The Fifty Worst Films of All Time

The Fifty Worst Films of All Time (and How They Got That Way) is a 1978 book by Harry Medved, with Randy Dreyfuss and Michael Medved. It presents the authors' choices for the 50 worst sound films ever made. Each film's entry includes a story synopsis, the authors' opinions of its quality, and a selection of contemporary reviews of the film.[2]

The Fifty Worst Films of All Time
AuthorHarry Medved
Randy Dreyfuss
Michael Medved
CountryUnited States
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardback & Paperback)

In compiling their list, the authors divided films under a few categories: "Popular Triumphs" like The Omen, Valley of the Dolls; "Overrated Art Films" like Ivan the Terrible, Last Year at Marienbad; "Implausible Oddities" like The Terror of Tiny Town; "Big Budget Flops" like Lost Horizon, Zabriskie Point; "Grade-Z Atrocities" like Robot Monster, Eegah; "Tarnished Stars" such as Yul Brynner in Solomon and Sheba; "Oldies but Baddies" like Jamaica Inn. The authors also used egregious examples to represent less reputable film genres, such as blaxploitation films (Trouble Man), Japanese monster movies (Godzilla vs. Hedorah), Spaghetti Westerns (Return of Sabata) and jungle movies (Daughter of the Jungle). Also included in the book are examples of anime (Alakazam the Great), disaster movies (Airport 1975), sexploitation films (Myra Breckinridge), Elvis Presley vehicles (Spinout), and mainstream films like At Long Last Love, Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, Hurry Sundown, King Richard and the Crusaders, Say One for Me.

The book intentionally excludes silent films because the authors consider them to be "a separate and unique art form and that judging them alongside talkies would be like weighing apples together with oranges". It limits the foreign films considered to only those distributed in the United States, judging it unfair to evaluate local obscurities denied an international release alongside mainstream Hollywood products, while realizing that it would not only be difficult for the authors to view the films, but unlikely that any readers would ever come across them.

The Medveds continued the theme of "celebrating" bad cinema with the publication The Golden Turkey Awards, instituted in 1980 which again showcased bad and obscure films, and The Hollywood Hall of Shame which examined in some detail several major Hollywood financial disasters, focusing on both the artistic treatments coupled with the technical and organizational ineptitude in the mounting of these films.

It has been said that The Fifty Worst Films of All Time marked the beginning of an explosion of "worst in cinema" prizes nearly resulting in "a state of redundancy almost approaching that of ordinary prizes."[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ English, James F. (2008) The Economy of Prestige: Prizes, Awards, and the Circulation of Cultural Value, Harvard University Press p. 98
  • Medved, Harry, and Randy Dreyfuss. The Fifty Worst Films of All Time (and How They Got That Way). 1978, Warner Books. ISBN 0-445-04139-0.
  • Medved, Harry, and Randy Dreyfuss. The Fifty Worst Films of All Time (and How They Got That Way). 1978 (1980 Reprint), Australia: Angus & Robertson Publishers, ISBN 0-207-95891-2 (cased edition), 0 207 95892 0 (limp edition).
  • Medved, Michael. The Fifty Worst Films of All Time. 1980. ISBN 0-449-04139-5.

External linksEdit