As the summer winds down and people return home from vacation, movie aficionados might find more indoor time to catch up on some classic film offerings on their favorite streaming services.
To determine the best classic movies you’ve never seen available to stream at home this week, 24/7 Tempo developed an index using average ratings on IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon, and a combination of audience scores and Tomatometer scores on Rotten Tomatoes, an online movie and TV review aggregator, current as of August 2022, weighting all ratings equally. Only movies made before 1990 with fewer than 50,000 user reviews on IMDb were included. Documentaries were not considered. Data on streaming availability, also current as of August, comes from the streaming guide Reelgood.
Of the 50 movies listed here, 22 have a perfect score among Rotten Tomatoes critics, and 11 of them received a high IMDb user rating of at least 8.0/10. Eight of these films on the list won Academy Awards. (See how many are among the 100 greatest movies ever made.)
Silence is golden this week as our list features four silent films from the 1920s that cracked the top 10: “Safety Last” (1923), “Sherlock Jr.” (1924), “Steamboat Bill, Jr.” (1928), and “The Circus” (1928). These motion pictures feature Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton, and Charlie Chaplin, the pantheon of silent movies greatest stars – the first with Lloyd, the next two with Keaton, the last with Chaplin. (Here’s a list of Charlie Chaplin’s best and worst movies.)
Also on the list are three movies from 1939, considered by film historians as the greatest year in Hollywood history: “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” “Stagecoach,” and “Of Mice and Men.” (Other famed classics from that year, far too well-known to have made this list, include “Gone with the Wind,” “Ninotchka,” and “The Wizard of Oz.”)
Burt Lancaster, one of American Film Institute’s 50 greatest actors of the 20th century, appears in three movies on the list: “The Swimmer” (1968), “Brute Force” (1947), and his Oscar-winning triumph, “Elmer Gantry” (1956).
Directors John Huston and Woody Allen each landed three movies on the list. More out of the mainstream are downbeat director Jim Jarmusch and indie film champion John Cassavettes, who have two films apiece represented.
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