Time marches on, even if you haven’t had a chance to enjoy some of the great films on your preferred streaming service. But with the end of March in sight, there’s only a limited time left to avail yourself of the benefits of Amazon Prime. You pay for the service, so you might as well get your money’s worth. It’s actually a really good deal, because Amazon Prime has a very extensive lineup of flicks from several different studios. And rather than making you comb through that massive list by yourself, we’ve already assembled the best movies you can stream on Amazon before the end of the month. The rest is up to you.
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Birdman of Alcatraz (1962)
If Birdman of Alcatraz had a more accurate title, it would be Birdman of Leavenworth. Perhaps that just doesn’t roll off the tongue like the actual title. Regardless, this fictionalized look at the life of Robert Stroud (Burt Lancaster) chronicles his decades behind bars in both prisons. While in solitary confinement at Leavenworth, Robert trains himself to look after injured birds and he becomes an accomplished self-taught ornithologist. At Alcatraz, Robert is forced to go on without his beloved birds. He also plays a key role in “the Battle of Alcatraz,” an infamous prison riot.
Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Karl Malden, Thelma Ritter, Neville Brand, Edmond O’Brien
Director: John Frankenheimer
Runtime: 143 minutes
The late Philip Seymour Hoffman had perhaps his greatest performance as Truman Capote in the biopic, Capote. Within the movie, Truman and his friend, Nelle Harper Lee (Catherine Keener), travel to Kansas in the aftermath of a brutal murder. When the killers are caught, Truman makes an emotional connection with one of them: Perry Smith (Clifton Collins Jr.). In the years that follow, Nelle’s career as an author reaches new heights while Truman struggles to find an ending for his book. Truman is also forced to examine himself and his motives for pursuing the story so vigorously.
Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Stars: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Clifton Collins Jr., Bruce Greenwood, Mark Pellegrino
Director: Bennett Miller
Runtime: 114 minutes
In Elizabeth, Cate Blanchett stepped into the role of Elizabeth I, a Queen of England in the 16th century. Elizabeth’s reign begins with enemies from within and without, as the new queen is pressured to marry and secure her power. Instead, Elizabeth carries on a discreet affair with Robert Dudley (Joseph Fiennes), the Earl of Leicester. Unfortunately for Elizabeth, living by the rules of others may inevitably get her killed. To survive and thrive on the throne, Elizabeth must forge her own path and navigate religious strife.
Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
Stars: Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, Christopher Eccleston, Joseph Fiennes, Richard Attenborough
Director: Shekhar Kapur
Runtime: 123 minutes
Gladiator isn’t the kind of movie that is normally expected to compete for Oscars, and yet it took home five awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Russell Crowe. In ancient Rome, Maximus Decimus Meridius (Crowe) is one of the most loyal followers of Emperor Marcus Aurelius (Richard Harris). But Marcus’ vengeful son, Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix), kills his father and slaughters Maximus’ family in a bid for power. Reduced to slavery, Maximus rises through the ranks of gladiators and openly challenges the new emperor. Commodus fears Maximus’ effect on the people, and stacks the deck in his own favor to stamp out this threat to his reign.
Rotten Tomatoes: 77%
Stars: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed, Derek Jacobi
Director: Ridley Scott
Runtime: 155 minutes
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966)
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is quite simply one of the greatest westerns ever made, spaghetti or otherwise. Sergio Leone closes out his Man With No Name trilogy for one last film with Clint Eastwood, which paradoxically takes place before the previous two movies. Blondie (Eastwood) and his partner-turned-adversary, Tuco (Eli Wallach), share a common purpose and the hiding place of Confederate gold. However, Angel Eyes (Lee Van Cleef) wants that fortune for himself, and he’s willing to kill anyone to get it. The story explores the horrors of the Civil War on both sides of the conflict. Repeated viewings are also rewarding experiences for this magnificent movie.
Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef, Aldo Giuffrè
Director: Sergio Leone
Runtime: 177 minutes
Road to Perdition (2002)
Comic books can be much more than superheroes, as exemplified by Road to Perdition. In the adaptation of this Depression-era crime drama, Tom Hanks plays an enforcer named Michael Sullivan, and a loyal follower of mob boss John Rooney (Paul Newman). Rooney’s son, Connor (Daniel Craig) is jealous of Michael’s connection with his father, and worried that Michael’s son, Michael Jr. (Tyler Hoechlin), can implicate him as a murderer. When Michael and his son are forced to flee for their lives, the mob sends a sadistic killer, Harlen Maguire (Jude Law), to track them down. The impressive cast really brought their A-game to this movie.
Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Stars: Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Jude Law, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Stanley Tucci
Director: Sam Mendes
Runtime: 117 minutes
Robocop is such an iconic sci-fi/action film that it’s easy to overlook just how darkly hilarious it is. Director Paul Verhoeven infused the movie with a lot of satire that still hits the mark decades after its release. Peter Weller portrays Alex Murphy, a Detroit police officer who is violently murdered in the line of duty. Shortly thereafter, Alex is reborn as Robocop, a cyborg created by the OCP corporation. And while Robocop is cleaning up the streets, the memories of his old life lead him to confront the corruption within OCP itself.
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Stars: Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Daniel O’Herlihy, Ronny Cox, Kurtwood Smith
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Runtime: 102 minutes
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
Director Wes Anderson has a knack for creating quirky movies that go on to become instant classics. The Royal Tenenbaums continues that tradition with an unconventional story about a family with brilliant children who flamed out as they got older. After abandoning his family years before, Royal Tenenbaum (Gene Hackman) re-enters their lives to prevent his wife Etheline Tenenbaum (Anjelica Huston) from marrying Henry Sherman (Danny Glover). Royal even fakes stomach cancer to win back the hearts of his now-adult children. But they have their own problems, even without their father’s interference.
Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Stars: Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Danny Glover, Ben Stiller, Bill Murray, Gwyneth Paltrow
Director: Wes Anderson
Runtime: 109 minutes
There’s Something About Mary (1998)
The Farrelly Brothers made a big impression with their breakout comedy, There’s Something About Mary. In high school, Ted Stroehmann (Ben Stiller) blew his chance to woo his dream girl, Mary Jensen (Cameron Diaz). Years later, Ted hires a private investigator, Pat Healy (Matt Dillon), to track down Mary and find out if she’s still single. Unfortunately for Ted, Pat also falls hard for Mary and he tries to pursue her himself. Yet Ted isn’t Pat’s only competition, as almost every man that knows Mary tries increasingly desperate tactics to win her heart.
Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
Stars: Ben Stiller, Cameron Diaz, Matt Dillon, Lee Evans, Chris Elliott
Director: Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly
Runtime: 119 minutes
The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
The Thomas Crown Affair never shies away from its leading man’s true nature. Thomas Crown (Steve McQueen) has all of the money he could ever need, and yet he conceives and executes the perfect heist without leaving any direct links that can be traced back to him. Insurance investigator Vicki Anderson (Faye Dunaway) quickly figures out that Thomas is the man she’s after. In turn, Thomas aggressively seduces Vicki and tries to fully bring her into his world. Will she choose her job over her new love? Or will she abandon her ideals for a man she can’t trust?
Rotten Tomatoes: 72%
Stars: Steve McQueen, Faye Dunaway, Paul Burke, Jack Weston
Director: Norman Jewison
Runtime: 102 minutes