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Most overrated movies of all time, ranked

There are plenty of great movies out there that are widely regarded as great. They’ve earned that status, and when you finally sit down to watch them, you discover that they hold up completely. The Godfather really is as good as everyone says it is. Casablanca might be 80 years old, but it’s still one of the great love stories ever committed to film.

Sometimes, though, movies earn a reputation that they don’t entirely deserve. They may be good, but they aren’t as great as everyone likes to believe. Here’s our rundown of 10 movies that fit that bill to a tee:

10. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

10. The Nightmare Before Christmas
Genre Fantasy, Animation, Family
Stars Chris Sarandon, Danny Elfman, Catherine O'Hara
Directed by Henry Selick

The stop-motion animation in Nightmare Before Christmas is a genuine wonder, and the careful design of the movie is why most people treat is as a classic to this day. What most people fail to pay attention to, though, are the movie’s actual story beats, which are mostly rote and predictable.

Not every animated movie needs to be shocking, but Nightmare Before Christmas is only surprising in what it puts on screen and seems to lack any real imagination when it comes to how to tell a story with all those brilliantly animated pieces.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) Official Trailer #1 - Animated Movie

9. The Wizard of Oz (1939)

9. The Wizard of Oz
Genre Adventure, Fantasy, Family
Stars Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley
Directed by Victor Fleming

A widely beloved movie that contains a number of genuine musical classics, The Wizard of Oz is just a little boring and conventional by modern standards. It’s design elements remain extraordinary, but it’s very hard to go into the movie without knowing every single beat of what’s going to happen.

Judy Garland is genuinely winsome as Dorothy, but the magic of the movie doesn’t feel as jaw-dropping as it once might have. It’s a lovely story, and might be great for the kids in your life, but you may turn it on and discover that it’s not the masterpiece you remember it being.

The Wizard of Oz | Digital Blu-ray Release Trailer | Warner Bros. Entertainment

8. The Breakfast Club (1985)

8. The Breakfast Club
Genre Comedy, Drama
Stars Emilio Estevez, Paul Gleason, Anthony Michael Hall
Directed by John Hughes

John Hughes’ story of five teenagers from different social circles who are forced into Saturday detention together may have added some genuine pathos to the lives of its teen characters, but it’s another movie that feels like it’s been improved on by what came after it.

The performances at the movie’s center hold up great, but the movie really falters in its final act, transforming the coolest girl in the room into a more conventionally attractive version of herself, and forcing the popular girl into the arms of the bad boy. It’s not bad, but it feels a bit generic now.

The Breakfast Club 30th Anniversary Celebration

7. American Sniper (2014)

7. American Sniper
Genre War, Action
Stars Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Kyle Gallner
Directed by Clint Eastwood

While it may have been a true phenomenon when it was released, American Sniper hasn’t aged all that well in the public imagination. The movie’s most lasting image on the internet is probably of Bradley Cooper holding a fake baby.

The movie’s actual story, which focuses on the deadliest sniper in American history, is complicated by its depiction of his various Middle Eastern adversaries and its general approach to the trauma that it’s attempting to unveil. It may have been a hit in theaters, but American Sniper was not built to last. 

American Sniper - Official Trailer [HD]

6. The King's Speech (2010)

6. The King's Speech
Genre Drama, History
Stars Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter
Directed by Tom Hooper

This Best Picture winner was seen as overrated from the second it picked up the trophy, and it mostly earns that reputation. The film, which tells the story of King George VI as he ascends to the throne and struggles to overcome a speech impediment, is funny and moving in moments, but feels exactly like the kind of thing the Oscars just love to award.

Colin Firth is genuinely great in the lead role, but on the whole, The King’s Speech is a conventional story of triumph over adversity, and it’s about a man who doesn’t really have all that much adversity to overcome.

The King's Speech (2010) Official Trailer #1 - Geoffrey Rush Movie HD

5. Frozen (2013)

5. Frozen
Genre Animation, Family, Adventure, Fantasy
Stars Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff
Directed by Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee

This movie was a genuine phenomenon upon its release in 2013, in part because of the success of the song Let It Go, but the movie doesn’t hold up all that well to the scrutiny. The animation already looks dated, and while most of the songs are pretty great, the movie’s lopsided structure is more obvious on repeat viewings.

There are basically no songs in the movie’s final hour, when things get way more serious than they probably should. The story of sisterly love at the movie’s center feels genuinely revolutionary, but other than that, Frozen is a pretty average animated movie.

Disney's Frozen Official Trailer

4. Driving Miss Daisy (1989)

4. Driving Miss Daisy
Genre Drama
Stars Morgan Freeman, Jessica Tandy, Dan Aykroyd
Directed by Bruce Beresford

Driving Miss Daisy was problematic in 1989, and even though it won Best Picture at the Oscars, that didn’t exactly help its reputation. The movie tells the story of a wealthy older woman who is prejudiced against Black people and winds up with a Black driver.

As the two bond with one another, they begin to understand one another better, and come to see that they aren’t so different after all. That may sound corny, but that’s only because Driving Miss Daisy is. Oh, and it also manages to fundamentally misunderstand racism in America. Not great.

Driving Miss Daisy (1989) Official Trailer #1 - Morgan Freeman Movie HD

3. Fight Club (1999)

3. Fight Club
Genre Drama, Thriller, Comedy
Stars Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, Helena Bonham Carter
Directed by David Fincher

Fight Club earned cult status the second it hit theaters, and it’s a movie that some people take very seriously, and others treat as the satire it was originally intended to be.

Unfortunately, the movie doesn’t work all that well as either thing, and winds up stuck in a no man’s land between the two. Brad Pitt is legitimately great as Tyler Durden, but so much of what Fight Club is about feels ao asinine and pointless today that it basically falls apart the second you know what’s really going on.

Fight Club | #TBT Trailer | 20th Century FOX

2. Forrest Gump (1994)

2. Forrest Gump
Genre Comedy, Drama, Romance
Stars Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise
Directed by Robert Zemeckis

Perhaps the most baffling phenomenon of all time, Forrest Gump is a movie about baby boomer nostalgia that came out at exactly the right moment. Forrest interacts with a number of major historical figures in this sweeping epic, but the movie’s rah-rah American spirit and irrational hatred of hippies make it feel far squarer today than it may have at the time.

Tom Hanks finds a way through what could have been a career-ending performance, but Forrest Gump is cloying and sentimental without all that much to redeem it.

1. The Blind Side (2009)

1. The Blind Side
Genre Drama
Stars Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw, Quinton Aaron
Directed by John Lee Hancock

Sandra Bullock is a powerful force, but even she can’t save The Blind Side from all the clichés that consume it. The movie tells the true story of Michael Oher, a boy who was nearly homeless, is taken in by a wealthy Southern family, and ultimately becomes a football star. It’s inspirational, but it’s also pretty cloying, and plays into a lot of pretty boring white savior tropes.

The Blind Side (2009) Official Trailer - Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw Movie HD

Editors' Recommendations

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Joe Allen
Joe Allen is a freelance writer based in upstate New York focused on movies and TV.
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