42 of the best movies on Stan
In the face of immense competition from overseas (and weak competition locally), Australian streaming video-on-demand provider Stan has managed to hold its own.
Thanks mostly to some outstanding streaming deals with MGM and Starz, Stan has managed to nab entire streaming catalogues from some of history’s biggest franchises, such as the Rocky series, The Godfather trilogy and every Bond film ever made.
Stan also had Disney’s back catalogue for a time but when Disney Plus launched, they were all packed up and returned to sender.
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All this is to say, Stan is currently home to an absurd number of top-shelf movies but with over 1,300 films ready to stream (and loads of great TV shows too), it can be difficult to settle on just one. We’ve rounded up our picks for the very best movies on Stan.
In this Austtralian-made Stan exclusive, Emily Mortimer (Shutter Island) and Bella Heathcoate (Fifty Shades Darker) play a mother and daughter returning to the family home in rural Melbourne to look for the family’s missing grandmother, Edna. Upon the aging Matriarch’s return, the three generations of women are stalked by what seems to be a paranormal force.
Relic is the most exciting Australian horror since 2014’s breakout hit Babadook and it’s only streaming on Stan.
Silence of the Lambs
Stan has always been the home of that crazy cat Dr Hannibal Lecter. Not only can you catch Mads Mikkelsen’s cult-favourite TV portrayal but also the critically-acclaimed 1991 film The Silence of the Lambs starring Anthony Hopkins as the good doctor himself and Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling.
Not every story makes the jump from page to screen successfully but The Silence of the Lambs is easily one of the greatest adapted screenplays in history.
Stan also has Michael Mann’s criminally overshadowed 1987 film Manhunter, where Brian Cox (Succession) plays the role of Lecter.
The Kill List
The less said about the plot for Kill List, the better.
Ben Wheatley’s (Sightseers) thriller is not for the faint of heart and ends up somewhere you will not see coming. It starts out as a fairly run-of-the-mill crime flick with some family drama thrown in but as you edge your way to the movie’s thrilling climax, things take a hard-left into a completely different territory.
1982, Sci-fi Horror
If you’ve been living on a remote Antarctic research station for the last forty years, The Thing follows Kurt Russell’s pragmatic helicopter pilot R.J. MacReady in a paranoid fight for survival. When a body-snatching alien assimilates the crew of a snowed-in research lab one by one, MacReady trusts no one, shooting first and asking questions later.
Despite its age, The Thing remains one of the best horror movies of all time. Even if grotesque body horror isn’t your idea of a good time, Kurt Russel’s iconic beard will be.
2019, Thriller (?)
We hate to say we told you so, but we’ve been championing Parasite ever since we first had the pleasure of seeing Bong Joon-ho’s masterpiece back in June 2019 at the Sydney Film Festival. It wasn’t until the film became the first non-English film to take Best Picture at January’s Academy Awards that the rest of the world started to pay attention.
Parasite refuses to be lumped into any one genre. One minute it’s a feelgood family comedy, in the next it’s a clever Ocean’s 11-style heist flick, and in the next, it’s a shocking and brutal thriller. One thing’s for certain, though, Parasite is the quintessential “less you know the better” film. Go in completely blind and you’ll be in for the ride of your life.
Though, if you absolutely must know what all the fuss is about, we’ve explained it a little more here.
1994, Crime Thriller
Zed might be dead, baby, but don’t let that spoiler stop you re-watching Tarantino’s quotable classic. Pulp Fiction‘s sprawling interconnected character vignettes and cracking dialogue have stood the test of time.
It’s perfect timing with the director’s latest, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, still fresh on everyone’s minds.
I put off watching The Gift for the ages because Joel Edgerton’s goatee on the poster made me uncomfortable. I was a fool to wait so long.
Edgerton’s directorial debut is a fresh take on the psycho stalker genre that has you questioning each character up until the very last moments
No Country for Old Men
2007, Crime Thriller
“Just call it, friendo.”
Without a doubt one of the Coen Brothers’ best, No Country For Old Men builds on the sturdy foundation of Cormac McCarthy’s prose with the best possible materials at its disposal: three lovable protagonists in Kelly Macdonald, Josh Brolin and Tommy Lee Jones and an utterly sinister performance from Javier Bardem as one of the best villains ever put to screen, Anton Chigurh.
No Country for Old Men is also streaming on Prime Video, which has a stellar collection of scary movies to stream.
1986, Crime Thriller
With Stan’s new series about Clarice Starling in the works, now’s as good a time as ever to stream Manhunter. Michael Mann’s (Heat) take on the Red Dragon story preceded 1991’s Silence of the Lambs but was swept under the rug after Anthony Hopkin’s award-winning performance as Hannibal Lecter.
Manhunter got done dirty because Mann’s take on the original Thomas Harris thriller is utterly electric, thanks in no small part to Brian Cox (Succession) who plays the iconic Hannibal, and William Peterson’s (CSI) more subdued take on the tortured FBI profiler Will Graham.
Wake in Fright
Wake in Fright is an over-the-top portrayal of the Australian Outback circa 1970 where the real terror is its ability to turn you off schooners for the rest of your life.
The movie follows a city boy’s tumultuous time in an outback mining town, where he’s stranded after blowing his dosh in a gambling spree. His subsequent downward spiral, facilitated by the townsfolk, will have you wary about weekend trips inland.
Wake in Fright is also streaming on Tubi, if you’re looking for a free ride.
This tongue-in-cheek documentary explores the grassroots movement behind The Satanic Temple, their noble fight against government corruption, and the organisation’s eventual global following.
Hail Satan? is only funny because its subjects, movement’s most influential figures, allow it to be. This isn’t poking fun at the Satanists, quite the opposite. Hail Satan? feels like a rallying cry ,if anything. When the credits roll, you might find yourself Googling your closest chapter of The Satanic Temple.
If you like documentaries that aren’t all talking heads and speculation, you’ll get a kick out of Tickled. When journalist David Farrier (Dark Tourist) comes across a “competitive endurance tickling” competition, he’s naturally compelled to find out more. But the organiser’s odd behaviour and blatant homophobia set Farrier on a path with more twists and turns than most blockbuster thrillers.
Tickled is a special kind of documentary where a seemingly innocuous (if a little quirky) story grows into something much more sinister right before your eyes as Farrier relentlessly searches for the mysterious figure at the top of the shadowy tickling cabal.
A bunch of Louis Theroux docos
Navigating Louis Theroux’s documentaries can be a bit tumultuous; there are the generally curious explorations of interesting subcultures, then there are the darker deep-dives into the grittier side of modern society.
Choose carefully. Stan currently has the Weird Weekend series, America’s Most Dangerous Pets, By Reason of Insanity, My Scientology Movie and many more.
Rian Johnson (The Best Star Wars Movie Ever Made) hit it out of the park with his first big-budget sci-fi Looper.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a young Bruce Willis hunting down a… now Bruce Willis in a wobbly time-travel action flick.
Jurassic Park Trilogy
1993 – 2001, Sci-fi
While the modern Jurassic World movies are fun enough, there’s something about the pure thrill of Spielberg’s 1993 classic that didn’t survive. Thankfully, Jurassic Park has been dug up and placed in Stan’s museum of movie marvels so you can travel back to a time where Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum towered over the pop culture zeitgeist (come to think of it, not much has changed).
Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park: The Lost World, and Jurassic Park III are all streaming on Stan.
If you’re after the full collection, Binge has all the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World movies in one place.
In 1984, he said he’d be back. And he was. Time and time again before we were, frankly, sick of him visiting. However, in 2019 Arnie and Sarah Connor both came back for Christmas (Terminator: Dark Fate) and for the first time in years, we were excited to see ’em. So to celebrate we’re heading back to where it all began with Stan.
The Terminator is available on Foxtel Now and Stan, Terminator 2: Judgement Day is on Binge, Stan, and Foxtel Now, T3: Rise of the Machines is on Binge and Foxtel Now, and Dark Fate is on Foxtel Now.
Everybody Wants Some!
In 1993, Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused distilled the end of the 70s in one raucous night shared by an eclectic mix of jocks, nerds and juniors on the last day of high school. And in 2016, Linklater returned to the world of keggers, dorm parties and philosophical stoners to show what was waiting on the other side of an era’s end; the 1980s.
Like Dazed, Everybody Wants Some has a lot more heart than its brash exterior suggests, and like its predecessor, its tender moments are buried beneath a mountain of fun.
Everybody Wants Some! is currently streaming on Stan, but Dazed and Confused seems to be all but forgotten by local streaming platforms. If you’re looking for the 96 classic, you’ll have to rent or purchase it on Google Play, iTunes and the like.
These days, most of us know Tina Fey for her writing and acting in 30 Rock and SNL but arguably her biggest success was the whip-smart screenplay for 2004’s Mean Girls. This biting portrayal of high school popularity spoke to a generation of pre-MySpace teens and its influence still resonates through the GIFs and memes it birthed long before GIFs and memes were a thing.
Watching Mean Girls today is also a great reminder of what Lindsay Lohan is capable of when she’s working with a top-notch script.
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
This shagadelic romp might not seem very re-watchable but, if you give it a chance, you’ll find that Mike Myers has still got what it takes to make you horny, baby.
Over the years, the Austin Powers series recycled the same old jokes ad-nauseam and by now you will see every gag and setup coming from a mile away but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable.
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
All righty then! Let’s get this straight right off the bat, there are certain aspects of Pet Detective that have not aged well.
But, overall, it’s still fun to revisit Jim Carrey at his rubber-faced finest. If nothing, it’s a good refresher on some seriously 90s catchphrases like “loo-hoo-se-herrr”.
Beverly Hills Cop
There was a time when Eddie Murphy’s rookie cop Axel Foley was the hottest fictional character in the world; we’re talking Marvel-tier fandom long before the Avengers existed. And it’s easy to see why. This is Eddie Murphy in his prime. His comedic timing and acting chops on display in Beverly Hills Cop are worlds apart from his later family-friendly fare, like The Nutty Professor and Dr Dolittle.
If you were too young to be part of the zeitgeist at the time, do yourself a favour and check it out but be warned; there’s a reason the infectious theme song was number 1 internationally in 1985 and dominated the ringtone scene in the Nokia 3310’s heyday.
Long before he took a swing at the MCU with Thor: Ragnarok, or sunk his teeth into vampire lore with What We Do in the Shadows, Taika Waititi melted hearts with Boy.
Boy is a comedy that isn’t out-and-out silly like What We Do in the Shadows, rather more akin to Waititi’s more recent work Hunt for the Wilderpeople. Both are set in New Zealand, but they’re also some of the director’s more tearjerky films. Released back in 2010, Boy tells the story of a young Māori kid who idolises his estranged father, Alamein (and Michael Jackson). Initially overjoyed when Alamein (played by Waititi) returns home from prison, Boy soon discovers that the legend he manufactured in his mind doesn’t quite match-up with reality.
There Will Be Blood
2007, Period Drama
Packed with notable initialisms, TWBB (There Will Be Blood) features the dynamic actor/director duo PTA (Paul Thomas Anderson) and DDL (Daniel Day-Lewis). PTA’s masterpiece begins at the turn of the 19th century, where one man’s ruthless quest for fortune in the explosive oil mining industry puts the lives of those working for him and against him at risk. It features one of the best performances from one of the best actors in the industry.
1997, Crime Drama
With Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood hitting streaming services in March, it’s the perfect time to start scheduling your Tarathon and Stan’s got the goods. Not only does it have the legendary Pulp Fiction but also Pulp’s follow-up Jackie Brown.
Paying homage to blaxploitation films like Foxy Brown and Shaft, Jackie Brown stars Pam Grier in the title role as a flight attendant who makes a bit of extra dough on the side smuggling money between Mexico and L.A. for an arms dealer played by Samuel L. Jackson. It has a killer cast, including Robert DeNiro, Bridget Fonda, Michael Keaton and the late, great Robert Forster in one of his most memorable roles.
1972 – 1990, Crime Drama
You come into my house on the day my daughter is to be married, and you ask me to binge all three Godfather movies back-to-back on Stan? Yeah, sounds good.
Look, if you’re like us, you’ve spent the last 20 years nodding in silent agreement whenever people discuss what is widely considered one of the best movie franchises of all time, keeping the knowledge that you’ve never actually seen it sacred. Spare yourself the pain and give the series a watch. At the very least you can form your own opinion instead of clamming up and redirecting the conversation to Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
2017, Biographical Drama
Loving Vincent is a revolution in film-making that has to be seen to be believed; the first-ever oil-painted film.
Every single frame (of which there are over 60,000) was hand-painted by a team of over 100 artists. The film explores the life of Van Gogh and the suspicious circumstances of his death.
When three young girls escape the clutches of a slave training camp, they must find their way home to their mother by following a vast rabbit-proof fence.
Widely considered one of the most important Australian films ever created, the movie is carried by the stunning performances of its three young leads, Everlyn Sampi, Tianna Sansbury and Larua Monaghan.
1976 – 2006, Sports Drama
The overall quality of the Rocky movies plunged harder than the Italian Stallion after a left hook from Clubber Lang but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth a re-watch.
With age, the sequels can be viewed as oddball products of their time.
Rocky, Rocky II, Rocky III, Rocky IV, Rocky V, and Rocky Balboa are all streaming on Stan.
2015 – 2018, Sports Drama
While the Rocky series as a whole is definitely a contender for best binge, Ryan Coogler’s Creed is another level of re-watchable.
Creed stars Coogler’s bud Michael B. Jordan in the lead role as Apollo Creed’s son, Adonis, and Sylvester Stallone reprising the Rocky mantle in a tender turn as mentor and surrogate father figure.
1962 – 2015, Action/Spy Drama
From Dalton and Connery to Moore, Brosnan, Craig and the Jewel of Queanbeyan, George Lazenby, all your Bonds are currently streaming on Stan.
Sort out a binge before Daniel Craig’s last mission in No Time to Die eventually releases in 2021.
2008, Action/Black Comedy
In Bruges takes the cake when it comes to black comedy.
Beneath its cold, trigger-happy surface is a story about friendship and grief. In Bruges manages to make light of some incredibly taboo topics.
It’s also just a fantastic action-thriller thanks mostly to its outstanding cast.
Indiana Jones Trilogy
1981- 1989, Action Adventure
“Indiana Jones. I always knew someday you’d come walking back through my door. I never doubted that. Something made it inevitable.”
That’s right sports fans, everyone’s favourite wise-cracking, whip-snapping archaeologist has been excavated by Stan. You can catch all three movies starring the hunkiest, spelunkiest rogue to ever swing onto screens: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom, The Last Crusade.
There’s also something called Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull? Not too sure what that is but we can’t wait to find out.
Kill Bill: Volume 1 and 2
2003 – 2004, Action
If you’ve been hankering for a Tarantino marathon since Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood, you can count on Stan to get you a fair chunk of the way through, with Jackie Brown, Pulp Fiction and both Kill Bills available to stream (plus a bonus appearance with From Dusk Till Dawn). Kill Bill, in particular, will be the perfect action-packed refresher for anyone who thinks Once Upon a Time was too slow.
2010, Western Action
It’s not often the Coen Brothers release a movie with a completely straight face. Even some of their darkest films, such as Fargo, have a sense of humour. That’s what makes movies like No Country For Old Men so fascinating. It’s often easy to forget that these brutal dramas are from the same minds that brought us O Brother, Where Art Thou?
True Grit is one of those serious Coen Brother movies. It paints a harsh, unrelenting landscape with deeply flawed characters. It stars a young Hailee Steinfeld who crashed onto the scene, earning herself an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress at just 13 years old.
The Shrek series
2001 – 2007, Kids and family
We can only vouch for the first two in the series but all three Shrek flicks are available to stream on Stan. Great news for fans of the big, green guy.
Shrek released around the time DVDs and DVD players were starting to become more affordable, so many a weekend was spent committing the Shrek in the Swamp Karaoke Dance Party to memory. It would have been an utter nightmare for all parents involved. Luckily for you, Stan doesn’t include the special features.
1992, Family Action
3 Ninjas isn’t the cinematic classic that is Karate Kid but the series does feature Hulk Hogan as a villain named Dave Dragon so it’s hard to say which is the better martial arts film.
If you absolutely have to watch Karate Kid, the original is currently streaming on Prime Video.
Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course
2002, Biographical Drama
Give it a re-watch for Steve.
Collision Course might not actually be one of the ‘best family movies’ of all time but I needed another Australian movie and there’s no way I was putting Fat Pizza vs. Housos on this list.
It is, however, a bizarre pastiche of Australian and American culture and well worth a watch simply for that fact.