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Best movie streaming sites 2021: Watch blockbuster movies on Netflix, HBO Max, and Disney Plus

Best movie streaming sites 2021: Watch blockbuster movies on Netflix, HBO Max, and Disney Plus
(Image credit: Getty)

Take a seat and enjoy the best movie streaming sites, which help you bring the magic of cinema into your own home (and beyond). 

Film and movie streaming services have exploded in popularity in recent years as people become increasingly connected. You used to need a TV, but now thanks to 5G internet and smart devices, you also can watch the latest blockbusters on your home computer, laptop, or even your smartphone. Companies want a piece of that pie, and where once we only really had Netflix, now there are a whole host of movie streaming sites to choose from. So, which is the best movie streaming site?

Well, if you’ve read many of our guides before, you’ll know what we’re going to say - it’s complicated, and it depends on what you’re looking for. The best movie streaming site for action fans won’t be the best choice for someone who wants to enjoy a nice romantic comedy, or an animated kids movie.

It’s worth mentioning that there is a lot of crossover between the best movie streaming sites and the best TV streaming services - almost all the websites in our rankings provide a mixture of both TV shows and movies. But while a service might excel in one area, it can lack in the other, so we’re ranking them separately for both.

Beyond the content it offers, you should also consider the cost of streaming services - especially if you’re subscribed to multiple streaming sites at once. Are you getting good value for your money? Is there enough new content to justify a yearly subscription, or should you just jump in every so often with a month’s sub and binge watch all the good stuff? Our reviews should help to answer those questions for you too.


1. Disney Plus - Best movie streaming site for family

Disney Plus

(Image credit: Disney Plus)

Disney Plus

The house of mouse is the best movie streaming site out there

Price: $7.99 per month or $79.99 per year | Contract length: Monthly or annually | Standout movies/franchises: Star Wars, Marvel, Disney, Pixar

Disney
Marvel
Star Wars
Not much adult-focused content

If you’re looking for movies that the whole family can enjoy, then Disney Plus is simply unbeatable. You’ll find almost every Disney movie on there, along with the entire back catalog of Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars movies. That’s a staggering amount of top quality movies for you to watch.

If you want to watch the latest Disney movies as they come out, you can also pay extra to watch premium movies at home, instead of traipsing out to the cinema. It’s not cheap at $20 per rental, but if you’re wary about heading back out to the movies then it’s a great alternative way to watch the latest blockbusters like Black Widow and Luca.

There are also a few movies from 20th Century Fox on there too including Avatar, although most of Fox’s content has stayed exclusive to Hulu, which is majority owned by Disney.


2. HBO Max - Best movie streaming site for new movies

HBO Max

(Image credit: HBO)

HBO Max

Watch new releases on the same day they hit the cinema with HBO Max

Price: Ads: $9.99 per month, Ad free: $14.99 per month | Contract length: Monthly | Standout movies/franchises: Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, Studio Ghibli

New movies same day they hit cinema
Huge movie library
Reasonably priced
UI has a few quirks

HBO Max has only been on the scene for just over a year, but it has already cemented itself as one of the best movie streaming services thanks to the incredible depth of its movie catalog, along with the addition of Same Day Premieres which let you watch new movies at the same time they drop at the cinema.

HBO Max’s movie collection is primarily stocked with Warner Bros and New Line Cinema titles, but it’s easy to forget just how many amazing movies these companies have put out over the years. Blade Runner, Goodfellas, The Departed, The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Mad Max: Fury Road, Pulp Fiction, Rocky. The list goes on and on.

On top of that, HBO Max also has exclusive streaming rights for all the Studio Ghibli movies in the US. Our only real complaint about HBO Max is that the interface isn’t as good as other sites, but it’s perfectly usable.


3. Netflix - Best movie streaming site for variety 

Netflix

(Image credit: Pixabay / Jade87)

Netflix

Price: Basic: $9.99, Standard: $13.99, Premium: $17.99 | Contract length: Monthly | Standout movies/franchises: Enola Holmes, Extraction, Old Guard, Uncut Gems

Huge variety
Some great original movies
Constantly updated
Some not so great original movies too

Netflix isn’t quite as high on our best movie streaming sites list as it is in our TV rankings, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not worth your time if you’re a movie fan. Netflix has a huge range of movies across the whole spectrum of genres, with a good mixture of classic titles, newer movies, and original content.

Netflix’s approach to its movie library is a little bit of everything for everyone. You’ll find comedies from like Superbad and Austin Powers, along with family friendly animated movies like Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar. There is horror, action, drama, and a great selection of foreign movies to choose from too.

There is also a decent amount of original content that, while not quite at the level of some of Netflix’s stellar TV series’, is still worth watching. We’ve got big name stars like Batista, Henry Cavil, and Kevin Hart showing up in movies like Army of the Dead, Enola Holmes, and Fatherhood.

Outside of the exclusives, Netflix doesn’t have a huge amount of recently released movies on it. As a library of older movies though, Netflix is fantastic.


4. Paramount Plus - Best movie streaming site for Trekkies

Paramount Plus

(Image credit: Paramount)

Paramount Plus

Price: Basic: $4.99 per month/$49.99 per year, Ad free: $9.99 per month/ $99.99 per year | Contract length: Monthly or yearly | Standout movies/franchises: Star Trek, Mission Impossible, A Quiet Place

Star Trek
Variety of content
Good value
Some bad UI choices

Another recent entry into the streaming service game, Paramount Plus is a great choice for movie buffs thanks to a substantial backlog of classic and modern movies. There are some fantastic movies including The Wolf of Wall Street, A Quiet Place: Part Two, and Sonic the Hedgehog. Paramount Pictures also has a good number of big franchises in its lineup including Mission Impossible, Star Trek, and Jackass.

Unlike HBO Max and Disney Plus, you don’t get the option to pay for theatrical releases on Paramount Plus though, so you’ll still need to see them in the cinema or wait for them to be added to the service later. The user interface is also occasionally frustrating, as it can be difficult to find what you’re looking for. Like many other services on this list, Paramount Plus relies on the strength of its TV lineup as much as movies, so it’s probably only worth grabbing if you’re interested in both sides.


5. Mubi - Best movie streaming service for prestige cinema

Mubi streaming service

(Image credit: Mubi)

Mubi

Mubi offers a fresh take, bringing independent cinema into your home.

Price: | Contract length: | Standout movies/franchises:

Huge library
New movie added every day
Discounts for students
Niche

If you’re looking for the best in independent movies, then Mubi is definitely the place to be. Mubi looks to highlight the smaller side of cinema, with a collection of smaller, art house pictures that you wouldn’t find on the other big streaming sites.

Mubi’s most unique selling point is its Film of the Day - simply put, Mubi adds a new movie to its lineup every single day. You can see what the movie of the day is, along with a calendar going backwards that shows what has been added recently. It also runs special events, like the Cannes Takeover which is bringing together highlights from previous Cannes Film Festivals.

Mubi is normally $10.99 per month, but it also offers discounts for students who can sign up for just $6.99 per month - perfect for those studying filmmaking or for anyone who wants to see the smaller, more personal side of cinema


6. Hulu - best cheap movie streaming service

Hulu streaming service

(Image credit: Hulu)

Hulu

Hulu offers a lot of movies for a cheap price, if you don't mind ads

Price: Hulu: $5.99 per month/$59.99 per year, Hulu (No Ads): $11.99 per month, Hulu + Live Tv: $64.99 per month, Hulu + Live TV (No Ads): $70.99 per month | Contract length: Monthly or Yearly | Standout movies/franchises: Jumanji: The Next Level, Bohemian Rhapsody, Parasite

Good library of modern and classic movies
Cheap
Ads on cheap plan
Original content is so-so

Hulu sits in a weird place in the market these days. While it used to carry content from tons of different studios, the rise of networks specific streaming services like HBO Max, Peacock, and Paramount Plus has meant the walls have closed in around Hulu somewhat. With that said, it’s still owned by Disney, and it serves as a great home for all the 20th Century Fox content that Disney doesn’t put on Disney Plus in the US.

It does still carry plenty of movies from other companies like Universal and Sony Pictures too, with recent blockbusters like Jumanji: The Next Level, Bohemian Rhapsody, and Parasite sitting alongside older titles like Space Jam, Independence Day, and American Gangster. Hulu also has a decent library of original content, though it hasn't really had any breakout hits in the same way that Disney Plus and Netflix have.

The main draw of Hulu is that it's cheap - or at least it can be cheap, if you don't mind ads during your movies. If you bump up to the ad-free versions, then prices climb to what we see at competitors like Netflix. We think Hulu is better for Tv than movies, but it's still worth checking out.


7. Amazon Prime Video - best for a la carte movie ordering

Amazon Prime Video

(Image credit: Amazon)

Amazon Prime Video

Prime Video is a great part of Amazon Prime, but it's not worth it as a standalone

Price: Prime Video: $8.99 per month, Amazon Prime: $12.99 per month/$119 per year | Contract length: Monthly or yearly | Standout movies/franchises: Knives Out, Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm

Decent library
Part of Amazon Prime
Not worth it if you're not using Prime
The Tomorrow War

Prime Video has a rather eclectic collection of movies that take the same approach as Netflix - a little bit of everything for everyone. This means you’ll find something to watch when you sign up, but fans of particular genres will quickly blast through everything of interest to them. There is also a lot of padding in Prime Video’s library. Sure, there are absolute bangers like Knives Out on there, but it’s mainly older movies.

In reality, you can basically watch any movie you want on Prime Video though - you just have to pay extra for it. Alongside the library of Prime movies, you can also rent movies for a set fee. This massively expands the amount of potential content that Prime has, but at a cost.

Amazon has finally started putting some effort into original movies alongside its TV series, but so far it's fair to say we’ve seen mixed results. Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm was pretty good and The Tomorrow War is laughably bad. On the whole though, there isn’t anything that we’d call a must watch on Prime Video.

Prime Video is a nice thing to have as a part of Amazon Prime, but if you’re just looking for a quality movie streaming service, there are better choices out there. 


8. Shudder - Best movie streaming site for horror

Shudder

(Image credit: Shudder)

Shudder

Price: $5.99 per month or $56.99 per year | Contract length: Monthly or yearly | Standout movies/franchises: Halloween, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Huge variety of horror content
Original movies
Mainly low budget stuff

Oh it’s too spooky for us, but horror fans should definitely check out Shudder. This scary streaming service focuses exclusively on horror movies and shows, giving a great mixture of cult classics, original content, and smaller titles that you’ve likely never seen before.

You’ll find some of the cornerstones of the horror genre on Shudder for sure though, with classic titles like Halloween and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre to enjoy (if that’s the right word for it). You can also find a huge selection of smaller titles though, and that’s where the best stuff lies when it comes to horror - outside of the mainstream.

There are also Shudder originals, with titles like  Superdeep, Violation, and Shook breathing some new life into the horror movie space. Obviously this is quite a niche service, so if you’re not into the spooky, scary, or downright twisted then Shudder isn’t for you, but for horror aficionados, it’s a no brainer.


9. Peacock - Best movie site for classic movies

NBC Peacock Tv Streaming

(Image credit: NBC)

Peacock

A strange mix of classics and b-movies, but plenty to enjoy with NBC's Peacock

Price: Free (limited viewing), Premium: $4.99 per month/$49.99 per year, Premium Plus (No Ads): $9.99 per month, $99.99 per year | Contract length: Monthly or ayearly | Standout movies/franchises: The Hunger Games, Jason Bourne, Reservoir Dogs, Psycho,

Good classic library
Some big franchises
Lack of current releases
Movies don't stay on service for long

Peacock’s strength as a movie streaming service depends entirely on your taste in movies - if you want the latest blockbusters then you should look elsewhere, but if you want a decent library of older movies then you’ll love what it has to offer.

If you want to get lost in an epic saga, then you can get stuck into franchises like The Hunger Games and the Jason Bourne movies. Comedy fans are also catered to with Bridesmaids, Bruce Almighty, and The Blues Brothers. In fact, if you have any nostalgia for the 90s and 00s movie scene, Peacock is basically a greatest hits of that time.

Bizarrely, Peacock also caters excellently to another niche fanbase… Fans of terrible knock offs and B-movies. The Fast and The Fierce, 2012: Ice Age, Lord of the Elves. There is a wealth of awful cheesy nonsense here too.

In truth, Peacock’s strengths lie in its epic collection of TV shows, so if you’re just diving in for the movies, you’ll probably burn through the titles you’re interested in fairly quickly. If you’re invested in watching NBC, SyFy, USA, and Bravo shows, then the movies are icing on the cake. If not, then Peacock is a tough sell to movie lovers.


10. YouTube - Best free movie streaming site

YouTube

(Image credit: YouTube)

YouTube

YouTube isn't the best place to stream movies, but it does have some decent free content.

Price: Free | Contract length: None | Standout movies/franchises: Clue: The Movie, The Terminal, O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Free
Good selection of pay per view content
Very limited selection for free
Ads

Movies might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of YouTube, but it does actually host a huge library of movies alongside the usual vlogs, shows, and videos of cats. While you have to pay to rent most of these titles, YouTube does have a selection of movies that are free to view, provided you’re OK with adverts every now and then.

It’s not exactly a list of Oscar nominated classics mind you, but there are some decent flicks in there including The Terminal, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, and Clue: The Movie - any streaming service that lets us watch Tim Curry is OK with us.

The selection gets a lot better if you’re willing to pay to rent, but that’s true of many other services on this list. But if you’re strapped for cash and don’t mind sitting through some adverts, YouTube is a decent option.


Ian Stokes is a writer with a varied background - from academic publishing through to video games journalism. In fact the only thing he doesn't enjoy writing about is himself.