41 Of The Best Movies To Stream On Amazon Prime Video In July

·31 min read

We hope you love the shows and movies we recommend! Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of revenue or other compensation from the links on this page. Oh, and FYI: Platform, prices, and other availability details are accurate as of time of posting.

1.Adaptation (2002)

Two Nicolas Cages riding in a car

What’s better than one Nic Cage in a movie? How about two? The National Treasure actor (and just national treasure) pulls double duty playing twins in this EXTREMELY meta film written by Charlie Kaufman (the mind behind Being John Malkovich and last year’s I’m Thinking of Ending Things). Cage plays a fictionalized version of Kaufman, who has been tasked with adapting Susan Orlean’s book The Orchid Thief for the big screen while also playing a completely made-up twin brother. Meryl Streep plays the fictionalized Orlean, a journalist investigating a ring of orchid poachers led by Chris Cooper’s John Laroche. The film is unlike anything I’ve ever seen and secured Oscar noms for Cage, Cooper, and Streep (with Cooper taking home the statue). Do you think I can win a Pulitzer by penning a novel about me writing this BuzzFeed list?

Watch it now on Amazon Prime.

Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

2.*Alien (1979)

Yaphet Kotto, Sigourney Weaver, and Ian Holm stand in the control room of a spaceship

Alien is equal parts analog sci-fi adventure and horror film of the slasher variety (only, instead of Michael Myers, it’s the titular alien doing the killing). When the spaceship Nostromo and its seven-person crew touch down at an abandoned spaceship because of a distress call, they end up leaving with a stowaway. The alien then proceeds to slowly kill the crew one by one, à la Jason Voorhees with a much longer head. The film skyrocketed Sigourney Weaver (playing the iconic Ripley) to stardom and would spawn several sequels/prequels/spinoffs, including Aliens, the rare example of a second movie being just as good as the first. This is also a classic cat movie, if you’re into that.

Watch it now on Amazon Prime.

20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

3.Almost Famous (2000)

Patrick Fugit and Kate Hudson stand backstage a concert

Apparently, being an entertainment journalist back in the day was wild, because Almost Famous’s writer-director, Cameron Crowe, got to tour with bands like the Eagles and Lynyrd Skynyrd as a reporter for Rolling Stone AS A TEENAGER. He rode tour buses, went backstage at concerts, and partied with the roadies all while under the age of 20, and then he wrote a movie all about it. While Patrick Fugit plays the young reporter and Billy Crudup the lead singer of Stillwater, the show is stolen by Kate Hudson as the stylish groupie Penny Lane, who takes our teenage journalist under her wing. It’s her best work (and I love Bride Wars), and she received an Oscar nomination for the role. The film is headed to 4K soon, and so, behind-the-scenes stories are showing up left and right to make a rewatch necessary. Beware, however — this movie will make you want to spend a whole paycheck on concert tickets.

Watch it now on Amazon Prime.

Dreamworks Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

4.Arrival (2016)

Amy Adams putting on an orange hazmat suit

It is still difficult for me to think of Arrival without thinking of Amy Adams’ egregious Oscar snub for the role. Should have won the category, but wasn’t even nominated. But I’m getting sidetracked. This Best Picture nominee directed by Denis Villeneuve (whose Dune comes out this fall) focuses on a linguist (Adams) who is asked to help communicate with aliens, using their inkblot language, when giant spaceships touch down on Earth. The grounded sci-fi film is exquisitely shot and features an entrancing score. This is also the film that gave us the classic Amy Adams–with–a–whiteboard meme.

Watch it now on Amazon Prime.

Jan Thijs / Paramount Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

5.*Big Fish (2003)

Ewan McGregor walking in the woods with a key around his neck

There are very few American directors with a style as instantly recognizable as Tim Burton, whose zany gothic fantasies include Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, and Alice in Wonderland. At home within this lineup is the fantastical Big Fish, which follows Will Bloom (Billy Crudup) and his dying father (played by Albert Finney and Ewan McGregor, depending on the time) as the former tries to untangle fact from fiction in the latter’s life story. The past is created through a series of colorful vignettes as witches, giants, and werewolves wander through the old man’s tales. A raucous cast including Helena Bonham Carter, Danny DeVito, and Steve Buscemi brings the story to life, and the ending is magical.

Watch it now on Amazon Prime.

Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

6.The Big Sick (2017)

Kumail Nanjiana and Zoe Kazan talk

So let’s say you dated a girl for five months and then she broke up with you. And then she went to the hospital and was put into a coma. And then her parents came and they knew you broke up. And then you just had to sit with them awkwardly in the waiting room because you did still care about the girl. Thus is the premise of The Big Sick and also the real-life events surrounding the romance of the film's writers, Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani (who is also the star). One of the best romantic comedies of the past decade, this film also examines interracial dating in a smart, nuanced way and is stacked with your comedy faves, including Holly Hunter, Ray Romano, and Bo Burnham (whose recent comedy special, Inside, is a masterpiece). Now is also a great time to watch The Big Sick, as ripped Kumail will be in Marvel’s Eternals this fall.

Watch it now on Amazon Prime.

Lionsgate / Courtesy Everett Collection

7.Bottle Shock (2008)

Alan Rickman looks at a mason jar full of wine while Chris Pine looks on

Once upon a time, I was home for the summer from college and rented this film from the library because I love Alan Rickman (Harry Potter, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Sense and Sensibility...I could go on). I found the movie captivating and demanded the DVD for Christmas. Rickman stars as a snobbish connoisseur of French wine who decides to throw a competition between the lauded French wineries and the looked-down-upon Californian upstarts (the leads of which are Bill Pullman and Chris Pine). Rickman is an absolute delight, and I (someone who buys $4 watermelon rosé from Trader Joe's) was mesmerized by the true story that put Napa Valley on the map in the ’70s. Perhaps uncork a bottle of wine and settle in for the evening?

Watch it now on Amazon Prime.

Freestyle Releasing / Courtesy Everett Collection

8.Brittany Runs a Marathon (2019)

Jillian Bell runs down the street

As something of a marathon expert (I’ve written a whole book about the sport), I can personally attest to the tremendous amount of work that goes into running 26.2 miles, as well as the euphoric emotional payoff of finishing. This Jillian Bell film (based on a true story) follows Brittany as she signs up for the New York City Marathon in an attempt to get her life back on track. The heartwarming comedy also stars Michaela Watkins (Search Party) and Utkarsh Ambudkar (Pitch Perfect) and is the first feature film to actually shoot on location during the marathon. Watching Brittany finish her race is incredibly inspiring and will make you want to sign up for a marathon too.

Watch it now on Amazon Prime.

Amazon Studios / Courtesy Everett Collection

9.*Burlesque (2010)

Cher performs on a burlesque stage

Okay, so this film has a 36% on Rotten Tomatoes and is generally considered to be a bad movie, BUT perhaps so bad, it’s good? If you are a fan of the movie musical, and if you are a fan of high camp, and if you are a fan of the female pop star, then this might be right up your alley. Christina Aguilera (great singer, okay actor) is playing a down-on-her-luck woman in LA who stumbles upon a burlesque club owned by Cher and begins her rise to fame. The cast is full of so-so actors from the aughts (Cam Gigandet, Julianne Hough, Diana Agron), all of whom give what I would say are at the very least entertaining performances. Is it Citizen Kane? No. Is it a whole lot of fun? Absolutely. Oh, and Stanley Tucci is in it, so that’s another reason to tune in.

Watch it now on Amazon Prime.

Screen Gems / Courtesy Everett Collection

10.Burning (2018)

Yoo Ah-In, Jeon Jong-seo, and Steven Yeun watch a sunset from a back porch

Yes, this is a 2.5-hour Korean film with subtitles, but BOY, OH BOY, is it worth it. Watching Burning, which is based on the short story “Barn Burning” by Haruki Murakami, was one of the most enjoyable viewing experiences I’ve had in recent memory. The film (which the Oscars snubbed) begins as a lyrical love story between Jong-Su (Yoo Ah-in) and Hae-mi (Jeon Jong-seo), but just as the two seem to have found a rhythm, they are interrupted by the suave, charismatic Ben (Minari’s Oscar-nominated Steven Yeun). Not knowing what will happen is the beauty of this film, so I won’t say more, but like Parasite, it pivots into something more mysterious, subverting expectations repeatedly along the way. Please do yourself a favor and go stream it.

Watch it now on Amazon Prime.

Well Go USA / Courtesy Everett Collection

11.Climax (2018)

Romain Guillermic, Sharleen Temple, Gizelle Palmer, Sarah Bella, Lea Vlamos, and Sofia Boutella all dance in a circle

Let’s just say this: If you’re having a rave in a secluded old schoolhouse in the middle of winter, PRAY that the punch is not spiked with LSD. This psychological horror film, starring Miss Blades-for-Legs from Kingsman herself Sofia Boutella, begins innocently enough when a French dance troupe gathers for a party post-rehearsal. As the effects of the drugs take hold, however, the night speeds into a dark and bloody haze set to the pulsing beats of house music. The opening dance sequence is something to behold, whether or not you have the stomach for where the film ventures later. The cast members are all trained dancers rather than actors, and the long takes allow them to fully showcase their moves…before they die.

Watch it now on Amazon Prime.

A24 / Courtesy Everett Collection

12.Clue (1985)

Colleen Camp inspects a gun while Michael McKean, Christopher Lloyd, and Tim Curry look on

Mr. Green in the conservatory with the revolver? This ’80s comedy, based on the classic board game, takes the mystery of who killed Mr. Body and turns it into a slapstick black comedy. The band of comedians, including Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, and Martin Mull, arrive at a large mansion on a stormy night, only to witness murder after murder to increasingly humorous effect. The film is chock-full of quotable lines (“Flames on the side of my face”) and has developed a cult following, even if it did poorly in theaters. Also, the three alternative endings available give the whole thing an extra dose of kookiness. I’d hazard to say that the movie is better than the book — I mean, board game.

Watch it now on Amazon Prime.

Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection

13.*An Education (2009)

Carey Mulligan hangs onto Peter Sarsgaard's arm

There are movies that can catapult an actor to stardom, and An Education was that film for Carey Mulligan. Before her turns in The Great Gatsby and Promising Young Woman, she played the 16-year-old lead in this British coming-of-age drama. Bright, young, and naive, she is easy prey for Peter Sarsgaard’s older con man as he seduces and grooms her. With beautiful ‘60s sets and costumes, the film is lush and scored a Best Picture nomination, along with one for Mulligan’s breakthrough performance. Here’s hoping that before too long, we can say "Oscar winner Carey Mulligan," because she certainly deserves it. This film was also the coming-out party for Rosamund Pike, another actor who deserves a little gold statue.

Watch it now on Amazon Prime.

Kerry Brown / Sony Pictures Classics / Courtesy Everett Collection

14.Election (1999)

Matthew Broderick talks with Reese Witherspoon, who sits at a table in a school hallway

If you’ve recovered from the seemingly never-ending 2020 election and don't find the idea of a ballot box scream-inducing, then perhaps you’re in the right headspace to watch a charmingly young and chipper Reese Witherspoon make a bid for student body president in this comedy. Tracy Flick (Witherspoon) is running unopposed until Jim (Matthew Broderick), a friend of a teacher Tracy got fired for sleeping with her, decides to enact revenge by supporting an alternative candidate. What follows is a messy, underhanded battle for power, with Witherspoon’s signature uptight, type A energy prominently on display. Particularly interesting today, the film is not only a great comedy but also an enlightening examination of sexism and gender politics. Would you “Pick Flick”? You’ll have to watch to find out.

Watch it now on Amazon Prime.

Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection

15.The Farewell (2019)

Awkwafina leens on Zhao Shuzhen's shoulder at the dinner table

Apparently, in China it is not an uncommon practice to hide death prognoses from patients in hopes that they will have a higher quality of life as they near life’s end. In this film, directed by Lulu Wang and based on her life, the Wang family receive news that the matriarch, Nai Nai, has terminal lung cancer. Instead of sharing that news, they decide to stage a wedding as an excuse to bring the whole family to China to see their grandmother one final time. Billi (Awkwafina) tags along but is extremely uneasy about lying to her grandmother so excessively. What transpires will make you not only laugh but also cry, sigh, smile, and feel a gamut of other emotions as the film looks at the importance of family and what ends we’ll go to to protect the ones we love.

Watch it now on Amazon Prime.

A24 / Courtesy Everett Collection

16.Fargo (1996)

Frances McDormand sits at her police desk with John Caroll Lynch

One of my absolute favorite films of all time (especially as the owner of a Michigan accent), Fargo follows a snowy kidnapping/ransom attempt that goes wrong when the kidnappers must murder several motorists to keep their secret. That’s when your favorite pregnant Midwestern sheriff, Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand in an Oscar-winning performance), shows up to solve the crime. The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards and spun off one of the best television series to date (especially Kirsten Dunst’s Season 2). So, ah, jeez, why dontcha go ahead en watch it?

Watch it now on Amazon Prime.

Gramercy Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

17.Fighting With My Family (2019)

Florence Pugh puts Jack Lowden in a headlock

You’ve probably seen Black Widow by this point (and if you haven’t, what are you waiting for?). The best part of Black Widow is inarguably Florence Pugh, who, in addition to serving up a thick Russian accent, doing her signature frown, and stealing every scene she’s in with genius comedic timing, is also doing some great stunts. Where do you think she learned all that? From this film, based on a true story, in which Pugh plays an aspiring WWE wrestler in boot camp, along with her brother. Heartwarming, funny, and full of body slams, the British film (and Pugh is actually British, if you didn’t know) is the natural follow-up to a Black Widow viewing.

Watch it now on Amazon Prime.

Robert Viglasky / MGM / Courtesy Everett Collection

18.*Frozen River (2008)

Melissa Leo stands behind a cash register

We’ve got another crime drama set in the snow, only this time it's Melissa Leo at the center of the action (a rarity, as the actor is too often kept from playing leads). Leo, who was nominated for an Oscar for the role, plays a beleaguered discount store employee living in the backcountry of upstate New York. Hard up for money, she begins working with a Mohawk bingo-parlor employee (Misty Upham) to traffic illegal immigrants across the Canadian border. The setting and subject matter are bleak, but the film (written and directed by Courtney Hunt) delves into the issues of race, class, and the treatment of Native Americans as it travels back and forth across the St. Lawrence River.

Watch it now on Amazon Prime.

Sony Pictures Classics / Courtesy Everett Collection

19.*The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

Rooney Mara reads a newspaper

I swear, there will be things on this list aside from snowy thrillers, but here’s another one, just in case. Back in the ’00s, author Stieg Larsson’s trilogy of Swedish psychological crime thrillers sold like gangbusters and were then adapted into a trio of Swedish-language films starring Noomi Rapace. Fresh off their success, David Fincher (Mank) decided to adapt the books for an American film starring Rooney Mara as the punk cyberhacker Lisbeth Salander and Daniel Craig as journalist Mikael Blomkvist. The unlikely pair team up to investigate the missing persons case of a girl who disappeared 40 years earlier. While this Part 1 of the trilogy never received its sequels, it is a harrowing and captivating mystery, and Mara’s Best Actress–nominated performance is worth it in and of itself.

Watch it now on Amazon Prime.

Anders Linden / Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

20.*Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? (1967)

Katharine Hepburn sits on a chair talking to Katharine Houghton and Sidney Poitier on a couch

One of Prime’s older offerings, this classic drama from the '60s was one of the first films to depict interracial marriage positively (especially bold given that interracial marriage was still illegal in many states just months before the film’s release; watch Loving for more information on that). Sidney Poitier and Katharine Houghton play a recently engaged couple meeting each other’s family for the first time in what is an often tense, sometimes funny, and ultimately hopeful film. Katharine Hepburn, who plays the mother, snagged a Best Actress Oscar, and the film was nominated for 10 Oscars overall. Watching it serves as both a celebration of how far we’ve come as a society and a reminder of how difficult things were and still are for many couples from diverse backgrounds.

Watch it now on Amazon Prime.

Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

21.I Am Not Your Negro (2016)

Interview footage of James Baldwin

I Am Not Your Negro is not your typical talking heads documentary but, rather, Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck’s embodiment of James Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript Remember This House. The lauded writer of Go Tell It on the Mountain and Giovanni’s Room died before he could complete the work but left behind plenty of material exploring the history of racism in the United States through the lives of civil rights giants Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, and Martin Luther King Jr. The documentary, which is narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, combines archival footage, interviews, and Baldwin’s powerful prose to paint a picture of what it is like to live in America as a Black person. With a 99% on Rotten Tomatoes and an Oscar nomination to boot, it is required viewing.

Watch it now on Amazon Prime.

Magnolia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

22.Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

Oscar Isaac stands up against a car that Garrett Hedlund is in

I would like to begin this section with a direct appeal to Spotify: Dear Spotify executives, please put the entire Inside Llewyn Davis soundtrack on your site. Why do we only get three songs? I know it’s probably got something to do with legal things, but it’s rude nonetheless. Thank you. If, however, you would like to hear the entire soundtrack from this Coen brothers folk musical, you can watch it on Amazon Prime. Oscar Isaac plays the titular struggling folk singer as he tries to make sense of his life and sings haunting melodies in the process. My beloved Carey Mulligan and the scandal-shrouded Justin Timberlake also make appearances (although their song isn’t on Spotify). This underappreciated, lyrical film should have been showered with more awards and praise than it was. Sometimes the people just get it wrong.

Watch it now on Amazon Prime.

CBS Films / Courtesy Everett Collection

23.*Jack and Jill (2011)

Adam Sandler, dressed as a woman, rides in a car with Adam Sandler dressed as a man

I will not be reading the comments for this article, because I KNOW you all are going to rake me over the coals for this one, but this is actually an incredible film. Does it have a 3% on Rotten Tomatoes? Yes. Did it win every single Razzie the year it came out? Yes. But those reviewers were not watching this as the masterpiece of camp that it is. Send this film to the 2019 Met Gala! Adam Sandler (whose recent Hubie Halloween is also a winner) plays both Jack and Jill, fraternal twins, in this truly bonkers affair. It’s stuffed to bursting with product placement (Dunkin' Donuts, anyone?), Sandler is bouncing off the walls as Jill, and the writing often borders on nonsensical. And yet SOMEHOW, Sandler convinced Al Pacino to play himself in this film as the third-billed actor, AND convinced him to fall in love with Jill! Insane. Honestly, I have no idea how this fever dream of a film got made, but I’ve watched it several times, and I will watch it again. (Oh, and the Survivors loved it.)

Watch it now on Amazon Prime.

Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

24.Knives Out (2019)

Daniel Craig speaks while Ana de Armas sits on a knife chair behind him

You’ve got to love a classic whodunit, especially with an ensemble cast that's the caliber of this one. Rian Johnson’s mystery (so well written, its screenplay landed an Oscar nom) focuses on the death of Harlan Thrombey, a famous novelist, and the family desperate to scoop up his inheritance. I know that listing actors is boring, but just go with me here. We’ve got James Bond himself, Daniel Craig, and his future Bond girl/Ben Affleck’s former coffee-walks partner, Ana de Armas. America’s ass Chris Evans is there in a beautiful cable-knit sweater. Halloween badass/yogurt guru Jamie Lee Curtis is a suspect, as is two-time Oscar nominee Michael Shannon. Lime enthusiast Dakota Johnson’s dad, Don, is here, and so is perhaps the greatest living actor, Toni Collette. LaKeith Stanfield is here without his straw hat from Get Out, and so is 13 Reasons Why’s ghostly Katherine Langford. And just as a final flex, the casting director secured Pennywise’s favorite victim, Jaeden Martell, and the legendary Christopher Plummer, may he rest in peace. Like, really. It’s an all-star lineup, and they’ve got something similar planned for the sequel.

Watch it now on Amazon Prime.

Claire Folger / Lionsgate / Courtesy Everett Collection

25.The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019)

Jonathan Majors and Jimmie Fails stand on the roof of a house

In case you haven’t checked the news in the last decade, San Francisco is in the midst of (or perhaps ending) a MASSIVE wave of gentrification, thanks to the explosion of Silicon Valley, and the area’s being flooded by affluent white tech moguls. As a result, streets previously occupied by Black families are almost entirely white. Thus is the story of Jimmie Fails, who wrote this film based partially on his life. Here, he plays a man set on reclaiming his childhood Victorian home amid a gentrified neighborhood, lovingly taking care of the beautiful house behind its owners’ backs. Hauntingly poignant and tragically melancholy, the film, an indictment of gentrification, also engages with the pains of growing up, of change, and of having to say goodbye.

Watch it now on Amazon Prime.

A24 / Courtesy Everett Collection

26.*The Last King of Scotland (2006)

Forest Whitaker stands dressed as Idi Amin

There are movies that are narratives, and then there are movies that are performances. While the plot of this historical drama is certainly tragic and fascinating, it is swallowed whole by Forest Whitaker’s undeniable Oscar-winning performance as the dictator of Uganda Idi Amin. As told through the eyes of a doctor played by James McAvoy, the film details Amin’s coup of the Ugandan government in the '70s and his subsequent reign of terror leading to events surrounding the hijacked aircraft in Entebbe. Whitaker delivers a career-high performance, chewing up and spitting out the dialogue in a ferocious tear that demands to be watched.

Watch it now on Amazon Prime.

Fox Searchlight / Courtesy Everett Collection

27.Man Made (2018)

Mason, a trans man, competes in a bodybuilding competition

Bodybuilding is an exacting sport that requires months of thankless precision in dieting and exercise. It’s difficult for the cis men who tackle the challenge, but for trans men, it’s even more daunting. T Cooper’s inspiring documentary follows four transgender men as they prepare to compete in the world's only all-trans bodybuilding competition. We follow these men through their daily lives, through their relationships, through their workouts, and through their transitions, becoming intimately aware of the daily struggles that affect those in the transgender community. But beneath the adversity, this is foremost a portrait of triumph as these four men push back against gender norms and stereotypes to do what they love most and be who they truly are.

Watch it now on Amazon Prime.

Frameline

28.Manchester by the Sea (2016)

Case Affleck and Lucas Hedges walk down a road

Manchester by the Sea is a beautiful, if disastrously depressing film written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan. Michelle Williams and Casey Affleck both give incredible performances (even if Casey’s more recent controversies have detracted from his star power). But what I’d like to discuss is the birth of Lucas Hedges into the American consciousness. Hedges plays Patrick, a 16-year-old with a THICK Boston accent, who goes to live with his depressed uncle (Affleck) after the death of his father. His performance is so strong that it nabbed him a rare young male Oscar nomination and launched him into lead roles in subsequent films like Ben Is Back and Boy Erased. He would also go on to become an A24 darling in films like Lady Bird and Waves. Just as I couldn’t stop looking at this recent photo of him, I was transfixed by his presence here and have loved watching his journey to stardom.

Watch it now on Amazon Prime.

Claire Folger / Roadside Attractions / Courtesy Everett Collection

29.*Marie Antoinette (2006)

Kirsten Dunst and Danny Huston sit at tea wearing prerevolution French finery

Let them eat cake, but if they don’t have cake, they can at least feast their eyes on this lush historical drama from the mind of Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation, The Bling Ring, On the Rocks). The film, which won the Oscar for Best Costume Design, follows the queen of France, Marie Antoinette, in the years before she famously lost her head at the guillotine. American treasure and frequent Coppola collaborator Kirsten Dunst plays the queen (head still intact) in her life of extravagance. Comedic actors Steve Coogan, Rose Byrne, and Molly Shannon all make appearances as we watch this group of aristocratic elite, out of touch with society, on their slow march to eventual doom.

Watch it now on Amazon Prime.

Sony Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

30.Midsommar (2019)

Florence Pugh crying with a bunch of women surrounding her

Where do I even begin to describe my love of this horror film? Directed by Ari Aster (whose Hereditary is somehow even better), Midsommar follows a group of friends who travel to Sweden for a folk festival. Only, instead of a normal village, there's something menacing and mysterious at play. Aster does the seemingly impossible job of making a field in broad daylight scarier than the dark, and the dread he creates in these scenes is palpable. At the center of this detailed masterpiece is Florence Pugh’s breakout performance as a grieving woman, whose family just died, on vacation with a boyfriend. It’s terrifying. It’s beautiful. It’s oddly cathartic. Although I will never forgive it for teaching me what a blood eagle is.

Watch it now on Amazon Prime.

A24 / Courtesy Everett Collection

31.*On the Waterfront (1954)

Eva Marie Saint talking with Marlon Brando

It’s hard to find something that qualifies as a “classic film” more soundly than this '50s gangster drama. Starring Marlon Brando, whom you probably know from The Godfather, although he’s much younger and less mealymouthed here, the film focuses on the corruption from the mob taking place on the docks (hence the “waterfront”). The movie was nominated for 12 Oscars and won eight of them, including Best Picture, Director, Actor (Brando), Screenplay, and Cinematography. It also won Eva Marie Saint a Best Supporting Actress Oscar, even though it was her debut film performance. Saint is now 97, and the young folks may remember her as the little old lady in Because of Winn-Dixie (but that might just be a me thing).

Watch it now on Amazon Prime.

Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

32.One Night in Miami (2020)

Leslie Odom Jr. performs as Sam Cooke

In 1964, famed African American civil rights activist Malcolm X, boxer Muhammad Ali, football star Jim Brown, and singer Sam Cooke all spent an evening together in a hotel room in Miami. This historic meeting serves as the basis for this film, directed by Regina King (a previously Oscar-winning actor) and adapted by Kemp Powers, who also wrote the play and Pixar's Soul (big year for him!). Focusing on the relationships between these four great men, the film creates fictional dialogue that aims to unpack race, privilege, and the responsibility that comes with fame. Hamilton’s Leslie Odom Jr. plays Cooke (a performance for which he was Oscar-nominated), but it's Kingsley Ben-Adir’s take on Malcolm X that is most captivating. Never has such a long stay in a hotel room been so interesting.

Watch it now on Amazon Prime.

Amazon Studios / Courtesy Everett Collection

33.Pride (2014)

Imelda Staunton and Andrew Scott talk in a doorway

I LOVE to promote a good LGBTQ film, and this funny little historical British dramedy is a fantastic one. Back in 1984, during a British miners’ strike, gay activist Mark Ashton (Ben Schnetzer) realized that the police were too busy focused on the miners to focus on their usual harassment of the gay community, and so he started the alliance Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners to help a fellow group of oppressed folks. It’s this fight by the LGBTQ community on behalf of the labor class that serves as the plot here. Hot priest Andrew Scott is here, along with 1917’s George MacKay and Professor Umbridge, aka Imelda Staunton. The film is charming and uplifting and shows you how underdogs helping underdogs can do a lot of good for everyone.

Watch it now on Amazon Prime.

20th Century Fox

34.*Rear Window (1954)

Grace Kelly and James Stewart look out a window with a pair of binoculars

We’ve had a lot of “I saw a murder out my window” movies recently, with The Woman in the Window and The Girl on the Train, but this Alfred Hitchcock classic is the original. Jimmy Stewart’s Jeff is laid up in New York City's Greenwich Village with a broken leg and has nothing to do to amuse himself but look out his window. When he believes he’s seen one of his neighbors murder his wife, however, Jeff and his girlfriend, played by Grace Kelly, set out to investigate. What starts as curiosity quickly leads them in over their head. The film is a staple in the American canon and is CONSTANTLY referred to or riffed on, so really, you owe it to yourself to see the original.

Watch it now on Amazon Prime.

Paramount Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

35.Revolutionary Road (2008)

Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio get cozy and laugh on a couch

Titanic stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, forever forged together through the press surrounding that mega blockbuster, have famously remained friends. So it was not particularly surprising, then, when the two reunited to costar in this romantic drama from Sam Mendes (1917). The pair play the Wheelers, a '50s couple living what is seemingly the perfect suburban Connecticut life, only to be suffocated under malaise, boredom, and the breakdown of their marriage. As with Titanic, this is a romantic tragedy, and also as with Titanic, Kathy Bates is there. It’s not a happy movie, but it’s fascinating to watch these two great actors do their thing. If only there were a Celine Dion song thrown in.

Watch it now on Amazon Prime.

DreamWorks / Courtesy Everett Collection

36.Short Term 12 (2013)

Brie Larson sits beside LaKeith Stanfield

I don’t know what was happening on the set of Short Term 12, but someone had a rabbit's foot or made a deal with the Illuminati, because truly, everyone in this tiny indie drama has gone on to have their careers BLOW UP! There’s Captain Marvel herself Brie Larson. There’s Booksmart’s scene-stealer, Kaitlyn Dever. There’s Best Actor/Freddie Mercury impersonator Rami Malek. There’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Stephanie Beatriz. And of course, there is very recent Oscar nominee for Judas and the Black Messiah LaKeith Stanfield. This film, which focuses on a group home for troubled teenagers, is funny and sad and heartwarming in its own right, but watching all your current faves’ younger selves is a trip.

Watch it now on Amazon Prime.

Cinedigm / Courtesy Everett Collection

37.Sound of Metal (2019)

Riz Ahmed plays the drums shirtless

One of this year’s freshly minted Best Picture nominees, Sound of Metal follows Ruben, a heavy metal drummer who comes to the (at first) horrifying realization that he is losing his hearing. The indie drama, which continued to pick up more steam and accolades through the awards season, stars Riz Ahmed in the lead as he mourns his hearing and struggles to find ways to cope. Both he and Paul Raci, who plays the deaf leader of a shelter for recovering addicts, landed Oscar noms for their performances, and Olivia Cooke, who plays Ruben’s girlfriend, rightfully should have received one too. This fascinating film also substantiates my mom’s claim that "you are going to lose your hearing from turning the radio up too loud."

Watch it now on Amazon Prime.

Amazon / Courtesy Everett Collection

38.The Terminator (1984)

Arnold Schwarzenegger aims a machine gun

“I’ll be back.” This Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi action film not only has gone on to spawn multiple spinoffs but also gave us some of the most quotable lines in cinema history. The former governor of California plays an evil AI cyborg assassin sent back in time to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), the woman who will eventually give birth to the man who will save humankind. While the later films in the franchise are more action-focused, the original is basically a horror film, with the Terminator killing anyone who gets in the way of him murdering Sarah. Watch your favorite Austrian bodybuilder deliver his classic lines before his fake skin is melted off and he turns into a terrifying, red-eyed robot.

Watch it now on Amazon Prime.

Orion / Courtesy Everett Collection

39.Time (2020)

Fox Rich sits at her desk

Rarely do we get a documentary as raw and moving as Time. The film follows Fox Rich, using over 25 years’ worth of home videos, as she fights tirelessly for her husband, Rob, who is serving time in prison for his participation in an armed bank robbery, to be granted clemency. What filmmaker Garrett Bradley thought would be a short film turned into a feature when Fox handed her over 100 hours' worth of home video footage taken while her husband was in prison. Bradley then took the home videos and her own footage, converted it all to stunning black and white, and built the moving, 81-minute final product. The documentary, which was nominated for an Oscar, vividly shows the flaws of the criminal justice system and how that can deeply affect the families of those struggling through it. It’s a beautiful statement about what can be accomplished if you try hard enough, and how important it is to have someone steadily in your corner.

Watch it now on Amazon Prime.

Amazon Studios / Courtesy Everett Collection

40.*The Tomorrow War (2021)

Chris Pratt, Edwin Hodge, and Sam Richardson aim guns

A recent 2021 release, this Chris Pratt sci-fi film is set in a world in which aliens overrun the planet in 30 years' time. The future, therefore, is drafting humans from the present to time-travel to the future to fight off the aliens in order to save humanity. Pratt, playing a former Green Beret, is drafted alongside a ragtag crew that includes Sam Richardson (Veep) and Mary Lynn Rajskub (aka Gail the Snail from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia). While the time travel logistics are a bit murky, the action sequences (especially one on a giant oil rig–styled military base) are incredible, and the monsters will give you nightmares.

Watch it now on Amazon Prime.

Frank Masi / Amazon Studios / Courtesy Everett Collection

41.*Vertigo (1958)

James Stewart hands Kim Novak a teacup

Alfred Hitchcock is a master of the psychological thriller, and nowhere is that made more apparent than in Vertigo. Starring Jimmy Stewart, the film focuses on a former police officer who was pulled from the line of duty after a rooftop chase led him to develop a fear of heights as well as vertigo. In retirement, however, he is called upon by a friend from college to investigate his wife, who is behaving oddly (played by Kim Novak). What follows is a twisty cat-and-mouse game of identity and fear, culminating in a bell tower scene that is one for the ages. And don’t let its age fool you — this movie is just as suspenseful as anything being made today. Don’t trust me? Give it a try.

Watch it now on Amazon Prime.

Paramount Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

* Denotes title that has been newly added to Amazon Prime for July.

Sign up for Amazon Prime for $12.99/month or try out a 30-day trial for free.