Amazon Prime Video is the retail giant's rival to Netflix, a streaming service that gives you immediate access to an array of films and TV shows to stream or download and watch offline, including some original content that you can't watch anywhere else. There are thousands of things to watch, which is brilliant right up until the moment you sit down and actually have to try and pick something. 

So, to save you from indecision, we've rounded up 20 of the best films Amazon has to offer. Every single one of these is currently included for free as part of the Prime subscription service, but if you're not a subscriber then you can always rent or buy a digital copy directly from Amazon too.

If you're looking for more inspiration you might also want to consider subscribing to one of the Amazon Prime Channels: these are add-on subscriptions for your Prime account that give you access to films from rival apps like Mubi or BFI Player, along with other films selected from distributors like Arrow Entertainment or MGM, which you can then watch from within the Amazon Prime interface and apps.

Got a favourite we didn't include? Let us know in the comments, and we'll be updating this piece regularly as the Amazon Prime film library changes.

Don't have Prime? Take a look at our complete guide to Amazon Prime to find out more about the service and how to sign up.

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol

Watch Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol on Amazon Prime

The Mission: Impossible series has gone from strength to strength over the last few years. The most recent film - Fallout - is arguably the best yet, but up until then that honour had gone to Ghost Protocol. The brainchild of Incredibles director Brad Bird, the film saw star Tom Cruise climb the real Burj Khalifa for a vertigo-inducing stunt that hasn't been topped since.

What We Do in the Shadows

Watch What We Do in the Shadows on Amazon Prime

This incredible comedy from director Taika Waititi (who's since gone on to direct a little movie called Thor: Ragnarok) takes the mockumentary style of The Office or Spinal Tap and applies it to a small group of New Zealand housemates who just so happen to be vampires. Irreverent, off-kilter, and very, very clever, What We Do in the Shadows is occasionally uneven, but never dull.

Tickled

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Bear with us here - this is a documentary about competitive tickling. But it's also really, really good. Reporter David Farrier (think New Zealand's take on Louis Theroux) undercovers the strange and seedy world of 'competitive endurance tickling', discovering a web of abuse and blackmail as he goes.

Lost in Translation

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Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson get depressed (but, you know, in a funny way) in Japan in this 2003 classic by Sofia Coppola (daughter of Francis Ford Coppola). It’s the film that proved Murray was more than just a funny face, picking up his first Oscar nomination and winning a BAFTA and Golden Globe, while giving us an unforgettable introduction to Suntory whisky.

Moon

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This slick low-budget sci-fi drama from Duncan Jones (David Bowie's son, no less) sees Sam Rockwell play the only man living and working on a lunar colony... until he meets himself. Amazing production design and a clever script make the film look much more expensive than it is, but expect thought-provoking weirdness rather than big-budget brawls.

Macbeth

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Macbeth isn’t exactly new to cinema, and it takes guts to tackle a play that’s already been filmed by the likes of Oscar Welles and Roman Polanski. Still, that didn’t stop Justin Kurzel, who recruited Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard for the purpose. It’s a vicious, violent Macbeth, with stunning performances, atmospheric visuals, and feels like a genuinely new take on the play.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Watch Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy on Amazon Prime

John le Carré's most famous spy novel is brought to the big screen in impeccable form in this adaptation, which condenses the labyrinthine plot without losing any of its vital intricacy. It helps that the cast is phenomenal, from Gary Oldman as the central spook George Smiley through to the likes of John Hurt, Mark Strong, Toby Jones, Colin Firth, and more.

Carol

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It's rare for a film to come along with a pair of career-defining lead performances from women, but then Carol is a pretty rare film. Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara two women who fall for each other in '50s New York, and each gives a stellar performance. Director Todd Haynes shoots the period setting beautifully, and captures all the intensity of their romance without ever straying into melodrama.

Room

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A film about a abducted teenage girl living her life out in a garden shed was never likely to be a cheery affair, so the fact that Room is ultimately uplifting is a testament to the film. Brie Larson is the girl who's lived the last few years in captivity, raising her son to believe that 'Room' is the entire world. Larson's great, Jacob Tremblay is phenomenal as the kid, and the result is one of the most powerful films in years.

Attack the Block

Watch Attack the Block on Amazon Prime

Who do you want watching your back in an alien invasion? The police? The military? How about the resident teenagers of a London housing estate? Joe Cornish's brilliant sci-fi/horror/comedy thing pits south London's finest up against glow-in-the-dark alien nasties in a battle for the block. There's a great sense of humour - though it never looks down on the locals - and some of the coolest looking extraterrestrials in years.

Moonlight

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2017's Best Picture winner (after just a little confusion) is a moving portrait of what it's like to grow up gay as a black man in America. It tackles homophobia, drug abuse, and violence, but always tastefully, with never a hint of sensationalism under Barry Jenkins' light directorial hand. Rightfully claimed, this is a film that's as powerful as it is important.

The Lost City of Z

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Based on the true story of British explorer Percy Fawcett, this is no ordinary biopic. Chronicling his obsessive, decades-long search for a mythical Aztec city, this is both an homage to adventure movies of old and a portrait of a singularly driven man. Charlie Hunnam is brilliant as the lead, but the real star is an almost unrecognisable Robert Pattinson as his drunken comrade.

The Great Gatsby

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Baz Lurhmann was always going to do something a bit different with The Great Gatsby, which anyone could see was a perfect match for his theatrical style after Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge. His Gatsby pairs opulent '20s style with modern hip hop music for a film that's both period and contemporary, and consistently extravagant either way.

Free Fire

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Director Ben Wheatley is best known for dark, twisted thrillers, but here turns his hand to another genre entirely: the '70s action blowout. A gun deal gone wrong leaves two groups of crooks trapped in a warehouse together with bullets flying every which way. Funny, anarchic, and constantly creative, this is probably the director's best film yet.

Contact

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Long before Interstellar or Arrival came Contact, a Robert Zemeckis joint starring Jodie Foster as a scientist tasked with deciphering the first messages from an alien civilisation, and Matthew McConaughey as a theologian who has a contrasting outlook on what it may mean. Thought provoking, brilliantly cast, and visually striking (even by modern standards), the recent wave of big-brained sci-fi owes almost as much to Contact as it does to 2001.

The Big Sick

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Kumail Nanjiani stars in this rom-com adapted from his own life, which sees a relationship in its early stages shaken by serious illness. You just have to look at Nanjiani's real-life marriage to know the film has a happy ending, but along the way it's a smart comedy that's refreshingly honest and free from the standard Hollywood cliches.

Hell or High Water

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It's hard to believe that this none-more-American crime thriller actually comes from a Scottish director, but David Mackenzie nails the tone of the modern western in Hell or High Water. Chris Pine and Ben Foster are two brothers out to commit a string of bank robberies, with Jeff Bridges the unexpectedly capable sheriff on their tail - though there's a lot more under the surface here than a simple tale of cops and robbers.

Paddington 2

Watch Paddington 2 on Amazon Prime

The first Paddington movie was a loving, lovely tribute to the little bear from deepest, darkest Peru, pairing startlingly lifelike animation with a surprising amount of heart. The sequel is all that and more, this time sending Paddington to cinema's loveliest prison and pitting him against Hugh Grant's devilishly charming baddie.

The Death of Stalin

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This audacious comedy from In the Thick of It creator Armando Iannucci reimagines the political squabbling in the wake of Josef Stalin's death courtesy of a cast of British and American actors - using British and American accents to brilliant comic effect. This is as black a comedy as it is silly, and it's whip-smart throughout.

A Monster Calls

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An adaptation of a YA novel by acclaimed author Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls is visually stunning and moving to boot. Liam Neeson voices the titular monster, which appears to help the young Conor as he comes to grips with the impending death of his mother (Felicity Jones). The emotional and the psychological are weaved together impeccably from beginning to end - be ready to weep.