The 20 best movies and shows to stream on Now TV

Sky’s cord-cutter service has some fine stuff in its library. Here are our highlights

It might not have the fame or popularity Netflix or Amazon Video, but Now TV – Sky’s internet-based video streaming service – has an increasingly impressive library, especially if you’re more interested in big name movies than TV series.

But, as with all streaming services, the sheer size of Now TV’s library can be somewhat daunting when you’re looking for something to watch.

To save you being paralysed by choice, we’ve trawled through the Now TV archive to find the best TV shows and films to stream.

Whether you’re looking for comedy, drama, documentary or action, there’s something for you below.

Back to the Future Trilogy

We could mention something about hitting 88mph, or talk about how where we’re going, we won’t need roads, but there’s no point. You’ve heard it all before, and you know all the lines inside out. Why? Because the Back to the Future movies are engrained into all of our heads. They’ve got it all - time travel, a mad scientist, 80s nostalgia, action, hoverboards, and more easter eggs than you can shake a Gibson ES-345 at. So what if the guitar itself came out two years after Marty’s high school dance? Just enjoy the show, man.

Watch Back to the Future on Now TV

Whiplash

J. K. Simmons’ portrayal of a neurotic jazz conductor still haunts our inner insecurities to this day. Verbally and physically abusive to his students in a bid to push them beyond their limits to absolute musical greatness, each and every scene with him and lead student Andrew Neiman is crackling with tension. Does he get results? Yes, but at a cost we’d never be willing to pay. We’ll stick to shredding on the triangle, thank you very much.

Watch Whiplash on Now TV

Hannibal

Mads Mikkelsen is, quite frankly, one of the most watchable actors of his generation, and never more so than when in the immaculate suits of this TV incarnation of cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter.

As per the original books, Lecter is a psychiatrist brought in to assist FBI profiler Will Graham, but it's not long before the doctor is taking advantage of his position and manipulating the fragile Graham.

This is pretty high-brow stuff, chock-full of startling imagery, Lynchian characters and dinner scenes that will make your stomach growl - a little unsettling once you know what's in most of them.

Watch Hannibal on Now TV

Bob’s Burgers

Voiced by H. Jon Benjamin (the man behind Sterling Archer's vocal cords), Bob Belcher is an average bloke trying to make a living for his family by doing what he does best - flipping burgers. Compared to the Griffins or the Smiths, the Belchers are (relatively) normal, though full of enough quirks and uniquely-delivered dialogue to provide plenty of laughs.

It's more story-driven than Family Guy, falling more in line with American Dad in that sense, but it's carved out its own unique spot amongst its rivals and deserves to stand up there with them. Well worth a look if you've grown tired of Family Guy's senseless cutaway gags.

Watch Bob’s Burgers on Now TV

Inherent Vice

Joaquin Phoenix plays Larry ‘Doc’ Sportello - a beach-dwelling, pot-smoking private investigator with the hair of Wolverine and wardrobe of Shaggy from Scooby Doo. When two people come to him for help - one an old flame, the other an ex-con - and mention the same name, he finds himself in the middle of a what is essentially an old-fashioned story of disappearances and deceit involving the FBI and mysterious organised crime. It just so happens to be one that’s played out through a haze of weed smoke hanging over California in the early ‘70s.

After more than two hours very few of Inherent Vice’s many threads are fully tied up - you should expect nothing less from a new PT Anderson film - but those that are satisfy in an unexpectedly heart-warming fashion. The others are lost in the woozy fug left by the trip. But then that’s kinda the point.

Watch Inherent Vice on Now TV

Californication

Hank Moody is a writer, but he behaves – and is treated – like a rock star. It’s all Hollywood parties and excess in all its most debauched forms. It’s glorious to watch in the same way Entourage was when its characters were at the peak of their success. What’s more fun than watching someone living the dream?

The show’s guilty of getting a little too bogged down in the relationship between Hank and his paramour and “baby momma” Karen, but Duchovny plays the roguish charm so well that it’s always pretty irresistible. And an outrageous sexual encounter or improbable cameo is never far away. Marilyn Manson and Tim Minchin pop up in the final series, for heaven’s sake.

Watch Californication on Now TV

Rocky

If you've never seen Rocky you'll probably have made a few assumptions about it already. After all, it's a film about boxing which stars everyone's favourite meathead Sylvester Stallone. Not only that, but its plot – affable loser, struggling to stay afloat in a harsh world, gets a shot at the big time – sounds, well, like a walking, talking cliché.

But Rocky is no brain-dead punch fest. What it is, is a film with an enormous heart that somehow manages to never be cheesy. Much of that is probably due to its origins: it was written by the then completely unknown Stallone, who somehow convinced the producers to also let him star in it. Stallone's own outsider status undoubtedly helped it avoid feeling like a typically slushy Hollywood drama and lends it a proper authenticity.

Besides all that it's also just a great watch: we challenge anyone to watch the famous training sequence that peaks with Rocky running up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art without breaking out into a massive grin.

Watch Rocky on Now TV

Mad Men

Not since The Sopranos has there been a mainstream television show where so much goes on behind the surface, and so much is left for the viewer to interpret.

Mad Men is, on the face of it, a drama series about people who work in advertising in 1960s New York, and it succeeds on that level thanks to a fantastic cast of characters, an intriguing plot and an almost absurd amount of attention to period detail. But really – like The Sopranos – it’s a show about capitalist America, a show about family, a show about what it is to be a human being. Whoa, man.

You could probably call it existentialist if you were feeling fancy, and you’d be well within your rights – but it’s devilishly witty, moving and entertaining with it. It may be the most painstakingly crafted television show of all time, and it’s certainly among the finest.

Watch Mad Men on Now TV

Chinatown

Private eye Jake Gittes gets more than he bargained for when a wandering-husband case gets him tangled up in the shady business of the Los Angeles water grab. Roman Polanski’s neo-noir is painted in dusty shades of brown, rather than the crisp black and white of the original film noirs – and it’s similarly murky in its outlook.

Jack Nicholson’s Gittes finds himself quickly out of his depth as his efforts to pursue justice run up against the entrenched interests of the corrupt elite – personified with lip-smacking relish by John Huston. It all builds to a devastating conclusion, in which the darkness underpinning the city – and Huston’s tyrannical Noah Cross – is laid bare. One of the greats.

Watch Chinatown on Now TV

The Jinx

If you’re a documentary fan and you’re currently unfamiliar with the story of Robert Durst, you’re in for a treat: The Jinx is an utterly compelling exploration into the eccentric New York property heir’s past, in which he may or may not have murdered one, two or three people – and got away with it every time.

Durst’s story would be intriguing enough told on its own, but in this six-part series the man himself volunteers to be interviewed by filmmaker Andrew Jarecki – a seemingly nonsensical risk when you consider the crimes of which he’s suspected. And as Durst’s participation starts to shed new light on the old cases, you’ll find yourself superglued to your screen right up until the startling end.

Watch The Jinx on Now TV

Deadwood

A decade before Westworld started glueing our eyeballs to the telly, another of HBO’s prestige TV shows was exploring the Old West in a very different way – albeit with similar levels of sex and violence, and much worse language.

Deadwood, like the best westerns, probes beyond the cosy myths and clichés of noble gunslingers and bad hombres, flipping expectations upside down as it follows the lives of various colourful inhabitants of a lawless frontier town.

Gritty and compelling, it’s brilliant binge material – but sadly ends in quite an odd, unsatisfying spot, having been cancelled unceremoniously. Rumour has it a feature-length movie is coming to give this story the ending it deserves – so why not prepare for that by watching the whole thing right now?

Watch Deadwood on Now TV

Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park’s masterful mixture of special effects and CGI means that its visuals impress to this very day, more than 20 years after its release. Being big dino fans in our youth, this movie had it all - big teeth, gigantic beasts, and just enough humour to lighten the mood in between scenes brimming with terrifying suspense. We still get the odd recurring T-rex nightmare even now and - wait, can you hear that thumping?

Watch Jurassic Park on Now TV

Alan Partridge’s Mid Morning Matters

Starting life in the unpromising guise of a series of web shorts for chemical-packed lager-water Fosters, Mid Morning Matters is now a Sky-owned show – and hence available to stream on the Sky-owned Now TV. And for Steve Coogan fans seeking more of Alan’s time-worn brand of awkward, cliché-ridden, foot-in-mouth patter, it’s absolutely brilliant; a snackable form of Partridge – set entirely in his local radio studio – that exhibits everything we love to hate about Norwich’s most famous export since Colman’s Mustard.

Watch Alan Partridge’s Mid Morning Matters on Now TV

Fortitude

A Sky original – and thus exclusive to Now TV at the moment – Fortitude is an icy, dark drama with a superb ensemble cast. Like a cross between John Carpenter’s The Thing, Twin Peaks and The Andromeda Strain, the taut thrills come thick and fast as the mysteries of this arctic Norwegian town unfold. Fortitude is a place where the hungry polar bears are the least of your worries, as a London detective – played somewhat incongruously by the very American Stanley Tucci (don’t worry, they explain it) – finds out very quickly after he flies in to investigate a brutal murder

Watch Fortitude on Now TV

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

We’d waited over 30 years for a decent Star Wars film to be made, and J.J. Abrams didn’t let us down. This is a gripping space adventure with relatable characters, superb effects and a sense of pace that banishes memories of the prequel trilogy’s wooden, dead-eyed awfulness.

At times, The Force Awakens feels like fan service, a tribute to the original trilogy (and A New Hope in particular) that’ll have you mentally totting up the references and callbacks – lightsaber duels, bleepy droids, spaceship dogfights, alien-packed cantinas, sacrifice, a big evil space weapon! - but it features enough emotional heft and storytelling vim to stand on its own.

Watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Now TV

Rushmore

Wes Anderson’s oft-forgotten yet utterly charming 1998 film is highly indicative of the director’s future features in terms of its quirky, almost stage-y visual style, snappy dialogue and evocative use of music. But it also sits on its own, thanks to its hero Max Fischer – the worst student at exclusive Rushmore Academy, but a voracious proponent of extracurricular activities – and his unlikely friendship with a rich industrialist played by Bill Murray. When Olivia Williams' young British teacher comes into their lives, that friendship is put to the test – with hilarious and surprisingly moving results.

Watch Rushmore on Now TV

Lawrence of Arabia

Clocking in at a bum-numbing 216 minutes, David Lean’s biopic of mercurial British Army officer T.E. Lawrence is epic in every sense of the word (when first released, it had an actual intermission in the middle so cinema-goers could stretch their legs).

Stunning desert vistas, grand battles, a cast of thousands and some of the best acting talent of the time all go towards making Lawrence of Arabia an unforgettable film about war, Empire, loyalty, individual brilliance and, yes, what happens when foreign powers meddle in the affairs of the Middle East. There’s no better way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Watch Lawrence of Arabia on Now TV

The Godfather trilogy

Look, if you haven’t seen The Godfather and The Godfather Part II by now, stop reading this and just go watch it. And then maybe watch the third one just to round things out, even though it’s a bit of a dud by comparison.

Francis Ford Coppola’s mafia epic spans a generation, weaving the tale of a Sicilian immigrant who becomes a powerful mobster and his son, who strives to turn his father’s “business” into a legitimate concern but finds it impossible to keep his two families together without getting his hands dirty. 
With fantastic performances all round and a true sense of scale and grandeur that no later mob movie has ever matched, The Godfather trilogy (or at least the first two thirds of it) can rightly be called one of the greatest feats in cinematic history.

Watch The Godfather on Now TV

No Country for Old Men

No Country for Old Men always felt like the most screen-adaptable of Cormac McCarthy’s novels, and with the Coen brothers at the helm it would have taken some kind of disaster to stop this movie from becoming an instant classic. And it is, thanks to not only the source material and its sympathetic treatment by two of America’s finest filmmakers, but due to strong performances from Josh Brolin, Kelly Macdonald, Tommy Lee Jones and, most memorably, Javier Bardem as a philosophising, seemingly unstoppable mass murderer. If you like your thrillers as contemplative and lyrical as they are nail-biting, look no further.

Watch No Country for Old Men on Now TV

Wayne’s World

There’s a new generation of people who didn’t grow up with Wayne’s World. Could that be why the world’s in such a state at the moment? We’re not saying that but the evidence speaks for itself. If you know someone who’s never seen it, sit them down in front of Mike Myers’ finest moment and introduce them to the Mirthmobile, gun racks, Grey Poupon, the Suck Kut, and Alice Cooper in Milwaukee (which is actually pronounced “Mill-e-wah-que”). The world will be a better place for it.

Watch Wayne's World on Now TV