List of movies that have been considered the worst ever
Obviously, due to the subjective nature of "good" and "bad" judgments, there can be disagreement about what constitutes an "extremely bad movie". A movie usually garners an extremely bad reputation not merely for simply failing as drama, but failing to a degree out of all proportion to popular and critical expectation. Sometimes, excessive pre-release hype
surrounding a film can build up expectations in viewers to an unrealistic degree; an example might be the Star Wars
prequels, which, while performing extremely well at the box office, have caused great argument among fans of the series. And sometimes, audiences who are tiring of an overexposed celebrity will heap vilification upon a film starring that celebrity if it is in any way dramatically flawed; an example of this would be the Ben Affleck
or Guy Ritchie
's Swept Away
, starring his wife, pop music diva Madonna
Among fans of low-budget cult films, the term "so bad it's good" is popularly used to refer to movies made by filmmakers who are either too inept or untalented to pull off their intentions (and seem clueless about their shortcomings), or who, despite possible latent talent, simply try too much with too limited a budget. An obvious example would the filmography of Ed Wood or Coleman Francis, or any of the myriad obscure films featured on the television spoof show Mystery Science Theater 3000. Unlike more mundane bad films, these bad films actually develop an ardent fan following who love them because of their poor quality.
Motion pictures that are frequently cited by some as among the worst movies ever made include:
- The Adventures of Baron Münchhausen (1988): the Terry Gilliam version.
- The Adventures of Pluto Nash: $90 million-budgeted Eddie Murphy sci-fi comedy took in only around $4 million at the box office.
- Alien 3: third film in the phenomenal Alien franchise — the feature debut of director David Fincher — alienated the series' fans for taking the saga in an undesired direction and featuring a story considered threadbare and uninvolving; its reputation could change, however, when Fincher's original cut is restored for the Alien Quadrilogy DVD box set in 2003.
- Attack of the Killer Tomatoes
- Baby Geniuses
- John Travolta's Battlefield Earth: audiences and critics widely viewed it as boring and nonsensical; many may also have stayed away because of L. Ron Hubbard's connection with Scientology.
- Batman and Robin: Viewed with derision by fans of the character for director Joel Schumacher's overbearing style and trivial visual details, such as "nipples" on Batman and Robin's costumes. Fans seem to have preferred director Tim Burton's vision for the series.
- Billy Bathgate (1991)
- Blood Feast (1963): Pioneering, if not the first film in the "gore" genre. Called worst movie of the year by Time magazine. Only with the passage of time, now that the shock has warn off, can we fully appreciate just how bad the acting really was.
- Caligula: Graphic film about the Roman emperor.
- Cleopatra (1963): nearly bankrupted 20th Century Fox
- Cool as Ice:Sstarring brief pop music sensation and teen idol Vanilla Ice.
- Cotton Club (1984)
- Deep Impact: About an asteroid colliding with Earth, thickly laid on with fake solemnity and melodrama.
- Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001) virtually bankrupted Square Pictures
- For the Boys -- Bette Midler's USO tour falls flat
- Freddy Got Fingered: comedy by MTV prankster Tom Green was lambasted by critics for its excessive vulgarity (which included Green twirling a bloody newborn baby over his head by its umbilical cord) and only did middling business.
- From Justin to Kelly: A musical featuring winners of the first season of TV phenomenon American Idol was universally dismissed by most viewers; it lasted only two weeks in theaters. The film seems to enjoy continued distribution on airline inflight entertainment systems, inspiring the joke that the audience there has little opportunity to escape.
- Gigli: vehicle for celebrity couple Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez failed for numerous reasons; the script was widely attacked, and the public was tiring of the two stars' overexposure in the media.
- Glitter: Mariah Carey vehicle and disastrous commercial failure that was part of a drastic downturn in the superstar's career.
- Godzilla: Big-budget 1998 US film based on the classic Japanese monster series drew massive criticism for not only narrative flaws, but an ill-advised CGI "redesign" of the iconic monster and a subplot involving baby Godzillas that were overly derivative of the velociraptors in Steven Spielberg's adaptation of Jurassic Park. Prior to this film's release, Japanese studio Toho had done their final Godzilla film, killing the monster off, but their dismay at this version actually inspired them to revive Godzilla for a new franchise!
- The Gong Show: movie based on the 1970s TV show.
- Halloween III: Season of the Witch: Bewildered fans of the first two films by having nothing at all to do with them, and making no sense on its own.
- Heaven's Gate: Michael Cimino's complex, nearly four-hour Western that sent United Artists into bankruptcy.
- Howard The Duck (1986)
- Hudson Hawk: the biggest money-losing film of 1991.
- Inchon (1981): Despite an impressive cast and enormous budget, this controversial war epic produced by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church lost tons of money.
- Ishtar: massively-budgeted comedy starring Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman that failed at the box office and was subject to nearly unanimous bad reviews. Beatty and Hoffman supposedly did it for the money.
- Kazaam: Shaquille O'Neal stars as a rapping genie.
- Last Action Hero: first serious box office failure, a self-parody of action star Arnold Schwarzenegger.
- Leonard, Part Six: a Bill Cosby movie that made even its star go on a talk show tour to tell people not to see it
- Manos: The Hands of Fate: no-budget horror film made by El Paso fertilizer salesman which gained cult popularity from the Mystery Science Theater 3000 television show.
- Millennium: criticized for an outrageous plot, terrible acting, and showing basically the same shots twice from different camera angles for the second half of the film.
- North: high-profile Rob Reiner movie with numerous celebrity parts and cameos, about which Roger Ebert famously said, "I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it."
- Plan 9 from Outer Space: the first film even to get film fans thinking of "worst ever" movies when it was officially labelled the worst by the Golden Turkey Awards.
- The Postman: Epic post-apocalyptic science fiction film directed by and starring Kevin Costner, from David Brin's bestseller; it cost $50 million to make but was ignored by audiences and derided by critics.
- Raise the Titanic (1980): Lew Grade remarked that "it would have been cheaper to lower the Atlantic".
- Red Zone Cuba or Night Train to Mundo Fine: apparently budgetless independent film from Coleman Francis and Anthony Cardoza attempts to re-enact the Bay of Pigs invasion with fewer than a dozen extras.
- Santa Claus: the Dudley Moore epic from 1985.
- Santa Claus Conquers the Martians: children's film attempting to be sci-fi adventure and uplifting Christmas movie at the same time; stars Pia Zadora as a child.
- Santa with Muscles: a film starring Hulk Hogan as Santa Claus with — surprise — muscles.
- Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1978): a script written around unrelated Beatles tunes combined with some impressive musical cameos turned into a recipe for disaster.
- Seven Dwarfs to the Rescue: a live action Snow White sequel.
- The Silver Chalice: described by Paul Newman as the worst movie of the 1950s.
- Showgirls (1995): Saved by the Bell television actress gets big-budget exposure she might have regretted later; "won" seven of the thirteen Razzie Awardss it was nominated for.
- Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace and Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones: The Star Wars prequels have divided fans of the films sharply, with critics coming down harshly on the excessively plotted scripts, poor acting, and director George Lucas' failure to recapture the swashbuckling sense of fun of the originals. Fully CGI characters such as Jar Jar Binks were met with particular venom. Given the fact that there was an 18-year gap since the release of the last film during which fans were building very high expectations, it is perhaps impossible the prequels could have avoided disappointing a great many people. Inspired The Phantom Edit, a fan edit of the film removing much of the more offensive material, widely thought of as being superior to the original.
- Swept Away: Remake of 1960s film assembled as vehicle for Madonna by her husband, director Guy Ritchie, met with such disaster at the box office that it appears it could completely derail the once-promising career of Ritchie.
- Tron (1982): Originally considered a flop, though it is undergoing a critical re-evaluation by a later generation.
- Waterworld (1995): Barely recouped its production costs in international distribution.
- Wild Wild West (1999): You can just see the money burn up on the screen.