The 42 best things to watch on Amazon Prime Video

Our pick of the streaming service's highlights. Updated for August 2021

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 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.

Dawn of the Dead (1978)

George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead is one of the most iconic and influential horror movies of all time. When an outbreak of the undead ushers in the fall of civilization, a quartet of survivors decamp to an abandoned shopping mall in a bid for safety – only to discover that the shambling brain-chomping hordes have also found themselves drawn to this palace of consumerism.

You’d have to be braindead to miss the satire, sure – but there’s so much else going on here that it hardly matters. Zack Snyder’s 21st-century reimagining isn’t a patch on this for atmosphere, and the practical effects and prog-rock synth score give it an eerie atmosphere you simply don’t get with modern horror flicks.

Watch Dawn of the Dead on Prime Video

The Babadook

This Australian indie horror movie is likely to stick with you for some time. In addition to all the thrills, spills and chills you'd expect from a standard horror flick, The Babadook has something extra hidden in its basement under the stairs: smarts.

Yes, this film will fray your nerves like wool dragged across a barbed wire fence, but it's also a meditation on loss and trauma. Can widowed mother Amelia finally lay the repressed memory of her husband to rest and save her son Samuel from the malevolent force stalking them in the process? You’ll just have to watch this modern classic to find out.

Watch The Babadook on Amazon Prime Video

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford’s first Indiana Jones movie is a brilliant blockbuster that set the standard for every action-adventure flick since. A throwback to the swashbuckling serials of producer and writer George Lucas’ childhood, it sees Ford’s roguish archaeologist seeking to locate the Ark of the Covenant ahead of the Third Reich, who plan to use the ancient artefact’s powers to subjugate the world.

The special effects and ‘cultural depictions’ have noticeably aged somewhat since the film’s 1981 release, but when something’s this good it’s easy to look beyond that. This is Hollywood filmmaking at its purest: an entertaining, fast-paced and iconic movie that the whole family will adore.

Watch Raiders of the Lost Ark on Amazon Prime Video

Battle Royale

Set in a future Japan where teenagers are so badly behaved that once a year, exasperated adults drop a randomly selected high school class off on a deserted island and make them all fight to the death, this cult classic is a riot. If being inducted into an orgy of violence sounds like a pretty harsh punishment for chatting during double maths, it’s best not to overthink things: just enjoy the carnage as petty grudges turn bloody, friends become enemies and our heroes try to escape from this deadly game. Having provided inspiration for everything from The Hunger Games to Fortnite, Battle Royale is an essential watch for any fan of edgy world cinema.

Watch Battle Royale on Amazon Prime Video

Bosch (S1-7)

Based on the novels by James Connelly, Bosch is among Amazon’s most reliable original series. A super-authentic (or at least it feels that way) police procedural set in Los Angeles following the travails of homicide detective Harry Bosch, it’s proof that sometimes sticking to a formula really does work.

Bosch himself sounds like a walking cliché: a grizzled, no-nonsense cop with dark secrets lurking in his past, a love of jazz music and a low tolerance for pen-pushing superiors – but thanks to strong writing and Titus Welliver’s game performance, rooting for him as he navigates political machinations, corrupt colleagues and murderous criminals is never a problem.

Watch Bosch on Amazon Prime Video

What We Do in the Shadows (film)

Taika Waititi’s outstanding mockumentary about a coterie of New Zealand vampires really hits the horror-comedy spot – and doesn’t hang about while doing so. With plenty of laughs mined from the awkwardness of being a neurotic immortal in the modern world, it’s certainly leaning more towards the comic side of the spectrum, but it’s not lacking in genuine moments of creepiness. If you’re a fan of This Is Spinal Tap as well as Interview with the Vampire, this is a perfect movie to sink your teeth into.

Watch What We Do in the Shadows on Amazon Prime

The Matrix

If you’ve never seen The Wachowskis’ modern sci-fi classic, drop what you’re doing and “jack in” (not being rude, honest) to Prime Video right now: this isn’t just a great action flick, it’s packed with cultural touchstones and iconic moments and still looks amazing over two decades after it came out.

Keanu Reeves plays hacker Neo, an office-bound drudge who finds himself drawn into a reality-shattering adventure full of flying bullets, mind-blowing martial arts sequences and some early CGI that doesn’t look like absolute rubbish (the same can’t be said for the effects in the disappointing but larger-budgeted sequels, strangely enough). Whoa!

Watch The Matrix on Amazon Prime Video

Leave No Trace

This is another memorable indie gem from Winter’s Bone director Debra Granik. Suffering from PTSD, war veteran Will camps out with his 13-year-old daughter Tom in a huge park on the outskirts of Portland, Oregon. Living off the grid and staying hidden in the forest, the pair avoid other people as much as possible – but can’t hide from the modern world and its pressures forever.

Despite moving along in a gently naturalistic, meandering fashion, Leave No Trace is a powerful story of love and survival with superb performances from Ben Foster and Thomasin McKenzie. But don’t take our word for it: it’s currently the most-reviewed film on Rotten Tomatoes to hold a critics’ approval rating of 100 percent.

Watch Leave No Trace on Amazon Prime Video

Saint Maud

Writer-director Rose Glass’s startling debut is presented as a psychological horror movie – but might better be viewed as an exploration of loneliness and its dangers.

Young born-again Christian Maud is a private palliative nurse, assigned to a cancer-stricken former dancer after leaving her previous job under a cloud. As she becomes closer to her new charge, she is told her purpose is not only to ease her pain, but save her immortal soul – but are the voices she hears actually God or something more sinister?

Watch Saint Maud on Amazon Prime Video

The Revenant

Emerging from a shallow (and somewhat premature) grave, trapper Hugh Glass sets out on the long, icy journey towards revenge, evading marauding Native Americans, foraging for sustenance and performing gruesome self-surgery in a series of incredible sequences. Alejandro González Iñárritu’s direction and the flawless camera work help the viewer feel every moment of Glass’ struggle to survive.

Despite uttering a mere handful of lines during the film’s nigh-on three hours of running time, DiCaprio bagged his first Best Actor Oscar for The Revenant. Seeing what he goes through here, you can see why the Academy was so impressed. As a pure physical performance, it’s remarkable – and it’s just one notable aspect of a movie packed with them.

Watch The Revenant on Amazon Prime Video

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