14 of the best movies streaming on Paramount+

UniqueThis 2 Jan 14

If you’ve already blown through your Netflix and Hulu libraries, maybe it’s time to give Paramount+ a spin. Since Paramount has been making movies since 1916, its catalog of films is deep. Seriously. Imagine John Wayne Westerns on the same streamer as Sonic the Hedgehog! It’s madness, and we love it. Movies forever!

Below, 14 of our favorite movies from Paramount's library to watch now on Paramount+.

1. Bridget Jones’s Diary

Bridget Jones’s Diary is a perfect movie, and we’re not hearing any opinions to the contrary, thank you! Renée Zellweger gained 20 pounds to snag the role of Bridget, already a beloved character in the UK thanks to Helen Fielding’s wildly popular Bridget Jones novels. The Brits were in an uproar about an American being cast in a role that was archetypally British, but Zellweger’s performance (and accent!) were so spot-on, the complaints quickly gave way to rave reviews.

The start of a film franchise, and the best movie of the lot, Bridget Jones’s Diary introduces us to an ordinary 30-something woman in London who, after turning 32 alone, vows to lose weight, quit smoking, stop drinking, and find love. Enter Hugh Grant as Bridget’s preternaturally charming boss, and, because this is a Pride and Prejudice adaptation after all, Colin Firth as the man who couldn’t seem more wrong for Bridget (his name is literally Mr. Darcy!!!). Even if you know where this funny and grounded rom-com is going, you’re sure to have a blast along the way.

How to watch: Bridget Jones’s Diary is now streaming on Paramount+.

2. A Quiet Place 

A man putting a finger to his lips

Stay very quiet. Credit: Jonny Cournoyer/Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock

John Krasinski went from actor to celebrated director with this spine-tingling 2018 hit. Starring opposite his real-life wife Emily Blunt, The Office star plays a farmer dedicated to protecting his family from killer creatures that hunt by sound. This clever premise means the movie’s characters can't scream, because such a sound would definitely be their last. That means your own sounds of terror are weaponized while watching, crashing into the silent soundscape that’s suffocating in tension.

Ruthlessly paced and keenly realized, A Quiet Place is a superbly scary thrill ride. But what makes it top-tier are the poignant performances by Krasinski, Blunt, and their onscreen children, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe. Together, they make a family-frightening feature that's perfect for a quiet night at home. And if you dare to double-feature, the spooky sequel, A Quiet Place: Part II, is also available. — Kristy Puchko, Deputy Entertainment Editor *

How to watch: A Quiet Place is now streaming on Paramount+.

3. Flight 

When his plane suffers a mechanical failure that threatens to doom the flight, airline pilot William "Whip" Whitaker manages a miraculous landing that saves the lives of everyone on board. At first, he’s hailed as a hero, but when an investigation into the incident reveals new details, his heroism is called into question. Denzel Washington received an Academy Award nomination for his extraordinary portrayal of a flawed and complex man in this Robert Zemeckis-directed drama. Flight is a meaty and exciting film, a character study that keeps us on the edge of our seats. Just… don’t watch it on a plane, OK? That would not be a smart thing to do.

How to watch: Flight is now streaming on Paramount+.

4. Election

Never forget that Reese Witherspoon wasn't always America's beaming sweetheart. In Alexander Payne's vicious high-school political satire, she's Tracy Flick, the terrifyingly ambitious overachiever willing to do whatever it takes to win the race for student body president. Matthew Broderick shook off the long shadow of Ferris Bueller to play the embittered teacher who just can't stand to see her sail to the success she thinks she deserves, and slowly drives himself mad trying to get in her way. More than 20 years (and several bruising election cycles) later, its edges are as sharp as ever. — Caitlin Welsh, Entertainment Reporter *

How to watch: Election is now streaming on Paramount+.

5. To Catch a Thief

A man and a woman kiss in a car

Grace Kelly and Cary Grant in "To Catch a Thief." Credit: Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

An Alfred Hitchcock masterpiece, To Catch a Thief is a half-suspense, half-romance whodunnit against a sparkling Mediterranean backdrop. Cary Grant is smooth as ever as John Robie, a reformed jewel thief now living a quiet life in the French Riviera. But when a string of new robberies puts him under suspicion, he’ll have to find the real culprit before he takes the blame. 

Grace Kelly is literally glowing in this film, playing one of the rich tourists whose belongings were stolen, and her sumptuous Edith Head costumes are truly iconic. To Catch a Thief is one of those gorgeous classics where no one has a job and everyone speaks in witty double entendres. It’s a mischievous, flirtatious movie that makes you want to put on an enormous hat and move to Monaco — which is what Grace Kelly did: It was during the production of Thief that she met her future husband, the Prince of Monaco!

How to watch: To Catch a Thief is now streaming on Paramount+.

6. Hugo

Hugo Cabret (Sex Education's Asa Butterfield, but your kids don't know that!) lives alone in a Paris train station, trying to understand mysteries left behind by his late father (Jude Law), including a robot that can write with a pen. Hugo befriends Isabelle (Chloë Grace Moretz) in a shared thirst for adventure which takes them through her godfather's past and love for film — slowly but surely piecing together what connects them all to each other. Nothing like getting the youngins hooked on Martin Scorsese! — Proma Khosla, Entertainment Reporter *

How to watch: Hugo is now streaming on Paramount+.

7. Escape from Alcatraz

Based on an audacious real-life jailbreak, this classic action film stars Clint Eastwood as a convict as tough as he is clever. Frank Morris has a long list of offenses and a string of escapes on his record. So as soon as he arrives at a high-security prison, he’s searching for a way out. But the prison’s bars, guards, and regulations aren’t the greatest obstacle.

Alcatraz sits on an island far off the shore of San Francisco. Can Frank and his friends (Paul Benjamin, Jack Thibeau, Fred Ward, and Larry Hankin) make their way to freedom through the freezing waters on a homemade (well, cell-made) raft? Director Don Siegel brings a snarling edge to this tense tale of hardened men, yearning for freedom. — K.P. *

How to watch: Escape from Alcatraz is now streaming on Paramount+.

8. Arrival

A woman in an orange hazmat suit holds up a whiteboard with "human" written on it

Amy Adam teaches aliens English. Credit: Shutterstock

This isn’t your run-of-the-mill alien flick. Arrival is a moody, complex science fiction drama where 12 extraterrestrial ships land across the globe… and wait. Countries scramble to make contact, to decipher meaning from the aliens’ presence. Enter Amy Adams as Louise Banks, a linguist assigned to study the alien’s language from their USA parking spot in Montana. The closer she comes to understanding the visitors’ intentions, the more her perception of the world around her begins to change. Arrival is scenic and existential, pairing high-concept philosophical questions with sweeping shots of the Montana plains. It’s suspenseful, provocative, and atmospheric — a winning combination for science fiction. And it goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway, Amy Adams is (as always!) at the top of her game here.

How to watch: Arrival is now streaming on Paramount+.

9. His Girl Friday

This classic screwball rom-com, adapted from the play The Front Page, sees star reporter Hildy Johnson take on one last assignment with her editor ex-husband before she gets out of the game for good to re-marry and retire to a quiet life of motherhood. If you're a little burned out on contemporary comedy, there's nothing better for the soul than watching a dame with moxie stalk around in gorgeous skirt suits tossing out rapid-fire banter in a Mid-Atlantic accent, and Rosalind Russell, as Hildy Johnson, does it better than just about anyone. Throw in Cary Grant as the former boss who's still in love with her — and gives as good as he gets — and this 70-year-old film still crackles with energy and wit. C.W. *

How to watch: His Girl Friday is now streaming on Paramount+.

10. Life is Beautiful

Looking to cry your face off? Life is Beautiful is here for you. One of the highest-grossing non-English language films of all time, this touching Italian drama, once seen, will sear itself into your memory so you clutch your heart each time you think of it. Roberto Benigni, along with directing and writing the film, stars as a young Jewish father in 1940s Italy. When his family is taken to an internment camp, he shields his son from the truth of the situation by pretending they are in a complex game, where tasks like hiding from the guards will earn him extra points. It’s a deeply affecting film, able to spark laughter and tears in equal measure. If you haven’t seen it, put it at the top of your list — and bring tissues.

How to watch: Life is Beautiful is now streaming on Paramount+.

11. Saint Maud 

In 2020, writer/helmer Rose Glass made a jaw-dropping directorial debut with this riveting psychological horror film. In a squalid seaside town, Maud (Morfydd Clark) is a pious young nurse who is fanatically dedicated to God. Hired as a private hospice caretaker for dying artist Amanda (Jennifer Ehle), Maud develops a dark fascination for her patient’s lust for life, booze, and Sapphic sex.

Their volatile bond is electric with temptation and conflict, which ignites as Maud steps up her quest to save Amanda’s soul. A battle of wills bends into the surreal as visual effects and a sound design reflect the world from Maud’s perspective. Punctuated with goosebump-pumping violence, swaddled in a sophisticated color palette of warmth and rot, and threaded by inky sexual tension, Saint Maud is uniquely intoxicating and unnerving experience that’ll leave you in horrified awe. — K.P. *

How to watch: Saint Maud is now streaming on Paramount+.

12. Mean Girls

Three panels, each containing a young woman on the phone

The dreaded three-way phone call. Credit: CBS via Getty Images

There’s a reason why, over 15 years later, we’re still joking “You can’t sit with us!!!” when our friends meet us late for dinner. Mean Girls set the standard for teen comedies in the early 2000s. The Tina Fey-penned flick was a box office behemoth when it debuted in 2004, and it shows no signs of fading out of relevance any time soon. Lindsay Lohan is Cady Heron, a formerly home-schooled teenager with no clue how to navigate the strict and punishing social hierarchy of North Shore High School. Her new friends, themselves social misfits, push her to infiltrate the popular crowd so they can ultimately take down the Queen Bee, a flawless Rachel McAdams. 

Mean Girls is hilarious, endlessly quotable, and a piercingly accurate take on the stakes of popularity in 2000s American high schools. Luckily, since “On Wednesdays, we wear pink” and “She doesn't even go here!” have firmly taken root in our collective cultural consciousness, we can keep enjoying this gem for decades to come. 

How to watch: Mean Girls is now streaming on Paramount+.

13. Minority Report

All the best science-fiction flicks are based on Philip K. Dick stories. First Blade Runner, then Total Recall, and in 2002, the mind-warping thriller Minority Report. The year is 2054, and America has won the war on crime by instituting the “Precrime” program, which utilizes future-telling technology to arrest people before they actually commit their foretold crime. Precrime Officer John Anderton (Tom Cruise) strongly believes in the power of his department, until his name appears on the arrest list for an upcoming murder. Directed by Steven Spielberg, Minority Report  is a complex science fiction story, a gripping action movie, and a suspenseful mystery film all-in-one.

How to watch: Minority Report is now streaming on Paramount+.

14. The Conversation

Sometimes the difference between life and death can hang on a single word.

No one understands this better than surveillance expert Harry Caul (Gene Hackman), who has been hired to record a conversation between a couple as they stroll around a San Francisco park. A paranoid and isolated man by nature, Harry becomes obsessed with understanding who this couple is and what they meant by what was said.

But in chasing down the motive of his mysterious client, he steps out of the shadows and into an uncomfortable spotlight. That move might be his last. A supremely suspenseful mystery, this classic from writer/director Francis Ford Coppola has wowed audiences, critics, and the Academy, boasting three Oscar nominations, including a nod for Best Picture. — K.P. *

How to watch: The Conversation is now streaming on Paramount+.

*Asterisks indicate the writeup is adapted from another Mashable article.

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