Best Streaming Services for Classic Movies

New movies seem to emerge on Netflix every second. In this age of digital streaming, big names like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime have become entertainment factories for content. But what are the best streaming services for classic movies — films that don’t always have a place on more popular services?

Watching a movie you’ve already seen is a great way to ease anxiety. It’s like sitting with an old friend. And there are countless old films you’ve probably never even heard of or promised yourself you’d watch “someday” — movies filled with excellent acting and compelling plotlines. The new stuff is fine, but sometimes, you just want to unwind with a familiar classic.

So where can you find classic films to stream at your leisure? There are a handful of affordable services that boast catalogs of some of the best. Here are just a few of the places where you can discover—or re-discover—classic Hollywood films. Links are at the bottom.

Criterion Collection

The Criterion Collection has long served as a preserver and purveyor of “important classic and contemporary films.” But what was once a home video distribution company is now a venerable online streaming service.  Their online library is constantly changing, and usually includes about 1,000 titles ranging from black-and-white standards to art-house gems to newer indie darlings.

You can enjoy a 14-day trial, followed by either an $11 monthly plan or a $100 annual membership.

Turner Classic Movies

TCM is more than just a cable channel these days. You can now catch up with your favorite classics, from noir to musicals to Oscar-winning best pictures on two easy-to-use platforms.

If you’re a cable subscriber, you can watch all of TCM’s current listings on Watch TCM, their online catalog. Alternatively, if you subscribe to HBO Max for $15/month, you’ll gain full access to the TCM library as well.

Kanopy

Kanopy is the classic film equivalent of a public library. Literally. If you have a public library card or a university ID code, you can access thousands of free movies at no cost! From their website, “Enjoy critically-acclaimed movies, inspiring documentaries, award-winning foreign films and more.”

Fandor

With Fandor, you can stream over 4,000 films across genres, including a massive catalog of classics. Fandor’s main focus is independent and foreign films, helping you expand your cinephile status even across language barriers.

And, it’s one of the cheapest streamers out there, costing a mere $6/month, or $50/year.

The Film Detective

Yet another free site, with tons of old and out-of-the-box selections. We’re talking legitimate, black-and-white B-movies. But even if you can’t find the most critically-acclaimed titles on The Film Detective, there’s something fun about watching a genuinely bad movie. After a glass of wine, you’ll crack up at the special effects from low-budget classics like The Ape Man, and Attack of the Giant Leeches.

Best Streaming Services for Classic Movies — Quick Links

Criterion
TCM
Kanopy
Fandor
The Film Detective
HBO Max