Special Report

50 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen

Films such as “Casablanca” and “The Godfather,” considered among the best movies of all time, succeeded in appealing to both critics and audiences. These well-received motion pictures have been widely viewed in theaters and praised since they were first released.

There are, however, some movies highly regarded by critics and film reviewers that are less well known. In some cases, a well-regarded motion picture may only appeal to a specific group of film aficionados or its theme might be too downbeat to excite a broader audience. Other times, the movie may have been overlooked for reasons such as poor distribution.

24/7 Tempo has identified the 50 best movies you’ve never seen. These are the top-rated films on user-based websites Rotten Tomatoes and Internet Movie Database that have comparatively few total user ratings.

Click here to see the best movies you’ve never seen

Among the talented individuals behind some of the movies on the list are Oscar-nominated directors John Huston, Sidney Lumet, and Robert Altman, among others — here is who won the Oscar for best director every year since the Oscars began.

The box-office magic of such stars as Burt Lancaster, Lana Turner, Sidney Poitier, and Jane Fonda was not enough to lure filmgoers to the movies on this list.

Many of these well-regarded films overcame unforeseen obstacles. The 1971 Australian thriller “Wake in Fright” — lauded by Martin Scorsese — was essentially lost for years until the master negative was found in a trash bin and restored in 2009. Similarly, the low budget 1978 movie “Killer of Sheep” didn’t receive theatrical distribution once it was completed because the filmmakers had not cleared the rights for the music used in it. These two movies have since obtained wider circulation and, correspondingly, admiration.

With much of the nation kept inside because of COVID-19, people have had the time to catch up on films that they might have overlooked. Some of these movies that have gotten critical acclaim but have not found an audience became available to stream during the pandemic.

Methodology

To determine the best movies you’ve never seen, 24/7 Tempo created an index based on each film’s Rotten Tomatoes average critic rating, Rotten Tomatoes average audience rating, and Internet Movie Database average user rating. To be considered, each film needed to have between 5,000 and 15,000 IMDb user ratings and 10,000 or fewer Rotten Tomatoes user ratings. Only films released since 1950 with English language dialogue were considered as a proxy for cultural relevance.

We averaged the user ratings from Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb and weighted by the number of votes for each. The combined user rating was then averaged with the Rotten Tomatoes critic rating.