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10 best R-rated movies streaming right now

A woman and her child stands next to a dead body in Anatomy of a Fall.

R-rated movies are typically expected by audiences to push the boundaries of what can be depicted on the big screen. Whether it’s gory horror movies or steamy erotic thrillers, these movies were designed specifically to get an “R” rating and be shown primarily to adults.

From modern masterpieces like Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer to classics like Alien, some of the best R-rated movies ever made are available to stream on different platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and Max. With bold narratives and unfiltered realism, these are great picks for an enjoyable movie night among adult friends.

Need more recommendations? We also have guides to the best new movies to stream this week, the best movies on Netflix, the best movies on Hulu, the best movies on Amazon Prime Video, and the best movies on HBO.

Anatomy of a Fall (2023)

A boy testifies in Anatomy of a Fall.

Did Sandra Voyter kill her husband? That’s the central question behind Anatomy of a Fall , a thriller that was nominated for Best Picture and won Best International Film and Best Original Screenplay at the 2024 Oscars. Directed by Justine Triet, the French film depicts the seemingly idyllic life of German expat Sandra (Sandra Hüller), her husband, Samuel (Samuel Theis), and their legally blind 11-year-old son, Daniel (Milo Machado-Graner), in their remote French Alps town.

Their perfect existence is shattered when Samuel is found dead below their chalet and the police suspect Sandra. As her tumultuous relationship with her husband is dissected in the courtroom, the audience is invited to be both judge and jury and determine if Sandra is truly guilty or as innocent as she claims.

Anatomy of a Fall is streaming on Hulu.

Oppenheimer (2023)

Two men talk in Oppenheimer.
Universal Pictures

Already being called director Christopher Nolan’s best movie, Oppenheimer is an epic biographical thriller that dramatizes the life of the “father of the atomic bomb,” J. Robert Oppenheimer. Cillian Murphy stars as the theoretical physicist in the film, which chronicles his experiences in universities before being recruited to lead the Manhattan Project. It also depicts his downfall after World War II, with a 1954 security hearing condemning his part in the creation of nuclear weapons.

Oppenheimer quickly gained critical acclaim for its unique portrayal of the complicated historical figure’s story, with Murphy infusing his character with both brilliance and imperfections. Aside from the protagonist’s gory visions of his creation’s victims, Oppenheimer earned its R-rating for its straightforward portrayals of sex and nudity. A scene with Florence Pugh’s Jean Tatlock has even been censored using a CGI black dress in the Middle East and India, with the latter also censoring any scenes that show characters smoking.

Oppenheimer is streaming on Peacock.

Memento (2000)

Guy Pearce as Leonard Shelby showing a polaroid to the camera in Memento.
Summit Entertainment

One of director Christopher Nolan‘s most complex movies, which is saying a lot considering his filmography, Memento makes excellent use of its nonlinear narrative structure. The film follows Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce), a man living with short-term memory loss, as he seeks vengeance for his wife’s murder. Leonard’s story is told in reverse chronological order, and depicts the protagonist as he uses unconventional methods like relying on Polaroid photographs and tattoos to piece together clues about his wife’s killer.

Nothing is as it seems in Memento, which is something viewers learn alongside Leonard. Aside from being profane, the film is full of violent scenes that earned the film its R rating. Its intense and often disturbing story may be hard to watch at times, but a mind-boggling twist toward the end will almost certainly warrant a second viewing.

Memento is streaming on Peacock and Pluto.

All of Us Strangers (2023)

A man listens to another man while on a couch in All of Us Strangers.
Fox Searchlight

Loneliness is something not often depicted on-screen, and when it is, it’s often in a depressing context. That’s not necessarily true with All of Us Strangers, a 2023 drama that is both very sad and also incredibly uplifting. Andrew Haigh’s acclaimed film stars Andrew Scott (Fleabag‘s hot priest) as Adam, a single screenwriter living in a near-empty apartment building just outside of London. One night, he has a chance encounter with his mysterious neighbor, Harry (Aftersun‘s Paul Mescal), and starts a relationship that causes Adam to think about his long-dead parents (Claire Foy and Jamie Bell), who appear to him as if they are alive.

No, this isn’t a ghost story — not exactly. All of Us Strangers is a lot of things: a sensual love story, a moody rumination of childhood trauma, and a generational portrait that examines the inherent chasm between parents and their children. Ultimately, though, the movie is a stellar drama that contains a quartet of fine performances from Scott, Mescal, Foy, and Bell. It’s movie you won’t soon forget, and you won’t want to after watching that devastating climax.

All of Us Strangers is streaming on Hulu.

Whiplash (2014)

Miles Teller drums while JK Simmons stares in front in Whiplash.
Sony Pictures Classics

Whiplash is centered on Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller), an ambitious young drummer attending a prestigious music conservatory. While there, he becomes the protégé of the infamous and abusive jazz instructor Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), who has a problematic way of teaching his talented students. As Andrew works harder to meet his teacher’s impossible standards, Fletcher’s relentless and cruel methods push him to the brink of his physical and mental limits.

Directed by Damien Chazelle, Whiplash is one of the best movies of the 2010s. It received acclaim for its unflinching portrayal of the pursuit of excellence and perfection in the cutthroat world of music education. Simmons’ portrayal of Fletcher, which earned him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, was particularly well-received by fans and critics alike. It’s also Simmons’ character that contributed to Whiplash‘s R-rating due to Fletcher’s intense and profane language, as well as the psychological and physical abuse he metes out to his students.

Whiplash is streaming on Netflix.

Se7en (1995)

Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt sit together on a couch looking at papers in a scene from Seven.
New Line Cinema / New Line Cinema

Se7en is a bleak crime thriller from director David Fincher. It revolves around the disillusioned and almost retired Detective William Somerset (Morgan Freeman), who is paired with the naïve and inexperienced Detective David Mills (Brad Pitt). The duo are tasked with tracking down a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his modus operandi. As the investigation progresses, the detectives race against time as they get caught in a cat-and-mouse game with the sadistic killer John Doe (Kevin Spacey).

One of the darkest and best works from David Fincher, Se7en is unrelenting in its depiction of a nightmarish world where a cruel murderer runs rampant. Each crime scene is worse than the last, with the gore and torture on display explaining the 1995 film’s R rating. The tense atmosphere and mounting pressure build up to a shocking twist ending that has become synonymous with the film itself.

Se7en is streaming on Max.

Parasite (2019)

Kim Ki-taek with his family gathered together on the floor.
CJ Entertainment

Parasite immediately became an international sensation when it first premiered, putting the spotlight on director Bong Joon-ho’s underappreciated talent. The film follows the impoverished Kim family – Ki-taek (Song Kang-ho), his wife, Chung-sook (Jang Hye-jin), and their children, Ki-woo (Choi Woo-shik) and Ki-jeong (Park So-dam) – as they infiltrate the affluent Park family’s home by posing as skilled workers. However, their scheme takes a dark turn when a hidden secret surfaces, turning the situation tragic.

Parasite made history as the first non-English language film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, solidifying its status as a culturally significant and groundbreaking movie. It’s impossible to fully talk about what makes the 2019 film incredible without spoiling its clever midpoint twist. It’s mostly the events after that shocking revelation that also explain the movie’s R rating, especially its dramatic ending.

Parasite is streaming on Max.

Alien (1979)

Ripley wearing a space helmet in "Alien" (1979).
20th Century Studios / 20th Century Studios

Director Ridley Scott’s sci-fi horror masterpiece Alien takes place in deep space aboard the commercial towing spaceship Nostromo. The ship’s crew, including warrant officer Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), encounters a deadly extraterrestrial organism on an alien vessel. Little do they know that after they retreat back to the Nostromo, the alien has already infiltrated their ship. As the creature begins hunting the crew, they must fight for survival against an unknown and terrifying enemy.

The 1979 classic would go on to spawn the beloved Alien franchise, with the first movie best remembered for its clever use of silence and its claustrophobic setting. Scott focuses on the build-up, with the film containing very few shots of the actual alien killing its victims. It’s those moments, of course, that gave Alien its R rating, as well as intense and frightening ones like the iconic chest-burster moment.

Alien is streaming on Hulu.

Pulp Fiction (1994)

John Travolta and Sam Jackson star in Pulp Fiction, directed by Quentin Tarantino.
Miramax / Miramax

Pulp Fiction is the crime film that turned director Quentin Tarantino into a household name, and is still widely considered his magnum opus. With a nonlinear narrative, the 1994 movie tells seemingly unrelated stories that eventually merge toward the end of the film, which takes place in the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles. It features quirky characters like two hitmen who enjoy philosophical conversations, Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson); an intimidating gangster boss name Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames), his wife, Mia (Uma Thurman); Bonnie-and-Clyde-esque lovers and robbers, “Pumpkin” (Tim Roth) and “Honey Bunny” (Amanda Plummer); and more.

Full of graphic violence, profanity-laden and punchy dialogue, and intense scenes involving drug use, Pulp Fiction certainly deserves its R rating. It’s undeniably stylish and wonderfully weird, fully benefitting from Tarantino’s brilliant direction and its impeccably cast ensemble of bizarre characters. Pulp Fiction continues to enjoy its reputation as one of the greatest movies of the ’90s and is endlessly referenced in pop culture today.

Pulp Fiction is streaming on Max.

The Godfather (1972)

Marlon Brando listens to counsel in a scene from "The Godfather."
Paramount Pictures

Director Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather is a legendary mob drama that’s often called the best crime movie ever made. Based on Mario Puzo’s eponymous 1969 novel, the sweeping epic chronicles the Corleone crime family’s rise to power in post-World War II America. The story specifically follows Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) and his reluctant son, Michael (Al Pacino), who is drawn into the world of organized crime after his father is nearly assassinated.

The first in the award-winning trilogy sees Michael experience brutality and betrayal as he learns more about the family business. Its R rating was unavoidable, as the glimpse into the inner workings of the mafia comes with shootings, murders, physical fights, and more kinds of gore and violence. Despite premiering over half a century ago, The Godfather has lost none of its impact and is still celebrated for the way it set a new standard for the gangster genre and cinema as a whole.

The Godfather is streaming on Paramount+.

Editors' Recommendations

Saab Hannah
Saab whips up SEO-optimized articles as a writer for Digital Trends and updates top-performing articles on Collider.
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