10 Independent Films You Need To See Before You Die

Move over blockbusters, it’s time for some indie appreciation. The world of independent cinema is spectacular, and indie films are much better than many of the commercialised movies that dominate the box-office. Here’s a list of ten indie films you may have missed, which you should definitely watch sooner rather than later.

 Fruitvale Station (2013)


Fruitvale Station is the incredibly powerful biographical drama film about the final day of Oscar Grant’s life, a young black man who was killed in 2009. I believe this is one of the best films in the last few years, as it’s such a raw depiction of a real-life event. Race-related violence is a reoccurring problem in the world today, so this film is an essential watch.

Four Lions (2010)


Now, I know not everyone is a fan of black comedy, so British film Four Lions will only appeal to certain audiences. The film is a political satire about homegrown Jihad terrorists from Sheffield, who are … Well let’s just say, are a pretty hopeless bunch. Whilst being really funny, the film is actually a very intelligent and thought-provoking insight into extremism and oppression. However, it’s one of the most controversial films out there. Its controversy is a must-see.

Read full review here

This Is England (2006)


Shane Meadows’ This Is England is arguably one of the greatest British films of all time. It’s ten years since it was released, but it still feels incredibly fresh. No doubt it’s a timeless film. This is England focuses on young skinheads in 1980s Britain. If you haven’t seen this film, I’ll let you know it’s the type of film that will really make you evaluate society and its culture.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)


As one of my favourite films, it was always going to be difficult not to include Michael Gondry’s masterpiece on this list. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind stars Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet, who play an estranged couple who have erased each other from their memories. The film will probably confuse you on the first watch, but honestly, this film is worth the multiple viewings needed to understand its complex narrative. It’s a really romantic and comical film, which stresses the power and importance of the human memory.

Read full review here

Elephant (2003)


Partly based on the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, Elephant is an extremely evocative film that we don’t tend to hear much about. The film follows the lives of several characters in a fictional school, who are unaware of the horrific event about to take place. The film doesn’t glorify death and violence, as it’s all captured in a very matter-of-fact way. Elephant is very unconventional and definitely deserves way more attention.

Donnie Darko (2001)


Creepy, challenging and complex, Donnie Darko is one the most original films you’ll ever see. I absolutely adore the film’s mystery, ambiguity and just plain weirdness. It follows the life of a troubled teenager (Jake Gyllenhaal) who has visions of a figure in a rabbit costume, who tells him the world is coming to an end. Donnie Darko is a mix of science fiction and high school drama. In my eyes, it’s a landmark indie film.

Memento (2000)


The neo-noir psychological thriller Memento is about a man (Guy Pearce) suffering from short-term memory loss. He is searching for the culprit responsible for attacking him and killing his wife. So, it’s a rather strenuous task since he can’t form new memories. For those of you who enjoy mind-bending films, you will love Memento.

 Good Will Hunting (1997)


Any film starring the legendary Robin Williams is worth watching. Good Will Hunting is one of my most beloved films, and it’s such a simple movie. The main character, Will Hunting (Matt Damon) is a troubled young man, but just so happens to be a Maths genius. After getting into trouble with the police, he starts receiving therapy from Williams’ character, Sean, and what follows is a story of self-discovery. Good Will Hunting is simply about life and relatable human experiences.

Reservoir Dogs (1992)


Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs is the ultimate indie classic. It’s definitely the most entertaining film on this list. It’s not just your ordinary heist film, as it’s executed in a very unconventional and compelling way. It has a nonlinear narrative, so Tarantino takes an ‘answers now, questions later’ approach, as the characters try to figure out which one of them is an undercover cop. Reservoir Dogs is a really lovable film with some truly great scenes.

Read full review here

Eraserhead (1977)


The most obscure film you’ll ever see? Probably. If I were to fully explain what Eraserhead is all about, I think I’d be writing for a very long time. But basically, the film tells the story of Henry Spence (Jack Nance), a lonely man who fathers a newborn baby, but it turns out to be horrifically deformed, resembling a mutant-like creature.

Eraserhead is a surrealist art film, and Henry experiences various dreams and hallucinations throughout. The whole film feels like a nightmare of sorts, but it’s such an intriguing film. It’s worth watching just because it’s so wickedly bizarre.

What do you think of the list? Are there any other independent films that you think people should watch? Let me know in the comments.


20 thoughts on “10 Independent Films You Need To See Before You Die

  1. Some interesting reviews here, but how wierd is Eraserhead, one of those late night films that comes on from time to time – (I’m old school), don’t think I’ve ever watched all the way through!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great list. I am impressed that “This is England” is up there, really great, although I do think that some of these films are now considered so “mainstream” as to be virtually equated with large studios and budgets, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, you should check out IFC films, Bleeker Street and Studio Canal. They’ve all produced some really good stuff over the years. Also, indie studios that are owned by major film companies, like Focus Features, are worth keeping an eye on too.


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