The Best Directorial Debuts Of 2018, Ranked 

Ranker Film
Updated April 8, 2019 713 votes 157 voters 3.9k views 32 items

List Rules Only 2018 feature-length films.

With the long list of movies from 2018 comes a few directorial debuts as well, and some great debuts at that. In fact, you likely enjoyed some of these movies without even considering it was the director's first crack at a blockbuster film. Believe it or not, the films to follow were the all the directors' first movies—some of which had strong opening weekends at the box office and were even met with a positive response from critics. At the very least, none of them will find their movies on a list of the worst film debuts.

As you can imagine, starring in a film is one thing, but directing a movie is a completely different story. Be that as it may, the first-time directors here didn't fold at the challenge and ended up doing quite the job, perhaps even making some of 2018's best films. From Kay Cannon's Blockers to Steven S. DeKnight's Pacific Rim: Uprising, the silver screen clearly didn't frighten these directors. But of all these directors' first movies in 2018, who had the best debut? 

Check out all the 2018 directorial debuts below and vote up the films you liked most. Of course, you can also vote films down if you think they weren't quite up to snuff. If you are looking for more, here is the list for 2019 directorial debuts.  

list ordered by
Ranker Video
Ari Aster
Hereditary is a 2018 American horror film directed by Ari Aster. As an overwhelming terror takes over their household, the Graham family's peaceful existence is ripped apart, forcing their ...more

More Hereditary 

#107 of 254 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #7 of 22 Horror Movies You Can't Even Finish Watchingfeaturing Ari Aster's Gutting Horror Film 'Hereditary' May Have Been Just As Scary Behind The Scenes

Ranker Video
Bradley Cooper
A Star Is Born is a 2018 American musical romantic drama film directed by Bradley Cooper. A movie star (Cooper) helps a young singer/actress (Stefani Germanotta) find fame, even as age and ...more

More A Star Is Born 

#237 of 376 The Best Musical Movies of All Timefeaturing The Best Songs on the 'A Star Is Born' Soundtracklisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

Ranker Video
Boots Riley
Sorry to Bother You is a 2018 American sci-fi fantasy comedy film directed by Boots Riley. In an alternate reality of Oakland, California, a young African-American telemarketer (Lakeith ...more
Ranker Video
Carlos López Estrada
Blindspotting is a 2018 American comedy film directed by Carlos López Estrada. With only three days of probation left, Collin (Daveed Diggs) witnesses a police shooting that tests his ...more
Ranker Video
Aneesh Chaganty
Searching is a 2018 American thriller film directed by Aneesh Chaganty, shot from the point-of-view of smartphones and computer screens. When David Kim (John Cho) discovers that his daughter, ...more

More Searching 

#5 of 18 The Best Horror Movies About The Internet #23 of 92 Ranker's Bests Of 2018

Ranker Video
Bo Burnham
Eighth Grade is a 2018 American comedy film directed by Bo Burnham. An eighth grader (Elsie Fisher) struggles to finish her last week of classes before embarking for high school.

More Eighth Grade 

#1,550 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #33 of 38 The Best Movies With A Little Girl Protagonist #6 of 30 The Best Movies About Generation Z (So Far)

Ranker Video
Jonah Hill
Mid90s is a 2018 American comedy drama film directed by Jonah Hill. A thirteen-year-old (Sunny Suljic) in 90s-era LA spends his summer navigating between his troubled home life and a group of ...more
Ranker Video
Paul Dano
Wildlife is a 2018 American drama directed by Paul Dano. Set in 1960, a boy (Ed Oxenbould) watches his parents' (Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal) marriage fall apart after they move to ...more
Ranker Video
Cory Finley
Thoroughbreds is a 2018 American drama thriller film directed by Cory Finley. After years of growing apart, upper-class teenagers Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) and Amanda (Olivia Cooke) rekindle their ...more
Ranker Video
Kay Cannon
Blockers is a 2018 American comedy film directed by Kay Cannon. When three parents stumble upon their daughters’ pact to lose their virginity at prom, they launch a covert one-night operation to ...more

More Blockers 

#3 of 47 The Best Movies Directed By Women In 2018 #18 of 103 The Best New Comedy Movies of the Last Few Years

Ranker Video
Daniel Goldhaber
Cam is a 2018 American psychological horror-thriller film directed by Daniel Goldhaber. A young camgirl (Madeline Brewer) discovers that she’s inexplicably been replaced on her site with an ...more
Ranker Video
Christian Rivers
Mortal Engines is a 2018 post-apocalyptic adventure film directed by Christian Rivers, based on the novel by Philip Reeve. In a future where gigantic moving cities roam the Earth, a disfigured ...more

More Mortal Engines 

#63 of 90 The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies #183 of 209 The Best Adventure Movies #112 of 160 The Best Dystopian And Near Future Movies

Ranker Video
Nicolai Fuglsig
12 Strong (also known as 12 Strong: The Declassified True Story of the Horse Soldiers) is a 2018 American war drama film directed by Nicolai Fuglsig. Following the September 11 attacks, Task ...more
Ranker Video
Hotel Artemis
Drew Pearce
Hotel Artemis is a 2018 thriller film directed by Drew Pearce. After their armed robbery goes wrong, Waikiki (Sterling K. Brown) and Honolulu (Brian Tyree Henry) end up in a special hospital for ...more
Ranker Video
The Happy Prince
Rupert Everett
The Happy Prince is a 2018 British biographical drama film directed by Rupert Everett. The untold story of the last days in the tragic times of Oscar Wilde (Rupert Everett), a person who ...more
Ranker Video
Bill Oliver
Jonathan is a 2018 American drama science fiction film directed by Bill Oliver. Two brothers (Ansel Elgort) living in the same body agree to live life in shifts with one another, but when they ...more
Ranker Video
Bill Holderman
Book Club is a 2018 American comedy film directed by Bill Holderman. Four lifelong friends (Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen and Diane Keaton) have their lives forever changed after ...more
Ranker Video
Christian Gudegast
Den of Thieves is a 2018 American heist action thriller film directed by Christian Gudegast. A corrupt LAPD cop (Gerard Butler) is hellbent on taking down en elite crew of robbers as they plan a ...more
Ranker Video
Crystal Moselle
Skate Kitchen is a 2018 American drama film directed by Crystal Moselle. A teenaged skateboarder (Rachelle Vinberg) makes friends with a bunch of other skateboarding girls in New York City.
Ranker Video
Ike Barinholtz
The Oath is a 2018 American comedy film directed by Ike Barinholtz. In a politically divided America, a man (Barinholtz) struggles to make it through the Thanksgiving holiday without destroying ...more
Ranker Video
Jeff Tomsic
Tag is a 2018 comedy film directed by Jeff Tomsic, based on a story published in The Wall Street Journal. A group of ex-classmates meet up and organize a game of tag that finds them traveling ...more

More Tag 

#222 of 265 The Best Ensemble Movies #100 of 236 The Best Movies Based on True Stories

Summer 1993 is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Of 2018, Ranked
JasonMarcel added
Carla Simón
Summer 1993 is a 2017 Catalan-language Spanish drama film directed by Carla Simón. After her parents die of AIDS, a six-year-old orphaned girl goes to live with her uncle and his family.
Ranker Video
Sam Boyd
In a Relationship is an 2018 American comedy drama film directed by Sam Boyd. As long-term couple Haillie (Emma Roberts) and Owen (Michael Angarano) struggle with staying together, their friends ...more
Custody is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Of 2018, Ranked
JasonMarcel added Custody
Xavier Legrand

A broken marriage leads to a bitter custody battle with an embattled son at the center in this tense family drama that will keep audiences guessing and leave them with their hearts in their throats.

Ranker Video
Jonathan Baker, Josh Baker
Kin is a 2018 science fiction film directed by Jonathan and Josh Baker. An ex-convict and his brother are forced on the run by a vengeful criminal.