What separates a good movie from a classic one? Whether you're seeking high art, unforgettable thrills or just something you can watch again and again, Netflix hosts dozens of movies with well-earned reputations for excellence. Wind the clock back a few years and discover which films, across a wide variety of genres, have captivated audiences for years, and will most likely do so for years to come.
George Méliès, a motion picture pioneer, directed and starred in A Trip to the Moon, one of the earliest narrative films, and probably the first science fiction movie ever made. Professor Barbenfouillis (Méliès) proposes a voyage to the moon, and leads a team of astronauts to explore the lunar body. There, they meet the subterranean Selenites, who are anything but happy to see the explorers.
Fritz Lang’s Metropolis is a deep and sweeping film, with much to say about the Weimar-era Germany that produced it. Freder (Gustav Fröhlich) is a young man whose father is a wealthy industrialist and wants Freder to be similarly successful. But due to systemic poverty, young love and a robot that can disguise itself to foment havoc among workers, Freder won't have an easy time of it.
The predatory nature of Hollywood is nothing new, if Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard is to be believed. Gloria Swanson stars as Norma Desmond, a silent-film star struggling to keep up in the burgeoning world of talkies. An ambitious screenwriter named Joe Gillis (William Holden) attempts to boost Desmond's career, but in so doing, brings out the worst in both writer and actress. The consequences are deadly.
Based on Harper Lee's 1960 novel, To Kill a Mockingbird tells the story of Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck), a principled lawyer in the Deep South of the 1930s. His daughter, Scout (Mary Badham), faces ridicule at school, and learns that it's because Atticus has agreed to defend a black man against a very ugly false charge. Robert Mulligan directed the film, which examines themes of racism and family.
Based on William Peter Blatty’s 1971 novel, The Exorcist is still one of the scariest stories ever put to film. Directed by William Friedkin, it features Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair) as a 14-year-old girl who appears to have been possessed by a demon. Two Catholic priests attempt to treat her and come to the reluctant conclusion that an exorcism is the only option. From there, the true horror begins.
George Roy Hill directed The Sting, which stars Paul Newman as Henry Gondorff and Robert Redford as Johnny Hooker. Johnny is a small-time crook who wants to outwit a much bigger, badder criminal. He enlists Henry, a truly gifted con artist, and the two plan a sting to embarrass and bankrupt their adversary. The plot twists come fast and furiously, and the ending is almost too clever.
The scariest monster is one you can't see. In Jaws, directed by Steven Spielberg, Amity Island owes its livelihood to a crowd of summer beachgoers. When a great white shark begins to terrorize and devour swimmers, police chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) takes matters into his own hands. The shark remains just out of sight for most of the film, building tension until the explosive climax.