Already seen all the hot new releases and tired of the same go-to faves? Consider these cult classics you can stream in your living room on services like Hulu or HBO Max and discover what all the critics and box office tallies missed (and, in some cases, didn’t.)
Here are nine films of days gone by that somehow still today have diehard fans hooked as ever, listed in order of release from oldest to newest.
1. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
Comedy, Drama – (Stanley Kubrick) Peter Sellers, George C. Scott
The concept of Dr Strangelove sounds dire: When a crazed army general launches a nuclear strike on the then-Soviet Union, a war room filled with military officials, politicians and diplomats scramble to stop it. The only thing is, every last one of them is ridiculously incompetent.
Proof that Stanley Kubrick can excel in any genre, even slapstick, Dr. Strangelove is as relevant today as it was when it was made.
Where to watch: Stream on HBO Max.
2. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Horror, Mystery, Thriller – (George A. Romero) Duane Jones, Judith O’Dea, Karl Hardman, Marilyn Eastman, Keith Wayne, Judith Ridley
Horror movies come and go, but none seems to have had the staying power of this late-60s zombie flick that may well have sparked a subgenre.
Directed to the height of camp by godfather of the slasher-flick George A. Romero, this first (and still the best) in a seemingly unkillable series follows a hapless group of folks trapped in a farmhouse during a zombie attack.
Who will survive the bloodthirsty beasts, if anyone, and if so, how? We know you’re dying to know.
Where to watch: Stream on Amazon Prime Video, FuboTV, HBO Max, Peacock and Peacock Premium and Paramount+ Starz, Epix, and AMC+ with Amazon Prime Video.
3. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Crime, Drama, Science Fiction – (Stanley Kubrick) Malcolm McDowell, Warren Clarke, James Marcus, Michael Tarn, Carl Duering
In this bizarre and unforgiving adaptation of Anthony Burgess’s novel of the same name, Stanley Kubrik (again!) presents an equally vicious and bizarre portrayal of crime and retribution. In a dystopian future, a young, sadistic hoodlum becomes the unwitting subject/victim of an experimental reformation procedure. Will it work? Only one way to find out.
Where to watch: Stream on Netflix and HBO Max.
4. Harold and Maude (1971)
Comedy, Drama, Romance – (Hal Ashby) Ruth Gordon, Bud Cort
The concept for Harold and Maude may sound a bit disturbing, but don’t balk. This deceiving sleeper is a cult classic for a reason, that being it is one of the most heartwarming films about being alive that has ever been made.
Having said that, the plot is as such: a suicide-ideating young man meets an elderly woman who attends strangers’ funerals, and they fall in love. Yeah, we warned you.
But really, don’t let the creepy sound of it deny you a boatload of happy tears. Plus, music by Cat Stevens will keep your toes tapping throughout, even during the squirmy parts.
Where to watch: Stream on Amazon Prime Video and Kanopy.
5. Apocalypse Now (1979)
Drama, Horror, War – (Francis Ford Coppola) Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Dennis, Hopper, Laurence Fishburne
War is hell, as a young soldier discovers when he’s sent on a fool’s errand to find an AWOL officer who’s supposedly gone insane, and kill him.
While other war films opt for photojournalistic realism, Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now following one tortured soldier takes viewers deep into the madness at the “Heart of Darkness,” the book on which this vivid, harrowing and somehow exhilarating nightmare is based.
Where to watch: Stream on Redbox.
6. This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
Comedy, Music, and Musical – (Rob Reiner) Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Rob Reiner
The original and quintessential mockumentary — thinly veiled as a true-life rockumentary. This behind-the-scenes look at a made-up rock band takes a playful, lighthearted and dead-on jab at an industry whose actual goings-on are the stuff of daily tabloid headlines.
It’s almost ironic to see all this in-band fighting, band members coming and going, changing names, promoters and release parties, dealing with groupies and poor ticket or record sales as a fiction. Yet somehow, by riffing on the dramas from real-life bands, this comedy ensemble manages to make the experience feel at once as authentic as it does ridiculous.
Where to watch: Stream on HBO Max.
7. The Breakfast Club (1985)
Comedy/Drama – (John Hughes) Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy
The preeminent high school film that makes it cool to not fit in, these 96 minutes are the most fun you will ever have in detention. In the hands of teen angst master John Hughes, this incongruous crew makes being unpopular feel just plain good.
Where to watch: Stream on AMC+ with Amazon Prime Video.
8. Heathers (1989)
Crime, Comedy – (Michael Lehmann) Winona Rider, Christian Slater, Shannon Doherty
Have you ever wanted to kill your classmates? Sure, you have. Well, Heathers will indulge you, vicariously of course, through a pair of too-smart-for-their-own-good misfits sick and tired (to death!) of the popular girls in school who all happen to have the same first name. Imagine that!
High school doesn’t get more true to life than this, provided, that is, you’re talking about the fantasies of all the losers, outcasts and rejects in your class.
Where to watch: Stream on Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, AMC+ on Amazon Prime, The Roku Channel, Hoopla, Tubi, Shudder, Sundance Now and Pluto TV.
9. Tank Girl (1995)
Action and Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Science Fiction – (Rachel Talalay) Lori Petty, Ice-T, Naomi Watts, Malcolm McDowell
Yup, there’s Malcolm McDowell again – a cult classic in himself! In Tank Girl, he plays an over-the-top bad guy opposite a sexy, sassy young woman who rides around post-apocalyptic America in a tank blowing sh*t up.
Do you need any more enticement to watch a film than that? An absurd, carnivalesque take on a cult British comic strip, the snappy one-liners filling it from start to finish are as sharp as all the missiles our capable anti-heroine dodges as she combats a ruthless corporation controlling the global water supply.
Where to watch: Stream on hoopla, Tubi, and Pluto TV.
So, get in there and fill up your streaming queue with these quirky films, snuggle up with a cuddle-buddy, and get ready for an entertaining evening!
Also, Check: The 10 best mind-bending movies you should watch