It's surprising how the best of directors did not produce great debuts. Many great film makers have taken a couple of movies to find their feet and set the bar for their careers. Some of the greats like Hitchcock, Scorsese, Coppola and Wilder didn't hit the ground running. Modern greats such as Nolan, Fincher and Singer made their marks with their second features. There have been plenty of one hit wonders but those that have had glittering careers and great first shots are the unusual ones. Those debut directors that made truly memorable first features are really quite Scarce, let's look at ten of the best of this rare breed.
For many the best film ever made therefore hard to argue against it being the greatest directorial debut of all time.
The Maltese Falcon-Huston
A superb debut that is perfect cinema from beginning to end.
The Sugarland Express-Spielberg
Most would say that Duel was Spielberg's debut but it was a made for TV movie as was Something Evil. His real cinema debut was this road movie with Goldie Hawn playing against type
Godard's 'none more cool' and highly influential first feature still looks and feels fresh.
Knife In The Water-Polanski
Setting the tone for his body of work Polanski arrived with devastating effect
Unforgettable and controversial movie that set the tone and became part of the zeitgeist.
An individualistic renaissance man, Gallo's debut is an
incredible example of single mindedness
Play Misty For Me-Eastwood
Director/actor Clint Eastwood probably surprised everyone with how good and prescient his first feature was.
The not exactly prolific but mercurial Terence Mallick's opening salvo is simply unforgettable
Take The Money and Run-Allen
What's Up Tiger Lilly was released three years earlier and was more of an exercise in ingenious editing and over dubbing, Take The Money and Run is Woody Allen's first real movie as director and is as funny as anything he has ever done.