One may argue that the best films are those with the most Oscars, but sometimes the Academy overlooks some great movies that almost everyone loved or appreciated. A few of those “forgotten” movies later went on to become real timeless classics. We present to you 25 great movies that didn’t receive any Oscar nominations.
25. Three Kings
Director: David O. Russell
Stars: George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube
A small group of adventurous American soldiers in Iraq at the end of the Gulf War are determined to steal a huge cache of gold reputed to be hidden somewhere near their desert base. Finding a map they believe will take them to the gold, they embark on a journey that leads to unexpected discoveries, enabling them to rise to a heroic challenge that drastically changes their lives.
Director: Christopher Nolan
Stars: Al Pacino, Robin Williams, Hilary Swank
Two Los Angeles homicide detectives are dispatched to a northern town where the sun doesn’t set to investigate the methodical murder of a local teen.
23. Mean Streets
Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, David Proval
The future is set for Tony and Michael – owning a neighborhood bar and making deals in the mean streets of New York city’s Little Italy. For Charlie, the future is less clearly defined. A small-time hood, he works for his uncle, making collections and reclaiming bad debts. He’s probably too nice to succeed. In love with a woman his uncle disapproves of and a friend of her cousin, Johnny Boy, a near-psycho whose trouble-making threatens them all – he can’t reconcile opposing values. A failed attempt to escape moves them all a step closer to a bitter, almost preordained future.
22. Fruitvale Station
Director: Ryan Coogler
Stars: Michael B. Jordan, Melonie Diaz, Octavia Spencer
This is the true story of Oscar who wakes up on the morning of December 31, 2008 and feels something in the air. Not sure what it is, he takes it as a sign to get a head start on his resolutions: being a better son to his mother, being a better partner to his girlfriend, who he hasn’t been completely honest with as of late, and being a better father to T, their beautiful 4-year-old daughter. He starts out well, but as the day goes on, he realizes that change is not going to come easy. He crosses paths with friends, family, and strangers, each exchange showing us that there is much more to Oscar than meets the eye. But it would be his final encounter of the day, with police officers at the Fruitvale BART station that would shake the Bay Area to its very core, and cause the entire nation to be witnesses to the story of Oscar Grant.
21. The Long Goodbye
Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Elliott Gould, Nina van Pallandt, Sterling Hayden
Private investigator Philip Marlowe is approached by a friend, Terry Lennox, who is in a bit of a jam. Marlowe helps him get to Mexico but the next day his friend’s wife turns up dead. The police hold Marlowe but then release him once Terry Lennox is found dead in Mexico – suicide. To the cops, it is an open-and-shut case of murder-suicide but Marlowe doesn’t believe that to be the case. Marlowe then is hired by the wife of wealthy author Roger Wade to find her husband. The Wades were neighbours of the Lennoxes. A powerful mob boss also leans on him to find the large sum of money Terry Lennox was transporting for him. Could all these events be connected?
20. American Psycho
Director: Mary Harron
Stars: Christian Bale, Justin Theroux, Josh Lucas
Patrick Bateman is handsome, well educated and intelligent. He is twenty-seven and living his own American dream. He works by day on Wall Street, earning a fortune to complement the one he was born with. At night he descends into madness, as he experiments with fear and violence.
Director: Wes Anderson
Stars: Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Olivia Williams
Max Fischer is a precocious 15-year-old whose reason for living is his attendance at Rushmore, a private school where he’s not doing well in any of his classes, but where he’s the king of extracurricular activities. His life begins to change, however, when he finds out he’s on academic probation, and when he stumbles into love with Miss Cross, a pretty teacher of the elementary school at Rushmore. Added to the mix is his friendship with Herman Blume, wealthy industrialist and father to boys who attend the school, and who also finds himself attracted to Miss Cross.
Director: David Fincher
Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo
A serial killer in the San Francisco Bay Area taunts police with his letters and cryptic messages. We follow the investigators and reporters in this lightly fictionalized account of the true 1970’s case as they search for the murderer, becoming obsessed with the case. Based on Robert Graysmith’s book, the movie’s focus is the lives and careers of the detectives and newspaper people.
17. Mission: Impossible – Fallout
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Stars: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames
Two years after Ethan Hunt had successfully captured Solomon Lane, the remnants of the Syndicate have reformed into another organization called the Apostles. Under the leadership of a mysterious fundamentalist known only as John Lark, the organization is planning on acquiring three plutonium cores. Ethan and his team are sent to Berlin to intercept them, but the mission fails when Ethan saves Luther and the Apostles escape with the plutonium. With CIA agent August Walker joining the team, Ethan and his allies must now find the plutonium cores before it’s too late.
16. Miller’s Crossing
Directors: The Coen brothers
Stars: Gabriel Byrne, Albert Finney, John Turturro
Tom Reagan (played by Gabriel Byrne) is the right-hand man, and chief adviser, to a mob boss, Leo (Albert Finney). Trouble is brewing between Leo and another mob boss, Johnny Caspar (Jon Polito), over the activities of a bookie, Bernie Bernbaum (John Turturro) and Leo and Tom are at odds on how to deal with it. Meanwhile, Tom is in a secret relationship with Leo’s girlfriend, Verna (Marcia Gay Harden), who happens to be the sister of Bernie. In trying to resolve the issue, Tom is cast out from Leo’s camp and ultimately finds himself stuck in the middle between several deadly, unforgiving parties.
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg, Daniel Boulanger
Michel Poiccard, an irresponsible sociopath and small-time thief, steals a car and impulsively murders the motorcycle policeman who pursues him. Now wanted by the authorities, he renews his relationship with Patricia Franchini, a hip American girl studying journalism at the Sorbonne, whom he had met in Nice a few weeks earlier. Before leaving Paris, he plans to collect a debt from an underworld acquaintance and expects her to accompany him on his planned getaway to Italy. Even with his face in the local papers and media, Poiccard seems oblivious to the dragnet that is slowly closing around him as he recklessly pursues his love of American movies and libidinous interest in the beautiful American.
14. Touch of Evil
Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Charlton Heston, Orson Welles, Janet Leigh
An automobile is blown up as it crosses the Mexican border into the United States. Mike Vargas, a high ranking Mexican narcotics official on honeymoon with his bride, Susie, is drawn into the investigation because a Mexican national has been accused of the crime. The figurative and physical presence of Hank Quinlan as the 330-pound sheriff looms all over. Quinlan is a fanatic where “justice” is concerned, even if obtaining it involves planting evidence. Quinlan’s reputation for law and order enables him to bend the law without question until Vargas confronts him. From that point on, it’s a battle of wits between the two that, with an accelerating pace, rushes to a climax.
13. Still Walking
Director: Hirokazu Koreeda
Stars: Hiroshi Abe, Yui Natsukawa, Yukiko Ehara
Still Walking is a family drama about grown children visiting their elderly parents, which unfolds over one summer day. The aging parents have lived in the family home for decades. Their son and daughter return for a rare family reunion, bringing their own families with them. They have gathered to commemorate the tragic death of the eldest son, who drowned in an accident fifteen years ago. Although the roomy house is as comforting and unchanging as the mother’s homemade feast, everyone in the family has subtly changed.
12. Donnie Darko
Director: Richard Kelly
Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Mary McDonnell
Donnie Darko doesn’t get along too well with his family, his teachers, and his classmates; but he does manage to find a sympathetic friend in Gretchen, who agrees to date him. He has a compassionate psychiatrist, who discovers hypnosis is the means to unlock hidden secrets. His other companion may not be a true ally. Donnie has a friend named Frank, a large bunny which only Donnie can see. When an engine falls off a plane and destroys his bedroom, Donnie is not there. Both the event and Donnie’s escape, seem to have been caused by supernatural events. Donnie’s mental illness, if such it is, may never allow him to find out for sure.
11. Groundhog Day
Director: Harold Ramis
Stars: Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott
A weatherman is reluctantly sent to cover a story about a weather forecasting “rat” (as he calls it). This is his fourth year on the story, and he makes no effort to hide his frustration. On awaking the ‘following’ day he discovers that it’s Groundhog Day again, and again, and again. First, he uses this to his advantage, then comes the realization that he is doomed to spend the rest of eternity in the same place, seeing the same people do the same thing EVERY day.
10. In the Mood for Love
Director: Kar-Wai Wong
Stars: Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Maggie Cheung, Ping Lam Siu
Set in Hong Kong, 1962, Chow Mo-Wan is a newspaper editor who moves into a new building with his wife. At the same time, Su Li-zhen, a beautiful secretary and her executive husband also move into the crowded building. With their spouses often away, Chow and Li-zhen spend most of their time together as friends. They have everything in common from noodle shops to martial arts. Soon, they are shocked to discover that their spouses are having an affair. Hurt and angry, they find comfort in their growing friendship even as they resolve not to be like their unfaithful mates.
9. Before Sunrise
Director: Richard Linklater
Stars: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Andrea Eckert
American tourist Jesse and French student Celine meet by chance on the train from Budapest to Vienna. Sensing that they are developing a connection, Jesse asks Celine to spend the day with him in Vienna, and she agrees. So they pass the time before his scheduled flight the next morning together. How do two perfect strangers connect so intimately over the course of a single day? What is that special thing that bonds two people so strongly? As their bond turns to love, what will happen to them the next morning when Jesse flies away?
Director: Ron Howard
Stars: Daniel Brühl, Chris Hemsworth, Olivia Wilde
Set against the sexy, glamorous golden age of Formula 1 racing in the 1970s, the film is based on the true story of a great sporting rivalry between handsome English playboy James Hunt (Hemsworth), and his methodical, brilliant opponent, Austrian driver Niki Lauda (Bruhl). The story follows their distinctly different personal styles on and off the track, their loves and the astonishing 1976 season in which both drivers were willing to risk everything to become world champion in a sport with no margin for error: if you make a mistake, you die.
7. La Haine
Director: Mathieu Kassovitz
Stars: Vincent Cassel, Hubert Koundé, Saïd Taghmaoui
The film follows three young men and their time spent in the French suburban “ghetto,” over a span of twenty-four hours. Vinz, a Jew, Saïd, an Arab, and Hubert, a black boxer, have grown up in these French suburbs where high levels of diversity coupled with the racist and oppressive police force have raised tensions to a critical breaking point. During the riots that took place a night before, a police officer lost his handgun in the ensuing madness, only to leave it for Vinz to find. Now, with a newfound means to gain the respect he deserves, Vinz vows to kill a cop if his friend Abdel dies in the hospital, due to the beating he received while in police custody.
6. The Big Lebowski
Directors: The Coen brothers
Stars: Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore
When “the dude” Lebowski is mistaken for a millionaire Lebowski, two thugs urinate on his rug to coerce him into paying a debt he knows nothing about. While attempting to gain recompense for the ruined rug from his wealthy counterpart, he accepts a one-time job with high pay-off. He enlists the help of his bowling buddy, Walter, a gun-toting Jewish-convert with anger issues. Deception leads to more trouble, and it soon seems that everyone from porn empire tycoons to nihilists want something from The Dude.
Director: Michael Mann
Stars: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer
Neil McCauley leads a group of professional bank robbers, taking down major scores around LA. However after their latest heist goes terribly wrong and ends up in homicide, Det. Vincent Hannah finds a clue and becomes obsessed with the case determined to stop McCauley’s crew. Hannah and McCauley are competing against each other in a deadly cat-and-mouse game. Although they are on different sides of the law, they still find huge respect, recognition in each others troubled personal lives and they understand each others motivations – however this won’t make them hesitate to do whatever they can to win the battle between them two in this crime saga.
4. Reservoir Dogs
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Stars: Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen
Six criminals, who are strangers to each other, are hired by a crime boss, Joe Cabot, to carry out a diamond robbery. Right at the outset, they are given false names with the intention that they won’t get too close and will concentrate on the job instead. They are completely sure that the robbery is going to be a success. But, when the police show up right at the time and the site of the robbery, panic spreads amongst the group members, and two of them are killed in the subsequent shootout, along with a few policemen and civilians. When the remaining people assemble at the premeditated rendezvous point (a warehouse), they begin to suspect that one of them is an undercover cop.
3. Paths of Glory
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Stars: Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, Adolphe Menjou
The futility and irony of the war in the trenches in WWI are shown as a unit commander in the French army must deal with the mutiny of his men and a glory-seeking general after part of his force falls back under fire in an impossible attack.
2. The Shining
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd
Signing a contract, Jack Torrance, a normal writer and former teacher agrees to take care of a hotel that has a long, violent past that puts everyone in the hotel in a nervous situation. While Jack slowly gets more violent and angry about his life, his son, Danny, tries to use a special talent, the “Shining”, to inform the people outside about whatever that is going on in the hotel.
1. Once Upon a Time in America
Director: Sergio Leone
Stars: Robert De Niro, James Woods, Elizabeth McGovern
Epic, episodic, tale of the lives of a small group of New York City Jewish gangsters spanning over 40 years. Told mostly in flashbacks and flash-forwards, the movie centers on small-time hood David ‘Noodles’ Aaronson and his lifelong partners in crime; Max, Cockeye and Patsy and their friends from growing up in the rough Jewish neighborhood of New York’s Lower East Side in the 1920s, to the last years of Prohibition in the early 1930s, and then to the late 1960s where an elderly Noodles returns to New York after many years in hiding to look into the past.