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    42 Of The Best Movies To Stream On Peacock In July

    Mamma Mia!, Boyz n the Hood, The Sixth Sense, and more great titles you'll want to queue up on the NBC streaming service in July.

    We hope you love the shows and movies we recommend! Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of revenue or other compensation from the links on this page. Oh and FYI: Platform, prices, and other availability details are accurate as of time of posting.

    1. A Beautiful Mind (2001)

    Russell Crowe's character peers through a window
    Universal Pictures / Peacock

    Inspired by the life of John Forbes Nash Jr., A Beautiful Mind takes us on the Nobel Prize–winner's journey from international acclaim through his struggles with mental illness. It's a stirring and absorbing work, often leaving viewers to sift through the facts and delusions that haunted the mathematician — making them feel all the more real. Jennifer Connelly's heartbreaking performance as Nash's supportive wife earned her an Oscar, and Russell Crowe was nominated for his compelling portrayal of the mathematical genius. The movie also walked away with wins for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, as well as nominations for its editing, score, and makeup.

    Watch it on Peacock for free.

    2. A Most Beautiful Thing (2020)

    The Manley High rowing team
    50 Eggs / Peacock

    An inspiring documentary about the Manley High rowing team, A Most Beautiful Thing tells the tale of a group of young Black men from the West Side of Chicago who, despite many being from rival gangs, came together to row the same boat, altering their trajectories forever. Thoughtfully directed by filmmaker, attorney, and Olympic rower Mary Mazzio and narrated by Common, this doc keeps its focus on its subjects, who tell their own stories that glisten with joy and optimism even in the face of heartbreaking trauma. At its core, A Most Beautiful Thing shows the healing potential of sports and offers a powerful message that is incredibly necessary in the times we live in.

    Watch it on Peacock for free.

    3. Akeelah and the Bee (2006)

    Keke Palmer and Laurence Fishburne sit in an office
    Lions Gate / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Akeelah and the Bee tells the story of a talented 11-year-old girl named Akeelah (Keke Palmer) who, with the support of an encouraging teacher (Laurence Fishburne) and her community, follows her dream of making it to the National Spelling Bee, despite her mother's (Angela Bassett) disapproval. Emotionally rich acting from Palmer, Fishburne, and Bassett allow this film to rise above formulaic sports movie clichés, turning it into something much more thoughtful and engaging, with Palmer being singled out for her pitch-perfect performance that earned her a Black Movie Award, a Black Reel Award, an NAACP Image Award, and a Young Artist Award. Though not without its problems, viewers found it to be an inspirational tale for both children and adults, and, in a time when Hollywood still struggles with representation, there is still a lot to be gained from a viewing even 15 years after its theatrical release.

    Watch it on Peacock for free.

    4. An American Tail (1986)

    Fievel looking upset
    Universal Pictures / Peacock

    This sweetly animated coming-to-America story from Steven Spielberg and Don Bluth takes an unexpectedly unflinching look at immigration, the American Dream, and antisemitism — heavy topics for a children's movie, but important and relevant ones that might make you want to give it another watch as an adult to catch all the details you missed as a kid. And despite the sometimes intense subject matter, this movie's full of enough entertaining dialogue, catchy musical numbers, and fast-paced action scenes to keep little ones engaged. The story follows a young mouse named Fievel (Phillip Glasser) as he and his Russian Jewish family embark on a journey to the US after their home is destroyed by anti-Jewish cats. But when Fievel is separated from his family, he is befriended by a kindly cat and mouse in New York (Pat Musick and Dom DeLuise, both of whom also voiced characters in 1994's A Troll in Central Park) who are willing to help him on his search for his lost loved ones. While this 1986 film tends to rely on racial stereotypes to make its points using animal characters, its strong message and refusal to overly romanticize the sometimes harsh truths of the world we live in give it staying power in an era that continually proves that this is a story worth retelling.

    Watch it on Peacock for free.

    5. Anthony (2020)

    Toheeb Jimoh wearing a suit and backpack as Anthony Walker
    Peacock Original

    When Black teenager Anthony Walker was murdered in an unprovoked racist attack by two white men in 2005, the world was sickened and mourned the loss of a life that had only just begun. In the wake of the 18-year-old's brutal murder, his mother Gee Walker approached her friend, screenwriter and producer Jimmy McGovern, and asked him to write about this horrifying loss. The result is a powerful look at what might have been, highlighting the positive impact Anthony made in his 18 years and imagining what his life might have looked like had it not been tragically cut short. Toheeb Jimoh and Rakie Ayola give tremendous performances as Anthony and his mother, respectively, and the film's structure makes even the happiest scenes heartbreaking and evocative. This Peacock original is simply a must-watch.

    Watch it on Peacock for free.

    6. Away From Her (2007)

    Julie Christie and Gordon Pinsent's characters standing together outside
    Lionsgate Films / Peacock

    Sarah Polley’s directorial debut is a moving look into the effects of Alzheimer’s, complemented by Julie Christie’s incredible performance as Fiona, a woman suffering from the disease. When Fiona checks into a nursing home due to her worsening condition, fractures begin to appear in her longtime marriage to Grant (Gordon Pinsent), as her memories fade and she develops a close relationship with another nursing home resident (Michael Murphy). Polley and Christie’s thoughtful work earned them both a long list of accolades from across the industry, including Oscar noms for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actress, and a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama. Fans of Sarah Polley's direction can also look forward to her forthcoming film Women Talking, starring Nomadland's brilliant Frances McDormand!

    Watch it on Peacock for free.

    7. Beethoven (1992)

    Dean Jones and Beethoven, the dog
    Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection

    For those of us who have spent the past year stuck in a home *without* a dog to distract us from our worries, this flawed, yet charming movie about a lovably wacky and destructive St. Bernard is just what the doctor ordered. Kids will be overjoyed by the movie's sunny energy (and the adorably shaggy pooch), and adults who loved the movie when they were kids themselves might be pleasantly surprised by the entertaining acerbic asides from Bonnie Hunt and Charles Grodin, who bring a comedic edge to this family film that might've slipped past young viewers the first time around. True fans will be delighted to discover that Peacock has also added the sequel, Beethoven’s 2nd, to their roster, offering up another adventure with their favorite doe-eyed dog.

    Watch it on Peacock for free.

    8. Being John Malkovich (1999)

    Two people looking at each other as one exits a tiny elevator
    USA Films / Courtesy Everett Collection

    This brilliantly strange film from Charlie Kaufman and Spike Jonze offers a mind- and genre-bending exploration of identity, celebrity, love, and art. When Craig (John Cusack), an unsuccessful puppeteer, starts a temp job as a filing clerk, he stumbles upon a portal into the mind of acclaimed actor John Malkovich — a discovery that turns his entire life, and the lives of those around him, completely upside down. An inventive screenplay, masterful direction, and fantastic acting from Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener, Orson Bean, and, of course, Malkovich himself ensures that this film's bizarre premise is fully realized, balancing humor, darkness, surrealism, and existentialism while keeping viewers on their toes, wondering what could possibly happen next in this twisted journey that continues to draw you in deeper and deeper until there's no turning back.

    Watch it on Peacock for free.

    9. Black Boys (2020)

    Adolescent boy sitting with his hands together
    Never Whisper Justice / Peacock

    This documentary celebrates Black youth and explores Black male identity in America through sports, education, and criminal justice. Director Sonia Lowman, who has a background in activism and whose first film, Teach Us All (2017), looked at segregation and racial inequities in American schools, came to this project with two main approaches. One was to explore how Black men are viewed by society, including acknowledging and grappling with her own limited understanding and prejudices that often go unexamined as a white woman who considers herself to be liberal and progressive. But the main focus was telling the stories of Black men and women in America across multiple generations and presenting as full of a picture of the Black male experience as possible, avoiding the two-dimensional version often shown in media. Highlighting the persistent racism and dehumanization Black males face, Black Boys provides an urgent conversation about opportunity, equity, and ultimately humanity.

    Watch it on Peacock for free.

    10. The Bourne Franchise (2002, 2004, 2007)

    Matt Damon as Jason Bourne sitting in a room with a man and people in military uniforms
    Peacock

    Peacock now offers the first three Bourne installments, The Bourne Identity (2002), The Bourne Supremacy (2004), and The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), which follow Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, a man trying to discover his true identity while evading assassins in the midst of a CIA conspiracy. Whether you're itching to relive the thrilling, carefully crafted car chase scenes or are more interested in the character-oriented focus that helped these smart thrillers rise above other spy-genre exercises, there's a lot that makes these films worth rewatching all these years later! Damon's embodiment of Jason Bourne and use of subtle body language to hint at his former life add depth to the titular character, and while some viewers and critics knocked the shaky cam aesthetic that appears throughout the films (and possibly went on to influence a plethora of lesser action flicks), the complex, unpredictable storyline is well executed and balances intelligent writing with gripping action sequences, making these blockbuster films worthy of the hype.

    Watch it on Peacock for free (three selections from the franchise are available for streaming).

    11. Boy Erased (2018)

    Lucas Hedges as Jared Eamons and Nicole Kidman as his mother sitting on a bed together, while Kidman puts a hand on his knee to comfort him
    Focus Features / Peacock

    Following his work in Oscar-nominated pictures like Lady Bird and Manchester by the Sea, Lucas Hedges plays Jared Eamons, the son of a small-town Baptist pastor (Russell Crowe), who is pressured to attend a conversion therapy program after being outed as gay to his parents. Hedges is remarkable in the role, offering a subtle but mesmerizing window into the heart and mind of a conflicted teen grappling with his sexuality, faith, and the approval of his family. His strong chemistry with his onscreen mother, played by the excellent Nicole Kidman, brings the story to life, as does Kidman and Crowe's moving portrayal of parents caught between their religious values and their love for their son. Critics questioned the praise for a well-acted, but somewhat muted film on this subject matter from a heterosexual writer-director, especially in the same year that The Miseducation of Cameron Post — an arguably better film about conversion therapy, written and directed by Desiree Akhavan, who identifies as a bisexual woman — was released with less fanfare. But while the themes are nothing new to the majority of viewers, the way Boy Erased humanizes Jared's parents while offering a look into the horrors of conversion therapy just might be the dose of reality that less-progressive viewers need to understand the cruelty of these programs.

    Watch it on Peacock with a Premium membership.

    12. *Boyz n the Hood (1991)

    A scene from Boyz n the Hood
    Peacock

    It's easy to forget that this groundbreaking film was made when iconic writer-director John Singleton was only in his early twenties, making his Oscar noms (Best Director and Best Screenplay) doubly notable, as he was both the youngest *and* the first Black person to be nominated for Best Director. His untimely death in 2019 led to an outpouring of admiration from the countless viewers whose lives were impacted by his work, all starting with his debut film — a coming-of-age story about three young Black men trying to navigate their way through life in a gang-ridden Los Angeles neighborhood. Featuring strong breakout performances from Cuba Gooding Jr., Ice Cube, Morris Chestnut, Nia Long, and Regina King as well as powerful turns from Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett, this acclaimed movie's exceptional acting, skillful camerawork, and raw dialogue collide brilliantly to tell a complex and nuanced story that's just as urgent and necessary now as it was when it was released all the way back in 1991.

    Watch it on Peacock for free.

    13. Bridesmaids (2011)

    Rose Byrne (obscured by a mannequin), Maya Rudolph, Kristen Wiig, Ellie Kemper looking at a dress in a bridal store
    Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection

    If you could use a good laugh (and couldn't we all right about now?), Bridesmaids is the perfect cinematic world to sink into. When Annie (Kristen Wiig) is asked to serve as her lifelong best friend's (Maya Rudolph) maid of honor, she is forced to confront her own struggles as she and the other bridesmaids suffer through a series of hilariously unfortunate events along the bumpy road to the wedding. The brilliant cast, featuring standout performances from Wiig, Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Ellie Kemper, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Melissa McCarthy, Rebel Wilson, Chris O'Dowd, Franklyn Ajaye, and Jill Clayburgh, bring an abundance of comedy chops, charm, and heart to the film, while the smart screenplay (by Wiig and Annie Mumolo — who recently reunited on the film Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar) deftly balances laugh-out-loud gags and touching moments that keep it feeling fresh throughout. Whether you're tuning in for the first time or coming back for another round, Bridesmaids is the wedding gift that keeps on giving.

    Watch it on Peacock for free.

    14. Bruce Almighty (2003)

    BRUCE ALMIGHTY, Morgan Freeman, Jim Carrey, 2003
    Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Jim Carrey fans have reason to rejoice with the addition of Bruce Almighty to Peacock's roster, a perfect vehicle for Carrey and his beloved bag of zany comedic tricks (which ultimately save this flawed script from becoming overly saccharine). When Bruce Nolan's (Carrey) stalled career receives another blow, he turns his wrath to God, asking why the omnipotent being would treat him so badly. Turns out that God (played by Morgan Freeman, with his characteristic warmth) takes offense to this claim, and offers Bruce all of his powers for a week to see if he can do a better job, which Bruce takes him up on — unaware of how his newfound abilities will affect his relationship with his girlfriend, Grace (the excellent Jennifer Aniston), his career, and the rest of the world that depends on him. This 2003 movie is also notable for Steve Carell's supporting role as Evan Baxter before he found wider fame via The Office, Anchorman, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and the Bruce Almighty spinoff, Evan Almighty, in the years following. If you're looking for a feel-good comedy that taps the talents of its cast of familiar faces, this laugh-filled option is worth your time.

    Watch it on Peacock for free.

    15. *The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

    A scene from The Cabin in the Woods
    Peacock

    This meta-comedy horror movie is a smorgasbord of winking slasher flick clichés, witty laughs, and unflinching gore, with filmmakers Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon conceiving of the film as both an homage to and critique of their favorite bloody genres. Critics praised its cleverly dense layers of references and ability to move from genuinely frightening to hilarious with ease, as well as the cast — including Chris Hemsworth, Kristen Connolly, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, and Bradley Whitford — for delivering standout performances despite the film's well-trodden concept of college friends being picked off by zombies in a remote cabin. The addition of scientists (Jenkins and Whitford) manipulating the supernatural forces brings an extra sense of mystery to the plot that veers between by-the-numbers tropes and unexpected turns.

    Watch it on Peacock for free.

    16. Children of Men (2006)

    Clive Owen's character in Children of Men
    Universal Pictures / Peacock

    This sci-fi action-thriller is set in 2027, when 18 years of human infertility have threatened mankind with extinction. A cautionary tale featuring impressive long-take chase sequences, this film's excellent cast includes Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, Clare-Hope Ashitey, Michael Caine, and Chiwetel Ejiofor, but succeeds largely due to Alfonso Cuarón's outstanding direction. Driven by anti-patriarchal rage, this tale of a dystopian future where men kill for the control of the refugee-born last baby on Earth and women die to protect it is still relevant today and earned itself three Oscar noms upon release. For anyone interested in Cuarón's work before his excellent Netflix original Roma, this one is definitely worth a watch.

    Watch it on Peacock for free.

    17. *Do the Right Thing (1989)

    A scene in the pizzeria in Do the Right Thing
    Peacock

    While this iconic film is in many ways a time capsule of Brooklyn in the '80s, its themes of racial tension and police brutality are just as relevant today as they were then. Writer-director Spike Lee earned a Best Director Oscar nom for the movie, which takes place over the course of one extremely hot Sunday in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant district, introducing a host of characters from the neighborhood while centering on a dispute between pizzeria owner Sal Fragione (portrayed by Danny Aiello, who also received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor) and a local named Buggin' Out who questions why Sal's restaurant doesn't feature any Black actors on its wall of fame. Tensions — and the sweltering heat — continue to rise throughout this compelling film, which has been lauded through the years for its focus on social issues as well as its combination of humor, vibrancy, frustration, and tragedy, not to mention the excellent ensemble cast, featuring Lee, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Martin Lawrence, Rosie Perez, Danny Aiello, John Turturro, Giancarlo Esposito, Samuel L. Jackson, Bill Nunn, and Robin Harris. This celebrated film's staying power speaks for itself and remains vital viewing to this day.

    Watch it on Peacock for free.

    18. Elizabeth (1998)

    ELIZABETH, Cate Blanchett as Queen Elizabeth I, 1998
    Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Early in her reign over a dangerously divided 1558 England, Elizabeth I finds her power constantly threatened by the state, church, and men around her — but she is far too intelligent and wise to be defeated. Two words: Cate Blanchett. Her Oscar-nominated turn as a young Elizabeth in this celebrated historical drama catapulted her to international acclaim, and deservedly so. Blanchett gives a complex performance devoid of caricature, and director Shekhar Kapur ensures that the film remains highly entertaining and exciting throughout, avoiding the overly stuffy, clichéd pitfalls of other period pieces. The costumes, makeup, and sets are all phenomenal, and the excellent supporting cast — including Geoffrey Rush (The King's Speech and Shakespeare in Love), Christopher Eccleston (King Lear and 28 Days Later), Joseph Fiennes (Shakespeare in Love), and Lord Richard Attenborough — contributes to the sense of paranoia that grows throughout this dark and imaginative portrait that earned Oscar noms for Best Picture, Actress, Art Direction, Cinematography, Costume Design, and Dramatic Score, as well as a win for Best Makeup.

    Watch it on Peacock for free.

    19. *Erin Brockovich (2000)

    Julia Roberts as Erin Brockovich
    Peacock

    Julia Roberts is unforgettable in her Oscar-winning portrayal of Erin Brockovich, a legal clerk and activist who fought to hold energy corporation Pacific Gas and Electric responsible for their role in the Hinkley groundwater contamination incident. While there's debate around how some of the plot lines up with the real-life facts, screenwriter Susannah Grant and director Steven Soderbergh do an excellent job balancing the legal drama with Brockovich's own emotional story arc. They mix in enough humor and inspiration to make this powerful film a consistently engaging watch. Both earned Oscar noms for Best Original Screenplay and Best Director, and the film also nabbed a nomination for Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor for Albert Finney, who played Brockovich's attorney Ed Masry. (Most recently, Soderbergh was tapped for the Herculean task of producing the pandemic Oscars.)

    Watch it on Peacock (available to Premium members only).

    20. *Far From Heaven (2002)

    Julianne Moore and Dennis Quaid dancing
    Focus Films / Courtesy Everett Collection

    This excellent 2002 film explores race, gender, sexuality, and class through the lens of America in the '50s, centered around a privileged suburban family coming apart at the seams. Frank Whitaker (Dennis Quaid) struggles with his attraction to men, while his wife Cathy (Julianne Moore) falls for a Black man named Raymond (Dennis Haysbert), making their family the focus of the community's gossip and threatening to unravel their strained relationship. The film has subsequently been considered writer-director Todd Haynes' masterpiece, and is praised for its thematic content and excellent cast, as well as the painstaking color choices, cinematography, and sound design that were crafted as an homage to the style of '50s-era melodramas, earning it Academy Award noms for Best Original Score, Best Cinematography, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Actress (Moore), along with Golden Globe nominations for Best Original Score, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor (Quaid), and Best Actress — Drama (Moore). While Haynes is mostly known these days for his idiosyncratic Bob Dylan biopic, I'm Not There, and the romantic drama period film Carol, Far From Heaven is a movie that deserves to be remembered and rewatched by generations to come.

    Watch it on Peacock for free.

    21. *Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

    Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro in the convertible
    Peacock

    Despite being a box office flop maligned by critics as aimless, bizarre, and incoherent, this film adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's 1971 novel of the same name remains a cult favorite that introduced countless viewers to Thompson's trailblazing style of Gonzo journalism. Johnny Depp plays Raoul Duke (a fictionalized version of Thompson) who drives a convertible across the Mojave Desert with his attorney Dr. Gonzo (Benicio del Toro) and a suitcase jam-packed with mind-altering substances, which the two consume at an alarming rate on their trek to Vegas. This leads to a variety of drug-addled adventures and predicaments involving the trashing of a hotel room, a run in with a police officer (Gary Busey), and, naturally, hallucinations of giant lizards. Some audiences saw the film as a tale of nostalgia for the hope and promise of the '60s combined with a critique of run-of-the-mill journalism and a skewering of the American dream through the lens of Sin City's capitalistic excesses — but you'll just have to stream it for yourself to decide if those audiences were onto something. 

    Watch it on Peacock for free.

    22. *The Godfather I, II, and III (1972, 1974, and 1990)

    A scene from The Godfather
    Peacock

    If you've been on the fence about getting a Premium Subscription, Peacock is about to make you ~an offer you can't refuse~. All three of The Godfather movies are now available on the streaming service, so you can rewatch some of the most famous fictional mafiosos' rise to power in what are widely considered to be some of the greatest movies of all time. Between the three films, the series earned a whopping 28 Oscar noms, winning 9 in total, and Francis Ford Coppola's excellent direction remains massively influential, as does the incredible acting from the star-studded cast, which includes Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, and countless others who further elevate this nuanced, fascinating, and moving tale of organized crime. While the first two films are considered the real winners, all three offerings are worth watching for fans new and old who want to experience some of the most celebrated movies in history.

    Watch The Godfather I, II, and III on Peacock with a Premium membership.

    23. *The Harry Potter series (2001–2011)

    Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint's characters looking out a window
    Peacock

    Harry Potter fans can rejoice, because all seven films in the franchise are available here. And if you haven't seen them yet, what are you waiting for? The opportunity to rewatch everyone's favorite Hogwarts attendees grow from uncertain students of magic to full-on heroes is too good to miss, and you'll fall in love with the star-studded cast all over again. Seriously. Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Richard Harris, Helena Bonham Carter, and many, many more make this set of films feel like hanging out with old friends. And you might even see some famous faces you completely forgot were part of the wizarding world, like Emma Thompson, Robert Pattinson, Domhnall Gleeson, and Gary Oldman! From the early days of The Sorcerer's Stone to the Alfonso Cuarón–directed Prisoner of Azkaban, all the way through the two-part Deathly Hallows, this highly binge-able series of films makes for a cozy and comforting rewatch that we could all use right about now.

    Watch it on Peacock (the first three are free to stream, but the rest are available to Premium members only).

    24. Hollywoodland (2006)

    Jeffery DeMunn, Diane Lane, and Ben Affleck sitting around a kitchen table
    Focus Features / Courtesy Everett Collection

    This intriguing neo-noir film follows a fictional detective (Adrien Brody) investigating the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of real-life actor George Reeves (portrayed here by Ben Affleck), who played Superman in the '50s. While the events are mainly fictional, the excellent cast and strong writing, direction, and production values give this parable on the perils of fame legs, patiently fleshing out the characters while moving at a slow but deliberate pace. Affleck was nominated for a Golden Globe for his deft portrayal of the late movie star, and the film garnered positive reviews from critics while debuting at number two at the box office. And despite its tendency to leave viewers with more questions than answers about Reeve's strange death, it's well worth the ride for anyone interested in a glimpse into the life of a troubled icon.

    Watch it on Peacock for free.

    25. I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story (2015)

    Caroll Spinney wearing part of his Big Bird costume
    Tribeca Film / Peacock

    If you've ever wondered who was behind the iconic Muppet characters of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, this heartwarming doc is here to delight you with the story of Caroll Spinney, who proves himself throughout to be as lovable as the characters he created and embodied. This magical film takes us behind the scenes with the one-of-a-kind pioneer, revealing the lives he continues to touch well into his eighties. Though the sentimental soundtrack can sometimes cause it to drift into saccharine territory, it does nothing to sour this affectionate portrait that's sure to leave you with a smile on your face when you need it the most.

    Watch it on Peacock for free.

    26. *I Am Bolt (2016)

    Usain Bolt and other runners at the starting line of a race
    Peacock

    If you ever wondered what it's like to be the fastest human being in recorded history, this doc will get you one step closer with its sweeping portrait of legendary Jamaican sprinter, eight-time Olympic gold medalist, and World Record holder Usain Bolt. Viewers get a glimpse into the celebrated athlete's life, starting with his beginnings as a high school track star through his thrilling Olympic wins that brought him to international prominence, documenting everything from intense training sessions to encounters with starstruck fans. Unsurprisingly, it's Bolt who carries the film, not only with his borderline superhuman athletic prowess, but also with his natural charm and supreme likability. For anyone who wants to learn more about the quickest (and quite possibly the nicest) runner out there, I Am Bolt is a must-see.

    Watch it on Peacock for free.

    27. Inception (2010)

    Leonardo DiCaprio in Inception
    Peacock

    This head trip of a movie is considered one of the best films of the 2010s — and for good reason. After completing an 80-page treatment, writer/director Christopher Nolan shelved the project for years in order to gain the experience he felt he needed to take on a picture of this magnitude — a move that certainly paid off, as critics continue to praise the meticulously composed, genre-busting feature for being as visceral as it is cerebral in its journey deep into the subconscious. Audiences and reviewers also hailed the outstanding ensemble cast, featuring Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Elliot Page, Tom Hardy, Dileep Rao, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, and Michael Caine, who ground the trippy plot with intense, layered performances.  For those who have yet to have their minds blown by Inception, the main plot follows a professional thief (DiCaprio) who uses experimental military technology to steal secrets from his targets subconscious by infiltrating their dreams, until an even more challenging scheme threatens to unravel his entire world and the lives of those around him. That, however, barely scratches the surface of the twists and turns that make up this acclaimed movie, which earned eight Oscar nominations and four wins for Best Cinematography, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Visual Effects. Whether you're looking to rewatch and pick up some clues along the way that you might've missed the first time around, or you're finally ready to find out what all the fuss is about, Inception deserves the opportunity to bend your brain.

    Watch it on Peacock for free.

    28. Izzy Gets the F Across Town (2018)

    Mackenzie Davis's character wearing a blood-splattered white jacket
    Shout Studios / Peacock

    This film is an exhilarating journey that hinges on Mackenzie Davis's (Happiest Season, Tully, Black Mirror) pitch-perfect performance as Riot grrrl rocker Izzy, who wakes up to find out that her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend are having their engagement party that night. Izzy becomes fixated on crashing the party, despite having no money, no mode of transportation, and barely enough time to make it from Santa Monica to where the party is in Los Feliz. That won't stop her from trying though, and we tag along through her terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day as she frantically attempts to change the course of her life that didn't turn out the way she thought it would. Bolstered by a punk-filled soundtrack and a cast including Davis, Alia Shawkat, Haley Joel Osment, and Carrie Coon, this film will leave you both entertained and possibly a little exhausted.

    Watch it on Peacock for free.

    29. Lord of War (2005)

    Nicolas Cage in 2005's Lord of War
    Lions Gate / Courtesy Everett Collection

    This American crime drama from writer-director Andrew Niccol (The Truman Show, The Host) stars Nicolas Cage as Yuri Orlov, an illegal arms dealer in the 1980s who, on top of trying to shake off the pursuit of a federal agent (Ethan Hawke), becomes conflicted about the morality of his line of work after witnessing war crimes and other atrocities — although his brother (Jared Leto), who is also his business partner, is more ethically challenged. When Yuri falls in love with his childhood crush (Bridget Moynahan, Blue Bloods) — who has no idea what he does for a living — romance adds yet another layer of complication for this globetrotting character, whose story is inspired by the lives of several real-life arms dealers and smugglers. This smart, stylish, and thrilling action film is full of strong performances from its star-studded cast, while managing to be unexpectedly funny despite the serious subject matter and palpable sense of outrage throughout. It's also a fascinating look into war profiteering toward the end of the Cold War and the emergence of worldwide terrorism, which led to an official endorsement by the human rights group Amnesty International for shedding light on arms trafficking by the international arms industry.

    Watch it on Peacock for free.

    30. *Jaws (1975)

    A scene from Jaws
    Peacock

    ♫Duuuunnnn duun… duuunnnnnnnn dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dunnnnnnnnnnn dunnnn♫ ... ok sorry that was hard to resist. While the iconic, Grammy-winning music from this blockbuster to end all blockbusters is now basically movie music canon, the film itself is still considered one of Steven Spielberg's best movies despite being one of many "best movies" in his wide-reaching catalog of classics. When a shark kills a skinny dipper near a New England tourist town, the police chief (Roy Scheider) wants to close the beaches, an idea that the mayor (Murray Hamilton) rejects out of financial fears, leading to a showdown between the killer shark, a scientist (Richard Dreyfuss), and a ship captain (Robert Shaw), who offer to hunt down and capture the animal. Viewers however, should take note that this film is a work of fiction, and that scientists (and even the author of the book the movie was based on) have refuted the idea that sharks hold grudges and go out of their way to vengefully target humans — something that needed clarifying after the movie sparked a frightening series of shark killings. As a thrilling and chilling fictional horror story though, Jaws is impeccably crafted and fantastically acted, worthy of its four Oscar nominations and three wins (for Best Sound, Best Film Editing, and Best Music — it lost Best Picture to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest), but the film also succeeds as a critique of failed leadership, favoring financial security over people's lives... Sound familiar?

    Watch it on Peacock for free.

    31. Love & Mercy (2014)

    Paul Dano, as Brian Wilson playing bass and  Kenny Wormald as Dennis Wilson playing drums
    Roadside Attractions / Roadside Attractions / Courtesy Everett Collection

    This excellent film about the genius behind the Beach Boys bounces back and forth between two time periods. One portion focuses on a young Brian Wilson (played with almost frightening accuracy by Paul Dano) as he works on the seminal album Pet Sounds, through his struggle to finish his would-be masterpiece Smile, with the grips of mental illness tightening around him. The other follows Wilson years later (achingly portrayed by John Cusack), during the dark period where he was heavily medicated and controlled by his sinister therapist and legal guardian, Dr. Eugene Landy (Paul Giamatti), but finds hope in love interest Melinda Ledbetter (portrayed thoughtfully by Elizabeth Banks). The fly-on-the-wall scenes in the recording studio are simply a revelation, giving viewers a glimpse of what it looked like to make one of the greatest albums of all time. They were shot documentary style in the same studios that Pet Sounds was recorded in in the '60s, with Dano instructing actual session musicians based on his painstaking studies of outtakes from the legendary album and in-depth musical preparation for the role — which earned him a Golden Globe nom for Best Supporting Actor. And Cusack's portrayal of the years in which Wilson receded from the limelight brings focus to an important part of the story overlooked by many casual fans. While many biopics of musicians can be spotty — and this one certainly has its flaws — Love & Mercy does an admirable job at depicting the troubles and triumphs of a musical icon.

    Watch it on Peacock for free.

    32. *Mamma Mia! (2008)

    Members of the cast of Mamma Mia!
    Peacock

    While a great deal of ink was spilled by reviewers who despised it, this celebratory movie's steadily growing cult fanbase was too busy having fun to care what the critics were saying. Rousing and joyous performances from the ensemble cast — which includes Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Julie Walters, Stellan Skarsgård, Colin Firth, and Christine Baranski — and the timeless songs of ABBA are what carry this musical comedy to its most jubilant heights. There's singing; there's dancing; there's romance — there's *Meryl Streep*.  If you're looking for a feel-good distraction from this strange and painful world, look no further.


    Watch it on Peacock for free.

    33. Milk (2008)

    Sean Penn as Harvey Milk
    Focus Features / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Sean Penn's thoughtful, charismatic portrayal of Harvey Milk — the first openly gay man elected to a notable public office — was a remarkable achievement in a career full of distinguished performances. But while Penn is certainly the star of the show here, the supporting cast, including Josh Brolin, Emile Hirsch, and Diego Luna, also give strong performances under the excellent direction of Gus Van Sant. Critics praised Dustin Lance Black's screenplay for its attention to detail, born from his own extensive research, and lauded the film's vibrant visuals, atmosphere, and sense of hope and battle. Milk's success, solidified by Oscar wins for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Penn) and Best Writing, Original Screenplay, along with noms for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Brolin), Best Achievement in Directing, Best Achievement in Film Editing, Best Achievement in Costume Design, and Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score, make it an excellent vehicle to ensure that Harvey's voice and legacy will live on for generations to come — and that alone makes it a film everyone should see.

    Watch on Peacock for free.

    34. October Sky (1999)

    Jake Gyllenhaal in 1999's October Sky
    MCA / Courtesy Everett Collection

    This inspirational coming-of-age story treads familiar thematic territory, but does so with such depth and sincerity that even the more predictable moments are effective and compelling. Jake Gyllenhaal, Chris Cooper, and Laura Dern deliver moving performances, while director Joe Johnston pulls the right strings at just the right time in this expertly crafted, perfectly paced family film about following your dreams. Based on the true story of Homer "Sonny" Hickam (as recounted in his 1998 memoir, Rocket Boys), October Sky follows high school-aged Hickam (Gyllenhaal) as he works to achieve his goal of one day becoming a rocket scientist — against the wishes of his father (Cooper), who expects all of his sons to follow in his footsteps working in the coal mine. That doesn't stop Homer or his friends from constructing and launching small rockets with the help of their sympathetic science teacher (Dern), who oversees their trials and errors with much-needed support and encouragement. If you're in the mood for a heartfelt movie that offers a portrait of the sometimes tough family dynamics of the post-war era, or are someone whose interest in rocket fuel was rekindled by the recent SpaceX launch, October Sky should be on your list!

    Watch it on Peacock for free.

    35. *Olympic Pride, American Prejudice (2016)

    Five of the athletes from the 1936 Olympic Games
    Peacock

    The 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin were set against the background of White Nationalism in Germany, with Hitler and the Nazi Party's rise to power causing the US to be conflicted about sending American Jewish and Black athletes to compete. This effective doc focuses on the 18 Black athletes from the United States who participated, poring through historical footage, interviews, and news coverage, as well as conversations with surviving family members to paint a compelling picture of the experiences of some of the nation's greatest athletes during a time when their lives were affected by inequality both at home and overseas. The tale of track and field star Jesse Owens' four gold medal wins dismantling Hitler's Aryan Supremacy delusion has long been mythologized, but Olympic Pride, American Prejudice delves deeper into the other 17 Black competitors' stories, highlighting their remarkable achievements despite racism from the American coaching staff, and following them through their return to the US, where they were greeted with scant job opportunities and President Franklin D. Roosevelt's reported refusal to shake their hands in fear of alienating Southern voters. As Black athletes continue to face astonishing inequality and racism in the current age, with reactions to political protests, anti-marijuana laws rooted in systemic racism, and the banning of swim caps designed for Black hair making up just a few of the ways Black people in sports are unfairly targeted, this documentary remains a vital look into the underbelly of racism that persists in the American and the global sporting world today.

    Watch it on Peacock for free.

    36. Peter Pan (2003)

    Rachel Hurd-Wood and Jeremy Sumpter looking into each others eyes
    Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection

    This faithful adaptation of the classic tale rides high on powerful acting from its young stars, bolstered by the winning chemistry between Rachel Hurd-Wood, who received acclaim for her turn as Wendy Darling, and Jeremy Sumpter, who embodied the titular Pan. Critics lauded the film's expertly crafted visuals, stirring soundtrack, and uplifting storyline, which leans heavily into the fantasy elements present in both the script and production. And while it's both a suitable and entertaining film for children, it deftly handles its more adult themes, making it a rewarding and emotional watch for viewers of all ages. Debates will rage on through the decades over which film and onstage trip to Neverland is considered the *definitive* version, but there's no doubt that 2003's Peter Pan is a worthy contender.

    Watch it on Peacock for free.

    37. Prince: Sign o' the Times (1987)

    Prince performing onstage
    Cineplex-Odeon Films / Peacock

    This collection of highlights from Prince's 1987 European concert tour is thankfully here to hold you over if you've been desperately missing live concerts this year. Written and directed by Prince himself, Sign o' the Times transports us to The Purple One's commercial peak, jam-packed with bombastic hits (including the title track, "Little Red Corvette," "I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man," and "U Got the Look"), colorful visuals, and electrifying performances that'll make you wanna crank up the TV and get lost in some of the greatest music ever made.

    Watch it on Peacock for free.

    38. Short Term 12 (2013)

    Brie Larson, Kaitlyn Dever riding a bike at night in Short Term 12
    Cinedigm / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Writer-director Destin Daniel Cretton based this moving film on his own experience as a staffer at a facility for at-risk teenagers. Brie Larson is among one of his stand-ins, superb in her portrayal of a woman facing her own demons (prompted by a deepening connection with a new resident, played by the excellent Kaitlyn Dever). The raw emotion is balanced deftly with warmth and humor. And the heavy subject matter never descends into melodrama but instead soars high on the incredible performances of its young actors, as well as the thoughtful writing and direction. Its cast now looks like a launchpad for actors whose stars would continue to shine brightly, featuring Larson, Dever (newly minted Oscar nominee), LaKeith Stanfield, Rami Malek, Stephanie Beatriz, and John Gallagher Jr. But even before stratospheric fame, critics recognized the brilliance on display — and rightfully so.

    Watch it on Peacock for free.

    39. The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts the Tonight Show (2020)

    Harry Belafonte interviewed in the present day
    Peacock Original

    This doc unearths a largely forgotten, but monumental 1968 week in late-night television, when Johnny Carson stepped aside to let legendary entertainer and activist Harry Belafonte temporarily take over The Tonight Show to address the social and political tumult the country was experiencing. His guest list included Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, actor and activist Paul Newman, Native American folk singer Buffy Sainte-Marie, folk singer Leon Bibb, singer Petula Clark, and many of the top Black stars of the time, including Aretha Franklin, Lena Horne, Dionne Warwick, Freda Payne, Diahann Carroll, and Nipsey Russell. While much of the footage has sadly been lost, what remains is full of hope and inspiration as well as frustration toward how many of the issues of the time have yet to be resolved. Belafonte, now 93, is interviewed throughout, as are Warwick, Sainte-Marie, Clark, Whoopi Goldberg, Tamron Hall, Questlove, and New York Times critics Bill Carter and Wesley Morris, who add context and give modern-day reflections on an important week of television that remains just as relevant today.

    Watch it on Peacock for free.

    40. *The Sixth Sense (1999)

    THE SIXTH SENSE, Haley Joel Osment, 1999
    Buena Vista Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

    When the phrase "I see dead people" first rang out across theaters in 1999, many audiences weren't all that familiar with writer-director M. Night Shyamalan or his twisty bag of tricks. That soon changed, as The Sixth Sense became the second-highest-grossing horror movie of all time — a title it still holds — catapulting the filmmaker, child actor Haley Joel Osment, and the then-relatively unknown Toni Collette to international recognition, with the three earning four of the movie's six Oscar noms for Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Original Screenplay. The film was also nominated for Best Film Editing and Best Picture — which it lost to American Beauty. Osment and Collette received well-deserved acclaim for their quietly powerful performances as a young boy who sees ghosts and his concerned but loyal mother, while Bruce Willis's mournful portrayal of child psychologist Malcolm Crowe was also singled out for praise. The biggest attention, however, went to the film's shocking twist, which, if you somehow haven't already seen it or had it spoiled for you, packs a punch that'll stick with you long after the credits roll.

    Available on Peacock starting July 12.

    41. Spellbound (2002)

    A spelling bee contestant on stage
    ThinkFilm / Peacock

    This Oscar-nominated documentary follows eight young competitors in the 1999 Scripps National Spelling Bee as they and their families navigate the national spotlight and pressure to win scholarships and cash prizes that could change their lives forever. Look deeper, and you might find that Spellbound is actually an examination of the American Dream, which tells us that anyone should be able to reach the goals they are innately capable of. But watching families from different walks of life help their children prepare to compete reveals the role that social class, background, and privilege play in education and, ultimately, success. While this doc is a heartwarming and suspenseful glimpse into the world of competitive spelling and its charming young contestants, it resonates on an even larger scale that solidifies it as essential viewing.

    Watch it on Peacock for free.

    42. The Wiz (1978)

    Nipsey Russell, Ted Ross, Diana Ross, Michael Jackson in The Wiz
    Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection

    This 1978 adaption of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz features a star-studded, all-Black cast and reframes the classic story of Dorothy's adventure around the Black experience. This spectacular production, set in a New York–like Oz, still holds up all these years later, in part due to excellent performances from Diana Ross, Nipsey Russell, Ted Ross, Mabel King, Theresa Merritt, Thelma Carpenter, Lena Horne, and Richard Pryor, as well as rousing musical numbers and a palpable sense of joy. While reviews were mixed at the time, there is a lot to love about this splashy, revolutionary take on a Broadway classic that is still a rite of passage for countless viewers young and old.

    Watch it on Peacock for free.

    * Denotes title has been newly added to Peacock in July.

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