Top 6: Unknown Movies

Posted in Top 6 at 4:59 am by Sam

Some great movies never get the recognition they probably deserve. Most of us have some favorite movies nobody else has ever heard of. Most of them are different from everybody else’s (or they wouldn’t fit the category). We wanted to use Episode 40’s Top 6 segment to recommend our own favorite inexplicably unknown films.

What are your favorites?

As always, we recommend listening to the episode before reading further.

  1. The Stunt Man (1980)
  2. Primer (2004)
  3. Cache (2005)
  4. Spartan (2004)
  5. Mute Witness (1994)
  6. Mumford (1999)
  1. The Wrong Box (1966)
  2. It Started With Eve (1941)
  3. The Captive Heart (1946)
  4. The Unsuspected (1947)
  5. Wonder Man (1945)
  6. Make Mine Mink (1960)


  1. Jeffrey (84) said,

    July 3, 2007 at 12:50 pm

    I second Mute Witness, I’ve seen it a few times on very late night TV here in the UK.

    ChungKing Express and the semi-sequel Fallen Angels. CKE is my favourite film of all time by my fave director Wong Kar-wai. Lyrical stories about lonliness and love in modern-day Hong Kong in the style of the French New Wave.
    The Bedroom Window is a film I really enjoyed and has a surprisingly good acting performance by Steve Guttenberg.
    I’d also like to mention Braindead aka Dead Alive as I absolutely love it.
    The Flight Of Dragons is a childhood fave and can be found on GoogleVideo. Its an animated adventure featuring the voices of John Ritter and James Earl Jones.
    The Dreamers features a debut performance by Eva Green, contains a lot of film references and controversially contains explicit nude scenes.

    I was unsure whether to put films such as Office Space, Clue and Living In Oblivion as they have cult followings.

  2. Ferrick (140) said,

    July 3, 2007 at 3:28 pm

    It is always interesting to look at the range of dates for the films each of you lists. For Stephen, the oldest film is at #1 and for Sam, the newest film is at #1. Yet Sam’s #1 is still 14 years older.

    It is great to have the contrast for a list like this and I would have been surprised if you duplicated each other at all.

  3. Nyperold (116) said,

    July 3, 2007 at 3:48 pm

    Okay, I have The Captive Heart on VHS. I’ve gotta watch it sometime.

    Oh, hey, it has the wrong year listed, but you can get it for $14.99 here.

    …Uh oh. I’ve gotta redownload, don’t I? I’ll have to do that later.

  4. joem18b (231) said,

    July 4, 2007 at 12:01 pm

    The first time I watched Cache, I completely missed the final bit of
    information in the crowd scene at the end, which added a whole nother layer of mystery.

    Halfway through Spartan, Val Kilmer is out in the woods and he pulls
    out a handheld device that I helped make and smashes it to smithereens. So wrong!

    I put Primer on lists whenever possible, if only to get folks to
    explain it to me.

    Eva Green in The Innocents instantly jumped onto my Top 6 Naked Persons
    list, right behind Glenda Jackson in Women in Love.

    The Danny Kaye flick On the Riviera just came out on dvd in the past
    week or so.

    My list:

    1. Max (2002) - John Cusack. The story of a moment in Hitler’s youth
    when he might have become an artist.

    2. All the Real Girls (2003) - David Gordon Green romance that stayed with me.

    3. Lakeboat - Written by Mamet, about his summers on a Great Lakes
    freighter. Wonderful monolog by Robert Forster. Charles Durning, Peter Falk, Andy Garcia, Denis Leary.

    4. By the Light of the Silvery Moon (1953) - Doris Day, Gordon MacRae.
    My favorite musical as a child.

    5. Blue Dahlia (1946) - Alan Ladd, William Bendix, Veronica Lake, Howard de Silva. Home from the war; suspected of killing his wife. Written by Raymond Chandler.

    6. Two-Lane Blacktop (1971) - One of my favorite movies. Has a cult
    following but deserves more than that. It’s aura is inflected by the fact that three of its four stars (Warren Oates, Dennis Wilson, Laurie Bird) died afterwards (heart attack,
    drowning, suicide). and it was the only movie James Taylor ever made.

  5. Sam (405) said,

    July 4, 2007 at 8:01 pm

    joem18b: Have you seen “On Moonlight Bay,” then? By the Light of the Silvery Moon is its sequel. Both movies are pleasant little romps. I watched both as a kid and had fond memories of them, although I don’t think I remembered they were two separate movies until I stumbled across them again as an adult, which was a real thrill.

  6. joem18b (231) said,

    July 5, 2007 at 1:25 am

    My whole life, up to a minute ago, I thought “On Moonlight Bay” was the sequel. I guess I wasn’t bothered by continuity problems as a kid, because I saw it after the other one.

    These old musicals remind me of “Follow the bouncing ball.” Hard to imagine the audience for “Live Free, Die Hard” first sitting there in their seats singing along to a Merrie Melodies cartoon.

  7. wintermute (157) said,

    July 9, 2007 at 7:52 am

    When Sam was saying “maybe some of these are better known in Britain”, I was thinking that I’d never heard any of them, but that doesn’t mean a great deal, because it’s only in the last year or so that I’ve really started to pay attention to movies.

    But then he mentioned The Wrong Box. Which I must have seen on TV a half-dozen times in the 80’s and early 90’s. I believe that it even got a mention in one of Michael Caine’s trivia books, though I can’t swear to that. Certainly, it got into some list or other of “classic” movie anachronisms for having TV aerials on the Victorian houses. I think I’d always considered it to be as obscure as Whisky Galore!. Which is to say, not very.

    But it and Primer, which I’ve only seen because Stephen recommended in previous Top Six lists, are the only movies from this list I’ve even heard of, so there’s plenty here to keep me busy…

  8. wintermute (157) said,

    July 9, 2007 at 1:34 pm

    40 episodes and 35 Top Sixes looks like a good spot to recap your voting histories so far:

    Sam’s Top Six movies are currently:
    1 Star Wars IV: A New Hope (4 picks)
    2= Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back (3 picks)
    2= Star Wars VI: The Return of the Jedi (3 picks)
    2= Frankenstein (3 picks)
    5= Back to the Future (2 picks)
    5= The Terminator (2 picks)
    5= Terminator 2 (2 picks)
    5= Groundhog Day (2 picks)
    5= 1776 (2 picks)
    5= The Killing (2 picks)
    5= Pulp Fiction (2 picks)
    5= One, Two, Three (2 picks)
    5= Raiders of the Lost Ark (2 picks)
    5= Twelve Angry Men (2 picks)
    5= Citizen Kane (2 picks)
    5= The Gods Must Be Crazy (2 picks)
    5= The Others (2 picks)
    5= The Princess Bride (2 picks)
    5= Jaws (2 picks)
    5= The [First] Great Train Robbery (2 picks)
    5= The Godfather (2 picks)

    Sam’s Top Six directors are currently:
    1 Stephen Spielberg (7 picks)
    2 Stanley Kubrick (6 picks)
    3= James Cameron (5 picks)
    3= George Lucas (5 picks)
    5= Michael Curtiz (4 picks)
    5= Sidney Lumet (4 picks)
    5= Peter Jackson (4 picks)
    5= Francis Ford Coppola (4 picks)

    Stephen’s Top Six movies are currently:
    1= Star Wars IV: A New Hope (4 picks)
    1= Blade Runner (4 picks)
    3= Dr Strangelove (3 picks)
    3= Terminator 2 (3 picks)
    3= Touch of Evil (3 picks)
    3= Die Hard (3 picks)
    3= Primer (3 picks)
    3= The Shining (3 picks)
    3= Psycho (3 picks)
    3= The Shawshank Redemption (3 picks)
    3= 2001: A Space Oddessy (3 picks)
    3= Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace (3 picks)
    3= Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back (3 picks)
    3= Star Wars VI: The Return of the Jedi (3 picks)

    Stephen’s Top Six directors are currently:
    1= Stanley Kubrick (11 picks)
    1= George Lucas (11 picks)
    3 Stephen Spielberg (8 picks)
    4= Quentin Tarantino (6 picks)
    4= Orson Welles (6 picks)
    4= The Coen Brothers (6 picks)
    4= Ridley Scott (6 picks)

    Your joint Top Six movies are currently:
    1 Star Wars IV: A New Hope (8 picks)
    2= Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back (6 picks)
    2= Star Wars VI: The Return of the Jedi (6 picks)
    4 Terminator 2 (5 picks)
    5= Dr Strangelove (4 picks)
    5= Pulp Fiction (4 picks)
    5= Touch of Evil (4 picks)
    5= Citizen Kane (4 picks)
    5= The Shining (4 picks)
    5= Blade Runner (4 picks)
    5= 2001: A Space Oddessy (4 picks)

    Your joint Top Six directors are currently:
    1 Stanley Kubrick (17 picks)
    2 George Lucas (16 picks)
    3 Stephen Spielberg (15 picks)
    4 James Cameron (10 picks)
    5= Orson Welles (9 picks)
    5= The Coen Brothers (9 picks)

    Sam continues to consistently pick older movies than Stephen. Sam has picked more movies from ever decade up to and including the 1970’s, with Stephen having picked more movies from each decade from the 1980’s onwards. The average year that Sam picks is 1973, compared to Stephen’s 1982 (though I’m currently trying to work out how to pull a standard deviation out of my data, so I’m not sure how meaningful that number is). And yet, interestingly, Stephen’s earliest pick is Greed from 1924, a full three years before Sam’s earliest pick. Both have picked more movies from the 1990’s than from any other decade.

  9. Sam (405) said,

    July 9, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    My average year is 1973, and Stephen’s is 1982? That sounds suspiciously like both of our birth years, or at least pretty darn close.

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