The Best Movies on Amazon Prime
Amazon Prime offers lots of movies for subscribers to watch, and these films don't cost anything extra. But which ones are worth checking out? Based on scores from Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB, here's a list to help you decide which film is your best bet for a night in or a lazy weekend. This list should be diverse enough for any viewer's taste, from classics to recent blockbusters, and children's movies to critical darlings.
Pulp Fiction - 1994 - Crime, Drama, Mystery & Thriller - 8.9 IMDB, 94 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
Pulp Fiction is a 1994 film described as a "black comedy," but it fits pretty snugly into the crime-film genre as well. Directed by Quentin Tarantino, the film title references the pulp magazines and crime novels popular during the mid-20th century, so there's something there for literature nerds as well. It's both critically acclaimed and beloved by audiences.
Room - 2015 - Drama, Mystery & Thriller - 8.2 IMDB, 94 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
This 2015 film stars Brie Larson as a woman held captive for seven years, whose 5-year-old son (played by Jacob Tremblay) was born in captivity. The son has lived his entire life in one room, and upon their escape, experiences the wonders outside his own little world for the first time. The film and its performers received numerous awards and nominations.
American Beauty - 1999 - Drama, Romance - 8.4 IMDB, 88 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
Lester Burnham, played by Kevin Spacey, is a suburban father who faces a midlife crisis when he becomes infatuated with his teenage daughter's best friend, Angela (played by Mena Suvari). The film analyzes notions of beauty and explorations of different types of love, and critics rate it highly. It was awarded handsomely at the Academy Awards and in other award circles.
Iron Man - 2008 - Action & Adventure, Science-Fiction - 7.9 IMDB, 94 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
Come on — it's Robert Downey Jr.! Iron Man is an American superhero film based on the character of the same name from Marvel Comics, and it's the first film in the ongoing, interconnected Marvel Cinematic Universe. Furthermore, it's just a fun movie that filmgoers and critics alike enjoyed. If you're interested in spending several hours on a Marvel marathon, Iron Man is a good place to start.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade - 1989 - Action & Adventure - 8.3 iMDB, 88 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
Honorable mention goes to the other films in the Indiana Jones franchise, which began in 1981 with Raiders of the Lost Ark. Fans often debate which of the movies in the franchise, which also includes The Temple of Doom and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, is really the best installment. But critics rate The Last Crusade highly, and when you take IMDB and Rotten Tomato ratings into account, it seems that most fans enjoy it the best.
Credit: Everett Collection
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory - 1971 - Fantasy, Music & Musical, Kids & Family - 7.8 IMDB, 89 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
On the surface, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is a children's movie about a young boy, Charlie Bucket (Peter Ostrum), and the amazing trip he gets to take to candymaker Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. It's based off of a book by Roald Dahl, and stars the beloved, recently departed Gene Wilder as Wonka. But it's also just a well-made movie, and one that people of any age can enjoy.
Beetlejuice - 1988 - Comedy, Fantasy - 7.5 IMDB, 81 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
This 1988 film has some big names in it, including Geena Davis, Alec Baldwin, Winona Ryder and Michael Keaton (in the title role). If you're a fan of any of these performers, it's worth checking out this film. Beetlejuice (directed by Tim Burton) is a strange, cult-classic comedy about a recently deceased young couple who haunt their own former home as ghosts, while another ghost, Betelgeuse (pronounced "Beetlejuice"), attempts to scare them away.
Good Will Hunting - 1997 - Drama - 8.3 IMDB, 97 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
Good Will Hunting is an American drama starring the late, great Robin Williams, along with Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Minnie Driver. Affleck and Damon wrote the film, and it helped launch their Hollywood careers. It's about a young man named Will Hunting, a laborer from South Boston, who, by the way, is an unrecognized genius. He befriends an unorthodox therapist and studies mathematics with a distinguished professor, and both experiences change his life.
Mr. Holmes - 2015 - Crime, Drama, Mystery & Thriller - 6.9 IMDB, 88 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
A fairly recent film starring Sir Ian McKellen in the title role, Mr. Holmes is an unconventional Sherlock Holmes film. Set in 1947 in a Sussex village, the movie shows a Holmes who has retired from detective work. The film is a welcome addition to the Holmes universe. More highly rated by critics on Rotten Tomatoes than by fans on IMDB, this film might take a while to grow on people, but it is generally considered a critical success.
Selma - 2014 - Drama, History - 7.5 IMDB, 99 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
Another more recent movie, Selma tells the story of the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights marches led by James Bevel, Hosea Williams, Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lewis. It stars David Oyelowo as King, and was directed by Ava DuVernay, who is considered a brilliant up-and-coming director. It was nominated for several Golden Globes and Academy Awards, and is also very popular with people who've seen it and reviewed it on IMDB.
The Silence of the Lambs - 1991 - Crime, Drama, Mystery & Thriller - 8.6 IMDB, 95 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
The Silence of the Lambs is a 1991 horror-thriller film that might be right up your alley if you want to see something a little creepy. It stars Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling, an FBI trainee. Clarice goes to the imprisoned psychiatrist and serial killer, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, played by Anthony Hopkins, for help in apprehending another serial killer. It's one of few films to win Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay at the Academy Awards.
Almost Famous - 2000 - Action & Adventure, Drama, Music & Musical, Romance - 7.9 IMDB, 89 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
Almost Famous is a 2000 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Cameron Crowe, which stars Kate Hudson, Billy Crudup and Frances McDormand, among others. It tells the fictional story of a teenage journalist writing for Rolling Stone magazine in the early 1970s who follows and interviews a rock band during their tour. The film is semi-autobiographical, as Crowe was a teenage writer for Rolling Stone. If that era of music is one of your favorites, check this film out.
The Seven Year Itch - 1955 - Comedy, Drama, Romance - 7.2 IMDB, 86 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
A 1955 American romantic comedy, The Seven-Year Itch is based on a three-act play of the same name by George Axelrod. The film is mostly known for its iconic main actress, Marilyn Monroe, and the now infamous scene of her white skirt blowing up as she stands over a subway grate. The film was co-written and directed by Billy Wilder, and it's a classic Monroe movie that deserves a look, especially if you're not familiar with her films.
Credit: Everett Collection
Stardust - 2007 - Action & Adventure, Fantasy, Romance, Kids & Family - 7.7 IMDB, 76 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
Stardust is a fantasy/adventure film starring a ton of recognizable talent. Featuring Claire Danes, Charlie Cox, Sienna Miller, Mark Strong, Ricky Gervais, Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Peter O'Toole, among others, with narration by Ian McKellen, it's absolutely star-studded. But it's got substance too. The story follows a young man, Tristan, who passes through "the wall" and leaves his boring life behind for a fantasy world. Critics and viewers alike seem to love the film.
Credit: Paramount Pictures
South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut - 1999 - Animation, Comedy, Music & Musical - 7.8 IMDB, 81 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
And now for something a little bit different. South Park has a reputation for being a very crude cartoon, and the creative team behind this movie adaptation, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, pulled no punches with a big-screen setting for their characters. In it, the four boys central to the South Park universe see an R-rated movie that includes Canadians Terrance and Phillip. This upsets the boys' parents and leads the adults to pressure the United States to wage war against Canada. It's ridiculous, but fun.
Footloose - 1984 - Drama, Music & Musical, Romance, Kids & Family - 6.5 IMDB, 53 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
Clearly, Footloose doesn't have the greatest ratings on either IMDB or Rotten Tomatoes. But it's considered an '80s classic, and I needed to throw it in for those viewers looking for a little nostalgia. Starring Kevin Bacon, Footloose tells the story of Ren McCormack, a Chicago teen who moves to a small town where, as a result of the efforts of a local minister (played by John Lithgow), dancing and rock music are banned.
Credit: Everett Collection
Interstellar - 2014 - Action & Adventure, Drama, Science-Fiction - 8.6 IMDB, 71 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
In this science fiction film starring Matthew McConaughey, a crew of astronauts travels through a wormhole seeking a new home for humanity. It also stars Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Bill Irwin, Ellen Burstyn and Michael Caine. Christopher Nolan directed the film, and he and his brother, Jonathan Nolan, wrote the screenplay. It did well at the box office and received generally positive critical reviews, and if that's not enough to draw you in, Hans Zimmer wrote the score.
Happy Feet - 2006 - Animation, Comedy, Music & Musical, Kids & Family - 6.5 IMDB, 75 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
For the kids, why not try out a movie that's a little over 10 years old and still going strong in popularity? It's a cutesy movie about a penguin who can't sing, in a community where singing is important — but he's a great dancer! Sounds cheesy, and it is, but critics rate it well, and kids seem to love it. It also features voice talent from Elijah Wood, Robin Williams, Brittany Murphy, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman and Hugo Weaving.
Cloverfield - 2008 - Action & Adventure, Horror, Mystery & Thriller, Science-Fiction - 7.0 IMDB, 77 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
Described as a "found-footage monster horror film," Cloverfield follows six young New York City residents fleeing from a gigantic monster and other creatures that attack the city while the group is having a farewell party. Produced by J.J. Abrams and featuring Lizzy Caplan and Jessica Lucas, among others, the movie is seen as an original take on an old-fashioned monster movie, and it did well critically and financially. It's a little weird, but worth a watch.
Amy - 2015 - Music & Musical, Documentary - 7.8 IMDB, 95 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
This documentary explores the life of songstress Amy Winehouse. The singer died young, and left an intense, celebrated career behind too soon. From her teen years to her time experiencing critical success, much of her life is represented in the film, including her tragic spiral into alcoholism and drugs. If you're a Winehouse fan or a music buff, or are just interested in documentaries, this is a good pick.
Runaway Bride - 1999 - Comedy, Romance - 5.5 IMDB, 46 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
Clearly, Runaway Bride is not a critical darling. But it's classic American romantic comedy, and I don't have one of those on the list yet, so here you go. You can't deny that this Julia Roberts and Richard Gere vehicle has its charm, even if it's a little (OK, a lot) clichéd. It also features Joan Cusack and Rita Wilson, and it’s a great option if you're looking for something to watch on a cheesy girls' night in.
The Addams Family - 1991 - Comedy, Fantasy, Kids & Family - 6.8 IMDB, 60 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
This movie stars a group of bizarre characters created by cartoonist Charles Addams. The Addams Family film is a zany adaptation that's considered a bit of a cult classic. The characters include the somewhat familiar faces of Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester, Lurch, Grandmama and Wednesday. Actors like Anjelica Huston and Christina Ricci play some of the beloved roles, and while the film received mixed reviews, it's become more acclaimed as a weird classic in recent years.
The Tuskegee Airmen - 1995 - Drama, History, War & Military - 7.2 IMDB, 86 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
The Tuskegee Airmen is based on the story of the first African-American combat pilots in the U.S. Army Air Corps, a history-making unit that fought in World War II. Though the movie came out in 1995, it features talent such as Laurence Fishburne, Cuba Gooding Jr., John Lithgow and Malcolm-Jamal Warner who still enjoy successful careers today. It's fairly well-reviewed, so if you're a history buff or if you're looking for something to watch with someone who is, this is a good option.
Across the Universe - 2007 - Action & Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Music & Musical, Romance - 7.4 IMDB, 53 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
This film is definitely more popular among regular fans than among film critics, possibly because Beatles fans have flooded the ratings and reviews. Across the Universe has a pretty traditional musical format, featuring the tunes of the beloved English rock band. It stars Jim Sturgess and Evan Rachel Wood, who play Jude and Lucy, a young couple who fall in love amidst the anti-war movement, social justice protests and political turmoil of the '60s and '70s.
Lars and the Real Girl - 2007 - Comedy, Drama, Romance - 7.4 IMDB, 81 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
Turning 10 years old this year, Lars and the Real Girl follows Lars, played by heartthrob Ryan Gosling. A sweet but socially awkward young man, he develops romantic feelings for an anatomically correct sex doll named Bianca. It's endearing and offbeat, but while it was critically acclaimed, receiving an Academy Award nomination and handing Gosling a Golden Globe Award nomination, it didn't make much money. Still, it's worth a watch.
Honorable Mention: Sharknado - 2013 - Horror, Sci-Fi - 3.3 IMDB, 82 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
No, it's not actually very good. But come on. It's right there! Aren't you even a little bit curious?