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The 26 best things to watch on Disney+

All our picks from the platform that brings Disney, Marvel, Star Wars and more to your living room

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny on Disney+

The House of Mouse entered the streaming space three years ago and since then it hasn’t messed about. Disney+ is a major platform with over 150 million users and plenty for those subscribers to get their teeth into – including loads of glorious Ultra HD content for 4K TV owners.

Despite being a TV-on-demand newbie compared to Netflix and Prime Video, Disney+ is stuffed with entertainment, from animated classics to Pixar, Star Wars and the MCU. And with new adult-focused (no, not THAT kind of adult, you filthy-minded dogs) hub Star having recently arrived, bringing with it a truckload of additional movies and series, there’s enough to keep you going for months. Here are some handpicked choices to start you off.

Additional words by Matt Tate and Tom Morgan-Freelander

A Murder at the End of the World (S1)

Fans of The OA miffed at its premature cancellation at the hands of Netflix should adore this mystery miniseries from the same creators: Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij.

Think of it as Agatha Christie for the information age. A group of exceptional people is invited to a reclusive tech billionaire’s remote Icelandic retreat, only for one of their number to end up dead in very suspicious circumstances. Emma Corrin plays the Gen Z amateur sleuth seeking the culprit, but the cast includes a flurry of familiar faces including Clive Owen, Joan Chen, Harris Dickinson and Brit Marling herself.

Watch A Murder at the End of the World on Disney+

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

Is Dial of Destiny a triumphant return to the glorious, rollicking and rip-roaring Indy movies of the 1980s? Not even close, but neither does it sink to the nadir of 2008’s daft Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. All in all, this latest (and last) movie in the series ends up as a reasonably fitting send-off for Harrison Ford’s swashbuckling archaeologist, now an old lonely man living in 1960s New York City and wallowing in grief. What can drag him out of this malaise? An adventure, of course – and one that features ruthless Nazis, mystical maguffins and time travel.

Watch Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny on Disney+

Bob’s Burgers (S1-13)

Bob Belcher is an average guy striving to make a living for his family by doing what he does best: cooking burgers. Compared to the Griffins or the Smiths, the Belchers might seem (relatively) normal, but perhaps it’s the relatability of their daily struggles and conflicts that makes this show so enjoyable.

It might be less surreal and smart than Rick and Morty and more story-driven than Family Guy, but Bob’s Burgers has carved out its own unique spot amongst its animated peers.

Watch Bob’s Burgers on Disney+

Die Hard

Forget the tedious argument about whether Die Hard is or is not “a Christmas film”. What’s not up for debate is its place in the action movie canon, thanks to a killer combo of charismatic, relatable hero (Bruce Willis in a career-defining role and a career-defining vest), memorable villain (the sorely missed Alan Rickman in scenery-chewing beast mode), quotable script and assured, non-showy direction by John McTiernan.

For sub-rock dwellers out there who don’t already know, the setup is simple: Willis’ New York cop flies to Los Angeles to visit his estranged wife for Christmas, rocking up at her work party in a swanky hi-tech hi-rise right as the building is hijacked by Rickman and his gang of terrorists. Cut off from the outside world, outmanned and outgunned, Willis must use his wiles to save the day. Gripping stuff to watch – at any time of the year.

Watch Die Hard on Disney+

This Is Us (S1-6)

Even if it’s ‘just’ a very well-shot, written and acted soap opera at its heart, This Is Us has cemented itself as a hit with critics and viewers alike, bagging armfuls of awards for its tear-jerking, funny and inventive portrayal of an American family. Set during two different timelines and in various U.S. cities, it succeeds in being both universal and focussed in its scope – a trait that makes it an easy and affecting watch. All six seasons are available on Disney+.

Watch This Is Us on Disney+

No One Will Save You

A home invasion thriller with a twist, No One Will Save You eschews expository dialogue (in fact, there are just five decipherable words uttered in the entire movie) but succeeds in crafting a suspenseful, tension-filled tale of one young woman’s struggle against an unearthly menace.

That’s mostly down to the tour de force lead performance of Kaitlyn Dever, who brings depth and nuance to a character who might otherwise have come across as flat and boring. For the viewer, discovering the details of this character’s past as she battles for her future is a huge part of what makes this film feel fresh for its genre.

Watch No One Will Save You on Disney+

Buffy The Vampire Slayer (S1-7)

After Buffy’s forgettable cinematic debut, nobody was expecting much from the small screen adventures of a ghoul-snuffing cheerleader. Boy, were we wrong.

Joss Whedon changed the face of television with his memorable story arcs and emotional, earth-shaking series finales while raising the bar for the teen drama genre as Buffy suffers all the typical agonies of high school – with vampires thrown in. Standout episodes feature a swim team of Fishmen, a vengeful goddess, the ghastly Gentlemen and a corrupt mayor who turns into a giant snake.

Watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Disney+

The Revenant

Bagging a trio of Oscars, this mud-caked adventure stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Hugh Glass, a 19th-century trapper and tracker left for dead by a double-crossing companion (a gruff, mumbling and memorable Tom Hardy) after being mauled by a grizzly bear.

After crawling out of a shallow grave, Glass sets out on the long, cold journey towards revenge, evading marauding Native Americans, hunting for food and performing gruesome self-surgery in a series of incredible sequences. Alejandro González Iñárritu’s direction – ever impressive, never showy – and the flawless camera work help the viewer live every moment of Glass’ struggle for survival.

Despite uttering just a handful of lines during the film’s nigh-on three hours of running time, DiCaprio received his first Best Actor Oscar for The Revenant. Watching what he goes through here, it’s not difficult to see why the Academy was so impressed. As a pure physical performance, it’s remarkable – and just one great aspect in a movie packed with them.

Watch The Revenant on Disney+

The Bear (S1-2)

If film and TV is to be believed, a restaurant kitchen is one of the most stress-inducing places on the planet – and this comedy-drama does a fantastic job of conveying the chaos, anger, injuries and, yes, joys that come with running an eatery. It’s fast-paced, intense and funny, and will might just make you glad for your dull, dreary nine to five office job.

Following award-winning stints at some of America’s finest restaurants, young chef Carmy returns to his native Chicago to take over his dead brother’s Italian sandwich shop. The accounts are a mess, the food is mediocre, the staff are restive and set in their ways, but Carmy is determined to transform the place’s fortunes – if he can sort out his own problems first.

Watch The Bear on Disney+

Only Murders in the Building (S1-3)

Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez play neighbours brought together by a mutual obsession with true crime tales – only to find themselves in the middle of one when a shocking murder occurs in the exclusive New York apartment block they share. Even if this weren’t a well-written whodunnit series with plenty of laughs along the way, it’d be worth the price of admission simply to see those beloved old comedy warhorses Short and Martin sharing screen time again.

Watch Only Murders in the Building on Disney+

The Menu

In Mark Mylod’s devilishly enjoyable satire, Ralph Fiennes glowers as world-renowned chef Jeremy Slowik, a culinary perfectionist who makes Gordon Ramsay look like Tinkerbell.

When a young couple (Anya Taylor-Joy and Nicholas Hoult) travel to Slowik’s hyper-exclusive private island restaurant alongside a host of wealthy luminaries, the multi-course meal on offer isn’t quite what they expected: the dishes come with a side-order of terror, bloodshed and righteous score-settling. Will anyone survive Slowik’s culinary masterpiece, or is this a last supper for the whole party?

Watch The Menu on Disney+

Justified (S1-6)

Inspired by an Elmore Leonard short story, this long-running series stars Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens, a modern-day US Marshal who brings an Old West mentality to his job. After upsetting his bosses, he’s shipped back to his rural Kentucky hometown in an effective demotion, only to find himself dragged into a feud with an old friend turned new enemy, played with career-defining aplomb by Walton Goggins.

Justified manages to successfully mix long-running plotlines with monster-of-the-week style self-contained episodes, making it prime binge-fodder. And it’s still highly regarded today, hence the imminent arrival of Justified: City Primeval, an all-new series bringing Olyphant back to his career-defining role.

Watch Justified on Disney+

Heat

Michael Mann’s iconic 90s thriller is probably best known for cramming movie legends Robert De Niro and Al Pacino into a scene together for the first time. That being said, it’s also a stylish, shrewd and culturally significant movie that everybody should watch at least once. Oh, and it features arguably the best heist scene ever captured on celluloid.

De Niro plays it low-key as a stoic but highly driven master thief seeking out one final big bank job with his crew, while Pacino soars in full scenery-munching mode as the veteran cop trying to stop him. It’s a simple setup, but the two leads’ performances, the grudging respect between their characters and the film’s exceptional action sequences add depth aplenty.

Watch Heat on Disney+

Mr Inbetween (S1-3)

This black comedy-drama follows the travails of Ray Shoesmith (played by show creator and writer Scott Ryan), a loveable Aussie bloke and criminal-for-hire. Ray’s services range from collecting protection money to full-on murder, but this dark side of him sits alongside a kinder, thoughtful side – and it’s this dichotomy, alongside the deadpan antipodean humour, that makes this three-season series so engaging. Mr Inbetween is a bit of under-the-radar brilliance that shouldn’t be missed.

Watch Mr Inbetween on Disney+

The Mandalorian (S1-3)

The obvious one. The Mandalorian was Disney+’s flagship launch show, and if you’ve somehow managed to stay away from spoilers since our friends across the pond got hold of it, you’re in for a treat. Pitched as a space Western, the first live action series in the Star Wars franchise is set five years after Return of the Jedi and 25 years before the first film in the sequel trilogy, The Force Awakens.

It follows the adventures of a bounty hunter known as Mando (Pedro Pascal), who suddenly finds himself the guardian of a very important youngling. Three seasons are now available to stream, and dedicated viewers may also want to watch the first season of The Book of Boba Fett, as it features some crossover with this series (including explaining the events that occur between seasons two and three).

Watch The Mandalorian on Disney+

Fleishman is in Trouble (S1)

Based on Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s bestselling novel, this sharply witty eight-part comedy drama stars Jesse Eisenberg as Toby Fleishman, a New York surgeon whose efforts to embrace newfound singledom are confounded when his ex-wife Rachel (Claire Danes) drops off their kids then vanishes off the face of the earth.

Treating this disappearance as an inconvenience rather than a sinister mystery, Toby decides he’s not going to find future happiness until he’s confronted their shared past. It’s through this lens of self-reflection the show amusingly interrogates various facets of modern life: divorce, parenting, ageing and romance. Lizzy Caplan and Adam Brody also star.

Watch Fleishman is in Trouble on Disney+

The Banshees of Inisherin

What happens when your best friend decides they no longer like you? Martin McDonagh’s pitch-black tragicomedy reunites the In Bruges pairing of Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson as two former pals on the fictional Irish island of Inisherin. Farrell’s wide-eyed Padraig is abruptly ‘dumped’ by Gleeson’s gloomy Colm; even when eventually given the reason he refuses to accept this situation, leading the duo down a darker and darker path.

Set in 1923 against the backdrop of the Irish Civil War (which some have claimed the film is an allegory for – far too simplistic a take for us), this is a beautifully written, shot and acted film that might be McDonagh’s most accomplished yet. The critics certainly think so, with the film attracting glowing reviews and armfuls of award nominations (including nine Oscar nods). It might well deserve them all.

Watch The Banshees of Inisherin on Disney+

Andor (S1)

Rogue One’s swashbuckling master thief Cassian Andor (the excellent Diego Luna) gets his own 10-part series, giving us a fresh perspective on the nascent uprising against the Empire that eventually became the Rebel Alliance.

If you were left somewhat disappointed by Obi-Wan Kenobi’s lack of stakes and strangely ‘lifeless’ feel, Andor could be the show to reignite that Star Wars spark. Created by Tony Gilroy (who also wrote the Jason Bourne movies and, yes, Rogue One), it’s a lot more gritty, grounded and grown-up than the previous Star Wars series we’ve seen, with characters that feel real, flawed and drawn in shades of grey.

Watch Andor on Disney+

Prey

The latest film in the somewhat patchy Predator series takes things back to basics, and it’s all the better for it. Skipping cinemas and landing straight on Disney+, Prey is set in 18th Century America and its lead is a young Comanche woman determined to prove her worth as a hunter. She’s about to come up against one of the best in the galaxy though: a two-metre tall alien with an array of lethal gadgets, the ability to all but disappear and a hankering for trophies.

What follows is arguably the best Predator film since the Arnie-starring 1987 original, as our heroine must use all her wiles and cunning to avoid becoming the next prize skull in the monster’s cabinet.

Watch Prey on Disney+

Hawkeye (S1)

Expectations may have been set low for this series centring on the continuing adventures of The Most Boring Avenger, but thanks to its Christmas cheer, a bright and breezy tone (that some of the more po-faced Marvel series would do well to emulate) and the comic chemistry between Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye and Hailee Steinfeld’s Kate Bishop, it may actually be the best MCU TV series around. And that’s without even mentioning the superb cameo that will delight those familiar with small-screen Marvel shows of old.

Watch Hawkeye on Disney+

Alien

The best horror sci-fi movie ever made (not to mention one of the best horror movies full stop) and one that spawned a sprawling franchise based around its iconic titular “xenomorph”, Alien is a masterpiece of tension and visuals.

When the crew of commercial deep space vessel the Nostromo (a fantastic cast of “normal”, highly relatable working joe characters rather than exaggerated, OTT personalities) detect a transmission from an unexplored moon, they land to investigate and discover a strange derelict craft full of large eggs. When one of these hatches, it sparks off a deadly sequence of events. It’s fantastic cat-and-mouse stuff, and – courtesy of director Ridley Scott’s mastery of lighting and the stellar production design, looks so, so good for a 40 year-old movie.

Watch Alien on Disney+

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Based on three novels from Patrick O’Brian’s beloved Aubrey-Maturin series, this rollicking Napoleonic Wars epic is probably one of the most historically accurate depictions of early 19th century naval life (and death) ever put on screen. You can practically smell the sea salt, boiled cabbage, unwashed bodies and gunpowder as the HMS Surprise’s crew, led by Captain “Lucky” Jack Aubrey (Russell Crowe) and his faithful physician friend Stephen Maturin (Paul Bettany), pursue a French privateer across the South Atlantic and Pacific.

From tense evasive manoeuvres to ship’s dinners to battles filled with smoke, flame and splintered wood, this movie’s authenticity and attention to detail shines through – and almost all of it achieved without CGI chicanery, too. It’s a real pity no more Aubrey-Maturin movies followed – with 21 books in O’Brian’s series, there’d have been no shortage of source material.

Watch Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World on Disney+

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Writer and director Martin McDonagh’s follow-up to In Bruges offers a similar mix of pathos, violence and pitch-black comedy, as Frances McDormand’s grieving mother challenges the cops of her small southern US town to step up and catch her daughter’s murderer.

Such direct action – she purchases space on the three advertising billboards to publicly shame the police – brings her into conflict with Woody Harrelson’s respected chief and his bigoted, immature and angry deputy Sam Rockwell, sparking off an unpredictable sequence of events and an unforgettable conclusion. We won’t spoil any of that, but suffice to say the Oscars won by McDormand and Rockwell for their roles were well-earned, and this movie will likely stay in your head for a long time after the credits roll.

Watch Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri on Disney+

Atlanta (S1-3)

If a comedy drama about the struggles of an aspiring rap star and his manager sounds too similar to something awful like Entourage, don’t worry: Atlanta is a decidedly different and far more interesting kettle of fish.

Produced by and starring Donald Glover, it’s a disarming, slick, offbeat, observant and endlessly charming comedy series about, to paraphrase Glover, “what it’s like to be black in America”. Funny as Atlanta is, it shies away from very little in this quest for veracity. But it would be a crime if we revealed too much about this weird and wonderful show – better just to watch it and find out for yourself.

Watch Atlanta on Disney+

Star Wars: A New Hope

The original (and probably second-best) Star Wars movie, A New Hope is now well over 40 years old. There are few signs of a mid-life crisis here: it still looks and sounds fantastic (partly due to director George Lucas’s inability to stop tinkering with it years after its release), but this trailblazing space opera adventure is beloved for more than just the spectacle of zero-g dog fights and light saber duels. Star Wars’ enduring characters and mythology are introduced and established in this movie, but it also serves as a fantastic self-contained adventure story about a simple farm boy who becomes the heroic figurehead of a revolution. It’s simple stuff at its core, but done so brilliantly that you can’t help but be sold.

Watch Star Wars: A New Hope on Disney+

Free Solo

Captivating and terrifying in equal measure, this remarkable film documents the ever-so-slightly bonkers free solo climber Alex Honnold, whose lifelong dream is to scale the 3,200-foot El Capitan in Yosemite National Park without any ropes or equipment. Those who aren’t keen on heights are advised to watch from behind the sofa, but for everyone else, the Oscar-winning Free Solo is a thrill ride that not even Star Wars and the MCU can compete with. But thanks to Disney’s ownership of National Geographic, Disney+ subscribers can have all three.

Watch Free Solo on Disney+

Profile image of Sam Kieldsen Sam Kieldsen Contributor

About

Tech journalism's answer to The Littlest Hobo, I've written for a host of titles and lived in three different countries in my 15 years-plus as a freelancer. But I've always come back home to Stuff eventually, where I specialise in writing about cameras, streaming services and being tragically addicted to Destiny.

Areas of expertise

Cameras, drones, video games, film and TV

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