25 of the Most Overrated Movies of All-Time

Ah, the overrated chant. If you’ve been to a major sporting event where an underdog upsets a favorite, you’ve probably heard it. But when it comes to movies, how does one know if a title is overrated? You don’t have that chant when the credits come up, so how does one know? The reputation comes over time. As the hype wears off, one gains perspective on its actual merit. The movies on this list are excellent examples of when the bandwagon careens out of control. And just like any other list, we’d like to preface by saying that COED does not think these movies are bad, but that you might want to pump the brakes, slow your roll, and check yourself when evaluating them among the classics.

Blade Runner (1982)

The original release had voice-over narration from Ford and it basically tanked at the box office. Then the director’s cut is released without said voice-over and worlds change. The American Film Institute and The Guardian both ranked it as one of the top 10 Sci-Fi Films of All-Time. There have been rumors about sequels and prequels. A pair of video games were released in addition to a comic book adaptation. It won a handful of BAFTA Film Awards and was nominated for a bunch more, notably a Golden Globe and a pair of categories at the Oscars. The film’s detractors say the pacing was too slow. Proponents hail its complexity, special effects, and art direction. The film was definitely ahead of its time, but can induce a nap if you skipped your morning coffee / eight ball / 5 Hour Energy.

The English Patient (1996)

Winner of nine Oscars, this Best Picture is based on a 1992 novel of the same name. The story follows a burn victim who slowly reveals his past to his becoming nurse through flashbacks. Though the critics that matter trumpeted its score, editing, and cinematography, hoards of moviegoers that don’t have a voice found themselves California dreamin’.

Amadeus (1984)

Won 8 Oscars in a ceremony that featured a winner announcing the other nominees before the presenter due to the onset of amnesia. Rock bands have written and dedicated songs to it, numerous TV shows have parodied it, and 1993’s Last Action Hero referenced it. But, if you’re not a classical music fan or big on period pieces, you could struggle with it. And…that laugh. It haunts my dreams.

No Country for Old Men (2007)

I have issue with investing my time and money into a story that has such a weak payoff. Nowadays, it seems filmmakers and aficionados actually prefer the anti-climax ending, citing it as a welcome change of pace. Others feel the directors are robbing the viewer of their “just desserts.” Personally, all I wanted was the final face-off, so they could finish what they started and instead I get Llewelyn letting his guard down so he could flirt then Anton getting randomly sideswiped. Was Tommy Lee Jones even necessary?

Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Road trip movies could very well be the most played out genre other than bank heist flicks, but this one took a different approach. It won the Best Original Screenplay and Alan Arkin won Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars. AFI selected it as “Movie of the Year” and it took home awards from the Screen Actors Guild, Producers Guild, and Writers Guild. I watched it once. There’s something to be said about that. Some movies you can only physically watch once, like “Requiem For A Dream” (because you’d kill yourself if you watched it again), but I got everything I needed out of “Little Miss Sunshine” with ONE viewing.

The Usual Suspects (1995)

If it doesn’t have the shocking twist ending, do we really consider this to be one of the top movies of all-time? Can one scene legitimize or make up for the movie as a whole?

Amelie (2001)

There’s cute and then there’s disgustingly cute. She brings happiness to others but can’t grow a sack when it comes to going after what would make her happy. At the time, I had no idea she was 23. 23 and she’s “spurned romantic relationships” because of a “few disappointing efforts”. Lovable quirky or annoying quirky? Get out there and get some strange ass.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Memorable soundtrack, incredible special effects, and surrealist imagery make this epic sci-fi film one of the best. Won an Oscar for visual effects and was a major influence for master directors, Spielberg, Lucas, and Scott. There’s still a contingency who feel it is plodding, pretentious, and too abstract. Those people might have a point, but that’s what drugs are for.

Fargo (1996)

The Coens. They sure do make great films with unique characters. Your view of this film might be swayed by the simplicity of its storyline and the characters’ accents. Murder story with comedic elements hits on a range of emotional chords… for some. Some feel the plot labors while William H. Macy and Frances McDormand’s characters are emotionally one-dimensional cartoons defined by their rural Midwestern eccentricities.

Nashville (1975)

I know what you’re thinking – what’s with the Haterade for movies with locations in the title? Though my hatred for the Midwest and Southeast is unparalleled (jk), the lack of love for this one isn’t based on regional dialect. This one…this one is simply a chore to get through. It’s kind of all over the place, frenetic, and builds to a point where you honestly just want it to end so you can watch “The Hangover” for the fiftieth time.

The Big Chill (1983)

Many people feel this is a statement film about an entire generation. Many skeptics believe that statement could be, “To Be Continued” or “Scene Missing”. Yet another title with multiple character arcs and loose ends that never get a deserving payoff. These college friends reunite after their friend’s suicide and are all dealing with their own issues. One critic called it a “very accomplished, serious comedy”. Serious. Comedy. Ok, so am I allowed to laugh? There’s something off putting about a film that takes itself too seriously especially when it’s battling general malaise (look it up, scholar).

Lost in Translation (2003)

“Lost in Translation” suffers from the same downfall as other critically acclaimed “visual masterpieces” – the quiet and poignant shots can become emotionally taxing. The audience feels the weight of the two main characters’ attraction to one another and ultimately becomes exasperated with the stagnant and unmoving nature of their relationship. It was a departure for Murray who’s most comparable roles would have to be those in 1996’s “Rushmore” and 2001’s “The Royal Tenenbaums”, which could be in large part why his performance was greatly lauded. Scarlett was the object of his desire, but there was that overwhelming sense that it would never pan out. The quiet, small mannerisms can eat you alive.

Juno (2007)

So painfully hip and cool. Yeah, it presented the unplanned teen pregnancy with a fresh spin, a take that contradicts the Fast Times at Ridgemont Highs of the world but some may argue it handles the subject matter with such levity that it borders on losing the gravitas needed for the audience to continue caring. Again, a good movie that portrays teen girls in a new light, just one that might be a bit exaggerated and overly ambitious.

Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

I still recite quotes from this family friendly comedy, but where will it stack up in 5 more years? 10 years? From my rather intense character study courses, I can tell you quirks and eccentricities keep an audience on their toes and provide that fine sugar coating which gives characters their distinct personalities, however, when your character is ALL Q&E’s, you lose substance and identity. Depth of character can propel story lines, and that’s been cited as one of Napoleon’s greatest weaknesses.

Clerks (1994)

A healthy portion of this film’s lore lies in its budget. The fact Kevin Smith made it on a dime speaks volumes, but when eliminated from the conversation, how does “Clerks” as a movie rate? Sure, it spawned an animated TV series, a sequel, and managed to capitalize on the ‘show about nothing’ approach established by Seinfeld and replicated by many indie movies to follow. Overqualified, underachieving slackers floating through life – lovable to this day. Quick, sharp, and in your face. A cult classic to the end. Smith hasn’t been able to capture the same lightning in a bottle and some may say is forever defined by this movie.

Chicago (2002)

First musical to win Best Picture since 1968’s Oliver. Part of me thinks this production benefited from a poor release schedule, a down year. It never reached #1 or #2 at the box office but still raked in more than $300 million worldwide. I don’t get it. I don’t get how anyone can take musicals seriously.

Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

If you know me, you know I don’t get how America continues to support this franchise. It’s basically an excuse for a bunch of Hollywood buddies to get together and F around for a couple months. Carefree caper flick that replaces comedy with handsome smirks? It’s beloved by bromance enthusiasts and women who can’t control their vaginas.

Erin Brockovich (2000)

Vain and phony are not words you want associated with your film especially when it’s based on a true story.

Avatar (2009)

hard to argue with the highest grossing film of all-time (which many argue due to inflation, etc.) and the most visually stunning film of all-time, maybe because it was the first to market with the technology to achieve those visuals. But after being in development for more than 15 years, there’s really no way in Pandora that it could ever fully reach expectations and overcome the hype. Its technical achievements far outpaced the story, ironic since Cameron delayed the production of the film because technology wasn’t advanced enough to fully capture his vision. In the end, did the effects diminish and overshadow his vision? Was the vision more about the  aesthetic beauty of the planet and its residents or the beauty of the story? Lucid, vivid, extraordinary, but will it ever be remembered for its characters, plot, themes or message, which many have said reeks of anti-American, anti-military overtones?

Dead Poets Society (1989)

O Captain. There’s crazy, coked up Robin Williams, then there’s snarky, passive aggressive, put you in your place Robin Williams who teaches lessons with the raise of an eyebrow. The latter was on full display for the first time in this coming of age drama that makes absolutely ZERO pre-teen boys want to attend an all-boys prep school. You feel sympathy for the pressures placed on these young men by conservative parents and the conservative school, but to what extent? Well written and well acted, but still a bit self-involved.

Top Gun (1986)

Gay. Gay. Gay. Gay. Gay. Gay. Gay. Gay. Gay. Gay. Gay. Gay. Gay. Gay. Gay. Gay.
I mean, like, homo-eroticism EVERYWHERE and yet some of the manliest men to man up mankind fail to see it. Or maybe they do and that’s why they embrace it so much. It’s a subconscious way to accept their own homosexuality. Even more mind-boggling is the women who either A) love this movie or B) love the men who love this movie. I know I’ll catch a lot of sh*t for this one, what with every naval officer ever commissioned citing it as personal inspiration and it being a fountain of quote-worthiness, but I can’t get behind it. And I hope it never gets behind me.

Easy Rider (1969)

At the time, it was a significant, groundbreaking film, one that was a megaphone on top of a soapbox proudly and unabashedly proclaiming the power of the counterculture hippie movement (in its own ultra chill way). Many believe it paved the way for the renaissance of the 70s. Just because it’s the first doesn’t make it the best. See Avatar above.

Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

Man, I saw this during training camp before my junior season of high school football. Going in, I’d heard a lot about its cult status. No one really bothered to go into much detail about why it was so deeply embraced by niche groups of avid followers. I ended up breaking my wrist in the first preseason game. I blame Rocky Horror Picture Show for putting me into such a stupor that I couldn’t avoid a late hit and brace myself. I like weird as much as the next guy but when it completely overshadows the story, I gotta throw in the towel.

Million Dollar Baby (2004)

Won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress in a Lead Role, and Best Actor in a Supporting Role at the Oscars, picked up a pair of Golden Globes (not Ms. Swank’s), a pair of SAG awards,  and was even nominated for an ESPY. But, is there a more depressing “classic” than this one? The ending has been criticized and parodied up and down for its severity, unlikelihood, and  incredibly tragic nature. At least, you got the shot of a lifetime. Tough to stay positive amidst that kind of heartbreak. Tough to admire a film for going there. Some people praise it for taking that bold a step (as many other films on this list have done), but is that what high ratings are about? Being bold or being good?

Scarface (1983)

This is universally and unanimously accepted as the most overrated film of all-time. I personally embrace the film for its rags to riches, underdog to top dog storyline that perpetuates the belief money, power, and respect will get you the chick. I mean, seriously, Michelle Pfeiffer had zero intention of ever hooking up with Tony then she’s his girlfriend even after that weird quasi-rape at the car. Those who appreciate the film either rap or enjoy watching accidents in slow motion.

So, there you have it. Maybe not the most comprehensive list of overrated films, but a good representation of what we at COED like to call “The Snowball Effect” – one heady critic, a handful of movers and shakers blow wind in a movie’s sails and it’s memorialized forever no questions asked. Don’t believe the hype, kids!

81 thoughts on “25 of the Most Overrated Movies of All-Time”

  1. You are so fucking wrong about 90% of the movies on this list. You should lose your writing license for being blatantly dumb and partially incoherenty. Terrible stuff. "Fargo"?? are you fucking kidding me??? "Fargo" overrated…lolol tard!

  2. I have to say, a few of these I can see… Blade Runner I totally 100% agree, Amadeus I agree, Rocky Horror I know what you mean, and even Clerks to an extent. But some of the others, wow. Big Chill is not a good movie? 2001 is a great movie, and who cares about movies like Oceans 11 and Avatar, they are popcorn flicks so I could care less about them. Bold choices though.

  3. I would add another movie to the list, The Godfather.
    I saw it for the first time recently and was amazed at some of the terrible acting and poor direction. When Sonny is beating the guy in the street, the punches don't even come close.
    Definitely overrated in my eyes

  4. Ballsy post, bro, but I think I'm gonna have to agree with you. Did I mention what a ballsy post that was?! Handsome move, dude.

  5. To me, the most overrated movie of all time is Gone With the Wind. Terrible acting, dumb plot, characters of no interest.

  6. You, sir, should be slapped. Fargo? REALLY??? Clerks? PLEASE!! And Ocean's 11 as well as Rocky Horror Picture Show??? This list is horse shit at best. Clearly written by a pompous fuck who's either too dry to understand true cinematic humor, or too unsophisticated to appreciate characters developed specifically for certain roles, or both. Absolute waste of time man. Disappointing. Enjoy your Gidget movies jackass.

  7. I've got to say The Matrix & Jurassic Park. Visually, both movies were great in their times and each introduced new special effects technologies. But, the scripts themselves are boring and flat. After seeing each about 2 or 3 times I never wanted to watch these movies again.

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  9. Careful dude, the only people that view Top Gun as 'gay' are gays… I think that has something to do with secret mancrushes on Cruise.
    Many of these are rated highly, not because of the content as it holds up to history, but to the groundbreaking nature they had when they were released. 2001, Blade Runner, Easy Rider, even Rocky Horror were door openers so to speak. All in all a lot of "great" movies lose luster after they've been around awhile. 'Jaws' scores high there in my opinion but that doesn't make it any less talked about; and so that goes for many of the movies you've listed here.
    Personally I loved The Big Chill, because I grew up in that era and that movie is a reflection of people I knew… and after all 'Apathy in Action' was my class motto.

  10. Once again Coed has proven that anyone with a computer, and access to one of the staff members at this website can get an article approved. This article should realistically be entitled, 25 MOVIES THAT ARE OVERRATED BY ME, NEAL, A DOUCHEBAG FROM JOHN'S HOPKINS.
    I'm picturing Neal, sitting alone in his dorm room, having masturbated already to pictures of his little sister, with nothing to do. I think I'll dump on some movies people like, he thought to himself, by the time I get done with that, Mr. Sock and I will be ready for round 2.
    Neal had grown up on a steady diet of cartoons, and Cheese Puffs, so he was well suited for the task at hand, look up some popular movies on the internet, read their descriptions, and then find a way to dump on them.
    He was stymied at first at having to count all the way to 25, but having seven toes on each foot helped a lot, after he stripped naked, and added the littlest finger of all. After that it was all smooth sailing, and then it was just a matter of finding his friend at Coed, giving him a little handy on the down low to approve, and he was in.

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  13. this is obviously a provocatory-post…
    it's unbelivable what i read… and with no argumentation.. thake the first movie, blade runner…all you can say is "can induce a nap if you skipped your morning coffee" ?! hahahahah
    ok so if this is the argumentation it's not a serious post.
    and if it's serious i have no time to read all those not argumented words
    "There’s still a contingency who feel it is plodding, pretentious, and too abstract." for 2001? hahahahah

  14. WOW, bad list. Little Miss Sunshine? R u kidding me?
    2001? why is that in there.
    Fargo? Seriously dude…
    Napoleon Dynamite?
    The Rocky Horror Picture Show?
    Yes there are some i argee with, Top Gun, but you made a bad mistake writing this list.
    you showed off your utterly bad taste in movies.

  15. I was going to rant on about how you played your showed your true colors with the phrase "but is that what high ratings are about? Being bold or being good?", (commerce over artistic integrity). And I was even tempted to mention how troubling the cartoonishly exagerated confidence gen Y seems to have in their unexamined opinions, but instead I'll make THIS request;
    Show us YOUR list of 25 greatest films ever made.
    Thanks, Can't wait to see it.

  16. Fargo, Amadeus, Juno are not overrated. Scarface, while being totally awesome from a pure violence aspect is definitely overrated. Ocean's 11 isn't considered a "great movie" so it shouldn't be included in this list.2001 a space oddysey is a good pick for this list too. To whoever said The Godfather to be overrated…you are a fucking moron. Stop being an annoying pseudo-artsy, wannabe director and look at the big picture. It is one of the most powerful and archaypically brilliant stories ever. Besides, the acting is not terrible…Brando was brilliant, Pacino was brilliant, Duvall was brilliant, Caan was brilliant, Castellano was brilliant. If anything, Goodfellas and Casino are far more overrated with both the directing and storytelling to being painfully slow, predictable, and dull.

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  18. I have to agree with this list for the most part. Clerks, Rocky Horror show and Avatar, are seriously overrated. Litle Miss Sunshine!? THANK YOU!!!!! Finally someone sees that dry, overrated movie for what it is!! I saw it once and didnt see the appeal at all! Julia Roberts is a great actress, but that Erin B. movie should have been a made for tv movie, it just lacked some real elements. I didnt see how it was Oscar worthy. You may not understand Scarface because its a movie for wanna be gangsters, like The Godfather for southern part of the U.S. I love top gun and the ocean's series though! Overall this is a great list!

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  20. I agree with Dead Poets Society! It's the worst movie I've ever watched in English class, and that's an acheivement.

  21. Most of the films on this list are fucking great, even if personal taste is accounted for. Suck it.

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  23. PRETTY MUCH AGREED WITH THE WHOLE LIST, but you don't have Pulp fiction here, which is by my account the most overrated of all

  24. agreed…No country for Old men? are you serious? Was tommy lee Jones necessary?..ahh clearly you have no idea what the point of the movie is …

  25. I can't believe you left out "The Graduate" (1967). Take away the pool scene and the Simon and Garfunkel songs and you have a movie that wasn't even a good signpost for the 60s, much less a good film in itself. Dustin Hoffman, of course, turned out to be a fantastic actor, but his best work was yet to come. I'm not sure if any actor could have done much with such a lifeless character anyway, though.

  26. The inflation bit concerning Avatar is totally true. According to http://boxofficemojo.com/alltime/adjusted.htm, it is only the 14th when other films are adjusted for inflation. Gone with the Wind from Metro Goldwyn Meyer is #1, at $1,618,377,500. That's right; upwards of a 1.5 trillion dollars. Star Wars from Fox and Lucasfilm is #2 at $1,426,738,000. Avatar: a mere $779,014,700 by comparison, by far smaller. And there is no way it's moving up the list unless we experience deflation, which will never happen given our massive national debt.

  27. Michael Corleone

    Thanks, you just convinced me to never ever take film advice from you.

  28. Curious… Where was Titanic? That is an incredibly overrated film. Although, I think this list is pretty damn solid

  29. Pretty good list. I'll never forget the first (and only) time I saw The Usual Suspects. Basically, the film maker tricks you with footage that never actually happened. That is opposed to real twists where you are shown what happens from a certain perspective and either don't pick it up or simply misinterpret it. Oh, I forgot, Spacey's character made it all up on the spot from items in the guy's office. My bad, how clever.
    You forgot Crash, horribly overacted, overwritten, and overrated. Pulp fiction is also overrated, but no so bad it belongs on a top 25 list. good article

  30. I dont agree with all you said, but you have my eternal gratitude for so succinctly embodying my thoughts on the anti-Godfather comment – 'To whoever said The Godfather to be overrated…you are a fucking moron. Stop being an annoying pseudo-artsy, wannabe director and look at the big picture.'… In my opinion Juno was overrated and knowingly mis-marketed. I believe certain films on the list were not as praised enough to constitute 'overrated'. Where were the last two 'Lord of the Rings' movies?

  31. Avatar is definitely overrated. It gets lauded for the effects but is devoid of everything else. It only gets the praise because, like Titanic, it has James Cameron's name attached to it.

  32. I respectfully disagree on Bladerunner though. While it does indeed run at a measured rather than hectic pace, this allows for a wonderfully realised and detailed future world. This attention to detail has been been sadly lacking in many of the Sci-fi films in recent years. Most films classified 'Sci-fi' these days are really just basic action movies in a sci-fi dressing *see Avatar, Tron Legacy, Star Trek (2009)* which is a rather sad state of affairs in my opinion.

  33. I don´t think than blade runner, 2001 or scarface are overrated. This are some of the most importnas and more influence films in history. I also think then sayd clerks is to "black and white" is a little silly(i also think it´s a great movie). I also love fargo, no country for old men, lost in translatios, rocky horror and pretty much all the films in this list, but i agree about avatar and the english patient.

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