Pop Culture

8 Great Classic Films That Movie Critics Didn't Love


Filmmakers and professional movie critics often have a strange, and sometimes adversarial, relationship with one another. A few glowing reviews can drive audiences into cinemas to see a new film, but a bad review might doom a movie to box-office failure. It's important to remember that reviews are just another person's opinion, and they might not align with every viewer's expectations. There have been countless films that the critics gave a lukewarm review to, or in some cases absolutely hated, that are now considered classics. Let's take a look at a few of those.


8. Psycho (1960)

Alfred Hitchcock's classic scare film has been studied by film lovers almost since its release, and it was hugely popular with filmgoers of the time, but critical opinions were decidedly mixed when the tale of Norman and his mother came out in 1960. The New York Times reviewer called the film "an obviously low-budget job," and a critic in England walked out during the film and then permanently resigned as a movie reviewer. Many critics praised the acting but thought the film was cheap and lurid, certainly not the immediately game-changing masterpiece that Psycho is considered today.


7. Blade Runner (1982)


This visionary film about rebellious human-like "replicants" running amok in a futuristic Los Angeles has become an enormously popular and influential sci-fi classic, often making "Top 10" lists for the best of that genre, but at the time of its initial release, critics didn't all think it was brilliant. Some reviewers thought it looked beautiful but was lacking in substance, while others complained that it was slow and confusing. A Los Angeles Times critic dubbed the movie "Blade Crawler" - apparently she wasn't a fan. Nowadays, Blade Runner is more popular than ever, and it's difficult to imagine what modern science fiction films would be like without its considerable influence.


6. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

Terry Gilliam's adaption of Hunter S. Thompson's most popular book is not quite 20 years old, but I don't think it's incorrect to call it a classic film. It's hard to imagine how a better telling of Thompson's psychedelic odyssey into the heart of American darkness could be made, or who could play Hunter T. better than Johnny Depp. But like the gonzo writing it's based on, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas wasn't everyone's cup of tea, and it didn't do well in theaters or impress a lot of critics. Being called "unwatchable" and "grotesque" by various reviewers at the time of its release hasn't prevented the movie from amassing an enormous cult following, and it has even earned its way into the Criterion Collection.



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Chris Lane is a contributing writer who enjoys covering art, music, pop culture, and social issues.