Luckily, every Amazon Prime member has access to a plethora of fantastic movies and TV shows available to stream. Although the company is best known for its online store, it has recently branched out and started producing its own original media content, much like Netflix, Hulu, or any other popular streaming service.
Right now, Amazon has a surprising number of fantastic movies, some of which have been nominated for Oscars. With some great content already under their belt and more to come, here’s our list of the top 10 movies only available on Amazon Prime.
Updated December 27, 2022 by Guillermo Kurten: While Amazon’s main focus isn’t on film, the company’s relatively new film studio has spent the past few years filling out its catalog with some impressive entries. . From powerful dramas like Sound of Metal to poignant period pieces like Cold War, Prime Video has an increasingly diverse selection of movies to enjoy.
Cold War (2018)
In addition to serialized plays from the TV period on Prime Video, Cold War is a powerful historical drama set during the tense era of world history. It begins in the aftermath of the devastation of World War II and runs through the events of the Cold War, using a single couple as its point of view.
The events of the film are certainly dark given the context of the world at the time, but they are gripping nonetheless with the romance between the musical director and the singer of the story as its emotional underpinning. The gripping cinematography and clever narrative pacing of director Paweł Pawlikowski’s Cold War makes for a powerful exploration of anti-war themes.
One Night in Miami… (2020)
Based on writer Kemp Powers’ 2013 play of the same name, director Regina King’s One Night in Miami… is one of the filmmaker’s most acclaimed projects since her directorial debut. It’s also his first time in the director’s chair for a feature film, with the film taking an interesting twist on historical fiction.
One Night in Miami… is a fictionalized version of a real-life encounter between Malcolm X, Jim Brown, Sam Cooke and boxer Muhammad Ali as they celebrate the latter’s victory in the title fight. The film won critical acclaim for balancing a fictional portrayal of these influential people with serious introspection into the personal struggles they all faced at the time.
Uncle Frank (2020)
Uncle Frank is a thoughtful comedy-drama set in the 1970s. Starring Paul Bettany in the lead role, his character Frank Bledsoe goes on a trip to the countryside with his 18-year-old niece to attend a family funeral, along with his secret partner Wally Nadeem who suddenly joins them.
Director Alan Ball uses this creative American family drama foundation to craft a hilarious yet touching coming-of-age story with poignant social commentary on the LGBTQ+ community. The dramatic reveals unfold in a suitably grounded and relatable way.
Possibly one of the best films to come out of Amazon Studios, Sound of Metal is a compelling drama characterized by a superb performance from actor Riz Ahmed in the lead role. Directed by Darius Marder, the film follows the character of Ahmed Ruben Stone, drummer of an avant-garde heavy metal band who loses his hearing.
With a combination of Ahmed’s deeply passionate performance and ingenious sound design, Sound of Metal is an emotionally invested story that puts the experiences of the deaf community in the spotlight.
The Neon Demon (2016)
The Neon Demon is a very strange horror film from director Nicolas Winding Refn. Best known for his film, Drive (2011), Refn’s unique directing style certainly lives on. Elle Fanning stars as a young model trying to break into the industry. As she begins to work, however, she quickly learns that it may not be all she had hoped for after things start to take a very dark turn.
To say The Neon Demon is weird would be an understatement. However, the movie still offers very unique visuals and lots of subtext. It’s easy to see how the plot aims to satirize the modeling industry while offering plenty of social commentary on women. While it’s certainly not a film for everyone, The Neon Demon offers enough that it’s still something audiences should experience.
Shortly after appearing as Kylo Ren in The Force Awakens, Adam Driver took a drastically different approach with Paterson. Paterson is just an average few days in the life of a very average guy. His wife is constantly switching between hobbies or careers as he remains in his constant state of predictability.
While nothing particularly big and exciting happens in Paterson, the film does a great job of exploring humanity. This very character-driven story expertly captures the way a particularly annoying individual chooses to express themselves. Any poetry lover, in particular, would want to be sure not to miss this one.
Manchester by the Sea (2016)
Manchester By The Sea stars Casey Affleck in the role that would win him the Best Actor Oscar. The story is a very dark family drama that follows Affleck’s character after his brother dies and he takes on the responsibility of his nephew. Throughout the film, the couple go back and forth about how best to deal with their situation when it comes to living conditions, jobs, and education.
As the plot progresses, audiences can see just how broken Affleck’s character truly is. Considering the way the story is told, it’s easy to see how Affleck earned the highest accolade for a movie actor. Whether you’re an Oscar cinephile or a fan of the drama genre, Manchester By the Sea deserves your attention.
Joaquin Phoenix stars as alcoholic cartoonist John Callahan in this biopic from director Gus Van Sant. Following a car accident, John remains paralyzed and sinks even further into his alcoholism. Unlike most recovery stories, this one uses the help of some of Callahan’s cartoons to push the narrative forward.
Don’t worry it won’t get far on foot is a very emotional journey with lots of ups and downs. As always, Joaquin Phoenix delivers a wonderful and powerful performance that only makes a great movie even better. Whether you like drama, biopics, or cartoons, this is a movie you’ll definitely want to add to your watchlist.
You Were Never Really There (2017)
Although this movie also stars Joaquin Phoenix, he plays a drastically different role. As a private detective, he tracks down missing women and children, usually dealing a very brutal beating to anyone who stands in his way. After a job goes downhill very quickly, Phoenix must protect her new client while uncovering a big plot.
Although this setup seems ideal for an action movie, the film ignores or skips over most of its fight scenes. All the emphasis is on the drama. This creates a great effect that keeps the audience spellbound. There’s also a lot of implicit information that pushes the story forward, helping to add a much deeper layer of text. If you like movies that make you think, You Were Never Really Here does just that while maintaining great characters and phenomenal suspense.
Handsome Boy (2018)
Beautiful Boy tells a very dark true story about a father’s relationship with his drug-addicted son. David Sheff (Steve Carell) goes through a lot of emotional ups and downs as his son Nic (Timothee Chalamet) constantly goes in and out of rehab.
The journey between the two is depressing and difficult to watch, but there’s never a moment when it feels hopeless. The film is also structured in such a way that the audience feels as frustrated as the characters, further adding to the emotional aspects. The stellar performances of the two actors liven up the story and add a lot of realism to their journey. All in all, Beautiful Boy is a beautiful film about love that audiences won’t want to miss.
The Lost City of Z (2016)
Charlie Hunnam stars in this true story following British explorer, Percy Fawcett, as he tries to find a lost city in the middle of South America. After being sent there to map the country, Fawcett begins to believe that there is evidence of an ancient civilization that has yet to be discovered. His discoveries go through a series of supports and doubts from his peers, although Fawcett never loses hope.
Hunnam brilliantly portrays Fawcett with an excellent supporting cast of Robert Pattinson and Tom Holland. The film also strikes a great balance between drama and adventure without ever being too overloaded with detail.
The Servant (2016)
The Handmaiden is a bizarre fusion of a heist movie and a romance movie. After a young woman is hired to help swindle a wealthy woman out of her money, the two come to develop a strong romantic relationship. To avoid spoilers as much as possible, the plot is full of twists, turns, betrayals and shocks throughout, but the story never loses sight of success. Despite all the activity going on, The Handmaiden remains very easy to follow, unless of course the audience is meant to be confused.
Although The Handmaiden may seem like an overly convoluted mix of genres, it finds a way to captivate its entire audience. The heavy use of plot twists keeps the audience on the edge of their seat, waiting to see how the actual lie or deception unfolded. Romance helps people relate to the characters while keeping them grounded in the situation. As one of the strongest films Amazon Prime has to offer, The Handmaiden is not to be missed.
The Big Sick (2017)
One of Amazon’s best is easily The Big Sick, which stars Kumail Nanjiani. The story follows a Muslim American as he tries to become a stand-up comedian. Eventually, he meets a young woman who becomes incredibly ill early in their relationship. This forces him to re-evaluate many of his life choices and decisions. The Big Sick was also written by Nanjiani and is based on his real life experiences.
Not only does this movie feel incredibly personal, it deftly balances the emotions throughout. One minute you’ll find yourself laughing and the next sobbing. The chemistry between Kumail and Emily is shown very well and the audience comes to feel Kumail during all the struggles he faces. The film’s supporting cast also does a phenomenal job, earning actor Ray Romano an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. If you haven’t seen The Big Sick yet, you’re missing out on one of the best original movies Amazon Prime has to offer.
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