If you have to watch one Amazon Prime Video movie in June 2024, stream this one

Robert De Niro in Midnight Run.
Universal Pictures

Coming into June, there’s one movie that the vast majority of Amazon Prime Video subscribers are likely to check out: Oppenheimer. Christopher Nolan’s latest film is also the reigning Oscar-winner for Best Picture, and it’s coming to Prime Video on June 18. But because it’s such an obvious pick, it’s not the film we went with when choosing the Amazon Prime Video movie that you have to watch in June.

Instead, we’re going with Midnight Run, a 1988 action comedy starring Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin. It’s also one of the best-ever films in its genre, and very few movies have improved upon the formula that director Martin Brest and screenwriter George Gallo used here. Even 36 years after its release, Midnight Run withstands the test of time. And we’re sharing the reasons why it should be at the top of your Prime Video viewing plans in June.

Robert De Niro elevates the material

Robert De Niro in Midnight Run.
Universal Pictures

This may come as a shock to anyone who has seen a Robert De Niro movie in the last two decades, but there was a time he didn’t just phone in his performances. Last year’s About My Father was a particularly egregious example of De Niro coasting on his reputation. The same can’t be said about Midnight Run, because De Niro imbues his character, Jack Walsh, with humanity and a palpable sense of tragedy.

Jack is a former cop turned bounty hunter who wants to get out of the business at the start of the film. During the course of the story, the movie reveals why Jack isn’t a cop anymore, why he split from his wife, and why he’s so miserable. It’s actually affecting to see how Jack pines for his ex-wife, and how he has to approach her for money during the movie because he has nowhere else to turn. Moments like that allow the audience to fully invest in Jack’s emotional and physical well-being. In short, we care about him.

Charles Grodin is the perfect comic foil to De Niro

Charles Grodin in Midnight Run.
Universal Pictures

De Niro is only one half of the reason why Midnight Run works so well. Grodin’s Jonathan “The Duke” Mardukas was the perfect foil for Jack. Jonathan was a mob accountant who embezzled millions from his boss before he skipped out on his bail, which is the reason why Jack is on his trail. Consequently, Jonathan spends most of the movie handcuffed to Jack while irritating the hell out of him.

The thing about Jonathan is that he almost instinctively knows how to press Jack’s buttons and upset him. It’s a classic ploy to get Jack so angry that he’ll make a mistake and let Jonathan slip away. Yet Jonathan also offers Jack some very sound financial advice, and even some emotional support by the end of their time together.

It hits all of the action comedy beats

Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin in Midnight Run.
Universal Pictures

At just over two hours, Midnight Run is kind of briskly paced compared to modern action movies. Once Jonathan is in Jack’s custody, the film never stops throwing complications at them. Because Jonathan is such a high-value target, the mob, the FBI, and even a rival bounty hunter are all chasing the duo. And when Jonathan and Jack’s resources dwindle, they have to take some drastic steps to continue their cross-country journey.

While all of this is happening, Jack and Jonathan are also getting to know each other and bonding. This comes into play later in the story when Jonathan and Jack finally feel a connection and even friendship as both of their lives are on the line.

Dennis Farina plays a great villain in the film

Dennis Farina in Midnight Run.
Universal Pictures

Every good action comedy needs a great villain to give the story its stakes. In Midnight Run, that role fell to veteran character actor Dennis Farina, who played mob boss Jimmy Serrano. It may be a bit contrived for Serrano to have played such a large role in the lives of both Jonathan and Jack, but he gives them a mutual enemy. He is also a legitimate threat to both of them because he wants Jonathan dead.

Jack’s grudge against Serrano goes even deeper than Jonathan’s, since he is responsible for the destruction of Jack’s life, his reputation, and the dissolution of his marriage. Farina doesn’t have as much screen time as either De Niro or Grodin, but his performance is so sinister and despicable that it’s almost impossible not to root for Jack and Jonathan to get the last laugh on Serrano.

Watch Midnight Run on Prime Video.