5 Classic Movies on Streaming that Turn 50 this Year!

From epic crime dramas to pioneers of the slasher genre, 1974 was a fantastic year in cinema. Let’s turn back the clock and look at five classic movies that turn 50 in 2024!


Not only is Chinatown considered to be one of all-time greats in the neo-noir genre, but it’s also often named among the best films ever made. It’s arguably the finest hour of three-time Academy Awards winner Jack Nicholson’s career, who received a “Best Actor” nomination for his contributions. Nicholson plays the role of J.J. “Jake” Gittes, a private investigator hired by Evelyn Mulwray (Faye Dunaway) who has to shift with his ever-evolving case and overcome a dishonest and corrupt society along the way. Chinatown, which now holds a near-flawless 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, was nominated for 11 Oscars at the 47th Academy Awards, winning “Best Original Screenplay,” and even spawned a sequel with 1990’s The Two Jakes.

Where to watch: Netflix, Paramount+, Pluto TV

The Godfather Part II

The Godfather Part II marks the rare case of a sequel that rivals its well-known, already-top-tier predecessor. The saga of the infamous Corleone crime family continues, as the film shows us both the early stages of Vito’s career and Michael taking over as the new “don.” The juxtaposition between the two Corleones and their respective rise and fall makes for a winding plot that culminates with a solemn ending. The presence of The Godfather Part II was felt immediately in popular culture and stayed over time, as it received at least four nominations at the Oscars, BAFTA Awards, and Golden Globes from 1975-76 and was added to the U.S. National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 1993.

Where to watch: Paramount+, Hulu

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

In directing just his second full-length feature film, Tobe Hooper broke new ground by popularizing the idea of a slasher movie, where a usually-masked killer stalks and takes down a group of people one by one. In fact, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre predates the Halloween and Friday the 13th franchises, which brought forth horror icons Michael Myers and Jason Vorhees. Leatherface is the star of the show in Hooper’s movie, though, and he is just one member of an appalling cannibal family who terrorizes five twenty-somethings along the way. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is truly an atmospheric film and relies heavily on its eerie, mid-’70s rural Texas backdrop, which creates a foreboding sense.

Where to watch: Peacock, Prime Video, AMC+

Blazing Saddles

Noted comedy director Mel Brooks helmed this project in the same year as Young Frankenstein, another laugh-out-loud movie that features Gene Wilder in a starring role. Wilder shares the screen with Cleavon Little, who gives his signature performance in Blazing Saddles. What comes out of this film is a satirical take on old westerns, one that sees Wilder and Little teaming up to defend the fictional town of Rock Ridge against thugs and attorney general Hedley Lamarr’s devious plans. Like the aforementioned The Godfather Part II, Blazing Saddles was added to the National Film Registry for its cultural significance, this time in 2006. It’s now regarded as one of the premier comedies of all time, holding an 89% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.7/10 score on IMDb.

Where to watch: Netflix, available to rent on Prime Video and Apple TV

The Conversation

The Conversation follows Gene Hackman as Harry R. Caul, a San Francisco-based surveillance expert, who is hired by clients for his wire-tapping techniques. When recording a young couple one day, Caul inadvertently uncovers clues suggesting an ominous murder plot towards the pair, which makes him question nearly everything going forward. The real question of whether or not homicide is on the horizon then remains. This thrilling film came from the mind of Francis Ford Coppola, who directed The Godfather trilogy and Apocalypse Now, and features stellar support from Harrison Ford, John Cazale, and Allen Garfield. Entertainment website Vulture lists The Conversation as Coppola’s best work, while it’s usually ranked as one of the greatest suspense movies – with a superb twist, of course – of all time.

Where to watch: Netflix, Apple TV, available to rent on Prime Video

About the Author

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Robert Hughes

Robert Hughes is a Junior at Iona University, majoring in media and strategic communications, and an intern at AfterBuzz TV. In his free time, Robert loves to spend hours practicing the bass guitar and hunting for his favorite artists at vinyl record shops.