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.
The 1980 comedy may still be the single funniest movie ever made, at least in terms of good jokes per minute. This spoof of airline disaster movie still manages to make you laugh, even after 40 years. It also turned normally serious actors like Robert Stack, Lloyd Bridges, and especially Leslie Nielsen into comedy stars. You have to watch this classic movie on Netflix at least once a year.
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. Sleepless In Seattle
This 1993 film is one of the best romantic comedies ever made. It follows a woman, played by Meg Ryan, who suddenly hears the story of a recent widower, played by Tom Hanks, over the radio. His son wants to find a new wife for his dad. Suddenly, the two storylines of Ryan’s and Hanks’ characters start to merge. You can tell where’s its going, but the fun in this movie is how Ryan and Hanks finally get together. 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.
7. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
This 1966 movie is the best of director Sergio Leone’s classic Italian Westerns. Clint Eastwood played The Man With No Name in two previous Leone-directed Westerns, but he was never better than in this film.
Eastwood’s “The Good” gunslinger goes up against Lee Van Cleef’s “The Bad” and Eli Wallach’s “The Ugly.” All three are trying to find a huge treasure of Confederate gold in New Mexico. It’s a long movie (nearly three hours) but it’s packed with memorable lines and shootouts. Also, we can’t forget that music score from Ennio Morricone, which is worth listening to on its own. It’s one of the best classic movies on Netflix.
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. Jurassic Park
This 1993 movie is a classic in so many ways. Based on the novel by Michael Crichton, it tells the tale of what happens when scientists manage to create dinosaurs out of ancient DNA. Needless to say, this experiment gets out of control quickly, but it makes for a fun movie to watch. It’s also one of the first movies to extensively use CGI for its visual effects. Even after all this time, the dinosaur animations still hold up. It has some excellent action scenes, great music, and even the movie’s kid geniuses are not that annoying.
10. Schindler’s List
It’s hard to believe that Steven Spielberg released Jurassic Park in the summer of 1993, and followed it up later that same year with this powerful film. It may be the director’s best movie, as it tells the story of Oskar Schindler during World War II. Played to perfection by Liam Neeson, Schindler was just trying to make money in his Poland factories by using cheap Jewish labor. However, after witnessing many Jewish people being killed while the Nazis clear out the Kraków Ghetto, Schindler has a change of heart. He ultimately saves over 1,000 people from being killed by the Nazis in concentration camps by employing them in his factories. This movie is sometimes hard to watch, but it tells an important story of hope against all odds, and it does it very well.
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.