Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime right now (May 2018)

When Amazon debuted its Amazon Prime service more than a decade ago, CEO Jeff Bezos and company simply wanted to give their loyal band of customers a chance to save some scratch on shipping costs. As the service gained a massive subscription base, the company continued adding a slew of incredible perks, such as access to Prime Pantry, same-day delivery, and Amazon Prime Instant Video. Now, anyone with an Amazon Prime subscription has easy access to thousands of hit movies and TV shows,  all with the simple click of a mouse. To help all you subscribers sift through Amazon’s sizable library, we’ve taken up the task of finding the best movies currently available on the service. So pop some popcorn, find your favorite spot on the couch, and throw on an excellent film, courtesy of our exhaustive list.

If you’re looking to use another streaming service (or if you’ve run through all the good stuff on Amazon), we’ve got you covered with our picks for the best movies on Netflix, best movies on HBO, and best movies on Hulu.

Note: Some of these films will be added over the course of the month. Check here for exact date listings. 

Drama & Romance

‘A Ghost Story’

David Lowery’s A Ghost Story takes a simple — some might even say silly — premise as its foundation, and builds atop it a beautiful, mournful film about death and the passage of time. The film begins with a man, C (Casey Affleck), and a woman, M (Rooney Mara). C dies in a car crash early on, but his soul continues to wander, draped in a hospital sheet under which he spends the rest of the film. C returns to the house he shared with M, watching as she grieves and eventually moves on. He remains, watching as the house changes hands, and the world changes entirely. A Ghost Story is light on plot and even dialogue, with Lowery using thoughtful shots and beautiful scene compositions to convey emotion.

Watch now on:

Amazon

‘Fences’

An adaptation of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Fences is a fascinating study of a man in slow collapse. Troy Maxson (Denzel Washington) was an accomplished baseball player in the Negro Leagues, whose career ended before Major League Baseball integrated. By the time the film begins in the 1950s, he works as a garbageman in Pittsburgh, living with his wife, Rose (Viola Davis); and son, Cory (Jovan Adepo). Troy seethes at the world, and the story is focused on the ways in which he chips away at his relationships with everyone in his life, cheating on his wife and grinding down his son’s ambitions. It’s a powerful story, and Washington (who also directed) gives it a skillful treatment.

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Amazon

‘Paterson’

Set over the course of a week in the life of a bus driver named Paterson (Adam Driver), this drama from eclectic director Jim Jarmusch meditates on the beauty and meaning in mundane events. Paterson lives in Paterson, New Jersey, with his eccentric wife, Laura (Golshifteh Farahani), and her dog, named Marvin. His daily routine is simple: He goes to work, driving his route and listening to the conversations of the passengers. In his free moments, he writes poetry that he never shares with the world. There’s not much more to the plot than that; like a poem, Paterson revels in imagery and rhythm. It’s a quiet film, but it feels like thunder.

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Amazon

‘Silence’

Set in 17th-century Japan, Martin Scorsese’s Silence (an adaptation of Shūsaku Endō’s novel of the same name) follows a pair of Jesuit priests on a mission to find their missing mentor, Cristóvão Ferreira (Liam Neeson), who renounced his faith following torture at the hands of the shogunate, which has outlawed Christianity. The priests, Sebastião Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Francisco Garupe (Adam Driver), sneak into Japan, taking refuge among the remaining Japanese Christians. During their search for Ferreira, Rodrigues and Garupe witness terrible atrocities, and find themselves in a moral quandary that drives them to the brink. At times beautiful, at others horrifying, Silence is a deeply spiritual film, reflecting on the nature of faith, and whether God cares about the suffering of his servants.

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Amazon

‘Manchester by the Sea’

This bleak drama, directed by playwright Kenneth Lonergan, is set in the titular town of Manchester, a town Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) would prefer never to return to. Chandler lives out his days working as a janitor in Quincy, away from any connections to his past. Tragedy brings him home; his brother Joe (Kyle Chandler) dies, leaving behind a teenage son, Patrick (Lucas Hedges), and a will asking Lee to take care of him. Manchester by the Sea is a deeply personal drama, examining the ways disaster can wear away at a person’s soul, and whether it is possible to come back from the brink. Despite the premise, the movie is not gloomy from start to end; the script allows for plenty of humor and warmth throughout, making for a film that captures the complexity of life.

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Amazon

‘Moonlight’

Some of Moonlight’s most important scenes take place near water; always shifting, water proves to be a potent symbol for protagonist Chiron’s journey through the film. The film follows Chiron from his time as a young man growing up, impoverished, in Miami, to his tragic, conflicted adulthood. The film’s three acts, set during different stages of his life, show him struggling with his identity and sexuality, as he develops an attraction to his best friend and faces pressure and bullying from other boys his age. Buoyed by excellent performances — particularly Mahershala Ali‘s, which won him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor — Moonlight is a powerful character study, one rife with mesmerizing imagery.

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Amazon

‘Arrival’

Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival tackles a classic sci-fi premise — humanity’s first contact with an alien species — which it treats with appropriate gravity, but the story gets a lift from the protagonist’s personal struggles, which provide a relatable emotional undercurrent. After a brief prologue, the story begins when alien spaceship appear at 12 locations around the world. Unsure whether the aliens have come in peace, the U.S. Army enlists linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) and physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) to approach the extraterrestrials. As the nations of the world grow restless, Banks studies the alien’s language, hoping to understand them. Based on an acclaimed short story, Arrival is a thoughtful film, a sci-fi tale that withholds easy answers.

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Amazon

‘Inside Llewyn Davis’

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.

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Amazon

‘Mystic River’

Mystic River is proof that Clint Eastwood is as talented a director and composer as he is an actor. It’s a haunting and beautiful story, centered on three childhood friends who reunite later in life as the result of a murder investigation involving one of their teenage daughters. It’s based on Dennis Lehane’s novel of the same name, and though the profanity is rampant and the tone is dark, the Oscar-winning performances by Sean Penn and Tim Robbins will leave you floored when the last scenes of Boston fade out.

Watch April 1 on:

Amazon

‘The Florida Project’

This drama from Tangerine director Sean Baker took the film community by storm in 2017, coming out of (seemingly) nowhere to earn top-10 recognition from both the National Board of Review and the American Film Institute. The movie revolves around a young girl, Moonee, and her single mother, who live together in a Florida motel managed by Willem Dafoe’s character. The mother struggles to make ends meet, resorting to theft and even prostitution, while Moonee makes friends with other young children in the area. Apart from Dafoe, all the film’s major characters are played by first-time actors, giving the film an incredible sense of authenticity.

Watch April 6 on:

Amazon

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