The 30 best movies on Amazon Prime (December 2019)

Gem Seddon
An image from The Handmaiden - one of the best movies on Amazon Prime Video

Back in the day, Amazon Prime was a speedy way to get last-minute items delivered all for the cost of an annual membership. Today? It’s so much more than an opportunity to order a vat of llama lard – it’s a thing, we checked – and have it arrive within an hour. It’s the chance to binge a heckload of top-notch films also thrown in with your subscription fee. Now easily rivalling the likes of Netflix, it’s still nevertheless a challenge to locate the very best movies on Amazon Prime. While some absolute crackers are in plain sight, right there on the main menu, many remain hidden. 

But, but, but HOW will you find these supposed gems? Easy. We here at GamesRadar+ love a good bingewatch, so we’ve done the hard work for you, wading through a host of clangers to arrive here at this carefully curated list of the 30 best movies on Amazon Prime. No matter your preference, there’s bound to be a film to take your fancy in this lot, with every genre included alongside golden oldies and newer classics. So go forth and stream!

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30. Election (1999)

Election

Region: UK

The movie: Some of the best teen movies ever made came out in the ‘90s, and yet Election isn’t quite your standard teen flick. Is it frivolous? Does it have sex, drugs, rock n’ roll? Okay, is there a high school in it? All of those are part of the fabric of Election, that focuses on the ambitions of Enid Flick (Reese Witherspoon), a go-getter who will steamroll anyone that threatens her bid for class president. That includes Jim McAllister (Matthew Broderick), a social studies teacher whose irritation with Enid’s power kick becomes his downfall.

Why it’s worth a watch: It’s unlike any other high school movie. McAllister isn’t your typical teen movie teacher; he’s not cheering for the ambitious girl, he *wants* Enid to fail. Likewise, Enid’s smugness is neither flattering nor admirable. With characters that are hard to categorise – are they “good” or “bad”? – Election’s twists and turns continue to surprise right until the end. The best part? Tracy’s opponent, Paul Metzler’s younger sister Tammy, and her attempt to overthrow the whole thing. 

29. The Conversation (1974)

The Conversation is one of the best movies on Amazon Prime

Region: US

The movie: Between work on The Godfather and its sequel, Francis Ford Coppola dove straight into this low-fi espionage thriller, that stars Gene Hackman as surveillance expert Harry Caul. Hired by an unseen client through an intermediary (played by a pre-Star Wars Harrison Ford), Caul is tasked with tailing a couple and records a rather cryptic conversation between the two. The Conversation is oft-seen as Coppola’s reaction to the Watergate scandal and, whatever you make of it, it’s a damn fine paranoia parable. 

Why it’s worth a watch: One of the few times that a director has lost to himself at the Oscars! Yep, two of Coppola’s movies were nominated in 1975, The Conversation and The Godfather Part 2, with the latter scooping up the Best Picture gong. It’s chilling to watch a film that’s nearly half a decade old and realise the tensions at its core remain the same today.

28. Lady Bird (2017)

Lady Bird is one of the best movies on Amazon Prime

Region: US

The movie: Greta Gerwig makes a flawless transition behind the camera in her directorial debut. Bringing the witty banter she often infuses her scripts with to this tale of ‘90s teen angst, it’s simply one of the best movies of the year. On the cusp of heading to university, Lady Bird (Saoirse Ronan) tries to figure out life in all its forms in her hometown of Sacramento, California. All of her relationships go through the ringer. How she deals with her mom (a superb Laurie Metcalf who was robbed of an Oscar), how she figures out the truth about her first boyfriend (you will cry) and how to maintain her best friendship. It’s simply one of the best movies of the last year. 

Why it’s worth a watch: Much like this year’s Eighth Grade, Lady Bird feels like this is the first time we’re seeing this particular coming-of-age experience on screen. It’s funny as hell right off the bat, as Metcalf and Ronan take verbal sparring to the next level, and takes sharp swerves into emotional, tear-jerking terrain with ease. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll love these characters.

27. Dog Soldiers (2002)

Dog Soldiers is one of the best movies on Amazon Prime

Region: US

The movie: Neil Marshall’s Dog Soldiers takes place in the Scottish Highlands, a location that boasts plenty of natural beauty, yet in this instance they’re also home to something else. Something with teeth. A group of British soldiers tasked with a nighttime training exercise against a Special Ops team in the Highlands quickly discover their training has been derailed when only one person remains of the Special Ops crew. The rest, ripped apart by unseen beasts. Luckily, there’s a farmhouse nearby where they can wait out the Full Moon. 

Why it’s worth a watch: Vampires had a major resurgence in the last 20 years. Werewolf movies? Not so much. Dog Soldiers remedies that, playing like a fantastic ‘80s genre flick loaded with gross-out, bloodied action and one-liners galore. A glorious mash of horror, thriller and action, you can’t go wrong with this R-rated gem.

26. Escape from New York (1981)

Escape From New York is one of the best movies on Amazon Prime

Region: US

The movie: Kurt Russell and John Carpenter’s second collaboration is a slice of '80s action brilliance that set the bar high for genre movies. In this mash of sci-fi, action and at times, horror, Manhattan is no longer a bustling metropolis, it's the only maximum-security prison in the whole of the United States. And guess what? Air Force One has crash-landed slap in the middle of it and the President is missing. Enter: tough-as-nails prisoner Snake Plissken. Not content with having the most ostentatious name that side of Stacker Pentecost, he’s also a mean haggler, wangling a deal for freedom if he rescues the commander-in-chief in 24 hours. 

Why it's worth a watch: Recent years have seen a slew of dystopias onscreen, but most of those involved teens and trust us; Carpenter's vision of a world gone to hell is way more harrowing than anything Katniss and co. face. Ruinous and decrepit, crooked and broken... and that's just those in charge. 

25. Paddington 2 (2017)

Paddington 2 one of the best movies on Amazon Prime

Region: UK

The movie: Paddington Bear returns for his second big-screen feature. This time, he’s become a regular fixture on his street, having settled in with the Brown family and found his place in the world. Eager to give his Aunt Lucy the best birthday present ever, he saves his money in the hopes of buying her a magical antique pop-up book. Alas, poor Paddington’s plan is scuppered when a thief steals the tome and the marmalade-loving bear is mistakenly arrested for the crime. 

Why it’s worth a watch: Is Paddington 2 better than Paddington? The mere fact of asking that question should really say everything about how damn good this movie is. Still rocking a 100% Rotten Tomatoes rating two years after its release, this sweet, kind-hearted, and surprisingly action-packed flick is guaranteed to hit you in the feels.

24. Coherence (2013)

Coherence is one of the best movies on Amazon Prime

Region: US

The movie: Proof that you don’t need a million dollars to create suspense and genuine character interactions, writer-director James Ward Byrkit delivers one of the best low-budget genre movies of the last decade. Eight friends meet for a dinner party on the same night that a comet passes through Earth’s atmosphere. On an ordinary evening, that might provide a conversational spark, but on this night all bets are off, as the group start to experience some seriously strange occurrences. Side effects of the celestial event, or, is there something else at play? 

Why it’s worth a watch: It’s hard to say why you should see Coherence without utterly spoiling it. Like The Invitation, another superb dinner party movie that changes course, this movie is best watched with very little knowledge of what’s about to happen. This is glorious filmmaking; proof that a shoestring budget and no script can lead to excellence.

23. The Big Sick (2017)

The Big Sick is one of the best movies on Amazon Prime

Region: UK, US

The movie: Silicon Valley’s Kumail Nanjiani writes and stars in this comedy based on his own marriage. The trials of cross-cultural romance come under scrutiny as stand-up comic Kumail falls for an American student at one of his shows. Not exactly the life his Muslim parents had in mind for him, but that’s the least of his concerns; shortly after they start dating, Emily falls into a coma, leaving Kumail to have to deal with her parents.

Why it’s worth a watch: Billed as a traditional romantic comedy, The Big Sick has a lot more heart and edge than the posters and trailers would have you believe. The chemistry between Nanjiani and Holly Hunter and Ray Romano - as Emily’s parents - provides most of the real grit. Realistic, and proof that there is still a lot of originality left in the genre, The Big Sick is one of the best movies on Amazon Prime Video.

22. Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)

Mission: Impossible - Fallout is one of the best movies on Amazon Prime

Region: US

The movie: Where the fourth entry in the Mission: Impossible series hit the ground running following a five-year break, it seemed… uhhh, impossible, for another sequel to somehow better that kinetic frenzy. Somehow, Rogue Nation did. Now, director Christopher McQuarrie does it yet again with Fallout, finding that sweet spot of plot, action, and making Tom Cruise risk his life to deliver another pulse-pounding piece of cinema. Ethan Hunt returns to scale heights and throw caution to the wind, typically at the same time, with his IMF crew in tow. This time the gang are in pursuit of a terrorist group planning to detonate three plutonium cores simultaneously across the globe. 

Why it’s worth a watch: Let’s get this out of the way now – no-one watches the Mission: Impossible franchise for its strict adherence to reality. No. We watch for the bombastic stunts and seemingly nonsensical feats of action bravura and Henry Cavill’s ability to grow a moustache by recharging his fists. Cruise and co. crank things up to 11 and re-establish the series as arguably the best ongoing action franchise. Roll on MI7.

21. A Quiet Place (2018)

A Quiet Place is one of the best movies on Amazon Prime

Region: US

The movie: Following an alien invasion, the world has moved on. A race of scuttling extraterrestrials sensitive to sound now permeate the Earth, making human lives a different proposition. Just ask the Abbott family, led by Evelyn (Emily Blunt), her husband Lee (John Krasinski), and their children Regan, Marcus and Beau, who have lived in near-silence for years as a way to keep the beasts at bay. What begins as a normal day trip for Lee and Marcus quickly turns to a monster fight. 

Why it’s worth a watch: Oh, aside from the fact that everyone and their mother and their mother’s tennis partner were talking about it last year? A horror that will shred your nerves and have you hardly breathing, nevermind talking, Krasinski’s directorial debut is a superb exercise in terror-filled set pieces. Oh, and we're getting a sequel soon...

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20. Fight Club (1999)

Fight Club is one of the best movies on Amazon Prime

Region: UK

The movie: Another ‘90s Fincher flick that aims to disrupt what you think you know is happening on screen. Based on Chuck Palahniuk’s neo-noir tome, Fight Club takes the behaviours of angry young men and spins them into a story that deviates into ever more nihilistic turns. Edward Norton’s unnamed narrator meets Brad Pitt’s effortlessly cool Tyler Durden on a plane, where the two become acquaintances of a sort, bonding over their desire to feel something. That need swells into a movement that unites men from all over to join them in a series of underground fight clubs.

Why it’s worth a watch: The story is more relevant now perhaps than at the time of release, with its emphasis on young white men struggling to handle their future. Cinematically, this is all about the gorgeous visuals, the at-times kaleidoscopic cinematography, and of course, that mind-boggling twist. Keep your eyes peeled for the outstanding opening credits sequence that is *chef’s kiss*.

19. The Big Lebowski (1998)

The Big Lebowski is one of the best movies on Amazon Prime

Region: UK

The movie: It’s hard to say what’s the absolute best Coen Brothers movie. Mine’s a split between The Hudsucker Proxy and Fargo, but it’s easier to say which film has had the bigger impact on pop culture. Responsible for a million dorm room posters, and justifying a million skipped classes in favour of chillin’ out, it’s got to be The Big Lebowski. A madcap caper that’s brimming with terrific performances, it follows Jeffrey “The Dude’ Lebowski, a slacker, bowler and White Russian aficionado as he becomes embroiled in a case of mistaken identity. To be honest, the deranged plotting doesn’t really matter, this is all about the journey. Oh, and the rug. It really did tie the room together.

Why it’s worth a watch: It’s a breezy watch that continues, to paraphrase The Dude, to bring new shit to light with every viewing. From its endlessly quotable dialogue, lifetime best performances (John Goodman is brilliant), and whacked-out twists, there’s a reason it’s referred to as a modern classic.



18. Predestination (2014)

Predestination is one of the best movies on Amazon Prime

Region: UK

The movie: An underseen gem that needs to be seen, rewatched, and then rewatched several more times to be believed. From Daybreakers directors Peter and Michael Spierig, Predestination sounds, on the surface, to be a typical genre jaunt. It's far from it. Ethan Hawke plays a time-travelling agent who, while on a job to stop a criminal from blowing up the world, encounters Sarah Snook’s character in a bar one night, which is where the entire first act of the movie unravels. To say more would spoil this unique adaptation of Robert Heinlein’s tale All You Zombies. 

Why it’s worth a watch: Frankly, this has one of the most ingenious Möbius strip-inspired plots that wrangles a damn good story into the proceedings. It’s unlike any other sci-fi movie that dabbles with the complexities of time travel. If you’ve not seen it, read nothing else about it, hunker down, and inhale this gloriously whacked-out love story.

17. Short Term 12 (2013)

Short Term 12 is one of the best movies on Amazon Prime

Region: US

The movie: Looking back, Short Term 12 plays like a ‘who’s who’ of upcoming acting talent. Brie Larson stars in this no-frills and gripping drama set in a care home for troubled teens alongside Lakeith Stanfield, Kaitlyn Dever, Rami Malek, and John Gallagher Jr. Larson leads the story as Grace, a young counsellor who works to connect with the kids while battling her own demons. Touching without spilling into sentimentality, it's alternately funny, heart-warming and sad. 

Why it’s worth a watch: Larson's a revelation - as always - and gives an understated performance, that's impressive and brave.  No need for scenery-chewing when you've got skills like this. If you’ve never seen her outside of the MCU as Captain Marvel then you have to see her mesmerising turn in this. 

16. What We Do in the Shadows (2014) 

What We Do in the Shadows is one of the best movies on Amazon Prime

Region: US

The movie: Ever wondered what it might really be like as a vampire? Taika Waititi and Jermaine Clement's mockumentary peels back the years of ridiculous posturing to reveal an altogether more, ahem, realistic view. Forget your moping twinkly-skinned bloodsuckers. This bunch are as normal as they come. Well sort of. While paying rent is one of their biggest dilemmas, steering clear of sunlight is their chief concern which makes adapting to modern life a tad tricky.

Why it's worth a watch: There's no other film quite like What We Do in the Shadows. Horror comedies can tend to steer in a similar direction, and yet this mockumentary takes its own path, mixing up some genuine scares with gut-busting laughs. Waititi and Clement clearly had a riot riffing on the mythology while penning the script, and the cast is just dynamite bringing it to life.

15. Leave No Trace (2018)

Leave No Trace is one of the best movies on Amazon Prime

Region: US

The movie: With a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s no surprise that director Debra Granik’s Leave No Trace is one of the best movies on Amazon Prime. Living off the grid is normal for Iraq war veteran Will (Ben Foster) and his 13-year-old daughter, Tom (Thomasin McKenzie), having cultivated a beautiful, simple lifestyle in a sprawling urban park outside of Portland, Oregon. Their idyllic existence is sent off-kilter when a tiny slip in judgement puts them on the authorities radar, who, yank them from their dwelling and provide them with housing on a Christmas tree farm. 

Why it’s worth a watch: Imagine Captain Fantastic without the overt quirkiness and Into the Wild without the earnestness and you’re somewhere in the realm of Leave No Trace. A low-key dive into similar territory, it steers away from obvious sentimentalism and instead hones in on the relationship between a father and daughter and their shared experience living in a way that’s alien to most of the world. Beautiful, tender, and shot with an eye for the small moments in life. One of the 2019’s major Oscar snubs. 

14. Snowpiercer (2013)

Snowpiercer is one of the best movies on Amazon Prime

Region: UK

The movie: In his English-language debut Bong Joon-ho mashes up every genre under the sun, as the story takes place within a gigantic train hurtling across the planet, during a post-apocalyptic, never-ending ice age blizzard. The aftermath of a global warming experiment gone awry is far more violent than you'd expect. Chris Evans stars a rugged everyman who refused to accept his situation as a back-of-the-train dweller. His journey to the front of the vessel finds him in dire straits on multiple occasions at the hands of Tilda Swinton's deliciously twisted villain. 

Why it’s worth a watch: This tale of class war is a cut above the rest, Tilda Swinton's snooty Deputy-Minister Mason is a glorious creation. You'll loathe her while unable to take your eyes from the screen.

13. A Simple Favor (2018)

A Simple Favor is one of the best movies on Amazon Prime

Region: US

The movie: Following up on his run of comedy successes with a thriller, Paul Feig turns to the darker side of female friendship to tell the kooky tale of a missing woman. Anna Kendrick stars as mommy vlogger Stephanie who befriends Blake Lively’s mysterious Emily, an effortlessly cool parent, who drinks every afternoon and has no regrets, and then goes missing from their small, white-picket-fence town. A significant departure from Feig’s usual comedic fare, A Simple Favor mashes blacker humour into a twisty, turning noir as Stephanie seeks to track down her new bestie.

Why it’s worth a watch: Kendrick and Lively’s chemistry is off the charts, their witty banter and flirtatious playfulness, absolutely winning. What’s most exciting about A Simple Favor is Feig’s willingness to venture outside of his established genre, himself flirting with boundaries to deliver a unique wedge of female-led cinema. 

12. The Handmaiden (2016)

The Handmaiden is one of the best movies on Amazon Prime

Region: US

The movie: Very loosely based on the Sarah Waters novel Fingersmith, Park Chan-wook relocates the story from Victorian England to Korea under Japanese colonial rule. That is but one of the many unique choices made by Chan-wook that propels this movie from good to great, as its three parts chart the dubious plottings of a conman, the self-dubbed Count Fujiwara, who aims to marry wealthy heiress Lady Hideko then steal her riches and dump her. He can’t carry out his plan alone, so Fujiwara hires a pickpocket to work as the Lady’s handmaiden with the hopes the young woman will convince Hideko to wed Fujiwara. 

Why it’s worth a watch: So. Many. Reasons. Is it the operatic feeling of the plot? The sensuous visuals that mesmerize? You’ll be at a loss for words once the credits roll. This is lavish and decadent filmmaking, with thrills galore that unravel through sublime character development. Basically, it’s brilliant. 

11. Midnight Special (2016)

Midnight Special is one of the best movies on Amazon Prime

Region: UK

The movie: The willingness to do anything for your child is a common theme in movies. What’s less common is when the child in question has supernatural abilities. I know what you’re thinking: Is this is the superhero origin tale you’ve been waiting for? Well, hold on a second. Midnight Special does have certain superheroic echoes, but it’s more of an indie road movie spiked with sci-fi elements. The story follows Roy (Michael Shannon) and his son Alton (Jaeden Lieberher) as they try to evade capture from law enforcement and a religious cult. Why? Because Alton’s a very special boy.

Why it’s worth a watch: Director Jeff Nichols borrows from every major genre director, uniting elements of John Carpenter and Steven Spielberg to tell a truly unique story. It’s not often that homage works without seeming like an obvious rip-off, but in this case Nichols hits a home run. 

Continue to Page 3 for more of the best movies on Amazon Prime Video

10. First Reformed (2018)

First Reformed is one of the best movies on Amazon Prime

Region: US

The movie: The one where Ethan Hawke somehow wasn’t nominated for an Oscar. Taxi Driver writer Paul Schrader writes and directs this story about a small-town pastor, Ernst Toller (Hawke) whose entire life revolves around his parish. Dedicating time each day to pen a brutally-honest diary, Toller finds truth at the bottom of the bottle and a lack of belief steering him towards an ultimatum of faith. Enter newlyweds, Mary and Michael Messana, who shake up Toller’s existing beliefs. 

Why it’s worth a watch: A real slow-burn that champions the big moments in life that come to define us, you won’t anticipate the twists and turns that occur, because they feel so at odds with the tone of the movie. It’s these risky story decisions that, in places, echo Taxi Driver. 

9. You Were Never Really Here (2018)

You Were Never Really Here is one of the best movies on Amazon Prime

Region: UK, US

The movie: Probably not one to watch when you need a pick-me-up, this 2017 thriller from Lynne Ramsay focuses on the life of a New York City hitman played by Joaquin Phoenix. A contract killer, Joe dispenses with his targets for crummy wages and with a hammer, adding a dose of up-close brutality to his work that contrasts massively with his down-time which he typically spends with his ageing mother. When a Senator’s teenage daughter is believed to have been kidnapped, Joe is summoned to track her down, and to bring her captors to justice. 

Why it’s worth a watch: Aside from its captivating central performance by Joaquin Phoenix, you should be checking this out for the stellar work of Ramsay, who continues to deliver unusual takes on darker topics. You might have seen similar issues dealt with on screen, but none with such a unique and unflinching approach. Oh, and did I mention it’s only 90 minutes? 

8. Eighth Grade (2018)

Eighth Grade is one of the best movies on Amazon Prime

Region: US

The movie: At last, a movie that approaches early adolescence with a certain degree of seriousness. That’s not to say Eighth Grade isn’t funny, because it is packed with humour and charm, most of which hails from newcomer Elsie Fisher who unveils her mastery of awkwardness as Kayla Day. Even whilst suffering through her own social anxieties, Kayla attempts to better herself and her peers by offering advice through her vlog, and even taking her own pointers in order to get more friends and make it through the school year.  

Why it’s worth a watch: Writer-director Bo Burnham taps into the reality of what it means to be a 13-year old today in the current culture of sharing every detail of our lives on social media. Really, it’s Fisher’s performance that makes Eighth Grade such a winning watch. She truly illuminates the struggle of adolescence, from the very first scene through to the last, letting us witness up-close those battles that seem life-or-death when you’re a kid.

7. Hereditary (2018)

Hereditary is one of the best movies on Amazon Prime

Region: UK, US

The movie: The most critically-praised horror movie of recent years is also one of the best movies on Amazon Prime. Ari Aster’s directorial debut is a compelling concoction of family battles, claustrophobic crafting, and some of the best acting you’ll never see on an Oscar ballot. Toni Collette leads the stellar cast as Annie Graham, a woman racked with grief following the death of her mother. Will grief bring her closer to her husband, her son, or her daughter? One thing’s for certain, there’s plenty of domestic drama to come, but you won’t expect any of it. 

Why it’s worth a watch: It takes a lot for esteemed horror experts to throw up their hands and say they’re scared witless. That’s exactly what happened with Hereditary, which has proven to be a highly effective method of incurring lifelong insomnia. Aster is a skilled curator of mood, which, when tied together with the horrific events burning through the centre of Hereditary, will shake your very soul. 

Read more: Intelligent, emotional, and terrifying, Hereditary is near-perfect horror. With a little more restraint, it would have been flawless

6. Heat (1995)

Heat is one of the best movies on Amazon Prime

Region: UK

The movie: What do you get when you unite two of cinema’s most iconic actors in the same film? Michael Mann’s Heat. Of course, to say this is essential for any film fan purely because of that would be to discount everything else that makes this one of the best action films ever made. It’s also a heist flick, that finds Robert De Niro cast in the role of criminal mastermind Neil McCauley, who’s out to do “one last job” with his crew before calling it a day. On the other side of the law, is Al Pacino’s Lieutenant, who is eager to bring down McCauley and his team. 

Why it’s worth a watch: De Niro. Pacino. They’ve since appeared together onscreen, in the lacklustre Righteous Kill, so it’s always a riot to revisit this duo in the mid-90s, especially when they work their magic for that one particular scene. Oh, and the shoot-outs? Epic.

5. Under the Skin (2013)

Under The Skin is one of the best movies on Amazon Prime

Region: UK     

The movie: A cold, washed-out Glasgow is an unusual location for a cerebral sci-fi flick. But this is Jonathan Glazer's point: weird shit can happen anywhere, so why not there? Scarlett Johansson stars as a perplexed extraterrestrial disguised as a perplexed young woman, who ambles around the Glaswegian streets luring men into her Transit van. Why? Well, you'll have to watch it. Shot using what Glazer calls “covert filming” - most of the movie was lensed undercover to help achieve an extra layer of odd. 

Why it’s worth a watch: This is a haunting exercise in painting a mood. Don't go in expecting a dense plot or an clearly-outlined goal and you'll be happy. It also birthed the Scarlett Johansson falling down meme and features the most bizarre response to carrot cake ever.

4. Unsane (2018)

Unsane is one of the best movies on Amazon Prime

Region: US

The movie: While trailers positioned it as a somewhat gloomy psychiatric drama, Unsane is a far richer cinematic experience. It’s more akin to a mistaken identity thriller, with Claire Foy cast as Sawyer Valentini, a woman who moves across the country to be free of her long-time stalker. Right as her life is looking up, she finds herself locked into a mental ward after a supposedly routine health checkup. And, if that weren’t bad enough, shortly after her admission she realises that one of the staff looks familiar...

Why it’s worth a watch: You might not always enjoy the risks Steven Soderbergh takes with filmmaking technology, yet his idea of shooting an entire feature on iPhones pays off. Dark at times due to the lighting offered on such a device, the story somehow matches that visual, making Sawyer’s desperate attempts at escape seem even more realistic. 

3. Carol (2015) 

Carol is one of the best movies on Amazon Prime

Region: UK

The movie: One of 2015's award darlings deserves all the praise it can get. Adapted from the Patricia Highsmith novel The Price of Salt, the film stars Cate Blanchett as an exotic, affluent housewife who takes a trip to a department store to pick up something for her son, and in the process, completely charms Rooney Mara's shopgirl. From thereon, the pair become friends, quickly realising there is something deeper to their kinship. It's a 1950s piece, through and through, thanks to the costumes and production, but told through a distinct modern lens. Gorgeous and utterly compelling.

Why it's worth a watch: Far From Heaven director Todd Haynes knows how to do period pieces. Every tiny detail of the production is given its time in the spotlight, adding to the love story between the two leads. That in itself is a breath of fresh air, as LGBTQ relationships in cinema are rarely represented this way.

2. Ghost World (2001)

Ghost World is one of the best movies on Amazon Prime

Region: US

The movie: A superhero-free comic book adaptation, Ghost World revels in the ordinary lives of two high schoolers leading up to graduation. Enid (Thora Birch) and Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson) are on the cusp of adulthood, each possessing very different ideas about where they’re headed, which is what makes the film a unique entry into the teen movie canon: this pair are pals now, yet will they be six months into the future? Does it even matter when right now is all we have? Director Terry Zwigoff works the funniest and most touching moments from the comic panels into a darkly funny modern classic. 

Why it’s worth a watch: Zwigoff strikes that perfect balance between flagrant laugh-out-loud humour (see: Illeana Douglas’ art teacher) and quiet poignancy. That’s not an easy tone to master. Birch and Johansson are excellent, channeling their own youth into their characters who are both excited and embittered by the world. 

1. Brazil (1985)

Brazil is one of the best movies on Amazon Prime

Region: UK

The movie: What’s amazing about Terry Gilliam’s slapstick homage to George Orwell’s 1984, is that at time of release it didn’t even scrape back its meagre $15 million dollar-budget. That’s the sign of true genius, though, right? Brazil gives a righteous two fingers to The Man over and over, while telling one of the wackiest stories ever committed to celluloid. Jonathan Price plays Sam Lowry, a miserable worker at the Ministry of Education desperate to break free from the shackles of a totalitarian regime. Daydreaming of rescuing the same woman over and over, as he tries to locate a terrorist, Sam encounters his fictional woman and tries to aid her quest.

Why it’s worth a watch: A surreal, batty takedown of bureaucracy might sound at odds with itself, and to be honest, that’s exactly Gilliam’s point. The dreary dystopian city in which it takes place is driven by automated technological systems that are seldom monitored by humans. In fact, it’s an error caused by one that leads to the movie’s first major plot point. Even at 30 years old, Brazil is eerily prescient about today’s “smart” living.