The 42 best things to watch on Amazon Prime Video

Our pick of the streaming service's highlights. Updated for January 2019

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.

Man on Wire

This feature-length documentary is the second highest-rated movie of all time on Rotten Tomatoes, and rightfully regarded as one of the finest, most interesting films of the 21st century.

Telling the thrilling tale of wire-walker Philippe Petit and the most perilous, death-defying and life-affirming feat of his career – the crossing, sans safety gear, of a thin cable strung between the twin towers of New York’s 450m high World Trade Center – Man on Wire is a cross between a biopic, a heist film and a sports movie; a fantastic watch guaranteed to leave you with sweaty palms.

Watch Man on Wire on Amazon Prime

The Accountant

Ben Affleck plays a high-functioning autistic accountant who cooks the books for some of the world’s worst criminals in this action-thriller, which is a lot more exciting than it might sound on paper. This accountant, you see, is also a highly-trained former special forces operative, just as handy with a .50 calibre sniper rifle as he is with a calculator and a copy of Excel. And when he’s targeted for assassination by a particularly crooked client looking to cover his tracks, it’s his practical skills that come to the fore.

Watch The Accountant on Amazon Prime

The Devil’s Backbone

Set at an orphanage during the final few days of the Spanish Civil War, this superior gothic horror movie concerns an unexploded bomb and a missing child. Revealing any more might spoil the creepy allure of this spine-tingling film, whose historical time and place is integral to its message.

Only a filmmaker of Guillermo del Toro’s talents could pull off a cerebral foreign language horror movie that appeals to English-speaking audiences – and if there’s one movie on Amazon that the most ardent subtitle-hater should sit through, it’s this one.

Watch The Devil’s Backbone on Amazon Prime

The Grand Tour (S3)

Here’s a fact: either you adore the vehicular antics and laddish banter of Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond, or you’d rather coat your eyes in bleach than play along with this trio of ageing, ill-dressed man-boys.

The third season of Amazon’s mega-budget Top Gear-killer has just landed on the streaming service, and while it won’t convert non-believers neither will it disappoint fans: it’s well made and looks lush (in super-sharp 4K, if you have a UHD telly). For those that like their petrolhead action fix served alongside a glut of gags, this third helping is likely to be the TV highlight of 2019.

Watch The Grand Tour on Amazon Prime

Paranormal Activity

Made on a budget that would barely buy you a Skoda and running with the ‘found footage’ angle that was already long in the tooth by its release in 2009, Paranormal Activity nonetheless has the chops to put the willies up all but the hardiest viewer.

The story centres around a couple, one of whom claims to have been haunted by some kind of presence since her childhood. A psychic warns the pair not to try communicating with said presence, which turns out to be good advice, given that it then torments everyone throughout the remainder of the film. Cue: minor creepy occurrences captured on grainy video that gradually ramp up to the point that you’ll be sleeping with the lights on.

Watch Paranormal Activity on Amazon Prime

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Based on the bestselling novel of the same unwieldy name, Mike Newell’s 1946-set romantic drama, in which Lily James’ frustrated writer travels to Guernsey to cover a book club that flourished under the island’s German occupation, will appeal to those who prefer their filmed historical fare comforting, enjoyable, moderately funny and not too grim. If you love Downton Abbey, Call the Midwife and the like, but find the likes of Atonement a bit weighty, it’ll be right up your alley.

James’ winning performance suggests she’s a Kate Winslet-style superstar in the making, although the colourful supporting cast – which includes Tom Courtenay, Michiel Huisman and Matthew Goode – picks up more than their fair share of the slack. Part love story, part wartime drama, part detective yarn, it’s not the most original or memorable of movies but suits a lazy Sunday almost perfectly.

Watch The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society on Amazon Prime

Elysium

Neill Blomkamp's follow-up to District 9 features a more recognisable cast – Matt Damon and Jodie Foster – but holds true to the earlier movie’s mix of grounded sci-fi and social conscience.

When Damon's downtrodden ex-con suffers a lethal blast of radiation at his backbreaking factory job, his only hope is to hop in one of the miraculous cure-all Med-Bays used by the upper classes. Trouble is, the upper classes have all abandoned polluted, crime-ridden Earth for a pristine luxurious orbital space station named Elysium – and Foster’s nasty Defence Minister would rather shoot down refugee spacecraft than let any old scumbag in. So: come for the spectacular visuals, stay for the biting political message.

Watch Elysium on Amazon Prime

Seinfeld (S1-9)

Rejoice, for “the show about nothing” has finally come to a UK streaming service; now Prime customers have the perfect excuse to plough through all nine seasons of Jerry Seinfeld’s beloved sitcom.

An inventive, absurd and hilarious examination of the trivialities of modern life, never relying on slapstick or coddling viewers with cheap sentimentality, Seinfeld is quite simply a must-watch for all fans of comedy. With each episode clocking in at a little over 20 minutes, it’s also great fare for binge watching. Be warned: your Sundays will be eaten right up.

Watch Seinfeld on Amazon Prime

Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Francis Ford Coppola’s take on the most celebrated of Victorian horror novels is a weird, precious thing: sometimes campy to the point of absurdity (Keanu Reeves’ attempt at an English accent being a prime contender), at others it leaps off the screen with its rich gothic imagery and tone. It’s quite the audiovisual trip (appropriately, Amazon lets you stream it in 4K UHD if you have a screen capable).

With a star-flecked cast (Gary Oldman! Anthony Hopkins! Winona Ryder! Tom Waits!), lavish sets and some of the most elaborate hairdos in 90s cinema, this version of Dracula comes across as an unmissable, creepy curiosity rather than an out-and-out scary movie. It captures the doomed romanticism of Stoker’s book better than any other adaptation we can think of, presenting the thirsty Transylvanian himself as a complex, lovelorn victim of circumstance; more than just a villain.

Watch Bram Stoker’s Dracula on Amazon Prime

The Marvelous Mrs Maisel (S1-2)

Hankering for a grown-up TV show in the vein of Mad Men? One also set in mid-century Manhatten? The Marvelous Mrs Maisel might be the new series for you.

Rachel Brosnahan stars as Miriam “Midge” Maisel, a vivacious, quick-witted upper middle class housewife with what she thought was the perfect 1950s New York lifestyle: husband, kids, beautiful Upper West Side apartment; the works. When things take an unforeseen turn and flip that all upside down, she stumbles into trying out standup comedy – and discovers she has something of a talent for not only making people laugh, but for hitting upon life’s truths and enigmas while doing it.

The first season won three Golden Globes and five Emmys, suggesting this Amazon Original may have an even bigger future ahead than Transparent. Time to get on board now.

Watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime

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