30 Extremely Overlooked Cinematic Masterpieces (1980 - Present)

by EliHayes | created - 25 Feb 2013 | updated - 25 Feb 2013 | Public

In no particular order.

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1. La Promesse (1996)

Not Rated | 90 min | Drama

7.9
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
82 Metascore

Roger uses his son Igor to ruthlessly traffic and exploit undocumented immigrants. When one of the immigrants is killed, Igor is guilt-ridden and wants to care for the dead man's family against his father's orders.

Directors: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne | Stars: Jérémie Renier, Olivier Gourmet, Assita Ouedraogo, Jean-Michel Balthazar

Votes: 5,955 | Gross: $0.45M

2. Goodbye Solo (2008)

R | 91 min | Drama

7.4
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
89 Metascore

Two men form an unlikely friendship that will change both of their lives forever.

Director: Ramin Bahrani | Stars: Souleymane Sy Savane, Red West, Diana Franco Galindo, Lane 'Roc' Williams

Votes: 5,164 | Gross: $0.87M

3. George Washington (2000)

Not Rated | 89 min | Drama

7.4
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
82 Metascore

A group of children, in a depressed small town, band together to cover up a tragic mistake one summer.

Director: David Gordon Green | Stars: Candace Evanofski, Donald Holden, Damian Jewan Lee, Curtis Cotton III

Votes: 6,759 | Gross: $0.24M

4. Naked (1993)

Not Rated | 132 min | Comedy, Drama

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
84 Metascore

Parallel tales of two sexually obsessed men, one hurting and annoying women physically and mentally, one wandering around the city talking to strangers and experiencing dimensions of life.

Director: Mike Leigh | Stars: David Thewlis, Lesley Sharp, Katrin Cartlidge, Greg Cruttwell

Votes: 26,874 | Gross: $1.77M

5. Ratcatcher (1999)

Not Rated | 94 min | Drama

7.5
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
76 Metascore

An unabashed kid navigates the filthy world of 1973 Glasgow, preoccupying himself with the equally poor youth around him.

Director: Lynne Ramsay | Stars: Tommy Flanagan, Mandy Matthews, William Eadie, Michelle Stewart

Votes: 6,794 | Gross: $0.22M

6. Nostalgia (1983)

Not Rated | 125 min | Drama

8.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A Russian poet and his interpreter travel to Italy to research the life of an 18th-century composer.

Director: Andrei Tarkovsky | Stars: Oleg Yankovskiy, Erland Josephson, Domiziana Giordano, Patrizia Terreno

Votes: 15,641 | Gross: $0.01M

7. The Color of Paradise (1999)

PG | 90 min | Drama, Family

8.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
80 Metascore

Mohamed, a young blind boy, returns to his rural home for the summer and yearns for his father's acceptance.

Director: Majid Majidi | Stars: Hossein Mahjoub, Mohsen Ramezani, Salameh Feyzi, Farahnaz Safari

Votes: 12,649 | Gross: $1.81M

8. L.I.E. (2001)

R | 97 min | Crime, Drama

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
73 Metascore

A 15-year-old Long Island boy loses everything and everyone he knows, soon becoming involved in a relationship with a much older man.

Director: Michael Cuesta | Stars: Brian Cox, Paul Dano, Bruce Altman, Billy Kay

Votes: 8,895 | Gross: $1.14M

9. Snow Angels (I) (2007)

R | 107 min | Drama, Romance

6.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
67 Metascore

A drama that interweaves the life of a teenager, with his old baby sitter, her estranged husband, and their daughter.

Director: David Gordon Green | Stars: Kate Beckinsale, Sam Rockwell, Michael Angarano, Jeannetta Arnette

Votes: 11,436 | Gross: $0.40M

10. Lilya 4-Ever (2002)

R | 109 min | Crime, Drama

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
82 Metascore

Sixteen-year-old Lilja and her only friend, the young boy Volodja, live in Estonia, fantasizing about a better life. One day, Lilja falls in love with Andrej, who is going to Sweden, and invites Lilja to come along and start a new life.

Director: Lukas Moodysson | Stars: Oksana Akinshina, Artyom Bogucharskiy, Pavel Ponomaryov, Lyubov Agapova

Votes: 37,831 | Gross: $0.18M

11. The Double Life of Veronique (1991)

R | 98 min | Drama, Fantasy, Music

7.9
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86 Metascore

Two parallel stories about two identical women; one living in Poland, the other in France. They don't know each other, but their lives are nevertheless profoundly connected.

Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski | Stars: Irène Jacob, Wladyslaw Kowalski, Halina Gryglaszewska, Kalina Jedrusik

Votes: 32,350 | Gross: $2.00M

12. Christiane F. (1981)

R | 138 min | Biography, Drama

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

This movie portrays the drug scene in Berlin in the 1970s, following tape recordings of Christiane F. 14-year-old Christiane lives with her mother and little sister in a typical multi-story... See full summary »

Director: Uli Edel | Stars: Natja Brunckhorst, Eberhard Auriga, Peggy Bussieck, Lothar Chamski

Votes: 17,566

13. The Return (2003)

Unrated | 105 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  
82 Metascore

In the Russian wilderness, two brothers face a range of new, conflicting emotions when their father - a man they know only through a single photograph - resurfaces.

Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev | Stars: Vladimir Garin, Ivan Dobronravov, Konstantin Lavronenko, Nataliya Vdovina

Votes: 34,596 | Gross: $0.50M

14. Reprise (2006)

R | 105 min | Drama

7.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
79 Metascore

Two competitive friends, fueled by literary aspirations and youthful exuberance, endure the pangs of love, depression and burgeoning careers.

Director: Joachim Trier | Stars: Anders Danielsen Lie, Espen Klouman Høiner, Viktoria Winge, Odd-Magnus Williamson

Votes: 8,071 | Gross: $0.55M

15. Rosetta (1999)

R | 95 min | Drama

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
76 Metascore

Young and impulsive Rosetta lives with her alcoholic mother and, moved by despair, she will do anything to maintain a job.

Directors: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne | Stars: Émilie Dequenne, Fabrizio Rongione, Anne Yernaux, Olivier Gourmet

Votes: 10,358 | Gross: $0.26M

16. Schizopolis (1996)

Not Rated | 96 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Mystery

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
44 Metascore

Fletcher Munson, the lethargic employee of a pseudo-religious self help company, and his doppelganger, the friendly but dull dentist Dr. Jeffrey Korchek.

Director: Steven Soderbergh | Stars: Steven Soderbergh, Miles Hardy, Scott Allen, Betsy Brantley

Votes: 4,573 | Gross: $0.01M

17. Trust (1990)

R | 107 min | Comedy, Drama

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
67 Metascore

After being thrown away from home, Maria encounters a lady who complains of not having children. Almost getting raped, she ends up in an abandoned house, where she meets Matthew. When a baby is kidnapped Maria sets out to find the lady.

Director: Hal Hartley | Stars: Adrienne Shelly, Martin Donovan, Rebecca Nelson, John MacKay

Votes: 7,801 | Gross: $0.36M

18. Nema-ye Nazdik (1990)

Not Rated | 98 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

The true story of Hossain Sabzian that impersonated the director Mohsen Makhmalbaf to convince a family they would star in his so-called new film.

Director: Abbas Kiarostami | Stars: Hossain Sabzian, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Abolfazl Ahankhah, Mehrdad Ahankhah

Votes: 10,552 | Gross: $0.00M

19. Nobody Knows (2004)

PG-13 | 141 min | Drama

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
88 Metascore

In a small Tokyo apartment, twelve-year-old Akira must care for his younger siblings after their mother leaves them and shows no sign of returning.

Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda | Stars: Yûya Yagira, Ayu Kitaura, Hiei Kimura, Momoko Shimizu

Votes: 18,922 | Gross: $0.68M

20. Michael (II) (2011)

Not Rated | 96 min | Drama, Thriller

7.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  
64 Metascore

Five months in the life of a pedophile who keeps a 10-year-old boy locked in his basement.

Directors: Markus Schleinzer, Kathrin Resetarits | Stars: Michael Fuith, David Rauchenberger, Christine Kain, Ursula Strauss

Votes: 3,898 | Gross: $0.02M

21. Sweet Sixteen (I) (2002)

R | 106 min | Crime, Drama

7.5
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
86 Metascore

Determined to have a normal family life once his mother gets out of prison, a Scottish teenager from a tough background sets out to raise the money for a home.

Director: Ken Loach | Stars: Martin Compston, Michelle Coulter, Annmarie Fulton, William Ruane

Votes: 11,504 | Gross: $0.03M

22. Alle Anderen (2009)

Unrated | 119 min | Drama, Romance

6.7
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
71 Metascore

While on a Mediterranean vacation, a seemingly happy boyfriend and girlfriend find their connection to one another tested as they bond with another couple.

Director: Maren Ade | Stars: Lars Eidinger, Birgit Minichmayr, Hans-Jochen Wagner, Nicole Marischka

Votes: 2,946 | Gross: $0.10M

23. Man Bites Dog (1992)

NC-17 | 95 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A film crew follows a ruthless thief and heartless killer as he goes about his daily routine. But complications set in when the film crew lose their objectivity and begin lending a hand.

Directors: Rémy Belvaux, André Bonzel, Benoît Poelvoorde | Stars: Benoît Poelvoorde, Jacqueline Poelvoorde-Pappaert, Nelly Pappaert, Hector Pappaert

Votes: 30,885 | Gross: $0.21M

24. Au Revoir les Enfants (1987)

PG | 104 min | Drama, War

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A French boarding school run by priests seems to be a haven from World War II until a new student arrives. He becomes the roommate of top student in his class. Rivals at first, the roommates form a bond and share a secret.

Director: Louis Malle | Stars: Gaspard Manesse, Raphael Fejtö, Francine Racette, Stanislas Carré de Malberg

Votes: 26,264 | Gross: $4.54M

25. The Sweet Hereafter (1997)

R | 112 min | Drama

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
90 Metascore

A bus crash in a small town brings a lawyer to the town to defend the families, but he discovers that everything is not what it seems.

Director: Atom Egoyan | Stars: Ian Holm, Sarah Polley, Caerthan Banks, Tom McCamus

Votes: 28,514 | Gross: $3.25M

26. Down by Law (1986)

R | 107 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

7.8
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
75 Metascore

Two innocent people are arrested. An interesting third person, with broken English, joins them in their cell. On his idea, they decide to escape from the prison. Their journey is the rest of the movie.

Director: Jim Jarmusch | Stars: Tom Waits, John Lurie, Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi

Votes: 39,916 | Gross: $1.44M

27. Heaven (I) (2002)

R | 97 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

7.1
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
68 Metascore

A woman takes the law into her own hands after police ignore her pleas to arrest the man responsible for her husband's death, and finds herself not only under arrest for murder but falling in love with an officer.

Director: Tom Tykwer | Stars: Cate Blanchett, Giovanni Ribisi, Remo Girone, Stefania Rocca

Votes: 21,395 | Gross: $0.77M

28. Oslo, 31. august (2011)

Not Rated | 95 min | Drama

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
84 Metascore

One day in the life of Anders, a young recovering drug addict, who takes a brief leave from his treatment center to interview for a job and catch up with old friends in Oslo.

Director: Joachim Trier | Stars: Anders Danielsen Lie, Hans Olav Brenner, Ingrid Olava, Malin Crépin

Votes: 15,458 | Gross: $0.10M

29. Frozen River (2008)

R | 97 min | Crime, Drama

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
82 Metascore

Takes place in the days before Christmas near a little-known border crossing on the Mohawk reservation between New York State and Quebec. Here, the lure of fast money from smuggling ... See full summary »

Director: Courtney Hunt | Stars: Melissa Leo, Misty Upham, Charlie McDermott, Michael O'Keefe

Votes: 22,659 | Gross: $2.51M

30. Coup de torchon (1981)

Not Rated | 128 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A worn-out, ineffective police chief humiliated by everyone around him decides one day to improve his life, by any means.

Director: Bertrand Tavernier | Stars: Philippe Noiret, Isabelle Huppert, Stéphane Audran, Jean-Pierre Marielle

Votes: 3,985