First Films From Famous Filmmakers

During this time of isolation, what better time to explore the films of your favorite directors? Check out some of the seedlings in the filmography of these great directors, all streaming right now on these platforms. Some are are great, some are not, but all are fascinating for a cinephile looking to dive deeper into a director's work.

For this list a first film is a feature length fiction film.

Click images to see trailers.

FEAR & DESIRE

dir. Stanley Kubrick

NR | 1953 | USA | 62 MIN

(Available to stream now on Amazon Prime)

Four soldiers trapped behind enemy lines must confront their fears and desires.

Other films by director:

Spartacus (1960), Dr. Strangelove (1964), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), A Clockwork Orange (1971), The Shining (1980), Full Metal Jacket (1987).

THE VIRGIN SUICIDES

dir. Sofia Coppola

R | 1999 | USA | 97 MIN

(Available to stream now on Amazon Prime)

A group of male friends become obsessed with five mysterious sisters who are sheltered by their strict, religious parents in suburban Detroit in the mid 1970s.

Other films by director:

Lost In Translation (2003), Marie Antoinette (2006), Somewhere (2010), The Bling Ring (2013), A Very Murray Christmas (2015), The Beguiled (2017).

HARD EIGHT

dir. Paul Thomas Anderson

R | 1996 | USA | 101 MIN

(Available to stream now on Amazon Prime)

Professional gambler Sydney teaches John the tricks of the trade. John does well until he falls for cocktail waitress Clementine.

Other films by director:

Boogie Nights (1997), Magnolia (1999), Punch-Drunk Love (2002), There Will Be Blood (2007), The Master (2012), Phantom Thread (2017).

π

dir. Darren Aronofsky

R | 1998 | USA | 84 MIN

(Available to stream now on Amazon Prime)

A paranoid mathematician searches for a key number that will unlock the universal patterns found in nature.

Other films by director:

Requiem For A Dream (2000), The Fountain (2006), The Wrestler (2008), Black Swan (2010), Noah (2014), mother! (2017).

DEMENTIA 13

dir. Francis Ford Coppola

NR | 1963 | USA | 75 MIN

(Available to stream now on Amazon Prime)

Shocked by the death of her spouse, a scheming widow hatches a bold plan to get her hands on the inheritance, unaware that she is targeted by an axe-wielding murderer who lurks in the family's estate. What mystery shrouds the noble house?

Other films by director:

The Godfather trilogy (1972-90), The Conversation (1974), Apocalypse Now (1979), The Outsiders (1983), Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992), The Rainmaker (1997).

SOLO CON TU PAREJA

dir. Alfonso Cuarón

NR | 1991 | MEXICO | 94 MIN

(Available to stream now on Amazon Prime)

A womanizer is falsely diagnosed with AIDS by a jealous lover and falls in love with a woman equally suicidal as he.

Other films by director:

A Little Princess (1995)Great Expectations (1999)Y tu mamá también (2001), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)Children of Men (2006), Gravity (2013), Roma (2018).

LADY BIRD

dir. Greta Gerwig

R | 2017 | USA | 94 MIN

(Available to stream now on Amazon Prime)

In 2002, an artistically inclined seventeen-year-old girl comes of age in Sacramento, California.

Other films by director:

Hannah Takes the Stairs (writer, 2007)Frances Ha (writer, 2012)Mistress America (writer, 2015), Little Women (2019).

SHE'S GOTTA HAVE IT

dir. Spike Lee

R | 1986 | USA | 84 MIN

(Available to stream now on Netflix)

Story of a woman and her three lovers.

Other films by director:

Do The Right Thing (1989), Jungle Fever (1991)Malcolm X (1992)Crooklyn (1994), Clockers (1995), He Got Game (1998)Summer of Sam (1999), Bamboozled (2000), 25th Hour (2002), BlacKKKlansman (2018).

THE LOVELESS

dir. Kathryn Bigelow

R | 1981 | USA | 82 MIN

(Available to stream now on Amazon Prime)

Trouble ensues when a motorcycle gang stops in a small southern town while heading to the races at Daytona.

Other films by director:

Near Dark (1987), Point Break (1991), Strange Days (1995), The Weight of Water (2000), K-19: The Widowmaker (2002), The Hurt Locker (2008), Zero Dark Thirty (2012).

MONSTER

dir. Patty Jenkins

R | 2003 | USA | 109 MIN

(Available to stream (with ads) now on Amazon Prime)

Based on the life of Aileen Wuornos, a Daytona Beach prostitute who became a serial killer.

Other films by director:

Wonder Woman (2017), Wonder Woman 1984 (2020).

EX MACHINA

dir. Alex Garland

R | 2014 | UK | 108 MIN

(Available to stream now on Netflix)

A young programmer is selected to participate in a ground-breaking experiment in synthetic intelligence by evaluating the human qualities of a highly advanced humanoid A.I.

Other films by director:

The Beach (writer, 2000), 28 Days Later... (writer, 2002), Sunshine (writer, 2007), Never Let Me Go (writer, 2010), Dredd (writer, 2012), Annihilation (2018).

SAY ANYTHING...

dir. Cameron Crowe

PG-13 | 1989 | USA | 100 MIN

(Available to stream now on Hulu)

A noble underachiever and a beautiful valedictorian fall in love the summer before she goes off to college.

Other films by director:

Singles (1995), Jerry Maguire (1997), Almost Famous (2001), Vanilla Sky (2004), Elizabethtown (2009), We Bought A Zoo (2011), Aloha (2015).

MOUSEHUNT

dir. Gore Verbinski

PG | 1997 | USA | 98 MIN

(Available to stream now on Amazon Prime)

Two stumblebum inheritors are determined to rid their antique house of a mouse who is equally determined to stay where he is.

Other films by director:

The Ring (2002), Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), The Weather Man (2005), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006), Pirates of the Caribbean: The World's End (2007), Rango (2011), The Lone Ranger (2013), A Cure For Wellness (2016).

THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION

dir. Frank Darabont

R | 1994 | USA | 142 MIN

(Available to stream now on Netflix)

Two imprisoned men bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency.

Other films by director:

The Green Mile (1999), The Majestic (2001), The Mist (2007).

CAGED HEAT

dir. Jonathan Demme

R | 1974 | USA | 83 MIN

(Available to stream now on Amazon Prime)

In a women's prison, a group of inmates band together to combat the repressive and abusive policies of the warden.

Other films by director:

Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense (1984), Something Wild (1986), Married to the Mob (1988), The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Philadelphia (1993), Beloved (1998), The Manchurian Candidate (2004), Rachel Getting Married (2008).

AMORES PERROS

dir. Alejandro G. Iñárritu

R | 2000 | MEXICO | 154 MIN

(Available to stream now on Amazon Prime)

A horrific car accident connects three stories, each involving characters dealing with loss, regret, and life's harsh realities, all in the name of love.

Other films by director:

21 Grams (2003), Babel (2006), Biutiful (2010), Birdman Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014), The Revenant (2015).

BAD TASTE

dir. Peter Jackson

NR | 1987 | NEW ZEALAND | 91 MIN

(Available to stream now on Amazon Prime)

The population of a small town disappears and is replaced by aliens that chase human flesh for their intergalactic fast-food chain.

Other films by director:

Dead Alive (1992), Heavenly Creatures (1994), The Frighteners (1996), The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-03), King Kong (2005), The Lovely Bones (2009)The Hobbit trilogy (2012-14).

HENRY V

dir. Kenneth Branagh

PG-13 | 1989 | UK | 137 MIN

(Available to stream now on Amazon Prime)

In the midst of the Hundred Years War, the young King Henry V of England embarks on the conquest of France in 1415.

Other films by director:

Dead Again (1991), Much Ado About Nothing (1993), Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994), Hamlet (1996), Thor (2011), Cinderella (2015)Murder on the Orient Express (2017), Artemis Fowl (2020), Death on the Nile (2020).

DELICATESSEN

dir. Jean-Pierre Jeunet

R | 1991 | FRANCE | 99 MIN

(Available to stream now on Amazon Prime)

Post-apocalyptic surrealist black comedy about the landlord of an apartment building who occasionally prepares a delicacy for his odd tenants.

Other films by director:

The City of Lost Children (1995), Alien: Resurrection (1997), Amélie (2001), A Very Long Engagement (2004), Micmacs (2009).

STRICTLY BALLROOM

dir. Baz Luhrmann

PG | 1992 | AUSTRALIA | 94 MIN

(Available to stream now on Netflix)

A maverick dancer risks his career by performing an unusual routine and sets out to succeed with a new partner.

Other films by director:

Romeo + Juliet (1996), Moulin Rouge! (2001), Australia (2008), The Great Gatsby (2013).

PUSHING HANDS

dir. Ang Lee

NR | 1991 | TAIWAN | 105 MIN

(Available to stream now on Amazon Prime)

All the while, Master Chu tries to find his place in the foreign American world.

Other films by director:

Sense & Sensibility (1996), The Ice Storm (2001), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2008), Hulk (2003), Brokeback Mountain (2005), Lust, Caution (2007), Taking Woodstock (2009), Life of Pi (2012), Gemini Man (2019).

YENTL

dir. Barbara Streisand

PG | 1983 | UK | 133 MIN

(Available to stream now on Amazon Prime)

A Jewish girl disguises herself as a boy to enter religious training.

Other films by director:

The Prince of Tides (1991), The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996).

ORDINARY PEOPLE

dir. Robert Redford

R | 1980 | USA | 124 MIN

(Available to stream now on Amazon Prime)

The accidental death of the older son of an affluent family deeply strains the relationships among the bitter mother, the good-natured father, and the guilt-ridden younger son.

Other films by director:

The Milagro Beanfield War (1988), A River Runs Through It (1992), Quiz Show (1994), The Horse Whisperer (1998), The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000), Lions For Lambs (2007).

RIVER OF GRASS

dir. Kelly Reichardt

NR | 1994 | USA | 76 MIN

(Available to stream now on Amazon Prime)

Cozy, a dissatisfied housewife, meets Lee at a bar. A drink turns into a home break-in, and a gun shot sends them on the run together, thinking they've committed murder.

Other films by director:

Old Joy (2006), Wendy and Lucy (2008), Meek's Cutoff (2010), Night Moves (2013), Certain Women (2016), First Cow (2020).

THE KID

dir. Charles Chaplin

NR | 1921 | USA | 68 MIN

(Available to stream now on Amazon Prime)

The Tramp cares for an abandoned child, but events put that relationship in jeopardy.

Other films by director:

The Gold Rush (1925), City Lights (1931), Modern Times (1936), The Great Dictator (1940), Limelight (2052).