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Favorite Movie(s) That Are NOT Well Known

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What are your favorite movies that are NOT well known.   You dont need a long list like mine, even a few would be appreciated. 

This was going to be for independents and foreign films but I rarely meet folks who watch them so opening up to not well knowns.

The year and rating are only because its from my Netflix list.

  1. Miss Firecracker (1989) PG 
  2. The Man in the Moon (1991) PG-13 
  3. Spirited Away (2002)
  4. Junebug (2005) R 
  5. Pieces of April (2003) PG-13 
  6. The Station Agent (2003) R 
  7. The King of Masks (1999) NR 
  8. Everything Is Illuminated (2005) PG-13 
  9. My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
  10. Unstrung Heroes (1995) PG 
  11. Divided We Fall (2000)
  12. Ghost World (2001) R 
  13. Clay Pigeons (1998) 
  14. The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio (2005) PG-13 
  15. Raise the Red Lantern (1991) PG 
  16. A Love Song for Bobby Long (2004) R 
  17. Memento (2000) R 
  18. In America (2002) PG-13 
  19. The Machinist (2004) 
  20. A Simple Plan (1998) R 
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I'm not a movie person, I'm generally more of a book person. This said, there is one movie i always talk about that practically no one else has seen: The Salton Sea. I'm not sure if it's just because it's older than my generation, and maybe everyone else knows it...

Anyway, that's pretty much the only "unknown" movie that i know of. Another one i really like that is definitely older than my generation is "the passenger". I'm pretty sure it's a well known movie, however.

Spirited Away is so good. Kudos. Here's a list of a few of the obscure movies I like:

- F*cking Åmål (1998)

Probably one of my favorite all-time movies. It's Swedish and it follows the story of two girls (one popular and pretty, the other self-conscious and insecure) who fall in love. You just have to see it to understand why.

- Heima (2007)

Beautiful film about Sigur Rós' tour through their native Iceland. Not supposed to come out until November, but thank goodness for university sneak previews. Absolutely amazing documentary.

- Bicho de Sete Cabeças (Beast With Seven Heads) (2001)

Absolutely fantastic Brazilian film about a boy who is wrongfully committed to a mental institution by his family.

- Cidade de Deus (City of God) (2002)

Some of you have probably seen this one; Brazilian flick about parallel lives in Rio.

- La Historia Oficial (The Official Story) (1985)

Oscar-winning movie about the Argentinian "guerra sucia," or "dirty war." Great message.

- Im Juli (In July) (2000)

Cheeky German film about life and love. Seriously can't watch this without giggling all the way through it and smiling and sighing when it's finished.

- Sometimes In April (2005)

Heart-breaking movie about the Rwandan genocide -- hard to find because it only showed on HBO for a little while.

- Half Nelson (2006)

Probably Ryan Gosling's best work. It's a story about a crack-addicted school teacher who makes a fond relationship with a student who tries to get him to beat his habit.

- Hlemmur (2002)

Another documentary featuring Sigur Rós' music about homeless people who live at the train station in Reykjavik, Iceland.

- Lola Rennt (Run Lola Run) (1998)

Another great German film with a weird plot. I guess I'm a big Moritz Bleibtreu fan (he plays in Im Juli, too). Worth a look.

- Un dimanche à Kigali (A Sunday in Kigali) (2006)

This is another movie about the Rwandan genocide of 1994, but it's French and it takes a more personal approach than movies like Sometimes In April and Hotel Rwanda. And, in my opinion, it blows them out of the water.

Happy watching!

Some of these films are very offensive.  Some are just very good.  Some are works of art.  Some are very well known.  Here's a short list...

Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain, Le (The Fabulous Destiny of Amelie Poulain)

Cité des enfants perdus, La (The City of Lost Children)



Julien Donkey-boy


Pink Flamingoes

Bubba Ho-Tep

Dead Man

Life is Beautiful

Me You and Everyone We Know

Mysterious Skin


Scotland PA

Trees Lounge

Coffee and Cigarettes
I love the movie Big Fish- It's pretty much my favorite
Tell Me You Love Me Junie Moon- an old movie/book starring Lisa Minelli.  Excellent.
Grave of the Fireflies - I liked this movie a lot!
I don't understand the necessity of dividing the "well-known" from "not-so-well-known."  I don't see how popularity is correlated with quality.

What does "well-known," mean, anyway?  You've put a bunch of well-known movies in your list (Memento, A Simple Plan, Everything Is Illuminated, The Machinist, etc.).

Great idea!

As already mentioned, Spirited Away is an amazing movie.  Another movie I love directed by Hayao Miyazaki is Princess Mononoke.  Beautiful and very moving.

I also loved Life is Beautiful and The Station Agent.

Welcome to the Dollhouse


The Big White

Thumb Sucker

American Splendor 

The Constant Gardener 

Four Rooms

Chasing Amy

I'll stop now!!! 



dnrothx- I don't think that this person is asserting that well-known movies are not quality, but if you make a list full of movies that people think were good that maybe weren't blockbusters it gives us the oppurtunity to find movies we may want to see. A list full of Pirates of the Caribbean and The Notebook wouldn't help any of us and wouldn't be too much of an interesting post.
Everyone Says I Love You - my favorite movie; a musical comedy by Woody Allen

Run Lola Run - Directed by Tom Tykwer

Drowning by Numbers - Directed by Peter Greenaway

Belly of an Architect - Directed by Peter Greenaway

Blue Velvet (probably very well known) - Directed by David Lynch

Secretary - Directed by Steven Shainberg

Shallow Grave - Directed by Danny Boyle

 Edited to add: Desperate Living - Directed by John Waters



 I mostly watch horror movies... so there are a lot of those in here.

  1. The Science of Sleep (not a horror movie)
  2. The Toxic Avenger (not a horror movie, but a low budget hilarious 80s movie)
  3. Del Amorte Del Amour (now also called Cemetary Man)
  4. Feast
  5. Dead Meat (Low budget about Zombie cows terrorizing Ireland)

Also love some that were already mentioned- Gummo, Welcome to the Dollhouse, Secretary, and Desperate Living.

Wow, I so appreciate the feedback !!  Im updating my netflix with many of these that I havent yet seen.  Im starting to get netflix referrals Ive seen.

jewelsmcblah, you arent kidding! Gummo, happiness and mysterious skin were so raw.    lorik, Im a mega Miyazaki fan.  Grave/Firefliew is one of the bet war movies not about soldiers.    

Dnrothx, I can understand your assumption but I spoke of preference not quality.  I didnt choose to prefer indies over big budgets, I simply discovered it to be the case. 

As well bigbudget and indies both cover different genres (comedy, drama, action, thrillers, etc) so budget or popularity in theory shouldnt matter.  Ive found indies dramas and comedies to be more character driven then storyline driven though which appeals to me.  I like slice of life films, ones where my friends would comment, "But nothing happens." LOL.  No disrespect to all the action (Run Lola Run), thrillers

Another reason for the threads focus is bigbudget films come to us but indies we basically have to hunt down. 
I saw this B rated movie once called The Possession of Darkly Noon. I think it had Brendan Fraser in it. It was crazy weird!

Hmmm...the only favorites I can think of that fall into the relatively "obscure" category are "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?" and "Fargo." I think the latter is a bit more "known," though...

EDIT: Thought of a third: "Waitress." 

My favorite movie is Lawrence of Arabia.
I got one more I can't believe I forgot...and actually, this may be more of a "known" movie, but Brazil directed by (and partially written by) Terry Gilliam. :)  Superb movie!

In no particular order: 

The Gods Must be Crazy
Simon Birch
An Apt Student
8 1/2
Like Water for Chocolate
The Gates Of Hell (Japanese - Kurosawa)
Monsoon Wedding
Apu Trilogy (Indian - Sanyajit Ray)
Salaam Bombay
Bennie & Joon

Many more I can't think of right now. 

I enjoyed Raise the Red Lantern too.  And The Constant Gardener was great.

wow, a Kurosawa fan!  you should check out Throne of Blood.  It's a medieval Japanese MacBeth!  Very cool.  Yojimbo is another awesome Kurosawa.  It was later made into A Fist Full of Dollars with Clint Eastwood.

I can't help see the name "Kurosawa" and sing to myself in my head:

Chikity-China, the Chinese have a drumstick, and your brain starts tickin'!

65 Replies (last)