The 20 Best Movies on Amazon Prime Right Now (January 2021)

What to watch on Amazon Prime

You can choose from 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. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime right now, in a variety of categories, to help you make the most of your TV-watching time. 

01
of 20

One Night in Miami (2020): An Insightful Look at Four Black Icons

Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odom Jr., Eli Goree, and Kingsley Ben-Adir in 'One Night in Miami.'

Amazon

IMDb rating: 6.1/10

Genre: Drama

Starring: Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge

Director: Regina King

Motion Picture Rating: R

Running Time: 1 hour, 54 minutes

One Night in Miami is the directorial debut of actress Regina King, and there's already some awards buzz surrounding it. The film imagines what it would be like if Cassius Clay, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown all met up in a hotel in 1964. It's an interesting premise, and King has fun with it, but she uses it to discuss more somber issues surrounding the Black American community as well. Since it's based on a stage play, One Night in Miami is dialogue-heavy, but it's also an insightful glimpse at four American icons.

02
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Herself (2020): An Empowering Story About Rebuilding Your Life

Clare Dunne in 'Herself'

Amazon

IMDb rating: 7.1/10

Genre: Drama

Starring: Clare Dunne, Molly McCann, Ruby Rose O'Hara

Director: Phyllida Lloyd

Motion Picture Rating: R

Running Time: 1 hour, 37 minutes

Herself is an empowering story about a struggling mother of two kids who flees an abusive relationship and seeks to literally rebuild her life. Fed up with temporary housing, she decides to build a new affordable home with the help of an architect and a building contractor. But her ex and the federal government stand in her way. Filled with likable characters and a poignant message, Herself is worth a look.

03
of 20

The Truman Show (1998): Jim Carrey's Best Film

Jim Carrey in "The Truman Show."

Paramount Pictures

IMDb rating: 8.1/10

Genre: Drama, Comedy

Starring: Jim Carrey, Ed Harris, Laura Linney

Director: Peter Weir

Motion Picture Rating: PG

Running Time: 1 hour, 43 minutes

Truman is an ordinary man with a lovely wife and a good job. But he's also unwittingly the star of the world's biggest reality TV show. His town is filled with props, his neighbors are actors, and he's beginning to catch on. That's the premise behind the 1998 comedy The Truman Show, one of Jim Carrey's best films. Funny and surprisingly prescient, it's an endearing look at the rise of reality television and celebrity worship.

04
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Sound of Metal (2019): A Sensitive Portrait of the Deaf Community

Riz Ahmed in 'Sound of Metal.'

Amazon Studios

IMDb rating: 7.8/10

Genre: Drama

Starring: Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke, Paul Raci 

Director: Darius Marder

Motion Picture Rating: R

Running Time: 1 hour, 41 minutes

The critically-acclaimed Sound of Metal is now on Amazon Prime. It stars Riz Ahmed as a heavy metal drummer who loses his hearing. Ahmed is great in the role, with critics calling his performance both "understated" and "compelling." The movie itself is a sensitive portrait of the deaf community and it's notable for its sound design, which gives the audience a hint of what it's like to suffer hearing loss.

05
of 20

Sylvie’s Love (2020): A Period Romance with Heart

Tessa Thompson and Nnamdi Asomugha in 'Sylvie's Love.'

Amazon Studios

IMDb rating: 6.5/10

Genre: Romance, Drama

Starring: Tessa Thompson, Nnamdi Asomugha, Eva Longoria 

Director: Eugene Ashe

Motion Picture Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 1 hour, 54 minutes

Sylvie's Love is a heartfelt period romance about a woman who falls in love with a saxophonist in 1950s Harlem. The two move in and out of each other's lives over the course of six years, but when they reconnect they find their feelings for each other haven't faded. If you're a fan of old-fashioned will-they/won't-they romances, 1950s music, or Tessa Thompson, give this one a try.

06
of 20

I'm Your Woman (2020): A Moody 1970s Crime Drama

Rachel Brosnahan in 'I'm Your Woman'

Amazon Studios

IMDb rating: 6.1/10

Genre: Crime, Drama

Starring: Rachel Brosnahan, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Arinzé Kene

Director: Julia Hart

Motion Picture Rating: R

Running Time: 2 hours

I'm Your Woman is an atmospheric '70s crime drama starring Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel). Brosnahan plays Jean, a housewife who goes on the run with her baby after her husband, Eddie, betrays his partners. Discovering what Eddie was up to and how Jean handles the desperate situation she's now in is part of the fun in this stylish thriller, and fans of Brosnahan's other Amazon work will enjoying seeing her move beyond the ebullient Mrs. Maisel.

07
of 20

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020): A Funny Look at American Culture

Sacha Baron Cohen in 'Borat Subsequent Moviefilm'

 Amazon Studios

IMDb rating: 6.7/10

Genre: Comedy

Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen, Maria Bakalova, Nicoleta Ciobanu

Director: Jason Woliner

Motion Picture Rating: R

Running Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Sacha Baron Cohen is back with another satirical look at American culture in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. Fourteen years after his last trip to the U.S., Kazakh television journalist Borat returns with his teenage daughter in tow. Cohen's antics are as outrageous as ever, even if they're harder to pull off now that Borat is a recognizable character, and include encounters with an Instagram influencer, a Christian pregnancy counselor, and Rudy Guiliani. The film is funny, gross, juvenile, and pointedly relevant.

08
of 20

Uncle Frank (2020): An Engaging Road Trip Dramedy

Paul Bettany, Peter Macdissi, and Sophia Lillis in 'Uncle Frank.'

 Amazon Studios

IMDb rating: 7.2/10

Genre: Drama

Starring: Paul Bettany, Sophia Lillis, Peter Macdissi

Director: Alan Ball

Motion Picture Rating: R

Running Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Set in the 1970s, Uncle Frank stars Paul Bettany as an alcoholic closeted gay professor who's in a 10-year relationship with a Saudi Arabian ex-pat named Walid. When Frank's niece (Sophia Lillis) visits him in New York and discovers this fact about his life, she's immediately accepting. The rest of the family is another matter. Bettany has wowed audiences for decades and he turns in another great performance here, backed by an able supporting cast that includes Stephen Root, Judy Greer, and Margo Martindale.

09
of 20

As Good As It Gets (1997): Best Cantankerously OCD Lead in a Not-Fluffy Romantic Comedy

Jack Nicholson in 'As Good As It Gets.'

Sony Pictures

 

IMDb rating: 7.7/10

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Starring: Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt, Greg Kinnear 

Director: James L. Brooks

Motion Picture Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 2 hours, 19 minutes

This movie features Jack Nicholson at his charming, cantankerous best. He plays romance writer Melvin Udall, an obsessive-compulsive who's unfailingly rude to everyone, including his gay neighbor Simon (Greg Kinnear) and Carol (Helen Hunt), the only waitress at his favorite restaurant who'll serve him. But, when he's forced to take care of Simon's dog, he slowly starts letting these people into his life. While this isn't the fluffiest of romantic comedies, all three leads are terrific, and the script is filled with many witty one-liners.

10
of 20

Spaceballs (1987): A Classically Silly Send-Up of Star Wars

Mel Brooks in 'Spaceballs.'

MGM

IMDb rating: 7.1/10

Genre: Comedy

Starring: Mel Brooks, John Candy, Rick Moranis

Director: Mel Brooks

Motion Picture Rating: PG

Running Time: 1 hour, 36 minutes

While many don't consider it among Mel Brooks' best works, Spaceballs' humor manages to hold up even after all these years. A spoof of the Star Wars franchise, it chronicles the adventures of renegade space pilot Lone Starr (Bill Pullman) and his half-man, half-dog sidekick Barf (John Candy) as they try to rescue a princess (Daphne Zuniga) from the evil Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis). It's entirely silly, but it's the type of movie you wind up quoting with your friends for years afterward.

11
of 20

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000): A Wuxia Classic With Time-Honored Fight Scenes

Michelle Yeoh and Ziyi Zhang in 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.'

Sony Pictures

 

IMDb rating: 7.8/10

Genre: Action

Starring: Yun-Fat Chow, Michelle Yeoh, Ziyi Zhang

Director: Ang Lee

Motion Picture Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 2 hours

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is the story of a retiring swordsman (Yun-Fat Chow) who gives his sword, Green Destiny, to his friend and unrequited love (Michelle Yeoh) for safekeeping, but it's stolen by the daughter of a powerful governor (Ziyi Zhang). This Ang Lee action film was nominated for 10 Academy Awards the year it released, and it won Best Foreign Language Film, Best Art Direction, Best Original Score, and Best Cinematography. Its gorgeous scenery and inventive fight sequences still hold up twenty years later.

12
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The Departed (2006): An Engrossing Gangster Crime Drama

Jack Nicholson and Matt Damon in 'The Departed.'

Warner Bros. Entertainment

 

IMDb rating: 8.5/10

Genre: Crime, Drama

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson 

Director: Martin Scorsese

Motion Picture Rating: R

Running Time: 2 hours, 31 minutes

Martin Scorsese's 2006 crime drama The Departed is a remake of the 2002 Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs. Now set in Boston, it follows undercover cop Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) as he infiltrates the organization of infamous gangster Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson). While Billy seeks to gain Frank's trust, a mole in the police department (Matt Damon) spies for the crime boss. The film is bloody and tense, and Nicholson turns in a ferocious performance as Frank.

13
of 20

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

Chris Evans in 'Knives Out'

Lionsgate 

IMDb rating: 7.9/10

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. Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig, affecting the best worst Southern accent since Foghorn Leghorn) is called to the Thrombey estate to investigate the murder of its patriarch, crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer). As with any good mystery, Knives Out has plenty of fun twists along the way. 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.

14
of 20

Funny Girl (1968): Best Movie About a Comedienne By a Singer

Omar Shariff and Barbara Streisand in 'Funny Girl.'

 Columbia Pictures

IMDb rating: 7.4/10

Genre: Musical

Starring: Barbra Streisand, Omar Sharif, Kay Medford

Director: William Wyler

Motion Picture Rating: G

Running Time: 2 hours, 31 minutes

This classic musical propelled Barbara Streisand into superstardom and for good reason: It's impossible to imagine this movie without her and her performance as the famous 1900s comedienne and entertainer Fanny Brice. The film chronicles Brice's rise to fame, from humble Ziegfeld girl to Broadway star. While she finds great success in her professional life, her love life is tumultuous. Her husband, Nick Arnstein (Omar Shariff), is a gambler with a string of failed business ventures. Their melodrama causes the second half of the movie to drag, but Streisand's lively, timeless performance makes up for it.

15
of 20

The Mask Of Zorro (1998): A Rollicking Swashbuckler

Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones in 'The Mask of Zorro.'

 Amblin/Columbia Tri-Star

IMDb rating: 6.7/10

Genre: Action-Adventure

Starring: Antonio Banderas, Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones

Director: Martin Campbell

Motion Picture Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 2 hours, 16 minutes

If you're in the mood for some classic Hollywood swashbuckling, The Mask of Zorro is now on Amazon Prime. This version of the tale sees Don Diego de la Vega (Anthony Hopkins) imprisoned for 20 years. When his old enemy Don Rafael Montero (Stuart Wilson) returns, he decides to train an aimless drunk named Alejandro Murrieta (Antonio Banderas) to replace him as the hero Zorro. But there's a complication: Montero raised de la Vega's daughter Elena (Catherine Zeta-Jones) as his own for all these years. The entire cast is charming and the action sequences thrilling. It's the kind of movie that makes you say, "They don't make them like that anymore."

16
of 20

The Lighthouse (2019): Best Moody Psychological Horror

Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson in 'The Lighthouse'

A24

 

IMDb rating: 7.5/10

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.

17
of 20

Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018): Best Helicopter Chase in a Movie

Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible Fallout

 Paramount

IMDb rating: 7.7/10

Genre: Action/Adventure

Starring: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames

Director: Christopher McQuarrie

Motion Picture Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 2 hours, 27 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.

18
of 20

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

A scene from Cabin in the Woods

Lionsgate 

IMDb rating: 7.0/10

Genre: Horror

Starring: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison 

Director: Drew Goddard

Motion Picture Rating: R

Running Time: 1 hour, 35 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. Writers Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon have 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.

19
of 20

Rocketman (2019): Best Musical Paint-By-Numbers Biopic

Taron Egerton as Elton John in Rocketman

 Paramount

IMDb rating: 7.3/10

Genre: Biography, Music, Drama

Starring: Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden

Director: Dexter Fletcher

Motion Picture Rating: R

Running Time: 2 hours, 1 minute

If you grew up singing along to "Bennie and the Jets" and "Crocodile Rock," then you don't want to miss Taron Egerton slip seamlessly into the role of the world's best-known rock 'n' 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.

20
of 20

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

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

 Amazon

IMDb rating: 6.3/10

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 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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