Originally this was going to be the top ten most wanted movies on DVD, but trying to keep this list down to ten titles or so wasn't easy.
So here's a handful of titles I came up with going through a number of websites (including want lists from DVD Journal Hollywood-Elsewhere, The Onion), polling friends, as well as going through my own personal wish lists.
Surprisingly, there are still a number of classic movies that still aren't on DVD, or have gone out of print, including Orson Welles' Magnificent Ambersons and Chimes at Midnight, Greed, Wuthering Heights, Porgy and Bess, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Viva Zapata, and Kubrick's first film Fear and Desire, just to name a few.
Other titles I was surprised to see haven't come out on DVD include most of the films from director Frank Perry including his classic Diary of a Mad Housewife, Play It As It Lays (based on the novel by Joan Didion), Last Summer, and Man On A Swing, a great thriller that needs to be rediscovered. Two Paramount titles that are practically on every want list are Jonathan Demme's Citizen Band (Handle With Care), and Looking For Mr. Goodbar, a dark '70's slice of life with a knockout performance by Diane Keaton.
One of the most complicated rights issues around any film is Orson Welles' Other Side of the Wind, which has never been completed. Reports often surface it's "99% complete," but infighting among Welles' daughter and those who want the film finished and released continue to hold it up.
Often a big stumbling block with movies are music rights, it's partly what held up Two Lane Blacktop for many years, and it also held up the home releases of the animated films American Pop and Heavy Metal. It also may be what's held up American Hot Wax (one of Art Linson's first big movies as a producer), want list perennial Decline and Fall 2: The Metal Years, and the 1983 rock n' roll comedy Get Crazy.
One film that constantly pops up on want lists is the single Disney film that hasn't been officially re-released since the eighties, Song of the South, which many would consider very politically incorrect today (reportedly it was released on laserdisc). With so many bootleg copies going around, you also often wonder why The Star Wars Christmas Special hasn't been officially issued, even as a fun extra on a future Star Wars reissue.
Several other long lost TV shows that pop up on want lists include Batman (which is supposedly caught in a rights stalemate between Warners and Fox), The Green Hornet, The Loner (Rod Serling's western!), and the short lived Spielberg series Amazing Stories, among others.
Thankfully, the studios are indeed checking up on what the fans want, and cross checking several want lists I've found quite a few titles that have just been added to DVD on Demand, or are coming soon, including Robert Altman's Brewster McCloud, Hal Ashby's debut The Landlord, Resurrection starring Ellen Burstyn (now part of Universal's Vault Series collection available exclusively through Amazon), Alejandro Jodoworski's cult classic Santa Sangre (coming this January), and Ishtar.
Yes, even if it's purely out of curiosity, people want to see it and have been asking for it. The Jerry Lewis movie that was so bad it couldn't be released, The Day the Clown Cried, is also a long lost cinema curiosity, but Jerry has vowed to never let it see the light of day (he has the only complete print).
All this merely scratches the surface of what's left to be seen in the world, and it's always exciting to think what long lost classics or curiosities are left to be dug up and enjoyed.