80 BEST FILMS & TV SHOWS EVER MADE THAT YOU NEVER SAW (short comment/review included)

by gogoschka-1 | created - 17 Jul 2014 | updated - 13 Oct 2020 | Public

A brief note about myself first: apart from being a film geek, I'm also a huge nature freak and amateur photographer; in case you're interested, you can find my photos of my favorite wildlife here: https://www.lacerta-bilineata.com/ and the German version here: https://de.lacerta-bilineata.com/ . With that shameless bit of self-promotion out of the way, let's get to more cinematic matters ;-)

The list below consists of non-mainstream marvels that are - in my humble opinion - a joy for (almost) every film lover and therefore deserve to be wider known. This list is in no particular order and I will keep updating it. Sound off in the Facebook comments below if you feel like letting me know what you think.

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1. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974)

R | 112 min | Action, Crime, Drama

80 Metascore

An American barroom pianist and his prostitute girlfriend go on a trip through the Mexican underworld to collect the bounty on the head of a dead gigolo.

Director: Sam Peckinpah | Stars: Warren Oates, Isela Vega, Robert Webber, Gig Young

Votes: 20,229 | Gross: $0.58M

A journey into the heart of darkness - an amazing film full of unexpected turns, totally messed-up characters and fantastic performances. Was way ahead of its time and should be re-discovered by as many film fans as possible. 9 stars out of 10.

2. Control (2003)

R | 111 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

72 Metascore

A tale about a strange young man, Bulcsú, the fellow inspectors on his team, all without exception likable characters, a rival ticket inspection team and racing along the tracks - and a tale about love.

Director: Nimród Antal | Stars: Sándor Csányi, Eszter Balla, Zoltán Mucsi, Csaba Pindroch

Votes: 25,862 | Gross: $0.24M

What an unexpected pleasure! It doesn't happen very often to me that I go watch a movie completely in the dark; when I do, it's usually because somebody dragged me to it - as was the case here - and more often than not, I regret it afterwards. This was a very welcome exception. What a find! This movie has simply everything: great characters, superb cinematography, a kick-ass soundtrack; it's a comedy, a mystery thriller, a drama and a romance - and the performances and the direction are flawless. I will not spoil anything here, but what makes me call this film great instead of just very good, is that there is a wide range of different interpretations possible for this marvelous movie, from the fairly straight forward one to the dark and disturbing or even the religious - and they all work beautifully. Great, smart entertainment and outstanding cinema. 10 stars out of 10.

3. Lone Star (1996)

R | 135 min | Drama, Mystery, Western

78 Metascore

When the skeleton of his murdered predecessor is found, Sheriff Sam Deeds unearths many other long-buried secrets in his Texas border town.

Director: John Sayles | Stars: Chris Cooper, Elizabeth Peña, Stephen Mendillo, Stephen J. Lang

Votes: 30,186 | Gross: $13.27M

John Sayles' best film: amazing, epic story; beautifully told in elegant flashbacks, featuring Chris Cooper in one of his best roles. A film of stunning beauty and humanity - and also very entertaining. 9 stars out of 10.

4. Elling (2001)

R | 89 min | Comedy, Drama

70 Metascore

When his mother, who has sheltered him his entire 40 years, dies, sensitive would-be poet Elling is sent to live in a state institution. There he meets Kjell Bjarne, a gentle giant and ... See full summary »

Director: Petter Næss | Stars: Per Christian Ellefsen, Sven Nordin, Marit Pia Jacobsen, Jørgen Langhelle

Votes: 15,208 | Gross: $0.31M

A comedy masterpiece. Sometimes tragic but more often outrageously funny, this wonderful tale of two mentally challenged outcasts caught me fully unprepared. There wasn't a single face without a wide grin in the audience after this film. An amazing script, fantastic actors: this was the feel-good movie of 2001. 9 stars out of 10.

5. Kilo Two Bravo (2014)

R | 108 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

Kajaki Dam 2006. A company of young British soldiers encounter an unexpected, terrifying enemy. A dried-out river bed, and under every step the possibility of an anti-personnel mine. A mine that could cost you your leg - or your life.

Director: Paul Katis | Stars: David Elliot, Mark Stanley, Scott Kyle, Benjamin O'Mahony

Votes: 13,530

There's only a handful of so called "war films" I consider to be films about the actual reality of war. HBO's mini-series 'Generation Kill' is probably the most accurate when it comes to the depiction of modern warfare - but 'Kajaki' (also known as 'Kilo Two Bravo') gives it a run for its money: this criminally under-seen masterpiece should be considered a modern classic. The production values are fantastic; the cinematography, the script and and the direction are absolutely flawless - but you won't notice them. What you will notice is the outstanding ensemble of actors, portraying characters in a way you forget you're watching a movie. They will make you cringe, laugh, cry and hold your breath in shocked disbelief and utter horror.

This film had me literally on the edge of my seat the entire time, but what really grabs you by the gut is not just the suspense and the horror; it's the relationships between these soldiers and how they look out for each other. How close men become when their lives depend on each other has probably rarely been depicted on screen with the intensity and no-bullshît, keep-it-real attitude as is the case here. And knowing that what you're seeing actually happened only adds to the experience (for this film IS an experience). Definitely not the kind of war film that you come across very often. Superb. 9 stars out of 10.

6. Down by Law (1986)

R | 107 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

75 Metascore

Two men are framed and sent to jail, where they meet a murderer who helps them escape and leave the state.

Director: Jim Jarmusch | Stars: Tom Waits, John Lurie, Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi

Votes: 52,168 | Gross: $1.44M

A cult classic - and yet still relatively little known. Jim Jarmush is a master when it comes to creating atmosphere (and nobody uses stretches of silence to better comedic effect than he does). Shot in beautiful black and white, this tale of the prison outbreak of three very unlikely companions is all mood, deadpan humour and practically no action. Don't expect a story - just enjoy the ride, the dialogues (consisting mainly of the word *beep* - unless it's Benigni talking: his chaotic, broken English lines are another highlight of the film) and the fantastic soundtrack by John Lurie and Tom Waits. Perhaps the epitome of a cult movie, this one goes down like a cool beer on a hot summer evening. 9 stars out of 10.

7. Together (2000)

R | 106 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

84 Metascore

In 1975, the dynamics of a Swedish commune begin to change upon the arrival of a beaten wife and her two kids.

Director: Lukas Moodysson | Stars: Lisa Lindgren, Michael Nyqvist, Emma Samuelsson, Sam Kessel

Votes: 23,014 | Gross: $1.07M

Funny, tragic, moving, real: life in a commune has never been so entertaining. A true gem of a film and a wonderful experience. 9 stars out of 10.

8. Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009)

R | 122 min | Crime, Drama

69 Metascore

Terence McDonagh is a drug- and gambling-addled detective in post-Katrina New Orleans investigating the killing of five Senegalese immigrants.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Russell M. Haeuser, Val Kilmer

Votes: 78,010 | Gross: $1.70M

I laughed my ass off during this film. Over the top, crazy ride with the best Nic Cage in years. When Cage asked director Werner Herzog for advice on how to best approach his role, Herzog answered: Go with "evil is bliss". Cage obliged and the result is hilarious. This film got a lot of negativity because apparently, people expected a serious, dark drama. Well, Herzog had other plans: This is a wickedly funny black comedy that borders on satire. Fantastic acting by all involved, inventive camera and just one hell of a ride. If you like films in the vein of, say, 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' or 'The Big Lebowski' you'll have a blast watching this. Herzog's most entertaining film to date and Cage's best performance in ages. 9 stars out of 10.

9. Blood Simple (1984)

R | 99 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

83 Metascore

The owner of a seedy small-town Texas bar discovers that one of his employees is having an affair with his wife. A chaotic chain of misunderstandings, lies and mischief ensues after he devises a plot to have them murdered.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen | Stars: John Getz, Frances McDormand, Dan Hedaya, M. Emmet Walsh

Votes: 97,682 | Gross: $2.15M

This was the Coen's debut and already all the trademarks were there: fantastic characters, very black humor, outstanding camera and acting and a script that's very unconventional. Tight, thrilling - a must for any film fan. 9 stars out of 10.

10. Bound (1996)

R | 109 min | Crime, Thriller

61 Metascore

Tough ex-con Corky and her lover Violet concoct a scheme to steal millions of stashed mob money and pin the blame on Violet's crooked boyfriend Caesar.

Directors: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski | Stars: Jennifer Tilly, Gina Gershon, Joe Pantoliano, John P. Ryan

Votes: 56,398 | Gross: $3.80M

Gripping, violent mobster tale and a very sexy love story. What a stunning debut for the Wachowski's this film was (and I can't for the life of me understand why this film hasn't been seen by a huge audience). Amazing camera, fantastic acting and so tight there's not a single dull moment in it. Edge-of-your-seat stuff. 9 stars out of 10.

11. Once Were Warriors (1994)

R | 102 min | Crime, Drama

77 Metascore

A family descended from Maori warriors is bedeviled by a violent father and the societal problems of being treated as outcasts.

Director: Lee Tamahori | Stars: Rena Owen, Temuera Morrison, Mamaengaroa Kerr-Bell, Julian Arahanga

Votes: 34,728 | Gross: $2.20M

A gut punch of a film. One of the best dramas and brutally honest. The acting and the script are amazing - this film will stay with you for a long time. Beautiful. 9 stars out of 10.

12. Night on Earth (1991)

R | 129 min | Comedy, Drama

68 Metascore

An anthology of 5 different cab drivers in 5 American and European cities and their remarkable fares on the same eventful night.

Director: Jim Jarmusch | Stars: Winona Ryder, Gena Rowlands, Lisanne Falk, Alan Randolph Scott

Votes: 61,298 | Gross: $2.02M

5 wonderfully acted, tragic-comical stories. Deeply original and, as always with Jarmusch, with a fantastic, laid back soundtrack. Again, a must watch. 9 stars out of 10.

13. The Idiots (1998)

R | 117 min | Comedy, Drama

47 Metascore

The group of people gather at the house in Copenhagen suburb to break all the limitations and to bring out the "inner idiot" in themselves.

Director: Lars von Trier | Stars: Bodil Jørgensen, Jens Albinus, Anne Louise Hassing, Troels Lyby

Votes: 32,041 | Gross: $0.01M

Some of the best acting you'll ever see. Let's call this one a hardcore "dramedy" - there are scenes that had me roaring with laughter, others are sad and tender (and there are even some hardcore porn shots). A unique masterpiece by the crazy Danish maestro Lars von Trier. 9 stars out of 10.

14. The Returned (2012–2015)

TV-MA | 52 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

In a small French mountain town where everyone knows each other, the dead begin to inexplicably return as if their death never happened. Forcing the townsfolk to confront their difficult past as they seek to understand this phenomenon.

Stars: Anne Consigny, Clotilde Hesme, Frédéric Pierrot, Céline Sallette

Votes: 20,622

The eerie atmosphere in this strange, beautiful series about returning dead people is absolutely captivating and a unique experience. This ranks among the best I've recently seen on TV or in the cinema. The whole production, from the actors to the setting and the music, is pure art. 9 stars out of 10.

15. Jacob's Ladder (I) (1990)

R | 113 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

62 Metascore

Mourning his dead child, a haunted Vietnam War veteran attempts to uncover his past while suffering from a severe case of dissociation. To do so, he must decipher reality and life from his own dreams, delusions, and perceptions of death.

Director: Adrian Lyne | Stars: Tim Robbins, Elizabeth Peña, Danny Aiello, Matt Craven

Votes: 109,796 | Gross: $26.12M

This is simply one of the best films hardly anyone ever saw (OK - it's got 60+ thousand votes on IMDb - but I'm still amazed that it's not 3 times that number). Amazing script, acting, story, visuals; it makes you wonder why Adrian Lyne didn't make more films of that caliber. Don't get frustrated if you don't understand the film at first. It DOES make sense, but it usually takes repeat viewings to figure this one out. 9 stars out of 10.

16. Wild at Heart (1990)

R | 125 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

52 Metascore

Young lovers Sailor and Lula run from the variety of weirdos that Lula's mom has hired to kill Sailor.

Director: David Lynch | Stars: Nicolas Cage, Laura Dern, Willem Dafoe, J.E. Freeman

Votes: 94,362 | Gross: $14.56M

Typical David Lynch (translate: fantastic visuals, crazy characters and scenes and great music). Yet unlike many of his other movies, this one is easy to follow and not quite as surreal. Cage and Dern are marvelous, but the best performance comes from Willem Dafoe as Bobby Peru. One of the best road movies (and probably the craziest). 9 stars out of 10.

17. Five Corners (1987)

R | 90 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

A psychotic young man returns to his old neighborhood after release from prison. He seeks out the woman he previously tried to rape and the man who protected her, with twisted ideas of love for her and hate for him.

Director: Tony Bill | Stars: Jodie Foster, Tim Robbins, Todd Graff, John Turturro

Votes: 3,583 | Gross: $0.97M

The kind of film that doesn't get made anymore in Hollywood. Original story, great atmosphere, wonderful acting. A somewhat quirky but still powerful human drama. Somehow, everything just fits in this film. Given the cast, it's hard to believe it is so little known. One to be re-discovered (hopefully). 8 stars out of 10.

18. Train of Life (1998)

R | 103 min | Comedy, Drama, War

62 Metascore

In 1941, the inhabitants of a small Jewish village in Central Europe organize a fake deportation train so that they can escape the Nazis and flee to Palestine.

Director: Radu Mihaileanu | Stars: Lionel Abelanski, Rufus, Clément Harari, Michel Muller

Votes: 9,306 | Gross: $0.15M

The premise for this film is one of the most original I've ever seen - I loved the warm, humanist humor in this and I really hope more people get to see it. 8 stars out of 10.

19. Harrison's Flowers (2000)

R | 121 min | Drama, Romance, War

49 Metascore

When a Newsweek photojournalist disappears in war-torn Yugoslavia, his wife travels to Europe to find him.

Director: Élie Chouraqui | Stars: Andie MacDowell, Scott Anton, Elias Koteas, Brendan Gleeson

Votes: 6,479 | Gross: $1.84M

Outstanding war drama. Grim, realistic - and what a fantastic cast. I have no idea why this film isn't more widely known - it certainly deserves to be - or actually, I do have an idea why it tanked. The cheesy title plus the fact that Andie MacDowell - the rom-com queen - is in it, and that the film received next to no marketing are very likely reasons why nobody went to see this. But YOU should. It's worth it. 8 stars out of 10.

20. Unthinkable (2010)

R | 97 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

A psychological thriller centered around a black-ops interrogator and an F.B.I. Agent who press a suspect terrorist into divulging the location of three nuclear weapons set to detonate in the U.S.

Director: Gregor Jordan | Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, Carrie-Anne Moss, Michael Sheen, Stephen Root

Votes: 88,887

Daring and uncompromising. Stunning performances by all involved. Some questions you can only ask if you are ready to deal with the answers. Compelling stuff. 8 stars out of 10.

21. The Cuckoo (2002)

PG-13 | 99 min | Comedy, Drama, War

69 Metascore

In WWII, a Finnish sniper is left chained to a rock by German soldiers, while a captain of the Red Army, en route to his court martial, is almost blown up by Russian planes. A Lapp woman gives a shelter to both of them at her farm.

Director: Aleksandr Rogozhkin | Stars: Anni-Kristiina Juuso, Ville Haapasalo, Viktor Bychkov, Mikhail Korobochkin

Votes: 7,719 | Gross: $0.24M

Absolutely heart-warming comedy about two stranded soldiers from opposite lines who get both taken in by a beautiful, child-of-nature like woman in the remote wilderness between Finland and the Soviet-Union. The trio speak three different languages, and on top of all the linguistic chaos, the two men naturally try to continue the warfare against each other. 'Kukushka' plays like an ode to humanity and is just a pure joy to watch. 8 stars out of 10.

22. Dark Blue (2002)

R | 118 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

57 Metascore

A robbery homicide investigation triggers a series of events that will cause a corrupt LAPD officer to question his tactics.

Director: Ron Shelton | Stars: Kurt Russell, Ving Rhames, Scott Speedman, Michael Michele

Votes: 22,636 | Gross: $9.06M

As far as stories about crooked cops go, this is one of the best I've ever seen. Dark, violent thriller with a script by David Ayer. Kurt Russell gives the performance of a lifetime and should at least have been nominated for an Oscar. Great film. 8 stars out of 10.

23. Tigerland (2000)

R | 101 min | Drama, War

55 Metascore

A group of recruits go through Advanced Infantry Training at Fort Polk, Louisiana's infamous Tigerland, last stop before Vietnam for tens of thousands of young men in 1971.

Director: Joel Schumacher | Stars: Colin Farrell, Matthew Davis, Clifton Collins Jr., Tom Guiry

Votes: 41,629 | Gross: $0.14M

This was the film that put Colin Farrell on the map. Great, character-driven drama about the Vietnam war era and the draft with all its consequences. Farrell shows amazing leading-man charisma and after his performance here it was clear he was going to be a huge star. 8 stars out of 10.

24. Chopper (2000)

R | 94 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

68 Metascore

Chopper tells the intense story of Mark "Chopper" Read, a legendary criminal who wrote his autobiography while serving a jail sentence in prison. His book, "From the Inside", upon which the film is based, was a best-seller.

Director: Andrew Dominik | Stars: Eric Bana, Simon Lyndon, Vince Colosimo, Renée Brack

Votes: 39,472 | Gross: $0.23M

One of the best character studies I've ever seen - and certainly the best Eric Bana there ever was. Raw, shocking, sometimes darkly funny portrayal of a sociopath: this film launched Bana's career. 8 stars out of 10.

25. Europa (1991)

R | 112 min | Drama, Thriller

69 Metascore

Just after W.W.II, an American takes a railway job in Germany, but finds his position politically sensitive with various people trying to use him.

Director: Lars von Trier | Stars: Barbara Sukowa, Jean-Marc Barr, Udo Kier, Ernst-Hugo Järegård

Votes: 21,649 | Gross: $1.01M

Lars von Trier's portrayal of post-war Germany is an exercise in visual beauty. Think of the infamous Danish "agent provocateur" what you will - his films certainly never fail to leave a lasting impression. This one is perhaps his most accessible effort to date. 8 stars out of 10.

26. The Passenger (1975)

PG-13 | 126 min | Drama, Thriller

90 Metascore

Unable to find the war he's been asked to cover, a frustrated war correspondent takes the risky path of co-opting the identity of a dead arms-deal acquaintance.

Director: Michelangelo Antonioni | Stars: Jack Nicholson, Maria Schneider, Jenny Runacre, Ian Hendry

Votes: 24,195 | Gross: $0.62M

A film of such melancholy and quiet beauty, yet never boring or pretentious, and with a Jack Nicholson that shows that his range as an actor goes far beyond his more famous, over-the-top performances. Superb. 8 stars out of 10.

27. Adam's Apples (2005)

R | 94 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

51 Metascore

A neo-Nazi sentenced to community service at a church clashes with the blindly devoted minister.

Director: Anders Thomas Jensen | Stars: Ulrich Thomsen, Mads Mikkelsen, Nicolas Bro, Paprika Steen

Votes: 51,283 | Gross: $0.00M

Mean, very funny satire with amazing performances by all - and with an absolutely outstanding Mads Mikkelsen. This is a very black comedy - but also a very smart one - that shows once more that Scandinavian - and especially Danish - cinema had some of the most diverse and creative output in Europe over the last two decades. 8 stars out of 10.

28. Get Carter (1971)

R | 112 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

80 Metascore

When his brother dies under mysterious circumstances in a car accident, London gangster Jack Carter travels to Newcastle to investigate.

Director: Mike Hodges | Stars: Michael Caine, Ian Hendry, Britt Ekland, John Osborne

Votes: 34,277 | Gross: $0.39M

If the 'Terminator' were a real person, he would be Carter. This film has a stunning Michael Caine play a cold-blooded gangster on a quest for vengeance. Carter never wavers, he never strays from his path, he is like a surgical instrument that cuts down everything in his way with clinical precision without passion or mercy. Alfred he is not. One of the best British crime flicks ever. 8 stars out of 10.

29. Igby Goes Down (2002)

R | 98 min | Comedy, Drama

72 Metascore

A young man's peculiar upbringing renders him unable to competently cope with the struggle of growing up.

Director: Burr Steers | Stars: Kieran Culkin, Susan Sarandon, Jeff Goldblum, Claire Danes

Votes: 33,702 | Gross: $4.68M

Igby caught me by surprise; I hadn't heard much of the film before seeing it and rented it on a hunch. What a beautiful, weird, sad, funny coming-of-age story and what a cast. The performances throughout are amazing. I absolutely adore this film. 8 stars out of 10.

30. Savior (1998)

R | 103 min | Drama, War

A hardened mercenary in the Foreign Legion begins to find his own humanity when confronted with atrocities during the fighting in Bosnia.

Director: Predrag Antonijevic | Stars: Dennis Quaid, Nastassja Kinski, Pascal Rollin, Catlin Foster

Votes: 11,123 | Gross: $0.01M

This is one of the - very - few war films that actually show war for what it really is, and what it means for the civilians caught up in it. There are no impressive explosions, adrenaline-driven missions or brotherly scenes of camaraderie. This film shows humanity's dark side without flinching or looking away. Hard to stomach but highly recommended. 8 stars out of 10.

31. Lenny (1974)

R | 111 min | Biography, Drama

61 Metascore

The story of acerbic 1960s comic Lenny Bruce, whose groundbreaking, no-holds-barred style and social commentary was often deemed by the Establishment as too obscene for the public.

Director: Bob Fosse | Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Valerie Perrine, Jan Miner, Stanley Beck

Votes: 16,368 | Gross: $8.43M

A testament to ground-breaking comedian Lenny Bruce and - another - absolutely breathtaking performance by Dustin Hoffman (and, as is typical for that period of film-making, pretty much everyone of the cast). When seventies cinema was good, it was really, really good - and is, at least acting-wise, only rarely rivaled in contemporary productions. As a character study and also a lesson in history, 'Lenny' is essential viewing. 8 stars out of 10.

32. Before the Fall (2004)

110 min | Drama, Sport, Thriller

65 Metascore

Friedrich's boxing skills gets him in an elite Nazi high school in a castle in 1942. He enrolls against his dad's wish as it promises a brighter future. It's not what he expected.

Director: Dennis Gansel | Stars: Max Riemelt, Tom Schilling, Devid Striesow, Jonas Jägermeyr

Votes: 16,261 | Gross: $0.14M

Apart form the films of Michael Haneke, this was one of the few German language films in recent years that left a lasting impression on me. Realistic portrayal of what it must have been like to be 'bred' and drilled to meet the Nazi standards of what the 'master-race' should be like. Impressive. 8 stars out of 10.

33. Little Big Man (1970)

PG-13 | 139 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

63 Metascore

Jack Crabb, looking back from extreme old age, tells of his life being raised by Native Americans and fighting with General Custer.

Director: Arthur Penn | Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Faye Dunaway, Chief Dan George, Martin Balsam

Votes: 35,845 | Gross: $31.56M

This was one of the first revisionist Westerns, and it's a bit of a shame younger audiences mostly don't seem to know it: this is classic seventies gold. Arthur Penn, one of the driving forces behind the so called "New Hollywood" (he directed 'Bonnie and Clyde'), delivered a masterpiece with a fantastic Dustin Hoffman. It's an epic, tragic tale, but one told with an often very funny voice. Part satire, part honest look at America's dark and untold history, the tone and narrative of this film were groundbreaking. And it still looks fresh: the script, the acting, the camera, the music: everything still oozes quality more than 40 years later. A timeless classic. 9 stars out of 10.

34. Man Bites Dog (1992)

NC-17 | 95 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

67 Metascore

A film crew follows a ruthless thief and heartless killer as he goes about his daily routine. But complications set in when the film crew lose their objectivity and begin lending a hand.

Directors: Rémy Belvaux, André Bonzel, Benoît Poelvoorde | Stars: Benoît Poelvoorde, Jacqueline Poelvoorde-Pappaert, Nelly Pappaert, Hector Pappaert

Votes: 41,525 | Gross: $0.21M

Razor sharp satire or simply one of the blackest comedies of all time - this one has teeth. And timeless quality. The direction and the performances are outstanding; when a friend of mine watched it with me for the first time, he was shaken: he thought he had watched a documentary. 10 stars out of 10.

35. With a Friend Like Harry... (2000)

R | 117 min | Comedy, Drama, Mystery

75 Metascore

Harry knew Michel in high school; they meet again by accident, Harry inserts himself in Michel's life... and things take a sinister turn.

Director: Dominik Moll | Stars: Laurent Lucas, Sergi López, Mathilde Seigner, Sophie Guillemin

Votes: 11,532 | Gross: $3.82M

Fantastic psycho-thriller with a lot of very black humor. Hitchcock would have loved this film. Sergi Lopez, who plays the titular role, gives one of my favorite performances ever. Great stuff. 8 stars out of 10.

36. Tampopo (1985)

Not Rated | 114 min | Comedy

87 Metascore

A truck driver stops at a small family-run noodle shop and decides to help its fledgling business. The story is intertwined with various vignettes about the relationship of love and food.

Director: Jûzô Itami | Stars: Ken Watanabe, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Nobuko Miyamoto, Kôji Yakusho

Votes: 19,776 | Gross: $0.22M

A "delicious" masterpiece. Simply the best film about food I've ever seen; peppered with homages and nods to great westerns, this lovely comedy is just a pure joy to watch. Just don't watch it on an empty stomach - you'll be craving noodles within minutes. A timeless Asian classic. 8 stars out of 10.

37. To Be or Not to Be (1942)

Passed | 99 min | Comedy, Romance, War

86 Metascore

During the Nazi occupation of Poland, an acting troupe becomes embroiled in a Polish soldier's efforts to track down a German spy.

Director: Ernst Lubitsch | Stars: Carole Lombard, Jack Benny, Robert Stack, Felix Bressart

Votes: 37,940

Comedies rarely stand the test of time - this one does: one of the funniest films I have ever seen. I don't believe the Nazis have ever been mocked better than in this black comedy (and I only hope Hitler has seen it, too). Mel Brooks' remake is not bad, but the original is simply killer. See it, and then see it again (and again). 10 stars out of 10.

38. Catch-22 (1970)

R | 122 min | Comedy, Drama, War

70 Metascore

A man is trying desperately to be certified insane during World War II, so he can stop flying missions.

Director: Mike Nichols | Stars: Alan Arkin, Martin Balsam, Richard Benjamin, Art Garfunkel

Votes: 25,328 | Gross: $24.91M

When I first saw 'Catch-22' I couldn't believe it was made in 1970; the structure of this film is so modern it could have been made yesterday. Frame for frame a masterpiece of storytelling unfolds before your eyes; a satire, a comedy, a tragedy: superb and unforgettable. The surreal humor captures the craziness of war in a way - I think - no other movie does. It was released at around the same time as the somewhat similarly themed 'M*A*S*H', and while Altman's film was a hit, 'Catch-22' bombed at the box office. In retrospect I would say that both movies have aged very well, but 'Catch-22' offers a much more cinematic experience and has a narrative structure that is as modern as anything that's being released today. One of my favorite movies of all time. 10 stars out of 10.

39. Leolo (1992)

Not Rated | 107 min | Comedy, Drama

The story of a young Canadian boy who tries to escape mentally from his disturbed family thanks to his fantasy and imagination.

Director: Jean-Claude Lauzon | Stars: Maxime Collin, Ginette Reno, Gilbert Sicotte, Julien Guiomar

Votes: 7,103 | Gross: $0.61M

To me, 'Léolo' is like a rare gemstone. A unique, surreal fairy tale, which you can look at from many different angles and yet it remains hard to describe. Although there clearly is a structured narrative, I believe this film is more to be felt than understood. While it's often disturbing, it's also very funny and darkly comic. Somehow fitting for a story inspired by childhood memories, reality and fantasy are seamlessly interwoven to create an often dream-like, sometimes nightmarish atmosphere. A beautiful, unforgettable work of art, albeit not one for the easily offended. 10 stars out of 10.

40. The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (2003)

Unrated | 74 min | Documentary

81 Metascore

In April 2002, an Irish film crew is making a documentary about Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, when a coup from the opposition is made.

Directors: Kim Bartley, Donnacha O'Briain | Stars: Hugo Chávez, Pedro Carmona, Jesse Helms, Colin Powell

Votes: 2,572

Never before and never after has there been a documentary like this. What you get here is the most fascinating and unique look at historical events ever captured on film: you get to be inside a coup d'état in Venezuela while it is actually happening. The footage shown is brutal, but as to what we are actually seeing and what we are led to believe by clever construction - as Chavez' opponents are claiming - has to be decided by the viewer. Yet regardless whether it's the best propaganda film ever made or the most compelling capture of true events on celluloid since the footage of the JFK assassination - this is essential viewing. 10 stars out of 10.

41. No Man's Land (I) (2001)

R | 98 min | Comedy, Drama, War

84 Metascore

Bosnia and Herzegovina during 1993 at the time of the heaviest fighting between the two warring sides. Two soldiers from opposing sides in the conflict, Nino and Ciki, become trapped in no man's land, whilst a third soldier becomes a living booby trap.

Director: Danis Tanovic | Stars: Branko Djuric, Rene Bitorajac, Filip Sovagovic, Georges Siatidis

Votes: 47,408 | Gross: $1.06M

In the case of this movie, the Oscar was well deserved. The film was nominated in the wrong category, though (Best Foreign Language Film). It should have been up for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay and Best Director - and it should have won all of those. As far as I'm concerned, this may very well be the finest film on the subject of war - or conflict in general - that was ever made. I've never seen anything similar; this film manages to show so many aspects of war, of human nature; it somehow manages to capture the essence of something that is inexplicable. Truly one of a kind and a must-see. And don't think for one second that this is some pretentious drivel or slow Arthouse fare - this is very much the opposite. 10 stars out of 10.

42. Funny Games (1997)

Not Rated | 108 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

69 Metascore

Two violent young men take a mother, father, and son hostage in their vacation cabin and force them to play sadistic "games" with one another for their own amusement.

Director: Michael Haneke | Stars: Susanne Lothar, Ulrich Mühe, Arno Frisch, Frank Giering

Votes: 76,086

This is one of those I nearly didn't watch (I thought it would be pseudo-intellectual drivel about the evil nature of video games) - I'm very glad I got over myself and finally did watch it one day. What an amazingly done film! I've never seen such great acting in a German language movie (the film is Austrian - just to be precise); the script is full of surprises and the whole film has a tightness that is very rare; every little detail is in the right place. This is one of the most gripping films about the dark side of human nature I have ever seen; pure cinematic entertainment and yet it goes beyond that (and stays with you long after you've finished watching). 10 stars out of 10.