We are now inundated with video streaming services, as the world continues its technological shift with regard to ways to put content in front of our faces. We’ve moved from video cassette tape to DVD, to Blu-ray and now to streaming. It’s convenient, offers up huge catalogues of content and best of all, allows us to spend all day in bed if we wish.
But while many places and publications will recommend the best TV shows and movies to watch on the likes of Netflix, Stan and relative newcomer, Binge, SBS On Demand movies have some infectious content of their own for your viewing pleasure. The publically-funded Australian TV network offers a number of TV shows and movies to watch completely free of charge, and the selection on offer is on constant rotation, so there’s always something new to find.
Content is specially curated too, so some decent thought has gone into what you’re presented with, so we suspect you’ll easily be able to find a new favourite (just make sure you sign up for a free account first).
There is over 7,000 hours worth of content to choose from, but we’ve picked out some of the best movies that caught our eye, to take a little bit of stress away from this global situation.
Here are our picks for the best SBS On Demand movies.
Our Kind of Traitor
Ewan McGregor, Naomie Harris, Damian Lewis and Stellan Skarsgård star in this 2016 British spy thriller, based on John le Carré’s novel of the same name. Perry (McGregor) and his wife Gail (Harris) form a friendship with Russian man, Dima (Skarsgård), who has information on corrupt British politicians and businessmen that are linked with the Russian Mafia, and who stand to profit from a new Mafia-controlled bank opening in London.
Naturally, some Russians and British aren’t happy about Dima having this knowledge, and so go on the attack to prevent it from being revealed. While it wasn’t exactly a huge commercial success at the box office, Our Kind of Traitor received favourable reviews for the performances of the cast and the writing. If you like thrills, this is definitely one to watch.
IMDb Rating: 6.2/10
Rumble in the Bronx
Rumble in the Bronx is the 1995 martial arts movie that catapulted legendary actor Jackie Chan into the US mainstream.
Chan’s character, Ma Hon Keung, visits New York for his Uncle Bill’s wedding, but after Keung thwarts off a motorcycle gang he immediately finds himself in a grudge match. As you’d expect, Rumble in the Bronx is full of expertly crafted fight scenes, and Chan and some of his co-stars actually suffered injuries and broken limbs while filming.
Much praise was heaped upon the fight scenes and stunts and the fact Chan was finally getting the recognition he deserved for being one of the, if not the best at what he does.
If you’ve never seen Rumble in the Bronx, then it’s an absolute must-watch. If you have seen it before, then we know you’ll have a good time watching it again.
IMDb Rating: 6.7/10
Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson and Christopher Walken star in this 2012 satirical black comedy crime drama that follows several characters with intertwining plots, all of which occur because one man kidnap’s a gangster’s Shih Tzu.
I’ve personally seen this movie, and have to say it took me a couple more views to properly understand what was going on, but others have loved it from the very first viewing. Funny, gruesome and with some great writing and performances, Seven Psychopaths is a movie you simply have to see.
IMDb Rating: 7.1/10
The Lives of Others
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck makes his directorial debut with this 2006 German drama film. It follows the Stasi, East Germany’s secret police force, and how they monitor East Berlin residents during the Cold War. Specifically, the film focuses on one Stasi officer who begins to feel sympathetic towards a couple he is spying on, and the conflicting struggles he deals with.
The Lives of Others was met with critical acclaim when it was released, making it easily one of the best movies on SBS On Demand right now. Notable film critic Roger Ebert described it as “a powerful but quiet film, constructed of hidden thoughts and secret desires.”
The Lives of Others won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film at the 79th Academy Awards, and Best Film Not In The English Language at the 61st British Academy Film Awards.
IMDb Rating: 8.4/10
Happy Go Lucky
This 2008 British comedy-drama stars Sally Hawkins as Pauline “Poppy” Cross, a primary school teacher who always likes to look on the good side of life. No matter the situation, such as her bicycle being stolen, Pauline continues to maintain a good mood. Her optimistic demeanour allows her to fix the problems of those she meets, including a bullied pupil and her driving instructor.
Happy Go Lucky was well-received by critics, many of which praised Sally Hawkins’ performance in particular, as well as the direction of Mike Leigh. It was even included as one of the ten best films of 2008 by critics around the world. Unfortunately, it didn’t win the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay at the 81st Academy Awards, but to just be nominated is no mean feat.
IMDb Rating: 7.0/10
Hailing from Spain, Rec is often regarded as one of the best ‘found footage’ movies ever made. It follows a reporter and a cameraman as they head inside an apartment building behind a firefighter brigade. But, when an infection inside the building starts spreading, causing the building to be sealed up, everything is not as it seems.
At just over an hour in length, it’s not a particularly long movie, making this one of the best movies on SBS On Demand for easy evening watching. Well, as easy watching as a horror film can be…
IMDb Rating: 7.4/10
Everyone’s favourite Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen stars in this 2020 black comedy-drama which follows a group of four teachers at a gymnasium in Copenhagen. Following a night of celebrating, the foursome decides they are going to start drinking during their working day to see how it affects their productivity, as well as their social lives away from the gym. Naturally, things go downhill pretty quickly.
If anything, it’s a perfect analysis of the prototypical male midlife crisis and one of the best movies on SBS On Demand right now.
IMDb Rating: 7.8/10
This Swedish production won the Palme d’Or at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival and stars Elisabeth Moss, Claes Bang and Dominic West. A satirical movie, it focuses on a museum curator who wants to create hype for his museum through the media, however, personal issues and affairs cause some hiccups along the way.
IMDb Rating: 7.2/10
Behind The Candleabra
Steven Soderbergh directs this critically acclaimed film that stars Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, depicting the last 10 years of the life of famous entertainer Liberace. The movie is based on the memoirs of Liberace’s partner Scott Thorsen and spent a good few years in the planning stages before it finally received the green light.
SBS On Demand is currently the only place that is streaming Behind The Candleabra for free, making this an absolute must-see.
IMDb Rating: 7.0/10
This Spanish psychological horror (don’t worry, it’s in English) focuses on the four Marrowbone siblings who flee from their ancestral home following their mother’s death. But the house they move into in America doesn’t necessarily prove the grass is greener on the other side. Anya Taylor-Joy (The Queen’s Gambit) and Charlie Heaton (Stranger Things) star.
Those looking for genuine scares may want to look elsewhere, but for everyone else, you can’t pass up Marrowbone, which comfortably claims a place on this list of best SBS On Demand movies.
IMDb Rating: 6.7/10
Tell No One
This 2006 French film based on the novel of the same name sees Dr Alexandre Beck becomeing embroiled in a reopened case that attempts to find the killer who murdered his wife. However, after being implicated in the murder of his friend, Charlotte, and with his allegedly dead wife sending him emails, the entire case takes a major twist.
British actor Michael Caine claims Tell No One was the best film he saw in 2007, which we reckon is enough alone to warrant it as being one the best SBS On-Demand movies. Not a lot of people know that.
IMDb Rating: 7.5/10
Blinded by the Light
Blinded by the Light is a British comedy-drama released in 2019, that is based on the true story of journalist Sarfraz Manzoor and his love of American rockstar Bruce Springsteen. Manzoor is a British journalist and documentary maker who is a regular contributor to the British newspaper The Guardian, and who presents documentaries on BBC Radio 4. His memoir ‘Greetings from Bury Park: Race, Religion and Rock N’ Roll’ inspired the movie.
The film itself focuses on a teenager named Javed, who, whilst growing up in working-class England in 1987, is subject to racial and economic turmoil. After becoming exposed to the works of Bruce Springsteen, he embarks on a journey to follow his dreams of becoming a journalist, writing stories about Springsteen to help him get a foot in the industry.
It was well-received by critics, with Anthony Ray Bench of Film Threat saying, it is “a feel-good movie that tackles a bunch of tough topics, from politics, race, family traditions, social frustrations and romance, without ever feeling preachy or overly cheesy.”
IMDB Rating: 6.9/10
This 2011 financial thriller features an all-star cast – including Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Iron, Zachary Quinto and Demi Moore – and focuses on a group of employees at a Wall Street investment bank, and how they dealt with the initial stages of the 2007-08 financial crisis.
Margin Call received plenty of praise, with The New Yorker film critic David Denby saying it was “easily the best Wall Street movie ever made.” And, when you consider some Wall Street movies can be a little confusing, it makes Margin Call one of the best SBS On Demand movies for those who enjoy watching bankers suffer.
IMDb Rating: 7.1/10
The Way Of The Dragon
SBS On Demand has added a few Bruce Lee movies to its library recently, but it’s The Way Of The Dragon that we’ve picked out. The only movie that Bruce Lee directed himself and the last one released during his lifetime, this action-comedy also features legendary hard man Chuck Norris in his movie debut.
The Way of the Dragon follows Bruce Lee’s character Tang Lung, who travels from Hong Kong to Rome to help a family protect their Chinese restaurant from an onslaught of Mafia gangsters.
It’s always hard to choose the best Bruce Lee film, and others will likely have their own opinions, but for us, this is the best Bruce Lee movie on SBS On Demand.
IMDb Rating: 7.3/10
All Quiet On The Western Front
Based on the famous 1928 novel of the same name, this 1979 movie adaptation follows a young German soldier, Paul, as he’s sent off to fight in WWI. It primarily follows Paul’s experiences of the war, and how he deals with the majority of his school friends being wounded or killed along the way.
He is able to return home for a couple of weeks, wherein he finds out his mother is dying. It’s also during this visit that he notices how the older generation has no idea what the younger generation is actually experiencing in the trenches.
Originally produced for television, All Quiet on the Western Front is now one of the best SBS On Demand movies for fans of the war genre.
IMDb Rating: 7.1/10