The Best Film You've Never Seen

by yrnej | created - 27 Sep 2016 | updated - 14 May 2018 | Public

In his book "The Best Film You've Never Seen: 35 Directors Champion the Forgotten or Critically Savaged Movies They Love" author Robert K. Elder interviewed 35 film directors about the movies that they consider to be the most overlooked or wrongly criticized films.

Which of these films do you agree most needs more attention from audiences?

Discuss the list here and tell us how many of these films you've seen

1. Peter Bogdanovich

Director | The Last Picture Show

Peter Bogdanovich was conceived in Europe but born in Kingston, New York. He is the son of immigrants fleeing the Nazis, Herma (Robinson) and Borislav Bogdanovich, a painter and pianist. His father was a Serbian Orthodox Christian, and his mother was from a rich Austrian Jewish family. Peter ...

Trouble in Paradise (1932) It's all gloriously done, but the characters are the plot, in a way. It's sort of the high point of sophisticated comedy, yet it's as light as a souffle. Yet you could eat a lot of it.

2. Danny Boyle

Director | 127 Hours

Danny Boyle was born on October 20, 1956 in Manchester, England as Daniel Boyle. He is a director and producer, known for 127 Hours (2010), 28 Days Later... (2002) and Slumdog Millionaire (2008).

Eureka (1983) The film is virtually unknown. That is a wrong, a severe injustice in the cinematic world. It's an extremely wild pleasure.

3. Antonio Campos

Producer | Martha Marcy May Marlene

Antonio Campos was born on August 24, 1983 in New York City, New York, USA. He is a producer and director, known for Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011), Afterschool (2008) and Buy It Now (2005). He has been married to Sofía Subercaseaux since November 28, 2015. They have one child.

Murder by Contract (1958) Whatever rough edges Murder by Contract has are untimately completely overshadowed by the brilliant dialogue and the commitment to a tone that was so ballsy.

4. Austin Chick

Director | Girls Against Boys

Former son-in-law of Vera Setta.

After Dark, My Sweet (1990) After Dark, My Sweet--from beginning to end--every frame and every camera movie is clearly thought out and brilliantly, beautifully executed. It had a really clear, straightforward sense of visual design throughout the entire film.

5. Bill Condon

Director | Kinsey

Bill Condon was born on October 22, 1955 in New York City, New York, USA as William Patrick Condon. He is a director and writer, known for Kinsey (2004), Gods and Monsters (1998) and Dreamgirls (2006).

Sweet Charity (1969) Sweet Charity is fascinating because it really does have one foot in both worlds. Here it is: a G-rated musical about a prostitute.

6. Richard Curtis

Writer | Love Actually

Richard Curtis was born on November 8, 1956 in Wellington, New Zealand as Richard Whalley Anthony Curtis. He is a writer and producer, known for Love, Actually (2003), Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) and About Time (2013).

Breaking Away (1979) My kids are used to movies being quite manipulative with their understanding and showing their shape. A movie like this, which can deal with all sorts of subjects, didn't fit into that sense of format, and I was trying to tell them that was a good thing, rather than a bad thing.

7. John Dahl

Director | Kill Me Again

John Dahl was born in 1956 in Billings, Montana, USA. He is known for his work on Kill Me Again (1989), The Last Seduction (1994) and Rounders (1998). He is married to Beth Jana Friedberg. They have four children.

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992) This is not a film that I would recommend to most people. [But] I like this idea that there's this dark, dangerous, presence lurking behind the veneer of small-town America.

8. Guillermo del Toro

Writer | El laberinto del fauno

Guillermo del Toro was born October 9, 1964 in Guadalajara Jalisco, Mexico. Raised by his Catholic grandmother, del Toro developed an interest in filmmaking in his early teens. Later, he learned about makeup and effects from the legendary Dick Smith (The Exorcist (1973)) and worked on making his ...

L'arcano incantatore (1996) It's an incredibly well-researched, pastoral, spiritual horror movie. The rhythm and style of it are hard to describe. It's the Barry Lyndon of horror films.

9. Jay Duplass

Actor | Transparent

Jay Duplass, along with his brother, Mark Duplass, first made a name for himself writing and directing several award-winning short films. His first feature film was the Sundance 2005 breakout hit "The Puffy Chair," which went on to win the Audience Award at SXSW and receive two Independent Spirit ...

Joe Versus the Volcano (1990) I fell in love with [Meg Ryan] when she did this film... Each permutation, iteration of her character became more and more lovable for me. It’s almost like each character is a different incarnation of herself, you know? It’s hard to explain, other than that I fell in love with her.

10. Sean Durkin

Director | Martha Marcy May Marlene

Sean Durkin is a producer and director, known for Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011), Mary Last Seen (2010) and Afterschool (2008).

10 Rillington Place (1971) It really just depicts this story the way that a piece of journalism might, as opposed to worrying about preconceived notions of what a film should achieve. But I feel like it's so dark. It's too dark.

11. Atom Egoyan

Director | The Sweet Hereafter

Born in Egypt to Armenian parents, he was raised in Western Canada. Both his parents were painters, and he planned to be a playwright, but after making a short film, he became hooked on telling stories visually. Returned to ethnic "homeland" when he filmed Calendar (1993) in Armenia. Won attention ...

The Homecoming (1973) Silence is a very potent place. It's a place where all sorts of other issues are being negotiated. We're used to seeing drama where the character is usually articulate and quite lucid about their circumstance and know where they have to get to in order to satisfy a whole set of expectations. In [The Homecoming], very often, the motivations are kept quite mysterious.

12. Alex Gibney

Producer | Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

Alex Gibney was born on October 23, 1953 in New York City, New York, USA as Philip Alexander Gibney. He is a producer and director, known for Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005), Taxi to the Dark Side (2007) and Going Clear: Scientology & the Prison of Belief (2015). He has been married...

W.R. - Misterije organizma (1971) Rather than jam all of his ideas into one fictional narrative, [director Dušan Makavejev] wanted to explode out of it.

13. Brian Herzlinger

Director | My Date with Drew

Brian Herzlinger was born on February 19, 1976 in Brooklyn, New York, USA as Brian Scott Herzlinger. He is a director and writer, known for My Date with Drew (2004), Smothered by Mothers (2019) and Dermoid.

Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988) I describe this movie as Tim Burton’s wet dream.

14. Arthur Hiller

Director | Love Story

Arthur Hiller was born on November 22, 1923 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He was a director and producer, known for Love Story (1970), The Hospital (1971) and See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989). He was married to Gwen Hiller. He died on August 17, 2016 in Los Angeles, California, USA.

The Iceman Cometh (1973) It got a hold of me and kept me. It made me see not just with my eyes, but with my gut.

15. Henry Jaglom

Writer | New Year's Day

Henry Jaglom trained with Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio in New York, where he acted, wrote and directed off-Broadway theater and cabaret before settling in Hollywood in the late 1960s. Under contract to Columbia Pictures, Jaglom guest-starred in such TV shows as Gidget (1965) and The Flying Nun...

F for Fake (1973) It's boxes within boxes within boxes. Instead of having a beginning and an end, or going circularly within itself. There's no structure like it in any other film that I've seen.

16. Steve James

Director | The Interrupters

Steve James was born in Hampton, Virginia, USA. He is a director and producer, known for The Interrupters (2011), Hoop Dreams (1994) and Abacus: Small Enough to Jail (2016). He is married to Judy James.

Le joli mai (1963) I first saw this over 30 years ago and it liberated me from the constraints of what a documentary should be. It is an essay, a visual poem, a serendipitous exploration of the city and a series of poignant interviews combined

17. Rian Johnson

Director | Knives Out

Rian Johnson was born in Maryland and at a young age his family moved to San Clemente, California, where he was raised. After graduating from high school, he went on to attend the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. His first feature film, Brick (2005), was released in 2005 ...

Under the Volcano (1984) It's more than tonal, but it really does draw you into this feeling; it almost feels like you're sinking into a swamp through the course of watching the film. You really feel yourself sinking deeper and deeper into a mire of jealousy and a web of that place where love and loathing intersect.

18. Richard Kelly

Writer | Donnie Darko

James Richard Kelly better known as Richard Kelly, is an American film director and writer, known for writing and directing the cult classic Donnie Darko in 2001. Kelly was born James Richard Kelly in Newport News, Virginia, the son of Lane and Ennis Kelly. He grew up in Midlothian, Virginia, where...

Fearless (1993) I remember walking out of the theater and being completely blown away. That was at all what I was expecting. the impact it had on definitively motivated me to follow through with going to film school.

19. Neil LaBute

Writer | In the Company of Men

Acclaimed and highly discussed filmmaker Neil LaBute has made himself a force to be reckoned with and a name to watch. With his true-to-life cynical and self-absorbed characters and all-too-true social themes, he has firmly established himself as an unforgiving judge of the ugliest side of human ...

Blume in Love (1973) It never fails to amaze me when I watch a film like this and at the end, there's the Warner Bros. logo. I go, "This was a studio movie? Warner Bros. made this?" Warner Bros. made A Clockwork Orange. You think, "God, what were the studio notes for something like this?"

20. Jonathan Levine

Writer | The Wackness

Jonathan Levine is a writer and director, known for The Wackness (2008), 50/50 (2011) and Long Shot (2019).

Can't Stop the Music (1980) Other bad films can't even aspire to be as bad--as greatly bad--as this film. No matter how I try to have the really great, classic films influence me, it's the ones I saw on TV when I was eight that have more of an impact on who I am and what I want to do as a filmmaker, for better or worse.

21. Richard Linklater

Director | Waking Life

Self-taught writer-director Richard Stuart Linklater was born in Houston, Texas, to Diane Margaret (Krieger), who taught at a university, and Charles W. Linklater III. Richard was among the first and most successful talents to emerge during the American independent film renaissance of the 1990s. ...

Some Came Running (1958) An artist out of work is a dangerous thing.

22. Phil Lord

Writer | The Lego Movie

Phil Lord was born on July 12, 1975 in Miami, Florida, USA as Philip A. Lord. He is a producer and writer, known for The Lego Movie (2014), Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) and Clone High (2002).

The Beaver Trilogy (2000) It's a great treatise in storytelling and the different ways you can tell a story just with subtle changes.

23. Guy Maddin

Director | The Saddest Music in the World

Guy Maddin was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, to Herdis Maddin (a hair-dresser) and Charles "Chas" Maddin (grain clerk and general manager of the Maroons, a Winnipeg hockey team). Maddin studied economics at the University of Winnipeg, working as a bank manager, house painter, and photographic...

Breaking Away (1979) It's got something surrealist going in it. There's something mysterious and confusing emanating from all those shadows. This is maybe the most delirious of all film noirs ever made.

24. John McNaughton

Director | Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

John McNaughton was born on January 13, 1950 in Chicago, Illinois, USA. He is a director, known for Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986), Wild Things (1998) and Mad Dog and Glory (1993).

Who'll Stop the Rain (1978) I remember walking into the theater and there was a poster, and there was Nick Nolte…and there was the title, Who’ll Stop the Rain, and I thought, 'What a stupid *beep* title.’ All I remember is going in prejudiced against it, and sitting down, and after five minutes I was hooked.

25. Frank Oz

Actor | The Muppet Show

Frank Richard Oznowicz was born in Hereford, England to puppeteers Frances and Isidore Oznowicz. His family moved to Montana in 1951, eventually settling in Oakland, California. As a teenager, he worked as an apprentice puppeteer at Children's Fairyland amusement park. He is one of the primary ...

Le procès (1962) The elements of the movie are just stunning to me. The atmosphere, the nightmarish atmosphere, he created was just extraordinary.

26. Kimberly Peirce

Director | Boys Don't Cry

Kimberly Peirce was born on September 8, 1967 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA. She is a director and writer, known for Boys Don't Cry (1999), Stop-Loss (2008) and Carrie (2013).

Ugetsu monogatari (1953) Mizoguchi has such a respect for storytelling and for character. It's only going to work if it's not a huge spectacle, but you're being seduced into it the same way he's being seduced into it.

27. Michael Polish

Director | Twin Falls Idaho

Michael Polish was born on October 30, 1970 in El Centro, California, USA. He is a director and producer, known for Twin Falls Idaho (1999), Northfork (2003) and Jackpot (2001). He has been married to Kate Bosworth since August 31, 2013. He was previously married to Jo Strettell.

Institute Benjamenta, or This Dream People Call Human Life (1995) Institute Benjamenta really makes you take a step forth into their own realm, and participate in a way that you are just not normally participating in movies.

28. Alex Proyas

Director | Dark City

Alex Proyas has moved effortlessly between helming TV commercials and music videos to feature films. Born to Greek parents in Egypt, Proyas relocated to Australia with his family when he was three years old. He began making films at age ten and went on to attend the Australian Film Television and ...

The Swimmer (1968) What struck me at the time is I think it was the first time I became aware that a film could be about a terribly flawed individual. Up until that state--I must have been about ten or twelve--I thought movies were about heroic guys who achieved heroic deeds, and this was the absolute opposite of that.

29. Stephen Quay

Director | The PianoTuner of EarthQuakes

The identical twin Brothers Quay (the other being Timothy) were born near Philadelphia in a town with a large European immigrant population, which fuelled their interest in European (especially Eastern European) culture. They moved to London in the late 1960s to study at the Royal College of Art ...

and Timothy Quay, aka The Brothers Quay L'ange (1982) L'ange is an absolutely startling and visionary film that could pass as one of the most disquieting and mystifying fables in cinema. You are singularly plunged into a febrile, poetic universe, and there are no handrails.

30. Kevin Smith

Producer | Clerks

Kevin Patrick Smith was born in Red Bank but grew up in Highlands, New Jersey, the son of Grace (Schultz) and Donald E. Smith, a postal worker. He is very proud of his native state; this fact can be seen in all of his movies. Kevin is of mostly German, with some Irish and English, ancestry.

His ...

A Man for All Seasons (1966) I think it's a far more powerful film of you have any sort of faith or sense of spirituality or belief in God.

31. Todd Solondz

Director | Welcome to the Dollhouse

Todd Solondz was born in Newark, New Jersey. One of his earliest jobs in the film industry was when, as a young man, he worked as a messenger for the Writers' Guild of America. During this time, he wrote several screenplays.

Solondz's first color film with sync sound was the short "Schatt's Last ...

The Honeymoon Killers (1970) The movie is so deeply ‘anti,’ not just anti-Hollywood, but anti-Bonnie and Clyde and all the conventions that are set up are tweaked in ways that I’m not even sure the director is fully aware of how radical the film was.

32. Joe Swanberg

Writer | Easy

Joe Swanberg was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1981. He moved around quite a bit growing up, even spending two years on an island in the Pacific Ocean named Kwajalein. He studied film production at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where he developed an interest in emerging video technology ...

Ivansxtc (2000) If there’s a crime about things being overlooked, it’s that people don’t talk about [Danny Huston] in this movie. And I think he’s incredible.

33. John Waters

Writer | Pecker

Growing up in Baltimore in the 1950s, John Waters was not like other children; he was obsessed by violence and gore, both real and on the screen. With his weird counter-culture friends as his cast, he began making silent 8mm and 16mm films in the mid-'60s; he screened these in rented Baltimore ...

Boom (1968) It's the other side of camp. It's beautiful, atrocious and it's perfect.. It's a perfect movie, really, and I never tire of it.

34. John Woo

Director | Ying hung boon sik

Born in southern China, John Woo grew up in Hong Kong, where he began his film career as an assistant director in 1969, working for Shaw Brothers Studios. He directed his first feature in 1973 and has been a prolific director ever since, working in a wide variety of genres before A Better Tomorrow ...

Le samouraï (1967) We (John Woo and Jean-Pierre Melville) have the same kind of philosophy. We believe in the same kind of code of honor. In the old times, in Chinese society, people who have the true spirit of chivalry were admired so much. Helping people, sacrificing for others. It's the same.

35. Edgar Wright

Director | Shaun of the Dead

Edgar Howard Wright (born 18 April 1974) is an English director, screenwriter, producer, and actor. He is best known for his comedic Three Flavours Cornetto film trilogy consisting of Shaun of the Dead (2004), Hot Fuzz (2007), and The World's End (2013), made with recurrent collaborators Simon Pegg...

The Super Cops (1974) There's something about the tone that is very appealing. It has one foot in the gritty '70s cop genre and another foot in that kind of absurdist comedy. It's very interesting to see a real-life story played with a raised eyebrow.

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