best films from first-time directors?

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Christ Reynolds, Mar 8, 2004.

  1. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    i did a few different searches and couldnt come up with this type of topic. so, what are the best movies from first time directors? i can think of a few very good first films, anyone know any more good ones?

    wes anderson - bottle rocket
    richard kelly - donnie darko
    christopher nolan - following
    coen brothers - blood simple
    david lynch - eraserhead
    orson welles - citizen kane
    sam mendes - american beauty
    sofia coppola - the virgin suicides

    many of those are among my very favorites, but i like them all very much. not a bad group of debut films. now the task for you htf'ers is to list the good ones i missed! [​IMG]

    CJ
     
  2. Bruce_S

    Bruce_S Second Unit

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    bryan singer - usual suspects
    chris nolan - memento (not sure)
    mel gibson - braveheart
    kevin costner - dances w/wolves
    clint eastwood - unforgiven
     
  3. Richard Kim

    Richard Kim Producer

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    As noted above, Christopher Nolan's first film was Following. Mel Gibson first directed The Man Without A Face, and Clint Eastwood directed many films before Unforgiven (Play Misty For Me was his first).

    As for my list:

    Sam Raimi: The Evil Dead
    Cameron Crowe: Say Anything...
    George Lucas: THX-1138
    Rob Reiner: This Is Spinal Tap
    Quentin Tarentino: Reservoir Dogs
    Kevin Smith: Clerks
     
  4. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    i left this one off intentionally when i saw public access on imdb. also, i forgot

    pi - darren aronofsky

    i'm not sure if protozoa counts as a feature.

    CJ
     
  5. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    also forgot

    spike jonze - being john malkovich

    CJ
     
  6. Ernest Rister

    Ernest Rister Producer

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    Orson Welles - Citizen Kane. No brainer.
     
  7. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Christopher Guest, The Big Picture.
    Steven Spielberg, The Sugarland Express (this was his first feature film; Duel was made for TV).

    As noted in various previous posts, all of the entries on this list except for Costner's are not first films.

    M.
     
  8. Jacob McCraw

    Jacob McCraw Stunt Coordinator

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    Wes Craven - Last House on the Left
    Tobe Hooper - The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
    Eli Roth - Cabin Fever
    Robert Rodriguez - El Mariachi
    George Clooney - Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
    John Singleton - Boyz n the Hood
    Allen and Albert Hughes - Menace II Society
    Peter Jackson - Bad Taste
     
  9. Julian Reville

    Julian Reville Screenwriter

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    I watched my laserdisc copy of Sugarland Express again this weekend. What an underated gem. I can't believe this isn't out on DVD yet.
     
  10. Jose Martinez

    Jose Martinez Screenwriter

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    Steven Soderbergh - Sex, Lies, and Videotape
     
  11. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    In addition to the very obvious Citizen Kane, mentioned a couple of times already I’d consider the following to be brilliant first films:

    ·François Truffaut: The 400 Blows
    ·Mike Nichols: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
    ·Terrence Malick: Badlands
     
  12. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    Most of these have had good follow up films, but some really only had their one good debut. I was quite surprised by the number of films I had previously assumed were debuts but were not (not even counting the TV show and TV film stuff). These are in addition to the excellent debuts already mentioned.

    Dumb and Dumber - Bobby and Peter Farrelly (what I consider to be the absolute best 'dumb' comedy ever made)
    Airplane! - ZAZ
    Zero Effect - Jake Kasdan
    Bound - Larry and Andy Wachowski (which I think is their second best film)
    House of Games - David Mamet
    Tremors - Ron Underwood (perfect B monster movie)
    Cube - Vincenzo Natali (his followup Cypher is really quite good)
     
  13. Jim_K

    Jim_K Executive Producer

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    John Huston - The Maltese Falcon
     
  14. ZacharyTait

    ZacharyTait Cinematographer

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  15. Bill Huelbig

    Bill Huelbig Second Unit

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    One of my favorites in this category is THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER (1955) directed by Charles Laughton. It's my favorite film made by a director who, sadly, never directed a second film.

    --Bill
     
  16. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Good catch Bill--I tend to forget him as a director.
     
  17. Kevin Leonard

    Kevin Leonard Supporting Actor

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    That was not his first film. If I remember correctly, it was a TV movie called Buried Alive.
     
  18. Nick C.

    Nick C. Second Unit

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    Joan Chen's Xiu Xiu
    Billy Bob Thornton's Sling Blade
    Zhang Yimou's Red Sorghum
    Mamet's House Of Games (oops, Alex mentioned already)
    Tony Kaye's American History X
    PT Anderson's Hard Eight
    Kenneth Lonergan's You Can Count On Me

    Kubrick's The Killing -- he called it his first feature, discounting Killer's Kiss and Fear and Desire as amateur efforts without studio funding or professional actors

    Terry Zwigoff's Ghost World -- first feature after 2 prior documentaries
     
  19. ChrisBEA

    ChrisBEA Screenwriter

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    Tim Burton: Pee Wee's Big Adventure
    Lucky Mckee: May
    Hampton Fancher: The Minus Man
    Michel Gondry: Human Nature
    Alex Proyas: The Crow
    George Miller: Mad Max
    Rob Zombie: House of 1000 Corpses (I'm the one that liked it :b [​IMG])
    M. Night Shyamalan: The Sixth Sense
     
  20. Guy Martin

    Guy Martin Second Unit

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    Sixth Sense was actually Shyamalan's 3rd film after Praying with Anger and Wide Awake. Kubrick's debut was the little-seen Fear and Desire which he tried very hard to destroy by buying up all the prints he could.

    There was an interesting article in Variety of all places about the obsession in the last decade or so with having a brilliant directorial debut. The article seemed to lament that directors are rarely given a second chance anymore. Now they have to be brilliant out of the gate. The article noted that Scorcese and Coppola among other greats had relatively mediocre first films and developed into the great directors we know and love over a period of several years. They probably would never have been allowed a second film today. Heck, Alien 3 cost Fincher nearly four years. To this day he considers it an act of God that he was offered Se7en at that point.

    Curtis Hanson was sighted as one of the few recent examples of a director who started off making good, but undistinguished genre efforts like River Wild and Hand that Rocks the Cradle before really hitting his stride with LA Confidential and 8 Mile.

    Are we asking too much when we demand that directors be brilliant from the start?

    - Guy

    PS

    A few for the list:
    Shallow Grave - Danny Boyle (feature debut, he did some interesting TV before)
    Lion King - Rob Minkoff (he had done some shorts prior)
    Metropolitan - Whit Stillman
    Cronos - Guillermo Del Toro
    The Dancer Upstairs - John Malkovich
    Menace II Society - Hughes Bros
    Boyz in the Hood - John Singleton
    Roger and Me - Michael Moore
    Pleasantville - Gary Ross
    Toy Story - John Lassiter (feature debut, had done shorts)
    House of Sand and Fog - Vadim Perelman (feature debut, had done commercials)
    Swingers - Doug Liman
    Chicken Run - Nick Park and Peter Lord (feature debut, had done shorts)
    Shine - Scott Hicks
    Strictly Ballroom - Baz Luhrmann
     

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