Underrated Oldies but Goodies

Movies from the past decades that are worth a watch

Audrey White, Opinions Section Editor

As an avid film viewer, I love to watch underrated movies. Oftentimes, lists of the “best” movies to watch showcase the same cult classics from the 70s to the 00s. However, I would like to spread the spotlight for some lesser-known, but worthwhile films to watch.


The Librarian: Quest for the Spear (2004)

The Librarian: Quest for the Spear is an adventure movie about Flynn, a student who has acquired twenty degrees and finally has to find a job. The adventure is kicked off when he is invited for a position in the Metropolitan Library. However, he quickly finds out that this is not just any library position. Without giving much more away, the film follows Flynn’s adventure as he seeks out a stolen artifact and travels to the Amazon. This light-hearted escapade will leave you wanting more- you can then watch the following two movies, in addition to The Librarians television series.

Actors include: Noah Wyle, Sonya Walger, Bob Newhart

Available on: Peacock TV


Evolution (2001)

Evolution caught me completely off guard. This comedy is about a meteor that hits the Earth which has alien life. Two professors attempt to analyze the meteor, which is when they discover how the alien life is growing at intense speeds. This film guarantees laughter with its cheesy energy, and is quite frankly, bizarre, but a hilarious watch nonetheless.

Actors include: David Duchovny, Julianne Moore, and Seann William Scott

Available on: Roku, Spectrum TV, Vudu, Apple TV, Prime Video, STARZ


The Cable Guy (1996)

The Cable Guy features a cable installer (Jim Carrey) who tries to befriend his customer (Matthew Broderick). Over the film’s progression, the cable installer becomes rather sinister. If you’re a fan of dark comedies, this one’s for you.

Actors include: Ben Stiller

Available on: Tubi, Prime Video, Vudu, Apple TV, Hulu, Spectrum TV, Philo


Hot Shots! (1991)

Hot Shots! is a comedic parody of the film Top Gun where a former U.S. Navy pilot is asked to return after his retirement to help with a mission. Be sure to watch Top Gun before watching this film, as it is reminiscent of the original. This hysterical movie will leave you clutching your stomach from laughing so hard. After watching this, you’ll never look at olives the same way again. 

Actors include: Charlie Sheen, Valeria Golino

Available on: HBO Max, Apple TV, Prime Video, Vudu, Spectrum TV


Dead Poets Society (1989)

Dead Poets Society is a film for the philosophical, the nostalgic, and the thinkers. This haunting movie will leave you needing some time to absorb its contents. The premise follows an English teacher at a New England all-boys academy where standards are notoriously raised. The teacher, John Keating (Robin Williams) follows peculiar methods to impart lessons to his students. Keating pushes his students to seize the day. This film is artistic, sensitive, and stirring. Be sure to have a box of tissues near you while you watch.

Actors include: Robin Williams, Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard

Available on: Prime Video, Apple TV, Vudu


The ‘Burbs (1989)

The ‘Burbs is defined as a comedy and horror and revolves around paranoia in a suburban setting. Ray Peterson (Tom Hanks) is ready to relax on his vacation when he becomes obsessed with an eccentric family who recently moved in on his street.  This movie earned a spot on this list because this film managed to maintain a sense of dread while having a seemingly normal setting. When you think you know what’s going to happen- you’re wrong.

Actors include: Tom Hanks, Carrie Fisher,  Corey Feldman

Available on: Netflix


Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold (1986)

Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold is a fantastic movie that I’m surprised more people haven’t heard of! The premise is rather simplistic but action-packed. Explorer Allan Quatermain travels far and wide to find a city deep within the jungle alongside his girlfriend and a warrior. Although it is my personal opinion, I believe that this movie stands up to the Indiana Jones franchise. So, if you love adventure films similar to Indiana Jones, then buckle up and enjoy the ride.

Actors include: Richard Chamberlain, Sharon Stone, James Earl Jones

Available on: Tubi, Apple TV, Prime Video


The Labyrinth (1986)

The Labyrinth is the epitome of 80s fantasy, alongside Neverending Story, Willow, and Dark Crystal which are also outstanding films. The Labyrinth blends fantasy with musical elements as a teenage girl named Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) must enter a labyrinth to save her baby brother after she wishes for him to be taken by Goblin King, Jareth (David Bowie). This film was also directed by none other than the creator of the Muppets, Jim Henson. The music, the puppets, and the setting are all phenomenal and truly whisk you away on this desperate mission. 

Actors include: David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly

Available on: Netflix, Roku, Philo, Apple TV, Vudu, Tubi


Clue (1985)

Before there was Knives Out, there was Clue. Originally based on a board game, Clue is a comedic mystery about six people who have been blackmailed and invited to a remote mansion by a man who has a piece of pertinent information relating to each guest. Each guest is given a false name and a weapon. Once the lights are turned off, the man who invited the guests is killed. Be a spectator as the guests discover who committed the crime.

Actors include: Madeline Kahn, Tim Curry, Michael McKean

Available on: Prime Video, Paramount Plus, Roku Channel, Apple TV, Vudu


Real Genius (1985)

Real Genius is a comedy about highly intelligent and gifted teenagers who attend a school called Pacific Tech. Mitch Taylor (Gabe Jarret) comes to Pacific Tech as a freshman and is paired with senior Chris Knight (Val Kilmer) for a laser project. Knight tends to have an apathetic attitude towards school work, however, the two develop a friendship and learn together what the laser is actually going to be used for. This film had such a fun atmosphere and the friendships between the characters made this movie even more fun to watch. 

Actors include: Val Kilmer, Gabriel Jarret

Available on: Roku Channel, Prime Video, Vudu, Apple TV, Spectrum TV


Romancing the Stone (1984)

Romancing the Stone follows romance writer, Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner), who travels to Colombia to save her sister who is being held captive. Amidst the Colombian jungle, she meets Jack Colton (Michael Douglas), and they both travel with hopes of finding a treasure. This film is witty, laid-back, and a romantic adventure.

Actors include: Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito

Available on: Prime Video, Vudu, Apple TV


Taps (1981)

Taps is hands-down one of my favorite movies of all time. The movie takes place at Bunker Hill Military Academy, an academy that students’ families have attended for generations and is steeped in tradition. However, real estate developers are looking to destroy the academy. To combat this, the boys in the academy lead a rebellion where they are in charge. The boys face the Army outside of their barricade and follow, what is essentially, a siege. This powerful movie is incredibly raw in dialogue, as well as how the conflict resolves. As the characters develop, the audience sees their true colors show and how the cracks in their plan begin to form. This film clocks in at two hours, but every minute is worth it. 

Actors include: Tom Cruise, Giancarlo Esposito, Sean Pean

Available on: Amazon Video, Apple TV


1941 (1979)

1941 takes place following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, showing the fear rising in California. Directed by Steven Spielberg, this movie has comedic moments, and famous stars, and is incredibly immersive. Unfortunately, this movie received mediocre reviews, but don’t let that deter you from watching it. This movie can really be summed up into one word: chaos. There’s a little bit of everything, from dancing and singing to action to comedy all within the backdrop of war. 

Actors include: John Belushi, John Candy, Dan Aykroyd

Available on: Prime Video, Vudu, Apple TV


Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers is one of those movies that will leave you with your jaw dropped. The movie takes place in San Francisco and follows Matthew Bennel (Donald Sutherland) whose friend (Brooke Adams) explains that her husband is acting strangely. More people in the city begin to act slightly out of character. Without giving away any more of the plot, I will say that the ending sent shivers down my spine, the directors could not have had a more fitting end. The way this movie is filmed is really what I love most about it. The usage of sound really makes this film feel authentic- as the viewer, you hear everyday sounds such as the sound of your feet hitting the pavement. In this film, every sound increases the anticipation and the intensity. As for how the movie is filmed, the shots are held for longer than most movies now do, accentuating the eerie atmosphere. This movie is a must-watch!

Actors include: Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Jeff Goldblum

Available on: Pluto, Plex


Foul Play (1978)

Foul Play is a mystery based around librarian Gloria Mundy (Goldie Hawn) in San Francisco. Gloria’s path crosses with detective Tony Carlson (Chevy Chase) after she finds herself amidst an attempt to assassinate the pope visiting for an opera. Foul Play is a gripping movie, perfect for a rainy day.

Actors include: Goldie Hawn, Chevy Chase

Available on: Amazon Prime


Next time you want to kick back and relax, consider watching one of these hidden cinematic gems. Enjoy exploring a wide variety of genres and time periods of film through underrated oldies, but goodies.