back to article Battlefield Earth ruled worst film EVER

It's official: Battlefield Earth is the worst film ever according to our beloved moviegoing readers. The final result of our poll of cinematic shame ended with Roger Christian's masterpiece on 1,454 votes, roundly beating The Phantom Menace into second spot with 1,022 votes. By chilling coincidence, Christian was second unit …


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  1. Sarah Davis

    can't believe,...

    .. 2012 didn't make it to the bottom 10. I guess so many people were forwarned of it's unbelievably plotless pointlessness that hardly anyone bothered seeing it !

    1. That Steve Guy

      Re: can't believe,... 2012

      yes but 2012 was useful it proved to me that when the world is going to hell and volcanoes and earthquakes are rolling everywhere I can still board a jet to fly out to somewhere and get on a boat to survive.

      I'm also surrpised the Day After Tomorrow escaped the list.

      Disaster movies are... well a disaster to watch!

    2. h4rm0ny

      Re: can't believe,...

      2012 was saved by one of the best fake trailers ever:

      Having seen this, it became next to impossible to watch any of the real film without giggling like a loon.

      1. DJ 2

        Re: can't believe,...

        I never saw the trailer, but I still put it on for a giggle, and as I'm going to that part of the world later in the year, I will be vetting my hire limo for it's ability to be stable while airborne.

  2. Joe Cooper


    It's just the go-to choice. I found an abandoned DVD and it really wasn't that bad. Silly but you can do a lot worse.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Nah

      I agree. BFE wasn't that bad. It's entertaining, funny at times and follows the book surprisingly well.

      That isn't to say that it's entirely faithful because the book is just too damn long (and frankly all the politicking and economics in the latter third would seriously suck) but I think it's a good adaptation. It captures the atmosphere of the novel quite effectively. You just have to not take it too seriously. It's not intended to be high-art. It's just supposed to pass the time in an entertaining way which I think it does.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nah

        As it happens I was clearing out our VHS tape collection yesterday and consciously decided to keep Battlefield Earth, cos I like it.

    2. MacGyver

      Re: Nah

      I agree, most of these movies are fine, aside from "Manos: The Hands of Fate", it really does belong on that list. BFE wasn't great, but I have seen worse.

      It seems like most of these voters might be 16-year old boys, or 34-year old hipsters.

      I bet most of those voters have collections half filled with foreign language films. Not every film needs to be "Daughters of the Dust", sometimes you just need to watch Nazis invading Earth in flying saucers from the dark side of the Moon.

  3. Smallbrainfield
    Paris Hilton

    Am I the only person that quite enjoyed

    War of the Worlds? Sickening Spielberg schmaltz aside, it has it has some truly awesome moments.

    Paris because she's made some terrible, terrible films.

    1. Goldmember

      Re: Am I the only person that quite enjoyed

      No, I quite enjoyed that too. This list certainly does contain some howlers, but it misses plenty.

      Where are the 'dance' films, or the hordes of Jennifer Aniston chic flicks? I was unfortunate enough to have to endure some of 'Street Dance' not too long ago (it wan't my choice, I swear). The lead girl in that is simply awful, and the story takes cringeworthy cliches to a whole new level. I was on the verge of destroying my own TV. That I paid for.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Those dance films and such may not be too enjoyable; they do serve a worthy purpose. Namely keeping the $SO happy. My gf really enjoys movies with a little song and dance, though I usually quite dislike them.

        Most movies in this list otoh result in a mutual dislike. That's an important detail IMO; because there is something such as "boy" and "girl" movies. And quite frankly; I think the majority of El Reg readers are boys :)

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: @Goldmember

          "And quite frankly; I think the majority of El Reg readers are boys"

          ...and techy, hence the preponderance to not only pre-select for SF, but especially for those which use "poor" science or bad effects.

    2. MrXavia

      Re: Am I the only person that quite enjoyed

      No, I did enjoy it a bit, mainly for the effects, but it still sucked compared to the original film or the book...

      1. Merchman

        Re: Am I the only person that quite enjoyed

        Personally I prefer Jeff Wayne's musical version. Particularly for Richard Burton's narration.

    3. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Re: Am I the only person that quite enjoyed

      You mean the new War of the Worlds; the one with the annoying girl that practially screams through the entire film (it felt like it). For me the film was disappointing because she wasn't killed by the invaders once she started screaming.

      1. Thomas 4
        Thumb Down


        Yup - you've nailed it there.

        Cruise put in a fairly decent performance, the special effects were good and the terraforming sequence was creepy as hell....

        ...but that kid, that ENDLESSLY SCREAMING KID. Jesus.

        1. LaeMing


          I kept expecting her screams to make the martian's ^H^H^H^H^H^H alien's heads to go all wobbly and explode green goo.

          Well her screaming made /my/ head want to do that!

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: that ENDLESSLY SCREAMING KID

            Ah, but she wasn't Welshman!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Am I the only person that quite enjoyed

        I was surprised that Cruise's character didn't hit her (or at least gag her). The main reason being the whole life and death aspect of not being found by the aliens, with getting on the parental nerves a close second (in general, I don't approve of hitting a kid, but alien invaders would qualify as an outlier to allow for it). I did think the unrealistic expectations of the kids was accurate.

        I'd easily watch half the items on this list before I'd submit myself to ever watching "Rad", "Fargo" or "Biker chicks in zombie town" again.

        The only qualifier I think that should have been applied to submitted movies, is that they were nationally released and not art house / direct to video films... cuz "Mario Bros." really sucked.

      3. leexgx

        Re: Am I the only person that quite enjoyed

        """You mean the new War of the Worlds; the one with the annoying girl that practically screams through the entire film (it felt like it). For me the film was disappointing because she wasn't killed by the invaders once she started screaming."""

        god sake that Girl completely ruined "War of the Worlds" Screaming all the dam time and other bad part was when the they started to attack the ships all we saw was tanks going in fire balls coming back how boring was that, i my self wish she was killed, i am happy i never payed to watch it as I would of walked out of the cinema (The Avengers better be good or it be the last time I ever bother going to the Cinema again)

        in the original Film they dropped an Nuke on one and it came out of the mist that was like so cool its still coming (as I never seen the Film before so I never knew how it was going to end)

    4. Uncle Siggy

      Re: Am I the only person that quite enjoyed

      Spielberg did worse to what should have been a Kubrik masterpiece: AI

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Am I the only person that quite enjoyed

      I agree with the above. In fact, if the aliens had managed to toast those annoying brats in the first 10 minutes it would have been a very good film.

      1. Stuart Duel

        Re: Am I the only person that quite enjoyed

        That Speilberg film adaption of WotW was such an heinous abortion of a film H.G. Wells classic masterpiece he must have been spinning in his grave.

        I had such high hopes of a decent modern interpretation, a foolish thought given Speilberg's appalling track record. I think the world needs to collectively pretend this film never happened and for Peter Jackson to do a faithful melding of the book and Jeff Wayne's musical version, particularly the awesome artwork.

  4. Greg D

    I must like shit movies then

    Most of those I actually like :(

    Apart from the obvious ones (Highlander IS the worst movie of all time, along with Twilight and Megashark).

    1. Haku

      Re: I must like shit movies then

      <AOL> ME TOO! </AOL>

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: I must like shit movies then

      The list was compiled too early so it could not include BattleShit^Hp.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. TheRealRoland

        Re: I must like shit movies then (@ Voland)

        Is there a moment in the movie where he will say 'Release the Kraken!' again?

        That's _the_ moment of Battleship 2000 BC...

      3. Silverburn

        re: Battleship

        The immediate give away this was going to be a complete howler was it was some non-actor (normally a singer) celeb's first film. See also: Sting, J-lo, Madonna, Phil Collins etc etc. At least Witney Houston actually sang in hers, which still didn't give her a passing grade.

        Yes, "Riri", you can supposedly sing and "shake booty", but lets stick to that shall we?

        1. TeeCee Gold badge

          Re: re: Battleship

          "At least Witney Houston actually sang in hers........."

          And it would have been bad enough without that. Jackhammers have a more pleasing musical tone....

    3. Iad Uroboros's Nemesis
      Thumb Up

      Re: I must like shit movies then

      I also like most of those...maybe not for its direction etc and sometimes the direction is so bad that it is a cult classic. I have Battlefield Earth on DVD and watch it every now and again.

      Believe me, there are quite a few DVDs I do have that are "high brow" that will never ever see the insides of my DVD player ever again.

      Which reminds me, I'm overdue watching "Where Eagles Dare" again: a film choc full of clichés, it's absolutely a masterpiece.

      And I also concur, I watched Battleship last weekend and, compared to many in that list, it was complete and utter drivel. Even the storyline barely hangs together. The effects were OK but why the hell would a civilisation that could travel between stars in days/months only have the capability of half-hearted swimming and ballistic weapons? Practically everyone on that movie needs to be shot, from scriptwriter onwards.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. AndrueC Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: I must like shit movies then

        My taste varies but I'm not into arty farty films. What's peculiar is that some films I can watch several times others I just can't.

        For Star Wars I'm okay up to the bit where R2D2 starts down into the valley then suddenly I realise how much more there is to watch and run away. For The Mummy I'm okay until that first night in the ruins around the campfire when the same feeling hits me and I run away again.

        But Carry on Screaming I've seen a dozen times (I kid you not). Deep Rising I've seen over half a dozen times (shame they never did a sequel). Always love that joke in the elevator. It gets thrown around and half trashed. When it's going smoothly again and all you can hear is the musak someone asks "What the hell is that?" the comic foil replies "I think it's Blue Lagoon" :)

        I think the trick is just to not take films seriously. They are all mostly a waste of 90 minutes of your life anyway so why worry about it. Just sit back and turn the higher centres of your brain off for a while :)

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I must like shit movies then

        Battlefield Earth a cult classic? I see what you did there...

        (AC for obvious reasons)

      4. BozNZ

        Re: Battleship

        Bulletproof glass for the aliens helmet visors but not the spaceship windscreen..

        Destroying the roads and cars but missing a massive battleship full of weapons

        Stupidest aliens that *ever* existed..

        Sucky'ist film moment in history when all the old sailors appear..

        barf quotent +5 as america saves the world (again)

        + everything else in the movie

        .. You could make a whole spoof movie just out of this one film!

        .. saying that I still quite liked it


      Re: I must like shit movies then

      Yeah, I thought Avatar and Titanic were both quality films.

      What's up?

  5. Richard Pennington 1

    A lot of people have short memories

    I can't believe that all of the worst films ever made (with one exception) were made after 1996.

    Surely Ed Wood deserves some kind of Lifetime Award, for his persistence in producing lultra-ow-budget movies with some of the worst production values in history.

    IIRC, when Channel 4 did a season of the worst 10 movies ever made, he had five entries in the list - including the dreck-classic "Plan 9 from Outer Space".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A lot of people have short memories

      But that one was so bad it was good. The others are just bad.

    2. Stoneshop

      Re: A lot of people have short memories

      I was visiting a friend in Heidelberg (early 1990's) when a movie theatre announced it would be showing "The Worst Five Films Ever"; unfortunately it was quite some weeks away still and at least I wouldn't be there then.

      Their Worst 5 list was taken from a well-known movie critic magazine, and contained *TWO* films by Ed Wood (Plan 9 and Glen or Glenda) and also included Manos. The other two I can't remember.

      Going over the current list it seems that a lot of effort has been put, especially in the past 15 years or so, into pushing poor old Ed off his pedestal.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A lot of people have short memories

        Troll 2 (in particular), The Room, and Manos have attained B-Movie cult status up there with Plan 9 (i.e. so bad it's good) by most standards. Troll 2 actually has occasional showings around where the audience shouts certain lines along with the movie.

        I can't find the link, but I ran across an interview with - I think - the guy who put together that Heidelberg festival. In it he was talking about his invitation to one of the annual North Korean film festivals - after it the North Korean embassy got him access to prints so he could put on a Worst of North Korean Film Festival (or something along those lines). For REALLY bad... North Korea is actually a pretty good source of material... like Pulgasari (Kim Jung Il's knock-off of Godzilla).

        1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

          They're eating her!

          And then they're going to eat me!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          Hmm, might watch that for the lulz. Am I likely to get one of those anti-piracy letters if I torrent it?

    3. Vincent Ballard

      Re: A lot of people have short memories

      I think it's quite clear that most of the people who voted aren't familiar with MST3k.

    4. Scott 19

      Re: A lot of people have short memories

      I liked Jonny in 'Ed Wood' though.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    War of the Worlds

    Still can't believe some voted for this.

    As a big WotW / H G Wells / Jeff Wayne fan, I was wary when the Americans got hold of this classic H G Wells Victorian novel, but really Spielberg didn't do a bad job in the end...certainly better than The Asylum + Pendragon versions

    1. AndrueC Silver badge

      Re: War of the Worlds

      It would have been more tolerable without a screaming eight year old. Did she ever get an award for that performance? 'Most irritating portrayal of a traumatised female child' perhaps.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: War of the Worlds

      As a HG Well fan you would of realised then that apart from the name, it had little else in common with the book,

      as I don't recall it;

      being set in America

      being divorced

      having two kids and dog

      spending only a few hours in the cellar (not several days as in the book, which show why he finally snapped)

      and about 50 other things that were missed out ( the whole cylinder suspense bit, poison gas?)

      Oh and where was his brother and the enitre sub plot related to that?

      If they had called it, I don't know, WoW2: Battle for USA, I could of accepted it a bit more.

      1. Dave Walker

        Re: War of the Worlds

        Ah, but that homage to "Mars Attacks" when the flaming train whizzes by......


    3. DrXym

      Re: War of the Worlds

      I thought it was a tolerable flick but suffered from typical Spielberg indulgences, chiefly the annoying brat kid. The premise that the aliens were already there didn't make much sense either.

      1. ElectricFox

        Re: War of the Worlds

        Buried fighting machines?


        Why spend resources on constructing a tripod army only to bury it and wait (presumably tens to hundreds of thousands of) years before actually boarding them and conquering the planet later on?


        Of course, nobody managed to find said machines buried through mining, geological surveys, construction......

        For me, the book was classic sci-fi: You introduce one novel element and keep everything else believable. In WOTW, Wells merely introduces a technologically superior race of aliens exist on Mars. The rest then follows with their dying planet, decision to invade Earth, <spoiler> falling victim to bacterial infection, because that problem was solved a long time ago on Mars and hence forgotton about </spoiler>. Spielberg moved it more to the fantasy domain for my personal taste. The special effects were great (the attack on the ferry was a great re-imagination of the Thunderchild scene). But just too much family relationship rubbish thrown in there.

        Plus, on all modern re-interpretations, they have to introduce shields to the fighting machines because modern weaponry would likely smash Wells' imagined fighting machines to pieces. Better to tell the story in the period in which it was written.

        Still more believable than teaching a caveman to fly a Harrier jump jet that's been kept in pristine storage for millenia...

        1. AndrueC Silver badge

          Re: War of the Worlds

          >Still more believable than teaching a caveman to fly a Harrier jump jet that's been kept in pristine storage for millenia...

          Yeah but that's not the film's fault. Maybe that's the difference. I've read the book so I don't blame the film for things like that. I look at it as a screen adaptation of a novel and all things considered it does a good job of that.

          Compare that with HHGTTG or the newer WotW where entire plot elements are omitted or warped almost out of recognition.

          1. h4rm0ny

            Re: War of the Worlds

            "Compare that with HHGTTG or the newer WotW where entire plot elements are omitted or warped almost out of recognition."

            Douglas Adams was always re-writing those stories. The books were different to the radio plays, the TV series was different to the books. I don't see why when he wanted to roll elements from the first four books of the Trilogy into one film, he shouldn't have started again.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: War of the Worlds

          I think that having the whole battle only take place in England stretched reality a bit. I seem to remember that the rest of the world was unaffected in the book.

    4. Anonymous Coward

      Re: War of the Worlds

      o/~ The chances it was going to be worse we're a million to one he said... But still, they /voted/ o/~

      Ok, ok, it doesn't rhyme :P

  7. phuzz Silver badge

    I'm guess I'm the only person that likes the Hitchhiker's movie then :(

    1. AndrueC Silver badge

      You might be. That was rather bad. The BBC did it much better as a series.

      1. Michael Habel

        And on that Note...

        The BBC should really consider redoing a reboot of it!

        The One with the Sub-Ethera Sence 'o Matic Thumb in the Pocket Please.

    2. CADmonkey

      Good guess

      Saw it on the iPlayer a few weeks ago. It's gratest achievement was to give me an overriding desire to see the BBC version and i didn't rest until I had done so.

      The film rushes through the whole story. The TV show lets it breathe and is hilarious as a result.

      You'll need beer....

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      no, you're not.

      The translation of Arthur's digital watch to his cell phone (thanks Vodaphone) was acceptable to me.

      Of course, if you're like me, every time The Guide spoke, you were reciting the book from memory, along with most of the other 40 year-olds in the audience.

    4. DrXym

      Hitchhikers might have escaped as a passably watchable scifi adventure if it wasn't carrying 30 years of expectations with it. As it was it was too fast paced and action oriented and managed to horribly butcher many classic HHGTTG scenes. It held little for the fans and would have been largely meaningless to non fans. That was its problem.

    5. TRT Silver badge

      Possibly you are. Other commentators are quite right - for the die hard fans of the series, the whole thing was too fast paced, too many changes to the text were done (that's where much of the humour is to be found) probably because some Hollywood rulebook decreed that a 2 second pause is too long in a movie whereas you need that pause to let the audience get the joke about "What's so wrong with being drunk?"

      For a fan of DA, this movie is just bad bad bad. Imagine the cast of Glee performing a dramatisation of Terry Pratchett's "The Colour of Magic", directed by M. Night-Shamalamadingdong.

      1. Sean Timarco Baggaley

        For all those complaining about the HHGTTG movie...

        ... you could at least do your research first: the screenplay was written by Douglas Adams.

        Personally, I thought it worked pretty well for a movie. Even Douglas knew he couldn't squeeze a 3-hour radio play / novel / computer game into a 90 minute movie without some major surgery, so he didn't try to avoid that. It also didn't help that HHGTTG simply isn't that good a story. It's basically a series of comedy sketches nailed onto a very thin plot. (And that "guided tour" plot was already a cliché SF trope by then.)

        As others have suggested, the problem was that the audience knew the original versions like Python fans know The Parrot Sketch and expected to see exactly the same thing, but on a bigger screen and with a decent budget. That does not make the film a bad one.

        A movie isn't a sitcom; it has to tell a complete story, whereas a sitcom can coast along for a while before developing one or more characters a little to enable other stories to be told. (You can see that happening in "Red Dwarf".)

        Watch it as a movie and it is still very funny. The set-pieces are still there, but they're played in a different key. It deserved a sequel.

        1. DrXym

          Re: For all those complaining about the HHGTTG movie...

          "... you could at least do your research first: the screenplay was written by Douglas Adams."

          Or so the people with a a vested interest in lying about what he did or did not write would tell you. Given that he was dead for 4 years before the film, it's far from convincing that a notorious prevaricator would have a filmable script ready and waiting years in advance.

          And even if we give these people with an enormous financial incentive for lying the huge benefit of doubt the final result was still shit whether it was written by Adams or not.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'm the only person that likes the Hitchhiker's movie

      Zooey Deschannel is great in it

      1. Steve Knox
        Thumb Up

        Re: I'm the only person that likes the Hitchhiker's movie

        Not the only one. I liked it too, but not just for ZD...

        As Sean Timarco Baggaley said, the only reason it got such a panning is because fans went in with contradicting expectations, because a) they wanted it to suck because Douglas Adams didn't finish the screenplay, so whoever (Karey Kirkpatrick, for the record) finished it must have wrecked it, and b) they wanted to see a remake whatever previous iteration was their favorite.

        But (and I don't have the source handy on this) I recall reading Douglas Adams saying that he took some perverse pleasure in the fact that every iteration of HHGTG was significantly different from the previous. When watched as its own entity, the movie stands up quite well, even when watched as a work of Douglas Adams.

    7. Wibble

      Let down by poor casting

      I'd waited thirty years for it and felt quite let down. The plot and screenplay were OK, even the special effects -- I really liked the Vogons.

      What really let it down was the really poor casting. Way too 'Merkin for a start. Ford Prefect was never right but Trillian was a complete disaster; they could have replaced the actress with a Barbie Doll for all the character she brought to the film. I'm not even sure that Arthur was that great, just not 'stiff' enough. Marvin wasn't quite right, not robotic enough, to be honest a little silly!

      On a positive note, John Malcovich was excellent and Slartibartfast good.

      Not the worst film given the intense competition from the typical plotless shite that Hollywood vomits out; Avatar, 2012, day after I wasted my money...

      Do miss DNA though.

  8. DrXym

    It deserves it too

    Battlefield Earth was a big budget vanity project for a religious cult. It had the potential to be a passable scifi flick but it is all the more satisfying that it is so atrocious in every way. Bad acting, bad script, abysmal direction and a lousy plot. Virtually every scene is shot at a odd angle through a colour filter with Star Wars like scene wipes.

    It's all the more satisfying from thinking of the epic cognitive dissonance it must have aroused in cult members who had to reconcile this awful trash with their "church" telling them what a wonderful author L Ron Hubbard was. I hope it caused more than few of them to leave.

  9. Chris Walton

    Titanic 2?

    All of the films in the list are vastly better than Titanic 2 - I'm guessing not enough people have endured this stinker of a film to cast any votes.

    1. thenim

      Re: Titanic 2?

      That was on Sci-Fy the other night... it was soooo bad I had to watch it catch all the goofs..

    2. Christian Berger

      Re: Titanic 2?

      Wait a minute, isn't the sequal to Titanic already on Youtube?


      Sequel: (unfortunately in 10 parts)

  10. tmTM

    Legally Blond

    Sex an the city 1 & 2

    Miss Congeniality

    Epic movie (in fact anything made by those two fools, except naked gun)

    This list was clearly not very well compiled

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Legally Blond

      Oh dear - we will try and bend the will of the people to yours in future.

      1. tmTM

        Re: Legally Blond

        You liked Legally Blond?

      2. Anonymous Coward


        I knew it, El Reg seeks world domination after all!

  11. DeVino

    Count me in with the tasteless crowd (somewhat)

    Once you get over the fact that Hollywood cannot reliably make good SF it ain't bad.

    Avatar... Great fun

    WotW... Once you get past over the smaltz it's not a bad adaption

    And most shocking I like all the Matrix movies (sorry)

    But Battlefield Earth (overly long like most opera) and The Postman (a bit sentimental, sorry Brin) are best done in your own head

    What is really sad is the humungous skipload of great SF which would make storming movies.

    I ain't going to list it here. You know who I mean or you wouldn't be reading this topic.

    The Beeb adaption of HHGTTG stands unassailed BTW

  12. Ray 8
    Thumb Down


    reminds me of Dances with Wolves with Stretched Smurfs

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Avatar

      That's are original thought, Ray 8. Tell us more.

    2. Mephistro

      Re: Avatar

      "Dances with Wolves with Stretched Smurfs"

      That's a good name, but I'd prefer "Pocahontas 2.0"

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Avatar

      What really ticked me off was to learn that the 'original' Avatar movie ("The last airbender") was even worse than this Caramon contraption.

      Oh; the reason why I say 'original' is because the Anime series "Avatar" was out way before that silly Pocahontas movie existed. As such I think their movie should have had the right to be called Avatar as well.

      But now after having seen it myself I'm actually glad that it doesn't share a resembling name. The series is /so/ much better than that movie, its almost an outrage :(

  13. tony72

    Suckiest poll ever?

    Most of the actual worst films ever made, most of us obviously and fortunately haven't seen. The poll might have made more sense if it was for e.g. the "worst movie costing more than x million dollars to make", for example. Without such a qualification however, what we ended up with was a bunch of movies that are mostly there because some significant group of people found them particularly disappointing in some way, e.g. Hitchhikers Guide purists who can recite the entire book from memory hating on the movie because it doesn't quite live up to their lofty expectations, when in reality it was a fairly fun adaptation which most objective viewers found pretty decent. The reality is that not even Highlander 2 is anywhere near the worst movie ever. Most of us probably have gems on the shelf that are way worse than anything on that list, for example I found my DVD of New Rose Hotel the other day, and while even that isn't the worst I've seen, it's definitely the worst I've paid for, and I'd easily put it up against anything in that poll.

  14. WonkoTheSane

    I take it the polls closed

    Before anyone saw "Battleship"?

    1. DeVino

      Re: I take it the polls closed

      Au contraire ! Hollywood shows unusual cunning...

      Release of Battleship was delayed until after the El Reg poll closed.

    2. Christian Berger

      Re: I take it the polls closed

      I was curious, so I watched the marketing-blurb interview on Film4. I don't think it's a good sign when one of the actors finds it exciting that she had to act.

  15. Kevin Turvey
    Thumb Down

    Going Overboard

    All of these films while not good are surely a long way from being the worst. The worst I have seen is Adam Sandlers "Going Overboard" the first film he made I think, that was so bad I didnt even watch it all I had to turn it off.

    Most of the films in the list are there because maybe it's "cool" to knock them, try watching Going Overboard !!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      All you needed to say

      was "The worst I have ever seen was Adam Sandler's films"

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: All you needed to say

        I really dislike Adam Sandler's work, but I have to say that his flicks look like Shakespeare when compared to Pauly Shore movies. Shore is so bad that I can't vote for them as the worst movies, because I have never made it through more than 5-10 minutes of a Pauly Shore film without flipping the channel.

  16. Jason Hindle

    Clearly, a lot of commentards are inveterate snobs.....

    It seems many of you have never lowered yourselves (and trust me, it's a low thing to do) to checking out the TV listings for the Syfy channel, with such classics as The Terminators, The Day The Earth Stopped, Almighty Thor (surely not a rip off of the dreadful Thor) and 2 Headed Shark Attack.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge

      Re: Clearly, a lot of commentards are inveterate snobs.....

      I actually watched that from start to finish. Some unbelievable plot holes in it like the generator for the hut dying so they don't have electricity to kill the beast but all the lights are still on in the house. So incredibly bad that I just had to watch it to the end.

      But yeah - SyFy channel has had some real dogs on it recently.

    2. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Clearly, a lot of commentards are inveterate snobs.....

      Yeah, but there's waaaay too much low-hanging fruit around in the "straight to video/DVD/SciFi channel" bin. Just buy a fiver's worth out of the bargain bin at Poundland to see what I mean, I guarantee a complete set of stinkers.

      I reckon that to be a real classic turkey, a film must have at least one person or organisation associated with it who reckons it's worth a cinematic release and makes it happen.

  17. u5urp3r

    For the worst films ever may I direct people's attention to the fantastic TV show Mystery Science Theater 3000 which poked fun at hundreds of the worst films ever made. There are maybe one or two in the list that are truly hideous but watch MST3K and you will understand there is a whole other level when it comes to bad movies.

    For starters I would recommend watching the Space Mutiny and Outlaw episodes.

    Enjoy ....and you are welcome.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I hear "Hercules" was one covered by them also. It makes less sense than any of the 10 contenders above. Except maybe Avatar. ;)

      1. Michael Habel


    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Those guys are still around

      They go by the name RiffTrax these days.

  18. Danny 14

    sucky films

    I suppose it depends on what you mean by sucky film, most of these ive watched and would probably watch again as they were ok for their own reasons. Avatar was polished and a generally OK film but was overhyped and too long on rubbish stuff and short on other stuff. More backstory would have been great.

    Phantom menance was too self indulgent but had just enough jedi in it to warrant a watch. It remains one of the few star wars films I have only seen twice.

    HHGttG was ok. Not great but ok, for the screentime it was always going to be rushed and a 2 parter wouldnt have cut it financially I guess.

    Some films are just plain crap (day after tomorrow and 2012 are just plain stupid. As was the Core). Plus the star trek film where they all go off in search of god, jebus that was poor. Also the last pirates of the caribbean was dire.

    1. techfreak

      Re: sucky films

      I'd say all these films are stupid if my standard of reference credibility. Its like saying the Phantom of the Opera or Cats are crappy because of course they are set in a fantasy world. What normally irks me are plot holes, and using pseudo-science techno-babble when the real stuff would far more captivating. This Star Trek. But they're entertaining to me.

  19. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    I must have an unerring instinct for avoiding these bad movies. I have not seen a single one of them (so I will have to take other peoples' words for the lack of quality), except a few dislocated fragments of Highlander II, whilst flicking around channels as it was on one of them, couldn't be arsed to stay on that channel for obvious reasons. Even in my state of boredom at the time that film did nothing to make me want to see it.

    Not that I have not seen some cringeworthy films in my time. I saw "Once upon a time in the west" in a showing at my student union donkey's years back. It had some good bits, but so many silent, LOOOONG drawn out scenes, and pointless close-ups of people looking constipated as they are waiting (endlessly) for the other to draw first. I felt like shouting "Come on, shoot the guy, get on with it!" but I kept my peace for the sake of the other people watching. Afterwards, it turned out about 80% of the audience felt the same way.

  20. KLein

    How many.....

    First, i would like to say hello to my friends across the pond. Long time reader, first time poster here.

    Have none of you seen that Kevin Costner atrocity named Waterworld? that one should be somewhere in the top 5 of this list.

    1. Sean Timarco Baggaley

      Re: How many.....

      For a movie to be voted "The worst movie ever", it must still be, recognisably, a movie.

      Even the worst of SyFy's TV movies has made some attempt at including a plot, some characters and a premise that has at least a fleeting claim to plausibility. (As this is Hollywood, where the laws of physics bend freely around narrative requirements, there is a very low standard for that plausibility.) Something vaguely resembling "acting" is also considered a minimum requirement for such works.

      "Waterworld" had none of these and is therefore not a movie in anything other than a purely technical sense. (Similarly, FOX News is only technically a news channel, despite all the evidence to the contrary.)

      1. Dave Walker
        Thumb Down

        Re: How many.....

        SyFy has only one movie, they just keep changing the actors and the sets.

  21. Michael Hawkes
    Big Brother


    I'll have to watch the ones I haven't seen yet.

    1. PaulR79

      Re: Now...

      Oh dear.. I recommend a lot of strong drugs before Manos and Birdemic or at the very least watch the MST3K version of Manos and get a Rifftrax to help with Birdemic. If you choose to watch it without commentary might I suggest having a friend or relative check on you after a set period of time?

  22. taxman

    I can't hold back

    Starship Trooper 1, 2, 3. There said it. My god I need a beer now. Just the thought of the.......sorry can't think of the word I need!

    1. Iad Uroboros's Nemesis

      Re: I can't hold back

      Philistine. Starship Troopers I is a classic. I knew it was gonna be cheesey (I think it's supposed to be) but I was actually very surprised at how well it was done.

      As to 2 and 3 though, oh, yes, I totally concur. They were oh so bad that it would have been better to watch an Am-Dram Senior Citizen version of it in a theatre.

  23. Kubla Cant


    "... which attracted a respectable 998 votes"

    There are nearly a thousand El Reg commentards who have seen Twilight?

    You disappoint me, chaps.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Twilight


      There are nearly a thousand El Reg commentards who have girlfriends?

      You amaze me, chaps

    2. thesykes

      Re: Twilight

      I'll admit it.... I watched the first 30 minutes of it. Then I turned to the missus, who had seen it before, asked if it got any better and ejected the disc when she said a resounding "no".

      Fortunately is was one of many dvd's watched during a LoveFilm free trial, so cost me nothing... except my self respect and months of counselling.

  24. Chris D Rogers
    Thumb Down

    Sounds about right

    I think I managed 10 mins of this at most before abandoning it - basically was saved by poor pirated copy I was watching.

    I wonder if the new movie 'Battleship' will be as much of a dude?

  25. 0laf Silver badge


    A film can be stupid, illogical, hard to believe etc etc but still be entertaining.

    The greatest crime in cinema is to be boring. I think Titanic wins for that.

    I quite like a few of the films in that list especially Sunshine. But you need to listen to Brain Cox's commentary track to understand just WTF is going on at the end. They cut too much.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Nah

      "The greatest crime in cinema is to be boring. I think Titanic wins for that."

      Not only tedious, but an obvious ending too. It sinks, how predictable is that?!!???

  26. Nigel 11

    The word you need

    is sequel?

  27. Andyb@B5

    Re: I can't hold back

    I actually liked Starship Troopers so long as you didn't compare it the Heinlein source material. Then it sucked reaaaaaal bad. I was happily surprised when the the producers of the kiddies CGI version nailed the spirit of the book beautifully. Excellent DVD purchase there.

    Kiddie version 1 - Adults 0 go figure...

  28. Paul Uszak

    Slightly out of touch el reg readers?

    I find it slightly odd that the list contains Avatar and Titanic as bad films. Isn't it the case that those two films are the two highest grossing films ever made? That means a lot of people paid to go see them. Have all of those people been fooled? And then those people went and bought dvds. Have all of those people been fooled all of the time?

    Occam's Razor... Isn't it probably the case that the majority of el reg readers are a strange crowd instead?

    1. Steve Knox

      Re: Slightly out of touch el reg readers?

      It has been shown repeatedly throughout history that the opinion of the masses is no substitute for genuine critical ability. Popularity and quality are simply not related.

      As for el reg readers being a strange crowd, I think most would agree. But, again, that's not relevant.

      1. M 6

        Re: Slightly out of touch el reg readers?

        Which suggests that these polls are also incorrect. You are contradicting your own point!

    2. Sean Timarco Baggaley

      Re: Slightly out of touch el reg readers?

      " That means a lot of people paid to go see them. Have all of those people been fooled? "

      A lot of people watch those glorified karaoke shows "devised" by Simon Cowell. So... yes. Yes, they have.

      Ignorance is not only bliss, but also the default state of most of humanity. If that makes me part of a "strange crowd", then I'm fine with that.

      1. Paul Uszak

        Re: Slightly out of touch el reg readers?

        I like a genuine elitist with strong convictions. Norwegian?

    3. LaeMing

      Re: Have all of those people been fooled?

      You can't fool all the people all the time.

      But fooling most of them is not so hard.

    4. ainsley

      Re: Slightly out of touch el reg readers?


  29. Steve Knox
    Thumb Up

    Makes sense.

    Couldn't have happened to a better movie!

  30. wheel

    Alien vs Predator: Resurrection

    'Nuff said.

    Alright, not quite enough. I have only watched the first 20 minutes, at which point I lost the will to live. I am actually typing this in hell. The only entertainment here is regular screenings of AVP:R. Now I have said enough.

  31. Inachu


    No fictional movie about mormons yet and how they came from some planet where everyone is a god and they get to choose which planet of beings get to worship them?

    1. Captain Save-a-ho
      Thumb Up

      Re: WHat?!?!?!?!

      No, but there is a really brilliant musical about them on Broadway. Should be coming to the West End soon, methinks.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How about "Judge Dredd"?

    A movie so bad they are remaking it only 15 years after they butchered it the first time?

    1. John 62

      Re: How about "Judge Dredd"?

      By that metric, Ang Lee's Hulk is worse.

      Judge Dredd was very bad. Though they gave themselves a bit of a mountain to climb by having Dredd helmet-less for so long.

      Anyway, to be honest I'm not a huge fan, and have only read the Blockmania collection, but that was rather superb and I'd love to see a film of it.

  33. JeeBee


    Clearly nobody here has seen any of the later Leprechaun films.

    Luckily for you, somebody else suffered to bring you a review of all the films in the series so you don't have to:

    Nor Mosquito... but I will grant that maybe b-movies are exempt from the 'competion'.

    HHGTTG was a perfectly cromulent adaptation of the story, it is its own thing, as it should be. I haven't seen Battlefield Earth fortunately, but I have seen the disasters 2012, The Day after Tomorrow and The Core, and they are all crap, with typical American happy endings - we need to get a Terry Gillian cut of these movies. Good effects though.

  34. John A Blackley

    A request

    Can we have a Worst Films Ever To Win An Oscar contest please?

    I'm determined to get The English Patient on to a suck list somehow.

    1. Captain Save-a-ho

      Re: A request

      And the Piano! Holly Hunter nudity not withstanding, of course

  35. techfreak

    This list sucks

    They are some genuinely well-made films on this list. What your standard of reference? That it defies reality? Hello? That's why these are movies. Saturday night Sci-Fi channel flicks: now, that's worthy to be on your worst list.

  36. M 6

    "here are the 20 worst films which actually were made, as nominated by Reg readers"

    The films listed clearly shows that Reg readers in general do not watch enough movies to properly vote!

  37. markd74

    List is wrong

    One word: Dreamcatcher

    1. Lupus

      Re: List is wrong

      Eh. On its own, Dreamcatcher wasn't too bad - the cabin, for one, was almost exactly how I'd pictured it in my mind. Shredded the novel mind you.

      And no bacon scene. :(

  38. Don Mitchell

    Famous for being bad

    BFE isn't really the worst movie or even the worst sci-fi movie. But it has become the most famous-for-being-bad movie, which is why it always wins these contests. Same thing just happened on io9. is kinda bad.

  39. sisk

    Not the worst ever

    Not even close. In fact not a one of the bottom ten that I've seen (about 3/4 of them) should even be in the running for a worst movie ever award. The problem with approaching it this way is that people are only going to vote for movies they've seen, and not many people have seen the worst of the worst.

    To truely find the worst ever you need to get some masochists together and have a marathon of terrible, terrible movies, most of which no one has ever heard of, and the ask which one was the hardest to watch without them stabbing their eyes out.

  40. John Stirling

    ha, youngsters Get off my lawn

    For the youngsters - Reign of Fire - appallingly awful.

    But for those who remember the great days of poor movies (no, not the 40s/50s/60s/70s, but the 80s!)


    I doubt you will find any trace now.

    Wait, oh my god, I am wrong, IMDB & wikipedia both have entries. Wikipedia is even nice about it. Go look, this makes anything on that list or subsequently mentioned, and I mean anything, look like high art indeed.

    Mind you, if I remember correctly there is quite a good nude shower scene (with out ANY justification in the plot) so perhaps it isn't quite so bad.... No, even that can'r save it.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Battlefield Earth? I liked it...

    I thought that some of the metaphysical imagery was particularly effective...

    1. OzBob

      Re: Battlefield Earth? I liked it...

      I did like the post-apocalyptic imagery, v. smilar to the "mad max" series, and particularly reminds me of "battle truck" movie where the alpha-male survivalist rules supreme. In antipodea, in the apocalypse, the farmers will become warlords cos they know to make do and conquer with limited resources.

  42. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Battlefield Earth. More a John Travolta vanity project than a Scientology project.

    The book is so *obviously* a two hander between a hero and a villain with the action roughly split 60/40 in favor of the hero.

    Sure it's a B movie, but it could have been a *good* B movie.

    I *may* have to consider re-assesing Sunshine as well on DVD.

    But I saw it in a *cinema* where you don't get a Brian Cox narrative of the back story.

    It's just not *exciting* enough. Seriously a space that looks the side of Wembley stadium being de-pressurised within 8 hours? Are you sh***ing me. I think quite a few people found 2001 a fairly profound experience despite either Kubrick or Clarke having any major religious hang ups to work out. It's probably more about what you bring to it than what the film makers put there.

    Sorry Mr Boyle. You do people quite well but I guess you don't get good SF is about what happens when humans interact with *technology* (and the tech starts acting up) and I don't think you get the tech well enough to build a story.

    For UK terror in space I think the bench mark is Event Horizon. Enough ambiguity for people to think what they like about what's causing things to happen and enough actually happening to keep the cast on their toes.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hey L. Ron!

    You mad bro?

  44. Daniel B.


    I'm guessing that Manos: The Hands of Fate didn't win the #1 spot basically because nobody has seen it.

    1. NomNomNom

      Re: Manos

    2. NomNomNom

      Re: Manos

      wrong link. It's public domain.

      1. NomNomNom

        Re: Manos

        my favorite scene is 1:02:05 right near the end of the movie - The Door scene. The "Master's" terrifying entrance, the excruciating long 15 seconds pause on his dog just to wait for it to bark once, the chronologically inconsistent splicing of different shots, the husband shooting at the Master to literally no effect (he's not in the same scene!), then the best bit - the Master slowly raising his head to look down his nose at the husband as if to knowingly say "you silly, silly man" as if the audience at this point would understand the true power of "The Master" and then the fade out.

        And finally the last credit, two words which, due to what it suggested, were possibly the only thing in the movie that terrified audiences: "The end?"

        There are layers on layers of WTFs in this movie. Even that little end credit makes no sense because the villain didn't die! They decided to use a movie cliche for the sake of it without understanding it's point. Movies only use a "the end?" if the movie leads the audience to think there's no possible way there could be a sequel but the director wants to make that excuse (although arguably for different reasons manos: the hands of fate probably did give the audiences the impression there would be no sequel, apart from the scare words at the end)

  45. Lost in Cyberspace

    Many films escaped the list...

    ... Because we were sensible enough to avoid them. Especially the soppy romance crap.

    This is the list of films we IT bods expected to be good - and weren't.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Worst Film Ever ..

    Avatar was good, if only for the spectacular effects, and the ten foot tall space alien hottie.

    The Blair Witch Project was good if only for a demonstration of a faux documentary and the power of the Internet.

    Titanic (the James Cameron version) was good, if only for the spectacular effects.

    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, an interesting failure, the pictures were better in the radio play.

    The rest, I agree with ... "War of the Worlds", as usual Spielberg over-directs ...

  47. Nic 3


    I really liked it in the cinema. Only 3D film I have ever enjoyed. Oh and I bought it on BR too.

    So there! Snark away if you will.

  48. Zolko Silver badge

    Transformer 3

    Even the kids wanted to stop in the middle of the film.

  49. Mad Chaz

    "Worst film NEVER made" pitch

    One surefire way to make SURE your date is really interested in you!

  50. Shane 4

    Obviously these people haven't seen Sand Sharks, Needs to be a class action lawsuit with this one,Wasted a few hours of my life. I wouldn't even put it in the "B" grade category as it would be too disrespectful to that category!

  51. JohnathonZaro


    Does anyone else think this poll must have been limited in some way?

    I can think of a ton of films that were more unbearable than Avatar and HHGTTG.

    Apollo 18 (plot wise), House of Wax, Hostel, SAW #, Big Momma's House #, The Grudge (sorry)...

    And I'm not even mentioning the shark films, other extreme humor and Adam Sandler movies!

  52. RodneyLee


    I really loved Battlefield earth, must have watched it 10 times already

  53. Mike48US
    Thumb Up

    I can't comment about the films..but the comments on this are Top Shelf...ok

    Sorry, the comment on Sand Sharks I couldn't even laugh at the absurdity of that one!

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Motherf*cking Snakes on a motherf*cking Plane is a motherf*cking classic, motherf*cker!

  55. cyberdemon Silver badge

    Can't be a very good poll...

    Where's DOOM ?

  56. ainsley

    High and Low

    The only reason Highlander II is not at the top of the list is that some people did not see both I and II.

  57. Donald Atkinson

    How can you have all forgotten about Dune?

    Granted 1984 was a long time ago but my lord Dune was a truly horrible movie.

  58. toadwarrior

    I enjoyed Troll 2 to be honest. Sure it's not a AAA title but it's entertaining. Surely some of the police academy movies are more deserving. Like the one where they go to russia.

  59. Skydreamer

    "Sunshine" was pretty good...

    ...and why aren't there more movies like "Distaster Movie" or "Son of Mask" in the list?

  60. Inachu
    IT Angle


    The only thing about the failed movie was it was based off of the scientology relgion.

    If anything the movie should have started when all the thetans were chained to a volcano and somehow their souls merged into one person who created dianetics.

    Religion/Science cross over is not too bad of an idea. The movie Matrix did it .

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