The Golden Turkey Awards is a 1980 book by film critic Michael Medved and his brother Harry Medved.
The book awards the fictional "Golden Turkey Awards" to films judged by the authors as poor in quality, and to directors and actors judged to have created a chronically inept body of work. The book features many low-budget obscurities and exploitation films such as Rat Pfink a Boo Boo, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, and the apparently lost Him. Other categories include expensive, big studio failures like The Swarm and popular films such as Jesus Christ Superstar.
In the introduction the authors admit that "we know our choices will not please everyone—least of all the actors, producers, writers and directors who are honored in the pages that follow. We further recognize that the number of bad films is so enormous and the competition for the very worst is so intense, that all decisions reached here are subject to considerable second-guessing. Nevertheless, we have researched the subject thoroughly—sitting through more than 2,000 wretched films in the last few years—and we believe that our nominees and award winners can stand the test of time."
The Medveds had previously celebrated bad cinema in The Fifty Worst Films of All Time, many of which were also featured in the various Golden Turkey Awards categories. Subsequently, they turned their attention to box office bombs in The Hollywood Hall of Shame.
The Golden Turkey Awards formed the basis of a 1983 television series The Worst of Hollywood hosted by Michael Medved.
In the book The Fifty Worst Films of All Time the authors invited readers to write in nominating their favorite "worst films". More than 3,000 ballots were received. Based on these votes, the Worst Film of All Time award was given to Plan 9 from Outer Space by Edward D. Wood, Jr.
Wood is also awarded the title of Worst Director of All Time, judged by the authors. Raquel Welch is judged the Worst Actress of All Time over nominees including Candice Bergen and Mamie van Doren.
Richard Burton is judged as the Worst Actor of All Time over nominees John Agar, Tony Curtis and Victor Mature. While conceding he is sometimes good, the authors claim Burton's "occasional triumphs only serve to highlight the pathetic waste in most of his films; for every Equus in which he appears there are at least a half-dozen Cleopatras or Boom!s. The authors state that "when he is bad ... well, he's just the pits" and list several "bad" films he has appeared in: The Sandpiper, Hammersmith Is Out!, The Voyage, The Medusa Touch and The Assassination of Trotsky. Another Burton film, Exorcist II: The Heretic, is the book's first runner up in the Worst Film of All Time award based on reader response.
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