The following is an alphabetical list of films that I believe are underappreciated by not only the average film goer, but also some film buffs. These films are chosen based on their originality, quality, writing and some simply because I happen to like them. Believe it or not, your local library may have many of these films, even if you live in a medium sized town. Get a library card and you get to check them out for free. All you need is an ID and/or something with your name and address on it.

UPDATE: The British Film Institute has just released their list of the 100 best British films of the century, and several of my picks (Zulu [no. 33], A Fish Called Wanda [no 39], Brazil [no. 54], The Draughtman's Contract [no.60], Educating Rita [no. 84], and Hope and Glory [no. 90]) got the nod.

Updated September 30, 1999

Altered States1980. One of the most twisted and bizarre major motion pictures ever made, involving drugs, isolation chambers and evolutionary devolution. William Hurt, Blair Brown.
American Dream1990. A compelling documentary about striking meat packers and the betrayal by their union.
American Flyers1985. A movie about cyclists with Kevin Costner.
Assault on Precinct 131976. One of John Carpenter's first films and his least known. Very 1970s.
Bachelor Party1984. A non-brainer comedy with Tom Hanks. One of my little favorites. It should be seen on video to get all the naughty bits.
Bad Boys1983. A teenage prison movie with Sean Penn. Surprisingly good movie.
Barton Fink1991. A Coen Brothers movie that is one of their least popular.
The Beast1988. A war movie revolving around the crew of a Soviet tank caught behind enemy lines in Afghanistan.
Bedazzled1967. A faustian comedy about a short order cook (Dudley Moore) who sells his soul to the devil (Peter Cook) in exchange for several wishes. Naturally, the devil screws them all up.
Better Off Dead1985. A absurdist comedy with John Cosack as a teenager seeking to commit suicide because his girl friend dumps him.
Blade Runner - Director's Cut1982. Simply a great film.
Blood Simple1983. The first Coen Brothers movie.
Blue Collar1978. A dromedy about auto workers who commit an armed robbery. Richard Pryor.
Bob Roberts1992. A brilliant parody of a political campaign by left-wing Hollywood loony Tim Robbins.
A Boy and His Dog1975. Droll film adaptation of a Harland Ellison science fiction short story with Don Johnson and his telepathic dog in a post-apocalypse America.
Brazil1985. Terry Gilliam's hilarious tale of a man caught up in a future totalitarian society.
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia1974. A Sam Peckinpah film with Warren Oates.
Cannery Row1982. A John Huston adaptation of John Steinbeck's novels about the Monterey area.
A Christmas Story1983. Adaptation of several Jean Shepard comedic stories set in 1930's Gary, Indiana.
Creepshow1982. Comedic horror stories by Stephen King and directed by George Romero.
Crumb1995. A documentary about the cartoonist Robert Crumb.
Damnation Alley1977. Nuclear war critter flick with John Peppard based on the novel by Roger Zealany.
The Dark BackwardsA surreal comedy about a guy who grows an arm out of his back.
Dark Star1974. A comedy science fiction movie. The first film by Dan O'Bannon (Aliens) and John Carpenter.
Diva1983. French with English subtitles. The story of an opera fan who secretly records a opera, getting him involved with french gangsters.
Dos Bootnewpulse1981. German, usually dubbed. Story of a german u-boot crew and the suffering they endure during World War II. This is probably the best foreign war movie ever made.
Down By Law1986. A Jim Jarmusch film about three guys arrested for three different murders who escape from a New Orleans jail.
The Draughtman's Contract (The Draughtman)1982. British. A surreal story of a artist hired to draw an English lord's house in 1694.
Eating Raoul1982. An absurdist dark comedy about a couple who lure swingers to their apartment and kill them with a frying pan. With Star Trek Voyager's Robert Beltran (Chakotay)as Raoul who gets rid of the bodies.
Educating Rita1983. An English hairdresser goes to college with Michael Caine as her tutor.
84 Charing Cross Road1986. A New York woman conducts a long correspondence with a bookseller in London.
84 Charlie Mopic1989. A Vietnam war story told in documentary style through a army cameraman's viewfinder.
Empire of the Sun1987. Steven Spielberg story of an English boy in a Japanese prisoner camp in China. From the autobiographical novel by J.G. Ballard.
Fandango1989. Five college students go on a road trip across Texas in 1965. One of the very few Kevin Kostner films I don't throw up at seeing.
The Final Option1982. The British SAS liberate the American ambassador's residence after it is taken over by terrorists. Based on the real story of the SAS liberation of the Iranian embassy in 1980.
A Fish Called Wanda1988. A brilliant comedy with John Cleese, Michael Palin, Kevin Kline and Jamie Lee Curtis.
Frightnight1985. Comedy-horror film about a teenager that discovers a vampire has moved in next door. With Roddy McDowell.
Gattaca1997. A normally born man in a genetically engineered human world assumes the identity of a cripple to become an astronaut. Very stylish.
Glengary Glen Ross1992. Great drama with Al Picino, Jack Lemmon, Alan Arkin, Ed Harris, and Kevin Spacey as shabby real estate salesmen.
Glory1989. True story of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment - Great Action.
Grand Canyon1992. Danny Glover, Kevin Kline, Steve Martin and Mary McDonnell as individuals who interact and reflect on the meaning and emptiness of their lives in modern Los Angeles.
The Great Santini1980. Story of Robert Duvall as a Marine aviator and the family conflicts he helps to create.
The Grifters1991. A Martin Scorsese film noir. Angelica Huston and John Cusack as professional con-men. Truly a great American Film.
Harold and Maude1971. A teenage obsessed with death falls in love with an 80 year old woman. Very dark comedy.
Heartbreak Ridge1986. An aging Marine gunnery sergeant (Clint Eastwood) leads a company through the Grenada invasion.
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer 1990. Compelling documentary style account of a motiveless mass murderer. This is one of the most chilling murder films ever made. The murder of the family in their suburban home is particularly disturbing. Based on the confessions of the serial killer Henry Lee Lucas.
The Hidden1987. An alien posing as an FBI agent (Kyle MacLochlan) and a homicide detective chase a disguised alien serial killer who constantly switches human bodies.
The Hidden Fortress1958. Japanese with English subtitles. An Akira Kurosawa film.
Hollywood Shuffle1987. Surreal Robert Townsend comedy about a black actor trying to get a part as a gang leader in a blacksploitation movie.
Hope and Glory1987. John Boorman's autobiographical film about a London family during World War Two.
The Inner Circle1991. Story of Stalin's film projectionist (Tom Hulce).
Innerspace1987. Science fiction comedy about a minaturized air force pilot injected into Martin Short.
Kafka1992. Movie based on the author of the same name and some of his paranoid stories.
The King of Comedy1983. Robert De Niro kidnaps Jerry Lewis to appear as a standup comedian on Lewis' TV show. A Martin Scorsese film.
The Last Detail1973. Two hardened naval petty officers (Jack Nicholson, Otis Young) escort a young recruit (Randy Quaid) to naval prison, and show him a good time.
The Last Remake of Beau Geste1977. Spoof of the original movie with Marty Feldman.
The Last Seduction1991. A conniving con artist seduces a young man and sets him up.
Life Force1985. Soul draining space vampires invade London.
The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean1972. Paul Newman as the legendary judge.
Little Big Man1970. A 110 year old man (Dustin Hoffman) recounts his life as an Indian, gunfighter, snakeoil salesman and scout for General Custer.
Little Murders1971. Black comedy about a photographer (Elliott Gould) reacting to unveiling urban horror.
Lorenzo's Oil1993. A couple search for a cure for their son.
Lost in America1985. An Albert Brooks film about a Los Angeles yuppie couple (Brooks, Julie Hagerty) who quit their jobs, sell everything and move into an RV to see America. The wife promptly loses all their money in Las Vegas.
Manhunter1986. Prequel to Silence of the Lambs. An FBI agent hunts a serial killer with the help of Hannibal Lector (played by Brian Cox). Probably the best TV movie ever made and from the book Red Dragon by the same auther.
The Man Who Saw Tomorrow1980. A semi-documentary about Nostradamus. Narrated by Orson Wells.
The Man Who Would Be King1975. John Huston film of Rudyard Kipling's story of two men (Sean Connery, Michael Caine) who set out into Afghanistan to make themselves kings.
Miller's Crossing1990. Coen Brothers film about feuding Irish and Italian gangsters in the 1920s. Comparable in quality to Fargo.
The Miracle Mile1989. Anthony Edwards answers a payphone, only to be told that nuclear war will begin in three hours.
Moscow on the Hudson1984. A Soviet circus musician (Robin Williams) defects to New York.
Motoromanewpulse1992. A 10 year old kid steals a car and travels the country to play the collect-the-cards game Motorama. The prize is $500 million. With Meat Loaf, Flea, Martha Quinn, Drew Barrymore, Robin Duke and John Diehl.
Brother's Keeper1989. Documentary about a back country man accused of killing his brother.
My Cousin Vinny1992. A third-rate New York lawyer (Joe Pesci) defends his cousin and a friend on murder charges in rural Alabama. A great lawyer movie.
My Favorite Year1982. A 1950s television production assistant must keep a boozing movie star (Peter O'Toole) sober for a live television show.
Mystery Train1990. A Jim Jarmusch film telling four stories of guests in a small, seedy Memphis hotel.
The Name of the Rose1986. A medieval mystery story set in a monastery. Sean Connery is a detective monk.
Near Dark1987. A gang of vampires travel Texas in a blacked out RV. Slaughtering all the way.
The Night Stalker1972. A news reporter chases a vampire in Las Vegas. A TV movie that resulted in the TV series Kolshak -The Night Stalker.
19841984. John Hurt and Richard Burton in an adaptation of Orwell's novel.
The Onion Field1979. True story of cop killers and the aftermath. From the book by Joseph Wambaugh.
Panic in Year Zero1962. Adventures of a family on a fishing trip when nuclear war breaks out.
Paris, Texas1984. A man (Harry Dean Stanton) searches for his son and exwife.
Plains, Trains and Automobiles1987. A snob and a slob (Steve Martin, John Candy) are forced to travel together after their plane is diverted.
Play It Again Sam1972. Woody Allen movie about a neurotic film critic who is dumped by his girl friend and seeks help by fantasizing about getting advice from Humphrey Bogart.
The Princess Bride1987. Action comedy of a grandfather telling a fantasy story of good and evil.
A Private Function1985. A clever farce with Michael Palin as a foot doctor trying to get some extra food in post-war rationed Britain.
Public Accessnewpulse1993. A stranger comes to town and buys time on the local cable public access channel which leads to murder and the destruction of the town.
Q - The Winged Serpent1982. An ex-con (Michael Moriatry) discovers a monstrous Aztec God is nesting in the Chrysler Building.
The Quiet Earth1985. New Zealand science fiction film about a man who suddenly discovers he is the last one on earth.
Raising ArizonaA Coen Brothers farce about a plan by an ex-con (Nicolas Cage) and his police officer wife (Holly Hunter) to kidnap an Arizona quint.
The Rapture 1992. Tale of a slut (Mimi Rodgers) who finds God and rejects him as God's rapture overtakes earth.
Real Genius1985. Smart physics students battle a professor's scam. Very 1980s.
Reality Bites1995. Five twentysomethings face personal and job difficulties in Houston.
Re-Animator 1985. Surreal horror comedy of a mad scientist discovers a way to reanimate the dead. From the story by H.P. Lovecraft.
Red Rock West1994. A Texan (Nicolas Cage)is mistaken for a hit man (Dennis Hopper) in a small town in Wyoming.
Repo Man1984. A punk rocker (Emilo Estevez) takes a job as a car repossessor while the government searches stolen alien bodies hidden in the trunk of an old car. Now considered to be a classic cult film.
The Return of Martin Guerre1982. French with English subtitles. A man (Gerald Depardieu) takes the identity of soldier returnning from war in 16th century France. Remade into Sommersby.
Reversal of Fortune 1990. True story of an European aristocrat (Jeremy Iron)retried for murder in Rhode Island and defended by Alan Dershowitz (Ron Silvers).
The Right Stuff1983. The story of the seven Mercury astronauts. From the book by Tom Wolfe.
River's Edge1987. High school losers cover up the fact that one of them murdered another. Krispen Glover, Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper.
Rosalie Goes Shopping1990. A German housewife in Arkansas kites checks.
Rollerball1975. A violent sport is played the 21st century where corporations rule the earth.
Roxanne1987. Modern comedy remake of Cyrano de Bergerac with Steve Martin as a Fire Chief .
Runaway Train1985. Two escaped convicts and a train engineer are trapped on a runaway train in Alaska. Great action.
The Serpent and the Rainbow1988. A scientist (Bill Pullman) searching for new drugs in Haiti crosses a voodoo witch doctor.
Shadowlands1994. The story of religious scholar C.S. Lewis (Anthony Hopkins) and his marriage to an American in 1940s Oxford.
Silent Running1972. An astronaut (Bruce Dern) murders his fellow spacemen to save the last remaining forests on a spacecraft orbiting Saturn. Green oriented, but nonetheless a breakthrough film for its time. Great performance by Dern.
Sixteen Candles1984. A teenager (Molly Ringwald) is ignored on her sixteenth birthday due to her sister's wedding and is tormented by a geek (Anthony Michael Hall). A John Hughs comedy.
Slacker1991. Independent film by Richard Linklater made in Austin, Texas. Unique form with no storyline. Merely follows one character to the next.
Slap Shot1977. A professional hockey coach (Paul Newman) has his players go to violent extremes to save their club. Great sports comedy.
Slaughterhouse Five1972. Science fiction film revolving around the past war memories of a man held in an alien zoo. Based on the novel by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Smash Palace1981. New Zealand film about a junk yard owner who goes postal after his wife leaves him.
Strange Brew1984. SCTV's The Great White North's MacKenzei Brothers (Rick Moranis, Dave Thomas) comedy.
Stranger Than Paradise1984. A Jim Jarmusch movie filmed in a series of uninterrupted shots.
Streetwise1984. A documentary about teenagers living on the street in Seattle.
Summer School1987. A Rob Reiner movie.Comedy about a PE coach (Mark Harmon) forced to teach high school English to a pack of boobs.
The Sure Thing1985. A Rob Reiner road trip comedy about a college student (John Cosack) going west with a snob (Daphne Zuniga) in quest of a "sure thing."
Tampopo1986. Japanese with English subtitles. Genius Juzo Itami film revolving around food and a truck driver helping a woman make perfect noodles.
Targets1968. An elderly horror film star (Boris Karloff)confronts a crazed sniper. Early film by Peter Bogdanovich and is a classic.
A Taxing Woman1987. Japanese with English subtitles. Great Juzo Itami comedy revolving around the efforts of a female revenue agent's investigation of a corrupt businessman
A Taxing Woman Returns1989. Japanese with English subtitles. A Juso Itami sequel to A Taxing Woman. The revenue agent investigates a real estate developer and his ties to organized crime and a religious sect.
Threads 1985. Chilling British TV film telling the story of two families before, during and after a nuclear war. This is one scary movie. Your library will probably have this one.
THX 11381971. George Lucas' first film. A science fiction movie milestone set in the 25th century that cannot be adequately described in words, but must be seen.
The Trigger Effect1996. For some reason, the power and the phones go out all over the country, forcing a family and friend to flee the city in the face of urban chaos.
Trinity and Beyond: The Atomic Bomb Movie1995. Documentary about the early tests of American nuclear weapons. Check the Learning Channel schedule for it. This is truely a great and entertaining film.
True Romance1993. A man and his prostitute girlfriend flee the mob. Chock full of big name actors (Christian Slater, Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer, Gary Oldman, Brad Pitt, Christopher Walken). Screenplay by Quenton Taratino
Used Cars1982. Comedy about a used car salesman (Kurt Russell) trying to keep open his boss' lot against the boss' evil brother (Jack Warden).
Vagabond1986. French with English subtitles. The trials of a young french woman living from place to place "without a roof or rule."
The Vanishing1988. A man searches for his missing wife. The man responsible later seeks him out, and the consequences before and after. Not to be confused with the American remake by the same director (which is terrible).
Vision Quest 1985. A high school wrestler (Mathew Modine) seeks to defeat the champion of a lower weight class.
The Wages of Fear1953. French with English subtitles. Genius film about desperate men trucking a load of nitro-glycerine to an oil well fire in Brazil.
Wierd Science1985. Teenage scientists create a woman with a computer. A John Hughes comedy.
Whats eating Gilbert Grape?1994. A man in a small town (Johnny Depp) has to deal with his obese mother and retarded brother (Leonardo DiCaprio). Accurate portrayal of small town life.
Who'll Stop the Rain1978. A Vietnam veteran (Nick Nolte) heroin dealer runs from gangsters.
Why We Fight1943-45. Frank Capra series of American wartime documentaries made for American soldiers telling them why the US is in World War Two. Eight seperate films.
The Wild Geese1978. A group of mercenaries free a political prisoner in Africa. Load of big name British actors (Richard Burton, Roger Moore, Richard Harris) and big action.
Wild Palms1992. A Oliver Stone miniseries about secret groups competing to control America.
Wizards1977. A Ralph Baski animated film of magic (good) vs. technology (evil).
Zulu1964. Great war movie of the Battle of Rorke's Drift. A small company of soldiers defends a ranch station in south Africa Natal from an entire Zulu army after the massacre of British troops at Isandwhana in 1878. One of the best war movies ever made.

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