Here are a few movie classics that received bad reviews but nevertheless, became movie classics in their own regard to many movie fans. The films listed here were either slammed by Roger Ebert, Variety, NY Times, and Time or every one of them. This list includes The Shining, Psycho, Predator, The Exorcist, Halloween, Alien, Blade Runner, Fight Club, and Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back with their respective bad critic review. Tried to keep this movie list short so feel free to add additional suggestions to the comments below.
"The crazier Nicholson gets, the more idiotic he looks. Shelley Duvall transforms the warm sympathetic wife of the book into a simpering, semi-retarded hysteric." - Variety
Directed by Stanley Kubrick
Official Synopsis: Signing a contract, Jack Torrance, a normal writer and former teacher agrees to take care of a hotel which has a long, violent past that puts everyone in the hotel in a nervous situation. While Jack slowly gets more violent and angry of his life, his son, Danny, tries to use a special talent, the "Shining", to inform the people outside about whatever that is going on in the hotel.
Cast: Jack Nicholson, Barry Dennen, Burnell Tucker, Derek Lyons, David Baxt, Aileen Lewis, Tony Burton, Manning Redwood, Joe Turkel, Scatman Crothers,…
Genres: Horror, Drama
"There is not an abundance of subtlety or the lately familiar Hitchcock bent toward significant and colorful scenery in this obviously low-budget job… The consequence in his denouement falls quite flat for us… The one thing we would note with disappointment is that, among the stuffed birds that adorn the motel office of Mr. Perkins, there are no significant bats." - NY Times
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Official Synopsis: Phoenix officeworker Marion Crane is fed up with the way life has treated her. She has to meet her lover Sam in lunch breaks and they cannot get married because Sam has to give most of his money away in alimony. One Friday Marion is trusted to bank $40,000 by her employer. Seeing the opportunity to take the money and start a new life, Marion leaves town and heads towards Sam's California store. Tired after the long drive and caught in a storm, she gets off the main highway and pulls into The Bates Motel. The motel is managed by a quiet young man called Norman who seems to be dominated by his mother.
Cast: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Virginia Gregg, Vera Miles, Martin Balsam, Francis De Sales, Walter Bacon, George Dockstader, Hans Moebus, George…
Genres: Horror, Thriller, Mystery
"Predator is a slightly above-average actioner that tries to compensate for tissue-thin-plot with ever-more-grisly death sequences and impressive special effects." - Variety
Directed by John McTiernan
Official Synopsis: A team of special force ops, led by a tough but fair soldier, Major "Dutch" Schaefer, are ordered to assist CIA man, Colonel Al Dillon, on a rescue mission for potential survivors of a Helicopter downed over remote South American jungle. Not long after they land, Dutch and his team discover that they have been sent in under false pretenses. This deception turns out to be the least of their worries though, when they find themselves being methodically hunted by something not of this world.
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sven-Ole Thorsen, Henry Kingi, Peter Cullen, Kevin Peter Hall, R.G. Armstrong, Jesse Ventura, William H. Burton Jr., Sonny…
Genres: Horror, Thriller, Sci-Fi, Action
"A chunk of elegant occultist claptrap… a practically impossible film to sit through… It establishes a new low for grotesque special effects…" - NY Times
Directed by William Friedkin
Official Synopsis: A visiting actress in Washington, D.C., notices dramatic and dangerous changes in the behavior and physical make-up of her 12-year-old daughter. Meanwhile, a young priest at nearby Georgetown University begins to doubt his faith while dealing with his mother's terminal sickness. And, book-ending the story, a frail, elderly priest recognizes the necessity for a show-down with an old demonic enemy.
Cast: Max von Sydow, Eileen Dietz, Linda Blair, Jason Miller, John Mahon, Ellen Burstyn, Donna Mitchell, Kitty Winn, Rudolf Schündler, Rudolf…
"Carpenter doesn’t seem to have had any life outside the movies: one can trace almost every idea on the screen to directors such as Hitchcock and Brian De Palma and to theVal Lewton productions. Maybe when a horror film is stripped of everything but dumb scariness--when it isn’t ashamed to revive the stalest device of the genre (the escaped lunatic)--it satisfies part of the audience in a more basic, childish way than sophisticated horror pictures do." -The New Yorker
Directed by John Carpenter
Official Synopsis: The year is 1963, the night: Halloween. Police are called to 43 Lampkin Ln. only to discover that 15 year old Judith Myers has been stabbed to death, by her 6 year-old brother, Michael. After being institutionalized for 15 years, Myers breaks out on the night before Halloween. No one knows, nor wants to find out, what will happen on October 31st 1978 besides Myers' psychiatrist, Dr. Loomis. He knows Michael is coming back to Haddonfield, but by the time the town realizes it, it'll be too late for many people.
Cast: Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, John Carpenter, P.J. Soles, Nancy Stephens, Nancy Kyes, Charles Cyphers, Tommy Lee Wallace, Mickey Yablans,…
Genres: Horror, Thriller
"Technically slick and commercially singleminded, this film attempts to crossbreed the scare tactics of ‘Jaws’ with the sci-fi hardware of ‘Star Wars.’ The result is a cinematic bastard, and a pretty mean ba**ard at that. ‘Alien’ contains a couple of genuine jolts, a barrage of convincing special effects and enough gore to gross out children of all ages. What is missing is wit, imagination and the vaguest hint of human feeling." - Time
Directed by Ridley Scott
Official Synopsis: In the distant future, the crew of the commercial spaceship Nostromo are on their way home when they pick up a distress call from a distant moon. The crew are under obligation to investigate and the spaceship descends on the moon afterwards. After a rough landing, three crew members leave the spaceship to explore the area on the moon. At the same time as they discover a hive colony of some unknown creature, the ship's computer deciphers the message to be a warning, not a distress call. When one of the eggs is disturbed, the crew realizes that they are not alone on the spaceship and they must deal with the consequences.
Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Ian Holm, John Hurt, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, Tom Skerritt, Yaphet Kotto, Eddie Powell, Bolaji Badejo, Helen…
Genres: Horror, Sci-Fi
"He seems more concerned with creating his film worlds than populating them with plausible characters, and that’s the trouble this time. "Blade Runner" is a stunningly interesting visual achievement, but a failure as a story… The movie’s weakness, however, is that it allows the special effects technology to overwhelm its story… The obligatory love affair is pro forma, the villains are standard issue, and the climax is yet one more of those cliffhangers, with Ford dangling over an abyss by his fingertips. The movie has the same trouble as the replicants: Instead of flesh and blood, its dreams are of mechanical men." - Roger Ebert
Directed by Ridley Scott
Official Synopsis: In the 21st century, a corporation develops human clones to be used as slaves in colonies outside the Earth, identified as replicants. In 2019, a former police officer is hired to hunt down a fugitive group of clones living undercover in Los Angeles.
Cast: Joanna Cassidy, Rutger Hauer, Harrison Ford, Sean Young, Daryl Hannah, Dawna Lee Heising, Brion James, James Hong, Edward James Olmos,…
Genres: Thriller, Sci-Fi
"With Fight Club he seems to be setting himself some kind of a test--how far over the top can he go? The movie is visceral and hard-edged, with levels of irony and commentary above and below the action. If it had all continued in the vein explored in the first act, it might have become a great film. But the second act is pandering and the third is trickery, and whatever Fincher thinks the message is, that’s not what most audience members will get. "Fight Club" is a thrill ride masquerading as philosophy--the kind of ride where some people puke and others can’t wait to get on again." - Roger Ebert
Directed by David Fincher
Official Synopsis: A nameless first person narrator (Edward Norton) attends support groups in attempt to subdue his emotional state and relieve his insomniac state. When he meets Marla (Helena Bonham Carter), another fake attendee of support groups, his life seems to become a little more bearable. However when he associates himself with Tyler (Brad Pitt) he is dragged into an underground fight club and soap making scheme. Together the two men spiral out of control and engage in competitive rivalry for love and power. When the narrator is exposed to the hidden agenda of Tyler's fight club, he must accept the awful truth that Tyler may not be who he says he is.
Cast: Greg Bronson, Michael Shamus Wiles, Helena Bonham Carter, Matt Winston, David Andrews, Christopher John Fields, Brad Pitt, Ezra Buzzington, Richmond…
Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back
"The Empire Strikes Back is not a truly terrible movie. It’s a nice movie. It’s not, by any means, as nice as Star Wars. It’s not as fresh and funny and surprising and witty, but it is nice and inoffensive and, in a way that no one associated with it need be ashamed of, it’s also silly. Attending to it is a lot like reading the middle of a comic book. It is amusing in fitful patches but you’re likely to find more beauty, suspense, discipline, craft and art when watching a New York harbor pilot bring the Queen Elizabeth 2 into her Hudson River berth, which is what The Empire Strikes Back most reminds me of. It’s a big, expensive, time-consuming, essentially mechanical operation. The Empire Strikes Back is about as personal as a Christmas card from a bank." -NY Times
Directed by Irvin Kershner
Official Synopsis: Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia and Chewbacca face attack by the Imperial forces and its AT-AT walkers on the ice planet Hoth. While Han and Leia escape in the Millennium Falcon, Luke travels to Dagobah in search of Yoda. Only with the Jedi master's help will Luke survive when the dark side of the Force beckons him into the ultimate duel with Darth Vader.
Cast: Frank Oz, Mac McDonald, Harrison Ford, Burnell Tucker, Julian Glover, Ian McDiarmid, John Ratzenberger, Kenny Baker, James Earl Jones, Mark…
Genres: Sci-Fi, Action, Fantasy, Adventure