The Oldest Movies on Netflix
Netflix has only existed since 1997, and until 2015 they never produced or released their own titles. Before that, they were in the business of sending DVDs to customers through the mail. Later, they began licensing pre-existing films and shows from other companies to stream on their website.
That goes a long way towards explaining why Netflix’s catalogue leans so heavily on recent movies. As Netflix’s streaming service became more and more successful, the studios that had previously sold their libraries like Disney and Warner Bros. began hoarding their old content to populate their own streaming services like Disney+ and HBO Max. Netflix compensated by ramping up production of their own original films and shows — but until Reed Hastings invents a time machine, that won’t really change the fact that Netflix’s selection is dominated by stuff made in the last 10 to 20 years.
One of the nice things about Netflix is you can actually arrange their library chronologically if you know where to look. If you browse the “Movies” tab under different genres, you’ll find an option to list the movies by “Year Released.” The ones at the top are the most recent, so if you scroll to the bottom you’ll find the vintage options. In some genres, Netflix’s catalogue doesn’t go past the late 1990s. In other cases, they go much farther back — up to a couple of things that are 100 years old.
Here’s each of the oldest films available on Netflix right now in every permanent genre on the service (keeping in mind that Netflix cross-lists some things in multiple genres, so a few titles appear multiple times.)
The Oldest Movies on Netflix in Every Genre
Here are the oldest films available on Netflix in a variety of genres. Some are as recent as the late ’90s; others are over 100 years old.
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