Entertainment: The 30 Best Movies on Hulu Right Now

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This post is updated regularly as movies leave and enter Hulu. *New additions are indicated with an asterisk.

Still considered largely a streaming service for television fans, Hulu has struggled to carve out its own reputation as a home for movie lovers too. To that end, they have become one of the most prominent supporters of recent arthouse cinema, particularly in a deal with Neon that has made them the exclusive streaming home of the company’s critical darlings like Parasite, Flee, Pig, and more. They also have an interesting revolving door of beloved recent films of all genres, mostly from 2010 and beyond. Take the time you were going to use to catch up on your latest sitcom and check out one of the films below in this list that will be updated as titles come and go, starting with our pick of the week.

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This Week’s Editor’s Pick

* The Fisher King

Year: 1991

Runtime: 2h 18m

Director: Terry Gilliam

It’s been over three decades since the release of Terry Gilliam’s masterful fantasy-drama about a shock jock DJ and the homeless man who changes his life. Jeff Bridges plays the DJ, whose life is shattered after inadvertently encourages a mass shooting. When he meets Robin Williams’s character, he sees a chance at redemption for both of them. Smart, funny, and heartbreaking, it’s one of the best movies of the ‘90s.

Drama

Children of Men

Year: 2006

Runtime: 1h 49m

Director: Alfonso Cuaron

What happens to a society with no hope? That’s the vision of Cuaron’s ‘00s masterpiece, a film about a future in which all women have become sterile, meaning there will be no next generation. Clive Owen is phenomenal as a man who discovers that there may be hope on the horizon. It’s a film that was great when it was released and feels ahead of its time now.

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* He Got Game

Year: 1998

Runtime: 2h 17m

Director: Spike Lee

There’s not enough work by non-white filmmakers on Hulu (or any streaming service for that matter). At least they have this underrated drama by Spike Lee, one of the best living filmmakers. Lee draws another phenomenal performance from his most consistent collaborator, Denzel Washington, who plays the father of a top-ranked basketball prospect, played by Ray Allen. It’s yet another electric piece of filmmaking from Lee and contains one of Washington’s most underrated performances.

La La Land

Year: 2016

Runtime: 2h 8m

Director: Damien Chazelle

Has history relegated this hit movie to the “film that lost Best Picture to Moonlight?” Hopefully not because La La Land is still a wonderful musical, a story of intertwining souls in Los Angeles as they balance love and their impossible dreams. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone do their best film work to date in this film that’s even better than you remember.

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Moneyball

Year: 2011

Runtime: 2h 13m

Director: Bennett Miller

One of the best baseball movies ever made was adapted from the 2003 book by Michael Lewis, which recounts the management of the 2002 season of the Oakland Athletics, and how they changed the way the game is run by bringing analytics into the mix. Brad Pitt gives one of his best performances as general manager Billy Beane, a man who knew he would have to find a new way to evaluate talent if the A’s were going to compete. This is a rich, smart, riveting movie.

Nomadland

Year: 2020

Runtime: 1h 48m

Director: Chloe Zhao

The Oscar winner for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actress, this 2020 drama is one of the most moving films of the young decade so far, and it’s exclusively on Hulu thanks to the company’s relationship with Fox Searchlight (they’re both owned by Disney). Frances McDormand stars as Fern, a woman displaced by the loss of her husband and job, sending her out on the road. Blending non-fiction filmmaking choices like the use of non-actors telling their own stories with a deep sense of character-building, this is a phenomenal film.

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Parasite

Year: 2019

Runtime: 2h 12m

Director: Bong Joon-ho

Remember not that long ago before the world changed and we could all rally around a South Korean film becoming the first foreign flick ever to win the Oscar for Best Picture? It really was a crazy time. Thanks to Hulu’s relationship with distributor Neon, the streamer is the only place you’ll find Bong Joon-ho’s hysterical and thrilling study of class conflict.

Pig

Year: 2021

Runtime: 1h 32m

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Nicolas Cage gives one of the best performances of his career in this 2021 drama about a chef who has become a reclusive hermit, leaving off the grid with his pet pig. When the pig is kidnapped, Cage will go to whatever lengths necessary to get her back. A moving study of what we value in life, Pig was one of the best films of 2021, and it’s exclusively on Hulu.

Quo Vadis, Aida?

Year: 2020

Runtime: 1h 41m

Director: Jasmila Zbanic

The human cost of the political maneuvering around warfare has rarely been more movingly captured than in this 2021 nominee for Best International Feature Film. This drama centers a woman named Aida, who works as a translator for the United Nations, involved in keeping the peace in her town of Sbrenica, near the Serbian border…until they don’t. What happens when safety zones are dissolved? It’s a terrifying study of how decisions made hundreds of miles away can lead to massacres.

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Sexy Beast

Year: 2000

Runtime: 1h 28m

Director: Jonathan Glazer

Sir Ben Kingsley gives one of his best performances ever in this stunning story of a mobster who returns into an old colleague’s life to raise hell. The reformed fellow is Gary Dove (Ray Winstone), who doesn’t know how to stop Kingsley’s literal force of nature when he insists that they do another job together. Kingsley landed an Oscar nomination for his work here. He should have won.

Documentaries

The Act of Killing

Year: 2012

Runtime: 2h 2m

Director: Joshua Oppenheimer

You’ve never seen a documentary quite like this one. One of the best films of the 2010s, Joshua Oppenheimer’s film unpacks the Indonesian genocides of the 1960s and how the men who perpetrated them have never faced consequences. These men act out their crimes in reenactments, leading to what’s almost an exorcism for both the killer and the survivors. It’s breathtaking.

Collective

Year: 2019

Runtime: 1h 49m

Director: Alexander Nanau

A nominee for Best Documentary and Best International Feature Film, Nanau’s work documents not only the nightclub fire at Colectiv but the scandal that followed. In 2015, a fire broke out at a Romanian club that led to the deaths of 64 people and injured dozens more. The survivors struggled to get any sort of healthcare in a broken system, and the journalists who revealed their plight are rivetingly chronicled here.

Flee

Year: 2021

Runtime: 1h 29m

Director: Jonas Poher Rasmussen

Rasmussen’s film pulled off a historic trifecta early in 2022 when it was the first film nominated for the Oscars for Best Animated Feature, Best Documentary, and Best International Feature Film. Refugee Amin Nawabi shares his story with a close friend, and the film then recreates it with beautiful animation. Sadly, it lost all three categories, but it’s still one of the best films of 2021, and easily one of the best films on Hulu.

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Summer of Soul

Year: 2021

Runtime: 1h 58m

Director: Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson

It’s unfair how talented Questlove is. The drummer for The Roots proved to have an incredible touch with documentaries too when this future Oscar winner premiered at Sundance 2022, where it won the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award. It’s the story of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, an unforgettable display of creativity and passion that was almost forgotten, the footage buried in a basement for generations. Watch this one loud.

Comedy

Another Round

Year: 2020

Runtime: 1h 57m

Director: Thomas Vinterberg

The Oscar winner for Best International Film in 2021 features one of the best performances ever from the great Mads Mikkelsen. The Hannibal star plays a teacher who decides, with a group of three friends, to be a little drunk all the time. Bored and unmotivated by life, they try an experiment wherein they have a small blood alcohol content at all times. At first, it goes well. It doesn’t end well. Not everything here works but it’s a likable film that features a killer ending.

Booksmart

Year: 2019

Runtime: 1h 45m

Director: Olivia Wilde

Olivia Wilde made her directorial debut with this hit comedy that could loosely be called “Superbad for girls.” Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever play high school friends who suddenly worry that all those years they spent studying have been in vain. They decide to make up for lost time on one crazy night just before graduation. Funny and tender, this is a Hulu exclusive.

The Descendants

Year: 2011

Runtime: 1h 55m

Director: Alexander Payne

The director of Election had arguably the biggest hit of his career in this 2011 dramedy that was nominated for Best Picture (and won Best Adapted Screenplay). Based on the novel of the same name by Kaui Hart Hemmings, it’s the tale of an attorney named Matt King (George Clooney) who struggles with massive swath of land he inherits in Kauai. Smart and moving, it also earned Clooney an Oscar nomination.

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* Maverick

Year: 2017

Runtime: 2h 7m

Director: Richard Donner

Near the peak of his box-office charm, Mel Gibson starred in this adaptation of the ‘50s TV series of the same name that starred James Garner, who is incredibly charming in a supporting role here too. Jodie Foster fills out the cast of this Western comedy that made over $180 million worldwide, delivering the kind of adult-aimed comedy that doesn’t really get made anymore.

Working Girl

Year: 1988

Runtime: 1h 53m

Director: Mike Nichols

Hulu is pretty miserable at programming films from the last century so reaching all the way back to the ‘80s makes this a legitimate classic for the streamer. Melanie Griffith stars as a secretary from Staten Island who rises the corporate ladder while dodging a potential romance and a morally corrupt boss. Harrison Ford and Sigourney Weaver fill out the cast of a sharp comedy for adults, the kind of film they don’t really make all that often anymore.

Horror

Black Swan

Year: 2010

Runtime: 1h 48m

Director: Darren Aronofsky

Natalie Portman won her only Oscar for her fearless performance in Aronofsky’s study of commitment and madness. She plays a ballerina who will go to whatever lengths necessary to nail a new production of Swan Lake, even as she fends off the competition of a new dancer, played by Mila Kunis. Unforgettable and terrifying, it’s a true horror film that captures how dedication can be pushed far enough to tear apart reality.

Compliance

Year: 2012

Runtime: 1h 30m

Director: Craig Zobel

In Kentucky in 2004, something horrible happened. A prank call went way too far when someone phoned a fast-food restaurant and pretended to be a police officer. How far would you go if you believed the voice on the other end of the line was an authority figure? Ann Dowd plays the manager who ends up humiliating an employee, played by Dreama Walker. We all like to think we would do the right thing in a situation like this but the horror here is how easy it is to be fooled.

Let the Right One In

Year: 2008

Runtime: 1h 54m

Director: Tomas Alfredson

Based on the 2004 novel of the same name, this is one of the best vampire movies ever made. It’s the tale of an ordinary pre-teen who is bullied at school and has a lonely life at home. That’s the case until a new child moves in, one with a secret. She’s a creature of the night, and her connection with this new friend will change both of their lives forever. Moody and moving, this is a modern classic.

Nightmare Alley

Year: 2020

Runtime: 2h 30m

Director: Guillermo del Toro

One of the best living directors adapted William Lindsay Gresham’s novel of the same name, one that had already been made into a brilliant noir from 1947 with Tyrone Power. The result as another Best Picture nominee. This one stars Bradley Cooper as a carnival worker who becomes a con man, and how the journey into darkness allows him to lose his soul. Atmospheric and mysterious, this is precisely the kind of film that feels like it’s not getting made that often anymore.

For Kids

The Bob’s Burgers Movie

Year: 2022

Runtime: 1h 42m

Directors: Loren Bouchard & Bernard Derriman

Delayed two years because of the pandemic, the big screen version of the FOX hit finally landed in theaters in May 2022, but audiences mostly stayed away, which means they can catch up with it at home! And you really shouldn’t miss this joyous story of a family who always unites to save the day and make the best burger in town.

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Year: 2009

Runtime: 1h 28m

Director: Wes Anderson

The director of The Royal Tenenbaums and The Grand Budapest Hotel adapted the 1970 children’s novel of the same name in his delightful stop-motion animated classic with one of the best voice casts in history. George Clooney, Meryl Steep, Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe, and Owen Wilson star in the tale of the titular character as his family is hunted by three farmers. It’s a visual marvel for the whole family.

Fly Away Home

Year: 1996

Runtime: 1h 47m

Director: Carroll Ballard

The director of The Black Stallion helmed this loose retelling of the true story of Bill Lishman, who actually created a flying machine to help Canadian geese find their way home again. Here, that tale is dramatized to include a moving story of overcoming grief, anchored by solid performances from Anna Paquin and Jeff Daniels.

Action

The Dark Knight

Year: 2008

Runtime: 2h 32m

Director: Christopher Nolan

Arguably the most acclaimed superhero film of all time, the centerpiece of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy still rocks over 14 years later. Everyone knows how incredible the Oscar-winning Heath Ledger is in this epic blockbuster, but he’s just one part of the greatness that extends from a perfect ensemble to a great display of Nolan’s craft as a director. It’s even better than you remember.

* The Man With the Iron Fists

Year: 2012

Runtime: 1h 35m

Director: RZA

One of the founding members of The Wu-Tang Clan also happens to be a pretty wicked director. In the early ‘10s, RZA decided to make a crazy martial arts epic, starring himself and, believe it or not, Russell Crowe. This isn’t a perfect action movie but it’s one with its own unique personality and style. Long live, RZA.

Predator

Year: 1987

Runtime: 1h 47m

Director: John McTiernan

Disney shuffled their Predator sequel Prey to the streaming service in August 2022, where it joined several films from the franchise if you’re looking to catch-up. You can probably skip the first sequel and Predators and just stick to the 1987 original, a lean, mean movie that features one of Ah-nuld’s best ‘80s performances. It’s a survival tale that starts off like a war movie before it throws in one of the universe’s most famous killing machines.

* Chronicle

Year: 2012

Runtime: 1h 21m

Director: Josh Trank

Josh Trank directed this excellent low-budget sci-fi film that became a phenomenon. Michael B. Jordan, Dane DeHaan, and Alex Russell star as three teenage boys in Seattle who discover an unknown alien object and end up with superpowers. A unique blend of coming-of-age storytelling with a superhero origin story, the film ended up making over $125 million worldwide.

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