Entertainment

The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked  

Ranker Film
419 votes 49 voters 51 items

List Rules Only feature film directorial debuts.

While it may be surprising, some of the best films released since 2010 were directorial debuts. Sure, every famous director has their first film, but how many of these first films turn out to be some of the best movies of their time? Well, there are actually quite a few recent directorial debuts that stand up to top films from seasoned directors. In fact, you may not even realize some of the movies here were the directors' first crack at directing. 

From hit action flicks to hilarious comedies, these first-time directors have brought us some great movies since 2010. Moreover, you may notice a number of these debuts come from established actors like Joseph Gordon-Levitt with Don Jon, as well as Jordan Peele with his hit horror film, Get Out. Even the ever-popular Deadpool was a directorial debut. Of all these great films, which do you think are the best directorial debut movies since 2010? 

Take a look at the list below and vote up your favorites from these first-time directors. You may even find one of your favorites!

list ordered by
1
Ex Machina is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
Alex Garland
Ex Machina is a 2015 independent science fiction psychological thriller film directed by Alex Garland. A young programmer (Domhnall Gleeson) is selected to participate in a ground-breaking ...more
2
Get Out is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
Jordan Peele
Get Out is a 2017 American horror film directed by Jordan Peele. A young African-American (Daniel Kaluuya) visits his white girlfriend's parents for the weekend, where his simmering uneasiness ...more
3
Deadpool is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
Tim MIller
Deadpool is a 2016 American superhero film directed by Tim Miller, based on the Marvel Comics character. After being given mutant abilities with a scarred physical appearance, Wade Wilson (Ryan ...more
4
10 Cloverfield Lane is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
Dan Trachtenberg
10 Cloverfield Lane is a 2016 American science fiction psychological thriller film directed by Dan Trachtenberg. The film was developed from a script titled The Cellar, but under production by ...more
5
Lady Bird is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
Greta Gerwig
Lady Bird is a 2017 American comedy-drama film directed by Greta Gerwig. The adventures of a young woman (Saoirse Ronan) living in Northern California for a year.
6
John Wick is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
Chad Stahelski, David Leitch
John Wick is a 2014 American action thriller film directed by Chad Stahelski and David Leitch. Starring Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Adrianne Palicki, Bridget Moynahan, Dean ...more
7
This Is the End is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen
The comedy "This is the End" follows six friends trapped in a house after a series of strange and catastrophic events devastate Los Angeles. As the world unravels outside, dwindling ...more
8
Hereditary is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
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
9
Don Jon is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Don Jon is a 2013 American romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Produced by Ram Bergman and Nicolas Chartier, the film stars Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett ...more
10
The Cabin in the Woods is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
Drew Goddard
The Cabin in the Woods is a 2012 American horror comedy film directed by Drew Goddard in his directorial debut, produced by Joss Whedon, and written by Whedon and Goddard. The film stars Kristen ...more
11
Eighth Grade is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
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.
12
Night Comes On is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
Jordana Spiro
Night Comes On is a 2018 drama film directed by Jordana Spiro. Released from juvenile detention on the eve of her 18th birthday, Angel LaMere (Dominique Fishback) embarks on a journey with her ...more
13
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Nig... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
Ana Lily Amirpour
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is a 2014 American film directed by Ana Lily Amirpour. Tagged as "The first Iranian vampire Western", it was chosen to show in the "Next" ...more
14
Coco is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
Lee Unkrich
Coco is a 2017 American 3D computer-animated musical fantasy adventure film directed by Lee Unkrich. Aspiring musician Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) teams up with charming trickster Hector (Gael ...more
15
Nightcrawler is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
Dan Gilroy
Nightcrawler is a 2014 American neo-noir thriller film written and directed by Dan Gilroy in his directorial debut. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal who starts shooting footage in Los Angeles and ...more
16
The Babadook is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
Jennifer Kent
The Babadook is a 2014 Australian psychological horror film, written and directed by Jennifer Kent, in which a woman and her son are tormented by a "boogie-man" type monster. The film ...more
17
Pitch Perfect is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
Jason Moore
Pitch Perfect is a 2012 American musical comedy film directed by Jason Moore. Featuring an ensemble cast, including Anna Kendrick, Skylar Astin, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp, Brittany Snow, Ester ...more
18
The Lego Batman Movie is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
The Lego Batman Movie Chris McKay
The Lego Batman Movie is a 2017 3D computer-animated superhero comedy film directed by Chris McKay. A cooler-than-ever Bruce Wayne (Will Arnett) must deal with the usual suspects as they plan to ...more
19
Martha Marcy May Marlene is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
Sean Durkin
Martha Marcy May Marlene is a 2011 American drama thriller film written and directed by Sean Durkin, and starring Elizabeth Olsen, John Hawkes, Sarah Paulson, and Hugh Dancy. The plot focuses on ...more
20
The Gift is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
Joel Edgerton
The Gift is a 2015 American-Australian psychological horror-thriller film written, co-produced, and directed by Joel Edgerton in his directorial debut. The film stars Jason Bateman and Rebecca ...more
21
Molly's Game is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
Aaron Sorkin
Molly's Game is a 2017 American drama film written and directed by Aaron Sorkin. Based on the memoir by Molly Bloom, the film tells the true story of an Olympic-class skier (Jessica Chastain) ...more
22
Kung Fu Panda 2 is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Kung Fu Panda 2 is a 2011 3D American computer-animated action comedy-drama martial arts film, directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson, produced by DreamWorks Animation, and distributed by Paramount ...more
23
Fruitvale Station is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
Ryan Coogler
Fruitvale Station is a 2013 American biographical drama film directed by Ryan Coogler, based on true events. The story of Oscar Grant III (Michael B. Jordan), a 22-year-old Bay Area resident, ...more
24
Despicable Me is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud
Despicable Me is a 2010 American 3D computer-animated comedy film directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud. When a mastermind (Steve Carell) uses a trio of orphan girls as pawns for a grand ...more
25
Mama is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
Andres Muschietti
Mama is a 2013 horror film written by Neil Cross, Andres Muschietti and Barbara Muschietti and directed by Andres Muschietti.