Memories of Murder.
Photo: Courtesy of Palm Pictures
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.
Runtime: 1h 57m
Director: Sidney Lumet
The masterful director of 12 Angry Men, Dog Day Afternoon, and so many more American classics ended his career with a banger in this intense thriller featuring performances from Ethan Hawke, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Marisa Tomei, and Albert Finney that stand among their best. A chronological puzzle of a film that would impress Chris Nolan with its structure, this is one of the best films of the 2000s.
Runtime: 2h 8m
Director: Michael Haneke
One of the most devastating dramas of all time, this masterpiece from the famous Austrian filmmaker is about an elderly couple (Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva) who are facing their final chapters in life when she’s struck by a stroke. A beautiful character study with a stunning pair of performances, it’s so unforgettable that it was nominated for Best Picture (and Best Actress, which it should have won).
Runtime: 2h 31m
Director: Martin Scorsese
It took way too long for one of the best filmmakers of all time to finally get his Oscar for Best Director but that happened with this critical and commercial darling, an adaptation of the 2002 Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs. Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio star in the story of competing undercover agents with Damon’s Irish mobster going undercover in the police force while Leo’s cop tries to infiltrate the crew of the legendary Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson). It’s still a wildly entertaining movie.
Runtime: 2h 33m
Director: James Mangold
It’s your dad’s favorite movie of 2019! Christian Bale and Matt Damon star in this retelling of the automobile industry race to build the dominant sports car on the market. The excellent and underrated James Mangold keeps the film moving at a remarkable clip—it won Best Film Editing and Best Sound Editing at the Oscars for a reason. This is a great one to revisit on Hulu, a better film than you probably remember.
Runtime: 1h 59m
Director: Barry Jenkins
Following up on a Best Picture win can be tough for any filmmaker but Barry Jenkins delivered with this lyrical and moving adaptation of the 1974 novel of the same name by James Baldwin. It stars KiKi Layne, Stephan James, Brian Tyree Henry, Colman Domingo, and the Oscar-winning Regina King in the story of a young couple struck down when he’s wrongly charged with a crime. It’s a masterful drama from one of the best American filmmakers.
Runtime: 2h 18m
Director: Curtis Hanson
Curtis Hanson directed this adaptation of James Ellroy’s epic crime novel of 1950s Los Angeles. Starring Guy Pearce, Russell Crowe, Kevin Spacey, and Kim Basinger, it’s a perfect thriller and one of the best movies of the ‘90s. So many films since this one have tried to mimic the tough-talking thrills of it and fallen completely flat. It’s harder than it looks to be this cool.
Runtime: 2h 11m
Director: Bong Joon-ho
Long before Parasite and Snowpiercer, Bong Joon-ho directed this masterful film that has earned raves as one of the best Korean dramas of the current generation of filmmakers. It’s the true story of a series of murders that took place mostly in the late ‘80s, but this is closer to Zodiac in the way it unpacks how unsolved crimes can drive people to obsession. Despite the results of the latest Sight & Sound poll, it might be Bong’s best film.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Runtime: 1h 9m
Director: Bianca Stigter
A fest darling from late 2021 and early 2022, this is a riveting documentary that uses three minutes of footage to not only capture a village decimated by the Holocaust but how film traps a moment in history. The entire documentary consists only of those three minutes and narration by Helena Bonham Carter as to who is in this footage of a small town taken just before it would be destroyed by the Third Reich. Who are these people and what happened to them? It’s a stunner.
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.
Runtime: 1h 41m
Director: Harold Ramis
Bill Murray gives one of his best performances ever in this sharp story of a selfish man who figures out the real meaning of life. Murray plays a weatherman who has been forced to cover a Groundhog Day event in Pennsylvania when he discovers that he has to relive the same day over and over again. An incredibly smart script co-written by director Harold Ramis is the real star here, the kind that can be appreciated through the generations.
Runtime: 1h 49m
Director: Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese is often more recognized for his gangster movies, classics like GoodFellas and Casino, but he’s really a filmmaker who can do absolutely everything. One of his most underrated genre experiments is this 1982 black comedy that really now looks prescient about how much everyone would want their 15 minutes of fame almost four decades later. Robert De Niro gives one of his best performances as Rupert Pupkin, an unhinged stand-up comedian who becomes obsessed with a talk show host, unforgettably played by Jerry Lewis.
Runtime: 1h 22m
Director: Raine Allen Miller
The best romantic comedy in years premiered at Sundance in January 2023 and is already on Hulu. David Jonsson and Vivian Oparah star in a film that’s reminiscent of Before Sunrise in the way it captures two people meeting and walking through a city as they slowly fall in love. Heartbroken, creative people, these characters are so incredibly likable in this film that has a sharp, brilliant screenplay, and stunning use of setting. The world around these people comes so vibrantly to life that it almost feels like a character.
Runtime: 2h 29m
Director: Ruben Ostlund
A Best Picture nominee and Palme d’Or winner, Triangle of Sadness is the one of the biggest international critical darlings of 2022. From the writer/director of Force Majeure, this is the story of a model couple on a boat trip from Hell, a journey that goes so disastrously wrong that social lines are blurred forever. It’s a sharp commentary on the haves and have-nots with fun performances from Harris Dickinson, Dolly de Leon, Woody Harrelson, and more.
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.
Runtime: 1h 47m
Director: David Cronenberg
The master of body horror returned to the form for the first time in a generation and delivered one of the most mesmerizing films of 2022. Viggo Mortensen plays a man in a future where evolution has gone awry, creating new organs in human bodies. His is particularly active, and it draws the attention of characters played by Kristen Stewart and Lea Seydoux. It’s a fascinating film. You won’t be able to turn away.
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.
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.
Runtime: 2 hours, 4 minutes
Director: Katsuhiro Otomo
Animated action! Anyone who thinks a Japanese anime film from the ‘80s doesn’t deserve a spot on this list simply hasn’t seen Akira, a movie that feels more influential with each film that copies its template. Based on the 1982 manga of the same name and set in the oh-so-distant future of 2019, this story of a biker with telekinetic abilities has influenced dozens of action and sci-fi project. It gets better every time you watch it. (Note: Both the dubbed and subtitled versions are on Hulu.)
Runtime: 2h 51m
Director: Michael Mann
Robert De Niro and Al Pacino star in one of the best movies of the ‘90s, a stunning cat-and-mouse game between a career criminal and a workaholic cop. The book release of Heat 2 in 2022 brought a lot of people back to this movie, one that has held up remarkably well over the nearly three decades since it was released. It’s a masterpiece.
Runtime: 1h 42m
Director: David Mackenzie
David Mackenzie’s 2016 modern western is feeling more and more like a definitive film of the last decade with each passing year. There aren’t many films that one could consider better at capturing the lengths people will go to hold on to what’s theirs than this story of two brothers (Chris Pine and Ben Foster) who become bank robbers to save their family land. The cast is uniformly great, but it’s Taylor Sheridan’s excellent script that really makes this a special movie.
Runtime: 1h 45m
Director: Rupert Wyatt
Any list of the best modern action trilogies really needs to include the rebooted Planet of the Apes series that started with this excellent blockbuster over a decade ago. James Franco plays a man who raises a genetically engineered chimpanzee named Caesar (Andy Serkis, who gives an all-timer mo-cap performance), who starts the revolution of the primates over their human captors. It’s a phenomenal movie.
Runtime: 2h 50m
Director: Brian De Palma
The fearless director Brian De Palma updated the 1929 novel and beloved 1932 film in a way that could only be made in the early ‘80s. Al Pacino gives one of his most iconic performances as Tony Montana, a Cuban immigrant who becomes the kingpin of the Miami drug scene. Some of Scarface is a little dated and problematic four decades later, but one can’t deny the sheer power of the filmmaking and performances here. It’s still riveting stuff.
Runtime: 2h 4m
Director: Ben Affleck
Adapted from a Chuck Hogan novel, this is an essential modern crime movie, especially for the city of Boston. Affleck, Jeremy Renner (Oscar-nominated), Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm, and Chris Cooper star in the story of a group of bank robbers from Boston who set out to pull the ultimate job, robbing Fenway Park.
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