The 16 Best Movies on Amazon Prime Right Now (September 2020)

What to watch on Amazon Prime

There are more than 18,000 movies available for viewing on Amazon Prime, and almost 2,000 television shows. That's a lot of content, so unless you have about 84,000 hours to spend watching videos, you're going to need some help. We've rounded up the best movies on Amazon Prime right now, in a variety of categories, to help you make the most of your TV-watching time. 

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All-In: The Fight for Democracy (2020): Best New Political Documentary

Stacey Abrams in the political documentary 'All In: The Fight for Democracy'


IMDb rating: n/a

Genre: Documentary

Starring: Stacey Abrams, Luci Baines Johnson, Andrew Young

Director: Lisa Cortes, Liz Garbus

Motion Picture Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 1 hour, 42 minutes

This Amazon Original documentary, which comes out on Sept. 18, takes a look at voting rights in America, making it a very timely watch. Much of it is centered on Stacey Abrams, who served as minority leader in the Georgie House of Representatives and ran for governor in 2016 in an election marred by voter suppression accusations. Since then, she's become a voting rights activist. The documentary focuses on the history of such activism, as well as the barriers to voting many people encounter in the U.S.

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Radioactive (2019): Best Scientific Biopic

Rosamund Pike in Radioactive



IMDb rating: 6.2

Genre: Biography, Drama

Starring: Rosamund Pike, Yvette Feuer, Mirjam Novak 

Director: Marjane Satrapi

Motion Picture Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 1 hour, 49 minutes

Radioactive chronicles the life of pioneering scientist Marie Curie (Rosamund Pike), the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. During her lifetime, she refined a technique for isolating radioactive isotopes and discovered the elements polonium and radium. The film follows her life, her research, and the consequences that followed, before ending on her impact on the 21st century.

Pike is a very capable actress and Radioactive is worth watching for her alone. She portrays Curie as both sympathetic and tough, and her performance helps elevate what is otherwise a pretty standard biopic.

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Knives Out (2019): Best Use of a Cable-Knit Sweater

Chris Evans in 'Knives Out'


IMDb rating: 7.9

Genre: Mystery

Starring: Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas

Director: Rian Johnson

Motion Picture Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes

Fans of old-fashioned locked-room murder mysteries will find a lot to love about Knives Out, director Rian Johnson's subversive ode to the genre.

When renowned crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) is found dead on his 85th birthday, a member of his family hires Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig, affecting the best worst Southern accent since Foghorn Leghorn) to investigate. The mystery is a ton of fun and manages to throw in a couple of surprises. The ensemble cast seems to enjoy themselves as well. Craig chews lots of scenery as Blanc, and Ana de Armas is fantastic as Thrombey's beleaguered nurse. Filled with black humor and political commentary, this film is an enjoyable update to a classic genre.

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Inception (2010): Best Mind-Bending Sci-Fi Flick

Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) stares at a spinning top in the film Inception

Warner Bros.

IMDb rating: 8.8

Genre: Action, Sci-Fi

Starring:  Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page

Director: Christopher Nolan

Motion Picture Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 2 hours, 28 minutes

Christopher Nolan's 2010 sci-fi action film Inception stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Dominick "Dom" Cobb, a thief who steals information by invading people's dreams. He and his team are given an impossible mission: implant an idea into a person's subconscious instead of stealing one. In return, their employer will erase Cobb's criminal record so he can reunite with his kids.

Inception has a couple of things going for it. A strong ensemble cast that includes Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe, Marion Cotillard, and more. Incredible practical effects and thrilling action set pieces. And an ending that makes you think about it long after the credits roll. If you haven't seen this head-trip yet, you owe it to yourself to experience this trippy sci-fi heist film.

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The Big Sick (2017): Best Real-Life Romantic Comedy

Kumail Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan in a scene from The Big Sick


IMDb rating: 7.5

Genre: Romance

Starring: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter

Director: Michael Showalter

Motion Picture Rating: R

Running Time: 120 minutes

Kumail Nanjiani (Kumail Nanjiani) meets and falls in love with Emily Gardner (Zoe Kazan), but his parents—who have set up an arranged marriage for him—throw a monkey wrench in the relationship and she breaks up with him. It sounds like the start of a generic clash-of-cultures romantic comedy, except this is all real. Kumail Nanjiani co-wrote the screenplay for The Big Sick with his real-life wife Emily Gordon based on the events of their highly unusual courtship.

The heart of the film is about what happens when Emily—no longer dating Kumail—falls deathly ill and her parents (and Kumail) rush to the hospital to manage the illness and care for her. Like any rom-com, lessons are learned, hearts are mended, and poignant moments are shared. But what makes this movie so much more meaningful—and more likely to stay with you long after it's over—is that it really happened.

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Dora and the Lost City of Gold (2019): Best for Fans of the Cartoon Series

Dora (Isabela Moner) checks her map in Dora and the Lost City of Gold

Photo by Vince Valitutti - © 2018 Paramount Players, a Division of Paramount Pictures

IMDb rating: 6.0

Genre: Adventure

Starring:  Isabela Moner, Benicio del Toro, Eva Longoria, Michael Peña

Director: James Bobin

Motion Picture Rating: PG

Running Time: 1 hour, 42 minutes

If you're looking for a cute family-friendly flick to watch this month, you could do a lot worse than Dora and the Lost City of Gold. Based on the hit cartoon series Dora the Explorer, it sees the eponymous explorer (Isabela Moner) and her friends journey to Peru in search of the fabled Lost City of Gold and Dora's missing parents (Eva Longoria, Michael Peña). A thieving fox named Swiper (Benicio del Toro) and a gaggle of mercenaries stands in their way.

Young fans of the Nickelodeon series will obviously be delighted to watch this live-action adaptation, but non-fans and parents can enjoy its charming lead and campy slapstick as well.

Dora and the City of Gold comes to Amazon Prime on Aug. 3.

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The Lighthouse (2019): Best Psychological Horror

Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson in 'The Lighthouse'



IMDb rating: 7.5

Genre: Horror

Starring: Robert Pattinson, Willem Dafoe

Director: Robert Eggers

Motion Picture Rating: R

Running Time: 1 hour, 49 minutes

Director Robert Eggers' The Lighthouse is a moody, black and white psychological horror film set in 19th century New England. Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson play lighthouse keepers who slowly lose their sanity when a storm strands them. Dafoe is always a fascinating actor and he gives a larger than life performance here as the salty veteran seadog, while Pattinson ably matches him. The movie was at least partially inspired by Edgar Allan Poe, so fans of the author's macabre work will find something to like here, as will fans of Egger's previous horror work, The Witch.

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I am Not Your Negro (2017): Best Essential Viewing Documentary

A scene from I Am Not Your Negro

Magnolia Pictures

IMDb rating: 7.8

Genre: Documentary

Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, James Baldwin, Martin Luther King

Director: Raoul Peck

Motion Picture Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 93 minutes

James Baldwin was a novelist, playwright, and important voice for the African-American experience. When he died in 1987, he left behind a barely-started novel intended to be a personal account of the lives of three of his closest friends: Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr. In this film, director Raoul Peck sets out to tell the story Baldwin never had a chance to complete.

Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson and featuring archival footage of historical figures like Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., I Am Not Your Negro features much of Baldwin's own writings and has won a veritable avalanche of major awards from around the world. Given the current political climate in the United States, this important film should be deemed essential viewing.

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Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018): Best Cinematic Action Movie

Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible Fallout


IMDb rating: 7.7

Genre: Action/Adventure

Starring: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames

Director: Christopher McQuarrie

Motion Picture Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 147 minutes

Who knew, in 1996, that the cinematic version of the campy old Mission: Impossible TV series would go on to spawn one of the most popular franchises in film history? And that, with a few exceptions, each M:I movie gets better than the one before?

In the latest chapter, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team need to recover the plutonium cores to a trio of nuclear weapons. As in most M:I movies, though, the particular MacGuffin they're after is almost irrelevant. Fallout takes the crew to Paris, London, and India, includes an epic car chase, some skydiving, and an insane helicopter chase you have to see to believe—all the more amazing because that's Tom Cruise really flying.

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The Cabin in the Woods (2011): Best Deconstructed Comedy/Horror Flick

A scene from Cabin in the Woods


IMDb rating: 7.0

Genre: Horror

Starring: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison 

Director: Drew Goddard

Motion Picture Rating: R

Running Time: 95 minutes

People seem to love it when chefs 'deconstruct' popular dishes, like when they give you a sliver of bread, puddle of sauce, and a slice of cheese and call it pizza. Joss Whedon has done something similar with The Cabin in the Woods, deconstructing the horror genre in an incredibly fun and exciting way.

A group of typical teens including Dana (Kristen Connolly), Curt (Chris Hemsworth), and Jules (Anna Hutchison) head off to a remote cabin for the weekend and end up unleashing an army of the undead. But the way they do it—and the unexpected twists and turns the plot takes along the way—is like taking a college course in horror film tropes. And the film's final act sets a new standard for upending your expectations. Moreover, this is an excellent movie not just for die-hard horror fans who want to see the genre turned inside-out; the comedy makes it thoroughly entertaining for horror newbies, too.

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Rocketman (2019): Best Musical Biopic

Taron Egerton as Elton John in Rocketman


IMDb rating: 7.3

Genre: Biography, Music, Drama

Starring: Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden

Director: Dexter Fletcher

Motion Picture Rating: R

Running Time: 121 minutes

If you grew up singing along to Bennie and the Jets, Crocodile Rock, or, dare I say it, Rocketman, then you don't want to miss Taron Egerton slip seamlessly into the role of the world's best-known rock and roll piano player.

Yes, it's a bit of a paint-by-the-numbers biopic, but unlike Bohemian Rhapsody, Freddie Mercury's recent biography, this look at the life of Elton John has the advantage of being more or less accurate. Along the way, you get all the great music, the ups and downs of his life and musical career, and get to meet the most important people in his life, including manager John Reid (Richard Madden) and partner Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell). And for fans, that's more than enough.

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Something's Gotta Give: Best Romantic Comedy for the AARP Crowd

Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton star in Something's Gotta Give

Columbia Pictures Industries

IMDb rating: 6.7

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Starring: Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, Keanu Reeves

Director: Nancy Meyers

Motion Picture Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 2 hours, 8 minutes

Harry Sanborn (Jack Nicholson) is an aging bachelor notorious for dating women in their 20s. When he has a heart attack in the home of his latest girlfriend, Marin (Amanda Peet), he's reluctantly nursed back to health by her mother, Erica Barry (Diane Keaton), a divorced playwright. The two tumultuously fall in and out of love over the course of a weekend. The film is a humorous and refreshing character study of a man learning to love and appreciate age-appropriate women.

Although it's not a perfect movie, Something's Gotta Give is worth watching to see two great Hollywood actors at the top of their game. Nicholson and Keaton are charming, funny, and endearing, and they elevate the film's standard rom-com plot.

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Top Gun (1986): Best for Feeling the Need for Speed

Maverick (Tom Cruise) attends a naval aviator training class in 'Top Gun'

Paramount Pictures

IMDb rating: 6.9

Genre: Action, Drama

Starring:  Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Anthony Edwards, Val Kilmer

Director: Tony Scott

Motion Picture Rating: PG

Running Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes

Top Gun: Maverick won't hit theaters until sometime in 2021, so now's a good time to catch up on this classic action franchise if you haven't already seen it. Tom Cruise plays Lieutenant Pete 'Maverick' Mitchell, a young and cocky naval aviator. He and his best friend 'Goose' (Anthony Edwards) get the chance to train at the US Navy's Fighter Weapons School in San Diego, California. In between training, Maverick finds the time to woo an instructor (Kelly McGillis) by memorably singing The Righteous Brothers' You Lost That Loving Feeling.

OK, so Top Gun isn't a perfect movie. But it's a fun '80s flick that helped propel Tom Cruise into superstardom. And it has some great aerial photography that still holds up decades later.

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A Quiet Place (2018): Best Popcorn Horror Flick

Emily Bunt's character holding a shotgun in A Quiet Place


IMDb rating: 7.5

Genre: Sci-Fi Horror

Starring: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds

Director: John Krasinski

Motion Picture Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 90 minutes

Between A Quiet Place and Bird Box, horror movies in 2018 seemed focused on our five senses—but A Quiet Place is unquestionably the best film in this unusual genre. Civilization has collapsed because aliens with an acute sense of hearing invaded our planet, and Lee Abbott (John Krasinski, who also directs), his wife Evelyn (real-life wife Emily Blunt), and their children try to stay alive, mainly by walking on an implausibly large amount of sand.

This movie is gripping and powerful, largely because Krasinski knows that what you don't see is often scarier than what you do. It's his major studio directorial debut and it was one of the best popcorn flicks of 2018.

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3:10 to Yuma (2007): Best Western Remake

Christian Bale and Russell Crowe riding horses in the film 3:10 to Yuma


IMDb rating: 7.7

Genre: Western

Starring:  Russell Crowe, Christian Bale

Director: James Mangold

Motion Picture Rating: R

Running Time: 2 hours, 2 minutes

3:10 to Yuma, both the original 1957 film and its 2007 remake, is based on Elmore Leonard's short story of the same name. It's the tale of an impoverished rancher (Christian Bale) who takes on the dangerous job of escorting a notorious outlaw (Russell Crowe) to a courthouse to face justice.

While the movie doesn't deviate much from its predecessor, it's worth watching for Bale and Russell's fiery performances, the great pacing, and the surprisingly moral story about right and wrong.

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Logan Lucky (2017): Best Off-Kilter Heist Movie

A scene from Logan Lucky

 Amazon Prime

IMDb rating: 7.0

Genre: Comedy

Starring: Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Motion Picture Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 118 minutes

Who doesn't love a good heist movie? Logan Lucky is a somewhat off-kilter crime flick, though—it's sort of a trailer park version of Ocean's 11 (which is an even more apt description when you note it's directed by none other than Steven Soderbergh).

What you get in this delicious little film is a plot to rob the Charlotte Motor Speedway during the Memorial Day weekend Coca-Cola 600. You get all the usual characters, like the mastermind Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum), explosives expert Joe Bang (Daniel Craig), and computer experts Sam and Fish (Brian Gleeson and Jack Quaid), along with a slew of others in this ensemble cast. The performances are amazing, especially Daniel Craig's oddball hick. Nothing seems to ever go as planned in this clever take on the crime genre, and the well-engineered story keeps paying off right to the very end.