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Tech The 44 worst movies made by iconic directors — from Spielberg to Scorsese

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Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg, and a number of other critically acclaimed directors have directed at least one movie that critics tore apart.

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(TriStar Pictures)

Most of the greatest film directors in history have swung and missed on occasion.

Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg, and many other critically acclaimed directors have directed at least one movie that critics tore apart.

For this list, we chose 45 directors who have largely been praised by critics as masters of their craft, and we turned to the reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes to find out which of the films they've directed was the most critically panned.

We excluded a number of great directors who did not have a film in their catalog with a critic score under 70%. (Stanley Kubrick, for instance, is not on this list, as his "worst" film, "Eyes Wide Shut," has a 74% "Fresh" rating on the site.)

Here are the 44 worst movies made by iconic directors, ordered from the (relative) best to worst, according to their critic scores:

Alejandro G. Iñárritu — "Biutiful" (2010)

Alejandro G. Iñárritu — "Biutiful" (2010) play

Alejandro G. Iñárritu — "Biutiful" (2010)

(Roadside Attractions)

Critic score: 65%

What critics said: "It's the kind of film that congratulates the viewer on her tolerance for the spectacle of unrelieved misery."Slate



Guillermo del Toro — "Blade II" (2002)

Guillermo del Toro — "Blade II" (2002) play

Guillermo del Toro — "Blade II" (2002)

(New Line)

Critic score: 57%

What critics said: "The only dread it inspires is in the possibility that its director prefers turning human flesh into CGI-enhanced mush over exploring genuinely frightening material."The Village Voice



Sergio Leone — "The Colossus of Rhodes" (1961)

Sergio Leone — "The Colossus of Rhodes" (1961) play

Sergio Leone — "The Colossus of Rhodes" (1961)

(Warner)

Critic score: 57%

What critics said: "This ludicrous costume epic complete with hambone acting is interesting to film buffs because it is an early work by the king of the spaghetti Westerns, director Sergio Leone." — TV Guide



David Lynch — "Dune" (1984)

David Lynch — "Dune" (1984) play

David Lynch — "Dune" (1984)

(MCA Universal)

Critic score: 56%

What critics said: "This movie is a real mess, an incomprehensible, ugly, unstructured, pointless excursion into the murkier realms of one of the most confusing screenplays of all time."Chicago Sun-Times



Wes Anderson — "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" (2004)

Wes Anderson — "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" (2004) play

Wes Anderson — "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" (2004)

(Touchstone Pictures)

Critic score: 56%

What critics said: "If there's anything more tiresome in film today than hip irony, it is forced irony, and here comes a boatload."New York Daily News



Sofia Coppola — "Marie Antoinette" (2006)

Sofia Coppola — "Marie Antoinette" (2006) play

Sofia Coppola — "Marie Antoinette" (2006)

(screenshot/ "Marie Antoinette")

Critic score: 56%

What critics said: "Although it is purposely devoid of substance, it is still devoid of substance."Detroit Free Press



George Lucas — "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace" (1999)

George Lucas — "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace" (1999) play

George Lucas — "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace" (1999)

(Lucasfilm)

Critic score: 55%

What critics said: "Too busy and talky by half, overpopulated by a baffling array of aliens and robot 'droids,' 'The Phantom Menace' fails to engage the audience in its mythic quest 'to restore balance to the Force.'"Toronto Star



Joel and Ethan Coen — "The Ladykillers" (2004)

Joel and Ethan Coen — "The Ladykillers" (2004) play

Joel and Ethan Coen — "The Ladykillers" (2004)

(Touchstone)

Critic score: 55%

What critics said: "Most of this stuff isn't worthy of the Farrelly brothers, let alone the Coen brothers." — Ebert & Roeper



Werner Herzog — "Invincible" (2002)

Werner Herzog — "Invincible" (2002) play

Werner Herzog — "Invincible" (2002)

(Fine Line Features)

Critic score: 54%

What critics said: "Feels less like a change in [Herzog's] personal policy than a half-hearted fluke."Boston Globe



Alexander Payne — "Downsizing" (2017)

Alexander Payne — "Downsizing" (2017) play

Alexander Payne — "Downsizing" (2017)

(Paramount)

Critic score: 51%

What critics said: "The film, having launched a sprightly comic conceit, lets it glide away." — The New Yorker



Howard Hawks — "A Song is Born" (1948)

Howard Hawks — "A Song is Born" (1948) play

Howard Hawks — "A Song is Born" (1948)

(RKO Radio Pictures)

Critic score: 50%

What critics said: "The whole picture, which is done in color (we don't know why), reflects the tedium resulting from the restriction of Mr. Kaye."The New York Times



Jean-Luc Goddard — "Sympathy for the Devil" (1968)

Jean-Luc Goddard — "Sympathy for the Devil" (1968) play

Jean-Luc Goddard — "Sympathy for the Devil" (1968)

(Cupid Productions)

Critic score: 50%

What critics said: "The politics are as muddled as the art is (deliberately?) amateurish." — TV Guide



Richard Linklater — "Bad News Bears" (2005)

Richard Linklater — "Bad News Bears" (2005) play

Richard Linklater — "Bad News Bears" (2005)

(Paramount Pictures)

Critic score: 48%

What critics said: "More irksome is the ordained focus on plot undulation and simplistic motivation, as if nobody remembered that the first film was a social satire."Village Voice



Martin Scorsese — "Boxcar Bertha" (1972)

Martin Scorsese — "Boxcar Bertha" (1972) play

Martin Scorsese — "Boxcar Bertha" (1972)

(MGM)

Critic score: 48%

What critics said: "'Promising juvenilia' is about the most one can say for it."Chicago Reader



David Fincher — "Alien 3" (1992)

David Fincher — "Alien 3" (1992) play

David Fincher — "Alien 3" (1992)

(20th Century Fox)

Critic score: 46%

What critics said: "Good acting has salvaged many a poor script in the past, but not here."Time Out



Terrence Malick — "Knight of Cups" (2016)

Terrence Malick — "Knight of Cups" (2016) play

Terrence Malick — "Knight of Cups" (2016)

(Broad Green Pictures)

Critic score: 45%

What critics said: "Light on story line, 'Knight of Cups' offers images closer to the visual tableaux of coffee table photography books than typical drama."Minneapolis Star Tribune



Ang Lee — "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk" (2016)

Ang Lee — "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk" (2016) play

Ang Lee — "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk" (2016)

(YouTube/Sony)

Critic score: 45%

What critics said: "A gifted director ruining a good book by literalizing what a writer made us visualize for ourselves." — Boston Globe



David Cronenberg — "M. Butterfly" (1993)

David Cronenberg — "M. Butterfly" (1993) play

David Cronenberg — "M. Butterfly" (1993)

(Warner Home Video)

Critic score: 45%

What critics said: "When John Lone parades around in mascara and speaks in an asexual monotone, the film audience discovers itself staring at John Lone's whiskers underneath his makeup."FilmCritic.com



Federico Fellini — "La Casanova de Fellini" (1976)

Federico Fellini — "La Casanova de Fellini" (1976) play

Federico Fellini — "La Casanova de Fellini" (1976)

(Produzioni Europee Association)

Critic score: 43%

What critics said: "An ordeal rather than a pleasure, a spectacle that cries out to be endured rather than enjoyed, 'Casanova,' may be the perfect consummation of the distasteful conception Fellini had in mind."The Washington Post



Mike Nichols — "What Planet Are You From?" (2000)

Mike Nichols — "What Planet Are You From?" (2000) play

Mike Nichols — "What Planet Are You From?" (2000)

(Columbia Pictures)

Critic score: 42%

What critics said: "Actual abduction may be preferable to the movie of the same name, but only if your kidnappers don't torture you by forcing you to watch it." — New York Post



Ava DuVernay — "A Wrinkle In Time" (2018)

Ava DuVernay — "A Wrinkle In Time" (2018) play

Ava DuVernay — "A Wrinkle In Time" (2018)

(Disney)

Critic score: 40%

What critics said: "Disney's version of the Madeleine L'Engle young-adult novel is a magical mystery tour minus the magic and mystery, and a great disappointment, since there were so many reasons to root for the film's success."Wall Street Journal



Alfonso Cuarón — "Great Expectations" (1998)

Alfonso Cuarón — "Great Expectations" (1998) play

Alfonso Cuarón — "Great Expectations" (1998)

(20th Century Fox)

Critic score: 38%

What critics said: "A meandering, stilted movie."San Francisco Chronicle



Tim Burton — "Dark Shadows" (2012)

Tim Burton — "Dark Shadows" (2012) play

Tim Burton — "Dark Shadows" (2012)

(Warner Bros.)

Critic score: 37%

What critics said: "This is not so much a coherent movie as it is a long, expensive joke in search of a purpose."The New Yorker



Kathryn Bigelow — "The Weight of Water" (2001)

Kathryn Bigelow — "The Weight of Water" (2001) play

Kathryn Bigelow — "The Weight of Water" (2001)

(Lionsgate)

Critic score: 35%

What critics said: "A boring, pretentious muddle that uses a sensational, real-life 19th-Century crime as a metaphor for -- well, I'm not exactly sure what -- and has all the dramatic weight of a raindrop." — Detroit Free Press



Jonathan Demme — "Last Embrace" (1979)

Jonathan Demme — "Last Embrace" (1979) play

Jonathan Demme — "Last Embrace" (1979)

(United Artists)

Critic score: 33%

What critics said: "Belabored imitation Hitchcock."Las Vegas Review Journal



Steven Soderbergh — "The Good German" (2007)

Steven Soderbergh — "The Good German" (2007) play

Steven Soderbergh — "The Good German" (2007)

(Warner Bros.)

Critic score: 32%

What critics said: "There's a line between homage and mimicry, and Soderbergh has crossed it."Houston Chronicle



Woody Allen — "Wonder Wheel" (2017)

Woody Allen — "Wonder Wheel" (2017) play

Woody Allen — "Wonder Wheel" (2017)

(Amazon Studios)

Critic score: 31%

What critics said: "'Wonder Wheel' will strike fans as an embarrassment and doubters as further evidence of decline - proof of Allen's lack of interest or engagement in a world beyond his shrinking artistic comfort zone." — Boston Globe



Peter Jackson — "The Lovely Bones" (2009)

Peter Jackson — "The Lovely Bones" (2009) play

Peter Jackson — "The Lovely Bones" (2009)

(Paramount)

Critic score: 31%

What critics said: "Jackson seems more at home in the afterlife than in this one, rendering this off-kilter project creepy and pretentious."CNN



Alfred Hitchcock — "Juno and the Paycock" (1930)

Alfred Hitchcock — "Juno and the Paycock" (1930) play

Alfred Hitchcock — "Juno and the Paycock" (1930)

(British International Pictures)

Critic score: 27%

What critics said: "A fairly deadly case of canned theater that's pretty close to what Hitchcock many years later would refer to as 'photographs of people talking.'" — Chicago Reader



Steven Spielberg — "Hook" (1991)

Steven Spielberg — "Hook" (1991) play

Steven Spielberg — "Hook" (1991)

(TriStar Pictures)

Critic score: 29%

What critics said: "The exposition is so underlined and re-underlined, you could teach yourself to fly waiting for something to happen." — The Washington Post



Ridley Scott — "A Good Year" (2006)

Ridley Scott — "A Good Year" (2006) play

Ridley Scott — "A Good Year" (2006)

(20th Century Fox)

Critic score: 25%

What critics said: "Russell Crowe has many talents, but a gift for light comedy is not one of them."Rolling Stone



Robert Altman — "Ready to Wear" (1994)

Robert Altman — "Ready to Wear" (1994) play

Robert Altman — "Ready to Wear" (1994)

(Miramax)

Critic score: 25%

What critics said: "This sluggish, overlong, halfhearted satire feels like a movie that wanted to go somewhere but never got there."ReelViews



Clint Eastwood — "The 15:17 to Paris" (2018)

Clint Eastwood — "The 15:17 to Paris" (2018) play

Clint Eastwood — "The 15:17 to Paris" (2018)

(Warner Bros.)

Critic score: 25%

What critics said: "A single act of heroism can truly transform a life, but that action does not necessarily make for a transformative motion picture."Los Angeles Times



Roman Polanski — "Diary of Forbidden Dreams" (1973)

Roman Polanski — "Diary of Forbidden Dreams" (1973) play

Roman Polanski — "Diary of Forbidden Dreams" (1973)

(Carlo Ponti Productions)

Critic score: 22%

What critics said: "I wonder how much Carlo Ponti gave Roman Polanski to make 'Diary of Forbidden Dreams.' Ten cents would have been excessive." — Chicago Sun-Times



Danny Boyle — "The Beach" (2000)

Danny Boyle — "The Beach" (2000) play

Danny Boyle — "The Beach" (2000)

(20th Century Fox)

Critic score: 20%

What critics said: "'The Beach' is the kind of literary rubbish that makes you trace the patterns in the carpet while you're supposed to be watching the screen."Observer



Spike Lee — "She Hate Me" (2004)

Spike Lee — "She Hate Me" (2004) play

Spike Lee — "She Hate Me" (2004)

(Sony Pictures Classic)

Critic score: 19%

What critics said: "Succeeds in finding something to offend almost everybody."Orlando Sentinel



Ingmar Bergman — "All These Women" (1964)

Ingmar Bergman — "All These Women" (1964) play

Ingmar Bergman — "All These Women" (1964)

(Criterion Collection)

Critic score: 17%

What critics said: "Ingmar Bergman, who has tackled religion, sin, sex, music and muddled mores in elliptical but artistically distinguished film style, appears to be confused by comedy and color."The New York Times



Sidney Lumet — "Gloria" (1999)

Sidney Lumet — "Gloria" (1999) play

Sidney Lumet — "Gloria" (1999)

(Sony Pictures)

Critic score: 17%

What critics said: "Sidney Lumet-directed dud that sprung from the singularly bad idea of remaking John Cassavetes’ oddball 1980 character study."Entertainment Weekly



Oliver Stone — "The Hand" (1981)

Oliver Stone — "The Hand" (1981) play

Oliver Stone — "The Hand" (1981)

(Warner Bros.)

Critic score: 14%

What critics said: "Inescapably cheesy." — FilmCritic.com



Quentin Tarantino — "Four Rooms" (1995)

"You're now in the sunken place." (This is the right movie line, right?) play

"You're now in the sunken place." (This is the right movie line, right?)

(Miramax)

Critic score: 14%

What critics said: "The result is a batch of shrill, self-indulgent sketches that turn so wretched in spots you start to wonder if the filmmakers wanted them to be bad." — San Francisco Chronicle



Mel Brooks — "Dracula - Dead and Loving It" (1995)

Mel Brooks — "Dracula - Dead and Loving It" (1995) play

Mel Brooks — "Dracula - Dead and Loving It" (1995)

(Warner Bros.)

Critic score: 11%

What critics said: "Either this is the lamest Mel Brooks comedy ever or it's too close to other contenders to make much difference."Chicago Reader



Harold Ramis — "Club Paradise" (1986)

Harold Ramis — "Club Paradise" (1986) play

Harold Ramis — "Club Paradise" (1986)

(Warner Home Video)

Critic score: 11%

What critics said: "A frenetically unfunny and charmless movie."Los Angeles Times



Francis Ford Coppola — "Supernova" (2000)

Francis Ford Coppola — "Supernova" (2000) play

Francis Ford Coppola — "Supernova" (2000)

(MGM)

Critic score: 10%

What critics said: "A mission that should have been aborted long ago." — Chicago Tribune



John Singleton — "Abduction" (2011)

John Singleton — "Abduction" (2011) play

John Singleton — "Abduction" (2011)

(Lionsgate)

Critic score: 4%

What critics said: "Actual abduction may be preferable to the movie of the same name, but only if your kidnappers don't torture you by forcing you to watch it." — New York Post