Following is a list specially put together for those Best Low Budget Movies that are classic examples of little guys making it big. These movies prove that you don’t need a ton of money to tell a great story.
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Directed by Quentin Tarantino, Pulp fiction is an American crime film that stars John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, Tim Roth, Ving Rhames, and Uma Thurman. Its plot occurs out of chronological order and follows three main interrelated stories of Vincent (Travolta), Jules (Jackson), and Butch (Willis). The film features an ironic combination of humour and strong violence. The story includes two hitmen, their boss, the said boss’ lovely wife, a boxer and a pair of thieves.
The making of pulp fiction was done in only $8.5 million but grossed almost $213 million at the box office! The film also took home an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and thus making it to our Best Low Budget Movies list.
Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)
And we have a star wars film (again!). I wonder if any list does not include a movie from this notoriously famous series. So, here we are counting an early Star Wars movie in our Best Low Budget Movies. Grossing over $775 million with only the budget of $11 million, this space opera is directed by George Lucas and stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, David Prowse, James Earl Jones, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker and Peter Mayhew.
The Imperial Forces, under orders from cruel Darth Vader, hold Princess Leia hostage in their efforts to quell the rebellion against the Galactic Empire. Star Wars follows the journey of Luke Skywalker (Hamill) to save a rebel princess from the evil clutches of Darth Vader. It received ten Oscar nominations, winning seven.
An American drama sports film, Rocky is directed by John G. Avildsen. Sylvester Stallone’s stellar performance in this film launched his career. Stallone plays a poor boxer from Philadelphia and gets a shot at world heavyweight championship reinforcing a rags-to-riches American dream story.
Made on a low budget of just $1.1 million, Rocky became the highest-grossing movie in 1976, earning $225 million at the box office. No wonder it made it to our Best Low Budget Movies list. Among other accolades, it went on to receive ten Academy Award nominations, winning three, including Best Picture.
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Night of the Living Dead is a 1968 American horror film directed, photographed and edited by George A. Romero, and starring Duane Jones and Judith O’Dea. The story follows seven people who take refuge in a farmhouse during a flesh-eating zombie outbreak. As the catastrophe unfolds, a young woman visiting her father’s grave takes refuge in a nearby farmhouse, where she is met by a man who protects her and barricades them inside.
They both later discover people hiding in the basement, and they each attempt to cope with the situation.
Any Living Dead fans recognizing this Best Low Budget Movie? The movie was made in a mere $11400 and the rest is history. After the movie made $30 million at the box office, Romero turned the living dead into a zombie empire.
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Little Miss Sunshine is a 2006 indie comedy and the directorial debut of the husband-wife team of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. The film stars Greg Kinnear, Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Paul Dano, Abigail Breslin, and Alan Arkin. When 7-year-old Olive Hoover learns that she’s qualified for the little Miss Sunshine contest the entire family sets off in their VW camper van for the trip from Albuquerque to California.
The Hoover family is the dictionary definition for the word “dysfunctional”. Watch and learn whether Olive can fulfil her dream of winning after a shocking turn of events.
With a relatively small budget of $8 million, Little Miss Sunshine shone brightly at the box office, bringing in $100.5 million and ta-da! The movie made it in our Best Low Budget Movies list. It won numerous accolades including an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
Lost in translation (2003)
The American rom-com is directed by Sofia Coppola and is one of my favourite films on this Best Low Budget Movies list. Bill Murray stars as Bob Harris, a fading American movie star who is having a midlife crisis. There, he befriends another estranged American named Charlotte, a young college graduate played by Scarlett Johansson. Giovanni Ribisi and Anna Faris also feature.
As the relationship between Bob and Charlotte deepens, they realize that their visits to Japan, and one another, must soon end. Or must they? Watch and find out!
Coppola shot Lost in Translation in Japan with a budget of $4 million. At the box office, the film made $119.7 million. It was also critically acclaimed and nominated for several Oscars, winning the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
Get Out (2017)
Directed by Jordan Peele in his directional debut, Get Out is an American horror film starring Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Lil Rel Howery, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Stephen Root, and Catherine Keener. The film follows a young African-American man who uncovers a disturbing secret when he meets the family of his white girlfriend. What could the Armitages be hiding?
And why is there an off-limits, locked room that leads to the basement? And no, I am not going to betray the suspense guys. You have to absolutely watch it and know why this film made it to our Best Low Budget Movies list!
Get Out received praise for its direction, acting, writing, and themes, and it was chosen by the National Board of Review, the American Film Institute and Time as one of the top 10 films of the year. Peele made Get Out with a budget of $4 million. It was an incredible success at the box office, making over $230 million.
A coming-of-age comedy-drama, Juno is directed by Jason Reitman and centres around a young, independent teenage woman who becomes accidentally pregnant. While considering terminating her pregnancy, she changes her mind and decides to have the child and give it up for adoption. The film was made in $7.5 million and raked $231 million at the box office. No wonder we have this film on our Best Low Budget Movies list.
The soundtrack, largely written and performed by indie rocker Kimya Dawson, was also a chart-topper. Juno won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and earned three other Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actress for Page.
The Full Monty (1997)
Directed by Peter Cattaneo, The Full Monty is a British comedy film starring Robert Carlyle, Mark Addy, William Snape, Steve Huison, Tom Wilkinson, Paul Barber and Hugo Speer. It tells the story of six unemployed men struggling to make ends meet for their families. To differentiate themselves from other male strippers, the men vow to show “the full monty” and strip completely nude! My, my they sure would be different from everyone with that rowdy act.
Despite being a comedy, the film also touches on serious subjects such as unemployment, depression, body image, impotence, working-class structure and suicide.
This hilariously serious film is one of the most Best Low Budget Movies. It was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $250 million from a budget of only $3.5 million and was nominated for several Oscars.
Mad Max (1979)
An Australian dystopian action film directed by George Miller, the film stars Mel Gibson as “Mad” Max Rockatansky, Joanne Samuel, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Steve Bisley, Tim Burns, and Roger Ward. Mad Max is the story of an unhinged police officer who is out for revenge for his gang-murdered wife and child. The loss of his family ultimately drives Max into a rage, hence the name ‘Mad Max’. This movie also gave Mel Gibson his first breakthrough role.
The film became the first in the Mad Max series, giving rise to three sequels, Mad Max 2 (1981), Beyond Thunderdome (1985), and Fury Road (2015). Made on a budget of $200,000, the film raked $99.7 million at the box office and what led us to include it in our list of Best Low Budget Movies.
Some honourable mentions in the Best Low Budget Movies include Napoleon Dynamite, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, The Blair Witch Project, The Hills Have Eyes and Paranormal Activity. Be sure to check them out too!
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