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The 50 best movies on Amazon Prime right now

Amazon Prime’s library of streaming content contains thousands of great and not-so-great movies — including some pretty stellar Amazon original movies, blockbusters, indie gems, and even sappy rom-coms.

To keep subscribers from endlessly scrolling through Amazon’s vault of films, which are updated on a weekly basis, we’re happy to roll up our sleeves for you by rounding up the best movies streaming on Amazon Prime right now (it’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it).

Prefer something else? We’ve also put together guides to the best shows on Amazon, the best movies on Hulu, the best movies on Netflix, and the best movies on Disney+.

Charlize Theron and John Lithgow in Bombshell

Bombshell (2019)

Charlize Theron and Margot Robbie earned Oscar nominations last year for their roles as Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly and fictional Fox News employee Kayla Pospisil, respectively, in this riveting drama about the takedown of their sleazy boss, Roger Ailes (John Lithgow). Bombshell tracks the real-life scandal set in motion when former Fox and Friends host Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) files a sexual harassment lawsuit against Ailes, which throws the network into chaos as the minions scramble to take sides.

Kelly wvwntully joins Carlson’s cause, working on the inside to uncover other fellow victims of the media mogul, including the young Pospisil, in an effort to put an end to the network’s misogynistic culture. A corporate thriller of the highest order, Bombshell‘s stacked cast delivers stellar performances across the board.

Rotten Tomatoes: 68%
Genre: Drama, Suspense
Stars: Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robie, John Lithgow
Director: Jay Roach
Rating: R
Runtime: 208 minutes

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Robert De Niro in Raging Bull

Raging Bull (1980)

Widely considered by many critics to be the greatest film to come out of the ’80s, Raging Bull teams Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, and screenwriter Paul Schrader for their second film together (the iconic Taxi Driver was their first) to tell the violent and tragic story of ’40s and ’50s middleweight boxer Jake La Motta. Based on La Motta’s own autobiography (he was also a consultant on the film), it’s a teeth-gritting, downward spiral through La Motta’s (De Niro) tumultuous life. In the ring he was, as the title aptly suggests, a bull, trampling opponents with a furiousness that would eventually lead him to the championship.

Sadly, the bull followed La Motta outside the ring, too. Consumed by insecurity and paranoia that his wife Vicki (Cathy Moriarty), whom he viewed as a trophy rather than a partner, was cheating on him, La Motta self destructs, knocking out everyone in his path. De Niro took home his second best-actor Oscar for his powerhouse performance, with Moriarty and Joe Pesci (who plays La Motta’s brother, Joey), netting supporting actor nods as well.

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Genre: Drama, Biography, Sports
Stars: Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Cathy Moriarty, Frank Vincent
Director: Martin Scorcese
Rating: R
Runtime: 129 minutes

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Borat Subsequent Moviefilm on Amazon Prime

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020)

There are very few performers in the world who can switch gears so expertly as Sacha Baron Cohen. Comedian, actor, and activist, in the last two years, Cohen has navigated the roles of famous Israeli spy Eli Cohen in The Spy and American “Yippy” activist Abby Hoffman in The Trial of the Chicago 7 (both on Netflix). But perhaps his greatest role of all is Borat. Cohen’s clueless reporter from Kazakhstan is back for another go at America in this sequel to 2006’s Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.

After spending 14 years in prison, Borat is released not only to find that he has a daughter, Tutar (Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova), but that he must return to the U.S. to redeem the reputation of his homeland by gifting the feral Tutar to Mike Pence. Along the way, Cohen, of course, resumes his pranking of Trump-era America, but with his cover mostly blown from the first film, much of the task lands on the brilliant Bakalova, who delivers some bewilderingly-awkward situations and poignant political skewering.

Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Genre: Comedy
Stars: Sache Baron CohenMaria Bakalova, Rudy Giuliani
Director: Jason Woliner
Rating: R
Runtime: 96 minutes

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Quantum of Solace, the best movies on Amazon Prime

Quantum of Solace (2008)

The second outing for Daniel Craig as 007 after 2006’s splendid Casino Royale isn’t, admittedly, the best of his four turns as the suave secret agent. But rest assured that Quantum of Solace ticks of all the boxes of a popcorn-munching Bond film — a car chase with a sick sports car in an exotic location, a beautiful-but-deadly Bond Girl (a refreshing new benchmark for the franchise), a sinister plot to rule the world, and a sinister villain to carry it out. Oh, and lots of Craig running, punching, and shooting with and without his shirt on. Solace follows Bond as he seeks revenge for the death of his beloved Vesper Lynd, but the trail leads him to Dominic Greene (Matthieu Amalric), a supposed environmental crusader with a plan to destabilize the government of Bolivia so he can take control of its water. Greene’s dealings run deeper than anyone imagines, putting M’s (Judi Dench) trust in Bond to the test as he must put aside his lust for vengeance and take down the bad guys.

Rotten Tomatoes: 64%
Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller, Spy
Stars: Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric, Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright
Director: Marc Forster
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 106 minutes

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Dead Poets Society, best movies on Amazon Prime

Dead Poets Society (1989)

One of the most emotionally powerful films of the late eighties, Dead Poets Society has since made its way to the favorite films of all-time lists of many a lad growing up in the era. The Peter Weir-helmed, Oscar-winning film follows the lives of a group of young men at Welton Academy, an elite private boys school in Vermont, where the pillars of tradition, honor, excellence, and discipline are strictly followed.

It’s 1959 and the boys, most notably Neil (Robert Sean Leonard), Todd (Ethan Hawke), and Knox (Josh Charles), are inspired to carpe diem and think for themselves by their liberal new English teacher, Mr. Keating (Robin Williams). With budding self-confidence, the boys form a secret club called the Dead Poets Society and meet to read poetry and explore their individual self-expression. Things come to a head when Neil, who defies his overbearing father’s wishes by joining the cast of a school play, breaks under the pressure and commits suicide. The final scene of DPS is perhaps one of the most moving in film history.

Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Robin Williams, Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard, Josh Charles
Director: Peter Weir
Rating: PG
Runtime: 128 minutes

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Zhang Ziyi in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragen

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

When director Ang Lee’s gorgeous Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon came to theaters 20 years ago, it blew audiences away with its exhilarating martial arts scenes. Like nothing Western audiences had ever seen before, they featured gravity-defying fight sequences that had their participants literally floating across rooftops, running straight up fortress walls, and squaring off in epic sword battles while swaying in the canopy of a bamboo forest — stunts largely performed by the actors themselves.

But at the heart of Crouching Tiger is a story of forbidden love and secret desires told during a time when giving in to either could threaten your honor and your life. Chow Yun Fat stars as legendary swordsman Li Mu Bai, who has lived a long life of devoted service at the expense of his own happiness, namely his love for fellow warrior Yu Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh). When Li’s famed sword, the Green Destiny, is stolen by a mysterious masked thief with rare skills that Li recognizes all too well, he and Shu Lien set out to retrieve it and expose the intruder. Also central to the film’s complexities is Jen Yu (Zhang Ziyi), the daughter of a prominent governor, who is to be married off against her will. But let’s just say her will is strong.

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Genre: Action, Adventure, Romance, Martial Arts
Stars: Michelle YeohChow Yun FatZhang Ziyi, Chen Chang, Pei-Pei Cheng
Director: Ang Lee
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 120 minutes

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Boyz N' The Hood on Amazon Prime

Boyz N The Hood (1991)

In late 1990 when 22-year-old writer-director John Singleton was shooting Boyz N The Hood, his first film, he couldn’t have known the vital role it would play in initiating a new phase of filmmaking portraying the inside of African-American life. Sadly, Singleton died last year at just 51 years old, but his Oscar-nominated film still holds up, with its poignant story of three South-Central Los Angeles “brothers” coming of age among the turbulence of their neighborhood’s gangs, drugs, and uncertainties.

The film centers on 17-year-old Tre Styles (Cuba Gooding Jr.), a smart kid with a bright future who manages to avoid the trappings of his surroundings, thanks largely to the guidance of his street-wise and enlightened father, Furious (Laurence Fishburne). His best friends are the Baker boys, two brothers from different fathers — Ricky (Morris Chestnut) is a gifted football player destined for scholarship-freedom but who also has a wife and child to support, while Doughboy’s (a pre-Friday Ice Cube) choices are leading him down a darker path. Singleton masterfully draws you into their world, and you feel the heartbreak, tension, and fear as it all unravels.

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Genre: Drama, Crime
Stars: Cuba Gooding Jr., Ice Cube, Nia Long, Laurence Fishburne, Hudhail Al-Amir, Morris Chestnut
Director: John Singleton
Rating: R
Runtime: 112 minutes

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Almost Famous on Amazon Prime

Almost Famous (2000)

Want to know what it’s like to hit the road with the coolest band in 1970s America, while you cross the country in a tour bus singing “Tiny Dancer” at the top of your lungs? Just click below. This iconic scene in Cameron Crowe’s Oscar-winning film is one of many nostalgia-drenched moments based on Crowe’s real-life experiences as a teenaged writer for Rolling Stone, and his time on the road with legendary rockers like the Allman Brothers, Led Zeppelin, and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

But Almost Famous is also a beautiful coming-of-age story that follows Crowe’s baby-faced version of himself, William Miller (Patrick Fugit), a kid trying to make a name for himself as a music journalist as he’s sucked into the rock ‘n’ roll inner circle of Stillwater, a band on the verge of the big-time. Inside that circle, William is smitten by enigmatic groupie-leader Penny Lane (Kate Hudson), but she’s in love (or thinks she is) with Stillwater’s “guitarist with mystique,” Russell (Billy Crudup), and that can’t end well. But as William and Russell develop a real friendship, William risks crossing personal and professional lines and must choose which side he wants to be on.

Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Adventure
Stars: Patrick Fugit, Jason Lee, Billy CrudupFrances McDormandKate Hudson
Director: Cameron Crowe
Rating: R
Runtime: 122 minutes

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Jack Nicholson and Matt Damon in the Departed, on Amazon Prime

The Departed (2006)

2007’s Best Picture Oscar-winner is a gritty, tense, South Boston mob flick by Martin Scorsese (who also took home the best director statue) that shouldn’t be missed if you haven’t seen it already. Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) is an undercover cop who infiltrates the criminal organization of boss Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson), with the hope of taking it down from the inside. But Frank’s got his own mole in the Boston police department in the form of Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon), who’s been groomed by Frank since he was a kid to be the ultimate mob spy. As Billy and Colin move up in their respective fake lives, and ultimately get sucked in their contrasting worlds, a deadly game of cat and mouse ensues as they try to root one another out. The Departed is a nail-biter, driven largely by Nicholson, whose portrayal of Frank delivers palpable fear as the scent of rat wafts through his crew. Martin Sheen also shines as police Captain Queenan, and even Mark Wahlberg’s Mark-Wahlberg-ness compliments the cast quite nicely.

Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Genre: Drama, Action, Suspense
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprioMatt DamonJack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Vera Farmiga
Director: Martin Scorsese
Rating: R
Runtime: 151 minutes

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Matt Dillon ini Drugstore Cowboy, on Amazon Prime

Drugstore Cowboy (1989)

If you’re a fan of Oscar-nominated director Gus Van Sant’s work on films such as Good Will HuntingMilk, and My Own Private Idaho, why not take a look back at the film that put him, and arguably actor Matt Dillon, on the map. Drugstore Cowboy is a spiraling outlaws-on-the-run film that follows the lives of two drug-addicted couples living fix to fix as they drift across the country robbing drug stores. Dillion is Bob Hughes, a young man desperately trying to get on the straight and narrow, but who is caught up in the life with the only family he has, his girlfriend Diane (Road House‘s Kelly Lynch), best friend Rick (James Le Gros), and his girlfriend Nadine (relative newcomer Heather Graham). As the late film critic Roger Ebert wrote in his original 1989 review, “this is not a movie about bad people, but about sick people,” a notion that rings true as the desperate crew’s camaraderie, however misplaced, coupled with Bob’s earnest and often funny narration, endures the audience to the gang, making it impossible for you not to root for them.

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Genre: Drama, Crime
Stars: Matt DillonKelly LynchJames Le Gros, Heather Graham
Director: Gus Van Sant
Rating: R
Runtime: 101 minutes

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Funny Girl

Funny Girl (1968)

Funny Girl is quite literally the movie that made Barbara Streisand a star, It was her feature film debut, and she won an Oscar for Best Actress when she reprised her role from the Broadway original. It’s fitting that Streisand was playing a real Broadway and film star, Fanny Brice, in a story that spanned several years. Omar Sharif co-starred in the film as Nick Arnstein, Fanny’s lover-turned-husband. Funny Girl opts for a nonlinear approach to Fanny and Nick’s tumultuous relationship by starting near the end and going back to the very beginning. Funny Girl nails both its comedic moments and its dramatic scenes with ease. It’s a film that has withstood the test of time, and it still holds up decades after its initial release. “Hello gorgeous,” indeed.

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Genre: Comedy, Musical, Drama
Stars: Barbra Streisand, Omar Sharif, Kay Medford
Director: William Wyler
Rating: G
Runtime: 144 minutes

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Mud, on Amazon Prime

Mud (2012)

Looking back, Mud was an important milestone in Matthew McConaughey’s “McConaughesance,” which reinvigorated his career as a leading man. Within the film, McConaughey plays the titular Mud, a fugitive who befriends two young boys: Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland). While hiding out from the law, Mud tells his new friends that he killed a man who hurt his ex-girlfriend, Juniper (Reese Witherspoon). However, there’s more to Mud’s story than he initially lets on, and the kids are left to wonder whether they can truly take him at his word.

Regardless, the bond between Mud and the boys is affecting, and he risks his life to save Ellis when the chips are down. Sam Shepard also has a strong performance in the movie as Tom Blankenship, Mud’s father figure, who isn’t quite sure if he wants to save his surrogate son one more time.

Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan, Sam Shepard
Director: Jeff Nichols
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 130 minutes

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Hereditary on Amazon Prime

Hereditary (2018)

After her mother dies, Annie Graham (Toni Collette) struggles to process her feelings while maintaining some semblance of order in her household. After another tragedy strikes her family, however, Annie can barely keep herself together, and her condition worsens as strange occurrences plague her and her family. Hereditary is an exquisitely crafted horror movie, with a tightly coiled plot and skillful camerawork that sells some truly gruesome moments.

Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Genre: Horror
Stars: Toni Collette, Milly Shapiro, Alex Wolf
Director: Ari Aster
Rating: R
Runtime: 127 minutes

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Eva Green and Daniel Craig in Casino Royale

Casino Royale (2006)

Daniel Craig’s time as James Bond is almost over, but his first adventure as the legendary spy is still among the best 007 movies to date. Casino Royale was a hard reset for the franchise, which stripped out the camp with a grounded look at Bond’s early escapades. Assigned to pursue a target during a high-stakes tournament at the Casino Royale in Montenegro. Bond forms a sizzling physical and emotional connection with Vesper Lynd (Eva Green), his partner for the case. Vesper is the Bond girl he really loved, which ratchets up the intensity when both of their lives are threatened. This is where Bond truly begins.

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller
Stars: Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen
Director: Martin Campbell
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 144 minutes

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Chi-Raq on Amazon Prime

Chi-Raq (2015)

Aristophanes’ classic Greek comedy Lysistrata gets a modern update in this 2015 film directed by Spike Lee. The film follows a group of women who decide to withhold sex from their partners until they agree to curb the gang violence plaguing their Chicago neighborhood. Told in a mixture of music and verse, the film stars Nick Cannon, Wesley Snipes, Teyonah Parris, Jennifer Hudson, Angela Bassett, John Cusack, and Samuel L. Jackson.

Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Nick Cannon, Wesley Snipes, Teyonah Parris, Jennifer Hudson
Director: Spike Lee
Rating: R
Runtime: 118 minutes

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Inception on Amazon Prime

Inception (2010)

Christopher Nolan wrote and directed this mind-bending sci-fi thriller movie that casts Leonardo DiCaprio as a high-tech thief who steals information from the subconscious minds of his targets. When he’s hired for a different sort of job — to inject a thought into someone’s mind instead of stealing from it — it raises the stakes and traps him in an even more dangerous mission. Along with an endless array of groundbreaking visual effects, the film also features an ensemble cast that includes Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, and Michael Caine.

Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
Genre: Sci-Fi, Thriller
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy
Director: Christopher Nolan
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 148 minutes

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I Am Not Your Negro on Amazon Prime

I Am Not Your Negro (2016)

James Baldwin was one of the most influential writers of the late 20th century, penning numerous essays and acclaimed novels addressing issues of race at a time when racial friction seemed to be boiling over in America. Working from an unfinished Baldwin manuscript, director Raoul Peck has created I Am Not Your Negro, a documentary examining Baldwin’s views and how they apply not only to the tumults of the ’60s, but to modern America as well. Samuel L. Jackson narrates, infusing the material with a husky weariness. I Am Not Your Negro leaves one with the impression that Baldwin’s work has never been finished, and never been more important.

Rotten Tomatoes: 99%
Genre: Documentary
Stars: Samuel L. Jackson
Director: Raoul Peck
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 93 minutes

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Train To Busan on Amazon Prime

Train to Busan (2016)

This South Korean horror movie follows a group of passengers aboard a high-speed train from Seoul to Busan as the outbreak of a deadly virus begins turning people into ferocious, flesh-hungry creatures, and those aboard the train must find a way to survive. One of the tensest, frantic zombie films ever made, director Yeon Sang-ho’s adventure focuses on a small group of people aboard the train as they’re forced to overcome their differences in order to keep themselves and their loved ones alive. The movie broke several box-office records both within South Korea and internationally, and it also spawned a 2020 sequel.

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Genre: Horror, Action
Stars: Gong Yoo, Ma Dong-Seok, Jung Yu-mi
Director: Yeon Sang-ho
Rating: R
Runtime: 118 minutes

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Knives Out on Amazon Prime

Knives Out (2019)

Writer and director Rian Johnson (BrickLooper) gives the classic Agatha Christie-style murder mystery a modern spin in this tale about a famous crime novelist whose unexpected death one night after a family gathering makes everyone a suspect. Daniel Craig portrays the brilliant, debonair detective Benoit Blanc, whose investigation brings the depths of the family’s dysfunction to light and leaves you guessing who will ultimately emerge as the culprit of the film’s heinous crime. The film’s ensemble cast makes a great mystery even better, with memorable performances from each and every actor involved, resulting in a modern mystery masterpiece.

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Genre: Mystery
Stars: Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, LaKeith Stanfield, Daniel Craig
Director: Rian Johnson
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 130 minutes

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The Vast of Night on Amazon Prime

The Vast of Night (2020)

This nostalgic throwback to classic sci-fi thrillers follows a young switchboard operator and a radio DJ whose discovery of a mysterious audio frequency sets off a series of discoveries that lead them deep into the unknown. The Amazon Studios film is the directorial debut of Andrew Patterson and has earned high praise from critics and streaming audiences alike for its suspenseful, low-budget spin on the genre.

Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Genre: Sci-Fi, Mystery
Stars: Sierra McCormick, Jake Horowitz
Director: Andrew Patterson
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 89 minutes

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Rocketman on Amazon Prime

Rocketman (2019)

Part musical fantasy, part biopic of legendary musician Elton John, Rocketman casts Taron Egerton as the inimitable performer and chronicles John’s evolution from a small-town prodigy to an international superstar. Filled with fantastic musical interludes based on some of John’s most popular songs and performed by Egerton, the film also features Jamie Bell as John’s longtime lyricist and writing partner Bernie Taupin, and Richard Madden as John’s first manager, John Reid.

Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Genre: Musical, Drama
Stars: Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden
Director: Dexter Fletcher
Rating: R
Runtime: 121 minutes

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Cabin in the Woods on Amazon Prime

The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

One of the most unexpectedly unique horror films of the last decade, Drew Goddard’s The Cabin the Woods took the typical story of a group of teenagers tormented by sinister forces while staying in a remote cabin in an entirely new direction. Goddard and co-writer Joss Whedon toyed with and twisted the conventions of the genre in ways that no one saw coming, and the end result was a film that’s as funny as it is terrifying, and packed with hidden elements that demand multiple viewings. If you haven’t seen The Cabin in the Woods yet, it’s best that you know as little as possible going into this film — but if you have seen it, there’s a good chance you’ll end up watching it many times over.

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Genre: Horror
Stars: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins
Director: Drew Goddard
Rating: R
Runtime: 95 minutes

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Fast Color on Amazon Prime

Fast Color (2019)

Three generations of women with powerful abilities come together in this sci-fi thriller that explores racism and generational divides against the backdrop of a thrilling story about a woman pursued by sinister forces due to the power she wields. Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Lorraine Toussaint, and Saniyya Sidney star in the film.

Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Genre: Sci-Fi, Drama
Stars: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Lorraine Toussaint, Saniyya Sidney
Director: Julia Hart
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 100 minutes

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Boondock Saints on Amazon Prime

Boondock Saints (2000)

Two brothers from Boston find themselves on a divine mission to take down the Russian mob in this stylized 1999 action film that became a cult hit in the home entertainment world despite a series of behind-the-scenes issues that doomed its theatrical run. Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus play the MacManus brothers, whose bloody quest — and more than a little luck — turn them into local heroes and put them on a collision path with an eccentric FBI agent played by Willem Dafoe.

Rotten Tomatoes: 25%
Genre: Action, Comedy
Stars: Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus, Willem Dafoe
Director: Troy Duffy
Rating: R
Runtime: 110 minutes

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Murderball on Amazon Prime

Murderball (2005)

This Academy Award-nominated documentary follows the players in a “quad rugby” league — a sport in quadriplegics in armored wheelchairs compete in a version of full-contact rugby that tests their fortitude and smashes stereotypes. The film follows several teams as they attempt to compete in the Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece, while exploring the players’ lives, what brought them to the sport, and what it means to them.

Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Genre: Documentary, Sports
Stars: Joe Soares, Mark Zupan, Robert Soares
Director: Henry-Alex Rubin, Dana Adam Shapiro
Rating: R
Runtime: 85 minutes

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The Avengers on Amazon Prime

The Avengers (2012)

It might seem strange given the current state of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but there was a time when no one thought a movie like The Avengers was possible. In 2012, Marvel Studios brought together the stars and supporting cast of multiple solo superhero films for a massive team-up that broke just about every box-office record possible and redefined “cinematic universe” for Hollywood. After Asgardian trickster Loki primes Earth for an invasion by an alien armada, it’s up to Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye to save the day. More than just an early installment of the MCU, The Avengers was a game-changer for the entire superhero genre.

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Genre: Fantasy, Action & Adventure
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johanson
Director: Joss Whedon
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 142 minutes

Honey Boy on Amazon Prime

Honey Boy (2019)

Shia LaBeouf’s debut script is directed by Alma Har’el and follows the life of child actor Otis Lort as he rises through young success to self-destructive Hollywood star. Navigating fame and his abusive, alcoholic father proves to be next to impossible as their contentious relationship crumbles across the course of a decade. LaBeouf also stars in this semiautobiographical tale that draws from his experience with his father.

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Shia LaBeouf, Lucas Hedges
Director: Alma Har’el
Rating: R
Runtime: 93 minutes

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Mission: Impossible -- Fallout (2018)

Mission: Impossible — Fallout (2018)

The sixth installment in the long-running Mission: Impossible franchise, Fallout shows that the old series can still outpace younger ones when it comes to frenetic action and jaw-dropping spectacle. The film opens with secret agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), part of the Impossible Missions Force, attempting to secure some stolen plutonium cores. When the mission goes sideways, the cores fall into the hands of a terrorist group, forcing the IMF to hunt its members down. Their failure draws the ire of CIA Director Erica Sloane (Angela Bassett), who deploys the assassin August Walker (Henry Cavill) to follow Hunt’s trail. With a gripping plot and some awe-inspiring stunts, Fallout is top-notch espionage action.

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Genre: Action & Adventure
Stars: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Ving Rhymes, Simon Pegg
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 147 minutes

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Juliette Binoche in High Life

High Life (2019)

From award-winning French filmmaker Claire Denis, High Life is described as an erotic sci-fi horror film, but it really defies classification. It’s difficult to explain High Life in just a few words but we’ll try. Juliette Binoche stars as Dr. Dibs, overseer of a damned space mission that is sending criminals to attempt to extract energy from a black hole. Along the way, Dibs performs sexual experiments on the criminals that lead to their deaths. Ultimately, murderer Monte (Robert Pattinson) is left alone with his daughter, trying to survive and thrive as they hurtle toward certain death.

Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
Genre: Science Fiction
Stars: Robert Pattinson, André Benjamin, Mia Goth
Director: Claire Denis
Rating: R
Runtime: 110

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Eighth Grade on Amazon Prime

Eighth Grade (2018)

As delightfully awkward as it is heartfelt and earnest, Eighth Grade is one of the more honest and true-to-life coming-of-age stories you’ll see. The directorial debut of comedian and actor Bo Burnham, Eighth Grade treats the terrors of growing up with a subtler touch, centering on 13-year-old Kayla (the revelatory Elsie Fisher) as she makes her way through the last week of middle school. Eighth Grade is a movie about middle school that stars real middle schoolers, which makes it funnier, more interesting, and vastly more cringe-inducing. If you ever went to a middle school pool party, Eighth Grade is for you.

Rotten Tomatoes: 99%
Genre: Comedy
Stars: Elsie Fisher, Josh Hamilton, Emily Robinson
Director: Bo Burnham
Rating: R
Runtime: 94 minutes

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The Last Black Man in San Francisco

The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019)

Facing displacement from the home his grandfather built as a result of gentrification in his San Francisco neighborhood, Jimmie and his best friend, Mort, set out on a mission to reclaim the house before it is irreversibly changed. Their odyssey tests their friendship and forces them to question where they belong in the place they’ve always called home. A poignant, often intense journey, this film was nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards.

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Jimmie Falls, Tichina Arnold, Mike Epps
Director: Joe Talbot
Rating: R
Runtime: 120 minutes

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Fighting With My Family on Amazon Prime

Fighting With My Family (2019)

A comedy based on the true story of WWE wrestler Paige, Fighting with my Family delivers on the story of a real-life wrestling family. Written and directed by Stephen Merchant, the film stars Florence Pugh alongside a strong cast that includes Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Lena Headey, Vince Vaughn, and others. Pugh and her brother (played by Jack Lowden) try out for the WWE and, when only one of them makes the cut, Pugh is forced to face the world of professional wrestling alone. It may have a bit of an underdog storyline that’s often used in sports, but there’s a sincerity and truth behind this story that makes it special.

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Genre: Comedy
Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Florence Pugh, Lena Headey
Director: Stephen Merchant
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 107 minutes

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It's a Wonderful Life on Amazon Prime

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

A classic Christmas movie with an iconic James Stewart performance, It’s a Wonderful Life follows George Bailey (Stewart), a banker in the town of Bedford Falls who is preparing to throw himself off a bridge. An angel named Clarence (Henry Travers) appears to save George, and takes him on a journey through the most important moments in George’s life, showing him all the good things he’s done for other people despite the costs to himself. It’s a Wonderful Life is a charming story about perseverance in the face of an often cruel universe, and the value of relationships.

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Genre: Drama, Science Fiction
Stars: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore
Director: Frank Capra
Rating: PG
Runtime: 135 minutes

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Inside Llewyn Davis on Amazon Prime

Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

In the soft shadows of The Gaslight Cafe, folk singer Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) croons that he “wouldn’t mind the hanging.” Leave it to the Coen Brothers to oblige him. Two of America’s most mercurial filmmakers, the Coens have approached both grim tragedy and madcap comedy in their films, sometimes at the same time. Inside Llewyn Davis falls on the bleaker end of the spectrum, following Davis as he attempts to get his music career on track in the wake of his musical partner’s suicide. His finances are not the only part of his life falling apart; his former lover, Jean (Carey Mulligan), pregnant with a child that is likely his, wants nothing to do with him. Davis’ struggle, set against the frost-glazed backdrop of New York, is a tragic one. But the film is not without humor, black though it may be. The characters surrounding Llewyn are as vibrant as he is cold, particularly Justin Timberlake as Jane’s new boyfriend (although Isaac’s future Star Wars nemesis also has a memorable musical cameo).

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Oscar Isaac, John Goodman, Carey Mulligan
Director: Ethan & Joel Coen
Rating: R
Runtime: 105 minutes

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The Handmaiden

The Handmaiden (2016)

From Korean director Park Chan-wook, award-winning director of OldboyThe Handmaiden is an intense, pulse-pounding crime drama set in the early 1900s during the Japanese occupation of Korea. The film follows two women — a young Japanese lady on a secluded estate, and the Korean woman who is hired as her new handmaiden. Little does the former know, though, that the latter is conspiring with a con man to defraud the woman out of her inheritance.

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Genre: Drama, Romance
Stars: Kim Min-hee, Ha Jung-woo, Cho Jin-woong
Director: Park Chan-wook
Rating: NR
Runtime: 145 minutes

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You Were Never Really Here on Amazon Prime

You Were Never Really Here (2017)

This Amazon Original was nominated for four 2019 Independent Spirit Awards, including Best Feature and Best Actor (Joaquin Phoenix). Phoenix stars as a traumatized veteran who harnesses his trauma into hunting down missing girls for a living. However, as his nightmares begin to overtake him and he continues to get in over his head, he begins to uncover a conspiracy that threatens to destroy or save him, depending on the paths he takes.

Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Genre: Mystery & Suspense
Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Judith Roberts, John Doman
Director: Lynne Ramsay
Rating: R
Runtime: 89 minutes

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Midsommar on Amazon Prime

Midsommar (2019)

Called an “operatic breakup movie” by director Ari Aster, Midsommar proves to be exactly that and more in this suspenseful film. It centers around an American couple with serious relationship issues who travel with friends to a midsummer festival. It gets significantly more violent and unsettling from there, with the setting of a remote Swedish village serving as the backdrop for a cult with less-than-admirable intentions, to put it lightly. It was a hit in summer 2019 and, if you’re up for a nearly 2.5-hour movie where the scares consistently and constantly creep up on you, it won’t take long to understand why.

Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
Genre: Horror
Stars: Florence Pugh, Liv Mjönes, Jack Reynor
Director: Ari Aster
Rating: R
Runtime: 140 minutes

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Best movies on Amazon Prime Cold War

Cold War (2018)

Paweł Pawlikowski’s gorgeous historical drama Cold War follows Wiktor (Tomasz Kot) and Zula (Joanna Kulig), a music director and singer respectively, who meet and fall in love in Poland after the end of World War II. As the years drag on and the Soviet grip over Eastern Europe tightens, the two drift across borders, in and out of each other’s lives. Their turbulent romance, set against a backdrop of paranoia and repression, is messy but moving. Filmed in stark black and white, Cold War is a beautiful film full of masterfully composed shots.

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Joanna Kulig, Tomasz Kot, Borys Szyc
Director: Pawel Pawlikowski
Rating: R
Runtime: 89 minutes

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The Big Sick on Amazon Prime

The Big Sick (2017)

Comedian Kumail Nanjiani and comedy writer Emily V. Gordon adapted their real-life love story for film in The Big Sick, a charming romantic comedy that was one of Digital Trends’ favorite movies of 2019 and helped score Nanjiani and Gordon their own Apple TV+ show. The movie begins with Kumail (playing a loosely fictionalized version of himself) struggling to build a stand-up career, mining his Pakistani background for material. After a run-in with a heckler named Emily (Zoe Kazan) turns into a one-night-stand and eventually a relationship, the two start to run into troubles. For starters, Kumail’s parents want him to settle down with a Pakistani woman, leading them to break up. Making things even more complicated, an infection leaves Emily in a coma. While visiting Emily in the hospital, Kumail meets her parents, Terry (Ray Romano) and Beth (Holly Hunter), learning more about them and Emily as he processes his own feelings.

Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Genre: Romance, Comedy
Stars: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter
Director: Michael Showalter
Rating: R
Runtime: 119 minutes

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Rango on Amazon Prime

Rango (2011)

Johnny Depp stars as a former pet chameleon thrust into the harsh environment of the Mohave Desert in this hilarious animated adventure. It’s a uniquely fresh take on the Wild West concept, packed with plenty of comedic lines delivered by prominent actors like Isla Fisher, Alfred Molina, Timothy Olyphant, Bill Nighy, and more. Depp’s Rango finds himself in the town of Dirt and inherits the role of sheriff in a search for the town’s missing water. Directed by Gore Verbinski, he of Pirates of the Caribbean fame, Rango delivers the same sense of off-brand action that Depp has proven to thrive in.

Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Genre: Action & Adventure, Family
Stars: Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin
Director: Gore Verbinski
Rating: PG
Runtime: 107 minutes

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The Invisible War on Amazon Prime

The Invisible War (2012)

This documentary from award-winning director Kirby Dick explores the ever-increasing incidence of violent sexual assault within the U.S. military. The Invisible War features interviews with veterans from multiple branches of the United States Armed Forces, who recount the events surrounding their sexual assaults. Their stories express the lack of recourse in the justice system and the absence of emotional and physical care for the survivors. The survivors call for a change in the way the military handles sexual assault and hope for a shift to a more honest conversation.

Rotten Tomatoes: 99%
Genre: Documentary
Stars: Amy Ziering, Kirby Dick, Kori Cioca
Director: Kirby Dick
Rating: NR
Runtime: 97 minutes

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The Lighthouse on Amazon Prime

The Lighthouse (2019)

Director Robert Eggers was initially moved to adapt Edgar Allan Poe’s The Light-House as a film, but The Lighthouse ultimately went in its own direction as one of 2019’s most unusual movies. Filmed entirely in black-and-white, The Lighthouse takes place in the late 19th century, as Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson) finds himself stationed with the mercurial Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe). Alone and stranded on the remote island, Winslow and Wake battle both each other and the onset of insanity. Pattinson and Dafoe’s confrontations and performances are riveting, but it’s the movie’s surprises that will keep viewers talking long after the film comes to an end.

Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Stars: Robert Pattinson, Willem Dafoe
Director: Robert Eggers
Rating: R
Runtime: 109 minutes

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The Farewell on Amazon Prime

The Farewell (2019)

In China, the name of this movie is “Don’t Tell Her.” The Farewell‘s American title doesn’t entirely capture the premise of the movie in the same way, but the core message is similar. Awkwafina stars as Billi Wang, a Chinese-American writer who learns that her grandmother, Nai Nai (Zhao Shu-zhen), is dying from terminal lung cancer in China. To make matters worse, Billi’s parents, Haiyan Wang (Tzi Ma) and Lu Jian (Diana Lin), as well as the rest of the family, forbid Billi from telling Nai Nai that she has only a short time to live. It’s a promise that weighs heavily on Billi, but her connection with her beloved grandmother is beautiful and touching. Nai Nai may not know the truth, but she’s still got something valuable to teach her family.

Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Stars: Awkwafina, Zhao Shu-zhen
Director: Lulu Wang
Rating: PG
Runtime: 100 minutes

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The African Queen on Amazon Prime

The African Queen (1951)

One of the joys of Amazon Prime is that it allows viewers of all ages to get acquainted with the films that came out decades before they were born. The African Queen is one of director John Huston’s most beloved films, thanks in no small part to the pairing of Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn as the leads. The story is set in World War I, as a missionary named Rose Sayer (Hepburn) and the captain of a riverboat, Charlie Allnut (Bogart) join forces against the Germans after their lives are upended. The journey of the African Queen takes Charlie and Rose into countless dangers, as well as an occasionally rocky romance. This is a classic, folks. And everyone should see it at least once.

Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Genre: Adventure
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn, Robert Morley
Director: John Huston
Rating: PG
Runtime: 105 minutes

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Stop Making Sense on Amazon Prime

Stop Making Sense (1984)

Concert films are not a new phenomenon, but they do seem to be fewer and far between. In 1984, director Jonathan Demme teamed up with the band called Talking Heads for Stop Making Sense, one of the most influential concert films of all-time. Demme filmed the movie over four live performances at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles, and Talking Heads put on the show of their lives every night. The band had a great sense of showmanship and stage presence, and Demme captured it all. Stop Making Sense has even pulled off the rare feat of a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes. If it’s not a “Once in a Lifetime” experience, it’s close enough.

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Genre: Concert Film
Stars: Talking Heads
Director: Jonathan Demme
Rating: NR
Runtime: 105 minutes

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How To Train Your Dragon on Amazon Prime

How To Train Your Dragon (2010)

Not every DreamWorks animated film is an instant classic, but How To Train Your Dragon lives up to the hype and exceeds it. Based on a book with the same name, How To Train Your Dragon follows a young Viking boy named Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) as he realizes that dragons can be partners to humanity instead of their deadly enemies. By a process of experimentation, and several leaps of trust, Hiccup trains and bonds with a small black dragon named Toothless, which ultimately changes his world forever. The stunning animation still takes our collective breath away a decade after this film came out. It spawned a franchise, but this is still the best movie in the trilogy.

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Genre: Action, Fantasy
Stars: Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Gerard Butler
Director: Chris Sanders, Dean DeBlois
Rating: PG
Runtime: 99 minutes

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Blow the Man Down on Amazon Prime

Blow the Man Down (2020)

Blow the Man Down is a dark comedy and a hidden gem that arrived on Amazon Prime under the radar earlier this year. Morgan Saylor and Sophie Lowe co-headline the film as feuding sisters Mary Beth and Priscilla Connolly, respectively. When Mary Beth kills a man who tried to harm her, Priscilla decides that blood is thicker than water and she helps her sister cover up the evidence. Unfortunately for the Connolly sisters, secrets are hard to keep in a small town, and they never quite know who they can trust. Margo Martindale also has a terrific supporting turn as Enid Nora Devlin, a local brothel owner who may know too much.

Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Genre: Comedy, Thriller
Stars: Morgan Saylor, Sophie Lowe, Margo Martindale
Director: Bridget Savage Cole, Danielle Krudy
Rating: R
Runtime: 91 minutes

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Paterson on Amazon Prime

Paterson (2016)

The stakes aren’t particularly high for Paterson the film. But for Paterson himself, they’re everything. Adam Driver stars as the title character, a man who works as a bus driver. But in reality, Paterson is a poet who hasn’t learned to fully accept that aspect of himself. The entire movie takes place over the course of a week, and we see the daily routine of both Paterson and his wife, Laura (Golshifteh Farahani). But when the pattern breaks and misfortune strikes, it will take a minor miracle to get Paterson back on the right track.

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani, Barry Shabaka Henley
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Rating: R
Runtime: 118 minutes

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Clue

Clue (1985)

Critics were not exactly fond of Clue when it was released in theaters. They didn’t think that this theatrical adaptation of a board game was anything special. However, the critics got it wrong on Clue, and it’s gained a considerable cult following in the subsequent decades. A good deal of the credit for that belongs to the fantastic ensemble cast including Tim Curry, Christopher Lloyd, Eileen Brennan, Madeline Kahn, Michael McKean, Martin Mull, and Lesley Ann Warren.

On a dark and stormy night, the enigmatic Mr. Brody has assembled a group of strangers to his mansion with the intention of blackmailing them. But when the bodies start to pile up, it’s obvious that there’s a killer among them. Hilarious hijinks ensue, including three different outcomes for the story.

Rotten Tomatoes: 65%
Genre: Comedy, Mystery
Stars: Tim Curry, Christopher Lloyd, Madeline Kahn
Director: Jonathan Lynn
Rating: PG
Runtime: 96 minutes

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Creed II

Creed II (2018)

Creed II has the difficult task of following the first Creed while also serving as a direct sequel to Rocky IV. Remarkably, it succeeds at both by giving Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) and Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) strong stories and lots of complicated emotions to work through. Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) re-enters their lives while challenging Creed to fight his son, Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu). Rocky’s attempt to protect his new charge is no match for Creed’s desire to avenge his father in the ring. The resulting emotional and physical fallout separates Creed and Rocky before bringing them back together yet again. If you’ve seen one Rocky movie, then you know the formula by now. But Creed II does an excellent job of making the formula work yet again. It also gives Rocky some much-needed closure, if this turns out to be his final film.

Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Genre: Drama, Sports, Action
Stars: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson
Director: Steven Caple Jr.
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 130 minutes

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