As each streaming service’s content library continues to grow, it’s hard to keep track of the best movies these platforms have to offer. When it comes to the Australian streaming service Stan, there’s an enormous amount of films of variable quality available to stream instantly. Our job is to sift through that huge catalogue and pick out the ‘crème de la crème’ for you.
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To make things as straightforward as possible, we’ve separated our choices into genres, so that you can jump straight to the type of movie you actually feel like watching. Curated by TechRadar editors and backed up with ratings from IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes, these films should offer something for everyone. We’ll keep this list up to date with must-watch movies, so you can spend less time browsing and more time watching! Here are the best movies on Stan.
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Need some kid-friendly content to entertain the family with? Stan has a number of great kids and family movies on offer that should keep everyone happy. These films are guaranteed to please the whole family.
An Australian family favourite, Red Dog tells the heartwarming true story of a delightful pooch that united an entire community while roaming the Outback looking for his actual owner. The dog brings people together everywhere he goes – some people find love, others find themselves. Starring Josh Lucas and Rachael Taylor, Red Dog is a beautiful movie that the whole family will enjoy. Though the dog is red, this is a true-blue Aussie classic.
A movie that’s way better than its reputation would suggest (the film was derided upon its initial release but has steadily grown a cult following), Speed Racer was clearly a passion project for the Wachowskis, directors of The Matrix. A tale of integrity, family and standing up to corruption, Speed Racer is much more than a sugary kids film (though it is that, too). Featuring some of the most mind-blowing and cartoony visuals of any live action film in existence, Speed Racer puts its pedal to the metal and achieves some deliriously psychedelic race sequences in the process. Sure, it’ll still have its fair share of detractors who refuse to get behind its incredibly vibrant and overwhelming visuals, but give it a chance and you might just find it to be a sensational family film with a huge heart.
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole
When one thinks of director Zack Snyder, the mind often goes to his violent action films, such as 300, Watchmen and Batman v Superman. But did you know he also directed an Australian animated kids film about warrior owls? While obviously lighter in tone than some of his other works, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole is just as stylish as you’d expect from Zack Snyder, with his liberal use of slow-motion and speed-ramping giving the film that unmistakable Snyder look and feel. Featuring stunning animation and terrific voice performances from Aussie actors like Ryan Kwanten, Essie Davis, Abbie Cornish, Richard Roxburgh and Joel Edgerton, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole is a real hoot.
Another Australian animated kids film about birds, Happy Feet took the world by storm when it released in 2006. A delightful family film from director George Miller (Babe, Mad Max: Fury Road), Happy Feet follows a penguin named mumble whose lack of singing talent leads him to dance to find his mate. With an all-star cast featuring Elijah Wood, Robin Williams, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman and Brittany Murphy, Happy Feet is guaranteed to make you tap your feet.
Where the Wild Things Are
Based on the classic children’s book by Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are is an awe-inspiring story of a young boy named Max (Max Records) who runs away from home after an argument with his mum (Cathertine Keener), only to end up on an island filled with creatures who name him as their king. Max instantly befriends a gentle giant named Carol (voiced by James Gandolfini) and while everything is going well for a while, things start to turn dark, leading Max to realise how much he misses home. Directed by Spike Jonze (Her, Being John Malkovich), Where the Wild Things Are is an artful family film that hits you right in the heart.
Feel like watching something that’ll put a tingle in your spine? Well, look no further, because Stan has a large selection of horror films that should please even the most hardened gore-hound. These are some of the best.
There have been countless Stephen King film adaptations over the last few decades, but Carrie was the first (and arguably best). Sissy Spacek plays a tormented teenage girl who is pushed over the edge by her mean classmates and domineering mother – with incredibly violent results. A bloody classic.
Not one for claustrophobic types, The Descent follows a caving expedition that goes horribly wrong, leaving a group of women to fend for themselves against some truly terrifying cave-dwelling creatures. An absolute masterpiece of terror, The Descent is one of the best horror movies to come out of the UK.
The late, great horror director Wes Craven had a habit of making a game-changing fright flick at least once per decade. In the ’70s, it was The Last House on the Left. In the ’80s, he birthed the horror icon Freddy Kruger in A Nightmare on Elm Street. The kids of the ’90s, however, had grown accustomed to the usual horror tropes, which is why Craven’s self-aware slasher Scream became such a sensation. The characters in this knew they were in a horror film, which allowed the movie to exploit the genre’s rules at every turn.
Loosely inspired by actual events, Wolf Creek gave birth to Australia’s first real horror icon in Mick Taylor (John Jarratt), a sadistic bushman who enjoys nothing more than hunting and killing tourists in the middle of the Outback. Once you’ve watched this, check out its sequel, Wolf Creek 2, as well as the incredible Stan Original series.
Cabin in the Woods
Another self-aware horror movie in the vein of Scream, Cabin in the Woods acts as a meta-commentary of the horror genre and its audience. We’ve all seen countless horror films set in a cabin, each one featuring a different group of stock characters facing some form of horrific demise – we don’t even seem to mind that only the threat itself ever really seems to change. The joke here is that there are actually people behind the scenes who are pulling the strings – it’s all a matter of re-arranging the pieces to see what happens next. Starring Chris Hemsworth (before he was famous) and written by Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Avengers), Cabin in the Woods is both clever and scary.
In the mood for a good tear-jerker? What about a serious, high-brow piece of cinema? The films below should do the trick. Here are our picks for the best dramas on Stan.
Good Will Hunting
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck became global megastars off the back of Good Will Hunting, each bagging an Oscar for writing the film’s incredible screenplay. Damon plays Will, a troubled young man from the South Boston projects who is gifted with unparalleled intellect and a photographic memory. When his gift is discovered by a genius M.I.T. professor (Stellan Skarsgård), Will is sent to see a psychologist (Robin Williams) in an attempt to get his life back in order so that he can reach his full potential. A tear-jerking masterpiece.
Playing Australia’s most notorious criminal, Eric Bana absolutely disappears into the role of Chopper Read. At the time, it was unthinkable that the TV funnyman could convince in such a dark and intense role, but his comedic edge, backed by the hulking frame he developed for the film, turned out to be a match made in heaven. Perhaps the best and most quotable Aussie true(ish) crime movie ever made.
Winner of the Best Picture award at the 2017 Oscars, Moonlight is a shattering chronicle of the childhood, adolescence and adulthood of a gay African-American male. Told in three segments, the lead role of Chiron is portrayed by three different actors, each facing the struggles of growing up in a poor neighbourhood in Miami. Burdened by drug-addicted mother, Chiron’s only guidance comes from an unlikely source in local drug dealer Juan (Mahershala Ali in his Oscar winning role). Gripping and powerful, Moonlight is a triumph.
After the death of his mum, Joshua (James Frecheville) is forced to live with his maternal grandmother (Jacki Weaver), the matriarch of a crime family that starts to fall apart after the after one of her sons is killed by police and the others kill a random cop in retaliation. Will Joshua fall into this cycle of violence, or will he resist it? Playing out like a Greek tragedy in the suburbs of Melbourne, Animal Kingdom is one of the most powerful Australian films of all time.
Based on the life of real life boxing champ Ray LaMotta (Robert De Niro giving what is perhaps the most powerful performance of his career), Raging Bull explores a man gripped by insecurity – one who’d rather get his face bashed in than confront his own demons. Abusive to his wife (Cathy Moriarty) and violent towards his brother (Joe Pesci, also magnificent), LaMotta frequently attempts to pay for his sins in the ring, each gruelling fight feeling like a culmination of his troubles at home. De Niro famously packed on the kilos to portray an out of shape LaMotta past his prime, but that’s arguably the least impressive aspect of this amazingly raw and ferocious performance. One of director Martin Scorsese’s greatest achievements, Raging Bull is a gripping study of toxic masculinity.
Need a good laugh? Stan has a number of great comedies in its library, and these are some of our favourites. Here are the best comedies currently streaming on Stan.
Though it wasn’t immediately loved at release, Zoolander has grown over the years into an honest-to-goodness comedy classic. Ben Stiller is the titular beef-witted male model that is duped into a plot to assassinate the Malaysian Prime Minister. Owen Wilson plays Hansel, an up-and-coming rival to Zoolander. Though the two initially hate each other, they soon come together in an attempt to stop the evil plan that has been orchestrated by the truly ridiculous fashion designer, Mugatu (Will Ferrell). Backed with quotable lines and hilarious scenes, Zoolander is really, really, really, ridiculously funny.
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
Jim Carrey was an unstoppable force in the early nineties, and along with The Mark and Dumb and Dumber, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective solidified him as the world’s biggest comedy star. Carrey plays a ridiculously over-the-top private dick who specialises in animal-related cases. When the NFL’s Miami Dolphins mascot is stolen, it’s up to Ace to find out where it is and who was behind it. Cue a whole lot of hilarious tomfoolery!
Like Pineapple Express meets The Bourne Identity, American Ultra is much better than it has any right to be. Jesse Eisenberg plays a stoner convenience store clerk who hears some specific words and is promptly activated into a CIA killing machine. In an effort to cover up this mess, the agency sends two agents (Topher Grace and Connie Britton) to neutralise the situation, but things don’t fly as smoothly as they’d hoped. Playing opposite Kristen Stewart, Eisenberg does a decent job of playing an action hero. Funny and surprisingly violent and action packed, American Ultra is an underrated gem.
A hilariously dark comedy about hit men who must lay low in Belgium after a hit gone wrong, In Bruges is the type of movie that will have you laughing uncontrollably one minute, then crying the next. Writer/director Martin McDonagh (Seven Psychopaths, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) delivers a witty script filled with sudden moments of brutal violence that will leave you speechless.
The indie film that made stars out Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau, Swingers is a hilariously hip film (well, in the ’90s it was) about friendship and moving on from a devastating breakup. Stylish and energetic, the film also made Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Edge of Tomorrow) one of the most sought-after directors in Hollywood. Worth watching for the hilariously-needy answering machine scene alone. Based on a winning script by Favreau (who would go on to huge success as a director with films like Iron Man and The Jungle Book), the movie is so, so money.
If you’re a fan of muscular action films, you’ve come to the right place. Stan has a great selection of high-octane, testosterone-fuelled movies for adrenaline junkies. Here are our picks for best action movies on Stan.
The film that rounded up some of the greatest action movie stars of the ’80s and ’90s (along with a couple of newcomers), Sylvester Stallone’s The Expendables will bring a huge smile to the face of anyone who grew up during this high-testosterone era. Joining Stallone are the likes of Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Terry Crews and more. While the film itself is far from perfect, we can’t help but get a kick out of seeing our heroes fighting alongside each other.
Quentin Tarantino’s grand homage to exploitation cinema, Kill Bill sees star Uma Thurman go on a roaring rampage of revenge, killing everyone who was involved in her attempted assassination. Fresh out of a coma after several years, this former assassin will make her old associates pay, one-by-one, for ruining her life. And when that’s done, she’s taking her blood-drenched katana on a trip to meet Bill (David Carradine), her former boss and lover. Split into two pieces (both of which are now streaming on Stan), Kill Bill is a violent revenge masterpiece.
James Cameron made his career with this time travel-themed action thriller, which also worked to solidify Arnold Schwarzenegger as one of the biggest stars on the planet. Arnold plays a Terminator – a cyborg killing machine that’s sent back in time to kill a great military leader’s mother (Linda Hamilton) before he’s ever conceived. This mother’s child will eventually be responsible for defeating the machines in the distant future. Thankfully, a human soldier (Michael Biehn) has also travelled back in time to protect her. Perfectly mixing action, sci-fi and horror, The Terminator is a white-knuckle experience from beginning to end.
Long before he reached Fury Road, Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson) was a highway cop in a particularly rough part of Australia – his beat ravaged by murderous and borderline savage street cretins. When Max’s family and partner are killed by a gang with a vendetta, he gets mad. Extremely mad. One of Australian cinema’s most classic films, Mad Max is high-octane revenge thriller that boasts some of the greatest scenes of vehicular carnage ever committed to celluloid. Max would eventually end up in a post-apocalyptic future, but his humble origins should never be forgotten.
The Nice Guys
Shane Black, writer and director of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, returns to the world of gumshoe detectives with The Nice Guys, a smart and funny mystery that establishes Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling as a comedic match made in heaven. Set in the late ’70s, Crowe’s tough guy enforcer teams up with Gosling’s bumbling private eye to solve the mystery of a dead porn star. Filled with hilarious one-liners and terrific action sequences, The Nice Guys is the kind of movie they really don’t make anymore, which makes its very existence something of a miracle, wouldn’t you say?
We all like a good thriller, and Stan is chock-full of them. If you want a film that will have you on the edge of your seat, you’ve come to the right place. Below is a list of some of the best thrillers currently available on Stan.
Jake Gyllenhaal is incredibly creepy as Louis Bloom, a man who makes money by filming grisly crime footage and selling it to news stations in Los Angeles. Driven by greed and hubris, Louis starts blurring the line between observer and active participant, eventually instigating violent incidents in order to get the scoop. A cutting commentary on our modern news cycle obsession, Nightcrawler is a riveting thriller with terrific performances.
Wake in Fright
An absolutely brilliant and confronting critique of Australian drinking culture and ‘mateship’, Canadian director Ted Kotchoff (First Blood) does not hold back at all when it comes to showing some of our country’s uglier aspects with Wake in Fright. A school teacher finds himself trapped in an Outback mining town after losing all his money in a two-up game, leading him to go on a night of binge-drinking, fighting and kangaroo shooting with some unhinged locals. It’s safe to say that he may never be the same again after this night…
Léon: The Professional
French director Luc Besson has made several cult classic films (The Fifth Element, La Femme Nikita, The Big Blue), but perhaps none is more beloved than Léon: The Professional. Notable for being Natalie Portman’s first film, Léon tells the story of a lonely assassin (Jean Reno) who befriends a young girl after her whole family is killed by a crooked cop (Gary Oldman). Violent and thrilling, yet filled with warmth and heart, Léon: The Professional is bloody fantastic.
Science fiction films offer us visions of the future (well, from the perspective of the times in which they were made) that open our minds to the possibilities of what humankind might be capable of, in both the good and bad sense. These are some of the best sci-fi films on Stan.
Ridley Scott’s thought-provoking cyberpunk masterpiece wasn’t fully appreciated until a decade after its release, where it received a director’s cut that addressed and excised some of the studio interference that plagued the theatrical version of the film. Harrison Ford plays Deckard, the titular Blade Runner. He’s a cop of sorts whose job is to hunt down and eliminate rogue replicants, which are like artificial humans created as off-world slave labour. When a group of them decide they’d rather live, going on a killing spree in the process, Deckard sets out to take them down, but maybe this time it won’t be so easy…
A cutting satire of corporate greed in the ’80s, Robocop is more than the sum of its parts. Brilliantly directed by Paul Verhoeven (Total Recall, Starship Troopers), the film sees a rookie cop viciously murdered by a group of criminals, only to be revived by a corporation and used as a robotic crime-fighting product. Pretty soon, his memories start to return, and it’s only a matter of time before he tracks down his killers and discovers the real intents of his makers.
A science fiction classic, The Matrix is a cautionary tale about artificial intelligence packaged as an action-packed, visual effects spectacular. Inspired by martial arts films, anime and cyberpunk literature, The Matrix sees Neo (Keanu Reeves) discover that the world as we know it is an elaborate computer simulation that masks the real truth – Earth is a wasteland and humans are being kept alive in chambers to act as the batteries powering our new machine overlords. Whoa.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Steven Spielberg is known for making heart-warming, sentimental movies, and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial might be the one that best embodies that. A classic family film about a lonely kid (Henry Thomas) who develops a bond with a friendly alien marooned on our planet, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is capable of melting even the coldest of hearts.
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