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The Best Experimental Movies

Updated February 18, 2020 2.1k votes 289 voters 15.3k views106 items

List RulesVote for your personal favorite Experimental film films, regardless of how popular or successful they were at the box office.

This is a list of all the best experimental film movies of all time, many of which are streaming on Netflix and Amazon Prime.

The experimental film genre, also known as avant garde movies or experimental cinema, works to explore non-narrative alternatives to the traditional mode of movie narratives by re-evaluating cinematic conventions. The majority of movies within the experimental film genre are very low-budget films, but some have been distributed through more mainstream channels.

Make sure to give movies you like best, like American Gothic or Vanya on 42nd Street, a vote up. Other movies on this list include Rayning and T Is for Tumbleweed, but if we missed any avant garde movies on this list by famous directors like Stan Brakhage and Maya Deren, please add them yourself, as this is an open list, which means you can add any movies whenever you like (choices are subject to moderation). The films on this list cover the top experimental films of all time and is currently ordered from best to worst, according to your votes.  

So whether you're at home and want to watch these experimental movies on DVD or streaming… or if you're seeing them in theatres for the first time, this list of the best experimental movies will help you decide what to watch. So from the latest, to the greatest of the avant garde cinema, here is the full list of experimental films, ordered from best to worst.

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  • Seven Servants1
    149
    5

    Seven Servants

    Anthony Quinn, Audra McDonald

    Released1996

    Directed byDaryush Shokof

    Seven Servants is a USA — Germany co-production 1996 German drama — comedy film directed by... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Breathful2
    111
    8

    Breathful

    Daryush Shokof, Ulrike Schirm

    Released2007

    Directed byDaryush Shokof

    Breathful is a 2007 gangster-comedy film directed by Daryush Shokof. Featuring an all-female... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Flushers3
    98
    7

    Flushers

    Claudine Biswas, Kimberly Gessner

    Released2013

    Directed byDaryush Shokof

    Flushers, is a USA Comedy feature film Produced, written,and directed by Daryush Shokof which... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Asudem4
    83
    6

    Asudem

    Yangzom Brauen, Joachim Paul Assböck

    Released2006

    Directed byDaryush Shokof

    Asudem is an American horror film written and directed by Daryush Shokof. Asudem is the... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • An Andalusian Dog5
    52
    13

    An Andalusian Dog

    Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, Luis Buñuel

    Released1929

    Directed byLuis Buñuel

    UN CHIEN ANDALOU consists of sixteen minutes of bizarre and surreal images that may or may not... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie6
    37
    8

    The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

    Michel Piccoli, Fernando Rey

    Released1972

    Directed byLuis Buñuel

    The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie is a 1972 surrealist film directed by Luis Buñuel and... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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    #680 of 1,189 Every Oscar Winning Film Ever#302 of 553 The Best '70s Movies

  • Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me7
    38
    13

    Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me

    David Bowie, Heather Graham

    Released1992

    Directed byDavid Lynch

    Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me is a 1992 American psychological horror film, directed by David... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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    #371 of 720 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time#100 of 204 The Best Drug Movies of All Time

  • Eraserhead8
    45
    21

    Eraserhead

    Jack Nance, Jeanne Bates

    Released1977

    Directed byDavid Lynch

    Eraserhead is a 1977 American experimental body horror film directed by David Lynch. Henry... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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    #165 of 242 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time#191 of 224 The Best Black and White Movies Ever Made

  • Man with a Movie Camera9
    Man with a Movie Camera is an experimental 1929 silent documentary film, with no story and no... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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    #108 of 351 The Greatest Documentaries of All Time#28 of 28 The Best Movies Where Nothing Really Happens

  • Julien Donkey-Boy10
    29
    8

    Julien Donkey-Boy

    Chloë Sevigny, Werner Herzog

    Released1999

    Directed byHarmony Korine

    Julien Donkey-Boy is a 1999 American drama film written and directed by Harmony Korine. The... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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    #12 of 15 15 Controversial Indie Movies with Disquieting Inbreeding Plots#45 of 181 The Best R-Rated Family Drama Movies

  • Tetsuo: The Iron Man11
    27
    10

    Tetsuo: The Iron Man

    Shinya Tsukamoto, Renji Ishibashi

    Released1989

    Directed byShinya Tsukamoto

    Tetsuo: The Iron Man is a 1989 Japanese cyberpunk film by cult-film director Shinya Tsukamoto... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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    #357 of 522 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked#48 of 60 The Best Horror Movies About Evil Experiments

  • My Winnipeg12
    18
    3

    My Winnipeg

    Ann Savage, Darcy Fehr

    Released2007

    Directed byGuy Maddin

    My Winnipeg is a 2007 film directed and written by Guy Maddin with dialogue by George Toles.... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Koyaanisqatsi13
    28
    20

    Koyaanisqatsi

    Lou Dobbs

    Released1983

    Directed byGodfrey Reggio

    Koyaanisqatsi, also known as Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance, is a 1982 film directed by... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • The Color of Pomegranates14
    15
    7

    The Color of Pomegranates

    Sofiko Chiaureli, Vilen Galstyan

    Released1968

    Directed bySergei Parajanov

    The Color of Pomegranates is a 1969 Soviet film written and directed by Sergei Parajanov. It... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Gerry15
    17
    10

    Gerry

    Matt Damon, Casey Affleck

    Released2003

    Directed byGus Van Sant

    Gerry is a 2002 American drama film directed by Gus Van Sant and starring Matt Damon and Casey... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Heart of Glass16
    13
    6

    Heart of Glass

    Werner Herzog, Josef Bierbichler

    Released1976

    Directed byWerner Herzog

    Herz aus Glas is a 1976 comedy drama film directed by Werner Herzog.Amazon buy button
  • Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story17
    13
    7

    Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story

    Rob LaBelle, Michael Edwards

    Released1987

    Directed byTodd Haynes

    Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story is a 1987 American short biographical film produced and... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Fata Morgana18
    13
    7

    Fata Morgana

    Lotte H. Eisner, Wolfgang von Ungern-Sternberg

    Released1971

    Directed byWerner Herzog

    Fata Morgana is a film by Werner Herzog, shot in 1969, which captures mirages in the Sahara... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • La Jetée19
    28
    28

    La Jetée

    William Klein, Etienne Becker

    Released1962

    Directed byChris Marker

    La Jetée, is a 1962 French science fiction featurette by Chris Marker. Constructed almost... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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    #11 of 14 Underrated Sci-Fi Movies Where There’s Only One Person Left Alive#55 of 58 The Best Surrealist Films

  • Cowards Bend the Knee20
    9
    3

    Cowards Bend the Knee

    Darcy Fehr, Amy Stewart

    Released2003

    Directed byGuy Maddin

    Cowards Bend the Knee is a 2003 film by Guy Maddin. Maddin directed Cowards Bend the Knee... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Begotten21
    8
    1

    Begotten

    Adolfo Vargas, Brian Salzberg

    Released1991

    Directed byE. Elias Merhige

    Begotten is a 1990 American experimental horror film, written, produced and directed by E.... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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    #114 of 126 The Greatest Directorial Debuts Of All Time#107 of 134 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Again

  • Franz Kafka's It's a Wonderful Life22
    9
    3

    Franz Kafka's It's a Wonderful Life

    Richard E. Grant, Ken Stott

    Released1993

    Directed byPeter Capaldi

    Franz Kafka's It's a Wonderful Life is a short comic film for BBC Scotland. Written and... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Lunacy23
    9
    3

    Lunacy

    Jan Tříska, Anna Geislerová

    Released2005

    Directed byJan Švankmajer

    Lunacy is a 2005 Czech film by Jan Švankmajer. The film is loosely based on two short stories,... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Dracula: Pages from a Virgin's Diary24
    9
    4

    Dracula: Pages from a Virgin's Diary

    Brent Neale, David Lee Moroni

    Released2002

    Directed byGuy Maddin

    Guy Maddin has taken on the world’s most adapted horror tale and concocted his most original... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Waltz with Bashir25
    12
    8

    Waltz with Bashir

    Yehezkel Lazarov, Mickey Leon

    Released2008

    Directed byAri Folman

    One night at a bar, an old friend tells director Ari about a recurring nightmare in which he... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button