The legendary director is synonymous with cinematic history, so it’s never a bad idea to see the best Stanley Kubrick movies streaming right now.
Few filmmakers can say they’ve tackled nearly every genre imaginable. Kubrick did just that in a most masterful way, unafraid of ambiguity and nuance — and made some of the boldest choices ever seen on the silver screen.
Read on for a closer look at the best of Kubrick’s movies streaming now.
12. A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Paramount Plus and MGM+ (2001)
Kubrick didn’t make a tremendous amount of movies in his lifetime. And despite A.I. being written and directed by Steven Spielberg, it originated with Kubrick.
Kubrick wanted to adapt the short story Supertoys Last All Summer Long by Brian Aldiss for years. Unfortunately, after the project lagged in development, he wasn’t able to complete it before his death in 1999.
Released in 2001, A.I. starred Jude Law and Haley Joel Osment. Part of the reason Kubrick didn’t want to make it was his lack of faith a child actor could pull off Osment’s character, but the young thespian was certainly up to the task in Spielberg’s version.
It’s a moving, heartwarming but sad story — and may have been even darker had Kubrick been at the helm. Nevertheless, it’s a really fun place to start, since another directing giant picked up the baton and brought Kubrick’s long-gestating project to life.
11. Dr. Strangelove, Prime Video and Apple TV (1964)
Only Kubrick could pair such disparate concepts as slapstick/farcical humor and the nuclear holocaust and pull it off. Dr. Strangelove deals with Cold War politics in a most unique way.
Much of this movie is carried by Peter Sellers. The comic genius portrays three extremely different characters. They are Royal Air Force captain Lionel Mandrake, U.S. President Merkin Muffley, and the titular German doctor.
Supporting Sellers are brilliant actors such as Sterling Hayden and George C. Scott, Slim Pickens, and James Earl Jones. Hayden in particular shines as Jack D. Ripper, a national defense commander who catalyzes the movie’s central nuclear crisis.
It’s shot in black-and-white, but don’t let that discourage you. This is as good of a dark comedy as you’ll ever see — and it’s worth sitting through some Crackle ads for.
10. Eyes Wide Shut, Paramount Plus and Apple TV (1999)
Best described as an erotic thriller, this marks Kubrick’s final film, the final cut of which he completed mere days before his death.
Eyes Wide Shut was a lengthy, 400-day production, starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman as a married couple who are having issues. She reveals she’s contemplated having an affair, and he retaliates by infiltrating an underground sex cult of sorts.
It’s even stranger than it sounds. Many conspiracy theorists speculate Kubrick was attempting to expose the Illuminati or some other secret society, but investigate those threads at your own risk!
9. Fear and Desire, Prime Video and Sling TV (1952)
This 1953 flick marked Kubrick’s directorial debut. Without the resources of the studio system, he produced it on his own and served as a cinematographer and editor as well.
It’s a low-budget, black-and-white war drama that’s only a little over an hour long. However, there’s a lot packed into this movie, and it signals the promise Kubrick has as a filmmaker.
Kubrick’s mature commentary on the horrors of war and gripping, momentous plot make Fear and Desire a fascinating first film. The score is also unsettling and haunting to add to the dark atmosphere.
8. Full Metal Jacket, Prime Video and Tubi (1987)
Vincent D’Onofrio gained 70 pounds to play Private Pyle. Lee Ermey’s relentlessly profane drill instructor character was instantly iconic. Those two characters alone make Full Metal Jacket amazing.
But that’s not all that made the auteur’s penultimate movie a classic. The thematic substance is an expansion upon what he explored in Fear and Desire, so seeing that can help viewers appreciate Full Metal Jacket more and show how Kubrick grew as a filmmaker over the years.
Lead actor Matthew Modine is the main protagonist and delivers a strong central performance in what’s widely considered among the best war movies of all time.
7. The Killing, Prime Video and Pluto TV (1956)
To close out this list of best Kubrick movies streaming, we arrive at another one of his earlier works, released in 1956.
Still a fledgling filmmaker at the time, Kubrick landed Sterling Hayden to star in this noir mystery. Hayden plays a criminal named Johnny Clay who’s trying to pull off a $2 million heist at a racetrack.
Adding to the fun is that Kubrick crafted a nonlinear story, which was certainly uncommon at the time. It helps The Killing hold up even today. At only 84 minutes, you can breeze right through this hidden gem in Kubrick’s early filmography.
6. Paths of Glory, Prime Video and Pluto TV (1957)
Though this movie has received controversy and bans in several countries and cities in Europe, and on United States military bases, Paths of Glory is highly rated by both viewers and critics.
The movie is set during WWI, where commanding officer General Broulard orders his subordinate, General Mireau, to attack a German trench position. The problem with the order is that the mission is foolhardy and almost guaranteed to get people killed. But, Mireau is bribed with a promotion and follows through with the orders, commanding his subordinate Colonel Dax to plan the assault.
After ending in disaster, General Mireau covers his own reputation by demanding court-martial orders for three random soldiers. It sheds light on some of the darker aspects of the military, and how subordinates can get steamrolled by their commanding officers.
5. Spartacus, Apple TV and Prime Video (1960)
Based on real historical events, Spartacus is about the rebellious Thracian Spartacus who was born a slave. After being sold to Gladiator trainer Batiatus, he is trained to kill for the arena in order to gain his owners more profits. Getting fed up with his poor treatment, Spartacus turns on his owners with a group of other slaves in a rebellion.
The rebels move from town to town, gaining more followers in the form of escaped slaves. With Sparacus leading the band of escaped slaves, they make their way to southern Italy, where they must cross the sea in order to return home.
This is one of those movies that doesn’t get forgotten, and everybody has at least heard of the name Spartacus before.
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4. Barry Lyndon, Apple TV and Vudu (1975)
Highly rated on both Rotten Tomatoes (88%) and IMDB (8.1/10), Barry Lyndon follows a character of the same name as he goes from a likeable Irishman to a conniving rogue. This is an adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray’s novel.
Barry Lyndon finds himself homeless after a fake duel and then is later captured by a Prussian highwayman. Then he meets up with a spy, but his luck starts to change for the better when he marries a wealthy titled woman so that he can secure his fortune through her.
3. A Clockwork Orange, Prime Video and Apple TV (1971)
Based on Anthony Burgess’s 1962 novel of the same name, A Clockwork Orange is a dystopian crime film. Set in future England, Alex and his “Droogs” spend nights getting high at the Korova Milkbar before going out and committing violent acts, all while performing “Singin’ in the Rain.”
He is later imprisoned for beating the Cat Lady to death, and is submitted to behavior modification technique to earn his freedom. Alex is conditioned to abhor violence, and once he is returned to the real world, Alex becomes the victim of his old victims, an ironic twist to a dystopian movie.
2. The Shining, Philo and Sling TV (1980)
This movie should be known by anyone who has heard of horror movies. The Shining, based on the novel by Stephen King, is creepy, detailed, and should not be watched and/or read at night. In the movie Jack Torrance decides to become a winter caretaker of the isolated Overlook Hotel in Colorado in an attempt to beat his writer’s block and finally write his book.
He brings along his wife Wendy and son Danny, who is constantly plagued by psychic premonitions. As the snow traps them into the hotel, Jack’s writing has gone nowhere while Danny’s visions become only more terrifying. As Jack searches for an answer to his son’s visions, he begins to uncover the hotel’s dark secrets and Jack himself starts to unravel into a homicidal maniac that wants to destroy his family.
1. 2001: A Space Odyssey, HBO Max and Prime Video (1968) Best Stanley Kubrick Movies
Based on the novel by the prolific science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey gives viewers a ride through space and time. In the movie, an imposing black structure allows connection between past and future. Dr. Bowman and other astronauts are sent out on a mysterious mission, and as they trek deeper into space, their computer system HAL begins to act increasingly strange until a tense showdown puts man against computer.
Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick co-wrote the screenplay to this masterpiece, and changed the way science fiction movies were created in the future.
What is Kubrick’s best movie?
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb is Kubrick’s highest rated movie on Rotten Tomatoes with a score of 98% for critics consensus. The Cold War satire still remains as prevalent as when it first premiered in 1964.
Why was Stanley Kubrick so good?
Known for his attention to detail and meticulous nature while directing a film, Kubrick only created the best films he good with the resources he had. For instance, he hired three production designers for 2001: A Space Odyssey in order to create the world where the story is based.
What is the scariest movie of Stanley Kubrick?
Kubrick’s only horror film he created was The Shining in 1980. Even though this was his only horror film, it is considered to be one of the greatest horror movies of all time, personifying the terror that Stephen King used when he wrote the novel the movie was based upon.
Stanley Kubrick has created several incredible pieces of film that continue to be watched to this day. Even though these movies are older, that does not mean they are any less impactful. Make sure you check out our best Stanley Kubrick movies on all your streaming platforms, and get to know this amazing director a little bit more.