The 42 best things to watch on Amazon Prime Video

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

American Hustle

The seediness is strong in David O. Russell’s sort-of true story concerning conmen, corrupt politicians and louche federal agents. Christian Bale rocks a killer combover and beer gut combo as the New York hustler who finds his soulmate in Amy Adams’ street smart stripper. The pair’s successful run of ripping off desperate losers is stopped in its tracks when they fall foul of Bradley Cooper’s ambitious FBI agent, who uses the threat of prison to recruit them in order to net far bigger fish: politicians on the take.

The talent-rich all-star cast, lushly recreated 1970s setting and fast-moving plot make this an easy and enjoyable watch. Get hustlin’.

Watch American Hustle 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

Edge of Tomorrow

Tom Cruise plays an arrogant, cowardly desk jockey soldier forced to fight on the front lines against an alien invasion in this ingenious and underrated sci-fi action movie. With no combat experience, he’s quickly killed – only to find himself waking up again and repeating the experience, only slightly differently. Yep, he’s only gone and got himself trapped in a time loop, which always ends with his death. How the heck is he going to get out of it? By saving the world, perhaps…

With great performances from Cruise and Emily Blunt, killer visual effects and a clever hook, it’s strange that Edge of Tomorrow didn’t prove a bigger hit. The bland title didn’t do it many favours (it’s often known as Live Die Repeat, which would’ve been a much bolder name to market it under), but despite its lacklustre box office performance it’s proved something of a slow-burn hit – so much so that a sequel is currently in development.

Watch Edge of Tomorrow 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

Pan’s Labyrinth

A film about fairies, fauns and fantastical underground kingdoms might not sound particularly grown-up, but Mexican maestro Guillermo Del Toro’s knack of infusing reality with the otherworldly has never been more creepily captivating than in Pan’s Labyrinth.

Some of the beasts young 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 murderous stepfather is arguably scarier than them all. Pan’s Labyrinth is like Narnia reimagined by Ernest Hemingway.

Watch Pan’s Labyrinth on Amazon Prime Video

The Shield (S1-7)

In this cop drama the hero isn’t just a somewhat flawed detective (“Oh, he likes a bit of a drink, y’know…”) but an unabashed murderer, racist, womaniser and thief, The Shield pioneered the kind of grey area telly we take for granted today. Yes, Michael Chiklis’ Vic Mackey is a truly nasty individual, possessed of all the worst traits we associate with bent coppers, but he’s feared by criminals and respected by his colleagues (most of whom aren’t upstanding examples of humanity themselves). So is his brand of corrupt law enforcement a necessary evil?

Debuting in 2002, the series does look its age – some of the camerawork and editing in particular is a bit jarring – but once you get over its quirks The Shield’s brisk storylines and moral quandaries swiftly draw you in.

Watch The Shield on Amazon Prime Video

Blade Runner 2049

The sequel to Ridley Scott’s iconic cyberpunk thriller was a long time coming (30 years in fact), but most will find it worth the wait: Blade Runner 2049 counts among the most visually striking movies ever made, with Roger Deakins’ masterful cinematography bringing director Denis Villeneuve’s nightmarish vision of the future to life.

As a whole, the film isn’t quite as noteworthy as its visuals. At almost three hours it’s too ponderous for its own good, despite retaining the original Blade Runner’s spirit through a mixture of thrilling action sequences, philosophical pondering and memorable characters – including a few familiar faces. Overall it works, just about, being held together by a competent detective yarn in which Ryan Gosling’s new-gen replicant seeks answers to a deadly riddle.

Watch Blade Runner 2049 on Amazon Prime Video

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