9. Eraserhead (5 Years)
David Lynch may be one of the world's most beloved directors but he was just another struggling filmmaker during the 1970s. When he started working on his movie debut, Eraserhead, Lynch was unable to secure any studio funding.
He received $20,000 from the American Film Institute but ran out of money after three years. When his friend, Terence Malick, screened some of Eraserhead's scenes for a financial backer, he stormed out, condemning the footage.
Since Lynch could barely pay his staff, he put himself in charge of directing, special effects, production design, and producing. To save time travelling to the set, Lynch slept in the room used for Henry's bedroom for a year. When the cinematographer suddenly died, Lynch felt like the film was never going to get finished.
After being bombarded by delay after delay, Lynch's father and brother sat him down and told him to quit the movie and get a real job so he could support his family.
Lynch persevered and, after five years, completed his first feature. It received mixed reviews and a microscopic profit but went on to become one of the most celebrated fantasy horror films of all time.