52 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. Some of the best movies on Disney Plus were removed from Stan’s library prior to launch.
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.
Jurassic Park Series
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.
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.
Speaking of movies we saw at last year’s Sydney Film Festival, Hail Satan? was one of the biggest surprises to come out of last year’s lineup.
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.
The Death of Stalin
Armando Iannucci (Veep, In The Loop) hits it out the park again with this satirical retelling of 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.
This contemporary silent film about Hollywood and the rise of “talkies”. A black and white film that’s mostly silent like the films it stands tribute to.
The Artist raked in the awards when it released back in 2011.
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 in everyone’s minds.
Time to rewatch the madcap Minnesota crime drama? Oh yah, you betcha.
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.
Ryan Coogler (Black Panther) debuted with this heartbreaking true story of the 22-year old father Oscar Grant III, who was tragically shot by police officers on New Year’s Day 2009 after a small altercation.
Coogler collaborator Michael B. Jordan plays the lead role as Oscar Grant III.
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.
Your options for streaming in Australia
There Will Be Blood
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.
The Godfather 1,2 and 3
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.
Under The Skin
The slow-burn Scottish flick stars Sco-Jo as an extraterrestrial entity who road trips Glasgow, luring eager men into the back of a van.
Interestingly, most of the characters are played by non-actors and scenes were shot using hidden cameras.
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 their disposal: three lovable protagonists in Kelly Macdonald, Josh Brolin and Tommy Lee Jones and one utterly sinister performance from Javier Bardem as one of the best villains ever put to screen, Anton Chigurh.
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 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 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.
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.
Mad Max Fury Road Black & Chrome
When George Miller released the iconic Fury Road on Bluray, he gave fans one big reason to buy physical media for the first time in yonkers: the Black & Chrome edition. Black & Chrome doesn’t replace the sun-drenched colour palette of the original, but it helps highlight just how meticulous Miller was with every frame of this masterpiece.
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
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?
Come for Winterbottom’s screenplay, improvised mostly by Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon (playing themselves), stay for the picturesque views and endless food porn.
If nothing, you’ll leave with the sudden desire to perfect your Michael Caine impression. The sequel (set in Italy) is also available on Stan.
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.
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.
Skip the schmaltzy U.S. remake (The Upside) and check out the original.
This heartwarming French film is about the blossoming friendship between an upper-class paraplegic and his live-in caretaker.
Leon: 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)
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.
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.
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.
The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie
I mean, seriously, don’t even question me on this. Just re-watch the SpongeBob movie.
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.
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.
Indiana Jones 1, 2 and 3
“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.
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.
Kill Bill 1 and 2
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
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 good 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”.
Julianna Margulies, Gabriel Byrne, early Karl Urban and Emily Browning? What is this all-star masterpiece?
Why it’s Ghost Ship, the 2002 horror flick that’s re-watchable if only for the ultra-gory opening and the unabashedly early-noughties nu-metal theme song from Mudvayne.
37. Bond Collection
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 2020.
The Rocky Series
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.
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.
Fighting with My Family
It’s crazy to think how far Florence Pugh has come in such a short time. Her roles in Midsommar and Little Women have more or less made Pugh a household name, but she was still relatively unknown when she starred in Fighting with My Family earlier in the very same year.
Fighting with My Family is a WWE-produced biography based on the life of Norwich wrestler Paige, chronicling her rise to fame in the wrestling industry. It features a tonne of cameos from wrestlers like Big Show, The Miz, Sheamus and, of course, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
There are a few naughty words in there but if your little ones can handle that, it’s a fantastic family comedy with a lot of heart.
The Hobbit Series
It may not be quite as precious as the original Lord of the Rings trilogy (streaming on Foxtel) but The Hobbit trilogy is still a great set of adventure flicks to chuck on with the kids. Younger audiences will be able to stomach a lot more of The Hobbit than LOTR so this could be a good one to get them started on.
It’s also high time to get up to speed with the series, with Prime Video’s upcoming Middle Earth TV show well underway.
The Secret of NIMH
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
This totally underappreciated gem smacks of Big Fish, The Princess Bride, and The Fall.
Robert Duvall and Michael Caine narrate a tall tale about lions, princesses and a hidden treasure.
The real treasure here is the outstanding performance delivered by Haley Joel Osment as Duvall and Caine’s lonely teenage nephew
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.
Based on the classic Roald Dahl novel, Matilda follows a gifted youngster with telekinetic abilities.
Despite copping the worst life has to throw at her, she remains resilient and finds solace in the friends at her new school and one lovely teacher.
It’s worth it alone for Danny Devito and Rhea Perlman’s performances as Matilda’s rubbish guardians.
Samson and Delilah
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.
Wake In Fright
This 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.
It follows a city boy’s tumultuous time in an outback mining town where he’s stranded after blowing his dosh in a gambling spree.
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.
The chilling true story about a magnetic psychopath and his girlfriend’s impressionable teenage son.
This is not an easy watch but it’s easily one of the best thrillers to come out of Australia.
Snowtown was directed by Justin Kurzel, who went on to direct the big-budget video game adaptation, Assassin’s Creed.
Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course
Give it a re-watch for Steve.
Collision Course might not actually be one of the ‘best Aussie 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.