Barbarella is definitely a cult film. It wasn't designed to be a cult, like some films, it was made to make money. But like Blade Runner it had a rough ride from the critics, and the film continues to not be taken seriously as sci-fi, or even as a comedy! But despite being ignored by the mainstream, Barbarella still has a following.
The script keeps getting quoted, scenes and costumes from the film are copied, the soundtrack music is still playing, the movie was always one of the first films out on any new home video format (until Blu-ray arrived!) and is always somewhere on TV. Posters, comic books, CDs keep getting rereleased. It's a movie that refuses to go away. Not that it gets mentioned much in the media, it's a film that succeeds by word-of-mouth.
It's at the top of my top films, not because it's an underdog, but because I genuinely love it and haven't tired of it in thirty years. I first saw Barbarella at midnight on TV in a double-bill with This Island Earth. I love the look, the story, the characters, the cast and the intent.
The best recent news is that Barbarella is getting a Blu-ray release in July 2012. Hopefully that'll again stir up interest in this mad, psychedelic adventure that's way, way out.
This site is dedicated to the original movie and everyone who helped make it, especially the creator of the character, the story and the world of Barbarella, Jean-Claude Forest.