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'100 Cult Films': Some You'd Expect, But 'Star Wars'?

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If one movie can sum up the definition of "cult film," it would probably be The Rocky Horror Picture Show. (Yeah, that is why it's up there at the top of the page.)

Midnight-movie screenings and singalongs with the film's musical numbers have cemented Rocky Horror's status in the pantheon of cult classics.

They've also helped to land the film on a new list of the top 100 cult films of all time. But that list also contains some surprising titles — sci-fi and fantasy mainstays like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, even family favorites like The Wizard of Oz, It's A Wonderful Life and The Sound of Music.

So what's "cult" about those movies? NPR's Audie Cornish talked to the two film studies professors who put the list together for their new book 100 Cult Films. Ernest Mathijs teaches at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver; Xavier Mendik teaches at Brunel University in London.

Earlier this month, we published Mathijs and Mendik's list and asked NPR's audiences to weigh in on what was there and what was missing.

This weekend, in the audio above, we explain what Mathijs and Mendik were thinking — they talk about surveying the field "from the margins to the mainstream" — and what you wanted to add to their list.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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