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. ShelLuser


        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. P Saunders

      Re: A lot of people have short memories

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

    2. Stoneshop Silver badge

      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

          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 Silver badge

      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...


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