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The Best Directorial Debuts Since 2010, Ranked

Updated May 24, 2020 722 votes 57 voters52 items

List RulesOnly 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!

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  • 1
    Get Out
    22
    1

    Get Out

    Jordan Peele

    ActorsDaniel Kaluuya, Catherine Keener, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones

    Released2017

    Get Out is a 2017 American horror film directed by Jordan Peele. A young African-American... more on Wikipedia

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  • 2
    Ex Machina
    22
    2

    Ex Machina

    Alex Garland

    ActorsDomhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, Oscar Isaac

    Released2015

    Ex Machina is a 2015 independent science fiction psychological thriller film directed by Alex... more on Wikipedia

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  • 3
    10 Cloverfield Lane
    15
    0

    10 Cloverfield Lane

    Dan Trachtenberg

    ActorsJohn Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher, Jr.

    Released2016

    10 Cloverfield Lane is a 2016 American science fiction psychological thriller film directed by... more on Wikipedia

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  • 4
    Despicable Me
    22
    8

    Despicable Me

    Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud

    ActorsSteve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Kristen Wiig, Miranda Cosgrove

    Released2010

    Despicable Me is a 2010 American 3D computer-animated comedy film directed by Pierre Coffin... more on Wikipedia

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  • 5
    Hereditary
    17
    2

    Hereditary

    Ari Aster

    ActorsToni Collette, Gabriel Byrne, Alex Wolff, Ann Dowd, Milly Shapiro

    Released2018

    Hereditary is a 2018 American horror film directed by Ari Aster. As an overwhelming terror... more on Wikipedia

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  • 6
    Lion
    18
    4

    Lion

    Garth Davis

    ActorsDev Patel, Rooney Mara, David Wenham, Nicole Kidman Abhishek Bharate

    Lion is a 2016 Australian-American-British drama film directed by Garth Davis and written by... more on Wikipedia
  • 7
    Pitch Perfect
    17
    5

    Pitch Perfect

    Jason Moore

    ActorsAnna Kendrick, Elizabeth Banks, Brittany Snow, Rebel Wilson, Alexis Knapp

    Released2012

    Pitch Perfect is a 2012 American musical comedy film directed by Jason Moore. Featuring an... more on Wikipedia

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  • 8
    Kung Fu Panda 2
    17
    5

    Kung Fu Panda 2

    Jennifer Yuh Nelson

    ActorsAngelina Jolie, Lucy Liu, Dustin Hoffman, Gary Oldman, Jack Black

    Released2011

    Kung Fu Panda 2 is a 2011 3D American computer-animated action comedy-drama martial arts film,... more on Wikipedia

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  • 9
    John Wick
    16
    5

    John Wick

    Chad Stahelski, David Leitch

    ActorsKeanu Reeves, Willem Dafoe, Adrianne Palicki, Bridget Moynahan, Ian McShane

    Released2014

    John Wick is a 2014 American action thriller film directed by Chad Stahelski and David Leitch.... more on Wikipedia

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  • 10
    Lady Bird
    15
    3

    Lady Bird

    Greta Gerwig

    ActorsSaoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, Timothée Chalamet

    Released2017

    Lady Bird is a 2017 American comedy-drama film directed by Greta Gerwig. The adventures of a... more on Wikipedia

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  • 11
    Blockers
    13
    2

    Blockers

    Kay Cannon

    ActorsLeslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz, John Cena, Kathryn Newton, Graham Phillips

    Blockers is a 2018 American comedy film directed by Kay Cannon. When three parents stumble... more on Wikipedia
  • 12
    Nightcrawler
    15
    4

    Nightcrawler

    Dan Gilroy

    ActorsJake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton, Riz Ahmed, Bird York

    Released2014

    Nightcrawler is a 2014 American neo-noir thriller film written and directed by Dan Gilroy in... more on Wikipedia
  • 13
    This Is the End
    16
    6

    This Is the End

    Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen

    ActorsJames Franco, Jonah Hill, Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride

    Released2013

    This Is the End is a 2013 American disaster comedy film directed by Seth Rogen and Evan... more on Wikipedia

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  • 14
    Eighth Grade
    16
    7

    Eighth Grade

    Bo Burnham

    ActorsElsie Fisher, Josh Hamilton, Emily Robinson, Daniel Zolghadri, Greg Crowe

    Released2018

    Eighth Grade is a 2018 American comedy film directed by Bo Burnham. An eighth grader (Elsie... more on Wikipedia

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  • 15
    Deadpool
    15
    5

    Deadpool

    Tim MIller

    ActorsRyan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T.J. Miller, Gina Carano

    Released2016

    Deadpool is a 2016 American superhero film directed by Tim Miller, based on the Marvel Comics... more on Wikipedia

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  • 16
    Bad Words
    11
    1

    Bad Words

    Jason Bateman

    ActorsJason Bateman, Allison Janney, Kathryn Hahn, Philip Baker Hall, Rachael Harris

    Released2013

    Bad Words is a 2013 American black comedy film directed by Jason Bateman and written by Andrew... more on Wikipedia
  • 17
    The Gift
    10
    0

    The Gift

    Joel Edgerton

    ActorsJason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, Joel Edgerton

    The Gift is a 2015 American-Australian psychological horror-thriller film written,... more on Wikipedia
  • 18
    Coco
    13
    4

    Coco

    Lee Unkrich

    ActorsAnthony Gonzalez, Gael Garcia Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Renee Victor, Ana Ofelia Murguia

    Coco is a 2017 American 3D computer-animated musical fantasy adventure film directed by Lee... more on Wikipedia

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  • 19
    The Babadook
    13
    5

    The Babadook

    Jennifer Kent

    ActorsEssie Davis, Daniel Henshall, Adam Morgan, Hayley McElhinney, Craig Behenna

    Released2014

    The Babadook is a 2014 Australian psychological horror film, written and directed by Jennifer... more on Wikipedia
  • 20
    Don Jon
    14
    8

    Don Jon

    Joseph Gordon-Levitt

    ActorsScarlett Johansson, Anne Hathaway, Emily Blunt, Julianne Moore, Channing Tatum

    Released2013

    Don Jon is a 2013 American romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by Joseph... more on Wikipedia
  • 21
    The Cabin in the Woods
    10
    4

    ActorsChris Hemsworth, Sigourney Weaver, Amy Acker, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins

    Released2012

    The Cabin in the Woods is a 2012 American horror comedy film directed by Drew Goddard in his... more on Wikipedia

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  • 22
    I'm Still Here
    13
    9

    I'm Still Here

    Casey Affleck

    ActorsAntony Chester Langdon

    Released2010

    I'm Still Here is a 2010 documentary film directed by Casey Affleck.
  • 23
    A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

    ActorsMarshall Manesh, Mozhan Marnò, Dominic Rains, Rome Shadanloo, Reza Sixo Safai

    Released2014

    A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is a 2014 American vampire western film directed by Ana Lily... more on Wikipedia
  • 24
    Monsters
    5
    1

    Monsters

    Gareth Edwards

    ActorsScoot McNairy, Whitney Able, Annalee Jefferies, Anthony Cristo, Kerry Valderrama

    Released2010

    Monsters is a 2010 British science fiction monster film written and directed by Gareth Edwards... more on Wikipedia

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  • 25
    Molly's Game
    7
    2

    Molly's Game

    Aaron Sorkin

    ActorsJessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, Brian d'Arcy James

    Molly's Game is a 2017 American drama film written and directed by Aaron Sorkin. Based on the... more on Wikipedia