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. 

Toni Erdmann (2016)

Good movies usually aren't lengthy movies, unless we're talking about cases like Toni Erdmann. It's a supremely smart German-Austrian comedy that depicts the story of a Father-Daughter tandem in light of life’s weirdest, most inconvenient moments. Deciding to visit his daughter on a whim after his dog dies, Winfried (Peter Simonischek)—a man known for his outrageous pranks and many a disguise—flies to Bucharest. Ines (Sandra Huller), the daughter, buzzing with work to the brim in a very challenging job, to say the least, isn’t impressed. This leads to even more uncomfortable encounters as the estranged father poses as the title character, life coach to the disapproving daughter’s boss. On top of being a shrewdly observed and relevant movie, the brilliant writing by Maren Ade crafts something thoroughly enjoyable and heartfelt here, highlighting the importance of family bond in an oddly sweet way, and criticizing modern-day work ethic and the toll its taking on us. The beginning is a bit slow, but if you're a bit patient you will be surprised how much this movie will reward you.

(Christina Hale)
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Actor: Hadewych Minis, Ingrid Bisu, Lucy Russell, Manuela Ciucur, Michael Wittenborn, Peter Simonischek, Ruth Reinecke, Sandra Hüller, Thomas Loibl, Trystan Putter, Valentin Popescu, Victoria Cocias, Vlad Ivanov
Director: Maren Ade
Rating: R
A Ghost Story (2017)

Twisted yet deep. Sad yet interesting. Slow yet exhilarating. A Ghost Story is an incredible artistic achievement. With hardly any dialog, and breathtakingly long takes in its first half, it manages to bring you in its own creepy world and not let go until you feel completely lonely. Starring Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck as a loving couple who are hit with a horrible tragedy, the beginning is slow, and it's not a plot driven movie, but if you give it a chance it will blow your mind.

Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Romance
Actor: Brea Grant, Casey Affleck, David Lowery, Kenneisha Thompson, Kesha Rose Sebert, Liz Cardenas Franke, Liz Franke, McColm Cephas Jr., Rob Zabrecky, Rooney Mara, Sonia Acevedo, Will Oldham
Director: David Lowery
Rating: R
Lean on Pete (2017)

A24 + Steve Buscemi = ?. 

In “Lean on Pete,” Buscemi plays a guy called Del Montgomery (of course), who is a racetrack horse owner in Portland, Oregon. He befriends a kid, Charley (Charlie Plummer in an amazing performance), who had been abandoned by his family and is new to Portland. 

Together they take care of Montgomery’s only horse, until the kid discovers that the horse is set to be slaughtered. He embarks on an impossible journey across the U.S. to try to save the horse while also looking for his family. 

This movie flew under most peoples’ radars. It is truly amazing. If you like “Lean on Pete” you should watch other A24 gems like “Lady Bird” or “The Florida Project.”

Genre: Drama
Actor: Alison Elliott, Amy Seimetz, Charlie Plummer, Chloë Sevigny, Frank Gallegos, Justin Rain, Lewis Pullman, Rachael Perrell Fosket, Robert J. Olin, Steve Buscemi, Steve Zahn, Travis Fimmel
Director: Andrew Haigh
Rating: 15, R
Eighth Grade (2018)

You live in a strange world. Or at least, that's what the generation before you thinks. Eight Grade is a movie that follows a girl going through her generation's strange world. Social media, selfies, Youtube; you name it. But also, the weight of her expectations (as shaped by the internet) versus her reality. Written and directed by famous comedian Bo Burnham, it's a gentle and often funny look at our anxieties and how they shape our growth. Prepare for a lot of cringes.

Genre: Drama
Actor: Catherine Oliviere, Daniel Zolghadri, Elsie Fisher, Emily Robinson, Fred Hechinger, Imani Lewis, Jake Ryan, Josh Hamilton, Luke Prael, Nora Mullins
Director: Bo Burnham
Rating: R
The Sisters Brothers (2018)

This is a star-packed movie about two brother assassins played by John C. Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix, and starring Jake Gyllenhaal. You might have read the book of the same name, and it is always hard to make a great film out of a great book but the brilliant director of A Prophet Jacques Audiard has done it (again). He is aided by a superb darkly comic script and fantastic acting from the entire cast. Audiard is French, but his take on the American Western is filled with epic violence but also witty dialogue, brotherly love, and male camaraderie.

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Western
Actor: Allison Tolman, Carol Kane, Duncan Lacroix, Jake Gyllenhaal, Joaquin Phoenix, John C. Reilly, Rebecca Root, Richard Brake, Riz Ahmed, Rutger Hauer
Director: Jacques Audiard
Rating: R
Just Mercy (2019)

This drama is based on the true story of Bryan Stevenson, a young Harvard graduate who moved to Alabama in the 80s to defend wrongly accused prisoners on death row. He's played by Michael B. Jordan, who brings to the surface the unstoppable determination and ambition of the character. Components that were necessary to go on such a difficult task, especially with the racist barriers at the time. Not to mention, no one had ever been released from death row in the history of Alabama at that point. An inspiring and well-acted movie, made by Short Term 12 director Destin Daniel Cretton.

Genre: Drama
Actor: Brie Larson, Charlie Pye Jr., Jamie Foxx, Karan Kendrick, Michael B. Jordan, Michael Harding, O'Shea Jackson Jr., Rafe Spall, Rob Morgan, Tim Blake Nelson
Director: Destin Daniel Cretton
Rating: PG-13
Lawless (2012)

Tom Hardy, Guy Pearce, Gary Oldman, Jessica Chastain, and Shia Laboeuf (the good Shia Laboeuf) all star in this true-story-based gangster tale. As a result, Lawless is cliché-free, fast, and violent - yet it doesn't take itself too seriously. Bootlegging Bondurant brothers live according to different rules, yet run a successful business during the prohibition era. When new authorities try to shut them down violently, each one of them has a way of dealing with it. The story runs very smoothly, and added to the perfect performances and great staging, Lawless becomes very entertaining, and a true pleasure to watch.

Genre: Crime, Drama, Western
Actor: Bill Camp, Chris McGarry, Dane DeHaan, Eric Mendenhall, Gary Oldman, Guy Pearce, Jason Clarke, Jessica Chastain, John Hillcoat, Lew Temple, Marcus Hester, Mark Ashworth, Mia Wasikowska, Noah Taylor, Shia LaBeouf, Tim Tolin, Tom Hardy
Director: John Hillcoat
Rating: R
The Raid: Redemption (2011)

A special forces team conducts a raid at a multi-story ghetto building where a criminal boss runs his business. Things quickly go wrong and chaos ensues. Full of pure action, with no overblown Hollywood-type CGI nonsense. It is made the way action movies should be made, full of realistic fight scenes. It is exciting, brutal and thrilling. The Raid: Redemption is definitely among the best action movies ever made.

(Danny Barayev)
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller
Actor: Alfridus Godfred, Ananda George, Donny Alamsyah, Gareth Evans, Iang Darmawan, Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim, Pierre Gruno, Ray Sahetapy, Tegar Satrya, Yayan Ruhian
Director: Gareth Evans
Rating: R
Winter’s Bone (2010)

A young girl is looking for her father while struggling to care for her family. The film is bleak and slow but great performances from the cast, especially the lead, will keep you engaged throughout. The story has a very real, raw, and natural feeling to it, so natural in fact that at times, you will forget it is a movie. And in many ways, it feels that Winter's Bone is to Jennifer Lawrence what The Believer was to Ryan Gosling, as her performance is nothing short of perfect.

(Richard Davis)
Genre: Drama
Actor: Dale Dickey, Garret Dillahunt, Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Kevin Breznahan, Sheryl Lee, Tate Taylor
Director: Debra Granik
Rating: R
A Most Wanted Man (2014)

Based on the book by John Le Carre, this slow-burning thriller tells the story of a half-Chechen, half-Russian immigrant suspected of terrorism, who is suddenly spotted in a big German city trying to get his hands on money that was left to him. Gunter (played by Philip Seymour Hoffman) is the head of an international counter-terrorism unit created after 9/11 to spot threats like these early on. Whether this man is a terrorist or not, what he is doing in Germany, how he fits in the grand scheme of things, and whether Gunter will succeed in his efforts - all of these are questions you will be begging to find answers for. Witty, supremely acted, and with a very provocative story line, A Most Wanted Man is perfect if you're in the mood for a sharp thriller.

(Anass Boudiga)
Genre: Drama
Actor: Daniel Brühl, Grigoriy Dobrygin, Herbert Gronemeyer, Homayoun Ershadi, Mehdi Dehbi, Nina Hoss, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright, Willem Dafoe
Director: Anton Corbijn
Rating: R

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