Top 10 Hidden Treasures: The Best Movies You Never Saw

Sylvester Stallone’s big break came in 1974 when he starred with Henry Winkler as gang member Stanley Rosiello in this underappreciated little cult movie. Winkler portrays "Butchey Weinstein," while Perry King is "Chico Tyrell" and Paul Mace is "Wimpy Murgalo." Richard Gere was originally cast as Chico but he did not get along with Stallone, who demanded that he be fired and replaced with King. Sample Dialogue: "You want a ring? I got a ring for ya. In my bathtub." [READ THE FULL REVIEW]

#09 - FANDANGO [1985]
FANDANGO [1985] Image

A gang of slackers take one last road trip across Texas in search of their old buddy "Dom" before some of them have to head to Vietnam. Before Kevin Costner's ego took off and he made a string of turkeys like Waterworld and The Postman, he actually starred as Gardner in this decent movie about five college buddies (called "The Groovers") in the class of '71 at the University of Texas. Judd Nelson plays a geek named Phil who must prove his mettle by skydiving from what looks like a crop-dusting plane. One of the "Groovers" stays passed out in the car for the entire duration of the film. Fandango inevitably goes nowhere but it's a great ride. Sample Dialogue: "There's nothing wrong with going nowhere, son. It's the privilege of youth." [READ THE FULL REVIEW]


A pre-Baretta Robert Blake turns in a brilliant portrayal of a diminutive motorcycle cop named John Wintergreen. He was nominated for a Golden Globe for his on-target performance. The film also stars acclaimed character actor Billy “Green” Bush, Mitch Ryan and Elisha Cook, Jr. (as "Crazy Willie"). Filmed on location in Monument Valley. Sample Dialogue: "I'll give you some information. You're standing in pigshit." [READ THE FULL REVIEW]

#07 - BURN! [1969]
BURN! [1969] Image

A classic Marlon Brando performance highlights this Gillo Pontecorvo film about colonialism with some strong parallels to Vietnam. Non-actor Evaristo Márquez also excels in his role as Jose Dolores, who leads the rebellion on the Portuguese-controlled island. Also known as Queimada. According to legend, Pontecorvo once threatened Brando with a gun on the set if he continued to refuse his direction! Sample Dialogue: “If a man gives you freedom, it is not freedom. Freedom is something that you must take.” [READ THE FULL REVIEW]

#06 - THE CORNDOG MAN [1999]
THE CORNDOG MAN [1999] Image

A bigoted South Carolina boat salesman named Ace Barker (Noble Willingham) starts getting harassing phone calls from a mysterious stranger who claims to be his son. The harassment escalates as Ace rapidly goes insane. As the film unfolds, we learn Ace's dark secret. The Corndog Man has a warped sense of humor that doesn't affect its highly dramatic outcome. It's audacious, well acted and stunning in its originality. (Note: Someone could start a drinking game out of the amount of times the old guy answers the phone with the words "Triple K Marina.") As Ace, Willingham is totally believable. If you enjoy your films a little on the offbeat side, seek this one out. Sample Dialogue: "Triple K Marina." [READ THE FULL REVIEW]


Set in Portland, Oregon, in 1971, Drugstore Cowboy is a realistic, unsparing look at the world of small-time junkies. All the leader of the crew, Bob, cares about is the next score, much to the chagrin of Diane, who actually wants to get fucked and is rather frustrated. The crew spends all of their time eking out a barren existence in a series of sleazy motel rooms, popping pills, breaking into drugstores and spouting out philosophical lines like: "Fate sucks. I swear." By the end, Bob attempts to turn things around and do some "straight time" but he can't escape his sordid past. Drugstore Cowboy was based on an autobiographical novel written by James Fogle, who was serving time for robbery and parole violation in the Washington State Penitentiary at Walla Walla. I don't know what happened to this guy but he's probably either six feet under or back in prison. Most importantly, the film is totally nonjudgmental - a slap in the face of the Reagan/Bush era and their bogus war on drugs. We are informed right off the bat that a junkie strives to escape the "pressures of life, like having to tie your shoes." When I first watched this masterpiece, I thought that Kelly Lynch was headed for superstardom and then she acted alongside Patrick Swayze in Road House and it was all downhill from there. Legendary Naked Lunch author William S. Burroughs appears in a cameo as "Old Tom, the Junkie Priest," looking like the Grim Reaper himself and delivering some classic lines such as: "In the future, right wingers will use drug hysteria to set up an international police apparatus." Brilliant! Sample Dialogue: "There's nothing more life-affirming than getting the shit kicked out of you." [READ THE FULL REVIEW]

#04 - THE LAST DETAIL [1973]
THE LAST DETAIL [1973] Image

Jack Nicholson stars as Billy "Bad Ass" Buddusky, a Navy "lifer" who, along with "Mule" Mulhall (Otis Young), is put in charge of taking a young dumb kid, Meadows (Randy Quaid) to the brig. Carol Kane plays a young whore. Directed by Hal Ashby with a screenplay from Robert Towne adapted from a Daryl Ponicsan novel. Nicholson was awarded the Best Actor Oscar for his performance. Sample Dialogue: I am the motherfuckin' shore patrol, motherfucker! I am the motherfuckin' shore patrol! Give this man a beer." [READ THE FULL REVIEW]

#03 - CUTTER'S WAY [1981]
CUTTER'S WAY [1981] Image

Unappreciated cult film based on the novel, Cutter and Bone, by Newton Thornburg that stars John Heard, Jeff Bridges and Lisa Eichhorn. Heard's best performance—ever! Sample Dialogue: "I don't drink. You know, the routine grind drives me to drink. Tragedy, I take straight." [READ THE FULL REVIEW]

#02 - THE WANDERERS [1979]
THE WANDERERS [1979] Image

A cast of relatively unknowns portrays a 1960’s teen gang living in the Bronx, where they must deal with the likes of the "Fordham Baldies," "The Wongs," "Del Bombers" and the mysterious "Duckie Boys," who resemble the zombies in Night of the Living Dead. Ken Wahl portrays the Wanderers gang leader, who is forced into a shotgun wedding by a group of aging, overweight bowlers wearing Hawaiian shirts. Who can forget the football game that devolves into a full-blown riot? Or the scene where the Baldies and their notorious leader Terror get drunk one night and sign up for the Marines? How about the excellent soundtrack that includes such classics as "The Wanderer", "Big Girls Don’t Cry", "Runaround Sue" and "Walk Like a Man"? Turkey betraying the gang by shaving his head and becoming a member of the Baldies? Joey’s insane father? The gang getting caught in the nightmarish turf of the Duckie Boys? Last but not least, how about when Richie follows Nina into that coffeehouse where Bob Dylan sits on stage singing "The Times They Are A Changin’? This flick is an unappreciated classic even though every member of the "teen" gang looks like they are in their 30s. It would make a good double bill with The Lords of Flatbush. Sample Dialogue: "Nobody fucks with the Baldies!" [READ THE FULL REVIEW]

#01 - BEING THERE [1979]
BEING THERE [1979] Image

In the final scene of the classic movie, Being There, Chauncey Gardner (Peter Sellers) strolls through the woods during the funeral of billionaire industrialist Benjamin Rand (Melvyn Douglas) and then casually walks on water. The last time I watched this flick I started listening to the background eulogy of the President of the United States (Jack Warden) as Sellers makes his way toward the lake. It’s actually full of quotes from Rand — some of them funny, some of them totally bizarre and some of them quite profound. Here (for the first time ever on the Internet!) is the list of quotes in its entirety: • "I have no use for those on welfare, no patience whatsoever. But if I’m to be honest with myself, I must admit that they have no use for me either." • "I do not regret having political differences with men that I respect. I do regret, however, that our philosophies kept us apart." • "I could never convince my kitchen staff, but I look forward to a good bowl of chili now and then." • "I have heard the word ‘sir’ more often than I have heard the word ‘friend’ but I suppose there are other rewards for wealth." • "I have met with kings. During these conferences I have suppressed bizarre thoughts: Could I beat him in a footrace? Could I throw a ball further than he?" • "No matter what our facades, we are all children." • "No matter what you are told, there is no such thing as an even trade." • "I was born into a position of extreme wealth but I have spent many sleepless nights thinking about extreme poverty." • "I have lived a lot . . . was surrounded by little men who forgot that we enter naked and exit naked and that no accountant can audit life in our favor." • "When I was a boy I was told that the Lord fashioned us in his own image. That’s when I decided to manufacture miracles." • Security, tranquility, a well-deserved rest—all the aims I have pursued will soon be realized." • "Life is a state of mind." Sample Dialogue: "Bullshit. Who sent you here, boy? Did that chickenshit asshole Raphael send you here, boy?"

Forgotten Movie Classics

User Comments - Add a Comment
KevBro - 2007-12-10 14:23:11
If you ever decide to extend this list, I think "The Ninth Configuration" with Stacy Keach (1980) would be a fine choice. I know very few people who've ever seen it and I think about it every time I see Mr. Keach on the tube. It's a great film about a very sensitive subject- it would be a great film to broadcast as our soldiers are returning from Iraq both physically and more frighteningly, mentally scarred.
ELBSeattle - 2007-12-11 04:34:00
I saw The Lords of Flatbush. I thought it was one of the worst movies I'd ever seen in my life. Why is 'Being There' on this list? It was a very popular movie.
little noises and the golden boat - 2007-12-11 09:35:04
thanks for corndog man, never heard of it. If you can find it, I'd add little noises (1992). My favorite indie movie of the 90's and crispen glover's all time best. Really odd, but totally moving and strange. Also, this 80's ruiz film the golden boat, i think kathy acker might have co-written it. The best writing in a film I've ever seen totally strange mindblowing 80's pastiche of mexican soap operas multiple murders and high-art postmodernism. Ruiz said it was his reaction to being in New York for the first time as a non american. Amazin, amazing film. Sample dialogue: Our friend is dead, and YOURE going to pay for it!
Steeeeeeeeev - 2007-12-12 18:09:05
Devil in a Blue Dress is a more obscure Denzel Washington movie which is very good... the script is maybe a 6 but he lifts it to a 9 with his performance, as he is known to do. : ) - 2007-12-13 00:20:32
Drugstore Cowboy also features a very young Heather Graham and the ever-underrated Max Perlich.
RV - 2007-12-13 20:33:33
Royal Flash is another good candidate for this of the funniest movies I've ever seen.
Allyson Wonderland - 2007-12-20 18:23:00
I think a lot of people have seen Being There, ditto Drugstore Cowboy. The latter's especially popular in the junkie/nihilist communities. And you must mention Matt Dillon. Matt Dillon can not not be mentioned when he just as easily can. Another good one to throw in is River's Edge, a cult-drama flick with Keanu Reeves, Crispin Glover, and Dennis Hopper. Despite its cast and overall awesome-ness (about a bunch of kids covering the murder of their friend), too few people have seen or even heard of it.
Bob Shaw - 2007-12-21 17:34:55
I thought the Postman was a wonderful film. A bit long in places but the concept was well thought out. I have always been a fan of the post nuclear war films but this was the first one that I can remember where there was actually a plan put in to motion to start getting things working again. A plan that was based in reality. Something that actually has a chance of working.
Chuck - 2007-12-22 08:20:15
Some one mentioned Crispin Glover......"River's Edge" with Keanu Reeves, Ione Skye and Dennis Hopper. A cult film? Maybe....disturbing? Definitely.
cKHAVIKk - 2007-12-26 01:40:29
I'd have to agree with The River's Edge being a great unheralded film... "All you do is eat all the food and fuck my Mom... FUCK YOU, FOOD EATER!!!!"
the anarchist - 2008-01-01 00:04:58
The Loveless 1982 Wilem Dafoe has to make this list.
alexis - 2008-01-02 20:39:26
Brando definitely turned in one of his best performance's as William Walker in Burn! Here's one of my favorite quotes: "I'm not sure what I'm doing here. I'm not sure why I'm doing what I'm doing. Perhaps it's only for the pleasure of it or maybe it's because I don't know how to do anything else. Perhaps I've nothing else to do. But I do know that whatever I do, I try to do it well and see it clearly through to the end."
Paul from Durham, Ontario - 2008-01-14 20:11:23
'Withnail and I' - Great funny, nihilist movie. 'Red Rock West' - Nicholas Cage, Dennis Hoppper, wonderful plot twists, acting etc.
Anonymous - 2008-01-15 12:45:13
If we include foreign movies that still made it to domestic, english-dubbed, release then add "Wages of Fear"
Julie - 2008-01-27 16:17:58
How about David Bowie's "The Man Who Fell to Earth". For some odd reason I loved that movie. I guess it's the Bowie thing. Love him!
ugh - 2008-02-06 22:55:14
good list, what are you-21? Put some more years into watching and experiencing film, then make another gay list to attempt to drive traffic.
Steve - 2008-02-08 08:26:17
Sorry, but I must correct one point. Nicholson did NOT win the Oscar for "The Last Detail". The award went to Jack Lemmon for "Save the Tiger"
glbaker - 2008-05-17 23:18:22
being there deserves to be on all lists of good movies.
bluevelvet - 2008-12-07 12:00:32

"Orlando"by Sally Potter with a stunning Tilda Swinton

BiCurious George - 2009-03-08 14:51:55

Another one to add to the list is "Winter Kills" also starring jeff Bridges. Not very well known but a great unknown classic.

Brandonio - 2009-03-11 11:38:51

Another mention should go to Robert Rodriguez's 1994"Roadracers".I mean it's got Selma Hayek,David Arquette,It's probably the first film to mention "Teabagging",and the most impressive thing about this movie is that David Arquette's character idolizes guitar legend Link Wray.It was supposedly a TV movie,but I saw it on VHS.It has never been released on DVD,which is surprising considering the 2 major stars.It's funny,It's cool,and has a awesome soundtrack.The world needs to see this movie period.

Ned Harkey - 2009-04-07 12:48:21

Wish you would add "Life is Sweet". It's just plain the best movie I've ever seen!

Trae - 2009-04-09 09:10:50

Fandango is a fantastic movie...BTW it was made by an alum of Baylor University and meant to represent his experience but because of the upstanding rep of the school, he set it at UT instead.

Greg - 2009-06-28 00:38:23

Another one you've maybe never heard of: Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949) ( A masterpiece thanks to Obi-Wan himself - Alec Guinness.

Alan - 2009-07-02 21:05:18

to Mr. "ugh" ... isn't the point of every page on the Internet to drive traffic? What's the point of writing and putting stuff on the Internet if no one reads it? It's a great list, I've only heard of "Drugstore Cowboy" on this list ... and I'm 29 with at least 8,000 movies viewed under my belt. Though, I'm not convinced that lists of movies both have a gender, and reproduce sexually to be attracted to another list of movies of the same gender. Perhaps you could elaborate? Diagrams help.

El Cabong - 2009-07-13 16:57:42

+1 Being There +1 The Last Detail The Quiet Earth is another interesting movie. An post apocalyptic Earth without the mayhem. Can be slow at times, but thought provoking.

Christian Westbrook - 2009-09-19 00:39:52

With the exception of the "Corndog Man." I have seen them all. You must be young, because any movie lover 50+ has seen these.

dR dMo - 2010-01-23 17:25:07

ninth configuration definitely i wish i could find a copy

El Spooky 13 - 2010-03-21 22:26:56

Great list. Some are a little too "popular". I would add 1991's "Motorama". Written by Joseph Minion. Great road movie. As to "The Ninth Configuration", does anyone know if it is available?

PopCultureMaiden - 2010-03-22 11:49:12

"Being There" is such a great flick. So full of humor, yet so heartwarming!

Anonymous - 2010-05-07 05:03:14

How are Being There, The Last Detail, Cutter's Way or Drugstore Cowboy on a list of best movies anyone's "never" saw? They were all on best of the year lists and/or Oscar nominees.

Ernie - 2010-05-11 11:25:28

On "Last Detail": the movie has an uncredited walk-on part by Gilda Radner as a performance artist in the scene at the hippie party. (her movie debut)

Doreen - 2011-03-16 13:28:29
I just had to look up James Fogle and you were right, he is serving 15 year in prison for... holding up a pharmacy.
Robert Segal - 2011-04-20 23:27:49

Thank you for your great service in posting the last lines of Being There (the President's eulogising Rand by reading the man's quotes), one of the finer films ever made. As good as it is, at that last moment, as soon as Chance steps onto the pond, the entire story re-writes itself and becomes all the more masterful. But you misquote one word and thereby miss something critically important to the meaning of that last image. The correct quote is: "When I was a boy I was told that the Lord fashioned us in his own image. That’s when I decided to manufacture mirrors."

ELBSeattle - 2012-10-14 04:41:04

The Lords of Flatbush is a stinking shitpile of a terrible movie.

Deseed - 2012-11-19 23:25:02

Zardoz (1974) starring Sean Connery: In the year AD 2293, a post-apocalyptic Earth is inhabited mostly by the Brutals, who are ruled by the Eternals. Eternals use other Brutals, called Exterminators, as the Chosen warrior class. The Exterminators worship the god Zardoz, a huge, flying, hollow stone head. etc. etc. If you haven't seen it then I suggest you do. Going in Style (1979) George Burns, Art Carney and Lee Strasberg: Three old men living dull lives decide to commit a robbery and hilarity and misfortune ensue. Some titles to throw out there: Dark Star (1974) Shadows and Fog (1991) Anguish(1987) Time Masters (1982) Strings (2004) Twice Upon A Time (1983) A Cold Nights Death (1973) Pretty Village, Pretty Flame (1996) Dream Child (1985) All of these films are well worth a watch. And they do have cult followings and by all rights they are cult films. I have managed to personally watch two or three new movies, every night for the past 25 years or more. That is a hell of lot of movies to watch. That is something around the order of 18000 films more or less. I used to run a video store back in the day and now with the advent of being able to watch movies online I can watch a new movie anytime I feel the want or the need. I am a movie buff and a movie nut. You should see my personal collection of obscure films. I have seen things that most people haven't ever dreamed of.

Collier Hageman - 2013-05-06 17:59:46

KevBro - "The Ninth Configuration" IS a seriously offbeat but good movie, and does belong on the list. I saw it under the title "Twinkle, Twinkle, Killer Kane" -- the title of the original book the movie was taken from. It was not a commercial success but did garner a Golden Globe nomination, and helped propel Stacey Keach's career.

Marc - 2013-07-23 16:18:18

Electra Glide in Blue, what a fantastic move. That closing scene has had me comparing every other film to such a finish for the past 40 years, few match up.

Ernie - 2013-09-24 03:03:46

Honestly, has no one on this planet ever seen "The Hospital"? THE perfect satire and commentary on America's healthcare system. In this, the era of "Obamacare" and HMOs (thanks a lot, Edgar and Henry Kaiser), this movie is far, FAR more relevant today than when it was released in the 1970s. It's as overlooked today as it was then as well. Stars George C. Scott and Diana Rigg. Written by the genius, Paddy Chayefsky. (For those who don't know, Edgar and Henry Kaiser are the metals tycoons who founded Kaiser Aluminum; later they got in on the ground floor of the cable TV boom at Channel 56 (then WKGB-TV, for Kaiser-Globe Broadcasting) in Boston, and are responsible for the proliferation of HMOs here in America with Kaiser-Permanente.)

Chance - 2013-10-26 14:53:10

Being There is absolutely splendid. If ever should I need to use that word. So funny and Surreal. "That's a very small room..."

milander - 2014-02-11 02:15:28

@Alan - So you've watched a film every single day since you were 9, "I'm 29 with at least 8,000 movies"... liar, lol

Jon - 2014-06-08 01:18:56

How About a REAL movie....DIE HARD! Bruce Willis: Best Line ----> "Yipi skippy dippy kai-yee mother father!"

Shaun - 2015-06-26 06:00:19

Can't be that rare, I've seen half of them.

Bob Morris - 2016-06-24 07:54:40

Variation: One of the 10 best films that most people have never seen: John Savage in "Inside Moves."

Janine Bowen - 2016-07-21 06:41:50

It was so long ago I don't remember if it was "little known" at the time, but the movie "29th Street" stuck with me as a gem over the years. Based on the true story of Frank Pesce Jr. whose amazing luck has been his life's biggest burden,and what happens when he buys a winning lottery ticket. That it actually happened is the only thing that makes the ending believable. Great acting, setting, comedy, drama, a mom that sings opera while making sauce, what more could you ask for? Trailer:

Susan 345 - 2017-07-31 13:54:51
Best one I ever saw (still rave about it today) was Don't Look in the Basement, I think a 1977 version. Great hospital thriller that I often refer people to when I tell them to compare today's hospitals with the movie itself.
Myra Breckenridge - 2017-08-25 03:04:48
I shit you not. If you haven't seen "An American Hippie in Israel" (1972) (no joke) you must..ehem doesn't matter its awesome! Don't insult me you kngigts..this movie rules! Just dig it man...(costs 3.99 on Amazon Prime...ha ha...seriously I would have loved to make this movie all the nudity wouldn't make much of a's better than the trailor for 1990's Death Spa...
Ian - 2017-12-03 18:31:00
"If" by Lindsay Anderson. Bizarre and moving. Also Malcolm McDowell's first role, and the model for "Little Alex".