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You know, you really do have to hand it to Amazon for the perks that an Amazon Prime membership will get you. My personal favorite, is all the content you can stream at no extra cost with an subscription, including films like the acclaimed drama Sound of Metal or the uproarious rockumentary (a term I actually use a bit loosely in this case) Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, among many others. The downside of all this free entertainment on streaming is deciding which of the many Amazon Prime movies at your disposal will be your main feature presentation on movie night.
Well, luckily for you, when it comes to the best movies on Amazon Prime, we certainly have an opinion over what you should add to your watchlist. Of course, our thoughts in the category tend to be subject to change with the availability for some of those fun and award-winning favorites either lasting up to a year or expiring after no more than a week. Yet, when focusing on just the Amazon Prime original movies, that opinion will forever remain exactly what the platform’s exclusive content literally is: priceless.
Let us celebrate this freedom by honoring our top 12 favorite Amazon Prime movies that will always be free, starting with the first film to put Amazon in the Oscar race, but certainly not the last, either.
Manchester By The Sea (2016)
Painful memories of the past catch up with an ill-tempered handyman from Boston after he is forced to return to his childhood home when a tragedy makes him the legal guardian to his teenage nephew.
Why It’s Worth Streaming On Amazon Prime For Free: A total of six Oscars nominations with two wins (including Best Actor for Casey Affleck and Original Screenplay for writer and director Kenneth Lonergan) went to Manchester by the Sea - a gripping, beautifully executed portrait of the consuming nature of ugly truths which was also produced in part by Affleck’s other famous older “brother,” Matt Damon.
The Big Sick (2017)
As his traditionally minded parents search for his potential Muslim bride, a Pakistani-born struggling comedian (Kumail Nanjiani) puts his romantic commitments to the ultimate test when his caucasian ex-girlfriend (Zoe Kazan) falls deeply ill.
Why It's Worth Streaming On Amazon Prime For Free: The first Amazon original comedy to receive Academy Awards attention was director Michael Showalter’s hilarious and heartfelt The Big Sick, which earned star Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily V. Gordon nominations for their screenplay that they based on the true story of one of the most challenging moments from their relationship.
Honey Boy (2019)
A young actor’s relationship with his abusive father and the pressures of the entertainment industry haunt him as he becomes one of the most famous and infamous figures in Hollywood.
Why It’s Worth Streaming On Amazon Prime For Free: Former Even Stevens and Transformers star Shia LaBeouf based the screenplay for Honey Boy, written as a therapeutic exercise during a rehab stint, on the most challenging moments of his own real life and even went as far as playing his own disgraced father’s fictional counterpart in this revealing autobiographical drama.
Brittany Runs A Marathon (2019)
When her hard partier lifestyle, lack of a consistent career, romantic struggles, and, most importantly, her health reach a dangerous peak, a young woman (Jillian Bell) sets out to make the ultimate change by entering to run in the New York City Marathon.
Why It’s Worth Streaming On Amazon Prime For Free: Writer and director Paul Downs Calaizzo’s feature film debut Brittany Runs a Marathon is yet another inspirational tale of overcoming personal demons that is based on a true story and produced by Amazon Studios in 2019, but is easily the funnier of the bunch.
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020)
A rude, crude, and culturally inept journalist from Kazakhstan travels back to the United States to observe how things have changed since his last visit, encountering more extremely divisive opinions, political corruption, and a devastating pandemic along the way.
Why It’s Worth Streaming On Amazon Prime For Free: One could argue that notorious prankster comedian Sacha Baron Cohen chose the worst time to bring his (in)famous character back to America, but the two Oscar nominations for Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (including for Maria Bakalova as the title character’s daughter) seem to suggest he made the right call with this uproariously shocking and unsurprisingly controversial sequel.
Sound Of Metal (2020)
A rock ’n roll musician (Riz Ahmed) who has wholly committed himself to his drumming talents begins to put his life and his purpose into question after he shows signs of going deaf.
Why It’s Worth Streaming On Amazon Prime For Free: Among its six Oscar nominations, Co-writer and director Darius Marder’s devastatingly authentic feature-length film debut Sound of Metal was rightfully recognized for its sound design, which gets progressively lower as Riz Ahmed’s character Ruben’s hearing grows weaker.
One Night In Miami (2020)
Activist Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), star football player Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge), boxing champion Muhammad Ali (Eli Goree), and soul singer Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.) come together at a hotel in 1960s Florida, where they ponder the future of the Civil Rights movement.
Why It’s Worth Streaming On Amazon Prime For Free: Oscar-winning actress Regina King makes a stunning directorial debut with One Night in Miami, a powerful, fictionalized historical drama offering an inside look at a major cultural shift in America inspired by the award-winning stage play by Kemp Powers.
The Vast Of Night (2020)
A teenage soundboard operator (Sierra McCormick) calls upon her classmate, a talented local disc jockey (Jake Horowitz), to help understand the origins of a strange sound heard over the radio, which sets them on the path to make a life-changing discovery in a small town in 1950s Texas.
Why It’s Worth Streaming On Amazon Prime For Free: With its gripping Cold War era social commentary, eerily muted ambience, and grainy aesthetic, The Vast of Night has all the bells and whistles of the perfect The Twilight Zone tribute, but first-time director Andrew Patterson’s inventive narrative style makes it a much more unique experience.
The Handmaiden (2016)
Forbidden desires between a woman (Tae-ri Kim) and the heiress (Min-hee Kim) she works for as a live-in aid interrupt her original intentions to con her boss’ wealthy family 1930s South Korea.
Why It’s Worth Streaming On Amazon Prime For Free: With its breathtaking production design and wonderful acting, the stirring and sexy thriller The Handmaiden is yet another brilliantly conceived crime drama that unfolds into a shocker of a taboo love story from Oldboy director Chan-Wook Park.
You Were Never Really Here (2018)
A disillusioned war veteran who has taken up a living finding missing young girls is driven to his breaking point by an assignment that takes a horrifying turn for he worse.
Why It’s Worth Streaming On Amazon Prime For Free: Before he won his first Academy Award for his incredibly unnerving performance in Joker, Joaquin Phoenix really brought down the hammer at the Cannes Film Festival as the troubled hero of You Were Never Really Here, from the acclaimed Scottish director of We Need to Talk About Kevin, Lynne Ramsay.
One week in the seemingly average, routine life of a married bus driver (Adam Driver) with a lesser-known talent for finding the poetic nature in everyday situations.
Why It’s Worth Streaming On Amazon Prime For Free: The fact the title character of Paterson is also a bus driver from Paterson, New Jersey, played by an actor with the last name “Driver” is not even the most fascinating aspect of director Jim Jarmusch’s unique and uplifting adaptation of a poem of the same name by William Carlos Williams.
Late Night (2019)
At risk of losing her show after three decades on the air, a cynical talk show host (Emma Thompson) attempts to boost her public image by hiring a woman of Indian descent (Mindy Kaling) on her staff of predominantly white, male writers.
Why It’s Worth Streaming On Amazon Prime For Free: Mindy Kaling drew from her own experiences with seeing a lack of diversity behind the scenes in the entertainment industry to write the screenplay for Late Night, one of the funniest crowdpleasers of 2019.
Probably the most refreshing thing about Amazon Prime’s original movies is the variety as there are very few similarities between any of the films on the list above, with overall quality being their unifying trait. Of course, any average audience member would be expected to like prefer some titles over others. Which of the above Amazon Prime originals do you prefer the most?