Best Young Movie Directors

Wednesday, July 27 by Shawn Lealos

Film directing is an occupation dominated by older men and women, while the best young movie directors are normally under the age of 40. Despite the late start of many of Hollywood’s finest, there are plenty of young stars creating some of the best cinema today. From comedies to super hero movies to blockbusters, these are some of the most talented filmmakers in the business.

  1. Christopher NolanChristopher Nolan, 40, earned his reputation as one of the best young movie directors working when he released his breakout movie “Memento” at the age of 30. By the age of 40, he created the most successful comic book movie ever with “The Dark Knight” and earned three Oscar nominations.
  2. Edgar WrightEdgar Wright, 36, is a British filmmaker who has gained a large cult following despite only making three movies so far. He has won over horror fans with “Shaun of the Dead,” mastered the buddy cop comedy with “Hot Fuzz” and tackled the comic book movie with “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.”
  3. Rian Johnson – Rian Johnson, 37, has only directed two movies as of 2011 but has made his mark as one of cinema’s brightest young movie directors. His first movie was the highly creativ high school Noir film “Brick,” starring Joseph Gordon Levitt, making him a talent to watch.
  4. Duncan Jones – The son of David Bowie set out to prove he could succeed in Hollywood without using his father’s famous name. With his debut feature, the sci-fi sensation “Moon,” he did just that. Jones, 39, won a BAFTA award for the movie and his second film, “Source Code,” hits theaters in 2011.
  5. Matthew VaughnMatthew Vaughn, 40, broke in as a producer for Guy Ritchie’s films and made his directorial debut at the age of 33 with “Layer Cake.” He has since made the impressive 2010 comic book adaptation “Kick-Ass” and is working on the latest “X-Men” sequel, “X-Men: First Class.”
  6. David Gordon Green – David Gordon Green, 35, received critical acclaim for his debut feature, “George Washington,” at the age of 25. The movie caught the attention of Judd Apatow, who brought him in to direct the comedy “Pineapple Express.” His next comedy, “Your Highness” hits theaters in 2011.
  7. Marc WebbMarc Webb, 36, began his career as a music video director before breaking out with the 2009 independent film, “(500) Days of Summer”. He is now one of the hottest young movie directors working, tasked with adapting the next “Spider-Man” movie.
  8. James Gunn James Gunn, 40, began his career at the independent movie studio, Troma, where he wrote one of their best films, “Tromeo and Juliet.” After writing some Hollywood movies, he finally got his chance to direct a film with the horror comedy “Slither.”
  9. Todd PhillipsTodd Phillips, 40, has made a career out of directing R-rated sex comedies but became one of Hollywood’s most sought after young movie directors when “The Hangover” became cinema’s highest grossing R-rated comedy. Phillips also directed “Old School” and “Road Trip.”
  10. Sofia Coppola – The daughter of Francis Ford Coppola, Sofia Coppola, 39, is the first female to ever receive an Oscar nomination for directing, making her one of cinema’s finest young movie directors. She directed her first movie at the age of 28 and has directed four films in the eleven years since, outside the Hollywood system.
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COMMENTS

  1. July 27, 2011 1:12 pm

    David

    Good list, but Jane Campion was nominated for directing The Piano years before Coppola made Lost in Translation. I’m fairly certain another woman was nominated before Campion, but the name and film presently escape me.