If you've just set up your new TV that supports 4K resolution with HDR (High Dynamic Range), you might be wondering how to test its capabilities and see what it can do.
You could put on any movie and it would probably look great, but not all movies can take advantage of your TV's awesome features. You'll need a movie that can truly put your TV through its paces.
Fortunately, there are plenty of fantastic movies with jaw-dropping color and sharpness that can truly let your TV shine. Here are the best 4K HDR movies to watch on your new TV!
20. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)
While Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets isn't as good a movie as director Luc Besson's other film on this list (The Fifth Element), but it's even more out there in terms of its visuals.
That's what makes it a great showcase for 4K TVs. The Dolby Vision HDR will make you think your TV is inventing new colors.
19. The Matrix (1999)
The Matrix was immediately hailed as a visual achievement when it was released in 1999. More than 20 years later, it seems not much has changed. In 4K and Dolby Vision HDR, this film looks better than it ever has, and that's saying something.
18. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
You could watch Thor: Ragnarok on a TV made in the 1960s and still be blown away by the color, so it's not all down to the technical details on this one.
But if you really want to experience the picture quality in all its Dolby Vision-enhanced glory, watch this one on UHD Blu-ray. Don't have it? That's OK. It looks great streaming, too.
17. 22 July (2018)
22 July is a superb film that takes advantage of 4K HDR to deliver chills down your spine like never before.
The plot follows the true story of Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian terrorist responsible for the murder of 77 teenagers on the small vacation island of Utoya. This film documents his crimes.
What makes this film so harrowing isn't just the phenomenal performances, but also its visuals. It all just feels so real, which makes it one of the best non-blockbuster examples of 4K HDR.
16. Starship Troopers (1997)
Another movie from 1997 on a list of movies to show off your fancy new TV? Yes, it seems weird, but the 20th Anniversary re-release of this movie got the right treatment visually.
Plus, Starship Troopers has always been an exhibition of pure spectacle captured on film. Even though it's only HDR10, the color depth is noticeably improved.
15. Don't Look Up (2021)
One aspect that made Don't Look Up so intensely watchable was that it all felt so real, and much of that had to do with the astounding 4K HDR visuals. It's surprisingly gorgeous.
When scientists realize that a giant meteor is going to collide with Earth, they struggle to process the information—along with the general apathy of the whole world towards the situation.
What director Adam McKay does is subtle: he highlights the resplendent nature that exists all around us, the sumptuous environment that will all be destroyed through humankind's neglect.
In this respect, Don't Look Up gives one of the most symbolic uses of 4K HDR on this list. It casts a spotlight onto the beauty of nature using this spectacular technology and hammers home the message that it will all be lost if we don't pull ourselves together.
14. Pacific Rim: Uprising (2018)
Pacific Rim: Uprising may not be as gripping and visceral as the first film, but it's still tough to match when it comes to sheer bombast.
The film's settings are often less gritty and grimy than the first film, which isn't always a good thing, but the look of the movie is pure eye candy thanks to the upscale and Dolby Vision HDR.
13. Mank (2020)
Mank is the only movie on this list that's shot entirely in black and white. However, there's a good reason why Mank finds itself on this list: it's a visual marvel despite its lack of color.
The story follows Herman J. Mankiewicz, the infamous screenwriter who was both brilliant and troubled. Renowned for penning Citizen Kane—now broadly considered the best film of all time—Mankiewicz struggled to write while battling alcoholism.
David Fincher's visual exploration of Mankiewicz's demons is cinematically spectacular. It shocks you, draws you in, and then shocks you again. Fincher's Mank is a black-and-white sensation, with Gary Oldman delivering a solid performance to cap it off.
12. John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)
It may not be as immediately gripping as the first John Wick movie, but John Wick: Chapter 2 has an edge over its predecessor when it comes to image quality.
The dim streets and bright neon were made to show off the contrast on your new TV, and the HDR has the colors more vibrant than the dark tone of this series would suggest.
11. The Fifth Element (1997)
Though it's the oldest movie on this list, this now classic sci-fi feature is worthy of a revisit.
While the HDR treatment actually presents a somewhat darker picture than the original, this makes the bright colors pop much more than they did on the older Blu-ray release.
10. The Wonder (2022)
Florence Pugh delivered an outstanding performance in The Wonder, based on the novel of the same name by Irish author Emma Donoghue.
Set in 1862 after the Irish Famine, The Wonder follows the English nurse Elizabeth Wright, who's sent to a rural Irish village to bear witness to a miracle: the "fasting girl" who can survive without eating food.
The visuals in The Wonder exceed most period pieces, complete with brilliant costumes, decor, and set design, all of which are augmented by the breathtaking 4K HDR viewing. Seeing the Irish countryside in such splendor a marvel to behold.
9. Hobbs & Shaw (2019)
Hobbs & Shaw might have landed near the middle of our ranking of the Fast and Furious series, but that doesn't mean it isn't visually stunning. Whether you watch the Dolby Vision or HDR10+ versions, the colors are impressive, especially during the final act!
8. The Avengers (2012)
Though The Avengers came out in 2012—before HDR was even a thing most of us knew about—the Ultra HD Blu-ray and 4K streaming versions of the movie look great.
While it uses HDR-10 instead of the superior Dolby Vision, the picture is crisp and as colorful as its comic book inspiration.
7. Glass Onion (2022)
Rian Johnson's Glass Onion is simply astounding. The continuation of his Benoit Blanc saga, Glass Onion has the detective working another case where nefarious schemes are once again at work.
However, while the first film may have had a marginally better story, this sequel is worth watching for its beautiful imagery. The color palette is ravishing, the set design is wonderfully opulent, and the 4K HDR brings it all to life like few films do.
6. Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
Blade Runner is a classic film. So classic that there are approximately 87 different cuts you can watch.
Even so, nobody would have thought it was get a sequel, but it did. Even fewer thought the sequel would be good, and it was.
Blade Runner 2049 took a surprisingly long time to get a 4K release with HDR, but it was worth the wait. The HDR10 version is fantastic, and the Dolby Vision version looks even better.
5. The Siege of Jadotville (2016)
The Siege of Jadotville isn't just a great showing from Jamie Dornan—it's a fantastically great showing, period! It's one of the most visually impressive action films in recent years.
The story is set in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. An Irish army unit faces off against a collection of Katangese, who are being led by Belgian and French mercenaries. What happens next could potentially lead to World War III.
What's most impressive is the way cinematographer Nikolaus Summerer brought it all to life in every single frame. The 4K resolution with HDR is eye-poppingly good, making this historical war drama one that you really need to see with your own eyes ASAP.
4. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)
We know all about the controversy around Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and its divisive reception as a Star Wars film. Yet, even if it's far from your favorite, the spectacle is certainly there.
Like most of the rest of the franchise, it looks fantastic. Whether you're watching the HDR10 disc or the Dolby Vision streaming vision, the colors are as realistic as can be in such fantastical settings.
3. Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio (2022)
Guillermo Del Toro has always been an auteur interested in visual spectacle. You only need to look at Pan's Labyrinth (2006) and The Shape of Water (2017) to see that.
However, with Pinocchio, Del Toro truly broke new ground. A film that was almost ten years in the making, Pinocchio's jaw-dropping stop motion animation is an incredible sight to behold—and when you put it to 4K HDR, it's a real cinematic treat.
This is easily one of the most beautifully animated stop motion films ever made, and the whole experince is entrancing.
2. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Writer-director George Miller's non-stop thrill ride looked great in regular high definition, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that the UHD version looks great, whether streaming or on disc.
Whether you watch in HDR10 or Dolby Vision, the color in every scene is just unreal enough to remind you how glad you are you don't live in the same world as the characters.
1. All Quiet on the Western Front (2022)
Not only did All Quiet on the Western Front win the Academy Award for Best Cinematography—which really says it all—it was also nominated for Best Achievement in Visual Effects.
The end result is a downright stunning film. Gorgeously captured by James Friend, All Quiet on the Western Front is a visual masterpiece from start to finish as it highlights the horrors and futility of war with such terrifyingly realistic and haunting imagery.
The Netflix-produced film is undoubtedly one of the best in recent years to take advantage of 4K HDR. For now, All Quiet on the Western Front reigns as the most gorgeous 4K HDR movie you can watch at home.
More 4K HDR Content to Enjoy
Movies aren't the only media that come in 4K HDR these days. Television has started to catch up, with tons of high-quality TV shows now available to watch in 4K HDR—even if you're streaming. Check out some of our favorite 4K HDR TV shows worth watching!