The 40 best things to watch on Amazon Prime Video

Our pick of the streaming service's highlights. Updated for July 2018!

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.

The Death of Stalin

Armando Iannucci brings his brand of political satire to one of modern history’s darkest chapters, as a host of self-serving Soviet grandees – Steve Buscemi, Michael Palin, Jason Isaacs and Paul Whitehouse among them – farcically jostle for power in the wake of Joseph Stalin’s sudden demise.

While it doesn’t quite hit the breezy highs of Iannucci’s debut movie In The Loop or his two series Veep and The Thick Of It – being set in a time and place where political rivals were regularly exiled or killed, it’s much more bleak and cynical even than those – The Death of Stalin spotlights the absurdity of politics just as effectively, and will raise many a laugh while doing so.

Watch The Death of Stalin on Amazon Prime

Jaws

The movie that put an entire generation off skinny dipping, Jaws remains one of the most iconic, most copied and most beloved films of all time.

The premise is pleasingly simple: when a New Jersey seaside resort is terrorised by a giant Great White shark with a taste for swimmers, the local police chief decides to hunt it down. But it’s the film’s presentation, script, direction and its iconic John Williams score that make it such a special movie.

Director Steven Spielberg cranks up the tension through expert use of perspective and sound, keeping the viewer on edge, but Jaws isn’t afraid to season its scares with memorable beats of levity and comedy. It’s still a fantastic watch more than 40 years after its release (but best do yourself a favour and avoid the subpar sequels).

Watch Jaws on Amazon Prime

Shaun of the Dead

The first (and best) of Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright’s “Cornetto trilogy”, this horror-comedy leans more towards guffaws than gore – although it’s not without its moments of guts-out violence or drama.

Shaun (played by Pegg) is a London shop assistant who’d rather be playing video games, binge drinking or listening to electro with his flatmate and best friend Ed (Cornetto trilogy mainstay Nick Frost) than moving up the professional ladder or convincing his girlfriend that he’s serious marriage material. When a big bust-up prompts him to change his ways, it just happens to coincide with the breakout of a major zombie apocalypse – meaning he must traverse a ghoul-infested wasteland to rescue his love and attempt to survive the night.

Packed with smart references, sight gags (Wright’s quick-fire editing is a highlight) and scorching one-liners, Shaun of the Dead is far more than your average laugh-packed horror comedy. There’s a real heart and soul to it too, and it’s easy to see why Pegg and Wright have become such hot properties in Hollywood since its release.

Watch Shaun of the Dead on Amazon Prime

True Romance

One of the finest casts of the 1990s? Check. A snappy, endlessly quotable Quentin Tarantino screenplay? Check. Assured direction from action-thriller maestro Tony Scott? Check.

True Romance is a rip-roarer of a movie, packed with iconic dialogue (Dennis Hopper’s soliloquy about Sicilians being a particularly highlight), cordite-flecked action sequences and two career-defining performances from stars Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette. Scott’s direction might be a little more conventional than the treatment Tarantino would have given it himself (and QT would likely have insisted on a better soundtrack), but this is easily one of the best films of the 90s – and still a banger 25 years on.

Watch True Romance on Amazon Prime

The Shining

The Torrance family takes up residence in an isolated hotel for the winter, primarily to cure father Jack of his writer's block. But Jack's son Danny is haunted by disturbing visions, and the hotel's old ghosts worry away at the author's fraying sanity.

Director Stanley Kubrick trims back Stephen King's haunted-house story into a study in ambiguity. Jack Nicholson's Torrance is a mean drunk with a nasty temper – but is the hotel exerting a malign influence over him, or is his potential for evil there from the outset?

Kubrick's one foray into the horror genre may feel safe and familiar at first – its iconic scenes blunted by a thousand parodies and college-dorm posters – but its unsettling qualities quickly become apparent. The Shining looks like no other horror film. Kubrick dwarfs the characters with his trademark wide, symmetrical shots of architecture, and tracks them through a maze of corridors with lingering Steadicam shots. The atmosphere is heightened by flashes of disturbing tableaux – a gore-drenched elevator, a beautiful woman who turns into a hag. The images linger long after the credits roll.

Watch The Shining on Amazon Prime

Pan’s Labyrinth

A film about fairies, fauns and fantastical underground kingdoms might not seem like prime scary movie fodder, but Mexican director Guillermo Del Toro’s knack of infusing reality with the otherworldly has never been more captivating than in Pan’s Labyrinth.

Some of the beasts young Spanish girl Ofelia encounters as she attempts to complete the tasks set for her by the guardian of the labyrinth are the stuff of nightmares, but above ground, her homicidal army general stepfather is scarier than them all. Pan’s Labyrinth is like Narnia reimagined by Ernest Hemingway.

Watch Pan’s Labyrinth on Amazon Prime

Bosch (S1-4)

Exclusive to Amazon Prime’s and based on Michael Connelly’s crime novels, this show stars Titus Welliver as the eponymous Los Angeles detective. Bosch, it has to be said, is something of a clichéd telly cop (haunted by a troubled past; ex-military; bit of a loose cannon; distrustful of and distrusted by the top brass; damn fine at his job), but thanks to a twisty, turny plot, Welliver’s charismatic performance and a fine supporting cast, it's perfect binge-watch material, with four gripping seasons available to stream.

Watch Bosch on Amazon Prime Instant Video now

Logan Lucky

16 years on from Ocean’s Eleven, Steven Soderbergh came out of retirement to direct Logan Lucky, another ensemble cast heist movie – but one that’s worlds apart from the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas.

Set in rural West Virginia and starring Channing Tatum and Adam Driver as working class brothers planning to rob the nearby speedway, it’s a more human take on the genre – and all the better for it. Instead of trotting out the usual good ol’ boy country stereotypes, Logan Lucky gently subverts them, and does so without feeling glib or sentimental. It’s also a fast-moving blast, full of twists and turns and memorable characters – including safe-cracker convict Joe Bang, played by a bleach-blond Daniel Craig looking a million miles away from Bond.

Watch Logan Lucky on Amazon Prime

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

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