As the world continues its technological shift by finding more new and exciting ways to deliver content, we are now inundated with a number of high-quality streaming services in Australia. Ultimately, it’s convenient and offers up huge catalogues of the best movies and shows. Here, we’ll answer the age-old question: What to watch on SBS On Demand?
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 best thing about SBS On Demand is that is 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 online or even on the SBS On Deman App (just make sure you sign up for a free account first).
Here are our picks for the best SBS On Demand movies.
All Quiet on the Western Front
Based on the classic 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.
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. Netflix has just released their own film adaptation of this classic, but this one still holds up… and is free to watch. Just saying.
The Big Short
Told through an ensemble cast of Hollywood’s heaviest hitters such as Ryan Gosling (Drive, The Nice Guys), Brad Pitt (Troy, Ocean’s Eleven), Steve Carell (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, The Office) and Christian Bale (The Dark Knight, American Psycho), The Big Short is a thought-provoking dark comedy detailing the events of the 2008 Financial Crash and the few people who made millions of dollars off the back of people losing their entire livelihoods.
The film was a stylistic anomaly, using real-life experts and celebrities (and an intermittent Margot Robbie sitting in a bathtub) to break up the narrative and explain complex financial terms and practices throughout the film. It’s no wonder it won the Oscar and BAFTA for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Director: Philip Barantini
Starring: Stephen Graham, Vinette Robinson, Ray Panthaki
Before The Bear introduced the regular population to the intense and often brutal world behind the kitchen doors of every restaurant, BBC’s Boiling Point, starring Stephen Graham (This is England) hit English screens and served a deeply confronting and claustrophobic story of life in hospitality.
Following the experiences of a beleaguered head chef as he faces the mounting pressures and challenges of running a high-end London restaurant, Boiling Point shows, in real-time, just what it takes to keep your head above water and the devastating effect of going under.
It’s now been adapted into a critically acclaimed series, which is now available on Binge.
Everyone’s favourite Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale) stars in Another Round, a black comedy-drama that 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, Another Round is a perfect analysis of the prototypical male midlife crisis and one of the best movies on SBS On Demand right now.
Before the resounding success of playing one of cinema’s most iconic and beloved characters, James Bond, Daniel Craig was making his name in gritty British crime movies as a nameless drug dealer looking to score big on his final job.
Directed by Matthew Vaughn, the celebrated British director best known for the Kingsman movie franchise, Kick-Ass and the upcoming spy thriller Argyle starring Henry Cavill, Layer Cake is a modern gangster story which, as the name would suggest, follows a complicated narrative that often twists and turns, following the levels (or layers) one must go through in business to rise to the top.
This is a must-watch.
Beyond the Wasteland
Director: Eddie Beyrouthy
Starring: Bertrand Cadart, Jim ‘The TANK’ Dorsey
Beyond the Wasteland is a documentary that explores and celebrates the mad fans of Mad Max, the Australian action classic that made Mel Gibson a star, George Miller a sought-after director, and has amassed a cult following all over the world.
Directed by Eddie Beyrouthy, and featuring interviews with the cast from the 1979 Mad Max film as well as fans from the US, Japan, France and more, Beyond the Wasteland also delves into the impact Mad Max has had on pop and car culture.
Director: Florian Zeller
Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Olivia Coleman
Directed by French playwright Florian Zeller and adapted from his 2012 play of the same name, The Father is a psychological drama starring Anthony Hopkins in the eponymous role as a retiree with dementia struggling to come to grips with the nature of reality.
The Father has received widespread critical acclaim, with 83-year-old Hopkins netting himself (only) his second Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance, making him the oldest Best Actor winner ever. An unflinching yet gripping portrayal of the confusion of dementia, it’s a complex and finely wrought film that’s a must-watch on SBS On Demand.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople
A New Zealand set and made comedy adventure, Hunt for the Wilderpeople stars Julian Dennison as a rebellious kid and Sam Neill as his grumpy foster uncle, a mismatched pair who become the target of a manhunt when they go missing in the wild.
The film that introduced director Taika Waititi to Hollywood, Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a charming and energetic comedy that has a strong emotional core and fantastic performances.
Sound of Metal
Director: Darius Marder
Starring: Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke, Paul Raci
Widely considered to be Riz Ahmed’s best performance of his already storied career, Sound of Metal is a confronting and powerful drama that reflects on the true impact of loss of hearing and disability.
Told through a rich and layered soundtrack, Ahmed’s standout performance as a heavy metal drummer who is slowly going deaf highlights the adversity suffered by those who live with disability and the stages of anger, denial and acceptance as the inevitable occurs.
Ryan Gosling is just one of those actors who adds an effortless dimension of cool to whichever movie he stars in; from Blade Runner 2049 to The Nice Guys, Gosling has this profound ability to elevate the experience of the movie, and Drive is no different.
First released in 2011, Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive is widely considered to be a modern masterpiece; it’s a visually stunning neo-noir crime thriller with electric high-speed action all against the neon-lit backdrop of Los Angeles.
Ryan Gosling excels as a Hollywood stuntman and getaway driver who finds himself entangled in the dangerous and violent criminal underworld whilst protecting his neighbour and her young son. It’s one of those movies that you wish had a sequel.
Funny, biting and dark in equal measure, Parasite is a South Korean black comedy thriller film directed by Bong Joon-ho that follows a poor family who weasels their way into the life of a wealthy family – with deadly consequences.
You’ve probably heard of Parasite as it’s one of the most acclaimed films in recent memory, having cleaned up four Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best International Feature Film, becoming the first non-English-language film to win Best Picture. In short? It’s worth the hype, and one of SBS On Demand’s real gems.
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 hardman 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.
You Were Never Really Here
Joaquin Phoenix’s venerable status within cinema as an actor who will always take on the troubled and enigmatic lead is only proven further in Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here.
Seen in Joker, Gladiator and Ridley Scott’s upcoming epic Napoleon, Phoenix portrays a traumatised and reclusive war veteran who, in retirement, uses his skills to locate and bring home missing girls for rich and powerful clients. When he’s brought in to track down a U.S. Senator’s missing daughter from a sex trafficking ring, he finds himself once again fighting for his life in the criminal underworld, with violent and fatal consequences.
Under the Skin
Considered by many to be one of the best films made in this millennium, Scarlett Johansson’s Under the Skin is a critical exploration into the idea of personhood and self, told through the lens of an enigmatic, but human-like alien seductress, who is preying on unsuspecting men on Earth.
In all honesty, Under the Skin tanked at the box office during its initial release, but it has since evolved and become one of the more poignant presentations of empathy and humanity as Johansson’s character comes to discover who she is throughout the film.
It’s freaky, gory and erotic; what more do you want?
Infernal Affairs stars Andy Lau as a police officer who is working for the triad. Tony Leung co-stars as a cop who, after 10 years of undercover work in the triad, wants out. After a cocaine deal goes bust, both sides know that they have a mole within their ranks.
A thrilling crime drama that is high on style and backed with depth and intelligence, Infernal Affairs takes a close look at the blurry line between cop and criminal, and the duality of man. Martin Scorsese would go on to remake the film into The Departed and win an Oscar in the process.