The Most Wasteful Movie Shoots

The silver screen is not so green. Globally, the film industry is contributing to greenhouse gas admissions through travel and on-set transportation. Locally, the film has direct environmental impacts such as disturbing wildlife, destroying vegetation and increasing waste generation. Many countries have now developed a code and require film crew to obtain permits with strict rules, in order to film on location. Unfortunately, some of these requirements have to come too little too late. Here are 3 of the most wasteful films ever created.

Apocalypse Now (1978)


Apocalypse Now may be the most wasteful film every made. The most iconic scene of the whole film may have been the opening scene. The scene features helicopters flying around and suddenly a forest erupts with explosion. Unfortunately, although it may have been amazing cinematography,  the affect to the environment was also huge. Director, Francis Ford Coppola, actually had a forest set on fire. Tires were also burned to create more smoke. Coppola is quoted as saying “They’d never let you [do it] in the U.S., the environmentalists would kill you.”


The Beach (2000)


This may be one of the very underrated Leonardo DiCaprio films, but its environmental impact certainly has not gone unnoticed. The small island of Thailand, where the movie was filmed, was not only chosen for its natural beauty but the location scout also thought the island could be easily re-landscaped. The production crew did just that and very much disturbed the local ecosystem. The team bulldozed a ton of native trees and vegetation, as well as, planted non-native palm trees, which could forever the island’s natural habitat.

Sadly, most of the damage came after the film crews left. Storms hit the islands, however, this time, sand dunes were not protected by their normal vegetations and were washed out to sea. The sand damaged the coral reef surrounding the island.


Ben Hur (1959)


The original, Ben Hur, is a critically acclaimed film with 11 Oscar wins, including Best Picture. However, the film crew may have never heard of recycling. The stadium for the chariot race was one of the largest film sets every created. The stadium covered more than 18 acres, rose 5 stories tall, and seated 24,000. On top of the stadium, there were also 300 other sets built. Forty-thousand tons of sand were also brought over from the Mediterranean to filming location. After filming ended, crew destroyed the sets so local producers would not be able to use them.