The Netflix movie catalog has evolved a lot over the years. At its launch, the platform only offered films purchased from other studios, but while recently the various Hollywood majors have decided to launch their own streaming service, Netflix has turned to the production of exclusive films, with some success. But that doesn’t mean that there are no more movie classics on the platform.
Among the thousands of movies available at the time of this writing, there are still many cult movies – including some recently added auteur titles. From the 1950s to 2010, The Real Simple has put together a list of 18 titles that have made marked the history and that you can see right now on Netflix.
Here is a subjective selection of 18 cult movies available on the Netflix catalog:
Vertigo – 1958 ‧ Mystery/Thriller ‧ 2h 9m
“Vertigo”, this thriller by Alfred Hitchcock is considered a major part of his filmography. James Stewart plays a former policeman, responsible for the death of one of his colleagues, charged by an old acquaintance to follow his wife, played by Kim Novak, with whom he falls in love.
Grease – 1978 ‧ Musical/Romance ‧ 1h 51m
More than 40 years after its release, “Grease” remains one of the most emblematic musicals in history. John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John play a couple of high school students who are at odds with each other, but whose love overcomes their differences, all set to a heady and cult soundtrack.
The Shining – 1980 ‧ Horror/Mystery ‧ 2h 26m
Stephen King disavowed this adaptation of his novel, but this Stanley Kubrick movie remains one of the most compelling horror films. Isolated for a whole winter in a mountain hotel with his wife and son, Jack Nicholson plays an author who gradually sinks into murderous madness.
Raiders of the Lost Ark – 1981 ‧ Adventure/Action ‧ 1h 55m
Steven Spielberg joined forces with George Lucas to launch one of the greatest action-adventure franchises in film history, with Harrison Ford’s first outing as Indiana Jones remaining the series’ best installment.
Blade Runner – 1982 ‧ Sci-fi/Action ‧ 1h 57m
In this adaptation of a novel by Philip K Dick, Ridley Scott offers a dystopian science fiction tale full of philosophical questioning with elements of detective movie, breaking with the action and adventure movies of the time, such as “Star Wars”.
Ghostbusters – 1984 ‧ Comedy/Fantasy ‧ 1h 47m
The famous franchise has seen one sequel and two reboots – one of which is expected in the summer of 2020 – but nothing beats the original. Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Bill Murray play the trio of New York scientists who become ghost hunters after their first encounter with a paranormal creature
Dirty Dancing – 1987 ‧ Romance/Dance ‧ 1h 40m
The movie, starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, is probably one of the most famous romances in the history of cinema. It became a reference in many movies that followed, from “Crazy Stupid Love” to “L’Arnacœur”, including the mythical scene on “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life”.
Goodfellas – 1990 ‧ Crime/Drama ‧ 2h 28m
Before “The Irishman”, Martin Scorsese had already reunited Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci in an epic gangster movie that traces the life of a true New York gangster, Henry Hill, over several decades.
Reservoir Dogs – 1992 ‧ Crime/Crime ‧ 1h 40m
Quentin Tarantino’s first movie is not the best known of the general public (unlike “Pulp Fiction” or “Kill Bill”) but it remains a classic of independent cinema. Selected at the Cannes Film Festival, it contains all the elements that will become the filmmaker’s trademark: meticulously assembled soundtrack, non-chronological narration, graphic violence and highly worked dialogues. The movie follows a group of thugs before and after a robbery, with Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen and Steve Buscemi in the cast.
The Remains of the Day – 1993 ‧ Drama/Romance ‧ 2h 14m
James Ivory directed several period movies in the 80s and 90s that garnered numerous Oscar nominations, including “Room with a View” and “Return to Howards End”, but he had to wait for “Call Me By Your Name”, whose script he wrote in 2017, to finally win a statuette. In “The Remains of the day”, nominated eight times, Anthony Hopkins plays a butler who, after thirty years of service, wonders if he hasn’t missed his life.
The Shawshank Redemption – 1994 ‧ Drama/Crime ‧ 2h 22m
A man, played by Tim Robbins, falsely convicted of murdering his wife, spends about 20 years in prison and befriends a black prisoner. The latter is played by Morgan Freeman in one of the most emblematic roles of his career. The movie is adapted from a short story by Stephen King.
Forrest Gump – 1994 ‧ Drama/Romance ‧ 2h 22m
Released the same year as “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Pulp Fiction”, “Forrest Gump” won the Oscar for Best Picture over these two masterpieces and remains one of the most famous movies of the 90’s. It traces the most important moments in American history in the second half of the 20th century through the life of the main character, played by Tom Hanks.
Casino – 1995 ‧ Crime/Drama ‧ 2h 58m
This new collaboration between Martin Scorsese, Joe Pesci and Robert de Niro takes us back to the mafia world of Las Vegas in the 1970s. We also find Sharon Stone in the role of a former prostitute who becomes the wife of Robert de Niro.
The Matrix – 1999 ‧ Action/Sci-fi ‧ 2h 16m
The cult trilogy of the Wachowski sisters is available in full on Netflix, an opportunity to catch up before the release of the fourth installment, currently scheduled for 2021. In this first chapter, hacker Neo (Keanu Reeves) discovers that the world he lives in is a simulation controlled by artificial intelligence.
American Psycho – 2000 ‧ Horror/Mystery ‧ 1h 42m
The adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ novel of the same name is probably as cult as the original work. Christian Bale plays Patrick Bateman, the psychopathic golden boy of Wall Street, in this bitter satire of the excesses of American capitalist society.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – 2004 ‧ Romance/Sci-fi ‧ 1h 48m
French director Michel Gondry reunites Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet and Kirsten Dunst in a science-fiction comedy-drama that won him an Oscar for best screenplay. When Joel (Jim Carrey) discovers that his girlfriend Clementine (Kate Winslet) has had her memory erased so he can forget her and start a new life with another man, he decides to do the same.
The Dark Knight – 2008 ‧ Action/Adventure ‧ 2h 32m
Considered by many to be the best superhero film in history, this second installment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy is driven by Heath Ledger’s masterful performance as the Joker, which earned him a posthumous Oscar for Best Supporting Actor
The Social Network – 2010 ‧ Drama/History ‧ 2h 1m
The biopic of Mark Zuckerberg, the brilliant founder of Facebook, came out only 6 years after the creation of the social network, and while it had just been adopted by the general public. While, 10 years later, Facebook has become a giant from which it is increasingly difficult to escape, the movie remains at the heart of the news.