Independent Films Watchlist

By Maddie Sievers


Independent films, whether they become mainstream or not, are often some of the most innovative and thoughtful movies out there. If you’re looking for a good place to start in the indie film world, these are some of the best that are guaranteed to make you feel a wide variety of genuine emotions while watching them.


Little Miss Sunshine




Young Olive and her dysfunctional family take an eventful road trip for her to compete in a beauty pageant.

Top Quotes:

  • “Who is that? Nietzsche? So you stopped talking because of Friedrich Nietzsche? Far out.”
  • “I’d like to dedicate this to my grandpa, who showed me these moves.” / “Is he here? Where’s your grandpa right now?” / “In the trunk of our car.”

Release Year: 2006

Notable Cast: Abigail Breslin, Steve Carell, Alan Arkin


Napoleon Dynamite




This indie film had a budget of only $400,000 and still managed to become a cult-classic film filled with tons of hilarious, albeit deadpan, quotes.

Top Quotes:

  • “Give me some of your tots!””
  • “Napoleon, don’t be jealous ‘cause I’ve been chatting online with babes all day. Besides, we both know that I’m training to become a cage fighter.”

Release Year: 2004

Notable Cast: Jon Heder, Haylie Duff, Tina Majorino






Submarine is a unique take on a coming-of-age story that takes place in Wales. Executive producer Ben Stiller makes a cameo in this film, which also has an original soundtrack by Alex Turner of indie-rock group Arctic Monkeys.

Top Quotes:

  • “Her new boyfriend has an incredibly long neck. Just thinking about giraffes makes me angry.”
  • “I suppose it won’t matter when I’m 38, but I’m upset about it.”

Release Year: 2010

Notable Cast: Noah Taylor, cameo by Ben Stiller. Stiller was also the film’s Executive Producer.


Moonrise Kingdom




Wes Anderson is perhaps one of the most iconic indie film directors, and Moonrise Kingdom is one of his most recent and well-loved films. Sam and Suzy are two troubled children at the center of this dreamy and nostalgic pre-teen love story.

Top Quotes:

  • “Dear Suzy, I accidentally built a fire while I was sleepwalking. I have no memory of this, but my foster parents think I am lying.”
  • “Our daughter’s been abducted by one of these beige lunatics!”

Release Year: 2012

Notable Cast: Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton






A wannabe musician follows an opportunity to join the group of an enigmatic, innovative performer named Frank who wears an enormous fake head. This indie film is based on the life of Chris Sievey and his comedic alter-ego, Frank Sidebottom.

Top Quotes:

  • “Stop saying your facial expressions out loud. It’s extremely annoying.”
  • “What goes on inside that head… inside that head?”

Release Year: 2014

Notable Cast: Michael Fassbender, Maggie Gyllenhaal


Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind




Joel and Clementine decide, after their once-perfect romance goes awry, to undergo an experimental mind-altering procedure that will make them lose all memories of each other.

Top Quotes:

  • “Too many guys think I’m a concept, or I complete them, or I’m gonna make them alive. But I’m just a f*****-up girl who’s looking for my own piece of mind.”
  • “Constantly talking isn’t necessarily communicating.”

Release Year: 2004

Notable Cast: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo






Based on true story, Bernie is the tale of a rather effeminate mortician in a small Texas town who begins an oddly close relationship with a grouchy widower.

Top Quotes:

  • “She would chew your a** out at the drop of a hat. I mean, she’d rip you a brand new, three-bedroom two-bath, double-wide a**hole. No problem.”
  • “Our Lord and Savior always wore sandals, and he never married. And he had twelve disciples, and I don’t think any of them ever married. And the apostle Paul, he was a lifelong bachelor. And you never heard anybody in the New Testament say that they were a bunch of queers.”

Release Year: 2011

Notable Cast: Jack Black, Matthew McConaughey, Shirley MacLaine



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