Thanks to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and every other niche streaming service, movies are available all the time. When a film disappears from one service, it simply moves to another one. Even movies that are unavailable through a streaming service are usually available on DVD. But what about the films that time has neglected? Some of the best weird movies are genuine outliers; they are understandably obscure and difficult to find. But there are also movies produced by major studios that never made it to home video.
The following movies range from sleepy, early-'70s pictures written and directed by huge stars to a forgotten Disney film. None of these titles have been officially released on DVD or through a streaming service, though.
What it's about: Song of the South is the 1946 adaptation of Joel Chandler Harris's Uncle Remus stories. Some criticized the film primarily, but not solely, for its offensive depiction of plantation workers in the antebellum South. Song of the South is Disney's first feature film that used live action and improved techniques to merge animation and real actors. The movie's representations of prejudice overshadowed these innovations, though.
Why it hasn't been released: Disney re-released Song of the South with a special edition VHS in 1986 for the picture's 40th anniversary. Since the film's debut, it has never had a DVD release and remains unavailable for streaming in any official capacity.
Actors: John Lee Hooker, Hattie McDaniel, Bobby Driscoll, Ruth Warrick, Johnny Lee, + more
Directed by: Wilfred Jackson, Harve Foster
What it's about: Perhaps the most famous unreleased film is 1972's The Day the Clown Cried. Jerry Lewis directed, wrote, and starred in this movie about a disgraced circus clown locked up in a concentration camp. The clown struggles to find an audience for his act, but he gains a sense of duty and enjoyment when he begins to perform for the Jewish children on the other side of the chain fence.
Why it hasn't been released: It only exists as a rough cut, but some who have seen it say it's great. Before his passing, Lewis donated a print of the film to the Library of Congress with explicit instructions to not screen it before 2024.
Actors: Jerry Lewis, Harriet Andersson
Directed by: Jerry Lewis
What it's about: This 1984 film, starring Zach Galligan, Lauren Tom, Dan Aykroyd, and Bill Murray, takes place in a dystopian New York City run by the Port Authority.
Why it hasn't been released: MGM planned to release it in 1984, but after a failed test screening, the company shelved the movie. In the last two decades, select theaters have screened the movie, and a small following has built around it. Despite the flick's positive reception in recent years, there is no plan for an official DVD or streaming release.
Actors: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Fisher, Imogene Coca, Lauren Tom, + more
Directed by: Tom Schiller
What it's about: This movie was never meant to be released. Producer Bernd Eichinger teamed up with the famous B-movie impresario, Roger Corman, to make this flick for the sole purpose of retaining the film rights, which would have reverted to Marvel Comics if a feature failed to enter production by a specific date. Some fans consider this movie - which had a budget of $1 million - the most faithful film adaptation of the Fantastic Four.
Why it hasn't been released: Sony shelved the movie despite its following, and it has never seen an official release. Bootleg VHS and DVD copies of The Fantastic Four do exist, but if you can't track down the movie, there is a documentary about the making of the film: Doomed: The Untold Story of Roger Corman’s The Fantastic Four.
Actors: Rebecca Staab, Alex Hyde-White, Jay Underwood, Joseph Culp, Ian Trigger
Directed by: Oley Sassone