Netflix put a huge nail in the coffin of the DVD business when it discontinued its disc delivery service after 25 years.
The media giant, which shipped its last DVDs from U.S. distribution centers on September 29, said business had “shrunk” due to the popularity of streaming.
This means fans are relying more than ever on streaming platforms to deliver an eclectic mix of mainstream films, big-screen classics and cult favorites – but are they up to the task?
Unfortunately, MailOnline has noticed a bias towards more modern films from the last 30 years, while many acclaimed older films are nowhere to be seen.
Some like it hot, Citizen Kane and Breakfast at Tiffany’s are among the masterpieces that fans won’t be able to stream as part of their subscriptions on Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video.
Some like it hot, Citizen Kane and Breakfast at Tiffany’s are among the classics that fans can’t stream as part of their subscription
Originally, Netflix only shipped DVDs to customers in small envelopes (pictured), but its business model shifted to online streaming
Your monthly fee doesn’t get you these classics
Below are some older classics that aren’t available as part of your Netflix, Disney+ or Amazon Prime Video subscription in the UK
-Citizen Kane (1941)
– Brief Encounter (1945)
– Great Expectations (1946)
– Some Like It Hot (1959)
– Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
– The Great Escape (1963)
– The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
– Young Frankenstein (1974)
– One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
Back in 2018, film author Kate Hagen noted that the number of films on Netflix made before 1990 was only 98 in total.
Even today, when you scroll through Netflix’s film list, you notice that the overwhelming majority are films from the last 20 or 30 years.
To explore this further, MailOnline has compiled a list of 50 older films that are generally considered “classics” as named by IMDb and Empire Magazine.
Using 1980 as the cutoff point for what could reasonably be considered an “old” film, the list included “Citizen Kane,” “Casablanca,” “Some Like It Hot,” “Mary Poppins,” “2001: A Space Odyssey.” and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”
We then looked for them on the “big three” streaming services – Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+.
Shockingly, Netflix only scored a paltry three out of 50, while Disney+ scored even the worst – it only had one (Mary Poppins).
This is mainly because there are predominantly films on Disney+ that are owned by the Walt Disney Company.
Amazon Prime Video only had two out of 50 that I could stream as part of my subscription, although most could be rented for an additional fee (between £3 and £4).
Experts agree that the dominance of streaming is making it increasingly difficult to watch older classics – those from the 1970s and even before.
James Bore, technology expert at consulting firm Bores Group, said “Physical media in general seems to have problems” – not just DVDs, but also Games consoles that do not require discs.
British retailers such as John Lewis have already stopped selling DVD players in their stores, although Blu-ray players are doing better.
“We are moving into a world where all media is ephemeral and can be deleted or changed by streaming companies,” Bore told MailOnline.
“It’s not even about us renting out our media – instead, we’re renting out access to it.”
Dave Wain is the owner of one of the UK’s few remaining DVD rental shops – Snips Movies in Bebington, Merseyside – which is stocked wall-to-wall with over 15,000 titles to rent.
Dave Wain, owner of Snips Movies in Merseyside, said it was becoming increasingly difficult for film lovers to watch older films on streaming services
Mr Wain said it was becoming increasingly difficult for film lovers to watch older films on streaming services, which inevitably meant they missed out on some classics.
“Unless you have the persistence – and financial means – to subscribe to double-digit numbers of streaming services, there’s a good chance you’ll have little to no access to some of the greatest films ever made,” said he told MailOnline.
“Admittedly the majority of people will have minimal interest in watching a Billy Wilder film or something by Douglas Sirk, but that shouldn’t mean they’re not available.”
“We have to preserve our film history.”
Mr Wain said the frustration of not being able to find certain films on streaming services was “a constant topic of conversation” in his business with customers.
“I have just over 15,000 titles and the number of people renting certain titles from me just because they are not available on streaming platforms is growing every month,” he said.
Mr Wain believes that visiting a physical store filled wall-to-wall with choices allows people to discover a wider range of films.
It seems that movie lovers are relying on streaming platforms more than ever to get the movies they want – but are they up to the task?
Blockbuster, known for VHS and DVD rentals, has gone out of business for most of the past decade
In comparison, Netflix decides which movies to promote heavily on its landing page while promoting others through an algorithm that uses data from our watch history.
“In the era of video stores, we weren’t controlled by an algorithm that told us what to watch,” the owner said.
“We had the freedom to browse and choose and potentially go down a rabbit hole.
“The days of children stumbling across an old Brian De Palma film or an Alfred Hitchcock classic are in danger of disappearing.”
One of the most popular movie rental companies was Blockbuster, which actually competed with Netflix 20 years ago before it began streaming movies to customers over the Internet.
Blockbuster, known for VHS and DVD rentals, has gone out of business for most of the last decade and has been partially driven out of the market by the huge success of Netflix.
There’s only one Blockbuster store left – in the town of Bend, Oregon – although rumor has it the brand is on the verge of a spectacular comeback.
MailOnline finds a shocking lack of classic films on the three major streaming services
Below is a list of 50 acclaimed films made before 1980. Only one, Mary Poppins, is available on Disney+.
Three (Jaws, Lawrence of Arabia, Monty Python’s Life of Brian) are on Netflix.
There are two of them on Amazon Prime Video (The 39 Steps, 8½), but more can be rented for a higher fee.
This means that you can only stream six of these 50 films as part of your Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video subscription – and only if you are subscribed to all three.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
The Godfather (1972)
Seven Samurai (1954)
Citizen Kane (1941)
Singing in the Rain (1952)
The Exorcist (1973)
The Birds (1963)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
Young Frankenstein (1974)
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
Some Like It Hot (1959)
Gone with the Wind (1939)
Taxi Driver (1976)
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
The 39 Steps (1935)
Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979)
West Side Story (1961)
Brief Encounter (1945)
Rear window (1954)
Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
The Sound of Music (1965)
The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
Mary Poppins (1964)
The Graduate (1967)
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
The Philadelphia Story (1940)
The Great Escape (1963)
Cape Fear (1962)
Doctor Zhivago (1965)
It’s quiet on the Western Front (1930)
Great Expectations (1946)
12 Angry Men (1957)