Favorite Lesser Known Films

by Blue_Leaf | created - 15 Feb 2013 | updated - 03 Aug 2014 | Public

This list is a work in progress. Not all of these films will end up on my final list. I would also like to add my own personal synopsis on each film before I am done. I am still in the process of researching my film notebooks and choosing films that might be interesting to people if they learned about them. I am now in the process of editing out films with more than 10,000 votes. Some films aren't as "lesser known" as I originally thought.

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1. Absentia (I) (2011)

R | 87 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

A woman and her sister begin to link a mysterious tunnel to a series of disappearances, including that of her own husband.

Director: Mike Flanagan | Stars: Catherine Parker, Courtney Bell, Dave Levine, Justin Gordon

Votes: 14,789

2. After Dark, My Sweet (1990)

R | 114 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

78 Metascore

An ex-boxer is drifting around after escaping from the mental hospital. He meets a widow who convinces him to help fix up the neglected estate her ex-husband left. Her Uncle talks them both... See full summary »

Director: James Foley | Stars: Jason Patric, Rachel Ward, Bruce Dern, Rocky Giordani

Votes: 2,806 | Gross: $2.68M

3. Angels and Insects (1995)

R | 116 min | Drama, Romance

In the 1800s a naturalist marries into a family of British country gentry.

Director: Philip Haas | Stars: Mark Rylance, Kristin Scott Thomas, Patsy Kensit, Jeremy Kemp

Votes: 4,150 | Gross: $5.30M

4. All the Little Animals (1998)

R | 112 min | Adventure, Drama, Romance

51 Metascore

Bobby Platt is a mentally slow young man who escapes an abusive, hateful stepfather who has killed his pets one by one. To save himself, Bobby runs away and meets a strange old man who ... See full summary »

Director: Jeremy Thomas | Stars: John Hurt, Christian Bale, Daniel Benzali, James Faulkner

Votes: 2,435 | Gross: $0.03M

5. The Apostle (1997)

PG-13 | 134 min | Drama

83 Metascore

After his happy life spins out of control, a preacher from Texas changes his name, goes to Louisiana and starts preaching on the radio.

Director: Robert Duvall | Stars: Robert Duvall, Todd Allen, Paul Bagget, Lenore Banks

Votes: 12,229 | Gross: $20.73M

6. Auto Focus (2002)

R | 105 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

66 Metascore

The life of TV star Bob Crane and his strange friendship with electronics expert John Henry Carpenter.

Director: Paul Schrader | Stars: Greg Kinnear, Willem Dafoe, Maria Bello, Rita Wilson

Votes: 12,066 | Gross: $2.06M

7. Bad Boy Bubby (1993)

Not Rated | 114 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

Bubby has spent thirty years trapped in the same small room, tricked by his mother. One day, he manages to escape, and, deranged and naive in equal measures, his adventure into the modern and nihilistic life begins.

Director: Rolf de Heer | Stars: Nicholas Hope, Claire Benito, Ralph Cotterill, Syd Brisbane

Votes: 10,677

8. The Ballad of Little Jo (1993)

R | 121 min | Drama, Romance, Western

After being thrown out of her home, a young woman decides to disguise herself as a man to survive the ruthless Wild West.

Director: Maggie Greenwald | Stars: Suzy Amis, Bo Hopkins, Ian McKellen, David Chung

Votes: 1,247 | Gross: $0.54M

9. Beau Pere (1981)

123 min | Comedy, Drama

After her mother dies, fourteen-year-old Marion falls in love with her stepfather, Remy.

Director: Bertrand Blier | Stars: Patrick Dewaere, Ariel Besse, Maurice Ronet, Geneviève Mnich

Votes: 2,158

10. Beyond Silence (1996)

PG-13 | 109 min | Drama, Music

Since the earliest days in her childhood Lara has had a difficult but important task. Both her parents are deaf-mute and Lara has to translate from sign-language to the spoken word and vice... See full summary »

Director: Caroline Link | Stars: Sylvie Testud, Tatjana Trieb, Howie Seago, Emmanuelle Laborit

Votes: 3,783 | Gross: $0.17M

11. Big Night (1996)

R | 109 min | Drama, Romance

80 Metascore

New Jersey, 1950s. Two brothers run an Italian restaurant. Business is not going well as a rival Italian restaurant is out-competing them. In a final effort to save the restaurant, the brothers plan to put on an evening of incredible food.

Directors: Campbell Scott, Stanley Tucci | Stars: Tony Shalhoub, Stanley Tucci, Marc Anthony, Larry Block

Votes: 14,478 | Gross: $11.88M

12. Bigger Stronger Faster* (2008)

PG-13 | 105 min | Documentary, Sport

80 Metascore

An examination of America's win-at-all-cost culture from the perspective of bodybuilding and performance enhancing drugs, as it focuses on a pair of siblings chasing their dream.

Director: Chris Bell | Stars: Chris Bell, Mike Bell, Mark Bell, Hank Aaron

Votes: 12,533 | Gross: $0.31M

13. Blue Collar (1978)

R | 114 min | Crime, Drama

77 Metascore

Three workers, Zeke (Richard Pryor), Jerry (Harvey Keitel), and Smokey (Yaphet Kotto), are working at a car plant and drinking their beers together. One night, when they steal away from ... See full summary »

Director: Paul Schrader | Stars: Richard Pryor, Harvey Keitel, Yaphet Kotto, Ed Begley Jr.

Votes: 5,542

14. Boy (I) (2010)

Not Rated | 87 min | Comedy, Drama

70 Metascore

Set on the east coast of New Zealand in 1984, Boy, an 11-year-old child and devout Michael Jackson fan, gets a chance to know his absentee criminal father, who has returned to find a bag of money he buried years ago.

Director: Taika Waititi | Stars: James Rolleston, Taika Waititi, Moerangi Tihore, Cherilee Martin

Votes: 14,263 | Gross: $0.26M

15. The Boys of St. Vincent (1992 TV Movie)

93 min | Drama

The true story of boys being sexually abused at their orphanage ran by a religious community in Newfoundland.

Director: John N. Smith | Stars: Henry Czerny, Johnny Morina, Brian Dooley, Philip Dinn

Votes: 1,344 | Gross: $0.20M

16. The Brother from Another Planet (1984)

R | 108 min | Comedy, Sci-Fi

A mute alien with the appearance of a black human is chased by outer-space bounty hunters through the streets of Harlem.

Director: John Sayles | Stars: Joe Morton, Daryl Edwards, Rosanna Carter, Ray Ramirez

Votes: 4,946 | Gross: $3.70M

17. Brødre (2004)

R | 117 min | Drama, War

76 Metascore

Two brothers must negotiate changing roles and shifting family dynamics when one is sent to war in Afghanistan.

Director: Susanne Bier | Stars: Ulrich Thomsen, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Connie Nielsen, Sarah Juel Werner

Votes: 10,116 | Gross: $0.38M

18. Bubble (I) (2005)

R | 73 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

63 Metascore

Set against the backdrop of a decaying Midwestern town, a murder becomes the focal point of three people who work in a doll factory.

Director: Steven Soderbergh | Stars: Debbie Doebereiner, Omar Cowan, Dustin James Ashley, Phyllis Workman

Votes: 7,150 | Gross: $0.15M

19. Careful, He Might Hear You (1983)

PG | 110 min | Drama

His mother dead, PS lives in Sydney with working-class Aunt Lila and Uncle George. When he's six or eight, his posh Aunt Vanessa descends from England. Named a co-guardian by PS's feckless,... See full summary »

Director: Carl Schultz | Stars: Wendy Hughes, Robyn Nevin, Nicholas Gledhill, John Hargreaves

Votes: 604

20. Karakter (1997)

R | 122 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Jacob Katadreuffe lives mute with his mother, has no contact with his father who only works against him and wants to become a lawyer, at all costs.

Director: Mike van Diem | Stars: Pavlik Jansen op de Haar, Jan Decleir, Fedja van Huêt, Betty Schuurman

Votes: 9,681 | Gross: $0.71M

21. Choose Me (1984)

R | 106 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Several lost-soul night-owls, including a nightclub owner, a talkback radio relationships counseller, and an itinerant stranger have encounters that expose their contradictions and ... See full summary »

Director: Alan Rudolph | Stars: Geneviève Bujold, Keith Carradine, Lesley Ann Warren, Patrick Bauchau

Votes: 2,270 | Gross: $2.49M

22. The Commitments (1991)

R | 118 min | Comedy, Drama, Music

When Jimmy Rabbitte wants to start a band, he has open auditions at his house.

Director: Alan Parker | Stars: Robert Arkins, Michael Aherne, Angeline Ball, Maria Doyle Kennedy

Votes: 28,641 | Gross: $14.92M

23. Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982)

PG | 109 min | Comedy, Drama

The Disciples of James Dean meet up on the anniversary of his death and mull over their lives in the present and in flashback, revealing the truth behind their complicated lives. Who is the... See full summary »

Director: Robert Altman | Stars: Cher, Karen Black, Sandy Dennis, Sudie Bond

Votes: 3,471 | Gross: $0.84M

24. Daniel (1983)

R | 130 min | Drama

Daniel Isaacson attempts to determine the true complicity of his parents Paul and Rochelle Isaacson, who were executed for espionage in the 1950s.

Director: Sidney Lumet | Stars: Timothy Hutton, Mandy Patinkin, Lindsay Crouse, Edward Asner

Votes: 958 | Gross: $0.28M

25. Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988)

PG-13 | 85 min | Drama, Music

83 Metascore

The lives of an English working-class family are told out of order in a free-associative manner. The first part, "Distant Voices", focuses on the father's role in the family. The second part, "Still Lives", focuses on his children.

Director: Terence Davies | Stars: Pete Postlethwaite, Freda Dowie, Angela Walsh, Dean Williams

Votes: 2,752 | Gross: $0.69M

26. Dogfight (1991)

R | 94 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Before leaving to fight in Vietnam, a group of teenagers play a game where they try to seduce the ugliest girl they can find.

Director: Nancy Savoca | Stars: River Phoenix, Lili Taylor, Richard Panebianco, Anthony Clark

Votes: 7,158 | Gross: $0.39M

27. Diva (1981)

R | 117 min | Thriller

Two tapes, two Parisian mob killers, one corrupt policeman, an opera fan, a teenage thief, and the coolest philosopher ever filmed. All these characters twist their way through an intricate and stylish French language thriller.

Director: Jean-Jacques Beineix | Stars: Wilhelmenia Fernandez, Frédéric Andréi, Richard Bohringer, Thuy An Luu

Votes: 10,293 | Gross: $0.11M

28. 84 Charing Cross Road (1987)

PG | 100 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

True story of a transatlantic business correspondence about used books that developed into a close friendship.

Director: David Hugh Jones | Stars: Anne Bancroft, Anthony Hopkins, Judi Dench, Jean De Baer

Votes: 6,507 | Gross: $1.08M

29. Ethan Frome (1993)

PG | 99 min | Drama, Romance

A new pastor arrives in a stark Vermont village and is intrigued by crippled, misshapen Ethan Frome living on an isolated, hardscrabble farm with his sickly wife Zeena.

Director: John Madden | Stars: Liam Neeson, Patricia Arquette, Gil Rood, Tate Donovan

Votes: 1,838 | Gross: $0.30M

30. Eve's Bayou (1997)

R | 109 min | Drama

78 Metascore

After a daughter witnesses her father having an affair, she begins a chain reaction that could tear her family apart.

Director: Kasi Lemmons | Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Meagan Good, Lynn Whitfield

Votes: 7,499 | Gross: $14.82M

31. Exotica (1994)

R | 103 min | Drama

A man whose daughter recently died becomes obsessed with a dancer in the night club Exotica.

Director: Atom Egoyan | Stars: Bruce Greenwood, Elias Koteas, Don McKellar, Mia Kirshner

Votes: 15,916 | Gross: $4.18M

32. Experience Preferred... But Not Essential (1982)

PG | 80 min | Drama

A shy, introverted young girl takes a summer job at a seaside resort in Wales. She finds the staff, the owners and patrons unlike anyone she has ever met before.

Director: Peter Duffell | Stars: Elizabeth Edmonds, Sue Wallace, Geraldine Griffiths, Karen Meagher

Votes: 207 | Gross: $1.08M

33. Eye of God (1997)

R | 84 min | Crime, Drama

We see two stories told over four time lines, which wind down to a devastating ground zero collision, as we watch a double tragedy unfold in a small Oklahoma town. The two stories are told ... See full summary »

Director: Tim Blake Nelson | Stars: Mary Kay Place, Nick Stahl, Chris Freihofer, Woody Watson

Votes: 1,076

34. Fantastic Planet (1973)

PG | 72 min | Animation, Sci-Fi

On a faraway planet where blue giants rule, oppressed humanoids rebel against their machine-like leaders.

Director: René Laloux | Stars: Barry Bostwick, Jennifer Drake, Eric Baugin, Jean Topart

Votes: 17,495

35. Fish Tank (2009)

Not Rated | 123 min | Drama

81 Metascore

Everything changes for 15-year-old Mia when her mum brings home a new boyfriend.

Director: Andrea Arnold | Stars: Katie Jarvis, Michael Fassbender, Kierston Wareing, Rebecca Griffiths

Votes: 52,923 | Gross: $0.37M

36. The Gods Must Be Crazy (1980)

PG | 109 min | Comedy

73 Metascore

A comic allegory about a traveling Bushman who encounters modern civilization and its stranger aspects, including a clumsy scientist and a band of revolutionaries.

Director: Jamie Uys | Stars: N!xau, Marius Weyers, Sandra Prinsloo, Louw Verwey

Votes: 47,207 | Gross: $30.03M

37. 4 Little Girls (1997)

TV-14 | 102 min | Documentary, History

89 Metascore

A documentary of the notorious racial terrorist bombing of an African American church during the Civil Rights Movement.

Director: Spike Lee | Stars: Maxine McNair, Walter Cronkite, Chris McNair, Fred Lee Shuttlesworth

Votes: 2,330 | Gross: $0.13M

38. Goodbye Solo (2008)

R | 91 min | Drama

89 Metascore

Two men form an unlikely friendship that will change both of their lives forever.

Director: Ramin Bahrani | Stars: Souleymane Sy Savane, Red West, Diana Franco Galindo, Lane 'Roc' Williams

Votes: 5,243 | Gross: $0.87M

39. The Great Buck Howard (2008)

PG | 90 min | Comedy, Drama

63 Metascore

A young man, much to the chagrin of his father, becomes the new assistant to an illusionist in decline.

Director: Sean McGinly | Stars: Colin Hanks, John Malkovich, Tom Hanks, Emily Blunt

Votes: 12,607 | Gross: $0.75M

40. The Grey Fox (1982)

PG | 110 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

When an aging, but gentlemanly stagecoach robber is released from prison, he decides to go to Canada to become a train robber.

Director: Phillip Borsos | Stars: Richard Farnsworth, Jackie Burroughs, Ken Pogue, Wayne Robson

Votes: 1,418

41. The Grifters (1990)

R | 110 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

86 Metascore

A small-time conman has torn loyalties between his estranged mother and new girlfriend--both of whom are high-stakes grifters with their own angles to play.

Director: Stephen Frears | Stars: Anjelica Huston, John Cusack, Annette Bening, Jan Munroe

Votes: 22,564 | Gross: $13.45M

42. The Hairdresser's Husband (1990)

R | 82 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Antoine has always been fascinated with a hairdresser's delicate touch, the beguiling perfume and the figure of a woman with an opulent bosom, moreover, he knew that he would marry one, fulfilling his dream of a perfect and idealised love.

Director: Patrice Leconte | Stars: Jean Rochefort, Anna Galiena, Roland Bertin, Maurice Chevit

Votes: 7,829 | Gross: $1.16M

43. Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)

R | 95 min | Comedy, Drama, Music

85 Metascore

A transgender punk-rock girl from East Berlin tours the U.S. with her band as she tells her life story and follows the former lover/band-mate who stole her songs.

Director: John Cameron Mitchell | Stars: John Cameron Mitchell, Miriam Shor, Stephen Trask, Theodore Liscinski

Votes: 28,386 | Gross: $3.03M

44. The Hidden (1987)

R | 96 min | Action, Crime, Horror

Law abiding people suddenly become violent criminals. A cop and an FBI agent race for answers in this sci-fi thriller.

Director: Jack Sholder | Stars: Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Nouri, Claudia Christian, Clarence Felder

Votes: 14,580 | Gross: $9.75M

45. High Art (1998)

R | 101 min | Drama, Romance

73 Metascore

A young female intern at a small magazine company becomes involved with a drug-addicted lesbian photographer, both of whom seek to exploit each other for their respective careers, while slowly falling in love with each other.

Director: Lisa Cholodenko | Stars: Radha Mitchell, Ally Sheedy, Patricia Clarkson, Gabriel Mann

Votes: 9,041 | Gross: $1.93M

46. Homicide (1991)

R | 102 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

84 Metascore

A Jewish homicide detective investigates a seemingly minor murder and falls in with a Zionist group as a result.

Director: David Mamet | Stars: Joe Mantegna, William H. Macy, Vincent Guastaferro, J.J. Johnston

Votes: 5,204 | Gross: $2.97M

47. Harlan County U.S.A. (1976)

PG | 103 min | Documentary

80 Metascore

A filmed account of a bitterly violent miner strike.

Director: Barbara Kopple | Stars: Norman Yarborough, Houston Elmore, Phil Sparks, John Corcoran

Votes: 4,019

48. The Honeymoon Killers (1970)

R | 108 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

An obese, embittered nurse doesn't mind if her toupee-wearing boyfriend romances and fleeces other women, as long as he takes her along on his con jobs.

Directors: Leonard Kastle, Donald Volkman | Stars: Shirley Stoler, Tony Lo Bianco, Mary Jane Higby, Doris Roberts

Votes: 3,608

49. Household Saints (1993)

R | 124 min | Drama