Ron Altman presents...

The Top 100 of the BEST Cult Movies of the 20th Century

After growing demand, I have decided to compile and publish my list of the cult movies that I think are the best ones out there. Please mind that, in years to come, I may change my mind about one or the other title (not whether it is very good, but whether there is not a better title that could take its place). All of the movies in the list have been rated *** or **** by me. Clicking on the titles will lead you directly to the reviews. As usual, I'm looking forward to your ideas about this list. Please note that this is a subjective list (by someone who has spent a lot of time on the subject), so don't feel offended if your favorite is not in here. Also please mind that they are not the "Best Movies Ever Made" - compiling such a list is impossible as films have been made in such a variety of genres. I challenge you to make suggestions about which movie should / should not be in the list. Post you messages at the forum, please. More lists like this are to follow.

Please allow me to make a brief introduction to the topic. The real cult movies began to be made in the 1960s. Before that some films acquired a cult, most notable examples are the perennial favorite CASABLANCA (1942), or some John Wayne westerns (THE SEARCHERS, for example). Notable examples from the 1950s could be Alexander Mackendrick's THE LADYKILLERS (1955) - well, almost any Alec Guiness comedy - or Alfred Hitchcock's VERTIGO (1958) and NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959).
The list below now consists of 100 must-see cult movies of the 20th century. For the time after 2000, you will find an open list below that attempts to start a new list of the 21st century.

...the epitome of cult...


A Bout de Souffle (1960; dir by Jean-Luc Godard)
Psycho (1960; dir by Alfred Hitchcock)
Dr. No (1962; dir by Terence Young)
The Pink Panther (1963; dir by Blake Edwards)
Le Mépris (1963; dir by Jean-Luc Godard)
Giulietta degli Spiriti (1965; dir by Federico Fellini)
Repulsion (1965; dir by Roman Polanski)
Per un Qualche di Dollaro in Piu (1965; dir by Sergio Leone)
Il Buono, Il Brutto, Il Cattivo (1966; dir by Sergio Leone)
Blow-Up (1966; dir by Michelangelo Antonioni)
Persona (1966; dir by Ingmar Bergman)
Le Samourai (1967; dir by Jean-Pierre Melville)
Belle de Jour (1967; dir by Luis Bunuel)
The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967; dir by Roman Polanski)
The Graduate (1967; dir by Mike Nichols)
Don't Make Waves (1967; dir by Alexander Mackendrick)
Point Blank (1967; dir by John Boorman)
In Cold Blood (1967; dir by Richard Brooks)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968; dir by Stanley Kubrick)
If.... (1968; dir by Lindsay Anderson)
Rosemary's Baby (1968; dir by Roman Polanski)
Night of the Living Dead (1968; dir by George A. Romero)
C'Era Una Volta il West (1968; dir by Sergio Leone)
The Wild Bunch (1969; dir by Sam Peckinpah)
Easy Rider (1969; dir by Dennis Hopper)
Midnight Cowboy (1969; dir by John Schlesinger)
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969; dir by Peter R. Hunt)
Que la Bête Meure (1969; dir by Claude Chabrol)
Môjû (1969; dir by Yasuzo Masamura; aka Blind Beast)


Zabriskie Point (1970; dir by Michelangelo Antonioni)
La Rupture (1970; dir by Claude Chabrol)
A Clockwork Orange (1971; dir by Stanley Kubrick)
Two-Lane Blacktop (1971; dir by Monte Hellman)
Straw Dogs (1971; dir by Sam Peckinpah)
Deliverance (1972; dir by John Boorman)
Solyaris (1972; dir by Andrei Tarkovski)
Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973; dir by Sam Peckinpah)
Turks Fruit (1973; dir by Paul Verhoeven)
La Grande Bouffe (1973; dir by Marco Ferreri)
Sleeper (1973; dir by Woody Allen)
The Godfather, Part II (1974; dir by Francis Ford Coppola)
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974; dir by Tobe Hooper)
Chinatown (1974; dir by Roman Polanski)
Profondo Rosso (1975; dir by Dario Argento)
Taxi Driver (1976; dir by Martin Scorsese)
The Tenant (1976; dir by Roman Polanski)
Murder by Death (1976; dir by Robert Moore)
Logan's Run (1976; dir by Michael Anderson)
Suspiria (1977; dir by Dario Argento)
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977; dir by George Lucas)
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977; dir by Lewis Gilbert)
Demon Seed (1977; dir by Donald Cammell)
The Man Who Fell to Earth (1977; dir by Nicolas Roeg)
Apocalypse Now (1978; dir by Francis Ford Coppola)
Dawn of the Dead (1978; dir by George A: Romero)
Life of Brian (1979; dir by Terry Jones)
I... Comme Icare (1979; dir by Henri Verneuil)
Stalker (1979; dir by Andrei Tarkovski)


Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980; dir by Irvin Kershner)
The Ninth Configuration (1980; dir by William Peter Blatty)
The Shining (1980; dir by Stanley Kubrick)
Wolfen (1981; dir by Michael Wadleigh)
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981; dir by George Miller)
Excalibur (1981; dir by John Boorman)
Blade Runner (1982; dir by Ridley Scott)
Les Fantomes du Chapelier (1982; dir by Claude Chabrol)
Koyaanisqatsi (1983; dir by Godfrey Regis)
The Hunger (1983; dir by Tony Scott)
The Terminator (1984; dir by James Cameron)
The Company of Wolves (1984; dir by Neil Jordan)
Kaze No Tani No Naushika (1984; dir, scr; aka Nausicaä of the Valley of the Winds)
Legend (1985; dir by Ridley Scott)
Brazil (1985; dir by Terry Gilliam)
Henry - Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986; dir by John McNaughton)
In a Glass Cage (1986; dir by Agustin Villaronga)
Raising Arizona (1987; dir by Joel Coen)
Angel Heart (1987; dir by Alan Parker)
Die Hard (1988; dir by John McTiernan)
Santa Sangre (1989; dir by Alejandro Jodorowsky)
The Killer (1989; dir by John Woo)

Jacob's Ladder (1990; dir by Adrian Lyne)
Bullet in the Head (1990; dir by John Woo)
Barton Fink (1991; dir by Joen Coen)
Delicatessen (1991; dir by Jeunet et Caro)
Reservoir Dogs (1992; dir by Quentin Tarantino)
True Romance (1993; dir by Tony Scott)
Nightmare Before Christmas (1993; dir by Henry Selick)
Nattevagten (1994; dir by Ole Bornedal)
The Hudsucker Proxy (1994; dir by Joel Coen)
Pulp Fiction (1994; dir by Quentin Tarantino)
Natural Born Killers (1994; dir by Oliver Stone)
Riget (1994/97; dir by Lars von Trier)
Twelve Monkeys (1995; dir by Terry Gilliam)
Tokyo-Ken (1995; dir by Shinya Tsukamoto)
Crying Freeman (1995; dir by Christophe Gans)
Tesis (1996; dir by Alejandro Amenabar)
Dead Man (1996; dir by Jim Jarmusch)
Jackie Brown (1997)
The Sixth Sense (1999; dir by M. Night Shyamalan)
Being John Malkovich (1999; dir by Spike Jonze)

Further on, further out...


Le Fabuleux Déstin d'Amélie Poulain (2001; dir by Jean-Pierre Jeunet)
The Man Who Wasn't There (2001; dir by Joel Coen)
Adaptation. (2002; dir by Spike Jonze)
Big Fish (2003; dir by Tim Burton)
The Machinist (2004; dir by Brad Anderson)
Saw (2004; dir by James Wan)
CorpseBride (2005; dir by Tim Burton)

all written material Ron Altman - last update on 06/22/2007