The Best Movies on Amazon Prime Video Right Now

Sign up for our Watching newsletter to get recommendations on the best films and TV shows to stream and watch, delivered to your inbox.

As Netflix pours more of its resources into original content, Amazon Prime Video is picking up the slack, adding new movies for its subscribers each month. Its catalog has grown so impressive, in fact, that it’s a bit overwhelming — and at the same time, movies that are included with a Prime subscription regularly change status, becoming available only for rental or purchase. It’s a lot to sift through, so we’ve plucked out 100 of the absolute best movies included with a Prime subscription right now, to be updated as new information is made available.

Here are our lists of the best TV shows and movies on Netflix, and the best of both on Hulu and Disney+.

When André Leon Talley died last year, accolades poured in from some of the most influential figures in the fashion world. Those not quite in the know couldn’t ask for a better summary of his life and achievements than this energetic and entertaining documentary from the director Kate Novack. Talley’s story is a fascinating one, of a child from the segregated South who used fashion magazines as a form of fantasy and escape, and went on to fill those pages with his distinctive words and inimitable style. The archival footage is delightful and the interviews with his contemporaries are insightful, but Talley’s own commentary is the real draw — he will always be trenchant, funny and fabulous.

Watch it on Amazon

Adrien Brody won the Oscar for best actor, and Roman Polanski (controversially) picked up a statue for best director for this searing adaptation of the 1946 memoir by the Holocaust survivor Władysław Szpilman. Brody stars as Szpilman, a popular Polish-Jewish pianist confined to the Warsaw ghetto, and forced later into hiding, by the Nazi invasion of Poland. Polanski, himself a Holocaust survivor, directs the scenes of Nazi terror with a lived-in immediacy that feels like cinematic therapy. But he finds notes of humanity and even hope in Szpilman’s story. Brody is marvelous, disappearing into the role’s pain and joy, while Thomas Kretschmann shines in the complicated role of an unlikely ally.

Watch it on Amazon

Tom Cruise’s long-awaited sequel to his 1986 smash was a shockingly successful attempt to have it both ways. The filmmakers updated its events and characters for contemporary audiences, but it’s not an outright subversion, either. “Maverick” checks the boxes of the original — there’s thrilling action, sunglasses and leather jackets aplenty, and Cruise at his coolest — and its audience-pleasing conclusion feels like an honest-to-God throwback. (Miles Teller also shines in “Whiplash.”)

Watch it on Amazon

The influential director John Woo finally managed, after a pair of entertaining but compromised attempts, to bring his energetic vision of action gunplay and complicated machismo to American screens with this full-scale blockbuster. The absolutely bananas plot — another holdover from his overseas work — finds a hard-boiled police detective (John Travolta) engaging in a morally and scientifically dubious experiment to swap faces with the criminal (Nicolas Cage) he’s hellbent on stopping. It does not, as you might expect, go as planned. The action beats are breathless, the pacing is propulsive and Travolta and Cage have a blast sending up each other’s personas — and their own.

Watch it on Amazon

Flint Lockwood (energetically voiced by Bill Hader) creates a satellite that can turn water into food, transforming his forgotten fishing island into a tourist hot spot. But when the portions start to mutate into oversized superfoods, Flint has to find the courage to finish what he started. Anna Farris, James Caan, Mr. T and Bruce Campbell are the standouts in the voice cast, and while the little ones will love the images of hot dogs and spaghetti falling from the sky, there’s also a lesson to learn about being yourself and doing what’s right. Our critic called it “a single serving of inspired lunacy.”

Watch it on Amazon

Ang Lee received an Academy Award nomination for best director for this enthralling mixture of martial arts adventure and heartfelt romance. His narrative is a busy hive of deception, betrayal, loyalty and pride, and while the personal and emotional stakes are high, “Crouching Tiger” is most memorable for its awe-inspiring action sequences — bone-crunching and balletic, thrilling and lyrical, as heroes and villains alike transcend gravity. Our critic called it “a heady and delirious brew.” (Lee’s “Life of Pi” is also streaming on Prime.)

Watch it on Amazon

The writer and director Justin Simien made his feature debut with this witty and occasionally brutal satire of contemporary race relations (as well as class, privilege and higher education). The dialogue is thoughtful and rich, delving into oft-unspoken topics with glee while zigzagging away from didacticism. And the characters aren’t mere mouthpieces; they inhabit recognizable types (campus radical, ingratiating jock, brainy outcast, social climber) without falling into easy stereotypes. Our critic called it “as smart and fearless a debut as I have seen from an American filmmaker in quite some time.” (Fans of character-driven indie fare should also check out “Zebrahead” and “The Weekend.”)

Watch it on Amazon

Joe Pesci landed one of his first starring roles — and Marisa Tomei nabbed a surprise Oscar win — in this inventive and enjoyable fish-out-of-water comedy from the director Jonathan Lynn. Pesci is Vincent LaGuardia Gambini, a novice lawyer who roars into a rural Alabama town in his Cadillac convertible to defend his cousin (Ralph Macchio) and a friend who were wrongfully accused of murder. Tomei is his gum-smacking girlfriend Mona Lisa Vito, who alternates cynical commentary with delighted support (up to and including her film-stealing appearance on the witness stand). Dale Launer’s smart screenplay resists the urge to play up Southern stereotypes (or to leave Vinny and Mona Lisa as Brooklyn caricatures), instead finding honest laughs by both clashing these cultures and subverting expectations of them.

Watch it on Amazon

When Joel and Ethan Coen followed up the Oscar-winning triumph of “Fargo” with a broad comedy about a shambling stoner, a botched kidnapping and a case of mistaken identity, audiences and critics scratched their heads. It was only when the film hit home video and cable that it began to find its cult audience, which tuned in to its idiosyncratic dialogue, copious catchphrases, memorable characters and unique comic rhythms. Jeff Bridges is perfect as Jeff Lebowski, an easy-breezy, good-time guy who is mistaken for “the Big Lebowski,” a millionaire with a missing trophy wife. John Goodman and Steve Buscemi are uproarious as his bowling buddies, a combination of blowhard and wallflower. It is one of the Coens’ stranger movies (which is saying something), yet fully deserving of the dedication it has inspired.

Watch it on Amazon

Before the massive production of “Fury Road,” or even the rough-and-tumble “The Road Warrior,” the Australian director George Miller introduced the action legend “Mad” Max Rockatansky in this lean, mean slab of “Oz-ploitation” filmmaking. And he introduced a little-known Aussie actor named Mel Gibson in the title role, a police officer who becomes a bloodthirsty vigilante after a criminal gang attacks his wife and child. A first-time director, Miller was working with a tiny budget and limited resources. But his talent for genre filmmaking was already evident; the metal-crunching car chases are staged with jittery ingenuity, while the emotional beats are brutally effective.

Watch it on Amazon

The saga of Rocky Balboa, the club fighter plucked from obscurity to fight the heavyweight champ, seemed to have ended with Sylvester Stallone’s 2006 back-to-basics effort “Rocky Balboa.” But nearly a decade later, Ryan Coogler cast a fresh eye on the saga, recasting Stallone’s Rocky as the mentor to Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan), the son of Rock’s old rival-turned-friend Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers). What sounds like a desperate attempt to revive a failing franchise is instead a powerful story of legacy, loss and love, thanks to the energetic direction of Coogler (who would next helm “Black Panther”) and the sensitive performances of Jordan, an Oscar-nominated Stallone and Tessa Thompson, who plays Bianca, the romantic interest. Our critic called it “a dandy piece of entertainment, soothingly old-fashioned and bracingly up-to-date.”

Watch it on Amazon

Three crime stories — a hit man out to dinner with his boss’s wife, a boxer who decides not to throw the big fight and a contract killing gone awry — are shuffled like cards in a deck, told out of order and with delightful narrative curveballs in this 1994 hodgepodge from the writer-director Quentin Tarantino. He writes the kind of tasty, self-aware dialogue that actors love to devour, and he puts together an enviable ensemble cast of big names, fallen stars and rising talents to deliver it. Our critic called it a work of “depth, wit and blazing originality.” (Indie movie fans can also stream ’90s classics like “But I’m a Cheerleader” and “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.”)

Watch it on Amazon

John Cleese writes and stars in this uproariously funny satire of ugly Americans, British politeness and caper movies. Jamie Lee Curtis is Wanda, the femme fatale of a criminal crew who sets her sights on Cleese’s uptight barrister; Kevin Kline is her partner in crime and in bed, who is very jealous and very stupid (but don’t call him that); Cleese’s fellow Monty Python alum Michael Palin is a criminal of a much meeker sort. The director Charles Crichton, who helmed many of England’s classic Ealing Studios comedies, orchestrates the insanity with verve.

Watch it on Amazon

The director Spike Jonze, who made his name with stylish and freewheeling music videos for the likes of the Beastie Boys and Weezer, made his feature directorial debut with this brain-busting surrealist comedy from the wild mind of the screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (also a first-timer). John Cusack stars as a frustrated puppeteer whose job as a filing clerk leads him to discover a portal into the mind of the actor John Malkovich (who appears, gamely, as himself). A lesser film would have settled on that high concept and ridden it out; Kaufman and Jonze burrow deeper into the implications and possibilities of the nutty narrative, resulting in one of the most imaginatively off-kilter films of its time.

Watch it on Amazon

Nicolas Cage won — and earned — the Academy Award for best actor for his wrenching portrayal of a failed screenwriter who goes to Sin City to drink himself to death. Elisabeth Shue was nominated for an Oscar for her turn as a prostitute who falls into something like love with the suicidal writer, and it speaks to the richness of their performances and the texture of Mike Figgis’s direction that such a melodramatic narrative, populated by well-worn stock characters, has such emotional immediacy. Our critic called this moving indie drama “passionate and furiously alive.” (For more Oscar winners, stream “Ordinary People,” “Dead Man Walking” and “Forrest Gump.”)

Watch it on Amazon

Robin Williams won the Academy Award for his supporting work in this, the breakthrough film for Matt Damon and Ben Affleck (who also picked up Oscars for their original screenplay). Damon stars as Will Hunting, a Boston janitor whose secret gift for advanced mathematics puts him on a fast track out of the working class — a journey he’s not quite sure he’s ready to make. Williams shines as the psychologist who tries to steer him right, and Affleck is superb in the relatively unshowy role of Will’s supportive best friend; Gus Van Sant’s direction is similarly modest but affecting. “The script’s bare bones are familiar,” our critic wrote, “yet the film also has fine acting, steady momentum, a sharp eye and a very warm heart.” (Affleck is also excellent in “Dazed and Confused” and “The Way Back.”)

Watch it on Amazon

Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents’s ingenious musical adaptation of “Romeo and Juliet,” which updated its setting and story to the streets and gangs of New York, remains one of the towering achievements of the Broadway stage. So it’s no surprise that it spawned one of the great movie musicals. The original stage director and choreographer Jerome Robbins and the filmmaker Robert Wise shared directorial duties, thrillingly placing the show’s songs and dances on the real streets of New York City while using the proximity and intimacy of the camera to render the longing and loss of the story even more poignant. Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer perform admirably in the leads, but Rita Moreno and George Chakiris steal the show in support — and won Oscars for their efforts, two of the film’s astonishing ten-statue haul, which included prizes for best picture and best director. (For more classic ’60s cinema, stream “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.”)

Watch it on Amazon

Six years after Akira Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai,” John Sturges produced and directed this remake, relocating Kurosawa’s epic from feudal Japan to the American West. But the bones of the story remain the same: a village is terrorized by outside forces, and hires a small band of outlaws to help them fight back. Sturges’s marvelous ensemble cast includes some of the toughest guys in the movies — including Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn and Eli Wallach — along with Yul Brynner, elegant yet credible, as the leader of the guns-for-hire. Elmer Bernstein contributes the iconic score.

Watch it on Amazon

The opening sequence of this South Korean action movie is such a stunner — a breathless, ultraviolent eight-minute one-killer-takes-on-an-army set piece — that you wonder how the director Jung Byung-gil can possibly top it. Improbably, the hyperkinetic climax, a bone-cracking sequence on a speeding city bus, does just that. But “The Villainess” offers more than empty thrills. Though best explained to Western audiences as a gender-flipped “John Wick,” the narrative that plays out between those memorable book ends has a potent emotional core and a complex dual timeline structure, explaining exactly how Sook-hee (Kim Ok-bin), the ruthless killing machine at the story’s center, became who (and what) she is. (Action fans will also enjoy “Speed” and “Blue Steel.”)

Watch it on Amazon

Gary Oldman is a marvel as George Smiley, the British intelligence agent at the center of this adaptation of the novel by John le Carré. It’s the kind of performance that draws its power from a character’s refusal to raise his voice: One gets the feeling he’s done what he’s done for so long, with such awareness of his own creeping obsolescence, that he can hardly be bothered. Our critic called it a performance of “delicacy and understated power,” and around it, the director Tomas Alfredson (“Let the Right One In”) mounts the best big-screen interpretation of le Carré’s work to date.

Watch it on Amazon

Few expected James Cameron’s dramatization (and fictionalization) of the 1912 sinking of the RMS Titanic to become a nearly unmatched commercial success and Academy Award winner (for best picture and best director, among others); most of its prerelease publicity concerned its over-budget and over-schedule production. But in retrospect, we should have known — it was the kind of something-for-everyone entertainment that recalled blockbusters of the past, deftly combining historical drama, wide-screen adventure and heartfelt romance. And its stars, Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, became one of the great onscreen pairings of the 1990s. Our critic called it “a huge, thrilling three-and-a-quarter-hour experience.”

Watch it on Amazon

James Caan followed up “The Godfather” and “The Gambler” by taking the lead in Norman Jewison’s big-budget sports movie, and it could have looked like a sellout move, downshifting his considerable onscreen intelligence into something a bit brawnier. But “Rollerball” is no typical sports movie. Set in the then-distant future of 2018, it’s a prescient warning of the dangers of corporate overreach, overt violence and class warfare in sports entertainment — and society in general — and Caan conveys both the character’s fierce physicality and his intellect with ease. (For more ’70s cinema, check out “Carnal Knowledge” and “Saturday Night Fever.”)

Watch it on Amazon

Gene Hackman stars as Norman Dale, the Indiana high school basketball coach with a checkered past in this sleeper from David Anspaugh — an underdog sports story with the expected early setbacks and dramatic victories. What makes it special is Hackman, crafting the kind of performance that reveals nothing while also seeming to hide nothing; it’s only as we spend more time with the character that he reveals the goodness under his gruff exterior — and the darkness beyond that. Our critic called it “a small film, and a very admirable one.”

Watch it on Amazon

The broad plot outlines — a traumatized vet, working as a killer-for-hire, gets in over his head in the criminal underworld — make this adaptation of Jonathan Ames’s book sound like a million throwaway B-movies. But the director and screenwriter is Lynne Ramsay, and she’s not interested in making a conventional thriller; hers is more like a commentary on them, less interested in visceral action beats than their preparation and aftermath. She abstracts the violence, skipping the visual clichés and focusing on the details a lesser filmmaker wouldn’t even see. Joaquin Phoenix is mesmerizing in the leading role, internalizing his rage and pain until control is no longer an option; “there is something powerful in his agony,” our critic noted. (For more of Phoenix, check out “The Immigrant” and “The Sisters Brothers.”)

Watch it on Amazon

The wild and woolly Marx Brothers teamed with the ace comedy director Leo McCarey (“The Awful Truth,” “Love Affair”) for this delightfully anarchic mixture of knockabout farce and political satire. Groucho Marx stars as Rufus T. Firefly, who takes over the fictional country of Fredonia in a back room deal and drives it right into the ground — and into war, with the help of two wildly incompetent spies (brothers Chico and Harpo). Never mind the plot; it’s just a clothesline to hang a series of classic comic set pieces, including a hilarious confrontation at a peanut stand, the uproariously funny war climax and, most memorably, Groucho and Harpo’s beloved “mirror sequence.”

Watch it on Amazon

Sofia Coppola won her first Oscar — a well-deserved plaudit for best original screenplay — for her sophomore feature, a dreamily evocative tale of a young, somewhat aimless woman (Scarlett Johansson), all but abandoned by her husband in a Tokyo hotel, who crosses paths with an American movie star (Bill Murray) and finds a partner in international ennui. Murray has never been better onscreen, finding just the right note of reserved bemusement (our critic praised this “vodka-and-bitters version of himself and the persona that made him famous”), while Johansson proves herself a movie star of uncommon confidence. (Coppola’s debut feature, “The Virgin Suicides,” is also on Prime.)

Watch it on Amazon

The writer and director J.C. Chandor’s feature debut was a high-profile affair — one of the first films to directly address the 2008 financial crisis — “relentless in its honesty and shrewd in its insights and techniques,” per our critic. Chandor’s gripping script telescopes the action to a 24-hour period and the setting to a single Wall Street investment bank, as the implications and consequences of the impending crisis become clear, and the firm’s strong personalities bounce and collide. A tiptop ensemble cast brings verve to the key players, with fine performances Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Demi Moore, Zachary Quinto (who was also a producer), Kevin Spacey and Stanley Tucci. (“The Wolf of Wall Street” is a slightly more cynical examination of the world of high finance.)

Watch it on Amazon

The director Sergio Leone brought his signature dusty landscapes, offbeat music, brutal violence and morally flexible protagonists to this Hollywood studio production. Henry Fonda is truly chilling as a ruthless villain, conveying a pure evil not even hinted at in his decades of good-guy turns, and the film’s heroine (Claudia Cardinale) and her tough-guy companions (Charles Bronson and Jason Robards) make an unlikely but effective team. Atmospheric, bracing and effortlessly cool, with an unforgettable closing confrontation. (Western fans will also enjoy “El Dorado.”)

Watch it on Amazon

Matt Damon turns in one of his best performances — by turns desperate, sexy and chilling — in this first-rate adaptation of the novel by Patricia Highsmith. Damon stars as the title character, a clever con artist who uses a fleeting instance of mistaken identity to ingratiate himself into the sphere of the rich and beautiful (namely, Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow) and to stay there at any cost. The director Anthony Minghella carries off the drama and suspense with aplomb and handily orchestrates the excellent cast, which also includes Cate Blanchett and a memorably weaselly Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Watch it on Amazon

It looks, at first glance, like the perfect New York City romance: a roomy apartment on the Upper West Side, a gorgeous wife and her handsome actor husband, a bouncing baby on the way. Look closer. Roman Polanski’s “mainstream masterpiece” is a chilling examination of the terror that lurks just beneath those shiny surfaces, beneath the wide-eyed good intentions of new friends and the cheerful opportunism of the young couple at it center. Mia Farrow does some of her finest acting as the increasingly sickly mother-to-be, John Cassavetes is appropriately devil-may-care as her career-minded husband, and Ruth Gordon won an Oscar for her work as the couple’s nosy next-door neighbor. (Fans of vintage genre films will also enjoy “The Naked Kiss” and “Bird With the Crystal Plumage.”)

This thrillingly unpredictable rom-com/crime movie mash-up from the director Jonathan Demme (“The Silence of the Lambs”) begins as a boy-meets-girl movie with a slightly psychosexual edge, seeming to tell the story of how a wild girl (Melanie Griffith) and a straight guy (Jeff Daniels) meet in the middle. Then Ray (a sensational Ray Liotta) turns up and hijacks the entire movie, turning into something much darker and more dangerous. Throughout, Demme keeps the focus on his colorful characters and sharp dialogue. (For more stylish ’80s drama, try “American Gigolo.”)

Watch it on Amazon

Harrison Ford was still known primarily as Han Solo and Indiana Jones when he flexed his considerable dramatic muscles in this taut crime drama from director Peter Weir (“Picnic at Hanging Rock,” “Dead Poets Society”). He stars as John Book, a Philadelphia police detective investigating a murder whose only witness is a young Amish boy. So he follows the boy and his mother (Kelly McGillis) back to their insular community to protect them. Weir deftly intermingles this suspenseful mystery story with an affecting human drama, in which Book finds himself drawn not only to the small Amish town but also to the young mother — which raises the stakes considerably. McGillis is wonderfully conflicted as a woman who wants only to do right, and Ford’s multifaceted performance serves as a fine reminder that he can play real, flawed people, not just popcorn icons.

Watch it on Amazon

One of the great Charles Chaplin’s finest films — “indeed, one of the screen’s most lovable classics,” per our critic — is this delightful story of prospectors and dreamers during the Klondike Gold Rush of the late 1890s. Chaplin, in his customary bowler hat and ill-fitting suit, sticks out like a sore thumb among the roughnecks, which provides much of the picture’s humor; more is borne out of the desperate hunger he experiences when the going gets rough, resulting in such iconic sequences as the eating of his own shoe. Few filmmakers mixed pathos and laughs as adroitly as Chaplin, and this is one of his most successful cinematic stews.

Watch it on Amazon

Columbo wasn’t the only famous detective brought to life by the one and only Peter Falk; he also brought back Humphrey Bogart (albeit as the private eye Lou Peckinpaugh) in this “funny, affectionate” spoof of Bogart’s classics “Casablanca,” “The Maltese Falcon,” “The Big Sleep,” and any number of others. Neil Simon penned the script, but this is a far cry from the character-driven, relationship-heavy likes of “The Odd Couple” or “Barefoot in the Park,” veering closer to the rapid-fire farce of Simon’s “Your Show of Shows” collaborator Mel Brooks. But he does it well, Falk is admirably game, and the talented supporting players (including Eileen Brennan, Stockard Channing, Dom DeLuise, Madeline Kahn, Ann-Margret, Marsha Mason and Paul Williams) do their jobs with pizzaz. (Brennan and Kahn reunited for the similarly silly “Clue”; for a slightly more serious mystery, stream “Dead Again.”)

Watch it on Amazon

This white-knuckle zombie-apocalypse thriller from the South Korean director Yeon Sang-ho, set onboard train hurtling toward possible safety, is a fantastic entry in the “relentless action in a confined space” subgenre (recalling “Snowpiercer,” “The Raid,” “Dredd” and the granddaddy of them all, “Die Hard”). The set pieces are energetic, the makeup effects are convincing, and the storytelling is ruthless. (Don’t get too attached to anyone.) But it’s not all blood and bluster; there’s a patient, deliberate setup before the orgy of gore and mayhem, leading to a surprising outpouring of emotion at the story’s conclusion. Our critic deemed it “often chaotic but never disorienting,” and praised its “spirited set pieces.” (For more breathless action, try “El Mariachi” and “Ronin.”)

Watch it on Amazon

The esteemed character actor Charles Laughton made his one and only trip behind the camera for this haunting small-town thriller, which melds the conventions of film noir and Hitchcock-style suspense with a healthy taste of Southern Gothic. Robert Mitchum crafts a chilling, unforgettable performance as a mysterious stranger who romances a widowed mother (a superb Shelley Winters) whose children seem to be the only ones capable of seeing the evil within him. Our critic called it “clever and exceptionally effective.” (For more ’50s cinema, check out “The Killing.”)

Watch it on Amazon

Al Pacino, fresh off the success of “The Godfather,” teamed up with the director Sidney Lumet to tell the true story of Frank Serpico, the undercover New York Police Department detective who, at great personal risk and expense, exposed the graft and corruption within the department. Waldo Salt and Norman Wexler’s screenplay (adapting Peter Maas’s nonfiction book) is a sprawling affair, encompassing years of Serpico’s life and work, but it’s an intimate, psychologically nuanced affair — thanks in no small part to Pacino’s magnificent title turn as a cop who will not look the other way. Our critic called it “a new kind of cop film.” (For more Pacino, stream “Scent of a Woman.”)

Watch it on Amazon

The writer and director Paul Thomas Anderson picked up nominations for best director, best original screenplay and best picture for this richly textured, quietly bittersweet and frequently funny story of growing up in the San Fernando Valley in the 1970s. The actor Cooper Hoffman is charismatic and charming as a young would-be entrepreneur; the musician Alana Haim, in a star-making performance of astonishing depth, is the perpetually out-of-reach object of his affections. It’s the kind of movie that sneaks up on you with its warmth and insight. Manohla Dargis called it “a shaggy, fitfully brilliant romp.” (For more high-school comedy-drama, stream “The Breakfast Club” or “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”)

Watch it on Amazon

Early in Garrett Bradley’s extraordinary documentary (a coproduction of The New York Times), someone asks Fox Rich about her husband, and she replies, “He’s, uh, out of town now.” Technically, it’s true; he’s in Angola prison, for a 1997 bank robbery, serving a 60-year sentence without the possibility of parole. Rich has spent years fighting for her husband’s release — and against mass incarceration — and Bradley interweaves her crusade with years of home video footage, contrasting the possibilities of those early videos and the realities of today. But Rich never gives up hope, and this “substantive and stunning” film suggests that even in the grimmest of circumstances, that spirit can pay dividends.

Watch it on Amazon

In 1959, the famed novelist and bon vivant Truman Capote traveled to Kansas to write about the shocking murder of the Clutter family; the resulting book, “In Cold Blood,” all but created both the nonfiction novel and the true crime genre. It also changed the author forever, according to this a “fascinating and fine-grained reconstruction” by director Bennett Miller, which argues that Capote’s interactions with (and betrayal of) the killers Dick Hickock and Perry Smith haunted him for the rest of his life. Philip Seymour Hoffman won a much-deserved Oscar for his stunning work in the title role. (Other biopics on Prime include “Ray” and “The Aviator.”)

Watch it on Amazon

Robert Eggers, the director of “The Witch” and “The Lighthouse,” goes big — very big — with this epic Viking adventure, based on the Scandinavian legend of Amleth. Alexander Skarsgard stars in the title role, a young prince who is ousted from his kingdom when his uncle (Claes Bang) kills his father (Ethan Hawke). He grows into a young man and fierce warrior, vowing to avenge his father and save his mother (Nicole Kidman). Eggers stages the medieval action with thrilling gusto. (A contemporary filmmaker takes on the period epic, with similarly striking results, in Martin Scorsese’s “The Last Temptation of Christ.”)

Watch it on Amazon

The “Girls” creator and star Lena Dunham is about the last person you’d imagine to direct a film adaptation of a young adult novel set in medieval England, circa 1290. (Perhaps that’s why she did it.) What she accomplishes is a minor miracle: a delightful film that inserts a modern comic sensibility into the past, without resorting to anachronism or satire. She gets a big assist from star (and “Game of Thrones” alum) Bella Ramsey, who brings the title character to vivid, playful life, involving us in her tribulations and frustrations, as her oft-drunken father (Andrew Scott, the “hot priest” of “Fleabag”) desperately attempts to marry her off. Our critic called it a “winning,” “headstrong comedy.”

Watch it on Amazon

James Marsh’s documentary tells the exhilarating story of the French daredevil Philippe Petit, whose team of friends and accomplices sneaked into the World Trade Center one night in 1974 and spent the night running a high-wire between the Twin Towers, so Petit could dazzle downtown New York with an early morning tightrope walk. Marsh ingeniously meshes archival footage and contemporary interviews with stylish re-enactments, framing Petit’s daring feat as a heist movie where the payoff is the possibility of death. A.O. Scott called it a “thorough, understated and altogether enthralling documentary.” (Documentary fans will also enjoy “Jiro Dreams of Sushi.”)

Watch it on Amazon

After years of playing second banana, John Candy got his first shot at a full-on leading role in this zippy family comedy from the legendary director Carl Reiner. Candy plays an air traffic controller and perpetually harried family man whose attempt at a mellow summer vacation goes hilariously awry, thanks to unexpected injuries, sunburns and awkward encounters with the snooty locals (including a delightfully slimy Richard Crenna). The script is a fairly formulaic, post-“Caddyshack” snobs versus slobs affair. But Candy is a charming, likable, charismatic lead, and he and Rip Torn make for an unexpectedly excellent comedy team. (For more wild comedy, try “Game Night” or “The Lost City.”)

Watch it on Amazon

August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play about an African American family’s struggles in 1950s Pittsburgh was first performed on Broadway in 1987; after Denzel Washington starred in its 2010 revival, he retained much of the original cast for this film adaptation. As a director, Washington does little to expand upon the play; he seems well aware that the film is carried by the lyricism of the words and the power of the performances, particularly his nuanced portrayal of the bitter Troy Maxson and Viola Davis’s heart-rending turn as his wife, Rose. (Washington fans can also stream “Out of Time,” “Man on Fire” and “Much Ado About Nothing” on Prime.)

Watch it on Amazon

In this inspiring story of empowerment and hope, Keisha Castle-Hughes stars as Pai, a young Maori woman who bucks the rules and traditions of her tribe. She was nominated for an Oscar, and deserved it — this is a complicated portrayal of a driven young woman, one who simply cannot understand the limits her family has placed on her, and sees no need to abide by them. The director, Niki Caro, situates herself and her film inside the culture, filling her scenes and frames with keenly observed details and richly drawn characters. Our critic wrote, “it has the inspiring resonance of found art.” (For more family-friendly fare, check out “Bend It Like Beckham” and “The Secret of Roan Inish.”)

Watch it on Amazon

The director Robert Altman teamed up with his frequent collaborator Elliott Gould, and paired him up with George Segal, for this “fascinating, vivid” snapshot of two lovable losers. Gould and Segal play a pair of Los Angeles gamblers, floating from card table to racetrack to casino, in constant search of that one big score. Such a payday presents itself at the end of their journey, but Altman is too unconventional a filmmaker to put much stock in that destination. He’s more interested in the journey, and is film is propelled by the rowdy hum of those rooms and the colorful personalities of the people who inhabit them. (“Downhill Racer” and “Husbands” work a similarly shaggy vibe.)

Watch it on Amazon

Pawel Pawlikowski’s Oscar winner looks and sounds like an unapproachable foreign prestige picture, a grim post-Holocaust story in an austere style with moody (and gorgeous) black-and-white photography. And it is indeed a vivid historical drama and an evocative road movie. But its real subject is the bond between two very different women, young Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska) and her aunt Wanda (Agata Kulesza) — a cold relationship that slowly thaws during this forceful and resonant trip through their shared history. It’s an emotional story about coming to terms with family secrets, containing, our critic wrote, “a cosmos of guilt, violence and pain.” (Pawlikowski’s “Cold War” is also on Prime.)

Watch it on Amazon

This “meticulously acted” serio-comic drama was the feature filmmaking debut of Joey Soloway, the creator of “Transparent” and “I Love Dick.” Kathryn Hahn is astonishing in the leading role, clearly conveying her dissatisfied housewife’s longings and nerves but keeping her intentions enigmatic, and Juno Temple is electrifying as a young woman who’s learned how to use her sexuality as a weapon without fully considering the carnage left in its wake. Their byplay is vibrant, and it gets messy in fascinating ways; this is a sly, smart sex comedy that plumbs unexpected depths of sadness and despair. (For more indie comedy-drama, stream Raising Victor Vargas” or “Panic.”)

Watch it on Amazon

The South Korean master Park Chan-wook (“Oldboy”) takes the stylistic trappings of a period romance and gooses them with scorching eroticism and one of the most ingenious con-artist plots this side of “The Sting.” Working from the Sarah Waters novel “Fingersmith,” Park begins with the story of a young woman who, as part of a seemingly straightforward swindle, goes to work as a Japanese heiress’s handmaiden, occasionally pausing the plot to slyly reveal new information, reframing what we’ve seen and where we think he might go next. Our critic saw it as an “amusingly slippery entertainment.” (Thriller fans should also check out “Dressed to Kill” and “Breakdown.”)

Watch it on Amazon