After providing a subpar pan-and-scan formatting experience for years, Hotstar has finally begun fixing the biggest pain point with its slate of movies, giving us the original widescreen prints for those that have them, which is welcome news for cinephiles in general. The overall experience still doesn’t have the polish of its biggest streaming competitors — its recent user interface changes on the big screen were more or less a carbon copy of Netflix’s — but, overall, Hotstar is much more bearable than it used to be. And the growing size of the Hotstar library makes it harder to ignore.
To prepare this list of best movies available on Hotstar, we used aggregate ratings on Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb to draw up a shortlist, and then picked our top 80. Unlike with Netflix, Hotstar just doesn’t have enough great films to warrant a top-100 list. This list will be updated once every few months if there are any worthy additions or if some movies are removed from the service, so bookmark this page and keep checking in. Here are the best movies on Hotstar in India, sorted alphabetically.
12 Years A Slave (2013)
Duped into slavery on the account of a job, Steve McQueen’s adaptation of a free New York black man’s (Chiwetel Ejiofor) 19th-century memoir is an incredible true story, and an important watch.
Ridley Scott’s classic sci-fi horror focuses on the crew members of a space merchant vessel – Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) one of them – as they are stalked and attacked by a highly aggressive extraterrestrial creature.
Having spent 57 years in stasis, Ripley returns to the moon where she encountered the hostile creature, accompanied by heavily armed space marines, in this sequel from writer-director James Cameron that’s considered as one of the best follow-ups.
Almost Famous (2000)
Cameron Crowe turns his teenage experiences as a writer for Rolling Stone into a semi-autobiographical work, in which a child prodigy lost his virginity, fell in love and met his heroes while covering a rock band.
Andaz Apna Apna (1994)
Two slackers (Aamir Khan and Salman Khan) who belong to middle-class families vie for the affections of an heiress, and inadvertently become her protectors from a local gangster in Rajkumar Santoshi’s cult comedy favourite.
Ben Affleck directs and stars as a CIA agent posing as a Hollywood producer scouting for location in Iran, in order to rescue six Americans during the US hostage crisis of 1979.
Set in the 1970s amidst the hills of Darjeeling, writer-director Anurag Basu tells the tale of three people (Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, and Ileana D’Cruz) as they learn to love while battling the notions held by society.
Beauty and the Beast (1991)
Disney turned the French fairy tale about a young woman imprisoned by a beast, who is actually a prince altered by a magical spell, into a celebrated animated musical adaptation whose soundtrack has stood the test of time.
Black Swan (2010)
Natalie Portman stars as a committed ballerina in Darren Aronofsky’s psychological horror that plays as a metaphor for artistic perfection, as she starts to lose her grip on reality after winning the lead part.
Sacha Baron Cohen took his comedic character, a Kazakh journalist, mainstream with this controversial mockumentary in which he travels to the USA to make a documentary. Features unscripted vignettes of Cohen interviewing and interacting with Americans in character.
Mel Gibson starred in and directed this epic war film about a 13th-century Scottish warrior who leads a revolt against King Edward I of England, after his wife is killed a day after their marriage.
Captain Phillips (2013)
The true story of a Somali pirate hijacking of a US cargo ship and its captain (Tom Hanks) being taken hostage, which spawns a rescue effort from the US Navy. The Bourne Ultimatum’s Paul Greengrass directs.
Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
Refusing to accept a death sentence from his doctor after being diagnosed with AIDS in the 1980s, the true story of an electrician and hustler (Matthew McConaughey) who smuggles banned medications from abroad.
Bestowed with accelerated healing powers at the cost of heavy disfiguration thanks to an experiment, a fast-talking mercenary (Ryan Reynolds) with a fourth wall-breaking sense of humour goes on a revenge quest.
The Departed (2006)
Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon star as an undercover cop and a mole in the Boston police, respectively, trying to identify each other in Martin Scorsese’s remake of the 2002 Hong Kongese original called Infernal Affairs. Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, and Martin Sheen also star.
A stuntman moonlighting as a getaway driver (Ryan Gosling) grows fond of his neighbour and her young son, and then takes part in a botched heist to protect them from the debt-ridden husband.
Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
Tom Cruise stars as an officer with no combat experience who is caught in a time loop during an alien invasion, and then trains under an experienced colleague (Emily Blunt) to win the day for mankind.
The life of M.K. Gandhi (Ben Kingsley), India’s iconic leader in its non-violent independence movement against the British, from his days in South Africa to his assassination in 1948 won eight Oscars including Best Picture and Best Actor.
Good Will Hunting (1997)
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck co-wrote this film in which both also star, the former in the lead as 20-year-old Boston labourer with a gift for mathematics, who is taken under a therapist’s (Robin Williams) wing after an incident and starts to re-evaluate his life.
Two US astronauts, a first-timer (Sandra Bullock) and another on his final mission (George Clooney), are stranded in space after their shuttle is destroyed, and then must battle debris and challenging conditions to return home.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
Having announced themselves as the titular team, the central quintet discover the true meaning of family in this standalone Marvel follow-up as they come face-to-face with Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) father.
Vishal Bhardwaj’s Shakespearean trilogy concluded with this modern-day adaptation of Hamlet, that is also based on Basharat Peer’s 1990s-Kashmir memoir Curfewed Night. Follows a young man (Shahid Kapoor) who returns home to investigate his father’s disappearance and finds himself embroiled in the ongoing violent insurgency.
Hidden Figures (2016)
The real-life story of a team of gifted and talented female African-American mathematicians at NASA who played a vital role in the early years of the Space Race while dealing with the cruelty of their co-workers.
How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)
Five years after the Vikings and dragons made peace, the son of the chief – now a young adult – meets his long-lost mother and comes up against a fearsome new foe, another dragon rider.
The Imitation Game (2014)
Though historically inaccurate in various aspects, Benedict Cumberbatch’s turn as British mathematician Alan Turing who helps the Allies decrypt the Nazi intelligence codes, Morten Tyldum’s direction, and the work of its strong supporting cast brought it much success and acclaim.
Iron Man (2008), Iron Man 3 (2013)
In these two entertaining chapters of the trilogy set either side of The Avengers, a wealthy industrialist and inventor (Robert Downey Jr.) constructs a high-tech suit for himself (Iron Man), and battles PTSD while investigating a series of terrorist attacks (Iron Man 3).
A pregnant woman (Vidya Balan) travels from London to Kolkata to search for her missing husband in writer-director Sujoy Ghosh’s National Award-winning mystery thriller, battling sexism and a cover-up along the way.
Kill Bill: Volume 1 and 2 (2003-2004)
Divided into two parts to make for an easily-digestible runtime, a former assassin (Uma Thurman) vows revenge and returns to her craft after a team of assassins try to kill her and her unborn child. Quentin Tarantino directs.
Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016)
The dragon warrior’s reunion with his panda family is interrupted by the return of a spirit warrior, and he’s forced to train a bunch of awkward pandas in martial arts to have a chance at stopping him.
The Lego Movie (2014)
An ordinary, rules-following Lego mini-figure (Chris Pratt) is mistakenly identified as the most extraordinary person and the key to saving the world from an evil tyrant, for which he is hilariously underprepared. It spawned the hit single, “Everything Is Awesome”.
Life of Pi (2012)
Yann Martel’s novel of the same name gets a big-budgeted adaptation from Ang Lee, about an Indian man recounting surviving a tragic shipwreck in his teenage years, and being adrift in the ocean with a Bengal tiger on a lifeboat.
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
This funny and moving directorial debut from a husband-wife duo follows a family of four and the mother’s brother going on a cross-country trip in their VW bus, just to get the young daughter into the finals of a beauty pageant.
In a near future devoid of new mutants, a weary aged Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and an extremely ill Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) are forced to go on the run to escort a young mutant to a safe place, while being pursued by an evil corporation.
Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003)
Peter Jackson brought J.R.R. Tolkien’s expansive Middle-Earth to life in these three three-hour epics, which charts the journey of a meek hobbit (Elijah Wood) and his various companions, as they try to stop the Dark Lord Sauron by destroying the source of his power, the One Ring.
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron star in director George Miller’s reboot of his own franchise, which finds a woman (Theron) rebelling against a tyrannical ruler of postapocalyptic desert, and gave us some of the best action sequences in the process.
Shakespeare’s Macbeth is transported to the Mumbai underworld by Vishal Bhardwaj, who wrote, directed, and even composed both background score and songs. An ensemble cast of Irrfan Khan, Tabu, Pankaj Kapur, and Naseeruddin Shah.
Neeraj Ghaywan ventures into the heartland of India to explore the life of four people in his directorial debut, all of whom must battle issues of caste, culture and norms. Winner of a National Award and the FIPRESCI Prize at Cannes.
The strong-willed daughter of a Polynesian village chief sets sail to seek out a demigod and save her people in this Disney animated musical featuring songs from Lin-Manuel Miranda (including “How Far I’ll Go”).
Monsters, Inc. (2001)
Two monsters get the fright of their lives after a human child wanders into their world, and must figure out how to get her back without telling anyone, so as to keep their jobs.
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Wes Anderson brings his signature touch to a coming-of-age tale of two young lovers (they’re 12) who run away from their homes, prompting the entire town to look for them.
A 16th-century Mughal prince clashes with his father, Emperor Akbar, after he falls in love with a court dancer in this epic drama, which stands as a milestone in Indian cinema and is called by some as the best Hindi film ever made.
Mukti Bhawan (2016)
This National Award-winning film follows a son forced to set aside his job and accompany his elderly father to the ghats of Varanasi, where the latter hopes to attain salvation.
My Cousin Vinny (1992)
The courtroom-drama genre gets a comedy spin with an inexperienced, loudmouth lawyer stepping in to defend his cousin and his friend after they are put on trial for a murder they didn’t commit in rural Alabama.
Intentionally shot in black-and-white, Alexander Payne’s road comedy sees an estranged son reluctantly agree to drive his elderly alcoholic father, so he can claim a million-dollar sweepstakes prize, and gets to know him on their journey.
The true story of the youngest recipient of India’s highest peacetime honour Ashok Chakra, 22-year-old Neerja Bhanot who thwarted the hijacking of a Pan Am flight in 1986, and died trying to get passengers to safety.
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
In the first instalment of this swashbuckling high-seas adventure, a blacksmith joins forces with an off-kilter pirate captain (Johnny Depp) currently without a ship thanks to a mutiny, in order to free the love of his life.
Planet of the Apes: Rise, Dawn, and War (2011-2017)
Andy Serkis plays an ape named Caesar in this gripping origin story that takes place years before the 1968 original. The three films – Rise, Dawn, and War – cover his life from becoming more intelligent thanks to a new drug that killed humans, to being involved in armed conflict with what’s left of mankind.
After his daughter and her friend are kidnapped, a father (Hugh Jackman) takes matters into his own hands while the police methodically track down multiple leads, getting himself into trouble.
Pulp Fiction (1994)
In Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece that won the Palme d’Or and millions of devoted hearts, the lives of several Angelenos — two mobsters (Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta), a gangster’s wife (Uma Thurman), a boxer (Bruce Willis), and two small-time criminals — are intertwined.
An anthropomorphic rat (Patton Oswalt) who longs to be a chef tries to achieve his dream by making an alliance with a young garbage boy at a Parisian restaurant. From Pixar.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
Set before 1977’s Star Wars, the rebellious daughter of a scientist working for an evil empire joins a group of rebel fighters to steal the blueprints for a superweapon that can destroy planets.
Salaam Bombay! (1988)
Mira Nair’s feature-length directorial debut, which won National Award for best Hindi film and two awards at Cannes, focuses on the day-to-day life of children living in the slums of Mumbai (then Bombay).
In this dark, gripping thriller from David Fincher, two detectives — one new (Brad Pitt) and one about to retire (Morgan Freeman) — hunt a serial killer (Kevin Spacey) who uses the seven deadly sins as his motives.
Shatranj Ke Khilari (1977)
On the eve of the Indian rebellion of 1857, writer-director Satyajit Ray presents two stories in parallel: two noblemen obsessed with an ancient form of chess, against the background of scheming enemy officials and an inept ruler.
Two men heading towards mid-life crises embark on a week-long road trip across California wine country just as one of them is about to get married. Alexander Payne directs.
Based on the 2008 unsolved Noida double murder case, an experienced cop deals with several conflicting theories that point to and away from the parents of the murdered girl as prime suspects.
Locked up by her overly protective mother, a young long-haired girl finally gets her wish to escape into the world outside thanks to a good-hearted thief, and discovers her true self.
The Avengers (2012)
Earth’s mightiest heroes – including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and the Hulk – come together in this groundbreaking Marvel team-up from writer-director Joss Whedon to stop Thor’s adopted brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and his alien army from subjugating mankind.
The Fault in Our Stars (2014)
Based on John Green’s novel of the same name, the story of a sixteen-year-old cancer patient who’s forced to attend a support group, falls in love with another cancer patient, and the life-changing journey they embark on.
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
A concierge (Ralph Fiennes) at a famous European hotel between the first and second World Wars strikes up a friendship with a lobby boy to prove his innocence after he is framed for murder. Wes Anderson directs.
The Last King of Scotland (2006)
Based on Giles Foden’s novel of the same name, which weaves in a fictitious young Scottish doctor (James McAvoy) as a personal physician to depict life under brutal Ugandan dictator Idi Amin (Forest Whitaker) during the 1970s.
The Little Mermaid (1989)
Hans Christian Andersen’s 19th-century tale about a young mermaid Ariel who makes a bargain with the sea witch Ursula and gives up her life in the sea to meet a human prince got the Disney animation treatment, which signalled the studio’s return.
The Lobster (2015)
This absurdist black comedy is set in a dystopian future where single people are taken to a hotel and forced to find a partner in 45 days, failing which they are turned into animals.
The Lunchbox (2013)
An unlikely mistake by Mumbai’s famously efficient lunchbox carrier system results in an unusual friendship between a young housewife and an older widower (Irrfan Khan) about to retire from his job.
The Martian (2015)
Stranded on Mars with his crew assuming him to be dead, an astronaut and botanist (Matt Damon) must rely on his ingenuity to signal to Earth he is alive, and then struggle to survive while they figure out how to rescue him.
The Namesake (2006)
Jhumpa Lahiri’s debut novel about the son of Indian immigrants and his search for identity against the backdrop of his parents adjusting to life in the US comes to life from Mira Nair.
The Sound of Music (1965)
A young aspiring nun (Julie Andrews) in an Austrian convent is sent as a governess to the house of a Naval officer widower, and wins over the hearts of seven motherless children and the father.
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Taika Waititi rescued the standalone Thor trilogy and made the character fun with this uber-colourful and boisterous chapter in which the Asgardian god of thunder loses his famed hammer and must figure out how to save his home from the goddess of death, Hela (Cate Blanchett).
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)
Angry over the lack of progress in her daughter’s murder investigation, the mother (Frances McDormand) rents out three billboards to accuse the revered chief of police (Woody Harrelson) of failure, which creates a furore in the little town.
A poor artist (Leonardo DiCaprio) and a rich aristocrat (Kate Winslet) fall in love in this fictionalised account of the sinking of the RMS Titanic from writer-director James Cameron.
Toy Story trilogy (1995-2010)
Some of Pixar’s best work is set in a world where anthropomorphic toys pretend to be lifeless around humans, and follows a group of toys as they are faced by challenges on their unexpected adventures. Gave birth to “To infinity and beyond!”
Expelled from school, a sixteen-year-old boy who dreams of being a writer returns home to a small town, where his abusive and oppressive father forces him to live by his rules.
Clint Eastwood directed, produced and starred in this Western, as an aging outlaw who having turned to farming reluctantly takes on one more job, with help from his old partner (Morgan Freeman) and a young man.
To keep a promise to his late wife, an elderly widower ties thousands of balloons to his house to carry him to the wilds of South America, unknowingly taking a young and earnest stowaway. From Pixar.
In a far-off future where humans have long abandoned Earth and reside on starliners, a small trash compactor robot living on the surface falls in love with a visiting probe, and embarks on a space journey that will determine the fate of mankind.
An ambitious young drummer (Miles Teller) is pushed to his limits and beyond by an abusive instructor (J.K. Simmons) in what became writer-director Damien Chazelle’s breakthrough.
Wreck-It Ralph (2012)
This Disney animated film tells the story of a video game villain who sets out to fulfil his dream of becoming a hero, but ends up bringing havoc to the entire arcade where he lives.
X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
Aware of a catastrophic event that leads to doom for humans and mutants, the X-Men send Wolverine to the past in this sequel set mostly in the 1970s, in a desperate attempt to alter the course of history.
X-Men: First Class (2011)
The mutant saga jumps back to the Cold War to explore the origins of X-Men, focusing on a central brotherly relationship (James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender), as they try to stop a dictator from starting World War III.
David Fincher signed on Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, and Robert Downey Jr. to depict a cartoonist’s (Gyllenhaal) obsession with figuring out the identity of the Zodiac Killer in the 1960s-70s.
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