IndiePix, Celebrating Independent Film

Independent Classics

What's the difference between a "Classic Indie" and and "Independent Classic?"

As mentioned in our previous collection, "Classic Indies," the bright line we have drawn between the two is Sundance. Well, not Sundance per se but rather what it stands for.

In the late 1960s and early 70s, Hollywood was in pretty rough shape. People just weren't going to movies like they used to. In keeping with the cultural changes of the time, foreign and arthouse films were becoming increasingly popular with younger audiences. In a bid to regain their box office numbers, some intrepid Hollywood producers decided to take a chance on a few younger directors whose tastes were more in tune with "the kids." These filmmakers, more adventurous and edgy than standard Hollywood fare, were dubbed the "New Hollywood" and renewed the hunger for the American filmmaking auteur. One of the shining stars of the New Hollywood (Robert Redford) played a pivotal role in founding the Sundance Film Festival which has catapulted numerous independent filmmakers into the spotlight and helped to shape what we now think of as "indie film."

There were of course some independently made films before Sundance that have become classics of modern cinema. We've collected some of those films here. We're not talking about foreign films or films that were made "for art's sake," as good as some of those might be. These are films that were made without financial backing from a major studio and had to compete in American theaters, where Hollywood is king, and still managed to succeed. We've chosen 1980 as the line in the sand. Sundance was around but had yet to become the "Institute" or give out any awards. These are the real independent classics.


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The Killing of a Chinese Bookie

$34.95 | 243 minutes

A small-time Los Angeles nightclub owner falls for a lavish invitation to gamble at a private club. After losing high stakes on extended credit, he is pressured by a gangster to eliminate his debt by killing a rival underworld power referred to only as "the Chinese bookie." Ben Gazzara is staggering in his performance as the proud Cosmo…

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Bob Dylan: Don't Look Back

$15.95 | 96 minutes

A raucous and intimate road movie of Bob Dylan's 1965 tour of England, DON'T LOOK BACK may be perhaps the most influential rock star documentary of all time. D.A. Pennebaker's trademark cinema verit approach, with its comprehensive perspective, captures the paradoxical Dylan in alternating moments of confrontational&hellip…

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Easy Rider

$11.95 | 95 minutes

This landmark film stars Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper as Wyatt (alias Captain America) and Billy, respectively. After closing a big-time coke deal in L.A., the two bikers head their hogs east, trying to discover the real America on the way to Mardi Gras…

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Harlan County, USA

$34.95 | 104 minutes

Harlan County, USA Strike DVD is a Barbara Kopple had made no other film than this documentary account of the 1974 strike of Kentucky mine workers, arguably one of the finest documentaries ever made in the U.S. and possibly the best on the problems of organized labor, her place in film history would be assured. The strike began when the…

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Faces

$34.95 | 130 minutes

John Cassavetes, frustrated with Hollywood after his films TOO LATE BLUES and A CHILD IS WAITING were watered down and mutilated, revisits the low-budget terrain of 1959's SHADOWS in this powerful drama that continues to influence new generations of filmmakers. FACES documents the disintegration of the upper-middle-class marriage of a…

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Pink Flamingos

$11.95 | 0 minutes

Baltimore director John Waters's outrageous 1971 debut PINK FLAMINGOS burst onto the filmmaking scene like the ample flesh of its drag-queen star through the seams of a lam dress. Conceived as a way to garner attention for Waters's fledgling career, this paean to bad taste certainly did just that--so much so that decades later, the film…

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A Woman Under The Influence

$34.95 | 147 minutes

Writer-director-actor John Cassavetes delivers an extremely gritty, unsentimental portrait of a troubled human existence. Gena Rowlands is Mabel Longhetti, a slightly mad Italian-American housewife who has absolutely no understanding of herself, or her individuality, other than through her family. When her deep psychological unhappiness…

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