The Golden Turkey Awards

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. They also published a sequel to The Golden Turkey Awards, Son of Golden Turkey Awards, in 1986. They declared that Son of Golden Turkey Awards “is our last word…we hereby solemnly pledge that the years ahead will produce no further Golden Turkey publications by the Medved Brothers…we now pass the torch to whichever brave souls feel ready to take up the challenge.” Son of Golden Turkey Awards also listed a “Who’s Who in the World of Bad Movies” at the end of its awards presentations.

The Golden Turkey Awards formed the basis of a 1983 television series The Worst of Hollywood hosted by Michael Medved.