Wednesday, November 30, 2011

120 Critically Acclaimed Director Debuts




    Agreeing on what exactly is ‘critically acclaimed’ is not always easy. It's a bit of a subjective minefield, in fact. As I was researching this list I considered changing it to ‘memorable’ or ‘notable’ debuts, thinking that might be simpler. But then those terms are just as subjective, and if I did that I might end up having to include the likes of American Pie or Saw, which was not really my aim.

    So in the end I stuck with what I consider ‘critically acclaimed’. That means I’ve concentrated on films which have become mainstream or arthouse classics, cult classics which were so hugely influential they can’t be ignored, big award winners, and more modern films which met with widespread critical acclaim.

    The list refers to debuts of a feature-length movie, which can mean a TV movie. Some of these directors made short films, or directed TV episodes or plays in the theatre before this point. And of course many had previous movie experience in other roles - actor, screenwriter, cinematographer etc.

    Where films have more than one director they are included only if it was a debut for all of them.

    1.         Alain Resnais - Hiroshima, Mon Amour (1959)
    2.         Alejandro González Iñárritu - Amoros Perros (2000)
    3.         Alexander Mackendrick – Whisky Galore (1949)
    4.         Andrei Tarkovsky – Ivan's Childhood (1962)
    5.         Andrew Jarecki – Capturing The Friedmans (2003)
    6.         Andrzej Wajda – A Generation (1955)
    7.         Banksy – Exit Through The Gift Shop (2010)
    8.         Barry Levinson – Diner (1982)
    9.         Baz Luhrmann – Strictly Ballroom (1992)
    10.       Billy Bob Thornton – Sling Blade (1996)
    11.       Brad Bird – The Iron Giant (1999)
    12.       Bruce Robinson – Withnail and I (1986)
    13.       Campbell Scott & Stanley Tucci – Big Night (1996)
    14.       Charles Burnett - Killer of Sheep (1977)
    15.       Charles Laughton - Night Of The Hunter (1955)
    16.       Charlie Kaufman – Synecdoche, New York (2008)
    17.       Chen Kaige - Yellow Earth (1984)
    18.       Chris Morris - Four Lions  (2010)
    19.       Coen Brothers – Blood Simple (1984)
    20.       Curt Siodmak, Robert Siodmak, Edgar G.Ulmer & Fred Zinnemann –
                People on Sunday (1929)
    21.       Danny Boyle - Shallow Grave (1994)
    22.       David Gordon Green – George Washington (2000)
    23.       David Lynch – Eraserhead (1978)
    24.       David Mamet – House of Games (1987)
    25.       Dennis Hopper - Easy Rider (1969)
    26.       Duncan Jones – Moon  (2009)
    27.       Edgar Wright – Shaun of the Dead (2004)
    28.       Elaine May – A New Leaf (1971)
    29.       Elia Kazan – A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945)
    30.       Errol Morris – Gates of Heaven (1978)
    31.       Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck – The Lives of Others (2006)
    32.       Francois Truffaut - The 400 Blows (1959)
    33.       Frank Launder – Millions Like Us (1943)
    34.       Frederick Wiseman – Titicut Follies (1967)
    35.       Gary Oldman - Nil By Mouth (1997)
    36.       George A. Romero – Night of the Living Dead (1968)
    37.       George Miller - Mad Max (1979)
    38.       Hal Ashby - The Landlord (1970)
    39.       Hugh Hudson – Chariots of Fire (1981)
    40.       Ivan Passer – Intimate Lighting (1965)
    41.       Jack Clayton – Room at the Top  (1959)
    42.       Jacques Rivette – Paris Belongs to Us (1960)
    43.       James L. Brooks – Terms of Endearment (1983)
    44.       Jean Luc Godard - A Bout De Souffle (1959)
    45.       Jean Vigo - L'Atalante (1934)
    46.       Jim Abrahams, David Zucker & Jerry Zucker – Airplane (1980)
    47.       Jim Sheridan – My Left Foot (1989)
    48.       John Cassavetes - Shadows (1959)
    49.       John Huston - The Maltese Falcon (1941)
    50.       John Lasseter – Toy Story (1995)
    51.       John Sayles – Return of the Secaucus Seven (1980)
    52.       John Singleton – Boyz n the Hood (1991)
    53.       Jonathan Glazer - Sexy Beast (2001)
    54.       Jun-Hwan Jeong - Save The Green Planet (2003)
    55.       Ken Loach – Poor Cow (1967)
    56.       Kevin Costner - Dances With Wolves (1990)
    57.       Kimberly Peirce – Boy's Don't Cry (1999)
    58.       Laurence Olivier – Henry V (1944)
    59.       Lawrence Kasdan – Body Heat(1981)
    60.       Lindsay Anderson – This Sporting Life (1963)
    61.       Louis Malle- Elevator to the Gallows (1958)
    62.       Luchino Visconti – Ossessione (1943)
    63.       Lukas Moodysson – Show Me Love (1998)
    64.       Marco Bellochio - Fists In The Pocket (1966)
    65.       Margarethe von Trotta – The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum (1975)
    66.       Marjane Satrapi – Persepolis (2007)
    67.       Martin McDonagh – In Bruges (2008)
    68.       Martin Ritt – Edge of the City (1957)
    69.       Martin Scorsese - Who’s That Knocking At My Door? (1968)
    70.       Mel Brooks – The Producers (1968)
    71.       Michael Moore – Roger & Me (1989)
    72.       Mike Hodges – Get Carter (1971)
    73.       Mike Nichols - Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
    74.       Milos Forman - Loves Of A Blonde (1966)
    75.       Mira Nair – Salaam Bombay (1988)
    76.       Morgan Spurlock – Super Size Me (2004)
    77.       Neil LaBute – In the Company of Men (1997)
    78.       Nicholas Hytner – The Madness of King George (1994)
    79.       Nicholas Ray – They Live by Night (1948)
    80.       Nicholas Roeg & Donald Cammell  – Performance (1970)
    81.       Noel Coward & David Lean – In Which We Serve (1942)
    82.       Orson Welles - Citizen Kane (1941)
    83.       Patrick Keiller – London (1994)
    84.       Patty Jenkins – Monster (2003)
    85.       Quentin Tarantino - Reservoir Dogs (1992)
    86.       Ralph Bakshi – Fritz the Cat (1972)
    87.       Richard Ayoade - Submarine (2010)
    88.       Richard Benjamin – My Favorite Year (1982)
    89.       Richard Kelly – Donnie Darko (2001)
    90.       Robert Benton - Bad Company (1972)
    91.       Robert J. Flaherty – Nanook of the North (1922)
    92.       Robert Redford – Ordinary People (1980)
    93.       Robert Rodriguez – El Mariachi (1992)
    94.       Roberto Rossellini - Open City (1945)
    95.       Roger Allers & Rob Minkoff - The Lion King (1994)
    96.       Roland Joffé – The Killing Fields (1984)
    97.       Roman Polanski – Knife in the Water (1962)
    98.       Sam Mendes - American Beauty (1999)
    99.       Sam Raimi – The Evil Dead (1981)
    100.     Satyajit Ray – Pather Panchali (1955)
    101.     Sergei Eisenstein – Strike (1924)
    102.     Shane Meadows – Twenty Four Seven (1997)
    103.     Sidney Lumet - Twelve Angry Men (1957)
    104.     Sofia Coppola – The Virgin Suicides (2000)
    105.     Spike Jonze - Being John Malkovich (1999)
    106.     Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly – On the Town (1949)
    107.     Steve McQueen – Hunger (2008)
    108.     Steven Soderbergh – Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989)
    109.     Steven Spielberg – Duel (1971)
    110.     Steven Zaillian – Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993)
    111.     Sylvain Chomet – The Triplets of Belleville (2003)
    112.     Terrence Malick – Badlands (1973)
    113.     Thomas McCarthy – The Station Agent (2003)
    114.     Tim Roth - The War Zone (1999)
    115.     Tobe Hooper - The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
    116.     Tom Ford – A Single Man (2009)
    117.     Tommy Lee Jones – The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005)
    118.     Tony Gilroy – Michael Clayton (2007)
    119.     Tony Richardson – Tom Jones (1963)
    120.     Zhang Yimou - Red Sorghum (1987)

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