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15 Underappreciated Movies Made By Famous Living Directors

26 September 2013 | Features, Film Lists | by David Zou

underrated movies

For some reason, even made by famous directors, certain movies fall through the cracks and don’t quite receive the recognition they deserve from either critics or audiences. We are not saying the movies we have chosen are seen by very few people, we only mean that they are less popular than the directors’ famous films. All of these movies are worth watching and some of them deserve to be classics so definitely check them out when you have a chance.


15. The Last Wave


The Director: Peter Weir

The Movie: Richard Chamberlain stars as Australian lawyer David Burton, who takes on the defense of a group of aborigines accused of killing one of their own. He suspects the victim has been killed for violating a tribal taboo, but the defendants deny any tribal association. Burton, plagued by apocalyptic visions of water, slowly realizes his own involvement with the aborigines…and their prophecies.

Why You Should See It: This supernatural Peter Weir thriller is truly one of the most haunting and fascinating movies you will ever see. The dream sequences and the supernatural effects enhance this movie and make it a spectacular experience.


14. THX1138


The Director: George Lucas

The Movie: THX 1138 is a 1971 science fiction film directed by George Lucas in his feature directorial debut. The film was written by Lucas and Walter Murch. It stars Robert Duvall and Donald Pleasence and depicts a dystopian future in which the populace is controlled through android police officers and mandatory use of drugs that suppress emotion, including sexual desire.

Why You Should See It: If anyone accuses George Lucas of being the schmaltzy sell-out he has now become, direct them to this film in order to prove that, at one point in his life, he really did have a bleak outlook on life and the future, and it didn’t start with the words “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…”.


13. Phantom of The Paradise


The Director: Brian De Palma

The Movie: Rock opera version of The Phantom of the Opera with elements of the legend of Faust. Evil record producer Swan steals both the music and the girl (Phoenix) from composer Winslow Leach. Disfigured, Leach plans revenge on Swan and his rock palace, The Paradise, and becomes The Phantom. Leach signs a contract with Swan to complete his rock opera based on the life of Faust for Phoenix. Doublecrossed by Swan, who hires glam rock singer Beef as the lead singer, Leach exacts his vengeance.

Why You Should See It: Still playing on double-bills with The Rocky Horror Picture Show in England, Brian De Palma’s foray into the psychodelic world of the musical excesses becomes more than just another rock musical. It’s so different to almost anything else ever made, and it comes with a recommendation for that reason.

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  • Kevyn Knox

    Great list. I don’t know if something like Crimes and Misdemeanors is really all that underappreciated, but maybe that’s just me. I do love most of the films on this list, especially Night on Earth, After Hours, eXistenZ, and Phantom of the Paradise, the latter of which happens to be on my top 100 favourite films list.

  • Brian

    Phantom of Paradise is one of my favorite movies. I saw it as a kid and used to run around my neighborhood at night in a black sheet and baseball helmet, pretending I was the Phantom.