10 Of The Most Ambitious Movies Ever Made

Elizabeth Taylor
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Ambition is a good thing to keep in mind when making a movie. Sometimes, however, it can lead to the downfall of a film. You’re not always guaranteed to reach the stars just because you’re shooting for the moon.

A recent online discussion asks for the most ambitious movies of all time. Here are the top responses. 

1 – Apocalypse Now

Apocalypse Now
Image Credit: United Artists.

The 1979 epic war film by Francis Ford Coppola is regarded as one of the best movies ever made. Making the movie, however, was no easy task.

The Documentary, The Heart of Darkness, details the ambitious yet problematic development of the film.

2 – The Abyss

The Abyss
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

James Cameron is no stranger to ambitious movies. This 1989 film may be his most ambitious solely due to the technology available at the time. 

Cameron built giant underwater sets that the cast and crew must persevere through during filming. 

3 – The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

Lord of the Rings
Image Credit: New Line Cinema.

It’s silly to look back and see Peter Jackson’s trilogy as a risk, but not everyone was sold that it would be a successful movie franchise.

Jackson filmed all three movies back-to-back-to-back. The other two would have been doomed if the first one was a dud. 

4 – Pirates of the Caribbean 

Image Credit: Buena Vista Pictures.

Filming a movie based on a theme-park ride was super ambitious at the time. That’s before you account for the grand scale of the film’s setpieces and themes. 

5 – Waterworld

Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

The infamous Kevin Costner film is one of the biggest cinematic flops of all time, but it’s not due to a lack of ambition. 

Waterworld‘s budget ran as high as $175 million before releasing in 1995. 

6 – Cleopatra 

Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

20th Century Fox is one of the biggest studios in the industry, but this 1963 film almost destroyed the studio. 

They had to reuse as many props and sets as possible to help recoup the costs of the movie. 

7 – Apollo 13

Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

How do you film a zero-g sequence and make it look realistic? By filming it in zero-g, of course!

Thankfully, this ambitious idea paid off, and the Ron Howard film is a classic. 

8 – Boyhood

Image Credit: IFC Films.

If taking 11 years to film a movie so you can use the same actor as he ages isn’t ambitious, then I don’t know what is. 

Sadly, the concept of Boyhood is far more interesting than the final product.

9 – Lawrence of Arabia

Image Credit: Columbia Pictures.

The 1962 epic starring Peter O’Toole and Alec Guinness is so impressive that its visuals and cinematography still hold up today. 

Many younger movie fans lament being unable to watch the movie in theaters.

10 – The Matrix Reloaded

The Matrix Reloaded
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

While the entire Matrix trilogy helped define the word ambition in moviemaking, one fan points out that a freeway was built to shoot the chase scene in Matrix Reloaded

Today, it would have been done with a green screen and CGI. 

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Tropic Thunder Ben Stiller
Image Credit: Dreamworks.

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Written by Jake Valentine

I am the Editor-In-Chief of BossLevelGamer. I'm also a lover of video games, food, and beer.

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