With streaming services proving to be a prominent power, people can watch many of their favorite movies in one place. There are also people discovering old classics and broadening their tastes in film. However, some films don’t get this luxury. Whether it be through rights issues over the film, music in the film, or the movie’s content, some remain without a streaming service, and if they are lucky enough to get a home media release, they often go out of print. This, unfortunately, leads to fans trying to watch the film on less-than-legitimate sites, or even some will upload full movies onto YouTube. Now, while something like piracy is not a good thing to do when a movie studio refuses to release a film publicly for fans to watch and be willing to pay money for, it is no surprise to see some seek alternative methods. With all that said, here are five movies that aren’t available to watch anywhere.
5. The Heartbreak Kid (1972)
Directed by Elaine May and based on the short story A Change of Plan by Bruce Jay Freidman, the original 1972 black comedy follows a salesman named Lenny Cantrow (Charles Grodin) who, after getting married, falls for a young college student and chases after her. The film would be quite the success with it not only getting two Oscar nominations, according to IMDb, for Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress, respectively, but it was ranked as the 91st funniest comedy in the 2000 American Film Institute’s 100 Years,100 Laughs.
Despite all this warm reception, it is unavailable on any streaming service. Its physical media copies are also limited, only receiving VHS and DVDs that have since gone out of print. Some are available to buy, but they are rare and can cost upward of $60. As for why this film is so difficult to find, it has to do with where the rights fell into. According to IMDb, the film would eventually be acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb, who were a pharmaceutical company that briefly had an entertainment division, before dissolving it for unknown reasons. Because of this, the movie’s rights went up in the air, and no one has since tried to claim it. The movie would end up being uploaded to YouTube in full. There was also a remake in 2007 starring Ben Stiller, which is available to stream. Maybe one day, someone will acquire the rights and give this film a complete 4K restoration.
The 2007 Heartbreak Kid can be streamed on Paramount+.
4. Silent Movie (1976)
Directed, co-written, and starring Mel Brooks, the movie was a satire of the film industry done in the style of an old silent film but with color. It’s a movie within a movie, something Mel Brooks would play with fourth wall gags in movies such as Blazing Saddles (1974). It featured an ensemble cast of Brooks, Dom DeLuise, Marty Feldman, James Caan, and even Burt Reynolds. The movie was a huge success, earning $36.1 million agents a $4 million budget. It even got four Golden Globes, including Best Picture for a Musical or Comedy and Best Actor for Brooks.
So, with this film being a success and from such an acclaimed director like Mel Brooks, one might be confused that this film is not available anywhere to stream. There still are some DVDs online, but like with The Heartbreak Kid, there are limited copies left, though fortunately, the prices are much cheaper, going as low as $17.97. It’s not even on YouTube; only a few short clips exist. Unfortunately, there is no official reason why this movie isn’t available anywhere. It could also be because the rights lapsed, and no one has since bought it, but maybe the studio that distributed it, 20th Century Studios, then known as 20th Century Fox, still has the rights but won’t release it for whatever reason. Perhaps with time, the film will be available to watch.
Other films by Brooks are available to watch on Max.
3. Mask (1985)
Directed by Peter Bogdanovich, this follows Rocky Dennis (Eric Stoltz) as he navigates through life while having craniodiaphyseal disease, a rare autosomal recessive disorder in the bones that results in calcium being built up in the skull and eventually disfiguring a person’s face while also shortening their life expectancy. The film is based on the real-life person, Rocky Dennis, as well as his mother, Rusty Dennis, whom Cher portrayed in the movie. Like the other films on this list, Mask would be a huge success both critically and financially. It would go on to win Best Make-Up at the Oscars and receive two Golden Globe Nominations.
Despite all this, the movie can’t be watched anywhere. Similar to Silent Movie, it only has a few clips on YouTube. There have been DVD copies of the film, but they are hard to find. Supposedly, the reason for this is copyright issues regarding the music in the movie. According to IMDb, originally Bruce Springsteen provided Mask’s soundtrack since he was the real-life Rocky Dennis’ favorite singer. However, Universal, the film’s distributor, switched Springsteen for Bob Seger for reasons unknown. Bogdanovich would sue Universal for $10 million for breach of contract and fraud, especially since he did have final editing rights, which was done without his knowledge. Bodanobick would later drop the suit but managed to release a director’s cut of the movie with Spingsteen’s music. There have been rumblings online that the reason Universal did this was an issue with Spingsteen’s record label, but no official confirmation this is the case. Still, the idea that the studio had issues securing the rights to the music doesn’t seem that far-fetched. Music rights in film can be very complicated, and some studios find it easier not to deal with it. Sometimes, they might replace the music like what Universal did here. Still, if even the Seger version is also unavailable, then perhaps it was just too much of a hassle to replace the music again, and they decided not to put the film anywhere. At the end of the day, most of this wasn’t confirmed, so it was unclear what really happened.
Other films by Eric Stolz and Cher can be found on Amazon Prime Video
2. Wild At Heart (1990)
Directed by David Lynch and based on the novel of the same name by Barry Gilford, the film follows a couple named “Sailor” Ripley (Nicolas Cage) and Lula Fortune (Laura Dern), who eventually go on the run after Lula’s mother hires people to kill Ripley. Like with other movies by Lynch, the film initially reviews that were quite polarizing and, according to Box Office Mojo, only grossed $14.5 million against an estimated budget of $9.5 million, according to IMDb. That said, another thing this has in common with Lynch’s other movies is that it would get a cult following. Despite the initial reception of Wild At Heart, it would go on to receive multiple award nominations, including winning the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, which was considered a controversial choice due to the nature of the film for having content that was very sexual and violent.
As one could guess, it is nowhere to be streamed. This isn’t the only film by Lynch that has this issue. Lost Highway (1997) and Inland Empire (2006) are also undeniable to stream. However, like with those films, there are Blu-Ray copies of the film. As of now, anyone can buy a Blu-Ray of Wild At Heart on Shout Factory with prices ranging from $15.99 to $18.99. So, unlike the rest of the films on this list, there is a way to watch it without resorting to “alternative methods,” but there is an issue: one has to purchase a Blu-Ray copy of the film. There is no way to rent the film or watch it on a streaming service first to see if a person would like it before considering buying it. There is no official reason as to why it is not streaming anywhere. It is possible rights issues have to do with it, or maybe no one sees it as a good investment to buy the streaming rights for the film. Who knows? While it may not be able to be streamed anywhere, at least it is not completely unavailable.
Other Films by David Lynch can be streamed on Max.
1. Dogma (1999)
Directed by Kevin Smith, the film follows Bethany Slone (Linda Fiorentino), who is charged with a holy crusade to stop two Angels, Bartleby (Ben Affleck) and Loki (Matt Damon), from entering a church and, in turn, undoing all of existence. The film would be a financial success, earning $40 million against a $10 million budget, and some fans of Smith declare it one of his best movies. That said, Dogma was very controversial for the time for its depiction of Catholicism as well as the Catholic Church, and this would play a part in why the film is not available to be watched anywhere.
Due to the intense reaction from Dogma, Disney, who was originally going to distribute it through Mirmax, which they owned at the time, got cold feet and decided against doing it in the U.S. Because of this, Harvey Weinstein, one of the film’s executive producers, purchased the movie rights so he could distribute with another studio before eventually getting Lionsgate to agree to do it. The film isn’t available to stream online because Harvey Weinstein owns it. The film would get a physical media release, but newer copies have been made since 2008. Smith gave an interview with the Wrap where he explained he had been trying to get the rights back, but Weinstein would only sell it for $5 million, which would mean having to give Weinstein money. Given all of the horrific things surrounding Weinstein alone, it’s no surprise that no one wants to buy the rights from him. There are some DVD and Blu Copies that can be purchased online, but that would also mean giving money to Weinstein. One could find a used copy, although some cost around $128. Fortunately for Smith fans, there is one way to watch the film without having to pay Weinstein. The film is uploaded to YouTube in full, and there is even another version that is a fan edit with all of the deleted scenes. Needless to say, fans have a way to watch it.
Other movies by Kevin Smith can be streamed on Paramount+.
Dogma (1999) Official Lion’s Gate Trailer
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