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When you run out of TV shows to binge on, check out one of these great movies on Hulu

The streaming wars seem destined to rage on forever, which is great news for cinephiles eager to expand their horizons. Hulu, once merely an upstart among a swath of veteran broadcasters, now features a particularly robust library of films to choose from. Sturgeon’s law still applies as with any catalog, though, and it might seem difficult to find the real gems housed within Hulu’s massive library. That said, our strictly curated list is a one-stop guide to the best, smartest, and most intriguing films currently streaming on the landmark service. Eat your heart out, Netflix.

NOTE: Hulu’s list of available media is dependent upon which country you’re trying to watch from. This is strictly a list of the best Hulu movies available in the U.S.

Related: Forget Netflix, these are the best shows currently streaming on Hulu

Recent Additions

Interstellar 

Director Christopher Nolan has always been a cinematic adventurer, trying to show audiences spectacles like they’ve never seen before (the reverse chronology of Memento, the mechanical dreamscapes of Inception) even while rooting his stories in familiar concepts like memory or love. Interstellar is both his most spectacular film and one of his most intimate, juxtaposing mankind’s exploration of space with the more down-to-earth struggles of family. Set after an environmental catastrophe has ruined the planet and reduced civilization to subsistence farming, the film opens with former astronaut turned farmer Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) raising his children and mourning humanity’s former greatness. Recruited by NASA for a mission to find new habitable worlds, Cooper leaves his family behind to seek out a new home for humanity aboard the spaceship Endurance. The journey takes the crew to some otherwordly places, allowing Nolan to show off his talents as a visual stylist. Interstellar sometimes veers into overbearing sentimentality, but in its best moments (and there are many) it is one of the most dazzling films in recent memory.

Watch it now on:

Hulu

Pulp Fiction

The Quentin Tarantino-directed Pulp Fiction made waves in 1994 when it released, most notably taking home the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or as the event’s best picture. Though it narrowly lost out on Best Picture at that year’s Academy Awards, Tarantino and screenwriter Roger Avary did nab an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, further cementing Tarantino among Hollywood’s greats. Over the course of the film’s two and a half hour run time, Tarantino tells several different stories — some connected, others not — with each of the film’s characters delivering some of the most memorable monologues in modern cinema. Laced with Tarantino’s inventive style of storytelling and an eclectic mix of outrageous characters — not to mention its perfect blend of black comedy and violence — it’s not the least bit surprising many critics call Pulp Fiction one of the greatest films of all time.

Watch it now on:

Hulu

Reservoir Dogs

Six criminals, all of whom who are complete strangers to one another, are hired by crime boss Joe Cabot to carry out a diamond heist. In the midst of the caper, something goes terribly wrong and the heat shows up. Directed by the aforementioned Tarantino, the bulk of the film focuses more on the gruesome aftermath than it does on the heist itself. In classic Tarantino style, the criminals all adopt code names (i.e. Mr. Pink and Mr. White), leading to a convoluted plot that involves betrayal and mistrust. It’s simply a must-watch for any crime movie aficionado.

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Hulu

8 ½

Federico Fellini’s 8 ½ opens with a dream, the protagonist Guido (Marcello Mastroianni) suffocating as onlookers leer at him before he escapes, rising up into the sky. Though his dream ends when he is literally dragged back to Earth, the film never loses that dreamlike imagery. Chronicling Guido’s attempts to film a new movie (he is a director, one of the film’s many autobiographical notes), he’s shown grappling with creative slowdown and his own troubled relationships. Although the troubled film production is ostensibly the premise of the film, plot seems like an afterthought; the focus is on Guido’s interior struggles, conveyed primarily through images rather than events. Fellini’s direction is superb, his camera gliding effortlessly as he follows characters of interest, always finding the right angle. Detractors have claimed 8 ½ has a muddled, even nonsensical plot; perhaps they are right, but film is a visual medium, and Fellini conjures imagery of great power and majesty.

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Hulu

Lady Snowblood

Despite griping from more prudish sorts, violence has always been a fixture of art. Even the earliest myths are awash in bloodshed, an eternal tradition carried up through Marlowe and Shakespeare, all the way to the present, a tradition into which Lady Snowblood slides as easily as a sword through flesh. Directed by Japanese auteur Toshiya Fujita, Lady Snowblood is a Japanese cult classic, a bloody revenge tale whose artistry has made it popular in film circles, with even Quentin Tarantino praising it. The film, whose narrative unfolds in various flashbacks and present events, follows Yuki (Meiko Kaji), an assassin seeking revenge against the people who killed her family. It’s a familiar premise for a tale of revenge, made unique by its female protagonist, played with icy resolve by Kaji.

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Hulu

Rashomon

Sitting beneath the Rashomon Gate, three men discuss a recent crime. In a grove, a samurai has been killed. The authorities bring in the samurai’s wife, the bandit suspected of murdering him, and even the dead man’s spirit. Shockingly, all three claim responsibility for the killing. Akira Kurosawa’s landmark film examines this murder mystery, telling through contradictory flashbacks each witness’s account of the killing. While the conclusion is frustrating to some, the movie offers a unique examination of human memory and the self-interest that motivates various suspects to confess to a crime. The script, based on the short story In a Grove, is beautifully served by Kurosawa’s direction: he uses exaggerated lighting to highlight the surreality of the flashbacks, and his mastery of composition and camera movement are in full display. Rashomon is a monumental film, brilliant in its visual exploration of perception and truth.

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Hulu

Persona

Ingmar Bergman was never known for directing happy films, often exploring themes like death, disease, and the iron grip of fate. Somehow, Bergman managed to top himself with Persona, a nightmarish character study of two women: Alma (Bibi Andersson), a nurse, and Elisabet (Liv Ullman), an actress undergoing a mental breakdown. The two spend the summer in a house by the seaside, where Alma is set to help Elisabet recover. Though the two get along at first, their secrets cause friction, and the film descends into a disturbing psychological struggle between the two. The film opens with a bizarre sequence of images including the butchering of a lamb and corpses waking up. It’s a bold opening, relying entirely on imagery to move the audience, and it reads like a thesis for the rest of the film, in which the story unravels just as its protagonists do. Jungian psychology, with its focus on symbols and dreams, had a huge influence on the film, and by the end viewers may not be entirely sure what happened, but Bergman isn’t concerned with concrete understanding; Persona is about subconscious meaning.

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Hulu

Apocalypse Now

There is a bit of irony in the fact that Apocalypse Now is perhaps the most iconic Vietnam War film, as the movie actually has very little to say about the politics of the conflict. Instead, Francis Ford Coppola’s epic opus centers on a relatively small mission, using a trip deep into the heart of the jungle to explore the inner madness that war breeds. The plot follows Captain Benjamin Willard (Martin Sheen), a special operations officer assigned a peculiar task. A special forces commander, Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando) has gone AWOL, establishing his own private army in Cambodia. Willard is ordered to journey to Kurtz’s compound and assassinate the rogue colonel. Along the way he must survive the perils of warfare, both physical and spiritual.

Coppola was an old hand at filmmaking by the time he directed Apocalypse Now, and the film shows the touch of a veteran. As Willard ventures further into the wilds, the film takes on a more surreal edge, the camera capturing the portentous evening light dripping down through the trees. Sheen’s measured portrayal of Willard grounds the film, but Brando’s legendary (if brief ) performance alone is worth the journey.

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Hulu

Throne of Blood

Shakespeare casts a wide shadow over the world of cinema, with many directors attempting to capture The Bard’s timeless tragedies on film. The best film adaptation of Shakespeare is arguably Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood, which transfers the plot of Macbeth from medieval Scotland to feudal Japan. The film is about the rise and fall of Taketoki Washizu (Toshiro Mifune), a general in service to the lord of Spider Web Castle, who stumbles upon a spirit that foretells his future, saying Washizu himself will one day become lord of Spider Web Castle. At the behest of his wife, Washizu murders the lord in an attempt to hasten the prophecy. As he grows more powerful, however, Washizu becomes more paranoid, and his lust for control drives him to darker deeds.

Mifune was always known for his intense stare and imposing acting style, and he brings out all the madness and fury of the Macbeth character. Kurosawa brings distinctly Japanese sensibilities to the production, drawing on the exaggerated, highly physical style of Noh theater, rather than slavish devotion to Shakespeare’s original. Throne of Blood features some of Kurosawa’s finest work; look no further than the scene where Washizu and his friend Miki stumble through a fog-choked wood, coming across the pale spirit that will foretell their fate, the mists hanging eerily like an axe above their necks.

Watch it now on:

Hulu

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