One of the best things about an Amazon Prime membership (besides the free two-day shipping, of course) is the robust streaming platform access that comes with your annual subscription fee. In addition to original TV shows and movies created by Amazon Studios, Prime Video also includes hundreds of other movies you can stream for only the cost of your membership. (Not to mention all the additional titles you can rent for just a few bucks extra.)
Read on to discover the gems we surfaced in Amazon's Prime Video back catalog. We've also rounded up the highlights from the full list of movies that Amazon is adding to the platform in March.
Coming to Prime Video next month (March)
Amazon is introducing about a hundred new movie titles to its streaming platform in March, some buzzier than others. Here's just a handful of the most anticipated films you'll be able to stream free on Prime Video next month.
The best movies streaming free on Amazon Prime Video
It can be hard to sift through all the noise on a platform this chock-full of stuff. So we did a deep dive to surface the gems hiding in Prime Video. All the below titles, from comedy and romance to action and sci-fi/fantasy, are rated as "favorable" – most above 70 – on Metacritic.
The popular animated feature has spawned three sequels, numerous spin-offs and a veritable cottage industry of memes. Revisit the franchise's humble origins, and Mike Meyers' Scottish accent (fun fact: not an original component of the movie). Meyers plays the titular ogre, who must find a way to rescue Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) and clear his home-sweet-swamp of pesky fairy-tale characters for good. Prime Video isn't known for its family fare, but Shrek is a good bet for kids.
In a bit of perfect casting, young Reese Witherspoon stars as Tracy Flick, a character whose Type A personality and mega-ambition have made her somewhat of an archetype and have colored many of the actress' subsequent roles. Matthew Broderick plays her high school social studies teacher, who makes it his mission to stymie Tracy's run for class president.
It's a rom-com where the "rom" is the friendship between always-a-bridesmaid Annie (Kristen Wiig) and bride Lillian (Maya Rudolph) in the lead-up to the latter's big day. Hilarity ensues as Annie's downward spiral threatens to disrupt her best friend's wedding, and rival bridesmaid Helen (Rose Byrn) swoops in to pick up the pieces. It's a surprisingly poignant film about growing up and growing apart, punctuated with set pieces like the infamous "shittin' in the street" scene.
Take the Brat Pack, add the specter of murder-suicide, and you've got Heathers, a pitch-black teen comedy that's less laugh-out-loud funny and more... gesturing at the idea of humor (and that gesture is a middle finger). Winona Ryder plays Veronica Sawyer, the only member of her croquet-playing clique not named Heather. When sociopathic newbie J.D. (Christian Slater) arrives at school, Veronica finds herself caught up in an increasingly messy – and violent – revenge plot against the popular crowd she once belonged to.
Did you know Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis both received Best Actress Academy Award nominations for their roles in this iconic road trip flick? The tale of two friends on the lam achieved both critical and commercial success, cementing it as an instant classic back in 1991. It's a must-watch if you haven't seen it yet, but also a must-rewatch for a lazy Sunday afternoon on the couch. Bonus: Thelma and Louise gave Brad Pitt one of his earliest film roles.
Looking for total emotional annihilation? Look no further than Amazon Studios' 2016 melodrama about grieving divorcee Lee (Casey Affleck), who unexpectedly becomes the guardian to his teenage nephew Patrick (Lucas Hedges). The film can be a real gut-punch, but its phenomenal performances – which netted a Best Actor Oscar for Affleck and a nod for both Hedges and Michelle Williams, playing Lee's ex-wife Randi – turn the potential schmaltz into something much deeper, and grimmer.
Francis Ford Coppola's epic war film got a 2001 Redux with 49 extra minutes of footage, which you can stream in its entirety with an Amazon Prime membership. Based loosely on Joseph Conrad's 1899 novella, Heart of Darkness, Coppola's version swaps the setting to the Vietnam War and brings in Marlon Brando to portray the evil Colonel Kurtz.
See Kate Hudson's breakout role in this cult dramedy from 2000, which features original music penned by Peter Frampton. Patrick Fugit stars as William, an upstart music journalist covering (fictional) band Stillwater for Rolling Stone. Hudson plays Penny Lane, a Stillwater groupie (who would reject that epithet). As William travels with the band for the sake of his story, he gets wrapped up in all the drama you'd expect from the world of rock n' roll.
Colin Firth plays King George VI in this 2010 period film about the relationship between the new king and his speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush), who worked to help him cope with his stutter in advance of delivering his first radio broadcast speech in 1939, when Britain declared war on Germany.
Director Sean Baker famously shot this color-saturated indie on an iPhone 5, but beneath its slick postproduction, the film's lo-fi provenance doesn't show. Set in the seedy underbelly of LA, Tangerine follows trans sex-worker Sin-Dee Rella (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez), who's just gotten out of jail to find out her pimp-boyfriend's been cheating on her. It's part drama, part farce, part... Christmas movie (really).
One of the best horror films for scaredy-cats who still want to feel a little spooked, Rosemary's Baby stars Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes as a young couple who move into a new Manhattan apartment building just before their family expands. But the neighbors seem a little too interested in Rosemary's future bundle of joy, and after a while one starts to doubt there'll be any joy at all.
If you could erase all memories of your ex and avoid all the heartbreak that comes after a relationship ends, would you? That's the question at the center of this 2004 Charlie Kaufman film, starring Kate Winslet as Clementine and Jim Carrey as her ex-boyfriend Joel. Both Clementine and Joel elect to have the fantastical medical procedure done post-breakup, in an apparent endorsement of the "ignorance is bliss" adage. But memory is a tricky thing.
A group of friends (Joel Courtney as Joe, Elle Fanning as Alice) inadvertently film a train crash while making a zombie movie for a Super 8 film contest. Things start to get weird, and when the footage is unearthed, the friends realize there may be a lot more to the story, and the crash may not have been an accident.
Amazon's got all four of The Hunger Games films streaming free with a Prime membership, which means you can spend more than nine hours watching Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence), Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and the other denizens of Panem compete for their lives and fight back against the corrupt President Snow (Donald Sutherland).
CNET's Monisha Ravisetti calls this low-budget indie sci-fi film "shockingly good" and says it'll "force you to question your own sanity." Coherence, starring Emily Foxler and Maury Sterling, is the kind of twisty, philosophical mind-bender that's better the less you know going in. The basic premise: A group of friends attend a dinner party on the night a comet passes overhead, and absolute chaos ensues. We cannot recommend this one enough.
Based not on Hamlet but on its source material (the Scandinavian legend of Amleth), The Northman is the story of a son avenging his father's death at the hands of his uncle. (If you're no Shakespeare buff and this still sounds awfully familiar, The Lion King shares the same lineage.) Alexander Skarsgård plays Amleth in this blood-soaked historical revenge epic.
Cary Grant and Grace Kelly star in this classic thriller set in the French Riviera. Grant plays a retired jewel thief who sets out to catch a new cat burglar who's begun imitating his old style. It's an absolute must-see for Hitchcock completists and those who just want to take a trip to the South of France.
An Odyssey retelling set in 1930s rural Mississippi, this Coen Brothers film from 2000 is perhaps best known for its bluegrass/folk soundtrack, which won an album of the year Grammy Award. The film follows three escaped convicts, led by Ulysees Everett (George Clooney), in search of buried treasure. Like its source material, O Brother is an adventure story about a man who just wants to go home.
The latest in the James Bond franchise, 2021's No Time to Die is also Daniel Craig's last hurrah as agent 007. With a theme song by Billie Eilish and a cast that includes Rami Malek, Léa Seydoux and Ralph Fiennes, this entry in the Bond canon could do a lot worse.
It doesn't get more action-packed than Tom Cruise reprising his role as IMF agent Ethan Hunt. The first four Mission: Impossible films are all available to stream free with a Prime Video membership, which sounds like a great way to while away a weekend as you wait for this summer's Dead Reckoning Part One theatrical release.
Paul Thomas Anderson's indie romance follows woman-child Alana (Alana Haim) as she befriends actual teenager Gary (Cooper Hoffman) in 1970s LA. With a vintage soundtrack, sepia-toned photography and overall mumblecore vibe, Licorice Pizza is the quirky throwback rom-com we all need right about now.
Based on the Nick Hornby novel of the same name, this rom-com stars Rose Byrne and Chris O'Dowd as unhappy couple Annie and Duncan, whose relationship is further strained when Annie strikes up an unlikely friendship with washed-up rockstar Tucker (Ethan Hawke), who happens to also be the subject of a fan site run by Duncan.
Peter Dinklage stars as the title character in the latest adaptation of the Cyrano de Bergerac tale. In this version, dwarfism replaces Cyrano's large nose as the source of his self-doubt, and everyone sings.
In John Hughes' directorial debut, Molly Ringwald plays Sam, whose 16th birthday appears to have been forgotten by her family. In the long tradition of teen movies, Sixteen Candles mixes raunch with romance, as Sam pines for the dreamy Jake Ryan (Michael Schoeffling) and fends off advances from The Geek (Anthony Michael Hall).
A time travel romance starring Rachel McAdams? No, it isn't The Time Traveler's Wife (that one's streaming free on YouTube, though). In 2013, McAdams made another romance with a similar sci-fi twist, this one co-starring Domhnall Gleeson as love interest Tim. When Tim finds out he has the ability to travel back in time and redo things that didn't go right the first time, his forays across the space-time fabric have unexpected consequences for his love life.
Based on an unfinished James Baldwin manuscript, this Academy Award-nominated, Samuel L. Jackson-narrated documentary interrogates the history of racism in the United States through Baldwin's personal recollections of the assassinations of three civil rights leaders: Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.
It was "the artistic crime of the century": Tightrope walker Philippe Petit performed a high-wire walk between Manhatttan's Twin Towers in 1974, an endeavor that was as illegal as it was dangerous. After his arrest, the act was immortalized in this 2008 documentary, which is part heist movie, part breathtaking athletic feat.
This 2013 blockbuster documentary investigates the ethics of keeping orcas ("killer whales") in captivity, centered on Tilikum, a Seaworld orca that was involved in three deaths. The film cast Seaworld in a much darker light, arguing that captivity causes extreme stress and aggression in orca whales. The impact of the film was so great that Seaworld has since phased out its live orca shows.
Real estate moguls Jackie and David Siegel were in the middle of building their very own Palace of Versailles – a 90,000-square-foot mansion outside Orlando, Florida, which would've been one of the largest single-family homes in the country – when the Great Recession of 2008 brought the entire house of cards tumbling down. The 2012 documentary that came out of it reads a bit like a Real Housewives spinoff, but through the lens of incisive social commentary about the fall of the American Dream.
Jiro Ono, 85 at the time of this film, is thought of by many as the best sushi chef in the world. This 2011 documentary shines a light on the extreme care he puts into his craft, positioning sushi as an intricate art form on the world's stage, and follows his two sons as they contemplate one day filling their father's shoes.
More great movies to stream free on Amazon Prime Video