Best Older Movies Streaming

(Welcome to Hidden Streams, a column focused on the best older movies available to stream on your favorite services, including Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and more.)

In this edition of Hidden Streams, you’ll find plenty of golden (and not-so-golden) oldies to check out or revisit, including one of Brian De Palma’s best movies, an under-seen vampire classic, Larry Cohen’s wild dragon horror movie, and more – and nothing that was released after 1985.

Ganja & Hess

Now Streaming on Shudder
Release date: 1973
Director: Bill Gunn
Cast: Duane Jones, Marlene Clark, and Bill Gunn

To coincide with the debut of their Jordan Peele-produced documentary Horror Noire, Shudder has added this black indie horror classic. Directed by and starring Bill Gunn, the film centers on an archaeologist who becomes a vampire after he’s stabbed by an ancient knife. Ganja & Hess was a breakthrough in black horror cinema, and served as the inspiration for Spike Lee’s 2014 film Da Sweet Blood of Jesus – the iconic filmmaker’s “unofficial remake” of Gunn’s 1973 cult classic.

For fans of: Horror Noire (watch it now!), Get Out, and Tales From the Hood

Q – The Winged Serpent

Now Streaming on Shudder
Release date: 1982
Director: Larry Cohen
Cast: Michael Moriarty, David Carradine, and Candy Clark

Directed by maverick filmmaker and exploitation king Larry Cohen, Q – The Winged Serpent is a certified cult classic. An ancient dragon named Quetzalcoatl (you can see how Q was easier) has been hanging out in the Chrysler building in New York, only emerging to devour tasty human snacks. A local criminal discovers the dragon’s lair, and is forced to decide if informing the cops is a risk he’s willing to take.

For fans of: King Cohen, The Host, and The Blob.

Dressed to Kill

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime
Release date: 1980
Director: Brian De Palma
Cast: Michael Caine, Angie Dickinson, and Nancy Allen

After having a sexual encounter with a stranger, a married housewife is murdered by a mysterious blonde woman. A sex worker witnesses the murder and becomes the killer’s next target. One of Brian De Palma’s better erotic thrillers (and one of his best films, period), Dressed to Kill also features one of the most riveting sequences ever put to film.

For fans of: Basic Instinct, Audition, and Blow Out.

The Defiant Ones

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime
Release date: 1958
Director: Stanley Kramer
Cast: Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier

Stanley Kramer’s 1958 crime film centers on two prisoners – one black, one white – who escape from prison but remain (literally) chained together and must overcome their differences if they want to survive. The film marked the first time Sidney Poitier’s name was credited above the title on the poster, and went on to earn several Oscar nominations – winning for its cinematography and original screenplay.

For fans of: In the Heat of the Night, BlacKkKlansman, and True Detective Season 3.

Please Murder Me!

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime
Release date: 1956
Director: Peter Godfrey
Cast: Angela Lansbury and Raymond Burr

Please Murder Me! is mostly told through the extended flashbacks from the perspective of a defense attorney (Burr) who successfully acquitted a client (Lansbury) of murder charges only to discover that she was guilty all along.

For fans of: Murder, She Wrote (I had to), The Devil’s Advocate, and Primal Fear.

Forbidden

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime
Release date: 1932
Director: Frank Capra
Cast: Barbara Stanwyck, Adolphe Menjou, and Ralph Bellamy

On the opposite spectrum from It’s a Wonderful Life is director Frank Capra’s Forbidden, a pre-code melodrama about a librarian who falls in love with a married man while on a cruise. Golden Age icon Barbara Stanwyck plays the librarian in what became the third of four collaborations with Capra.

For fans of: You Must Remember This, Cold War, and Golden Age cinema.

The Stepford Wives

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime
Release date: 1975
Director: Bryan Forbes
Cast: Katharine Ross, Paula Prentiss, and Peter Masterson

Adapted by the great William Goldman from the Ira Levin novel of the same name, this sci-fi cult classic stars Katharine Ross as a young wife who moves with her husband and kids to the seemingly idyllic Connecticut suburb of Stepford. There, she discovers a sinister secret lurking behind the town’s assemblage of impossibly perfect wives.

For fans of: The Stepford Wives (2004), Death Becomes Her, and Disturbing Behavior

The Deadly Trap

Now Streaming on Kanopy
Release date: 1971
Director: Rene Clement
Cast: Faye Dunaway, Frank Langella, and Barbara Parkins

When their children are kidnapped, a married couple (Dunaway and Langella) living in France begin to fall apart as the world as they once knew it dissolves around them. Directed by acclaimed French filmmaker Rene Clement (Beyond the Gates), The Deadly Trap premiered as an official selection at the Cannes Film Festival.

For fans of: Don’t Look Now, The Broken Circle Breakdown, and Rabbit Hole.

Champagne

Now Streaming on Kanopy
Release date: 1928
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Cast: Betty Balfour, Jean Bradin, and Ferdinand von Alten

Betty Balfour stars as a stubborn heiress whose millionaire father tricks her into getting a job by saying he lost all his money. Directed by the master of suspense early in his career, Champagne was Hitch’s second attempt at silent comedy, and though it was not well-received, it does feature some of his cinematic hallmarks.

For fans of: Alfred Hitchcock, The Artist, and The Queen of Versailles.

Brighton Rock

Now Streaming on Kanopy
Release date: 1948
Director: John Boulting
Cast: Richard Attenborough, Hermione Baddeley, and William Hartnell

Richard Attenborough gives a fascinating turn as Pinkie Brown, the small-town, razor-toting gang leader who marries a teenage waitress to ensure her silence regarding his crimes. Based on the novel by Graham Greene, Brighton Rock is a seedy noir that walks a fine line fairly well.

For fans of: Atonement, Peeping Tom, and White Heat.

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