40+ of the best movies on Stan
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.
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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 Australian-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 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 40 years you might not have heard of The Thing. This sci-fi horror classic follows Kurt Russell’s pragmatic helicopter pilot R.J. MacReady in a paranoid fight for survival. When a body-snatching alien begins assimilating the crew of a snowed-in research lab, MacReady quickly learns to shoot first and ask questions later as it becomes increasingly apparent that anyone could be… The Thing.
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.
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 the 2020 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 feel-good 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, Parasite is the quintessential “less you know the better” film. Go in completely blind and you’ll have the ride of your life.
If you absolutely must know what all the fuss is about, we’ve explained it a little more here.
Zed might be dead, baby, but don’t let that spoiler stop you from re-watching Tarantino’s quotable classic. Pulp Fiction interconnected character vignettes and cracking dialogue have stood the test of time.
While we edge ever closer to Tarantino’s 10th and final film (and a future of Tarantino novels, apparently), there’s never a bad time to slowly work your way through the director’s library of classic films. Stan actually has a fair few of his best, including Jackie Brown and Kill Bill 1 and 2.
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. It’s made all the more gripping thanks to the unnerving performances of its three leads: Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall as the picture-perfect suburban couple and Joel Edgerton as the disconcerting blast from the past, Gordo.
No Country for Old Men
“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.
With Stan’s new series about Clarice Starling now released, it’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 Hopkins’ 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 all his dough in a booze-fuelled gambling spree. His subsequent downward spiral, facilitated by the unnerving townsfolk, will make you think twice about your next trip inland.
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, the 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 an ‘endurance tickling’ competition, he’s naturally compelled to find out more. But the organiser’s odd behaviour and blatant homophobia sets 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.
The Stories We Tell
Sarah Polley (Dawn of the Dead) explores her family’s secrets in this intimate documentary about the filmmaker’s relationship with her parents.
The 2012 documentary won the Grand Prix Focus for best feature film at that year’s FNC awards.
A bunch of Louis Theroux docos
1998 – 2017, Documentaries
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.
Stan currently has the Weird Weekend series, America’s Most Dangerous Pets, By Reason of Insanity, My Scientology Movie and many more.
2012, Sci-fi thriller
Five years before he directed the best modern Star Wars movie, The Last Jedi, Rian Johnson had his sci-fi debut with Looper.
In Looper, Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a young Bruce Willis hunting down a… now Bruce Willis in this time-hopping action flick where time travel has become so commonplace, it has become a tool for black market smuggling and racketeering. Gordon-Levitt’s Joe is one of the titular Loopers, hitmen contracted by a crime syndicate in the future to assassinate targets who are sent back in time. For the Loopers who survive long enough into the future, there comes a time where they’re final contract is assassinating their future self, effectively ‘closing the loop.’ This is where we find Gordon-Levitt’s Joe at the start of the movie but his future self (Bruce Willis) refuses to go down without a fight.
Like most time travel movies, it’s best not to get to invested in how it all works. Just strap yourself in and enjoy the ride.
The Jurassic Park trilogy
1993 – 2001, Sci-fi thriller
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.
1984, Sci-fi thriller
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 them. So to celebrate the arrival of a half-decent Terminator movie, we travelled back in time to where it all began with the original 1984 thriller (and Judgement Day, of course).
The Terminator is available on Stan and Foxtel Now, Terminator 2: Judgement Day is on Stan, Binge and Foxtel Now, T3: Rise of the Machines is on Binge and Foxtel Now and Dark Fate is on Disney Plus and 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 80s.
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 have been all but forgotten by local streaming platforms. If you’re looking for the 1993 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 so you will no doubt 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 one thing straight right off the bat, there are certain aspects of Pet Detective that have not aged well. Particularly, its treatment of the movie’s surprise villain towards in the third act. 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 one internationally in 1985 and dominated the ringtone scene in the Nokia 3310’s heyday.
The Death of Stalin
Armando Iannucci (Veep and In The Loop) hits it out the park again with this satirical retelling of Joseph Stalin’s last days. Come for the premise and Iannucci’s razor-sharp dialogue, stay for the truly hilarious performances of Steve Buscemi and Jason Isaacs.
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.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
2019, Romantic drama
The last memory I have of making plans to go to the cinema pre-pandemic was to see the 2019 Cannes Film Festival’s most-talked-about flick, Portrait of a Lady on Fire. Those plans turned to ash as a night at the movies went from worrying to downright irresponsible, seemingly overnight. Now over a year later, I’ve finally had the opportunity to catch the French historical drama via the magic of on-demand streaming.
If you were too caught up to catch the buzz at the time, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, the film tells the story of Marianne, a painter and art teacher in France who reminisces on her time spent on the island of Brittany. Commissioned to paint the portrait of a young aristocrat and hesitant bride-to-be, Héloïse, Marianne increasingly finds her attraction to Héloïse swell as she learns more about her past and current predicament.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire manages to create an incredibly powerful on-screen romance, without leaning on worn tropes of forbidden love or over-the-top romantic gestures.
There Will Be Blood
2017, 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 now available to watch at home, 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.
The Godfather trilogy
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 The 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 filmmaking 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.
The movie that put Dev Patel (Lion) on the map (well, after his TV role in Skins) is another rags-to-riches story, told through the unique framing device of a game show. When Jamil Malik (Patel) gets a chance in the hot seat on India’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, each question and answer transports us to a different moment in Malik’s life, from his innocent younger years, to more troubled times with gang members, to meeting his first love, all the way up to the moment he found himself on national television.
Slumdog Millionaire is a love story at heart but the journey there is filled with loads of action and drama.
The Rocky series
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.
The Creed series
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.
Samson and Delilah
2009, Romance drama
Samson and Delilah is a story about young love and surviving the odds that follows two Indigenous Australian 14-years olds as they elope to Alice Springs. This is an early one from Warwick Thornton, who went on to direct Sweet Country and The Sapphires.
The Mummy (1999)
1999, Action adventure
Before the beefed-up action stars of the 2000s, there was a different kind of leading man. The floppy-haired wise guy. And none played a better floppy-haired wise guy than Brendan Fraser.
Fraser’s most recognisable role in the late 90s was Rick O’Connell, a roguish adventurer with a knack for vexing the reanimated high priest Imhotep across three films. The Mummy follows Rick, and the scholarly Carnahan siblings (Rachel Weisz and John Hannah), in a quest to escape the clutches of decaying Egyptian warriors and scores of flesh-eating scarab beetles. It offers plenty of chuckles and some genuinely thrilling chase sequences (like Imhotep’s tidal wave of sand) that hold up to this day.
The Bond series
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.
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.
The 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 Bill movies 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.
Léon: The Professional
Another fish-out-of-water assassin story, Leon: The Professional follows French hitman Leon Montana (Jean Reno). The lone wolf becomes the unwitting guardian and eventual mentor for 12-year old Mathilda (Natalie Portman).
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.
Bill and Ted Face the Music
2020, Kids and family
It only took nearly 30 years, but in 2020, the Wyld Stallyns finally got the band back together for Bill and Ted Face the Music with Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves reprising their roles as the titular time-travelling rock stars.
A lot’s changed for Bill and Ted in the 30 years since their Bogus Journey in 1991. For starters, they are both parents to two excellent daughters, Thea Preston (Samara Weaving) and Billie Logan (Brigette Lundy-Paine), secondly, time and space will collapse unless the Wyld Stallyns can write a “prophesied song” that will save the universe from collapse. In short, they’ve got a lot on their plate.
If you’re a little fatigued by the endless stream of reboots and revivals hitting screens, we urge you to give Bill and Ted Face the Music a chance. It’s a heart-warming and hilarious family-friendly flick that will have you grinning from ear to ear.
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 lyrics to the Shrek in the Swamp Karaoke Dance Party to memory. It would have been an utter nightmare for all parents involved. Luckily for them, Stan doesn’t include the special features.
The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie
2004, Animated comedy
I mean, seriously, don’t even question me on this. Just re-watch The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.
The Secret of NIMH
1982, Animated adventure
Honestly, we’re not too sure how The Secret of NIMH holds up these days but we used to bloody love it as kids. Check it out and let us know if it’s worth a re-watch or if it’s one of those secretly terrifying kids movies, like Watership Down. Our money’s on the second.
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 film and the cracker sequel series Cobra Kai are both streaming on Netflix Australia.
Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course
2002, Biographical drama
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. Garn, give it a re-watch for Steve.