doesn’t have a movie library as extensive as Netflix or other streaming competitors. Still, it has stars like Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, and Bill Murray on board — and even garnered Oscar wins for the film and names for the tragedy of Macbeth.
Here’s a look at some of the real must-watch movies on Apple TV Plus.
The good news is that if you’ve recently purchased an Apple product, chances are you already have access to the streaming service for free. Here is a selection of the best films so far.
The Elephant Queen (2019)
This documentary follows a mother elephant named Athena as she leads her family through the wilderness at the onset of the dry season. It is narrated by Chiwetel Ejiofor and was an official selection at both the Sundance Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival.
Billie Eilish: The World’s a Bit Blurred (2021)
This raw, behind-the-music documentary gives you a closer look into the life of singer-songwriter Billie Eilish, from her breakthrough hit Ocean Eyes to recording the James Bond track No Time to Die. In the candid film, Eilish faces pressures to tour, direct music videos, and write and record her hit album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
Bruce Springsteen’s Letter to You (2020)
This 2020 documentary offers a behind-the-scenes look at the Boss album of the same name.
Greyhound, starring Tom Hanks as the US Navy Commander, was well received upon release and, unlike most modern films, comes across as a meager 90 minute runtime. Tense, well acted and produced, and Oscar-nominated for its sound, Greyhound might just be one of the best movies available on Apple TV Plus.
Playing an ex-con who stumbles into the life of a young boy, Palmer is hardly groundbreaking, but it’s carried by Timberlake’s central performance. Prepare for tears.
Cha Cha Real Smooth (2022)
Cooper Raiff directed this coming-of-age film and plays Andrew, an aimless 22-year-old college grad who starts work as a party starter for bar and bat mitzvahs. He also meets and becomes friends with an elderly woman, Domino (Dakota Johnson) and her daughter Lola (Vanessa Burghardt). If you’re in the mood for a feel-good film, this is the place for you. It also won an audience award at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.
On The Rocks reunites Sofia Coppola with Bill Murray for the first time since A Very Murray Christmas. It’s essentially a father-daughter drama. It’s a little airier than Coppola’s usual work, but that seems to suit Murray, whose charming, world-weary performance elevates the entire project.
Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds (2020)
This stunning documentary explores the cultural and scientific impact that meteorites and craters have had on Earth. It’s complicated but compelling stuff. The film interviews people like Norwegian jazz guitarist Jon Larsen, who describes the feeling of holding a micrometeorite: “No human has ever touched anything older. One particular crater that we see at the beginning of the film is absolutely gorgeous.
A fantastically made documentary by Bryce Dallas Howard about what it means to be a father in these times. Touching, well produced. A must especially for parents.
who are you charlie brown (2021)
If you’re a fan of Charlie Brown, honestly, who isn’t? — this informative, family-friendly documentary will blow your mind (and you don’t even have to get involved in an ill-fated soccer kick). Narrated by Lupita Nyong’o, Who are you, Charlie Brown? is a short and sweet film that explores the allure and origins of the classic cartoon character. But I’ll stop going on like wah, wah, wah Watch this one now.
The Year the Earth Changed (2021)
Nature heals. No really — this isn’t about those ironic crocodile memes from early 2020 floating on pool noodles or cats ride on a baggage carousel. As people fled cities, parks, oceans and many other places during the COVID lockdowns of 2020, all manner of wild creatures benefited. Narrated by the legendary David Attenborough, The Year Earth Changed shows that we owe it to whales, penguins, cheetahs and a whole host of other animals to be less involved in their lives.
Coming-of-age tale Hala tells a relatable story about the struggle to form an identity as a teenage girl balances her Muslim upbringing with her social life and identity as a high school student.
A dazzling animated film from the team behind Song of the Sea, this is the third installment in Tomm Moore’s loosely connected Irish Folklore Trilogy. It’s probably one of the best animated films of 2020 and deserves an Oscar nomination against the giants of Disney and Pixar. Completely mesmerizing.
In this first offering from Skydance Animation, Sam Greenfield is plagued by bad luck – until she finds a lucky penny. After losing the penny, she goes on a quest to turn her fortune around and ends up in Lucky Land with a talking cat voiced by Simon Pegg.
Here We Are: Notes on Life on Planet Earth (2020)
It’s more of an animated short than a movie, but given the subject matter (and the fact that Apple TV Plus doesn’t have that many movies), we’ll include it. Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth is beautiful, heartwarming, and perfect for families with young children.
This acclaimed coming-of-age film focuses on 17-year-old Ruby, the only hearing member of a deaf family. After excelling in a choral class at her high school, she is torn between supporting her family’s fishing business and fully pursuing her passion for music. With an outstanding performance by Emilia Jones, CODA (which stands for “Child of Deaf Adult”) is a touching story that deserves a spot on this list. It’s this year’s Oscar winner for best picture.
It’s a bit light for the subject, but The Banker, a biopic of Bernard Garrett — an enterprising black business owner who hired a white person to be the face of his company to sidestep racial attitudes — is at least worth a watch.
You can read our full review of Finch here, but long story short, we loved it! It’s often overly sentimental, with a few cloying “life lessons,” but this post-apocalyptic tale of a lone survivor and a robot on a last gasp has real charm and is worth watching.
The Tragedy of Macbeth (2021)
Joel Cohen of the Cohen brothers filmmaking duo directs this adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth, which received three Oscar nominations this year. Sure, a Shakespearean English film might not be for everyone, but the feature film is undeniably superb, and Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand and Alex Hassell give powerful performances.
Beastie Boy Story (2020)
Fight with Beastie Boys Mike Diamond (Mike D) and Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock) to celebrate your right as they tell the story of their music and 40 years of friendship with the late Adam Yauch (MCA). This “live documentary experience” is helmed by longtime collaborator Spike Jonze as a fitting testament to these rap legends.
Movies coming in 2022 from Marvel, Netflix, DC and more
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