Three to See: This Date in Movie Release History

Take a walk down movie memory lane as we highlight three classics that debuted this week that you can stream right now at home.

By Chuck Walton

julia-roberts-pretty-woman

In our new weekly feature we are highlighting three classic movies from the past 30 years that debuted this week. Now that we're all stuck at home, there's no better time to celebrate the anniversaries and relive the release of these cinematic milestones from the comfort of your couch.

  • 1Pretty Woman (U.S. release: March 23, 1990)

    Richard Gere and Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman." Courtesy Everett Collection.

    30 years ago this week, one of the most iconic and successful romantic comedies of all time debuted. "Pretty Woman" entered the box office at #1 and stayed in the Top Ten for 16 weeks; and with it being distributed under Disney's Touchstone banner, the film became the Mouse House's highest rated and highest grossing R-rated movie of all time (though that might change now that they own "Deadpool" and "Alien"). "Pretty Woman" might be regarded as a "yuppie fantasy," but the classic rom-com might have turned out differently if director Garry Marshall stuck with the original script. Originally titled "3000," the script featured darker tones and more controversial themes, including Vivian (Julia Roberts) being addicted to cocaine. When then-Disney studio head Jeffrey Katzenberg got the script, he noted the film's underlying "Pygmalion" – and, thus "My Fair Lady" – inspiration. This was the key to turning it into a modern-day fairy tale, something more befitting of a Disney film. "Pretty Woman" stands as a movie that not only ushered in a wave of rom-coms, but also made a star out of leading woman Julia Roberts.

    Where to stream: Prime Video, iTunes, Google Play, VUDU

  • 2Oldboy (U.S. release: March 25, 2005)

    Min-sik Choi in "Oldboy." © Tartan Films/courtesy Everett Collection.

    If you were riveted by recent Best Picture winner "Parasite", then do yourself a favor and queue up "Oldboy". If you have never seen "Oldboy" (or it's recent Spike Lee remake), then watch the famous corridor fight scene…and then do yourself a favor and queue up "Oldboy." After making waves in Korea, and winning the Grand Prix at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival, Park Chan-wook's neo-noir thriller was ready for its state-side debut – 15 years ago this week. Chan-wook's similarly themed "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance" and "Lady Vengeance" serve as perfect bookends to the film. While not linked by any characters or arcs, the three films remain connected by their meditations on ethics, revenge and salvation. The perfect sort of thrillers to binge on while being cooped up with no place to go.

    Where to stream: Vudu (Rent/Free), Fandor/Sundance Now, Shudder

  • 3The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (U.S. release: March 19, 2010)

    Noomi Rapace in "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." © Music Box Films/Courtesy Everett Collection.

    At this stage we've had three different versions of chain-smoking hacker Lisbeth Salander and her eponymous tattoo, including the American remake and the most recent entry "The Girl in the Spider's Web". But, to many, the most iconic take on the character would be from original Salander star, Noomi Rapace. Based on the international bestseller of the same name, the original "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" was a faithful adaptation of the thriller with Rapace in the titular role and Michael Nyqvist as "Millenium" publisher Mikael Blomkvist. Originally released in Sweden, the film, like the book, became a success in all countries where it debuted. As it hit the US – 10 years ago this week – critics like Roger Ebert were praising Rapace's captivating performance. As Ebert said in his review, she gives the film a "rare quality of having a heroine more fascinating than the story."

    Where to stream: Prime Video (subscription), Prime Video (rent/own), iTunes, Google Play, VUDU

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