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  • 5minutes

    “Stanley Kubrick is one of the very few directors who could make a legitimate claim to having never made a bad film.”

    Oh, he made one. His earliest outing, Fear and Desire ( It plays like a slightly more expensive student film, full of ennui and way too much inner dialogue. It’s uneven and very, very experimental that plays more like an art house flick than any of his later movies.

    Kubrick, embarrassed by the film, later tried to buy up every single last copy of the film. He mostly succeeded, but the few copies in private collections ended up dribbling out occasionally. It finally showed on television in 2011 on TNT (where I saw it) and will be released on Blu Ray later this year. My suggestion: unless you’re a completist, don’t buy it.

    • Bumboclot

      Killers Kiss may also qualify as a “bad movie”. It’s watchable as an extra feature on The Killing Blu Ray from Criterion, but other than some interesting camera angles, it is pretty bad cinema on its own.

    • Brian M.

      Eyes Wide Shut. God Awful.

      • 5minutes

        I enjoyed Eyes Wide Shut for what it was, not for what people expected it to be.

        • uckermanf

          Can you explain what Eyes Wide Shut was, because I can’t? I’d like to hear someone’s explanation.

          • 5minutes


            What people expected EWS to be was a sexy thriller full of sexy sexiness and thrilling sex.

            What it was… was an exploration of the joy of faithfulness and family and the destructive nature of lust and selfishness. .

            • uckermanf

              OK, thanks for that. If you don’t mind speaking some more about it, can you tell me why it worked for you on that level? What was your take on what Kubrick was saying in regards to those subjects? Were there any specific scenes which really hammered the point home to you?

              I went into the movie not really knowing what to expect, but expecting to see something that looked “Kubrickian.” The sex scenes had been discussed alot, but honestly, I found them quite tame, and they didn’t really progress the story in any direction for me. Compared to something like “Caligula,” the sex was almost non-existent, or it at least had so little impact on me that I can’t even remember it.

            • 5minutes

              Nothing really specific, just the impression I got. Alice’s admission of lust for the sailor sends Bill on the path that puts his marriage at risk. Bill’s lust for importance among the rich and his clients makes him emotionally distant from his wife. In contrast, scenes about families are brightly lit with Christmas trees and the typical expected family joy of the season. The exception is Zeigler’s Christmas party which is brightly lit for the attendeess, but hides a darker secret (the drug-addled hooker). I’d say that this serves to contrast the real world (within the movie) with Zeigler’s hidden life. But again – that’s just my impression.

              The other option is that the entire movie is a long, lustful dream, which would be in line with the title of the original novel: Traumnovelle (Dream Story).

              And you’re right – it’s not overly Kubrickian. It’s a dark film, sure, but the ending is surprisingly happy with nary a hint of the cynicism that endings like Dr. Strangelove, A Clockwork Orange, or FMJ give us.

              And yes – the sex scenes, while fairly graphic for an R-rated film, were Kubrickianingly distant affairs.

      • uckermanf

        Agreed. I still have no clue what that movie was supposed to be. I can usually conjure up at least one mental image of a movie that sort of summarizes it for me, but this one just defies any kind of summary because it made so little sense. I’ve read analyses on it, and none of the analysis even makes any sense. Compared to his other movies, this one brings to mind that old Sesame Street song…”one of these things is not like the others..” It doesn’t even seem to share his cinematic style evident in the other movies.

  • Jose Hernandez

    These movies sound ridiculous and childish.

    • @ Jose. Yes, most of these movies sound rather typical to keep the movie industry to stay alive. However, regarding No.8 “Rendez-vous with Rama”, you must read the book by Arthur C. Clarke. It is without a doubt probably the greatest Science Fiction novel ever written I really have doubts about the movie being as good as the book. Read it, and you will be hooked.

    • Rev

      An Arthur C. Clarke adaptation or film about Napoleon sound childish?

      Cool comment, bro…

      • Jose


        • datdemdar

          And such a great come-back too.

        • Chris


  • Dennis

    I’ve always believed that “Apocalypse Now” was a modern version of “Heart Of Darkness”–Good List-Well Written.

    • andrew

      it is…that’s where apocalypse now came from

  • Peter Boucher

    Regarding # 3 “Who Killed Bambi” I have never heard of (most likely due to the fact that it was incomplete and was and also the fact that it was directed by Russ Meyer he’s a piece of work if you ask me surrounded by big vixen women all of the time) Having The Sex Pistols as the stars of the movie, would have been a catastrophic disaster in movie film land. However, regarding The Sex Pistols, a must see is “Sid And Nancy” (1986) which focuses mainly on Sid Vicious (the bassist for The Sex Pistols as portrayed by Gary Oldman) and his obvious self destructive ways and Chloe Webb who portrays Nancy Spungen, Sid’s long suffering girl friend. There is no need for loving or hating Punk Rock Music, just watch Oldman and Webb as they are superb in this movie. Just a reminder, if you should happen to be in New York City, stay at The Chelsea Hotel, Room No. 100. That is the room where Sid (on the throes of a Heroin Trip) stabbed Chloe to death. He was apprehend by the NYPD and was jailed which eventually led to his suicide inside of his cell by hanging himself with the Bed Sheets that he was provided with.

    • ParusMajor
    • Riff

      Sid Viscous did not commit suicide in jail. He overdosed on heroin the day after he was released from Riker’s Island.
      And he killed Nancy, not Chole.

      • Peter Boucher

        @ Riff. Sorry for the misinformation. as I got carried away and, Yes, He did die of a heroin overdose after he was released from Riker’s Island (a great place to raise your kids…….yeah right !!!) in New York. Then again, he would probably have been dead concerning the deadly nightlife he endured. It sounds like your into Punk Rock of the late 70′ and early 80’s, Does the name G.G. Allen ring a bell with you ???

  • ?

    Don Quixote by Terry Gilliam. Would’ve starred Johnny Depp. Instead we got a flop-umentary called Lost in La Mancha, which trailed the failure of the over-reaching, over-budget film to make it out of the gate.

    • sphynx

      How about “Good Omens” by Terry Gilliam? I’d pay good money to see Robin Williams and Johnny Depp as the devil and angel in an adaptation of the Gaiman/Stephenson novel. Alas, it seems to have been tabled indefinitely.

      • Murgatroyd

        Um … Gaiman and Pratchett, not Gaiman and Stevenson.

        And speaking o movies in Development Hell, what about Stranger in a Strange Land?

        • sphynx

          Gaiman and Pratchett, of course. My bad! I sit corrected.

          Stranger in a Strange Land would be X or NC-17 right out of the gate, if it were remotely true to the book. I didn’t know anyone was even considering trying to make it into a movie. They’d have their work cut out for them, for sure.

          • Simon Tarses

            Stranger In A Strange Land wouldn’t work on Mars as it was originally written; it would have to be set on a distant planet similar to Pandora in Avatar (there is no air on Mars) and it’s probably dated anyway. A better novel to adapt would be Greg Bear’s Moving Mars, instead.

    • Pete Bogs

      That one immediately came to mind. The Man Who Killed Don Quixote seemed like a “return to form” for Gilliam, and Depp certainly would’ve added a lot. They attempted to get it back off the ground a few years ago but it remains stalled.

  • David Fullam

    The Jodorowsky Dune should be #1.

    • ParusMajor

      Agreed, but it’s amazing how lousy David Lynch’s version was. I mean, David Lynch is almost as mad as Jodorowsky, don’t you think?

  • Phineas

    “Full Metal Jacket” is another bad Kubrick film. There was never any question that Kubrick’s movies – especially, those from “Lolita” onward – were well made,but no matter how well the film is made,if the dimensions of the script and characters aren’t very deep, the overall film still comes up short. I still haven’t seen Eyes Wide Shut,but I hear the same things,so it wouldn’t surprise me.

    • Bumboclot

      You are incorrect. Just because you don’t like it doesn’t make it a “Bad Film”. That would be a film that is more widely acknowledged to be bad for any number of reasons. For example, Twilight is a bad film, but it is still loved by many people.

  • Dennis

    “Full Metal Jacket” is a bad film? I would have to respectfully disagree on that one. Once again, different strokes for different folks,I guess

  • Dennis

    I read the novel “Lolita” by the Russian writer (who’e name escapes me at the moment) before I saw the movie. They were both silly.

  • Walter

    Kubrick didn’t finish his Napoleon film because of his death in 1999, he didn’t finish it because a film named “Waterloo” bombed in 1970. Both Kubrick and his financial backers dropped the plans to make the film, even with the amount of work already done (I guess costumes had already been created). Kubrick simply shifted to a much different project, “A Clockwork Orange.”

    Kubrick’s would later use much of his pre-production work for his masterful “Barry Lyndon.”

    I’m actually more intrigued about Kubrick’s potential Holocaust films that were never made.

    • Bumboclot

      Yeah, Kubrick used those Napolean locations for Barry Lyndon. Apparently he abandoned his potential holocaust movie when he learned about Spielberg’s project, Schindler’s List.

  • Gunny

    Full Metal Jacket… once it left Parris Island and ventured into Kubrick’s ludicrous depiction of Vietnam and the men who fought there…was perhaps the worst theatrical production I have ever seen. No wait; Eyes Wide Shut was as bad if not worse due in large part to not having anyone with even the scantest bit of acting chops. He allowed, or perhaps demanded, that his “actors” make the silliest faces imaginable whenever they were stuck on which eyebrow to twitch next. Terrific cinematographer. Marvelous writer. Awful at reigning in the hams he employed. There isn’t one Kubrick effort without the prerequisite awkward moment or two or three that should have been embarrassing for so talented a man.

    • artfrankmiami

      Gunny, as I understood it, and gleaning some insight from Fredric Rafaeal’s book about writing the screenplay with Kubrick, Kubrick wanted Cruise and Kidman to be as boring and normal as possible–fish out of water I guess. The hot actors of the moment were Cruise and Kidman and that probably helped a lot getting the movie made. Kubrick supposedly shot 60 takes for simple scenes to wear out any artifice in the performances. And Hammy performances? Nothing more hammy than Jack Nicholson in The Shining, which with the exceptions of the elevator and Big Wheel scenes I thought was a bore. Someday I’ll force myself to watch it again.

      • artfrankmiami

        But I would rather watch Bad Kubrick than anything “original” on SyFy.

        • Pete Bogs

          Amen! Though I don’t think there is any Bad Kubrick.

        • skywatcher

          Well said!

    • Nick

      The point wasn’t to make an extremely accurate depiction of Vietnam it was an allegorical depiction of war and what it does to man and for that it is a very accurate depiction. I would agree though the whole “never made a bad film” was a little too much Eyes Wide Shut was ludicrous and a slow paced endeavor which took over 400 days to shoot.

    • sphynx

      That’s not quite fair. Both Cruise and Kidman can act in the right circumstances. (See Tropic Thunder and To Die For, for examples.) It’s just that they’re seldom asked to because of their looks and star power.

      Personally, I usually find those two dull to watch, and I hated Eyes Wide Shut except for the Leelee Sobieski sequences. But I thought EWS *might* have turned out OK if Kubrick had lived to edit it properly, instead of leaving a mass of redundant footage that other people were too awed to cut.

  • Chris M. Barkley

    One MAJOR exclusion from this list: Harlan Ellison’s adaption of Isaac Asimov’s I, ROBOT, (copies of which are in book form and are still available) and was at one point, was on Warner Brother’s production schedule with Irwin Kershner (The Empire Strikes Back) directing.

    Read Ellison’s script and compare it to the 2004 piece of garbage directed by Alex Proyas and starring Will Smith. And weep.

    • Simon Tarses

      The reason Ellison’s movie was never made is likely because nobody trusted Ellison at that point (also, after writing the execrable script for The Oscar, nobody was going to let him write another one or follow his advice for writing a film script about Asimov’s book.) Don’t believe me? Watch The Oscar and then get back to me about I, Robot:

  • Steve D

    When science fiction authors think they’re philosophers, the results are uniformly dreadful. Star Trek I and V, and a lot of Heinlein. But at the base of that steaming pile is Dune. When Duke Atreides, the only character in the novel worth caring about, dies halfway through, you have a problem. 14 minutes of Dune would be hard to stomach, let alone 14 hours.

    As for the people who think Rendezvous With Rama is so “important,” please explain why. I found it a nice but harmless piece of adventure fluff, and I don’t see the slightest reason it would have to be made in 3-D. If you can’t create the appearance of depth in a 30-mile long cylinder, try Googling “perspective.”

    • Peter Boucher

      @ Steve D. I am in 100 % agreement with you. I think “Rendez-vous With Rama was good book, but then again it was written by Arthur C. Clarke. My Dad is 82 years old and before I was born, he was a bookworm and still is. He practically forced me to read it which I did. If its made into a movie, well, so what. My genre of reading is much different then his. I am into Hunter S. Thompson, William S. Burroughs, Ken Kesey anything biographical. One movie you won’t catch me at that’s coming out is “Atlas Shrugged” that’s too deep for me. And speaking of Heinlein, in my own collection, I do have “Stranger In A Strange Land”, thats “calling my name out”. My favorite sci-fi writer has always been Richard Matheson.

      • Nick

        Atlas Shrugged part 1 came out and I’ve heard it is a wonderful piece of garbage that 5 out 41 critics on Rotten Tomatoes were positive, they recalled DVDs and didn’t even recoup the money for the movie. I have it in my Netflix queue but haven’t watched it yet. Matheson has some of the best stuff that has been translated to movies and TV

        • Peter Boucher

          Hello Nick and Thank You for your reply. Well, you have made my decision and “Atlas Shrugged” is out for me. Regarding Richard Matheson, he was always my favorite. Especially the many original episodes of the “Twilight Zone” he made. He was also the author of “The Incredible Shrinking Man”. I have seen the movies dozens of times and how the movie uses the mathematical formula known as the “Square-Cube” theory. Yet, I have never read the book which I am dying to get my hands on. I have this morbid phobia of Tarantulas and I live in Arizona, the Tarantula Capital of he United States……..go figure. I tried to pinpoint why I fear them, I concluded that the movie was the reason. But the movie (made in 1957) has special effects that stand up to even today’s standards. I love it.

          • Nick

            I have an original of The Incredible Shrinking Man and have watched the original movie as well as Lily Tomlin in The Incredible Shrinking Woman (at best a decent comedy) great movie and wish that they would put some of these on Blu Ray for upgrade to preserve them.

      • skywatcher

        Peter, you’re the only person I’ve ever heard say that. I doubt the youbnger generation even knows who Matheson was. While he’s not my favorite, he certainly wrote a lot of great stuff.

        Someone was talking a minute ago about works that would make great movies. Has anyone considered James Blish’s trilogy, “After Such Knowledge.”? (I know, I’m using the new trend in punctuation. Forgive me.) With the kind of special effects that are possible today, the scene of Dis, capital city of Hell, rising from the earth might be awe-inspiring. And the scene where the U.S. army drops a bomb on the city and the demons go through rapid metamorphoses would be incredible.

  • mike g

    Sergio Leone’s Leningrad about the seige of the city by the Nazis during WWII looked like it could have been an epic film.

  • smartone

    I don’t think Orson Welle’s Heart of Darkness was abandon because of budget. He did have a contract to make a film. It is entirely possible that he could have trim the budget enough to get this into production. I think it was rather Welle’s second guessing whether the subjective camera throughout the film was in fact going to work successfully.

  • larry evans

    do a top ten screenplays never to see the light of day – “Ain’t That America” by Frank Pierson (Cool Hand Luke) was a modern day “Grapes of Wrath” about the decline of Pittsburgh’s steel industry and it perhaps might top that list – it did win some best “non-produced screenplay” award I believe…

  • Spelling

    It’s H.R. Giger, not H.G. Giger…

  • Joe Blow

    Sorry this list is a joke without what could have been one of the finest movies ever made. The Vega Brothers was a project by Tarantino I wish I could have seen.

  • Joe Blow

    The Vega Brothers would have been awesome! Vic and Vincent Vega.

  • Fairportfan

    “Rendezvous with Rama” is a good book. It is not nearly the greatest SF novel, nor is it particularly influential.

    It’s not even the best book by Clarke himself.

  • Tim

    No mention of At the mountains of madness??? REALLY????

  • Abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz

    What about starwars 7-9? Those never got made

  • Axel

    I would also include Sergio Leone’s planned WWII battle of Leningrad war film.

  • really

    I guess von Stroheim’s Greed didn’t make the list because it was made and then destroyed?

  • dinmaker

    Umm dune did get made into a movie albeit a terrible, terrible movie

    • Fnord Prefect

      He’s specifically talking about Jorodowsky’s unmade version of Dune. Do pay attention…

  • Kat

    What about revenge of the old queen? It was suppose to be part of rocky horror show. Btw great list

  • noirelion

    Dune was remade in 2000- commonly called Dune 2000 and a Children of Dune based on that came- it was very successful and true to the Book…
    Dune 1984 was a disappointment to me… but Dune 2000 was all that!

  • Paul Bali

    Return of the Jedi, directed by David Lynch.

    • Fnord Prefect

      It would also have been interesting to see how Empire Strikes Back would have turned out if union red tape hadn’t stop Steven Spielberg directing it.

  • traveller

    …JJ Benitez’s Trojan Horse

    A famous sci-fi book (actually several books make the saga) among spanish-speaking readers.

    I’ve always thought It’d make a great movie. If they could adapt Angels&Demons to the silver screen (not that I liked it), this one deserves a chance!!!!!

  • The Don

    What about Kieslowski’s The Divine Comedy trilogy?? It would have been pretty amazing to see what he could do with it after Three Colors..

  • Stuart

    I would love to have seen that Princess of mars animated movie.

  • ATM before

    Im surprised no-one mentioned the movie Shi , It was to star Tia Carrere , they put out advertising for the movie but they lost funding before it could be made

  • Fnord Prefect

    “Considering how violently the Sex Pistols’ music rocked society, a Sex Pistols’ film may have signaled the start of the Biblical Apocalypse.”

    A Sex pistols Movie you say? That would be 1980’s The Great Rock ‘N’ Roll Swindle (

    You should fire your researcher…