27 Independent Movies All Film Lovers Should See!

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Independent movies provide many interesting stories from around the world and take us to many places! This list can be counted as an introduction to those who would like to begin watching independent movies. Prepare your popcorn and enjoy!

***All of the movie synopses originally appeared on IMDb.

1. El Mariachi (1992)

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IMDb: 7.0

El Mariachi just wants to play his guitar and carry on the family tradition. Unfortunately, the town he tries to find work in has another visitor...a killer who carries his guns in a guitar case. The drug lord and his henchmen mistake El Mariachi for the killer, Azul, and chase him around town trying to kill him and get his guitar case.

2. Wristcutters: A Love Story (2006)

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IMDb: 7.4

Despondent over his breakup with Desiree, Zia slashes his wrists and goes to an afterlife peopled by suicides, a high-desert landscape dotted by old tires, burned-out cars, and abandoned sofas. He gets a job in a pizza joint. By chance, Zia learns that Desiree offed herself a few months after he did, and she's looking for him. He sets off with Eugene (an electrocuted Russian rocker) to find her, and they pick up a hitchhiker, Mikal, who's looking for the People in Charge, believing she's there by mistake. They're soon at the camp of Kneller, where casual miracles proliferate. They hear rumors of a miraculous king. Can Zia find Desiree? Then what?

3. Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer (2006)

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IMDb: 7.5

Jean-Baptiste Grenouille came into the world unwanted, expected to die, yet born with an unnerving sense of smell that created alienation as well as talent. Of all the smells around him, Grenouille is beckoned to the scent of a woman's soul, and spends the rest of his life attempting to smell her essence again by becoming a perfumer, and creating the essence of an innocence lost.

4. Sideways (2004)

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IMDb: 7.6

A week before his friend Jack is to be married, best man Miles and the prospective groom head off to wine country for a week of fun, relaxation and - of course - wine drinking. Miles is the oenophile and does his best to teach Jack a bit about the art of appreciating great wine. All Jack cares about is drinking and carousing, something he accomplishes when he meets the attractive Stephanie at one of the vineyards. Miles is something of a sad sack, a high school English teacher who is a failed writer at heart. He has yet to get over the fact that his wife has divorced him and that she has remarried and he now faces that nerve racking wait for word from a prospective publisher. Miles has an opportunity to start anew when he meets Stephanie's friend Maya but when he let's slip that Jack is about to be married any hope of a relationship seems to be lost.

5. Juno (2007)

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IMDb: 7.6

A tale told over four seasons, starting in autumn when Juno, a 16-year-old high-school junior in Minnesota, discovers she's pregnant after one event in a chair with her best friend, Bleeker. In the waiting room of an abortion clinic, the quirky and whip-sharp Juno decides to give birth and to place the child with an adoptive couple. She finds one in the PennySaver personals, contacts them, tells her dad and step-mother, and carries on with school. The chosen parents, upscale yuppies (one of whom is cool and laid back, the other meticulous and uptight), meet Juno, sign papers, and the year unfolds. Will Juno's plan work, can she improvise, and what about Bleeker?

6. Los Amantes del Círculo Polar (1998)

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IMDb: 7.8

Otto and Ana are kids when they meet each other. Their names are palindromes. They meet by chance, people are related by chance. A story of circular lives, with circular names, and a circular place (Círculo polar) where the day never ends in the midnight sun. There are things that never end, and Love is one of them.

7. Run Lola Run (1998)

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IMDb: 7.8

Lola receives a phone call from her boyfriend Manni. He lost 100,000 DM in a subway train that belongs to a very bad guy. Lola has 20 min to raise this amount and meet Manni. Otherwise, he will rob a store to get the money. Three different alternatives may happen depending on some minor event along Lola's run.

8. Being John Malkovich (1999)

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IMDb: 7.8

Puppeteer Craig Schwartz and animal lover and pet store clerk Lotte Schwartz are just going through the motions of their marriage. Despite not being able to earn a living solely through puppeteering, Craig loves his profession as it allows him to inhabit the skin of others. He begins to take the ability to inhabit the skin of others to the next level when he is forced to take a job as a file clerk for the off-kilter LesterCorp, located on the five-foot tall 7½ floor of a Manhattan office building. Behind one of the filing cabinets in his work area, Craig finds a hidden door which he learns is a portal into the mind of John Malkovich, the visit through the portal which lasts fifteen minutes after which the person is spit into a ditch next to the New Jersey Turnpike. Craig is fascinated by the meaning of life associated with this finding. Lotte's trips through the portal make her evaluate her own self.

9. Lost in Translation (2003)

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IMDb: 7.8

Middle-aged American movie star Bob Harris is in Tokyo to film a personal endorsement Suntory whiskey ad solely for the Japanese market. He is past his movie star prime, but his name and image still have enough cachet for him to have gotten this lucrative $2 million job. He has an unsatisfying home life where his wife Lydia follows him wherever he goes - in the form of messages and faxes - for him to deal with the minutiae of their everyday lives, while she stays at home to look after their kids. Staying at the same upscale hotel is fellow American, twenty-something recent Yale Philosophy graduate Charlotte, her husband John, an entertainment still photographer, who is on assignment in Japan. As such, she is largely left to her own devices in the city, especially when his job takes him out of Tokyo.

10. The Fall (2006)

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IMDb: 7.9

At a Los Angeles hospital in the 1920s, Alexandria is a child recovering from a broken arm. She befriends Roy Walker, a movie stunt man with legs paralyzed after a fall. At her request, Roy tells her an elaborate story about six men of widely varied backgrounds who are on a quest to kill a corrupt provincial governor. Between chapters of the story, Roy inveigles Alexandria to scout the hospital's pharmacy for morphine. As Roy's fantastic tale nears its end, Death seems close at hand.

11. The Machinist (2004)

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IMDb: 7.8

Trevor Reznik is a machinist in a factory. An extreme case of insomnia has led to him not sleeping in a year, and his body withering away to almost nothing. He has an obsessive compulsion to write himself reminder notes and keep track of his dwindling weight, both scribbled on yellow stickies in his apartment. The only person he lets into his life in an emotional sense is Stevie, a prostitute, although he has an infatuation with Maria, a single mother waitress working in an airport diner. His co-workers don't associate with and mistrust him because of not knowing what is going on in his life that has led to his emaciated physical appearance. A workplace incident further alienates him with his coworkers, and in conjunction with some unfamiliar pieces of paper he finds in his apartment, Trevor believes that someone or some people - probably one or some of his coworkers - are out to get him, using a phantom employee named Ivan as their front.

12. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

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IMDb: 7.9

In Albuquerque, Sheryl Hoover brings her suicidal brother Frank to the breast of her dysfunctional and emotionally bankrupted family. Frank is homosexual, an expert in Proust. He tried to commit suicide when he was rejected by his boyfriend and his great competitor became renowned and recognized as number one in the field of Proust. Sheryl's husband Richard is unsuccessfully trying to sell his self-help and self-improvement technique using nine steps to reach success, but he is actually a complete loser. Her son Dwayne has taken a vow of silence as a follower of Nietzsche and aims to be a jet pilot. Dwayne's grandfather Edwin was sent away from the institution for elders (Sunset Manor) and is addicted in heroin. When her seven-year-old daughter Olive has a chance to dispute the Little Miss Sunshine pageant in Redondo Beach, California, the whole family travels together in their old Volkswagen Type 2 (Kombi) in a funny journey of hope of winning the talent contest.

13. Short Term 12 (2013)

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IMDb: 8.0

At a foster-care facility for at-risk teenagers, Grace is a young counselor trying to do her best for kids who often have been pulled from the worst kinds of home situations. Even then, life is not easy as Grace and her colleagues care for kids who are too often profoundly scarred, even as they try to have lives of their own. Now, things are coming to a head as Grace readies for marriage even as some her charges are coming to major turning points in their lives. To cope, Grace will have to make difficult perceptions and decisions that could put her career, and more importantly her charges, at dire risk.

14. C.R.A.Z.Y. (2005)

IMDb: 8.0

Born Christmas Day 1960, Zac Beaulieu is the fourth of five sons of Gervais and Laurianne Beaulieu. Zac feels somewhat disconnected to his brothers, all of whom are different from each other. They include the bookworm Christian who is the eldest, the dumb jock Antoine who is third, and the youngest Yvan. But Zac has the most contempt for his second eldest brother, the shiftless druggie Raymond. To his devout Catholic mother, Zac is her miracle son, both for being born the same day as Jesus Christ (a fact which Zac has always hated), and because a Tupperware-selling mystic once told her that he has the power to heal. Laurianne has always coddled Zac, the two who have a special if unspoken bond. But Zac wants more to please his father, who wants more than anything in his sons that they grow up to be man's men and not sissies. As Zac goes through his mid-teens to early twenties, Zac isn't sure if he can live up to the ideals of either his mother or especially his father.

15. The Man from Earth (2007)

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IMDb: 8.0

An impromptu goodbye party for Professor John Oldman becomes a mysterious interrogation after the retiring scholar reveals to his colleagues he has a longer and stranger past than they can imagine.

16. Black Swan (2010)

IMDb: 8.0

Nina (Portman) is a ballerina in a New York City ballet company whose life, like all those in her profession, is completely consumed with dance. She lives with her obsessive former ballerina mother Erica (Hershey) who exerts a suffocating control over her. When artistic director Thomas Leroy (Cassel) decides to replace prima ballerina Beth MacIntyre (Ryder) for the opening production of their new season, Swan Lake, Nina is his first choice. But Nina has competition: a new dancer, Lily (Kunis), who impresses Leroy as well. Swan Lake requires a dancer who can play both the White Swan with innocence and grace, and the Black Swan, who represents guile and sensuality. Nina fits the White Swan role perfectly but Lily is the personification of the Black Swan. As the two young dancers expand their rivalry into a twisted friendship, Nina begins to get more in touch with her dark side - a recklessness that threatens to destroy her.

17. Lakposhtha parvaz mikonand (2004)

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IMDb: 8.1

On the Kurdish refugee camp on the Iraqi-Turkish border, the boy Satellite is the leader of the kids. He commands them to clear and collect American undetonated minefields in the fields to sell them in the street market and he installs antennae for the villagers. He goes with the local leader to buy a parabolic antenna to learn the news about the eminent American invasion but nobody speaks English and Satellite that knows a couple of words is assigned to translate the Fox News. When the orphans Agrin and her armless brother Hengov and the blind toddler Riga come from Halabcheh to the camp, Satellite falls in an unrequited love for Egrin. But the girl is traumatized by a cruel raid in her home, when her parents were murdered and she was raped. She wants to leave Riga behind and travel with her brother Hengov to another place, but he does not agree with her intention.

18. Bin-jip (2004)

IMDb: 8.1

The lonely and silent rider Tae-suk breaks in empty houses and lives a normal life while the owners are traveling. He does not steal anything and moves from house to house without any loss other than food, and he cleans the houses, provides small repairs or washes some clothes to pay for the hospitality. When he enters in the house of Sun-hwa, he does not see the woman that is wounded in her room after being beaten up on by her abusive husband Min-gyu Lee. Tae-suk helps the hurt woman and when Min-gyu returns, he hits the husband with golf balls and Sun-hwa leaves her husband with Tae-suk on his motorcycle. When they break in the house of an old man, they find that the man is dead and Tae-suk provides funeral service for him. However, his son returns and Tae-suk and Sun-hwa are arrested by two abusive police detectives. He is sent to prison and Sun-hwa is forced to return home. But she never forgets him.

19. Donnie Darko (2001)

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IMDb: 8.1

Donnie Darko doesn't get along too well with his family, his teachers and his classmates; but he does manage to find a sympathetic friend in Gretchen, who agrees to date him. He has a compassionate psychiatrist, who discovers hypnosis is the means to unlock hidden secrets. His other companion may not be a true ally. Donnie has a friend named Frank - a large bunny which only Donnie can see. When an engine falls off a plane and destroys his bedroom, Donnie is not there. Both the event, and Donnie's escape, seem to have been caused by supernatural events. Donnie's mental illness, if such it is, may never allow him to find out for sure.

20. Amores perros (2000)

IMDb: 8.1

Three interconnected stories about the different strata of life in Mexico City all resolve with a fatal car accident. Octavio is trying to raise enough money to run away with his sister-in-law, and decides to enter his dog Cofi into the world of dogfighting. After a dogfight goes bad, Octavio flees in his car, running a red light and causing the accident. Daniel and Valeria's new-found bliss is prematurely ended when she loses her leg in the accident. El Chivo is a homeless man who cares for stray dogs and is there to witness the collision.

21. Twelve Monkeys (1995)

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IMDb: 8.1

An unknown and lethal virus has wiped out five billion people in 1996. Only 1% of the population has survived by the year 2035, and is forced to live underground. A convict (James Cole) reluctantly volunteers to be sent back in time to 1996 to gather information about the origin of the epidemic (who he's told was spread by a mysterious "Army of the Twelve Monkeys") and locate the virus before it mutates so that scientists can study it. Unfortunately Cole is mistakenly sent to 1990, six years earlier than expected, and is arrested and locked up in a mental institution, where he meets Dr. Kathryn Railly, a psychiatrist, and Jeffrey Goines, the insane son of a famous scientist and virus expert.

22. Jagten (2012)

IMDb: 8.3

Lucas is a Kindergarten teacher who takes great care of his students. Unfortunately for him, young Klara has a run-away imagination and concocts a lie about her teacher. Before Lucas is even able to understand the consequences, he has become the outcast of the town. The hunt is on to prove his innocence before it's taken from him for good.

23. Reservoir Dogs (1992)

IMDb: 8.4

Six criminals, who are strangers to each other, are hired by a crime boss, Joe Cabot, to carry out a diamond robbery. Right at the outset, they are given false names with the intention that they won't get too close and will concentrate on the job instead. They are completely sure that the robbery is going to be a success. But, when the police show up right at the time and the site of the robbery, panic spreads amongst the group members, and two of them are killed in the subsequent shootout, along with a few policemen and civilians. When the remaining people assemble at the premeditated rendezvous point (a warehouse), they begin to suspect that one of them is an undercover cop.

24. Jodaeiye Nader az Simin (2011)

IMDb: 8.5

Nader (Peyman Moaadi) and Simin (Leila Hatami) argue about living abroad. Simin prefers to live abroad to provide better opportunities for their only daughter, Termeh. However, Nader refuses to go because he thinks he must stay in Iran and take care of his father (Ali-Asghar Shahbazi), who suffers from Alzheimers. However, Simin is determined to get a divorce and leave the country with her daughter

25. Memento (2000)

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IMDb: 8.5Memento chronicles two separate stories of Leonard, an ex-insurance investigator who can no longer build new memories, as he attempts to find the murderer of his wife, which is the last thing he remembers. One story line moves forward in time while the other tells the story backwards revealing more each time.

26. Cidade de Deus (2002)

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IMDb: 8.7

Brazil, 1960s, City of God. The Tender Trio robs motels and gas trucks. Younger kids watch and learn well...too well. 1970s: Li'l Zé has prospered very well and owns the city. He causes violence and fear as he wipes out rival gangs without mercy. His best friend Bené is the only one to keep him on the good side of sanity. Rocket has watched these two gain power for years, and he wants no part of it. Yet he keeps getting swept up in the madness. All he wants to do is take pictures. 1980s: Things are out of control between the last two remaining gangs...will it ever end? Welcome to the City of God.

27. The Usual Suspects (1995)

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IMDb: 8.7

Following a truck hijack in New York, five conmen are arrested and brought together for questioning. As none of them are guilty, they plan a revenge operation against the police. The operation goes well, but then the influence of a legendary mastermind criminal called Keyser Söze is felt. It becomes clear that each one of them has wronged Söze at some point and must pay back now. The payback job leaves 27 men dead in a boat explosion, but the real question arises now: Who actually is Keyser Söze?

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