Interesting 21 Surprisingly Bad Movies Directed by Good Directors  

Ranker Film
1.4k votes 320 voters 16.9k views 21 items

List Rules Vote up the most surprising crappy movie made by an iconic and respected film director.

Sometimes a director has an instantly recognizable style like David Fincher, Steven Spielberg or Ridley Scott. But what if we told you that one of the worst films ever made (Alien 3) was the work of one of the most acclaimed directors or all time? Or that Steven Spielberg made a barely watchable film starring a young Justin Chatwin and Tom Cruise? How about a two hour Ridley Scott melodrama starring Russell Crowe about wine and... growing up? (It's real and it's awful!) Turns out there are plenty of bad movies directed by great directors, proving that no one is perfect.

There are also acclaimed film directors who pride themselves on being diverse and experimenting, but still maintain an incredible body of work. You've got your Coen Brothers, Scorseses, David O. Russells, and Robert Zemekises. Don't worry; they've all had their follies as well and they each make appearances on this list.

This is a list of movies that remind you that even the absolute best director can make an awful movie. These are the movies some of these directors wish were stricken from the record (one of the films on this list was, in fact, released under a pseudonym and with a different title). These are the surprising movies directed by Hollywood's iconic directors!
1 94 VOTES

The Last Airbender


The Last Airbender is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 21 Surprisingly Bad Movies Directed by Good Directors
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Director: M. Night Shyamalan

His early career is the stuff of legend (The Sixth Sense, Signs, Unbreakable), but then something happened and nothing he's made has been remotely watchable since (The Last Airbender, The Happening, After Earth).

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2 98 VOTES

Happy Feet Two


Happy Feet Two is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 21 Surprisingly Bad Movies Directed by Good Directors
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Director: George Miller

The mad genius behind Mad Max, The Road Warrior, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome and Mad Max: Fury Road made a bunch of kids movies (as well as The Witches of Eastwick)!

It's not necessarily a bad thing, nor are the films entirely awful (though they are certainly surprising). The guy who thought up Mad Max directed Babe: Pig in the City along with the Happy Feet films.

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Planet of the Apes


Planet of the Apes is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 21 Surprisingly Bad Movies Directed by Good Directors
Photo: via Wikimedia

Director: Tim Burton

Tim Burton is so iconic as a director that you could pause any of his films at almost any point and recognize the frame as one from a Burton film. His dark, dramatic, gothic-toned films such as Batman, Beetlejuice, and Edward Scissorhands made him one of the most sought after directors in Hollywood.

His later work, like Dark Shadows, is often just a shadow of what he once was. It's not even clear how Planet of the Apes managed to get made.

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Cassandra's Dream


Cassandra's Dream is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 21 Surprisingly Bad Movies Directed by Good Directors
Photo: via Wikimedia

Director: Woody Allen

Woody Allen makes a movie a year, so they can't all be legendary, but many of them are. Films like Annie Hall, Manhattan, Hannah and Her Sisters, and others keep people excited that for a new Allen film every year. On the flip side, there is the occasional movie like Scoop or Cassandra's Dream which even Ewan McGregor, Tom Wilkinson, and Colin Farrell couldn't save.

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