The 37 best things to watch on Amazon Prime Instant Video

Our pick of the streaming service's highlights. Updated for October 2017

We know, we know: there's too much choice these days. You can't just sit down and watch a movie because there are too many to choose from, so you just spend hours scrolling through potential films and then go to bed.

Not now, you don't - everything on this list is worth watching. And we know, because we've watched them all. The lengths we go to keep you guys happy, eh...

Of course to watch the films and TV shows here you'll need an Amazon Prime Instant Video subscription. Come on, you didn't think it was going to be free, did you? 

You're also going to need a player that supports it. Take your pick from any of the following: Roku players, Google Chromecast, Sony PlayStation, Microsoft Xbox One and of course Amazon Fire TV and Amazon Fire Stick. Or maybe you have an Amazon Video app built into your smart TV.

Got Netflix too? Then you'll want to check out our 40 best movies and TV shows on Netflix UK and New on Netflix UK lists.

Moonlight

Some may argue that Moonlight received its Best Picture Oscar primarily due to its subject matter, but that does a disservice to the brilliant writing, editing, music and performances that all go together with, yes, the fact that it focusses on an identity – black, gay, poor – that’s seldom explored in cinema.

Telling the story of Chiron, a boy growing up in the Miami ghetto, in three distinct parts covering three different time periods (with Chiron played by three actors), it’s a film that questions the viewer repeatedly, and does so in such a way that it lingers in the mind long after the credits have rolled.

Watch Moonlight on Amazon Prime Instant Video

Manchester by the Sea

If you’re looking for a chucklesome barrel of laughs, we’d suggest you steer well clear of this brilliantly written, impeccably acted but unrelentingly heavy drama, in which sullen, reclusive handyman Lee (Casey Affleck in Oscar-winning form) is called back to his long-abandoned hometown by a death in the family.

Faced with new responsibilities and torn between duty and personal comfort, Lee is forced to confront a past tragedy and its effect on him. If Manchester by the Sea sounds serious and weighty, it is – but it’s also packed with affecting and amusing human moments that make it far more than your average Oscar-baiting gloom-fest.

Watch Manchester by the Sea on Amazon Prime Instant Video

Preacher (S1-2)

It was always going to be a tough ask, adapting Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s iconic comic book series into a TV show, but the makers of Preacher have made an impressive job of it, at least as far as the first season goes. As we write this, the first episode of the second season has just landed, with another being added each Monday.

The show isn’t afraid to go its own way, building up the backgrounds of beloved characters like Jesse, Tulip and Cassidy and setting up themes and adversaries that will doubtless come to fruition in later seasons, rather than plunge straight into the books’ storyline. The jury may be still out on whether this approach will pay off, but the first season’s style, humour and (often incredibly violent) drama suggest it could go on to attain cult status of its own.

Watch Preacher on Amazon Instant Video

Mr. Robot (S1-2)

An office drone by day, Elliott Alderson (played brilliantly by Rami Malek) is also a morphine-dependent keyboard vigilante who hacks the lives of everyone he meets. That is until he’s lured in by Mr. Robot (Christian Slater) to join the hacktivist group ‘F Society’, whose grand plan is to cancel world debt by attacking ubiquitous conglomerate E Corp (or Evil Corp, as Elliott calls it).

Cue a trip down a rabbit hole that twists through Lynchian dream sequences, episode-long musings about the hackability of human minds, and a mounting sense of paranoia that leaves you suspicious of everything down to Elliott’s malfunctioning radiator.

That Mr. Robot resists Hollywood’s ‘Computers for dummies’ approach to the Internet is just one of the reasons why it’s great. The others are that it’s stylishly shot, unpredictable and offers a new take on cyberpunk, while wearing its influences (The Matrix, Fight Club and American Psycho) as proudly as the badge on its title character’s shirt.

Season 1 and 2 are both available for binge-watching right now.

Watch Mr Robot on Amazon Prime Instant Video

Amores Perros

Before director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu became a heavy hitter in Hollywood (he’s the man responsible for The Revenant and Birdman) he made his first feature film Amores Perros in his native Mexico – and it was very much a sign of things to come. Telling three separate stories that literally collide in bone-crunching fashion on the streets of Mexico City, it’s a debut that demonstrates skills far beyond a first-time director and plonked Gael Garcia Bernal well and truly on Hollywood’s radar. Just make sure you cover Fido’s eyes during the dog-fighting scenes – you don’t want him getting any ideas.

Watch Amores Perros on Amazon Prime Instant Video

Amy

If you thought Asif Kapadia’s Senna was a biographical documentary that could bring on the tears, you ain’t seen nothing yet. His followup is a close-up look at the life and death of Amy Winehouse, the most gifted jazz singer of her generation, a tabloid target and a truly tragic figure.

As in Senna, Kapadia doesn’t insert much of an editorial voice into proceedings, leaving the story to be told by archive footage and interviews with friends and family. For those who remember Winehouse more for her off-stage activities, Amy is a reminder of her immense talent for songwriting and performance, her love of the craft and her infectious honesty and humour. Even if you weren’t a fan, you’ll find yourself swept up by this film’s devastating arc towards disaster.

Watch Amy on Amazon Prime Instant Video

The X-Files (S1-10)

The new series of The X-Files, which the producers sadly declined to call The Older Mulder Folders, has now arrived on Prime - so you can now watch every single episode of this beloved paranormal investigation drama.

This will take a while - over 150 hours, in fact - but you'll meet some old friends: the stretchy, yellow-eyed cannibal Eugene Tooms, the frighteningly intense Luther Lee Boggs (played by guest star Brad Dourif), That Guy Who Wouldn't Be Allowed to Smoke In All Those Public Places These Days, and - most memorable of all - Scully's wardrobe of enormous coats.

Watch The X-Files on Amazon Prime Instant Video

Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Extended Edition)

Put those interminable Hobbit movies to one side for a moment and remember that there was a time when Peter Jackson’s bloated, big budget Tolkien adaptations were actually enjoyable. And this extended version of the first Lord of the Rings movie – clocking in at a bladder-testing three hours and 48 minutes – is proof positive.

Even if you detest any movie that features the prancing of pointy-eared little folk, there’s plenty to admire here: the sheer craftsmanship Jackson and his team employed in creating Middle-earth and its denizens, not to mention wrangling Tolkien’s unevenly-paced narrative into something resembling a brisk film.

It might be pure escapism, but it’s beautifully done.

Watch The Fellowship of the Ring on Amazon Prime Video

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 Amazon Instant Video

The Man in the High Castle (S1-2)

What if the Allies had lost the Second World War, and America was currently ruled by Germany in its eastern half and Japan in its western half? Well, you can find out in this big budget Amazon Prime original series, a thriller which zips around a 1960s North America that’s more “Ja wohl!” than “Aw shucks!”.

Dealing with underground resistance groups, various plots and an alternative Cold War (waged between Imperial Japan and the German Reich, now the world’s only superpowers), it’s the kind of series that’ll appeal to history buffs, sci-fi fans and anyone who’s into high concept, high budget television.

Watch The Man in the High Castle on Amazon Prime Instant Video

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