Overlooked classics

Last updated 11:16 20/07/2012

Everybody has a film they personally believe is an overlooked classic. Dave is mine.

A film often goes on a strange journey before it becomes known as a classic. Many of the films we now recognise as classics were not greeted with huge enthusiasm at the time of their release. It's a Wonderful Life is a prime example. The Frank Capra film was not a box office success and received mixed reviews on release. It was only when it was shown on various US television channels as a Christmas tradition in the 1970s and 80s that it grew in critical and popular stature. Now, it is regularly included in lists of the best films of all time.

I have seen this happen a few times in my lifetime. A film panned on release that slowly grows in people's hearts until it becomes a classic.

The most obvious example is The Shawshank Redemption, which found its audience on DVD and is now firmly ensconced at the top of the Internet Movie Database's top 250 films of all time.

Another example is Groundhog Day. It did well at the box office and received great reviews, but has only grown in stature since its release. Princess Bride is another film with modest box office takings that has become a much-loved classic.

These slow burners tend to be quiet, understated little films that don't shout for attention and so can sometimes be missed in the multiplex throng. They were discovered by new audiences at the video store. A film becomes a classic, it seems, when it lingers in the popular consciousness for long enough and defies the ageing process. It becomes a film we just can't quit.

But, sometimes this doesn't happen. Sometimes a great film is lost at the multiplex and never gets a second chance. It instead become an overlooked classic - deeply loved by a small group of people. These films are deeply personal.

So, what film do I feel is an overlooked classic?

It is a small film from 1993 called Dave. This choice doesn't make me look particularly smart or cool, but there is just something about Dave that I find touching.

It is small, funny and human. It feels like a Capra movie made in 1993. It has cute characters and a lovely story arc. The script is perfectly crafted. It is not sensational or earth shattering, it's just Dave. A cute little movie that always makes me feel good.

Don't you love the way movies can make you feel good? Movies have helped me out when I feel sad for as long as I can remember. They've never failed me yet. Well, not the good ones.

So, what are your overlooked classics? What films do you feel have had a rough deal and deserve more love? Is there a film you think should get more respect, but no-one remembers?

Let me know below.

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34 comments
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morgan   #1   11:25 am Jul 20 2012

Dead Man

Andrew   #2   11:33 am Jul 20 2012

Two great classics most people have never heard of is 'The Boondock Saints' and 'Bang bang You're dead' (not to be mistaken with 'Kiss kiss bang bang')

LindaC   #3   11:39 am Jul 20 2012

I know not too many people would agree with me, but Jim Jarmusch and Johnny Depp's Dead Man is my overlooked classic. For me it has just the right blend of great cinematography, soundtrack, fascinating characters, and dark humour to make it a movie I always come back to. I know it's not everybody's kind of movie, but I can't understand why it is so ignored by just about everyone.

Niri Tacen   #4   12:16 pm Jul 20 2012

One which I think is a classic is a sci-fi film called "Cube".

Aside from including a pre-Star Trek Nicole de Boer (mmmmmmm, Nicole de Boer *drooool*), it's a neat little cult film which features people trapped inside a Cube - a hi-tech death trap with moving rooms and interesting ways of killing people.

One of the great things about it, is that the film doesn't explain why the Cube exists, why this group of people are inside it, or who put them there.

There have been two sequels, the second of which partially explains some of this, but Cube stands alone as a brilliant film.

@Andrew #2 - Boondock Saints is brilliant. Another of my favourites. Have you seen the sequel? Is it any good?

Graeme   #5   12:21 pm Jul 20 2012

I loved how, in Dave, they had a whole bunch of people - congressmen, talk show hosts, etc. - who played themselves, but the credits still had the usual statement about how none of the people in the film were based on real people, and any similarities were completely coincidental.

bOb   #6   12:44 pm Jul 20 2012

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. It tires me out just watching it. I can completely see why some people wouldn’t like it but it is complete brilliance to me.

Jay   #7   01:00 pm Jul 20 2012

The 1985 movie "Clue" it's a family favourite and I am always introducing it. The movie bring the boardgame Cluedo to life (no wait, come bank). The whole thing is a whodunnit set in a gothic mansion in the early 1950's. Its great fun, I highly reccomend it. If you liked Tim Curry in Rocky Horror then this is a must!!It Wadsworth "the butler" played by Tim Curry (in his other great role I think), everyone has a name associated with the game including Miss Scarlet (Lesley Ann Warren), Mrs Peacock (Eileen Brennan), Madelaine Khan (Mrs White), Professor Plum (Christopher Lloyd", Colonel Mustard (Martin Mull) and Mr Green (Michael McKean). The body is "Mr Boddy". Enjoy!

Shaniqua   #8   01:02 pm Jul 20 2012

Sling Blade!

Scott C   #9   01:50 pm Jul 20 2012

A couple of personal favorites:

The Man from Earth, a great little science fiction film (with no effects and no action). Bascially a conversation film, but with quite a few recognisable (well less so without their makeup) science fiction actors.

Salute of the Jugger, a post apocalyptic sports film with Rutger Hauer, Joan Chen and Vincent D'Onofrio. Quite under-rated as a retelling of the commericalisation of sport.

Leon   #10   01:57 pm Jul 20 2012

Jay7: totally agree about Cluedo. I have this on DVD and have made my friends and most of my family watch it :-)


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