No matter how much we respect and admire their opinions, movie critics don’t get things right one hundred percent of the time. Sometimes they’re just dead wrong about movies and if they’re any good at their jobs, they’ll admit when that is the case. Here are 11 classic movies that you love that critics hated.
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
It seems unimaginable that anyone could have thought poorly of The Wizard of Oz. Admittedly, musicals aren't everyone's cup of tea and we suppose Dorothy's voyage to Oz might have seemed overly-fluffy even to a 1930's audience, but the film certainly didn't deserve the panning that it got from The New Yorker. Film critic Russell Maloney, called the film "a stinkero". He went on to say it, "displays no trace of imagination, good taste, or ingenuity… I don’t like the Singer Midgets under any circumstances, but I found them especially bothersome in Technicolor." Clearly, Maloney had a bone to pick with MGM or he was just generally bitter AF. Today The Wizard of Oz is the most-viewed motion picture on television syndication, and has a 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Fight Club (1999)
20th Century Fox/Everett
David Fincher's classic Fight Club starring Brad Pitt, Edward Norton and Helena Bonham Carter was called "hardly groundbreaking” by the New York Daily News and "a bit of a dud" by the Miami Herald. However, it seems like the late great Roger Ebert got it exactly write when he said of the film, "Fight Club is a thrill ride masquerading as philosophy – the kind of ride where some people puke and others can’t wait to get on again.” What’s interesting however, is that even that review doesn’t love it or hate it. No matter how polarizing Fincher's adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk's novel was, it was still a masterpiece to many filmgoers earning a 79% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
It's A Wonderful Life (1946)
Apparently, post-World War II America wasn't too big on sentimentally. Though we revere Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life starring Jimmy Stewart as one of the greatest movies of all time, the film's release was met with generally negative reviews, and a pretty big loss at the box office. The New York Times wrote of the film, "the weakness of this picture, from this reviewer's point of view, is the sentimentality of it—its illusory concept of life. Mr. Capra's nice people are charming, his small town is a quite beguiling place and his pattern for solving problems is most optimistic and facile. But somehow they all resemble theatrical attitudes rather than average realities." We suppose at this time, the horrors of the war made it too difficult for critics to even pretend to take this film seriously. Luckily, the next generation of moviegoers rediscovered It's A Wonderful Life and it has since held a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes.
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The Mighty Ducks (1992)
We'll just say that a 15% on Rotten Tomatoes is pretty abysmal. But that doesn't stop The Mighty Ducks from being one of the best movies of all time. Critics however DID NOT agree. Roger Ebert said that the film was "sweet and innocent, and that at a certain level it might appeal to younger kids. I doubt if its ambitions reach much beyond that." Ebert's words are kind when compared to what Rita Kempley of The Washington Post said. She wrote of the film, "Steven Brill, who has a small role in the film, constructed the screenplay much as one would put together some of those particleboard bookcases from Ikea." Yikes. It's true that children's films of the 21st century like Frozen and Zootopia have gotten way more mature and imaginative, but there certainly isn't anything wrong with a classic feel good flick like, The Mighty Ducks.
The Shining (1980)
Admittedly, Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of Stephen King's The Shining wasn't exactly loyal to the book. However, we still find Jack Nicholson's transformation into the manic and murderous Jack Torrance utterly terrifying. However, at the time of its release, critics did not agree. Variety said, "Stanley Kubrick has teamed with jumpy Jack Nicholson to destroy all that was so terrifying about Stephen King's bestseller." Roger Ebert refused to review the film on his television show saying that it was too difficult to connect with the characters. However, in 2006 Ebert went back on his initial assessment saying, "Stanley Kubrick's cold and frightening The Shining challenges us to decide: Who is the reliable observer? Whose idea of events can we trust?" Still the bad reviews and Razzie nominations didn't stop horror fans from loving the film. Today The Shining is regarded as one of the best horror movies of all times and has a 89% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Home Alone (1990)
20th Century Fox
Home Alone is easily one of the best Christmas films of all time. Seriously, anything starring Macaulay Culkin in the early '90s is actually iconic. Since we've watched the movie hundreds of times over the past 25 years and know all the words, trust us we can truly appreciate how epic Kevin McCalister and his antics against The Wet Bandits are. Unfortunately, it seems like not everyone was able to give in the magic of childhood. Roger Ebert wrote on the film,"When Kevin’s parents discover they’ve forgotten him, they find it impossible to get anyone to follow through on their panicked calls – if anyone did so, the movie would be over. The plot is so implausible that it makes it hard for us to really care about the plight of the kid." Sometimes people take adulting way too seriously. Luckily, the film and its sequel Home Alone 2: Lost in New York continue to be masterpieces even if they aren't exactly certified fresh according to Rotten Tomatoes.
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The Exorcist (1973)
1973's The Exorcist is still one of the most profitable horror movies ever made. The film, which was loosely based on true events, was declared by Rolling Stone as "nothing more than a religious porn film." RS wasn't the only publication to pan the horror film. The New York Times said the film was, "chunk of elegant occultist claptrap ... a practically impossible film to sit through ... It establishes a new low for grotesque special effects." However, it appears that film critics of the '70s just weren't ready for a film as epic as The Exorcist. Over the last 40+ years, the film's critical reputation has grown exponentially, with major publications putting the film on all types of Greatest Films lists. It has an 87% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Sometimes the critics are just dead wrong. Upon receiving Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho back in 1960, critics didn't exactly pan the classic thriller, but they weren't exactly eager to praise it either. The New York Times said it had “not an abundance of subtlety” and was an “obviously low-budget job”. It wouldn't be the first time anyone underestimated Norman Bates and it certainly won't be then last. Today the film has a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. If we didn't learn anything else, we learned that a boy's best friend is his mother.
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
Aren't you glad that today pop culture isn't still completely wrapped up in morality debates like it was in past decades. Perhaps we are a bit desensitized to blood and gore in the 21st century, but at least we are't going back and forth about graphic violence and the "glorification of murders" which was in fact unprecedented at the time of Bonnie and Clyde's release. Unfortunately, the critics of the time couldn't see past those scenes and look at the film for the masterpiece that it is. The New York Times said of the film, which starred Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty, "It is a cheap piece of bald-faced slapstick comedy that treats the hideous depredations of that sleazy, moronic pair as though they were as full of fun and frolic as the jazz-age cutups in Thoroughly Modern Millie… This blending of farce with brutal killings is as pointless as it is lacking in taste, since it makes no valid commentary upon the already travestied truth. And it leaves an astonished critic wondering just what purpose Mr. Penn and Mr. Beatty think they serve with this strangely antique, sentimental claptrap…" Luckily 50 years later, Arthur Penn's film has taken it's place in classic cinema with 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
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20th Century Fox/Everett
It's baffling to us when film critics simply refuse to suspend belief for just a second and give in to what a film is attempting to do. As is the case with Arnold Schwarzenegger's sci-fi action film Predator. We still think the film is terrifying no matter how many times we've seen it, and with a 78% Rotten Tomatoes rating and several sequels we aren't the only movie lovers who feel the same. However, at the time, The New York Times decided to rain on everyone's parade by saying that the film was "alternately grisly and dull, with few surprises."Really NYT?! You actually got through Predator without jumping out of your chair. Still our favorite review was by the The Christian Science Monitor who tried to add in their two cents by saying, "Arnold Schwarzenegger fights an outer-space monster in a third-world jungle. The monster never has a chance. Neither does the jungle. Neither does the audience.” Um... OK guys.
All About Eve (1950)
20th Century Fox/Everett
It seems like Hollywood has often taken real issue with women acting less that "demurely". As was the case with the critical reception of Bette Davis in All About Eve. The film follows Davis' character Margo Channing, a huge Broadway star who takes up and coming actress Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter) under her wing. All appears well until Margo discovers the younger woman is trying to sabotage both her career and her relationships. While most critics saw the film for the sensation that it is, The New Republic was steadfast in their disagreement saying, "It is not true, as you may have heard, that All About Eve is a great picture and proof that Hollywood has grown up overnight. Its highly polished, often witty surface hides an unenterprising plot and some preposterous human behavior.” Apparently, TNR thought women weren't smart enough to be capable of such behavior. Luckily, everyone ignored the The New Republic and the film remains 100% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.