Entertainment

The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked 

Ranker Film
Updated October 13, 2018 436 votes 51 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
Get Out is listed (or ranked) 1 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

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2
Ex Machina is listed (or ranked) 2 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

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#3 of 82 Great Movies About Furious Women Out for Revenge #60 of 160 The Best Dystopian And Near Future Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

3
Lady Bird is listed (or ranked) 3 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.

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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

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5
Deadpool is listed (or ranked) 5 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

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#11 of 165 The Greatest Comic Book Movies of All Time #383 of 1,007 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films

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

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7
Don Jon is listed (or ranked) 7 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
8
Eighth Grade is listed (or ranked) 8 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.

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9
This Is the End is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen
This Is the End is a 2013 American disaster comedy film directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, and an adaptation of their 2007 short film Jay and Seth versus the Apocalypse. After a series of ...more

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#529 of 1,007 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #318 of 1,198 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time #243 of 460 The Most Quotable Movies of All Time

10
Coco is listed (or ranked) 10 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

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11
Hereditary is listed (or ranked) 11 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

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12
Nightcrawler is listed (or ranked) 12 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

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13
The Babadook is listed (or ranked) 13 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

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14
Night Comes On is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
Night Comes On
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
15
The Cabin in the Woods ... is listed (or ranked) 15 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

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16
A Girl Walks Home Alone ... is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
Ana Lily Amirpour
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is a 2014 American vampire western film directed by Ana Lily Amirpour. Arash (Arash Marandi) is caring for his addict father and being harrassed by a drug dealer ...more
17
The Lego Batman Movie is listed (or ranked) 17 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

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#18 of 102 The Best Movies of 2017, Ranked #85 of 107 The Greatest Directorial Debuts Of All Time

18
Martha Marcy May Marlene... is listed (or ranked) 18 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
19
The Gift is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
The Gift
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
20
Molly's Game is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
Molly's Game
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
21
Pitch Perfect is listed (or ranked) 21 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

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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

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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

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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.

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