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13 great movies leaving Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon at the end of August 2021

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Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice ...

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August is almost behind us and the end of the summer is almost within sight. While the arrival of September means a new and exciting selection of movies to stream on Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max and Amazon Prime Video — so too does it mean we’ll have to wave goodbye to some of our old favorites (though hopefully for not too long). There’s a lot of stuff leaving streaming this weekend and you’re looking for only the best to fill those scant remaining hours. Don’t worry, we got you covered.

We’ve combed through the wave of outgoing streaming releases to bring these platforms have to offer during this long holiday weekend. Here there are, 13 of the best movies leaving the major streaming platforms by Sept. 1.


12 Angry Men

Henry Fonda (foreground, left) and Lee J. Cobb (right) in 12 Angry Men. Photo: United Artists Corporation

Sidney Lumet’s 1957 film 12 Angry Men is one of the most acclaimed courtroom dramas ever produced, and for good reason. Starring an ensemble cast including Henry Fonda (who also produced the film alongside Reginald Rose), Martin Balsam, John Fiedler, Lee J. Cobb, E.G. Marshall, and more, the film is single room drama centered on a randomly selected jury tasked with deliberating the innocence or guilt of a young Puerto Rican boy accused of murdering his father. More than just a legal drama, 12 Angry Men is a microcosm of mid-century America society, coalescing a powder keg of disparate, volatile personalities into a situation that challenges them to do justice by one life, all while knowing that any one of them could be potentially find themselves in the same situation. —Toussaint Egan

12 Angry Men leaves Criterion Channel on August 31.

An American Werewolf in London

Photo: Universal Pictures

John Landis’ shaggy horror comedy stars David Naughton and Griffin Dunne as David and Jack, two college students whose chance encounter with a lycanthrope changes one of their lives, and ends the other. In visitations from beyond the grave, Jack begs David to off himself so he won’t attack other people, but David may have a thing going with the woman who nurses him back to health. This oddball ticking-clock movie is bolstered by prosthetic effects by the legendary Rick Baker, which are every bit as agonizing and mesmerizing as they were in 1981. —Matt Patches

An American Werewolf in London leaves Amazon Prime Video on August 31.

Beetlejuice

Michael Keaton as Beetlejuice with his arms outstretched Photo: Warner Bros

Tim Burton’s 1988 horror comedy Beetlejuice stars Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis as married couple Adam and Barbara who, after moving into their dream home, suffer a tragic car accident that claims both of their lives. Attempting to live out the rest of their unearthly existence in their former home, the pair nonetheless find themselves harassed by an unbearable family who moves in and promptly begin to wreck the place. With no other recourse, the couple resort to hiring a malicious spirit (Michael Keaton) to deal with them, only to end up with more than what they bargained for. Keaton’s turn as Beetlejuice is tremendously entertaining; a twisted and mischievous trickster in a pinstripe suit that feeds on havoc and misfortune. The polar opposite of his dark and brooding portrayal as billionaire playboy-turned-masked vigilante Bruce Wayne in Burton’s 1989 Batman. With gorgeous lighting, remarkably twisted set designs, and an infectiously memorable musical finale, Beetlejuice easily ranks among Burton’s very best. —TE

Beetlejuice leaves Hulu on August 31.

Chinatown

Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway in Chinatown. Photo: Paramount Pictures

Chinatown, about a private investigator caught up in an extensive conspiracy, is a deeply cynical mystery and one of the all-time great noirs. It comes complete with the usual trifecta of a patsy hero, the femme fatale who needs him, and the rich man who appears to be at the bottom of the conspiracy. But Chinatown upends a lot of the traditional noir expectations, in favor of a long and twisty scheme that Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson) has to unravel, one baffling and dangerous piece at a time. It’s significant that Jake isn’t the usual down-on-his-luck noir bottom-feeder, scraping to get by: He begins the story as a success story, a smug and snappy dresser who feels he knows his place in the world, until the movie upends it bit by bit. It’s a terrific character study, but as the world gets darker around Jake, and he realizes how little he really knows, it becomes a kind of haunting horror story, too. —Tasha Robinson

Chinatown leaves Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Criterion Channel on August 31.

City of God

Rocket contemplating his camera in City of God. Photo: Miramax Films

Based on Paulo Lins’ 1997 novel of the same name, Fernando Meirelles and Katia Lund’s 2002 Brazilian crime film City of God is a masterful story of youth, maturity, and survival in the unforgiving favela known as Cidade de Deus. Taking place between the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the ’80s, the film follows a young boy named Rocket and his group of friends as they grow up in a harsh and unforgiving world that forces them to forsake their innocence in exchange for the promise of escaping poverty. As the boys grow older and change, becoming gangsters or succumbing to the violence of their environment, Rocket navigates the Cidade de Deus through the lens of his camera, searching for a better way of life. The film’s beautiful cinematography, swift time-lapse editing, parable-esque story structure, and rich performances make it not only one of the best films of 2002, but an enduring classic that warrants appreciation and repeat viewings since its release more than two decades ago. —TE

City of God leaves HBO Max on August 31.

The Dead Zone

Christopher Walken as the psychic Johnny Smith in The Dead Zone Photo: Paramount Pictures

Christopher Walken stars in David Cronenberg’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dead Zone as Johnny Smith, a benevolent schoolteacher who survives a horrific car accident after dropping off his girlfriend Sarah (Brooke Adams). Awakening five years later from a catatonic coma, Johnny wakes up to find he has been imbued with the psychic ability to see into a person’s past, present, and future via physical contact. As Johnny’s newfound powers continue to confuse and isolate him, he inadvertently crosses paths with a would-be presidential candidate with nefarious intentions, forcing him to decide how far is he willing to go to save the lives of those around him. Easily ranking among the most memorable of Walken’s performances, The Dead Zone is an enthralling supernatural thriller. —TE

The Dead Zone leaves Hulu on August 31.

The Fisher King

Robin Williams as Parry the knight in The Fisher King Photo: Criterion Channel

Terry Gilliam’s comedy-drama The Fisher King stars Jeff Bridges as Jack Lucas, a narcissistic shock jock DJ whose callous attitude towards life and his listeners inadvertently prompts a horrific mass murder-suicide. Having lost his career and wracked with guilt, Jack resorts to drinking as he descends further into despondency. His life turns around when he crosses paths with Parry (Robin Williams), an eccentric homeless man with Don Quixote-esque delusions of grandeur who believes himself to be an incarnation of the Fisher king, the Arthurian figure of myth charged to search for the Holy Grail. As Jack attempts to aid Parry on his quest and eventually reconcile with his own past, the two grow closer as friends who find a mutually renewed faith in life and love. —TE

The Fisher King leaves Amazon Prime Video on August 31.

The Manchurian Candidate

Denzel Washington and Liev Schreiber in The Manchurian Candidate Photo: Paramount Pictures

Jonathan Demme’s 2004 remake of John Frankenheimer’s 1962 The Manchurian Candidate ranks as one of the most unsettling movies I have ever seen. The film updates the original’s Korean War backdrop to that of the Gulf War, as veteran Bennet Marco is plagued by frightening dreams concerning his deployment alongside Sergeant First Class Raymond Shaw (Liev Schreiber), now a New York Congressman and vice presidential hopeful. As Marco works to uncover the truth behind these disturbing visions, he inadvertently stumbles upon a vast and insidious conspiracy of mind boggling scope and its potential orchestrators — the mysterious Manchurian corporation and their inscrutable benefactors. Throw this one on if you’re primed and ready to be freaked the fuck out. —TE

The Manchurian Candidate leaves Netflix and Amazon Prime Video on August 31.

The Ring

Samara Morgan emerging from her well in The Ring Photo: DreamWorks Pictures

Gore Verbinski’s American remake of Hideo Nakata 1998 supernatural horror classic The Ring was a runaway pop culture phenomenon when it first released in 2002, introducing Western audiences to the wonderful world of J-horror cinema and going on to be parodied in everything from Scary Movie 3 to Family Guy. Naomi Watts stars as Rachel Keller, a journalist who goes undercover to uncover the truth behind the connection between the unexplainable deaths of her niece and three friends and a mysterious videotape they watched one week prior. But when Rachel views the tape herself, she finds herself caught in a race against time to solve the mystery and put to rest the vengeful spirit now fixated on claiming the lives of her and all else who watch it. —TE

The Ring leaves Netflix on August 31.

Road to Perdition

Tom Hanks as mob enforcer Michael Sullivan, Sr. in Road to Perdition Photo: Dreamworks Pictures

Sam Mendes’ Depresson-era gangster drama stars Tom Hanks as Mike Sullivan Sr., henchman to Illinois crime boss John Rooney. After Sullivan is captured by the police following a mob hit, Rooney’s son Connor deems him a loose-end and puts a hit out on both him and his family. With his entire family murdered, save for his son Michael Jr. (Tyler Hoechlin), the Sullivans take to the road and embark on a quest for revenge and redemption. Road to Perdition is as visually evocative as it is thematically fraught, with cinematographer Conrad Hall’s atmospheric lighting creating a tableau of stark silhouettes that would feel right at home in an Edward Hopper painting. The film would go on to be one of Mendes’ most successful, earning five Academy Award nominations at the 75th Oscars ceremony and mark his first collaboration with Daniel Craig, with whom the director would later reunite with on the 2012 James Bond film Skyfall and its 2015 sequel Spectre. —TE

Road to Perdition leaves Netflix on August 31.

Saw

Cary Elwes weeps as he tries to reach a cell phone in the original 2004 Saw Photo: Lionsgate

James Wan and Leigh Whannel’s splatter horror film Saw shot new life into the horror genre back in 2004 and sparked a franchise whose longevity and vacillating levels of quality rival that of likes of Halloween, Friday the 13th, and Nightmare on Elm Street. The premise is deceptively bare-bones: two strangers wake up chained to opposite sides of decrepit bathroom with nothing save for a pair of rusty hacksaws and a tape recorder instructing them to kill one another in order to “win” their freedom. From there the plot spirals into a cat-and-mouse game between a pair of detectives and the notorious “Jigsaw” killer responsible for the men’s disappearance. Not everything, or everyone, is as it seems however, resulting in an elaborate series of twists and turns that culminates in a bone-chilling finale punctuated by one of the most iconic horror needle drops of all-time. There’s eight more Saw sequels, six of which are currently available to stream on HBO Max, but the first is arguably the best. —TE

Saw I - VII leave HBO Max on August 31.

The Suicide Squad

Photo: Warner Bros.

If you haven’t caught up with James Gunn’s standalone sequel to 2016’s Suicide Squad, now is your moment to do so for the price of an HBO Max subscription. Pairing returning stars Margot Robbie (I, Tonya), Joel Kinnaman (The Killing), and Viola Davis (Widows) with series newcomers Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation), John Cena (F9: the Fast Saga), David Dastmalchian (The Dark Knight), and a whole bunch of others the movie is a rather gruesome. Set an indeterminate amount of time after the previous movie, the new Suicide Squad finds itself dispatched to the South American island of Corto Maltese on a covert mission to ensure national security to shave a few years off their prison sentences. A giant starfish may say otherwise. From our review,

Comparing The Suicide Squad to Guardians of the Galaxy is a bit hard to avoid, especially since Gunn has such a well-defined sensibility that has now been applied to make unlikely crowd-pleasers across two mega-franchises at competing studios. Mostly, as above, the comparison is favorable — but other times it isn’t. The Suicide Squad is at its best when it’s doing things that Marvel Studios will not: R-rated action comedy, setpieces that prioritize performers over computer effects, and a story that isn’t afraid to gesture at real-world geopolitical conflict. It’s at its weakest when it embraces a Marvel-style ending, filing away its rough edges to deliver a sentimental finish that leaves the status quo more or less intact for potential future projects.

The Suicide Squad leaves HBO Max on Sept. 5.

Vertigo

James Stewart as retired police detective John “Scottie” Ferguson in Vertigo Photo: Paramount Pictures

Alfred Hitchcock inarguably ranks as one of the most iconic and masterful directors of suspense and Vertigo, his 1958 film noir psychological thriller starring James Stewart and Kim Novak, certainly stands as proof of that. The film follows Stewart as John “Scottie” Ferguson, a San Francisco police detective whose severe acrophobia and vertigo forces him to retire. Hired by a wealthy acquaintance to follow his wife Madeleine (Kim Novak), Ferguson is distraught when he witnesses the young woman’s suicide ... only then to recognize her as another woman named Judy Barton. Hailed as one of the greatest films ever made, Vertigo is renowned for being the first film to use the dolly zoom technique. —TE

Vertigo leaves Amazon Prime Video on August 31.