ToC: 40 Movie Masterpieces That Are Criminally Underrated

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1. In Search of Fellini (2017)

R | 93 min | Adventure, Drama, Romance

55 Metascore

A shy small-town Ohio girl who loves movies but dislikes reality, discovers the delightfully bizarre films of Federico Fellini, and sets off on a strange, beautiful journey across Italy to find him.

Director: Taron Lexton | Stars: Ksenia Solo, Maria Bello, Jay Kunzi, Enrico Oetiker

Votes: 1,543 | Gross: $0.01M

2. Himizu (2011)

129 min | Crime, Drama

66 Metascore

After two teenagers from abusive households befriend each other, their lives take a dark adventure into existentialism, despair, and human frailty.

Director: Sion Sono | Stars: Shôta Sometani, Fumi Nikaidô, Tetsu Watanabe, Mitsuru Fukikoshi

Votes: 2,985

3. Titus (1999)

R | 162 min | Drama, History, Thriller

57 Metascore

Titus (Sir Anthony Hopkins) returns victorious from war, only to plant the seeds of future turmoil for himself and his family.

Director: Julie Taymor | Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Jessica Lange, Osheen Jones, Dario D'Ambrosi

Votes: 18,849 | Gross: $1.92M

4. Once a Thief (1991)

R | 108 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

A romantic and action packed story of three best friends, a group of high end art thieves, who come into trouble when a love-triangle forms between them.

Director: John Woo | Stars: Leslie Cheung, Yun-Fat Chow, Cherie Chung, Kong Chu

Votes: 5,378

5. Yuan nu (1988)

106 min | Drama

It tells a tragic story in the early 20th century of China, a beautiful girl Yin Di got married to a sick wealthy man through an arranged marriage, despite the fact that she actually loves ... See full summary »

Director: Fred Tan | Stars: Pat Ha, Ming Hsu, Emily Y. Chang, Sha-Li Chen

Votes: 36

6. Revenge of the Dead (1983)

R | 89 min | Horror

Stefano, a young journalist, buys a used typewriter and accidentally sees that some text is still readable on the ribbon. He manages to reconstruct the story of a scientist, Paolo Zeder, ... See full summary »

Director: Pupi Avati | Stars: Gabriele Lavia, Anne Canovas, Paola Tanziani, Cesare Barbetti

Votes: 1,646

7. The Green Room (1978)

PG | 94 min | Drama

A French little town, at the end of the twenties. Julien Davenne is a journalist whose wife Julie died a decade ago. He gathered in the green room all Julie's objects. When a fire destroys ... See full summary »

Director: François Truffaut | Stars: François Truffaut, Nathalie Baye, Jean Dasté, Patrick Maléon

Votes: 2,350

8. A Special Day (1977)

Not Rated | 106 min | Drama

Two neighbors, a persecuted journalist and a resigned housewife, meet during Hitler's visit to Italy in May 1938.

Director: Ettore Scola | Stars: Sophia Loren, Marcello Mastroianni, John Vernon, Françoise Berd

Votes: 9,867

9. Le Boucher (1970)

GP | 93 min | Drama, Thriller

An unlikely friendship between a dour, working class butcher and a repressed schoolteacher coincides with a grisly series of Ripper-type murders in a provincial French town.

Director: Claude Chabrol | Stars: Stéphane Audran, Jean Yanne, Antonio Passalia, Pascal Ferone

Votes: 6,882

10. The Damned (1969)

R | 156 min | Drama, War

The dramatic collapse of a wealthy, industrialist/Junker family during the reign of the Third Reich.

Director: Luchino Visconti | Stars: Dirk Bogarde, Ingrid Thulin, Helmut Griem, Helmut Berger

Votes: 6,689

11. Rabid Dogs (1974)

Not Rated | 96 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

Following a bungled robbery, three violent criminals take a young woman, a middle-aged man, and a child hostage and force them to drive them outside Rome to help them make a clean escape.

Director: Mario Bava | Stars: Lea Lander, George Eastman, Riccardo Cucciolla, Don Backy

Votes: 3,698

12. Soldier of Orange (1977)

R | 165 min | Drama, Romance, Thriller

During WW2, Dutch students join the resistance movement against the German occupation of the Netherlands.

Director: Paul Verhoeven | Stars: Rutger Hauer, Jeroen Krabbé, Susan Penhaligon, Edward Fox

Votes: 10,168

13. Empire of Passion (1978)

R | 105 min | Drama, Horror, Romance

A married woman and her lover murder her husband and dump his body into a well. After a while, his ghost comes to haunt them while the local gossip grows stronger.

Director: Nagisa Ôshima | Stars: Tatsuya Fuji, Kazuko Yoshiyuki, Takahiro Tamura, Takuzô Kawatani

Votes: 3,194

14. Angst (I) (1983)

Not Rated | 87 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

A troubled man gets released from prison and starts taking out his sadistic fantasies on an unsuspecting family living in a secluded house.

Director: Gerald Kargl | Stars: Erwin Leder, Robert Hunger-Bühler, Silvia Ryder, Karin Springer

Votes: 6,707

15. I Hired a Contract Killer (1990)

Not Rated | 79 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

After fifteen years' service, Henri Boulanger is made redundant from his job. Shocked, he attempts suicide, but can't go through with it, so he hires a contract killer in a seedy bar to ... See full summary »

Director: Aki Kaurismäki | Stars: Jean-Pierre Léaud, Margi Clarke, Kenneth Colley, T.R. Bowen

Votes: 5,125

16. M. Butterfly (1993)

R | 101 min | Drama, Romance

43 Metascore

In 1960s China, French diplomat Rene Gallimard falls in love with an opera singer, Song Liling - but Song is not at all who Gallimard thinks.

Director: David Cronenberg | Stars: Jeremy Irons, John Lone, Barbara Sukowa, Ian Richardson

Votes: 7,916 | Gross: $1.50M

17. A Moment of Innocence (1996)

78 min | Comedy, Drama

70 Metascore

A semi-autobiographical account of Makmahlbaf's experience as a teenager when, as a 17-year-old, he stabbed a policeman at a protest rally. Two decades later, he tracks down the policeman he injured in an attempt to make amends.

Director: Mohsen Makhmalbaf | Stars: Mirhadi Tayebi, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Ali Bakhsi, Ammar Tafti Dehghan

Votes: 2,636 | Gross: $0.04M

18. Perfect Blue (1997)

R | 81 min | Animation, Horror, Mystery

A retired pop singer turned actress' sense of reality is shaken when she is stalked by an obsessed fan and seemingly a ghost of her past.

Director: Satoshi Kon | Stars: Junko Iwao, Rica Matsumoto, Shinpachi Tsuji, Masaaki Ôkura

Votes: 43,534 | Gross: $0.44M

19. Code Unknown (2000)

Not Rated | 118 min | Drama

74 Metascore

A young man harasses a homeless woman, another man protests, the police arrest both and the woman has to leave the country. What were their various story-lines leading up to this event?

Director: Michael Haneke | Stars: Juliette Binoche, Thierry Neuvic, Josef Bierbichler, Alexandre Hamidi

Votes: 10,505 | Gross: $0.10M

20. Pasolini (2014)

84 min | Biography, Drama

71 Metascore

A kaleidoscopic look at the last day of Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini in 1975.

Director: Abel Ferrara | Stars: Willem Dafoe, Ninetto Davoli, Riccardo Scamarcio, Valerio Mastandrea

Votes: 2,669 | Gross: $0.02M

21. Porcile (1969)

Not Rated | 99 min | Drama

Two dramatic stories. In an undetermined past, a young cannibal (who killed his own father) is condemned to be torn to pieces by some wild beasts. In the second story, Julian, the young son... See full summary »

Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini | Stars: Pierre Clémenti, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Alberto Lionello, Ugo Tognazzi

Votes: 2,559

22. Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (1970)

R | 115 min | Crime, Drama

89 Metascore

A chief of detectives, homicide section, kills his mistress and deliberately leaves clues to prove his own responsibility for the crime.

Director: Elio Petri | Stars: Gian Maria Volontè, Florinda Bolkan, Gianni Santuccio, Orazio Orlando

Votes: 7,517

23. The Devils (1971)

R | 111 min | Biography, Drama, History

In 17th-century France, Father Urbain Grandier seeks to protect the city of Loudun from the corrupt establishment of Cardinal Richelieu. Hysteria occurs within the city when he is accused of witchcraft by a sexually repressed nun.

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: Vanessa Redgrave, Oliver Reed, Dudley Sutton, Max Adrian

Votes: 11,650

24. Alice in the Cities (1974)

Not Rated | 110 min | Drama

A German journalist is saddled with a nine-year-old girl after encountering her mother at a New York airport.

Director: Wim Wenders | Stars: Yella Rottländer, Rüdiger Vogler, Lisa Kreuzer, Edda Köchl

Votes: 8,594

25. The Psychic (1977)

R | 90 min | Mystery, Thriller

A clairvoyant woman discovers a skeleton in a wall in her husband's house, and seeks to find the truth about what happened to the victim.

Director: Lucio Fulci | Stars: Jennifer O'Neill, Gabriele Ferzetti, Marc Porel, Gianni Garko

Votes: 3,407

26. Hardcore (1979)

R | 108 min | Crime, Drama

63 Metascore

A conservative Midwest businessman ventures into the sordid underworld of pornography in California to look for his runaway teenage daughter who is making porno films in California's porno pits.

Director: Paul Schrader | Stars: George C. Scott, Peter Boyle, Season Hubley, Dick Sargent

Votes: 7,317

27. The Last Metro (1980)

PG | 131 min | Drama, Romance, War

In occupied Paris, an actress married to a Jewish theater owner must keep him hidden from the Nazis while doing both of their jobs.

Director: François Truffaut | Stars: Catherine Deneuve, Gérard Depardieu, Jean Poiret, Andréa Ferréol

Votes: 11,071

28. Benny's Video (1992)

Not Rated | 105 min | Crime, Drama

60 Metascore

A 14-year-old video enthusiast is so caught up in film fantasy that he can no longer relate to the real world, to such an extent that he commits murder and records an on-camera confession for his parents.

Director: Michael Haneke | Stars: Arno Frisch, Angela Winkler, Ulrich Mühe, Ingrid Stassner

Votes: 12,158

29. The Flower of My Secret (1995)

R | 103 min | Drama

75 Metascore

Leo Macias writes sentimental novels with great success but hidden under a pseudonym, Amanda Gris. She is unhappy with her professional life and with her husband, a soldier working in ... See full summary »

Director: Pedro Almodóvar | Stars: Marisa Paredes, Juan Echanove, Carme Elias, Rossy de Palma

Votes: 9,237 | Gross: $1.16M

30. My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done (2009)

R | 91 min | Drama, Thriller

59 Metascore

Inspired by a true crime, a man begins to experience mystifying events that lead him to slay his mother with a sword.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Michael Shannon, Willem Dafoe, Chloë Sevigny, Udo Kier

Votes: 8,872

31. The Element of Crime (1984)

Not Rated | 104 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

A cop in a dystopian Europe investigates a serial killings suspect using controversial methods written by his now disgraced former mentor.

Director: Lars von Trier | Stars: Michael Elphick, Esmond Knight, Me Me Lai, Jerold Wells

Votes: 8,490

32. Dead Man's Letters (1986)

87 min | Drama, Sci-Fi

The world after the nuclear apocalypse. Pale light lits the scenery of total destruction. The surviving humans vegetate in wet cellars under the nuclear winter. But somehow human spirit ... See full summary »

Director: Konstantin Lopushanskiy | Stars: Rolan Bykov, Iosif Ryklin, Viktor Mikhaylov, Aleksandr Sabinin

Votes: 2,219

33. Krisha (2015)

R | 83 min | Drama

86 Metascore

Krisha returns for Thanksgiving dinner after ten years away from her family, but past demons threaten to ruin the festivities.

Director: Trey Edward Shults | Stars: Krisha Fairchild, Alex Dobrenko, Robyn Fairchild, Chris Doubek

Votes: 5,885 | Gross: $0.14M

34. Chronic (2015)

R | 93 min | Drama

69 Metascore

A home care nurse works with terminally ill patients.

Director: Michel Franco | Stars: Tim Roth, David Dastmalchian, Sarah Sutherland, Elizabeth Tulloch

Votes: 2,560 | Gross: $0.01M

35. Heaven Knows What (2014)

R | 97 min | Drama

75 Metascore

A young woman struggles to reconcile her loves of her life; her boyfriend and heroin. She finds out that suicide is the only way for her boyfriend to forgive her for her misdeed.

Directors: Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie | Stars: Arielle Holmes, Caleb Landry Jones, Buddy Duress, Necro

Votes: 4,488 | Gross: $0.08M

36. Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985)

R | 120 min | Biography, Drama

81 Metascore

A fictionalized account in four chapters of the life of celebrated Japanese writer Yukio Mishima.

Director: Paul Schrader | Stars: Ken Ogata, Masayuki Shionoya, Hiroshi Mikami, Junya Fukuda

Votes: 7,202 | Gross: $0.44M

37. Magical Girl (2014)

127 min | Drama, Thriller

The father of a terminally ill girl is determined to grant his daughter's last wish, a ridiculously expensive collectors' costume from a Japanese TV series. The request will drive him into a journey within his city's dark underbelly.

Director: Carlos Vermut | Stars: José Sacristán, Marina Andruix, Raimundo de los Reyes, Lucía Pollán

Votes: 4,985

38. 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance (1994)

Not Rated | 100 min | Drama

71 Metascore

71 scenes revolving around a recent immigrant, a couple that has just adopted a daughter, a college student and a lonely old man.

Director: Michael Haneke | Stars: Gabriel Cosmin Urdes, Lukas Miko, Otto Grünmandl, Anne Bennent

Votes: 5,822

39. Lancelot of the Lake (1974)

85 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance

74 Metascore

A million miles away from 'Camelot' or 'Excalibur', this film ruthlessly strips the Arthurian legend down to its barest essentials. Arthur's knights, far from being heroic, are conniving ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Bresson | Stars: Luc Simon, Laura Duke Condominas, Humbert Balsan, Vladimir Antolek-Oresek

Votes: 3,035

40. Flowers of Shanghai (1998)

Unrated | 125 min | Drama

In the "flower houses" (upscale brothels) of Shanghai, various interweaving stories of love, loyalty, and deceit play out subtly.

Director: Hsiao-Hsien Hou | Stars: Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Michiko Hada, Michelle Reis, Carina Lau

Votes: 2,152



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