In June 2017, Empire magazine did a survey to find the 100 greatest movies of all time as voted by their readers. The results of the survey were published last month and we thought you’be interested to know which of the top 100 are currently streaming on Netflix.
But before we do….
You might be interested to know some of the movies that Netflix include in their Classics genre never even made it into the Empire top 100. And there are some surprises. All About Eve, American Graffiti, Annie, Annie Hall, The Blues Brothers, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Carrie, Das Boot, A Few Dollars More, Kramer vs. Kramer, Last Tango in Paris, Misery, The Omen, Out of Africa, Rain Man, To Kill a Mockingbird and When Harry Met Sally are 18 huge movies that don’t feature in the list. There are more.
Now we could debate forever what constitutes a great movie or a classic move or, indeed, a cult movie. But we won’t. Not here at least.
For all you stats fans, the oldest movie in the top 100 is Citizen Kane and the most popular years are 1994 and 2001 with 5 entries each.
The 18 movies currently streaming on Netflix that are in the latest Empire top 100 are (in reverse order)
97. Titanic – 1997
Directed by: James Cameron
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane
We’ve written about Titanic before. Alright it’s a working movie but was it worth 12 Oscars? In the same year, As Good As Ii Gets, The Full Monty, Good Will Hunting and L.A. Confidential were nominated for best picture and we think that speaks volumes. But never mind. Titanic is a romantic drama which we are going call a chickflick. Let’s move on.
96. Good Will Hunting – 1997
Directed by: Gus Van Sant
Starring: Robin Williams, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck
By the time he made Good Will Hunting, Robin Williams was firmly established as a highly competent serious actor. The storyline is not complicated but the characterisations are and the professor student relationship is perfectly delivered. For unknown reasons, the movie wasn’t universally well received but, we think, should be higher in the list.
94. Lost In Translation – 2003
Directed by: Sofia Coppola
Starring: Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Giovanni Ribisi
A curious one this. Does Lost in Translation set out to explore the the intricacies of love, life and loneliness or is it a sideways look at the cultural differences between the USA and Japan? Whatever you may decide, it’s far, far more than a chickflick. This is a real “thinker” and well worthy of it’s best screenplay Oscar. And another great serious performance from a comedy actor.
79. Captain America: Civil War – 2016
Directed by: Anthony Russo
Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson
Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow, Winter Soldier, Falcon, War Machine, Hawkeye, Black Panther, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Ant-Man, Spider-Man, Zemo and Crossbones. Did we miss anyone? Probably. Basically our super heroes are being restricted by legislation and don’t like it very much. It wouldn’t happen under Donald Trump.
75. Fargo – 1996
Directed by: Joel Coen
Starring: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi
Fargo is nothing if not a power movie. The really weird thing is that Frances McDormand – and this is a power performance – is listed 20th in the acting credits. This might be an order of appearance thing but it’s so wrong. There are elements of black comedy but this is crime drama at it’s very best. Although over 20 years old now, this must surely be heading towards the classics list.
71. Hot Fuzz – 2007
Directed by: Edgar Wright
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman
What would this list be without a bit of British unashamed slapstick? Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg, who were also behind the all time classic Shaun of the Dead (also and rightly in the top 100), deliver the perfect spoof on police drama with considerable aplomb. Even the throw away stuff, and there’s plenty of it, is genius. And action fans will not be disappointed either.
65. Avengers Assemble – 2012
Directed by: Joss Whedon
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson
Another team effort from the super heroes, Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk, blah, blah, blah, who have to take on Loki. Now Loki first appears in 13th Century Norwegian literature as a Norse god. He was busy back then fighting on both sides of the good/bad fence so it’s a shame he’s plumped for the wrong side in the 21st century. But thanks you Marvel for making the world a better place
62. La La Land – 2016
Directed by: Damien Chazelle
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Rosemarie DeWitt
LA LA. So good they named it twice. Or was that…. And it is good as proved by a mere 6 Oscars. What is most refreshing is a return to good old fashioned song and dance musical cinema. It’s even got a bit of a story. La LA Land will surely stand the test of time and rise into the pantheon of classics in which musicals are sadly under represented.
57. Whiplash – 2014
Directed by: Damien Chazelle
Starring: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, Melissa Benoist
Whiplash is another teacher pupil movie and has music to boot. Let’s face it, the music industry is brutal and the idea that a teacher must be brutal to extract the best from his students is far from misplaced. Of all the human relationship movies in the list, Whiplash is one of the strongest both in terms of the story and the delivery through some fine acting.
38. Mad Max: Fury Road – 2015
Directed by: George Miller
Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult
The Mad Max franchise evolved from the first low budget offering in which Max goes mad to the blockbuster later movies in which Max seems to be the only sane person on the planet. As an apocalyptic vision of the future this is about as daft as Waterworld but not as wet. Thank goodness it’s set in Australia from where these weirdos are unlikely to escape.
34. Guardians Of The Galaxy – 2014
Directed by: James Gunn
Starring: Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper
Guardians of the Galaxy is a must for visual effects buffs for which it won an Oscar nomination. Unlike many comic book movies which, despite their name, actually completely mess up comedy, Guardians gets it just about right. Describing a casting for this genre as genius might sound fatuous but Chris Pratt is perfect in this blockbuster from Marvel.
33. Schindler’s List – 1993
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley
The truth is that Oskar Schindler was not actually a very nice person. He was a self obsessed and extremely greedy German industrialist. But the man done good. Quite why Spielberg felt it necessary to film in black and white is not clear. Perhaps he felt it would increase the power of the true story being told. It didn’t need it.
12. The Godfather Part II – 1974
Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola
Starring: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall
Together the The Godfather (No 1 in the list), The Godfather Part II is one of a pair of some of the finest story telling ever. You can watch part III for the conclusion but the first two in the series are the heavyweights. We all know the American mafia are bad guys but look beyond the violence at a man doing whatever he can to provide for his family.
11. Back To The Future – 1985
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Starring: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson
Michael J Fox was actually 24 when he played the 17 year old Marty McFly. Frankly he looked about 17 when he played Doc Hollywood 6 years later and about 17 when he played Louis Canning in the Good Wife 20 years later because he never seems to age. The idea of being able to go back in time and sort your parents out is rather fun.
8. Jaws – 1975
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss
Although never classified as a horror movie, Jaws is a seminal film that plays on the worst of human fears. Being eaten alive is a slightly quicker end than being buried alive but you still know all about it. Although a great movie (a great white movie indeed) the backlash it caused against the world shark population remains a sadness.
5. Pulp Fiction – 1994
Directed by: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson
When you sit back to think about why Pulp Fiction is such a great movie, it’s hard to put your finger on it. It just is. The multiple interweaving of storylines is seamless. Not only did this movie launch the Miramax studio but any number of other independent studios besides. And the whole industry became so much the better for that.
4. The Shawshank Redemption – 1994
Directed by: Frank Darabont
Starring: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton
There is an argument that you can’t have a number one movie because of the difference in genres. You could perhaps have a top five equal and, if this was the case, The Shawshank Redemption would rightly be in that list. Nominated for 7 Oscars and winner of none (thanks to Forrest Gump) this is already on any list of classic movies worth it’s salt.
1. The Godfather – 1972
Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola
Starring: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan
The Godfather trilogy didn’t set out to glorify the mafia, criminality or violence and, as long as you understand this, the story becomes the giant that it really is. What is often missed is that Marlon Brando as Vito Corleone isn’t really the Godfather of the title; it’s his son, Michael Corleone, who is drawn into the family business with reluctance.