Submit Your: Top Ten Directorial Debuts


Even when a director’s career spans decades and numerous projects, a feature debut can be something special. Even if it seemed like a mere amateur production at the time, looking back with the benefit of hindsight can put into perspective and focus the themes or preoccupations that permeate an entire filmography. Today, in the era when aspiring filmmakers need to be bold and memorable right out the gate, so-called “calling card” debuts can represent a person’s entire worldview and wealth of experience packed into a first film, for fear that there may never be a second. So scour film history and the careers of your favorite directors to list your own personal Top Ten Directorial Debuts, and see how it stacks up with mine on the next Top Ten Tuesday.

Adam Kuntavanish

Top Ten Guru, Host of Top Ten Tuesdays. Cinema transcends boundaries of time and space and thought and emotion; at its best it communicates the experience of being truly alive. I've been transfixed by the material ghosts of the movies since an early age, and I can't seem to shake them. Since reading and writing and talking about films are the next best things to watching them, criticism became a natural fit. Whether new or old, foreign or domestic, mainstream or cult, all movies are grist for my mill. Be forewarned, I'm an inveterate list-maker, so look out for rankings, topics, and opinions of all kinds. The AFI's got nothing on me.
  • Danny Bowes

    CITIZEN KANE (Welles)
    THE 400 BLOWS (Truffaut)
    BREATHLESS (Godard)
    DUEL (Spielberg)
    RESERVOIR DOGS (Tarantino)
    MENACE II SOCIETY (Hughes/Hughes)

    Done and done.

  • ♋ Neil Faerber ♋

    Night of the Living Dead - George A. Romero

    The Evil Dead - Sam Raimi

    This is Spinal Tap - Rob Reiner

    Citizen Kane - Orson Welles

    Reservoir Dogs - Quintin Tarantino

  • Christopher Misch

    Rebels of the Neon God - Tsai
    Breathless - Godard
    The 400 Blows – Truffaut
    Brick - Johnson
    The Maltese Falcon - Huston
    Badlands - Malick
    Citizen Kane - Welles
    The Night of the Hunter - Laughton
    Martha Marcy May Marlene - Durkin
    Catfish - Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
    Hiroshima, Mon Amour - Alain Resnais
    Ivan’s Childhood – Tarkovsky
    My Left Foot - Sheridan
    Gattaca - Niccol
    American Beauty - Mendes
    Capote - Miller
    The Chaser - Na
    Synecdoche, New York - Charlie Kaufman
    Hunger - McQueen

  • Christopher Misch

    PS I totally cheated and mentioned more than 10!

  • Matthew Blevins

    Chris Clark can’t seem to get his to post, so I am doing so on his behalf.  I’ll have to think a while before I post mine:

    Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941)
    The Driller Killer (Ferrara, 1979)
    Gummo (Korine, 1997)
    The Current (Gaál, 1964)
    Kairat (Omirbayev, 1992)
    Age of Illusions (Szabó, 1965)
    La ciénaga (Martel, 2001)
    The 19th Century Georgian Chronicle (Rekhviashvili, 1979)
    Kids (Clark, 1995)
    Drive, He Said (Nicholson, 1971)

  • Baron Ronan Doyle

    YES, The Driller Killer is a bloody brilliant choice. It even makes up for including Kids, which is cack.

  • Adam K

     That’s acceptable since you run the place.

  • Kurz

    The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (Hooper, 1974)Thief (Mann, 1981)
    Harlan County U.S.A. (Kopple, 1976)Night of the Living Dead (Romero, 1968) Pitfall (Teshigahara, 1962)Badlands (Malick, 1973) Blood Simple (Coen, 1984) 
    Blood Thirsty (Yoshida, 1960)
    Chocolat (Denis, 1988)A Town of Love and Hope (Oshima, 1959)

  • Kaj van Zoelen

    It was supposed to look like this, of course:

    The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (Hooper, 1974)
    Thief (Mann, 1981)
    Harlan County U.S.A. (Kopple, 1976)
    Night of the Living Dead (Romero, 1968) 
    Pitfall (Teshigahara, 1962)
    Badlands (Malick, 1973) 
    Blood Simple (Coen, 1984) 
    Blood Thirsty (Yoshida, 1960)
    Chocolat (Denis, 1988)
    A Town of Love and Hope (Oshima, 1959)