The 15 Greatest Low-Budget Movies of All Time

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These 15 amazing films were filmed on a small budget and became big hits. For the past few years, we have seen a surge of special effects in the cinema: more and more 3D, scenes shot on a green background, explosions, ultra-realistic monsters, incredible scenery, famous actors and incredible budget. But there have always been, and there will always be, films that will win the hearts of millions of viewers and critics with just a good script and a few thousand dollars in budget.

Here we have selected 15 examples of low budget films, in very different genres, from melodrama to science fiction, which has been very successful. We invite you to immerse yourself in their unique atmospheres.

  1. The Breakfast Club (1985) – Five high school students must remain locked up in their schools as punishment for disobedience. They are not the same at all, but each has a marked personality, full of secrets and particularities. It is one of the essential modern films for young people, and it was filmed with a minimum budget of $ 1 million, which did not prevent it from becoming a cult film.
  2. Fruitvale Station (2013) – The story of an ordinary man who decides to start over. And he does it well until his criminal past begins to reappear. A true tale without cinematic tricks in which the heroes are the hostages of destiny and the spectators are the witnesses of the inevitable. The movie was filmed with a budget of $ 900.000.
  3. Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995) – Dawn Wiener completed high school and found it challenging to support the people around her: her classmates laughing at her, the teachers putting pressure on her, and even her family, who didn’t understand her. But one day, the vicious circle is broken when an unexpected friendship is born in Dawn’s life. The film, in the spotlight, talks about the difficulty of becoming an adult. This film was filmed with a budget of $ 800,000.
  4. My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown (1989) – This Oscar-winning film tells the story of a strong man who cannot be overcome by cerebral palsy. With the help of his left foot, spared by illness, he painted pictures and wrote a book, struggling against the difficulties imposed by fate with incredible courage and tenacity. The movie was filmed with a budget of $ 736.000.
  5. Half Nelson (2006) – Dan is young, talented and charismatic. In other words, he possesses all the qualities he needs to succeed in his profession as a school teacher. But Dan has another dark side: his addiction, which is discovered one day by one of his students. Friendship, based on a secret now shared, can lead you anywhere. The film was filmed with minimal investment, both in money and time: it was shot in just 23 days, but its quality was not affected at all, on the contrary. With a budget of 700 000 dollars was filmed this movie.
  6. Lunch on August 15 (2008) – A middle-aged Italian is riddled with debt, but he is not discouraged. He has an elderly mother to look after, and not just her. A comedy that plunges you into the authentic atmosphere of Rome and that did not need an exorbitant budget to win the hearts of the spectators. This one was filmed with a budget of 526 000 dollars.
  7. Separation (2011) – Divorce is never a simple process. But for Nader and Simín, a couple of Iranians, this divorce will turn into an event that will ultimately transform their lives upside down. This highly emotional drama has received numerous awards, including an Oscar and a Golden Globe, something unprecedented for a film with such a low budget.
  8. Brick (2005) – Brendan Frye, a nonconformist, learns of the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend and decides to find her at all costs. The investigation, which at first seemed insignificant, began to develop a very dark and dangerous side. A different police film that does not leave room for clichés and banalities. The movie was filmed with a budget of 475 000 dollars.
  9. Napoleon Dynamite (2004) – Napoleon, a somewhat strange teenager, and his friend Pedro are running in student elections trying to wrest victory from their very popular classmates. This extraordinary comedy has become one of the most successful low-budget films in history, bringing in $ 46 million, an unreal amount for a film of this kind. This movie was filmed on a budget of $ 400.000.
  10. Bronson (2008) – Charles Bronson is considered the most dangerous criminal in England: he spent nearly forty years in solitary confinement. A realistic film that, minute after minute, plunges the viewer into a different and dangerous existence. A fantastic movie, and impeccably realized. And this one was filmed on a budget of 230.000 dollars.
  11. Wendy and Lucy – (2008) – Solitude, friendship, and sacrifice are elements of this story about the life of Wendy, a young woman who decides to change her existence, accompanied by her dog Lucy. A long journey full of adventures and warm feelings awaits them. The movie was filmed on a budget of 200.000.
  12. Once (2006) – A street musician and a young woman meet in the streets of Dublin and realize that after all, soul mates do exist. This beautiful lyrical and musical film became famous all over the world despite the fact that its creators were very limited economically for filming. The soundtrack is extraordinary. This is one of the movies which was filmed in a low-budget.
  13. Another Earth (2011) – Scientists have discovered a copy of our planet where people live with their own destiny and their own sky on their heads. Rhoda, a brilliant young graduate in astrophysics whose life was upset precisely because of Earth 2, dreams of this other reality more than anyone. What if she can get there? What if she could meet again? In the Company of Men, 1997two colleagues set out on a business trip that was awfully boring. They then decide to make things a little spicy and court a local beauty, without suspecting where this plan will lead them. It seemed impossible to make a film with this amount of money, but here is the proof: not only were they able to make a film, but they were able to make an exceptional film.
  14. Following (1998) – The encounter between a failed writer and a thief leads to their mutual decision to become accomplices. But neither of them knows that this is part of a plan that the other has developed. It was a premiere for Christopher Nolan, who had not yet shot the Prestige, Batman Begins and Interstellar, but was already talented enough to make a film with one of the lowest budgets ($ 6000) in history and make it masterful.
  15. In the company of men (1997) – Two colleagues are embarking on a business trip that is boring. They then decide to make things a little spicy and court a local beauty, without suspecting where this plan will lead them. It seemed impossible to make a film with this amount of money ($25.000), but here is the proof: not only were they able to make a film, but they were able to make an exceptional film.