The holiday season is upon us at last. And while we may not be able to go out, there are plenty of entertainment options if you’re staying in. As one of the most popular streaming services, Amazon Prime has a lineup of films that’s perfectly bingeworthy for members of the entire family. The downside is that many of its movies are cycling off of Amazon Prime at the end of the month.
Fortunately, you’ve got a long holiday weekend to catch a few flicks. And we’re also giving you a head start by selecting the best movies to watch on Amazon Prime before they leave this month.
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A Fistful of Dollars (1967)
Few films capture the essence of the spaghetti western better than A Fistful of Dollars, the first movie in the Man With No Name trilogy. Clint Eastwood’s unnamed stranger rides into a town on the U.S. and Mexico border, and he then begins pitting two powerful crime families against each other as they vie for control. The stranger is no hero, nor does he pretend to be. But the people he kills are usually monstrous. The film’s climactic showdown has also proven to be one of the most memorable duels in the genre.
Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Marianne Koch, Josef Egger
Director: Sergio Leone
Runtime: 99 minutes
Fright Night (1985)
Welcome to Fright Night! Yes, Halloween was last month. But the original Fright Night is such a classic that it merits year-round viewings. William Ragsdale stars as Charley Brewster, a young man who believes that his new neighbor, Jerry Dandrige (Chris Sarandon), is an evil bloodsucking vampire. He’s not wrong either, which is why Charley turns to former horror movie star Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall), for help. McDowall is such a treasure in this movie, as Peter has to overcome his own cowardice to find the hero within. The 2011 remake is fine, but this is the version that deserves to be remembered.
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Stars: Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdale, Roddy McDowall
Director: Tom Holland
Runtime: 106 minutes
The Golden Child (1986)
Upon its release, The Golden Child was savaged by critics. But in retrospect, it’s one of Eddie Murphy’s best films from his stint as an action-comedy star. Murphy plays Chandler Jarrell, a private investigator who is tasked by Kee Nang (Charlotte Lewiswith) with saving the titular Golden Child (J. L. Reate). A pre-Game of Thrones Charles Dance plays the main villain, Sardo Numspa, and he chews the scenery with aplomb. The Golden Child is just a fun mid-’80s flick that’s still very enjoyable to watch.
Rotten Tomatoes: 26%
Stars: Eddie Murphy, Charles Dance, Charlotte Lewis
Director: Michael Ritchie
Runtime: 94 minutes
The Graduate (1967)
Simon & Garfunkel’s timeless songs, including Mrs. Robinson, have earned The Graduate a place in cinema soundtrack history. But the film itself is also worthy of adulation. Dustin Hoffman stars as an aimless young man named Benjamin Braddock, who has an affair with an older woman, Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft). However, Ben’s eye soon turns towards Mrs. Robinson’s daughter, Elaine (Katharine Ross). But rather than let the two young lovers be, Mr. and Mrs. Robinson do everything in their power to destroy Ben and Elaine’s relationship. That led to the film’s indelible closing sequence, which is also quite famous.
Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
Stars: Anne Bancroft, Dustin Hoffman, Katharine Ross
Director: Mike Nichols
Runtime: 106 minutes
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill is admittedly one long movie that was split into two parts for its theatrical release. Regardless, Kill Bill: Vol. 1 is the stronger of the two, and a compelling tale of revenge as The Bride (Uma Thurman) emerges from a coma years after her former team of assassins puts a hit on her during her wedding. Bill (David Carradine) remains largely off-camera in this installment, as The Bride faces Vernita Green (Vivica A. Fox) and O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu) in beautifully crafted duels. It’s only one half of the story, but Kill Bill: Vol. 2 is also on Amazon if you want the full experience.
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Stars: Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, Vivica A. Fox
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Runtime: 111 minutes
The Ides of March (2011)
George Clooney co-wrote, directed, and starred in The Ides of March. But this superb political thriller doesn’t center on Clooney’s Democratic presidential nominee, Governor Mike Morris. Instead, the spotlight falls on Stephen Meyers (Ryan Gosling), a junior campaign manager under his mentor, Paul Zara (Philip Seymour Hoffman). By chance, Stephen discovers a secret that could destroy Mike’s political ambitions. However, Stephen soon finds himself as the fall guy in an emerging scandal, with few options to salvage his own career.
Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Stars: Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman
Director: George Clooney
Runtime: 101 minutes
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a remake of the 1956 original, but it outshines its predecessor with a masterful blend of sci-fi and horror. Matthew Bennell (Donald Sutherland), Elizabeth Driscoll (Brooke Adams), and Nancy Bellicec (Veronica Cartwright) discover that ordinary people are being replaced in their sleep by emotionless alien duplicates. But getting the truth out proves to be impossible, as the aliens have already infiltrated the authorities and most of the city. The characters’ desperation and fear fuels the movie, which leads to a famously haunting conclusion.
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Stars: Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Leonard Nimoy, Jeff Goldblum
Director: Philip Kaufman
Runtime: 115 minutes
There are muppets in Labyrinth, but not the cute and cuddly kind you can find on Disney+. Instead, Jim Henson’s final feature film explores much darker territory as a young girl named Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) angrily wishes that her infant stepbrother, Toby, would be whisked away by goblins. That’s a very specific wish, which to Sarah’s horror, is soon granted. The Goblin King, Jareth (David Bowie), playfully gives Sarah just 13 hours to reclaim her brother if she can make her way through his nearly impenetrable Labyrinth. From there, dark wonders await.
Rotten Tomatoes: 72%
Stars: David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly
Director: Jim Henson
Runtime: 101 minutes
The Machinist (2004)
Christian Bale may have gone a little bit too far to give himself an emaciated appearance in The Machinist. But the state of Bale’s body is perhaps the film’s most memorable visual. In the movie, Bale portrays Trevor Reznik, a machinist who is responsible for a workplace accident that costs one of his co-workers a limb. However, Trevor is convinced that his new co-worker, Ivan (John Sharian), is to blame for distracting him, even though no one else seems to know Ivan at all.
Regardless, Trevor’s attempt to form a relationship with Maria (Aitana Sánchez-Gijón) is seriously harmed by his growing paranoia and delusions. Is Trevor going crazy? Or is something else happening beyond his perception?
Rotten Tomatoes: 77%
Stars: Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón
Director: Brad Anderson
Runtime: 102 minutes
The Mask of Zorro (2004)
Rebooting pulp heroes can be tricky, but few films have done it as well as The Mask of Zorro. After spending decades in captivity, the original Zorro, Don Diego de la Vega (Anthony Hopkins), escapes and finds a worthy successor in a young thief named Alejandro Murrieta (Antonio Banderas). They work together to bring down the corrupt Don Rafael Montero (Stuart Wilson), who has raised de la Vega’s daughter, Elena (Catherine Zeta-Jones), as his own child.
The romantic chemistry between Banderas and Zeta-Jones is mesmerizing, and this was the film that made her a star. This is one Zorro movie that truly left the mark of the Z.
Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
Stars: Antonio Banderas, Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones
Director: Martin Campbell
Runtime: 137 minutes
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