10 Of The Most Ambitious Movies Ever

Filmmakers often need to balance ambition with realistic expectations. If you fly too close to the sun, it can lead to your downfall. The most skilled directors have mastered the art of perfecting their ambition. They achieve movie magic that others often dream of.

These ten films are some of the most ambitious ever made. While some achieved the success they were seeking, others crashed and burned.

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. Instead, they’re some of the best movies ever made.

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. It paid off, though, as the Pirates franchise was extremely profitable for Disney.

5. WATERWORLD

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

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

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.

Read More From Us – 17 Movies With Zero Expectations That Blew Us Away

The Fugutive
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

 

Never judge a book by its cover. You can say the same about movies.

Some of our favorite films are the ones we went into with no expectations. Despite this, they blew us away from start to finish.

17 Movies With Zero Expectations That Blew Us Away

Read More From Us – Classic 80s Movies Better Than Anything Released Today

Fletch
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

The 80s was an incredible time for film. From award-winning cinema to hilarious comedies and everything in between, there was something for everyone to enjoy.

Thankfully, many of these 80s movies still hold up today. I regularly find myself watching these beloved 80s movies more often than modern cinema.

Classic 80s Movies Better Than Anything Released Today

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