It's a crying shame when movies are released ahead of their time. It works out in the long run, in that we eventually get to see and appreciate them for the genius they are, but at the time it really sucks for the filmmakers. Imagine pouring your heart and soul into a movie that you know is good (or you at least know that people will enjoy it), only for almost everyone to turn back around to you and say, "I hate it and it is terrible in every conceivable way." Frankly, my self confidence would never recover.
Not only do the films in question go on to stand the test of time, but they also age like fine wine. No longer do people turn their noses up at them, but instead whole new generations of movie-lovers finally start to appreciate the merit of these films.
One of the most famous examples is The Exorcist; remember how at the time there was a huge moral outcry about how evil the film was? People even thought little Linda Blair genuinely was Satan incarnate. Well not every controversial film can go on to be universally appreciated like this one, but there certainly are a whole host that took a few years to get their due credit.
10. The Thing
We'll get this one out of the way first because, by virtue of quite how shocking it is, it was been talked to death. Now pretty widely agreed to be one of the very best horror films of all time, The Thing at its time of release was a laughing stock; Cinefantastique, a horror magazine, went as far as to publish a cover asking if The Thing was "the most hated horror film of all time", if you can believe that.
Ever since, people have been trying to figure out why the film was so hated at the time. Many film historians accredit it to the movie's nihilistic, depressing tone, which people vehemently rejected whilst they were in the midst of a depression. It sounds about right to be fair, the film's ending is about as bleak as it gets: two blokes just waiting to freeze to death in the great frozen expanse.
It's the film's cynicism, suspicion and general dark mood that make it so great (amongst other things, of course), and it's just a shame that it was released at the exact time that audiences didn't want to see exactly that.