Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry

10 Great Films Available to Stream This July

For those wanting a little more variety in their viewing diet, we’ve selected ten quality films coming this month to some of the most popular streaming platforms

In terms of theatrical releases, July is a month dominated by red hot franchises and revived blockbusters. This month visits from ghosts, aliens, and friendly giants are set to dominate the big screen, providing the perfect platform for sunny escapism. For those wanting a little more variety in their viewing diet, however, we’ve selected ten quality films coming to some of the most popular streaming platforms this month. Spanning across eras and genres, these eclectic picks will provide a diversity of summer entertainment.


1. Dirty Harry

Don Siegel, 1971

The godfather of modern movie cops, “Dirty” Harry Callahan shoots his way to righteousness with this 1971 classic. Starring Clint Eastwood in the role that solidified his star status, the film follows Callahan in the pursuit of Scorpio (Andy Robinson), a serial killer modeled after the real life Zodiac case. Fact authenticity proves sparse, however, as Eastwood and director Don Siegel instead use the story to churn through an obstacle course of Bay Area landmarks with exaggerated abandon. Action sequences may view as tame by today’s standards, but Siegel’s dogged portrayal of a tough cop seeking justice remains just as powerful as it was 40 years ago. The first, and still the best of the five Dirty Harry films, this vigilante punch remains the perfect project for action purists and unlucky punks. (HBO NOW, July 1st)


2. Punch-Drunk Love

Paul Thomas Anderson, 2002

Punch-Drunk Love (2002) is a charming cinematic soufflé, delicate in flavor and delightfully styled. It is, in many ways, a Paul Thomas Anderson anomaly, as the grandiose director sought to create an intimate 90 minute story in lieu of lengthy epics like Boogie Nights (1997) and Magnolia (1999). As a result, Anderson’s quirks bleed through the film’s whimsical tone, often leading to moments of unabashed sincerity and tender reflection. Approaching romantic comedy from a cockeyed angle, the tale of an emotionally repressed salesman (Adam Sandler) caught between love and extortion is nothing if not unique, especially with Sandler’s spastic performance leading the way. Both bizarre and compelling, the actor joins his director in delivering a colorful paean to the lovesick loner in all of us. (Showtime, July 1st)


3. Trainspotting

Danny Boyle, 1996

Fueled by irrepressible style and a chic soundtrack, Trainspotting (1996) retains its eccentricity even two decades later. The film’s premise, focusing upon a group of heroin addicts living in Edinburgh, is far from the status quo of mainstream cinema, but director Danny Boyle pursues his content with such vivid panache that the fun is infectious. From carefully selected songs to the techno edits that connect each memorable sequence, Trainspotting plugs the viewer into the brains of Boyle’s addicts and follows them through a series of outlandish encounters. Aiding in this impressive display are the film’s core performers—Ewan McGregor, Jonny Lee Miller, and Robert Carlyle—who masterfully convey the humor behind such a horrific topic. Trainspotting 2 is set to arrive next year, so the opportunity to stream this cult classic is timelier than ever. (Hulu, July 1st)


4. Finding Neverland

Marc Forster, 2004

Adapted from a 1998 off-Broadway play, Finding Neverland (2004) tenderly examines the line between childhood and adulthood. Centered on the life and times of Peter Pan creator J.M. Barrie (Johnny Depp), Neverland details the playwright’s affiliation with Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (Kate Winslet) and her four children who served as the inspiration behind his famed story. In doing so, the film excels in bringing the spirit of its source material to life, anchored by a blend of moist-eyed nostalgia and melancholy disappointment. Director Marc Forster balances these differing moods with a fine hand, but it is Depp’s lead performance that truly captivates. As a man who dared to look at a bleak world with an open heart, his Barrie supplies Finding Neverland with an optimism that feels truly inspired. (Hulu, July 1st)


5. Best in Show

Christopher Guest, 2000

The second of Christopher Guest’s mockumentary series, Best in Show (2000) focuses upon a topic tailor-made for the genre: dog shows. Circling the prize-winning pups and their owners throughout various competitions, the film approaches its content with a straight face and a non-judgmental mood. Instead, Guest and co-writer Eugene Levy (both of whom star) concoct laughter by simply letting their characters speak for themselves, whether through über-confident brags or interactions with their pet that often seem too honest to be staged. The cast is made up of Guest regulars including Parker Posey, Michael McKean, and Catherine O’Hara, though even in these collaborative comfort zones, each manage to go above and beyond in the realm of comedic acting. Sporting laughter and a profound sense of kinship with its characters, Best in Show finds humanity in the fumbling oddballs that rarely get big screen attention. (Amazon Prime, July 1st)

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6. Rosemary’s Baby

Roman Polanski, 1968

Released in 1968, Rosemary’s Baby remains one of the horror genre’s most disturbing productions. Bypassing the genre’s cheaper antics and instead emphasizing ambiance, the picture tells the story of the titular Rosemary (Mia Farrow), who finds herself impregnated in a private hell of chatty neighbors and demonic cults. Director Roman Polanski bleeds unease into every single frame, and Farrow’s paranoid suspicions are made all the more potent as a result. In portraying the mundane pieces of life with sinister intent, Polanski and the novel’s author/screenwriter Ira Levin capture a fear that burrows inward, probing the anxieties of parenthood and pregnancy with the freedom that only a fictional canvas can provide. Rosemary’s Baby presents evil in the guise of a loved one, and for that reason, it will always succeed in unsettling. (Amazon Prime, July 1st)


7. The NeverEnding Story

Wolfgang Petersen, 1984

The NeverEnding Story (1984) is a beautiful ode to storytelling. Intertwining the narratives of bullied bookworm Bastian (Barret Oliver) and daring fictional hero Atreyu (Noah Hathaway), it’s a film that blurs fantasy and reality into a single spectacular realm. The dragons, gnomes, and Nothingness that inhabit Atreyu’s book bound world are wondrous, serving not only to captivate its young reader but also the eyes and ears of the viewer. Director Wolfgang Petersen furthers this appeal with each turn of the page, deploying spectacle with dazzling set design and adventurous spirit. As a rare children’s film that fully captures the imagination of a child, The NeverEnding Story continues to spark the magic in all of us. (HBO NOW, July 1st)


8. Branded to Kill

Seijun Suzuki, 1967

Few films carry as much absurdist glee as Branded to Kill (1967). Birthed from the experimental renaissance of Japanese New Wave in the ’60s, this lucid thriller follows Goro Hanada (Joe Shishido), a hitman who fails to make good on a crucial job. Now the designated target of the famed Number One Killer (Koji Nanbara), Hanada is forced to dodge sex-crazed women, yakuza gangs, and a vice for sniffing boiling rice on his way to survival. Randomized as these details may seem, this scattered indulgence is crucial in Branded to Kill, a film that interpolates clichés into a cinematic mashup. Strands of film noir, avant-garde, and exploitation practically swap from scene to scene, while director Seijun Suzuki pays no mind to any logic that could inhibit his entertainment. Unsurprisingly, the film’s frenetic composition has since proved influential on modern movie samplers like Jim Jarmusch, Chan-wook Park, and Quentin Tarantino. (Fandor, July 12th)


9. Stray Dog

Akira Kurosawa, 1949

Things go from bad to worse when police officer Murakami (Toshiro Mifune) has his gun stolen on a crowded trolley ride. Determined to regain the weapon before anyone finds out, the youthful lawman descends into Tokyo’s underworld, where “ethical” and “criminal” become mere adjectives in the face of Murakami’s desperation. Directed by Akira Kurosawa in 1949, this terse thriller revels in morality, as cops and con-men are given an uncharacteristic amount of care. Balancing police procedurals with American film noir, the director molds these genres into a character study where evil isn’t so much condemned as it is humanized. Though less ambitious than the auteur’s future work, Stray Dog still weaves a spell of sophistication for Kurosawa and crime fans alike. (Fandor, July 24th)


10. Mr. Holmes

Bill Condon, 2015

A struggling Sherlock Holmes is a rare sight, but that is precisely what director Bill Condon provides in this 2015 drama. Retired and relegated to a cottage on the outskirts of London, the 93 year-old investigator (Ian McKellen) stumbles upon a clue from an unresolved case, forcing him to confront his past amidst a failing memory. Led by the acting prowess of McKellen, Mr. Holmes basks in this wounded premise, replacing past foes like Moriarty with the far less tangible threat of mortality. The case may prove to be the least impressive that Holmes has ever encountered, but for the first time, viewers are given more on the man than the mystery itself. As a result, Mr. Holmes arrives as a very worthy coda to the world’s greatest detective. (Hulu, July 30th)