Rare Films on DVDLast update: 2018/10/25
This page covers a list of films which are not known about in the United Kingdom, and have never been released on DVD here. Also, the list includes films which are rare due to being out of print or subject to limited releases.
Films marked with an * are suggestions courtesy of Matt Thornton.
12 Angry Men (1997)
A remake of the 12 Angry Men film on 1957, the film features Jack Lemmon in the lead role who initially is the only juror to vote not guilty in a murder case, and goes on to swing the whole jury to his side.
Considering the popularity of this version and the original, it is exceptionally hard to find on DVD. Most imports seem to come from Australia (region 4) where it aired as a television movie.
...All The Marbles
Released in 1981, Peter Falk stars as the manager of a female wrestling tag team. The film was directed by Robert Aldrich in his final film before his death. Among the actresses who tried for a part was Kathleen Turner, however she did not get a role.
The film was only released in region 1 by Warner Brothers. It can be fairly easily obtained however.
A Guide for the Married Man
Paul Manning finds that his neighbour Ed has been cheating on his wife. He asks Ed about it and is given advice on the history and tactics for the man committing adultery. Paul begins to notice another neighbour Irma, and gets closer and closer to cheating on his wife.
A Patch of Blue
Sidney Poitier stars in A Patch of Blue, focusing on the story between a black man and his relationship with a blind white teenager. The film was made in the backdrop of the racism and the civil rights movement within the United States.
Glenn Ford plays Richard Dadier, a new teacher at an inner city school where many of the pupils engage in anti-social behaviour. Their ringleader is Sidney Poitier, and he is the target of Dadier’s attention in trying to engage the pupils, however soon learns that Artie West is behind a violent attack on Dadier, and challenges him to a classroom showdown.
Casino Royale (1967) *
The original Casino Royale released in 1967 is loosely based on Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel, in which Bond is forced out of retirement resulting in a fight against Dr. Noah and SMERSH.
Tommy Lee Jones plays Ty Cobb, a famous baseball player who is 72 and has failing health. He begins to write a book about himself through a ghost-writer named Al Stump, however the book presents himself without flaw; of which he had many.
With the limited appeal of baseball in the UK, this DVD is very hard to get a hold of. Even the region 1 version no longer appears to be in print, and the only copies available are second-hand from the initial print run. This can be seen by the old style DVD case.
Dawn of the Dead (1978) *
George A. Romero directed Dawn of the Dead in which the United States is in the grip of a epidemic, with recently deceased people being reanimated as flesh-eating zombies.
The 1978 version of Dawn of the Dead has been released in various guises with a Director’s Cut and ‘Full Uncut Version’ and multiple covers, however none are particularly easy to find new. Care should also be taken not to be confused with the 2004 remake.
Deep Cover features Jeff Goldblum and Laurence Fishburne. Fishburne plays a police officer who saw his alcoholic father killed many years ago, and vows not to turn out the same way. He has to go on an undercover operation in a major drugs network and work his way up in the operation.
Deep Cover has been released on region 2 in the past, however it appears to no longer be in print. The cost for purchasing now fluctuates, with prices up to £40.
Divorce American Style
Dick Van Dyke and Debbie Reynolds play an unhappy couple in American Suburbia. After 15 years of marraige, they decide on a divorce however they find being separated can be just as difficult.
The film was released in region 2 back in 2006, however appears to have been a limited print run and can only be found second hand. It was released back in 1967 however so would most likely have had limited appeal.
Janitor Daryll Deever (played by William Hurt) is a big fan of TV news reported Tony Sokolow (Signourney Weaver). A wealthy man is then murdered in Daryll’s office building and Sokolow believes Deever knows something about it.
A DVD release is available from third-party sellers, and a Blu-ray is also available which was released in 2016.
Flight Of The Navigator
Joey Kramer features as David Freeman, a boy who goes missing and then reappears eight years later without having aged. A spacecraft also crashes into power lines, and is moved to a NASA location. David is also asked to visit the NASA compound in an attempt to resolve his issues, however he finds the spacecraft and escapes in an attempt to get back to his own time.
Disney have a habit of limiting their DVD releases in an attempt to keep prices high. The film can be found in region 2 quite readily but prices vary. There is also rumour of a remake in the future, so it is likely the original will see a re-release as part of the marketing for a remake.
Floundering is set in post-riot Los Angeles of 1992, with James LeGros playing John. John can’t figure out what he wants from his life, and is also struggling with a drug-addicted brother who needs three thousand dollars for a detox program.
The film has never been released in region 2, probably due to limited appeal. Although it is relatively easy to find, the price fluctuates wildly, with prices above £50 on occasion.
Friday stars Chris Tucker and Ice Cube and follows the story of 16 hours in the lives of the unemployed Craig Jones and Smokey who both owe $200 dollars to a drug dealer which must be paid that same night.
This film was released in region 2, and a deluxe addition was also made available, but both seem to have since gone out of print. Two sequels have also been produced and released on DVD.
The Front Page
Starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. Hildy has just quit his job in order to marry Peggy Grant and start a new career. Convict on deathrow Earl Williams escapes from execution and Hildy spots a chance to scoop a big story on the convict.
The Gin Game
Mary Tyler Moore reunites with Dick Van Dyke as two seniors who find friendship over daily card games at their retirement home. Over the course of their conversations they begin to talk about their failures and regrets in life.
This DVD was never released in region 2 as it was a made-for-television movie by PBS, and would have probably had limited appeal in the UK. If wanted, it is moderately difficult to get on region 1.
Neil Klugman is an intelligent, army veteran who earns a living as a library clerk. He falls in love with Brenda, but has to contend with her family who feel the difference in class is an obstacle.
This DVD can be found on region 1 however it is particularly rare with prices going of around £70. The film was based on a novella released in 1959, so distribution rights may be the reason for a lack of release.
Husbands stars Peter Falk, John Cassevetes, and Ben Gazzara as three middle aged men in the midst of a mid-life crisis after their friend dies. The three decide to fly to London to get away from their suburban lives, however the experience makes them contemplate their life back home.
This DVD isn’t particularly hard to get a hold of compared to some other listed, and is fairly cheap, however a region 2 version doesn’t appear to have been made available.
The Jack Bull
The Jack Bull is a made-for-television western movie starring John Cusack and John Goodman. Cusack plays Myrl Redding, a law-abiding land owner who has to contend with a land baron intent on buying up large swathes of Wyoming and attempting to evict residents.
The DVD was released in region 2 on a limited print, as a co-operative between producers HBO and Sky. It is relatively easy to get a hold of through resellers.
The Longest Yard (1974)
Burt Reynolds stars as a former American Football pro who is jailed for reckless driving and driving drunk. The warden of the jail wants to arrange a match between a semi-pro team he manages, and a team of convicts including Reynolds character.
The film is the basis of the 2005 version featuring Adam Sandler, and also the British version, Mean Machine starring Vinnie Jones. It appears to be hard to get a hold of on region 2 due to lack of interest compared to the other remakes.
Lt Robin Crusoe USN
Dick Van Dyke plays an “all-thumbs” navy pilot forced to eject from his plane. He eventually drifts to an island, and finds a whole host of crazy things such as an abandoned WWII submarine and a NASA astro-chimp.
Produced by Walt Disney, the film is relatively light hearted and typical of those that are shown on television around Christmas. It is a little dated in viewing, though being produced in 1966, that is no surprise.
Monty Python’s Life of Brian *
Monty Python’s Life of Brian features Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin and tells the tale of Brian Cohen, a Jewish man who is born on the same day and next door to as Jesus before being mistaken for him. The film suffered an early setback due to withdrawal of funding before production began, before George Harrison stepped in to provide financing.
Various releases of the film have been made over the years, however it appears to be currently out of print as a plain, single DVD. A Blu-ray release entitled The Immaculate Edition was made available in 2007.
Never A Dull Moment
Dick Van Dyke plays Jack Albany, an actor who is mistaken for a killer and moved to a gangsters mansion. Forced to continue the charade, he has to play a role in the theft of a painting from an art gallery.
Disney produced this film, which possibly explains why there are no recent prints as they are well known for vaulting their collections at times.
Never Say Never Again *
Featuring Sean Connery in his last appearance as James Bond, the storyline revolves around Bond failing a routine training exercise and being sent by M to a clinic to regain fitness, where he encounters his usual problems of enemies and killers.
The DVD is currently out of print with sales available through third-party sellers. A Blu-ray was released for the thirtieth anniversary of the films release.
A New Leaf
Walter Matthau plays Henry Graham, who has run through his inheritance and is unable to provide for himself. After turning to his uncle, who refuses him help, he is still unable to go through with the only option left – suicide. However, he manages to think up another idea; marrying into money. He eventually meets the woman to solve his problems, however there are still a few problems to resolve.
Alan Boyce plays David, a student who seems to have everything. His friend Chris, played by Keanu Reeves is seen as the outsider. However, when David kills himself, his friends wonder whether they too are capable of such self-destruction.
Tim Robbins stars as a studio executive who has the power to green-light or reject movie scripts. His job becomes endangered by an upcoming story executive, and he has also been receiving death threats. The entire film is satire and takes pokes at Hollywood, with around 60 celebrities making cameo appearances.
Pronto stars Peter Falk as a bookie in Florida attempting leave behind his rather sordid life to start fresh with his girlfriend. After putting aside money by embezzling from a mob boss, he has to avoid both murder attempts and the US Government.
Getting this on DVD is effectively impossible. A Polish version was released several years ago, however even no region 1 or region 2 English version appears available.
Bill Murray stars in this comedy as Grimm, a bank robber dressed as a clown. Along with his accomplices, they attempt to escape Manhattan, but it seems events are conspiring against them as their best laid plans falter.
This DVD was released in region 2, but not in the UK meaning only import versions are available. It isn’t a particularly difficult film to find however.
Tommy Lee Jones stars in another rare film from 1977, and one of his first feature film appearances. He appears alongside William Devane who is a recently released Vietnam P.O.W. given a welcome reception in his hometown. However his wife is no longer in love with him and his son doesn’t recognise him, and some in town consider him a murderer for his role in the war.
This film isn’t impossible to get on DVD as it saw a double-play released of both Blu-ray and DVD in 2012. However, getting it individually appears far harder with the easiest route getting the region 1 release.
Rosewood features Jon Voight, Ving Rhames and Don Cheadle and covers the events around the 1923 race riot in Florida. Set in the town of Rosewood, the film highlights the events which begin with whites attacking blacks and burning down the town.
The film was released in 1997 and has been released in America on DVD, however probably wouldn’t have made the distribution costs back if released elsewhere in the world.
Jon Voight plays another baddie as an escapee from an Alaskan prison. As the train pulls away, the driver has a heart attack, and in an attempt stop the train, burns the brakes away leaving the train a runaway with the convict onboard.
The film has recently been released in a combo-set with a Blu-ray and DVD. The DVD only version can be found from resellers but prices can be high.
Separate But Equal
Sidney Poitier plays Thurgood Marshall, a lawyer who argues in a lawsuit of Brown vs The Education Board when black students are denied a request for a school bus.
Retrieving this DVD is exceptionally hard. A Spanish version has been released and is relatively easy to find, however even the region 1 release appears difficult to import.
Seven Days in May
Seven Days in May features a number of famous names including Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, and Leonard Nimoy as well as the writer of the film, Rod Serling. The plot covers a far-right general and his planned takeover of the United States who believes the country is being soft on enemies.
The DVD is available for import from Korea and Spain, and region 1 copies do exist however it is very expensive second-hand.
Dustin Hoffman plays Max, a recently released convict. He struggles to maintain a straight life, and has to deal with a difficult parole officer. When he is arrested for some circumstances outside his control, he reverts back to his criminal way of life.
Christopher Reeve stars as Jonathan Fisher, a magazine reporter in danger of losing his job. He promises to write a hard-hitting story on prostitution, but when no-one is willing to talk, he fabricates a story about a pimp. The story is well-received but wakes up the police and district attorney who believe the character may be real.
The Tuskegee Airmen
The Tuskegee Airmen was released in 1995 as a television movie for HBO. It chronicles the events of an African-American group of combat pilots that fought in World War II.
As with many American television movies, they often aren’t produced in bulk meaning the region 2 variant is fairly rare. It can be purchased readily on region 1 DVD however.
Twilight Zone: The Movie
Taking three Twilight Zone episodes from Rod Serling’s original series and adding an original story, the movie features a number of stars including John Lithgow, Dan Aykroyd, Vic Morrows and Albert Brooks.
This DVD has been produced in region 2, however it relatively expensive considering it is an older film. Possibly due to a limited print run.