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Best 4K movies: the most stunning flicks on Ultra HD Blu-ray

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REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
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REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
The Batman
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

UPDATE: Dune makes its highly-anticipated US debut on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray (opens in new tab) this week – find out our thoughts on the disc below!

The best 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray movies can give you an experience that's the closest thing you can get to having a movie theater in your living room.

In fact, we'd bet with the advent of HDR, Dolby Vision and readily available Dolby Atmos sound systems, it's arguably better – especially because you don't have to fight over the arm rest at home. 

That’s not to mention that the best 4K Ultra-HD Blu-rays will absolutely demolish anything you can stream online. While it’s true that some streaming services, like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video do offer a good amount of content in 4K – Netflix Originals for instance – you’ll be sorely out of luck if you’re trying to other new movies in 4K resolution with HDR on those platforms.

Best of all, every 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc is region free, so anyone with a 4K Blu-ray player can enjoy these films.

With that in mind, we've compiled a list of the best 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray movies currently available to purchase today.

On this page, you will find a listing of the top trending 'reference quality' titles currently on offer, mostly consisting of new releases and titles only just arriving on the format. And, on following pages, you will find our full collection of 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray recommendations separated by genre.

Batman chases down the Penguin in his homemade Batmobile

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

The Batman

Meet your newest demo disc

Specifications

HDR: HDR10, Dolby Vision
Resolution: 2160p (4K master)
Codec: HEVC / H.265 (54 Mbps)
Primary audio: English Dolby Atmos
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1

Reasons to buy

+
Brilliant contrast
+
Native 4K transfer
+
Astonishing audio

Reasons to avoid

-
May be too dark for some TVs

One of the most highly anticipated 4K releases of 2022, The Batman emerges from the shadows with a truly revelatory Ultra HD Blu-ray disc that absolutely lives up to the film's theatrical presentation. 

Like the titular character himself, The Batman is a movie bathed in darkness, where every shadowy corner of Gotham City presents the threat of violence. Thankfully, The Batman's Dolby Vision and HDR10 presentations provide exceptional shadow delineation, with Batman's slow creeping out of the darkness coming across even more dramatic as a result – and without a single hint of the black crush that can sometimes effect the transfers of darker films.

Thanks to The Batman's native 4K digital intermediate, detail is off the charts. The the jagged edges of his suit, the stitching and leatherwork in his cowl – it all adds up to a film with intricacies that were practically made to be appreciated in 4K.

Admittedly, The Batman isn't the film to go to if you're looking to show off your TV's color bonafides. Much of the film is purposefully muted in appearance, with only brief instances of colorful highlights. Neon signs occasionally break out of the darkness, along with the amber lighting that illuminates the highway Batmobile chase sequences, or the bright orange explosion that ends it.

As standout as The Batman's visuals are, its audio presentation arguably steals the show, with a pristine Dolby Atmos primary track that delivers thundering sonics amidst a brilliantly immersive atmosphere – all punctuated by Michael Giacchino's bombastic score that just builds and builds with increased intensity. To bring up the aforementioned highway chase again, it just might be one of the best showcases for Dolby Atmos to ever hit home theaters. Get ready to pull this disc out for repeated demonstrations.

Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265 (54 Mbps), HDR: HDR10/Dolby Vision, Resolution: 2160p (4K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps), French (Canada) Dolby Digital 5.1, German Dolby Atmos, German Dolby TrueHD 7.1, German Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps), Italian Dolby Atmos, Italian Dolby TrueHD 7.1, Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps), Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, Runtime: 176 minutes

Timothée Chalamet in Dune

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Dune

A bloody great presentation (emphasis on the word 'bloody')

Specifications

HDR: HDR10, Dolby Vision
Resolution: 2160p (4K master)
Codec: HEVC / H.265 (64.8 Mbps)
Primary audio: English Dolby Atmos
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1

Reasons to buy

+
Stunning visuals
+
Native 4K transfer
+
Excellent Dolby Atmos audio

Reasons to avoid

-
No expanded IMAX aspect ratio

One of the most anticipated 4K releases in a long while, Denis Villeneuve's Dune arrives on Ultra HD Blu-ray boasting a spectacular video presentation and a reference-quality Dolby Atmos audio track.

Shot at 4.5K and finished at a 4K resolution, Dune looks expectedly gorgeous on the format, with immense detail that soars with incredibly clarity. Though Dune was not shot on film, its UHD presentation sports a nice layer of film-like grain throughout, which serves to provide increased texture to its costumes, sets and sandy landscapes.

The inclusion of both HDR10 and Dolby Vision gives Dune excellent brightness, contrast and color vibrancy. Witness, for instance, the shimmering appearance of Arrakis's all-important spice, or the almost white-hot explosion that eventually bursts through House Atreides' force fields during the mid-film invasion scene.

Aside from some very minor banding, the only thing that could be considered disappointing to videophiles about Dune's 4K disc is that its aspect ratio does not shift during IMAX sequences, opting instead to keep a panoramic widescreen presentation for its entire running time. Despite this, Dune remains an epic spectacle to behold.

Just as epic as Dune's visual presentation is its sound, with an outstanding primary Dolby Atmos track that delivers fantastic directional audio, offering plenty of activity in the rear channels, along with a masterful use of Atmos' height channels (you will think Dune's ornithopters are flying right over your head). Dialogue is clear and prominent, while Hans Zimmer's nerve-jangling score offers a powerful backdrop to the events unfolding on-screen.

It goes without saying that fans of Dune should absolutely pick up its 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, but we also recommend it to anyone who considers themselves a home theater enthusiast. This is a demo-worthy disc in every regard.

Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265 (64.8 Mbps), HDR: HDR10/Dolby Vision, Resolution: 2160p (4K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps), French (Canada) Dolby Digital 5.1, German Dolby Atmos, German Dolby TrueHD 7.1, German Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps), Italian Dolby Atmos, Italian Dolby TrueHD 7.1, Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps), Hindi Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, Runtime: 155 minutes

The Suicide Squad still

(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures/™ & © DC Comics)

The Suicide Squad

A bloody great presentation (emphasis on the word 'bloody')

Specifications

HDR: HDR10, Dolby Vision
Resolution: 2160p (4K master)
Codec: HEVC / H.265 (63.08 Mbps)
Primary audio: English Dolby Atmos
Aspect ratio: 1.90:1

Reasons to buy

+
Fantastic IMAX detail
+
Native 4K transfer
+
Spectacular colors

Reasons to avoid

-
Can be quite dark

Given that James Gunn's The Suicide Squad was shot entirely using IMAX cameras and finished at 4K resolution, we always expected its Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation to be standout and demo-worthy, and we were right – The Suicide Squad looks magnificent on the format.

Gunn has been vocal about his support for the quality of physical media over streaming, and he certainly proves his point here, with a hefty bitrate of 63.08 Mbps that eliminates any visible artifacting or compression. Detail is off the charts here, particularly in close-ups of King Shark, which reveal a great deal of texture that appears completely tangible.

We will say one thing, though: we hope your TV can handle dark scenes, because there are stretches of The Suicide Squad that take place in night-time jungle settings which had our Mini LED TV's local dimming feature flicking on and off, making black areas appear washed out and gray. After a few minutes of annoyance, we dug into the TV's picture settings and lowered the dimming feature's intensity, leading the remainder of the film to play out normally.

Meanwhile, highlights and colors are truly astounding here, particularly when it comes to costuming – the Squad's orange prison jumpsuits jump out with incredible vividness, as does Peacemaker's red shirt and Harley's stunning red dress. 

Later in the film, during Harley's escape from capture, a rainbow-like explosion of colorful flowers erupts while she mows down enemy soldiers – believe us when we say that it's one of the best looking showcases of 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray we've seen to date, as is the emergence of the vibrant (and giant) villain, Starro the Conqueror.

Props must also be handed to The Suicide Squad's excellent Dolby Atmos audio track, which places dialogue front and center, never losing it amongst all the on-screen chaos that unfolds. Dimensionality is also strong, with great use of overhead sound effects during the film's climax. Highly recommended for fans.

Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265 (63.08 Mbps), HDR: HDR10/Dolby Vision, Resolution: 2160p (4K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps), French (Canada) Dolby Digital 5.1, Italian Dolby Atmos, Aspect ratio: 1.90:1, Runtime: 132 minutes

Mortal Kombat

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Mortal Kombat

Ultra-violence never looked this good

Specifications

HDR: HDR10
Resolution: 2160p (4K master)
Codec: HEVC / H.265 (55 Mbps)
Primary audio: English Dolby Atmos
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent highlights
+
Punchy Dolby Atmos audio
+
Native 4K transfer

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks Dolby Vision
-
Dialogue a little low in mix

If you're looking for a film that will test your home entertainment's system's might, you could do a lot worse than the new Mortal Kombat film, which has arrived on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with a sharp transfer and punchy audio track.

While a lot of Mortal Kombat takes place in dark and shadowy environments, the film's 4K presentation delivers impressive contrast, allowing viewers to see right into the darker areas of the screen. 

Highlights and colors, in particular look magnificent in this HDR10 presentation, particularly in scenes where the film's characters show off their energy-based skills – especially Raiden's signature lightning strikes, which burn with a white hot intensity.

As expected, the film's 4K native resolution allows for extraordinary detail, making it easy to marvel at the craftsmanship of the film's costume and set design departments.

In terms of audio, Mortal Kombat offers a room-shaking Dolby Atmos primary track which emphasizes every punch, kick and fireball attack with an incredible amount of oomph. That said, dialogue sounds a little low by comparison, so you may have to do some tweaking of your sound setup in order to hit that sweet spot. 

Nevertheless, Mortal Kombat looks and sounds great on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, allowing fans to relive every gory fatality in crystal-clear clarity.

Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265 (55 Mbps), HDR: HDR10, Resolution: 2160p (4K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), English Dolby Digital 5.1, French (Canada) Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Italian Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, Runtime: 110 minutes

Zack Snyder's Justice League

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Zack Snyder's Justice League

The definitive 'Snyderverse' film soars on disc

Specifications

HDR: HDR10
Resolution: 2160p (4K master)
Codec: HEVC / H.265 (55 Mbps)
Primary audio: English Dolby Atmos
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Reasons to buy

+
Spectacular detail and contrast
+
Powerful Dolby Atmos track
+
Native 4K intermediate

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks Dolby Vision

Although the US is still waiting on a physical release of Zack Snyder's Justice League, the superhero epic has been released on (region-free) 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray in a number of overseas markets, including the UK and Australia. 

Let us just say that the film looks and sounds fantastic on the format, with the disc version's immersive Dolby Atmos audio and high video bitrate absolutely demolishing the film's presentation on streaming services such as HBO Max, Sky and Binge.

Split over two discs due to its epic 242-minute runtime, Zack Snyder's Justice League delivers sublime visuals right off the bat(man) – the film's stirring opening titles sequence immediately gives us inky blacks, bright highlights and vivid colors, and it only gets better from there.

Those who have watched Joss Whedon's theatrical version of Justice League will instantly notice that Snyder's version is a drastically different-looking film. Color has been toned way down, with almost monochromatic appearance at times, leading to a film that's far more atmospheric and serious in tone. Of course, that isn't to say that the film is lacking in vibrance – in fact, it makes the film's deliberate uses of color pop with increased vividness. 

Perhaps the most visually-stunning update offered by Zack Snyder's Justice League is in its villain, Steppenwolf (pictured), who has been completely redesigned from the ground up with a far more jagged and menacing appearance. 

The amount of detail in Steppenwolf's armor is absolutely staggering, with the character covered head to toe in countless, razor-sharp metallic shards – each of which produces impressive specular highlights. Look closely and you'll see fine details on the shards themselves, such as scratches and scuffs which make the CGI creation all the more convincing.

Although the disc curiously lacks the Dolby Vision support that's offered on HBO Max, it does provide a rather significant upgrade on the streaming version with the inclusion of a wonderfully immersive Dolby Atmos track. 

During action scenes, there's an incredible sense of dimensionality to the audio, with terrific use of overhead channels. Though the film can get loud and bombastic, dialogue is always clear and easy to understand.

Destined to be one of the format's reference discs, Zack Snyder's Justice League is a must-have for fans of the film.

Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265 (55 Mbps), HDR: HDR10, Resolution: 2160p (4K master), Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Aspect ratio: 1.33:1, Runtime: 242 minutes

Tenet

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Tenet

Christopher Nolan's latest epic impresses on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Specifications

HDR: HDR10
Resolution: 2160p (4K master)
Codec: HEVC / H.265 (57.45 Mbps)
Primary audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1, 2.20:1

Reasons to buy

+
Stunning IMAX sequences
+
Native 4K intermediate

Reasons to avoid

-
No Dolby Atmos

The most mind-bending film from director Christopher Nolan (Inception, Memento) to date, Tenet has made an absolutely stunning debut on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. 

Like the majority of Nolan's other films, Tenet is presented with expanded IMAX sequences for its physical home release (sorry, digital buyers), meaning its aspect ratio regularly opens up to fill your entire TV's display, offering a significant rise in picture quality and scope.

The results are utterly astonishing. Shot entirely on 65mm film and boasting a native 4K digital intermediate, detail is off the charts here, with a pristine image that still retains its filmic quality. 

It would not be a stretch to say that 70% of Tenet is presented in this manner, leading to a near-constant bombardment of jaw-dropping moments. From its stunning Tallinn freeway chase, to its climactic 'temporal pincer movement' set piece, Tenet is a sight to behold.

Color and contrast are both exceptional, with impressively natural skin tones, vibrant reds, warm yellows, cool blues and inky shadows throughout, along with terrific highlights during brighter moments.

Admittedly, it's disappointing to note that Nolan continues to resist the allure of Dolby Atmos audio. That said, the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track included here still delivers a surprising amount of bombast and directionality. If you're looking for a demo disc to show off your home entertainment system, Tenet is the one.

Technical specs: Codec: HEVC / H.265 (57.45 Mbps), HDR: HDR10, Resolution: 2160p (4K master), Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French (Canada) Dolby Digital 5.1, German DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Italian Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, Czech Dolby Digital 5.1, Hindi Dolby Digital 5.1, Polish Dolby Digital 5.1, Thai Dolby Digital 5.1, Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1, Aspect ratio: 1.78:1, 2.20:1, Runtime: 150 minutes

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.