Best Movies on Peacock Right Now
If you’re trying to figure out what movies to watch on Peacock, you’ve come to the right place. The streaming service from NBCUniversal launched in the summer of 2020 with a bevy of film and TV content from NBC and Universal’s library, and it became the exclusive streaming home of the beloved series The Office in January 2021. But given that there are so many streaming services, you’d be forgiven for just wanting to know the basics about Peacock, and what you should prioritize watching.
Peacock has three tiers of service – free, premium, and premium plus – and you may find that with your cable subscription you already have Peacock Premium for free. That’s good news, because Premium and Premium Plus are where you get the full library of content.
And you know what? Peacock actually has a pretty solid library of movies to choose from. It’s where you can stream the entire Harry Potter franchise or the Bourne movies or any number of comedies, thrillers, and dramas. So we’ve gone through the full Peacock library to single out and curate a list of the best of the best.
Behold, our list of the best movies to watch on Peacock right now.
The Harry Potter Franchise
Directors: Chris Columbus, Alfonso Cuaron, Mike Newell, and David Yates
Writers: Steve Kloves and Michael Goldenberg
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Richard Harris, Michael Gambon, Tom Felton, Ralph Fiennes, Gary Oldman, Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane, and many more
All seven films in the Harry Potter franchise are streaming on Peacock, which is honestly reason enough to fire up the new streaming service. This is one of the best and most successful film franchises of all time, largely owing to the fact that its tone and themes shifted as the characters grew older. The first couple of films set the tone through the point of view of children, but it’s Prisoner of Azkaban where Potter starts getting moody as it reflects the teenaged hormones of its central characters. By the time we get to the two-part Deathly Hallows, not only are the stakes incredibly high (and emotional), but the mood is downright operatic. So whether it’s your first or 17th time through, this series provides a really tremendous binge-watch.
The Bourne Trilogy
Directors: Doug Liman and Paul Greengrass
Writers: Tony Gilroy, William Blake Herron, Scott Z. Burns, and George Nolfi
Cast: Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Chris Cooper, Brian Cox, Julia Stiles, Karl Urban, David Strathairn, Scott Glenn, and Joan Allen
The first three Bourne movies are not just incredible to watch, they’re also groundbreaking pieces of action cinema. The gritty, grounded nature of the action in The Bourne Identity ushered in a new era of action filmmaking, and Paul Greengrass’ two sequels doubled down and started an entire “shaky cam” movement. Imitators never quite got the results that Greengrass did, and that’s because his shaky cam action sequences had purposes, and put you right in the middle of the action instead of making you dizzy. These are three great spy thrillers fronted by one of the greatest actors of his generation, and it’s rare that a franchise gets better with each entry as Bourne does. Although the less said about The Bourne Legacy and Jason Bourne the better. Let’s just pretend it’s a trilogy, okay?
Director: Spike Lee
Writer: Russell Gewirtz
Cast: Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster, Christopher Plummer, Willem Dafoe, and Chiwetel Ejiofor
While Spike Lee has made a number of extraordinary films over the course of his career, his 2006 crime thriller Inside Man might still be one of his most purely entertaining features. The story follows a bank heist from the perspective of both the perpetrators and the authorities outside, which is really nothing new. But Lee elevates the clichéd plot device through compelling storytelling devices and a series of twists and turns that keep the viewer guessing. Denzel Washington is dependably solid as the protagonist cop, but it’s Clive Owen as the bank robber that gets the most intrigue and Lee hammers home some distressing themes about prejudice and hate in the process. This is a popcorn flick by way of Spike Lee, which in and of itself should be reason enough to add this to your queue.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Writer: Jason Segel
Cast: Jason Segel, Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Russell Brand, Jonah Hill, Paul Rudd, and Bill Hader
The 2008 comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall is secretly one of the best romantic comedies ever made. Produced by Judd Apatow, the film saw Freaks and Geeks breakout Jason Segel writing a script inspired by his own experiences. The story revolves around a guy who gets dumped by his famous girlfriend (Kristen Bell) and heads to Hawaii to try and forget about his troubles. As it turns out his ex and her new rock star lover (Russell Brand) are staying at the same resort. Hilarity and male nudity ensue, but what makes Forgetting Sarah Marshall linger is the sensitivity at the heart of the film. It’s ultimately an incredibly sweet story bolstered by tremendous performances that also happens to feature a Dracula musical.
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: Melissa Mathison
Cast: Henry Thomas, Dee Wallace, Drew Barrymore, Peter Coyote, C. Thomas Howell, and Robert MacNaughton
It’s easy to forget just how good E.T. is. Obviously it’s one of Spielberg’s classics, but there’s an inclination to just assume E.T.‘s greatness without considering just how incredible this movie really is—it’s a downright masterpiece. It’s not enough for Spielberg to simply tell a story about an alien. He had done that already with Close Encounters of the Third Kind. No, this is a deeply personal work for the filmmaker, and one that’s just as much the story of a family torn apart by divorce as it is the tale of friendship between a lonely boy and a homesick alien. These plot devices go hand-in-hand, one informing the other, and it’s a testament to Spielberg’s genius that they blend so perfectly together. This is a movie filled with wonder, imagination, and adventure, but it’s also a considerably dark film that doesn’t shy away from the realities of a broken family. It’s that mix of pure movie magic and a grounded emotionality that make this a quintessential Spielberg film. If you need a reminder that Spielberg is one of the best there’s ever been, or simply want to watch a masterpiece, give E.T. a spin. And bring Kleenex.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Director: Michel Gondry
Writer: Charlie Kaufman
Cast: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Elijah Wood, Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Wilkinson
One of the greatest films of the 21st century so far, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is also one of the greatest love stories ever told, albeit with that signature Charlie Kaufman flavor. The twisty soft sci-fi stars Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet as a couple who separately make the decision to undergo a procedure to erase all memories of one another from their minds, but continue falling in love all over again regardless. It’s a deep sojourn into all aspects of “love” and what it means to find companionship, and it may just be Kaufman’s most human piece of work as a screenwriter. The performances are phenomenal, especially Carrey and Winslet who make a tremendous duo. Carrey is put to excellent use here, and Gondry’s sensibilities keep the film from wading in self-pity or sadness for too long. See it, see it again—Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a true treasure.
The Big Lebowski
Directors/Writers: Joel and Ethan Coen
Cast: Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi, and John Turturro
If you’re in the mood for an incredibly silly comedy from two of the best American filmmakers in history, you can’t go wrong with The Big Lebowski. While not a huge success at the time of its release in 1998, the film has gained cult status and a devoted following in the ensuing years. Jeff Bridges plays a laid back stoner who goes by the name of “The Dude,” who is mistaken for someone else and ends up getting his favorite rug ruined. The Dude then becomes embroiled in a weird conspiracy heist plot, coming into contact with a cadre of colorful characters, when all he really wants is compensation for his rug. It’s a trippy, hilarious, idiosyncratic comedy the likes of which only the Coens could dream up.
Director: Ron Howard
Writers: William Broyles Jr. and Al Reinert
Cast: Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Ed Harris, Gary Sinese, and Kathleen Quinlan
It’s not an exaggeration to say that Apollo 13 may very well be Ron Howard’s best film. The 1995 space-set drama chronicles the harrowing Apollo 13 mission from 1970, in which astronauts were forced to abort their trip down to the moon’s surface and figure out a way safely back home when an explosion significantly decreases the amount of oxygen and power onboard. It’s a really thrilling and emotional true-story drama and Howard captures the space-set scenes with a sense of danger and claustrophobia – you really get a feel for what these guys went through. It also doesn’t hurt that the ensemble cast, led by Tom Hanks, is terrific.
The Breakfast Club
Director/Writer: John Hughes
Cast: Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy, Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, Anthony Michael Hall, and Paul Gleason
What is there to say about The Breakfast Club that hasn’t already been said? John Hughes’ 1985 film is a classic for a reason, and it set a precedent for how a teen movie could encapsulate multiple life experiences at once. Set over the course of one day during an all-day detention at high school, the film revolves around an “athlete” (Emilio Estevez), a “brain” (Anthony Michael Hall), a “basket case” (Ally Sheedy), a “princess” (Molly Ringwald) and a “criminal” (Judd Nelson) as these five schoolmates learn that there’s far more lurking under the surface than the labels which they’ve already attached to one another. It’s hilarious, sweet, and surprisingly deep, and it’s also one of the most rewatchable movies ever made.
Pride and Prejudice
Director: Joe Wright
Writer: Deborah Moggach
Cast: Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfadyen, Brenda Blethyn, Donald Sutherland, Tom Hollander, Rosamund Pike, Jena Malone, and Judi Dench
The classic Jane Austen novel Pride and Prejudice has been adapted many, many, many times, but it’s entirely possible that Joe Wright’s 2005 film is the best ever. Keira Knightley leads the film as Elizabeth Bennet, a headstrong young woman who strikes up a hot-and-cold relationship with the enigmatic Mr. Darcy (played by Succession’s Matthew Macfadyen). The cinematography and production design are absolutely lush, and Dario Marianelli’s score is beautiful and vibrant, but it’s Wright’s actors that really make this thing soar and the chemistry between Knightley and Macfadyen is absolutely tremendous.
The Place Beyond the Pines
Director: Derek Cianfrance
Writers: Derek Cianfrance, Ben Coccio, and Darius Marder
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Ben Mendelsohn, Ray Liotta, Emory Cohen, and Dane Dehaan
For his follow-up film, Blue Valentine filmmaker Derek Cianfrance went with a highly ambitious crime saga told in three parts. The Place Beyond the Pines has a triptych structure, beginning with a chapter in which Ryan Gosling plays a bank robber with a baby son, continuing with a chapter following a cop played by Bradley Cooper, and concluding with a chapter revolving around the sons of these two men. The result is something epic, thrilling, and highly emotional, with a narrative unlike any you’ve seen before. If you like crime thrillers with serious dramatic stakes, you’ll love this movie.
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Susannah Grant
Cast: Julia Roberts, Albert Finney, and Aaron Eckhart
It’s a testament to Steven Soderbergh’s talent that he can not only release two wildly different films the same year – the legal drama Erin Brockovich and the epic drug drama Traffic – but also earn Best Director Oscar nominations for both, and win one (for Traffic). Indeed, Erin Brockovich is a really terrifically told social issue biopic that chronicles the titular woman’s fight to hold Pacific Gas and Electric responsible for the Hinkley groundwater contamination incident. Julia Roberts is tremendous in an Oscar-winning performance, and the film really does a nice job of conveying the seriousness of the issue at hand while also giving Brockovich a compelling, emotional story arc all her own.
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: Steven Zaillian
Cast: Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Jopseh Fiennes, Caroline Goodall, Jonathan Sagall, Embeth Davidz
When Steven Spielberg made Schindler’s List, there was skepticism aplenty. This was still the filmmaker behind Jaws, E.T., and Raiders of the Lost Ark, and his last couple stabs at drama—Always and The Color Purple—received mixed responses. But Schindler’s List marked a turning point in Spielberg’s career, as the filmmaker’s chronicle of the Holocaust—specifically the efforts of a war profiteer named Oskar Schindler to save Jews from the gas chambers—turned out to be a stunningly realized, haunting, and unforgettable piece of cinema. Presented in black and white and trading in static camera moves for a handheld approach that makes the horror all the more real, Schindler’s List is a testament to those that lost their lives in one of the most horrendous acts humanity has ever inflicted, and there’s a reason it won numerous Oscars including Best Picture and Director.
Director: Martin Scorsese
Writers: Nicholas Pileggi and Martin Scorsese
Cast: Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, James Woods, Joe Pesci, Don Rickles, and Kevin Pollack
Filmmaker Martin Scorsese’s 1995 crime drama Casino has been compared unfavorably to his masterpiece Goodfellas, but it’s best viewed as a companion piece to that film. Whereas Goodfellas was a mob rise and fall story, Casino takes a different POV to organized crime and zeroes in on their presence in Las Vegas, told through the prism of a gambling expert who works for the mob and gets in over his head as the manager of a Vegas casino. It’s a long and epic saga, but it’s filled with tremendous performances (especially from Sharon Stone) and some really brutal and unsettling violence.
Director/Writer: Judd Apatow
Cast: Seth Rogen, Katherine Heigl, Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Jason Segel, and Martin Starr
Judd Apatow announced himself as a filmmaker to watch with The 40-Year-Old Virgin, which blended R-rated humor with emotional sincerity, and Apatow doubled down on that tonally disparate pairing with his second film Knocked Up – to great results! The film stars Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl as a pair of strangers who, after a drunken one-night-stand that Heigl’s character regrets, results in an unplanned pregnancy. The story charts their arc as they try to forge a successful relationship in the months leading up to their child’s birth, but the film is really about the “manchild” mindset of Rogen’s character and why that’s unsustainable and, frankly, pretty toxic. It’s also just a deeply funny movie.
Director: Ridley Scott
Writer: Steven Zaillian
Cast: Russell Crowe, Denzel Washington, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Josh Brolin, Cuba Gooding Jr., Ted Levine, John Hawkes, and RZA
If you’re looking for a crime epic from one of the best directors around, check out 2007’s American Gangster. The film pits Russell Crowe against Denzel Washington as it recounts the true story of gangster and heroin smuggler Frank Lucas (Washington) and the detective (Crowe) fighting against corruption in the NYPD to try and bring him down. The film spans years as it covers the investigation into Lucas and Lucas’ rise in the New York City drug underworld simultaneously, and while Crowe and Washington don’t share the screen together until the very end, Ridley Scott does a great job of organically weaving their stories throughout the film’s epic runtime.
Burn After Reading
Directors/Writers: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
Cast: George Clooney, Frances McDormand, Richard Jenkins, Brad Pitt, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton, and J.K. Simmons
How did the Coen Brothers cash in on their clout from winning Best Director and Best Picture with No Country for Old Men? With an absurdist comedy that adds up to a punchline, of course. Burn After Reading is a hilarious romp of sorts played very, very straight, as the Coens pack this espionage story to the brim with idiots, but shoot, edit, and score it as if it’s a Michael Clayton-esque thriller. It’s a brilliant subversion of expectations, and while some certainly felt slighted by the ending, the way the story abruptly deflates is precisely the point. This is a movie that gets better and better with each watch, and though it may feel slight in the shadow of something as rich and complex as No Country, the range it displays from the Coen Brothers only solidifies them as two of America’s greatest directors of all time.
Director/Writer: Martin McDonagh
Cast: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes, Clémence Poésy, and Jérémie Renier
If you’re in the mood for something along the lines of “funny/sad”, filmmaker Martin McDonagh’s fantastic dark comedy In Bruges is a must-watch. The 2008 film marked a significant turning point in Colin Farrell’s career from “movie star” to serious actor, and he turns in one of his finest performances as a guilt-riddled hitman who is sent to Bruges along with his mentor (played by Brendan Gleeson) to await further instructions for their next job. As the two hang around the city, their melancholy turns to tension as twists and turns abound. At heart, though, McDonagh’s film is incredibly sweet and good-natured, even if the bleak aesthetics reflect the depression of the two main characters. And did I mention the humor? For all its seriousness and dramatic qualities, In Bruges is also downright hilarious, with Farrell and Gleeson proving to be an adept and highly watchable comedic duo. Funny, thrilling, and sweet with plenty of gunplay to boot, In Bruges is one of the best films of the decade so far.
Drag Me to Hell
Director: Sam Raimi
Writers: Sam Raimi and Ivan Raimi
Cast: Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Lorna River, Dileep Rao, David Paymer, and Adriana Barraza
How about a good old fashioned horror movie? After making three Spider-Man movies in a row, Evil Dead filmmaker Sam Raimi returned to his horror roots with the incredible 2009 thriller Drag Me to Hell. The film follows a bank loan officer who denies a gypsy woman alone, only to receive a curse from said woman. Absolute chaos and terror ensues, as Raimi follows the consequences of this one action with equal parts glee and horror. This movie is a ton of fun.
The new trailer for the HBO Max film arrives this weekend.
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