Favorite movies about people making movies.  Preferably, though not necessarily, comedies.

For example: 8 1/2, Living in Oblivion, Day For Night.

*not a contest
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46 Responses to “Contest!*”
  1. Tristram Shandy: a Cock and Bull Story
    Does F for Fake count?

  2. mcbrennan says:

    Ed Wood, definitely. An all time favorite of mine.
    Singin’ In The Rain, too.
    Bad Education
    The Party
    RKO 281 was pretty good, as well as The Life and Death of Peter Sellers
    Adaptation (although I have serious mixed feelings about it)
    The Judy Garland A Star Is Born is pretty amazing
    State and Main

    I’ll probably think of more later…

  3. chevett says:

    I’ve always had a soft spot for Hollywood Ending.

  4. urbaniak says:

    I haven’t seen it in years but I remember Boy Meets Girl as being very funny.

  5. catwalk says:

    rko 281 is probably my favorite dramaric film of that type.
    (i luuuuuuuv orgazmo, but you said no comedies.)
    shadow of the vampire entertains me on different levels.

  6. ghostgecko says:

    “My Best Fiend” by Herzog (“Incident at Loch Ness” had its moments, too)

  7. kipling00 says:

    The often forgotten “And god spoke…”

    You’re making a movie of the old testament.

    You’re running out of money.

    Is there anything wrong with a few product endorsements?

    While far from perfect, “And God Spoke…” made me laugh.

  8. eronanke says:

    Most ppl have already said what I wanted to.
    Via Appia & Boogie Nights & Ararat & Rangeela & American Movie

  9. Hmmn. Most comedies I can think of have been named.

    The Stunt Man and
    are favorites of mine, though not exactly comedies (plenty of humor in both, certainly). Neither is Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom, great as it is.

    The filmmaking is kinda in the background of Mulholland Drive and a small part of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, but it’s there (and what a double bill that’d make . . .). Same with Stardust Memories and Blow Out and After the Fox. And Barton Fink is just about the writing of a picture.

    F for Fake may not count, but if Welles’ The Other Side of the Wind is ever released in our lifetimes, it would.

    • Todd says:

      Contempt is the Godard picture?

      • Le Mepris

        Yup. Jack Palance as the vulgar American producer in Italy browbeating Fritz Lang as he makes a film of The Odyssey (as screenwriter Michel Piccoli’s marriage to Brigitte Bardot falls apart). Brilliant.

        • Todd says:

          Re: Le Mepris

          Holy ess-aitch-eye-tee, and Fritz Lang plays himself? Where has this movie been all my life?

          • Re: Le Mepris

            All your life? Mostly buried on really REALLY bad VHS transfers, atrociously panned-and-scanned, and occasionally badly dubbed. So, most often, forgotten.

            Criterion finally got it a couple years ago, and their 2-disc set is one of the finest they’ve ever done, and it seems everyone’s finally recognizing the film for the masterpiece it is.

            In another vein, I can’t believe I forgot one of my other favorite movies Hellzapoppin’, recommended by mcbrennan above, and I second that vote — unfortunately it’s not available except on bootleg import . . .

  10. mitdasein says:

    Sullivan’s Travels is about a filmmaker, though it’s not exactly about him making the movie.

    Documentary-wise, Lost in La Mancha and American Movie.

  11. mcbrennan says:

    Amendment to earlier comments…

    Also? Sullivan’s Travels kind of qualifies. And–absolutely can’t forget this one…Hellzapoppin’, with Olsen and Johnson.

  12. greyaenigma says:

    Ed Wood
    State and Main

    I know those have been said, but I was out watching a movie, dammit!

    (Apocalypse Now — don’t look at the camera!)

  13. sakana1 says:


    I’m here to mention Contempt as well — glad to see someone else thought of it. Granted, you don’t know me from Adam, Todd, but it’s my favorite movie of all time and you must see it THIS INSTANT.

  14. mr_noy says:

    The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
    Fitzcarraldo – Though not about filmmaking, per se, it always struck me as Herzog’s metaphor for the artistic process.

  15. Anonymous says:

    David Holzman’s Diary.

    Sunset Boulevard of course.

    The Big Picture has its moments. American Movie and The Kid Stays in the Picture also have things to recommend them.

  16. mr_noy says:

    Come to think of it, aren’t most movies about filmmaking comedies?

    I also find it amusing how many of these films have been green-lit and produced, considering that I can’t think of one filmmaking movie that ever portrayed studio execs and producers as anything other than greedy, egomaniacal, philistines.

    • Todd says:

      Come to think of it, aren’t most movies about filmmaking comedies?

      Well, Sunset Blvd is a notable exception. I’m sure there are others.

      I think that most movies about filmmaking are green-lit by studio executives who feel that they are smarter and hipper than those other, “greedy, egomaniacal, philistine” studio executives. What surprises me is that so many get greenlit when so few of them are commercially successful.

      • Yeah, isn’t it a rule that pictures about picture-making don’t do well?

        Oh, and two more — both uneven but with plenty worthwhile bits, Chris Guest’s The Big Picture and Minnelli’s The Bad and the Beautiful.

  17. toliverchap says:


    I thought Lost in La Mancha was a good one. More of a documentary about not making a movie but the trials and tribulations of the process were all there. Also another documentary in that same fashion They Shoot Movies, Don’t They. I guess I learn more from mistakes and failures than anything else.

  18. craigjclark says:

    You’ve already named my absolute favorite, which is Living in Oblivion — a film I would put in my Top Ten of All Time list — and many other obvious ones have already been named, so I guess I have to go really obscure and say…

    Brian De Palma’s Home Movies. It’s quirky as all get-out and amazingly amateurish at times, but that’s because De Palma made it with his filmmaking class at Sarah Lawrence College in 1979.

    Don McKellar’s Childstar is also worth checking out, even if it’s not as sharp as it could have been.

    Also: Atom Egoyan’s Speaking Parts, the Coen Brothers’ Barton Fink (can it be no one’s said that yet?), Steven Soderbergh’s Full Frontal. There are more, I’m sure, but that’s all I can come up with off the top of my head.

  19. naltrexone says:

    American Movie is *classic*, though it’s a documentary so may not count. Likewise Hearts of Darkness, though at the opposite end of the artistic spectrum.

    All of my favorite fictional accounts have been listed by others, though I’ll give an extra nod to Ed Wood as a particular favorite.

    • Todd says:

      American Movie and Ed Wood are both thematically linked and particularly germane to the project I’m thinking about, as they are both about artists who have all the passion and tenacity in the world but none of the talent, and both are heartbreaking examinations of uncelebrated artists.

    • Todd says:

      American Movie and Hearts of Darkness would make the best double feature ever.

  20. yetra says:

    It’s not released yet, but Christopher Guest’s latest For Your Consideration is top notch.

    • Todd says:

      The only complaint I ever have about a Christopher Guest movie is that they aren’t three times as long as they are.

      • yetra says:

        Agreed! I was lucky to see it at Toronto, with pretty much the whole cast on stage after, for the best Q&A session ever. As is to be expected.

  21. dougo says:

    Depending on your definition of “movies”, Until the End of the World.

  22. gazblow says:

    Doesn’t The French Lieutenant’s Woman have a double story line where Jeremy Irons and Meryl Streep are acting in the movie of The French Lt’s Woman?

    • Todd says:

      It does indeed. That’s because the book, famously, has two different endings, neither one which is to be considered “definitive.” So the “movie” ends one way and “real life” ends another.

  23. greyaenigma says:

    It hit me the other day — The Player. And no one seems to have mentioned it.

  24. kornleaf says:

    Hollywood Ending?