This was a very good year for original movies on Amazon Prime Video. While not every film was up to the level of a theatrical release, a handful of Prime Video films were easily some of the best movies available to stream on any platform. However, Prime Video only gave a few movies the chance to prove themselves in theaters first.
Most of the films on our roundup of the five best Prime Video movies of 2023 went straight to streaming. But that’s no badge of shame with this batch of movies. And we can only hope that Prime Video’s best movies of 2024 will continue to uphold that tradition.
Totally Killer doesn’t hide the fact that it took its inspiration from Back to the Future, but now the ’80s have become an even more remote past than the ’50s were in 1985. This film starts out in the present when high school student Jamie Hughes (Kiernan Shipka) loses her mother, Pam Hughes (Julie Bowen), because the infamous Sweet 16 Killer reemerges to kill her after four decades.
While fleeing from the serial killer who murdered her mom, Jamie is accidentally transported back to 1987, where Pam (Olivia Holt) is a teenager and none of the Sweet 16 Killer’s victims are dead yet. Unfortunately for Jamie, knowing what will happen doesn’t necessarily mean that she can save her mother, the other murder victims, or even herself.
Watch Totally Killer on Prime Video.
American wrestling fans may not have heard of Cassandro, but he was one of the few openly gay wrestlers in Mexico’s lucha libre scene to become a true star. The Cassandro biopic features Gael García Bernal as Saúl Armendáriz, the man behind the character. Armendáriz is Mexican-American who crosses the border from Texas to Mexico to pursue his dream of becoming a masked luchador in lucha libre.
However, Armendári doesn’t find success until he drops the mask and portrays a flamboyant wrestler in drag (the Mexican wrestling term for this is “exótico”). Armendári finally finds his true self by embracing his Cassandro persona in and out of the ring. There have been plenty of sports underdog stories before, but never quite like this one.
Watch Cassandro on Prime Video.
Prime Video really loves its biopics and true stories, and it’s no coincidence that four of our picks fall under those categories. Of those four, A Million Miles Away is perhaps the most inspiring because it tells the story of José M. Hernández (Michael Peña), a Mexican-American and the son of a migrant worker who dreamed of becoming a NASA astronaut.
With the support of his wife, Adela (Rosa Salazar), and his instructor, Frederick W. Sturckow (Garret Dillahunt), Hernández reaches for the stars and finds it within himself to overcome the odds and become one of the handful of people who have have spent an extended time in space.
Watch A Million Miles Away on Prime Video.
Tommy Lee Jones and Jamie Foxx provide the star power in The Burial, a dramatization about a case that shed some unflattering light on the funeral home business. Jeremiah O’Keefe (Jones) had an oral agreement with Raymond Loewen (Bill Camp) that could have saved his family business, if Loewen had actually kept his word.
Fearing that his contract lawyer, Mike Allred (Alan Ruck), wouldn’t be able to win his case, O’Keefe turns to Willie E. Gary (Foxx), a personal injury lawyer from Florida. Although O’Keefe and Gary have the same goal, they also have conflicting personalities that threaten to overwhelm their case and keep them from getting what O’Keefe is owed.
Watch The Burial on Prime Video.
Director Ben Affleck reteams with his old pal, Matt Damon, in Air, the best original movie on Prime Video in 2023. This is the origin story of Nike’s Air Jordan shoes and a dramatization of what it took to land an endorsement deal with Michael Jordan just as he was getting into the NBA. Damon plays Sonny Vaccaro, a talent scout who stakes his career on landing Jordan as a client while attempting to convince Nike founder Phil Knight (Affleck) to embrace the deal.
The movie goes out of its way to keep Jordan himself largely off-screen, but it does feature Viola Davis as Jordan’s mother, Deloris Jordan. And Deloris proves to be a very shrewd negotiator when the financial future of her son is at stake.
Watch Air on Prime Video.
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