Society has evolved over the decades, as has cinema and the art of storytelling. But in the vast ocean of streaming content, classic films serve as timeless gems. Platforms like Netflix may be cluttered with the latest releases all the time, but they also house classic films from time to time, making sure vintage gems are always just a click away.
You might be surprised to know this, but Netflix often licenses older films in addition to new releases. So, first on our list is the hauntingly atmospheric Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1936). Directed by George King, this black-and-white thriller brings to life the infamous barber who dispenses his own brand of justice on the grim streets of London. Tod Slaughter’s portrayal of Sweeney Todd is both chilling and captivating, making this film a standout classic in the horror genre.
Jumping ahead a few decades, we get The Professionals (1966), directed by Richard Brooks. With its sweeping landscapes and intense action sequences, this Western adventure that boasts a star-studded cast including Burt Lancaster and Lee Marvin, the film follows a group of mercenaries hired to rescue a kidnapped millionaire’s wife.
The hilariously absurd Monty Python And The Holy Grail (1975) takes the stage next, directed by the iconic Monty Python troupe. A satirical take on the Arthurian legend, this comedy masterpiece is a wild ride of irreverent humour and memorable one-liners. Another classic comedy on this list is Groundhog Day (1993), directed by Harold Ramis, which takes a comedic turn as Bill Murray’s character finds himself trapped in a time loop, reliving the same day repeatedly.
Stepping into the realm of psychological drama, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) stands tall. Directed by Milos Forman and adapted from Ken Kesey’s novel, the film revolves around the rebellious Randle P. McMurphy, played by Jack Nicholson, as he navigates life in a mental institution. Nicholson’s powerhouse performance earned him an Academy Award, making this film a compelling exploration of sanity, freedom, and rebellion.
Brussels By Night (1983) introduces a Belgian classic directed by Marc Didden. This crime drama offers a gritty portrayal of Brussels’ nightlife and the characters who inhabit it. With its evocative cinematography and unique narrative style, the film captures the essence of a city in flux, making it a standout in European cinema. Next on our list is The Remains of the Day (1993), directed by James Ivory. The film presents a poignant exploration of loyalty, duty, and unrequited love. Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson deliver exquisite performances in this adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel.
The Quentin Tarantino masterpiece Pulp Fiction (1994) needs little introduction. With its nonlinear narrative, eclectic characters, and unforgettable dialogue, this film reshaped the landscape of modern cinema. A true classic, Pulp Fiction remains a must-watch for cinephiles and casual viewers alike. With so much discussion surrounding Saltburn and its alleged similarities with The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), this one is also a must-watch right now. The Talented Mr. Ripley is a psychological suspense directed by Anthony Minghella, with Matt Damon portraying the enigmatic Tom Ripley.
Finally, Steven Spielberg’s Munich (2005) rounds off the list as a gripping historical drama. Exploring the aftermath of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre, the film follows a secret Israeli squad tasked with avenging the tragedy and their eventual moral dilemma over such shortsighted bloodthirst. A particular dialogue exchange between Eric Bana’s Avner Kaufman and Omar Metwally’s Ali about Palestine’s true inhabitants and its fate is still hauntingly relevant. Spielberg’s masterful storytelling and a stellar ensemble cast make Munich a riveting exploration of justice, morality, and the human cost of revenge.
The 10 best classic films to watch on Netflix:
- Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1936)
- The Professionals (1966)
- Monty Python And The Holy Grail (1975)
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
- Brussels By Night (1983)
- The Remains of the Day (1993)
- Groundhog Day (1993)
- Pulp Fiction (1994)
- The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
- Munich (2005)