The 100 Must-Watch Movies You Haven’t Yet Seen

Far too often, cinematic masterpieces get overlooked –– and it’s us cinema lovers who suffer the loss. While some can’t seem to draw crowds upon their box office release, others simply don’t get the critical attention they merit. Whatever the reason, the result is that the streaming landscape is overflowing with hidden treasures that deserve to be unearthed, enjoyed, and duly celebrated. From political thrillers to quirky romances and everything in between, we’ve rounded up the top 100 underrated movies that are on their way to becoming cult classics. 

McQueen (2018)

An intimate look into the rich yet short life of Alexander McQueen, the British fashion icon. I didn’t know much about him prior to watching that movie, and that didn’t matter. His story of a tormented genius transcends fame and even time. In art and in fashion, McQueen’s journey was celebrated by everyone but him. This is the type of movie where after you watch it, you need a good hour of Wikipedia searches and Youtube interview viewing. It’s powerful and will introduce you to an entire world that is the impact of Alexandre McQueen when he lived.

Genre: Documentary
Actor: Alexander McQueen, Bernard Arnault, Detmar Blow |, Ian Bonhôte, Isabella Blow, Joseph Bennett, Kate Moss, Peter Ettedgui
Director: Ian Bonhôte, Peter Ettedgui
Rating: R
Booksmart (2019)

If you liked Superbad, you will love Booksmart. It's a funny coming-of-age movie about two best friends who embark on one last crazy night before their high-school ends. Sounds like something you've seen before? Don't worry, it's not. This movie might be for fans of smart coming-of-age comedies, but it's very different from them. It's current, creating situations and premises for jokes that haven't been explored before, ranging from taking a Lyft and finding out the driver is their school principal; to mistakenly connecting to his car's sound system while trying to get educated on how two women have sex. The girls in Booksmart are overachieving, fiercely supportive of each other, and yet in the right context, ready to let go and have fun. In short, their endearing attitude makes this movie not only funny but extremely likely to charm your socks off.

Genre: Comedy
Actor: Austin Crute, Beanie Feldstein, Billie Lourd, Billie Lourde, Diana Silvers, Eduardo Franco, Jason Sudeikis, Jessica Williams, Kaitlyn Dever, Lisa Kudrow, Mason Gooding, Maya Rudolph, Mike O'Brien, Molly Gordon, Nico Hiraga, Noah Galvin, Skyler Gisondo, Victoria Ruesga, Will Forte
Director: Olivia Wilde
Rating: R
Boy Erased (2018)

Russel Crowe, Nicole Kidman and Lucas Hedges (Manchester By the Sea) form an amazing pack of talent in this excellent drama. Crowe plays the father, a priest, and Kidman the mom, a religious person as well. When their son comes out as gay, they decide more or less with his acceptance to send him to a conversion therapy center. The movie is about the experience of the center but it's also about the family dynamic as a whole. Also stars Joel Edgerton, who also adapted the screenplay (a true story) and directed the movie.

Genre: Drama
Actor: Britton Sear, Cherry Jones, Flea, Jesse LaTourette, Joe Alwyn, Joel Edgerton, Lucas Hedges, Madelyn Cline, Nicole Kidman, Randy Havens, Russell Crowe, Troye Sivan, Xavier Dolan
Director: Joel Edgerton
Rating: R
The Salesman (2016)

In The Salesman, Oscar-winning director Asghar Farhadi (A Separation, About Elly), tells the story of a happily married couple who live in Tehran: Emad (Shahab Hosseini) and Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti). When they are forced to move to a new apartment, something about the previous tenant causes a sudden eruption of violence that turns their lives upside down, causing strain on their relationship. Farhadi does what he does best here: deliver on complex issues that characterize his society through ordinary events. Every scene is a privileged look into Iran's collective consciousness. And even with all that aside, the film still stands as an extraordinary drama, with a tense plot and amazing performances across the board.

(agoodmovietowatch Staff, Safaa)
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Actor: Babak Karimi, Ehteram Boroumand, Emad Emami, Farid Sajjadi Hosseini, Maral Bani Adam, Mehdi Koushki, Mina Sadati, Mojtaba Pirzadeh, Sahra Asadollahe, Sam Valipour, Shahab Hosseini, Shirin Aghakashi, Tarane Alidousti, Taraneh Alidoosti
Director: Asghar Farhadi
Rating: PG-13
God’s Own Country (2017)

A Call me By Your Name without the privilege, pretentiousness or wealth, and it’s probably a better movie because of it. God’s Own Country tells the story of Johnny, a kid from the Yorkshire countryside and underclass. The family’s workload and responsibility fell on his shoulders after his father suffered from a stroke, which drove him further into loneliness and alienation. Upon meeting a Romanian farmer, his ideas of loneliness, sex, and intimacy are confronted with change. A beautiful and beautifully humane film, and an unbelievable debut by British director Francis Lee.

Genre: Drama, Romance
Actor: Alec Secareanu, Gemma Jones, Harry Lister Smith, Ian Hart, Josh O'Connor, Patsy Ferran, Sarah White
Director: Francis Lee
Rating: Not Rated
The Farewell (2019)

The true story of a grandma who gets diagnosed with a fatal disease and her family who keeps that information from her. They organize a fake wedding in China where she lives to say goodbye (hence the title).

Rapper Awkwafina is incredible as the granddaughter at the center of the story. Living in New York and having a complicated relationship with China, she embodies the cultural question at the center of the story: is it OK not to tell the grandma? But also: can a wedding that's really a funeral to everyone but one person be held without that person's suspicion? 

The best thing about The Farewell, and it’s mostly thanks to Awkwafina’s performance, is that it’s never melodramatic. It’s technically a comedy, it's often funny, and when it’s sad, it’s heartfelt.

Genre: Comedy, Drama
Actor: Awkwafina, Shuzhen Zhao, X Mayo
Director: Lulu Wang
Rating: PG
Hell or High Water (2016)

From one small town to the other, two brothers, one extremely cautious and the other less so, travel and rob banks.

Chris Pine and Ben Foster do such an amazing job portraying the brothers. Their personalities, while seemingly opposed, share the mark of their common rough upbringing. Their journey is as much about them as it is about the decaying towns they visit, making this modern-day crime western not only a great thriller but a tribute to the Texan way of life.

Genre: Crime, Mystery, Western
Actor: Alma Sisneros, Amber Midthunder, Ben Foster, Chris Pine, Dale Dickey, David Mackenzie, Gil Birmingham, Gregory Cruz, J. Nathan Simmons, Jeff Bridges, Katy Mixon, Kevin Rankin, Lora Martinez-Cunningham, Margaret Bowman, Marin Ireland, Melanie Papalia, Taylor Sheridan, William Sterchi
Director: David Mackenzie
Rating: R
Cold War (2018)

Cinematography is a big part of Cold War, the story moves through stunning shots of the Polish countryside and later on an incredibly delicate portrait of Paris. All of that would be a waste if you watch it on an iPhone, so I really recommend watching this on as big of a screen as you can get your hands on. In 1950s Cold War Poland, a band of folk musicians find themselves used as a tool for Soviet propaganda. Their travel through the country is hijacked by this agenda, but it remains an incredible journey. It goes through different seasons and aesthetics uncovering lost Polish songs and poems. The leader of the band falls in love with one of the dancers, and the limits imposed on the couple under communist rule make them seek alternatives. Cold War is a statement on how far artists go for their art, especially when they become constrained not only by politics but by romance. It’s a poetic yet quiet movie that doesn’t scream its point but rather invites you to come to your own conclusions.

Genre: Drama, Music, Romance, War
Actor: Adam Ferency, Adam Woronowicz, Agata Kulesza, Borys Szyc, Cedric Kahn, Jeanne Balibar, Joanna Kulig, Tomasz Kot
Director: Paweł Pawlikowski
Rating: R
Wind River (2017)

Phenomenal and heartbreaking, Wind River is a true masterpiece by Taylor Sheridan, the man behind Sicario and Hell or High Water. In a Native American Reservation, a local girl is found dead and a young detective (Elizabeth Olsen) tries to uncover the mystery. She is accompanied by a tracker (Jeremy Renner) with his own dark history in the community. It’s not a very rewarding movie at first, so don’t expect an incredibly fast-paced story from the get-go. However, when everything unfolds, it’s not only action-packed, its reflections on indigenous communities are deep and poignant. How this remains a relatively known movie is shocking, it has to be one of the best mysteries of the past 20 years.

Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Actor: Elizabeth Olsen, Eric Lange, Gil Birmingham, Graham Greene, Hugh Dillon, Ian Bohen, James Jordan, Jeremy Renner, Jon Bernthal, Julia Jones, Kelsey Asbille, Martin Sensmeier, Mason Davis, Matthew Del Negro, Tantoo Cardinal, Taylor Sheridan, Teo Briones
Director: Taylor Sheridan
Rating: R
Captain Fantastic (2016)

A couple decides to raise their six children in the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest, far from modern culture. They teach them how to raise and kill their own food, how to live in nature, but also give them classes on literature, politics, and music. The family drills boot camp-like workouts and climbs rock faces to create physical endurance. Then the wilderness adventure comes to an abrupt halt with a telephone call, and the family enters the world -- with hilarious and sorrowful results. Emotionally raw and honest, with terrific performances by Viggo Mortensen, George MacKay and the entire cast of "children."

(Anne Michaud)
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Drama
Actor: Ann Dowd, Annalise Basso, Charlie Shotwell, Erin Moriarty, Frank Langella, George MacKay, Kathryn Hahn, Matt Ross, Missi Pyle, Nicholas Hamilton, Samantha Isler, Shree Crooks, Steve Zahn, Trin Miller, Viggo Mortensen
Director: Matt Ross
Rating: R
That's all from us for the The 100 Must-Watch Movies You Haven’t Yet Seen! For more, subscribe to the newsletter. It's ad-free, spam-free, and algorithm-free. You get two e-mails every week with the best of Netflix and Amazon Prime, and nothing else.

More lists like this one