The 75 Best Movies on Amazon Prime (2017)

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The 75 Best Movies on Amazon Prime (2017)

Amazon Video seems to have downplayed its movie selection since we last compiled the 100 best movies streaming on Amazon Prime. In 2017, we can only find 75 to recommend, as many movies have been moved to its affiliate subscriptions, like the more impressive selection of Tribeca Shortlist. But there are still plenty of worthwhile available free to all Amazon Prime members—including several from our Best Movies of 2016 list—and with the additional benefits of free shipping, a solid TV selection and free music streaming, it’s still one of the best deals around.

But more than its competitors like Netflix and Hulu, it’s difficult to separate the good movies from the chaff in a very deep catalog of free movies for Amazon Prime subscribers. We’ve dug through 60 pages of movies (we gave up when presented by titles like E-Love and The Brownian Movement) to bring you the 75 best free movies streaming at Amazon Prime.

You can also browse guides to the best movies on other platforms like Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Showtime, Redbox, On Demand, YouTube, Shudder and The Best Movies in Theaters, visit the Paste Movie Guides.

Here are the 70 best movies available to stream for free with Amazon Prime:

cafe-society.jpg 75. Café Society
Year: 2011
Director: Woody Allen 
Proving once again that breaking new thematic ground is overrated, writer-director Woody Allen continues to dig into the issues that have consumed him for much of his career. Anyone looking to Café Society for fresh insights into love’s challenges or the eternal battle between substance and superficiality will leave the theater wanting, but for those who have remained loyal to Allen’s particular set of obsessions, this mildly ambitious, very familiar, ultimately rewarding comedy-drama does get to a tender, thoughtful place. Set in the 1930s, Café Society stars Jesse Eisenberg as Bobby, a plucky young New Yorker who moves out to Los Angeles to get a job working for his incredibly powerful talent agent uncle Phil (Steve Carell). Bobby doesn’t have any clear-cut aspirations beyond living among the fabulous in Hollywood, but soon his attention turns to Vonnie (Kristen Stewart), a pretty secretary in Phil’s office. If you’ve seen five Woody Allen movies, you can perhaps surmise a romantic twist is coming. Where it all leads is a finale that, although not entirely startling, is deeply felt, the filmmaker one more time expressing his uncertainty about how much control any of us have over our fates. Café Society echoes, mirrors and sometimes straight-up copies pieces of earlier, better Woody Allen movies, but he can still make the emotions underlying his well-worn themes resonate.—Tim Grierson


margin-call.jpg 74. Margin Call
Year: 2011
Director: J.C. Chandor
Margin Call has been described as a thriller, but you could also call it a chamber drama. It contains thrills and suspense, yes, but not from chases or murder plots. The only gun barrel that the characters stare down is a metaphorical one, albeit loaded with something scarier than a bullet: the collapse of their financial institution, and perhaps the whole country’s economy. Crime and betrayal run rampant but don’t manifest physically. In his feature debut, J.C. Chandor shows a knack for smart dialogue and telling details. Sometimes the characters talk too much, but it’s an impressive cast doing the talking. The film is like a well-rehearsed play. You don’t get the impression that anything would happen differently if the actors performed it again tomorrow. The style works because, in the world these characters have created for themselves, everything that happens is inevitable. It’s clear the track is mangled, but no one can stop the train.—Michael Dunaway


99-homes.jpg 73. 99 Homes
Year: 2014
Director: Ramin Bahrani
99 Homes is strongest when it captures the anger and desperation of those affected by the recent collapse of the housing market. Andrew Garfield stars as Dennis Nash, an Orlando single father whose family home is about to be foreclosed on. The man who comes to his door to deliver the bad news is Rick Carver (Michael Shannon), a shady realtor who carries a concealed weapon because of past altercations. Nash despises Carver, but because he’s desperate for a job he accepts work from the realtor. Nash is handy—he used to work in construction—so he starts off doing manual labor, but soon he graduates to being Carver’s right-hand man, becoming more involved in the realtor’s unscrupulous business practices. 99 Homes stays with you. The agony it depicts and the almost inarticulate rage it expresses are too insistent to shake off. The betting is that this film won’t be remembered as one of Ramin Bahrani’s best. But when we look back at the Great Recession years from now, 99 Homes may be one of those films we point to and say, “That was sort of what it felt like at the time.”—Tim Grierson


shaun-the-sheep.jpg 72. Shaun the Sheep
Year: 2015
Directors: Mark Burton, Richard Starzak
Can a viewer die of excessive cuteness? That’s the most concerning question plaguing the otherwise adorable, slight Shaun the Sheep Movie, which does risk being cloying but mostly moves along with a wry smile on its face. The stop-motion film from Aardman Animations stars Shaun, the bug-eyed lamb who made his debut in the terrific, Oscar-winning 2005 Wallace & Gromit short A Close Shave. As in his U.K. series spin-off which started two years later, Shaun doesn’t speak a word in his big-screen premiere. Writer-directors Mark Burton and Richard Starzak sometimes strain to sustain the dialogue-free conceit, but one suspects they know that, even when the momentum flags, Shaun has plenty of cheerfulness and good will in reserves.—Tim Grierson


escape-from-alcatraz.jpg 71. Escape From Alcatraz
Year: 1979
Director: Don Siegel
Clint Eastwood plays bank robber Frank Morris, who is sent to Alcatraz after already having escaped from several other prisons. Morris eventually realizes that some of the concrete in his cell can be chiseled away, so he and some of the other inmates he befriends start chipping away with sharpened spoons. The actual escape will have you looking at raincoats in a different light.—Ryan Bort


listen-up-philip.jpg 70. Listen Up Philip
Year: 2014
Director: Alex Ross Perry
The creative elite of New York are always a prime target for satire—so much money, yet so much malaise—but they’re rarely hit as mercilessly as in Alex Ross Perry’s Listen Up Philip. The film, Perry’s third feature as director, centers around a young writer who is such a miserable human being that you have to wonder if any measure of success would make him happy. In fact, you have to wonder if he is anything more than his misery. His story isn’t about mastering the art of the novel, but about utterly failing at the art of living. As we watch his story unfold, each laugh brings a deeper sense of bleakness, a deeper shade of tragedy. Jason Schwartzman stars as the title character, giving one of his best performances in years—or ever—as an up-and-coming literary star who happens to be an angry, sulky, self-centered son of a bitch. That his girlfriend, Ashley (Elisabeth Moss), manages to put up with him for more than a day illustrates both her power of perseverance and her willingness to be put upon, which together paint her as a paradoxical figure of both great strength and shameful weakness. Perry’s sensibilities may not inspire wide appeal—even kindred spirits like Noah Baumbach and Woody Allen make more effort to redeem their characters—but his work isn’t meant to let anyone off easy. With his accomplished cast in fine form, he pulls laughs from the most uncomfortable situations, and Philip thrives in wry observations, clever dialogue and a distinct visual instinct.—Jeremy Mathews


running-man.jpg 69. The Running Man
Year: 1987
Director: Paul Michael Glaser
While The Running Man lacks the sophistication and dynamic pacing of a certain other Schwarzenegger-starring/dystopian sci-fi/satire film, its entertainment value is nothing to sneer at. Adapted loosely from a Stephen King novel of the same name, The Running Man depicts a future where everyone dresses like they’re at an ’80s-themed Halloween party and citizens regularly tune into a show where convicted criminals must fight to survive against both their fellow contestants and professional killers. Insert Hunger Games reference here. Between the absurd production design and Paula Abdul-choreographed dance sequences, any attempted satire is all but buried in a thick layer of silly. Still, in terms of sheer fun value, this film is quite the gem.—Mark Rozeman


spring.jpg 68. Spring
Directors: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead
Year: 2015
One part philosophizing travelogue, one part visceral Body Horror, it’s tempting (and easy) to call Spring a case of Richard Linklater meeting David Cronenberg. Fine company to be associated with, sure, but the comparison points only to fairly superficial components. Tonally and spiritually, the film has much more in common with Spike Jonze, which is a damn sight more difficult trick to pull off. The love story at the center of Spring is mysterious, funny and often poignant—a tough enough thing even to describe, let alone commit to film. Like Jonze’s Her, Spring is, ultimately, a bracing, mature examination of the conditions placed on love, and the emotional walls erected when those conditions seem so unique a challenge.—Scott Wold


hunger-games-mockingjay.jpg 67. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 and Part 2
Years: 2014 and 2015
Director: Francis Lawrence
By now, the economic practicality behind the film adaptation “two-fer”—making two films out of a single book of source material—seems both obvious and inescapable. Overall shooting costs are lowered, release schedules become yearly instead of “every two-to-three years,” and a whole host of variables (actors’ age and availability not least among them) become less disruptive. Arguments can be made for it serving a legitimate storytelling purpose, as well. The first Mockingjay film is a bit slow, even as it played up the political intrigue of the “arena-less” book of the series. But the finale has more action. The cast, anchored by Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, counts some heavy hitters in supporting roles. Critically speaking, the only relevant questions would seem to be whether the film suddenly veers from the path that was laid out (and has thus far yielded a billion+ in box office) at the beginning. Mockingjay – Part 2 does not. Do any of the actors show a shocking decline in acting chops? Nope. Will fans hunger for more? Yep. Let the prequel games begin.—Michael Burgin


texas-chainsaw.jpg 66. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Year: 1974
Director: Tobe Hooper
One of the most brutal mainstream horror films, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is all the scarier for its art-house verité and the grainy physicality of its flat Texas setting. Plus, it introduced the superlatively sinister Leatherface, whose freakish sadism is upstaged only by the introduction of his severely dysfunctional family who reside in a dilapidated house in the middle of the Texas wilderness. The iconic chainsaw-wielding giant of a man wears a mask made of human skin. He and his family are also cannibals who chow on the meat Leatherface and his brothers harvest, while letting Grandpa drink the blood and fashion furniture from their bones. It doesn’t get much more unsettling than than this film based on notorious Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein.—Rachel Hasss sincerity that was more attractive than their cool.—Tim Grierson


temple-of-doom.jpg 65. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Year: 1984
Directors: Steven Spielberg 
Yes, Kate Capshaw is incredibly annoying as Willie Scott, and no kind of match for the gruff, world-trotting Indy, but beyond her this much-maligned movie has always held up. Perhaps Short Round doesn’t do it for you either, but can you imagine how much darker still the film would be without him? By far the most dire movie of the series, it’s buoyed by gorgeous set design and a classic sense of comic-book pulp in the vein of Doc Savage. It’s got one of John Williams’ best scores, a scary villain in Mola Ram and some great action set-pieces. No, it’s not in the same tier as Raiders of the Lost Ark, but it’s not nearly so far from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade as some people would like to believe. And by the way, if you didn’t remember—Temple of Doom is actually a prequel to Raiders. I find it amazing how many people don’t realize this, but if you’re wondering why Marion isn’t there and Indy hasn’t developed any faith from his experience with the Ark, that would be why. Temple of Doom takes place a year earlier.—Jim Vorel


sicario.jpg 64. Sicario
Year: 2015
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Denis Villeneuve’s considerable strengths and severe limitations are both present in Sicario, a Traffic-by-way-of-Zero Dark Thirty look at American drug policy along the Mexican border. This propulsive action thriller boasts a series of strong performances and is punctuated by some ace suspense sequences. As a piece of sleek, grown-up entertainment, it most assuredly succeeds. But it’s all the trappings around Sicario where matters get far more complicated. Even if the film doesn’t tell us much that we don’t already know about America’s drug wars, it tells it with abundant skill.—Tim Grierson


swiss-army-man.jpg 63. Swiss Army Man
Year: 2016
Directors: Daniel Scheinert, Dan Kwan
It should be ridiculous, this. A buddy comedy built atop the premise of a man (Paul Dano) lugging around, and bonding with, a flatulent talking corpse (Daniel Radcliffe)—but cinema is a medium in which miracles are possible, and one such miracle occurs in Swiss Army Man. A film with such a seemingly unpalatable concept becomes, against all odds, a near-profound existential meditation. And, for all the increasingly absurd gags about the utilities of that talking corpse’s body—not just as a jet-ski propelled by bodily gas, but as a giver of fresh water through projectile vomiting and even as a compass through its erection—there’s not one iota of distancing irony to be found in the film. Directors Daniel Scheinert and Dan Kwan are absolutely serious in their attempts to not only re-examine some of the most universal of human experiences, but also explore the idea of a life lived without limits, casting off the shackles of societal constraints and realizing one’s best self. It’s a freedom that the Daniels project exuberantly into the film itself: Swiss Army Man is a work that feels positively lawless. Witness with amazement what bizarrely heartfelt splendors its creators will come up with next.—Kenji Fujishima


gangs-of-new-york.jpg 62. Gangs of New York
Year: 2002
Director: Martin Scorsese 
This one split critics and audiences, but for all the times that the story about Leo and Cameron Diaz’s characters drains momentum from the movie, Daniel Day Lewis’ star turn as William Cutter, also known as the meat cleaver-wielding Billy the Butcher, really ratchets everything up to 11. Every villain deserves a grand entrance. Not many get better than Bill the Butcher’s. Within the opening scene, we are treated with a bloody brawl. From there, the character’s disturbed psychosis only spreads until its reaches one of the greatest climaxes in Martin Scorsese’s career. Oh, also Daniel Day Lewis. Did we mention that?—Paste Staff


blue-ruin.jpg 61. Blue Ruin
Year: 2014
Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Occasionally, the national news will carry stories about a horrific local murder that took place in some part of the country where we don’t live. And because it happened somewhere else, possibly far away from any major cities, maybe we make assumptions about the sorts of people who live there—negative assumptions. We stop seeing these individuals as being like us—instead, we view them as some kind of weird “other.” And so we turn off our empathy and count our blessings that we don’t live wherever “there” is. What’s so striking about Blue Ruin is how writer-director Jeremy Saulnier both plays into those dismissive assumptions while also subverting them. His dark revenge tale flaunts its small-town strangeness, but it also keeps a sharp eye on the human beings at the story’s center. Blue Ruin may occasionally be midnight-movie lurid, but not at the expense of deeper questions about vengeance’s diminishing returns.—Tim Grierson


lars-and-the-real-girl.jpg 60. Lars and the Real Girl
Year: 2007
Director: Craig Gillespie
Lars and the Real Girl’s premise should have been cringe-worthy: Ryan Gosling dates a life-size sex doll, and the entire town goes to great lengths to protect the fairy tale. But Nancy Oliver’s Oscar-nominated script is so gentle, and so melancholic, that it becomes a quietly powerful story of a stunted man who finally comes of age. Darkly funny but sweet-natured, Lars is a small treasure.—Jeremy Medina


jason-lives.jpg 59. Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI
Year: 1986
Director: Tom McLoughlin
After he accidentally reanimates Jason, Tommy (from parts four and five) struggles to warn a nearby summer camp—this time with actual kids. Within his first two minutes back alive, Jason punches a dude’s heart out. Awesome. (An honorable mention has to go to the final moments of the poor town sheriff, who Jason literally folds in half.) Admittedly, this one isn’t particularly scary, but Jason Lives is in clear, reverent conversation with the entire franchise, a self-reflexive edge that predates Scream by a decade (“Some folks have a strange idea of entertainment,” one character laments). In a way, this movie feels more essentially Friday the 13th than the original ever did. If you ask someone to picture a Friday the 13th movie, the images they’d conjure in their head would look a lot like Jason Lives.—Jeffrey Bloomer


major_league_poster.jpeg 58. Major League
Year: 1989
Director: David S. Ward
Many can laugh at this crazy cast of oddballs, but only a select few can look back and laugh. Because for those in Cleveland and northeastern Ohio, it’s all too real. Not until the second film’s release did the Cleveland Indians finally break out of their 30-year slump. Some will say it was the new stadium. Others, the even more superstitious ones (most baseball fans), may point to the dominance and swagger of Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn, as portrayed by Charlie Sheen. (Fun fact: Sheen was actually a star pitcher in high school.) Whatever the case, the really bad times are in the past, and let’s hope, for the sake of another one of these movies popping up, they stay there.—Joe Shearer


hook.jpg 57. Hook
Year: 1991
Director: Steven Spielberg 
They just don’t make ‘em like this anymore. Whether you were the kid who went to see Hook in the theater 10 times, or the parent that took them, this movie is a timeless for all generations. It’s Spielberg at his finest, where adventure and lessons in morality intertwine just enough to teach us a lesson and entertain us simultaneously. It’s also jam-packed with beloved performances: Julia Roberts as Tinkerbell, Dustin Hoffman as Hook (no one can beat this Captain) and then, of course, Robin Williams as Peter. We shouldn’t even need to explain ourselves here: Robin Williams as Peter Pan – period. We also can’t forget one of the most magical scenes in cinema when the Lost Boys devour an imaginary, colorful feast. Rufio! Rufio! With the latest Peter Pan adaptation on the way, Joe Wright’s Pan, there’s all the more reason to treasure this Spielberg classic.—Meredith Alloway


fatal-attraction.jpg 56. Fatal Attraction
Year: 1987
Director: Adrian Lyne
A benchmark of ’80s gender politics and glossy stylistic excess, Adrian Lyne’s Regan-era morality play hit a nerve with the yuppie elite. Three decades later, the visuals are as dated as Glenn Close’s linebacker shoulder pads and electric-socket perm, but the performances remain chilling, led by Close as the cray-cray mistress and Douglas as the philandering husband who gets in over his… head. Lyne, who would revisit adultery gone afoul in 2002’s Unfaithful, shrewdly tapped pre-Ashley Madison anxieties about a one-night-stand turned nightmare. Bummer that the original conclusion was scrapped after test audiences wanted a happy ending. Bummer, too, about that poor stewed bunny.—Amanda Schurr


a-most-violent-year.jpg 55. A Most Violent Year
Year: 2014
Director: J.C. Chandor
A Most Violent Year marks writer/director J.C. Chandor’s third feature film in four years. Aside from demonstrating Chandor’s remarkably prolific nature, the film also further establishes the New Jersey-bred filmmaker as one of the most versatile on the market. Indeed, A Most Violent Year may be his most conventional outing to date, but that’s only because his debut film (Margin Call) centered on the complex machinations of the recent financial crash while his follow-up (All is Lost) was basically a one-man show with little to no dialogue. This time around, Chandor turns his eye to the corrupt, violence-filled New York City of the early ’80s. The story centers on Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac), an immigrant-turned-aspiring-heating-oil-magnate whose attempts at expanding his business land him in hot water with the government, the banks and the local Mafia. As the central character, Isaac is nothing short of extraordinary, channeling the kind of subtle, yet evocative characters perfected by Al Pacino and Robert De Niro in their ’70s heyday. Equally great is the supporting cast, which boasts Jessica Chastain, David Oyewole and an unrecognizable Albert Brooks. And while the film’s deliberate pacing and understated nature may be a deal breaker for some, those who stick around will be rewarded with a beautifully crafted, if chilling portrayal of how the pursuit of the American Dream can slowly transforms into a nefarious journey into the heart of darkness.—Mark Rozeman


creed.jpg 54. Creed
Year: 2015
Director: Ryan Coogler
There’s an alternate timeline in which Creed is a superfluous waste of nostalgia. In that universe, Warner Bros. gave the reins to a filmmaker other than Ryan Coogler, the young Oakland-born director who stunned viewers in 2013 with Fruitvale Station, a bio-drama about the death of Oscar Grant. Maybe Coogler is the last person anyone might expect to take up Sylvester Stallone’s mantle and breathe new life into the long-abiding, conditionally beloved Rocky franchise. There’s a chance that Creed might have turned out just fine without Coogler at the helm. But that version of Creed would lack the chief detail that makes Coogler’s film so good: perspective. Structurally, Creed is nearly a beat-for-beat remake of Rocky, which is fine if not particularly exciting on paper. It’s different, though, because it isn’t about Rocky Balboa at all. It’s about Adonis (Michael B. Jordan), the son of Rocky’s rival-turned-best friend, Apollo Creed, whom we first meet in juvie pummeling an older, larger boy while their fellow delinquents cheer and jeer them on. And then, of course, there’s Rocky himself. There’s an air of masculine chagrin to his arc. We’re not used to seeing guys like Rocky laid this low and left this vulnerable. Donnie is his chance at winning glory in the ring again, but the kid also gives him the strength to fight anew when he’s down and out. It’s every bit as schmaltzy as it sounds, but schmaltz is Rocky’s bread and butter. Coogler makes it his, too. He understands that schmaltz is pure delight when it’s served properly: with earnest emotion and through rousing spectacle. Creed defies our expectations of its genre even as it fulfills them.—Andy Crump


dear-white-people.jpg 53. Dear White People
Year: 2014
Director: Justin Simien
While Dear White People anchors its perspective in the struggles of its black leads, it argues that racism is a universal issue—or that, at least, dealing with the implications of racism, rooting it out at its source, is a personal task for every single human being to undertake. Who hasn’t, at one point or another, felt like they didn’t fit in with their peers? Who doesn’t feel the tug of social pressure when they’re in school? These aren’t questions about racism, but they do inch us collectively closer to targeting the very deep-seated core of what it is that still makes racism so prevalent today. Simien stumbles in the third act thanks to an amalgam of plot complications (a stroke of simplicity could have smoothed over Dear White People’s landing), but maybe a diluted ending would have glossed over the truth at the film’s core: that race politics are more complex than pretty much any one of us realizes.—Andy Crump


song-one.jpg 52. Song One
Year: 2015
Director: Kate Barker-Froyland
In her first major role since winning the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for_ Les Misérables_, Anne Hathaway gets back in touch with her indie side for Song One, a modest but affecting drama that finds her delivering a gentle performance that contains none of the melodramatic fireworks of Fantine. Writer-director Kate Barker-Froyland’s feature debut about a woman reconnecting with her brother through his songwriting idol has a delicate, melancholy tone that’s fragile but strong enough to sustain this minor-key tale. Hathaway’s isn’t the only nicely understated turn in the film. Mary Steenburgen is particularly great as an outspoken but not over-the-top mother who has lived a rich life and must now be content with her long-ago memories. And Johnny Flynn, who’s an actor and musician, imbues James with the soulfulness of an artist, performing the character’s songs (written by indie songwriters Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice) with a simplicity that doesn’t try to oversell James’s talent. What could have been a mopey, self-obsessed portrait of a flash in the pan is instead a genuine portrayal of a floundering musician who fears that his peak is already behind him, no matter how many teen girls still think he’s a dreamy poet.—TIm Grierson


friday-13th.jpg 51. Friday the 13th
Year: 1980
Director: Sean S. Cunningham
Years after two summer camp counselors are offed while they’re getting it on, a new group with similar extracurricular activities arrives at Camp Crystal Lake. Hack, slice. A pre-Footloose Kevin Bacon (one of the series’ many casting gems) gets lucky and then immediately gets an arrowhead through the back of the throat. Bummer. It’s a competent and formative slasher flick, though it barely resembles the series it spawned. Jason makes only a brief, but extremely memorable appearance. And the ending reveal is among the most memorable in horror history.—Jeffrey Bloomer


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