clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The best movies leaving Netflix, Hulu, Prime, and Max at the end of May 2023

Gunslingers, barbarians, and runaway trains galore

If you buy something from a Polygon link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

An extremely buff man wields a sword. Image: Universal Pictures

We’re just spitting distance from June, and with it the beginning of summer! Fun in the sun and breezy weather are nigh upon us, but that’s not all: A fresh new batch of movies to watch is about to pop up on streaming. Before we get to what’s new to streaming in June though, here are just a few of the very best movies to watch before they leave streaming services like Netflix, Prime Video, and Max (formerly HBO Max) at the end of the month.

We’ve got a solid selection of outgoing movies to choose from this month, from the 1982 sword and sorcery action epic Conan the Barbarian starring the inimitable Arnold Schwarzenegger and the hyper-violent action classic First Blood starring Sylvester Stallone to the classic crime comedy My Cousin Vinny and more.

With choices like that, you won’t have to look far to find something awesome to watch. Let’s get into it.

Movies to watch on Netflix

Conan The Barbarian

Arnold Schwarzenegger as an older Conan the Barbarian, seated on a golden throne in armor in Conan the Barbarian. Image: Universal Pictures

Year: 1982
Genre: Epic fantasy
Run time: 2h 1m
Director: John Milius
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Earl Jones, Sandahl Bergman

What is best in life? To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women? Maybe, but watching Arnold Schwarzenegger play Robert E. Howard’s pulp hero is pretty high up there as well.

After his family is murdered by a ruthless warlord (James Earl Jones), a young Conan spends his fighting to free himself from slavery, train in the ways of the sword, and enact revenge on behalf of his people. Schwarzenegger embodies the role of Cona, and ultimately everything about Conan the Barbarian is epic; from Mako’s ominous narration chronicling the trials and tribulations of Conan’s rise to power, the brutal action sequences and battles between Conan and snake cultists, to Jones’ inimitable performance as the devious Thulsa Doom. Hell, it even has opens with a Friedrich Nietzsche quote! If that doesn’t scream “badass,” I don’t know what does. —Toussaint Egan

Conan the Barbarian leaves Netflix March 31.

The Quick and the Dead

Leonardo DiCaprio and Gene Hackman face off in The Quick and the Dead Photo: TriStar Pictures/Everett Collection

Year: 1995
Genre: Western
Run time: 1h 48m
Director: Sam Raimi
Cast: Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Russell Crowe

Between his work on the masterful Evil Dead and Spider-Man trilogies, Sam Raimi delivered one of the best and most fun modern Westerns.

Structured in many ways like a sports movie, The Quick and the Dead follows the colorful contestants of a quick-draw tournament in a lawless town run by a tyrant (Gene Hackman). That tyrant is the many-times defending champion of this deadly tournament, and the crowded field of contestants includes a woman on a quest for revenge (Sharon Stone), his son looking to prove himself (Leonardo DiCaprio), a former outlaw-turned-preacher forced to compete against his will (Russell Crowe), a celebrity gunman (Lance Henriksen), and a gun-for-hire (Keith David).

The movie is full of Raimi’s visual flair, with outlandish zooms and angles, especially in the duel sequences, and close-ups set against pitch black backgrounds to highlight what the character is thinking. The visual excess doesn’t distract from the incredible actors — rather, it amplifies it, as Raimi focuses on his talented cast’s faces and lets them do what they do best. The Quick and the Dead is a great hint of what would come in his Spider-Man movies as he fully embraced those comic book aesthetics, and I had such a blast watching this movie that I instantly re-installed Red Dead Redemption 2. —Pete Volk

The Quick and the Dead leaves Netflix May 31.

Movies to watch on Hulu


Denzel Washington as Frank speaking into a walkie-talkie in Unstoppable. Image: Twentieth Century Fox

Year: 2010
Genre: Blue-collar thriller
Run time: 1h 38m
Director: Tony Scott
Cast: Denzel Washington, Chris Pine, Rosario Dawson

Tony Scott’s final film is also arguably his best, a down-to-earth blue collar drama ripped from the headlines and dramatized just enough to make for a thrilling cinematic event.

Unstoppable retells the story of the CSX 8888 incident, when a runaway train carrying hazardous materials was stopped by a crew in a second train. In the movie’s version, Denzel Washington is veteran engineer Frank Barnes, while a young Chris Pine is the rookie train conductor Will Colson. Unstoppable quickly sets up the tension between the two characters — Frank and his pals see Will as an example of young new hires given senior positions so as not to pay the experienced employees higher wages.

The relationship between Frank and Will, and the depth given to these characters by Washington and Pine, is a major reason why the movie works. You get to see these two men figure each other out in real time, especially when they’re in crisis mode. The train sequences are also electrifying — Scott borrowed trains from three different railroads for the movie, and the tension is palpable and gripping. —PV

Unstoppable leaves Hulu Aug. 31.

Movies to watch on Max

First Blood

Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo holds a knife to Brian Dennehy’s throat in First Blood. Image: Orion Pictures

Year: 1982
Genre: Thriller
Run time: 1h 33m
Director: Ted Kotcheff
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Brian Dennehy, Richard Crenna

You might think the first Rambo movie is a jingoistic, ultra-violent action fantasy like the sequels that followed it. Not the case: First Blood is a thoughtful anti-war masterpiece featuring one of the greatest leading performances of its era, and you should watch it before it leaves Max.

In First Blood, John Rambo is a decorated Vietnam War veteran visiting the made-up town of Hope, Washington, to see the last surviving squadmate from his unit. The police see him as a vulnerable figure to exploit, arresting him and treating him as subhuman as they harass and beat him in the police station. They were mistaken, as the highly skilled soldier beats them up and breaks out, starting a large-scale manhunt to catch him.

From that point, Rambo hides out in the forest and stalks his prey one by one. It often feels like a slasher movie where you are rooting for the killer instead of the victims, but in truth not that many people die in First Blood: Rambo does not want to hurt them, he just wants to be left alone. Stallone’s vulnerable and moving performance makes it all come together — it’s movie-star stuff. First Blood is simply one of the finest American films ever made, and a must-watch for anyone interested in the history of anti-war cinema in this country. —PV

First Blood leaves Max May 31.

Movies to watch on Prime Video

My Cousin Vinny

Marisa Tomei in front of a prison yard in My Cousin Vinny Image: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Year: 1992
Genre: Crime comedy
Run time: 1h 59m
Director: Jonathan Lynn
Cast: Joe Pesci, Ralph Macchio, Marisa Tomei

When two New Yorkers (including the Karate Kid himself, Ralph Macchio) are wrongly arrested for murder in Alabama, one of them calls his cousin (Joe Pesci), who has finally passed the bar exam after many, many attempts. That cousin, Vinny, and his fiancée Mona Lisa Vito (Marisa Tomei) travel to the Deep South to attempt to win a trial with the odds stacked against them.

A culture-clash comedy crossed with a legal drama, My Cousin Vinny works so well because of its central performances. Pesci is terrific as Vinny, at times overconfident, at times without confidence at all, but at all times caring deeply for his loved ones. But the real star of the show, of course, is Tomei, who won an Oscar for this incredibly rich role, with a sharp and hilarious performance. —PV

My Cousin Vinny leaves Prime Video May 31.

Movies to watch on Criterion Channel


Rotwang, his Machine-Person, and Maria from Metropolis (1927). Image: Kino Lorber

Year: 1927
Genre: Sci-fi
Run time: 2h 33m
Director: Fritz Lang
Cast: Alfred Abel, Brigitte Helm, Gustav Fröhlich

Fritz Lang’s 1927 silent film opus is a towering achievement, a masterpiece of German Expressionism and a quintessential work in the canon of science-fiction cinema. It’s simply inconceivable to imagine a world where films like Blade Runner, Stars Wars, and other classic of the genre exist without the precedent of Metropolis.

Set in a dystopian city sharply divided between an affluent upper class that living in towering citadels of technologic luxury and an abused lower class that toils in the depths below to keep the city running, Metropolis centers on the intersecting stories of three people: the rebellious son of Metropolis’ founder, a young woman living in the undercity, and a mad scientist with plans to usurp the ruling class and claim power for himself.

Brilliantly told over two hours and thirty minutes, Metropolis is as much a time capsule of a bygone vision of the future as it is a testament to the enduring power and vitality of the medium of film. —TE

Metropolis leaves Criterion Channel on May 31.