How to Watch Classic Movies – The 10 Best Apps and Web Sites
Best Apps and Web Sites
Turner Classic Movies
The Criterion Channel
Library of Congress: National Streaming Room
Old Movies—Oldies but Goldies
The Film Detective
The 10 Best Apps and Web Sites to Watch Classic Movies
Are you a fan of classic movies? If so, you’re in luck! In this article, we’ll introduce you to the top 10 apps and websites where you can watch your favorite classic films. Whether you’re longing for the nostalgia of childhood movies, interested in exploring cinematic masterpieces from the past, or eager to discover notable older films from different countries, these apps and websites have got you covered. Get ready for a delightful journey into the world of classic cinema!
1. Turner Classic Movies
Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is a popular TV channel in the United States, with additional networks in the UK, Latin America, Germany, Asia, and Scandinavia. TCM sources its content from the vast Turner Entertainment film library and holds distribution rights to pre-1950 Warner Bros. films, pre-1986 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer movies, and a North American license for RKO Pictures films. If you have a cable TV plan in the US, you can access the free streaming service called Watch TCM, where you can enjoy the current programming. TCM also offers a convenient app for Android and iOS users. Additionally, you can purchase classic movies directly from their online shop, with prices typically ranging from $10 to $25.
2. Pluto TV
Pluto TV is widely known for providing free live TV to cord-cutters, but it also offers an excellent selection of classic movies. The platform features several dedicated channels that are packed with old movies. Some of the notable classic movie channels on Pluto TV include Paramount Movie Channel, CMT Westerns, Classic Movies Channel, and 80s Rewind. Pluto TV is a convenient option for those who want to explore and enjoy classic films without any subscription fees. The service is available on various platforms, including web browsers, mobile devices, and smart TVs, allowing you to access your favorite classic movies from the comfort of your home.
3. Shout Factory
Shout Factory is a go-to platform for fans of cult movies, classic films, B-side movies, and even some TV shows, animation, and live music concerts. With licensing agreements in place with major networks and studios like NBCUniversal, MGM, Warner Bros., Sony Pictures, and Fox, Shout Factory offers a diverse selection of content. The platform caters to movie enthusiasts seeking hidden gems and lesser-known films. It serves as a treasure trove for those interested in exploring unique and unconventional cinema. Whether you’re a fan of niche genres or have a penchant for underappreciated classics, Shout Factory is sure to satisfy your cravings.
4. The Criterion Channel
The Criterion Channel is a streaming service that specializes in licensing “important classic and contemporary films.” It offers a curated collection of over 1,000 classic movies, along with a rotating mix of Hollywood blockbusters, international films, art-house favorites, and independent gems. The Criterion Channel stands out not only for its extensive catalog but also for the supplementary content it provides. Alongside the films, you’ll find interviews, discussions, and behind-the-scenes features that enhance your understanding and appreciation of cinema. With a commitment to showcasing the best of film art and culture, The Criterion Channel is a must-have subscription for cinephiles and anyone passionate about the art of storytelling through movies.
5. Library of Congress: National Streaming Room
The Library of Congress’ National Streaming Room is a unique platform that offers a collection of historically and culturally significant movies. This collection includes both copyrighted and public domain content. With over 360 classic movies available, the National Streaming Room allows viewers to delve into the rich cinematic heritage, featuring films from various eras and genres. It’s important to note that some of the content may reflect beliefs and attitudes from a different era, which might be considered offensive by modern standards. However, the collection serves as a valuable historical record, providing insights into the evolution of cinema and society over time.
Netflix, one of the most popular streaming platforms, offers a vast collection of classic movies alongside its extensive library of modern content. While their classic movie catalog has seen some reduction in recent years, Netflix still houses a substantial selection of old films and timeless classics. To explore the available classic movies on Netflix in your region, you can utilize secret genre codes. Simply append the specific genre code to the Netflix URL, and you’ll gain access to various categories such as Classic Action and Adventure, Classic Comedies, Classic Dramas, Classic Romantic Movies, Classic Sci-Fi and Fantasy, Classic Thrillers, Classic War Movies, Classic TV Shows, Classic Westerns, Film Noir, Epics, and Silent Movies.
7. Old Movies – Oldies but Goldies
Old Movies – Oldies but Goldies is a dedicated app for Android users that provides a treasure trove of classic Hollywood cinema. With hundreds of free films spanning the era from 1910 to 1969, this app allows you to indulge in the works of iconic actors like Charlie Chaplin, Marlon Brando, John Wayne, and Alfred Hitchcock. You can relive the magic of the past and enjoy the finest cinematic creations of yesteryears. It’s important to note that the Old Movies app is ad-supported, meaning you may encounter advertisements during your viewing experience. However, the app offers a convenient and accessible way to immerse yourself in the golden era of cinema.
8. The Film Detective
For enthusiasts of vintage films, The Film Detective is a notable website that offers a wide range of classic movies. This platform specializes in showcasing movies made before the advent of color films, allowing viewers to appreciate the artistic and historical significance of early cinema. From timeless classics like “The Fast and the Furious” (1954) to hidden gems like “The Borrowers” (1973), The Film Detective provides a diverse collection of movies for audiences to explore. The platform is accessible for free streaming on its website and is compatible with major streaming devices. While ads may be present during playback, users also have the option to subscribe to an ad-free experience for a monthly fee. Whether you’re a cinephile or simply curious about the roots of filmmaking, The Film Detective offers an immersive journey into the world of classic cinema.
Fandor is a fantastic platform for movie enthusiasts who appreciate classic films. It focuses on advancing and preserving film art and culture, and it devotes 50 percent of its revenues to the rights holders of the featured films. With a vast selection of independent movies from bygone eras and a generous offering of foreign content, Fandor provides a rich cinematic experience. Subscribers can access over 4,000 movies, enjoying a diverse range of films that span different genres and eras. If you’re a lover of classic cinema and want to support the preservation of film art, Fandor is a must-try platform. Subscription options are available at $5.99 per month or $49.99 per year.
For those residing in the United States, Kanopy is an excellent resource for watching classic movies for free, provided they hold a library card from a participating institution. Kanopy offers a mix of critically acclaimed classics, recent releases from independent filmmakers, and foreign films. With a focus on offering diverse and high-quality content, Kanopy caters to a wide range of cinematic tastes. The platform is compatible with various streaming devices, including Apple TV, Roku, Android TV, Fire TV, and select smart TVs. If you’re looking for a platform that provides access to classic movies along with a curated selection of other noteworthy films, Kanopy is definitely worth exploring.
What are Some of the Classic Movies That Can Be Watched on Apps and Web Sites?
Here are some classic movies that can be watched on the above-mentioned apps and websites:
1. Turner Classic Movies (TCM): TCM is a treasure trove for classic movie enthusiasts. It features a vast collection of timeless films, including iconic titles like “Gone with the Wind,” “Casablanca,” “Citizen Kane,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “Singin’ in the Rain,” and “The Godfather.” TCM offers a blend of Hollywood classics, international films, and cinematic masterpieces that have shaped the history of cinema.
2. Pluto TV: Pluto TV’s classic movie channels offer a wide range of beloved films. You can enjoy timeless classics such as “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “The Sound of Music,” “Rebel Without a Cause,” “Roman Holiday,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and “The Great Escape.” With channels like Paramount Movie Channel, CMT Westerns, Classic Movies Channel, and 80s Rewind, Pluto TV delivers a nostalgic movie-watching experience.
3. Shout Factory: Shout Factory is a haven for cult classics and B-movies. It showcases a diverse selection of films, including cult favorites like “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” “Escape from New York,” “They Live,” and “Re-Animator.” Shout Factory also offers a range of classic TV shows and animated series for those seeking a nostalgic trip down memory lane.
4. The Criterion Channel: The Criterion Channel is renowned for its curated collection of classic and contemporary films. Some notable classic movies available on the platform include “Seven Samurai,” “Bicycle Thieves,” “Breathless,” “The Seventh Seal,” “Persona,” and “Rashomon.” The Criterion Channel is a go-to destination for cinephiles looking for thought-provoking and artistic classics.
5. Library of Congress: National Screening Room: The Library of Congress’ National Screening Room provides access to a variety of historically significant classic movies. You can explore films such as “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari,” “Battleship Potemkin,” “A Trip to the Moon,” and “The Birth of a Nation.” The collection represents a valuable archive of films that have shaped cinematic history.
6. Netflix: Although Netflix’s classic movie collection has reduced over time, it still offers noteworthy titles such as “Pulp Fiction,” “Goodfellas,” “The Shawshank Redemption,” “Schindler’s List,” “Forrest Gump,” and “The Silence of the Lambs.” By using genre codes, you can access specific classic movie categories and uncover hidden gems within Netflix’s catalog.
7. Old Movies—Oldies but Goldies: This Android app provides access to a wide range of classic Hollywood films from the early 1900s to the late 1960s. You can enjoy timeless classics starring legendary actors like Charlie Chaplin, Marlon Brando, John Wayne, and Alfred Hitchcock. The app offers a nostalgic journey through the golden age of cinema.
8. The Film Detective: The Film Detective specializes in showcasing classic movies predominantly from the black-and-white era. Some notable films available on the platform include “The General,” “Metropolis,” “Nosferatu,” and “Sunset Boulevard.” The Film Detective offers an opportunity to revisit cinematic gems that defined earlier periods of filmmaking.
9. Fandor: Fandor’s extensive collection of independent and foreign films also includes a selection of classic movies. You can discover classics such as “Metropolis,” “The Seventh Seal,” “Breathless,” “The Battleship Potemkin,” and “Persona.” Fandor caters to cinephiles who appreciate a blend of classic and contemporary cinema.
10. Kanopy: Kanopy offers a diverse collection of classic films, ranging from renowned classics like “Casablanca,” “Rear Window,” and “2001: A Space Odyssey” to lesser-known gems like “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg,” “Harold and Maude,” and “La Strada.” With its focus on critically acclaimed movies, Kanopy provides a platform for cinephiles seeking high-quality classic cinema.
These apps and websites offer a rich selection of classic movies, covering various genres, eras, and cinematic styles. Whether you’re a fan of Hollywood classics, independent gems, or international masterpieces, these platforms provide ample opportunities to indulge in the timeless magic of cinema.
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