Misunderstood gems: the most underrated, unknown and overlooked filmsby yajji | created - 02 Dec 2011 | updated - 11 Mar 2017 | Public
This is a list of absolute masterpieces and generally great films that are overlooked/neglected and far too underrated on IMDb (as well as in the general public).
Most of the films included range from those that were hailed as masterpieces when they were initially released, made a huge or minor but recognisable impact at the time (with critical acclaim or box office earnings or both) but are sadly forgotten OR under-appreciated today.
Other titles range from obscure, little seen independent and foreign productions to the more well known, critically acclaimed, star-studded fare. A lot of these films have average ratings on this site, around 6-7/10, but in my opinion each of them deserve a place on the top 250... which is a flawed list anyway (but we won't get into that here).
Hopefully the inclusion of these films here will provide a new legion of fans to discover and unearth their greatness.
- Instant Watch Options
- Movies or TV
- IMDb Rating
- In Theaters
- On TV
- Release Year
1. 3 Women (1977)
PG | 124 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Two roommates/physical therapists, one a vain woman and the other a mysterious teenager, share a bizarre relationship.
One of the greatest, most hypnotic films to come out of the 1970s. Sadly over-looked due to being out of print on home video for the 1980s and 1990s.
2. Blue Velvet (1986)
R | 120 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller
The discovery of a severed human ear found in a field leads a young man on an investigation related to a beautiful, mysterious nightclub singer and a group of psychopathic criminals who have kidnapped her child.
Votes: 159,957 | Gross: $8.55M
"The last real earthquake to hit cinema was David Lynch's Blue Velvet —I'm sure directors throughout the film world felt the earth move beneath their feet and couldn't sleep the night of their first encounter with it back in 1986—and screens trembled again and again with diminishing aftershocks over the next decade as these picture makers attempted to mount their own exhilarating psychic cataclysms. But no one could quite match the traumatizing combination of horrific, comedic, aural, and subliminal effects Lynch rumbled out in this masterpiece—not even Lynch himself in the fun-filled years that followed before he recombined with himself to invent The Straight Story and Mulholland Drive." - Guy Maddin
3. Mulholland Dr. (2001)
R | 147 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller
After a car wreck on the winding Mulholland Drive renders a woman amnesiac, she and a perky Hollywood-hopeful search for clues and answers across Los Angeles in a twisting venture beyond dreams and reality.
Votes: 286,732 | Gross: $7.22M
5. Boys Don't Cry (1999)
R | 118 min | Biography, Crime, Drama
Female-born Teena Brandon adopts his male identity of Brandon Teena and attempts to find himself and love in Nebraska.
Votes: 86,257 | Gross: $11.53M
8. The State of Things (1982)
121 min | Drama
On location in Portugal, a film crew runs out of film while making their own version of Roger Corman's Day the World Ended (1955). The producer is nowhere to be found and director Friedrich... See full summary »
Votes: 2,476 | Gross: $6.00M
9. Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
R | 111 min | Drama, Romance
Ben Sanderson, a Hollywood screenwriter who lost everything because of his alcoholism, arrives in Las Vegas to drink himself to death. There, he meets and forms an uneasy friendship and non-interference pact with prostitute Sera.
Votes: 105,597 | Gross: $31.97M
10. At Close Range (1986)
R | 111 min | Crime, Drama
In 1978 Pennsylvania, an absentee father is reacquainted with his estranged teenage sons who become intrigued with his romanticized life of crime.
Votes: 12,651 | Gross: $2.35M
11. Salt of the Earth (1954)
Not Rated | 94 min | Drama, History
Mexican workers at a Zinc mine call a general strike. It is only through the solidarity of the workers, and importantly the indomitable resolve of their wives, mothers and daughters, that they eventually triumph.
12. Paris, Texas (1984)
R | 145 min | Drama
Travis Henderson, an aimless drifter who has been missing for four years, wanders out of the desert and must reconnect with society, himself, his life, and his family.
Votes: 72,481 | Gross: $2.18M
14. Out of the Blue (1980)
R | 94 min | Drama
A young girl whose father is an ex-convict and whose mother is a junkie finds it difficult to conform and tries to find comfort in a quirky combination of Elvis and the punk scene.
15. Repulsion (1965)
Not Rated | 105 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller
A sex-repulsed woman who disapproves of her sister's boyfriend sinks into depression and has horrific visions of rape and violence.
17. Black Snake Moan (2006)
R | 116 min | Drama, Music
A God-fearing bluesman takes to a wild young woman who, as a victim of childhood sexual abuse, looks everywhere for love, never quite finding it.
Votes: 57,796 | Gross: $9.40M
18. Blow Out (1981)
R | 108 min | Mystery, Thriller
A movie sound recordist accidentally records the evidence that proves that a car accident was actually murder and consequently finds himself in danger.
Votes: 36,418 | Gross: $13.75M
20. My Own Private Idaho (1991)
R | 104 min | Drama
Two best friends living on the streets of Portland as hustlers embark on a journey of self discovery and find their relationship stumbling along the way.
Votes: 43,774 | Gross: $6.40M
21. Jackie Brown (1997)
R | 154 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
A middle-aged woman finds herself in the middle of a huge conflict that will either make her a profit or cost her life.
Votes: 276,691 | Gross: $39.67M
22. Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)
PG | 115 min | Drama, Mystery
During a rural summer picnic, a few students and a teacher from an Australian girls' school vanish without a trace. Their absence frustrates and haunts the people left behind.
Votes: 29,898 | Gross: $0.23M
23. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Unrated | 127 min | Horror, Thriller
Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, two Philadelphia S.W.A.T. team members, a traffic reporter, and his television executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall.
Votes: 102,272 | Gross: $5.10M
24. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992)
R | 134 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery
A young FBI agent disappears while investigating a murder miles from Twin Peaks that may be related to the future murder of Laura Palmer; the last week of the life of Laura Palmer is chronicled.
Votes: 75,304 | Gross: $4.16M
25. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
R | 83 min | Horror
Two siblings and three of their friends en route to visit their grandfather's grave in Texas end up falling victim to a family of cannibalistic psychopaths.
Votes: 118,500 | Gross: $30.86M
26. The Elephant Man (1980)
PG | 124 min | Biography, Drama
A Victorian surgeon rescues a heavily disfigured man who is mistreated while scraping a living as a side-show freak. Behind his monstrous façade, there is revealed a person of intelligence and sensitivity.
27. Heavenly Creatures (1994)
R | 99 min | Biography, Crime, Drama
Two teenage girls share a unique bond; their parents, concerned that the friendship is too intense, separate them, and the girls take revenge.
Votes: 55,541 | Gross: $3.05M
28. Open Your Eyes (1997)
R | 117 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance
A very handsome man finds the love of his life, but he suffers an accident and needs to have his face rebuilt by surgery after it is severely disfigured.
Votes: 59,153 | Gross: $0.37M
31. Happiness (1998)
Unrated | 134 min | Comedy, Drama
The lives of several individuals intertwine as they go about their lives in their own unique ways, engaging in acts society as a whole might find disturbing in a desperate search for human connection.
Votes: 62,043 | Gross: $2.81M
32. 9½ Weeks (1986)
R | 117 min | Drama, Romance
A woman gets involved in an impersonal affair with a man. She barely knows about his life, only about the sex games they play, so the relationship begins to get complicated.
Votes: 34,076 | Gross: $6.73M
An overlooked, grossly underrated work of art. Some incredible cinematography. Complex and fascinating with a wonderful performance by Mickey Rourke.
36. Paprika (2006)
R | 90 min | Animation, Drama, Fantasy
When a machine that allows therapists to enter their patients' dreams is stolen, all Hell breaks loose. Only a young female therapist, Paprika, can stop it.
Votes: 59,558 | Gross: $0.88M
And you thought "Inception" was original.
37. The Last Days of Disco (1998)
R | 113 min | Comedy, Drama, Music
Story of two female Manhattan book editors fresh out of college, both finding love and themselves while frequenting the local disco.
Votes: 11,207 | Gross: $2.99M
38. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
R | 159 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller
A New York City doctor pushes himself on a harrowing and dangerous night-long odyssey of sexual and moral discovery after his wife admits that she once almost cheated on him.
Votes: 268,547 | Gross: $55.69M
39. The Gigolos (2006)
95 min | Comedy
Sacha is an aging, well-established London 'male escort' with a select clientèle of weekly socialite ladies, such as baroness James, who expect an impeccable service he can only provide ... See full summary »
43. Desert Blue (1998)
R | 90 min | Drama
An academic obsessed with "roadside attractions" and his tv-star daughter finally discover the world's largest ice cream cone, the centerpiece for an old gold-rush town struggling to stay ... See full summary »
Votes: 2,041 | Gross: $0.10M
44. Ghost World (2001)
R | 111 min | Comedy, Drama
With only the plan of moving in together after high school, two unusually devious friends seek direction in life. As a mere gag, they respond to a man's newspaper ad for a date, only to find it will greatly complicate their lives.
Votes: 106,025 | Gross: $6.22M
47. Heathers (1988)
R | 103 min | Comedy, Crime