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The 11 best Amazon original movies you can stream anytime

From a Borat sequel to Catherine Called Birdy, these are the best Amazon original movies you can watch right now

Image used with permission by copyright holder

If you know anything about Amazon (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t), you probably know it as one of the biggest retailers in the world. As that retail business continues to grow, though, Amazon has also gotten into the streaming game in a major way. There are lots of movies on Amazon Prime movies as well as plenty of shows, but this list is focusing on the streaming films that have been produced by Amazon as a studio. These Amazon original movies clearly prove they want to be a dominant player in Hollywood, in addition to the dominance it already has in the world of retail, and based on this list, it’s well on its way.

Because Amazon is such a new studio, all of the movies on this list are quite recent. Hopefully, that means that they feel vibrant and relevant, and will continue to hold up for years to come.

Air (2023)

Genre Drama, History
Stars Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Viola Davis
Directed by Ben Affleck
A light, fizzy sports movie that’s really about shoes, Air is about the moment when Nike decided to bet its entire basketball business on a single player. Luckily, that player was Michael Jordan. Starring Matt Damon as a basketball scout who convinces the company to go all in, alongside Viola Davis and Ben Affleck in key supporting roles, Air is a fizzy, fun romp. It’s also a fitting tribute to Michael Jordan, a player who barely appears in the movie at all, but whose entire legacy looms over the production from the moment it starts.
Skydance | Air | Official Trailer (2023)

Read more: The best Matt Damon movies, ranked

Val (2021)

73 %
r 109m
Genre Documentary
Stars Val Kilmer, Jack Kilmer, Mercedes Kilmer
Directed by Leo Scott, Ting Poo
Focused on and filmed over a span of more than 40 years by Val Kilmer himself, Val is the story of the iconic actor who starred in everything from a Batman movie to Tombstone to Top Gun over the course of his Hollywood career. Still in recovery from throat cancer, Val Kilmer has decided to tell his own story in a way that is both moving and revelatory, and Val gives us more insight into his private life than we ever had before.

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020)

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
68 %
r 96m
Genre Comedy
Stars Sacha Baron Cohen, Maria Bakalova, Tom Hanks
Directed by Jason Woliner
The return of Borat in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm could have heralded disaster, but it went much better than many expected. Borat is released from prison in his home country of Kazakhstan under one condition: Return to America and redeem Kazakhstan by giving the vice president a great gift. Loose plot aside, this film goes to new lengths to shock its audience and also introduces Tutar (Maria Bakalova), Borat’s daughter, who Borat somehow forms a sentimental relationship with over the course of the film.

One Child Nation (2019)

One Child Nation
85 %
r 88m
Genre Documentary
Stars Nanfu Wang, Jiaoming Pang, Brian Stuy
Directed by Nanfu Wang, Zhang Jialing
At the peak of the population crisis in 1980s China, a one-child policy was enacted that imposed a draconian mandate on the population. One Child Nation is a gripping documentary about political corruption, patriotism vs humanism, and just how far one person would go when faced with the stark choice their nation had given them. This documentary includes interviews with people that started child trafficking to save second children and the doctors who were tasked with “removing” the unlawful children. It’s also a bracing look at the way propaganda affected the entire society, convincing them that the policy was right.

Sound of Metal (2020)

Sound of Metal
82 %
r 121m
Genre Drama, Music
Stars Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke, Paul Raci
Directed by Darius Marder
An Amazon original that features a breakout starring role for Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal is an intensely dramatic film about a man torn between two lives as he loses his hearing. After learning the distressing news that his condition will only worsen, the central character, a recovering heroin addict, tries to avoid relapsing as he deals with what his hearing loss will mean for every aspect of his life. The movie picked up a couple of well-deserved film and sound editing awards at the Oscars, and was nominated for even more prizes.

Manchester by the Sea (2016)

Manchester by the Sea
96 %
r 138m
Genre Drama
Stars Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler
Directed by Kenneth Lonergan
With career-defining performances from Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, and Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea is a stunningly raw portrayal of tragedy and what it can do to the human spirit. When Lee (Casey Affleck) finds out that his brother has died and has made him the guardian of his teenage nephew Patrick (Lucas Hedges), he is forced to quit his job and move back to his hometown where he faces all the trauma that made him leave in the first place.

The Big Sick (2017)

The Big Sick
86 %
r 120m
Genre Comedy, Drama, Romance
Stars Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano
Directed by Michael Showalter
The Big Sick is based on the real-life love story of comedian Kumail Nanjiani and his wife, Emily V. Gordon. The story follows Nanjiani as he struggles to build up a career in stand-up. After a run-in with a heckler named Emily (Zoe Kazan), a relationship quickly forms. When the expectations that Kumail is facing lead to a breakup, Emily suddenly falls into a coma, and Kumail finds himself playing a strange role in her recovery. This original dramedy is one of the best romantic comedy movies of our generation.

Honey Boy (2019)

Honey Boy
73 %
r 94m
Genre Drama
Stars Shia LaBeouf, Lucas Hedges, Noah Jupe
Directed by Alma Har'el
Loosely based on the life of former child actor and current tabloid target Shia LaBeouf, Honey Boy is a tense and emotional tale elevated by fantastic performances. The film follows a 12-year-old boy as he starts to make it in Hollywood on a hit comedy show, causing his alcoholic and abusive father to push him forward in his own manipulative way. Fun fact: Shia decided to portray his own father in the film, despite telling his father that Mel Gibson would portray him to get him to sign off on the film’s creation.
Honey Boy - Official Trailer | Amazon Studios

You Were Never Really Here (2017)

You Were Never Really Here
84 %
r 89m
Genre Thriller, Drama, Crime
Stars Joaquin Phoenix, Judith Roberts, Ekaterina Samsonov
Directed by Lynne Ramsay
Joaquin Phoenix stars in this grisly and heart-pounding thriller, a disturbing tale that is exceptional in large part thanks to the writing and the direction of Lynne Ramsay. Joe (Phoenix) is a war veteran who is highly skilled in killing bad guys and extracting missing young women from their clutches but faces unforeseen challenges when his latest assignment uncovers large-scale corruption and triggers lingering trauma from his time as a soldier.

One Night in Miami... (2020)

One Night in Miami...
83 %
r 114m
Genre Drama
Stars Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge
Directed by Regina King
A piece of speculative fiction, One Night in Miami… follows four legendary Black men as they gather in a hotel room for a single night. As these figures come together in the mid-’60s, they discuss what their success and responsibility mean as they carry the weight of the world during the civil rights movement. In Regina King’s directorial breakout, we learn more about what the over race arguments were in the 1960s, and how little things seem to have changed since then. Boasting a handful of Oscar nominations in its year, this film is packed with powerhouse performances.

The Report (2019)

The Report
66 %
r 119m
Genre Biography, Crime, Drama
Stars Adam Driver, Annette Bening, Jon Hamm
Directed by Scott Z. Burns
Chock full of award-worthy performances, The Report is a chillingly accurate telling of the highly questionable torture conducted by the CIA following the 9/11 attacks. Based on the true story of the investigational findings from Senate staffer Daniel J. Jones (Adam Driver), we follow Jones as .he uncovers some horrible information about the merciless and sometimes unprovoked torture tactics exercised on captured Muslims in a CIA black site.

Catherine Called Birdy (2022)

Catherine Called Birdy
Genre Adventure, Comedy
Stars Bella Ramsey, Billie Piper, Andrew Scott
Directed by Lena Dunham
Are you one of the millions of people utterly riveted by Bella Ramsey’s performance in The Last of Us? If so, Catherine Called Birdy is a perfect salve to the hole that show is leaving behind. Starring Ramsey as a young girl who has just come of age but has no desire to be married off by her father, the movie is one of the wittiest comedies made in the past few years. Thanks to expert direction from Lena Dunham and a stellar supporting performance from Andrew Scott, Catherine Called Birdy is funny, sweet, and never even a little bit saccharine.
Catherine Called Birdy - Official Trailer | Prime Video

Good Night Oppy (2022)

Good Night Oppy
Genre Documentary
Stars Angela Bassett, Steve Squyres, Jennifer Trosper
Directed by Ryan White
An almost shockingly moving documentary given its subject matter, Good Night Oppy tells the story of two Mars rovers who were launched decades ago, and managed to thrive on the red planet longer than anyone believed they would. The movie’s central characters may be robots, but following every twist and turn of their stories proves to be remarkably riveting. It’s also striking to see the way the movie’s central human characters age as the years go by, and are eventually forced to say goodbye to the rover who has defined so much of their professional lives.
Good Night Oppy - Official Trailer | Prime Video

Editors' Recommendations

Movie images and data from:
Joe Allen
Joe Allen is a freelance culture writer based in upstate New York. His work has been published in The Washington Post, The…
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