7 Cheapest Movies Ever Made

7 Cheapest Movies Ever Made

Comparing movie budgets and box office returns can highlight notable low-budget films. Below are some of the biggest and greatest low-budget films made for under $1 million. 

Rocky movie poster1. Rocky (1976) 

You can save money when you write and star in a movie yourself. Sylvester Stallone and director John G. Avildsen kicked off the “Rocky” franchise on a budget just shy of $1 million. The film made $225 million worldwide, which equates to over $1 billion in 2021. 



2.Napolean Dynamite Movie Poster Napoleon Dynamite (2004) 

“Napoleon Dynamite” is a quirky cult classic with a following that began well after its theatrical release. The film grossed $44.9 million in its first year after a quiet $116,666 opening weekend. “Napoleon Dynamite” accomplished this feat on a $400,000 budget — lead actor Jon Heder only received $1,000 for his work. 


3. halloween movie posterHalloween (1978) 

Michael Myers came slashing through the box office by grossing $47 million in the U.S. and $23 million internationally — all on a $350,000 budget. As one of the earliest slasher films, “Halloween” set the framework for a profitable model that major studios would replicate over the next decade. 


4.Friday the 13th movie poster Friday the 13th (1980) 

Paramount Pictures approved “Friday the 13th” following the success of “Halloween.” With a budget of $500,000, this trip to Camp Crystal Lake made $39.7 million at the U.S. box office. Warner Bros. would handle the overseas release, bringing the total to $59.8 million.


5. Mad Max movie posterMad Max (1979) 

This Australian film depicting a post-apocalyptic world of road rage came to life with a budget of 400,000 Australian dollars. “Mad Max” was a hit worldwide, grossing over 100 million USD and setting a world record for the most profitable film.


6. Blair witch project movie posterThe Blair Witch Project (1999) 

Writers, directors and editors Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez spent between $35,000 and $60,000 shooting “The Blair Witch Project,” making it arguably the cheapest movie ever made. It later received between $200,000 and $750,000 from Artisan Entertainment for post-production. The “Blair Witch Project” snowballed after its release, earning $248.6 million worldwide. 

7. American Graffiti movie PosterAmerican Graffiti (1973) 

Before George Lucas was a famous director, he debuted with the film “American Graffiti” starring Harrison Ford. With a budget of $770,000, Lucas’ picture earned over $55 million worldwide and has gone on to make over $200 million in subsequent home and theatrical releases.