You’ve already watched everything on Netflix and Amazon Prime, huh? Looking for a different selection of films while you waste away on your couch? No worries! We’ve got your back.
Peacock’s catalogue has grown in both quality and quantity as it continues to reclaim NBCUniversal properties that had been until now living on other streaming platforms. So, just for you, we did a deep dive to find the best titles now streaming on Peacock.
1. Back to the Future
The movie that transformed Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd into icons and taught a generation what a flux capacitor is, Back to the Future’s status as a master work remains uncontested. What’s more, since Director Robert Zemeckis has publicly said that another installment is out of the question, we can count on the original franchise remaining pristine in our collective memories, unbesmirched by subpar reboots. This coming-of-age, sci-fi, adventure comedy bends genres — and timelines! — seamlessly. It’s exciting, unpredictable, and is bursting with heart. When teenager Marty McFly is accidentally sent to the past by eccentric inventor Doc Brown, he accidentally alters his parents’ meeting, threatening their relationship and his present-day existence. And so a legendary film was born.
2. The Motorcycle Diaries
Part coming-of-age story, part biopic, The Motorcycle Diaries tells the story of two young men, one a med student and the other a biochemist, setting off on an epic motorcycle trip from Buenos Aires to Peru. There are hookups with beautiful women, encounters with kind strangers, and jaunts through some of South America’s most stunning landscapes as the two friends learn more about the world around them. Oh, and did we forget to mention that one of these men will eventually become the famous Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara? Right, yes, that’s a key detail.
The Motorcycle Diaries is based on Guevara’s own memoir, which details how this exact motorcycle trip opened his eyes to the rampant inequality of his time and planted the seeds of his eventual radicalization. Though this historial inner journey is depicted in the film, director Walter Salles is anything but heavy handed about it, giving more space and attention to the universal story of how adventuring and growing up can sometimes go hand-in-hand.
Look, it’s the Goodfellas!
Credit: warner brothers/Getty Images
It takes less than five minutes for Goodfellas to deliver one of its most-quoted lines: “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.” And it never slows down from there. Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece draws you into the colorful underworld of the Brooklyn mob through the ravenous eyes of Henry Hill (Ray Liotta), charting his rise and fall over the decades. It’s downright intoxicating at first, all that glamor and danger — so much so, you might not even notice how tight the noose has become until that white-knuckle third act. Goodfellas has rightfully earned a towering reputation for its swagger, style, and substance, and its influence can be felt in countless other movies and shows released since. But it’s also just a fantastically good time from start to finish — quite possibly the zippiest two hours and thirty minutes you’ll ever experience. – * Angie Han, Deputy Entertainment Editor
4. Harry Potter (The entire series!)
And now, the franchise that needs no introduction, Harry Potter. This eight movie series starts as a charming coming-of-age tale about a boy wizard learning about magic, and ends as a serious and emotional allegory about fighting facism and the lengths we will go to protect the people we love. Harry Potter is our hero, Ron Weasley, our goofy best friend, and Hermione, our actual hero, because, duh.
Though the quality of the movies can vary based on the different directors at the helm and the age of the young leads, the strength of the source material and the prodigious gifts of the many, many storied British actors who fill out the sparkling supporting cast assure a satisfying watch. Most agree that the final two movies, each covering half of the last book in the series, are the most enthralling in the group — but you’ll have to watch them all to get what’s going on, so you might as well start with number one, The Sorcerer’s Stone, and go from there. Poor you! You’re about to have a really great time!
5. Notting Hill
Will we ever not swoon when we hear “After all, I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her”? No! Because Notting Hill, a 1993 romantic comedy about a bumbling, British bookseller Will, (a peak Hugh Grant), falling for a glamorous, international movie star (a radiant Julia Roberts) is a perfect movie. No notes! It’s hopelessly romantic but surprisingly grounded, exploring the real life consequences that would come with dating an A-list icon. Its side plots are equal parts tender and rewarding, as Will’s friends and family advise on his love life while stumbling into romances of their own. There’s simply no reason not to watch this deeply lovely movie.
6. The Bride of Frankenstein
We can’t talk about the best movies on Peacock without visiting the storied halls of Universal’s Classic Monsters. Few golden age monster flicks remain as entertaining and genre-defining as 1935’s The Bride of Frankenstein, a sequel that has overtaken its predecessor in both popularity and respect. The movie continues directly after the events of 1931’s Frankenstein, but there is no need to make it a double viewing — Bride stands on its own two homunculus feet! Dr. Frankenstein discovers his former mentor is working to build a mate for the famed monster, who has escaped into the world and despite his intentions, is met with fear and scorn.
The Bride of Frankenstein is simply iconic. The costumes are legendary, the score feels as integral as the plot, and the acting is surprisingly subtle for a monster flick. This trip back in time is made all the more fun with this little behind-the-scenes tidbit: the actor behind the legendary monster (Boris Karloff), the scourge of 1930s nightmares, was a famously kind and gentle man. Aw!
7. Meet the Parents
Stiller vs. De Niro
Credit: hillip V. Caruso/Universal Studios and Dreamworks LLC/Delivered by Online USA/Getty Images
As long as you promise to not become that guy who says “I have nipples, Greg, could you milk me?” at every family get together, then we give you the green light to give Meet the Parents a rewatch. We say rewatch because there’s no possible world in which you haven’t seen this movie. It was everywhere. And then its lower quality sequels were everywhere. And when we say the name Gaylord Focker, you’ll picture Ben Stiller pretending to milk a cat while Robert de Niro looks on in a quiet rage. This is the king of “meeting-the-inlaws” movies, because in this one, de Niro is a former CIA agent who surveils, interrogates, and antagonizes his future son-in-law, pushing the character into Stiller’s acting comfort zone: freaking the f*@# out. Like most 2000s comedies, there will be some jokes that no longer work (the humor of Stiller being a male nurse comes to mind), but the chemistry between the two leads still crackles.
8. Long Way North
This absolutely stunning, animated kids film is not well known, but its emotional impact is immense. Sasha is a 15 year old aristocrat living in 19th century St. Petersburg. Determined to find her missing grandfather, a famed explorer, and clear her family’s name, she locates a vessel and sets off with a motley crew into the unforgiving arctic landscape. Long Way North is both an epic adventure and a human drama, exploring themes of empowerment and empathy. What truly makes this 80-minute movie special, though, is its unique artistic style. The snow-covered landscape might be stark, but Long Way North makes the icy world feel both beautiful and alive.
9. Far From Heaven
Far From Heaven seeks to destroy the rose-colored, sanitized reputation of the 1950s — and it handily succeeds. Julianne Moore sparkles as Cathy Whitaker, a housewife whose life changes irrevocably when she discovers her husband Frank (Dennis Quaid) kissing another man. She finds comfort in a new friendship with Raymond Deagon (Dennis Haysbert of Allstate commercial fame), earning her gossip and scorn from her wealthy, white neighbors since Raymond is Black. Over the course of the film we witness racism, homophobia, misogyny, and the desperate yearning of its characters to be free from their society’s oppressive standards. It’s a beautifully crafted piece with a nostalgic style reminiscent of 50s cinematography: a smart technique that forces us to question the sugar-coating of our past. A sincere and poignant film that can’t be missed.
10. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s an…alien on a bike?
Credit: sunset boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images
A little known tidbit about E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, a universally beloved smash hit, is that it was initially rejected by studios. Columbia Pictures didn’t think it would be commercially viable. Whoops! Universal purchased the script for $1 million, and when it debuted, E.T. surpassed Star Wars and became the highest grossing film of all time — a title it held on to for a decade until another Spielberg hit, Jurassic Park, broke the mold.
It’s no surprise now that E.T. is, and was, such a hit. It’s a family-friendly story with deep emotional resonance. When Elliott and his friends discover a stranded alien, they take it upon themselves to protect him from the government and help him get back to his people. It’s a warm, nostalgic adventure that makes you feel like a kid again. This is no accident: Spielberg placed the cameras at the same height as the young cast, encouraging us to identify with them by literally filming from a child’s point-of-view. So often, masterful films are singularly concerned with bleak and devastating subject matters. E.T. is a delightful reminder that art can also be joyful.
11. The Big Lebowski
Both the Coen brothers’ most indisputably hilarious film and the greatest cinematic tribute to nihilistic philosophy in history, The Big Lebowski is more than a movie. It is, dear reader, a way of life. Jeff Bridges stars as “The Dude” — a simple Los Angeles man seeking justice after a case of mistaken identity leads a stranger to urinate on his living room rug. Enjoy. – * Alison Foreman, Entertainment Reporter
12. About a Boy
Based on the Nick Hornby novel of the same name, About a Boy is an offbeat comedy-drama that sneaks up on you. What starts as an unlikely friendship between a misfit kid and a bored, rich guy, becomes an unexpectedly touching meditation on the meaning of family. A slightly older, but no less charming, Hugh Grant breaks out of his rom-com mold to play the languishing millionaire while a young Nicholas Hoult (in his first movie role!) shines as the oddball kid. Toni Collette and Rachel Weisz, both queens of being absolutely perfect in every one of their films, round out the sparkling cast. It’s heartfelt, kooky, and deeply human — and will leave you wanting to give the world a great, big hug.
13. Apollo 13
Tom Hanks. Kevin Bacon. Bill Paxton. Gary Sinise. Ed Harris. Apollo 13 is peak 1990s cinema, and it still packs a punch. Following the real life events of the failed Apollo 13 mission, this tense and emotional drama underwent great pains to tell the story right. New lunar and command modules were built, some using pieces from the actual Apollo 13 modules. The suits worn by the actors were exact replicas of those of the Apollo astronauts. And Director Ron Howard even shot multiple scenes in a reduced gravity aircraft to accurately simulate weightlessness in the space shuttle. The result is a thrilling masterpiece that will remind you why you still, to this day, get chills when you hear “Houston, we have a problem.”
(*) denotes writeup came from a previous Mashable list.