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The best classic movies on Amazon Prime Video in 2022
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.
Best classic movies on Amazon Prime Video
The Count of Monte Cristo (1975)
- Director: David Greene
- Screenplay by: Sidney Carroll
- Starring: Richard Chamberlain, Donald Pleasance
- Genre: Drama
The Count of Monte Cristo is based on the 1844 novel by Alexandre Dumas. The book itself has multi-layered plots so intricate that it’s no wonder it is considered a literary classic today. Dumas’s exceptional writing skills crafted a story that has stood the test of time in its novel and film forms.
Several important characters and scenes are omitted from the 1975 film adaptation, but the overall essence of what Dumas was trying to get across in his novel is there. In the film, Edmond Dantes, played by Richard Chamberlain, is falsely accused by three men of conspiring with Napoleon Bonaparte.
This film primarily involves a story of revenge, so you’re not necessarily going to get a traditional happy ending. But not all movies have to have a happy ending to be great movies.
Where the Red Fern Grows (1974)
- Director: Norman Tokar
- Screenplay by: 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.
- 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.
Young Frankenstein (1974)
- Director: Mel Brooks
- Screenplay by: Gene Wilder, Mel Brooks
- Starring: Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Cloris Leachman, Marty Feldman, Teri Garr
- Genres: Comedy, horror
Comedy legend Mel Brooks reimagines the Frankenstein myth in this absurd and hilarious comedy, starring frequent collaborator and co-writer Gene Wilder.
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Dr. Frederick Frankenstein is a respected medical lecturer who would rather avoid any associations with his far more famous grandfather, Victor Frankenstein. But when Frederick inherits the family estate in Transylvania, he travels there and embarks on his own experiments to bring a corpse back to life in this pitch-perfect parody of the 1930s’ Universal monster movies.
- Director: Brian De Palma
- Screenplay by: Lawrence D. Cohen
- Starring: Sissy Spacek, John Travolta, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving
- Genres: Horror
Based on the classic novel by horror master Stephen King, Carrie is a supernatural teen horror film that remains among the very best of the genre today, nearly half a century later.
Carrie is a shy teen who doesn’t fit in and doesn’t try to. One day, when she’s sent home after being bullied for menstruating in the girls’ changerooms, she angers her repressive and abusive mother but unlocks strange, telekinetic abilities. Things go south when she’s invited to a school dance and faces more abuse from her classmates, who have no idea what their bullying might unleash.
His Girl Friday (1940)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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.
Shirley Temple’s The Little Princess (1939)
- 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.
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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)
- 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.
It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
- Director: Frank Capra
- Screenplay by: Frank Capra, Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett
- Starring: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore
- Genres: Drama, Holiday
This last classic movie on Amazon Prime is a Christmas perennial on television. Yet, it’s also a great, if fantastical, drama about a man who thinks at first he needs to get out of his small town to accomplish anything. Playing the role of George Bailey, Jimmy Stewart believes the town of Bedford Falls is beneath him, and who can blame him? Henry Potter, the richest and meanest man in the town, wants everything for himself. George manages to keep Potter from getting his hands on some of the town’s residents by providing them with good homes to live in, and relaxed rates at his small building and loan.
However, a mistake by his uncle on Christmas Eve may finally shut down the building and loan for good. George thinks the only way out is to kill himself. That’s when the movie takes a full turn into fantasy land, as a guardian angel appears and shows George that he really does matter for so many people in Bedford Falls. You will almost certainly get a bit emotional at the end.
Blow Out (1981)
- Director: Brian De Palma
- Screenplay by: Brian De Palma
- Starring: John Travolta, Nancy Allen, John Lithgow, Dennis Franz
- Genres: Mystery, thriller, neo-noir
Brian De Palma puts his own spin on Antonioni’s classic Blow Up in this neo-noir thriller about a man who has to trust his own ears despite overwhelming evidence against his interpretation of a suspicious death.
Movie sound tech Jack Terry is out one night recording natural sounds to use in a slasher movie he’s working on. While out, he witnesses a car accident, and he inadvertently records the event. Listening back, the version of the accident he recorded suggests the official story isn’t right. As he digs deeper, he finds himself embroiled in a political conspiracy.
House on Haunted Hill (1959)
- Director: William Castle
- Screenplay by: Robb White
- Starring: Vincent Price, Carol Ohmart, Richard Long
- Genres: Horror
A stone-cold horror classic, House on Haunted Hill sees an eccentric millionaire offer a group of strangers $10,000 each if they can survive a night in his haunted mansion. As the night progresses, the guests endure numerous terrors in their quest to cash in.
Vincent Price gives a characteristically campy and wonderful performance as the millionaire, er, benefactor. The film also benefits from the showmanship of director William Castle, who used all kinds of carnival props and practical effects to scare his audience.
House on Haunted Hill was remade in 1999. The remake wasn’t particularly well-received, but it’s worth a look too.
Raging Bull (1980)
- Director: Martin Scorsese
- Screenplay by: Paul Schrader, Mardik Martin
- Starring: Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty, Joe Pesci
- Genres: Sports drama
Raging Bull is one of auteur filmmaker Martin Scorsese’s best and most celebrated films, and it’s one of the best classic movies on Amazon Prime Video.
Robert De Niro stars as Jake LaMotta, an Italian-American middleweight boxer whose memoir is the basis for the film. As his boxing career takes off, LaMotta’s self-destructive rage and jealousy threaten to destroy his relationships with his wife and family.
El Dorado (1966)
- Director: Howard Hawks
- Screenplay by: Leigh Brackett
- Starring: John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, James Caan
- Genres: Western
Hollywood heavyweights John Wayne and Robert Mitchum join forces in this classic western from a master of the genre, Howard Hawks.
In El Dorado, a gunfighter comes to the aid of an old friend, a drunken sheriff trying to help a rancher and his family defend themselves from another rancher stealing their main water source. In true western fashion, the gunfighter assembles a team of outlaws to help handle the problem.
Those are our picks of some of the best classic movies on Amazon Prime Video. What are your favorites?
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