A free way to build your virtual collection, make lists, and share them. It’s your new home on Criterion.com.
Learn More »
Maybe it's beginner's luck, or just the outpour of ideas in what first-time filmmakers may assume is their one and only chance to get their voice out there. Either way, some directors started out their careers very strong, and this is a list comprising of directors whose first movies may be their best.
Some I have not included purely because haven't seen them, and thus can't have an opinion on them. But this is a work always in progress :)
Every time Danny Boyle makes a new film, he screens it for his father, and every time his dad says "Good, but not as good as Shallow Grave." And I have to agree with him. Dark and twisted, witty and clever, wonderful cinematography and lighting, this film may not be as successful as the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire, or the cult classic Trainspotting, but all it's layers and elements make it the best.
Released in 1960, this film lead the way in New Wave. The beautifully crafted scenes, performances by the legendary Jean-Paul Belmondo and new-to-french Jean Seberg and a feeling that would change french film.
Yes he did Princess Bride and When Harry Met Sally, but nothing can beat this rock-mocumentary cranking out the tunes and the comedy all the way up to 11.
Truly scary and deep, this is by far Guillermo del Toro's best. The detail in which he put into this movie is unbelievable (those with a Criterion edition know what I'm talking about.) and it shows as this classic tale of innocence, blood and immortality remains in itself immortal.
There is really no question here, unbelievable performances all around, especially Malkovich. Quirky, funny, sexy and all-out weird, this one sticks with you.
Hard to believe this is Charles Laughton's only film in the director's chair, but I guess that makes it a shoe-in for this list. Truly astonishing and beautiful.
Part of a newly emerging youth culture, this movie had a dual role, both being the mouthpiece of the youth and and guiding light. It's influence on culture is immeasurable, not only in film but music as well, among other things.
One of only three other directing roles, it is still his best. Funny and full-hearted it is a great look into the early 70's.
Visually stunning, if a picture says a thousand words, this film says millions. And when there is dialogue, it is beautifully written and perfectly executed. Michael Fassbender is amazing in this, and it solidified him as one of my favourite modern actors.
Just saw this one recently, and though Memento is a close, I believe this is his best. It's raw, noir style, keeps you guessing until the end in classic Nolan fashion.