Best movies on Amazon Prime Video: top films to watch in Australia right now

We're serious cinephiles here at at TechRadar. It's not all about Star Wars around here – we enjoy a good tear-jerker, too. There are many serious drama films streaming on Amazon Prime Video right now – here are some of the best ones. 

Joker

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Joker

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) is a clown-for-hire and aspiring stand-up comic with mental illness who seems destined to go off the rails at any moment, no thanks to a society which has abandoned people like him. Seemingly tormented at random by the citizens of Gotham City, Arthur is finally pushed over the edge due to funding cuts to the social services which provide him his much needed medication. Having acquired a gun from a co-worker, Arthur's madness spirals into murder, leading him to adopt a the truly-unhinged alter ego of Joker. Winner of two Academy Awards, including Best Actor, Joker is a comic book film unlike any other before it. Inspired by the first person narratives of director Martin Scorsese (in particular his films Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy), Joker is incredibly bleak and unforgiving – an impressive feat from the studio whose previous DC film was the family-friendly superhero flick Shazam. Be warned – Joker is strictly for adults only. 

IMDB Rating: 8.5, Rotten Tomatoes: 68%
Watch Joker on Amazon Prime Video right now

Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

A film that caught many off-guard upon its release, Quentin Tarantino's opus Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood forgoes any sort of plot in favour of presenting a day (or two, more accurately) in the life of three characters in 'Tinseltown' during 1969. These are Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), an old TV star who feels left behind by Hollywood's rapidly-changing idea of what a 'leading man' is, Rick's stuntman and best bud Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), and Rick's famous next-door neighbour, Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) – best known for being brutally murdered by The Manson Family in real-life. While the film is essentially a drama about the end of an era, it's also bloody hilarious, with the central friendship between Rick and Cliff proving to be an absolute delight. And while you may think you know where this story is headed, particularly when it comes to Tate, you should know that Tarantino is a filmmaker who is unburdened by the concept of historical accuracy (see Inglourious Basterds) – you just might be surprised by how this tale plays out.

IMDB Rating: 7.7, Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Watch Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood on Amazon Prime Video right now

Green Book

Green Book

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Winner of the Best Picture award at the 2019 Academy Awards, Green Book tells the true story of African American pianist Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) and his 1962 tour of the American south alongside his white driver and bodyguard, Frank "Tony Lip" Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen). Despite being highly educated and well to do, Shirley is forced to contend with the incredibly racist reality of the period, finding himself unwelcome almost everywhere he goes. In fact, the Green Book of the title is a reference to The Negro Motorist Green Book by Victor Hugo Green – an annual guidebook for African American travellers which explained where they could and couldn't go at the time. Sure, the idea that an accomplished black artist must prove himself to be a perfect human being so that he can eventually win the respect of his white chauffeur is mawkish to the extreme, but Green Book is nevertheless a well made and acted film that will tug at your heartstrings... by force if it has to.

IMDB Rating: 8.2, Rotten Tomatoes: 78%
Watch Green Book on Amazon Prime Video right now

Heat

Image credit: 20th Century Fox

Image credit: 20th Century Fox

Like movies featuring cops chasing robbers? What about stoic professional criminals in sharp grey suits? Well, you're likely to absolutely adore Heat, a film from acclaimed director Michael Mann (Collateral, Manhunter). As the first film to put Robert De Niro and Al Pacino on screen together (The Godfather Part II doesn't count), Heat is understandably renowned for its powerhouse performances. De Niro plays Neil McCauley, a career criminal whose string of high-profile bank and armoured car robberies across Los Angeles has placed him square in the sights of Lt. Vincent Hanna (Pacino). One way or another, the pair's cat and mouse chase will come to an end – the only question is which man will be left standing once it's all over? Also featuring Val Kilmer, Ashley Judd, Tom Sizemore and Natalie Portman (among many others), Heat is a must-watch crime film classic.

IMDB Rating: 8.2, Rotten Tomatoes: 86%

The Godfather & The Godfather Part II

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Two of the greatest films of all time, Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather and The Godfather Part II are now available to stream on Amazon Prime Video. The first film charts the rise of Micheal Corleone (Al Pacino), a war hero who takes control of his family's crime dynasty following an attempt on the life of his father, Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando). Its follow-up, The Godfather Part II, simultaneously acts as a prequel and sequel, showing us how a young Vito (Robert De Niro) came into power, while also continuing Michael's story from the first film. Both films swept the Oscars in their respective years, and it's not hard to see why – The Godfather and The Godfather Part II are undisputed masterpieces, each telling grand, ambitious stories that deal with big themes on an epic canvas. You'd be hard-pressed to find two finer examples of the power of cinema. 

The Godfather: IMDB Rating: 9.2, Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
The Godfather Part II: IMDB Rating: 9.0, Rotten Tomatoes: 97%

The Social Network

Credit: Sony Pictures

Credit: Sony Pictures

Perhaps the best film ever made about the tech industry, The Social Network tells the story of the early days of Facebook, with a mesmerising Jesse Eisenberg playing the company's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, and Andrew Garfield starring as its co-founder, Eduardo Saverin. Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing) is known for his fast-talking, witty characters, and he truly outdoes himself here, providing Eisenberg with more snappy verbal barbs than the real Zuckerberg is likely capable of (no Sweet Baby Ray's or smoked brisket discussions to be found here). That said, it all adds up to an immensely gripping film directed with clockwork-like precision by visionary auteur, David Fincher (Zodiac, Fight Club). Throw in some impressive supporting turns from Justin Timberlake (as Napster founder Sean Parker) and Armie Hammer (playing both of the Winklevoss twins), and you have an honest-to-goodness classic. 

IMDB Rating: 7.7, Rotten Tomatoes: 95%

Taxi Driver

Credit: Sony Pictures

Credit: Sony Pictures

Few films in the history of cinema are as powerful as Martin Scorsese's masterpiece, Taxi Driver. Made in the mid '70s, back when New York was a rougher, dirtier place, the film practically oozes a scuzzy, neon-bathed atmosphere all of its own. Robert De Niro plays Travis Bickle, a troubled, lonely Vietnam vet who takes a gig driving a cab because he just can't sleep at night. Though he's disgusted with the Big Apple's sleazy, vice-filled ways, Travis can't seem to stay away from its seedier areas, picking up questionable fares in bad neighbourhoods and frequenting scummy porno theatres in an effort to cure his insomnia. After a failed attempt to start a normal relationship with political campaign worker Betsy (Cybill Shepherd), Travis meets a 12-year-old prostitute named Iris (Jodie Foster) as she attempts to run away from her despicable pimp, Sport (Harvey Keitel). With his revulsion pushed over the edge, Travis stocks up on firearms and channels his immense anger and hatred into a mission to save Iris from her tragic circumstances. Fantastically directed and acted, and featuring the late, great Bernard Hermann's haunting final score, Taxi Driver is a film that every lover of cinema needs to see. 

IMDB Rating: 8.3, Rotten Tomatoes: 99%

Stephen Lambrechts
Senior Journalist, Phones and Entertainment

Stephen primarily covers phones and entertainment for TechRadar's Australian team, and has written professionally across the categories of tech, film, television and gaming in both print and online for over a decade. He's obsessed with smartphones, televisions, consoles and gaming PCs, and has a deep-seated desire to consume all forms of media at the highest quality possible. 


He's also likely to talk a person’s ear off at the mere mention of Android, cats, retro sneaker releases, travelling and physical media, such as vinyl and boutique Blu-ray releases. Right now, he's most excited about QD-OLED technology, The Batman and Hellblade 2: Senua's Saga.