Cult Classics: 15 Must-Watch Movies That Grew in Popularity over Time

Cult Classics: 15 Must-Watch Movies That Grew in Popularity over Time


When it comes to movies, there are those that achieve great success at the box office upon their release, and then there are those that fly under the radar but slowly gain a dedicated following over time. These are the cult classics – the must-watch movies that may not have been popular when they first came out, but have since garnered a loyal fanbase and achieved a cult status. In this article, we’ll take a look at 15 such movies that have grown in popularity over time and have become cult classics in their own right.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a musical comedy horror film that has gained a massive cult following, particularly for its interactive midnight screenings. The film, which was a commercial flop upon its initial release, has since become a cultural phenomenon, with fans dressing up as characters and participating in audience rituals during screenings.

Donnie Darko (2001)

Donnie Darko is a mind-bending science fiction film that initially struggled to find an audience but has since become a beloved cult classic. With its complex storyline and thought-provoking themes, the film has gained a dedicated following and has been the subject of much discussion and analysis among fans.

The Big Lebowski (1998)

The Big Lebowski, directed by the Coen brothers, is a crime comedy film that was a box office disappointment but has since achieved cult status. The film’s quirky characters, offbeat humor, and quotable dialogue have endeared it to a loyal fanbase, and it has become a favorite among cinephiles and cult movie enthusiasts.

Office Space (1999)

Office Space is a workplace comedy that underperformed at the box office but has since become a cult favorite. The film’s satirical take on office culture and its relatable portrayal of the daily grind have resonated with audiences, leading to its status as a cult classic.


In conclusion, cult classics are a testament to the enduring power of film and the impact that movies can have on audiences over time. Whether they were initially overlooked or misunderstood, these 15 must-watch movies have grown in popularity and have earned their status as beloved cult classics. From The Rocky Horror Picture Show to Donnie Darko to The Big Lebowski, these films have found a special place in the hearts of movie lovers and continue to inspire passion and devotion among fans.


1. What makes a movie a cult classic?
A movie becomes a cult classic when it develops a dedicated and passionate fanbase over time, often through word of mouth and grassroots movements.

2. How do cult classics differ from mainstream movies?
Cult classics often have a more niche appeal and may not have achieved commercial success upon their initial release, but they have a loyal following that continues to grow.

3. Are cult classics only from a certain genre?
No, cult classics can come from any genre, including horror, comedy, science fiction, and drama. What sets them apart is their dedicated fanbase rather than their genre.

4. What role do midnight screenings play in the cult status of some movies?
Midnight screenings can foster a sense of community among fans and allow for interactive experiences that contribute to the cult status of certain movies.

5. Why do some cult classics gain popularity long after their release?
Some movies may have been ahead of their time or failed to find an audience upon their initial release, but over time, they find new fans who appreciate their unique qualities.

6. Can a movie be a cult classic and a mainstream success at the same time?
It’s possible for a movie to achieve both cult status and mainstream success, though it’s more common for cult classics to have a smaller, dedicated following.

7. What are some examples of cult classics that have influenced popular culture?
Movies like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Big Lebowski, and Donnie Darko have had a significant impact on popular culture, inspiring fan events, merchandise, and even spin-offs.

8. Do cult classics always have to be older movies, or can newer releases become cult classics as well?
While many cult classics are older movies that have gained status over time, there are also newer releases that have quickly developed a passionate fanbase and are well on their way to becoming cult classics.

9. How can someone discover cult classic movies that they may not have heard of?
To discover cult classics, one can explore film festivals, independent cinemas, and online communities where movie enthusiasts share recommendations and celebrate lesser-known gems.

10. What is it about cult classics that makes them so enduring and beloved by fans?
Cult classics often possess unique qualities, such as unconventional storytelling, memorable characters, and thought-provoking themes that resonate with audiences and inspire continued interest and devotion.

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