10 Cult Classics from the 60s, 70s, and 80s You Need to Watch Right Now

When you think about cult classics, they often bring a sense of nostalgia and unique charm that mainstream films might not capture.

These films usually have a dedicated group of fans and offer something special that stands the test of time.

The 60s, 70s, and 80s were rich decades for movie lovers, each era providing its own distinct flavor to cult cinema.

Exploring cult classics from these decades means discovering hidden gems that made a lasting impact on pop culture. Whether it’s quirky comedies, strange horrors, or thought-provoking sci-fi, these movies continue to influence filmmakers and entertain audiences today.

Get ready to dive into a list that spans three decades of unforgettable and influential cinema.

1) Rocky Horror Picture Show

You’ve probably heard of “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” even if you haven’t seen it yet.

This wacky, musical sci-fi horror film from the ’70s is unlike any other.

It combines rock music, quirky characters, and a storyline that’s both bizarre and captivating.

What really makes “Rocky Horror Picture Show” special is its dedicated fanbase.

Fans dress up as the characters, shout lines at the screen, and even act out scenes in front of the movie.

This interactive experience is a big reason why the film remains popular.

The movie first premiered in 1975 and didn’t do great initially.

But soon, midnight screenings started, and a cult following began to grow.

Theaters were selling out, and many attendees kept coming back every week.

One interesting thing about “Rocky Horror” is how it saved lives.

It’s provided a sense of community and belonging to people who felt like outsiders.

Attendees, lovingly called “creatures of the night,” include all sorts of folks—from glamazons to oddballs.

Every Saturday night since 1977, cross-gendered disciples gather to sing along and celebrate this unique film.

If you ever get the chance, go to a live screening and join the fun!

2) A Clockwork Orange

You can’t talk about cult classics without mentioning A Clockwork Orange.

This film came out in 1971 and was directed by Stanley Kubrick.

The story is based on Anthony Burgess’s 1962 novel.

In the movie, you follow Alex DeLarge, the main character, as he leads his gang through a series of violent acts.

It’s set in a dystopian future, which gives it a unique and gritty look.

The film stands out for its disturbing and stylish visual style.

Kubrick used a lot of striking imagery and controversial themes.

You see a harsh critique of violence and societal control.

Malcolm McDowell’s portrayal of Alex is unforgettable.

His performance brought the character’s menacing charm to life.

This role made McDowell a well-known name.

Alex DeLarge and his gang’s brutal behavior isn’t easy to watch.

It sparked a lot of debates about its impact and meaning.

The film’s controversial content led to it being banned in some places.

Despite the controversy, or maybe because of it, A Clockwork Orange has a massive cult following.

People are drawn to its bold storytelling and visual flair.

It’s a staple in the world of cult classics.

The music, especially the use of classical pieces, adds another layer to this unique movie experience.

It’s a film that stays with you long after you’ve seen it.

3) The Big Lebowski

“The Big Lebowski,” directed by the Coen Brothers, hit theaters in 1998.

When it first came out, it didn’t do well at the box office.

Fast forward a few years, and it became a huge cult classic.

People couldn’t get enough of its quirky characters and hilarious moments.

You’ll love the lead character, known as “The Dude,” played by Jeff Bridges.

The Dude is super laid-back and has a unique outlook on life, which makes him unforgettable.

The film’s story revolves around a case of mistaken identity, leading to crazy adventures.

What makes “The Big Lebowski” special is its unique blend of comedy and neo-noir elements.

You get a mix of funny dialogue and brilliantly shot scenes.

The film also captures the essence of societal norms and modern speech, making it relatable even today.

Fans started holding midnight screenings and annual events called “Lebowski Fests.” These events celebrate the film and allow fans to dress up as their favorite characters.

If you ever get a chance, attending one of these fests is a must.

Even years after its release, “The Big Lebowski” remains a favorite for its quotable lines, memorable scenes, and unique characters.

If you haven’t watched it yet, grab some popcorn and dive into the world of The Dude.

4) Donnie Darko

Donnie Darko is a mind-bending movie from 2001 that stands out even though it was released after the time frame we’re focusing on.

The reason it deserves mention is its massive impact, especially among fans of cult classic films.

You follow the story of Donnie, a troubled teen with sleepwalking issues.

One night, a jet engine crashes into his bedroom.

Luckily, he isn’t there.

He starts seeing a giant rabbit named Frank, who tells him the world will end in 28 days.

This strange twist drives the rest of the story.

Set in October 1988, the film captures the mood of the late ’80s with its music and atmosphere.

You’ll hear tracks from bands like Tears for Fears and Echo and the Bunnymen, making it feel even more connected to the era.

Directed by Richard Kelly, Donnie Darko blends science fiction, horror, and teen drama.

It makes you think about time travel and alternate realities.

It didn’t do well at first but later found its audience on home video, becoming a cult classic.

It’s not just about its confusing plot and eerie scenes.

It resonates because of its deep themes and memorable characters.

Watching Donnie Darko, you get pulled into its unique world, one that’s filled with mystery and intrigue.

5) Harold and Maude

“Harold and Maude” is a quirky romantic black comedy from 1971.

Directed by Hal Ashby, it’s a film that mixes dark humor with existential questions about life and death.

The story follows Harold Chasen, a young man who is obsessed with death.

He stages fake suicides to get his mom’s attention.

Harold meets Maude, a 79-year-old woman full of life.

She teaches him to embrace life with her spontaneous and carefree attitude.

Their relationship grows, surprising everyone around them.

The film explores themes of love, life, and death in a unique way.

“Harold and Maude” was a box office flop when it first came out.

Over the years, it found its audience and became a cult classic.

The film is known for its unconventional plot and characters.

The soundtrack features the music of Cat Stevens, adding a memorable touch.

If you love films that break the mold, “Harold and Maude” is a must-watch.

Its offbeat charm and touching story make it stand out among cult classics.

6) Repo Man

“Repo Man” is a 1984 sci-fi black comedy directed by Alex Cox.

The film stars Emilio Estevez and Harry Dean Stanton.

It’s set in Los Angeles and follows a young punk rocker named Otto.

Otto gets tricked into repossessing a car but ends up joining the wild world of repo men.

This movie is known for its unique blend of humor and commentary on 1980s culture.

You’ll see sharp critiques of greed and the nuclear age.

The film’s script is full of quirky, memorable lines, and the soundtrack features punk rock music that fits perfectly with the movie’s rebellious spirit.

Alex Cox was inspired by his own experiences working as a repo man, which adds a touch of authenticity to the story.

This behind-the-scenes insight makes the movie even more interesting to watch.

“Repo Man” has gained a strong cult following over the years.

It’s praised for its originality and offbeat charm.

If you’re into movies that mix satire with sci-fi, this one’s worth a watch.

7) Withnail and I

Withnail and I is a British dark comedy from 1987.

It stands out as a unique cult classic.

The film is set in the late 1960s and blends humor with a touch of sadness.

It tells the story of two struggling actors, Withnail and Marwood.

They live in a rundown London flat and decide to take a break in the countryside.

Their escapades are both hilarious and poignant.

Richard E. Grant plays the flamboyant Withnail, while Paul McGann is the more grounded Marwood.

Their chemistry on screen is unforgettable.

George Harrison, the Beatle, funded the movie.

Despite its initial low-key release, Withnail and I gained a dedicated fan base over the years.

The film’s quotes and scenes are often recalled by its fans.

The setting, the characters, and the witty dialogue give the movie a timeless appeal.

If you appreciate British humor and quirky characters, Withnail and I should be on your watchlist.

8) Pee-wee’s Big Adventure

Pee-wee’s Big Adventure is a movie from 1985 that stands out as a unique blend of comedy and adventure.

It was directed by Tim Burton, marking his first time in the director’s chair for a feature film.

The movie stars Paul Reubens as Pee-wee Herman, a quirky and child-like character.

When Pee-wee’s beloved bike gets stolen, he sets off on a wild trip across the United States to find it.

The film combines humor and surreal visuals, typical of Tim Burton’s later works.

You’ll see that Pee-wee’s Big Adventure has a distinct style that mixes quirky set designs and memorable characters.

Paul Reubens co-wrote the screenplay along with Phil Hartman and Michael Varhol.

This collaboration resulted in a story that’s both funny and a bit odd, appealing to a wide range of viewers.

Pee-wee’s Big Adventure became a cult classic because of its unique charm and unforgettable line, “I’m a loner, Dottie.

A rebel.” The movie has a special spot in film history, often remembered for its offbeat humor and creative storytelling.

9) Heathers

Heathers, released in 1988, stands out as a dark comedy about high school life.

It starts off like a typical teen drama but quickly dives into much darker themes.

You follow the story of Veronica and the popular girls named Heather.

Winona Ryder and Christian Slater star in leading roles.

Their chemistry and performances are big reasons the film has such a lasting impact.

The movie tackles issues like teen suicide and bullying with a sharp, satirical edge.

This makes it both shocking and thought-provoking.

Heathers became a cult classic after its release.

It’s now a go-to film for ’80s nostalgia and dark humor.

The dialogue is especially memorable, giving fans plenty of quotable moments.

10) The Warriors

The Warriors is a gripping movie from 1979.

Directed by Walter Hill, it’s based on Sol Yurick’s 1965 novel.

You follow the adventures of a New York City gang as they try to make it back home.

They’re framed for a crime they didn’t commit.

It’s a wild ride through the city at night.

As you watch, you’ll see a mix of action, adventure, and suspense.

The gang must cross 30 miles from the Bronx to Coney Island.

Along the way, they face rival gangs and other dangers.

The film’s setting is gritty and dark.

The portrayal of New York City is intense and immersive.

You feel like you’re right there with the characters, navigating the chaotic streets.

The movie achieved cult status over the years.

Fans love its unique style, memorable lines, and strong characters.

It’s a classic that remains popular to this day.

If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s definitely worth a watch.

You’ll understand why it has such a dedicated following.

Impact On Popular Culture

Cult classics from the 60s, 70s, and 80s have had a lasting influence on style, fashion, and music, shaping the way people express themselves and listen to soundtracks.

Fashion And Style

Cult classics often set unique fashion trends that fans eagerly copy. “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” inspired many with its bold costumes and makeup, leading to midnight screenings where attendees dress up as characters.

“Grease”, set in the 1950s but released in 1978, had people embracing greaser styles and poodle skirts.

From leather jackets and Converse sneakers in “The Outsiders” to the punk rock attire in “A Clockwork Orange”, these films left a permanent mark on what’s cool to wear.

Even today, you can find echoes of these styles in modern fashion.

Music And Soundtracks

The music in these cult classics is unforgettable and influential. “Saturday Night Fever’s” soundtrack, featuring the Bee Gees, made disco explode in popularity and turned John Travolta into a dance icon.

“Purple Rain” by Prince not only showcased his musical genius but also made “When Doves Cry” and “Let’s Go Crazy” timeless hits.

Fans of “The Blues Brothers” still flock to hear the iconic band’s performances, and “This Is Spinal Tap” gave them the hilarious and mocking look at music culture.

Such soundtracks often reach beyond the films, impacting radio playlists and even inspiring new bands.

Notable Directors And Their Influence

Directors like Stanley Kubrick and David Lynch have made a huge impact on cult cinema, each bringing a unique style and vision to their films.

They have influenced not only the genre but also future filmmakers.

Stanley Kubrick

Stanley Kubrick is renowned for his meticulous approach and innovative techniques.

Known for 2001: A Space Odyssey and A Clockwork Orange, Kubrick pushed the boundaries of storytelling and cinematography.

His work often included deep themes and striking visuals.

In The Shining, his direction brought Stephen King’s novel to life with intense, unforgettable imagery.

Kubrick’s films are characterized by their complexity and attention to detail, inspiring countless directors and captivating audiences.

David Lynch

David Lynch is famous for his surreal and often disturbing films. Eraserhead, his debut, is a prime example of his unique style, blend of horror, and dark humor.

Lynch’s work, including Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks, often delves into the human psyche with unsettling yet fascinating visuals.

His movies create dream-like atmospheres that leave a lasting impression.

Lynch’s influence is evident in the way contemporary filmmakers approach unconventional narratives and complex characters.

Leave a Reply