Sunset Boulevard, Guys and Dolls, and Dazed and Confused are just a few of the classic movies currently streaming on Amazon.
Some Hollywood films truly stand the test of time and remain enjoyable to watch even decades after they were first released. While new blockbuster movies may receive the “instant classic” label, it is the true classic movies that endure and make a lasting impact on the film industry, remaining a part of our culture to influence filmmakers and movie watchers for generations to come. And, thanks to modern movie technology, even though all of these movies came out years before you were born (probably), each of these classic movies is available to stream now on Amazon.
10. To Catch a Thief (1955)
To Catch a Thief is a classic romantic thriller movie starring two of the biggest names from the Golden Age of Hollywood: Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. This Alfred Hitchcock mystery follows an ex-jewel thief who is accused of returning to his old occupation. Determined to prove his innocence, he sets out to find the real perpetrator.
The film was released to mixed reviews with some praising Grant and Kelly’s performances in the movie while others felt it was missing the edge-of-your-seat suspense that older Hitchcock movies were known for. To see which side you agree with, To Catch a Thief is available to stream on Amazon now.
9. Fist of Fury (1972)
Fist of Fury is one of the best classic kung fu action movies. Starring Bruce Lee in the action legend’s second kung fu movie, the film follows a man who seeks revenge after his teacher is murdered.
Bruce Lee’s acting was praised for being charming and heroic, while his martial arts skills were absolutely lauded. While the plot of this film is considered simple and lacking in depth, the action sequences are enough to keep audiences entertained through the full 102-minute run time. The movie was written and directed by Wei Lo, and in addition to Lee, it also stars Nora Maio and James Tien.
8. Titanic (1997)
James Cameron is an auteur who likes to do things that have never been done before, as seen with his most recent escapades with the Avatar franchise. At the time when Titanic was released the special effects in this classic movie were state of the art, even if they may seem rudimentary 26 years later. Cameron was praised for expertly discussing political themes in a historical context and combining them with stunning visual effects.
Titanic’s stars, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet were also praised for their performances in the film, which was an essential stepping stone to both of their careers as they went on to become Hollywood A-list actors.
7. Where the Red Fern Grows (1974)
Where the Red Fern Grows is one of the best classic movies ever made, and it’s based on a classic book, too. Starring Stewart Peterson as a boy who longs for his own red-bone hound hunting dogs, this is a classic movie that is heart-warming for the whole family. The film was directed by Norman Tokar (who directed another 70s classic, Candleshoe, starring Jodie Foster), and it was received by critics with high praise.
Although, fair warning, despite this being a touching classic, it’s also extremely sad, so if you’re going to watch it, be sure to have your box of tissues at the ready!
6. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
It’s a Wonderful Life wasn’t appreciated at the time of its release, but it has since become known as one of the best classic movies ever made. The movie, which stars James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, and Henry Travers, was a theatrical flop, but now it can be found on pretty much any list of great classic movies, has become a holiday movie tradition in many households, and it’s Kevin Costner’s favorite movie, too!
The movie follows George (Stewart), who is a man whose life has never turned out the way he imagined it would. After almost jumping off of a bridge in a fit of depression, an angel descends down from heaven to make George see that he lived a wonderful life after all.
5. Guys and Dolls (1955)
This fun classic movie is based on the Broadway musical of the same name and stars Frank Sinatra, the biggest pop star at the time of filming, as Nathan Detroit. The film was released to high critical praise and became the number one moneymaking film of that year. Critics especially loved the ensemble cast, which also included Marlon Brando as Skye Masterson, Jean Simmons as Sarah Brown, and Vivian Blaine as Miss Adelaide.
Guys and Dolls features the same plot as the musical that you’ve probably seen at your local community theater, which follows a group of gamblers in New York as they aim to finance a crap game and struggle with love. Of course, there are plenty of shenanigans and hijinks along the journey as well.
4. Dazed and Confused (1993)
Dazed and Confused is not only one of the best classic movies, but it’s also one of the best coming-of-age stories that’s fun for every generation. The film follows a group of high school and junior high school students and their adventures on the last day of school in 1976.
Critics praised the movie for authentically recreating the 70s and also applauded the ensemble cast, which included several teenagers who would go on to be Hollywood mega-stars, including Matthew McConaughey and Milla Jovovich. Like The Breakfast Club, Dazed and Confused is a teen movie that is basically a requirement to watch before you graduate high school.
3. Top Gun (1986)
The success of Top Gun: Maverick never would have been as influential to the current cinematic climate if the first film wasn’t such an iconic classic movie. Like the sequel, the film stars Tom Cruise and follows students at the US Navy’s elite fighter weapons school competing to be the top of their class.
In addition to Cruise, the film also features Tim Robbins, Kelly McGills, and Val Kilmer. Although the film received mixed reviews from critics, the general consensus confirmed that the aerial shots in Top Gun are some of the best footage Hollywood has ever seen. The film was also nominated for four Academy Awards for its editing and sound and won the Oscar for Best Original Song for Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away,” which was written for the movie.
2. Sunset Boulevard (1950)
Not just one of the best classic movies, but also one of the most iconic movies ever made, Sunset Boulevard is an important piece of cinematic history and essential viewing material for any cinephile.
Sunset Boulevard tells the story of Norma Desmond, an aging actress from Hollywood’s silent era who was rejected by the industry as she grew older and film transitioned to talkies. Gloria Swanson portrays Norma, while William Holden plays a young screenwriter who meets her and sees an opportunity to advance his career. This film-noir drama openly critiques the movie-making process of the early 1950s and employs a dark, cynical tone that director Billy Wilder drew from his perception of reality.
1. Forrest Gump (1994)
“Life was like a box of chocolates” is probably the most well-known and the most quoted movie line of all time, even though it appears as number 40 on the AFI’s list of 100 best movie quotes. Tom Hanks stars in Forrest Gump as the titular character. The movie follows Forrest through his life, starting from childhood and on to the many adventures he happenstansedly falls into as an adult.
Forrest Gump was the second highest-grossing film of the year, falling just behind Disney’s Lion King. In addition to Hanks, it also stars Gary Sinise, Sally Field, and Robin Wright as Forrest’s love interest and best friend, Jenny.