Last Updated on May 15, 2020 by Swati Brijwasi
What are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video in India? Well, once upon a time, the sheer size of Netflix’s catalogue of movies was unmatched in the country. That’s not the case anymore. Amazon Prime Video is now right up there and it’s got the quality to boot, given the list below has nearly 150 titles in total. These films span India, the US, the UK, Brazil, Chile, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Lebanon, South Korea, Spain, and Turkey. And where it lacks in original films versus Netflix, Prime Video makes up in local variety, albeit non-original, with more Hindi, Tamil, and Malayalam titles. Moreover, Amazon offers high-definition streaming, and the use of more screens at one price, unlike Netflix. It’s also the most affordable of the big three streaming platforms in India, with Disney+ Hotstar’s recent price increase.
To pick the best movies on Amazon Prime Video, we relied on Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic, and IMDb ratings to create a shortlist. The last of these was preferred for Indian films given the shortfalls of reviews aggregators in that department. Additionally, we used our own editorial judgement to add or remove a few. We keep updating this list when there are any worthy additions, or if some movies are removed from the service, so bookmark this page and keep checking in. Here are the best films currently available on Amazon Prime Video in India, sorted alphabetically.
12 Years a Slave (2013)
Duped into slavery on the account of a job, Steve McQueen’s adaptation of a free New York black man’s (Chiwetel Ejiofor) 19th-century memoir is an incredible true story, and an important watch.
3 Idiots (2009)
In this satire of the Indian education system’s social pressures, two friends recount their college days and how their third long-lost musketeer (Aamir Khan) inspired them to think creatively and independently in a heavily-conformist world. Co-written and directed by Rajkumar Hirani, who stands accused in the #MeToo movement.
45 Years (2015)
On the verge of their forty-fifth wedding anniversary, a letter bearing the news of the death of the husband’s first love, whose body has been discovered frozen in the Swiss Alps’ icy glaciers, begins to unravel the marriage itself. Charlotte Rampling, who played the wife, won several awards.
After a poor Delhi auto-rickshaw driver (Rupinder Nagra) is named as the sole inheritor by a local billionaire (Naseeruddin Shah) just before his death, he must decide whether to keep it.
American Hustle (2013)
In the late 1970s, two con artists (Christian Bale and Amy Adams) are forced to work for an FBI agent (Bradley Cooper) and set up a sting operation that plans to bring down several corrupt politicians and members of the Mafia. Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner star alongside.
Rajesh Khanna stars as the eponymous happy-go-lucky man, who doesn’t let his diagnosis of a rare form of cancer get in the way of enjoying what’s in front of him. Told from the viewpoint of his doctor friend (Amitabh Bachchan). Hrishikesh Mukherjee directs.
Anbe Sivam (2003)
Kamal Haasan and R. Madhavan star in this Tamil cult film, in which the two are stranded over a thousand kilometres from home after heavy rain cancels all flights and strike up an unlikely friendship on their way back. Haasan also wrote the script.
Andaz Apna Apna (1994)
Two slackers (Aamir Khan and Salman Khan) who belong to middle-class families vie for the affections of an heiress, and inadvertently become her protectors from a local gangster in Rajkumar Santoshi’s cult comedy favourite. Salman is a convicted poacher, out on bail, and accused of culpable homicide, pending appeal.
Writer-director Gulzar’s Shakespearean comedy, loosely based on the latter’s famous play The Comedy of Errors, was also a remake of the 1968 film Do Dooni Char, itself a remake of the 1963 Bengali film Bhranti Bilas, penned by Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar.
Ankhon Dekhi (2014)
After an eye-opening experience involving his daughter’s marriage, a man in his late 50s (Sanjay Mishra) resolves that he won’t believe anything he can’t see, which naturally leads to some dramatic complications.
A Tami-language social satire from a debutante writer-director, which follows an eponymous young woman (Aditi Balan), who going through a bout of existential crisis, decides to shine a light on the consumerist and misogynistic behaviours in her society.
Back to the Future (1985)
Not many films come close to the worldwide appeal and legacy left by this sci-fi entry featuring the iconic DeLorean that Michael J. Fox’s character uses to (accidentally) time travel to when his parents were his age. Strange then that it didn’t get the green light for years.
Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015)
The heavily controversial Salman Khan stars as a devout Hindu Brahmin and an ardent devotee of Hanuman, who embarks on a journey to reunite a mute six-year-old Muslim girl, lost in India, with her parents in Pakistan. Kareena Kapoor co-stars. Salman is a convicted poacher, out on bail, and accused of culpable homicide, pending appeal.
Batman Begins (2005)
Before Christopher Nolan struck gold with The Dark Knight — on Netflix — he gave us Bruce Wayne’s (Christian Bale) origin as the Caped Crusader, from the death of his parents at a young age, travelling halfway across the world to train under a mentor, and returning to Gotham City to fight crime.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019)
Tom Hanks plays American TV icon Fred Rogers who is being profiled by a troubled, cynical investigative journalist (Matthew Rhys). As the interview progresses, the good-natured Rogers chips away at the latter’s jaded outlook and helps him confront his past.
A Beautiful Mind (2001)
The life of John Nash, a brilliant but asocial mathematician, from his spiral into paranoid schizophrenia and working on a secret project he made up, to regaining control over his life and becoming a Nobel Laureate.
The Big Sick (2017)
Kumail Nanjiani stars as himself in this rom-com loosely based on his romance with his wife, in which an aspiring comedian connects with his girlfriend’s parents after she falls into a mysterious coma.
Set during the 1992–93 Bombay riots, writer-director Mani Ratnam offers a look at the communal tensions that cause a strain on the relationship between a Muslim woman (Manisha Koirala) and a Hindu man (Arvind Swamy).
The Bourne trilogy (2002–07)
Technically not a trilogy, but the first three chapters — Identity, Supremacy, and Ultimatum — starring Matt Damon in the lead as the titular CIA assassin suffering from amnesia were so good that they changed the longest-running spy franchise of all-time: James Bond.
Terry Gilliam blends social satire with his signature visual inventiveness in this dystopian sci-fi set in a retro-future world, which follows a lowly clerk who becomes an enemy of the state after trying to correct an administrative error.
Capernaum [Capharnaum] (2018)
In the award-winning, highest-grossing Arabic film of all time, a 12-year-old from the slums of Beirut recounts his life leading up to a five-year sentence he’s handed for stabbing someone, and in turn, his decision to sue his parents for child neglect.
Captain Fantastic (2016)
After his bipolar wife suddenly dies, a single father (Viggo Mortensen), who brought up his six children living off the grid and isolated from society, must introduce them to the real world for the first time.
Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara star in this intimate, thoughtful and gorgeous drama about two lesbians living in polar-opposite worlds in 1950s New York, as they navigate societal customs and their own wants. Based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel, The Price of Salt.
Cast Away (2000)
After his plane crash-lands in the Pacific, a FedEx employee (Tom Hanks) wakes up on a deserted island and must use everything at his disposal and transform himself physically to survive living alone.
Catch Me If You Can (2002)
Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks star in Steven Spielberg’s biopic of Frank Abagnale (DiCaprio), who forged millions of dollars’ worth of cheques as a teenager, while being pursued by an FBI agent (Hanks).
Chak De! India (2007)
Ostracised and vilified by the press and public, a former Muslim men’s hockey captain (Shah Rukh Khan) plans to redeem himself by coaching the unpolished Indian women’s hockey team to glory.
After her husband is murdered while trying to leave Paris, a young woman (Audrey Hepburn) is pursued by three men, who want a fortune he had stolen, and seeks the help of a stranger (Cary Grant). Known as “the best Hitchcock movie that Hitchcock never made”.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
Frequent collaborators Tim Burton and Johnny Depp are behind this ‘remake’ of the 1971 original based on Roald Dahl’s 1964 book, in which the title character — a young boy (Freddie Highmore) — wins a tour of an imaginative chocolatier’s chocolate factory with four other kids.
Chhoti Si Baat (1976)
This remake of the 1960 British film School for Scoundrels transports the story to then-Bombay, where a meek young man (Amol Palekar) turns to life-coach Colonel (Ashok Kumar) to battle a suave, bold man for the affections of a woman. Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, and Hema Malini cameo as themselves. Basu Chatterjee directs.
Chupke Chupke (1975)
Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s remake of the Bengali film Chhadmabeshi, in which a newly-wedded husband (Dharmendra) decides to play pranks on his wife’s (Sharmila Tagore) supposedly smart brother-in-law, released in the same year as Sholay. Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan also star.
City of God (2002)
The rise of organised crime in the Rio de Janeiro suburb of Cidade de Deus — that’s Portuguese for the film’s title — between the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1980s, depicted with the help of non-professional actors hailing from the favelas itself.
Tom Cruise plays a hitman who takes a taxi driver, played by Jamie Foxx, hostage in Michael Mann’s neo-noir crime thriller, in which the latter must figure out how to stop the former.
The Conjuring (2013)
A pair of paranormal investigators (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) are hired by a family who have been experiencing increasingly disturbing events at their farmhouse, in this effective horror from James Wan.
Crazy Rich Asians (2018)
Based on the novel of the same name, a Chinese-American professor travels halfway around the world to Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s extremely-rich family, where she must contend with weird relatives, jealous socialites, and the boyfriend’s disapproving mother (Michelle Yeoh).
A Death in the Gunj (2016)
In Konkona Sen Sharma’s feature-length directorial debut, a shy and sensitive Indian student (Vikrant Massey) pays a heavy price for his gentleness, while on a road trip with his conceited relatives and family friends. Ranvir Shorey, Kalki Koechlin star alongside.
The Death of Stalin (2017)
Veep creator Armando Iannucci approaches this momentous occasion in the history of Russia through the lens of black comedy and political satire, depicting the power struggles that ensued following the titular dictator’s death in 1953. Jeffrey Tambor, who stars, stands accused in the #MeToo movement.
Dil Chahta Hai (2001)
Farhan Akhtar’s directorial debut about three inseparable childhood friends whose wildly different approach to relationships creates a strain on their friendship remains a cult favourite. Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan, and Preity Zinta star.
Dhuruvangal Pathinaaru (2016)
Writer-director Karthick Naren was just 22 when he delivered this Tamil-language neo-noir crime thriller about retired police officer (Rahman) recounting how he lost his leg while investigating the mysterious death of a couple. Praised for its direction and writing, and attention to visuals.
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995)
Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol’s characters fall in love during a trip to Europe with their friends in this now iconic film — which is still playing over two decades later in a single-screen Mumbai theatre — but face hurdles as the woman’s conservative father has promised her hand in marriage to someone else.
A stuntman moonlighting as a getaway driver (Ryan Gosling) grows fond of his neighbour and her young son, and then takes part in a botched heist to protect them from the debt-ridden husband.
Dum Laga Ke Haisha (2015)
After a court order mandates a video cassette store owner and an RSS volunteer (Ayushmann Khurrana) and a plus-sized teacher-in-training (Bhumi Pednekar) to salvage their failing marriage, the two begin to put themselves in each other’s shoes, before deciding to take part in a piggyback race. Won a National Award.
Christopher Nolan’s first historical war movie chronicles the evacuation of Allied soldiers from the French beaches of Dunkirk in World War II, using his love for non-linear storytelling by depicting three fronts — land, sea, and air — in time-shifted ways.
Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
Tom Cruise stars as an officer with no combat experience who is caught in a time loop during an alien invasion, and then trains under an experienced colleague (Emily Blunt) to win the day for mankind.
Ee. Ma. Yau. [R.I.P.] (2018)
A son struggles to organise the grand burial he promised his dad in this Malayalam-language black comedy that’s largely shot in natural light. Lijo Jose Pellissery directs.
Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
Roald Dahl’s children’s novel about a fox who steals food from three mean and wealthy farmers gets the stop-motion treatment from Wes Anderson, featuring the voices of George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe, and Michael Gambon.
A Fantastic Woman (2017)
Chile’s first openly transgender actor Daniela Vega stars as a trans waitress and singer in this socially aware and compelling character study film, who feels the full wrath of society after the unexpected and sudden death of her older male lover. She must fight for the right to be herself: a woman. Won the Oscar for best international film.
Fight Club (1999)
Brad Pitt and Edward Norton star in this cult hit from David Fincher, about a white-collared insomniac disappointed with his capitalistic lifestyle, who forms an underground fight club with a devil-may-care soapmaker, which evolves into something much more.
Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, and Mark Ruffalo star in this loosely-based-on-a-true-story tale of Olympic gold medalist wrestlers, Mark (Tatum) and Dave Schultz (Ruffalo), being hired by eccentric multimillionaire John E. du Pont (Carell), whose self-destructive nature lead to the murder of one of them.
Gangs of Wasseypur (2012)
Inspired by the 2008 Tamil-language film Subramaniapuram, Anurag Kashyap concocts a gangster epic that blends politics, vengeance, and romance as it looks at the power struggles between three crime families in and around the Jharkhand city of Dhanbad, the epicentre of the coal mafia.
Winner of five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Russell Crowe, this Ridley Scott-directed film tells a moving story of a Roman general (Crowe) who loses everything — his family and rank —to end up as a slave and then seeks vengeance on the perpetrator (Joaquin Phoenix).
The Godfather (1972)
In what is considered one of the greatest films of all-time, an aging leader (Marlon Brando) of a New York mafia transfers control of his empire to his youngest son (Al Pacino), who goes from a reluctant outsider to a ruthless boss.
The Godfather Part II (1974)
Francis Ford Coppola’s follow-up to his original, centering on Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) at the top of the pecking order while offering a look back at his father’s (Robert De Niro) past, is considered by some to be better than its predecessor.
Gol Maal (1979)
A chartered accountant (Amol Palekar), with a knack for singing and acting, falls deep down the rabbit hole after lying to his boss that he has a twin, in this Hrishikesh Mukherjee comedy.
Two US astronauts, a first-timer (Sandra Bullock) and another on his final mission (George Clooney), are stranded in space after their shuttle is destroyed, and then must battle debris and challenging conditions to return home.
Gully Boy (2019)
An aspiring, young street rapper (Ranveer Singh) from the slums of Mumbai sets out to realise his dream, while dealing with the complications that arise out of his personal life and the socioeconomic strata to which he belongs. Zoya Akhtar directs, and Alia Bhatt stars alongside.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
Alfonso Cuarón stepped behind the camera for what many consider to be the best Harry Potter film, as the boy who lived enters his third year at Hogwarts, and is told that Sirus Black, an escapee from the wizarding world prison Azkaban, is after his life.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
Working off the tone set by Alfonso Cuarón, the fourth entry in the series finds the titular chosen one pulled into an inter-school magical tournament, while battling the disturbing visions and the aching pain that stem from his forehead scar.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)
In this final thrilling chapter, the famous trio — Harry, Ron, and Hermione — face a race against time to find and destroy Voldemort’s remaining Horcruxes, while the students and teachers of Hogwarts unite to defend the school.
Al Pacino and Robert De Niro star on opposite sides of the law — the former a detective, the latter a thief — in Michael Mann’s stylistic crime drama, with a group of bank robbers planning a heist unaware the police are onto them.
A lonely man (Joaquin Phoenix) falls in love with an intelligent computer operating system (Scarlett Johansson), who enriches his life and learns from him, in Spike Jonze’s masterpiece.
Hera Pheri (2000)
Unemployed and struggling with money, a landlord and his two tenants (Paresh Rawal, Akshay Kumar, and Sunil Shetty) chance on a ransom phone call and plan to collect the ransom for themselves in this remake of the 1989 Malayalam film Ramji Rao Speaking.
How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
Brought up in a world where Vikings have a tradition of being dragon slayers, a young teenager becomes an unlikely friend with a young dragon and learns there may be more to the creatures than everyone thinks.
The Hurt Locker (2008)
Best picture winner at the Oscars, a new leader (Jeremy Renner) of a bomb disposal squad surprises his subordinates with his views and reckless approach to the job in the Iraqi capital. Kathryn Bigelow became first woman to win best director.
The Imitation Game (2014)
Though historically inaccurate in various aspects, Benedict Cumberbatch’s turn as British mathematician Alan Turing who helps the Allies decrypt the Nazi intelligence codes, Morten Tyldum’s direction, and the work of its strong supporting cast brought it much success and acclaim.
From the mind of Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio stars as a thief who has the power to enter other’s dreams and steal their ideas, and is then given the mission of his life if he wants to be reunited with his family.
Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Directed by Steven Spielberg off a story by George Lucas, an eponymous archaeologist (Harrison Ford) travels the world and battles a group of Nazis while looking for a mysterious artefact, in what is now often considered as one of the greatest films of all-time.
Into The Wild (2007)
Based on Jon Krakauer’s nonfiction book, Sean Penn goes behind the camera to direct the story of a top student and athlete who gives up all possessions and savings to charity, and hitchhikes across America to live in the Alaskan wilderness.
Aishwarya Rai made her acting debut with a dual supporting role in Mani Ratnam’s biographical film, which is inspired by the real-life rivalry of 1980s Tamil Nadu political icons M.G. Ramachandran (Mohanlal) and M. Karunanidhi (Prakash Raj).
Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro (1983)
In this satire of politics, bureaucracy, and the media, two photographers (Naseeruddin Shah and Ravi Baswani) inadvertently capture a murder while trying to expose the rich. A Mahabharata dramatisation in the third act is a renowned highlight.
When a New Orleans district attorney (Kevin Costner) tries to unearth the mystery and possible conspiracy — part of its “creative license” — behind the assassination of former US President John Kennedy, he’s faced with considerable pressure from the government. Tommy Lee Jones, Gary Oldman co-star. Oliver Stone directs.
Jurassic Park (1993)
It might be over 25 years old at this point but watching the very first Jurassic film from Steven Spielberg — based on Michael Crichton’s novel, which he co-adapted — is a great way to remind yourself why the new series, Jurassic World, has no idea why it’s doing.
Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959)
Guru Dutt directed and starred in what is regarded as one of the greatest films of all time, about a famous director (Dutt) who casts an unknown woman (Waheeda Rehman) in his next film, and the opposing trajectories of their careers thereon.
Kannathil Muthamittal (2002)
Upon learning that she is adopted, a young girl embarks on a journey across civil war-ravaged Sri Lanka to find her biological mother who is part of the revolutionaries. Mani Ratnam directs.
The King of Comedy (1982)
In Martin Scorsese’s overlooked satire of celebrity worship and media culture, an aspiring comic (Robert De Niro) stalks his late-night talk show idol to earn a big break, and then kidnaps him when things don’t work out.
An honest cop’s son (Mohanlal) finds himself on a slippery slope after defending his father (Thilakan) from a local mobster in this Malayalam-language drama. Sibi Malayil directs.
Kumbalangi Nights (2019)
Four brothers who share a love-hate relationship stand behind one of their own in matters of the heart in this Malayalam-language family drama that explores masculinity with nuance and in detail. Directorial debut of Madhu C. Narayanan.
Kung Fu Panda (2008)
After an obese kung fu enthusiast panda is supposedly mistakenly chosen as the Dragon Warrior to fight an impending threat, he is unwillingly taught by an elderly master and his students who have been training for years.
L.A. Confidential (1997)
As corruption brews in post-war Los Angeles, three police officers — one sordid (Kevin Spacey), one brutal (Russell Crowe) and one moralistic (Guy Pearce) — investigate a series of murders in their own way, and form an uneasy alliance. Spacey stands accused in the #MeToo movement.
Lage Raho Munna Bhai (2006)
In this sequel to the 2003 original (also on the list), the Mumbai underworld don (Sanjay Dutt) starts to live by the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi to impress a radio jockey (Vidya Balan) he’s smitten with. Some felt it dumbed down Gandhism. Co-written and directed by Rajkumar Hirani, who stands accused in the #MeToo movement.
The Legend of Bhagat Singh (2002)
Ajay Devgn plays the titular socialist revolutionary and freedom fighter in writer-director Rajkumar Santoshi’s biopic, which follows Singh — and later his associates, Shivaram Rajguru, Sukhdev Thapar, and Chandra Shekhar Azad — from the Jallianwala Bagh massacre to the bombing of Parliament House. Some did not like its treatment of Gandhi.
The Lego Movie (2014)
An ordinary, rules-following Lego minifigure (Chris Pratt) is mistakenly identified as the most extraordinary person and the key to saving the world from an evil tyrant, for which he is hilariously underprepared. It spawned the hit single, “Everything Is Awesome”.
Lipstick Under My Burkha (2016)
Denied for a release for six months, this black comedy centres on four women in small town India who set out on a journey to discover freedom and happiness in a conservative society.
Little Women (2019)
Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Laura Dern, Timothée Chalamet, and Meryl Streep lead the ensemble cast of writer-director Greta Gerwig’s clever metatextual ode to Louisa May Alcott, whose 1868 novel of the same name, about four young women who live life on their terms, this seventh live-action adaptation is based on.
Before the terrific Star Wars: The Last Jedi, writer-director Rian Johnson gave us this dark twisty sci-fi thriller set in a future where the mob gets rid of victims by sending them to hitmen — called loopers — in the past. One such looper’s (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) life is upended after he meets his future self (Bruce Willis).
The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003)
Peter Jackson brought J.R.R. Tolkien’s expansive Middle-Earth to life in these three three-hour epics, which charts the journey of a meek hobbit (Elijah Wood) and his various companions, as they try to stop the Dark Lord Sauron by destroying the source of his power, the One Ring.
Crises befall a few youngsters — a cab driver, a BPO interviewee, and a hot-headed lover — whose lives are interlinked after they arrive in a big city in this Tamil-language thriller. Feature-length debut for writer-director Lokesh Kanagaraj.
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron star in director George Miller’s reboot of his own franchise, which finds a woman (Theron) rebelling against a tyrannical ruler of postapocalyptic desert, and giving us some of the best action sequences in the process.
Manichitrathazhu [Manichithrathazhu] (1993)
In this Malayalam-language psychological thriller classic, a young wife (Shobana) is possessed by the spirit of a vengeful dancer after she opens a locked room in their new haunted mansion. To help get rid of it, the husband’s psychiatrist friend (Mohanlal) suggests an unusual cure.
Mean Girls (2004)
Tina Fey’s cult hit teen comedy follows a home-schooled 16-year-old (Lindsay Lohan) who’s an instant hit with A-list girl clique at her new school, until she makes the mistake of falling for the ex-boyfriend of the clique’s alpha.
Michael Madana Kama Rajan [Michael Madhana Kamarajan] (1990)
Kamal Haasan wrote and starred as quadruplets — a petty criminal, a businessman, a cook, and a firefighter — in this screwball comedy oft considered the greatest in Tamil-language cinema. Separated at birth, the four come together in adulthood, having had completely different upbringings.
Minority Report (2002)
Steven Spielberg loosely adapts Philip K. Dick’s short story of a future where a special police unit can catch criminals before a crime is committed thanks to a technology, and what happens when an officer from that unit (Tom Cruise) is himself accused of a murder.
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)
After the agency he works for is wrongly implicated in the bombing of the Kremlin, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and a new team are forced to go rogue and clear their employer’s name in this fourth entry of the franchise.
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)
With the organisation he works for disbanded and his country after him, Hunt (Cruise) races against time to prove the existence of the schemers pulling the strings in this fifth chapter. Introduced Rebecca Ferguson to the franchise.
Oscar winner for best picture, the story of a young black man through three defining chapters of his life, all while he grapples with his sexuality, and the ecstasy, pain, and beauty of falling in love. Heralded for its moving portrait of the African-American experience. Mahershala Ali, who co-stars, won the Oscar for best supporting actor.
A 16th-century Mughal prince clashes with his father, Emperor Akbar, after he falls in love with a court dancer in this epic drama, which stands as a milestone in Indian cinema and is called by some as the best Hindi film ever made. Noted for its grandeur, especially a musical piece set in a replica of the Lahore Fort’s Sheesh Mahal. Questioned for its historical accuracy and creative liberties elsewhere. Amazon has the 2004 digitally-coloured version.
Mullum Malarum (1978)
The late renowned writer-director J. Mahendran made his directorial debut with this Tamil-language drama that eschewed industry conventions of melodrama, overacting, and duets for its story of a cable trolley winch operator and a doting brother (Rajnikanth) who clashes with his boss. Partly based on Uma Chandran’s novel of the same name.
After a Palestinian terrorist group kills 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, the latter’s government launches a secret retaliation, tasking five men to hunt and kill those responsible for the massacre. Steven Spielberg directs, based on a true story.
Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. (2003)
After his parents find out he has been pretending to be a doctor, a good-natured Mumbai underworld don (Sanjay Dutt) tries to redeem himself by enrolling in a medical college, where his compassion brushes up against the authoritarian dean (Boman Irani). Co-written and directed by Rajkumar Hirani, who stands accused in the #MeToo movement.
Set in a remote Turkish village, the lives of five young orphaned sisters, who after being seen with boys on a beach, are put in confinement by their conservative guardians, who then begin to arrange for their marriages. A debut feature for its Turkish-French director Deniz Gamze Ergüven.
My Family (1995)
Jennifer Lopez gave her first major performance in this three-generational Mexican-American family drama that spans three decades from the 1930s to the 1960s. Its final shot is a homage to the final scene in Satyajit Ray’s trilogy-concluding The World of Apu.
Inspired by The Godfather — though good luck getting writer-director Mani Ratnam to admit it — and the life of Bombay (now Mumbai) crime boss Varadarajan Mudaliar, it depicts and the life and death of Velu (Kamal Haasan) who becomes a gangster and builds an empire.
Winner of the National Award for best Hindi film, in which Rajkummar Rao stars as a government clerk who tries to run a free and fair election in the Naxal-controlled conflict-ridden jungles of India.
Notting Hill (1999)
Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant lead this rom-com set in the London borough of the same name, about a frumpy bookstore clerk (Grant) whose life is completely changed after he spills juice on a famous American actress (Roberts). Praised by most for being sweet, funny, and intelligent, though some felt it was trite, unrealistic, and too sweet.
Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
In this first of Steven Soderbergh’s trilogy, which features an ensemble cast including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon, Danny Ocean (Clooney) and his eleven associates plan to rob three Las Vegas casinos at the same time.
Once Upon A Time in America (1984)
Spanning four decades, Sergio Leone’s final sprawling film about a kid in a Jewish slum (Robert De Niro) who rises to prominence in New York’s world of organised crime remains one of the greatest gangster films of all-time.
Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood (2019)
Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Margot Robbie lead the ensemble cast of Quentin Tarantino’s “fairy tale tribute” to the waning days of Hollywood’s golden age, which follows an ageing actor (DiCaprio) and his long-time friend and stunt double (Pitt) as they navigate a changing industry.
Sunil Dutt, Saira Banu, Mehmood, and Kishore Kumar star in this remake of the 1952 Bengali film Pasher Bari, about a young man (Dutt) who falls in love with his new neighbour (Banu) and then enlists the help of his singer-actor friend (Kumar) to woo her away from her music teacher (Mehmood).
Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
In Guillermo del Toro’s fantastical version of Spain five years after the civil war, Ofelia — a young stepdaughter of a cruel army officer — is told she is the reincarnated version of an underworld princess but must complete three tasks to prove herself.
A poor street-smart family of four ingratiate themselves into the lives of a much wealthier one, before running into something wholly unexpected that threatens to undo their newly-developed symbiotic relationship. A biting, satirical look at classism and capitalism. Won the Oscar for best picture, becoming the first South Korean film to do so.
Pariyerum Perumal (2018)
An idealistic young man from a poor, oppressed caste family strikes a friendship with a much wealthier female classmate at law school in this Tamil-language film, earning him the wrath of her relatives and the society at large. Debut for writer-director Mari Selvaraj.
Passion Fish (1992)
Paralysed in an accident and forced into a wheelchair, a soap opera actress (Mary McDonnell) becomes bitter and offends every caregiver in her self-pity. In walks a straight-talking nurse (Alfre Woodard) with problems of her own. The respected indie filmmaker John Sayles writes and directs.
After his wife abandons him and their cerebral palsy daughter for another man, a single father (Mammooty) working as a cab driver in Dubai must return home and raise his only kid, while on the brink of homelessness. Originally in Tamil-language.
Based on Amrita Pritam’s Punjabi novel of the same name and set in the years before and after the Partition, a Hindu woman (Urmila Matondkar) returns to her Muslim kidnapper (Manoj Bajpayee) after she’s disowned by her family upon escaping. Won a National Award.
The Prestige (2006)
After a tragic accident, two fellow magicians (Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale) turn bitter enemies in this thriller from Christopher Nolan, and engage in a battle to create the ultimate illusion, while sacrificing everything they have.
After his daughter and her friend are kidnapped, a father (Hugh Jackman) takes matters into his own hands while the police methodically track down multiple leads, getting himself into trouble. Jake Gyllenhaal co-stars.
Guru Dutt directed and starred in this classic set in then-Calcutta which follows a struggling, anguished poet named Vijay (Dutt) who is unable to get recognition for his work until he meets Gulab (Waheeda Rehman), a prostitute with a heart of gold.
Based on the real-life events depicted in Harinder Sikka’s 2008 novel “Calling Sehmat”, Alia Bhatt stars as an undercover Kashmiri RAW agent who marries into a Pakistani military family to spy on the enemy prior to and during the 1971 Indo-Pak War. Some critics found it improbable.
The Raid: Redemption (2011)
This Indonesian martial arts actioner balks at Hollywood’s over-reliance on guns and explosions to wow audiences, using long stretches of incredible fight choreography to bolster its simple video game-ish plot: an elite cop squad sent to clear a high-rise building owned by a drug lord, floor by floor.
The Raid 2 (2014)
As hyper-violent though more inventive, the sequel to the Indonesian original finds the rookie hero forced to go undercover in prison to expose the corrupt cops working for Jakarta’s criminal underworld. Naturally, it’s less plot and heavy on action, which more than delivers on expectations.
Raising Victor Vargas (2002)
The titular teenager from New York City’s Lower East Side neighbourhood struggles with his reputation in his attempts to win over a girl beyond his reach, while dealing with his strict, eccentric grandmother, his bratty sister, and a bothersome, younger brother, all four of whom live in a tiny apartment.
The Report (2019)
An idealistic government investigator (Adam Driver) uncovers shocking secrets as he dives into the CIA’s post-9/11 use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” — in simpler words, torture — and faces severe pushback from those in the know.
Before Dil Se.. and Bombay, Mani Ratnam’s exploration of human relationships against the backdrop of politics began with this Tamil-language film, about a newly-wed woman who moves to Kashmir and struggles to find her husband after he is kidnapped by Kashmiri separatists.
Having been born in captivity, a five-year-old boy (Jacob Tremblay) gets to experience the outside world after a miraculous escape thanks to his mother (Brie Larson), who must deal with her own monsters after getting out. Larson won the Oscar and BAFTA for best actress. Based on writer Emma Donoghue’s novel of the same name.
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
In this psychological horror based on Ira Levin’s best-selling novel, a young pregnant woman (Mia Farrow) suspects an evil cult — involving her neighbours — wants to take her baby for use in their rituals.
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
In Steven Spielberg’s World War II drama, while war rages on in Normandy, an army captain (Tom Hanks) is given the task of searching for a particular private (Matt Damon), whose three brothers have already been killed.
Told entirely through screens — computers and smartphones — a father (John Cho) breaks into his teenage daughter’s laptop after she goes missing and detectives are unable to find a single lead.
A Separation (2011)
Asghar Farhadi’s Oscar-winning drama follows an Iranian middle-class couple, whose 14-year-old marriage begins to dissolve after they reach a crossroads over the wife’s wishes to leave the country and the husband’s concerns for his elderly Alzheimer’s father.
Not many films have a level of prominence in popular Indian culture that is enjoyed by this fine example of “Curry Western”, which blends real-life elements with the works of Akira Kurosawa and Sergio Leone. Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Hema Malini, Sanjeev Kumar, and Jaya Bhaduri (now Bachchan) star.
After a poor Delhi man’s (Rajesh Tailang) 12-year-old son goes missing while away on work hundreds of kilometres away in Punjab, he sets out across the country to find him, fearing he’s been trafficked.
South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999)
In this feature-length expansion of the popular adult animated comedy, which took a musical turn with 12 original songs, the four boys Stan, Kyle, Eric and Kenny start cursing after watching an adult movie featuring Canadians, and then must stop their parents from waging war against Canada.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
Drawn with a mix of computer-generated and hand-drawn art, Miles Morales is drawn into an inter-dimensional conflict soon after he’s bit by a spider and gains superpowers, pushing him to team up to save the multiverse. Set for a 2022 sequel.
A Star Is Born (2018)
Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga star in this latest — fourth, if you’re counting — remake of the 1937 classic tale, of an alcoholic fading star (Cooper) meeting and discovering a future star (Gaga). Cooper marks his directorial debut.
Star Trek (2009)
J.J. Abrams reboots the Trek film franchise by taking it into an alternate reality, where the young Kirk and Spock aboard USS Enterprise must combat a determined enemy from the future, who’s creating black holes to destroy planets one by one.
The true story of the 2009 emergency plane landing on New York’s Hudson River gets the everyday-hero treatment from Clint Eastwood, focusing on the pilot’s (Tom Hanks) heroics and the subsequent investigation that tried to paint him otherwise.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Arnold Schwarzenegger returns as the android, now reprogrammed and sent back in time (again) to protect a younger version of a resistance leader, in James Cameron’s sequel to the original that is considered one of the greatest films of all time.
Mani Ratnam directs this Tamil-language crime drama loosely based on Karna and Duryodhana’s friendship from Mahabharata, in which everything changes for a slum-dwelling orphan (Rajinikanth) who’s taken under the wing of a local gang lord (Mammooty) with the arrival of a new district magistrate.
While looking for a secret treasure in a village in 20th-century Maharashtra, a man and his son face the consequences of building a temple for a legendary demon who’s not supposed to be worshipped in this psychological horror film.
Based on a true story, a nine-man Kerala police unit (Mammootty among them) must ensure peaceful elections in the Maoist-prone areas of Chhattisgarh with an insufficient number of bullets — unda is Malayalam for “bullet”.
Vaastav: The Reality (1999)
Loosely based on the life of Mumbai gangster Chhota Rajan, a young man (Sanjay Dutt) from the ghettos accidentally murders someone, which leads him into a life of crime where he swiftly climbs up the ladder — before launching into a spiral.
Set against the backdrop of the 2018 Nipah virus outbreak in the Indian state of Kerala, individuals from various walks of life come together to contain its spread in this gripping Malayalam-language thriller. Parvathy, Tovino Thomas, and Revathi star.
An ambitious young drummer (Miles Teller) is pushed to his limits and beyond by an abusive instructor (J.K. Simmons) in what became writer-director Damien Chazelle’s breakthrough.
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Leonardo DiCaprio stars as a real-life stockbroker who swindled over $100 million from buyers and scammed his way to the top, before he was caught and charged with fraud, corruption, and money laundering. Martin Scorsese directs, in ways that were accused of glorifying its protagonist’s reprehensible actions.
Wonder Woman (2017)
After a pilot (Chris Pine) crashes and informs them about an ongoing World War, an Amazonian princess (Gal Gadot) leaves her secluded life to enter the world of men and stop what she believes to be the return of Amazons’ nemesis.
Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
The decade-long international manhunt for Osama bin Laden is the focus of this thriller from Kathryn Bigelow, dramatised as and when needed to keep a CIA intelligence analyst (Jessica Chastain) at the centre of the story.
Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011)
Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar, and Abhay Deol star as three childhood friends who set off on a bachelor trip across Spain, which becomes an opportunity to heal past wounds, combat their worst fears, and fall in love with life.
David Fincher signed on Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, and Robert Downey Jr. to depict a cartoonist’s (Gyllenhaal) obsession with figuring out the identity of the Zodiac Killer in the 1960s–70s.