Netflix’s business model for the last few years has been all about growing its subscriber base with a nonstop stream of new content, the vast majority of it created in house, so that they would own these titles in perpetuity and wouldn’t need to license things from the long-standing Hollywood film studios. And given the economics of the business, that made sense. But it didn’t exactly prioritize old movies. For those who were less interested in what new mock-blockbuster Netflix had this month, there was less and less stuff on Netflix to actually watch.

So it is somewhat heartening to see them promoting a new section of the service they are calling “Milestone Movies” which is dedicated entirely to old films celebrating anniversaries in the year 2024. They’ve launched the section with films that turn 50 in 2024 — including such acknowledged masterpieces as Blazing SaddlesChinatownThe Parallax View, and California SplitIn fact, all of the titles I just mentioned, and more from 1974, are available on Netflix right now.

Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
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Throughout the year, this new section will be replenished with other classics celebrating other anniversaries this year. Movies from 1984, 1994, and 2004 will be added in April, July, and October, respectively. Netflix’s announcement of this new initiative also mentioned they will be holding milestone screenings throughout the year at their movie theaters; the Paris in New York and the Egyptian in Los Angeles.

Now, there are only 17 titles to start, and they are not all out-and-out winners. (Maybe you are huge fan of the 1974 version of The Great Gatsby; I am not.) I’m not sure anyone is going to cancel their Criterion Channel subscription over this news. (I am certainly not!) Still, it’s encouraging to see any attention paid at Netflix to older movies. Perhaps if enough people watch these vintage films, their metrics will pick up on that and we’ll get more stuff like this.

You can see the full lineup of “Milestone Movies” here.

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