The 50 best films on Sky Cinema and NOW TV
Mike Williams | On 26, Mar 2020Reading time: 10 mins
It’s not only during times of social-distancing and self-quarantining that Sky Cinema can become an essential part of a person’s day. With its original movies and extensive library of classics, hidden gems, and modern masterpieces, we can all breathe a sigh of relief (no pun intended) that it’s readily available to us at the touch of a button.
From action thrillers and moving dramas to hard-hitting documentaries, here’s your guide to the 50 best films currently available. Don’t have Sky? You can stream all of Sky Cinema live and on-demand through NOW TV, for £11.99 a month. To sign up, click here.
When you mention timeless classics, the Julie Andrews-starring fantasy about a magical nanny is a movie people still cannot get enough of, mainly thanks to those catchy tunes and animated penguins.
The LEGO Movie
Some may roll their eyes at the idea of a movie about connecting bricks, but not only was this 2014 animated flick starring Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks and Will Ferrell a roaring success, it’s also a particularly fine piece of filmmaking.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
We’ve seen more incarnations of Spider-Man that you can sling a web at, but this gloriously animated tale places teenager Miles Morales as the famous superhero, with an impeccably-written script and a lot of laughs and heart throughout.
One of Spike Lee’s finest movies in years stars John David Washington in the true stor of a black police officer infiltrating the notorious KKK. It’s slick and has a deep, powerful message that bears stark meaning in 2020.
Singin’ in the Rain
Another stone cold classic, Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds play film stars of the silent era, trying to make that revolutionary switch to talking pictures.
Catch Me If You Can
Steven Spielberg’s comedy thriller is based on the real life of fraudster Frank Abagnale Jr. (Leonardo Di Caprio), who is hotly pursued by an increasingly frustrated FBI agent played by Tom Hanks, in a memorable cat-and-mouse chase.
One of Ridley Scott’s finest moments, alongside Blade Runner and Alien, was casting Russell Crowe in this Oscar-winning action-packed drama about a former Roman general seeking revenge on his oppressors for the murder of his family.
The Wolf of Wall Street
If ever you needed proof that Martin Scorsese still had it and could offer up the most outrageous and hilarious of films, this Di Caprio and Margot Robbie-fronted comedy was it.
The late Kirk Douglas may have been the headliner but when you consider the supporting cast included Lawrence Olivier, Tony Curtis, Peter Ustinov, and it was directed by the legendary Stanley Kubrick, it’s clear this tale of a slave-turned-revolutionist is something special.
Teen lovers, played by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, are reacquainted after a summer fling left quite an impression on each. A beloved musical that feels like it’s been around for ever.
The Shawshank Redemption
Voted the greatest movie of all time in many a poll, Shawshank could easily be dismissed as an overhyped 1990s prison drama, when what you should really be doing is watching how great Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman are on screen together.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
A new PotA trilogy couldn’t have started any stronger, as we see the iconic Caesar born against the backdrop of how the world became overrun with talking apes.
Paul Verhoeven’s sci-fi war epic is perfectly poised as both satire and genuinely poignant drama, as it delivers just the right amounts of gore, alien killing and… other adult activities.
The Big Lebowski
An undeniable cult classic and one of the funniest films ever created, the Coen brothers’ comedy stars Jeff Bridges as a White Russian-drinking daytime bowler who gets mistaken for his millionaire namesake, whose wife has gone missing.
Set in the latter part of 19th-century America, freed slave (Jamie Foxx) teams up with an eccentric German bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) to save his wife from a brutal plantation owner (Di Caprio again).
Who You Gonna Call? 1984’s heroes burst onto the big screen in a year when Gremlins, The Terminator, A Nightmare on Elm Street and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom were released – and rivalled them all at the box office.
James Stewart and Grace Kelly are drawn together in Hithcock’s thriller, with the former stuck in his apartment and confined to a wheelchair, where he suspects a woman in a neighbouring block is in imminent danger.
Ignore the debate over whether Die Hard is a Christmas film: it’s a classic to watch any time of the year. Bruce Willis’ vest-wearing John McClane facing off against Alan Rickman’s magnificent Hans Gruber is a feat to behold.
When asked to name cinema’s craziest characters, Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) is right up there. Throw in Scorsese’s meticulous direction and a superb turn from an adolescent Jodie Foster and this drama is guaranteed to leave a grubby, unpleasant taste in your mouth. In a good way.
Ridley Scott’s 1982 vision of the future became synonymous with the sci-fi genre, in a murky dystopian where rogue AI, known as Replicants, must be hunted down.
Saving Private Ryan
Tom Hanks leads a small group of soldiers trying to relay a message to a private (Matt Damon) across a hellish WWII war zone in this modern classic directed by Steven Spielberg.
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Master of horror Wes Craven’s introduction of Freddy Krueger, a terrifying monster who kills you in your dreams, gave a generation of teens nightmares even before going to sleep. Such fears played a huge role in shaping one of the greatest horror movies out there.
Once Upon a Time in the West
Sergio Leone’s stellar Western includes Charles Bronson, Claudia Cardinale and Henry Fonda, telling the tale of a notorious desperado who teams up with an unlikely ally to protect a woman from assassination. As far as Westerns go, this one’s up there.
Pixar have made a lot of great films but even taking into account Up’s traumatising married-life montage and at least a dozen heartbreaking moments from the Toy Story movies, this sci-fi adventure about a sentient garbage collector unit who just wants to be loved is so tender and sweet.
Early on in Disney’s 1990s renaissance came the age-old story of Aladdin, only this time it was packaged with a list of incredible songs and a superlative voice performance from Robin Williams as the genie.
Another Ridley Scott masterpiece, this quintessential space horror both invented and defined the space slasher movie. Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley also paved the way for strong women to develop into bold and iconic action leads.
James Cameron’s Titanic was one of those once-in-a-generation hits, defining Kate Winslet and a baby-faced Di Caprio as one of the most celebrated on-screen couples in cinema history.
The Dark Knight
Perhaps the strongest instalment in Christopher Nolan’s superlative Batman series, Heather Ledger’s turn as the Joker (for which he won an Oscar) is just one of the many factors that make this such an enthralling watch.
Mission Impossible: Fallout
It might be the sixth spy adventure in the franchise, but it’s possibly the best. With Henry Cavill (Superman) joining the ranks, Chris McQuarrie’s 2018 thriller hits all the right notes.
Francis Ford Coppola’s gangster epic is perhaps the pinnacle of the genre, showcasing career-defining roles for a young Al Pacino and Marlon Brando as the head of the Corleone family.
Regarded by many as the greatest film ever made, Hithcock’s thriller sees James Stewart’s retired detective hired to follow a woman deemed to be in danger – but his past demons come back to haunt him.
2001: A Space Odyssey
Stanley Kubrick only made a handful of movies but he produced a collection of the most inspiring, thought-provoking cinematic experiences ever. 2001 is one of those that divides many but offers something so expansive and unique it can’t help but be included in a list of all-time greats.
The 1987 original, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Carl Weathers, is an untouchable throwback to the bygone era of muscle movies that has plenty going for it.
Amy Heckerling’s tale of a young, rich high-schooler (Alicia Silverstone), who tries to boost new girl Tai’s (Brittany Murphy) rep, is one of the 1990s movies firmly cemented in pop culture.
Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman team up as two detectives tracking down a murderer who incorporates the seven deadly sins into his gruesome crimes. Directed by David Fincher.
The Truman Show
Jim Carrey’s Truman Burbank is a sweet and mild-mannered man who seemingly has his life sorted, until he starts to suspect he’s the star of an elaborate reality TV show, broadcasting his most intimate moments to the entire globe.
E.T. – The Extra Terrestrial
When Elliot stumbles upon a tiny alien sifting through the shed, the pair form an inseparable bond that allows director Steven Spielberg to take them on a journey through adolescence, self discovery, and – most importantly – friendship.
Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of Were-Rabbit
Aardman Studios create a classic in what is possibly Wallace and Gromit’s finest hour. It’s a gorgeous, witty, and highly entertaining plasticine animation.
Natalie Portman won an Oscar for her portrayal as a skittish, fragile ballerina who battles to maintain her sanity after being awarded the lead role in Swan Lake.
Admittedly this didn’t do a whole lot for the reputation of Great White Sharks, but it did place a young director named Steven Spielberg on the map, as he crafted one of the all-time great horrors that, believe it or not, was only rated PG.
Audrey Hepburn plays Princess Ann, an HRH living out a sheltered and bored existence – until she meets an American news reporter who turns her world and expectations upside down.
George Clooney and Sandra Bullock star in this nerve-shredding and almost completely silent space drama, which quickly descends into an unbearable thriller. No wonder it scooped seven Oscars back in 2014.
After stumbling upon an ancient map, a group of misfit kids embark on the swashbuckling adventure of a lifetime.
Terminator 2: Judgement Day
Jim Cameron’s sci-fi sequel is considered better than its predecessor, not least because Arnie’s intimidating cyborg is now a replica programmed to protect the Connors (Sarah, played by Linda Hamilton, and child John, played by Edward Furlong). What ensues is an unexpectedly emotional story of family.
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
All of George Lucas’s immortal sci-fi films are available here but Episode V is without doubt the greatest. Best watched in a trilogy binge, for obvious reasons, this is the pinnacle of the galaxy far, far away.
A.I. – Artificial Intelligence
Originally intended for Stanley Kubrick before his untimely death in 1999, Spielberg took over helming this ambitious sci-fi featuring Haley Joel Osment as a robot child who wants to find his place in the world.
John Carpenter’s spine-tingling score to this bona fide classic really ramps up the tension, as mute psycho killer Michael Myers escapes a mental hospital 15 years after his killing rampage, only to return to his hometown to stalk and butcher a new generation of teens.
Cameron Crowe’s engaging film follows a successful sports agent (Tom Cruise) who, after a moment of clarity, finds himself stripped of the high life and left to make it on his own – retaining a solitary yet unpredictable client in the shape of Cuba Gooding Jr.
The final movie in MCU’s first major arc, this blockbuster ties off over a decade of films and more superheroes than you can shake a stick at, as the Avengers try to undo what genocidal maniac Thanos achieved in Infinity War. Beautifully concludes the story fans followed for years.