We might have an endless library of movies and TV shows waiting at our fingertips, but did you know that two of the first movies ever released on home video were Westerns? That’s right, Stagecoach and High Noon were two of the first films made widely available for people to purchase and watch from the comfort of their own homes. Given their shared reputations as some of the most highly acclaimed movies in their genre, it makes sense that these two were chosen to help usher in home video. If you’re going to try and rope people into buying your product, what better than to offer up the best of the best?

In today’s day and age, for many, streaming services have largely replaced physical media and made them a thing of the past. DVDs, Blu-rays, records, CDs, and even books are not nearly as prevalent as they used to be in people’s homes, and are mostly only sought after by collectors. However, back in the ’70s, people were all about accumulating and filling their homes with whatever art they could get their hands on. By then, books and records were beyond the norm, but home video was a new and exciting thing for folks to get their hands on. This meant that the first few movies that were made available were going to be a hot commodity.

So if you were an executive that was launching a product in which people could buy and rewatch the same movies over and over, you would probably want to sell films that are already beloved by the public. With Stagecoach and High Noon, that’s exactly what happened. Both movies were massive box office successes for their time, nominated for numerous Academy Awards, starred movie icons like John Wayne and Gary Cooper, were re-released frequently, and were directed by the legendary filmmakers John Ford and Fred Zinnemann. Seriously, you’d be hard-pressed to find two better movies to kick off home video in the 1970s than these.

Today, Stagecoach and High Noon might not seem like the hottest movies in the world, but back then, the Western genre was at the end of one of its most popular eras. At that time, you could hardly go a week without either a new Western movie or TV show premiering. Why not have two of the first home videos be from the most popular movie genre?

Outside of Stagecoach and High Noon, the other two first movies released on home video were Hamlet and Bridge on the River Kwai. These two movies were similarly beloved by audiences around the world, had hugely famous actors as their leads (Alec Guinness and Laurence Olivier), and were massive box office successes when they were first released in theaters, so they were foolproof choices as well. These four films were put out on home video by Sears, Roebuck, USA in 1972, and shown on the Avco Cartavision video player that retailed at $1,600. Watching movies at home might be the norm now, but back in ’72, this was a luxury. It wouldn’t take long for VHS and Betamax players and tapes to become a bit cheaper and made widely available for people to purchase everywhere, with home video booming in the 1980s.

There’s no doubt that people take home video for granted nowadays. People hardly even buy movies these days, opting to stream movies on Netflix and Max instead! But in this era of movies and TV shows disappearing off of services everywhere, a time in which DVDs and Blu-rays are cheaper than ever, more people should start investing in buying movies for their homes!

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