Top 10 Movies That Took Forever To Make

Stephanie Rayner
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Top 10 Movies That Took Forever To Make

Creating a movie is a complex and time-consuming process that requires meticulous planning, talented individuals, and a dash of luck. While some movies are completed within a few months, others face numerous obstacles and delays that stretch their production timeline for years, or even decades. In this article, we will explore the top 10 movies that took forever to make, delving into the reasons behind their prolonged production and the eventual outcomes.

1. “Avatar” (2009)

James Cameron’s groundbreaking science fiction film “Avatar” took a staggering 15 years to make. The movie’s extensive use of cutting-edge technology, including motion capture and 3D effects, contributed to its lengthy production time. Cameron wanted to ensure that the technology was advanced enough to bring his vision to life, resulting in numerous delays. However, the wait was worth it, as “Avatar” became the highest-grossing film of all time upon its release.

2. “Boyhood” (2014)

Richard Linklater’s coming-of-age drama “Boyhood” is a unique film that was shot over the course of 12 years. The director wanted to capture the authentic growth and development of the main character, played by Ellar Coltrane, from childhood to adolescence. This ambitious project required the cast and crew to reunite every year to continue filming, resulting in a lengthy production process. The film received critical acclaim and was praised for its realistic portrayal of the passage of time.

3. “The Thief and the Cobbler” (1993)

“The Thief and the Cobbler” is an animated film that holds the record for the longest production time in history, spanning over three decades. The project, helmed by animator Richard Williams, faced numerous setbacks, including financial issues and creative differences. Despite the prolonged production, the film was ultimately released in a heavily edited version by another studio, failing to live up to Williams’ original vision.

4. “Apocalypse Now” (1979)

Francis Ford Coppola’s war epic “Apocalypse Now” faced numerous challenges during its production, leading to a prolonged timeline of four years. The film’s shooting location in the Philippines was hit by a typhoon, causing significant damage to the set and equipment. Additionally, the director faced budget overruns and creative differences with the cast and crew. Despite these obstacles, “Apocalypse Now” went on to become a critically acclaimed and influential film.

5. “Mad Max: Fury Road” (2015)

George Miller’s action-packed film “Mad Max: Fury Road” experienced a lengthy production process of almost 15 years. The movie faced numerous delays due to financial issues, casting changes, and the collapse of the original shooting location in Australia. However, Miller’s perseverance paid off, as “Mad Max: Fury Road” was met with critical acclaim and won six Academy Awards.

6. “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy (2001-2003)

Peter Jackson’s epic fantasy trilogy, based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s novels, took a total of eight years to complete. The extensive world-building, complex visual effects, and intricate storytelling required meticulous planning and execution. The trilogy was shot back-to-back in New Zealand, with the cast and crew dedicating a significant portion of their lives to bring Tolkien’s Middle-earth to the big screen. The films were a massive success, both critically and commercially, winning a total of 17 Academy Awards.

7. “Gone with the Wind” (1939)

“Gone with the Wind,” one of the most iconic films in cinematic history, had a production timeline of almost three years. The film faced numerous challenges, including casting issues, script rewrites, and the onset of World War II. Additionally, the search for the perfect actress to portray Scarlett O’Hara took over a year, with Vivien Leigh eventually landing the role. Despite the prolonged production, “Gone with the Wind” became a timeless classic and won eight Academy Awards.

8. “The Shining” (1980)

Stanley Kubrick’s psychological horror film “The Shining” took over a year to complete, primarily due to the director’s meticulous attention to detail. Kubrick was known for his perfectionism, often shooting multiple takes of each scene until he was satisfied. The film’s iconic set design and eerie atmosphere required extensive planning and execution, contributing to its lengthy production timeline. “The Shining” is now regarded as one of the greatest horror films ever made.

9. “Titanic” (1997)

James Cameron’s epic romance-disaster film “Titanic” faced numerous challenges during its production, resulting in a timeline of over three years. The film’s massive scale, including the construction of a life-sized replica of the ship, required meticulous planning and execution. Additionally, adverse weather conditions and technical difficulties with the underwater scenes caused further delays. However, “Titanic” became a global phenomenon upon its release, winning 11 Academy Awards and becoming the highest-grossing film of all time until “Avatar” surpassed it.

10. “The Irishman” (2019)

Martin Scorsese’s crime epic “The Irishman” took over a decade to make, primarily due to the extensive use of de-aging technology. The film follows the life of hitman Frank Sheeran, played by Robert De Niro, over several decades. Scorsese wanted to accurately portray the characters’ aging process, resulting in the need for advanced visual effects. The film was met with critical acclaim and received numerous award nominations.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Why do some movies take so long to make?

Some movies take a long time to make due to various reasons, including:

  • Extensive use of advanced technology
  • Complex storytelling or world-building
  • Financial issues or budget constraints
  • Creative differences among the cast and crew
  • Unforeseen challenges, such as weather conditions or location issues

2. How do delays in production affect a movie’s outcome?

Delays in production can have both positive and negative effects on a movie’s outcome. On one hand, additional time allows for more meticulous planning, better visual effects, and improved storytelling. On the other hand, delays can lead to increased costs, loss of interest from the audience, or creative compromises that may impact the overall quality of the film.

3. Are movies that take a long time to make always successful?

While a lengthy production timeline does not guarantee a movie’s success, some films that took a long time to make