'12 Angry Men' (1957) 

Set in the baking heat of a New York summer, “12 Angry Men” sees a dozen jurors convene to determine the guilt of a teenager on trial for murder. Eleven of the men are convinced he committed the crime, but one (Henry Fonda), believes there is reasonable doubt and the boy’s alibi may hold water. What follows is an engrossing back-and-forth as evidence is challenged, testimony is questioned, personal conflicts arise, and brewing tensions threaten to boil over as the men debate the facts of the case. 

Directed by Sidney Lumet, “12 Angry Men” is a single-location movie that squeezes out every ounce of drama from its compelling premises. There are strong performances across the board, but Herny Fonda and Lee J. Cobb stand out, the latter a hot-tempered business who is unwaveringly in his assessment of the boy’s guilt. The claustrophobic court setting also works in the movie’s favor, and it all builds to a highly memorable and cathartic conclusion. 

Rotten Tomatoes 100%
Stream it on Prime Video

'On the Waterfront' (1954)

“On the Waterfront” is a real contender to be the greatest movie ever made. Winner of eight Academy Awards (from 12 nominations) including Best Picture, Best Actor (for Marlon Brando) and Best Director (for Elia Kazan), this drama incorporates a wide range of criminal enterprises in Hoboken, New Jersey from union corruption to extortion and racketeering.

In this certifiable cinema classic, Brando plays Terry Malloy, a dockworker and former boxer whose promising career was derailed after purposefully throwing a fight to satisfy a local mobster and union boss, Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb). When Terry witnesses Johnny’s men commit murder, he considers exposing the crooked boss, and his guilty conscience becomes even louder when he meets the murdered man’s beautiful sister, Edie (Eva Marie Saint). 

Rotten Tomatoes score: 99%
Stream it on Prime Video

'Rear Window' (1954)

Picking the best Alfred Hitchcock movie is a bit of a fool’s errand. The Master of Suspense made so many masterpieces that half his filmography deserves to be in the debate, but when the question is asked, there is one certainty, “Rear Window” will be involved. It’s among Hitchcock’s most celebrated works, and it’s clear to see why. “Rear Window” set a standard for mystery thrillers that modern movies are still trying to match to this very day. 

James Stewart plays a photographer who is coupled up in his New York apartment during a particularly hot summer after breaking his leg. Confined to a wheelchair, he passes the time by looking out of the rear window of his home and observing his neighbor. At first, he sees little of note, but he soon starts to suspect that the man living across the courtyard may have committed murder, and enlists the help of his girlfriend (Grace Kelly) to investigate. 

Rotten Tomatoes score: 98%
Stream it on Prime Video

'Psycho' (1960)

Janet Leigh in Psycho

(Image credit: Alamy)

Another one of Hitchcock’s most acclaimed works, and the first movie to ever show a flushing toilet on screen (there’s a piece of movie trivia for you!), “Psycho” has been remade and repurposed many times in recent years serving as the inspiration for a host of spin-offs (like the “Bates Motel” TV show) and questionable sequels. However, as is almost always the case, nothing tops the original, and “Psycho” continues to be a near-perfect horror flick all these decades later. 

Starring Vera Miles, Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins, “Psycho” sees a frustrated office worker, Marion Crane (Leigh), steal $40,000 of her employer's money and run off to start a new life with her lover, Sam (John Gavin). Tired after a long drive, and with a storm on its way, she leaves the highway looking for a place to stay and ends up at the Bates Motel. And it’s here that she meets the motel’s owner Norman Bates (Perkins), a meek man who seems to be henpecked by his domineering mother. To reveal anything else would be a spoiler...

Rotten Tomatoes score: 97%
Stream it on Prime Video

'Some Like It Hot' (1959)

You can’t have a list of classic movies without at least one flick featuring Marilyn Monroe, and in “Some Like It Hot” the global icon plays a singer and ukulele player. Directed by Billy Wilder (The director of two of my favorite ever movies, “Sunset Boulevard” and “The Apartment”), this crime comedy broke new ground upon release in 1959 and was considered an extremely controversial picture at the time due to its inclusion of cross-dressing.

The hilarious comedy sees two musicians, Joe (Tony Curtis) and Jerry (Jack Lemmon), desperately looking for a way out of Chicago to escape a group of gangsters after witnessing a Valentine’s Day shootout. Broke and desperate, their only option is to join up with an all-girls band heading to Flordia. Concealing their identities to fit in, Joe hopes to win the heart of Sugar Kane Kowalczyk (Monroe), while Jerry is himself wooed by an unaware millionaire. Naturally, a whole load of farcical situations follow, and the plot thickens when the gangsters arrive on the scene. 

Rotten Tomatoes score: 95%
Stream it on Prime Video

More from Tom's Guide

Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.