The Greatest Underrated Movies I've Ever Seen

Box office means nothing for quality motion pictures, even for some of the most successful directors and movie stars. Try to see these great films.
View:
Log in to copy items to your own lists.
1.
Dolores Claiborne (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A big-city reporter travels to the small town where her mother has been arrested for the murder of an elderly woman that she works for as a maid. (132 mins.)
Director: Taylor Hackford
“ Kathy Bates and Jennifer Jason Leigh are superb in this brilliant adaptation of Stephen King's drama of mother and daughter. This is not a horror movie but a thoughtful powerful story of troubled family. ” - smith-d-c
 
2.
A Bronx Tale (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A father becomes worried when a local gangster befriends his son in the Bronx in the 1960s. (121 mins.)
Director: Robert De Niro
“ One of my favorite films featuring a terrific Robert De Niro performance as a father trying to keep in son out of organized crime. Chaz Palmintari wrote the script as a play and is wonderful as the gangster. ” - smith-d-c
 
3.
The Sure Thing (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A college student plans a cross-country trip to get laid, but ends up traveling with a young woman. They hate each other, so naturally... (100 mins.)
Director: Rob Reiner
“ This is one of the funniest, greatest, romantic comedies ever done. Rob Reiner, fresh off of Spinal Tap, directs a phenomenal John Cusack and a wonderful performance by Daphne Zuniga who have fantastic chemistry in this semi-remake of It Happened One Night. Tim Robbins is also great as Gary Cooper, "but not the one who's dead." ” - smith-d-c
 
4.
Transsiberian (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A Trans-Siberian train journey from China to Moscow becomes a thrilling chase of deception and murder when an American couple encounters a mysterious pair of fellow travelers. (111 mins.)
Director: Brad Anderson
“ A terrific thriller with good performances by Emily Mortimer, Woody Harrelson, and Ben Kingsley. It captured train travel wonderfully. ” - smith-d-c
 
5.
A Midnight Clear (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
This WW2 psychological drama plays out at Christmas. US GIs hold an isolated cabin in the Ardennes against a handful of Germans cut off from their main force. Combat-weary and short of rations, both sides are determined to survive. (108 mins.)
Director: Keith Gordon
“ One of the greatest and underrated war movies that has come out in 20 years. ” - smith-d-c
 
6.
Tape (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Three old high school friends pass the time in a Michigan motel room dissecting the painful memories of their high school years. (86 mins.)
“ Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman are superb in this simple looking but well written film. ” - smith-d-c
 
7.
The Private Eyes (1980)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
This spoof of the Sherlock Holmes stories finds Inspector Winship and Dr. Tart investigating a strange death in a possibly haunted mansion... (91 mins.)
Director: Lang Elliott
“ You have to love slapstick and old time comedy to appreciate this hilarious send up of haunted house mystery thrillers. Don Knotts and Tim Conway are hysterical together and one of the great pairings in movie history. PLEASE RELEASE THIS ON DVD!! ” - smith-d-c
 
8.
Arachnophobia (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
A species of South American killer spider hitches a lift to the U.S. in a coffin and starts to breed and kill. (103 mins.)
Director: Frank Marshall
“ If you are afraid of spiders, you might be squeamish. But for me, this was the most fun I've had watching a movie in a long time. Jeff Daniels and John Goodman are both terrific. ” - smith-d-c
 
9.
Outland (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
In the distant future, a police marshal stationed at a remote mining colony on the Jupiter moon of Io uncovers a drug-smuggling conspiracy, and gets no help from the populace when he later finds himself marked for murder. (112 mins.)
Director: Peter Hyams
“ Sean Connery is great in this Peter Hyams version of High Noon set in outer space. ” - smith-d-c
 
10.
The Ruling Class (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A member of the House of Lords dies, leaving his estate to his son. Unfortunately, his son thinks he is Jesus Christ. The other, somewhat more respectable, members of their family plot to steal the estate from him. Murder and mayhem ensue. (154 mins.)
Director: Peter Medak
“ Peter O'Toole is hilariously brilliant as a man who this he is Jesus. The movie is very funny, witty, and moving as well. ” - smith-d-c
 
11.
No Escape (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
A soldier convicted for murdering his commanding officer is dumped and left to die on a prison island inhabited by two camps of convicts. (118 mins.)
Director: Martin Campbell
“ This was an underrated sci-fi prison action drama with Ray Liotta leading his group of prisoners. great action with a brain. ” - smith-d-c
 
12.
Sorcerer (1977)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Four unfortunate men from different parts of the globe agree to risk their lives transporting gallons of nitroglycerin across dangerous South American jungle. (121 mins.)
“ Directed by William Frieken of The French Connection, Roy Schieder is terrific in this version of The Wages of Fear. A highly suspenseful movie that leaves you little time to breathe. ” - smith-d-c
 
13.
The Emerald Forest (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
After the son of engineer Bill Markham is abducted by an aboriginal tribe on the edge of the rain forest, the engineer spends the next 10 years searching for him. (114 mins.)
Director: John Boorman
“ John Boorman directs this story of a British boy who becomes a wild child of the rain forest. Beautifully filmed throughout. ” - smith-d-c
 
14.
The Package (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
Experienced Green Beret sergeant Johnny Gallagher is escorting a prisoner, Airborne Ranger Thomas Boyette, back to the US, but Boyette escapes and Gallagher must risk life and limb to catch him. (108 mins.)
Director: Andrew Davis
“ A terrific thriller with Gene Hackman and Tommy Lee Jones, just before he became a movie star. ” - smith-d-c
 
15.
Bat*21 (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
During the Vietnam War, Colonel Hambleton's aircraft is shot down over enemy territory and a frantic rescue operation ensues. (105 mins.)
Director: Peter Markle
“ A great Vietnam war movie with Gene Hackman and Danny Glover both superb. ” - smith-d-c
 
16.
Innerspace (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A hapless store clerk must foil criminals to save the life of the man who, miniaturized in a secret experiment, was accidentally injected into him. (120 mins.)
Director: Joe Dante
“ Joe Dante directed this sort of remake of the Fantastic Voyage with Dennis Quaid going into the body of Martin Short. A lot of fun. ” - smith-d-c
 
17.
Oscar (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
A gangster attempts to keep the promise he made to his dying father: that he would give up his life of crime and "go straight". (109 mins.)
Director: John Landis
“ This film received mixed reviews but it is a perfect farce. It takes its time and builds to uproarious proportions. Stallone is good but the rest of the cast, especially Tim Curry and Marisa Tomei are wonderful. ” - smith-d-c
 
18.
Leap of Faith (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
Fake faith healer Jonas Nightingale is stranded in a small town where he finds he can't fool all of the people all of the time. (108 mins.)
Director: Richard Pearce
“ Steve Martin is wonderful playing the charismatic traveling preacher and the film is a great examination of what true belief is. (Also recommended Robert Duvall's The Apostle.) ” - smith-d-c
 
19.
Mystery Men (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
A group of inept amateur superheroes must try to save the day when a supervillian threatens to destroy a major superhero and the city. (121 mins.)
Director: Kinka Usher
“ Why did this one fail? The movie is pure campy ridiculous fun with an all star cast and a great Greg Kinnear as the bad guy. ” - smith-d-c
 
20.
Ghost Town (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Bertram Pincus is a man whose people skills leave much to be desired. When Pincus dies unexpectedly, but is miraculously revived after seven minutes, he wakes up to discover that he now has the annoying ability to see ghosts. (102 mins.)
Director: David Koepp
“ Ricky Gervais is at driest insulting humor in this hilariously touching romantic fantasy comedy. Tea Leoni and Greg Kinnear are equally good. The hospital scene with Kristin Wiig is worth the price of admission alone. ” - smith-d-c
 
21.
Wise Guys (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  
Harry Valentini and Moe Dickstein are both errand boys for the Mob. When they lose $250,000, they are set up to kill each other. But they run off to Atlantic City and comedy follows. (100 mins.)
Director: Brian De Palma
“ Brian De Palma's forgotten gangster comedy with great work by Danny De Vito and Joe Piscopo. ” - smith-d-c
 
22.
The Tall Guy (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
Dexter King plays straight man to unpleasant comedian Ron Anderson. He falls in love with Kate, a pretty... (92 mins.)
Director: Mel Smith
“ Richard Curtis wrote this hilarious movie featuring Jeff Goldblum and Emma Thompson. Any film featuring a musical version of The Elephant Man has got to be a must see. ” - smith-d-c
 
23.
Getting It Right (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Gavin is 31 years old and still lives with his parents. He is awfully shy but before he knows it there are three women interested in him... (102 mins.)
Director: Randal Kleiser
 
24.
A Midwinter's Tale (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Out of work actor Joe volunteers to help try and save his sister's local church for the community by putting on a Christmas production of Hamlet... (99 mins.)
Director: Kenneth Branagh
 
25.
Fandango (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Five college buddies from the University of Texas circa 1971 embark on a final road trip odyssey across the Mexican border before facing up to uncertain futures, in Vietnam and otherwise. (91 mins.)
Director: Kevin Reynolds
 
26.
Obsession (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A wealthy New Orleans businessman becomes obsessed with a young woman who resembles his wife. (98 mins.)
Director: Brian De Palma
 
27.
Hamburger Hill (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A very realistic interpretation of one of the bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War. (110 mins.)
Director: John Irvin
 
28.
Hearts in Atlantis (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A widowed mother and her son change when a mysterious stranger enters their lives. (101 mins.)
Director: Scott Hicks
 
29.
The Pledge (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A retiring police chief pledges to catch the killer of a young child. (124 mins.)
Director: Sean Penn
 
30.
Boiler Room (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A college dropout gets a job as a broker for a suburban investment firm, which puts him on the fast track to success, but the job might not be as legitimate as it sounds. (120 mins.)
Director: Ben Younger
 
31.
Bringing Out the Dead (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Haunted by the patients he failed to save, an extremely burned-out Manhattan ambulance paramedic fights to maintain his sanity over three fraught and turbulent nights. (121 mins.)
Director: Martin Scorsese
 
32.
The Sugarland Express (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A woman attempts to reunite her family by helping her husband escape prison and together kidnapping their son. But things don't go as planned when they are forced to take a police hostage on the road. (110 mins.)
 
33.
A Simple Plan (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
When three blue collar acquaintances come across millions of dollars in lost cash they make a plan to keep their find from the authorities but find complications and mistrust weaving its way into their plan. (121 mins.)
Director: Sam Raimi
 
34.
The Island (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Lincoln Six Echo is just like everyone else - he's waiting to go to the Island, the only place left in the world to actually live a life... (136 mins.)
Director: Michael Bay
 
35.
In the Mouth of Madness (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
An insurance investigator begins discovering that the impact a horror writer's books have on his fans is more than inspirational. (95 mins.)
Director: John Carpenter
 
36.
The Name of the Rose (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
An intellectually nonconformist friar investigates a series of mysterious deaths in an isolated abbey. (130 mins.)
 
37.
Femme Fatale (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
A woman tries to straighten out her life, even as her past as a con-woman comes back to haunt her. (114 mins.)
Director: Brian De Palma
 
38.
Near Dark (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A small-town farmer's son reluctantly joins a traveling group of vampires after he is turned by a beautiful drifter. (94 mins.)
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
 
39.
King of the Hill (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A young boy struggles on his own in a run-down motel after his parents and younger brother are separated from him in 1930s Depression-era Midwest. (103 mins.)
 
40.
Kafka (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Writer Franz Kafka works during the day at an insurance company where events lead him to discover a mysterious underground society with strange suppressive goals. (98 mins.)
 
41.
Paperhouse (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A young girl lost in the loneliness and boredom of reality finds solace in an ill boy, whom she can visit in a surreal dream world that she drew in her school composition book. (92 mins.)
Director: Bernard Rose
 
42.
Eye of the Needle (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A ruthless German spy, trying to get out of Britain with vital information about D-Day, must spend time with a young woman and her crippled husband. (112 mins.)
 
43.
Gregory's Girl (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Gregory is a normal teen who is infatuated with a classmate. He must work to win her affection. (91 mins.)
Director: Bill Forsyth
 
44.
Monster House (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Three teens discover that their neighbor's house is really a living, breathing, scary monster. (91 mins.)
Director: Gil Kenan
 
45.
Corpse Bride (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
When a shy groom practices his wedding vows in the inadvertent presence of a deceased young woman, she rises from the grave assuming he has married her. (77 mins.)