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The Best (Older) Streaming Movies of 2020


In a typical year, I see somewhere between 200 and 300 movies. In a typical year, about half those films are new releases while the other half are older titles.

2020 is anything but a typical year.

This year, I’m on pace for over 325 movies — but only about a quarter of those titles will be 2020 releases. Even fewer actually played in a theater, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic and its accompanying lockdowns. My traditional top ten list is still coming — even under these conditions, there are more than enough contenders — but because 2020 has been such an unconventional clusterf—, and because so many of the things we have all watched this year were older movies on Netflix, HBO Max, Peacock, Disney+, and beyond, I wanted to make an additional list that honored the discoveries I made while trapped in my home.

The list that follows represents my ten favorite first-time viewings of 2020 on streaming, with an important asterisk that reflects how simultaneously wonderful and frustrating the world of streaming movies can be. Some of the best older movies I saw for the first time this year aren’t included below because just a few months later, they’re already no longer available to stream (or, in a couple cases, not available anywhere online). I adored Francis Ford Coppola’s One From the Heart, for example — but good luck finding it streaming at the moment. Ditto for Tremors, Postcards From the Edge, and David Fincher’s The Game. Instead I picked 10 titles that are still available to stream — at least for now. They are…

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