Entertainment

The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked  

Ranker Film
383 votes 47 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
Bad Words is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
Jason Bateman
Bad Words is a 2013 American black comedy film directed by Jason Bateman and written by Andrew Dodge. Marking Bateman's directorial debut, the film stars Bateman as a middle-aged eighth grade ...more
2
The Gift is listed (or ranked) 2 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
3
Ex Machina is listed (or ranked) 3 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
4
Martha Marcy May Marlene is listed (or ranked) 4 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
5
Monsters is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
Gareth Edwards
Monsters is a 2010 British science fiction monster film written and directed by Gareth Edwards in his feature film directorial debut. Edwards also served as the cinematographer, production ...more
6
The Way, Way Back is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
Jim Rash, Nat Faxon
The Way, Way Back is a 2013 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash in their directorial debut. The film stars Liam James, Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Allison ...more
7
Pitch Perfect 2 is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
Elizabeth Banks
Pitch Perfect 2 is an upcoming music and comedy film written by Kay Cannon.
8
Mama is listed (or ranked) 8 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.
9
Deadpool is listed (or ranked) 9 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
10
Get Out is listed (or ranked) 10 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
11
10 Cloverfield Lane is listed (or ranked) 11 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
12
Lady Bird is listed (or ranked) 12 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.
13
Maleficent is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
Robert Stromberg
Maleficent is a 2014 American dark fantasy film directed by Robert Stromberg, loosely inspired by the fairy tale by Charles Perrault. A vengeful fairy (Angelina Jolie) is driven to curse an ...more
14
Frozen is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
Frozen is a 2013 American 3D computer-animated musical fantasy–comedy film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the 53rd animated feature in the ...more
15
Dear White People is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
Justin Simien
Dear White People is a 2014 American satirical comedy-drama film written and directed by Justin Simien. The film focuses on black students attending a college in America and stars Tyler James ...more
16
Sorry to Bother You is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
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
17
The Greatest Showman is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
Michael Gracey
The Greatest Showman is a 2017 American biographical musical drama film directed by Michael Gracey. American showman P. T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman) becomes the founder of the circus that became the ...more
18
The Witch is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
Robert Eggers
The Witch (stylized as The VVitch, subtitled A New-England Folktale) is a 2015 historical period supernatural horror film written and directed by Robert Eggers in his directorial debut and stars ...more
19
Hereditary is listed (or ranked) 19 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
20
Afternoon Delight is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
Jill Soloway
Afternoon Delight is a 2013 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Jill Soloway. The film stars Kathryn Hahn, Juno Temple, Josh Radnor, and Jane Lynch.
21
10 Years is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
Jamie Linden
10 Years is a 2011 American romantic comedy drama film directed by Jamie Linden in his directorial debut. The film stars with an ensemble cast including Channing Tatum, Justin Long, Kate Mara, ...more
22
Bone Tomahawk is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
S. Craig Zahler
Bone Tomahawk is a 2015 American Western horror film directed by S. Craig Zahler. Four men set out in the Wild West to rescue a group of captives from cannibalistic cave dwellers.
23
The One I Love is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked
Charlie McDowell
The One I Love is a 2014 American romantic dramedy film, directed by Charlie McDowell and starring Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss. The film had its world premiere at 2014 Sundance Film Festival ...more
24
Don Jon is listed (or ranked) 24 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
25
John Wick is listed (or ranked) 25 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