20 Movies That Are Flawed Masterpieces

Works of outstanding artistry - but not quite perfect.

interstellar dr mann planet
Paramount Pictures

All things considered, is there any type of movie more inherently fascinating and endlessly interesting than that of the "flawed masterpiece"? Arguably not. Because a flawed masterpiece is a motion picture that manages to be both brilliant and questionable in equal measure; a movie that struggles in its attempts to touch greatness, and yet manages to do something else all together in the process - something more, because isn't something flawed almost always more interesting than something perfect?

And the very notion of a flawed masterpiece resonates because it is usually a result of somebody's intention to create something amazing; something new and special and unique and different. The idea that said person wasn't entirely successful, but came very close, tells a lot more about somebody and than a work of relentless, certified genius ever could.

What follows then, is a list of 20 motion pictures that one might classify as flawed masterpieces; these are works of huge and sometimes bewildering ambition; movies that shot for the stars and just missed their target; movies that - despite their noticeable flaws - there is an undeniable sense of important, relevant and brilliant about them, nonetheless. Whilst many will agree on these picks, the inclusion of others is sure to enrage a few. All things considered, though... isn't that the point of a movie made in such a vein?


Sam Hill is an ardent cinephile and has been writing about film professionally since 2008. He harbours a particular fondness for western and sci-fi movies.