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The 50 Best Amazon Prime Free Movies on Amazon Instant Video

July 24, 2012  |  4:21pm
I’ll be honest. While I love being able to order anything from Amazon and get free shipping, I often forget about the free, streaming movie selection that comes with being an Amazon Prime member. There are some great titles available to Amazon Instant Video. Just as we’ve done with Netflix, we put together a list of the Best Free Movies for Amazon Prime Members. Whether you’re in the mood for an indie foreign film or a classic ‘80s comedy, we’ve got you covered.

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15. Hugo
Year: 2011
Director: Martin Scorsese
With Hugo, director Martin Scorsese has created a dazzling, wondrous experience, an undeniable visual masterpiece. In his adaptation of Brian Selznick’s novel, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Scorsese weaves together his many passions and concerns: for art, for film, and for fathers and father-figures. He retells the story of a boy (Hugo Cabret, played by Asa Butterfield) in search of a way to complete his father’s work. Alongside Hugo’s tale is the true story of Georges Méliès (Ben Kingsley), one of the world’s first filmmakers.—Shannon Houston

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14. Before Sunrise
Year: 1995
Director: Richard Linklater
Every generation needs its art-house romance, and who better to deliver it to Gen-X than “Slacker” director Richard Linklater? Scruffy Ethan Hawke and luminous Julie Delpy are perfect as the not-fully-adult-but-already-weary Jesse and Celine on an all-night stroll through Vienna. Every generation also needs movies like this to give them faith that there really can be good movies about people just standing around and talking—look no further than the 2004 sequel and start holding your breath for a third installment that is reportedly due in 2013.—David Greenberg

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13. 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days
Year: 2007
Director: Cristian Mungui
With eerily realistic performances and stunning direction, 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days combines an uncomfortably forthright discussion of abortion with long, virtuosic handheld camera takes. In Cristian Mungui’s hand, these shots are more than just a gimmick; they position the audience behind the camera and refuse to let us look away from the horrors on screen. At times, it’s difficult to watch, but few films have ever displayed as perfect a marriage of form and content.—Sean Gandert

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12. Heat
Year: 1995
Director: Michael Mann
The diner scene alone, where heavyweights Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro face off (for the first time in cinema history) would be enough to put Heat on the list, but the whole heist and cat-and-mouse story holds up all the way through. It’s dark, human and wholly engaging.—Josh Jackson

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11. The Graduate
Year: 1967
Director: Mike Nichols
In the undisputed king of movies for those headed out into the real world, a hyper-accomplished recent grad (Dustin Hoffman) panics at the prospect of his future and falls into an affair with the much older wife of his father’s business partner (Anne Bancroft). It helped define a generation long since embalmed by history, but the sense of longing for an alternative hasn’t aged.—Jeffrey Bloomer

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10. Harold and Maude
Year: 1971
Director: Hal Ashby
I guess you could categorize this as a romantic comedy. Teenaged Harold (Bud Cort) and 79-year-old Maude (Ruth Gordon) do find love. And it is darkly funny. But Hal Ahsby’s masterpiece is unlike anything we’ve seen before or since its 1971 release.—Josh Jackson

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9. Half Nelson
Year: 2006
Director: Ryan Fleck
The debut feature film by Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden is a compelling personal story about a high-school teacher who’s failing himself and his students. It’s a rich political allegory for the liberal malaise of the Bush era, and it’s a sly subversion of a tired Hollywood cliché. Fleck and Boden wrote the script, edited the footage and directed at least three best-of-decade performances from their young cast (Ryan Gosling, Anthony Mackie and Shareeka Epps) earning a place on our “must see” list for years to come.—Robert Davis

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8.Blazing Saddles
Year: 1974
Director: Mel Brooks
The Western genre was plenty hoary in 1974 when Blazing Saddles was released, but Cleavon Little’s black cowboy (with über-alcoholic sidekick Gene Wilder) levied some extremely un-PC humor to totally blow apart how utterly ridiculous, brain-numbingly macho and implicitly (and explicitly) racist the Western genre could be.

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7. The Thin Blue Line
Year: 1988
Director: Errol Morris
Errol Morris’ first mature feature is perhaps the most famous case of a documentary having a life outside the silver screen. The Thin Blue Line focuses on the case of Randall Adams, who allegedly murdered a police officer. Combining his nearly obsessive concern for the truth with his experience as a private detective, Morris unearthed a plethora of misconceptions and flat-out lies that made it clear Adams was being framed. Publicity surrounding the film resulted in his case being re-opened, exonerating Adams.—Sean Gandert

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6. True Grit
Year: 2010
Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
In remaking one of the better cowboy films of the 1960s, the Coens have also taken on the genre’s biggest star—John Wayne, who played the irascible marshal Rooster Cogburn in the original ‘69 adaptation of Charles Portis’ straightforward and engaging novel. Casting, however, has never been a Coen weakness, and Jeff Bridges wholly embraces and reinvents the role for which Wayne received an Oscar. There’s a simplicity about the performances in True Grit that jives well with the rich landscapes and the authentically recreated, urban settings of nineteenth century Arkansas and the Indian Territory. That, and the genuine attire of the times, allows the Coens to create a world where the actors can play real characters, not caricatures of reality. It’s a talent that keeps begging the question, “What’s next?”—Tim Basham

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5. The General
Year: 1926
Director: Buster Keaton
When Yankee spies steal his locomotive and kidnap his girlfriend, a Southern railroad engineer (“The Great Stone Face” Buster Keaton) is forced to pursue his two beloveds across enemy lines. While a few Charlie Chaplin pictures give it a run for its money, The General is arguably the finest silent comedy ever made—if not the finest comedy ever made. At the pinnacle of Buster Keaton’s renowned career, the film didn’t receive critical or box-office success when released, but it has aged tremendously. It’s a spectacle of story, mishmashing romance, adventure, action (chases, fires, explosions) and comedy into a seamless silent masterpiece.—David Roark

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4. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Year: 1969
Director: George Roy Hill
Paired with Robert Redford, Paul Newman tore into his part as the folk outlaw Butch Cassidy and created an instant touchstone of the genre. That Newman lent his star to a film with criminal heroes was a revolutionary act for an actor of his stature at the time, and for that it’ll likely remain his best-remembered role.—Jeffrey Bloomer

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3. North by Northwest
Year: 1959
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
This stylish thriller is arguably Hitchcock’s most visually stunning, featuring a memorable scene atop Mount Rushmore, a run-in with a cropduster and Cary Grant as an ad man who sports some sleek suits that would do Don Draper proud.—Michael Dunaway

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2. Citizen Kane
Year: 1941
Director: Orson Welles
Citizen Kane practically invented the movie MacGuffin. The revelation that Charles Foster Kane’s cherished Rosebud is, in fact, a (SPOILER ALERT) may be the greatest cinematic reveal of all time, in one of the greatest movies of all time.—Michael Saba

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1. Goodfellas
Year: 1990
Director: Martin Scorsese
Based on real life mobster-turned-informant Henry Hill, Goodfellas is largely considered a high-point of Martin Scorsese’s career, and of the mob genre in general. Following the rise and fall of the Lucchese crime family, the 1990 classic takes on organized crime with equals parts humor and grit. Between the fantastic ensemble cast (Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci) and the intricate cinematography (film nerds could wax poetic about those tracking shots for days), Goodfellas brought Scorsese back into the directorial spotlight.—Katie King

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