Special Report

The 25 Best Movies Hulu Has to Offer Right Now

Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures

As the summer winds down and people return from vacation, video consumers may catch up on their viewing options with escapist fare from streaming services like Hulu – which is currently running any number of highly rated movies, including Oscar winners.

To determine the best movies to stream on Hulu this August, 24/7 Tempo developed an index using average ratings on IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon, and a combination of audience scores and Tomatometer scores on Rotten Tomatoes, an online movie and TV review aggregator, as of early August 2023, weighting all ratings equally. We considered only movies with at least 5,000 audience votes on either IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes, and ruled out documentaries. Data on streaming availability, also current as of early August, comes from the streaming guide Reelgood. Directorial credits are from IMDb.

Click here to see the best movies to stream on Hulu this August

Among the many Hulu offerings this month are a variety of sci-fi and fantasy films, some of which are among the highest-rated movies by Rotten Tomatoes on our list. Four of the top six spots belong to the gripping outer space thriller Alien franchise and Peter Jackson’s Oscar record-breaking Lord of the Rings films. (These are the best R-rated sci-fi movies of all time.)

Other movies in the fantasy category on our list include “The Last Unicorn,” “Labyrinth,” “The Shape of Water,” and “Midnight in Paris.”

Competition themes loom large in three films on our list: “Whiplash,” “Win Win,” and “Ford v Ferrari.” And Rotten Tomatoes critics also gave their imprimatur for films such as “Death of Stalin,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “Lucky,” and “What’s Love Got to Do with It.”

Source: Courtesy of Sony Pictures Releasing

25. Bottle Rocket (1996)
> IMDb user rating: 7/10 (73,251 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 79% (61,613 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 85% (66 reviews)
> Directed by: Wes Anderson

“Bottle Rocket” is Wes Anderson’s 1996 directorial debut, a crime-comedy featuring Owen and Luke Wilson in their acting debuts. Co-written by Anderson and Owen Wilson, it’s based on Anderson’s 1994 short film of the same name. The plot involves two friends planning a series of heists and their complex interpersonal dynamics. Despite limited commercial success, it received critical acclaim and is considered a cult classic. Martin Scorsese named it one of his top-ten favorite films of the 1990s.

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Source: Courtesy of Jensen Farley Pictures

24. The Last Unicorn (1982)
> IMDb user rating: 7.4/10 (25,593 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 86% (54,622 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 73% (22 reviews)
> Directed by: Jules Bass & Arthur Rankin Jr.

“The Last Unicorn” is a 1982 animated fantasy film directed by Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass. It tells the story of a unicorn, the last of her kind, embarking on a quest to discover the fate of other unicorns. The film, based on Peter S. Beagle’s 1968 novel, features voices from Alan Arkin, Jeff Bridges, and Mia Farrow. The soundtrack was composed by Jimmy Webb, with performances by America and the London Symphony Orchestra.

Source: Courtesy of TriStar Pictures

23. Labyrinth (1986)
> IMDb user rating: 7.4/10 (129,400 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 86% (373,425 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 73% (49 reviews)
> Directed by: Jim Henson

The fantasy/adventure is about a teenage girl (Jennifer Connelly) who has 13 hours to navigate a labyrinth and save her baby brother (Toby Froud) after her wish for him to be taken away was granted by the Goblin King (David Bowie).

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

22. Rise of the Planet of Apes (2011)
> IMDb user rating: 7.5/10 (508,497 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 77% (449,340 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 82% (271 reviews)
> Directed by: Rupert Wyatt

“Rise of the Planet of the Apes” is a 2011 American apocalyptic science fiction film directed by Rupert Wyatt. The seventh installment in the series, it features Andy Serkis as Caesar, a genetically enhanced chimpanzee who leads an ape uprising against humanity. The film, praised for its direction, visual effects, and performances, grossed over $481 million worldwide and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Visual Effects. It reignited the franchise, leading to several sequels.

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Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

21. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
> IMDb user rating: 8/10 (517,291 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 87% (563,565 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 67% (177 reviews)
> Directed by: Gabriele Muccino

“The Pursuit of Happyness”, a 2006 American biographical drama film, is directed by Gabriele Muccino and stars Will Smith as Chris Gardner, a homeless salesman. Alongside Smith is his son, Jaden Smith, making his film debut as Gardner’s son. The film is based on Gardner’s memoir, depicting his nearly one-year struggle with homelessness. Set in San Francisco in 1981, the film is a compelling narrative of resilience and determination, earning Smith Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

20. The Shape of Water (2017)
> IMDb user rating: 7.3/10 (393,136 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 72% (26,084 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 92% (459 reviews)
> Directed by: Guillermo del Toro

“The Shape of Water” is a 2017 romantic fantasy film directed by Guillermo del Toro. Set in 1962 Baltimore, it follows a mute custodian who falls in love with a humanoid amphibian creature at a government lab and helps him escape from an evil colonel. The film, acclaimed for its acting, screenplay, visuals, and musical score, won four Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director. It grossed $195 million worldwide.

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Source: Courtesy of Lionsgate

19. The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)
> IMDb user rating: 7.3/10 (224,941 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 82% (68,839 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 83% (176 reviews)
> Directed by: Brad Furman

“The Lincoln Lawyer” is a 2011 American legal thriller directed by Brad Furman, adapted from Michael Connelly’s novel. Matthew McConaughey stars as Mickey Haller, a lawyer who operates from his Lincoln Town Car, defending a rich businesswoman’s son in an assault case. The film intertwines Haller’s current case with a former one that has many similarities, showcasing a complex narrative. It earned positive reviews and grossed $87 million.

Source: Courtesy of Associated Film Distribution

18. Sophie’s Choice (1982)
> IMDb user rating: 7.6/10 (45,838 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 85% (21,561 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 78% (41 reviews)
> Directed by: Alan J. Pakula

“Sophie’s Choice” is a 1982 drama by Alan J. Pakula, based on William Styron’s novel. Meryl Streep stars as Sophie, a Polish immigrant in America with a haunting past, sharing a Brooklyn boarding house with her lover Nathan (Kevin Kline) and a writer Stingo (Peter MacNicol). The film received positive reviews, particularly for Streep’s performance, which won her an Academy Award for Best Actress.

Source: Courtesy of Lionsgate

17. Patriots Day (2016)
> IMDb user rating: 7.3/10 (104,734 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 86% (26,155 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 81% (237 reviews)
> Directed by: Peter Berg

“Patriots Day” is a 2016 action thriller directed by Peter Berg, based on the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. The film showcases the collaboration between law enforcement and the community during the subsequent manhunt. It features performances from Mark Wahlberg, Kevin Bacon, John Goodman, and others. The film, based on the book Boston Strong, was selected as one of the National Board of Review’s top-ten films of the year.

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Source: Courtesy of Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions

16. Black Dynamite (2009)
> IMDb user rating: 7.4/10 (47,489 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 85% (15,678 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 83% (64 reviews)
> Directed by: Scott Sanders

“Black Dynamite” is a 2009 American action comedy directed by Scott Sanders. It stars Michael Jai White, Tommy Davidson, and Arsenio Hall. The film, a parody and homage to the blaxploitation genre, focuses on Black Dynamite, a former CIA agent, avenging his brother’s death and combating a new drug epidemic in his community. Shot in 20 days, the film received mostly positive reviews.

Source: Courtesy of IFC Films

15. Official Secrets (2019)
> IMDb user rating: 7.3/10 (49,024 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 89% (361 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 82% (166 reviews)
> Directed by: Gavin Hood

“Official Secrets” is a 2019 British drama film about the real-life story of whistleblower Katharine Gun, portrayed by Keira Knightley. Directed by Gavin Hood, the film explores Gun’s exposure of an illegal spying operation by U.S. and British intelligence to influence United Nations diplomats’ votes on the 2003 Iraq invasion.

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Source: Courtesy of IFC Films

14. The Death of Stalin (2017)
> IMDb user rating: 7.2/10 (104,843 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 78% (6,655 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 95% (249 reviews)
> Directed by: Armando Iannucci

“The Death of Stalin” is a 2017 political satire black comedy directed by Armando Iannucci. Based on a series of French graphic novels, it humorously portrays the power struggle in the Soviet Council of Ministers following Stalin’s death in 1953. The film stars a distinguished cast including Steve Buscemi and Jason Isaacs. Premiered at Toronto International Film Festival, it was critically acclaimed and nominated for various awards, including two BAFTAs. However, it faced opposition in Russia and was banned for allegedly mocking the Soviet past.

Source: Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures

13. Waking Ned Devine (1998)
> IMDb user rating: 7.4/10 (25,934 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 88% (28,837 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 84% (61 reviews)
> Directed by: Kirk Jones

“Waking Ned Devine” is a heart-warming comedy set in the quaint Irish village of Tulaigh Mhór. This 1998 film, written and directed by Kirk Jones, features a unique plot where two elderly friends, Jackie and Michael, discover that their reclusive friend Ned has won the lottery but died from shock. In an unexpected twist, they decide to claim the winnings themselves, involving the entire village in their scheme. The film was recognized for its stellar performances, notably David Kelly’s, earning him a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination.

Source: Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures

12. Win Win (2011)
> IMDb user rating: 7.1/10 (53,408 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 85% (32,037 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 94% (177 reviews)
> Directed by: Tom McCarthy

“Win Win” is a 2011 sports comedy-drama directed by Tom McCarthy. The film revolves around Mike Flaherty, played by Paul Giamatti, a struggling attorney and wrestling coach. When Mike is appointed guardian to his client suffering from dementia, he discovers the man’s grandson, Kyle, is a talented wrestler. This leads to complications when Kyle’s mother, who was in rehab, attempts to gain custody of her father’s estate. The film is noted for its well-drawn characters and performances, receiving positive acclaim from critics.

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Source: Courtesy of Eureka Entertainment

11. Lucky (2017)
> IMDb user rating: 7.4/10 (21,622 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 81% (4,352 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 97% (151 reviews)
> Directed by: John Carroll Lynch

“Lucky” stars Harry Dean Stanton in one of his rare leading roles – and his penultimate film appearance – as an aging atheist searching for meaning in his small desert town. When Lucky finds himself facing his own mortality, he begins questioning his isolation and seeking connection. The film marks the directorial debut of actor John Carroll Lynch (“Fargo,” “The Drew Carey Show”), and director David Lynch – no relation – has a featured role as a barfly who has lost his pet tortoise.

Source: Courtesy of Lionsgate

10. 3:10 to Yuma (2007)
> IMDb user rating: 7.7/10 (297,987 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 86% (394,530 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 89% (224 reviews)
> Directed by: James Mangold

“3:10 to Yuma” is a 2007 American western action drama directed by James Mangold. The film, starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale, is a gripping tale of a poverty-stricken rancher who takes up the perilous task of bringing a notorious outlaw to justice. The film is the second adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s 1953 short story “Three-Ten to Yuma”. Shot in New Mexico, the movie earned positive reviews and grossed $71 million worldwide against a budget of about $55 million.

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Source: Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

9. Midnight in Paris (2011)
> IMDb user rating: 7.7/10 (402,967 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 83% (82,703 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 93% (224 reviews)
> Directed by: Woody Allen

“Midnight in Paris” is a 2011 fantasy comedy written and directed by Woody Allen. The film, set in Paris, follows Gil Pender, a screenwriter, confronting his relationship’s shortcomings with his materialistic fiancée. The film unfolds as Gil time travels to 1920s Paris each midnight, encountering notable figures of the art scene and exploring the rich artistic history of the city. The film won the Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Original Screenplay.

Source: Courtesy of Buena Vista Pictures

8. What’s Love Got to Do with It (1993)
> IMDb user rating: 7.3/10 (21,798 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 88% (52,290 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 97% (58 reviews)
> Directed by: Brian Gibson

Based on the life of singer Tina Turner, “What’s Love Got to Do With It” takes its title from one of her many hit songs. It follows her life from childhood to stardom, including her abusive marriage to Ike Turner, played by Laurence Fishburne.

Source: Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures

7. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
> IMDb user rating: 8.1/10 (745,547 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 86% (97,896 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 92% (310 reviews)
> Directed by: Wes Anderson

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” is a 2014 comedy-drama directed by Wes Anderson. The film stars Ralph Fiennes as Monsieur Gustave H., a renowned concierge at a mountain resort in Zubrowka. The plot unfolds as Gustave is framed for a wealthy woman’s murder, and together with his protégé Zero, they embark on an adventure for a priceless painting. Themes of fascism, nostalgia, friendship, and loyalty are explored in the film. It was highly acclaimed, earning $173 million worldwide.

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Source: Courtesy of New Line Cinema

6. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
> IMDb user rating: 8.9/10 (1,710,236 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 86% (34,679,773 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 93% (275 reviews)
> Directed by: Peter Jackson

“The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” an epic fantasy adventure film, is the final installment of Peter Jackson’s acclaimed trilogy. Based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel, the film follows the journey of Frodo, Sam, and Gollum to destroy the One Ring while others battle Sauron’s forces. With a star-studded cast, the film was a box-office sensation, grossing over $1.1 billion worldwide, and swept the Oscars, winning all 11 categories it was nominated in.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

5. Ford v Ferrari (2019)
> IMDb user rating: 8.1/10 (398,868 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 98% (24,159 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 92% (351 reviews)
> Directed by: James Mangold

“Ford v Ferrari” is a biographical sports drama that stars Matt Damon and Christian Bale and tells the compelling true story of American automotive designer Carroll Shelby and British driver Ken Miles. Commissioned by Henry Ford II and Lee Iacocca, they build a race car to challenge the dominant Italian racing team, Scuderia Ferrari, in the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans race. The film earned critical acclaim and won Oscars for Best Film Editing and Best Sound Editing.

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Source: Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

4. Whiplash (2014)
> IMDb user rating: 8.5/10 (763,755 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 94% (70,602 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 94% (297 reviews)
> Directed by: Damien Chazelle

“Whiplash” is a psychological drama featuring Miles Teller as Andrew Neiman, a jazz drummer at a prestigious conservatory in New York City. Neiman’s relentless pursuit of perfection is fueled by his abusive instructor Terence Fletcher, played by J.K. Simmons. The film explores themes of ambition, perfectionism, and the harsh demands of success, and received widespread acclaim for its screenplay, direction, and performances. It won Oscars for Best Supporting Actor (Simmons), Best Film Editing, and Best Sound Mixing.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

3. Aliens (1986)
> IMDb user rating: 8.3/10 (678,602 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 94% (430,019 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 97% (77 reviews)
> Directed by: James Cameron

“Aliens” is a sequel to 1979’s “Alien”, it stars Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley, who survives an alien attack. When a human colony loses contact, Ripley, along with a team of colonial marines, investigates. The film was a hit, earning about $183 million at the time and critical acclaim for its action and performances.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

2. Alien (1979)
> IMDb user rating: 8.4/10 (823,459 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 94% (460,436 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 98% (126 reviews)
> Directed by: Ridley Scott

This groundbreaking sci-fi horror film recounts the terrifying encounter of the Nostromo crew with a deadly extraterrestrial. Stranded on a planetoid, they discover a derelict spaceship and a chamber filled with alien eggs, setting off a chain of horrifying events. The film, starring Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, and Veronica Cartwright, received mixed reviews initially but later won notable accolades. Today, it’s considered a landmark in the genre, spawning a significant franchise.

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Source: Courtesy of New Line Cinema

1. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
> IMDb user rating: 8.7/10 (1,546,188 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 95% (1,341,428 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 95% (255 reviews)
> Directed by: Peter Jackson

“The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” is an epic fantasy adventure film. It is the second part of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, based on J. R. R. Tolkien’s novel. The film features a star-studded cast and continues the plot from the first film. It interweaves three storylines. The film was highly acclaimed and grossed over $936 million worldwide.

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