. Top 10 Classic Movies that Were Panned by Critics - LadyS Reviews

Top 10 Classic Movies that Were Panned by Critics

       In the age of IMDB, Cinemascore and Rotten Tomatoes, it’s easy to see the general movie critic's opinions in just a score. However back then, it wasn’t so easy. If people wanted to know if a movie was good enough to see, they had to read reviews from only certain critics that write for their trusted magazines and newspapers. Critics, like everyone else have independent opinions expressed by their experience and cynical thinking. Sometimes however, when movies come out that introduce a new way of filmmaking, or too-outside-the-box experience receive mixed to negative reviews. Whether by the support of a dedicated fanbase or by the development of the film industry, these ten movies broke the boundaries and in time became classics.

The Shining

   Back in the 80s, The Shining was not a popular movie. While it did decent in the box office, it wasn’t until a few years ago that it was regarded as a modern masterpiece in cinema. The common criticism was the movie’s slow pace and the book to screen adaption. It became one of Kubrick few movies to receive no Oscars or Golden Globe nominations. It even was nominated for Worst Actress and Worst Director at the Razzie’s.

The Thing


    We know it now as one of the greatest horror movies ever made, it’s makeup special effects was way ahead of its time, and its fingerprints all over films with the same genres. But when it first came out in 1982 it was completely scorned by critics. Vincent Canby’s review for New York Times called it "a foolish, depressing, overproduced movie that mixes horror with science fiction to make something that is fun as neither one thing or the other. Sometimes it looks as if it aspired to be the quintessential moron movie of the 80s." The Thing was also nominated in the Razzie Awards for Worst Musical Score.

Fight Club

    It’s not an exaggeration to say that Fight Club is perhaps one of the most controversial movies of all times. In our modern world, the film made lots of lists as one of the greatest movies ever made, or best movies of the 90s. The Quote “The first rule of fight club is you do not talk about fight club," made Premiere’s list as the 27th greatest movie line of all time. In the 90s however, critics either loved or hated it. Some showed concern over copy-cats incidents like what happened with A Clockwork Orange. The film’s harsh criticism reflected on its box office performance, and The British Board of Film Classification removed two scenes in the UK for violence.

Blade Runner

   The criticism for Blade Runner ranged from slow pacing events, to lack of development in the 80s. Ridley Scott’s version of the movie was not the theatrical cut, and instead Harrison Ford was forced to record voiceover narration to simplify the movie further. Critics saw the narration as tasteless yet annoying enough to rid the movie of its complexity. Ridley’s version made it to the Home Media cut, which elevated it to cult classic status that citied Blade Runner as one of the most well respected sci-fi films ever made. Even though it bombed at the box office, a sequel was released in 2017 that was better received than the original.

2001: A Space Odyssey

   One of the most influential movie in cinema history was once called "a monumentally unimaginative movie" by Pauline Kael. The three hours runtime and perplexing plot was what the main negative reviews were about it. While it was considered a major accomplishment in special effects and cinematography in 1968, Kubrick was criticized for the dullness and the lack of human connection. Today, 2011: A Space Odyssey is considered Kubrick’s signature movie, and one the foremost inventive film of the 20th century.

The Wizard of Oz

   Everyone knows the Wizard of Oz, everyone loves The Wizard of Oz. But it wasn’t always the case in 1939. The film was criticized for its lack of imagination and ingenuity. Some critics went as far as calling it cringy. The film was also a major box-office flop, but when it was re-released ten years later it made profit. Wizard of Oz’s presence on tv led it to be one of the most seen and known films of all time.

The Exorcist

   The Exorcist critical reception grew considerably over the years. And while many horror movies of today borrow elements from it, it wasn’t so popular with critics in 1973. The heavy disapproval was on the grotesque special effects, to the point where they wanted the “R” rating to change to “X”. Rolling Stone called the movie "nothing more than a religious porn film.” It was later edited to show on television, where it reached an even bigger audience that cemented its legacy in the horror movie genre.


   Scarface’s box-office success did little to change critic’s minds, who found its overly foul language and graphic violence off putting and controversial. Writers like Kurt Vonnegut and John Irving allegedly walked out in disgust after the infamous chainsaw scene. It single handedly launched the careers of Mastrantonio and Pfeiffer. Today Scarface is considered one of the greatest gangster movies ever made.


   This Ridley Scott’s horror/sci-fi classic was poorly critically received mostly due to the critic’s unfavourable opinions towards science fiction films at the time. Alien was criticized for it imaginative deficiency and was declared a disappointment compared to competition like Star Wars. A lot of critics re-evaluated their reviews when the Director cut was released later. The film’s big box-office success garnered a big dedicated fanbase. It went on to win an Academy Award for Visual Effects in 1979.

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory

   The critics hated how the film strayed from the source material. Roald Dahl practically disowned the movie because of casting choices and the changes that were made regarding the film’s focus on Willy Wonka instead of Charlie. It did poorly in its box office run during 1971, but due to home media sales and numerous television showings it became a certified family movie.