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The Best Experimental Movies  

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1.7k votes 263 voters 13.9k views 105 items

List Rules Vote 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.

Experimental film movies have been directed by some pretty famous names, including Stanley Kubrick and Roman Polanski.

list ordered by
1
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Anthony Quinn, Audra McDonald, David Warner
Seven Servants is a USA — Germany co-production 1996 German drama — comedy film directed by Daryush Shokof. The movie is about a man named Archie, portrayed by Anthony Quinn, who wishes to unite ...more
2
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Ali Reza Shokoufandeh added Daryush Shokof, Ulrike Schirm, Taies Farzan
Breathful is a 2007 gangster-comedy film directed by Daryush Shokof. Featuring an all-female cast, Breathful is meant to promote gender equality and women's rights, particularly the rights of ...more
3
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Ali Reza Shokoufandeh added Claudine Biswas, Kimberly Gessner, Maral Keshvarz
Flushers, is a USA Comedy feature film Produced, written,and directed by Daryush Shokof which is shot entirely in Berlin, Germany in 2012.The film is produced by Shif Productions in Los Angeles, ...more
4
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Ali Reza Shokoufandeh added Yangzom Brauen, Joachim Paul Assböck, Araba Walton
Asudem is an American horror film written and directed by Daryush Shokof. Asudem is the reverse writing of medusa indicates a surreal story of a woman Yangzom Brauen in the woods, where she ...more
5
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Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, Luis Buñuel, Simone Mareuil
UN CHIEN ANDALOU consists of sixteen minutes of bizarre and surreal images that may or may not mean anything. In a dream-like sequence, a woman's eye is slit open, juxtaposed with a cloud ...more
6
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Michel Piccoli, Fernando Rey, Jean-Pierre Cassel
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie is a 1972 surrealist film directed by Luis Buñuel and written by Jean-Claude Carrière in collaboration with the director. The film was made in ...more
7
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Shinya Tsukamoto, Renji Ishibashi, Tomorowo Taguchi
Tetsuo: The Iron Man is a 1989 Japanese cyberpunk film by cult-film director Shinya Tsukamoto produced by Japan Home Video. It is an extremely graphic but also strikingly-filmed fantasy shot in ...more
8
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Jack Nance, Jeanne Bates, Jack Fisk
Eraserhead is a 1977 American experimental body horror film directed by David Lynch. Henry Spencer (Jack Nance) tries to survive his industrial environment, his angry girlfriend (Charlotte ...more
9
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Man with a Movie Camera is an experimental 1929 silent documentary film, with no story and no actors, by Soviet director Dziga Vertov, edited by his wife Elizaveta Svilova. Vertov's feature ...more
10
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Hayden the Monster Man added Adolfo Vargas, Brian Salzberg, Stephen Charles Barry
Begotten is a 1990 American experimental horror film, written, produced and directed by E. Elias Merhige. The film deals with the story of Genesis, re-imagining it. The second film of the ...more
11
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William Klein, Etienne Becker, Jean Négroni
La Jetée, is a 1962 French science fiction featurette by Chris Marker. Constructed almost entirely from still photos, it tells the story of a post-nuclear war experiment in time travel. ...more
12
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Lou Dobbs
Koyaanisqatsi, also known as Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance, is a 1982 film directed by Godfrey Reggio with music composed by Philip Glass and cinematography by Ron Fricke. The film consists ...more
13
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Sofiko Chiaureli, Vilen Galstyan, Medea Japaridze
The Color of Pomegranates is a 1969 Soviet film written and directed by Sergei Parajanov. It made the Top 10 list in Cahiers du cinéma in 1982 and Top 100 in Time Out.
14
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Maya Deren, Alexandr Hackenschmied
Meshes of the Afternoon is a short experimental film directed by wife-and-husband team, Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid. The film's narrative is circular and repeats several motifs, including a ...more
15
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Valery Gergiev, Alexander Sokurov, Sergei Dontsov
Arca Russa é um filme de 2002 dirigido por Aleksandr Sokurov.
16
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Ann Savage, Darcy Fehr, Amy Stewart
My Winnipeg is a 2007 film directed and written by Guy Maddin with dialogue by George Toles. Described by Maddin as a "docu-fantasia," that melds "personal history, civic tragedy, ...more
17
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Naomi Watts, Jeremy Irons, Laura Dern
Inland Empire is a 2006 mystery film written and directed by David Lynch and was his first feature film since 2001's Mulholland Drive. The feature took two-and-a-half years to complete, and was ...more
18
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David Bowie, Heather Graham, Kiefer Sutherland
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me is a 1992 American psychological horror film, directed by David Lynch and written by Lynch and Robert Engels. The film can be viewed as both prologue and epilogue ...more
19
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Tilda Swinton, Nigel Terry, Jonathan Phillips
The Last of England is a British film directed by Derek Jarman. It is a poetic, rather than realistic, depiction of what Jarman felt was the loss of traditional English culture in the 1980s. It ...more
20
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Experimental Movies
Johnny Depp, Cameron Diaz, Christina Ricci
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a 1998 American dark comedy film co-written and directed by Terry Gilliam, starring Johnny Depp as Raoul Duke and Benicio del Toro as Dr. Gonzo. It was adapted ...more
21
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Chloë Sevigny, Werner Herzog, Will Oldham
Julien Donkey-Boy is a 1999 American drama film written and directed by Harmony Korine. The story concentrates on the schizophrenic Julien, played by Scottish actor Ewen Bremner, and his ...more
22
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Chloë Sevigny, James Baker, Harmony Korine
Gummo is a 1997 cult film written and directed by Harmony Korine, starring Jacob Reynolds, Nick Sutton, and Jacob Sewell. The film is set in Xenia, Ohio, a small, poor Midwestern American town ...more
23
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Delphine Seyrig, Sacha Pitoëff, Giorgio Albertazzi
L'Année dernière à Marienbad is a 1961 French film directed by Alain Resnais from a screenplay by Alain Robbe-Grillet. The film is famous for its enigmatic narrative ...more
24
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Rob LaBelle, Michael Edwards
Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story is a 1987 American short biographical film produced and directed by Todd Haynes, co-written by Haynes and Cynthia Schneider, and follows scenes from the ...more
25
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Sans Soleil is a 1983 French film directed by Chris Marker, a meditation on the nature of human memory, showing the inability to recall the context and nuances of memory, and how, as a result, ...more