The Noah’s Ark Principle (1984)

Written and directed by Roland Emmerich as his thesis at the Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film München (HFF), this movie cost about $740,000 to make, while the average student at the school spent $12,000 on their thesis movies. But hey, how many of them got to make Independence Day?

In 1997, peace has come to the world. Except for, well, the chance that World War 3 could break out at any moment and the satellite that Billy Hayes is working on could be the weather control instrument of Earth’s last war.

It’s basically like most of his other movies — people yell at each other — without the benefit of a huge special effects budget. That said, I bet the other students absolutely hated when he walked up on the day of showing student films and was like, “Oh, you made a movie about the sad and noble trials of man? I made a popcorn movie!”

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