7 new to Prime Video movies with 95% or higher on Rotten Tomatoes

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Tons of new movies arrive on Prime Video every month, but January 2024 brings some of the best movies ever made. We typically look for movies on Rotten Tomatoes with a score of 90% or higher when curating our lists, but this month there were 18 such movies.

So instead, we've raised the bar even higher. This month, we're recommending movies with a 95% or higher "fresh" rating from critics, meaning they all have near-universal acclaim. Atop the list is the Joseph Sargent classic "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three," but you'll see some other familiar names further down the line.

While a high rating on the review aggregate site is not a guarantee of quality, it’s a useful indication that a majority of critics consider a movie worthy of a spot on your watchlist. So without further ado, here are the some of the best new to Prime Video movies this month. 

'The Taking of Pelham One Two Three' (1974) 

Not to be confused with the 2009 Tony Scott remake, this movie based on the 1973 Morton Freedgood novel is widely considered one of the best heist movies of all time. "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three" stars Robert Shaw, Martin Balsam, Héctor Elizondo and Earl Hindman as Mr. Blue, Mr. Green, Mr. Grey and Mr. Brown. This group of criminals hijack the downtown-bound 6 train — Pelham 1-2-3 — and demand $1 million in ransom from New York City Transit Police Lieutenant Zachary "Z" Garber (Walter Matthau). 

The catch? If Garber doesn't deliver the money within the hour, Mr. Blue will start killing a hostage every minute that the ransom is late. Don't miss this classic while it's on Prime Video.

Genre: Crime drama
Rotten Tomatoes score: 98% 
Stream it on Prime Video

'Airplane!' (1980) 

If I told you I was leaving "Airplane!" off this list, you'd say "Surely you can't be serious?" And, of course, I'd tell you "Don't call me Shirley."

If you've ever seen this 1980 classic starring Robert Hays, Julie Hagerty, Leslie Nielsen and many, many more talented actors (including basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar!), you'd understand that reference. And if you haven't, you need to watch it as soon as you possibly can. This comedy on a plane may be one of the funniest movies ever, if not the funniest of all time. Even the premise — an airplane crew gets sick and the only person that can land the plane is an ex-fighter pilot afraid of flying — is one of the greatest of all time.

Genre: Comedy
Rotten Tomatoes score: 97%
Stream it on Prime Video

'Good Will Hunting' (1997) 

It's tough to undersell how important "Good Will Hunting" is. It launched the careers of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, who wrote and starred in the film. It gave us one of the best performances — if not the best performance — of the late Robin Williams' career. And it maybe, just maybe, gives us the now-beloved South Boston colloquialism "wicked smart."

In "Good Will Hunting" Damon plays, Will Hunting a "wicked smart" South Boston math genius who cleans the halls at MIT while on parole. One day he solves a problem on the chalkboard of Professor Gerald Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgård), who then takes Will out of jail and under his wing but only if Will sees therapist Dr. Sean Maquire (Williams). What follows is an incredible movie and one to check off your list while it's on Prime Video.

Genre: Drama
Rotten Tomatoes score: 97%
Stream it on Prime Video

'Muscle Shoals' (2013) 

If you haven't heard of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, I won't fault you for that. The relatively small town on the Tennessee River is known for only one thing — music. More specifically, it's known for producing one of the greatest record studios you may have never heard about, and the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section.

"Muscle Shoals" takes a deeper look into the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, aka "The Swampers," who were the backing band for FAME Studios and later the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio. These two studios recorded albums for some of the greatest musicians ever, and the cast of this documentary is loaded with legends from Aretha Franklin to Gregg Allman and many, many, more. If you want to learn about one of the essential building blocks of American music, this documentary is a must-watch.

Genre: Music documentary
Rotten Tomatoes score: 97%
Stream it on Prime Video

'Return to Seoul' (2022)  

"Return to Soul" was one of the best international films of 2022, and if you're like me, this might be the first you've heard of it. Starring Ji-Min Park as Frédérique "Freddie" Benoît, a French woman of South Korean origin who has never endeavored to examine her Korean origins. That all changes when a canceled flight leaves her in Seoul, starting an unexpected journey toward learning the whereabouts of her biological parents. 

The movie changes between French, Korean and English throughout, and takes some interesting turns — at one point Freddie becomes an arms dealer —  but between a Cannes selection, making the shortlist for Best International Feature Film at the 95th Academy Awards and positive reviews from nearly everyone who has seen it, it's clear this movie is one of the best new to Prime Video movies this month.

Genre: Drama
Rotten Tomatoes score: 97%
Stream it on Prime Video

'If Beale Street Could Talk' (2018)

This adaptation of James Baldwin's 1974 novel tells the story of Clementine "Tish" Rivers (KiKi Layne) who tries free her lover Alonzo "Fonny" Hunt (Stephan James) from prison after being wrongly convicted before their child is born. Despite her family's help, this is an uphill battle due to the pervasive racism in New York City working against them. Also starring Regina King, Colman Domingo and Brian Tyree Henry among others, it's no surprise that this Oscar-winning movie from Barry Jenkins is one of the best new movies to Prime Video in January. 

Genre: Romantic period drama
Rotten Tomatoes score: 95%
Stream it on Prime Video

'Pariah' (2011)

Alike aka "Lee" (Adepero Oduye) is a teenage Black woman who after hanging out with her openly lesbian friend Laura (Pernell Walker) starts to realize her sexual identity. However, her new identity as a butch lesbian doesn't go over well with her religious, more traditional mother (Kim Wayans), causing rifts in the family that may not be repairable. "Pariah" is an artfully crafted coming-out tale and while it isn't going to leave you feeling good by the end I feel confident its ending will at least leave you satisfied.

Genre: Drama
Rotten Tomatoes score: 95%
Stream it on Prime Video

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Malcolm McMillan
Senior Streaming Writer

Malcolm McMillan is a senior writer for Tom's Guide, covering all the latest in streaming TV shows and movies. That means news, analysis, recommendations, reviews and more for just about anything you can watch, including sports! If it can be seen on a screen, he can write about it. Previously, Malcolm had been a staff writer for Tom's Guide for over a year, with a focus on artificial intelligence (AI), A/V tech and VR headsets.

Before writing for Tom's Guide, Malcolm worked as a fantasy football analyst writing for several sites and also had a brief stint working for Microsoft selling laptops, Xbox products and even the ill-fated Windows phone. He is passionate about video games and sports, though both cause him to yell at the TV frequently. He proudly sports many tattoos, including an Arsenal tattoo, in honor of the team that causes him to yell at the TV the most.

  • chromium4
    A relaunch of old movies and a foreign language film is not the least bit enticing for me. The lack of new content is one.of the reasons I cancelled my Prime subscription.