The 42 best things to watch on Amazon Prime Video

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

Bone Tomahawk

Genres get hacked up as much as the unfortunate characters in S. Craig Zahler’s brutal directorial debut. This film starts out in familiar Western territory, but gradually descends into a nightmarish, schlocky horror flick – albeit one with some tension-shattering comedic dialogue and character moments. There’s an old-school video nasty vibe to Bone Tomahawk that you don’t often see in modern movies, not to mention a refreshing tendency to take its time.

Kurt Russell leads the strong cast (familiar faces Richard Jenkins, Matthew Fox and Patrick Wilson also appear) as a stoic small-town sheriff spurred into action when a group of cave-dwelling Native Americans kidnap two of his townspeople. Resolving to rescue the victims and punish the perpetrators, a small posse ventures out into the dry, rocky wilderness, not realising what awaits them.

Watch Bone Tomahawk on Amazon Prime Video

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Writer and director Martin McDonagh’s follow-up to In Bruges offers a similar mix of pathos, violence and pitch-black comedy, as Frances McDormand’s grieving mother challenges the complacent cops of her rural southern US town to step up and catch her daughter’s murderer.

The way she goes about this – buying space on the titular three advertising billboards, to publicly shame the police into action – brings her into conflict with Woody Harrelson’s respected chief and his bigoted, immature deputy Sam Rockwell, lighting the touch paper on a unpredictable series of events and an unforgettable conclusion. The Oscars won by McDormand and Rockwell for their roles feel well-earned, and this movie will likely stay in your head for a long time after the credits roll.

Watch Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri on Amazon Prime Video

Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm

After 14 years, Borat’s back. Sacha Baron-Cohen’s most successful creation is once again travelling America poking fun at Americans, this time in the midst of a chaotic Trump presidency and COVID-19 pandemic. While Baron-Cohen’s civilian targets often feel a little undeserving – many are simply being polite and accommodating to an eccentric foreigner, rather than outright agreeing with the outlandish statements Borat utters – it’s hard to feel sorry for pretty much anybody in this movie, with its hidden camera setups delivering almost unbearable levels of cringe and no small amount of laughs.

To call this biting or revealing satire is inaccurate, as it simply reinforces what most right-minded viewers think about bigots, sexists, religious nuts, gun enthusiasts and Republicans, but Borat and his daughter’s antics are entertaining at least.

Watch Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm on Amazon Prime Video

Drive

Nicolas Winding Refn’s thriller might be style over substance, but when the style – neon-lit noir meets synth-pop soundtrack – is this impressive, who cares? Ryan Gosling simmers as a taciturn Hollywood stunt driver who supplements his income as a wheelman for a ruthless gang of thieves, but finds his uncomplicated lifestyle upturned by the arrival of Carey Mulligan’s young single mother.

Watch Drive on Amazon Prime Video

1917

The horrors of the First World War come to the screen like never before in this visceral, nail-biting action drama, edited to look like a single continuous two-hour shot. Two young soldiers must cross enemy lines to deliver a vital message that will save hundreds of their fellow troops; director Sam Mendes and his crew’s technical brilliance masterfully imparts the tension, peril and heroism of their journey.

Watch 1917 on Amazon Prime Video

Parasite

Bong Joon-ho’s pitch black comedy won both the Cannes Palm d’Or and Oscar for Best Picture, and while it’s something of an outlier for the latter (the Academy usually prefers feel-good or outwardly worthy films, not to mention those in English), upon watching it it’s easy to see why it’s been so lauded: it’s masterfully crafted, funny, shocking and insightful – not to mention possessed of a genuinely riveting plot.

The film revolves around two Korean families: the poverty-stricken Kims and the wealthy Parks. The Kims concoct a scheme that sees all four of them become well-paid household employees of the trusting Parks, but an unforeseeable revelation makes their triumph short-lived. A scathing examination of wealth, class, inequality and how the modern world makes parasites of us all.

Watch Parasite on Amazon Prime Video

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford’s first (and best) Indiana Jones movie is a thrilling, globe-trotting blockbuster that has set the standard for all adventure flicks since. A throwback to the swashbuckling flicks of Spielberg and producer George Lucas’ childhood, it sees Ford’s bullwhip-wielding archaeologist travel to Egypt in an attempt to locate the Ark of the Covenant ahead of the Third Reich, who plan to use the ancient casket’s powers to subjugate the world.

The camera work, effects and, er, ‘cultural depictions’ have aged a bit since 1981, but this is Hollywood filmmaking at its purest – a greatly entertaining, fast-paced and iconic movie that everyone will enjoy.

Watch Raiders of the Lost Ark on Amazon Prime Video

Halloween (1978)

The mould from which all other films with a silent, seemingly unstoppable masked killer are cast, Halloween’s creepily normal suburban setting, chilling synth soundtrack (written and performed by director John Carpenter himself) and knife-edge tension make it a great watch a full 42 years after it was made. Jamie Lee Curtis became a star off the back of her debut performance as babysitter-turned-serial-runner-away here, Donald Pleasance provides gravitas as obsessed psychiatrist Dr Loomis, and the apparently motiveless Michael Myers, an invulnerable “shape” clad in his expressionless white mask, makes for a truly iconic expression of pure evil.

Watch Halloween on Amazon Prime Video

The Boys (S1-2)

What if superheroes were not only real, but as messed up and prone to bad behaviour as the rest of us. That’s the premise behind this superb comic book adaptation, in the world’s most famous costumed crusaders are owned and controlled by Vought, a ruthless corporation that keeps their misdeeds – which range from voyeurism and drug abuse to outright murderous psychopathy – under wraps in order to keep the cash flowing.

When one outrage leaves a young man bereaved and hellbent on revenge, he joins a group of like-minded vigilantes with the aim of bringing down Vought once and for all. Effortlessly blending humour, action and drama, The Boys manages to be Amazon’s best original series in ages.

Watch The Boys on Amazon Prime

The Vast of Night

A New Mexico switchboard operator hears a mysterious sound on her headset, sparking off a series of creepily escalating revelations in this retro sci-fi movie from first-time director Andrew Patterson.

From its late 1950s small town America setting to its sound design and music, The Vast of Night gleefully channels classic mystery shows like The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits and The X-Files, not to mention films like Super 8 and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. But it’s far from derivative, and its snappy dialogue and stylish camerawork give it a singular, stylish air. The plot might be fairly simple, the cast small and unknown, but Patterson makes the most of every cent of his tiny budget.

Watch The Vast of Night on Amazon Prime Video

Knives Out

Rian Johnson’s star-studded modern-day take on the classic whodunnit is great fun, with Daniel Craig clearly enjoying himself as a Southern gentleman sleuth hired to investigate the death of a wealthy octogenarian crime novelist.

While the writer apparently took his own life, it’s quickly clear that there’s far more to this case. Several members of his family have a motive for murder, while his young nurse seems far more distraught about the death than any of his children. Johnson cleverly flips the genre on its head (don’t worry, no spoilers here), delivering a fast-moving tale of love, hate, lies, subterfuge and blackmail.

Watch Knives Out on Amazon Prime Video

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