People sure do love a natural. The idea that some unknown visionary filmmaker has emerged from the ether with a fully formed artistic voice is as reliably satisfying a narrative as any that can actually be found in the movies, themselves. First films are always judged just a little bit differently. The skepticism they naturally invite is balanced by a collective eagerness to crown the next big thing – this holds especially true in the Sundance era, and it’s tempting (if not especially productive) to wonder if something like Benh Zeitlin’s “Beasts of the Southern Wild” may have been received differently had it not been his first feature.
As the summer movie season continues to bulldoze us with massive franchise movies, almost all of which are entrusted only to reasonably proven and experienced directors, we thought it might be fun to think of our favorite first feature films, the movies which provided lasting proof that – in a world of reboots and sequels and reboots of sequels – the cinema is never more exciting than when it introduces you to the sound of a brand new voice. With that in mind, here’s our list of the 50 Best First Films Ever Made.*
*Only feature-length films were considered, though the #49 slot is a bit of a cheat.