Netflix is mostly concerned with offering its subscribers new and original content. However, there are also lots of classic movies on Netflix. From black and white dramas from the 1930s to the best movies of the 1970s, 1980s, and even 1990s, there’s plenty of critically-acclaimed films on Netflix. Let’s take a look at the best ones.
Best classic movies on Netflix:
Editor’s note: We will regularly update this list of the best classic movies on Netflix.
1. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
The 1986 comedy doesn’t feel dated when you watch it today. It just feels and looks like a very funny movie about a teenager who really doesn’t want to go to school. Matthew Broderick plays Ferris, who decides to fake being sick and goes on a one-day epic adventure in Chicago with his best friend and girlfriend. It is realistic? No. But it is one of the best funny movies ever and one of the best classic movies on Netflix.
2. Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
Indiana Jones is not your run-of-the-mill archaeologist. After all, he’s willing to lose limbs to get a solid-gold idol from somewhere in the Peruvian forest. Taking notice of Jones’ exploits, Army intelligence agents authorize him to find the Ark of the Covenant to prevent the Nazis from finding it first.
As things often do with Indiana Jones, nothing goes as planned. Jones soon finds out the Ark is anything but a normal artifact. Not only does he have to fight his way through the Nazis, but he also has to fight through whatever the Ark contains.
3. Taxi Driver
It’s not easy being an ex-Marine who’s also an insomniac. Just ask Travis Bickle, who copes with his insomnia by working the night shift as a taxi driver.
Spurned by a potential lover and disgusted by the dysfunction of New York City, Bickle’s worldview quickly turns into one of violence. Whether you’re a presidential candidate or an armed gangster, no one is safe from Bickle and his imagined destiny.
4. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Considered one of the best comedy films of all time, Monty Python and the Holy Grail takes the Arthurian legend and turns it on its head. That means King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table, Camelot, and even God are all accounted for.
However, this isn’t a simple retelling of King Arthur’s journey to find the Holy Grail. From the projectionist accidentally putting the wrong film in the projector during the beginning of the movie to Sir Robin the Not-Quite-So-Brave-As-Sir-Lancelot, Monty Python and the Holy Grail messes with your expectations from the very beginning and never lets up. It’s a lock for one of the best classic movies on Netflix.
5. Groundhog Day
This 1993 film has become a true comedy classic. Bill Murray plays a TV weatherman assigned to cover the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. However, instead of six more weeks of winter, he keeps repeating the same day in Punxsutawney over and over again. Murray is at first bewildered, then mad, then he learns to use this “gift” to his advantage. But does he ever get out of this time loop? Watch to find out. It’s definitely one of the best classic movies on Netflix.
6. The Silence of the Lambs
This 1991 movie swept the major Academy Awards of that year, and the reason is pretty clear. It’s a thriller that features two very strong characters that do no more than talk to each other. Jodie Foster plays the new FBI agent who is recruited to get a locked-up serial killer to help in a new murder investigation. Anthony Hopkins plays that killer, Hannibal Lector, who seems to want to help Foster’s Clarice Starling, but who secretly is looking to get out of his cell. The performances are at the heart of this movie, but there are some very tense sequences near the end of the movie as well.
This 1982 comedy features Dustin Hoffman playing an actor not unlike himself in real life. In this movie, the character is a perfectionist, but he is so hard to work with that he cannot get acting jobs in New York City. So Hoffman’s character decides to create an alter-ego to get jobs; a female actress named Dorothy Michaels. He manages to get himself a role in a daily soap opera, and that’s where things get interesting and funnier.
Also read: The best indie movies on Netflix
Hoffman’s portrayal of an actor playing a role to get an acting job may be the best performance of his career. Jessica Lange won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as a young actor who befriends “Dorothy”. It’s a must for our classic movies on Netflix list.
8. West Side Story
This 1961 musical, directed by Robert Wise, is loosely based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. In this case, the two teenage lovers are each part of separate rival gangs in New York City. That’s all you really need to know before you watch it. It’s filled with great songs, terrific dance sequences, and more.
9. Back to the Future
This 1985 movie is a classic in so many ways. You have great performances from Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Crispin Glover, Lea Thompson, and more. It also has a killer premise: “What if you could go back in time and see your parents as teenagers?” It’s also got some excellent action scenes, great music, and one of the best villains in movie history, Biff, played by Thomas F. Wilson.
10. Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
This low-budget 1971 children’s musical was not a huge hit at the box office. However, it quickly turned into a cult classic and is definitely one of the best classic movies on Netflix. Gene Wilder is perfectly cast as Willie Wonka, the mysterious and reclusive head of a candy company. He launches a contest that will invite five kids to visit his chocolate factory, and that’s where the fun begins. There are great songs, imaginative sets and, of course, Oompa Loompas.
These are our picks for the best classic movies on Netflix. We’ll update this post with new titles once they hit the streaming service.