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Stevennix2001's Top Ten Under Rated Live Action Movies of All Time

Updated on June 17, 2013


Since I recently wrote a hub on the top ten overrated films of all time, I thought it might be fun to go over my top ten underrated movies of all time this time. Now, I know some people may think that my "Top Ten Guilty Pleasure Movies of All Time" counts as my top ten underrated films list, but it doesn't. No, those were basically films that I knew were not great movies to begin with, but I still loved them for whatever reasons.

No, these are the top ten films that I know are very good, but for whatever reason, they never get the recognition they deserve. These are the movies that should garner more praises from audiences, yet it's rare that you ever hear people clamoring about how great they are.

Perhaps these are underrated classics that were released ahead of their time? Or maybe they didn't get the exposure they truly deserved? Well whatever the case maybe, I feel it's better we have a look at them. I know many of my readers might be expecting me to list a series of indie films given that almost all of them are underrated by nature. However, I wanted my list to appeal to both mainstream audiences and indie audiences as well, so I tried to compile a list that I'm sure all readers will be pleased with. Please bare in mind that this is NOT my all time favorite films list either, as these are the movies that I love, yet they rarely ever get the recognition they richly deserve.

Without any further delay, lets dive right into the top ten underrated movies of all time.

Warning: Video Contains Violence. Parental Discretion is Advised

10. Terminator

Often overshadowed by it's sequel, "Terminator" is arguably one of the best science fiction movies of all time. It not only has great action scenes, and mind blowing visual effects, but the story arc is very engaging as well. Granted, the main story isn't that complicated, as it's basically about an android from the future wanting to kill the mother of the future leader, John Connor, that's destined to save humanity someday.

And although the second movie kind of rips off the first one's premise to an extent, where we see the new terminator try to take out John Connor, when he's a teenager instead of eliminating him before he's born. However, what made the second better than the first one is that it went over concepts that the first one never went over before. Like if you knew the future and had the power to change it, then what would you do to change it. How would you react knowing that you were destined to become the savior of mankind, or even the cause of it's inevitable destruction.

Or perhaps the most powerful of themes, if a machine can learn the value of human life, then why can't we do the same? Or is mankind instinctively drawn to kill each other? Maybe there is no hope for us? Maybe fate is a preordained series of events that we simply can't change? Or maybe there is no future than what we make for ourselves? Indeed, "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" goes over a lot of powerful themes; which makes it easy to understand why it easily overshadows it's prequel.

However, that doesn't make the first film any less significant. Although the first movie doesn't have the same powerful themes it's sequel has, but it still features a great character driven story arc. Arnold Schwarzenegger delivers arguably the best performance of his career, as he almost steals the entire movie as it's main antagonist. Plus, the subtle romance between Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese is very well written, as it's truly one of the best science fiction movies out there.

9. Willow

When it comes to fantasy movies, you hardly ever hear anyone say that "Willow" was a great film; which is tragic because it's a great story to get lost in. Granted, it doesn't have the creativity that "The NeverEnding Story" had, nor does it have the epic scale of Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, but it has a lot of heart, humor and great storytelling. Those elements alone make "Willow" arguably one of the best fantasy films ever conceived.

The premise is unique in itself, as it involves a dwarf trying to save a child that's destined to be humanity's savior someday. However, we never see the baby grow up through a montage or anything like that. No, she remains a baby throughout the film, as an evil witch tries to kill her. It's an interesting good vs. evil story arc, and one that I would highly recommend to any true movie fan out there.

"The Beginning is the End" by Smashing Pumpkins (Warning: Contains Violence and Brief Nudity. Parental Discretion is Advised)

8. The Watchmen

Arguably one of the most under appreciated superhero movies of all time. Not only was "Watchmen" a great superhero movie, but it went over many controversial themes that most superhero films wouldn't dare explore.

Exploring the concepts of how our world would react if they did exist, and what kind of impact they have historical events like the Vietnam War, for example. Or the concept of how corruption still exists in a world full of superheroes, and how many of the members of the "Watchmen" are mere humans compared to their teammate, "Mr. Manhattan"; which almost makes it seem like the others are merely pretending to be superheroes among a real one.

It's a very deep psychologically driven film that invokes various elements of mystery, suspense and a bit of film noir mixed into it. Although the story can get a bit dark at times, it's still one of the best superhero movies out there.

7. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

One of the most touching films that I've ever seen in my life. Although I try to never allow the emotional factor of any film get to me, as many use that to disguise how horrendously written the film actually is. However, I'd be lying if there wasn't a rare few that ever got to me, and this is one of those rare movies.

Unlike most movies that use the emotional factor to disguise a weak story, this one uses it to enhance an already well written one about a German boy, who befriends a Jewish boy in the World War II era.

It not only shows how we're often naive about the evils of the world, when we're young, but it also shows how cruel it can be as well. Showing us how the harsh realities of life, and how sometimes society's norms aren't always fair and just. It's a powerful film that deserves way more recognition than it normally gets.

Arena Fight Scene (Warning: Contains Violence and Alien Gore. Parental Discretion is Advised)

6. John Carter

I honestly don't care what anyone says. If this film had come out back in the golden age of Hollywood, with cheaper special effects, then "John Carter" would've been more well received. Due to poor marketing by Disney, and most film critic's failure to do any research on this movie, "John Carter" bombed at the box office upon it's premiere.

However, what most people fail to realize is that the novel that this film was based on served as the blueprint for most of our beloved science fiction franchises like "Flash Gordon", "He-Man", "Star Wars" and etc. If it had not been for the many adventures of "John Carter", then perhaps none of those other properties would've existed.

Granted, the film suffers from a few pacing issues and cliches, but it's still a great action adventure film. Not only featuring a great character driven story arc, but fantastic visual effects as well.

The Gnome King and his Gnomes (Warning: Contains Spoilers)

5. Return to Oz

Again, this is another timeless classic that was released way ahead of it's time. Although most people don't often give it the recognition it truly deserves, "Return to Oz" is still one of the most creative and best fantasy films ever made arguably.

Not only featuring amazing visual effects that could still could still hold up today, but it also features a darker take on the classic world of Oz. Granted, some fans might gripe about the casting of Dorothy in this film being a kid versus a teenager like it was portrayed in the 1939 version. However, in the original book series, Dorothy was always portrayed as a little girl, so the best way to think of this film is more of a sequel to the story of "The Wizard of Oz" than anything else.

Sadly, I won't be able to go into too much more detail, as I do plan on reviewing this film, but it's a timeless classic that deserves recognition.

4. Paul

Why this film bombed is a complete mystery beyond me because this was not only one of the best science fiction films ever conceived, but it was arguably one of the best comedies as well. A couple of comic book nerds find an alien, who recently escaped from Area 51. Now, they must help this mysterious alien named Paul, to get home safely.

The film may not seem like much on the surface, but it's actually quite enjoyable. The movie pays homage and references to other classic science fiction films of the past like "Star Wars", "Star Trek", "ET", "The X-Files" and etc, while still remaining it's own creative entity. It's a very interesting film to say the least, and the comedy is very well written as well.

Granted, most of it consists of "d*** joke" kind of humor, but it makes up for it with how cleverly it weaves in references to other classical sci-fi films; while also taking a few clever jabs at organized religion as well.

I wouldn't say "Paul" is everyone, but if you're a huge science fiction fan like I am, then you'll definitely fall in love with this film. Definitely an underrated classic.

Warning: Contains Spoilers, Violence, Gore and Adult Language. Parental Discretion is Advised

3. Super

Although "Kick-Ass" was the first superhero film to become a satire of it's own genre, "Super" does it better, as it adds a bit of an indie twist to it. Although I loved "Kick-Ass", the reality is that the twist of seeing what it's like if a person, in real life, ever became a superhero becomes kind of nullified, by the fact at how unrealistic it gets once Hit Girl and Big Daddy are introduced.

Don't get me wrong, it's still a great superhero film, and works as a satire very well. However, "Super" takes that same concept of what if a superhero existed in the real world, and actually sticks with that concept throughout the movie. Showing us how things aren't as glamorous in real life, as it's portrayed in comic book stories. Plus, it also shows that how something may seem doesn't always necessarily dictate on how things are.

Showing that sometimes in life that things are meant to happen for a reason. Sure, life isn't always fair to everyone, but it's how we continue to move on with our lives that's the important thing.

Warning: Contains Adult Language. Parental Discretion is Advised

2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Easily the greatest love story ever told. Not only does the film feature great performances, but it presents arguably the most creative plot ever written for a romance movie. The film centers around two people that recently break up after being together for so long. However, the pain of breaking up becomes too much to bear, so they turn to a special clinic to eradicate their memories of ever being together.

However, as the film plays out, we come to find out that could be a tragic mistake, as each relationship helps define who we are as a person, and to take that away, it's like taking away a piece of ourselves.

Plus, another fascinating concept this film explores is the definition of what causes attraction of love to begin with? Is it in the mere acts of what a person says or does? Or perhaps its not really so much the actions of the person, but something a bit more?

Granted, I'll admit that "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" won't appease most audiences, due to it's rather unconventional plot that dares to be original, but if you're yearning to see a film that's a work of art, and challenges you intellectually, then I would highly recommend it.

1. American Splendor

It seems like even among die hard indie fans, "American Splendor" often gets overlooked a lot. Sure, it's based on a comic book like "Ghost World" happens to be, but unlike "Ghost World", you rarely ever hear anyone praise this film for the genius it truly deserves.

The movie is based on an independent comic book that chronicles the real life misadventures of an elderly cranky gentleman named Harvey Pekar. Although that may not sound too interesting, it's actually very a unique film to watch.

It shows how real life can often be a huge adventure in itself, and how even though life isn't as glamorous as we read about in comic books, we still manage to press on each day. It's a very powerful movie that deserves more recognition.

Granted, I wouldn't recommend this film to most moviegoers, but if you're into indie films, then I'd definitely check this one out, as you won't be disappointed.


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    • Stevennix2001 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thanks for the compliments, and for stopping by. :)

    • adecourv profile image

      Alex deCourville 

      7 years ago

      Awesome choices - Eternal Sunshine is a personal favorite of mine, I loved Super and Watchmen. Paul is a favorite of my family, and although it's an unusual choice, I love the Terminator as well.

    • Stevennix2001 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Yeah, i was kind of the same way when i first saw it years ago, but ever since then i keep noticing things about the film that i never noticed before that causes it to become better and better every time i see it. it's a shame it bombed, as it's definitely one of the best superhero films out there. anyway thanks for sharing your thoughts with us again.

    • Fullerman5000 profile image


      7 years ago from Louisiana, USA

      Every time I watch Watchmen, I like it more and more. Didn't care for it at first. But watched it a few more times and now I own the director's cut.


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