For $119/year Amazon Prime gives you free two day shipping and discounts on services like Prime Pantry. The big bonus: Original Programming and recent films on Prime Streaming video. Special sale items at Whole Foods and 5% back on purchases there with Amazon Rewards Visa card. Audible Channels with podcasts and news are free for Prime members and they get 50 rotating titles there. Unlimited photo storage. Prime Music is free for use with Amazon Echo, Dot or Tap devices. Amazon Music Unlimited for other devices is discounted for Prime members.
Amazon Prime was $99/year until May 2018.
When looking for Amazon prime listings via IMDb, beware “Watch on Amazon” – as explained here, these are now links to pay per view or an invitation to add an HBO subscription to your Amazon Prime account. So make sure it says “Watch with Amazon Prime Video”
Amazon added a line of 2018 Oscar Best Picture Nominees to their Amazon Prime Video Home Page the day before the Oscars. It was a convenient place to pick up these must see titles but for the most part they were not free. Some titles that were previously free with Prime, like Ladybird and The Glass Castle remained in the paid rental category after they received nominations for best picture or best actor.
Amazon Prime Video has good customer service. They have a 24/7 chat that we were impressed with. There is also a phone option.
Videos with audio descriptions for blind and low-vision customers were introduced in June 2017. As of September 2017, 16 of a total of 133 such titles are included with the Amazon Prime subscription.
Amazon Prime Streaming Recommended Series:
Amazon Original Limited Series:
Chronology adjusted for importance
Homecoming (2018 / 2020): Amazon Original. Starring Julia Roberts, Bobby Cannavale, Stephan James, Sissy Spacek, Dermot Mulroney, Shea Whigham. 10 episodes, 30 minutes each. Hitchcockian thriller. While season one finished like a mini series, there was a Season 2 starring Janelle Monáe, Stephan James, Chris Cooper, Hong Chau, Bobby Cannavale.
Tales from the Loop (2020): Scifi Drama. Each episode is a complete story but at the same time a piece of the whole. Final (8th) episode directed by Jodi Foster.
Good Omens (2019): Starring Michael Sheen, David Tennant, Jon Hamm and Frances McDormand as the voice of God. British. Heartwarming importance of friendship. Humor. Interesting bits of bible history. Six episodes.
Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan (2018): Very high production values. Starring John Krasinski, created by Carlton Cuse.
Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams (2018): Amazon Original. Sci-fi. Ten episodes, each independent stories.
First two episodes Real Life and Autofac have the highest IMDB ratings. All independent stories.
A Very English Scandal (2018): Docudrama of British Liberal Party Leader Jeremy Thorpe played by Hugh Grant with Ben Whipshaw – who got Golden Globe Best Supporting Actor as his gay lover.
The Widow (2019): Starring Kate Beckinsale. Thriller. Lots of time jumps. Takes place mostly in the Congo and partly in the UK. Eight episodes. A step below the others we have included in this group but watchable.
BrainDead (2016): Starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Tony Shaloub. Black political sci-fi humor. Very enjoyable. Originally produced for CBS.
Goliath (2016- ): Season 3 is once again excellent has aired. Starring Billy Bob Thornton.
One Mississippi (2015) The author, star Tig Notaro is writing about her own life. Created by Diablo Cody.(Tig Notaro and Stephanie Allynne (Kate) are married in real life). Season 2 had been expected but main supporter Louis CK was impacted.
Z: The Beginning of Everything (2015) Season 2 2018: docudrama on the life of Zelda, wife of author F. Scott Fitzgerald
Long or Currently Continuing Series:
The Expanse (2015 – ): Sci-fi. Don’t be discouraged by the first season it gets better. Season 5 launched December 15, 2020.
The Americans(2013 – 2018) 6 seasons. Starring Matthew Rhys. Very engrossing. Russian spies living next door in America.
Upload (2020, May 1): Sci-fi, Rom-com, Mystery. You may not know the actors but they do a good job. 10 episodes in Season one. After a 45 minute start, the rest of the episodes are about 30 minutes. Booked for Season 2. Amazon Original.
Undone (2019 Sept 13 – ) Rotoscope. Time travel. Starring Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul) and Rosa Salazar. Eight 23 minute episodes in Season One – goes very quickly. 100% on Rotten Tomatoes with 48 reviews. Importance of family.
Fleabag (2016 – ) Written by and starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge. With Andrew Scott as the hot priest. Scooped up significant Emmys in 2019.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maizel (Nov 28, 2017 – ): 8 one hour episodes, just as marvelous in Season 2 released November 2018. Rachel Brosnahan, Alex Borstein, Tony Shaloub, Marin Hinkle. Comedy drama. Not a true story but some homage to Joan Rivers. Vanity Fair interview with creator Amy Sherman Palladino.
Bosch (2014 – ) LAPD crime drama. Based on the books by Michael Connelly who is also the TV show’s creator. Titus Welliver is the attractive lead playing Harry Bosch.
Humans 2.0 (2015 – now in season 2) sci-fi
The Man in the High Castle: Amazon Original (2015 – ): Japanese and Germans win WWII aftermath. Based on story by Philip K. Dick. Binge watched season 2. Take advantage of the inside the episode summaries they added for Season 2. Trailer for Season 3 was excellent.
American Playboy (2017): The Hugh Hefner Story Amazon Original Series. Documentary
Mozart in the Jungle (2014 – 2017): music, drama, Gael García Bernal. Now in Season 4
Transparent (2014 -) LGBT, Jewish religion, Jeffrey Tambor – Golden Globe and Emmy best actor awards. Four seasons with promise of a fifth in 2019.
Falling Skies (2011 -) 5 seasons, 52 episodes. TNT in the US, Mostly Fox and FX worldwide, Star in Japan.
Dark Matter (2015 – 2017): Space, adventure, drama, mystery, women power. Cancelled Oct 2017 by Syfy to the disappointment of fans. 39 episodes, 3 seasons. Also on Netflix.
Mr. Selfridge (2013 – 2016): Retailing history. Jeremy Piven
Amazon Prime Streaming Recommended Films
Knives Out(2019): Starring Daniel Craig, Christopher Plummer, Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Colette, Ana de Armas, Jaeden Martel (Defending Jacob)
Late Night (2019): Screenplay by and co-starring Mindy Kaling; Emma Thompson, John Lithgow, Reid Scott. Female power, coming of age.
Disobedience (2018): Rachel Weisz visits an Orthodox Jewish community, following the death of her father, that shunned her for her attraction to a female childhood friend, Rachel McAdams. Based on Naomi Alderman’s book.
Woman Walks Ahead (2018): Jessica Chastain. Based on true story of Catherine Weldon who traveled from New York to the Dakota’s to paint Sitting Bull.
Beautiful Boy (2018, Oct): Docudrama about addiction based on father and son memoirs starring Timothée Chalamet, Steve Carell, Maura Tierney. Chalamet was nominated for Golden Globes best supporting actor.
The Last Movie Star (2018): Burt Reynolds stars as an aging screen icon. Enjoyed their use of film clips and photos from his prime. We are fortunate Burt Reynolds made this movie before passing at 82 on September 6, 2018.
The Florida Project (2017): Starring Willem Dafoe (nominated for best actor in a supporting role – Oscars, Golden Globes and more; Brooklynn Prince (breakout child actress); Bria Vinaite. “The Florida Project tells the story of a precocious six year-old and her ragtag group of friends whose summer break is filled with childhood wonder, possibility and a sense of adventure while the adults around them struggle with hard times.” Set near DisneyWorld.
LadyBird (2017): Golden Globe winner; Oscar 2018 nominated for best picture, best actress, best director, best original screenplay, best support actress. Written and directed by Greta Gerwig; autobiographical 17 in Sacramento, mother daughter, coming of age, importance of family: starring Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf
The Big Sick (2017): Amazon Original Docudrama: Kumail Nanjiani, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano. Oscar 2018: Nominated for Best Screenplay
Marjorie Prime (2017): AI romance starring John Hamm, Geena Davis, Stephanie Andujar. From play
Megan Leavey (2017): Marine corporal bond w military combat dog in Iraq starring Kate Mara, Edie Falco, Ramon Rodriguez
Mr. Church (2016): starring Eddie Murphy (in a serious role), Britt Robertson (the Space Between Us), Natascha McElhone (Californication), Lucy Fry (Bright). Coming of age.
Moonlight (2016): Oscar Best Picture
Manchester by the Sea (2016): Amazon Original Film, Oscar Best Actor Casey Affleck, Oscar Best Original Screenplay
Captain Fantastic (2016): feel good, importance of family starring Viggo Mortensen
Miss Sloane (2016): power woman drama, thriller film starring Jessica Chastain with John Lithgow, Sam Waterson
Denial (2016): Docudrama starring Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson. Based on book “History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier” by historian Deborah Lipstadt (also on Netflix DVD)
20th Century Women (2016): starring Annette Bening, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, Elle Fanning. Coming of age film, just over the border from going into my “for my girlfriends” section but solid drama with good character development.
East Side Sushi (2015): Must see if sushi interests you. Female Power.
Sicario (2015): Directed by Denis Villeneuve (Arrival). Crime drama, action starring Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin
The Dressmaker (2015): power woman film starring Nicole Kidman
Where to Invade Next (2015): Michael Moore documentary
The Lobster (2015): British. Starring Rachel Weisz and Colin Farrell
Words and Pictures (2013): Starring Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche.
Short Term 12 (2013): Starring Brie Larson, rap singer Lakeith Stanfield (Get Out), foster-care facility for at-risk teenagers. From the song in the following video: “Look into my eyes so you know what it’s like to live a life not knowing what a normal life’s like”.
Up in the Air (2009): George Clooney, Anna Kendrick
A Serious Man (2009)
Lovely, Still (2008): Aging well, romance starring Martin Landau (passed at 89, July 2017), Ellen Burstyn (born 1932), Elizabeth Banks, Adam Scott.
Handmaiden (2016): Korean movie, Japanese and Korean language. very sexual (this is NOT Handmaids Tale, which is currently only on Hulu)
For My Girlfriends. Light Entertainment on Amazon Prime Streaming
Sometimes we just want something to relax with. It needn’t be a “great” film, it just needs to be entertaining. The following films are available on streaming and fit in that category.
Romanoffs (October 2018 -): Amazon Original Series starring Aaron Eckhart, Diane Lane, John Slattery, Amanda Peet and more. Anthology of eight stories set around the world of people who think they are descended from the Russian royal family, episode length varies from 63 to 88 minutes, production cost of $70 million reported.
Not Cinderella’s Type (2018): Aimed at teenagers, no well-known actors but interesting, romantic, and nice touch of realism in dealing with emotional abuse.
Landline (2017): importance of family, coming of age, infidelity: starring John Turturro, Eddie Falco, Jay Duplass, Jenny Slate.
The Only Living Boy in New York (2017): Amazon Original coming of age drama starring Jeff Bridges, Kate Beckinsale, Pierce Brosnan, Callum Turner, Cynthia Nixon
As Far as the Eye Can See (2016): Classic piano player returns to small town home. Quiet movie. 7.6 on IMDB.
Paterson (2016): Amazon Original starring Adam Driver as a poetry writing bus driver in Paterson NJ. William Carlos Williams, a local physician poet with a published book of poems called “Paterson” is a hero (died 1963). Written, directed by Jim Jarmusch.
The Choice (2016): Nicholas Sparks novel (DVD only on Netflix August 2017)
Good Girls Revolt (2015 – 2016): Drama. One season, 10 episodes. Amazon Original series. Filmed in LA. “A look at the personal and professional lives of employees at an American news magazine in the late 1960s.” 8.2 rating on IMDB (Nov 2017)
Girl Most Likely (2013): starring Kristen Wiig, Annette Bening, Matt Dillon (DVD only on Netflix August 2017)
Young Adult (2011): written by Diablo Cody, drama with comedic moments starring Charlize Theron, Patton Oswalt, Patrick Wilson. 90 minutes.
Good Dick (2008): written by, directed by and starring Marianna Palka with Jason Ritter
Bernard and Doris (2006): HBO original film starring Susan Sarandon and Ralph Fiennes. Docudrama of heiress Doris Duke and her butler.
IQ (Meg Ryan, Tim Robbins, Walter Matthau) (1994): Not a “great” film but nice feel good romance
Watched, not terrible but not highly recommending on Amazon Prime Streaming
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail (2016): Documentary – gets better in the second half
The Collection: Amazon original series. Started off well, with fun bits on fashion photography circa post World War II
Cafe Society (2016): by Woody Allen. Amazon Original Movie. Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Steve Carell. We do like Woody Allen but this is not one of his best
Intend to See on Amazon Prime Streaming Video
The Midwife (2017): French drama starring Catherine Deneuve. Directed and written by Martin Provost.
Manifesto (2015): Cate Blanchett
Fleabag (2016 – ): Amazon Original. “A six-part comedy series adapted from the award-winning play about a young woman trying to cope with life in London whilst coming to terms with a recent tragedy.” 8.2 rating on IMDB (Nov 2017)
Red Oaks (2014 – 2017): Coming of age. Amazon Original comedy. 26 episodes.
The Last Tycoon (2016 – 2017): Based on the unfinished F Scott Fitzgerald novel. 9 episodes. Matt Bomer, Kelsey Grammer, Lily Collins. Based on studio executive in the 1930s, Monroe Stahr. Amazon Original. Seat42F liked it.
Crisis in Six Scenes (2016): 6 episodes Amazon Original comedy. Created by and starring Woody Allen with Miley Cyrus, Elaine May, Lewis Black. Takes place in 1960’s.
What If (2013): Comedy, romance starring Daniel Radliff, Adam Driver, Zoe Kazan
Unrecommended on Amazon Prime Streaming Video
We wasted our time, you don’t have to
Destination Wedding (2018): Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder have the only speaking roles in this film which means lots and lots of talking. 6.0 on IMDB, over-rated. Rotten Tomatoes was more accurate.
Penitent Man (2010): sci-fi drama. 6.9 on IMDB Aug 2017, No A-Listers in cast. Pointless talky film .. and we love sci-fi.
Wonderstruck: (2017): Amazon Original Movie. Appearances by adult stars Michelle Williams and Julianne Moore are very brief. Ambitious but falls flat. Based on young adult novel. “Haynes’ fastidious cinematic diorama of New York emerges as a tedious and self-indulgent folly” reviewer James Marsh is seconded by several recent pro reviewers. stars Oaks Fegley, Millecent Simmonds. Importance of Family.
For a full list of what series, TV shows and films are available through an Amazon Prime subscription (without add-ons).
Videos with audio descriptions for blind and low-vision customers that are available with an Amazon Prime subscription.