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15 Great Movies From Directors Under 30

bucslim . . . Comments

Breaking into Hollywood is tough sledding, particularly if you want to get behind the camera. As a big fan of Kevin Smith movies, I wondered one day what the best movies were that were made by young directors. Smith was 24 when he made ‘Clerks’ for less than thirty thousand dollars. Robert Rodriguez was 24 when he made ‘El Mariachi’ for about $7,000 – he raised the money by submitting himself to a medical laboratory for experimental drug treatments. There are plenty of older directors out there who, for the most part, got their start by directing episodic television. With the vast amounts of money it takes to make a movie these days, the major studios want to decrease the risk of a movie bombing by giving the directing duties over to a seasoned pro. Giving a young, unproven director the reigns to a movie is risky business. So when it does happen, usually there is real and burgeoning talent. Younger directors today have other avenues to get their start, music videos, commercials and the internet.

One of my main criteria for paying money to watch a movie is who is directing it. Instead of being intrigued with the storyline or getting excited by the trailer, I have certain directors that I will watch, no matter what the movie is about. A few of my favorites appear below. There are some of these movies I confess I haven’t seen, so I relied mainly on IMDB and the AMC film site to make the list. Here are 15 great movies made by directors age 30 and under. They aren’t necessarily ranked, however it’s pretty much implied that Orson Welles should be considered the best of the lot. There might be some spoilers, but I’ll do my best.


Boyz N the Hood

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Director and Age: John Singleton (23)
Other Notable Movies: Poetic Justice, Shaft, Rosewood

An explosive story of four friends growing up in south central Los Angeles. Some pin their hopes on going to college, others are mired in the daily drama of gangs, violence and drugs. Cuba Gooding Jr. plays Tre, a boy dropped off by his well-to-do mother at his father’s house in hopes of having a good role model and helping him become a man. Ice Cube plays Doughboy, one of Tre’s gangster friends. Morris Chestnut plays Doughboy’s brother, who’s headed off to college on a football scholarship. Singleton was nominated for best director for this story of growing up in a violent world.

Buy the DVD at Amazon: Boyz ‘N the Hood


The Silent World

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Director and Age: Louis Malle (24)
Other Notable Movies: Au revoir les enfants, Elevator to the Gallows

Known for tackling touchy subjects later in his career, Malle got his start with the help of Jacques Cousteau aboard the Calypso. The Silent World was one of the first movies to use underwater cinematography in color. It opened up an amazing world of undersea adventures. The movie, a documentary, won the Palm d’Or at the 1956 Cannes Film festival and the Academy Award for best documentary. Amazingly, Cousteau got into some hot water later when it was discovered he had killed a school of sharks who were attracted to a dead whale carcass and using dynamite on a coral reef during the making of this movie.

Buy the DVD at Amazon: The Jacques Cousteau Odyssey – The Complete Series



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Director and Age: Paul Thomas Anderson – (29)
Other Notable Movies: Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood, Cigarettes and Coffee

Anderson was well on his way to making it big in Hollywood even before Magnolia came out as he made Boogie Nights two years before that film. One characteristic of his movies are ensemble casts, and Magnolia is one of the best examples of this. The characters and story are intertwined as people pay for the choices they have made in life. Themes of regret, abuse, loneliness and failed relationships as well as redemption are all explored here. Personally I’ve never really cared for the film, but Tom Cruise gives a blistering performance as sort of a misogynistic evangelist on techniques for bagging women, perhaps his best performance ever.

Buy the DVD at Amazon: Magnolia


American Graffiti


Director and Age: George Lucas (29)
Other Notable Movies: the Star Wars series

Lucas’s coming of age period movie was a story that revolved around a typical night in 1962 California. Lucas describes it as the end of an era as some kids went to college and some kids went to Vietnam. As he felt by the time the story ends, America underwent a drastic change. It was Curt Henderson (Richard Dreyfuss) and Steve Bolander’s (Ron Howard), last night in town as they were set to go to college back east. John Milner (Paul Le Mat) was the town tough guy and Terry \”The Toad\” Fields (Charles Martin Smith) was the high school nerd. Lucas pitched his script to several Hollywood studios and was denied before Universal picked it up. Lucas ended up writing the script himself with his large 45 record collection of 50’s and 60’s music playing as he wrote, and had a song in mind for every scene. A young Harrison Ford makes an appearance as a drag challenger to Milner.

Buy the DVD at Amazon: American Graffiti (Collector’s Edition)


Magnificent Ambersons


Director and Age: Orson Welles (27)
Other Notable Movies: Citizen Kane, Lady From Shanghai, A Touch of Evil

Orson Welles never really seemed to get along with RKO Studios. RKO was bitter because it seemed like his movies never made any money. Welles was always battling them on everything about how a movie is made. Ambersons is no different. After making Citizen Kane, you would think he’d have a little more clout with the suits about getting things done. But the studio re-edited this film when Welles was out of town and gave it a more sentimental ending. Welles didn’t appear in this movie, but his touch is all over it with brilliant lighting, innovative camera work, and smart editing. (sans the Studio interference) In spite of all the problems, it was still a great film and nominated for four Academy Awards.

Buy the DVD at Amazon: The Magnificent Ambersons


The 400 Blows


Director and Age: Francois Truffant (27)
Other Notable Movies: The Wild Child, Shoot the Piano Player, Fahrenheit 451

One of the best movies and examples of the French New Wave, The 400 Blows is a story of the injustices done to juvenile offenders in France during that time. After a life of abuse and petty crime, a boy is sent to a work camp by the sea. The film ends with him escaping to see the ocean, essentially freeing him from his troubled past. Truffant won best director honors at the 1960 Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for best original screenplay at the Academy Awards. You can also see Truffant acting in Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Buy the DVD at Amazon: The 400 Blows – Criterion Collection


Night of the Living Dead

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Director and Age: George Romero (28)
Other Notable Movies: Dawn of the Dead, Land of the Dead

I don’t think anyone’s going to step up and say this is necessarily a ‘great’ movie on par with the other directors on this list. However, this movie practically started a new genre. There were stories of the undead before this, but this one spawned a thousand imitators. And it is one of the movies registered with the National Film Registry for preservation. An interesting experiment would be to watch this movie and then watch ‘Shaun of the Dead,’ to see how many parallels there are in dialog and references.

Buy the DVD at Amazon: Night of the Living Dead


Reservoir Dogs

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Director and Age: Quentin Tarantino (29)
Other Notable Movies: Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, Kill Bill, Grindhouse

Love him or hate him, you’ve got to hand it to Quentin Tarantino. There really isn’t anyway a great movie like Pulp Fiction would have been made had he not shown his passion for film like he did in Reservoir Dogs. Violent and slick, snappy dialog and a good story with a great cast makes for a great movie. Reservoir Dogs also marked the start of the new wave of independent movies. Tarantino has also gotten in some hot water by being accused of ripping off the Asian movie “City on Fire.” But you can look that up and decide for yourself whether this is a ripoff or another one of Tarantino’s oft used ‘homages.’

Buy the DVD at Amazon: Reservoir Dogs (15th Anniversary)


Henry V

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Director and Age: Kenneth Branagh (29)
Other Notable Movies: Hamlet, Dead Again, Frankenstein

No one brings the Bard to the big screen quite like Branagh. There are some fantastic Shakespeare adaptations by Lawrence Olivier and Orson Welles, but this Henry V breathed new life into Shakespeare on screen. A simple comparison of Olivier’s Agincourt speech and Branagh’s brings out these differences in film making and eras. There is a richness of the characters and modern feel as well as a faithfulness to the story in his versions. Branagh’s Henry V also has a fantastic cast featuring Derek Jacoby as Chorus, Brian Blessed as Exeter, Ian Holm as Fluellen, Judy Dench, Christian Bale, Paul Scofield and Christopher Ravenscroft. Branagh was nominated for both best actor and best director at the Academy Awards.

Buy the DVD at Amazon: Henry V


The Tramp


Director and Age: Charlie Chaplin (26)
Other Notable Movies: The Gold Rush, Modern Times, City Lights

One of Hollywood’s first superstars, Chaplin had already made several movies before the Tramp, but this is probably the best example of his early work. Chaplin had played a down on his luck character before, but this marked the beginning of the character, The Tramp.’ And it was a little less slapstick than his earlier work.

Buy the DVD at Amazon: The Little Tramp: The Charlie Chaplin Collection


Sherlock Jr.

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Director and Age: Buster Keaton (29)
Other Notable Movies: The General, Our Hospitality, The Navigator

As a movie projectionist and janitor is wooing a girl whose got another man after her, Keaton is accused of stealing the girl’s father’s watch. He falls asleep and dreams of being a detective and solving the problem ala Sherlock Holmes style. Just like Chaplin, Keaton had already made several movies before this one. Being seasoned as he is, Keaton shows us some brilliant special camera effects. The entire movie is 45 minutes long and chock full of comedic brilliance. Keaton fractured his neck during the production of this movie which he didn’t discover until years later when migraines drove him to the doctor.

Buy the DVD at Amazon: Our Hospitality/Sherlock, Jr.




Director and Age: Stephen Speilberg (29)
Other Notable Movies: The Color Purple, Schindler’s List, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, ET, Saving Private Ryan, Indiana Jones series

“We’re gonna need a bigger boat.” With Jaws, the summer blockbuster was born. Speilberg had learned his chops working in television including a couple episodes of Night Gallery. Jaws came out of a novel by Peter Benchley. Because of mechanical failures of the mock-up shark, Speilberg was forced to change the movie in such a way as to build tension and fear by not actually seeing the monster, in this case a killer shark. The ploy worked brilliantly, and the film set all kinds of box office records, becoming the first movie to surpass $100 million in ticket sales. Jaws was nominated for best picture but lost to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Buy the DVD at Amazon: Jaws (30th Anniversary Edition)




Director and Age: Jean-Luc Godard (30)
Other Notable Movies: Band of Outsiders, Contempt

Godard once said, “All you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun.” Breathless certainly is the embodiment of that quote. Another one of the pivotal movies of the French New Wave, Roger Ebert simply says, ‘modern movies begin here.’ He goes on to say that numerous characters from many films that followed are derivatives of characters in this movie – especially from Warren Beatty in ‘Bonnie and Clyde.’ Michel, the main character is a thug who patterns himself after Humphrey Bogart. He is hiding in his girlfriend’s home after he shot a policeman. Godard’s editing and jump cuts were one of the main features that makes this film stand out. Interestingly this movie was co-written by Godard’s friend at the time, Francois Truffant.

Buy the DVD at Amazon: Breathless – Criterion Collection


Battleship Potemkin


Director and Age: Sergei Eisenstein (27)
Other Notable Movies: Strike, Ten Days that Shook the World

At the 1958 World’s Fair in Brussels, Battleship Potemkin was hailed as the greatest film of all time. It is quite possibly also the greatest piece of propaganda as well, rivaling the Nazi ‘Triumph of the Will’ by Leni Reifenstahl. It’s a story of a group of mutinous Russian sailors who battle their oppressive Tsarist officers. The Odessa Steps scene in which Tsarist soldiers massacre a group of civilians is one of the most powerful sequences in movie history. So much so, that some believe it actually happened. One particular shot of a baby in a carriage falling down the steps was influential in a similar scene in ‘The Untouchables,’ where Ness is waiting for the accountant at the train station. Eisenstien at the time was experimenting with film editing, and cut this movie to ensure the greatest emotional response from the audience. Roger Ebert has a great review of the power of this movie here.

Buy the DVD at Amazon: The Battleship Potemkin (Enhanced Edition) 1925


Citizen Kane


Director and Age: Orson Welles (26)

Probably the most shocking thing about Citizen Kane is that it didn’t win the best picture Academy Award. In fact it was nominated for several things but only won for best original screenplay. Film critics and several polls rank it the best movie ever made. Subjective, to be sure, but it certainly was one of the most innovative as well. Deep focus, where everything in a scene is in sharp focus, low angle cinematography, time compression, makeup and soundtrack were all aspects of Welles technical genius. And Welles himself at age 26 played a very convincing middle aged man. The film is loosely based on William Randloph Hearst who was so enraged with the picture he offered RKO $800,000 to destroy the prints and the negative. An interesting note is that both Citizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons were flops at the box office, which pretty much spelled the end of RKO studio. They went on to make a series of low budget but very good horror movies (The Cat People, I Walked With a Zombie, etc) produced by Val Lewton.

Buy the DVD at Amazon: Citizen Kane (Two-Disc Special Edition)


Other Notable Films

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) Guy Ritchie – 30
Clerks (1994) Kevin Smith – 24
Memento (2000) Christopher Nolan 30
Evil Dead (1981) Evil Dead 2 – (1987) Sam Raimi – 22, 28
Blood Simple – (1984) Ethan Coen 27 (Joel was 30)
Sex, Lies and Videotape (1989) – Stephen Soderbergh – 26
She’s Gotta Have It (1986) – Spike Lee – 29
The Sixth Sense (1999) M. Night Shyamalan– 29
Usual Suspects (1994) – Brian Singer – 29
Mean Streets (1975) – Martin Scorcese – 31
Shaun of the Dead (2004) – Edgar Wright – 30
El Mariachi (1992) – Robert Rodriguez – 24

Contributor: bucslim

  • Schizotypical

    Quentin Tarantino rocks!

  • Schizotypical

    I’m glad to see that Spike Lee only made the bonus. He doesn’t deserve to be on this list at all. Racist bastard.

  • cm

    Yo for Young!!!!!!!!!

  • jrg

    I’m a huge Stanley Kubrick fan and I just want to point out that he directed the great film “Paths of Glory” at the age of 29, and you left that off the list!

  • jrg

    You also left off David Gordon Green: “George Washington” (at age 25) and “All the Real Girls” (at age 28)

  • MattNZ


  • Senor Shutter

    No female directors on the list or in the “Notable” section. No Women have directed big films before they turned 31? There’s got to be at least one.

  • Copaface

    Yayy Reservoir Dogs is my favourite film :D

    I will never achieve something like this by the time I’m 30 haha

    Interesting list :D

  • jhoyce07

    cool list..brilliant people..

  • Galford

    Wow, brilliant.

  • holmes

    You labeled this list as 15 great movies from directors under 30 however you included several directors who ARE 30 (Jean-Luc Godard (30), Edgar Wright – 30, Guy Ritchie – 30, Christopher Nolan 30) and therefore are not under 30 :) good list though

  • Senor Shutter

    Gillian Armstrong was 29 when she directed, the Oscar nominated, My Brilliant Career.

    Sofia Coppola was 28 when she directed The Virgin Suicides.

  • Carlos

    Good movies on this list and 4 of them I havent seen. But have to say for some reason I really didnt like Boyz N the Hood I would have rather seen Evil Dead in its place. Evil dead is one of the best Horror/Comedy movies ever. But other than that, good list bucslim.

  • Pika

    I don’t think Pulp Fiction is that a good film. Well, maybe during those times (’90s) it was. But I love most of Mr. Tarantino’s work like “From Dusk Till Dawn” and “Kill Bill”!

  • Kalyan

    Since you would cover only Hollywood movie and not from India (Bollywood & other regional languages), let me list some from India. Someone with more time and interest in Indian movie can expand this at a later date.

    1. Awaara (Tramp) – Raj Kapoor (Age 27): Tramp meets his childhood love, a lawyer, in the act of stealing her purse. When he learns that his god father was responsible for his current situation, he kills him. The heroine defends him in court where the hero’s father is the judge. TIME magazine rated it No. 1 in the list of 10 Indian movies to treasure.

    2. Shree 420 (Mr. 420) – Raj Kapoor (Age 30): Ok, in the true tradition of 420 (Section 420 of Indian penal code deals with punishment for theft. 420 is associated with petty criminals in India – thanks to the movie), Raj Kapoor was 31 when the movie was released. Hence, the movie being bumped down to No. 2 instead of Awaara, even though it is rated higher. The hero, a tramp, falls in love with a poor girl. He is however seduced to riches by dishonest businessman. Ultimately, the hero changes his ways and becomes a honest person. The movie has 2 of India’s best known songs – Mera Joota hai Japani (My shoes are made in Japan) and Pyaar Hua Ikraar hua (Love happened, I should confess). The screenshot of Raj Kapoor & Nargis walking under the umbrella in the rain is considered as one of the highlights in Bollywood History.

    3. Sholay (Embers) – Rames Sippy (Age: 28): India’s highest grossing of the top & still considered a landmark, Sholay is the story of 2 petty criminals who are hired by a former police cheif to revenge the tyranny of local dacoit cheif. The movie, using western filming techniques like slow-motion in shoot-outs, is considered a Bollywood classic. It ran for more than 5 years in one of Bombay’s prestigious cinema hall. It took more than 15 years before any movie could overhaul the gross earnings of Sholay. The introduction sentence of the villain – “Kitne Aadmi the” (How many men were there?) is probably the most famous Bollywood Quote of all time.

    4. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (Lovers will take away the Bride) – Karan Johar (Age 23): Then India’s highest grossing movie, DDLJ, as it is called had superstar Shah Rukh Khan & Kajol in the lead. The story is about UK settled Indian pair falling in love and getting the approval of Indian culture believer bride’s father.

    5. Maine Pyar Kiya (I loved) – Sooraj Barjayta (Age 24): Love story of a rich boy & a poor girl. Then India’s highest grossing movie.

    6. Hum Aapke Hain Koun (What am I to you) – Sooraj Barjayta (Age 29): Story of 2 marraiges, a death and a love story in between. Then India’s highest grossing movie.

    7. Hyderabad Blue – Nagesh Kukunoor (Age 31): English & Telugu movie. Can we relax the age limit by 1 year. US returned Nagesh shot this movie on how a US returned India finds it hard to accept the culture change in the 8 years. Brilliant movie and spawned a era of Indo US movies.

    8. Dil Chatha Hai (The Heart Wants) – Farhan Akhtar (Age 27): Story of the lives of 3 friends post-college. Amazing movie that bought Bollywood to the 21st century.

    9. Mouna Ragam (Silent Raga) – Mani Ratnam (Age 30): Tamil Movie. College girl falls in love with a gangster. He is killed and a few years later, she gets married to a corporate executive against her wishes. Will she accept her husband?

    10. Shiva – Ram Gopal Varma (Age 27): Telugu Movie. College student turns against city don.

  • Senor Shutter

    Amy Heckerling was only 28 when she directed the teen classic Fast Times At Ridgemont High.

  • Kalyan

    My mistake on the list – DDLJ was directed by Aditya Chopra (then 24) and Karan Johar was asst director.

    Karan Johar made his directorial debut with Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998 – when he was 26), a movie that might just make the cut.

  • Nelia

    Wow, I knew Wells was young when he did CK, but 26? Imagine directing AND starring in the most highly regarded film of all time at the age of 26.
    I actually saw Citizen Kane a few years ago, and going into it, the hype had me convinced that it would be disappointing. I was completely wrong and I completely loved it.

  • pyderz

    Honorable mentions id say geeza who made the Kidadulthood and Adulthood, they were Suppose decent films

  • astraya

    Two Friday’s ago I travelled to a regional city in Korea to attend a party at the house of former colleagues. They showed on a big screen various silent movies. One was “Sherlock Jr”. Having never consciously seen any Buster Keaton movie before, it is intriguing that this reference has popped up so soon afterwards.
    I’m sure there are films made by directors under 30 which stank and we never saw the film or the director again.

    bucslim: Interesting list, well-researched. You said “I have certain directors that I will watch, no matter what the movie is about.” Have you ever been disappointed by a movie using that criterion?

  • Rob

    Stephen Speilberg? His name is written like so: Steven Spielberg.

  • Crimanon

    Like I don’t sit around enough as it is, now i’ve got to LV (that’s a verb too, right?) read, and watch These movies.

    Then I have to find one to direct before I hit thirty.

  • Dirk from Belgium

    It’s François Truffaut, not Truffant.
    Great list though.

  • Paro

    It’s Francios Truffaut, not truffant.

  • Mary

    Tim Burton made Pee-wee’s Big Adventure when he was 27. It’s a great movie!

  • stevenh

    Excellent List, bucslim!
    Thank you.

  • MT

    Very informative and entertaining list. Good job Bucslim.

  • deepthinker

    neat list. I’m not really a movie buff though… interesting. I’m 29, and I haven’t accomplished that much yet. Inspiring.

  • oouchan

    Cool list, bucslim! Glad to see George Romero, Speilberg and Wells on there. Hate Quentin Tarantino and his movies. I havn’t been able to sit through one of them yet….and thanks, Mary for adding Tim Burton in the comments.

  • Lore

    Alejandro Amenabar directed Tesis at 26, Abre los Ojos (Vainilla Sky is the remake of this movie) at 25 and The Others at 29. He also wrote the scripts and the score.

  • Lucy

    sophia coppola?

  • MarkH

    You admit you don’t care for Magnolia, yet include that film instead of Boogie Nights, which Anderson directed 2 years previously? That makes…no sense.

  • bucslim

    I appreciate people’s comments on my list here. A couple of observations:

    I knew I had a couple of misspellings about 10 minutes after I had submitted the list because I re-read the thing and I even asked Jamie to correct the Spielburg goof. Really kind of ironic that the person who makes fun of everyone else’s spelling problems gets his comeuppance. I acknowledge your corrections.

    Secondly, I am one of the biggest Kubrick fans there is. I’m really pretty upset that I missed Paths of Glory, because it is one of my favorites. I’m just pissed. That was a stupid omission. If you get a chance, find this movie and watch it. Kirk Douglas is outstanding in this movie about men going to the firing squad in WWI.

    And on that topic, astraya, yes, I have been very disappointed. The biggest example is ‘Eyes Wide Shut,’ by Kubrick. I completely understand what he was trying to do, but it really was a failure.

    Senior Shutter – good call on Coppola and Anderson. Kind of sexist of me to leave them out. Particularly Sofia Coppola. I really liked Lost in Translation, but somehow I missed the Virgin Suicides.

  • bucslim

    # 15 Kalyan – I sincerely apologize for not including the movies you listed. I’m also sorry to say I’ve never heard of any of them. I know Bollywood is an exploding market and I should have thought of that when I was doing research for this list, but it looks like you have a list yourself. I’m sure Jamie would have considered it had you submitted it.

    In terms of what you asked on #7 of your list, I really wanted to put Scorcese up on mine for Mean Streets, but he was 31. Kind of sucked.

    #32 MarkH – I’m not sure what you’re getting at. I liked Boogie Nights better than Magnolia, but I think Magnolia is regarded as the better film, so that’s why I put that one up there instead. Jamie can attest to the fact that I’ve derided that film on a number of occasions, but I’m not stupid enough to say that Boogie Nights was better than Magnolia.

  • Callie

    good one, buc. I have seven years to accomplish something cool now. Whay to put a time limit on it.

  • Nauplius

    I’m stupid enough: Boogie Nights was a better movie than Magnolia.

  • Callie


    i think you forgot dazed and confused…

    :) :) :) :) :) :)

  • chershey

    Cigarettes and Coffee is Jim Jarmusch, not PT Anderson.

  • bucslim

    chershey – IMDB says it’s PTA, Jaramusch did Coffee and Cigarettes. The Paul Thomas Anderson directed Cigarettes and Coffee starred Kirk Baltz, who was officer Marvin Nash, who got his ear cut off.

    callie – you know I love you, but repeated shots below the beltline will cause a point deduction from your score. Didn’t we go over this in the locker room?

    Nauplius – I won’t argue with you. Others might, but not me.

  • bucslim

    #39 – ear cut off in Reservoir Dogs that is.

  • Wally

    Kalyan – I guess you spent an hour writing about Bollywood movies to a very Western crowd. Epic Fail. Bollywood and soccer could join forces and still American audiences wouldnt care.

    Bucslim – great list dude! :-) I am 29 now and I could make a better movie than Tarantino – but I dont wanna.

  • TEX

    Callie please!

    Shout out and technical disqualification for David Lynch’s “Eraserhead”.
    He started shooting when he was 26, but it wasn’t released until 1977 due to financial problems. I’ve heard that it cost around $30 to $40,000 to shoot, not sure.
    Stanley Kubrick said it was one of his favorite films.

    Magnolia is a great film – I also regard it as the best feel bad movie ever – remove all sharp objects from household before viewing, because if you felt ok when the movie began, you’ll be considering offing yourself by the end – but a great film.

  • b

    I love this list! I’m glad boyz N the hood got a mention…growing up in the 90’s around gang violence I came to appreciate someone taking a serious look at it.
    Also i love magnolia!

  • Lexdian

    On a related subject, Kevin Smith has also written a few comic books and story arcs, including Spider-Man and Black Cat: the evil that men do. It’s a very good storyline that deals with mature subjects.

  • Lexdian

    Btw, coolage list.

  • bucslim

    Kevin Smith and mature subjects in the same paragraph? NO WAYYY!

  • Kalyan

    #41 – wally: I know that the list would be an epic failure and still spent an hour to deepen my understanding of Indian movies. I only knew 1 film (DDLJ) was made by a director who was less than 30, the remaining ones i learnt today.

    Not too sad to see people not knowing Bollywood movies. Thatz like the Japanese expecting me to know & recognize Japanese classic movies. I know of no one outside Akira Kurosawa and even seen only 2 of AK’s works.

  • Brilliant, wonderful list. I don’t have time to comment now, I’m leaving for several hours, but as soon as I return I’ll post a proper response.

  • MHogan

    Ugh. I feel so worthless. I was using age as an excuse for not doing anything magnificent with my life yet but I guess I can’t do that anymore.

    Great List!

  • Kalyan

    Bucslim – I didn’t expect that any movie from my list to be included. I just took your idea and applied to Indian movies. I should say that i was surprised with the result. I didn’t realize the no. of mega-hit Indian movies made by directors less than 30.

    Thanks for your article. I learnt so much about my own movies.

  • cheapswill

    Great job! I love movie lists.

    A small correction for number 13: P.T. Anderson didn’t make the film “Cigarettes and Coffee”, Jim Jarmusch did.

  • Lexdian

    I know it’s hard to believe, but you can check it on wikipedia here:

  • Mom424

    Bucslim; Excellent job! I was kind of happy to see the original Clerks in the honorable mentions. I still think it is one of the funniest movies ever. Not exactly high-brow, but clever none the less. Reservoir Dogs made me a Tarantino fan (just the movies; the man is whacked) even though I have been as yet unable to watch the ear removal scene.

    Wally; Whaddya mean fail? India comes in 4th when rated by internet connections. That’s a huge market; I personally wouldn’t object to drawing some of that market here. (Can you imagine the numbers when rural India catches up to urban India?) I personally also found it fascinating. Good job Kalyan.

  • TEX

    Not to get off the track but A.K. must see’s are The Seven Samurai and Yojimbo, Dursu Uzala will always have a place in my heart, Ran is as close to an epic you’ll ever see coming out of Japan (based on King Lear), and a mention of the film Dreams, probably one of the prettiest (?!) of films.
    I know there are other greater A.K.’s, but these are some of my favorites.

  • bucslim

    cheapswill –

    Paul Thomas Anderson directed a film called Cigarettes and Coffee

    Jim Jarmusch directed a film called Coffee and Cigarettes

    I directed a film called Doughnuts and Chocolate Milk with a side of Bacon

  • Wally

    Kalyan – Japanese movies suck too. The only shows I like start with the words “Worlds Wildest..” or end with the words “gone wild part 3”

  • TEX

    bacon makes the world go round – i’m not joking

  • bucslim

    Mom424 – I am an unapologetic Tarantino nut. To me, his movies are so much fun and cool. I have rarely been disappointed with anything he’s done on the big screen. I didn’t much care for Jackie Brown when it came out, but as the years go by I like it more every time I watch it. In 35 years of going to the movies, I have never witnessed a reaction by the audience more intense than the cheering and whooping it up as I have at the end of Grindhouse. I saw that double feature three times in the theater and each time, at different venues, with different age groups, all three times the audience cheered wildly, clapped for a very long time and even were yelling their approval.

    I fully realize what I’ve just written is the equivalent to fingernails on the blackboard for some people. There is a real hatred out there for Tarantino as some folks think he is a hack and has disguised outright stealing from other movies as an homage. None of this is lost on me. But in terms of Reservoir Dogs, that movie was an important part of independent movies making a dent in the sorry state of big budget studios. That is simply a fact. You may not like the guy or his movies, but what he does is worth watching at the very minimum.

  • ringtailroxy

    i always knew we had a special connection… and our great admiration of Tarantino proves it!

    from my first exposure to From Dusk to Dawn… (which was also my first exposure to George Clooney) to the last Tarantino movie i saw, Death Proof, i am always surprised and satisfied at the end. (kinda like my fantasies of our intimate moments together…)

    anywho, great list, as usual. but you don’t need me to tell you that.


  • britexan

    Just an FYI, comparing Branagh and Olivier, and possibly suggesting that Branagh did anything Shakespearean better…it’s going to cause outrage amongst anyone who knows the slightest thing about Shakespeare, or acting.
    Branagh is like Olivier, if you take away the charm and talent.

  • TEX

    “From Dusk to Dawn…”
    Salma Hayek……….LORDY!!!!!!!

  • bucslim

    I did tiptoe around that issue britexan. It might be blasphemy to say that I like Branagh’s performance better, but if I’m honest, I do. That is not to say I didn’t enjoy Olivier or that his contribution or performance is in any way worse or bad. I’m merely pointing out the differences in performances and the era of filmmaking.

  • SoCalJeff

    400 Blows rocked. On my best movie list for sure.

    Can’t say I have disliked any Orson Welles movie either…didn’t realize he made two classics under the age of 30 though. Very impressive.

    Missing from the list are the “Girls Gone Wild” movies of Joe Francis. Certainly at least 2 could have made the list. He directed the first installment at age 25. My recommendations for the edited list are:

    Girls Gone Wild: Dormroom Fantasies
    Girls Gone Wild: Sexy Sorority Sweethearts

  • Mom424

    buc,rtr; I thought I was the only one with appreciation for the Grindhouse features. I loved Kurt Russel as the psycho and Rosario Dawson is hot, way hot. I have a girl crush on her. I even liked the weird-ass Romero one with the machine gun prosthetic. :)

  • psychosurfer

    At last, a well researched movie list with good taste and knowledge on the subject.
    Thank you Bucslim.
    I only regret that you missed one of the greatest (if not THE greatest):

    Luis Buñuel “Un Chien Andalou”. He was 29.

  • Mom424

    ooo, when they get him at the end. Great scene. Talk about female empowerment.

  • bucslim

    psychosurfer – my nerves are already shot because I f’d up the Kubrick thing.

    I have to say, I have not heard of that film or director and it didn’t surface during my extensive research. I’m thinking seriously of not looking at the rest of the comments because I’ve left something out.

    But I hope people know I actually did quite a bit of research on this, so I’ll stick around to see what others say.


  • bucslim

    Stuntman Bob screaming at the end always puts a big smile on my face. That sequence was totally satisfying and totally entertaining.

  • bucslim

    Or was it Stuntman Mike.

  • Kreachure

    Very nice list, bucslim. To be honest, I expected to see Sofia Coppola in this one too, because I thought she was under 30 when she directed Lost in Translation. But she was 33, so I forgive you. (Not that Virgin Suicides was bad either, she was indeed 28 when she directed that; it’s just that I LOOOOOOOVE Lost in Translation! :D )

  • bucslim

    Kreachure, I immediately looked at Lost in Translation to be on this list. It think because I like that movie so much I spaced off the Virgin Suicides, I think she deserves at least a mention in the bonus area.

    And I’d like to make a general announcement to the comment crowd. I did have some assistance making this list. I did all the research and wrote most of the blurbs, but I did ask Randall to help me with the initial idea, and a direction. We discussed a few items and he indeed added some valuable information, mostly with the stuff on Welles. I tip my hat to him for helping.

  • smurff

    # 67 bucslim you are correct as far as ” Un Chien Andalou goes – he was 29 and you can see him on

    Great list thanks

  • TEX

    It was an oversight on Paths of Glory, but your testament to Kubrick has cancelled that out.
    This is a kick-ass list, be proud, smile.

  • Crimanon

    Am I the only one here who can’t stay awake through the entirety of Reservoir Dogs? I like Tarantino, Pulp Fiction was the shit! But, I just cant get into RD.

    Would the biggest fan please tell me why it Shouldn’t suck.

  • Redcaboose

    Great list, Bucslim. I really like movie lists, and yours is right on. I have seen most of them, and will look for the rest to watch.
    I, too, like certain directors, and will watch most of their stuff. But I will skip one if it looks lame, or wait till it is on Netflix.
    Orson Wells is one of the great directors. I see Citizen Kane and A Touch Of Evil every chance I get.
    Keep up the good work, Bucslim.

  • stevenh

    #47 Kalyan: With respect, I must take exception with your agreement with #41 Wally. Your #15 comment is erudite, educational, and well written.
    Epic Fail? No! Epic Success? Yes!

    Thank you, Kalyan.

  • Blue

    Pretty cool list all things considered.

    I would just point out that Baz Luhrmanns Strictly Ballroom was released at Cannes in 1992 when he was 29.

    I dont know if you would call it a classic but it is certainly a great movie as is Stephan Elliott’s The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert again released when the director was 29.

    Maybe a look further afield would be appropriate, perhaps another list??

    Otherwise great choices and some brilliant films, however Kevin Smith is way overhyped. I understand some people like him but I dislike his reliance on pop culture and his role as an ubergeek.

  • MKO

    I must say that I thought “Magnolia” sucked balls.

  • bucslim

    Crim – I know RD isn’t everyone’s cup ‘o tea. It is a dialog driven movie. I happen to like the dialog. It’s funny and it’s quotable. If you can’t get into the ‘hipness’ of it, then you are going to struggle to be entertained. Some of the lines in the movie just slay me, and continue to amuse me and I’ll admit to watching this movie at least ten times with nary a shudder from my eyelids.

    But you aren’t alone in your evaluation. A simple check of some of the comment forums at IMDB on Tarantino or his movies will re-assure you of your feelings about RD.

    I happen to love drinking Coke, and I detest anything with a Pepsi logo on it. It doesn’t make it bad, but I won’t consume it. I really like Tarantino’s movies, but I recognize he is a polarizing film maker.

  • Paulb

    Citizen Kane, great movie. Didn’t win best picture because william randolf hearst pulled so much strings and made sure it didn’t win

  • Handrejka

    Rainer Werner Fassbinder is conspicuous by his absence.

  • zigra

    buscslim – good list, and I will come to your defense on the female director issue (fyi – I am a girl). None of the movies mentioned that were directed by females deserve to be ranked Top 15 – maybe Fast Times or Angel at my Table would make a top 30, but Virgin Suicides is not that great. It’s not fair to accuse you of being sexist when the studio systems have not really supported female directors (that has changed some recently). Maybe someone could make a list about female directors in general – to me that’s better than adding a “token female director” to this list.

  • desed2

    hi, great list, it’s a shame, but i haven’t seen reservoir dogs so far.

  • bucslim

    zigra – I suppose you’re right. As I said in the introduction, this list isn’t necessarily a ranking, but I’d have a hard time putting those female directed movies above any of the ones I’ve listed.

  • castironmonkey

    Great list! But I was wondering why Orson Welles was on the list twice? Couldn’t you have just made him #1 and found another great director to take his place in #11?

  • Kate

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for putting The Battleship Potemkin as number two. It’s truly one of the greatest movies ever made.

  • Crimanon

    Thanks Buc: That was much better and a very far cry from “Dude! What the Hell, that movie is freaking Awesome!………………”

  • ciunas

    Excellent list — cheers.

    Interesting to read about Cousteau’s delinquency in #14. But — a minor cavil — you might want to amend the grammar there unless you mean the coral reef was being dynamited by the sharks rather than Monsieur Cousteau.

    I’d say Malle’s greatest film is ‘Atlantic City’, BTW.

  • Randall

    WHOA. Let’s not hit and run on Cousteau here.

    A) dynamiting to get samples of fish was common back in those days. In point of fact, however, Cousteau spoke against that very practice in the book that accompanied The Silent World. He pointed out that they had discovered that 90% of the fish sink to the bottom because of ruptured swim bladders. No one had known this previously because no divers had ever bothered to go down to check the bottom after the fact–in part because diving was, until Cousteau’s invention of the aqualung, a nasty and messy affair involving cumbersome equipment.

    The instance of dynamiting the coral reef was done, again, to procure samples—the only way that samples could be taken from the reef, which was as hard as concrete. Again, this was standard procedure back in the day–and this was at a time when reefs were still flourishing and were not YET in the terrible danger that they are today from both pollution and increasing sea temperatures.

    B) The frenzied shark massacre appears in the film, and when you watch it today, it does seem reprehensible. Surely the Cousteau of latter days must have regretted it. But again–AT THE TIME it was not considered wrong to kill what was thought of as a brutish and rapacious animal, and in doing so the Calypso crew were showing sympathy for the whale that was being attacked by the sharks. (Of course, the Calypso was partly responsible for the whale being mortally wounded in the first place–they’d accidentally collided with it). At any rate, it’s something to see the crew of the Calypso, in the film, brutally stabbing and clubbing shark after shark as they hook them and drag them on deck.

    Cousteau never warmed to sharks and considered them at all times dangerous creatures never to be trusted. Though he gained respect for them over the years, he never took chances with them. If a shark came too close it was clubbed or killed on the spot. To my knowledge, there was never a single fatality or even an injury due to sharks during the entire time Cousteau captained the Calypso. This was surely due to Cousteau’s vigilance and his basic tenet to never fuck with sharks and never let them go too far.

    Again, though, we have to remember that this was back in the day when sharks were barely fished at all, for food. Cousteau was essentially the only one out there doing the research work that he did, and sharks were still a legendary mystery, even to men like him. It isn’t surprising that old school sailors like Cousteau and his men would treat the shark as a mortal enemy then.

  • lo

    54. TEX-

    what about kurosawa’s Ikiru (aka to live)?

    -it’s nothing like his “samurai westerns” but it’s very sad and very beautiful. i think he made it when he was 42, so it’s not for the list, but a great, great film to see.

  • bucslim

    Yeah, sharks would have an extremely difficult time detonating the dynamite. First, they would have a hard time getting the permits for the hazardous substances. It’s possible, but highly unlikely that there would be underwater warehouses that can handle that order. Secondly they lack opposeable thumbs, so drilling the placement holes, packing the sticks and wiring would present a problem. They could hit the plunger, but with all the other problems this scenario poses, I doubt that blowing up a coral reef is an option, even for the most sophisticated and agile shark.

  • Crimanon

    Wouldn’t they be violating OSHA standards by not wearing things like hard hats and boots?

  • YogiBarrister

    Britexan #60, I beg to differ. While you can argue that Olivier is a better actor than Branagh, you simply cannot make the case that he’s a better director. I love both versions of Henry V. Olivier’s performance was more theatrical, Branagh’s was more natural, more appropriate for a movie.

  • YogiBarrister

    Bucslim #34,…”I liked Boogie Nights better than Magnolia, but I think Magnolia is regarded as the better film”…
    I don’t think so. I’ll bet nine out of ten critics and film buffs would rank Boogie Nights ahead of Magnolia, Hard Eight as well.

  • Randall

    bucslim, you’re so naive.

    Sharks are destructive fuckers with a reputation for blowing shit up every chance they get, especially if you don’t pay the protection money. They’re obsessed with firearms, explosives, smashing things to pieces with blunt instruments, and, for some unknown reason, with the career of Chuck Connors. (Some government estimates say that 75-80% of the members of the “Rifleman” fan club are dogfish).

    Thank god they can’t get on land. It isn’t that they can’t get their fins ON gelignite, plastique, TNT and other dangerous explosives–it’s just that it isn’t EASY for them, since so little of the stuff, comparatively, can be stolen off of ships at dock and the like. They’re forced to buy much of it off the black market—and the real question, therefore, is who the hell sells it to them. You’d think even criminals and pirates would think twice about selling nitro-glycerin to a hammerhead. Interpol takes that shit *seriously.*

  • TEX

    Lo –
    I read a brief synopsis of the plot Ikiru, don’t think I have seen this one, I’ll keep an eye out for it, big Kurosawa fan, but still haven’t seen some of his significant films. If you haven’t seen Dursu Uzala, try to view sometime, it’s different from the other films of his I’ve seen. Won best foreign Oskar in 76.

  • bucslim

    Yogi – if you could guarantee that Roller Girl would visit me a few times this weekend, I will begrudge your point. But honestly, I’d have no problem with anyone ranking House Bunny ahead of Magnolia.

    I put it on the list to show that I am an unbiased and forgiving listmaker.

  • lo


    if you look at the imbd comments some people think ikiru is his best film, period. other think it’s in the top 5 movies ever made, period. others think people under 40 can’t appreciate it. and still others think it’s boring and not accessible to westerners.

    i first saw it when i was 20 and loved it. i’m nearly 29 and haven’t changed my mind. it’s a universal piece asking the question “what is the point of living?” with commentary on family and bureaucracy, and it’s a very atmospheric film. i’ve missed a few of kurosawa’s “significant” films too, so i’ll likewise seek out your tips :)

  • xo HollyHomicide xo

    Shame Clerks only made the honorable mentions list. Considering all it’s accomplishments and the following it spawned, I think it deserved a bit better. Kudos on putting Reservior Dogs on there though, amazing movie.

  • Randall

    I *know* the administrators hate it when we ask this, but I have *two* comments in moderation here…. now, okay, that’s fine, I understand the moderation thingy… but just curious as to when they’ll come *out* of moderation, as I entered them over 3 hours ago.


  • Crimanon

    Randall… Moderated??? What took so long! :)

  • bucslim

    I was wondering when you’d get in here Randall, but now I know why.

    Perhaps a vulgarity or two as to my selection of a Tarantino production?

    Three hours is a little bit much, in my estimation.

  • TEX

    lo – understood, I know how IMBd is, take everything with a grain of salt.
    Don’t ever let samurai run you off from any of his films, I believe he saw them as the heroes, the good doers from Japans history.
    How Sergio Leone turned them into gun-slingers beats the hell out of me.

  • TEX

    using coq too much?

  • bigski

    Res Dogs is one of my favorite movies so is Lock,Stock and TSB. Excellent list no arguements here except Amy H for Fast Times.

  • joebecca

    i think the notables are more notable than most of the list, especially having Orson Welles on there twice. That’s old school filmmaking and BORING!!!! At least Tarantino got his props!

  • gabi319

    TEX, lo
    I am also a Kurosawa fan! Having watched a number of them…although I don’t really know the story of Ran since I watched it for an art history paper comparing the cinematography with Japanese art. First time I watched a foreign film without english subtitles…it was a long time spent not understanding a single word… Ikiru is still my favorite of all but neither of you mentioned Kagemusha? One of his later films but those are my 1s and 2s.

    Good list! I’ve been looking up info on Alfred Hitchcock’s “Blackmail”. It was pretty much the start of his typical “Hitchcock style” films. Some sites say age 30 some say 29, but I could’ve sworn I heard 29 in Film History. oh well…Couldn’t think of anything else because this is already a pretty nicely compiled list.

  • TEX

    104. joebecca
    right on dude – Star Wars rocks, none of that black and white shit for us!!!

  • Blogball

    I finally had a chance to read the whole list. Great job bucslim. I really enjoyed it.
    I tried my best not to peak at an early age because of the dangers of a let down later in life.
    That’s what I keep telling myself.

  • youngchuck72

    wow! this is a great list ive seen a few of these movies
    but i will most likely check out the rest
    but again good list :D

  • Mom424

    Randall, Bucslim; My apologies – I had company this afternoon and had to go out afterward. I will remember to check in between from now on.

  • TEX

    107. gabi319
    Always pleased to see another Kurosawa fan. I once bought the biggest bottle of saki I could find and got happy watching Yohimbo. It was a big bottle.
    Ran was beautiful to watch wasn’t it, even without subscripts?

  • bucslim

    Randall – Glad to see you finally popped out of the penalty box.

    Chuck Conners? Seriously? No James Drury or Doug McClure? No F Troop?

  • copperdragon

    #95 Randall: THAT was hilarious! Truly.

    “You’d think even criminals and pirates would think twice about selling nitro-glycerin to a hammerhead.”

  • Senor Shutter


    I NEVER, NEVER, NEVER accused Buscslim of being sexist. NEVER!

    And I NEVER said that Fast Times At Ridgemont High or The Virgin Suicides or My Brilliant Career should have been in the top 15.

    Jane Campion was 36 when she directed An Angel at My Table so it doesn’t qualify. Did you mean to write My Brilliant Career?

    I really don’t think that putting Amy Heckerling in the Notable Films section would be just a “Token” gesture. This list is entitled “15 Great Movies From Directors Under 30”.
    “Great” is a very subjective term. With that in mind, a lot of people would call Fast Times At Ridgemont High a great movie. It was a hit. It has quotable dialog, “That was my skull! I’m so wasted!”. It has a scene that has become iconic enough to be parodied many times. If Reservoir Dogs can come in at number 8, Fast Times At Ridgemont High can at least be in the Notable Films section.

    (It may sound like I’m a big fan of “Fast Times” and THAT’S WHY I want it included. I’m not. Only seen it once.)

    “Maybe someone could make a list about female directors in general – to me that’s better than adding a “token female director” to this list.”

    The whole point of this list is the “Under 30” part. I think that the fact that female directors can also make great movies before they turned 30 deserves some recognition. A “list about female directors in general”, wouldn’t do that.

    15 Great Movies From FEMALE Directors Under 30 would be a nice follow up to this list.

  • Randall

    SEE? Because of that goddamned moderation, the moment for my humor was lost.

    Comedy is TIMING, people! TIMING. And with this moderation, you have peed on my lambchops.

    Plus, I make pithy and valuable observations and offer historical insights on one of the greatest men in history, Jacques Yves Cousteau—but with the loss of the moment, all that brainpower is for naught.

    *sigh*. I am beside myself with grief. You’ve ruined my weekend.

  • bucslim

    I primarily went to the AMC Filmsite to get the basic direction of this list. It’s pretty clear that at least behind the camera, for a very long time, men have been in the director’s chair. I didn’t look that closely, but I don’t remember ANY women being listed amongst the greats. I’m not really certain why that is, because clearly there are and have been some great movies made by females. I mean we’ve come up with a few examples here of young women who have made good movies, but I wouldn’t put them in my list of the top 15. They are probably getting more opportunities now, but I don’t see those dudes back in the glory days giving a picture to a woman. Conversely I think some of the male actors back then would have thought it just plain silly to take direction from a dame.

    Different time, different environment and different attitudes.

    Of course we would consider that sexist, but you’d have a hard time convincing me that anybody gave a shit about that back then. There were a lot of people, actors, actresses, directors and production crew who were outright enslaved to a particular studio. Sorta like baseball before free agency.

    Just like what Randall said. We cringe at the thought of butchering animals even as vicious as sharks, but back in the day it wasn’t given a second thought.

    So your thoughts on Amy Heckerling and Sofia Coppola are appreciated. They probably should have been mentioned at least in the bonus section. But being the big stupid hairy man with an aversion to peanut butter and Chuck Conners TV shows that I am, I went where the research took me. And I arrived at the treehouse that said, “No Gurls Alloud.”

  • bucslim

    Never fear, Randall, I’ve digested your comments on both items. You are still at the pinnacle of oration on this site. The next time you come up with a list, I will use volumnious amounts of lewd and vulgar references and a heaping helping of coarse jestering. I will get thrown into the penalty box and my shit will be lost without any context for anyone to be offended with, or get their hardy-har-hars out.

    That Chuck Conners thing will stick though, that was unexpectedly funny.

  • Cyn

    111. Mom424 –
    don’t you ever apologize again for not being here to moderate..especially Randall’s comments! he knows better so he has no cause to complain.
    comments are put into moderation for various reasons most of which any regular commentor should be well aware of by now. those comments are released from moderation whenever an admin is available to do so.
    i have a life offline. i do this voluntarily. & i think i’m safe in assuming that Mom424 does too.
    so ya’ll lighten up on the moderation. beats being flooded w/ spam and crap. or paying for the privilege of commenting. remember…this is free!
    and Mom424… your priorities are offline..just as mine are… no explanation or apology required.

  • Crimanon


  • Crimanon

    … I should really grow up.

  • Xavier

    Love the list, but NO DONNIE DARKO?! OK, the director’s sophomore film was sorta lacking, but you have to admit, you were shocked to find out Richard Kelly was only 18 when he directed Donnie Darko.

  • lo

    122. Xavie-

    i too love donnie darko, but richard kelly was 26 when he made it (still young deserves an honorable mention, maybe?)

  • A completely wonderful list, and I say this from a professional perspective. All lists of Hollywood subjects will arouse keen objections and powerful feelings of disappointment if one’s personal favorite has been left off.
    The point is that there is only so much space and soooooo many movies.
    Hollywood is a young persons town. Always has and always will be. In the past it was less so than now, older writers, producers, directors, were cherished for their knowledge and contributions to the craft; now, if you are over 30, good luck getting a job! My niece, who has been a Hollywood script writer since she was 19, is beginning to look to other avenues of work. Why? She’s 31 and the calls for her talent are coming to be farther and farther apart.
    I had a good run in Hollywood, but all things must end. Since I look a good 15 years younger than my actual age (more if I wear make-up and really try), I had a longer run than most.
    bucslim, your list is astoundingly good, especially when you add the “Bonus/other notable films” in. No one could have included all of the notable films, no matter what. You did a fine job, and I, for one, appreciate it.

  • lo

    “xavier” -sorry, copying mouse error!

  • Xavier

    lo- Ah, thanks, Must’ve gotten my facts wrong :(

  • bucslim

    Wow segue! I’m blushing. . . thank you very much for your kind words. Much appreciated.

  • 127. bucslim: I’m happy you appreciate the post, I meant every word, but you know, buddy, I was only telling the truth. I worked in Hollywood 20+ years, so I sort of know my stuff. You did a great job. All films I would have chosen (but my list would have run to 30 or 40 films! LOL!)

  • timmy the dying boy

    You forgot Ed Wood. He did “Glen or Glenda” when he was 29. Of course, it depends on how you define “great.”

  • I am quite surprised by the mixed comments about Tarantino. I love his films – all of them. The movie world would be less interesting without him in it.

  • jrg

    Hey bucslim, you might not want to read this but you also left off “The Killing”, another fantastic Kubrick film made when he was 28.

  • evilk8

    This list reminds me of how little I’ve succeed in life. Maybe tonight I should down the rest of my pain killers. Honestly – who really wants to reach 40?

  • Big black boa

    This list is horrible, just……….horrible

  • bucslim

    131 jrg – seriously dude, one punch in the nuts and you have my undivided attention. Two punches means I’m groveling on the ground not really paying much attention to anything.

    You poke me with that Kubrick stick again and I’m going to bring that Tapir ass-bone down, Moonwatcher-at-the-water-hole style.

  • christiane

    I enjoyed this list. It was interesting and informative, – though have to admit Tarantino isn’t my cup o’tea either.

  • sheena

    Like it was mentioned before, it’s Truffaut, not Truffant.

  • bigski

    Cyn put the hammer down.Rock on.

  • Nightbluefruit

    “The 400 Blows is a story of the injustices done to juvenile offenders in France during that time. After a life of abuse and petty crime, a boy is sent to a work camp by the sea. The film ends with him escaping to see the ocean, essentially freeing him from his troubled past.”

    This is a very bizarre description of The 400 Blows. Are you familiar with the rest of Truffaut’s Antoine Doinel films (Stolen Kisses, Bed & Board, &c.)? I don’t understand how anyone could describe Doinel as freed from his troubled past. Further, how is the movie about injustice? What makes the movie brilliant is that it is not concerned with politics or social conditions–it is instead the subjective condition of one child’s life.

  • bucslim

    Nightbluefruit – I fully admit to not seeing the film. The description was a paraphrase of what I had read in other reviews. I apologize if this isn’t accurate or in your words, bizzare, but I had to go with what I had researched.

  • darkknight9761

    Not to sound like a fan-boy, but what about Tim Burton, how old was he when he did “Batman”, or “Beetle Juice” for that matter?

  • ABrutalKind

    Several notable exclusions….
    David Fincher – He was 30 when he filmed Alien

    Wes Anderson – was under 30 for both Bottle Rocket(26) and Rushmore (29)

    Darren Aronofsky – 29 when he released Pi

  • bucslim

    ABrutalKind – I believe Alien was a Ridley Scott movie. I think Wes Anderson was a good mention, and I was absolutely blown away with Aronofsky’s The Wrestler. Mickey Rourke’s performance was just awesome.

  • gabi319

    112. TEX
    Loved Ran. It was quite possibly the easiest paper I had to write since there was plenty to write about! I just wished the rental place had a renewal option or more than one Ran so I could’ve watched it some other time and gotten to understand what they were saying, haha. Oh well, I suppose that’s what netflix is for now. I’ll have to add Yohimbo as well since I hadn’t seen that before.

  • Kalyan

    (#76)Stevenh & (#53) Mom424: I feel that the hour it took to writing the #15 comment was well-spent if it got one person to be curious about Indian movies. Thanks for your kind comments.

  • Big black boa

    can’t forget wes craven(25) when he directed scream

  • ABrutalKind

    Buc – You are right my bad, Fincher directed Alien 3, and probably not worth much of a mention

  • Zac R C

    Although not his best, John Cassavetes’s Shadows totally deserves a spot here. He would have been 29 or 30 at the time.

    Also, “138. Nightbluefruit – March 4th, 2009 at 9:05 pm “– you are spot on.

  • lo

    143. gabi319-

    if you’re watching kurosawa please watch Ikiru too.

  • lo


    oh damn, forgot who i was responding to, you already rated it #one. forgive me :)

  • kazana

    Very good list

  • bucslim

    Rascalian, that was funny, I completely forgot about that!

  • TEX

    But I will most definately be seeking Ikiru – got my curiosity up big time.
    and it’s Yojimbo – my bad

  • TEX

    150. Rascalian & bucslim
    Tom Cruiz fun here (soundboard)

  • Senor Shutter

    #145. Big black boa

    “can’t forget wes craven(25) when he directed scream.”

    Wes Craven was 57 when he directed Scream.

  • nepratini

    145 Big Black Boa – Wes Craven was not 25 when he directed Scream he was born in 1939 and Scream was made is 1996.

    Great to see Battleship Potemkin on the list. That scene with the Odessa Steps is amazing and pretty creepy. Good list all up though.

  • Parker

    All of that talk about PT Anderson, but none about Wes Anderson?

    Rushmore? Ever heard of it?

  • k1w1taxi

    Peter Jackson
    26 – Bad Taste
    28 – Meet The Feebles


  • psychosurfer

    Buc, I almost envy you for not knowing Luis Buñuel yet, I´m sure you´ll find his work a goldmine, he was a true genius, I´m a little bit disappointed that no one seems to know him here :(

  • bucslim

    psycho – I’m going to make it a point to take your recommendation and check him out.

  • ThatGuy

    boogie nights at 27 is more impressive than magnolia two years later. pta is amazing.

  • bigski

    I tried to watch Grindhouse the other night got halfway through. Unwatchable to me.

  • Paro

    #15 (Kalyan) : Nearly every film you’ve mentioned is a rip off from a hollywood film. Hence, it deserves absolutely no credit

  • Gabriel

    Ugh. Magnolia was shit. Just a huge disappointment after the absolutely brilliant Boogie Nights. The fact that you include it and admit you don’t even like the movie shows you are not qualified to make this list.

    Cruise was horribly miscast. I think “blistering performance” is apt though, because it made me want to set myself on fire in protest for all the innocent scenery he was chewing up. Why does everyone equate horrible overacting with brilliant performance? Also, that “everyone breaks into song” bit took me the rest of the way out of a movie that was already pushing my pretense threshold.

    Boyz n the Hood was kind of cheesy and unintentionally funny in some parts (rewatch if you don’t believe me). If you were going to use an example of a hood movie, Menace II Society was far superior, and the Hughes bros were about 20 when they made it.

    Blood Simple should have replaced Magnificent Ambersons. Using Welles twice seemed unnecessary. Citizen Kane was adequate, as he was never again allowed the creative freedom he had with his first film. Blood Simple was outstanding. It basically began the independent film movement and the Coens really needed to be represented in a list like this.

    American Graffiti was not that great. Lucas as a director is overrated. Swingers should have taken that spot. (Favreau turned 30 the month of that film’s release).

    I haven’t seen all of these, but based on the ones I know you missed, and what I know about the work of the directors you’ve picked, I’m confident your over-all list is not a very good one.

  • Amyss

    Gabriel, I could not have said it better myself. Excellent critiques – it is a complete loss to me why no one else sees thru Cruise’s ridiculous “acting”.

    I would also add the MAGNIFICENT Wes Anderson, born in 69 he was 29 when my (still) personal favorite of his, “Rushmore” was released in theaters. The inferior yet still good “Bottle Rocket” was released even earlier, in 94. Not too shabby as a first movie.

    But Again, Gabriel got right to the heart of the craptitude of this list. Well done, sir.

  • lalacroft

    I’ve seen 400 Blows, Breathless, Battleship Potemkin and Citizen Kane for my film class when I was still an undergraduate. While I do pride myself on being able to watch such great films, I couldn’t really remember the entirety of them because I was either asleep or I walked out of class because I wasn’t interested in finishing them. However, I more or less know the gist of the stories and a couple notable scenes from them. The Odessa steps in Battleship Potemkin, the beach scene in 400 Blows, the jump cuts in Breathless and the overall intensity of Citizen Kane.

  • I4gotMyMANTRA

    Get Out! I didn’t know Orson Wells was 26 when he made Citizen Kane. mazin! ;)

  • bucslim

    Gabriel – Your problems with Magnolia are not lost on me. I really didn’t care for the movie much, but found much love for it in the research I did. Putting research ahead of personal likes and dislikes actually proves that I respect what others, who know more about a subject than I do, feel about the movie. This list isn’t titled ‘bucslim’s favorite movies from directors under 30.’ If it was, then and only then would I list stuff only I like with no thought to the history of film or what respected critics of film have to say.

    Short of making your own list, you’ve got no basis to bitch about my selections. Go to the AMC filmsite – you won’t find Jon Favreau’s name on the ‘greatest directors’ tab. The Hughes Brothers ain’t there either. I put Singleton’s movie up there for one reason, it’s better than Menace.

    I’m not much of a Tom Cruise fan either, but in my opinion, and in the opinion of many respected film critics, this was his best acting performance. As far as I’m concerned, he plays Tom Cruise in every movie I’ve seen him in. Just in differing levels of annoyance. Again, in my opinion he did show some range here emotionally, which isn’t something I can say for anything else I’ve seen him in.

    As far as more obvious differences, American Graffiti WAS great. The problem is George popped his load on the next two-three movies (Star Wars 4-5 & Raiders of the Lost Arc) and it’s been pretty much down hill ever since. He had great potential, but was too busy bending over and kissing his own ass.

    Blood Simple is in my other notables.

    Write your own list next time.

  • Anon

    psychosurfer, (159),

    “Buc, I almost envy you for not knowing Luis Buñuel yet, I´m sure you´ll find his work a goldmine, he was a true genius, I´m a little bit disappointed that no one seems to know him here”

    Surely others do? segue? Randall? To name but two. If not, I’ll keep you company.


    The terrestrially evolved loan sharks are around, never fear. Old hammerhead will smash you toes one by one until pay up, including the 95% compounding interest. Dynamite’s old hat.


    We’re clearly all feeling intimidated and disheartened by these precocious whizz kids. Might we have an ‘Over-50s, Late Developers’ Great First Films’ next, please? We all need hope … (Errr, Over-70s?)

  • 169. Anon:…Luis Buñuel…Surely others do? segue? Randall? To name but two. If not, I’ll keep you company.
    Yes, of course I know Bunuel’s work, and backstory. Interesting indeed, especially the on/off relationship with Dali.

  • Solidus

    Wow, Sam Raimi directed Evil Dead at the age of 22?!?!?

    Thats amazing

  • bucslim

    Solidus – according to Bruce Campbell (Ash) it was just a bunch of guys goofing around in the woods with 5 gallon drums of karo syrup dyed red.

    I’m also told that the shed at the end of O Brother Where Art Thou is a replica of the house in Evil Dead.

  • Nancy

    the Virgin Suicides and Mean Streets (he might have been 31 though), are my suggestions.

  • 14gotmyMANTRA

    Yeah, Orson Wells and Charlie Chaplin were definatley prodiges. (Is that how you spell that? :P)

  • nicoleredz3

    I love Orson Welles! He totally became that middle aged character in Citizen Kane.

  • Michael Herrington

    Where….. the hell….. is Paths of Glory?

  • Duck, Donald

    Badlands – Terrence Mallick?!!!

  • RubyMoon

    I love Christopher Nolan ‘s work!What an absolute genius!

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