Movies & TV

7 Times Great Directors Made Really Terrible Movies

The one-miss wonders
IMAGE Buena Vista Pictures

Everyone has an off day now and again, even the greatest directors. Sometimes filmmakers at the top of their game somehow come out with a turkey which makes you wonder what the hell they were thinking.

We're not talking dodgy first movies with undue studio intervention here (David Fincher!), but films released when the director was a well-established master. Here are seven excellent, well-established movie makers who, out of nowhere, came out with an absolute piece of junk.

1| Clint Eastwood - Hereafter
He's a legend behind the camera as well as in front, and he's racked up scores of classics including Play Misty for Me, High Plains Drifter,Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby, and many more. He had a bit of a stumble in 2010, though, with Hereafter, a highly sentimental mess that mused on the existence of the afterlife.

It's more the script than the directing that's the problem here, though Eastwood did make the mistake of casting young twins Frankie and George McLaren in key rolesthey'd been in one episode of Casualty before Hereafter and haven't acted since, and um, we suspect there's a reason for that.


2| The Coen Brothers - The Ladykillers
The Coens' first and only remake transported the Ealing comedy to the American South where Tom Hanks and his gang of criminals plan a heist but are foiled by their elderly landlady. Hanks is good but this is a surface-level farce that feels way below the capabilities of the brothers who brought us The Big Lebowski, Millers Crossing and No Country for Old Men.

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3| Cameron Crowe - Elizabethtown
More recently Aloha and We Bought a Zoo got lukewarm responses but earlier in his career Cameron Crowe was golden after Say Anything, Singles, Jerry Maguire, and Almost Famous. Then Elizabethtown came along and with it one of the first and worst examples of male wish fulfilment via Kirsten Dunst's Manic Pixie Dream Girl.

A low point for Orlando Bloom, too, as the suicidal man-child who can't decide if he loves her or not.

4| Frances Ford Coppola - Jack
Frances Ford Coppola has won five Oscars and is responsible for Apocalypse Now and the Godfather movies, often cited on lists of the greatest movies ever made. He also made Jack. This dramedy about a 10-year-old boy with a disease that makes him age four times more rapidly than normal stars Robin Williams, doing his worst Robin Williams.


Mawkish doesn't begin to cover it. "Coppola, of course, was abducted by aliens and replaced with a pod person in the middle of filming Godfather III," as one reviewer wrote.

5| Brian De Palma - Bonfire of the Vanities
Vanities was such a critical and commercial flop that it's gone down in history as one of the biggest movie fails ever. Adapted (badly) from Tom Wolfe's biting novel, the miscast Tom Hanks takes the lead as a man on trial for a hit-and-run who gets caught up in the city's political machinations, in a film described by critics as a tedious farce.

This from the guy who made Carrie, Scarface, and The Untouchables.

6| Woody Allen - Cassandra's Dream
To be fair, Woody Allen is enormously prolific so it's not all that surprising that there are some duds among his enormous catalogue.

But there are duds and then there's Cassandra's Dream, which takes a perfectly good cast (Ewan McGregor, Colin Farrell, Hayley Atwell) and manages to make them universally terrible.


Horrible dialogue, ridiculous plot, awkward melodrama, no amount of Annie Halls can cancel this out.

7| Steven Spielberg – Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
We love Spielberg. But seriously, Crystal Skull was rubbish. Enough said.

From: Digital Spy

This story originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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