Posted by: ckckred | March 3, 2013

What Is Your Favorite Directorial Debut?

Reservoir Dogs, Quentin Tarantino's first film, remains one of his best

Reservoir Dogs, Quentin Tarantino’s first film, remains one of his best

Yesterday I watched one of my favorite movies, Reservoir Dogs.  Reservoir Dogs didn’t just introduce the world to the next biggest filmmaker, Quentin Tarantino, but immediately became a cult classic (some people would even argue it tops Tarantino’s sophomore picture Pulp Fiction).  So today I’d like to ask you what’s your favorite directorial debut?

I think for me it might be a tie between Reservoir Dogs and Eraserhead, David Lynch’s first film.  Often times directors take a while to find their style but both Tarantino’s and Lynch’s first offerings showdd what great careers they would have.  But what would you pick?



  1. With you on Reservoir Dogs, definitely one of the best. I think American Beauty (Sam Mendes) and Hunger (Steve McQueen) are two of my favourites.

    • Reservoir Dogs is a great one. I have to confess of not being a fan of American Beauty and have unfortunately not seen Hunger, which I do have on my list before I see 12 Years A Slave. Thanks for commenting.

  2. I think I would have to go with Quentin Tarantino as well. Despite having prolific career, it’s my favorite of his.

    • Yeah, Reservoir Dogs is a great film and a close second for me behind Pulp Fiction. I feel it’s his tightest project that really shows how fantastic of a director Tarantino is.

  3. Excellent post, I’d have to say Reservoir dogs. American Beauty would be second.

    • Reservoir Dogs is a great one. Watching it again makes me remember how great of a film it is. Thanks for commenting.

    • Forgot American Beauty was Sam Mendes’s first film. Impossible not to love that one.

  4. One of my favorite films of all-time, The 400 Blows, was Truffaut’s debut. Also Breathless (Godard) and Eraserhead (Lynch). More recently, I’d go with In Bruges, the debut of Martin McDonagh.

    • I forgot about The 400 Blows. That might be my favorite. I haven’t seen In Bruges, I’ll have to check that one out. Thanks for commenting.

  5. Cool! I actually have a Phenomenal 5 on this written! Great topic!

    • Thanks! I’ll check out your post.

  6. Reservoir Dogs and American Beauty would both be high contenders for my top spot. Also The Night of the Hunter, Citizen Zane, Being John Malkovich and A Single Man are all great debuts. The Bond fan in me is calling out for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – although that certainly wouldn’t be anywhere near my top spot, it just needs to be mentioned!
    Toy Story, Shaun of the Dead and Mad Max are also high up there!
    Great question!

    • Thanks! I forgot that Citizen Kane was Orson Welles debut film. That would be number one for me by far and shows how great of a director Welles was. You’ve got some great picks there and I’m glad to see Being John Malkovich and Night of the Hunter there.

      • Yeah it seems crazy that CK is a debut!

  7. Great post! I’m gonna have to say the 400 blows, followed by Soderbergh’s Sex, Lies and Videotape (he seems to have gone downhill from there unfortunately!) Reservoir Dogs is up there too – Tarantino has maintained his strong entry for the most part as well 🙂

    • Thanks! 400 Blows and Reservoir Dogs are great choices! I don’t think Tarantino has ever made a bad film (though I haven’t seen Death Proof).

      Yeah, I have the same feeling with Soderbergh. He’s usually hit or miss.

      • Has anybody said Steven Spielberg’s The Sugarland Express yet? 😦

  8. Duncan Jones’ ‘Moon’. Hands down one of the best true sci-fi films in a long while.

    • Agree. Moon is one of the best sci-fi films in recent years.

    • My vote also goes to Moon, with runner-up going to District 9. 2009 was a good year for sci-fi.

      • Yeah it was. Both great films. I’ve been meaning to see Moon again soon. Thanks for commenting.

      • I second District 9! I love that movie. Not exactly my fave of all time but definitely one of the best sci-fi movies I’ve seen.

      • It really is a great movie. Thanks for commenting.

  9. Moon, Duncan Jones. To do something that new with sci-fi would have been exceptional from a seasoned director never mind a newbie. Tremendous atmosphere and soul.

    • I agree. It was an incredibly well made movie and it’s hard to believe that was Jones first film. Thanks for commenting.

  10. Some of my favorites:

    Reservoir Dogs
    12 Angry Men
    Thank You for Smoking

    • Great picks. 12 Angry Men is a classic film.

  11. Reservoir Dogs for sure. It’s quite amazing.

    • It really is. No one makes films like Tarantino.

  12. Wes Anderson’s Bottle Rocket
    Cameron Crowe’s Say Anything
    Rian Johnson’s Brick

    great topic by the way

    • Thanks! Great picks, especially with Brick. I just saw that recently and really loved it.

  13. Probably the film Mr Nobody (2009).

    • I haven’t heard of that one before, I’ll be sure to check it out.

  14. James Cameron Terminator 😀

    • Good choice.

    • Didn’t Cameron do some kind of awful B-movie with a Crocodile or something a few years before Terminator?

      Just checked IMDB, according to them it was Piranha 2. Not sure if that was made for TV or something else that would disqualify it.

      As for the question at hand, I’d have to agree about Tarantino, or maybe take a guilty pleasure with Sam Raimi and Evil Dead. (Assuming his shorts don’t count).

      • Hmm, I think he did Piranha. I guess Terminator would count as Cameron’s first major film.

        Reservoir Dogs is awesome. Believe it or not, I haven’t seen The Evil Dead. I’ll have to change that. Thanks for commenting.

      • No problem. It’s a really great question.

        Evil Dead isn’t a movie for everyone, so it’s no big surprise to find/hear about someone that hasn’t seen it.

        Watching RD was a turning point for me in my teens, when I started to get interested in movies, how they were made, how they tell stories and all that jazz we all love talking about now.

      • RD was a big moment in my movie watching life too biggest it was one of the first R rated movies I ever saw. I’ve always been interested in seeing ED but just never have.

    • Terminator is Cameron’s second film, but thanks for acting as if Piranha P2 does not exist. Lol.

      • That film does not exist haha 😀

      • I think if nothing else, movies like The Terminator, Memento, Jaws, and The Elephant Man prove that often the second film is more deserving to be called a “classic.” Though there are exceptions–Boxcar Bertha and (I know I’m in the minority, but) Rushmore.

      • He could’ve at least been clever and named it P2: Rise of the Fish hahah. I haven’t seen Pirahna Part Two, but I’d imagine from the 8% Rotten Tomatoes score that it’s awful.

      • Safe to assume 😀

  15. This is tough. There’s so many good debuts. I’ll name 10 in no particular order:

    1. Reservoir Dogs
    2. The 400 Blows
    3. Ratcatcher
    4. The Virgin Suicides
    5. Breathless
    6. George Washington
    7. Bottle Rocket
    8. Citizen Kane
    9. Brick
    10. Moon

    There’s so many good first films. It’s hard to name 10.

    • Solid list there. I can’t disagree with any of them.

    • Haha I was just about to comment Lost in Translation as my favorite directorial debut, but I wasn’t sure it was Sofia Coppola’s first film. Apparently it’s The Virgin Suicides (1999?). 😉

      • The Virgin Suicides is her feature-film debut though her first film was a short called Lick the Star.

  16. Kane, Boyz n the Hood or Jour de Fête. Although Kane is easily the best.

    • It always amazes me that Citizen Kane was Orson Welles’ first film. It’s such an accomplished movie. Thanks for commenting.

  17. Got to be QT or maybe James Wan with Saw 🙂

    • Great picks! Reservoir Dogs is a fantastic movie.

  18. I suppose this is an odd choice (a personal one), but it was honestly the first film that came to my head: The Duellists by Ridley Scott.

    • I haven’t seen that film but if it’s Scott it’s sure to be good. Thanks for commenting.

      • And it stars a young Harvey Keitel…

  19. This is a good question, that begs for thought. First one that comes to mind is Moon from Duncan Jones (i think someone else mentioned it). But let me get back to you on this.

    great question.

  20. ok, after looking up some debuts, here are my thoughts:
    I have to say that it is very impressive that “Citizen Kane” was Welles’ first and remains, for many, the #1 movie of all time.

    Didn’t realize that Joe Johnston debuted with “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” either. esp, since he went on to do “The Rocketeer” and “Captain America: The First Avenger.”

    While “American History X”, “Iron Giant”, “Underworld” and “Dances With Wolves” are all honorable mentions for me, it is Frank Darabont’s “The Shawshank Redemption” takes top spot for me.

    again…great question!

    • For some reason, I never remember Citizen Kane was Welles’ first film, it really shows how amazing of a director he is.

      You have some great choices right there. Thanks!

  21. This is a good question you ask. Last week, I watched three directorial debuts in a row: Wes Anderson’s Bottle Rocket, the Coens’ Blood Simple, and Martin Scorsese’s Who’s that Knocking at My Door. I felt only one of them (the latter) reflected the rest of the director’s career in a brilliant way. Also, I was disappointed by Christopher Nolan’s Following when I saw it a while ago, and I should be glad that I can’t get my hands on James Cameron’s Piranha Part Two.

    In the end, I’d probably settle on Who’s that Knocking at My Door. Even though it’s likely no one will agree with me. 🙂

    • I think I may have seen Who’s Knocking At My Door, but I don’t remember much. Bottle Rocket was disappointing for me, and I haven’t seen Blood Simple. Thanks for commenting.

  22. Side note: Who’s that Knocking at My Door also debuted Harvey Keitel.

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