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20 must-see movies streaming on Showtime

Don't miss these modern classics.


Eddie Strait


John-Michael Bond


Posted on Sep 14, 2017   Updated on Feb 1, 2021, 9:56 am CST

When it comes to premium cable HBO is king of mainstream but Showtime is where the hidden gems live. Showtime has an incredible catalog of movies accessible through its namesake streaming service and the Showtime App platform. The best movies on Showtime often feel more like discoveries than old favorites.

That’s part of the fun. Without further ado, here are the best movies on Showtime right now.

The best movies on Showtime (of any genre) 

What are the best movies on Showtime for Action fans?

Patriot Games

When former CIA agent Jack Ryan kills an IRA member while thwarting a terrorist attack he’s called a hero. But when the terrorist’s brother vows revenge, Ryan and his family find themselves in a vicious plot. This Tom Clancy adaptation stars Harrison Ford and Sean Bean, but the action is the selling point. 

Each set piece is designed for tension first, leading to thrilling and violent resolutions. In our modern era of kinetic quick cut action sequences, 1992’s Patriot Games is a refreshingly restrained film. 

patriot games with harrison ford

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

In the cannon of incredible 90s films Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves Has It All. Kevin Costner as the only Robin Hood with a southern accent. Alan Rickman as a equally hilarious and scary Sheriff of Nottingham. And, most importantly, a Bryan Adam’s love theme to sing during the credits. 

Ridding a line between modern day comic book movie and faithful adaptation, Prince of Thieves is a rocking good time. You even get to see Morgan Freeman fight a witch. 

robin hood prince of thieves with kevin costner

El Chicano

L.A.P.D. Detective Diego Hernandez has been given the case of a lifetime, taking down a blood thirsty drug cartel. But when he ties the cartel to the suicide of his brother, Hernandez becomes the vigilant El Chicano. El Chicano is the first mass distributed film featuring an all Latinx cast since Selena in 1997. 

However, beyond it’s historical importance, it’s also a killer shoot out movie. Playing with urban legends to create a super hero is a fun twist, but this film is more Hard Boiled than Dark Knight.    

el chicano

Seven Psychopaths

Martin McDonagh’s follow up to the cult black comedy In Bruges was the equally black cult action comedy Seven Psychopaths. Viewers looking for a twist on traditional action films will love this story about a screenwriter whose friends accidentally steal the wrong gangster’s Shih Tzu.

Ultra violent, hilariously funny, and full of enough twists to make Christopher Nolen blush, Seven Pyschopaths is the sort of movie that sticks with you.

best action movies on showtime - Seven Psychopaths

Survival Island

If Mystery Science Theater 3000 took on nudity filled erotic action films the ridiculous Survival Island would be a righteous contender for mockery. When a rich couple, model Kelly Brook and Titanic’s Billy Zane, crash land on an island with their handsome servant they band together in the name of survival.

But isolation births a love triangle, and soon, lust is a greater danger than nature itself. This is 100 percent trash, but the cast is gorgeous, with thrilling action and sex scenes. Check your brain at the door and enjoy.

survival island

Best movies on Showtime for Drama fans?

First Cow

Kelly Reichardt’s First Cow is the sort of film that feels like Oscar bait, but if you give it your attention the rewards will surprise you. Two travelers in the 1820s Northwest set out for the frontier to make their fortune. One is a white cook looking for his place in the wilderness, the other a Chinese immigrant seeking a better life. 

When the two begin to work together they find success, but the wilds are full of dangers you can’t see coming. Thoughtfully paced and beautifully acted, First Cow might not jump out at you but you’ll thank yourself for watching. 

first cow

First Blood

Rambo is thought of as an action hero by audiences and seemingly Sylvester Stallone himself. If you’ve seen any of the sequels you’d understand why after Rambo fires millions of rounds into an unending sea of bodies. However, the sequels can’t change the fact that the original film in the series is a world class psychological drama. 

While traveling a small town a homeless Green Beret named John Rambo is harassed by the local police. When they attack him Rambo escapes into the mountains to hide. With the police on his trail, our PTSD vavenged hero defends himself with deadly results. Easily the best film in the series, even fans of the action films will find themselves thrilled by this entry. 

best drama movies on showtime first blood

Obvious Child 

The life of a comedian isn’t glamorous, but it’s fun. Donna Stern (Jenny Slate) is stuck in a cycle of arrested development, spending her nights drinking, telling jokes, and dodging responsibility. Then a one night stand ends in an unexpected pregnancy and Donna’s forced to face the realities of adult responsibilties. 

Obvious Child avoids the cliches of the average “slacker grows up movie,” thanks to a soulful script and a brilliant performance by Slate. 

obvious child


If you’ve avoided Ghost for years thinking its merely a sappy love story about two soul mates separated by the beyond, you’re missing out. Patrick Swayze stars as Sam Wheat, a banker in a relationship artist Molly (Demi Moore).

After Sam is murdered by a business partner, he comes back as a ghost left to wonder the earth. With the help of a psychic (Whoopi Goldberg), Sam finds his way back to Molly only to learn now she’s who’s in danger. Sexy and thrilling, Ghost deserves to be rediscovered. 

In Body Image

About a Boy

Where Hugh Grant goes, romance tends to follow. In About a Boy (based on the Nick Hornsby novel), Grant plays Will, a ladies’ man who develops an unexpected friendship with teenager Marcus. Will grows close with Marcus and his mother Fiona (Toni Collette) while still pursuing a relationship with another single mother, Rachel (Rachel Weisz).

About a Boy features its fair share of cutesy moments, but it’s more grounded than you may expect, making the end result even more satisfying. —Eddie Strait

About a Boy

Best movies on Showtime for Comedy fans?

The Blues Brothers

Movies based on Saturday Night Live properties are hit and miss, but The Blues Brothers reigns above them all. Part comedy, part musical, part car chase extravaganza, The Blues Brothers is a profane journey across America. Upon his release from jail, Jake Blues learns the Catholic children’s home they grew up in is set to be closed. 

With the his brother Elwood they set out to reform their band and raise enough money to save the school. Come for the music from Cab Calloway and Aretha Franklin. Stay for the car chase that destroyed 103 cars, including over 60 police cruisers. 

best comedy movies on showtime the blues brothers

Team America: World Police

Trey Parker and Matt Stone changed modern satire, for better or worse, with their juvenile libertarian masterpiece South Park. That’s why its tragic that their 2004 hard-R “action movie but with puppets” remains unsung. Using the marionette style of shows like Thunderbirds, Team America brutally satires America’s 2000s War on Terror.

While we’re sadly still fighting that conflict 16 years later, it’s incredible how much of Team America’s humor still holds up. From Hollywood blowhards, to self righteous patriots, everyone gets skewered, sometimes literally. Just put the kids to bed before the puppet sex scene. Yes. You read that correctly. 

best comedy movies on showtime team america world police

Best in Show

Dog may be man’s best friend, but in the cut throat world of dog-shows it’s every man for themselves. Christopher Guest’s mockumentary about the people of the competitive dog-show industry as remained a comedy classic for over 20 years. It doesn’t hurt that the cast features comedy greats like Fred Willard, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Parker Posey, and more. 

But the real genius of Best in Show is its complete embrace of its zanniest elements. From dog psychology to class issues, Best in Show never stops mining for new jokes. Even if you dislike the mocumentary format, consider this a shining exception. Best in Show isn’t just one of the best movies on Showtime, this is one of the best comedies of all time. 

best in show

The Original Kings of Comedy 

In the world of standup comedy, The Original Kings of Comedy aren’t just legends, they were the future. Bernie Mac (RIP), Cedric the Entertainer, D.L. Hughley, and Steve Harvey went on to superstardom, starring in sitcoms, hosting talk shows and game shows, and touring to this day. Now you can relive it with Spike Lee’s groundbreaking concert film recorded over two nights in Charlotte, North Caroline. 

While all of these men have experienced family friendly mainstream success the sets in Original Kings of Comedy are gloriously profane. These jokes aren’t politically correct, but the righteous fury and joy behind them make each one irresistible. 

Original Kings of Comedy

Best Little Whorehouse in Texas

Dolly Parton is a national hero, sharing music and philanthropy across America well into her 70s. What might surprise you is that Dolly once made starred as a brothal Madam in the most family friendly film about prostitution in history. The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, follows the adventures of a long running brothel in a small Texas town who get stalked by a reporter. 

While the film was nominated for multiple Golden Globes and even an Academy Award, its lasting legacy is as one of Hollywood’s rare R-rated musicals. Deeply silly and incredibly fun, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas is as crowd pleasing today as it was in 1982. 

best little whorehouse in texas

Best movies on Showtime for Horror fans?

The VVitch 

Writer/director Robert Eggers critically acclaimed debut might be a hard sell, but fans of slow-burning horror will adore this mystical period piece. In 1630 New England a farmer and his family find themselves forced to move to a remote farm or risk banishment from the church. The land is bleak, but fine enough until crops start to die and a child disappears. 

As the world crumbles around them faith and superstition put the family’s love to the ultimate test. Shot with period accurate dialog and stunning natural lighting, The VVitch is unlike anything else on Netflix. Give this nightmare time to unfold to discover the chilling yet elegantly beautiful, ending. 

best horror movies on showtime the witch

Curse of Chucky 

After spending almost two decades mired in camp with Bride of Chucky and Seed of Chucky, the Child’s Play series finally returned to its horror roots in Curse of Chucky. Chucky is scariest when he’s kept in the shadows, and here he lurks like the outline of a shark underwater. Still, on the hunt for a body to possess, Chucky mails himself to the home of a young wheelchair-bound woman dealing with a recent death. 

It’s remarkable how little screen-time Chucky gets in the first half of the film while remaining a terrifying presence. When the gore finally ramps up in the second act, it’s a welcome rest from the sheer tension of what came before it. Who’d have thought the sixth movie in a horror series would be one of its best?

best horror movies on showtime - curse of chucky

Green Room

Included on over 20 end-of-the-year top 10 lists, Green Room is a rare critically acclaimed gore-fest. With its strong roots in suspense, it’s little wonder why it caught on. When a punk band takes a last minute show they discover their audience is a group of neo-Nazis. 

After witnessing a crime, the band barricades themselves in the venue’s green room while the Nazis, led by Patrick Stewart, try to find a solution to their new problem. Green Room’s incredible violence can be hard to stomach, but each puncture and slice serves the greater narrative. Just don’t watch this one on a first date. Or third.

Green Room

The Monster

If you make time for just one movie on this list make it The Monster. On paper, this is a simple film about a mother and her daughter lost in the woods with a terrifying creature threatening their lives. Instead, writer/director Bryan Bertino (The Strangers) uses a familiar set up to explore the fears of a child raised by a selfish parent. 

The Monster is a creature feature at heart, but its emotional depth adds to its already crushing intensity. If this movie didn’t have a monster in it Zoe Kazan would have won awards.

the monster

Tammy and the T-Rex

Up until 2020 Tammy and the T-Rex was mostly known as a late night comedy, a PG-13 oddity from the 90s and nothing more. Thats because the original cut of Tammy… was heavily edited before its original release. What was once a over the top slapstick comedy gorefest was edited into a squeaky clean teen comedy. Now, thanks to the folks at Vineger Syndrome Tammy and the T-Rex is finally available in its uncut glory. 

Starring Denise Richards as Tammy and Paul Walker as her boyfriend Michael, this film finds the couple fighting to stay together when Michael’s brain is put into a robot T-Rex body. This blood bath is perfect for anyone who likes their horror with a slice of cheese.

tammy and the t-rex

New to cord-cutting? Here are our picks for the best movie streaming sites of 2019 and free live TV apps and channels. If you’re looking for a specific channel, here’s how to watch HBO, Showtime, Starz, ESPN, AMC, FX, Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, FS1, TBS, Golf Channel, and NFL RedZone without cable, as well as free movies on YouTube.

Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance. 

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*First Published: Sep 14, 2017, 6:30 am CDT