I can think of The 400 Blows, Jeanne Dielman.
I’m not a huge fan of Breathless, but I’ll mention it anyway, since it’s so influential and is bound to be mentioned anyway in a thread like this.
Also, I’m not sure if Bernardo Bertolucci was under 30 or not when he made The Conformist, because it came out after he turned 30, but he may have been younger when he actually directed it.
Orson Welles? Citizen Kane?
True, I totally forgot about Citizen Kane.
I think Kubrick was 30 when he started on Spartacus so that means he made Paths of Glory and The Killing before he was 30.
I only watch films made by people under 30 that are under 30 years old. It’s the only way I can stay young. It’s like feeding on the blood of virgins, except that it actually works.
“Boys ’n the Hood,” “Magnolia,” “Night of the Living Dead,” “Battleship Potemkin,” “Sex, Lies, and Videotape.”
Oh, and my favorite Coen brothers film, “Blood Simple” (Ethan was under, Joel just over 30).
Remember “Logan’s Run”? In that perfectly pleasant sci-fi realm, everyone lived to the exact age of 30 and was then summarily dispatched.
Stanley Donan directed or co-directed On the Town, Royal Wedding and Singin’ in the Rain before age 30.
I admit that some of my choices are not regular choices as ‘great’ films, but I would say that they work pretty damn well.
The Evil Dead
Evil Dead II
The Sixth Sense
And the directors turned 30 the same year as these were released, so all the production would’ve likely been done while they were 29:
Aguirre, the Wrath of God
Being John Malcovich (haven’t seen it myself, but it carries a lot of hype to this day)
The Bird With the Crystal Plummage
Shawn of the Dead
Don’t forget Jean Vigo, who died at 29.
saw and dead silence and death sentence
p.t. anderson: hard eight, boogie nights, and magnolia
explicit ills by mark webber
I’m glad I found this topic. After seeing a similar, currently active thread (on the first page), I was immediately interested in finding a list such as this one.
Can we start adding to this specific list of great filmmakers? I want to find more directors who are either:
1) presently under the age of 30 and making some remarkable movies
or who WERE
2) under the age of 30 when they made some remarkable films
Romero made Night of the Living Dead at 28.
Keaton made Sherlock Jr. at 29.
Eisenstein was 27 when he made Battleship Potemkin.
The list (so far) of filmmakers who made, or are currently making, either great, or pretty special, or famous, or impossible to ignore, movies before the age of 30 :
Joel and Ethan Coen
George A. Romero
and a few more, but I don’t have time to continue right now.
Donnie Darko don’t forget. Richard Kelly was only 26 when he made that; what a complicated imagination he had at that age to arouse our minds. Also there’s Pi by Darren Arronofsky, Following by Chris Nolan, The Usual Suspects by Bryan Singer, Knife in the Water by Roman Polanski, Away From Her by Sarah Polley, American Graffiti by George Lucas, and whoa! Evil Dead was directed by Sam Raimi when he was only about 21 or 22.
John Ford (23 when he made Straight Shooting)
Bernardo Bertolucci (23 when he made Before the Revolution)
Jean-Luc Godard (29 when he made Breathless)
Charles Chaplin (27 when he made The Immigrant, Easy Street, and The Rink)
King Vidor (28 when he made Peg O’ My Heart)
Leos Carax (26 when he made Mauvais Sang)
Abel Ferrara (29 when he made Ms. 45)
Raya Martin (25 when he made Indepenencia)
Philippe Garrel (20 when he made Le Revelateur)
With the exception of Breathless, I haven’t seen any of the films you’ve listed there, Neil. Thanks for adding them, but are all of them considered “great” films? Were they all critically acclaimed? I know that Breathless certainly was, but I don’t know if that’s the case with the others. Do you?
Raúl Ruiz made a couple of excellent films as a twentysomething in Chile. His debut feature, Tres tristes tigres (1968), shared the Golden Leopard at Locarno in 1969, when he was 28.
la pointe-courte, agnès varda, 26 in 1956, arguably the birth of la nouvelle vague
Kenneth Anger was 17 when he made Fireworks.
Mario Peixoto was 21 when he made his only film, Limite.
Louis Malle – Elevator to the Gallows (24)
Andrei Tarkovsky – Ivan’s Childhood (29)
Claude Lelouch – A Man and a Woman (29)
Rainer Werner Fassbinder – Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (29)
I believe all of them attracted critical attention upon their original release. They may not necessarily be “canonized” but they are all spectacular films. Bertolucci’s debut was actually La Commare Secca, made when he was 20, but that film is unfortunately not very good.
A Genius in Youth
Ed Wood was 29 when he wrote, directed and starred in Glen or Glenda? (1953).