12 Best Classic Movies on Netflix

Looking to watch some good old timeless movies on Netflix? Below are the titles prepared for you so there’s no need to scroll through movies endlessly, looking for some classics to watch.

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This is our pick for 12 best classic movies on Netflix (ordered by release date):

1. Spartacus (1960)

Genre: Adventure, Biography, Drama
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Starring: Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons

Set in 73 B.C. the story follows Spartacus (played by Kirk Douglas), a Thracian slave from birth, who has been sold off to fight as a gladiator. Aggrieved with the treatment and the position of slaves in the Roman Empire, he starts an uprising which will spread throughout Italy, causing upheaval in Rome’s political circles. Meanwhile, Spartacus’s army of freedom-driven runaway slaves is expanding.

2. The Godfather (1972)

Genre: Crime, Drama
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Starring: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan

Marked to be one of the best films made in the gangster genre, as well as in film-making history, the Godfather tells the story of the Corleone family, a high-powered mafia circle in New York. Don Vitto Corleone’s son Michael (father and son played by Marlon Brando and Al Pacino, respectively) comes back home as a WWII veteran and is set on living a normal life, away from his family’s mob business. However, an unfortunate turn of events will force him to change his mind and transform him into a pitiless mob boss.

The film received Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best actor for Brando and Best Adapted Screenplay together with seven other Oscar nominations. It is followed by two sequels – The Godfather Part II and III.

3. The Godfather: Part II (1974)

Genre: Crime, Drama
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Starring: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall

The plot consists of two storylines – one of Vito Corleone’s (Robert De Niro) childhood in Sicily and his rise to a powerful mafia boss in New York at the beginning of the 20th century; the other recounts Michael’s (Al Pacino) story, picking it up from where it ended in The Godfather. As the events progress, we witness the advancement of the father in mafia business in the 1910s and the fall of his son in the same affairs in the 1950s.

The film received eleven Oscar nominations and got six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (De Niro) and Best Adapted Screenplay. Pacino received a nomination for Best Actor, but won the BAFTA Award instead.

4. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi
Director: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, François Truffaut, Teri Garr

Steven Spielberg’s science fiction feature centers on Roy Neary, an electrician who, during an inspection of a power cut in his town, encounters a UFO. The aftermath porttrays Roy’s obsessive thinking about the encounter and its meaning, while the government sends agents to investigate the matters more closely.

Although the production budget was $20 million, the film succeeded financially ($300 million) as well as critically. It received numerous awards and nominations, including the Oscars, BAFTAs and Golden Globes.

5. The Shining (1980)

Genre: Drama, Horror
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Starring: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd

Jack is a writer who signed a contract to take care of a hotel during winter in the secluded mountains of Colorado. He and his family plan to spend the winter there. What they don’t know is that the hotel has a violent past and that the previous winter caretaker has gone crazy and killed his family. Things will start to get strange and Jack will start to lose his mind and become a threat to his family.

6. Scarface (1983)

Genre: Crime, Drama
Director: Brian De Palma
Starring: Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer, Steven Bauer

This cult crime drama focuses on Tony Montana (Al Pacino), a Cuban refugee who tries to capture the American Dream in Miami by working for drug dealers. HIs slow rise to fame and fortune begins when he manages to handle a botched drug deal with spirit and audacity necessary for that kind of job. Incorporating quite an amount of violence in his work, he becomes an invincible drug lord and leader of a cartel.

At first, the film was greatly disapproved of because of the unrestricted use of violence and graphic images. Later on, however, it got the critical acclaim it deserved and transformed into one of the best crime films ever.

7. The Breakfast Club (1985)

Genre: Comedy, Drama
Director: John Hughes
Starring: Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald

Five high school students with nothing in common must spend 9 hours of detention together. They don’t really like each other since all of them come from different worlds. They are known as Athlete, Princess, Brain, Basket Case and Criminal. What begins as a quiet morning will turn out to be friendship at the end.

8. Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Genre: Drama, War
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Starring: Matthew Modine, R. Lee Ermey, Vincent D’Onofrio

This war movie’s plot is divided into two parts. The first one follows a group of recruits as they enter a US Marines boot camp under the rule of a harsh Gunnery Sergeant. The second segment focuses on the actual fighting in Hue, Vietnam, as the recruits witness the pointless and dehumanising effects of war and how they affect the common man put in the mindset of the military.

9. Goodfellas (1990)

Genre: Biography, Crime, Drama
Director: Martin Scorsese
Starring: Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci

The film tells the story of Henry Hill and his climb to the top of the mafia hierarchy. Starting as a young man running errands for the mob, he advances from their associate to a well-established member of the crime group, his friends and family being involved, as well. We follow his rise and fall in the time span between the 1950s and the 1980s

Considered to be one of the best gangster films, Goodfellas received six Oscar nominations, with Joe Pesci getting one for Best Supporting Actor.

10. Young Guns II (1990)

Genre: Action, Western
Director: Geoff Murphy
Starring: Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips

This American Western is a sequel to Young Guns and narrates the events after the Lincoln County War. It focuses on the life of the well-known fugitive William H. Bonney, aka Billy the Kid, who everybody believes is shot and dead. However, a young historian strikes up a conversation with Brushy Bill Roberts, an old man who gives a very convincing account of his life story, claiming to be Billy himself.

11. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Genre: Drama
Director: Frank Darabont
Starring: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton

Based on a novella by Stephen KIng, the film recounts the story of Andy Dufresne (played by Tim Robbins) and his serving of the life sentence in the Shawshank Penitentiary. Found guilty for the killing his wife and her lover, a crime he vehemently denies committing, he ends up in prison where he crosses paths with a friendly smuggler Ellis Redding (played by Morgan Freeman) and the exploitative prison warden Samuel Norton (Bob Gunton).

The film is considered to be the best film of all times, judging by its IMDb rating score (9.3). The story and acting were critically praised, yet the movie went under the radar for some time due to the bigger hits such as Pulp Fiction and Forrest Gump. Nevertheless, it received many award nominations, of which seven were Academy Award nominations.

12. Pulp Fiction (1994)

Genre: Crime, Drama
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson

Said to be Quentin Tarantino’s best work and among the 10 best rated films on IMDb, Pulp Fiction gathers some well-known names from the world of acting. John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson play two hitmen on an errand of tracking their boss’ stolen briefcase. The gangster’s wife, played by Uma Thurman, also needs to be taken care of while her husband is away.

Brus Willis is a boxer who isn’t getting any younger and gets money from the said gangster to lose his next fight. Instead, he kills his opponent and runs for his life. Tim Roth and Amanda Plummer are a couple who have set their eyes on robbing the diner they are having lunch in. Eventually, all the people will encounter one another in the bizarre series of events.

The film was critically acclaimed – it won Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for seven Academy Awards, winning Best Original Screenplay. It was also a financial success and propelled Travolta’s, Jackson’s and Thurman’s acting careers.

11 Best Classic Movies on Netflix According to IMDb

According to IMDb, these are 11 best classic movies on Netflix:

  • The Shawshank Redemption (1994) – 9.3
  • The Godfather (1972) – 9.2
  • The Godfather: Part II (1974) – 9.0
  • Pulp Fiction (1994) – 8.9
  • Goodfellas (1990) – 8.7
  • The Shining (1980) – 8.4
  • Scarface (1983) – 8.3
  • Full Metal Jacket (1987) – 8.3
  • Spartacus (1960) – 7.9
  • The Breakfast Club (1985) – 7.9
  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) – 7.6

7 Best Classic Movies on Netflix According to Box Office

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