Little Known Classics You NEED To Watch!

The classic, the rare, the obscure…you movie junkies love this stuff. It’s always cool to discover the weird films made by familiar faces. Kudos Matt Holmes and Peter Willis of Obssessed With Film for assembling a Top 10 of little known classics.

You can watch 5 of them right now at Internet Archive. Whoa, is that Telly Savalas!? I’m going to watch Quicksand! now…it has Peter Lorre and Mickey Rooney together.

Check them out:

Horror Express
Too Late For Tears

-Jeff Kaplan

71 thoughts on “Little Known Classics You NEED To Watch!

  1. Pingback: Link Love: 9/24/2010 « The Bigger Picture

      1. matt

        Those are all worthy additions for watching, but none of those are “little known”, whereas the five on the original list are not very widely viewed.

        1. Soj

          They are little know in this day and age unless you’re a film geek – which means they are little known, LOL!

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  3. Mark

    In “Suddenly,” the role of Benny Conklin was played by legendary voice actor Paul Frees (Boris Badenov, Ludwig von Drake, Bergermeister Meisterberger, etc.)

  4. Cristiano Ferraz

    I recommend that “The Hitch-hiker” is added to this list. A great small-budget movie that is thoroughly worth watching. The acting and direction are flawless.

    1. Memi S

      Yes, agreed! Hitch-hiker was a truly outstanding movie and should be given wider audiences among cinephiles today. This was the first female-directed movie of the genre, or any, and Ida Lupino’s direction is, as you said, “flawless”. It has many ‘firsts’ and it certainly should be seen here! Excellent recommendation!

  5. Kevin VandeWettering

    I’d add that I agree with “The Hitch-hiker” being added to this list. The Hitch-hiker was directed by Ida Lupino. Ida Lupino was ground breaking in that she was a woman who made great films in an industry dominated by male directors. Another example you’ll find here is “The Bigamist”… also a great film.

  6. Dave

    Great thoughts. I’ve enjoyed reading these comments. Perhaps one of the visitors here can help me identify a film where I remember bits of dialogue. I think it was Mickey Rooney (though I admit my memory is shaky on this) who asks, “Whose army should I join?” The person he’s talking to asks him if he’s ready to fight and Rooney replies that he is. I don’t recall much else from the film as I was a young boy when I saw it. Why this one scene sticks out in memory I haven’t a clue. If someone can help point me in the right direction I’d be most appreciative. Rooney always struck me as an actor willing to take chances and find the truth in the roles he played. Well, thanks!!

  7. laura daitch

    your archive blogs are most informative and therefore educational.
    thanks very much for uploading this very interesting information,
    cheers and keep up the good work !

    Yours cordially,
    Laura M. Daitch/ Qbc, CDN, currently residing in Munich, Germany

  8. Nandan

    I love watching movies esp. d classic Hollywood Golden era mainly after d coming of sound. I came to know about this site from in a Laurie Boeder’s blog. It sure is a swell site that u r operating out here. Thanks.

  9. Pingback: Little Known Classics You NEED To Watch! | Internet Archive Blogs | The First Third

  10. Rapidito

    Nice movie this “Quicksand” title. Really enjoyed it, I was effortlessly drawn to the story.

  11. jimie

    I am so interested in finding out what the Archive is Public Domain an what is not, what can be reuploaded and what cannot, some films say “public Domain” then some places say they are not, it’s all so confusing, is there any simple, easy to follow site on copyright? that anyone can tell me about, I thought everything on here was PD?

  12. JWM

    Another good one was Whistlestop starring Ava Gardner. She was young and drop dead georgeous. Many of those women from the Golden Age had great looks, but also a riveting presence on screen. Julia Roberts, Anjelica Jolie, etc. are not even close to the beauty and brilliance of the movie stars of the Golden Age.

  13. Sam Bradford

    Wow, I was just told about this site, amazing. Maybe I am just getting old, but the older movies just seem to have so much more class then anything produced now a days. 🙁

    1. Purrete

      Sam, I think that you are, indeed, getting old, because if you see ” A Separation” and Iranian movie of 2012 then you’ll see that there are still young people doing master jobs out there overpowering by far all the domestic biggies nominated for the Oscars this year.

  14. itcy

    i would not feel alone, everybody must see ‘the wet parade’….’30s about prohibition.
    NEED to watch this one..

    1. Memi S

      Yes, this is a truly WONDERFUL site and movie lovers of all ages should be happy to discover it!

      Does any one here know if the Third Man classic (1949 British film noir) is available? I’ve never seen it on TV and saw it 20 years ago on special screening. It’s magnificent and the music is haunting! No, they don’t make them like that anymore…although the subject matter is as current as they come!

      1. Barb

        The Third Man is played off and on by Turner Classic Movies (TCM). I think I’ve seen it offered about twice a year for the last 2 or 3 years. Here in Canada it’s an optional channel on cable television, channel 248. I imagine it’s the same elsewhere, except perhaps the channel number . They play so many wonderful old movies including very obscure ones. Try checking their website.

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  16. danial

    Hi Sam,

    I don’t know how old are you but I am 24 years old and I also think that there are more class in old movies than the ones which we see know at tv.

  17. Ajer

    Just wanted to say a big thank you to the people who work so hard on this archive. I’ve been using it for years to browse films, text and webpages and I don’t think I’ve ever visited without finding something of interest. A real treasure of knowledge which I hope will forever be available. Thank you.

  18. Deeae

    I have a question that is related – but hopefully not too distant from those who visit here: Does anyone recall a movie about a boy orphaned during WW2 whose despair was noticed by an American soldier who eventually cared for him as his own son when he couldn’t find anyone else? That’s all I can remember. I don’t even know who the actors in it were. Any information would be appreciated!

      1. Tom Maher - Kirkwood MO

        Could the film be “Dondi?” It starred David Janssen. The film took its inspiration from , I believe, the long-running comic strip which started in the mid-’50s.

        1. Byron Pratt

          “Dondi” was what first came to my mind also. Saw that as a little kid when it first came out. Loved it then, but later realized it was pretty much just a crappy sentimental piece of schlock…..

          1. Barb

            I have seen 2 that use the same idea, 1 was just the other day. I forget the names but they weren’t the ones the other people here described. 1 of them had Margaret O’Brian it. They were both extremely good.

    1. dmille

      Sounds like JG Ballard’s autobio adapted by Stoppard, directed by Spielberg (’tis scarringly beautiful) Empire Of The Sun. Christian Bale, John Malcovich, Joe Pantoliano, Miranda Richardson and Ben Stiller.

      “Hey Kid, wanna a candy bar?”- Basie

    2. Jon Res

      It could be “The Search” starring Montgomery Clift and directed by
      Fred Zinnemann!

  19. Justin


    Nice Article! I have read your post and it seems good! I love classic films. My favourite film is Atlantic City. I tell this article to my friends. Nice post!

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  22. Angeline

    I wonder what the movie is called from the piece in Home Alone “it’s me, snakes” you know that part right? I don’t know what that movie is called, saw the piece on persoonlijke lening about money.

  23. Gordon

    great list of movies here, would like to see ‘the lost patrol’ and ‘a night to remember’ added at some point to your library

  24. james brummel

    I’m really really old and want to add to the “older movies have more class” debate. While we today are aware of every new movie that comes out, we only are exposed to a fraction of the oldies, generally the good ones. There was plenty of junk playing the week “Casablanca” came out, it’s just nobody wants to see it so it’s unavailable, unadvertised, never discussed in books or film classes.

    I came of age in the 70’s and I hear people talk about how great movies were in that era. Try sitting through Battle for the Planet of the Apes or EarthQuake. Go on, do it.

    1. Jonathan

      I think James & Purrete are right.

      There is indeed a lot of crap and it takes time to find the beautiful ones. But there is as much creativity now as there was in other areas.
      I too like the “class” of some of the old movies, the slower tempo and sometimes the bigger subtelty. But that are only certain aspects of movies, there are other aspects which can make a movie wothwhile as well.

      (I’m not native English, excuse me if I phrased something a little silly)

      1. Memi S

        Well said! Yes, there are various aspects that make movies ‘classics’–and we’ve seen Network in the 70s being one and Ironweed (who could think of Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep as hobos!?) and the magnificent ‘The Hours’….which unfortunately lost the Oscar to a lesser, jazzier film, Cabaret just a few years ago!

  25. jimbo

    fantastic – I’ve been looking for WC Fields stuff for ages – brilliant.
    Thank you.#
    On the whole I’d rather be in Phillidelpia – WCF. Tombstone

  26. Bass

    Thanks for this great info, I love old movies of myself and have also been following your advice, Thanks for this post 😉

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  28. C R Feldmeier

    I am looking for the original movie called The International made in the 1960’s or 1970’s, I think. One of the actors was Barbara Bach but have no idea who the leading male actor was. Then came the Clive Owen/Naomi Watts version of The International made in 2009. Can you help me locate the VHS or DVD for the original?

  29. afvallen zonder pillen

    i just have seen the first movie in your top ten “Horror Express” and it was great to see how they make a movie with minimum special effects.Sometimes you have to laugh to.
    No to number 9 “Dragonwyck”.
    I’ll let you hear how that was.

  30. After Effects Effects

    I’ll add one that not a lot of folks have seen.

    Ramrod – 1947.

    Directed by Andre De Toth, probably best known for Crime Wave I guess?

    It’s kind of a noir western, I’d never seen anything like it. I haven’t been able to find it anywhere online, but have seen it at a couple specialty movie stores. Possibly it’s even on netflix?

    Worth a look anyway.

    1. steven upright

      I LOVE Too Late For Tears! And Quicksand as well, both greatly under appreciated in my opinion.
      Of course there are some good movies being made to this day, and it’s true that most of the oldies that survive we’re the cream of the crop, BUT, these small budget B and maybe even C movies, like Too Late For Tears, aka Killer Bait, I think those were the truly special ones, and there are scores of them. I am an admitted noir fanatic, and have a pretty extensive collection. There certainly aren’t many low budget movies in the last fifty years as good as:
      The Anthony Mann noirs, especially Raw Deal, Side Street, Desperate, and Railroaded…all somewhat rare, and true genius. Edgar Ulmers Strange Illusion, And Ruthless both “unknown” relative to the now famous Detour are fantastic. And Val Lewton! (Cat People, I Married a Zombie, The Seventh Victim, among others). Pretty much anything with the cinematographer John Alton.
      I’d rather watch these movies repeatedly than at least 90% of what’s being made now. I am 47 and these oldies are all before my time. Thankfully, NYC used to have several revival houses, so I was fortunate enough to be introduced. And
      now this site and YouTube, and others have made so many of the great oldies available. I am grateful beyond imagination.

  31. Memi

    Excellent site! A real service to b & w movie fans and the posts here are insightful and informative….refreshing to see them. I believe the Best Movie of 1945 was the Lost Weekend directed by Billy Wilder (can you believe this genius also directed the cross-dressing hilarious 1958 movie “Some Like it Hot”?! Is the Lost Weekend available on public domain. I’d skip breakfast, lunch and take-out pizza to see this truly classic film that deals with an ‘untouchable’ (at that time) subject. It’s riveting to watch this truly noir hypnotc tale of an aspiring young writer’s disintegration and…….Is it available here? Watching the LOST WEEKEND right after D.O.A. would be enough to drive anyone to drink from The Bottle!!:) Thanks…..

  32. Roy Charles Price

    I am deaf since birth. Also I am an electronic book programmer. I would like to know if it is possible for your company to insert captions of conversation or dialogue in each public domain films. So I might be able to sell them to the deaf people all over the country. Be hearing from you soon.

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  34. Jon Res

    I showed a young friend the powerful and shocking, politically INcorrect movie
    called the “The Well” made in 1951 with Richard Rober and music by Dimitri
    Tiomkin! My young friend was, to say the least, “shattered”! He was stunned to
    think that they would make a film about such an explosive subject! It is a heart-
    breaking, and a wonderful uplifting movie! Humans are loving and compassionate
    when faced with a crisis! Watch it! You won’t be disappointed!

  35. adamj

    Been browsing I.A. movies for some time,especially recently. Been watching some serials,eg hurricane express,etc.downloaded most 1st,its easier to follow.
    A great site,such variety.

  36. harron68

    I am an oldie myself. I understand there are some folks who enthuse over many of the golden era films, but in truth many reflect their era and don’t hold up as well as we’d like. It’s O.K. to see them as they are, thru today’s eyes and it’s necessary to appreciate the finest and most interesting movies and stars of this age. Decades ahead today’s films will seem out of touch with future realities. That’s the change that comes with time passing.

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