I recently followed a Twitter moment that revolved around the question, “Name the most re-watchable movie in history.” As you can imagine, the responses varied widely, but everyone had one (or five) movies that they would watch over and over again. There’s something about a great movie that lets you enjoy it time after time.
As we move further into the digital age, there are more movies available to stream than ever before. There’s also a catalog of about 80 years of award-winning, fantastic movies that already exists that services aren’t streaming. The challenge is that making the classics seem as compelling as new content is hard without the benefit of million-dollar studio publicity.
You might not have noticed, but there’s a huge gap in programming that the big subscription video on demand (SVOD) providers aren’t covering. Classic movies are iconic parts of our collective culture, bringing us together with a shared experience. Netflix is currently focused on original programming and recent blockbusters. Hulu carries a few movies, but even as they broaden their library, the true focus is on TV shows and original programming.
FilmStruck is the classic movie streaming service you didn’t even know you were missing. There’s a huge market for iconic movies from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Don’t expect this small niche streaming service to compete with Netflix. It’s more like getting access to a cinephile’s personal collection.
FilmStruck is an Over the Top (OTT) video streaming service that serves up critically acclaimed classic films, art house, foreign, and cult favorites from the world’s greatest film libraries. FilmStruck is streaming the best films ever made. It’s the premier destination for finding those films that are so important they’ve become a part of our collective history.
The service, which launched in late 2016, carries about 1,800 movies per month, including many that have never before been available on an SVOD platform. Movies like “Casablanca,” “Rebel Without a Cause,” “Singin’ in the Rain,” “The Music Man,” and “An American in Paris.”
The service is curated and refreshed constantly, and it’s enhanced with introductions, trivia, expert perspectives, rare archival content, and bonus material. If this sounds like Turner Classic Movies to you, there’s a reason. FilmStruck is managed under TCM’s Movies division and relies on the vast library and years of knowledge behind TCM’s successful operation.
Value goes beyond delivery
It’s a lot less expensive to license older films and market them to a new generation than to create a never-ending stream of new content. FilmStruck doesn’t simply roll out old films and hope that you’ll watch. The most valuable feature a streaming service like this can offer is curation.
TCM is making a successful foray into the business because they’re willing to reach out to the cord-cutters and cord-nevers and demonstrate why movies from pre-1980 are interesting. TCM provides context to the extensive library by grouping the movies by director, by decade, or by genre. TCM’s Ben Mankiewicz is on board with exclusive, and unique, introductions that provide historical background as well as his trademark shrewd commentary.
Various Platforms to use FilmStruck on
FilmStruck’s service runs as an app, so you’ll be able to take it with you on the go or watch it on the large screen in your living room. The app is available on Roku, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and iOS and Android phones and tablets. Although it seems like broad coverage, it lacks an app for PlayStation and Xbox, leaving some potential subscribers behind.
Costs of FilmStruck
A basic subscription will give you access to the TCM Select library for $6.99/month. For $10.99/month, you’ll have access to approximately 1,800 combined titles in TCM Select and The Criterion Channel. Take advantage of the 14-day free trial available to investigate the service. After the free trial, subscribers can save by committing to a full year’s top-tier service in advance for only $99/year.
Genres and Curated Collections
Netflix’s secret category codes let you look for dubious genres like, “Cerebral Military Movies Based on Real Life.” FilmStruck is much more straightforward, sticking with the traditional categories of Adventure, Documentary, Mystery, Silent, Classic Hollywood, Drama, Romance, Thriller, Comedy, Horror, Science Fiction, War, Crime, Musical, Shorts, and Western. Of course, the smaller niche library makes it easier to browse and find a movie to watch.
Where FilmStruck really excels is in the curated collections. These change often and are presented with a common unifying theme. If you pay attention to the pairings and what they have in common, you’ll fill the gaps in your film education as a bonus. As an example, the current collections include themes on love, location, and type. Marriage – The Cure for Love consists of nine films with an underlying theme of marriage being a mundane and unsettling agreement. Deep in the Heart of Texas contains ten films simply based on location. NEO-NOIR is a set of eight films that contain femme fatales and dubious detectives.
Benefits over watching TCM
The most obvious benefit of FilmStruck is that it is on demand. TCM does a fine job broadcasting classic movies with context, but FilmStruck is available on your schedule and device exactly when you want it. The best benefit of the streaming service is that it carries more films, new bonus content, longer and more detailed introductions and never-before-seen video pulled from TCM’s vaults.
The second-tier service that includes the Criterion Channel titles is the exclusive home to 1,000 cinematic masterpieces. Subscribers to this top-level FilmStruck offering will see bonus content that includes early shorts, restored director’s cuts, filmmaker commentary, and more.
See for yourself
The film industry has been entertaining us for more than a century. If you had unlimited funds and space, you might be able to find a copy of most great movies made before 1980. But many classics, foreign films, and indies aren’t available on DVD. If you can find a legal copy, it’s likely got a strange screen resolution. The bottom line is that FilmStruck isn’t just streaming movies. It’s expertly curated with access to more bonus content than you’ll see anywhere else. Sign up for a 14-day free trial and see for yourself.
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