Best little known films

What are the best ‘unknown’ films you can recommend?

Mine are;
The Red Violin
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
Suicide Kings

Dancer in the Dark
Requiem for a Dream
anything by Guy Ritchie

although, I do not think these are “little known” they seem to follow suit with your list.

Jk, those are hardly little known. :slight_smile:

Mine are:

The 'Burbs

The Adjuster
Blind Fury
Gates of Heaven

Drowning by Numbers by Peter Greenaway - Visually beautiful arthouse wanky bullshit, but for some reason I love it.

Local Hero - Visually beautiful (hey, there’s a pattern here!), understated, very funny small village drama.

Breaking Away - don’t know why, just really enjoyed it, basically local kids against the college kids in cycling race. Very well told, has this certain atmosphere that I found compelling.

Roadside Prophets.

Three Japanese horror movies that blow the U.S. stuff out of the water:

Kairou (Akira Kurosawa’s kid shows he has dad’s touch)

First thing that came to mind for me, but I’m sure people who’ve been around awhile and follow these types of threads are tired of hearing me say it. It remains my favorite movie; I must have seen it close to twenty times now.

Have to put in a good word for three other Bill Forsyth films as well: Gregory’s Girl, Housekeeping, and Breaking In, all of which are very good movies that did nothing at the box office.

Gregory’s Girl is a very different type of story from Local Hero, but has a similar quirky, understated tone; it’s a coming of age story about an awkward Scottish teenager who falls in love for the first time with the girl who’s taken his place on the school soccer team. Predates Local Hero by a few years, and the production values aren’t up to Hollywood standards, but like Local Hero it’s an incredibly sweet movie without being at all sentimental.

Ditto Housekeeping, which I’m not sure anyone but me actually saw. Forsyth’s first purely American film, in which he directs an excellent Christine Lahti as the irresponsible, free-spirited aunt of two young girls who has to take over as their guardian when their mother (her sister) commits suicide. One flourishes with her, the other doesn’t.

Breaking In sports a script by John Sayles and a fine performance from Burt Reynolds, in the first role where he acted his age and played a character with some nuance – people who were surprised by his performance in Boogie Nights never saw this film. Reynolds plays an aging burglar/safecracker who’s just gotten out of prison; on his first job after his release, he breaks in to a house only to find that a teenage kid who likes to break in just to raid refrigerators and watch TV is there first. He’s exasperated by the kid’s lackadaisical attitude but impressed with his skills, and sets out to teach him the finer points of the business.

Unfortunately, Forsyth shot himself in both feet with Being Human, a big-budget (by his standards) debacle starring Robin Williams, John Turturro, and at least a half-dozen other Hollywood worthies. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie with such talent behind it get such uniformly awful reviews. The worst part is that it seems to have done for Forsyth’s career what Peeping Tom did for Michael Powell’s – end it. Unlike Peeping Tom, however, which deserves mention in this list in its own right, Being Human is about as bad as the reviews make it out to be.

I’ll go ahead and mention Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s Stairway to Heaven (also known as A Matter of Life and Death), even though it’s pretty well known among film buffs. Rich in every sense, with a densely textured script, fine performances, it’s also one of the most visually stunning movies ever made. I had the good fortune to see a restored print at the High Museum of Art here in Atlanta several years ago, and it was nothing short of breathtaking.

An Australian comedy called The Castle and the Talking Heads’ odd movie True Stories get my votes, along with Peter Jackson’s The Frighteners.

Cold Feet
1989 comedy with Tom Waits, Keith Carradine, Sally Kirkland & Rip Torn. This is a great movie, and Tom Waits absolutely shines!

I absolutely adore Local Hero, I watch it several times every year.
Enjoyed your other choices as well, including Stairway to Heaven.

I don’t know how unknown this one is, but I thought that it, while perhaps flawed, was underappreciated: What’s Cooking?

Also the movie Lone Star, to me, is underrated, underappreciated and relatively unknown.

** Time After Time **. It’s getting better known cause it plays on cable TV a lot, but I know of only two other people who saw it at the movies. And one was my sister, who I dragged to see it, and we went back three times. Excellent movie.

Fucking Åmål

Good Swedish movie.

The Well – fine drama on race relations from the early 1950s.
Black Moon – Louis Malle’s last French film, a film with no plot, little dialogue – but is still fascinating.
Resurrection – Ellen Bursteyn got an Oscar nomination, yet the film seems to have been forgotten. She plays a woman who gets the gift of healing, and the trouble it causes. The final scene is one of the greatest in film.
Days of Heaven – the most beautiful film ever made, with so many great images that they stick with you for years (the fish by the wineglass, the grasshoppers). Good story, too, told with a minimum of dialog.
Deathwatch – a barely released SF film starring Harvey Keitel as a man whose job it is to watch a woman die and broadcast it to the world.

I’ll agree on Lone Star and add a couple of other fine John Sayles films:
Men With Guns – a story about how revolution affects people.
The Secret of Roan Innish – a fable of Ireland
Return of the Secaucus Seven – sort of like “The Big Chill,” but better and done first.

Brother from Another Planet - Great John Sayles movie.

My Life as a Dog - Swedish gem

Pelle the Conqueror

Europa, Europa

The Conversation–it’s the Francis Ford Coppola movie everyone overlooks, and it’s fantastic! Gene Hackman gives what I think is his finest performance ever.

The 5,000 Fingers of Doctor T–the only good live-action Dr. Seuss movie ever made.

The Coca-Cola Kid–Apart from the last 5 minutes, this is a hilarious film, and one of the few that Eric Roberts does not chew up the scenery.

Runaway Train–speaking of Eric Roberts and chewing scenery, this unusual action film stars ER and an over-the-top Jon Voight as two escaped convicts on the titular train. Lots of Nietsche and some beautiful Canadian scenery make this a stand-out.

Quadrophenia–who would have thought someone could have turned the Who rock-opera into a good film? Mind you, I love this film mostly because it was right for me at the time; I don’t know how well it’s aged.

Two of the funniest screwball comedies ever made were Million Dollar Legs (1932) and Three Cornered Moon (1933). Maybe not coincidentally, they both feature Lyda Roberti in supporting roles . . .

Grace of My Heart - A look at a woman struggling to find her own voice in the male-dominated world of music follows the journey of singer/songwriter Denise Waverly through the corridors of the Brill Building during the doo-wop heyday of the late fifties and into Malibu’s psychedelic surfer scene of the late sixties. With Illeana Douglas!

Winslow Boy - Mamet without the cussing! The story revolves around the expulsion of 13-year-old Ronnie Winslow (Guy Edwards) from the prestigious Osbourne Naval Academy for the alleged theft of a five-shilling postal order. Ronnie’s early return home for Christmas recess occurs as his family has gathered to celebrate the engagement of Catherine Winslow (Rebecca Pidgeon), an outspoken suffragist, to John Watherston, a promising young Army officer. This tableau of the happy family quickly dissolves as family patriarch Arthur (Nigel Hawthorne) learns of his son’s unexpected return through an innocuous statement made by the family’s housekeeper. Arthur confronts his son and, convinced of the boy’s innocence, devotes himself to clearing his son’s and his family’s name.

Cube - Cool psychological thriller, they did an amazing amount without a lot of money.

Waiting for Guffman - If you haven’t seen it, rent it.



Series 7, The Contenders

Undercover Blues

Buckaroo Banzai Across The 8th Dimension

The Edge

Though I’ll admit, with this crowd, some of my choices aren’t really little known and a few of my other choices have already been stated, like Suicide Kings and Cube.

This film is not in the IMDB and there’s no mention of Akira Kurosawa’s kid being a director.

Kiyoshi Kurosawa has made Kaïro, Korei and Kyua, but he is no relation to Akira.

My films aren’t particularly “unknown” to true movie buffs, but they are still rarely seen:

The Italian Straw Hat, a French silent and the best wedding comedy ever.
Man’s Castle, a marvelous and very touching Depression romance from Frank Borzage with Spencer Tracy and Loretta Young.
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, a Powell & Pressburger film with career performances from Roger Livesey and Anton Wallbrook. As good a war movie as was ever made.
Decision at Sundown, my vote for the best western by the most underrated director of the genre, Budd Boetticher, who I’ll take over Ford anyday. Gutsy performance from the great Randolph Scott.
French Cancan by the unmatchable Jean Renoir. Brilliantly shows how the chaste, sacchriney Luhrmann film was an empty-headed exercise with nothing resembling art or passion.
An Autumn Afternoon. Think Kurosawa’s the greatest Japanese film director? Think again. Ozu studies the nuances, subtleties, and heartbreaks of human drama like no other.
Salesman, now on Criterion DVD and a hard-hitting (but never preachy or heavy-handed) expose of the American dream. IMHO, the best documentary ever.
The Travelling Players, a 4-hour study of Greek history from the vantage point of an acting troup that tours the countryside. Unforgettable.
The Man Who Planted Trees, perhaps the most beautiful animated film ever made. Certainly the most in love with the beauty and joy of nature.
Fresh with an amazing performance from Sean Nelson of a young ghetto kid who uses his chess-playing gifts to stunning effect.