Best directorial debuts

by Senator_Ivan_Alec | created - 1 month ago | updated - 1 month ago | Public

30 of the best first films by directors.

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1. Citizen Kane (1941)

PG | 119 min | Drama, Mystery

100 Metascore

Following the death of a publishing tycoon, news reporters scramble to discover the meaning of his final utterance.

Director: Orson Welles | Stars: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore, Agnes Moorehead

Votes: 362,229 | Gross: $1.59M

2. American Beauty (1999)

R | 122 min | Drama

86 Metascore

A sexually frustrated suburban father has a mid-life crisis after becoming infatuated with his daughter's best friend.

Director: Sam Mendes | Stars: Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch, Wes Bentley

Votes: 987,343 | Gross: $130.10M

3. Badlands (1973)

PG | 94 min | Crime, Drama

93 Metascore

An impressionable teenage girl from a dead-end town and her older greaser boyfriend embark on a killing spree in the South Dakota badlands.

Director: Terrence Malick | Stars: Martin Sheen, Sissy Spacek, Warren Oates, Ramon Bieri

Votes: 58,264

4. The Maltese Falcon (1941)

Not Rated | 100 min | Film-Noir, Mystery

96 Metascore

A private detective takes on a case that involves him with three eccentric criminals, a gorgeous liar, and their quest for a priceless statuette.

Director: John Huston | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Gladys George, Peter Lorre

Votes: 140,139 | Gross: $2.11M

5. Dances with Wolves (1990)

PG-13 | 181 min | Adventure, Drama, Western

72 Metascore

Lieutenant John Dunbar, assigned to a remote western Civil War outpost, befriends wolves and Indians, making him an intolerable aberration in the military.

Director: Kevin Costner | Stars: Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene, Rodney A. Grant

Votes: 220,158 | Gross: $184.21M

6. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

Not Rated | 131 min | Drama

75 Metascore

A bitter, aging couple, with the help of alcohol, use a young couple to fuel anguish and emotional pain towards each other.

Director: Mike Nichols | Stars: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal, Sandy Dennis

Votes: 63,819

7. Blood Simple (1984)

R | 99 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

81 Metascore

A rich but jealous man hires a private investigator to kill his cheating wife and her new man. But, when blood is involved, nothing is simple.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen | Stars: John Getz, Frances McDormand, Dan Hedaya, M. Emmet Walsh

Votes: 79,583 | Gross: $2.15M

8. Ordinary People (1980)

R | 124 min | Drama

87 Metascore

The accidental death of the older son of an affluent family deeply strains the relationships among the bitter mother, the good-natured father, and the guilt-ridden younger son.

Director: Robert Redford | Stars: Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore, Judd Hirsch, Timothy Hutton

Votes: 42,117 | Gross: $54.80M

9. Being John Malkovich (1999)

R | 113 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

90 Metascore

A puppeteer discovers a portal that leads literally into the head of movie star John Malkovich.

Director: Spike Jonze | Stars: John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener, John Malkovich

Votes: 288,296 | Gross: $22.86M

10. The Spirit of the Beehive (1973)

Not Rated | 98 min | Drama, Fantasy

87 Metascore

In 1940, after watching and being traumatized by the movie Frankenstein (1931), a sensitive seven year-old girl living in a small Spanish village drifts into her own fantasy world.

Director: Víctor Erice | Stars: Fernando Fernán Gómez, Teresa Gimpera, Ana Torrent, Isabel Tellería

Votes: 14,979

11. The Lives of Others (2006)

R | 137 min | Drama, Thriller

89 Metascore

In 1984 East Berlin, an agent of the secret police, conducting surveillance on a writer and his lover, finds himself becoming increasingly absorbed by their lives.

Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck | Stars: Ulrich Mühe, Martina Gedeck, Sebastian Koch, Ulrich Tukur

Votes: 321,582 | Gross: $11.29M

12. This Is Spinal Tap (1984)

R | 82 min | Comedy, Music

92 Metascore

Spinal Tap, one of England's loudest bands, is chronicled by film director Marty DiBergi on what proves to be a fateful tour.

Director: Rob Reiner | Stars: Rob Reiner, Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, Kimberly Stringer

Votes: 120,025 | Gross: $0.19M

13. Easy Rider (1969)

R | 95 min | Adventure, Drama

86 Metascore

Through the open country and desert lands, two bikers head from L.A to New Orleans, and along the way, meet a man who bridges a counter-culture gap they are unaware of.

Director: Dennis Hopper | Stars: Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson, Antonio Mendoza

Votes: 88,400 | Gross: $41.73M

14. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945)

PG | 129 min | Drama, Romance

Encouraged by her idealistic if luckless father, a bright and imaginative young woman comes of age in a Brooklyn tenement during the early 1900s.

Director: Elia Kazan | Stars: Dorothy McGuire, Joan Blondell, James Dunn, Lloyd Nolan

Votes: 6,425

15. 12 Angry Men (1957)

Not Rated | 96 min | Drama

96 Metascore

A jury holdout attempts to prevent a miscarriage of justice by forcing his colleagues to reconsider the evidence.

Director: Sidney Lumet | Stars: Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Martin Balsam, John Fiedler

Votes: 592,217 | Gross: $4.36M

16. Eraserhead (1977)

Not Rated | 89 min | Horror

87 Metascore

Henry Spencer tries to survive his industrial environment, his angry girlfriend, and the unbearable screams of his newly born mutant child.

Director: David Lynch | Stars: Jack Nance, Charlotte Stewart, Allen Joseph, Jeanne Bates

Votes: 90,166 | Gross: $7.00M

17. Reservoir Dogs (1992)

R | 99 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

79 Metascore

When a simple jewelry heist goes horribly wrong, the surviving criminals begin to suspect that one of them is a police informant.

Director: Quentin Tarantino | Stars: Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Chris Penn

Votes: 820,215 | Gross: $2.83M

18. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

R | 142 min | Drama

80 Metascore

Two imprisoned men bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency.

Director: Frank Darabont | Stars: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, William Sadler

Votes: 2,090,826 | Gross: $28.34M

19. The Producers (1967)

PG | 88 min | Comedy, Music

96 Metascore

Producers Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom make money by producing a sure-fire flop.

Director: Mel Brooks | Stars: Zero Mostel, Gene Wilder, Estelle Winwood, Renée Taylor

Votes: 46,233 | Gross: $0.11M

20. Boyz n the Hood (1991)

R | 112 min | Crime, Drama

76 Metascore

Follows the lives of three young males living in the Crenshaw ghetto of Los Angeles, dissecting questions of race, relationships, violence and future prospects.

Director: John Singleton | Stars: Cuba Gooding Jr., Laurence Fishburne, Hudhail Al-Amir, Lloyd Avery II

Votes: 112,110 | Gross: $57.50M

21. Toy Story (1995)

G | 81 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

95 Metascore

A cowboy doll is profoundly threatened and jealous when a new spaceman figure supplants him as top toy in a boy's room.

Director: John Lasseter | Stars: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, Jim Varney

Votes: 788,965 | Gross: $191.80M

22. The 400 Blows (1959)

Not Rated | 99 min | Crime, Drama

A young boy, left without attention, delves into a life of petty crime.

Director: François Truffaut | Stars: Jean-Pierre Léaud, Albert Rémy, Claire Maurier, Guy Decomble

Votes: 92,018

23. Donnie Darko (2001)

R | 113 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller

88 Metascore

A troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a man in a large rabbit suit who manipulates him to commit a series of crimes, after he narrowly escapes a bizarre accident.

Director: Richard Kelly | Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Mary McDonnell, Holmes Osborne

Votes: 696,178 | Gross: $1.48M

24. Synecdoche, New York (2008)

R | 124 min | Comedy, Drama

67 Metascore

A theatre director struggles with his work, and the women in his life, as he creates a life-size replica of New York City inside a warehouse as part of his new play.

Director: Charlie Kaufman | Stars: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Samantha Morton, Michelle Williams, Catherine Keener

Votes: 71,925 | Gross: $3.08M

25. The Night of the Hunter (1955)

Not Rated | 92 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

99 Metascore

A religious fanatic marries a gullible widow whose young children are reluctant to tell him where their real daddy hid $10,000 he'd stolen in a robbery.

Director: Charles Laughton | Stars: Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, Lillian Gish, James Gleason

Votes: 75,045 | Gross: $0.65M

26. Say Anything... (1989)

PG-13 | 100 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

85 Metascore

A noble underachiever and a beautiful valedictorian fall in love the summer before she goes off to college.

Director: Cameron Crowe | Stars: John Cusack, Ione Skye, John Mahoney, Lili Taylor

Votes: 76,357 | Gross: $20.78M

27. Breathless (1960)

Not Rated | 90 min | Crime, Drama

A small-time thief steals a car and impulsively murders a motorcycle policeman. Wanted by the authorities, he reunites with a hip American journalism student and attempts to persuade her to run away with him to Italy.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard | Stars: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg, Daniel Boulanger, Henri-Jacques Huet

Votes: 64,381 | Gross: $0.34M

28. Shallow Grave (1994)

R | 89 min | Crime, Thriller

67 Metascore

Three friends discover their new flatmate dead but loaded with cash.

Director: Danny Boyle | Stars: Kerry Fox, Christopher Eccleston, Ewan McGregor, Ken Stott

Votes: 52,732 | Gross: $2.88M

29. Nightcrawler (2014)

R | 117 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

76 Metascore

When Louis Bloom, a con man desperate for work, muscles into the world of L.A. crime journalism, he blurs the line between observer and participant to become the star of his own story.

Director: Dan Gilroy | Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton, Riz Ahmed

Votes: 402,756 | Gross: $32.38M

30. The Killing Fields (1984)

R | 141 min | Biography, Drama, History

A journalist is trapped in Cambodia during tyrant Pol Pot's bloody 'Year Zero' cleansing campaign, which claimed the lives of two million 'undesirable' civilians.

Director: Roland Joffé | Stars: Sam Waterston, Haing S. Ngor, John Malkovich, Julian Sands

Votes: 47,499 | Gross: $34.70M



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