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Top 10 Independent Movies

Updated on April 21, 2013

Independent Films I Love: Top 10 Independent Movies

Some of the best movies made are independent films. These top 10 independent movies are my personal favorites though I'm not ranking them in order. They're all good!

I watch a lot of movies and enjoy the different feel of many independent movies. These films don't always follow the typical Hollywood formula for film making resulting in little gems that are downright refreshing to watch.

The independent movies I've chosen are often eclectic, and some are downright weird, but I love them all!

Photo of Kitchen Stories courtesy of Amazon. Click the link to check out this delightful independent movie.

Logo of Independent Film Trust. Photo Credit:  Jan Jarventaus (Click image to visit Wikimedia page.)
Logo of Independent Film Trust. Photo Credit: Jan Jarventaus (Click image to visit Wikimedia page.)

Just What Makes a Movie an Independent Film?

Independent film makers include anyone who makes a film outside of the major studios, including foreign (outside the U.S.) movie makers.

According to Wikipedia, there are five major movie studios:

~ MGM (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)

~ Paramount Pictures

~ 20th Century Fox

~ Warner Brothers

~ RKO Pictures

In addition, there are three "little majors":

~ United Artists

~ Columbia Pictures

~ Universal Studios

Image Credit: Jan Jarventaus

Top Comedy Films

Best in Show - Christopher Guest Spoofs Dog Shows

Storyline: A fictional dog show features dog owners and handlers who are so weird and funny. Other mock documentaries by Christopher Guest include A Mighty Wind, This is Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman, and For Your Consideration.

Year Movie Was Released: 2000

Actors: Christopher Guest, Parker Posey, Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Michael McKean, Michael Hitchcock, John Michael Higgins, Jennifer Coolidge, Jane Lynch

Director: Christopher Guest

Writers: Christopher Guest, Eugene Levy

Studio: Castle Rock Entertainment

Juno

To find adoptive parents for her child,

Juno reads the ads in the Pennysaver.

Juno -- A Comedy/Drama - A Hilarious Look at Teenage Pregnancy

Storyline: One of the funniest movies ever, Juno follows the pregnancy of a Midwestern teenage girl. Juno and Paulie Bleeker "do it" in a chair just once, and yep, she gets pregnant.

Year Movie Was Released: 2007

Actors: Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Jason Bateman, Jennifer Garner, Allison Janney, J.K. Simmons, Olivia Thirlby

Director: Jason Reitman

Writer: Diablo Cody

Studio: Mandate Pictures, Mr. Mudd

Kitchen Stories - Independent Film from Sweden and Norway

Kitchen Stories is a quiet little indie film, and it's a real gem. Don't expect much action or even much dialogue (the actors speak Swedish and Norwegian, but there are subtitles) when you watch Kitchen Stories.

Storyline: The Home Research Institute of the Swedish government sends researchers to Sweden to view the eating habits of Norwegian farmers. Kitchen Stories follows one researcher while he observes a single Norwegian farmer. It's funny, touching, and just plain great!

Year Movie Was Released: 2003

Actors: Tomas Norström, Joachim Calmeyer, Bjørn Floberg, Reine Brynolfsson, Sverre Anker Ousdal

Director: Bent Hamer

Writers: Bent Hamer, Jörgen Bergmark

Studio: Swedish/Norwegian; This movie was released on DVD by MGM in 2005.

Little Miss Sunshine - A Movie That Puts Fun in Dysfunctional Families

Storyline: Little Miss Sunshine is a pageant in California. Seven year old Olive Hoover wants to enter, and the whole family piles in the VW van to make the trip from New Mexico to California. Hilarity ensues.

Year Movie Was Released: 2006

Actors: Steve Carrell, Abigail Breslin, Toni Collette, Greg Kinnear, Paul Dano, Alan Arkin

Director: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris

Writers: Michael Arndt

Studio: Big Beach Films, Bona Fide Productions, Deep River Productions, Third Gear Productions

Little Miss Sunshine Quote

Oh my God, I'm getting pulled over.

Everyone, just... pretend to be normal.

~ Richard Hoover played by Greg Kinnear

Stranger Than Fiction - Will Farrell in a Surprisingly Serious Role, But He's Still Very Funny

Storyline: Will Ferrell plays an IRS auditor named Harold Crick in Chicago. Emma Thompson is an author writing a book about a character named Harold Crick. Let the fun ensue!

Year Movie Was Released: 2006

Actors: Will Ferrell, Emma Thompson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, Queen Latifah

Director: Mark Forster

Writer: Zack Helm

Studio: Mandate Pictures

Which of These Independent Movies Is Your Favorite? - Independent Comedy Films

Which of These Independent Movies Is Your Favorite?

See results

Top Drama Movies

Brokeback Mountain - Touching Story of Two Men Who Fall in Love

Storyline: The premise of Brokeback Mountain is simple: two cowboys, who have girlfriends, work together one summer in 1963 in Wyoming. And they fall in love. The acting and cinematography is stunning.

Year Movie Was Released: 2005

Actors: Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Randy Quaid, Anne Hathaway, Michelle Williams

Director: Ang Lee

Writers: short story by Annie Proulx; screenplay by Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana

Studio: River Road Entertainment, Good Machine

Brokeback Mountain Quote

I wish I knew how to quit you.

~ Jack Twist played by Jake Gyllenhaal

Fargo - A Drama That's Also Very Funny in Places

Storyline: In cold Fargo, North Dakota, a car salesman from Minneapolis, Minnesota, hires a couple of thugs to kidnap his wife. He reckons his father in law will pay the ransom, which he will keep (well, most of it). Things go awry in this dark comedy/drama.

Year Movie Was Released: 1996

Actors: Frances McDormand, William H. Macy, Steve Buscemi, Harve Presnell, Peter Stormare

Director: Joel Cohen, Ethan Cohen

Writers: Ethan Cohen, Joel Cohen

Studio: PolyGram, Filmed Entertainment, Working Title Films

Fargo Quote

"Oh my. Where? Yeah? Aw geez. Okay,

there in a jif. Real good, then."

~ Marge Gunderson played by Frances McDormand

Good Will Hunting - Written By and Starring Matt Damon and Ben Affleck

Storyline: From South Boston, Will Hunting (played by Matt Damon) is a janitor at MIT. He's a math genius and eventually has to work with a math professor and see a therapist as part of probation.

Year Movie Was Released: 1997

Actors: Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Robin Williams, Minnie Driver, Stellan Skarsgård

Director: Gus Van Sant

Writers: Ben Affleck, Matt Damon

Studio: A Band Apart, Laurence Bender Productions

Memento - Guy Pearce Makes This Movie

Storyline: This psychological thriller stars Guy Pearce as a man who has anterograde amnesia (he can't store new memories). He uses Polaroid photos, tattoos, and notes to help him solve a murder. The film is shown in two sequences: black and white events shown chronologically and color events shown in reverse order.

Year Movie Was Released: 2000

Actors: Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano

Director: Christopher Nolan

Writers: Christopher Nolan

Studio: Newmarket Films, Team Todd

Once - A Musical and a Simple, Lovely Movie

Storyline: This lovely movie offers a simple storyline and fabulous music.

Year Movie Was Released: 2006

Actors: Glen Hansard, Marketa Irglova

Director: John Carney

Writer: John Carney

Studio: Irish film

Which of These Independent Films Is Your Favorite? - Independent Drama Movies

Which of These Independent Films Is Your Favorite?

See results

Affiliate Disclosure

This author, Peggy Hazelwood, participates in Amazon, eBay, All Posters, and other affiliate advertising programs. When you click an advertising link on this page and make a purchase, I receive a small percent of the sale. Thank you for reading this far!

Do You Have a Favorite Independent Film to Share?

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I'll have to go with Slumdog Millionaire. Strangely awesome movie.