UPDATE: George Miller's visionary masterpiece Mad Max Fury Road is back on Stan! Find out why it's the best Australian action film of all time on Page 6!
As each streaming service's content library continues to grow, it's hard to keep track of the best movies these platforms have to offer.
- Competing service Disney Plus has landed in Australia – sign up here
When it comes to the Australian streaming service Stan, there's an enormous amount of films of variable quality available to stream instantly. Our job is to sift through that huge catalogue and pick out the 'crème de la crème' for you.
To make things as straightforward as possible, we've separated our Stan choices into genres, so that you can jump straight to the type of movie you actually feel like watching.
- Don't have Stan? These are the best movies on Netflix: great films you can watch in Australia right now
- Want some more prime content? These are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video: top films to watch in Australia right now
Curated by TechRadar editors and backed up with ratings from IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes, these films should offer something for everyone. We'll keep this list up to date with must-watch movies, so you can spend less time browsing and more time watching! Here are the best movies on Stan.
- TV shows more your thing? Here are the best TV shows to stream on Stan
Need some kid-friendly content to entertain the family with? Stan has a number of great kids and family movies on offer that should keep everyone happy. These films are guaranteed to please the whole family.
It's a Wonderful Life
Arguably the greatest Christmas film of all time (sorry Die Hard), Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life perfectly encapsulates the spirit of the holiday. George Bailey (James Stewart, never better) is a small-town businessman whose life did not play out as intended. Having fallen into deep trouble, and realising that he's given up on his dreams to help others, George contemplates suicide. Right as he prepares to jump off a bridge, his guardian angel (Henry Travers) intervenes. In an effort to save this desperate man, the angel shows George what his town would be like if he'd never been born. We won't spoil how the story ends, but we guarantee there won't be a dry eye in your home after watching this magical classic. Best of all, it's available to stream on Stan in glorious 4K Ultra HD!
An Australian family favourite, Red Dog tells the heartwarming true story of a delightful pooch that united an entire community while roaming the Outback looking for his actual owner. The dog brings people together everywhere he goes – some people find love, others find themselves. Starring Josh Lucas and Rachael Taylor, Red Dog is a beautiful movie that the whole family will enjoy. Though the dog is red, this is a true-blue Aussie classic.
Another Australian animated kids film about birds, Happy Feet took the world by storm when it released in 2006. A delightful family film from director George Miller (Babe, Mad Max: Fury Road), Happy Feet follows a penguin named mumble whose lack of singing talent leads him to dance to find his mate. With an all-star cast featuring Elijah Wood, Robin Williams, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman and Brittany Murphy, Happy Feet is guaranteed to make you tap your feet.
Feel like watching something that'll put a tingle in your spine? Well, look no further, because Stan has a large selection of horror films that should please even the most hardened gore-hound. These are some of the best.
There have been countless Stephen King film adaptations over the last few decades, but Carrie was the first (and arguably best). Sissy Spacek plays a tormented teenage girl who is pushed over the edge by her mean classmates and domineering mother – with incredibly violent results. A bloody classic.
Not one for claustrophobic types, The Descent follows a caving expedition that goes horribly wrong, leaving a group of women to fend for themselves against some truly terrifying cave-dwelling creatures. An absolute masterpiece of terror, The Descent is one of the best horror movies to come out of the UK.
The late, great horror director Wes Craven had a habit of making a game-changing fright flick at least once per decade. In the '70s, it was The Last House on the Left. In the '80s, he birthed the horror icon Freddy Kruger in A Nightmare on Elm Street. The kids of the '90s, however, had grown accustomed to the usual horror tropes, which is why Craven's self-aware slasher Scream became such a sensation. The characters in this knew they were in a horror film, which allowed the movie to exploit the genre's rules at every turn.
Loosely inspired by actual events, Wolf Creek gave birth to Australia's first real horror icon in Mick Taylor (John Jarratt), a sadistic bushman who enjoys nothing more than hunting and killing tourists in the middle of the Outback. Once you've watched this, check out its sequel, Wolf Creek 2, as well as the incredible Stan Original series.
In the mood for a good tear-jerker? What about a serious, high-brow piece of cinema? The films below should do the trick. Here are our picks for the best dramas on Stan.
Sicario: Day of the Soldado
That rare sequel that fully lives up to the original, Sicario: Day of the Soldado takes things a step further by totally dropping the moralising tone of the first Sicario and diving deep into the shady world of CIA-trained hitman Alejandro Gillick (Benecio del Toro). Following a suicide bombing in Kansas City, special Activities Division officer Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) recruits Gillick to instigate a war between the cartels responsible for smuggling the terrorists across the border. If you thought the first Sicario was intense, you may be surprised at how its sequel ups the ante.
The Godfather trilogy
Regarded by many as one of the greatest films of all time, Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather is, first and foremost, a story about family. Of course, the 'family' in this instance is in the Italian American mafia, and is led by Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando). After denying a move into the narcotics business, Vito is gunned down by a rival crime family. Now, his youngest son Michael (Al Pacino) is forced to lead the family, starting with a deadly retaliation for his father's attack. Before long, all of the mafia's Five Families are forced into war, and Michael must do what he can to put an end to it all. Followed soon after by the equally brilliant film The Godfather Part II (starring Robert De Niro as a young Vito Corleone), the trilogy is eventually closed out by a less impressive third instalment. Nevertheless, The Godfather trilogy remains required viewing for any serious cinephile.
A harrowing (and eventually) uplifting retelling of the events surrounding the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013 which killed three people and injured hundreds of others. Directed by Peter Berg (Deepwater Horizon, Lone Survivor), Patriots Day plays out like a procedural thriller that begins with the morning in question and follows through to the aftermath, including the ensuing manhunt that saw brave police officers and federal agents (played by Mark Wahlberg, Kevin Bacon and John Goodman, among others) track down and confront the terrorists responsible. Emotionally devastating yet hopeful for the future, Patriots Day is a powerful film that's filled with heart, showing how the inhabitants of a city can come together to rise up against hatred.
There Will Be Blood
A stunning commentary on the nature of greed and morality, Boogie Nights director Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood is a blistering examination of how easy it is for a soulless man to prosper in a morally bankrupt world, while those who attempt to sink to his level find only their own demise. Daniel Day-Lewis won an Oscar for his portrayal of Daniel Plainview, an unscrupulous prospector who will stop at nothing to achieve wealth and power as an oil magnate, even if that means wrenching away oil rights from people who don't know any better. On the other side of the coin is Paul Dano's character of Eli Sunday, a preacher whose family was swindled by Plainview for their oil rights. Though Sunday, as a man of God, attempts to take the moral high ground against Plainview, his soul is quickly corrupted by greed and a need to overpower his adversary, demonstrating how religion can be poisoned by capitalism. If you come into the film looking for a plot, you may find yourself disappointed. However, if you're after a story filled with big, overarching themes that explore the very essence of human nature, almost like a biblical parable, you might find There Will Be Blood to be a stone-cold masterpiece.
Good Will Hunting
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck became global megastars off the back of Good Will Hunting, each bagging an Oscar for writing the film's incredible screenplay. Damon plays Will, a troubled young man from the South Boston projects who is gifted with unparalleled intellect and a photographic memory. When his gift is discovered by a genius M.I.T. professor (Stellan Skarsgård), Will is sent to see a psychologist (Robin Williams) in an attempt to get his life back in order so that he can reach his full potential. A tear-jerking masterpiece.
After the death of his mum, Joshua (James Frecheville) is forced to live with his maternal grandmother (Jacki Weaver), the matriarch of a crime family that starts to fall apart after the after one of her sons is killed by police and the others kill a random cop in retaliation. Will Joshua fall into this cycle of violence, or will he resist it? Playing out like a Greek tragedy in the suburbs of Melbourne, Animal Kingdom is one of the most powerful Australian films of all time.
Based on the life of real life boxing champ Ray LaMotta (Robert De Niro giving what is perhaps the most powerful performance of his career), Raging Bull explores a man gripped by insecurity – one who'd rather get his face bashed in than confront his own demons. Abusive to his wife (Cathy Moriarty) and violent towards his brother (Joe Pesci, also magnificent), LaMotta frequently attempts to pay for his sins in the ring, each gruelling fight feeling like a culmination of his troubles at home. De Niro famously packed on the kilos to portray an out of shape LaMotta past his prime, but that's arguably the least impressive aspect of this amazingly raw and ferocious performance. One of director Martin Scorsese's greatest achievements, Raging Bull is a gripping study of toxic masculinity.
Need a good laugh? Stan has a number of great comedies in its library, and these are some of our favourites. Here are the best comedies currently streaming on Stan.
When there's something strange in your neighbourhood, who you gonna call? Ghostbusters, that's who! Released in 1984, Ivan Reitman's spooky comedy achieved instant-classic status, thanks in part to a brilliant and hilarious script by stars Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. But it would be Bill Murray's burgeoning star-power and wise-ass demeanour that would bring the whole film, which is about ghost hunting scientists in New York City, together so perfectly. Equal-parts hair-raising and rib-tickling, Ghostbusters is a positively ghoulish movie that the whole family can enjoy.
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
Jim Carrey was an unstoppable force in the early nineties, and along with The Mark and Dumb and Dumber, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective solidified him as the world's biggest comedy star. Carrey plays a ridiculously over-the-top private dick who specialises in animal-related cases. When the NFL's Miami Dolphins mascot is stolen, it's up to Ace to find out where it is and who was behind it. Cue a whole lot of hilarious tomfoolery!
A hilariously dark comedy about hit men who must lay low in Belgium after a hit gone wrong, In Bruges is the type of movie that will have you laughing uncontrollably one minute, then crying the next. Writer/director Martin McDonagh (Seven Psychopaths, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) delivers a witty script filled with sudden moments of brutal violence that will leave you speechless.
If you're a fan of muscular action films, you've come to the right place. Stan has a great selection of high-octane, testosterone-fuelled movies for adrenaline junkies. Here are our picks for best action movies on Stan.
Mad Max Fury Road
The world has gone to hell following a cataclysmic event, plunging headfirst into madness and chaos. All that remains is a wasteland governed by tyrannical men, populated by downtrodden hordes, and hopefully, rescued by mythical heroes. Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) rules with an iron fist, doling out meagre amounts of water to the masses, while keeping a stable of wives for himself to breed future warlords. His most trusted Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) has betrayed him and freed these women from their lives of sexual slavery. Now, the chase is on, as Immortan Joe and his party of warboys set out to retrieve their "property". If Furiosa and co. are to succeed, they’ll need the help of Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy), a wandering road warrior in search of a cause. Director George Miller has crafted the most dynamic, vibrant and sensational action blockbuster of the decade with Fury Road. it’s an inventive, high-octane kick in the guts to a film industry that has played it safe for far too long. The chases and stunts in this film are unparalleled. Best of all, the film's cut-to-the-chase plot manages to sneak in a powerful and extremely timely rebuttal to patriarchy.
One of the great comic book movies of the nineties, nay, of all time, The Crow is a visually spectacular revenge film that sees a murdered rock star return from the grave to kill the men responsible for killing him and his fiancee on the eve of their wedding. Tragically, lead star Brandon Lee lost his life in a freak accident on set involving a faulty prop gun. Set to be a breakthrough role for Lee, son of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, the film was eventually completed by director Alex Proyas in an effort to honour his star and friend. Though this is a tough film that's mostly dark, rainy and violent, there's a warmth to The Crow that shines through the darkness, proving that when all hope seems lost, love can transcend even death.
The entire James Bond collection
Yes, you read that correctly: all 24 Bond films are now available to stream exclusively on Stan. Best of all, each film is presented in glorious 4K quality, which is something that was previously unavailable outside of expensive iTunes purchases. Join Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig as they each take turns in the iconic role of MI6 agent and super spy, James Bond. Sure, not all of the 007 films are great (we're looking at you, Die Another Day), but they're always entertaining. And, thanks to the 4K visual upgrade, you may be more inclined to suffer through some of the lesser entries on the picture quality alone!
Quentin Tarantino's grand homage to exploitation cinema, Kill Bill sees star Uma Thurman go on a roaring rampage of revenge, killing everyone who was involved in her attempted assassination. Fresh out of a coma after several years, this former assassin will make her old associates pay, one-by-one, for ruining her life. And when that's done, she's taking her blood-drenched katana on a trip to meet Bill (David Carradine), her former boss and lover. Split into two pieces (both of which are now streaming on Stan), Kill Bill is a violent revenge masterpiece.
James Cameron made his career with this time travel-themed action thriller, which also worked to solidify Arnold Schwarzenegger as one of the biggest stars on the planet. Arnold plays a Terminator – a cyborg killing machine that's sent back in time to kill a great military leader's mother (Linda Hamilton) before he's ever conceived. This mother's child will eventually be responsible for defeating the machines in the distant future. Thankfully, a human soldier (Michael Biehn) has also travelled back in time to protect her. Perfectly mixing action, sci-fi and horror, The Terminator is a white-knuckle experience from beginning to end.
Long before he reached Fury Road, Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson) was a highway cop in a particularly rough part of Australia – his beat ravaged by murderous and borderline savage street cretins. When Max's family and partner are killed by a gang with a vendetta, he gets mad. Extremely mad. One of Australian cinema's most classic films, Mad Max is high-octane revenge thriller that boasts some of the greatest scenes of vehicular carnage ever committed to celluloid. Max would eventually end up in a post-apocalyptic future, but his humble origins should never be forgotten.
We all like a good thriller, and Stan is chock-full of them. If you want a film that will have you on the edge of your seat, you've come to the right place. Below is a list of some of the best thrillers currently available on Stan.
Wake in Fright
An absolutely brilliant and confronting critique of Australian drinking culture and 'mateship', Canadian director Ted Kotchoff (First Blood) does not hold back at all when it comes to showing some of our country's uglier aspects with Wake in Fright. A school teacher finds himself trapped in an Outback mining town after losing all his money in a two-up game, leading him to go on a night of binge-drinking, fighting and kangaroo shooting with some unhinged locals. It's safe to say that he may never be the same again after this night...
Léon: The Professional
French director Luc Besson has made several cult classic films (The Fifth Element, La Femme Nikita, The Big Blue), but perhaps none is more beloved than Léon: The Professional. Notable for being Natalie Portman's first film, Léon tells the story of a lonely assassin (Jean Reno) who befriends a young girl after her whole family is killed by a crooked cop (Gary Oldman). Violent and thrilling, yet filled with warmth and heart, Léon: The Professional is bloody fantastic.
Science fiction films offer us visions of the future (well, from the perspective of the times in which they were made) that open our minds to the possibilities of what humankind might be capable of, in both the good and bad sense. These are some of the best sci-fi films on Stan.
Ready Player One
Based on Ernest Cline's best-selling novel of the same name, Ready Player One sees mega-director Steven Spielberg return to science fiction for the first time since 2005's War of the Worlds. Set in a distant future where humanity spends most of its time within a virtual reality realm known as The Oasis, Ready Player One sees Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) and friends attempt to track down a hidden Easter Egg that would grant them ownership and control of the whole virtual world. Of course, it's a race against time, as the nefarious corporate stooge Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn) is also after the same prize, and has plans to exploit the online realm for commercial benefit. Packed with more pop culture references from the last 30 years than can be conceivably spotted in one viewing, Ready Player One is a delightful and visually spectacular adventure for fanboys and fangirls everywhere.
With director Neill Blomkamp (District 9, Chappie) announcing that he's bringing RoboCop back to cinemas with a direct sequel to the original 1987 film, now's as good a time as any to revisit this ultra-violent classic. A cutting satire of corporate greed in the '80s, Robocop is more than the sum of its parts. Brilliantly directed by Paul Verhoeven (Total Recall, Starship Troopers), the film sees a rookie cop viciously murdered by a group of criminals, only to be revived by a corporation and used as a robotic crime-fighting product. Pretty soon, his memories start to return, and it's only a matter of time before he tracks down his killers and discovers the real intents of his makers.
A science fiction classic, The Matrix is a cautionary tale about artificial intelligence packaged as an action-packed, visual effects spectacular. Inspired by martial arts films, anime and cyberpunk literature, The Matrix sees Neo (Keanu Reeves) discover that the world as we know it is an elaborate computer simulation that masks the real truth – Earth is a wasteland and humans are being kept alive in chambers to act as the batteries powering our new machine overlords. Whoa.
Source: TechRadar - All the latest technology news
By: Stephen Lambrechts