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. Bonnie and Clyde
The 1967 film broke a lot of rules for a major Hollywood studio movie. It had much more violence, and more sexual content, than what was considered the norm. It was based loosely on the real lives of bank robbers Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. As played by Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, these criminals loved to shoot guns, rob stores and kill both civilians and police officers. However, the movie portrays both of these people as sympathetic, and even romantic, characters. It’s definitely one of the best classic movies on Netflix.
2. Enter the Dragon
This 1973 movie single-handedly started the martial arts movie trend of the 70s. That’s mostly due to its star, Bruce Lee, who plays a man recruited by British Intelligence to enter a mysterious martial arts tournament on an isolated island. In fact, Lee’s character is going after a major drug lord on the island. The story doesn’t really matter, however. What matters is seeing Bruce Lee at the top of his form, in some of the best martial arts sequences ever filmed. It’s a shame Lee died just a few weeks before the movie was released. He could have become a mega star. Instead, he’s “just” one of the biggest movie influences of all time.
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. The Evil Dead
This 1981 low-budget horror film could have been made, released, and forgotten like most low-budget horror films. Instead, with its unique humor-filled themes, its different and wild camera angles and movies, and the talents of a young Bruce Campbell, director Sam Raimi’s cult classic about a bunch of teens who discover horror in a cabin in the woods, is just one of the best films ever made. It’s definitely one of the best classic movies on Netflix.
6. A Bridge Too Far
This 1977 film is set during the WWII invasion of Europe by the Allied forces. It recounts the true story of Operation Market Garden. The plan was to take a series of bridges in Holland so the Allied forces could have a course to get to Berlin. Of course, things don’t go according to plan. This movie is also notable for its huge all-star cast. Michael Caine, Sean Connery, Gene Hackman, Anthony Hopkins, and (in a small role) Robert Redford are just some of the major actors in this movie. It’s one of the best classic movies on Netflix you can watch.
While there were movies about the Vietnam War before this 1996 film, this one was perhaps the first to truly depict the war close to the way it happened for the US ground troops. Writer-director Oliver Stone, himself a Vietnam War veteran, created a movie that shows much of the attitute of the common soldiers in that fight. Many didn’t want to be there, and many wondered why they were fighting.
Charlie Sheen plays the main character, an actual volunteer who goes to Vietnam to fight. He’s soon caught in between two sergeants, played by Tom Berenger and Willem Dafoe. One has been hardened by the war, and the other is just trying to get throug. Sheen’s character has to choose which philosophies he must follow. It’s one of the best classic movies on Netflix.
8. Fiddler on the Roof
This 1971 musical, based on the hit Broadway play, is just fun to watch. There’s a story about a father in pre-Soviet Russia who is dealing with his three daughters that want to get married. However, it’s the songs and music, which won the Academy Awards in those categories that year, that are the true highlight. It’s also filled with terrific dance sequences, and more.
This 199o movie maybe Martin Scorsese’s best film, and that’s saying something. Based on the real-life former mob member Henry Hill, we see how Hill rose into the upper ranks of the New York City mafia. For a while, Hill’s life is perfect. He steals a few times a year, earns big bucks, and marries the girl of his dreams. However, things start to spiral out of control when an airline heist doesn’t quite go as planned.
10. A Clockwork Orange
After making the groundbreaking 2001: A Space Odyssey, director Stanley Kubrick made a very different kind of sci-fi movie with this 1971 release. Malcolm McDowell plays Alex, who lives in a near-future version of the UK. He and his gang commit horrible crimes in this film, but he gets captured and is put through a brainwashing program that is supposed to “cure” him. This movie is sometimes hard to watch, but it has a lot to say about how we view criminals, and the attempts to rehabilitate them.
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.