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The best classic movies on Amazon Prime Video in 2022

Go back in time and see some of the best classic movies on Amazon!
By
October 3, 2022
Charade classic movies Amazon Prime Video
Universal

If you have an Amazon Prime subscription, make sure you take advantage of all the benefits that come with it. For example, there’s a lot of content that’s completely free for you to watch on Amazon Prime Video as long as you have a Prime subscription. There are plenty of Prime Originals if you’re looking for something new. Or, if you’re looking for something a bit older, check out the classic movies on Amazon Prime. 

Amazon gives you the ability to filter your movie search by decade. So if you’re specifically looking for, say, a laugh-out-loud gem from the 1960s, you can type in comedy and then filter by the 1960s for perfect results. 

Or, if you’d like to take a look at some of the best classics we could find on Amazon Prime right now, keep on reading. The movies range in style, genre, and period, so there ought to be something for everyone. We’ve also included a few titles you can watch for free on Amazon’s Freevee.

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Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video offers access to thousands of movies and TV shows to stream. That includes great original shows and movies like The Boys and The Tomorrow War. You can also sign up for other premium services within Amazon Prime Video.

Best classic movies on Amazon Prime Video

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

Audrey Hepburn looks into a shop window in Breakfast at Tiffany's - best classic movies on Amazon Prime Video
Paramount Pictures
  • Director: Blake Edwards
  • Screenplay: George Axelrod
  • Starring: Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Patricia Neal
  • Genre: Comedy

Based on the classic novel by Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s is among the best-known classics, starring Audrey Hepburn in an iconic role. It’s also among the best classic movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.

A struggling New York writer sponsored by a wealthy patron starts falling for a charming and eccentric but naive café society girl. She in turn develops feelings for him in this classic American romantic comedy.

Where the Red Fern Grows (1974)

James Whitmore addresses a child in Where The Red Fern Grows
Crown International Pictures
  • Director: Norman Tokar
  • Screenplay: Douglas C. Stewart, Eleanor Lamb
  • Starring: James Whitmore, Beverly Garland, Jack Ging
  • Genres: Kids, Adventure

If you haven’t seen this movie or read the novel it was based on (written in 1961 by Wilson Rawls), you’re really missing out. This is a classic story with many different examples of core values and life lessons, like the value of hard work and the importance of family. 

The story centers around a boy named Billy who wants two Redbone Hound dogs to take hunting with him. His parents can’t afford to buy him any dogs because of the Depression. Throughout the film, Billy goes through many exciting adventures and experiences some tragedy too. 

Although things are always missed when a story is transcribed from a novel to a screenplay, this movie does a good job encompassing the novel’s themes. Watching this movie makes you feel like you’re on an emotional roller-coaster, but I think that’s what makes it such a great classic.

Charade (1963)

Charade classic films on Amazon Prime Video
Universal
  • Director: Stanley Donen
  • Screenplay: Peter Stone
  • Starring: Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, Walter Matthau
  • Genres: Comedy, Mystery

This romantic mystery thriller is an absolute delight, infused with hints of everything from Alfred Hitchcock to James Bond.

Regina Lampert (Audrey Hepburn), a married woman, falls for the charming and mysterious Peter Joshua (Cary Grant) while off on a skiing trip. When she returns home and finds her husband has died, Regina suddenly turns to Peter for help evading the men after her late husband’s stolen fortune.

But nothing — and no one — is quite what it seems in this cat and mouse mystery that keeps you guessing until the credits.

Tombstone (1993)

Four cowboys walk toward a gunfight in Tombstone - best classic movies on Amazon Prime Video
Buena Vista Pictures
  • Director: George P. Cosmatos
  • Screenplay: Kevin Jarre
  • Starring: Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Michael Biehn, Bill Paxton, Sam Elliott
  • Genres: Western

This all-star 90s American western is a retelling of the classic gunfight at the O.K. Corral, based on true events in the old west.

See also: What’s new on Amazon Prime Video?

Wyatt Earp and the Earp brothers are ready to settle down and put their gunfighting ways behind them in Tombstone, Arizona. That piece is short-lived when they’re targeted by a gang of outlaws and have to take up arms once more, aided by their friend Doc Holliday.

Fist of Fury (1972)

Bruce Lee fighting in Fist of Fury
Golden Harvest
  • Director: Lo Wei
  • Screenplay: Lo Wei
  • Starring: Bruce Lee, Nora Miao, Riki Hashimoto
  • Genres: Martial Arts

Bruce Lee’s second major acting role and one of the first titles to introduce him to a North American audience, Fist of Fury is required viewing for fans of action and Hong Kong martial arts cinema.

Lee plays a student of Kung Fu who must face off against foreign aggressors to defend China. When his master is killed, he seeks revenge against mighty foes, showcasing his incredible skill.

His Girl Friday (1940)

Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday
Columbia Pictures
  • Director: Howard Hawks
  • Screenplay by: Charles Lederer
  • Starring: Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell
  • Genres: Screwball comedy

The quintessential fast-talking screwball comedy from director Howard Hawks, His Girl Friday moves at a quick pace, without a wasted moment.

Newspaperman Walter Burns knows he has one chance to win his ex-wife back when he learns she’s engaged and ready to settle down. Knowing Hildy can’t pass up a good story, he lures her to the courthouse to cover the story of a man on death row. When she realizes the man may be innocent, nothing will stop Hildy, much to her new fiancé’s consternation.

Funny Girl (1968)

 Barbra Streisand and Omar Sharif embrace in Funny Girl
Columbia Pictures
  • Director: William Wyler
  • Screenplay by: Isobel Lennart
  • Starring: Barbra Streisand, Omar Sharif, Kay Medford
  • Genres: Musical, romance

This classic musical marked the start of Barbra Streisand’s film acting career, reprising her iconic Broadway role — and she took home an Oscar for it.

Fanny Brice wants to be the next big thing, working her way up from the New York vaudeville stage to fame and glory on Broadway. As she rockets to stardom, her relationship with husband Nick, whose return she awaits while he serves time in prison, is a more complicated matter.

To Catch a Thief (1955)

Grace Kelly swimming in To Catch a Thief
Paramount Pictures
  • Director: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Screenplay by: John Michael Hayes
  • Starring: Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, Jesse Royce Landis
  • Genres: Thriller, romance

Based on the 1952 novel of the same name by David Dodge, To Catch a Thief sees a famous cat burglar trying to enjoy his retirement on the French Riviera. That’s interrupted when he’s suspected of a string of thefts by a skilled copycat.

The only way to escape suspicion, the cat burglar thinks, is to catch the imposter himself, all while he falls for one of the new thief’s marks, the beautiful daughter of a wealthy widow. Highlighting just about everything that makes Hitchcock a master and with terrific performances by Cary Grant and Grace Kelly, To Catch a Thief is certainly among the best classic movies on Amazon Prime Video.

Guys and Dolls (1955)

Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons, Frank Sinatra, and Vivian Blaine walk down the street, arm in arm, in Guys and Dolls best classic movies on amazon prime video
MGM
  • Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
  • Screenplay by: Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Ben Hecht
  • Starring: Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons, Frank Sinatra
  • Genres: Musical

Based on the 1950 Broadway musical, Guys and Dolls is a Hollywood Musical classic and one of the best classic movies on Amazon Prime. Starring Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons, Frank Sinatra, and Vivian Blaine, the film also features stunning dance numbers choreographed by Michael Kidd, who staged the dances for the Broadway production.

Hoping to finance a craps game, a gambler bets one of his peers that he can’t get a virtuous missionary to agree to a date with him, but the two unexpectedly start to fall for each other as the gambler’s own girlfriend demands that he go straight and marry her.

Guys and Dolls is full of charm and humor, and fans of musicals won’t want to miss it.

The Little Princess (1939)

Shirley Temples The Little Princess - best classic movies on amazon prime video
20th Century Fox
  • Director: Walter Lang
  • Screenplay by: Ethel Hill, Walter Ferris
  • Starring: Shirley Temple Black
  • Genres: Kids, Drama

The Little Princess is a true Shirley Temple classic and perfect for all ages. Even though the movie is from 1939, it still has a charm to it that appeals to younger kids today. Although it may be labeled as a film in the kids’ genre, this movie is something that almost everyone can enjoy.

Also read: The best original series on Amazon

In this classic movie on Amazon Prime, Shirley Temple plays Sara Crewe, a young girl sent to a boarding school when her father is called away in the war. After a few run-ins, the headmistress of the boarding school becomes increasingly mean towards Sara. Sara is treated like a servant instead of being treated lavishly when her father was still alive. 

The screenplay is very loosely based on a novel titled A Little Princess, written by Frances Hodgson Burnett and published in 1905. The story has Cinderella-like aspects to it. The film was shot beautifully, and all the actors do a wonderful job making you feel strongly for the characters. 

The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952)

Gregory Peck in bed, watched over by Ava Gardner in The Snows of Kilimanjaro - best classic movies on Amazon Prime Video
20th Century Fox
  • Director: Henry King
  • Screenplay by: Casey Robertson
  • Starring: Gregory Peck, Susan Hayward, Ava Gardner
  • Genres: Action, Drama

The Snows of Kilimanjaro is a movie based on a short story by Ernest Hemingway, originally published in 1936. A few significant moments of the screenplay written by Casey Robertson differed from the original short story version. But overall, this movie was a wonderful adaptation of Hemingway’s work.

The story centers on a well-known writer injured on a famous mountain in Africa known as Kilimanjaro. Played by Gregory Peck, the character Harry Street realizes he will die from the infection he caught while on his African safari. The knowledge of his inevitable death causes him to want to look back at his life.

We learn a lot about Peck’s story through his flashbacks. He reminisces about his past successes in love and life, and his regrets. He thinks about his romances with three different women — what worked and what didn’t — and ultimately realizes his love for one of them is stronger than the other two. 

Staying Alive (1983)

A group of dancers in an 80s studio in Staying Alive
Paramount Pictures
  • Director: Sylvester Stallone
  • Screenplay: Sylvester Stallone, Norman Wexler
  • Starring: John Travolta, Cynthia Rhodes, Finola Hughes
  • Genres: Romance, dance, musical, drama

A sequel to 1977’s Saturday Night Fever, Staying Alive is a far lesser known film, though it features the return of John Travolta as disco king Tony Manero, now working towards making a career of his talents. 

Tony works as a dance instructor in New York as he hustles to catch his big break on Broadway in this classic sequel directed by action star and Rocky director Sylvester Stallone.

The Terminator (1984)

The Terminator
Orion Pictures
  • Director: James Cameron
  • Screenplay by: James Cameron, Gale Anne Hurd
  • Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen
  • Genres: Science-fiction, Action, Horror

An influential sci-fi actioner that’s as good today as the day it came out, the original The Terminator put 80s action icon Arnold Schwarzenegger on the map and launched a massive franchise, including the celebrated 1991 sequel Terminator 2: Judgement Day.

In a future ruled by killer machines, one nearly unstoppable “Terminator” is sent back in time to kill Sarah Connor before she can give birth to her son John, who will eventually lead a human resistance movement against the machines. But John Connor has sent one of his trusted fighters back too. Can he keep Sarah Connor safe, or will the Terminator successfully rewrite history?

Related: The best 80s movies on every streaming service

Alligator (1980)

A giant alligator bursts through city streets in Alligator
Group 1 Films
  • Director: Lewis Teague
  • Screenplay by: John Sayles
  • Starring: Robert Forster, Robin Riker, Michael V. Gazzo
  • Genres: Horror, science fiction

This 1980s B-movie creature feature manages to truly shine thanks to a tight screenplay by indie master John Sayles and a starring role from the late, great Robert Forster. It has garnered a well-earned cult following that helps make it one of the best classic movies on Amazon Prime Video, available via the free Freevee service.

A clever play on silly sci-fi and horror tropes of the time, the film sees a Chicago cop and reptile expert working together to stop a giant alligator on the rampage. After years in the sewer feeding on discarded animal carcasses full of an experimental growth formula, the gator is massive and nearly unstoppable.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

Sally crawling to safety in Texas Chain Saw Massacre - best movies on Shudder
Vortex
  • Director: Tobe Hooper
  • Screenplay by: Kim Henkel, Tobe Hooper
  • Starring: Marilyn Burns, Allen Danziger, Paul A. Partain
  • Genres: Horror

One of the best horror films of all time, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is available to stream for free on Prime Video’s Freevee service.

A group of youths letting off some steam on a weekend getaway suddenly find themselves falling prey to a family of cannibals in a disturbing and brilliant critique of capitalism and the nuclear family in post-war America.


Those are our picks of some of the best classic movies on Amazon Prime Video. What are your favorites?

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