From Christopher Nolan to Steven Spielberg, 13 terrifying films from great filmmakers

IIn every industry and in every walk of life, sometimes even the best of us fail to hit the mark.

For professional filmmakers, however, mistakes can be costly. Unlike most people, millions of people can witness their slip-ups – a bad movie can damage someone’s reputation for years or even decades.

However, this isn’t just a list of bad movies. This is a tribute to the rare occasions when great filmmakers just got it wrong.

For every Kelly Reichardt or Paul Thomas Anderson out there — artists who’ve made it throughout their careers without ever really sacrificing quality — there are countless others who haven’t quite succeeded.

Even giants of the medium are prone to the occasional bum note. And it’s not just directors; Some of the best actors out there have also been guilty of a terrible performance every now and then.

However, this list is all about those behind the camera. From Steven Spielberg to Christopher Nolan, here’s a rundown of 13 terrifying movies from great filmmakers…

Robert Altman – pop eye (1980)

Revisionism the Heck, Robert Altman’s live-action musical version pop eye, in which Robin Williams plays the spinach-eating sailor himself, still sucks. When it first came out in 1980, it was so violently filmed that Altman – one of the greatest American directors of all time – drastically disappeared from the Hollywood spotlight, eventually making his mainstream comeback more than a decade later The player.

Kathryn Bigelow – The weight of the water (2002)

After successes like point break And strange days, The weight of the water was a miserable flop for Kathryn Bigelow. The film, starring Elizabeth Hurley and Sean Penn, was a twisting drama that spanned two time periods. Its 35 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes puts it firmly in the lazy category — but anyone who’s seen it might object that 35 seems generous.

Frank Capra- A bag full of miracles (1961)

In the history of cinema there was almost no one who was as skilfully sentimental as Capra. While many of his most popular films – Mr. Smith goes to Washington; It’s a beautiful life; It happened one night – came out in the 1930s and 1940s, he remained a prolific filmmaker until 1961. At this point, however, the magic began to fade: A bag full of miracles is a weary and joyless piece of work, a depressingly weak swan song from a Hollywood titan.

“The Ladykillers” is often cited as the low point in the careers of Joel and Ethan Coen


The Coen Brothers – The Lady Killers (2004)

Few films stand out in a great filmography quite like The Lady Killers, the ill-conceived remake of the Coen brothers’ Ealing comedy classic. Admittedly, playing Tom Hanks as a giggly Southern villain against the type is fun, but the entire remake is more than half-baked, with some questionable racial politics thrown in for good measure.

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Frances Ford Coppola Jack (1996)

Coppola’s best films rival just about anything else in the cinema: The Godfather; apocalypse now; The conversation. However, look at his worst and it’s honestly hard to believe they were made by the same man. And in all of Coppola’s repertoire, there really isn’t anything worse than Jackthe corny comedy starring Robin Williams as a boy in a grown man’s body.

David Fincher- alien 3 (1992)

It’s somewhat unusual that Fincher’s worst film isn’t just his debut, but a high-profile blockbuster that grossed nearly $160 million. Not just a sequel to Ridley Scott’s iconic work extraterrestrialbut also James Cameron’s shockingly good sequel, Fincher’s alien 3 was an all round disappointment – a callous departure from the previous film that couldn’t hide the scars of extreme turmoil behind the scenes.

Sigourney Weaver in Alien 3


Alfred Hitchcock – sparkling wine (1928)

All of Hitchcock’s best-known films were made after he had been in the industry for many years; sparkling wine is one of many early Hitchcock films that probably only obsessed fans have seen. Hitchcock himself later spoke scathingly sparkling wine, about a young woman (Betty Balfour) who is looking for a job after her father goes broke. “The film had no story to tell,” he said.

Richard Linklater – Bears with bad news (2005)

Linklater is a filmmaker who is admired for his versatility – he has mastered everything from coming-of-age dramas (childhood) to experimental animations (A dark scanner) and dark comedies (Bernie). As with any director with such big swings, there are also a few little twists — no worse than his 2005 remake of the 1976 baseball comedy The bad news bears. Even Billy Bob Thornton playing a toned down version of him Bad Santa boozehound, doesn’t make this worthwhile for anyone.

David Lynch- dune (1984)

The revolutionary spirit behind it blue velvet, Mulholland Drive And twin peaks has such a unique sensibility that it became its own adjective — but there was little Lynchian dune. Decades before Frank Herbert’s sci-fi epic by Denis Villenueve, Lynch’s plump, bewildering take, was successfully brought to the big screen dune was a milestone of misjudged adjustment.

Kyle MacLachlan starred in Dune, David Lynch’s widely filmed adaptation of the legendary science fiction novel

(1984 Dino De Laurentiis Corporation)

christopher nolan- principle (2020)

Look: there’s a lot to like principle. The action set pieces. Robert Pattinson’s unusual impersonation of Christopher Hitchens. The sheer clockwork ambition of it all. But Nolan’s time-wasting thriller is also a mess, proving too complicated and silly to win moviegoers’ affections.

Steven Spielberg – 1941 (1979)

For all of his multiple strengths behind the camera, Spielberg has never made comedy his forte. So perhaps it’s not surprising that his worst film was a dark, madcap farce set around the time of the Pearl Harbor bombing. It’s proof of that Jaws revolutionary box office power four years earlier and Spielberg’s prodigious talent that led to the failure of 1941 could roll off the back; In worse hands, that would be an idiot for a promising filmmaker to take to his grave.

The Wachowskis – Matrix Reloaded (2003)

While the first two Matrix sequels have always had their ardent supporters, there’s no denying that most people don’t feel that way. Below The Matrix – a blockbuster that literally changed the fabric of Hollywood – has always been a huge challenge. But audiences just weren’t prepared for the serious and nerdy storyline, rubbery CGI, and general air of smugness. Reloaded brought in a lot of money, but went down in history as a disaster sequel for eternity.

Keanu Reeves in The Matrix Reloaded

(Photo: Jasin Boland)

Robert Zemeckis – A Christmas song (2009)

Back to the Future Director Zemeckis has not only experienced great lows in his career, but also great highs. 2004s The Polar Express is often regarded as the pinnacle of the eerie “uncanny valley” in western computer animation, but even this film surpasses its 2009 version of Charles Dickens carol. With a digitized Jim Carrey as Scrooge, this was cheerless, cheerless humbug.

Emma Bowman

Emma Bowman is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Emma Bowman joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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