The 42 best things to watch on Amazon Prime Video

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

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

Mother!

Darren Aronofsky has never shied away from making challenging movies (I mean, have you seen Noah?), but Mother! might be the auteur extraordinaire’s most out-there work yet, particularly given the fact it stars the most bankable leading lady on the planet.

Billed as a psychological horror, it’s a taut, disturbing and increasingly intense film that lays on its allegory with hard-to-miss heavy-handedness – and yet many viewers, apparently expecting a straight-up “Jennifer Lawrence in a creepy haunted house” yarn, have declared it impenetrable, dull or just plain old hilariously bad. We’re a little more open-minded here at Stuff and, despite feeling that the director is a little too pleased with his own big brain at times, it’s hard to fault the execution. A masterclass in controlled chaos, even if it's not a film guaranteed to please everyone.

Watch Mother! on Amazon Prime Video

Sound of Metal

Ruben is a noise-metal drummer, endlessly touring tiny venues with his partner Lou in a beaten-up RV, but the couple’s rootless but contented lifestyle comes to a sickening halt when Ruben begins to experience hearing loss. With the realisation that his career as a musician may be over, tempting him back to his old addict’s ways, Ruben checks himself into a rural deaf community – but he remains fiercely driven by a hope of fixing his affliction, getting back on tour and getting back to Lou.

Riz Ahmed is utterly fantastic in the lead role (Oscar-nominated, no less), but everything about Darius Marder’s debut movie works so well: the sound design that puts you in Ruben’s head; the supporting performances of Paul Raci and Olivia Cooke; and the themes of identity, dependence and acceptance that run through it.

Watch Sound of Metal on Amazon Prime Video

Palm Springs

Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti, strangers who happen to be guests at the same wedding, find themselves stuck in a seemingly infinite time loop in this offbeat romantic comedy. If they fall asleep or die, they simple wake up once again and have to live the entire day through. Trapped together, the pair decide to make the most of their predicament, indulging in wilder and wilder behaviour in the knowledge that, whatever might happen, they’ll be back at square one eventually. Everything, it seems, has become meaningless.

If might sound like something you’ve seen before (“Groundhog Day!” we hear you scream), Palm Springs manages to feel different by dint of focussing on a pair of people rather than just one. The relationship and tensions between the two keep the film nicely involving – and it’s very funny to boot.

Watch Palm Springs on Amazon Prime Video

I Care A Lot

Proof that it’s possible to make an engaging film even when none of the characters are “good”, noble or particularly likeable, I Care A Lot stars Rosamunde Pike as professional legal guardian Marla Grayson – a ruthless predator who makes a handsome living by exploiting the elderly people she’s supposed to be caring for.

Her latest ward (Dianne Wiest – who doesn’t crop up in films that often these days) looks like a potential goldmine but turns out to be a doorway to trouble, thanks to some unlikely connections with the criminal underworld. Peter Dinklage and Eiza González also star in this viciously black but deliciously enjoyable comedy.

Watch I Care a Lot on Amazon Prime Video

Call Me By Your Name

Taking place over one long, hot 1980s northern Italian summer, Call Me By Your Name is a bittersweet coming-of-age story about a seemingly precocious teenager (Timothée Chalamet) who falls for an older American (Armie Hammer) who comes to stay at his family’s holiday home.

To reveal any more would spoil the joy of Luca Guadagnino’s superb film, which drifts hazily and lazily along like the perfect remembered summertime. One of the few mainstream movies about a gay relationship that doesn’t turn the sexuality of its participants into a lazy plot point, it conveys a universality that puts it among the most affecting films of the past few years.

Watch Call Me By Your Name on Amazon Prime Video

Mad Men (S1-7)

On the face of it, Mad Men is a drama series about a group of people who work in advertising in 1960s New York, and it succeeds on that level thanks to a well-drawn cast of characters, an intriguing plot and an almost absurd amount of attention to period detail.

But underneath all that it’s an exploration of 20th century America, identity, consumerism, freedom, family and the concept of happiness. You could probably call it existentialist if you were feeling fancy, and you’d be well within your rights – but despite its lofty preoccupations it’s also devilishly witty, moving and entertaining with it. It may be the most painstakingly crafted television series of all time, and it’s certainly among the finest.

Watch Mad Men on Amazon Prime Video

Ex Machina

Nerdy tech worker Caleb (Domnhall Gleeson) wins a competition to spend a week at the luxurious, high-security and secluded home of his maverick genius boss (Oscar Isaac), nestled deep in the mountains. Little does he know he’s part of a trial for the company’s next world-changing product: Eva (Alicia Vikander), a physical incarnation of its ground-breaking AI software.

Can Eva pass the Turing Test, even if her examiner knows she’s a robot ahead of time? Caleb is sent in to interview the cutting-edge android, quickly finding her an entertaining and illuminating companion, a kindred spirit and, perhaps, something more. All of which makes the movie’s denouement more shocking.

Watch Ex Machina on Amazon Prime Video

The Report

The political thriller sees Adam Driver’s character, Daniel Jones, set an assignment by the Senator Diane Feinstein (Annette Bening) to lead an investigation into the CIA’s ‘enhanced interrogation’ methods during the Bush era.

The project engulfs Jones’ life, his relentless determination to complete his report almost jeopardizing his career and sacrificing any social or personal life, but the injustice and corruption at the heart of it are too important to ignore. The Report’s fast-paced narrative and sharp dialogue make it easy enough to follow, but some of the torture-scenes are hard to stomach. The fact it’s based on a true story is frightening.

Watch The Report on Amazon Prime Video

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