The film industry is bigger now than it ever has been. We see films with budgets in the hundreds of millions of dollars. For context, the most recent Avatar film has a production budget of $460,000,000 while Fast X (which released earlier this year) sits at a $365,000,000 budget.
These are the sorts of figures we’re used to seeing nowadays, making it all the more impressive when a film blows us away on a much smaller budget. With that in mind, here are the top three modern masterpieces that cost well under $100 million to make:
All Quiet On The Western Front – $20 Million Budget
In any other walk of life, $20 million is a staggering amount of money. In modern movie terms, it’s not even in the top one thousand most-expensive films out there. Considering the special effects in this film, it’s remarkable that it looked this good with such little funding.
The movie is one of the best war movies on Netflix right now and shows the horror of life on the frontlines during WWI. It’s an absolute masterpiece with exceptional acting and a heartwrenching storyline. You’ll be gripped from start to finish, so give it a watch when you have time.
Uncut Gems – $19 Million Budget
Another film with a reasonably low budget in modern times, Uncut Gems was an instant classic when launched in 2019. It follows a struggling New York jeweler as he tries to keep his business afloat while avoiding the oncoming debt collectors. We won’t ruin the plot, but it’s a high-stakes film that has you rooting for the little guy.
Also, it was one of Adam Sandler’s best acting performances ever. He really shows some range here and proves he can genuinely act and not just play silly goofy characters. Well worth a watch if you like crime films with a sprinkling of drama for good measure.
Parasite – $15.5 Million Budget
Parasite grossed over $263 million worldwide despite its small budget and won numerous awards – including four at the 92nd Academy Awards. It’s a Korean film focused on a poor family that goes to work for rich people to make ends meet.
The description doesn’t do it justice as it’s cinematic brilliance. The director wanted it to show the class conflict of wealth and inequality, showing how desperate people are to make money and be successful. It’s a black comedy, so there are some laughs in there, but it’s a beautifully constructed film that’s a very poignant watch.
There are two main things to take away from this shortlist. Firstly, movie budgets have grown so big that you can spend tens of millions and still be classed as a “low-budget” film! Secondly, some really fantastic movies can be created without spending a ridiculous amount of money. Perhaps a few film studios should think about this before they churn out another painfully average film for $300 million. Nevertheless, you should have three great films to add to your movie night list after reading this!