Movie Debuts. Everyone has one. But how many “first films” can be counted amongst that director’s finest work? In this top 5, we’ll see five candidates who can say they’ve achieved that.
When it comes to movies, I always take a look at the person who sits at its helm. I have my preferences for each style, and looking at the director gives me a hint on what to expect (childish stories with lots of explosions from Michael Bay, twisted logic from Terry Gilliam and stunning visuals from James Cameron). But in case of directors who have nothing to refer to I can get a bit insecure. A directorial debut can be a disaster, ruining a franchise for good, but can also turn out to be a great hit to spawn sequels, prequels and offer viewers a few hours of great pleasure, like the movies I list below.
5. Night of the Living Dead by George A. Romero
A great deal about human nature can be learned from the “of the Dead” movies directed by horror master George A. Romero. With “Night of the Living Dead” Romero did not just offer future generations the chills and an extra monster to be afraid of, but created a whole genre that lives on today through countless video games, movies, TV series and novels.
4. Reservoir Dogs by Quentin Tarantino
I am not a huge fan of Tarantino’s directorial style, but I guess I am part of the minority, judging by the huge success of his works (I prefer the art of his good friend Robert Rodriguez). With Reservoir Dogs Tarantino has managed to combine clever dialog with crisp photography, smooth direction and magical music to complete the best “statement of intent” a director could put down on the table. And the frequent use of words usually bleeped out also adds to the movie’s charm…
3. Evil Dead by Sam Raimi
One of the determinative works of my childhood, Evil Dead was the first movie I saw that mixed humor and gore in such a way. I will never forget Ash, the character so masterfully played by Bruce Campbell. Evil Dead has become a cult classic, serving as inspiration for later features with shaky cam and Bruce Campbell…
2. Alien 3 by David Fincher
I know this is an arguable choice for a top list, and the movie itself was not as acclaimed as it should have been, but I have to include it in the list for personal reasons (I loved it). Alien 3 was something I never thought I would see again, especially after the second coming of the evil xenomorph has transformed the franchise into an action flick. The third installment of the movie was just as pressing and depressing as the first one, with a lot more dirt and hopelessness added into the mix in Fincher’s signature style. It’s a visually appealing movie (in a dark way, of course) and its lack of happy ending makes it one of my favorite directorial debuts of all time.
1. Citizen Kane by Orson Welles
A movie that still doesn’t cease to amaze after more than 70 years since its release, topping nearly every list ever since. The movie that tells us about the life of the most powerful man in the world, and was not just directed, but co-written, produced and starring by the same Orson Welles who scared the Americans with his War of the Worlds radio play.