By now, most of us have watched everything on Netflix, Hulu and the like. That’s where the best Amazon Prime movies come in. Like Netflix, Amazon wasn’t always known for its original content. Created as a e-commerce company, Amaazon started producing its first piece of original content in 2013 through its in-house studio, Amazon Studios, and distributed by its Prime Video service.
Now there are dozens of TV shows on Amazon, including the Emmy-winning Transparent, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Mozart in the Jungle and Fleabag. Like Netflix, Amazon may be better known for its TV shows, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t Amazon Prime movies worth watching. In fact, the best Amazon Prime movies include some must-sees starring Joaquin Phoenix, Lili Reinhart, Blake Lively and Eddie Redmayne. Want something to cry your eyes out to? Try Chemical Hearts, which stars Lili Reinhart as a new student at a high school with a sad secret. Want something more dramatic? Watch Honey Boy, a drama written by Shia Labeouf and inspired by his career as a child actor and his relationship with his alcoholic stage father.
The best Amazon Prime movies also include a few Oscar winners, such as Manchester by the Sea, which won Casey Affleck an Oscar in 2017 for his role as an uncle who takes in his brother’s son after his brother’s death. The best Amazon Prime movies also include must-see documentaries, such as Chasing Happiness, a look at how The Jonas Brothers—Nick Jonas, Kevin Jonas and Joe Jonas—came to be the band we know and love today. The film (which JoBros fans should accompany with a screening of the Jonas Brothers‘ concert film, Happiness Together, also on Amazon) also explores the brothers’ breakup in 2013, their solo careers and how they came back together.
Don’t know what to watch? Put on one of these films to fill your time. Read our list of the best Amazon Prime movies ahead.
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020)
Fourteen years after the first Borat movie, Sasha Baron Cohen returned with the sequel, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. The mockumentary comedy film stars Cohen as Borat Margaret Sagdiyev, a fictional Kazakh news reporter, who travels to America to offer his teenage daughter, Tutar, as a bride to Vice President Mike Pence.
Crown Heights (2017)
Adapted from an episode of the podcast, This American Life, Crown Heights tells the true story of Colin Warner, a Trinidadian immigrant who was wrongfully charged with murder in Brooklyn, New York, in 1980. The film follows Warner’s 20 years in parison as his best friend, Carl King, fights for his freedom.
Honey Boy (2019)
Written by Shia Labeouf as a form of therapy while he was in rehab, Honey Boy follows a 12-year-old successful child actor named Otis and his relationship with abusive, alcoholic father. Told between two timelines of Otis as a kid and as an adult, Honey Boy is inspired by Labeouf’s own childhood and father. The title of the film comes from a nickname that Labeouf (who also stars in the film) was called by his dad.
Kristen Stewart stars as Jean Seberg, an American actress best known for the French film Breathless, who becomes the target of the FBI due to the support of the civil rights movement and her romance with Black Panther activist, Hakim Jamal. Inspired by Seberg’s life, the film follows the actress as her career and life fall apart due to the FBI’s constant surveillance and harassment.
Joseph Gordon Levitt stars as Tom Ellis, a soft-spoken American co-pilot, whose plane is hijacked by terrorists on a flight from Paris to Berlin. The title is a reference to the Emergency Transponder Code for “unlawful interference,” which was signaled when the terrorists stormed the cockpit of Airbus A319 and hijacks Ellis’ plane.
The Vast of Night (2020)
This sci-fi mystery follows a young switchboard operator and radio disc jockey who search for the source of a mysterious audio frequency that has descended on their town that could have extraterrestrial origins.
Troop Zero (2020)
Based on the 2010 play, Christmas and Jubilee Behold The Meteor Shower, Troop Zero, which stars Viola David and Allison Janney, follows a group of elementary-school misfits who form their own, the Birdie Scouts, and enter a national talent competition with the hopes of having their voices finally heard.
The Report (2019)
Adam Driver stars as Daniel J. Jones an FBI agent who investigates the CIA’s use of torture on suspected terrorists after the September 11 attacks. The film explores a decade’s worth of Jones’ research in his 6,700-page report on the issue. The film is based on the Vanity Fair article, “Rorschach and Awe,” by Katherine Eban.
Blow the Man Down (2020)
Blow the Man Down is a dark comedy thriller that follows sisters Priscilla and Mary Beth Connolly who have a gruesome run-in with a dangerous man after their mother’s funeral. Priscilla and Mary Beth kill the man when he attacks them, and the film follows the sisters as they try to conceal the crime. In doing so, the sisters uncover their hometown’s darkest secrets and the criminal underbelly haunting where they grew up.
Manchester by the Sea (2016)
Casey Affleck won an Oscar in 2017 for his portrayal of Lee Chandler, a janitor in Boston who becomes the sole guardian of his teenage nephew, Patrick, after his older brother, Joe, dies. After Lee leaves his job, he returns to Manchester-by-the-Sea, a fishing village where his working-class family has lived for generations. While there, he’s confronted by the community where he was born and raised, as well as his ex-wife, Randi, and the real reason they separated.
Directed by Spike Lee, Chi-Raq is a modern-day adaptation of the Greek play “Lysistrata” by aristophanes. The film follows a group of Black women led by Lystristrata (played by Teyonah Parris) as they organize against the on-going violence in the Chicago’s Southside when a child is murdered by a stray bullet. Together, the women embark on a mission and create a movement that challenges the nature of sex, race and violence around the world.
The Aeronauts (2019)
The Aeronauts reunite Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne after their Oscar-winning roles as Stephen and Jane Hawking in 2014’s The Theory of Everything. Jones stars as Amelia Wren, a daredevil hot air balloon pilot, in 1862 who teams up with James Glaisher (played by Redmayne), a pioneering meteorologist. Together, the two try to advance the human knowledge of weather and fly higher than anyone has before.
All In: The Fight for Democracy (2020)
All in: The Fight For Democracy is a documentary about the issue of voter suppression in the United States. With the expertise of Stacey Abrams, the film interweaves personal experiences with activism and and historical knowledge that exposes a problem that’s corrupted America since its birth.
Selah and the Spades (2020)
In Selah and the Spades, five factions run the underground life of a prestigious Haldwell boarding school. The most powerful faction is called The Spades and is led by Selah Summers, a loved and feared young woman who isn’t afraid to cut loose whomever she thinks is a threat to her power.
The Big Sick (2017)
Based on the real-life relationship between Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon (who wrote the film), The Big Sick stars Nanjiani as himself, a Pakistan-born comedian who meets a grad student who later becomes his wife. The film follows Emily and Kumail’s relationship as they fall in love and clash cultures. When Emily is diagnosed with a mysterious illness, Kumail must confront his family’s expectations, as well as his true feelings for her.
Cafe Society (2016)
Directed by Woody Allen and starring Steve Carrell, Jesse Eisenberg, Blake Lively, Kristen Stewart and more, Cafe Society follows Bobby, a young man from New York City who moves to Hollywood in the 1950s where he falls in love with the assistant to his uncle, a powerful talent agent.
City of Ghosts (2017)
Directed by Oscar nominee and Emmy winner Matthew Heineman, City of Ghosts is an Arabic-language documentary about Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently, a Syrian media activist group who live undercover and are on the run after their homeland is taken over by ISIS in 2014.
This sports documentary follows the life and career of Steve Gleason, a former NFL defensive back for the New Oreans Saints who was diagnosed with ALS at 34 years old. At the time, doctors told him he only had two to five years to live. With this news, Steve decided to live his wildest dreams. The documentary incorporates personal video journals Steve created for his then-unborn son, as well as footage he took as he lived out his adventures.
Invisible Life (2019)
Set in 1950s Rio de Janeiro, Invisible Life revoles around two sisters who live restricted lives thanks to their conservative parents. Each sister has a dream: Euridice wants to be a world-renowned pianist, while Guida wants to find love. After a dramatic turn of events, the sisters are separated and are forced to live apart. The film follows their separate lives and their quests to find each other.
Les Misérables (2020)
Les Misérables is set in the impoverished Paris suburb of Montfermeil in the aftermath of the 2018 Fifa World Cup. The film is based on the real-life occurrences of police violence, which occurred in the commune in October 14, 2008, as observed by the director Ladj Ly. The film explores the stories of several characters in Montfermeil as a theft from a teenager explores into a larger crisis. The title of the film is in reference to Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel of of the same name. In the book, Montfermeil is also the place where characters Jean Valjean and Cosette, a girl abused by her adoptive parents, meet. The film explores this abuse, especially against poorer citizens and teenagers of sub-Saharan African or Maghrebi descent.
Happiness Continues: A Jonas Brothers Concert Film (2020)
Watch a Jonas Brothers concert at home with the Happiness Continues, a live concert experience that follows the three JoBros—Nick, Kevin and Joe—as they life life on the road (and perform smash hits like “Sucker” and “Cool”) on their Happiness Begins concert court.
Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot (2018)
Based on John Callahan’s memoir of the same title, Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot follows Callahan (played by Joaquin Phoenix), an Oregon slacker who almost dies in a car accident and decides to give up alcohol at the encouragement of his girlfriend. The film follows Callahan’s sobriety as he enters a treatment program and discovers is knack for art, especially drawing. With his new discovered talent, Callahan submits his cartoons to a local newspaper, which leads to him having a national and devoted following.
Brittany Runs A Marathon (2019)
Jillian Bell stars as Brittany Forgler, a hard-partying woman who’s everyone’s best friend. One day, Brittany receives a startling wake-up call when a doctor informs her about how unhealthy she is. In an effort to become more fit, Brittany, who’s too broke for the gym and too proud to ask for help, decides to run in the New York City Marathon after the advice from her neighbor, who pushes her to run one sweaty and exasperated block.
Directed by Oscar nominee Mike Leigh, Peterloo tells the story of one of the bloodiest battles in British hisotry, the infamous Peterloo Massacre of 1819, where a peaceful crowd of 60,000 people in St. Peter’s Field in Manchester, England were charged into by government-backed cavalry as the protestors demanded democratic reform.
This Indian romantic drama revoles around Rafi, a struggling street photographer in Mumbai, who works day in and day out to pay off an old family debt and his romance with Miloni, a woman he convinces to pose as his fiancee so his grandmother stops pressuring him to find wife and get married.
Generation Wealth (2018)
Directed by Lauren Greenfield and based on her 2017 photo book of the same name, Generation Wealth is a documentary that serves as a postcard of America’s materialistic and image-obsessed. The film explores how this generation came to be and how the corrupted American dream has led to capitalism, narcissism and greed.
Gimme Danger (2016)
This documentary, directed by Jim Jarmusch, chronicles the career of The Stooges, the iconic rock-n-roll band from the 1970s that was fronted by singer Iggy Pop and produced hits, such as “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” “Search and Destroy,” “Down the Street” and “1970.” The documentary follows he band, which also includes guitarist Ron Asheton, drummer Scott Asheton, and bassist Dave Alexander, from their formation in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in the ’60s to their status as one of the greatest rock-n-roll bands of all time.
Pass Over (2018)
Directed by Oscar winner Spike Lee, Pass Over follows Moses and Kitch, two young men who dream about their promise land as they chat their way through a long, aimless day in Chicago, where they periodically duck from bullets and manage visits from a friendly but ominous stranger and hostile police officer. The film is based on the 2015 play by Antoinette Nwandu.
Chasing Happiness (2019)
This Jonas Brothers documentary follows Kevin, Joe and Nick’s career from their humble childhood as the sons of a pastor in New Jersey to meteoric rise to the band we know and love today. Through intimate interviews and never-before-seen footage, documentary also details the band’s breakup in 2013, their solo careers after their split and why they came back together.
Chemical Hearts (2020)
Chemical Hearts stars Lili Reinhart as Grace town, a new student at a small town high school, who meets hopeless romantic Henry Page (Austin Abrams.) Though the two don’t seem like a perfect match at first, Grace and Henry soon fall for each other as they work together at their school’s newspaper. The film is based on Krystal Sutherland’s 2016 novel, Our Chemical Hearts.
“People haven’t really seen what I’m fully capable of,” Reinhart told Entertainment Weekly in 2020 of how Chemical Hearts is different from her CW TV series Riverdale, in which she plays Betty Cooper. “Maybe they only see me as being on a commercial television show, and I hope that this shows people that my heart is really in film. I want people to see me as something other than Betty Cooper. It’s hard to break out of that mold.”
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