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The Best Movies Available on Paramount Plus

We may think of it as a TV service today, but Netflix got its start mailing people DVDs. As new streaming competitors have emerged to compete with what Netflix has to offer, many of them have prioritized TV over movies, at least when it comes to marketing. Even so, both Netflix and all of these other services still have a library of movies available to subscribers that are willing to do a little digging to find a great gem.

Paramount Plus is one of the newest arrivals on the streaming scene, and while they have a roster that includes plenty of exciting TV shows, they also have plenty of older movies that are worth exploring. Some of these movies are relatively new, while others are decades old. This mix is part of what makes Paramount Plus’s movie offerings so exciting. They offer a little bit of everything.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

Paula Patton and Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.
Paramount Pictures

The fourth movie in a franchise isn’t typically the point where franchises reinvent themselves, but that’s kind of what happened with Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. The movie takes all the best elements from every prior movie and combines them into an electrifying series of set pieces. The most famous of them is undoubtedly Tom Cruise’s decision to climb the outside of the Burj Khalifa, a thing he actually did. Although that’s the movie’s high point, there are plenty of other outstanding sequences. Ghost Protocol is fun from top to bottom and proved that Cruise was in this franchise for the long haul.

Director: Brad Bird
Main Cast: Tom Cruise, Paula Patton, Jeremy Renner
Runtime: 132 minutes
IMDb Rating: 7.4

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Harrison Ford in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Paramount Pictures

One of the best action movies ever made, Raiders of the Lost Ark is also the movie that definitively proved that Harrison Ford was going to be a major movie star. From its first moments, Raiders is the movie theater serials of Steven Spielberg’s youth updated for the modern age. Thanks to a totally compelling cast, the movie has aged incredibly well, as have the effects that make so many of the sequences work. Indiana Jones is an icon, but back when Raiders was first released, he was just a gamble. Thankfully, he’s one that paid off.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Main Cast: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman
Runtime: 115 minutes
IMDb Rating: 8.4

Election

Reese Witherspoon in Election.
Paramount Pictures

The genius of Election is that it’s somehow more relevant today than it was when it was released. The movie, which follows the petty feud between a high school student and her teacher, is really about the ways in which men refuse to accept that women can also be smart and cunning. In that way, it’s really a dark story about how hard it can be to grow up, especially when you still go to high school every day. More than anything, though, the movie is set in a world women are often chastened for the same behaviors that men receive enormous praise for. If that sounds familiar, you may find that Election resonates with you.

Director: Alexander Payne
Main Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Matthew Broderick, Chris Klein
Runtime: 103 minutes
IMDb Rating: 7.2

Roman Holiday

Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday.
Paramount Pictures

Perhaps the greatest romantic comedy ever made, Roman Holiday sings entirely because of the performances from Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn. The film tells the story of a princess who feels entirely confined by the life she leads and attempts to escape it for a short time to see what Rome is actually like. Along the way, she meets a journalist in need of a great story and the two fall in love. Roman Holiday set the template for so much of what romantic comedies would become, and it still holds up as one of the best of a genre that is as old as movies themselves.

Director: William Wyler
Main Cast: Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn, Eddie Albert
Runtime: 118 minutes
IMDb Rating: 8.0

Big Night

Stanley Tucci and Tony Shalhoub in Big Night.
The Samuel Goldwyn Company

Stanley Tucci’s directorial debut, Big Night is not an ambitious film, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t great. The movie follows a restaurant in dire need of business as its owners hold one last party in the hopes of saving the business. The party doesn’t go as planned, but the movie revels in showing us all the details of the business’s downfall. Tucci stars alongside Tony Shalhoub and the dynamic between these two characters is more than enough to justify the film’s brisk runtime. Big Night is one of the best food movies ever made, in part because it’s about how food connects us to our families and to the world.

Director: Stanley Tucci
Main Cast: Stanley Tucci, Tony Shalhoub, Minnie Driver
Runtime: 109 minutes
IMDb Rating: 7.2

A.I. Artificial Intelligence

Haley Joel Osment in A.I.
Warner Bros.

Steven Spielberg knows how to make a rollicking film better than almost anyone, but the director doesn’t get enough credit for the work he does in quieter, softer projects. A.I. is one of those softer projects and focuses on a young android who is adopted into a family that already has one child. The film is about the A.I. child’s journey to meet his maker after being rejected by that family, and it’s one of the more quietly heartbreaking films Spielberg has ever made. A.I. has a darkness buried in it, but it’s also set in a fascinating, futuristic world that feels like it draws closer and closer every day.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Main Cast: Haley Joel Osment, Jude Law, Frances O’Connor
Runtime: 146 minutes
IMDb Rating: 7.2

The Fly

Jeff Goldblum in The Fly.
20th Century Fox

A masterpiece of body horror, The Fly probably isn’t the best movie to watch on a full stomach. The film follows a scientist, played by Jeff Goldblum, who believes he has successfully created a teleportation device, but when he decides to test it, a fly enters the device, distorting the experiment, and he starts to transform into a human-fly hybrid. It’s a gnarly, nasty story that’s grounded in great performances from Goldblum and Geena Davis. Director David Cronenberg is known for creating boundary-pushing, alarming images on screen, and The Fly may be the best distillation of everything he wanted to accomplish while making movies.

Director: David Cronenberg
Main Cast: Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz
Runtime: 96 minutes
IMDb Rating: 7.6

Fargo

Frances McDormand in Fargo.
Gramercy Pictures

The Coen brothers have made so many great films over the course of their careers that it’s difficult to say that any one movie is their masterpiece, but Fargo sits up there with the very best of their work. The film, which couples a quirky small-town police officer with a brutal, devastating crime, is about what all great Coen brothers movies are about: Why people do evil things when they could choose not to. Fargo is also one of the brothers’ funniest movies, and it features what will likely always stand as the best performance of Frances McDormand’s enormously decorated career.

Director: Joel and Ethan Coen
Main Cast: Frances McDormand, William H. Macy, Steve Buscemi
Runtime: 98 minutes
IMDb Rating: 8.1

Addams Family Values

The cast of Addams Family Values.
Paramount Pictures

Although sequels usually lead to diminishing returns, Addams Family Values delightfully reverses that trend, improving on its predecessor in pretty much every conceivable way. The movie follows the titular family as they welcome a new baby, and hire a nanny after their children attempt to murder the newborn. Addams Family Values is funnier than its predecessor, but it’s also just a smarter movie overall. It’s a madcap comedy in the tradition of the TV show it’s based on, and it’s one of the best comedies of the ’90s. Thankfully, it’s also gotten something of a critical reevaluation in recent years that it very much deserves.

Director: Barry Sonenfeld
Main Cast: Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia, Christopher Lloyd
Runtime: 94 minutes
IMDb Rating: 6.8

The Conversation

Gene Hackman in The Conversation
The Directors Company

Francis Ford Coppola made The Godfather and The Godfather: Part II almost back to back. In between them, though, he snuck in The Conversation, a totally different movie about the surveillance state that was perfectly timed to coincide with the nation’s Watergate-fueled paranoia. The Conversation is about a sound specialist who thinks he’s picked up a terrifying conversation and finds that no one will believe that he’s stumbled on a grand conspiracy. The film’s ultimate twist, though, is that he’s a useless puppet in a giant machine, unable to change anything or save anyone, even as he struggles desperately to do just that.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Main Cast: Gene Hackman, John Cazale, Allen Garfield
Runtime: 113 minutes
IMDb Rating: 7.8

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