Live Poll: (Not) First Feature Films by Famous Filmmakers

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  • Updated 1 year ago
  • (Edited)
All of feature films listed below are widely thought to be classic "debuts" and are seemingly first features of great directors. However, if you dig deeper, turns out their actual feature debuts were forgotten for one reason or another. Which of these faux first features is your favorite and most inspiring case of early filmmaking by a known director?

Note: Finished feature films only.

List: https://www.imdb.com/list/ls022551678/
Poll: https://www.imdb.com/poll/gNskjoIHW-U/
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Nikolay Yeriomin (Mykola Yeromin), Champion

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Posted 1 year ago

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Stephen N Russell

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Duel, Terminator, Assult on P 13.
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Nikolay Yeriomin (Mykola Yeromin), Champion

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I hope it's okay to bring two poll suggestions in one day? I have a creative procrastination period, I guess. 

It's funny that if someone does a poll like this in the future, if I will achieve any fame as a filmmaker, someone might put me in as well: despite my first feature film is still in production, midway through it I was able to finish a crappy documentary named The Conference (2014), which is next to unwatchable. :)  
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Peter, Champion

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Perfectly okay.

Interesting list!
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Jen, Champion

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Have you considered having the vote be about the actual first film?

Suggested edit to your intro:
All of feature films listed below are widely thought to be classic "debuts" and are seemingly first features of great directors. However, if you dig deeper, turns out their actual feature debuts were forgotten for one reason or another. Which of these faux first features is your favorite and most inspiring case of early filmmaking by a known director? 

FYC:
Sergio Leone - Colussus of Rhodes, not A Fistful of Dollars
Paul Thomas Anderson - Hard Eight (AKA Sydney), not Boogie Nights
David Fincher - Alien 3, not Se7en
Michael Cimino - Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, not The Deer Hunter
Richard Linklater - It's Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books, not Dazed and Confused
Michel Gondry - Human Nature, not Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Darren Aronofsky - Pi, not Requiem for a Dream 
Joon-ho Bong - Barking Dogs Never Bite, not The Host
Steve McQueen - Hunger, not Shame (or 12 Years a Slave?)
Joss Whedon - Serenity, not The Avengers
The Wachowskis - Bound, not The Matrix
Hugh Hudson - Irresistible, not Chariots of Fire
Adrian Lyne - Foxes, not Flashdance
Alan Parker - Bugsy Malone, not Midnight Express

Scorsese's I Call First is actually better known as Who's That Knocking at My Door.

Maybe Spielberg's non-first should be Jaws?
(Edited)
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Nikolay Yeriomin (Mykola Yeromin), Champion

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Hello, Jen. 

Will research further on these cases. I'd say they're a bit tough because most of them are just cases of not-that-popular directorial debuts (like people are not even thinking whether directors had anything before), while most of the other cases listed are very common misconceptions of being first for one reason or another. It is quite odd for me to hear that Whedon and Fincher might fall into that category for many people, while in case of Gondry I might be biased because I'm well aware that he had a  career beforehands. Same problem with Coppola who had several uncredited finishing director jobs for Roger Corman, then a few b-movies and then a few movies more, but at the time of The Godfather he was clearly a professional and I doubt anyone could have suggested it was his debut.

For some reason I though that Il colosso di Rodi (1961) was one of Leone's uncredited jobs finishing the movie after another director, of which he had quite a few (Bava is also a case like that, albeit a rare one in which it is known that he directed at least 50% of the movie), but it seems fully credited and legit under the radar debut. Weird.  

As for Jaws, while it overshadowed The Duel completely, that movie was succesful enough to have a theatrical run after it was shown on television (it was made as a TV movie on a small budget) and initially gained some weight which Spielberg used to direct Jaws. The fact that he directed Firelight at the age of 18 with the budget of $400 is just too cool for me not to take into consideration there. Plus if we consider trivia value for some people it might be two for the price of one. 
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Timothy Gray

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FYC:
Damien Chazelle - Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench, not Whiplash
Clint Eastwood - Play Misty for Me, not High Plains Drifter
Peter Jackson -  Bad Taste, not The Fellowship of the Ring
Billy Wilder - The Major and the Minor, not Double Indemnity
Akira Kurosawa - Sanshiro Sugata, not Rashomon
John Hughes - Sixteen Candles, not The Breakfast Club
Sam Peckinpah - The Deadly Companions, not Ride the High Country
Hayao Miyazaki - The Castle of Cagliostro, not Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
Spike Lee - Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads*, not She's Gotta Have It

Golden-age directors often had decades worth of little-known films going back to the Silent Era before ever having a major hit that people nowadays think of as their first film. For example:
John Ford - 60+ features from 1917-1938 before directing Stagecoach
Frank Capra - 22 features from 1926-1933 before directing It Happened One Night
But, that might be a subject for another list.
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Nikolay Yeriomin (Mykola Yeromin), Champion

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As I've mentioned earlier answering Jen with many cases it's really hard to distinguish the cases in which people just become majorly aware of directors after their work become more popular and cases when there is an ouright misconception of said director having a debut feature film while he has one or few features already. 

Some of the cases are outright great fit for the poll, though, especially Spike Lee and Sam Peckinpah
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Silitonga

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FYC:

Peter Jackson - Bad Taste (1987), not Braindead (1992)
Joel CoenEthan Coen - Blood Simple. (1984), not Fargo (1996)
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Nikolay Yeriomin (Mykola Yeromin), Champion

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These are the tough ones for me to add. I know that some people might only remember those as their earliest movie, but really it's hard for me to imagine, that some people would think that Peter Jackson's first was Braindead (which was his thrid feature), considering the cult following his previous two works have, while Coen Brothers had four feature films between Blood Simple.  and Fargo, all of them having cult following to some point.   
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Silitonga

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Or Peter Jackson's first was TLOTR
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Nikolay Yeriomin (Mykola Yeromin), Champion

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I don't know cases of directors who become more known to larger audiences after making quite a few features might be a subject for another poll, as Timothy suggested.  
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leavey-2

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Alien (1979)
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Nikolay Yeriomin (Mykola Yeromin), Champion

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Updated the suggestion. Updates include: 

-An improved description, Sergio LeonePaul Thomas Anderson, The Wachowskis and Hugh Hudson thanks to Jen.
-John HughesSam Peckinpah and Spike Lee thanks to Timothy Gray
-Tony ScottM. Night ShyamalanRobert ZemeckisBryan Singer and Stanley Kubrick
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Supachewy

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Great list idea! Very interesting and would make for a great poll!
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Nikolay Yeriomin (Mykola Yeromin), Champion

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Great thanks! 
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Jessica, Champion

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Corrections:

All of the feature films listed below...
However, if you dig deeper, it turns out...
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rubyfruit76, Champion

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'Good one Nikolay!
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Peter, Champion

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Nikolay Yeriomin (Mykola Yeromin), Champion

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Great thanks! 
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Congratulations nikolayyeriomin on your 3rd live poll! As of 20-Jun-2018 8:59 PM Pacific your polls have 808 or more votes, for an average of 269 votes per poll.

(Not) First Feature Films by Famous Filmmakers
6587th Live Poll: https://www.imdb.com/poll/gNskjoIHW-U/
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තරිඳු ධනංජය/Thorin

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Ridley Scott's debut is Alien? :o
I'm surprised considering how great it is. :D
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That's the point about the poll - Alien is not his debut, but many people think it is. :) I've collected some of the most common misconceptions of such type to illiustrate that many directors have rather unknown, obscure and sometimes weird first movies fewer people actually know about.
(Edited)