The relationship between audiences and Rotten Tomatoes has always been a contentious one, especially since the release of the divisive Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice – which currently stands at a dismal 28% on the website, much to fans' disgust.
Although we know that the website itself doesn't have an opinion on the movie, but rather collects the data of reviews, the process of distilling opinions down to a simple Rotten or Fresh label is still pretty simplistic to say the least. Especially when anything under 60% gets slapped with that little green splat next to its name, and is labelled rotten. Which means of course anything divisive or generally regarded as "okay" might be called rotten for the sake of the poll.
Over the years there have been plenty of good movies that have either been a hit with audiences, have become classics, or are just a good time to watch, that have been on the wrong side of that 60% and been unfairly labeled as rotten. While everyone has different tastes, and we can’t fit them all on this list, these are the movies that we think generally don’t deserve their "rotten" status. Here are 18 'Rotten' Movies On Rotten Tomatoes That Are Actually Great
18 The Mummy (1999)
This 1999 action adventure film (that is being rebooted this year), currently stands at a 56% on the Tomatometer. Which, for a family-friendly romp, isn’t a particularly bad score – but of course being under 60% has still decreed it as “rotten”, regardless of the website itself admitting it’s “undeniably fun to watch”. Head-scratchingly, the movie even had more fresh reviews than it does rotten ones, but still that little sickly green splattered tomato remains.
The Mummy itself is a great action romp that can be enjoyed by the whole family, from an era where they were still making these types of fun adventure films. It’s a solid two hours of slapstick, period costumes, one-liners, stunts, great set pieces, romance, gun fights, and Brendan Frasier at his peak. What’s not to love?
While the sequel is pretty good (though nowhere near this one) and the third one was terrible, it’s this original movie that still has a place in the heart of any '90s kid who grew up watching it. And we really can’t help but think it should have garnered a fresher rating. C’mon, there’s a scene where Brendan Frasier scares off an ancient mummy with a cat. It’s great stuff.
17 The Great Gatsby (2013)
While we know that box office numbers don’t always indicate a good movie, it still can’t be over looked that 2013’s The Great Gatsby is Baz Luhrmann’s highest grossing film to date. One of the biggest problems the critics had was not with the filmmaking itself, but rather its treatment of the source material. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel was a cautionary tale about decadence and the disillusionment of the American Dream – and while the movie does touch on these themes, critics couldn’t help but think the real point of the movie was to look cool. And it definitely did that.
The movie still seemed to appeal to audiences, though, and it’s not hard to see why. Luhrmann is certainly no stranger to visually stunning movies with quirky twists; this is one of his most ambitious and grandiose endeavors. While Tobey Maguire’s Nick Carraway might not be everyone's cup of tea, the performances by Leo, Carey Mulligan, and scene-stealer Joel Edgerton more than make up the difference.
It’s a glitzy and striking visual feast that offers up a fresh twist on the Roaring Twenties. And really, the soundtrack alone should have garnered it more than a measly 48% on the Tomatometer.
16 Footloose (1984)
What is now a bastion of classic '80s cinema, it was once not so well-loved by critics. As it stands now, some 32 years later, the much-loved dancing flick has a 53% “rotten” score on the Tomatometer.
To quote the website itself, critics labeled Footloose as “a nice hunk of trashy teenage cheese”. While that might be ultimately true, the movie is still a classic cinema gem with an even more classic '80s soundtrack. There’s no downside to watching a movie filled with '80s bangers, tractor races, factory dance sequences, and terrible taffeta prom dresses. Footloose catapulted Kevin Bacon to fame and got a decade's worth of songs stuck in our heads. "Now I gotta cut loose, footloose, kick off the Sunday shoes…" Try getting that out of your head now.
Plus they don’t get you to recreate a dance sequence on Jimmy Fallon 30 years later for just any old movie you know. The town of Bomont and its residents will live on in the minds of audiences for quite a while to come, we think. And for that it should deserve better than to be labeled “rotten”.
15 Oblivion (2013)
This 2013 Tom Cruise sci-fi film received mixed reviews upon its release. The general consensus seemed to be that it was a pretty good movie which was visually stunning but sometimes suffered from trying to overachieve. Doesn’t sound too bad really. And considering its one of those rare sci-fi action movies that isn’t a remake or a sequel or part of a franchise, we’d like to think of Oblivion as a success.
But unfortunately Rotten Tomatoes' black-and-white scoring system doesn’t seem to agree, giving it a rotten score of 53%. Even if you’re pretty good, you’re going to get a rotten tomato splat next to your name.
The film was a commercial success at the time of its release and made back more than double its budget. Cruise was also praised heavily for his performance; with one review saying it “isn’t a bad place to start loving Tom Cruise all over again.” The movie is definitely a must for anyone who loves the sci-fi genre and longs for the days of something original.
14 How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
The 2000 live-action How the Grinch Stole Christmas is one of those Christmas movies that, while enjoyable, doesn’t really stand up as well during the rest of the year. But at Christmas time? Boy oh boy, is this a classic yuletide staple.
Arguably one of the best Christmas movies (and certainly the best one post-1990s), you’d have to have a heart the size of the Grinch’s to not love rewatching it in the lead-up to the big day. Jim Carrey delivers one of his best comic performances, Taylor Momsen is sweet as Cindy Lou, the Dr Suess aesthetic is charming, and Anthony Hopkins's narration is the magical cherry on top.
While most of the audience’s hearts had grown two sizes by the time the credits started to roll, it seems critics couldn't find the cheer. This Christmas classic got a 53% on the Tomatometer and has a splattered tomato, as green as the Grinch himself, next to its name. Although that hasn’t stopped people from playing it on repeat come December.
13 The Strangers (2008)
Horror movies are a tricky balance to get right and most filmmakers will go for the obvious jump scare for instant satisfaction, rather than show something truly scary. 2008’s The Strangers went for a thrilling mixture of both and, despite only receiving a lackluster 45% on the Tomatometer, is actually a really great horror film.
Director Brian Bertino aims to go past the usual fare of the slasher genre, and instead terrifies his audience with the simple premise: there’s no reason for any of it. There is no master plan, the killer isn’t seeking revenge or connected to the protagonists in anyway. In one of the most chilling pieces of dialogue in any horror movie, Liv Tyler’s character asks why they are doing this to her and her husband. Gemma Ward’s Dollface (named so because of the terrifying doll mask she wears) simply, calmly states, “…Because you were home”' before methodically stabbing the couple.
The film's quieter, slow-burning beginning gives you a sense of awful dread before delivering on the goods in the second act. It’s a movie for both fans of the slasher and thriller genre and is pretty darn scary to boot.
12 The Fast And The Furious (2001)
While this Point-Break-meets-Need-For-Speed story might not be anyone's idea of Shakespeare, the real issue here is: how did the original movie get a rotten rating while the later (and much more ridiculous) movies get fresh ratings?
The original movie (before the franchise became the massive heist action set-piece it is today) was actually a pretty good movie on its own, even without Vin Diesel crashing cars into skyscrapers or running down high-powered terrorists. It was just a simple story about an LA cop and the complexities of undercover work… with some souped-up cars and tanks of nitrous thrown in.
The first movie had purpose and a real story with real characters, not to mention some great racing sequences that didn’t rely on total belief suspension. No one was driving cars out of airplanes. While the entire franchise has a surprising amount of heart at the center, the first film has the strongest narrative. So, if you’re looking for a decent action movie with its pedal to the metal, don’t let the rotten rating fool you – you can’t beat the original.
11 Disney's Robin Hood (1973)
Disney’s 1973 version of the man who steals from the rich to give to the poor has the unfortunate distinction of being the lowest-scoring movie from the classic Disney canon. Despite being an essential movie in the Disney collection, Robin Hood holds a 52% on the Tomatometer, making it rotten.
While it may not be as beloved as something like Beauty and the Beast or Cinderella, Robin Hood is still a worthy entry in the annals of Disney history. From the opening with the catchy ditty by a singing rooster to the cutest little bunny characters since Bambi’s Thumper, there is so much charm in this animated film.
Whether just by the force of nostalgia or by difference of opinion, audiences seem to disagree with the rotten rating it’s been shafted with, giving it an 83% approval rating on the audience score.
If you're leaving this charming animated movie out of your Disney binge watches because of a Rotten Tomatoes score, you are seriously missing out on a treasure.
10 The Craft (1996)
The '90s was the era of grunge, and cult classic teenage witch movie The Craft was the pinnacle of the aesthetic. Starring '90s grunge queen Fairuza Balk, this movie about four teenage girls who gain power and take revenge through witchcraft was every angsty teenager's dream. And while it garnered a cult following among its intended audience, critics were not as enamored – it currently stands at a 50% rotten rating.
But time has been kind to the movie (especially now that everything '90s is back in) and The Craft has now become an enjoyable guilty pleasure throwback. Similar to The Lost Boys in its enjoyable campiness mixed in with darker violent themes, The Craft is everything you could possibly want out of a cult movie – right down to the killer soft-grunge soundtrack and scenery-chewing overacting (mostly delivered by the delightfully unhinged Balk). The second you turn it on, it will transport you right into 1996 as if it were yesterday-- and for that alone it deserves a great deal more than to just be passed off as rotten.
9 Hook (1991)
The 1990s were a roller-coaster for the late great Robin Williams and his movies. For every Mrs. Doubtfire, Aladdin, and Good Will Hunting that was received to positive acclaim, there was also a Jumanji, Patch Adams, and most surprisingly a Hook. The now-absolute classic family movie was not so well-received upon release, and currently stands at an awful 30% on the Tomatometer.
Hook is a wondrous, magical family movie that contains peak Robin Williams charm and we're hard pressed to think that anyone won't a good time while watching this. While his more adult movies like Good Will Hunting or Good Morning Vietnam might have made him a favorite among critics and adult fans, it's movies exactly like this one that made Williams so universally loved and adored. Even as an adult, there's no reason you can't go back to this pixie-dust covered classic and smile from ear to ear.
It's got moments that will make parents and kids alike misty eyed, like when Tinkerbell speaks the classic line "You know that place between sleep and awake? That place where you still remember dreaming? That's where I'll always love you Peter Pan. That's where I'll be waiting". But mostly it has just got moments that will have you yelling "Bangarang!" at the top of your lungs, just like you did as a kid.
8 Girl, Interrupted (1999)
Despite garnering Angelina Jolie an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress and being one of Winona Ryder’s most famous roles, this '90s flick didn’t go down all that well with the critics. The film, about a young woman who enters a mental institution in the '60s, currently has only a 54% on the Tomatometer.
In spite of this, the film has gone down as a classic for all indie teenage girls, and still holds up as a good movie even all these years later. Ryder and Jolie are standouts at the heart of the movie and each of the performances is up there with some of their best. It has also got one of the coolest female-led casts, with the aforementioned Jolie and Ryder as well as, Elizabeth Moss, Clea DuVall, Whoopi Goldberg, and the late Brittany Murphy.
After The Craft, this is the second female led '90s grunge manifesto on this list, which seems to prove every angst-ridden teenager right – authority figures just don’t get them. Audience members seemed to catch on though, with the audience score sitting at a much healthier 84%.
7 The Notebook (2004)
While most movies that fall under the "based on a Nicholas Sparks novel" banner are nothing more than romantic cheese, 2004’s The Notebook stood from the pack. Whether it was the performance and chemistry of the two leads or because it is simply a better story, there was something about The Notebook that made it a hit and catapulted it into the annals of romance movie history.
Despite its ability to make everyone with a heart get a little teary-eyed, it is still considered rotten on the Tomatometer, with a score of 52%. While this is still miles ahead of the scores given to Sparks's other adaptations, we can’t help but think this romantic gem deserves more than a green tomato splat.
The story of Allie and Noah has been forever etched into the hearts of millions of romantics all over the world, and despite what anyone thinks of the genre, it is actually one of the best romance movies of modern times.
Miles ahead of its counterparts, The Notebook has a top notch cast and a sense of realism that’s missing in most of these schmaltzy cringe-fests. Allie and Noah seem like they could be real people and have an actually convincing love story-- a feat that is rarely accomplished by these types of movies.
6 Pocahontas (1995)
If you need a reason whythis Disney classic is worth more than a rotten score of 56%, we've got four words for you: "Colors of the Wind." You know, that little tune that scored Disney an Oscar that year for Best Original Song. AKA the best Disney song ever created.
Okay that might be a bold statement; everyone is entitled to their own favorite Disney song, but "Colors of the Wind" has to be pretty far up there. In fact Pocahontas has one of the best soundtracks all around, from "Just Around the River Bend" to "Savages" to just the simple background score. Not to mention that the animation is incredibly beautiful and might have the most gorgeous colour palette of all the Disney animated films put together. Plus Pocahontas herself is just awesome.
Pocahontas deserves a spot in Disney history, maybe even more so than our previous entry Robin Hood, and we're glad Disney agrees, putting her right up next to their original princess in subsequent marketing. We don't really know how to "paint with all the colors of the wind" but Pocahontas sure made us want to go out and try.
5 The Fall (2006)
Tragically under-seen and devastatingly under-reviewed, Tarsem Singh’s visual masterpiece The Fall has that annoying green splat next to its name on Rotten Tomatoes.
This film is a feast for the eyes and the soul, with some of the most beautiful natural scenery ever committed to film. Singh creates a techno-colored surreal dreamscape from real-life locations all over the globe. He also manages to weave the spectacular visuals into a charming fairytale, as told by the dashing Lee Pace to a young girl in a hospital in the 1920s.
The story cuts between this fantastical story world and the real world, where Pace’s character is trying to put himself out of his misery. At first he just sees the little girl who wanders the hospital halls as a means to an end, so he tells her the story to dupe her into stealing morphine for him. But soon their friendship grows and he comes to care about the little sweetheart. And a sweetheart she really is, with unknown Catinca Untaru giving one of the most natural and endearing child performances in recent memory.
The Fall really is one of those hidden gems of a film, and should be viewed for the visual spectacle alone, little green splat be damned.
4 Hocus Pocus (1993)
23 years after the release of the Halloween classic, fans (and the actresses) are still foaming at the mouth to get a sequel. If that doesn't illustrate how well loved this spooky family movie is, then we don't know what will. Every Halloween, people all around the world still tune in to watch the Sanderson sisters wreak havoc, but you'd never know this was the case from the dismal 30% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
The consensus among critics seemed to be that the movie was mediocre and muddled and "fails to live up to the talents of its impressive cast". Respectfully, we have to disagree. Hocus Pocus is the stuff all Disney live-action films should be made of. Its genuinely funny (something not all kids' movies can pull off), endlessly quotable, wonderfully festive, enjoyable to all ages and even gets a few emotional beats in there as well (who doesn't get teary when Thackery says goodbye to Dani).
Of all the roles the legendary Bette Midler has had over the years, she stated in a 2008 interview that her work as Winifred Sanderson in this movie was her favourite. It's easy to see why; the movie is a blast to watch and we think it will remain a holiday favourite. The Sanderson sisters curse your 30% Rotten Tomatoes!
3 Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas (1998)
Another cult classic that was unappreciated at the time of reviewing, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas currently features a sickly green splat next to its name after receiving a 49% on the Tomatometer. The feeling at the time was that the movie was stylish, but ultimately pointless, but it seems that the movie and its creators got the last laugh, considering its enduring cult status.
Nowadays the movie is included in Best lists, including that time it scored higher up than Breakfast at Tiffany's and Ben-Hur on Empire's 500 Greatest Movies list in 2009. Even director Terry Gilliam realiszd how polarizing his movie was, stating once that "I want it to be seen as one of the great movies of all time, and one of the most hated movies of all time".
Ultimately Fear and Loathing is a fitting adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's trippy, drug-fuelled, loosely-written masterpiece, creating the same surreal and mind-bending flair that was captured in the writing. The movie and its iconic image of Johnny Depp's distorted head are embedded in popular culture and it's such a shame for it to be labeled so quickly as rotten.
2 The Boondock Saints (1999)
Like a lot of movies that have gone on to develop a cult following, when The Boondock Saints was first released the critics just didn’t get it.
Not even the divisive Batman V Superman has anywhere near the amount of discrepancy between critics and audiences as Boondock Saints – the critics labeled it rotten with a truly abysmal 20%, where as it currently sits at 91% on the audience side.
The ultra-violent action movie about two Irish twin brothers who go on a vigilante rampage against bad guys has become so popular that it spawned a sequel, a comic book, a line of official merchandise, a documentary, and possibly a third movie, all these years later.
The movie itself might not be very highbrow, but it’s still a bloody good time (pun definitely intended) and is a must-watch for anyone with a love of anything in the cult genre. Plus it also stars a young Norman Reedus, AKA everyone’s favorite zombie killing redneck Daryl Dixon.
1 Home Alone (1990)
Home Alone is one of those rare Christmas gems that, while best enjoyed at Christmas time, continues to be a great movie all year 'round. But critics originally disagreed, and thus the family classic sits with a measly 55% on the Tomatometer.
The exploits of Kevin McCallister, and his maze of death traps, have permeated the popular culture forever and are still a Christmas must watch, 26 years later. Much like The Grinch earlier in this list this is, arguably, one of the best Christmas movies ever made and certainly a timeless family classic. And that’s not just us saying that-- the film regularly tops the list when people vote for their favorite Christmas movie.
Oh and did we mention the fact that it was the highest-grossing live-action comedy ever, until The Hangover Part II took over in 2011, and at the time became the third highest-grossing movie in the world after Star Wars and E.T.
While the star Macaulay Culkin might not have aged too well, the film certainly has, and there is no slowing it down – we think it's safe to say Home Alone will continue to play on repeat come December next year… and the year after and the year after that…
What's your favorite "rotten" movie? Let us know in the comments.