100 Best Films You've Never Heard Ofby condopets | created - 26 May 2017 | updated - 26 May 2017 | Public
Entertainment Weekly's 100 Best Films You've Never Heard Of - July 19, 1991
36. Heartland - 1979 This restrained period piece about the harshness of frontier life, based on a pioneer woman's diaries, has so little talk that it's almost like a silent movie. Like any good silent, however, the pictures speak volumes... 37. Hell in the Pacific - Boorman, 1969 Direction is a textbook example of visual storytelling... 38. The Hidden - 1987 An excellent, extremely violent sci-fi thriller that joins The Terminator and Aliens as the best of the slick action/sci-fi movies of the '80s...plus Kyle MacLachlan... 39. High and Low - Kurosawa, 1963 Not till The French Connection did Hollywood produce a detective thriller as gritty and sociologically attuned as this tour de force from Kurosawa... 40. High Tide - Armstrong, 1987 ...devastating portrait of a woman with nowhere to grow but up... 41. Hi, Mom! - De Palma, 1970 One of the few counterculture satires that deserve to be called subversive...with Robert De Niro... 42. The Hit - Frears, 1984 ...sly, unpredictable gangster yarn... 43. Home of the Brave - 1984 ...taboo-breaking portrait of a black WWII soldier... 44. Housekeeping - Forsyth, 1987 The most beautiful, and misunderstood, film from director Bill Forsyth. 45. In a Lonely Place - Ray, 1950 The sourest and most deeply felt of the inside-Hollywood movies...with Humphrey Bogart. 46. I Walked with a Zombie - Tourneur, 1943 That's a lousy title for this voodoo chiller, one of the most spectral B movies ever made. Reworking the plot of Jane Eyre in a Haitian setting... 47. Jazz on a Summer's Day - Stern, 1959 This record of the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival takes on the same sort of quirky clean-cut naughtiness as early issues of Playboy. 48. The Killing - Kubrick, 1956 Kubrick transforms the perfect-crime material into the screen equivalent of a jigsaw puzzle, leaping back and forth in time and showing the same scenes from many points of view. 49. Kiss Me Deadly - Aldrich, 1955 From its disorienting opening to the apocalyptic finish at the beach house, the movie flashes nerve, verve, and curve balls. 50. Lonely are the Brave - 1962 This lovely, understated film...has a real feeling for the cowboy's stoic melancholy. 51. Macao - von Sternberg, 1952 "Everybody's lonely, worried, and sorry," says tough gal Jane Russell, setting the tone for this moody action picture (partly reshot by an uncredited Nicholas Ray)... 52. Marked Woman - 1937 Warner Bros. was so nervy in the '30s that it barely bothered disguising Bette Davis' profession in this brutal crime melodrama. Based on the case in which mobster Lucky Luciano was brought down by his hookers, Marked Woman bristles with protofeminist cynicism... 53. Mikey and Nicky - May, 1976 Two gangsters engage in a soul-searching, all-night talkathon...explosive comedy done in the improvisational style of Cassavetes, and it's a more successful example than many of his efforts. 54. Miracle Mile - DeJarnatt, 1989 Directed for maximum love-it-or-hate-it appeal, Miracle Mile posits that Armageddon will look like an epic shopping-mall riot. It's that rare thing indeed, a slapstick tragedy. 55. Mixed Blood - Morrissey, 1985 The only movie with a scene set in a store devoted to Menudo merchandise, this drug-war revenge comedy is so deadpan that it barely has a pulse... 56. Monkey Business - Hawks, 1952 ...little known gem from Howard Hawks is probably the last great screwball comedy... 57. The Naked Kiss - Fuller, 1964 A movie that confounds all expectations...directed in a sensationalistic style that would leave the editors of The National Enquirer slack-jawed. 58. The Naked Spur - Mann, 1953 ...vigourous moviemaking, with stunning Rockies scenery and thoughtful characterizations, wrapped as tightly as a tourniquet... 59. Near Dark - Bigelow, 1987 Reassembling several Aliens alumni as a blood-hungry family barreling through the Midwest in a van, Dark has the despair of a great country tune and the acid humor of a sick joke... 60. 1918 - 1984 Writer Horton Fote has turned his memories of a small-town Texas into a whole cycle of plays and films; 1918 is the heart of the bunch... 61. The Ninth Configuration - Blatty, 1980 Questions like "Is it good or bad?" get left in the dust as you watch this lulu...It's like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest turned inside out... 62. On Dangerous Ground - Ray, 1951 Ray's strikingly composed film, mostly shot in the flare of rural snow, is tough, taciturn, and tender... 63. One-Eyed Jacks - Brando, 1960 The only movie Marlon Brando ever directed...was greeted as a pompous, oddball failure...but is nothing less than the first fully enlightened Western...a neglected precursor to the cinema of Peckinpah... 64. Over the Edge - Kaplan, 1979 ...first film to update the James Dean ethos to the permissive '70s, when the conventional forms of teen rebellion had been co-opted... 65. Paris Blues - 1961 Paul Newman, Sidney Poitier, Joanne Woodward, and a score by Duke Ellington... 66. Payday - 1973 ...fueled by dead-on dialogue, follows Rip Torn on a bender of self-destruction without either judgement or self-righteous message-making. The effect is truly frightening. 67. Peeping Tom - Powell, 1960 Powell effectively destroyed his career with this grotesque portrait of a camera-obsessed killer... 68. Personal Best - Towne, 1982 One of the better sports movies ever, it's also the sole mainstream film of the early '80s to handle homosexuality without either hysteria or coy timidity... 69. The Plague Dogs - 1982 ...this may be the most disturbing animated film ever made... 70. Point Blank - Boorman, 1967 ...hallucinatory gangland melodrama is a cross between an early-'50s film noir and a late-'60s LSD flick... 71. Q: The Winged Serpent - 1982 David Carradine, Richard Roundtree, and Michael Moriarty in this hilarious tabloid sci-fi/horror film... 72. The Revolt of Job - 1983 Quietly harrowing...played out in a leisurely rhythm against the hazily gorgeous Hungarian landscape... 73. Ride the High Country - Peckinpah, 1962 This drawling, droll, and sometimes violent character study brings out the beauty of the American landscape in color the way Ansel Adams did in black and white... 74. Riot in Cell Block 11 - Siegel, 1954 ...tense, hard melodrama is far more than just a prison movie... 75. The Saga of Anatahan - von Sternberg, 1953 ...a mocking distillation of the director's lifelong themes of human folly and the cruelties of romance. It's a gorgeously shot, almost unbearably sensual movie. 76. Saint Jack - Bogdanovich, 1979 Moviegoers had just about given up on Bogdanovich when he came through with this character study...the film has the moody sense of business being transpired at midnight... 77. Say Amen, Somebody - 1983 A feverishly infectious documentary on gospel singers, this movie has sensational performances that make the joint jump with joy. 78. Secret Honor - Altman, 1984 Altman's film of Philip Baker Hall's one-man show is an outrageous affront to the American Presidency... 79. The Sender - 1982 The public had tired of telekinesis by the time this stylish, often subtle, and very underrated horror film came out... 80. Shack out on 101 - 1955 Good bad movies don't get better than this. 81. The Shanghai Gesture - von Sternberg, 1941 Sardonic stylist von Sternberg, flat on his back from an infection, directed this nougat of Hollywood kitsch from a cot...a passionate, demented, richly entertaining piece of nonsense. 82. Smile - Ritchie, 1975 ...behind-the-scene satire set a a "Young American Miss" competition was a flop in '75, too cynical for those who like beauty pageants, too humane for those who don't... 83. Songwriter - Rudolph, 1984 Like a rambling Johnny Cash story-song, this slice of life is stronger on good-natured feel than actual plot. You won't mind though. 84. The Stepfather - Ruben, 1987 ...this white-knuckle special never mistakes itself for anything but a taut, creepy-funny B screamer... 85. Straight Time - 1978 ...Dustin Hoffman's most unappreciated performance... 86. Streamers - Altman, 1983 Altman helps detonate the verbal grenades in David Rabe's smotheringly claustrophobic play... 87. Streetwise - 1985 This portrait of homeless Seattle street kids is the rare documentary with the dramtic power of great fiction... 88. The Tenant - Polanski, 1976 Polanski directs and stars in this funny, sometimes terrifying thriller...his performance is a masterpiece of masochism... 89. They Live by Night - Ray, 1949 The first film by Ray, this is a stunner...later remade by Robert Altman as Thieves Like Us... 90. Ticket to Heaven - 1981 Ever wonder what it would be like to become a Moonie?...perhaps the only movie that truly evokes the frightening psychology of modern cults... 91. Track 29 - Roeg, 1988 Critics didn't know how to take this surreal puzzler...like The Singing Detective, it's a reality-vs.-pop culture black comedy... 92. Twice Upon a Time - 1983 From exec producer George Lucas...too abstract for grade-schoolers, but teens and grown-ups who like fairy tales with a Python-esque, warp-speed edge should enjoy it happily ever after... 93. Under Fire - 1983 The most human political thriller in years...it manages to score all its points and still be engrossingly suspenseful... 94. Used Cars - Zemeckis, 1980 ...the consistently rude script is consistently hilarious...Zemeckis went on to the glossier Back to the Future and Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, but this is their equal in both laugh count and sheer spunk... 95. Vampire's Kiss - 1989 A cult has already formed for this outrageous black farce...a demento Nicolas Cage performance that has to be seen to be believed... 96. While the City Sleeps - Lang, 1956 ...dirty little urban drama is a sleazy roundelay...where the compulsion for personal power within the press is revealed as the embryo of totalitarianism... 97. Who'll Stop the Rain - Reisz, 1978 The dumb title certainly contributed to its initial failure...but taut, tense, bitter, and unremittingly cynical, you just gotta love it... 98. Withnail & I - 1987 ...captures the toxic excess of the late '60s with a clear-eyed purity and humor that put Olive Stone's The Doors to shame... 99. Zardoz - Boorman, 1974 One of the craziest movies ever made...a campily imaginative, ravishing sci-fi fantasy with Sean Connery...only the helplessly humorless wouldn't be enchanted... 100. A Zed & Two Noughts - Greenaway, 1985 ...chilly, beguiling gamesmanship, perfect for people who love really hard crossword puzzles...
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1. Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)
R | 91 min | Action, Crime, Thriller
An unlikely partnership between a Highway Patrol Officer, two criminals and a station secretary is formed to defend a defunct Los Angeles precinct office against a siege by a bloodthirsty street gang.
Imaginative urban update of Rio Bravo.
2. Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)
Not Rated | 81 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery
A one-armed stranger comes to a tiny town possessing a terrible past they want to keep secret, by violent means if necessary.
Modern reworking of the classic Western.
3. The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970)
R | 121 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
A hobo accidentally stumbles onto a water spring, and creates a profitable way station in the middle of the desert.
Votes: 7,301 | Gross: $3.50M
After The Wild Bunch, Peckinpah decided, cinematically speaking, to "go fishin.'
4. Barbarosa (1982)
PG | 90 min | Western
A young cowboy hooks up with a legendary outlaw, and before long both are on the run from the law.
Votes: 1,224 | Gross: $1.74M
Fine, funny campfire tale of a movie.
5. La Bête Humaine (1938)
Not Rated | 100 min | Crime, Drama
In this classic adaptation of Emile Zola's novel, a tortured train engineer falls in love with a troubled married woman who has helped her husband commit a murder.
Key influence on Hollywood noirs like Double Indemnity, and its soul runs much deeper.
6. The Big Combo (1955)
Not Rated | 87 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
A police lt. is ordered to stop investigating deadly crime boss Mr. Brown, because he hasn't been able to get any hard evidence against him. He then goes after Brown's girlfriend who despises him, for information instead.
Flashy and often unforgettable crime flick set on the seamy side of the tracks, surely one of the first movies to feature a pair of homosexual lovers who are also thugs.
7. Black Narcissus (1947)
Not Rated | 101 min | Drama
After opening a convent in the Himalayas, five nuns encounter conflict and tension - both with the natives and also within their own group - as they attempt to adapt to their remote, exotic surroundings.
Smartly written, stunningly filmed, outrageously sensual psychology lesson, at least 20 years ahead of its time.
8. Brain Damage (1988)
R | 84 min | Comedy, Horror
One morning, a young man wakes to find that a small, disgusting creature has attached itself to the base of his brain stem. The creature gives him a euphoric state of happiness but demands human victims in return.
Cheap, fast, gross, and extremely funny horror-comedy.
9. The Brood (1979)
R | 92 min | Horror, Sci-Fi
A man tries to uncover an unconventional psychologist's therapy techniques on his institutionalized wife, amidst a series of brutal murders.
For a cheap horror flick...echoes on levels you may not care to acknowledge.
10. Burn! (1969)
GP | 112 min | Action, Drama
The professional mercenary Sir William Walker instigates a slave revolt on the Caribbean island of Queimada in order to help improve the British sugar trade. Years later he is sent again to... See full summary »
Complex film is as remarkable for its steaming, sensual surfaces as for its sophisticated political thinking.
11. Candy Mountain (1987)
R | 91 min | Drama
A struggling musician sets out to find the legendary guitar maker Elmore Silk, with whom he hopes to strike a deal to make himself rich and famous.
Searching for a reclusive guitar maker, kid meets every musical eccentric from Buster Poindexter to Leon Redbone to Dr. John.
12. Carrie (1952)
Approved | 118 min | Drama, Romance
A young girl from a provincial town learns the bitter reality of a big city and great love.
Unpopular because of its frank treatment of unwholesome material...may contain Laurence Olivier's best screen performance.
13. Wild Calendar (1949)
Not Rated | 88 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller
An L.A. department store ambitious young model gets her wish of marrying a millionaire but she eventually discovers that rich life isn't always a happy one.
A dark, eerie weepie.
14. Chilly Scenes of Winter (1979)
PG | 92 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
Charles is a Salt Lake City civil servant who loves (*LOVES*) Laura, a lovely housewife with a lovely step-daughter and an A-frame-selling, ex-quarterback husband named Ox. His roommate is ... See full summary »
Mature charmer about people using absurdity to keep loneliness from the door.
15. Comfort and Joy (1984)
PG | 106 min | Comedy
Radio host Alan Bird witnesses how an ice cream van is attacked and destroyed by an angry competitor. This leads him into the struggle between two Italian families, the Bernardis and the ... See full summary »
Votes: 1,452 | Gross: $1.06M
Gentle comedy, a true piece of eccentricity with the oddest twist ever in the shoot-em-up genre.
16. The Company of Wolves (1984)
R | 95 min | Horror, Fantasy
A teenage girl in a country manor falls asleep while reading a magazine, and has a disturbing dream involving wolves prowling the woods below her bedroom window.
Votes: 13,121 | Gross: $4.39M
Maze-like fantasy is a tart, luxurious marriage of medieval fairy tale and kinky coming-of-age symbolism.
17. Criss Cross (1949)
Not Rated | 84 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
An armored truck driver and his lovely ex-wife conspire with a gang to have his own truck robbed on the route.
Film noir directed with speed and surgical precision.
18. Dancing Lady (1933)
Passed | 92 min | Comedy, Musical, Romance
An attractive dancer is rescued from jail by a rich man, who helps her to have her first big opportunity at a musical play on Broadway.
The mind boggles: Joan Crawford, Fred Astaire, and The Three Stooges in the same movie?
19. Dark Star (1974)
G | 83 min | Comedy, Sci-Fi
In the far reaches of space, a small crew, 20 years into their solitary mission, find things beginning to go hilariously wrong.
Presenting space travel as a never-ending car trip with people you used to like, it wickedly deflates the pomposity behind almost every episode of Star Trek.
20. Death Race 2000 (1975)
R | 80 min | Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi
In a dystopian future, a cross country automobile race requires contestants to run down innocent pedestrians to gain points that are tallied based on each kill's brutality.
Votes: 22,089 | Gross: $8.00M
Zippy prototype of post-apocalyptic-car-chase flicks with a gleefully sophmoric sense of humor.
21. Deception (1946)
Approved | 115 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
A piano teacher believes that her fiancé was killed on the battlefield. When he miraculously returns, they decide to marry, but are threatened by a wealthy, egotistical composer the piano teacher started dating on the rebound after she became convinced her love had died.
Wonderful old kitsch in which people always seem to be wearing evening clothes, gazing out at skyscrapers, and saying such things as, "Oh please, don't let's make a scene".
22. Le Dernier Combat (The Last Battle) (1983)
R | 92 min | Sci-Fi
In a post-apocalyptic future where no one is able to speak, the few remaining humans fight over resources in order to survive.
A thinking person's Mad Max with no dialogue, gleaming sepia photography, and surreal touches like a rain shower of fish.
23. Detour (1945)
Not Rated | 68 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
Chance events trap hitch-hiker Al Roberts in a tightening net of film noir trouble.
Brutally nasty cult thriller is perhaps the cheapest good movie ever made.
24. Dodsworth (1936)
Passed | 101 min | Drama, Romance
A retired auto manufacturer and his wife take a long-planned European vacation only to find that they want very different things from life.
Remains one of the most clear-eyed cinematic views of mid-life in America...all played out on striking, Oscar-winning sets.
25. Dreamchild (1985)
PG | 94 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama
Exploring the somewhat darker and more mysterious side of the Lewis Carroll's classic book, the movie follows Alice Liddell (the book's inspiration) as an old woman who is haunted by the ... See full summary »
Votes: 1,310 | Gross: $1.22M
One of the most profound movies ever made about the intermingling of art and life.
26. A Fine Madness (1966)
Not Rated | 104 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
Samson Shillitoe, mad genius of a poet irresistible to women but plagued by writer's block, agrees to see a psychiatrist... and his beautiful wife.
Sean Connery took a break from Bond to play an obstreperous, rambunctious poet...studio honcho Jack Warner thought this satire "antisocial" and had it recut, but still didn't manage to destroy it.
27. The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. (1953)
G | 89 min | Family, Fantasy, Music
A young boy travels to an imaginary world where, assisted by his family's plumber, he must save other piano playing kids like himself from the dungeons of his dictatorial piano teacher who also mind-controls his mother.
Screwy musical designed and coscripted by Dr. Seuss himself.
28. Forbidden Zone (1980)
R | 74 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Musical
The bizarre and musical tale of a girl who travels to another dimension through the gateway found in her family's basement.
Genuinely twisted cult flick plays like a genetic recombination of Alice in Wonderland, Frank Zappa, and a Betty Boop cartoon...you get Herve Villechaize, a lot of great old Cab Calloway music, and Danny Elfman plays the devil.
29. 49th Parallel (1941)
Not Rated | 104 min | Drama, War, Thriller
A World War II U-boat crew are stranded in northern Canada. To avoid internment, they must make their way to the border and get into the still-neutral USA.
An epic thriller about Nazis on the run in Canada...it's as entertaining as propaganda gets.
30. Foxes (1980)
R | 106 min | Drama
A group of four teenage girls come of age in the asphalt desert of Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley arranged with a blazing soundtrack and endless drinking, drugs and sex.
An epic thriller about Nazis on the run in Canada...it's as entertaining as propaganda gets.
31. Get Crazy (1983)
R | 92 min | Comedy, Music
Mega-promoter Colin Beverly plans to sabotage the New Year's 1983 concert of small-time operator Max Wolfe. Wolfe's assistants Neil Allen and Willie Loman find romance while trying to save ... See full summary »
Votes: 934 | Gross: $1.65M
Mindless teen comedy has a goofy, Airplane-esque spin...with Lou Reed's dead-on parody of Bob Dylan...gloriously dumb essential viewing.
32. Glen or Glenda (1953)
PG | 65 min | Drama
A psychiatrist tells two stories: one of a transvestite (Glen or Glenda), the other of a pseudohermaphrodite (Alan or Anne).
As mind-boggingly inept as Wood's better-known Plan 9 from Outer Space, but also, in its brain-dead way, as personal a piece of cinema as anything Bergman ever made.
33. Good News (1947)
Approved | 93 min | Comedy, Musical, Romance
At fictitious Tait University in the Roaring 20's, co-ed and school librarian Connie Lane falls for football hero Tommy Marlowe. Unfortunately, he has his eye on gold-digging vamp Pat ... See full summary »
MGM's perky college-campus musical works on the nervous system like a cup of sweet, milky coffee, which seems to the be the strongest drink ever sampled by the movie's squeaky-clean students.
34. Go Tell the Spartans (1978)
R | 114 min | Drama, War
During the early 1960s, U.S. military advisers in South Vietnam discover the same challenges that plagued the French army in Indochina ten years prior.
Looked beyond the anquish of individual Vietnam vets to examine the war's fundamental tactical lunacy...preferring a four-hankie catharsis to sober analysis, audiences stayed away in droves.
35. Gun Crazy (1950)
Passed | 87 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
A well meaning crack shot husband is pressured by his beautiful marksman wife to go on an interstate robbery spree, where he finds out just how depraved and deadly she really is.
Crackerjack B movie features some of the most thrilling crime scenes ever staged.