Veteran subscribers would agree that the ever-evolving catalog of movies on Amazon Prime Video is in endless supply. There is almost too much to choose from, which often leads to more time scrolling to find the best movies on Amazon Prime Video than actually spent enjoying the film.
This is something any movie buff can empathize with, as some might start the night interested in an action-packed romance before wanting something more fantastic with a humorous twist. Then, there are moments when the young ones pop in wanting to join in on the fun, meaning something more family-friendly is in order.
Luckily, you can find all of that and more on Amazon Prime. Of course, as any frequent streamer should know, access to that much content is both a blessing and a curse. Allow us to help narrow down your search with our picks for the best movies currently available to stream as of January 1, 2022, unless otherwise specified.
Being The Ricardos (2021)
TV icons Lucille Ball (Nicole Kidman) and Desi Arnaz (Javier Bardem) struggle to overcome problems affecting their careers and their relationship during one “tense week.” A powerhouse, all-star cast brings writer and director Aaron Sorkin’s razor sharp dialogue to enriching life in Being the Ricardos – a dazzling, Amazon Prime original drama inspired by the stars of the legendary sitcom I Love Lucy.
Stream Being the Ricards on Amazon Prime.
The Terminator (1984)
A soldier (Michael Biehn) from a post-apocalyptic, wartorn future travels back to the 1980s to protect a waitress (Linda Hamilton) who holds the key to humanity’s survival from an unstoppable cyborg that looks human (Arnold Schwarzenegger). Writer and director James Cameron’s sci-fi/action/slasher hybrid The Terminator remains one of the most influential and enduringly iconic films of any kind.
Stream The Terminator on Amazon Prime.
Also try streaming RoboCop on Amazon Prime.
127 Hours (2010)
A mountain climber (James Franco) is forced to make a horrifying decision in order to survive when he becomes trapped under a boulder in Utah’s Moab desert. Based on Aron Ralston’s memoir Between a Rock and a Hard Place, director Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours is one of most harrowing, yet inspiring, biopics you will ever see.
Stream 127 Hours on Amazon Prime.
The Great Escape (1963)
A group of ambitious POWs conspire to free hundreds of fellow prisoners from a German detention camp during World War II. Inspired by a true story, The Great Escape is a timeless, endlessly thrilling adventure and one of the best Steve McQueen movies of the iconic, late actor’s seminal career.
Stream The Great Escape on Amazon Prime.
A space-traveling outlaw (Bill Pullman) and his half-man, half-dog companion (John Candy) are tasked with rescuing a runaway princess (Daphne Zuniga), making them a target of a ruthless, helmeted imperial lord (Rick Moranis). If that sounds a lot like the plot of Star Wars, it is because Spaceballs is writer, director, and star Mel Brooks’ fun, witty spoof of the sci-fi franchise with its own cult following of devoted fans.
Stream Spaceballs on Amazon Prime.
An aimless, middle-aged bouncer (Seann William Scott) gets a second chance to impress his family and at life when he becomes a semi-pro hockey team’s violent secret weapon. Jay Baruchel and fellow Canadian comedy writer Evan Goldberg adapted Adam Frattasio’s novel Goon into, arguably, one of the funniest and simply best hockey movies ever made.
Stream Goon on Amazon Prime.
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994)
An eccentric private investigator (Jim Carrey) who specializes in cases involving animals is hired to find the Miami Dolphins’ missing mascot, leading him to uncover a fascinating and potentially deadly NFL secret. Of the many great Jim Carrey movies you could label as the one that made him a comedy icon, you could make a good case for Ace Ventura: Pet Detective based on his ceaselessly and shamelessly goofy performance in the title role.
Stream Ace Ventura: Pet Detective on Amazon Prime.
Also try streaming Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls On Amazon Prime.
Mission: Impossible (1996)
A secret agent (Tom Cruise) of the Impossible Mission Force must go rogue in order to find the spy that framed him for disloyalty after an assignment goes horribly wrong. Brian De Palma directs and Cruise produces the clever, thrilling first installment of the ongoing Mission: Impossible movies franchise, inspired by the hit TV series of the same name.
Stream Mission: Impossible on Amazon Prime.
Also try streaming Mission: Impossible 2 on Amazon Prime.
Also try streaming Mission: Impossible III on Amazon Prime.
Also try streaming Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol on Amazon Prime.
Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
A disillusioned Idaho teen (Jon Heder) tries to help his new best friend (Efren Ramirez) become elected class president. That is just one way to describe the scattered plot of director Jared Hess’ hilarious cult classic Napoleon Dynamite, which is more of a quirky, character-driven study of life in rural America than a straight-forward narrative.
Stream Napoleon Dynamite on Amazon Prime.
A street guitarist (Glen Hansard) and a Czech pianist (Markéta Irglová) fall in love through their mutual passion for music after a chance meeting in Dublin. From future Sing Street director John Carney, Once is a beautiful romantic drama that would win the Oscar for Best Original Song for its sweeping centerpiece track, “Falling Slowly.”
Stream Once on Amazon Prime.
A crew of experienced commandos meet their match when a lone, extra-terrestrial warrior begins hunting them one-by-one in a Central American jungle. From Die Hard director John McTiernan and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Predator is one of the most badass popcorn movies of its kind.
Stream Predator on Amazon Prime.
Runaway Bride (1999)
A columnist thinks he may have found the story of his career in a woman infamous for leaving grooms at the altar who has become engaged a fourth time. Director Garry Marshall reunites his Pretty Woman stars Richard Gere and Julia Roberts for Runaway Bride – a romantic comedy about how hard it really can be to find the right person.
Stream Runaway Bride on Amazon Prime.
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
A group of paratroopers risk their lives to find and bring home a soldier (Matt Damon) after each of his brothers were killed in action during World War II. Directed to Oscar-winning acclaim by Steven Spielberg and featuring a star-studded cast led by Tom Hanks, Saving Private Ryan is one of the most emotionally arresting and stunningly realistic depictions of war ever captured on film.
Stream Saving Private Ryan on Amazon Prime.
A woman (Clare Higgins) begins luring men into her home so her dead, former lover – also her husband’s brother – can feed on their flesh to become whole again and escape persecution from a group of demonic entities. Based on the novella by director Clive Barker, Hellraiser is an ingeniously disturbing and visually inventive cautionary tale that introduced the world to the iconic horror villain now known as Pinhead (Doug Bradley).
Stream Hellraiser on Amazon Prime.
Also try streaming Hellbound: Hellraiser II on Amazon Prime.
Sister Act (1992)
After learning her boyfriend (Harvey Keitel) is a mobster, a lounge singer (Whoopi Goldberg) goes into hiding at a convent where she introduces a Motown flavor to its choir. It’s hard not to get into the habit of enjoying Sister Act – one of Oscar winner Goldberg’s most famous and fun comedies.
Stream Sister Act on Amazon Prime.
Super Troopers (2002)
A group of playful highway patrolmen try to nab a local drug ring before a rival police department does in a last-ditch effort to save their jobs. The comedy troupe Broken Lizard became household names with Super Troopers – an undeniably low-brow, but irresistibly uproarious, comedy cult classic.
Stream Super Troopers on Amazon Prime.
The Descendants (2011)
A man struggles to reconnect with his two daughters after becoming a widower and after learning a dark secret about his wife following her untimely death. Director Alexander Payne shared a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar win with Nat Faxon and Jim Rash for The Descendants – a dramedy that sees George Clooeny in one of his most affectionate performances.
Stream The Descendants on Amazon Prime.
The Preacher’s Wife (1996)
An angel (Denzel Washington) is sent to earth to help a reverend (Courtney B. Vance) save his church and his relationship with his spouse (Whitney Houston). Directed by Penny Marshall, The Preacher’s Wife is a wonderful, romantic story inspired by Robert Nathan’s novel, The Bishop’s Wife.
Stream The Preacher’s Wife on Amazon Prime.
The Prestige (2006)
The friendship between two professional magicians (Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale) evolves into a dangerous rivalry as they spend years trying to outdo one another with the better act. Already a master of suspense with Memento and action spectacle with Batman Begins, The Prestige is the twisted drama that labeled Christopher Nolan as a master of subversive storytelling.
Stream The Prestige on Amazon Prime.
A used car salesman’s (William H. Macy) plan to have his wife kidnapped for ransom spirals wildly out of control, catching the attention of a pregnant police chief (Academy Award winner Frances McDormand) in rural Minnesota. Already masters of crime fiction with Blood Simple and comedy with Raising Arizona, Fargo is the acclaimed classic that labeled Joel and Ethan Coen as masters of fusing both genres into one.
Stream Fargo on Amazon Prime.
Beasts Of The Southern Wild (2012)
A young girl (Quvenzhané Wallis) must brave natural disasters and circumstances of a more fantastic nature in her impoverished Louisiana community when her father (Dwight Henry) falls ill. Wallis became the youngest Oscar nominee on record at 9 years old for her stunning debut performance in Beasts of the Southern Wild, which is one part fairy tale and one part cautionary tale with an urgent environmental message.
Stream Beasts of the Southern Wild on Amazon Prime.
An angsty, unpopular high school student becomes embroiled in a violent battle with the criminal underworld when he decides to become a costumed vigilante, despite having no special ability or formal training. Before his one-time appearance in the Marvel movies as Quicksilver, Aaron Taylor-Johnson played the title role of director Matthew Vaughn’s adaptation of Mark Millar’s Kick-Ass – one of the most brutally violent, but endearingly fun, superhero movies ever made.
Stream Kick-Ass on Amazon Prime.
The Great Debaters (2007)
A professor (Denzel Washington) helps form the first debate team at Texas’ Wiley College and leads them in the national championship against Harvard University while facing racial and gender discrimination in the 1930s. Washington also directs The Great Debaters – an inspiring drama based on a true story.
Stream The Great Debaters on Amazon Prime.
Jennifer’s Body (2009)
A high school student (Amanda Seyfriend) begins to suspect that her more popular (and more conceited) best friend (Megan Fox) is the cause of a series of grisly deaths after exhibiting strange behavior. From Academy Award-winning writer Diablo Cody and director Karyn Kusama, Jennifer’s Body has gained an impressive cult following as one of the sharpest, wittiest coming-of-age horror movies of the modern era.
Stream Jennifer’s Body on Amazon Prime.
Little Women (1994)
The four March sisters (Winona Ryder, Claire Danes, Kirsten Dunst, and Trini Alvarado) find love and self-expression in Civil War-era Massachusetts. Before Greta Gerwig reintroduced this story to the mainstream in 2019, director Gillian Armstrong’s Little Women was the definitive adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s seminal novel.
Stream Little Women on Amazon Prime.
Sleepless In Seattle (1993)
A Baltimore journalist (Meg Ryan) falls for a widowed father (Tom Hanks) after hearing him tell his story on a call-in radio show. Of the three classic romantic comedies that Hanks and Ryan have starred in together, Nora Ephron’s Sleepless in Seattle would have to be the most honest, heartfelt, and timeless.
Stream Sleepless in Seattle on Amazon Prime.
The Usual Suspects (1995)
The sole survivor of a deadly gunfight (Kevin Spacey) recalls the story of what led to the violent standoff to a U.S. Customs agent (Chazz Palmenteri). Written by Mission: Impossible movies director Christopher McQuarrie, The Usual Suspects is one of the most acclaimed and influential mystery thrillers of its time, especially for its killer twist ending.
Stream The Usual Suspects on Amazon Prime.
Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
A penniless, homeless musician (Oscar Isaac) struggles to hold onto hope and his own ambition during one volatile week in his life. Set against the Greenwich Village folk scene of the early 1960s, Inside Llewyn Davis is a star-studded, thoroughly fascinating, darkly witty period drama that only Joel and Ethan Coen could create.
Stream Inside Llewyn Davis on Amazon Prime.
It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
A desperate businessman (James Stewart) believing the world would be better off without him is visited by his guardian angel (Henry Travers), who shows him a dismal alternate reality in which his wish has come true. Despite not having very much to do with Christmas plot-wise, the inspirational, beautifully told story of Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life has nonetheless become a holiday tradition.
Stream It’s a Wonderful Life on Amazon Prime.
A space freighter crew answers a distress call that ultimately leaves them trapped on their vessel with a dangerous, malignant creature onboard. Director Ridley Scott’s Alien is a brilliant combination of a sci-fi creature feature with a slasher thriller before the genre had even been properly defined and made future Academy Award nominee Sigourney Weaver into one of the top Scream Queens of all time.
Stream Alien on Amazon Prime.
The Bad News Bears (1976)
A drunken, disgraced former professional baseball player (Walter Matthau) is tasked with coaching a little league team of unlikely athletes against their extremely competitive rivals. In addition to being one of the best sports movies and one of the best ‘70s movies, the original version of The Bad News Bears is simply a fun time, especially for its brave attempt at adult humor despite a predominantly juvenile cast.
Stream The Bad News Bears on Amazon Prime.
Do The Right Thing (1989)
On the hottest day of the year, the only thing heating up faster is racial tension between a diverse group of New Yorkers. Writer, director, and star Spike Lee received his first Oscar nomination for Do the Right Thing – a stirring, poignant, and beautifully acted slice-of-life drama that is more timely today than ever.
Stream Do the Right Thing on Amazon Prime.
In his first Academy Award-winning role, Tom Hanks plays a lawyer fired when his AIDS diagnosis is exposed, but believes his homosexuality is the true cause. He hires a homophobic attorney (Denzel Washington) to help sue his firm for discrimination in Philadelphia, a powerful social commentary disguised as a legal drama from director Jonathan Demme.
Stream Philadelphia on Amazon Prime.
The Farewell (2019)
Comedian Awkwafina became the first Asian-American actress to win a Golden Globe for a performance in a feature film for the A24 produced dramedy The Farewell, in which a Chinese family gather to await the impending death of their unwitting matriarch.
Stream The Farewell on Amazon Prime.
Riz Ahmed received a Golden Globe and Oscar nomination for his performance in the powerful, heartbreaking, and inventively executed Amazon Prime original Sound of Metal as a rock and roll drummer struggling with his own identity and purpose when he begins to lose his hearing.
Stream Sound of Metal on Amazon Prime.
One Night In Miami (2020)
In her first feature-length directorial effort, Academy Award-winning actress Regina King guides four actors at the top of their game (Leslie Odom Jr., Aldis Hodge, Kingsley Ben-Adir, and Eli Goree) as four of the most famous faces of the 1960s civil rights movement in their prime in One Night in Miami, which writer Kemp Powers’ also adapts from his own acclaimed stage play.
Stream One Night in Miami on Amazon Prime.
With the recent resurgence of Twilight Zone-esque anthology TV series, many films have unsurprisingly attempted to emulate similar styles of analogous, sci-fi social commentary, with Vivarium (starring Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg trapped in a terrifying maze bearing a soulless resemblance to an idyllic suburb) being one of the more unique and persistently unnerving.
Stream Vivarium on Amazon Prime.
Also try streaming The Vast of Night on Amazon Prime.
Well, a subscriber to the streaming giant certainly cannot ask for a better assortment of flicks for the ultimate binge. Check back to see what other classics have been added or removed from Amazon Prime Video next month.