What are the top 10 Hulu movies? Hulu has a rich library of great films. In addition to Hulu’s selection of TV series, original programming and exclusive content, over 3,000 movies are available on Hulu Plus, Hulu’s paid subscription service.
But since the Hulu.com site does not provide an easily navigable movie index, we thought it would be useful to compile a top ten movie list for current Hulu subscribers looking for some great films to watch this weekend, as well as for current Netflix or Amazon Prime subscribers thinking of moving to Hulu Plus.
Please note that as is the nature of any top 10 movie list, our ranking is highly subjective. So, you may disagree with our compilation. But with that said, these films are our personal favorites from the expansive library of Hulu movies.
1. City Lights (1931) – The brilliant comedic love story written, directed by and starring Charlie Chaplain, has as its climactic scene one of the most poignant but understated moments in the history of film. Author James Agee described the final scene of Chaplain’s masterpiece, “It is enough to shrivel the heart to see, and it is the greatest piece of acting and the highest moment in movies.” Although released two years after the end of the silent era, City Lights has no talking, the absence of spoken dialogue adding to the movie’s uniqueness and providing the perfect medium for Chaplain’s Little Tramp pantomine. City Lights was ranked number 11 on AFI’s top 100 list, and number one in AFI’s list of the top romantic comedies.
2. The Graduate (1967) – The Mike Nichols film starring Anne Bancroft, Dustin Hoffman, Ben Braddock, and Katharine Ross is a must-see movie if only for the classic Simon and Garfunkel soundtrack. The iconic comedy captures late 1960’s youthful waywardness, discontent, and lack of purpose, pulling in the audience as you root for Hoffman’s Benjamin Braddock as he tries to extricate himself from the sordid love triangle involving Hoffman, Anne Bancroft’s Mrs. Robinson, and the beautiful Katherine Ross as Mrs. Robinson’s daughter Elaine. The Graduate was ranked number 17 in the American Film Institute’s ranking of the top 100 movies of all time.
3. Platoon (1986) – Oliver Stone’s 1986 movie delivers the director’s anti-war message with an intensity of action that builds relentlessly to the film’s unsettling conclusion. For Charlie Sheen’s PFC Chris Taylor, there is no glory in war, only fire ants and mosquitoes, incessant marching and ditch-digging, intra-platoon conflict, and dizzying fire-fights. Platoon won the Oscar for best picture of 1987, while Tom Berenger and Willem Dafoe received best supporting actor nominations for their respective roles as the murderous Staff Sergeant Robert Barnes and the more even-tempered Sergeant Elias Grodin. Platoon is ranked number 83 on the AFI top 100 films.
4. The Seventh Seal (1957) – When Death comes to claim Max Van Sydow’s Antonius Block in plague-ravaged Medieval Europe, the knight challenges the grim reaper to a game of chess, buying some time while he searches for a purpose to his life and an understanding of the relationship between God and man. Ingmar Bergman’s art house favorite is full of striking imagery — the soaring bird of prey transitioning to the image of Death in the film’s opening sequence, Death sawing down a tree in which his victim has sought refuge, the accused witch awaiting her execution, the final procession of the doomed being led along by Death in the film’s final scene. The Swedish film, available on Hulu Plus though its exclusive relationship with the Criterion Collection, is a must-see for all fans of foreign cinema.
5. Crash – Paul Haggis’ 2004 film examines race and gender relations through the interlocking lives of a disparate and multi-cultural group of characters over a 36 hour period in Los Angeles. The film is powerful, raising societal questions that are left unresolved as the complex plot lines unfold on the screen. Crash features outstanding performances by an ensemble cast including Don Cheadle, Terrence Howard, Sandra Bullock, Michael Peña and Matt Dillon, who won an academy award for best supporting actor for his role as Officer John Ryan. Crash won the Oscar for best picture for2006, and is consistently ranked among the most frequently streamed Hulu movies.
6. The Four Feathers (1939) – This Alexander Korda spectacle directed by his brother Zoltan features dramatic battle sequences, a love triangle for the affections of beautiful June Duprez, and C. Aubrey Smith’s stiff upper lip in a stirring tale of honor, courage and redemption. The cast is wonderful, with commanding performances by Smith, Sir Ralph Richardson, and John Clements as Harry Faversham, the young officer who after resigning the military on the eve of deployment to North Africa, must regain the respect of those who think him a coward. Among the many memorable scenes is the crippled Richardson attempting to lead his garrison against an enemy attack. The Four Feathers, released in 1939, the greatest year in film history, is among the best movies ever made. Hulu Movies streams the Criterion Collection edition of the film, featuring critical commentary and other extras.
7. Stagecoach (1939) – Director John Ford’s western classic film made John Wayne a star. Wayne, as the Ringo Kid, teams up with stage coach driver Andy Devine with U.S. Marshall George Bancroft riding shotgun, to help lead a motley collection of stagecoach passengers through dangerous Apache country. Each character has a personal story, each tale-within-a-tale played out in tightly-woven scenes leading up to the final encounter between Wayne and the villainous Plummers. Stagecoach established the formula for hundreds of western films to come, such as the climactic arrival of the U.S. cavalry to save the stagecoach occupants from disaster at the hands of the marauding Apaches. The movie features a stirring musical score as well as stunning views of Monument Valley on the Arizona/Utah border. In the most competitive Oscar year in movie history, Thomas Mitchell won an academy award for Best Supporting Actor, and the film won an Oscar for Best Music (Scoring), beating out such notable films as Gone with the Wind for that honor. Stagecoach is available on Hulu Movies as part of the Criterion Collection of great films.
8. The Seven Samurai (1956) – Arguably the greatest film in the history of Japanese cinema, Akira Kurosawa’s epic tale tells the story of a small peasant village which enlists the aid of a veteran samurai to help the villagers fight off a group of marauding bandits. Kurosawa paints a compelling character portrait of the veteran Takashi Shimura and his six samurai recruits, each honor-bound to help the villagers for no tangible payment other than three small meals per day. Kurosawa directed such notable films as Rashoman, Ikiru, Kagemusha and Ran, but The Seven Samurai is generally regarded as his greatest cinematic achievement. The film was remade as a western in 1960’s The Magnificent Seven. The Seven Samurai is available on Hulu Plus through Hulu’s exclusive relationship with the Criterian Collection of great movies.
9. This is Spinal Tap (1984) – Rob Reiner’s mockumentary chronicles the misadventures of the mythical band Spinal Tap during its disastrous “Smell the Glove” concert tour. The film, which has achieved cult status, satirizes the format of Martin Scorcese’s The Last Waltz (1978), as well as prior rock documentaries such as Gimme Shelter (1970) and Don’t Look Back (1967). This is Spinal Tap features memorable performances by Michael McKean, Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer as members of the world’s loudest band together with the rest of the ensemble cast that includes appearances by Billy Crystal, Dana Carvey, Anjelica Huston, Bruno Kirby, Fran Drescher and Ed Begley Jr. The comedy inspired an entire genre of mock documentaries such as Guest’s Waiting for Guffman (1997) and Best in Show (2000), Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous (2000), and even such fake documentaries as The Blair Witch Project (1999) and Paranormal Activity (2007).
10. Gimme Shelter (1972) – Often called the greatest concert film of all time, Gimme Shelter chronicles the Rolling Stones’ 1969 concert tour with Jefferson Airplane, culminating in the violence-marred concert at Altamont Speedway in Northern California. The filmmaker’s reactive documentary style captures footage of the Stones recording Brown Sugar and Wild Horses in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Tina and Ike Turner opening at Madison Square Garden in New York, and the mayhem at Altamont where the Hells Angels were hired to provide security. The deal-making leading up to the Altamont concert, the performance and crowd footage, and the rock legends’ own commentary as they watch the concert highlights make this movie a must-see for classic music fans. Gimme Shelter consistently ranks among the top Hulu movies in the concert film category.
This is our personal ranking of the top 10 Hulu movies. Watch these great films on Hulu.com, and let us know if you agree.