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The Best Movies on Amazon Prime Video Right Now

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As Netflix pours more of its resources into original content, Amazon Prime Video is picking up the slack, adding new movies for its subscribers each month. Its catalog has grown so impressive, in fact, that it’s a bit overwhelming — and at the same time, movies that are included with a Prime subscription regularly change status, becoming available only for rental or purchase. It’s a lot to sift through, so we’ve plucked out 100 of the absolute best movies included with a Prime subscription right now, to be updated as new information is made available.

Here are our lists of the best TV shows and movies on Netflix, and the best of both on Disney Plus.

Robin Williams and Nathan Lane are warm, winning and hilarious in this clever riff on the classic French comedy “La Cage Aux Folles.” The screenwriter Elaine May and the director Mike Nichols smoothly reconfigure the material for the Clinton-era culture wars – our critic praised its “giddy ingenuity” – building the kind of farce in which each half-truth and outright deception leads to another, creating a house of cards that grows funnier and more precarious the higher it climbs.

Watch it on Amazon Prime Video.

Steven Spielberg had a lot to live up to with this 1977 follow-up to “Jaws,” particularly with his pal George Lucas preparing a science-fiction movie for release the same year. (You might’ve heard of that one.) And although “Close Encounters” concerns humans making contact with alien visitors, this is no mere spaceships-and-lasers story; Spielberg finds his greatest drama by examining the psychological effects of a U.F.O. sighting on a blue-collar family man (Richard Dreyfuss, at his everyman best), and how his subsequent obsession alienates everyone around him. Couple that intellectual intensity with Spielberg’s signature emotional and aesthetic mastery (including special effects that are still breathtaking, four decades on), and you’ve got one of the greatest sci-fi pictures in cinema history.

Watch it on Amazon Prime Video.

This wryly funny drama from Mike Nichols, adapted from the novel by Charles Webb, has become such an entrenched piece of popular culture (50-plus years later, you still don’t have to explain what “Mrs. Robinson” means), it is easy to lose track of what a great entertainment it is. But it is: Using Dustin Hoffman as his marvelously dry-witted vessel, Nichols dramatizes youthful ennui with a skill rarely seen in American cinema. Our critic called it “funny, outrageous, and touching.” (Hoffman fans will also enjoy “Kramer vs. Kramer” and “Little Big Man.”)

Watch it on Amazon Prime Video.

This acclaimed romance from the director Stephen Frears (“Dangerous Liaisons,” “The Grifters”) plays as both a tender relationship tale and a piercing commentary on Thatcher-era London. The tensions in that period between the city’s British and Pakistani people provide both the conflict and warmth that fuel this story of a young Pakistani man (Gordon Warnecke) who takes over his uncle’s launderette with the help of his friend and eventual lover (a young Daniel Day-Lewis). There’s a wonderful offhandedness about the central relationship — these protagonists are drawn together not by labels, but by mutual attraction and affection — resulting in what our critic called “a fascinating, eccentric, very personal movie.” (For more character-driven drama, add “Atlantic City” and “Hard Eight” to your watchlist.)

Watch it on Amazon Prime Video.

Between his second and third Batman outings, the director and co-writer Christopher Nolan crafted one of his twistiest and most satisfying entertainments, a mystery/thriller that delves into nothing less ambitious than the human dreamscape. Leonardo DiCaprio is in fine, tortured form as a high-tech dream manipulator on a high-stakes caper inside the head of a slumbering CEO; Tom Hardy, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Marion Cotillard are among the stacked supporting cast. Our critic praised “Mr. Nolan’s virtuosity as a conjurer of brilliant scenes and stunning set-pieces.” (Love mind-melting thrillers? Check out “Don’t Look Now” on Prime.)

Watch it on Amazon Prime Video.

When Jonathan Demme’s performance film of the Talking Heads opened in 1984, our critic wrote, “’Stop Making Sense’ owes very little to the rock film-making formulas of the past. It may well help inspire those of the future.” She couldn’t have been more right. Demme was rewriting the rules with this innovative hybrid of documentary and concert movie, taking his cues from the group’s kinetic energy and cross-pollination of styles. The filmmaker creates an immersive experience that captures both the thrill of being in that crowd, and the high of playing for them. (Fans of rock documentaries will also want to check out the Grateful Dead chronicle “Long Strange Trip.”)

Watch it on Amazon.

Spike Lee adapts and updates Aristophanes’ “Lysistrata” to the streets of contemporary Chicago in this wildly funny, vividly theatrical mashup of gangland drama, musical comedy and surrealist fantasy. Teyonah Parris shines as the determined young woman who leads a sex strike to stop the city’s violence, while Samuel L. Jackson struts and rhymes as “Dolmedes,” the picture’s one-man Greek chorus. His Dolemite-style interludes push the premise to its bawdy extremes, but Lee isn’t just playing for laughs. He’s swinging for the fences, and the result, according to Manohla Dargis, “entertains, engages and, at times, enrages.”

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You can see the DNA of “Mad Men” — not to mention pretty much every other sophisticated romantic comedy of the modern era — in this uproariously funny and deeply melancholic best picture winner from the co-writer and director Billy Wilder. Jack Lemmon is pitch-perfect as an office drone whose bachelor apartment becomes the go-to hideaway for his corporate superiors, and thus a tool for climbing to their ranks; Shirley MacLaine sparkles as the elevator operator who catches his fancy, and who has a secret or two of her own. Our critic dubbed it “a gleeful, tender and even sentimental film.” (Wilder and Lemmon later reteamed for “The Fortune Cookie.”)

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The ’50s gangster movie gets a snazzy musical makeover in this 1955 film adaptation of the Broadway hit, itself based on the colorful New York characters of Damon Runyon’s fiction. Joseph L. Mankiewicz (“All About Eve”) directs with energy and pizzazz, coaxing cheerful, engaged performances out of Frank Sinatra, Jean Simmons, Vivian Blaine and that most unlikely of crooners, Marlon Brando. Our critic called it “as tinny and tawny and terrific as any hot-cha musical film you’ll ever see.” (Musical lovers will also want to stream “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.”)

Watch it on Amazon.

The Taiwanese master Hou Hsiao-hsien directs what A.O. Scott called “a stately action movie, graceful and slow-moving,” concerning a female assassin (Shu Qi) and her quest to kill corrupt government officials in Tang Dynasty-era China. What sounds like a conventional martial arts epic is elevated into something far wider in scope and far grander in ambition by Hou, who emphasizes poetry over fighting and mood over broken bones. His exquisite compositions and magnificent production design elevates “The Assassin” from action to art; it’s one of those movies in which nearly every image could be printed, put on a frame and mounted on your wall.

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Reese Witherspoon is a marvel as Tracey Flick, the high-school overachiever who gets under the skin of her teacher (Matthew Broderick), with disastrous results, in this “deft dark comedy” from the director Alexander Payne (“Sideways”). Payne slyly uses a high school election as a stand-in for larger political concerns, without letting the analogy overwhelm the narrative; at heart, it’s the story of a deeply unsatisfied Good Guy who finds out exactly how bad he is. Broderick cleverly subverts his Ferris Bueller persona, and Chris Klein is uproariously funny as the cheerfully clueless popular jock, but this is Witherspoon’s show: Her Tracey is a dizzyingly complicated creation, both mildly insufferable and deeply sympathetic. (“Ghost World” is a similarly smart and darkly funny examination of the teenage years.)

Watch it on Amazon.

This debut film from the director Andrew Patterson wears its “Twilight Zone” influence right on its sleeve, opening (on a vintage television, no less) with the spooky intro to an anthology series called “Paradox Theater,” and presenting this story as “tonight’s episode.” The throwback framework is key; this is a film that bursts with affection for analog, with the look, feel and (above all) sound of black-and-white tube TVs, reel-to-reel tape recorders, telephone switchboards and the distant voices of a radio disc jockey and his mysterious callers. Patterson orchestrates it all with the grinning giddiness of a campfire storyteller — he’s having a great time freaking us out. Manohla Dargis called it “a small-scale movie that flexes plenty of filmmaking muscle.”

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Across six years in the mid-2000s, an analyst named Daniel J. Jones (portrayed by an excellent Adam Driver) pored through 6.3 million pages of C.I.A. documents to write the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Report on the C.I.A.’s detention and interrogation program. This taut, angry film from Scott Z. Burns dramatizes that investigative process and what Jones discovered — and the steady growth of his righteous indignation. Burns, in what our critic deemed a “smart, layered screenplay,” deftly translates the story’s intellectual urgency into emotional agency, making the political into something decidedly personal.

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The director Brian De Palma took an “everything but the kitchen sink” approach to the conspiracy thrillers of the 1970s with his “flashy, eclectic” and ultimately tragic 1981 masterpiece, which cheerfully cribs elements of Chappaquiddick, Watergate and the Kennedy assassinations to create the hybrid story of a movie sound man (John Travolta, excellent) who accidentally tape-records what may have been a politically motivated murder. Nancy Allen gracefully transcends the clichés of her “hooker with a heart of gold” character, while John Lithgow is as scary as he’s ever been — which is no small statement. (Love paranoid thrillers? Try “The Parallax View” and “Three Days of the Condor.”)

Watch it on Amazon.

Our critic deemed Stanley Kramer’s adaptation of Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee’s stage play (based on the notorious Scopes “monkey trial”) to be “triumphant,” its climax “one of the most brilliant and engrossing displays of acting ever witnessed on the screen.” The actors in question are Fredric March and Spencer Tracy, in career-best form as, respectively, the Bible-pounding orator and the agnostic defense attorney on opposite theological and philosophical sides of the evolution debate. Kramer cranks up the carnival atmosphere, to great effect, and pulls a rare (and entertaining) nonmusical supporting turn from Gene Kelly as an H.L. Mencken-esque newspaper reporter.

Watch it on Amazon.

Nicolas Cage won — and earned — the Academy Award for best actor for his wrenching portrayal of a failed screenwriter who goes to Sin City to drink himself to death. Our critic called this moving indie drama “passionate and furiously alive.” Elisabeth Shue was nominated for an Oscar for her turn as a prostitute who falls into something like love with the suicidal writer, and it speaks to the richness of their performances and the texture of Mike Figgis’s direction that such a melodramatic narrative, populated by well-worn stock characters, has such emotional immediacy. (Cage also shines in Martin Scorsese’s “Bringing Out the Dead” and Martha Coolidge’s “Valley Girl.”)

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Over the course of this wistful and lovely low-key dramedy from Jim Jarmusch, the bus-driving poet named Paterson (Adam Driver) does not seek success, discovery or even publication. That’s not why he writes — it’s about routine and release. Intoxicatingly lived-in, “Paterson” is a valentine to all of those who create art not to make a living, but to sustain their souls in the meantime. Our critic praised its “visual precision and emotional restraint.”

Watch it on Amazon.

Sidney Lumet was one of the quintessential New York filmmakers, and his best works — including “Serpico,” “Dog Day Afternoon,” “Prince of the City,” and “Network” — captured the humming music of Gotham’s streets like few others. This early feature remains one of his most devastating, telling the story of a Harlem pawnshop proprietor and Holocaust survivor (Rod Steiger, in a staggering, Oscar-nominated turn) who finds, after years of repression, that he can no longer bottle up the traumas of his past. Our critic praised the “remarkable” picture’s “power and cogency.” (For more vintage New York cinema, check out the 1972 cop drama “Across 110th Street.”)

Watch it on Amazon.

Director David Fincher’s breakthrough film was the serial-killer thriller “Seven,” but he had no intention of repeating himself with this 2007 mystery. Because the real-life Zodiac killer was never apprehended or tried for his crime, Fincher sidestepped the big payoff of most true crime stories, crafting instead a film that focuses on the kind of obsessiveness it takes to follow that trail, year after year, without a satisfactory conclusion. Our critic called it “at once sprawling and tightly constructed, opaque and meticulously detailed.”

Watch it on Amazon.

Because it begat so many sequels, reboots, adaptations and other ephemera, it’s easy to forget that James Cameron’s original “Terminator” film was, as our critic put it, “a B-movie with flair” — a stripped-down, low-budget exploitation picture with an ingenious central idea, a well-selected cast and a director who knew how to stretch a dollar. Linda Hamilton is charismatic and sympathetic as Sarah Conner, an average woman who discovers a cyborg from the future (a terrifying Arnold Schwarzenegger) has been sent to hunt her down. (For more vintage action, check out “Escape From Alcatraz” and “Runaway Train.”)

Watch it on Amazon.

The director David Cronenberg rarely made traditional horror films, and this 1983 adaptation of the best-seller by Stephen King is no exception. It’s as much science-fiction as horror, focusing on a regular Joe (Christopher Walken, muted and effective) who comes out of a five-year coma with the ability to see the futures of those he touches. This thoughtful and tricky picture is as interested in moral dilemmas and historical ramifications as it is in thrills and chills; our critic found it “unsettling” and “quietly forceful.”

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Frontier tales have filled our books and movie screens for centuries, but few are as bleak and unforgiving as this one. Three pairs of settlers find themselves lost on the Oregon Trail, led by a guide (Bruce Greenwood) who doesn’t seem to have the foggiest idea what he’s doing. This is a sparse film, both in plotting and approach; director Kelly Reichardt (“Wendy and Lucy,” “Old Joy”) lets her story play out in long, uninterrupted takes that may test the patience of some, but which force the viewer to ease into the rhythms of the period. A.O. Scott called it “bracingly original.”

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Jill Soloway, the creator of “Transparent” and “I Love Dick,” made her feature filmmaking debut with this “meticulously acted” seriocomic drama. Kathryn Hahn is astonishing in the leading role, clearly conveying her dissatisfied housewife’s longings and nerves but keeping her intentions enigmatic, and Juno Temple is electrifying as a young woman who’s learned how to use her sexuality as a weapon without fully considering the carnage left in its wake. Their byplay is vibrant, and it gets messy in fascinating ways; this is a sly, smart sex comedy that plumbs unexpected depths of sadness and despair.

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The great British writer/director Joanna Hogg tells a story of youthful exuberance, romantic recklessness, and unchecked addiction in early ’80s London. Her heroine is Julie (Honor Swinton Byrne, flawless), an idealistic film student who finds herself pulled, time and again, into the orbit of Anthony (Tom Burke), whose roguish charm covers a considerable number of concerning flaws. Tilda Swinton (Byrne’s real-life mother) co-stars as Julie’s concerned mum. Hogg’s film is quiet yet revelatory, trusting its audience with these characters’ secrets — and trusting us enough to fill in their blanks. A.O. Scott raves, “This is one of the saddest movies you can imagine, and it’s an absolute joy to watch.” (Stay in a melancholy mood with “The Last Black Man in San Francisco,” also streaming on Prime.)

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The director Frank Capra and the actor Jimmy Stewart took a marvelously simple premise — a suicidal man is given the opportunity to see what his world would have been like without him — and turned it into a holiday perennial. But “It’s a Wonderful Life” is too rich and complex to brand with a label as simple as “Christmas movie”; it is ultimately a story about overcoming darkness and finding light around you, a tricky transition achieved primarily through the peerless work of Stewart as a good man with big dreams who can’t walk away from the place where he’s needed most. Our critic dubbed it a “quaint and engaging modern parable.” (Classic movie lovers can also stream “In the Heat of the Night” and “A Place in the Sun” on Prime.)

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Most superhero movies clobber the viewer with special effects, smirking quips, and strained world-building; Julia Hart’s indie drama is barely a superhero movie at all, but a rich, tender character study of three women who just so happen to move objects with their minds. Gugu Mbatha-Raw is remarkable as Ruth, who has smothered her “abilities” in addiction and irresponsibility, returning home to join her mother (Lorraine Toussaint) and daughter (Saniyya Sidney) in an attempt to, well, save the world. Hart’s rich screenplay (written with Jordan Horowitz) vibrates with small-town authenticity and hard-earned emotion; our critic called it “a small, intimate story that hints at much bigger things.”

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Billi (Awkwafina), a Chinese immigrant who grew up to be a starving artist in New York City, returns to her homeland to help perpetrate a family hoax in this charming and beguiling comedy/drama from the writer-director Lulu Wang. The reason for the homecoming is her grandmother, known as Nai Nai (Zhao Shuzhen), who has only months to live, but doesn’t know it. The family hastily arranges a premature wedding as a chance to say goodbye, resulting in misunderstandings, realizations and reconciliations. A.O. Scott praised the film’s “loose, anecdotal structure” and “tone that balances candor and tact.” (Fans of character-driven indie fare should also check out “The Virgin Suicides” and “Trees Lounge.”)

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Nearly 30 years before Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s “Grindhouse,” the director Stanley Donen and the screenwriter Larry Gelbart perfected the fake double-feature with this affectionate send-up of classic Hollywood. “Movie Movie” gives us two films for the price of one, a black-and-white boxing melodrama and a color musical spectacular (with a fake trailer for a World War II flying-ace picture between them), with shared casts including George C. Scott, Trish Van Devere, Red Buttons and Eli Wallach. Our critic called it “Hollywood flimflamming at its elegant best.” (For more outrageous show-biz comedy, stream “Soapdish” on Prime.)

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In profiling leaders of the Indonesian death squads of the mid-1960s, documentarian Joshua Oppenheimer invites them to stage elaborate and surreal recreations of their crimes in the cinematic style of their choosing (musical, gangster, Western, etc.). In doing so, Oppenheimer directs his subjects to craft an upsetting but telling statement on self-deception and the toxicity of power, and on the lies we tell ourselves in order to sleep at night. Our critic deemed it “dogged, inventive, profoundly upsetting and dismayingly funny.”

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The South Korean master Park Chan-wook (“Oldboy”) takes the stylistic trappings of a period romance and gooses them with scorching eroticism and one of the most ingenious con-artist plots this side of “The Sting.” Working from the Sarah Waters novel “Fingersmith,” Park begins with the story of a young woman who, as part of a seemingly straightforward swindle, goes to work as a Japanese heiress’s handmaiden, occasionally pausing the plot to slyly reveal new information, reframing what we’ve seen and where we think he might go next. Manohla Dargis dubbed it an “amusingly slippery entertainment.” (Foreign film enthusiasts may also enjoy Herzog’s “Fitzcarraldo” and Buñuel’s “That Obscure Object of Desire.”)

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Ethan Hawke creates one of his finest performances as Father Toller, a country priest with a small parish in upstate New York, in this critically acclaimed drama. Paul Schrader, the writer and director, continues to explore the themes of earlier works like “Taxi Driver” and “Hardcore” while simultaneously seizing on the austerity of Toller’s world: The film is quiet and contemplative, which makes its apocalyptic, shattering conclusion all the more impactful. Our critic called it “rigorously conceived and meticulously executed.” (Also recommended: Schrader’s earlier “American Gigolo,” and “Days of Heaven,” another intimate drama featuring its star, Richard Gere.)

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Between the first two “Godfather” epics, Francis Ford Coppola wrote and directed this modest character study, in which the proudly impersonal surveillance expert Harry Caul (Gene Hackman), becomes unexpectedly invested in the subjects of his work and then decides he must step in to save their lives. Like its protagonist, “The Conversation” is most riveting in its quietest moments, though its bold opening sequence — in which Caul attempts to eavesdrop on a whispered conversation in a crowded park — is both brilliant filmmaking and a riveting snapshot of Watergate-era America. Our critic praised Hackman’s “superb performance.” (Love paranoid thrillers? Try “The Parallax View” and “Three Days of the Condor”.)

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Asghar Farhadi writes and directs this lucid and contemplative morality play, in which a married couple must grapple with the fallout of an assault on the wife in their home, particularly when the husband’s desire for vengeance surpasses her own. Farhadi’s brilliance at capturing the complexities of his native Iran’s culture is as astonishing as ever — particularly when coupled with insights into victimhood, justice, poverty and intimacy that know no borders. A.O. Scott praised the picture’s “rich and resonant ideas.” (Fans of foreign drama should also check out “Cold War” and “In a Year With 13 Moons.”)

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Humphrey Bogart won his first and only Oscar for his role as the gin-soaked roughneck at the helm of the titular vessel; this was also his only on-screen pairing with his fellow icon Katharine Hepburn. Most of what happens is predictable, from the outcome of the dangerous mission to the eventual attraction of the opposites at the story’s center, but the actors and John Huston’s direction keep the viewer engaged and entertained. Our critic praised the picture’s “rollicking fun and gentle humor.” (Huston’s gut-wrenching “Fat City” is also streaming on Prime.)

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This stunning documentary concerns the life and writings of James Baldwin, but it’s less focused on tracing the arc of its subject’s life than on the potency of his words. Director Raoul Peck uses as his framework the notes of Baldwin’s unfinished book “Remember This House,” in which Baldwin was attempting to reckon with the legacies of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Medgar Evers; guided by Baldwin’s passages, Peck constructs an urgent and audacious essay about our past and our present. Our critic called it “a concise, roughly 90-minute movie with the scope and impact of a 10-hour mini-series.” (Also worth watching: the thought-provoking documentaries “Grizzly Man” and “Hale County, This Morning, This Evening.”)

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One of the most enduring images of the great Buster Keaton comes from this 1928 classic, in which a clueless Keaton, wandering the streets of his hometown during a cyclone, pauses for a moment in front of a building — which collapses around him, his life saved only by his accidental position in the landing place of an open window. Our critic called it “one of the most astonishing sight gags ever filmed,” and good news: The rest of the movie is wonderful too. (For more of Mr. Keaton, stream “College” on Prime.)

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Robert Altman adapted Raymond Chandler’s late-period Philip Marlowe novel as only he could: idiosyncratically, by updating the hard-boiled story’s setting to the feel-good California of the 1970s and casting one of the era’s most of-his-time actors, Elliot Gould, in the role made famous by Humphrey Bogart. Purists resisted, and some critics scratched their heads. But Gould is brilliant, Altman’s direction is brash and confident, and this “tough, funny, hugely entertaining movie” homes in on the character’s essential, outsider nature, while ingeniously rethinking the conventions of the genre. (Altman and Gould reteamed the following year for the wonderful “California Split.”)

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Joel and Ethan Coen’s story of a struggling folk singer in Greenwich Village in 1961 cheerfully intertwines fact and fiction; they faithfully reproduce that period, and incorporate many of its key figures into a week in the life of the title character (played by Oscar Isaac). But this is not just a museum piece, or a “music movie.” It’s about the feeling of knowing that success is overdue, and yet may never arrive. A.O. Scott called it an “intoxicating ramble.”

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Kenneth Lonergan makes films about people in turmoil, roiled by bottomless sadness, dysfunction and guilt. Casey Affleck won an Oscar for his nuanced portrayal of Lee Chandler, a Boston plumber who, for all practical purposes, is broken; Lucas Hedges is prickly and funny as the nephew who needs him to put himself together again. Keenly observed, emotionally fraught and surprisingly funny, it’s a tear-jerker in the best sense, never stooping to cheap manipulation. Our critic called it “a finely shaded portrait.” (For more indie drama, try “Leave No Trace” and “Rabbit Hole.”)

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The broad plot outlines — a traumatized vet, working as a killer-for-hire, gets in over his head in the criminal underworld — make this adaptation of Jonathan Ames’s novella sound like a million throwaway B-movies. But the director and screenwriter is Lynne Ramsay, and she’s not interested in making a conventional thriller; hers is more like a commentary on them, less interested in visceral action beats than their preparation and aftermath. She abstracts the violence, skipping the visual clichés and focusing on the details another filmmaker wouldn’t even see. Joaquin Phoenix is mesmerizing in the leading role (“there is something powerful in his agony,” A.O. Scott noted), internalizing his rage and pain until control is no longer an option. (Ramsay’s “We Need to Talk About Kevin” is also streaming on Prime; for more mind-bending drama, queue up David Cronenberg’s “Dead Ringers” and Nicolas Roeg’s “The Man Who Fell to Earth.”)

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This energetic and entertaining animated western comedy swipes its water-control plot from “Chinatown” and its style from Sergio Leone; even Johnny Depp’s earlier desert-wandering tale “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” gets a shout-out. In other words, it’s a family film for movie buffs, steeped in genre conventions and filled with sly little winks and inside jokes, but it resists the urge to coast on its own cleverness. Our critic raved, “this rambling, anarchic tale is gratifyingly fresh and eccentric.” (For more unconventional family fun, stream “Ernest and Celestine” and “Popeye.”)

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Eliza Hittman (“Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” “Beach Rats”) made her feature debut with this tricky, nuanced coming of age story, set in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Gravesend. A “mood poem to summer loving and sexual awakening,” it concerns 14-year-old Lila (Gina Piersanti), increasingly aware of her sexual impulses but unsure what to do with them; perhaps destructively, she focuses on Sammy (Ronen Rubinstein), a casually misogynistic neighborhood bad boy. Hittman’s narrative is slight, but her insight is not — this deceptively casual film captures the power and potency of hormonal pangs with a rare directness and immediacy. (Penelope Spheeris’s “Suburbia” is a similarly effective story of wayward youth.)

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Warren Beatty won an Oscar for this, his first solo directorial effort — an ambitious, sweeping historical epic, yet one that is grounded by earthy humor and carefully constructed relationships. He also co-wrote it and stars as John Reed, the radical American journalist; Diane Keaton is Louise Bryant, his on-again, off-again lover, with Jack Nicholson, Maureen Stapleton and Paul Sorvino turning up as fellow rabble-rousers. Our critic called it “an extraordinary film, a big romantic adventure movie, the best since David Lean’s ‘Lawrence of Arabia.’” (Beatty’s directorial debut, “Heaven Can Wait,” is also streaming on Prime.)

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An unexplained and unstoppable zombie uprising forces a group of strangers to join forces for a common goal in this 1968 horror classic from director George A. Romero. In the half-century since its release, it’s been justifiably praised for its pseudo-documentary, newsreel aesthetic, as well as the adjacent social commentary and political subtext (particularly with regards to its African-American lead, and the unexpected payoff of its grim final scene). But it also remains, after all these years, scary as hell.

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Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani based their first screenplay on their own, unconventional love story — a courtship that was paused, then oddly amplified by an unexpected illness and a medically induced coma. This isn’t typical rom-com fodder, but it’s written and played with such honesty and heart that it somehow lands. Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan (standing in for Gordon) generate easy, lived-in chemistry and a rooting interest in the relationship, while a second-act appearance by Holly Hunter and Ray Romano as her parents creates a prickly tension that gives way to hard-won affection. Our critic deemed it “a joyous, generous-hearted romantic comedy.” (If you like your comedies with a dash of heartfelt drama, we also recommend “Eighth Grade” and “Harold and Maude.”)

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As director of the “Ocean’s” trilogy, Steven Soderbergh honored the classic heist movie aesthetic: sleek, classy and star-studded. And then he set out to subvert all of those conventions with this working-class heist comedy, in which a minor character describes its central job as “Ocean’s 7-11.” The key players are familiar (the safecracker, the computer whiz, the sexy girl, the brains of the operation), but they’re done with salty fun and earthy humor. You’ll never say “cauliflower” the same way again. Our critic dubbed it “gravity-defying” and “ridiculously entertaining.” (Fans of Daniel Craig’s Southern accent will also want to stream “Knives Out.”)

Watch it on Amazon.

Watch it on Amazon.

This sun-drenched romp reunited the director Alfred Hitchcock with one of his favorite leading men, Cary Grant, and with Grace Kelly, the ultimate “Hitchcock Blonde.” The sparks are nuclear-grade as the two fall in love, and they trade witticisms, jabs and flirtations with aplomb against the beautiful backdrop of the South of France. Our critic wrote, “the script and the actors keep things popping, in a fast, slick, sophisticated vein.” (Grant also sparkles in “The Bishop’s Wife.”)

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Directed by Howard Hawks, this 1940 film wasn’t the first cinematic adaptation of the popular play “The Front Page,” but it cooked up a twist the 1931 version hadn’t: What if Hildy Johnson, the superstar reporter whom the ruthless editor Walter Burns will keep on his staff at any cost, wasn’t his drinking buddy but his ex-wife? It’s a movie that talks fast and moves faster, and the passage of nearly 80 years hasn’t slowed it down a bit. Our critic called it “a bold-faced reprint of what was once — and still remains — the maddest newspaper comedy of our times.” (For more classic romance, check out “Royal Wedding and “Roman Holiday.”)

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Billy Wilder’s poison-penned love letter to Hollywood is often remembered more as a series of moments (particularly its closing line) than for its overwhelming whole: a sometimes tragic, sometimes comic, always riveting story about a faded silent movie queen (an unforgettable Gloria Swanson) and the opportunistic young man who tries to take advantage of her (a prickly William Holden). Our critic wrote that it “quickly casts a spell over an audience and holds it enthralled to a shattering climax.”

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This Polish possession story from the writer and director Marcin Wrona opens on a note of uncertainty and dread and then holds it for 94 harrowing minutes. Wrona transforms the relatable fears of wedding day into something far more sinister, as our groom protagonist discovers horrifying skeletons in his new family’s closet (or, more accurately, its yard); the filmmaker offsets the considerable nightmare imagery and wild-eyed desperation with piercing moments of gallows humor, particularly in contemplating how “sensible people” might react to these events. Our critic praised its “light shivers” and “bluntly old-fashioned screen magic.” (Fans of trippy genre movies will also enjoy “Always Shine,” “The Lighthouse,” and “High Life.”)

Watch it on Amazon.

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It is perhaps no small irony that in 1965, the year that the Chicago Bears …

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