1970s Iconic Sci-Fi Thriller Mystery Still Chills 50 Years Later And After An Awful Remake, Stream Now

By Brian Myers | Published

The culture of Hollywood forsaking the legacy of classic films by subjecting them to terrible remakes isn’t a new phenomenon. One particularly egregious example is the 2004 film The Stepford Wives, a big-budget remake that managed to subtract the eeriness of its predecessor and somehow manage to blow through a nearly $100 million budget to produce a flop. The original film, however, remains as an important entry in science fiction and is available for free streaming.

The Move

the stepford wives

The Stepford Wives follows the Eberhart family as they move from New York City to the small suburban community of Stepford, Connecticut.

Joanna Eberhart is quickly bored in her new surroundings and finds herself without anyone to connect to. Her husband Walter begins to fit right in and joins up with an exclusive social club called the Men’s Association.

The women in The Stepford Wives all seem very one-dimensional to Joanna. The menial tasks dictated by traditional gender roles, like shopping and cleaning, appear to be all that these women care about.

Joanna finally finds two women that don’t fit the mold of the rest of the women in Stepford, Bobbie Markowe and Charmaine Wimperis.

The Mystery

Eager to get something going in Stepford, the three women organize a women’s liberation meeting, but are dismayed how the other women from the town act.

The conversation keeps being steered toward shopping and cleaning, ironically missing the point of the get together.

The Stepford Wives finds Joanna and her new friends trying to get to the bottom of why all the other women in Stepford are submissive.

What Joanna eventually uncovers is a diabolical plot hatched by the Men’s Association that aims to replace the wives in town with robotic replicas that are programmed to serve every command and whim of their flesh-and-blood husbands.

1970s Feminism

the stepford wives

The film takes a sardonic approach at the resistance to 1970s era feminism, an act that one would think would garner praise from the leaders of the movement. The reaction from prominent feminists and feminist publications at the time were mixed, some stating that The Stepford Wives had more of an anti-woman undertone than one that was intended to be uplifting.

Several in the movement called for an outright boycott of the film while others praised it for successfully mirroring certain types of men in modern society.

Replacing Love With Slavery

Social messaging aside, The Stepford Wives gives a rather chilling look at two disturbing concepts. The idea that a replica would be able to replace a single person, let alone half of the population, is among themes that dominate many dystopian films and novels.

The second being that these men are so focused on their own desires that they’d consent to having their actual wives eliminated so that they can live a life with a slave version of what they fell in love with.

Stream It Now

the stepford wives


The Stepford Wives is a slow burn with a marvelous payoff. Adding to the building terror is the cinematic score composed by Michael Small (Marathon Man) and director Bryan Forbes’ beautiful timing.

One other interesting note: The Stepford Wives is based on the novel of the same name, written by Ira Levin (Rosemary’s Baby, The Boys from Brazil). The writer who adapted the novel for the screen was William Goldman, the same talent who wrote the hit film The Princess Bride.

You can stream the classic film The Stepford Wives for free with Tubi.