The Greatest Movies Never Made

What happens when we die? I like to imagine that, rather than leaping about on a cloud or burning in the lake of fire, or being reincarnated as a toadstool, or haunting our mates, or simply ceasing to exist, that we continue to trundle along in some sort of timeless ageless, Good Place-esque afterworld of our own desires. A place where you can catch up with friends who passed away before you and ancestors you never met. A place where you can spend your days doing absolutely anything you want. A place where you can choose to travel to any location real or imagined at any point in time. A place where you can cease to exist if that’s what you want. A place where you can spy on those still alive, if you so choose. A place where you can continue to work, if work was something you truly enjoyed and if the products of your work were something you wished to share.

In this fantastical world, as well as all of the ordinary nameless billions like you and I who have lived and died, the famous and infamous continue to thrive. The sportsmen and women, the artists, writers, musicians, performers, actors, and directors. While many of those creative types were sparked into their careers by familial connections, a desire for fame, or a need to be loved, many others did it for the love of doing it. For the love of telling a story and seeing the wonder on the faces of the audience. Would those guys spend the rest of eternity lying on a beach being fed ambrosial cocktails by big-breasted angels? Arguably yes, but I like to imagine they would continue doing what they loved. Somewhere out there John and George have written a hundred new solo albums and are waiting for Paul and Ringo to shuffle off their mortal coils to get the band together again. DaVinci is painstakingly crafting a thousand foot tall ivory column, every inch adorned with the greatest woks of painted art the world has never seen. Homer and Virgil are outdoing each other with crafting the greatest Epic Poem to prove that Greece was better than Italy/Italy was better than Rome. Eddie Guerrero just cheated Andre The Giant out of his Heavyweight Title at HeavenMania MMXXI. In the world of movies, Alfred Hitchcock is waiting for Pamela Anderson to die so that she can feature in his next psychosexual chase drama.

As it’s me, there are rules. The rules don’t make sense, but they’re there nonetheless. While this land of the dead is not governed by any real sense of time, you can only end up there once you have officially died here on Earth. That means Bruce Lee cannot make his own Expendables movie until Arnie and Sly and Jackie and everyone else finally bid farewell to this mortal realm. Sonny Chiba has just joined the party, so they can at least work on the script kinks. That’s actually the only rule. For this post I grabbed a random list of the best (dead) Directors, Actors, and Actresses (I ignored every other job which goes into making a movie because I’m not a psychopath) of all time just to see the sort of players who are maybe out there right now, in the world beyond, making the greatest movies never made. Who wouldn’t pay to watch a never before seen Stanley Kubrick movie starring Marlon Brando and Heath Ledger? What about a Spaghetti Western from Sergio Leone starring John Wayne, Elvis Presley, David Bowie, Charles Bronson, Eli Wallach, and Christopher Lee? What about a new Bond movie featuring Connery and Moore? How about an animated musical from Walt Disney featuring Robin Williams, Jimmy Stewart, Charles Chaplin, Peter Sellers, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, and John Candy? You get the idea? The movie which your favourite director always planned to make but never got off the ground while they lived? Everything you always wanted or never thought you needed.

Here’s the list I pulled – it’s not definitive, nor is it meant to be. It’s just a tool to help you imagine what might be. Let you imagination run wild and ask yourself what sort of film you would love to see using a combination of the names below. Hell, I’ll even turn it into a viral bait game to make it easier for you – A. Pick one director. B: Pick up to 7 Actors and Actresses. C: Pick a genre. D: What’s your movie? Which living actors,  actresses, and directors do you think the deceased would love to work with? Let us know in the comments what sort of movie you think these guys would make or what sort of movie you would love to see?  Of course you’ll have to wait till you die before you can see it, but that’s not too far away, right?


Alfred Hitchcock                                                                   Stanley Kubrick

Orson Welles                                                                         Akira Kurosawa

Sergio Leone                                                                          Ingmar Bergman

Federico Fellini                                                                     John Ford

Billy Wilder                                                                            Frank Capra

Fritz Lang                                                                               Sidney Lumet

Francois Truffaut                                                                  William Wyler

Howard Hawks                                                                     Milos Foreman

John Huston                                                                         David Lean

Robert Altman                                                                     Elia Kazan

Vincente Minelli                                                                  George Cukor

Blake Edwards                                                                    Michael Curtiz

Sam Peckinpah                                                                    Jean Renoir

Andrei Tarkovsky                                                               John Cassavettes

Tony Scott                                                                           Sergei Eisenstein

John Frankenheimer                                                        Ernst Lubitsch

Jonathan Demme                                                              Joseph L Mankiewicz

Satyajit Ray                                                                        F.W Murnau

Robert Wise                                                                       Franco Zeffirelli

Don Siegel                                                                          Vittorio De Sica

John Hughes                                                                     Luis Bunuel

Krzysztof Kielslowski                                                      Sydney Pollack

Bernardo Bertolucci                                                       Mike Nichols

Cecil B DeMille                                                                DW Griffith

Alan Parker                                                                       Michaelangelo Antonioni

Harold Ramis                                                                   Richard Donner

George Romero                                                                Wilfred Jackson

Alan J Pakula                                                                    George Roy Hill

Michael Powell                                                                 Carol Reed

Otto Preminger                                                                Peter Bogdanovich

Wes Craven                                                                      Fred Zinnemann

George Stevens                                                                Frank Lloyd

Georges Melies                                                                Leo McCarey

Lewis Milestone                                                              Eric Rohmer

Pier Paolo Pasolini                                                         Yasujiro Ozu

Theodoros Angelopoulos                                              James Whale

Terence Fisher                                                                Carl Theodor Dreyer

Michael Cimino                                                              Hal Ashby

Actors And Actresses

Marlon Brando                                                                                  Katherine Hepburn

John Belushi                                                                                      Ingrid Bergman

John Candy                                                                                        Bette Davis

Jonathan Brandis                                                                             Elizabeth Taylor

Don S Davis                                                                                       Olympia Dukakis

James Dean                                                                                       Thelma Ritter

Maureen Stapleton                                                                          James Dean

Anne Bancroft                                                                                  Denholm Elliot

Lauren Bacall                                                                                   Marty Feldman

Vivien Leigh                                                                                      Audrey Hepburn

Romy Schneider                                                                              Grace Kelly

Simone Signoret                                                                             Barbara Stanwyck

Olivia De Havilland                                                                        Greer Garson

Shelly Winters                                                                                 Greta Garbo

Deborah Kerr                                                                                  Brittany Murphy

Rita Hayworth                                                                                Doris Day

Paul Newman                                                                                 Spencer Tracy

Laurence Olivier                                                                            Jack Lemmon

James Stewart                                                                               Robin Williams

Peter O’Toole                                                                                 Philip Seymour Hoffman

Humphrey Bogart                                                                        Gregory Peck

Clark Gable                                                                                    Gary Cooper

George C Scott                                                                              Jason Robards

Charles Laughton                                                                         Anthony Quinn

Peter Sellers                                                                                  James Cagney

Peter Finch                                                                                    Henry Fonda

Cary Grant                                                                                     Richard Burton

Burt Lancaster                                                                              William Holden

John Wayne                                                                                  Kirk Douglas

Alec Guiness                                                                                 Christopher Plummer

Sean Connery                                                                                Roger Moore

Albert Finney                                                                                River Phoenix

Heath Ledger                                                                                Steve McQueen

Charlton Heston                                                                           Gene Kelly

Robert Mitchum                                                                           Alan Rickman

Edward G Robinson                                                                     Buster Keaton

If you were wondering if I was maintaining my own personal list of undead Directors and Actors, you would be correct. Every month brings a host of heartbreaking new deaths among our cinematic heroes, and with each month we know we’re getting closer to one of our favourites passing. But at least they’ll be heading on over to my fantasy wonderland – yay! Have I finally snapped? Which names are missing from the above list? What sort of cocktail do you think James Dean would drink? Let us know in the comments!

4 thoughts on “The Greatest Movies Never Made

  1. steveforthedeaf August 27, 2021 / 6:53 pm

    Well this is fun. I’d like a Peter Wier directed road movie with Harry Dean Stanton and Grace Kelly driving an RV to rescue their daughter Carrie Fisher from her Mob Boss Boyfriend. Played by Robert Mitchum. They meet Ernest Borgnine running a low life inhabited truck stop along the way and win a life debt from a gang of bikers lead by Lemmy Kilminster, Kenny Baker and Richard Pryor who help them take on the mob and win young Carrie back from a Sicilian mob wedding. The soundtrack would be by Morricone.

Tell it like it is!

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