My Top 25 Feature Film Directorial Debuts

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1.
Citizen Kane (1941)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
Following the death of a publishing tycoon, news reporters scramble to discover the meaning of his final utterance. (119 mins.)
Director: Orson Welles
 
2.
The 400 Blows (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Moving story of a young boy who, left without attention, delves into a life of petty crime. (99 mins.)
 
3.
Breathless (1960)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
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. (90 mins.)
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
 
4.
The Night of the Hunter (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
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. (92 mins.)
 
5.
Badlands (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
An impressionable teenage girl from a dead-end town and her older greaser boyfriend embark on a killing spree in the South Dakota badlands. (94 mins.)
Director: Terrence Malick
 
6.
Pather Panchali (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
Impoverished priest Harihar Ray, dreaming of a better life for himself and his family, leaves his rural Bengal village in search of work. (125 mins.)
Director: Satyajit Ray
 
7.
L'Atalante (1934)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Newly married couple Juliette and a ship captain Jean struggle through marriage as they travel on the L'atalante along with the captain's first mate Le père Jules and a cabin boy. (89 mins.)
Director: Jean Vigo
 
8.
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A private detective takes on a case that involves him with three eccentric criminals, a gorgeous liar, and their quest for a priceless statuette. (100 mins.)
Director: John Huston
 
9.
Synecdoche, New York (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
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. (124 mins.)
Director: Charlie Kaufman
 
10.
Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A French actress filming an anti-war film in Hiroshima has an affair with a married Japanese architect as they share their differing perspectives on war. (90 mins.)
Director: Alain Resnais
 
11.
Eraserhead (1977)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Henry Spencer tries to survive his industrial environment, his angry girlfriend, and the unbearable screams of his newly born mutant child. (89 mins.)
Director: David Lynch
 
12.
12 Angry Men (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
A jury holdout attempts to prevent a miscarriage of justice by forcing his colleagues to reconsider the evidence. (96 mins.)
Director: Sidney Lumet
 
13.
Blood Simple. (1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
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. (99 mins.)
Director: Joel Coen
 
14.
Fists in the Pocket (1965)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A young man takes drastic measures to rid his dysfunctional family of its various afflictions. (105 mins.)
 
15.
Knife in the Water (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
On their way to a sailing trip, an aging husband and wife invite along an emphatic young hitchhiker out of sheer patronization. (94 mins.)
Director: Roman Polanski
 
16.
Elevator to the Gallows (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A self-assured businessman murders his employer, the husband of his mistress, which unintentionally provokes an ill-fated chain of events. (91 mins.)
Director: Louis Malle
 
17.
Ivan's Childhood (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
In WW2, twelve year old Soviet orphan Ivan Bondarev works for the Soviet army as a scout behind the German lines and strikes a friendship with three sympathetic Soviet officers. (95 mins.)
 
18.
L'Age d'Or (1930)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A surrealist tale of a man and a woman passionately in love with one another, but their attempts to consummate that passion are constantly thwarted by their families, the Church, and bourgeois society. (60 mins.)
Director: Luis Buñuel
 
19.
Ratcatcher (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Glasgow, summer, 1973. Dustmen are striking; bags of garbage add to the blight of council flats and a fetid canal... (94 mins.)
Director: Lynne Ramsay
 
20.
Force of Evil (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
An unethical lawyer, with an older brother he wants to help, becomes a partner with a client in the numbers racket. (78 mins.)
 
21.
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
There is panic throughout the nation as the dead suddenly come back to life. The film follows a group of characters who barricade themselves in an old farmhouse in an attempt to remain safe from these flesh eating monsters. (96 mins.)
 
22.
Performance (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Chas, a violent and psychotic East London gangster needs a place to lie low after a hit that should never have been carried out... (105 mins.)
 
23.
On the Town (1949)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Three sailors on a day of shore leave in New York City look for fun and romance before their twenty-four hours are up. (98 mins.)
 
24.
Accattone (1961)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A pimp with no other means to provide for himself finds his life spiraling out of control when his prostitute is sent to prison. (117 mins.)
 
25.
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
After a simple jewelry heist goes terribly wrong, the surviving criminals begin to suspect that one of them is a police informant. (99 mins.)