It’s hard to measure how many people have seen a given movie in the age of streaming. At one point, theater ticket sales were a good indication of audience size. Films that brought in over $100 million were considered highly successful, and obviously played to many thousands of viewers. Today, streaming services like Amazon Prime and Netflix have tens of millions of subscribers, and offer major studio movies, sometimes as soon as they’re released, in addition to making movies of their own. Viewership figures of those films are hard to come by. (These are the most successful R-rated movies of all time.)
While it’s hard to tell for sure, then, there’s a very good possibility that the best movie you’ve never seen is “Ink” (2009) — a sci-fi film about a mysterious creature that steals a little girl’s soul, and her father’s fight to save her from a world of supernatural beings. (You can be sure it’s not one of the worst sci-fi movies ever made.)
To determine the best movies you’ve probably never seen, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on the number of audience ratings and popularity of a wide range of films from Rotten Tomatoes, an online movie and TV review aggregator, and IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon. Movies with between 10,000 and 50,000 IMDb audience votes — a small number compared with the hundreds of thousands of votes the most popular ones receive — were ranked based on their Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score as of August 2021.
Audience ratings and number of votes are included for reference. Only films made in 1950 or later were included in the universe, and documentaries were excluded. Also excluded were new releases, which may have limited audience scores in their first few weeks but will go on to far exceed 50,000 votes. (Supplementary data on cast and director also come from IMDb.)