These ten great indie movies showcase how films made on relatively slim budgets can still be very special. In fact, all of these are truly great films by any standard, and can stand among the greatest films of all time. In many cases, working on indie films allows filmmakers to push the envelope in ways they couldn’t normally get away with.

  1. “Reservoir Dogs” If you’re looking for an example of what really great indie movies are supposed to be, this is the perfect blueprint. Quentin Tarantino’s classic about a heist gone wrong is constantly surprising and endlessly riveting.

  2. “Sex, Lies, and Videotape” This movie helped launch the career of director Steven Soderbergh, and it’s loaded to the gills with style. It’s one of the greatest indie films that deals with the subject of sexuality and the dangers of pushing the envelope into forbidden territory.

  3. “Eraserhead” This is one of the strangest films on this list of great indie movies. It’s about a man with a strange wormlike child and the moral dilemmas he faces.

  4. “Buffalo ‘66” This movie is about a disturbed man who forces a passive woman to do his bidding for an entire day. Some consider the film to be very sexist, and it may be to some extent, but it’s also riveting and honest.

  5. “Night of the Living Dead” George Romero’s classic horror film is an example of why the fright genre is especially well suited to an indie environment. Every scene in this movie pushes the envelope, especially when you consider the time it was made in.

  6. “In The Company of Men” This is a movie about two workers who decide to mentally abuse a woman who works with them as a prank. It’s very disturbing and would never have been made by the big studios.

  7. “Happiness” This is probably the most disturbing movie on this list of the great indie movies. It delves into some very icky subject matter, and manages to do so in a thought provoking and interesting way.

  8. “Juno” This is one of the great indie movies that manages to be a feel good experience without seeming overly sentimental or soft. It’s about a teenage girl who gets pregnant and what she decides to do. 

  9. “Exotica” This isn’t as well known as some of the other great indie movies, but it deserves to be. The story line is incredibly complex, and it centers around a strip club and a strange relationship between one of the strippers and one of the customers.

  10. “Lost in Translation” This movie has a lot to say about life in Japan, and relationships between people of different ages. It helped make director Sophia Coppola a star.