If you are in the movie business, your main goal is to make a profitable product that will, in turn, help financially support other projects down the line. It's a rather unflattering way of looking at the film industry, but it ends up being the best way to help introduce the topic of cult films.
While the definition of a cult film can vary, the general idea tends to be that it entails a movie that missed the mark in terms of its profitability, message, audience, or any combination therein. The movie ultimately is shelved and labeled as a flop or commercial failure, and more than often, those that were a part of the movie, in any capacity, see their careers hit a pretty big snag. So, it's no surprise that if you're in the movie business, the last thing you want to be associated with is a cult film.
These movies, however, still have fans. It is through these fans that these cult films actually see a second life, one complete with notoriety & acclaim, as well as cultural significance. Perhaps no decade in cinema was bigger for making some serious cult classics than the 1960's. It was a time of social and political upheaval, and every part of society was taking a chance at doing something that strayed from the norm.
The movie industry was no different, and with the experimentation came some real cinematic stinkers. While some have gone on to have successful second lives, others have stayed in the shadows, waiting for some nice soul to wander by & give it one more chance at being a hit.
Here are five cult films of the 60's that are worth checking out, especially if you're looking to laugh. There is no guarantee, however, that the laughter you'll experience will be because of comedic content:
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb – An interesting look at Cold War fears about nuclear warfare that is still relevant nearly 50 years later.
Good Times – Sonny & Cher star in a movie as Sonny & Cher trying to figure out what type of movie they should star in. Oh, and it's directed by the same guy that directed The Exorcist . So, there's that.
Casino Royale – If you've ever thought James Bond should be a comedic character, this movie proves you wrong. You'll never see 007 the same way again. Wow.
The Producers – Only two decades after WWII, Nazi satire & parody will be funny, right? Actually, this is often billed as one of the funniest movies ever made & with good reason.
Breakfast At Tiffany's – This movie, while actually very successful, is a bit complex. You have to accept the good, even iconic, as well as the bad, and there's some cringeworthy stuff here.
Cult films, and fringe cinema in general, may not be your cup of tea, but it might be a lot of fun to check out a movie with which you may not have something in common. You'll either come away with an appreciation for a particular filmmaker, or you may fully understand why said movie was not popular. At the very least, you'll be able to lay down some serious movie knowledge credibility at your next trivia night.