Best Movies on Hulu Right Now

Hulu had some rough patches in its early days, but it’s quietly become a serious streaming player. While Netflix is still ahead of the pack, and Amazon loops you in because you’re already signed up for their Prime service, you’d be wise to give Hulu a look. The streaming service isn’t just amassing quality TV series like The Handmaid’s Tale and Casual; it also has a surprisingly robust selection of movies.

So if you feel like nothing on Netflix or Amazon is catching your fancy, or if you just want to get the most out of your subscription, take a look at some of the best movies currently available on Hulu.

'71

Director: Yann Demange

Writer: Gregory Burke

Cast: Jack O’Connell, Jack Lowden, Richard Dormer, Charlie Murphy, David Wilmot, Sam Reid, Barry Keoghan, and Sean Harris

After you see ’71, you’re going to want to keep director Yann Demange on your radar. The film takes place in Belfast at the height of the Troubles in 1971. Jack O’Connell plays a British soldier trapped in enemy territory, and follows him as he tries to get back home despite being surrounded by people who want him dead. Demange directs the whole enterprise with a deft hand, capturing the violence and tension that pervades the environment without sensationalizing it. The film is highly reminiscent of Paul Greengrass’ brilliant Bloody Sunday but with a fictionalized story rather than trying to capture a true event. Anchored by O’Connell’s strong leading performance, you should check out ’71 now so when Demange becomes a big name director, you can point people to his stunning feature debut. – Matt Goldberg

A Mighty Wind

Director: Christopher Guest

Writers: Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy

Cast: Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest, Fred Willard, Bob Balaban, Ed Begley, Jr., Jennifer Coolidge, John Michael Higgins, Jane Lynch, and Parker Posey

Director Christopher Guest is operating at the top of his game with his 2003 mockumentary that takes on folk music. The plot follows three folk acts—The Folksman, The New Main Street Singers, and Mitch & Mickey—who come together to play a memorial concert for folk music producer Irving Steinbloom. Aside from the music being genuinely good, Guest has his top-notch cast playing a memorable cast of characters. It’s a movie that only gets better with repeat viewings and also a surprising amount of heart with the Mitch & Mickey storyline. – Matt Goldberg

Dave

Director: Ivan Reitman

Writer: Gary Ross

Cast: Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, Frank Langella, Kevin Dunn, Ving Rhames, and Ben Kingsley

This is just a feel-good movie the drastically reduces the Presidency down to a level where we just need a likable fix-it guy who can call in his buddy to fix the budget in order to save homeless shelters. Setting the lack of realism aside, Kevin Kline is utterly charming as Dave Kovic, a guy who runs a temp agency and moonlights as a Presidential impersonator. When the real President (also Kline) suffers a stroke, his two advisors bring in Dave to fill in while they try to scheme their way to the Oval Office. Dave, however, is so likable, that he ends up making their lives more difficult. The movie is lighter than air, but it’s a concoction I never get tired of. – Matt Goldberg

Four Lions

Director: Chris Morris

Writers: Chris Morris, Jesse Armstrong, and Sam Bain

Cast: Riz Ahmed, Kayvan Novak, Nigel Lindsay, Adeel Akhtar, and Arsher Ali

Yes, terrorism can be funny if handled correctly. If you don’t believe me, look no further than Chris Morris’ 2010 dark comedy, Four Lions. The movie follows a group of young British men who want to become suicide bombers, but are too stupid to pull it off. It’s a sharp, biting satire of people who are desperate to be taken seriously, but are gigantic morons. While terrorism should be taken seriously, Four Lions shows that the power of terrorists is reduced when you expose them as buffoons. There really hasn’t been another movie like it, and I hope that Morris’ follow up arrives soon. – Matt Goldberg

Hobo with a Shotgun

Director: Jason Eisener

Writer: John Davies

Cast: Rutger Hauer, Molly Dunsworth, Brian Downey, Gregory Smith, Nick Bateman, and Robb Wells

This movie is absolutely bonkers. Jason Eisener’s 2011 film is gross, gritty, and insane in all the best ways. Set in a disgusting town where people are decapitated by manhole cover (not even close to the most insane thing that happens in this movie), a homeless drifter (Rutger Hauer) gets caught up in the machinations of the twisted burb and starts bringing justice at the end of a shotgun. The title is not misleading. Hobo with a Shotgun is not a movie for everyone. You’ll know if it’s for you after the first 10 minutes or so. But if you like those ten minutes, you’re going to be in for a wild, unforgettable ride. – Matt Goldberg

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Director: Nicholas Meyer

Writer: Jack B. Sowards

Cast: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelly, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, Kirstie Alley, and Ricardo Montalban

35 years later and Star Trek II is still the best Star Trek. There are other good ones—Star Trek IV, Star Trek VI, Star Trek: First Contact—but The Wrath of Khan is a genuinely great movie. It takes the best elements from the series and pays them off in a way that feels both cinematic and yet true to the original show. The weight of these relationships exist because we’re already invested in the characters, and even the central conflict—Kirk facing off against a madman he exiled—comes from the Original Series episode “Space Seed.” It’s a movie with real stakes, tense set pieces, a memorable villain, and a heartbreaking finish. – Matt Goldberg

Punisher: War Zone

Director: Lexi Alexander

Writers: Art Marcum, Matt Holloway, and Nick Santora

Cast: Ray Stevenson, Dominic West, Julie Benz, Dash Mihok, Doug Hutchison, and Wayne Knight

While Deadpool deserves credit for opening the door to R-rated superhero movies, it wasn’t there first. The first serious try at R-rated superhero fare came from Lexi Alexander and her 2008 film Punisher: War Zone. Rather than get bogged down in an origin story, War Zone leaps straight into action with Ray Stevenson wearing the skull this time around and facing off against a scenery-chewing Dominic West as Jigsaw. The movie is gory beyond all reason and really digs into the madness behind the Punisher character. It’s an absolute ball of a picture that’s unapologetically nuts and all the better for it. Also, the way the Punisher takes out a parkour group is an all-time classic. – Matt Goldberg

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

One of the great things about Sergio Leone’s Man with No Name trilogy is you don’t have to watch them in order. They’re only connected by Clint Eastwood’s eponymous gunslinger, and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is the best of the bunch. Despite its epic runtime, the movie flies by as it follows Blondie (Eastwood), Angel Eyes (Lee Van Cleef), and Tuco (Eli Wallach) as they race to uncover buried treasure during the Civil War. Despite its vast scope, Leone never loses the immediacy of his memorable characters and how they interact with each other. Bolstered by one of Ennio Morricone’s best scores, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is the spaghetti western at its finest. – Matt Goldberg

The Mask of Zorro

Director: Martin Campbell

Writers: John Eskow, Ted Elliott, and Terry Rossio

Cast: Antonio Banderas, Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Stuart Wilson, and Matt Letscher

In a weird way, The Mask of Zorro feels like one of the last gasps of old-fashioned blockbuster filmmaking. It’s the kind of film that couldn’t get made today because it doesn’t require big VFX. It would need some kind of “hook” like Zorro facing off against zombies or something. Instead, Martin Campbell’s 1998 adventure film rests on the charisma of Antonio Banderas as the masked avenger trying to take down a corrupt governor while the former Zorro (played by Anthony Hopkins) tries to enact his revenge and win back his lost daughter (Catherine Zeta-Jones). It’s a blast from start to finish and it’s a shame it didn’t spawn a stronger series (the less said about The Legend of Zorro, the better). – Matt Goldberg

 

Sense & Sensibility

Director: Ang Lee

Writer: Emma Thompson

Cast: Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant

This lush, vibrant 1995 adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel boasts a powerhouse of talent both in front of and behind the camera. Garnering a slew of awards and nominations from the Oscars to the BAFTAs, the movie tells the story of the Dashwood sisters (Thompson and Winslet) in 1800s England who must either marry well (and soon) or be reduced to sudden poverty. The economics of their lives are a key part of the story, though it is (of course) the muted, beautiful, and restrained love plots that drive the central narrative. Sense & Sensibility is a fantastically immersive tale and one of the best Austen adaptations ever made, thanks to its flawless embrace of resplendent cinematography, grounded but deeply emotional performances, and Thompson’s whip-smart and occasionally devastating script. A true cinematic gem, and one of Ang Lee’s very best. — Allison Keene

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Director / Writer: Taika Waititi

Cast: Sam Neill, Julian Dennison

Taika Waititi’s delightful film Hunt for the Wilderpeople is full of quirky humor, but it is never glib in the face of its often intensely emotional material. Instead, it’s a beautiful dance between the two, as the New Zealand-set story follows something of an inverted Anne of Green Gables, as the young Ricky Baker (Dennison) is taken in by foster parents to help out on their farm. Though he starts to connect with the more overtly loving “Aunt” Bella (Rima Te Wiata), he ends up spending most of the movie with “Uncle” Hector (Neill), as part of a mutual and begrudging acceptance that they need each other more than they care to admit.

The story is part adventure tale and part family drama, yet even in its wilder moments it balances these disparate parts in a wonderfully entertaining way (including a national manhunt, a faked death, and an almost New Wave-like series of vignettes within the story itself). Waititi’s sensibilities as a writer and director here lean towards the bombastic and comedic, but the movie does its best work in the quiet moments. Even the most bizarre turns never distract us from how deeply we end up feeling about this weird little kid and his surly new father-figure out in the New Zealand bush. — Allison Keene

Akira

Director: Katsuhiro Ôtomo

Writers: Katsuhiro Ôtomo, Izô Hashimoto

Cast: Nozomu Sasaki, Mami Koyama, Mitsuo Iwata, Tesshô Genda, Yuriko Fuchizaki, Johnny Yong Bosch, Cam Clarke

If you’re looking for a gateway anime feature, Akira’s about as good as it gets. It’s a strong introduction, for sure, owing to the manga adaptation’s mature themes and animation, so if you’re making a transition from Disney or Pixar … hold onto your butts. This thing grabs you by the optic nerve from the get-go and never lets go.

This cyberpunk/biopunk pic is set in the post-apocalyptic city of Neo-Tokyo in 2019. Ôtomo’s anime adaptation of his own work is a more focused effort than the manga, shortening the timeline and narrowing the range of characters to just a few. The story follows biker gang leader Shōtarō Kaneda and his efforts to prevent his newly super-powered pal Tetsuo Shima from reawakening the massively destructive psychic, Akira. The title character takes on more of a background role in the film but the mystery surrounding his history is a powerful force throughout. Akira is a seminal entry in the trend that brought Japanese anime to the West and helped to establish the art form internationally. Its raw power, unmistakable nods to Japan’s tragic history, and incredible artistry make Akira a must-watch for movie fans everywhere. – Dave Trumbore

Coming to America

Director: John Landis

Writers: Eddie Murphy, David Sheffield, Barry W. Blaustein

Cast: Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones, John Amos, Madge Sinclair, Shari Headley, Eriq La Salle, Frankie Faison, Louie Anderson, Samuel L. Jackson, Garcelle Beauvais, Cuba Gooding Jr., Don Ameche, Ralph Bellamy

This movie is hands down one of the best comedies to come out of the 80s. Yeah, it’s stacked up against a lot of competition, but just look at the talent spelled out above. (Plus, I should mention that Coming to America landed two Oscar nominations for Best Costume Design and Best Make-up … which will make sense in a minute.) This is a classic case of a movie premise—a prince of an African nation and his servant travel to America in search of true love—that could have failed spectacularly or simply passed without notice. This comedy team pulled off something miraculous.

The setup is simple, which allows the incredible cast, led by Murphy and Hall, plenty of freedom to play around in the world they’ve established. Landis’ sure hand as director keeps the comedy flowing in equal measure as we follow Prince Akeem (Murphy) and Semmi (Hall) to Queens, whether we’re seeing the duo rent their first shitty apartment or watching as the camera lingers on Soul Glo stains on the living room couch. There’s a classic love story at the heart of this tale, but it’s worth a watch just to see a scene-stealing moment from Samuel L. Jackson and early appearances by Louie Anderson and Cuba Gooding Jr., to name a few. The real gems throughout are Murphy and Hall’s many performances, switching from the suave but overly proper African royals, to a trio of barbershop regulars (including the old Jewish guy, Saul), to a bad lounge singer and an over-the-top preacher. There’s always something new to enjoy here, even if it’s your first time coming to America! – Dave Trumbore

Ghost in the Shell (1995)

Director: Mamoru Oshii

Writers: Shirow Masamune, Kazunori Itô,

Cast: Atsuko Tanaka, Iemasa Kayumi, Akio Ôtsuka, Kôichi Yamadera, Yutaka Nakano, Tamio Ôki, Tesshô Genda, Mimi Woods, Richard Epcar, William Knight, Bryan Cranston

If the live-action version by the same name leaves a bad taste in your mouth, do yourself a favor and revisit the original anime adaptation of Masamune Shirow’s incredibly complex and thoughtful manga series. At only 82 minutes, it’s tough for the feature to capture every facet of the story’s exploration of the interfaces of humanity, technology, and society, but it’s one hell of an introduction to the rest of the Ghost in the Shell franchise.

Centering on Motoko Kusanagi, Ghost in the Shell follows her hunt for a nefarious hacker known as the Puppet Master as part of the public-security agency, Section 9. Like the best political thrillers and espionage films, The Major soon finds herself peeling back layer upon layer of cover-ups and obfuscations as she’s drawn deeper into the web of intrigue. It’s a rare tale indeed that leaves the hero’s body broken, battered, and defeated while successfully visually demonstrating their soul’s new sense of enlightenment and understanding. Often imitated, rarely duplicated, Ghost in the Shell is a necessary watch for the modern age. – Dave Trumbore

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

Director: Adam McKay

Writers: Will Ferrell, Adam McKay

Cast: Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Sacha Baron Cohen, Gary Cole, Michael Clarke Duncan, Leslie Bibb, Jane Lynch, Amy Adams, Andy Richter, Molly Shannon, Greg German, David Kochner, Jack McBrayer

If there’s a more enjoyable way to spend an hour and 48 minutes watching racecar drivers turn left while going hundreds of miles an hour, I don’t know it. This 2006 laugh track hails from the super comedy duo of McKay and Ferrell who previously teamed up to great success in Anchorman and would do so again in Step Brothers, The Other Guys, and even an Anchorman sequel. Then, McKay went and got all prestigious with the 2015 Oscar-winner The Big Short. So if you want to revisit McKay’s glory days directing a cougar named Karen and a mangy, transient grandfather, return to Talladega Nights.

The premise of this picture is absurdly simple but, at the same time, such a rich area to mine: Ricky Bobby is the best NASCAR driver in the land, at least until French Formula One ace Jean Girard throws a wrench into his gears. Bobby’s fall from grace is anything but graceful, and it’s in his journey from first to last and back again that the real heart and humor are found. Ferrell anchors a very funny cast with strong supporting turns by John C. Reilly and Sacha Baron Cohen that’ll have you quoting this movie for years to come. – Dave Trumbore

Tommy Boy

Director: Peter Segal

Writers: Bonnie Turner, Terry Turner

Cast: Chris Farley, David Spade, Brian Dennehy, Bo Derek, Rob Lowe, Dan Aykroyd

Pour one out for our dearly departed pal Chris Farley while watching one of the best comedy efforts of his career. I’m a big defender of his follow-up film Black Sheep, which came a year later, but Tommy Boy is the superior entry in this one-two punch that puts Farley at the center as a big, lovable goofball.

In Tommy Boy, the over-privileged and under-educated title character is forced to grow up quickly in order to fill the shoes of his suddenly departed father. It ain’t easy on Tommy, and the judgmental forces working at Callahan Auto, in the automotive industry at large, and his late father’s boot-licking assistant Richard Hayden (David Spade) don’t make it any easier. It’s that tension that makes the road trip comedy work so well. Tommy’s naïve innocence gets the pair into and out of jams in equal measure as he grows into his own version of the folksy, easy-going mold that made his father such a beloved boss. Part stoner comedy, part college weekend classic, Tommy Boy is still a surprisingly satisfying comedy more than 20 years later. – Dave Trumbore

What About Bob?

Director: Frank Oz

Writers: Tom Schulman, Alvin Sargent, Laura Ziskin

Cast: Bill Murray, Richard Dreyfuss, Julie Hagerty, Charlie Korsmo, Kathryn Erbe, Tom Aldredge, Susan Willis, Reg E. Cathey

You know Bill Murray from Saturday Night Live, Ghostbusters, and Groundhog Day, in addition to dozens of other credits, but one of his often overlooked comedy roles comes in this effort from director Frank Oz. In the modern context, it probably walks the line between funny and offensive since it centers on an obsessive-compulsive neurotic patient (Murray) who slowly drives his therapist (Richard Dreyfuss) insane, but it was just right for 1991. It takes a little while to get going, but it’s worth the ride, so stick with it.

Though not nearly as quotable as his other roles, Murray’s title character remains sociable and friendly throughout, if a bit vexing. However, the best humor stems less from Bob’s own peculiarities and more from the increasingly irritated Dr. Leo Marvin who can’t quite seem to take his own advice to heart as Bob ingratiates himself within Leo’s own family. It’s actually quite fascinating to watch Bob become ever more socially adjusted while Leo grows more and more unhinged by the moment; you can’t help but wonder if Bob really is some sort of manipulative genius after all. What About Bob? is an example of unfettered wackiness from Murray and, coupled with the red-faced reactions of Dreyfuss, that makes this a comedic gem worth watching.  – Dave Trumbore

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writers: Lawrence Kasdan, George Lucas, Philip Kaufman

Cast: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, John Rhys-Davies, Denholm Elliott, Alfred Molina, Wolf Kahler

This is the movie that started it all for Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones, even if the heroic archaeologist’s name wouldn’t make it into the title until the follow-up film a few years later. By then, Ford had fronted Blade Runner and finished up the original Star Wars trilogy as Han Solo, solidifying his status as a bona fide movie star, but the first Indy flick is arguably his most fun performance to date.

From the jungles of South America, to a college in Connecticut, a Nepalese bar, a Cairo market, an Aegean island, and ultimately a top-secret warehouse, this journey through antiquity and scripture is a thrill ride from start to finish. If you’ve never seen it or any of the Indy movies, this is the only place to start. And if it’s been a while since you have seen it, rest assured that this is a classic that holds up well to the sands of time. – Dave Trumbore

Love & Mercy

Director: Bill Pohlad

Writers: Oren Moverman, Michael A. Lerner

Cast: John Cusack, Paul Dano, Elizabeth Banks, Paul Giamatti, Jake Abel, Kenny Wormald, Brett Davern

Love & Mercy excavates the musical genius of Brian Wilson – the brilliant songwriter behind the dulcet songs of The Beach Boys and finds a heartbreaking, beautiful story about loneliness and the desire to connect, vulnerability and exploitation, and the old-fashioned basics of decency and love. John Cusack and Paul Dano split the lead role as the older and younger versions of Wilson – and each carries their weight with equally fantastic performances in the role — navigating through the ups and downs of his rise to fame and fade from the public eye, and the relationships that shaped and tormented him along the way. Far removed from the sterile biopics that haunt the cineplexes come awards season, Love & Mercy is bursting with life, a film that seeks out the man behind the musical legend to heart-warming effect. — Haleigh Foutch

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation

Writer/Director: Christopher McQuarrie

Cast: Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris, Alec Baldwin

Mission: Impossible has proven to be one of the most consistent franchises in terms of quality (the unfortunate Mission: Impossible 2 aside), and the latest sequel is one of the best. Jack Reacher helmer Christopher McQuarrie reteamed with his leading man for Rogue Nation and the duo dreamed up some of the ballsiest and gloriously kinetic action sequences in the franchise’s proud history. Cruise cleverly allowed Ethan Hunt to evolve throughout the franchise, from cocky espionage golden boy to the weathered, beleaguered “living manifestation of destiny,” and woefully watching him ragdoll his way through one heist, chase, and fistfight after the next is a pure delight. McQuarrie leans into the ensemble element with Rogue Nation, furthering the tradition that really kicked off in Mission: Impossible 3, and while it’s a delight to see so many familiar returning faces, it’s Rebecca Ferguson’s Isla Faust who walks in and steals the show, going toe to toe with Cruise, and adding just the right jolt of chemistry to set Rogue Nation apart from what came before. Rogue Nation is a film that plays up all the best elements of the franchise from which it was hatched, and a glorious display of action filmmaking to boot. — Haleigh Foutch

Sicario

Director: Denis Villeneuve

Writer: Taylor Sheridan

Cast: Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Jon Bernthal, Jeffrey Donovan, Daniel Kaluuya, Victor Garber

Sicario is a potent, precise, and downright gorgeous crime thriller. It’s one of those great films where every technical element is firing on all cylinders. Working from a sinewy, pointed script by Taylor Sheridan the cast – led Benicio Del Toro, Emily Blunt and Josh Brolin — delivers exceptional performances all around, and Denis Villeneuve directs the hell out of the thing. Not to mention the impeccable cinematography and score by Roger Deakins and Jóhann Jóhannsson. Set at the border between Mexico and the U.S., where an escalating drug war fuels violent retribution, Sicario roots around in the anarchy behind the law and order, Sicario delivers powerful character drama and social commentary packed in exquisite display of elegant filmmaking. — Haleigh Foutch

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