Cinema as we know it has been around for almost a century, and there are far more films than anyone can ever watch in their lifetime. That’s why it’s always a good idea to focus on quality over quantity. Hulu can’t match the film libraries of its massive rival streamers. But it can and does put together a curated selection of flicks that represent some of the best stories that the medium has to offer. If you’re looking to further your cinematic education, then we’ve got a good place to start. We’ve already put together a list of the best classic movies on Hulu. All you need to do is make the time.
James Bond is back in theaters this year, but one of his greatest adventures is streaming on Hulu right now. Goldfinger was the third 007 film, but it’s also the one that fully cemented Sean Connery’s James Bond and his mythology. Gert Fröbe’s Auric Goldfinger also proved to be one of the most memorable Bond villains, thanks to his obsession with gold and the way he cruelly dispatched poor Jill Masterson (Shirley Eaton) by painting her body with gold. 007 also had his hands full with Goldfinger’s loyal henchman, Oddjob (Harold Sakata). There are definitely campy moments in this flick, but it’s still a great 007 movie that set the tone for the franchise.
Rotten Tomatoes: 99%
Stars: Sean Connery, Honor Blackman, Gert Fröbe, Shirley Eaton, Tania Mallet
Director: Guy Hamilton
Runtime: 110 minutes
Director Wes Anderson’s second film, Rushmore, is built around the unlikely friendship between Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman) and Herman Blume (Bill Murray). Max is a student at Rushmore Academy who defines himself by his extracurricular activities rather than his grades. Herman is a businessman who befriends Max shortly after meeting him. However, their bond is shattered over Max’s obsession with Rosemary Cross (Olivia Williams), a widowed teacher who is several years older than he is. While attempting to get Max to let Rosemary go, Herman finds himself falling for her as well. Max takes that as a betrayal, and he becomes Herman’s bitter rival for Rosemary’s heart.
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Stars: Jason Schwartzman, Olivia Williams, Bill Murray, Brian Cox, Seymour Cassel
Director: Wes Anderson
Runtime: 93 minutes
To Die For may be over two-and-a-half decades old, but it still feels all too timely. Nicole Kidman stars as Suzanne Stone, a woman who will do anything to become a famous TV personality. Anything. And when Suzanne’s husband, Larry Maretto (Matt Dillon), stands in the way of her ambitions, she seduces a teenager, Jimmy Emmett (Joaquin Phoenix). Through Jimmy, Suzanne recruits his friends, Russell Hines (Casey Affleck) and Lydia Mertz (Alison Folland), for a plan to kill Larry. However, Suzanne’s scheme goes awry fairly quickly as this comedy goes to some fairly dark places. Despite the murder and mayhem, Suzanne never loses her smile.
Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Stars: Nicole Kidman, Joaquin Phoenix, Matt Dillon, Casey Affleck, Illeana Douglas
Director: Gus Van Sant
Runtime: 106 minutes
Nearly a century ago, Al Capone (Robert De Niro) was Chicago’s top crime lord during Prohibition and seemingly immune from justice. The Untouchables takes a lot of liberties with the conflict between Capone and his rival on the other side of the law: Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner). After Ness becomes frustrated with Capone’s ability to bribe cops on the force, Jim Malone (Sean Connery) suggests that they recruit policemen out of the academy before they can be corrupted. These “Untouchables” turn the tide against Capone’s criminal empire, but he won’t go down without a bloody fight.
Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
Stars: Kevin Costner, Charles Martin Smith, Andy García, Robert De Niro, Sean Connery
Director: Brian De Palma
Runtime: 119 minutes
Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather films are so ubiquitous that many of his other movies get lost in the shuffle. Case in point, The Conversation, a ‘70s thriller starring Gene Hackman as private electronic surveillance expert Harry Caul. An intensely private man, Harry’s skill at his job is matched only by his overpowering paranoia about the invasion of his own privacy. When tasked by a client known only as The Director (Robert Duvall) to spy on a couple, Harry becomes convinced that the couple’s conversation is about their fear of being murdered by his client. That’s why Harry refuses to hand over the recording to The Director’s assistant, Martin Stett (Harrison Ford). However, Harry’s client refuses to take “no” for an answer, and Harry’s fear of falling under surveillance proves to be well-founded.
Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Stars: Gene Hackman, John Cazale, Allen Garfield, Cindy Williams, Harrison Ford
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Runtime: 113 minutes
John Wayne made his name in Westerns, and Hondo is one of his best. In the film, Wayne plays Hondo Lane, an army cavalry member who befriends Angie Lowe (Geraldine Page) and her young son, Johnny (Lee Aaker). The local Apache tribe respects Angie and her son, but they give her a deadline to take a husband from their people if her own missing husband does not return. To save Hondo’s life, she tells the Apache that he is her husband. However, the rising tensions between the army and the Apache put Hondo and Angie in a very difficult situation. And there is no way to avoid bloodshed when the two sides converge.
Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Stars: John Wayne, Geraldine Page, Ward Bond, Michael Pate, James Arness
Director: John Farrow
Runtime: 84 minutes
Steve Martin and John Candy are a great comedic duo in director John Hughes’ Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Within the film, Martin plays Neal Page, a marketing executive who is desperate to get home in time to see his family for Thanksgiving. Much to Neal’s annoyance, he keeps crossing paths with Del Griffith (Candy), a shower curtain salesman who loves to talk. When their flight is diverted because of bad weather, Neal and Del become unlikely traveling companions. Their misadventures and occasional conflicts may temporarily split them up, but Neal and Del somehow find their way back together on their shared journey home.
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Stars: Steve Martin, John Candy, Laila Robins, Michael McKean, Dylan Baker
Director: John Hughes
Runtime: 92 minutes
Before Lon Chaney, the Man of a Thousand Faces, portrayed the Phantom of the Opera, he had an unforgettable turn in the title role of Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame. This is definitely not the Disney version of this tale, as poor Quasimodo is even more harshly treated in this depiction of 15th-century Paris. The gypsy dancer, Esmeralda (Patsy Ruth Miller), is one of the few who offers Quasimodo compassion and kindness. Esmeralda also catches the eye of Phoebus de Chateaupers (Norman Kerry), and he quickly becomes enamored with her. When their mutual enemies frame Esmeralda for Phoebus’ murder, Quasimodo gives her sanctuary and fights for her survival.
Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Stars: Lon Chaney, Patsy Ruth Miller, Norman Kerry, Kate Lester
Director: Wallace Worsley
Runtime: 101 minutes
Johnny Guitar is a very unusual western in part because the key rivalry is between two women, Joan Crawford’s Vienna and Mercedes McCambridge’s Emma Small. Vienna is a salon owner who has a very contentious relationship with the other residents in town. But Emma’s hatred of her rival is so great that she encourages her lover, John McIvers (Ward Bond), to force Vienna to leave town. Fortunately, Vienna’s ex, Johnny Guitar (Sterling Hayden), arrives just in time to give her some backup — yet even Johnny has a strained relationship with Vienna. Although Johnny is the gunslinger of the duo, Vienna still has to take up arms to defend what’s hers.
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Stars: Joan Crawford, Sterling Hayden, Mercedes McCambridge, Scott Brady, Ernest Borgnine
Director: Nicholas Ray
Runtime: 110 minutes
The post-apocalyptic Mad Max franchise has evolved significantly since the first film hit theaters in 1979. In this movie, Mel Gibson’s Max Rockatansky was a family man and a member of the police force. But when Max and his fellow officer, Jim “Goose” Rains (Steve Bisley), run afoul of Johnny the Boy (Tim Burns) and his gang, it’s Max’s family who pays the ultimate price. This is the birth of the anti-hero who went on to headline all of the other Mad Max films. It’s also a good explanation for why Max is called “Mad.”
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Stars: Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner, Billie Whitelaw
Director: George Miller
Runtime: 93 minutes