It's never too late: The major directors who made their first feature film in their 30s and 40s

Just get out there and create

Christopher Hooton
Monday 16 January 2017 17:05
Comments
Gus Van Sant directed Good Will Hunting when he was 45
Gus Van Sant directed Good Will Hunting when he was 45

Filmmaking is such an involved and involving process that it may feel like, unless you’ve been to film school and been making lo-fi shorts in your teens, you’ve missed the boat.

Be reassured though, that some of the best directors in the world didn’t make their first feature until their 30s, or even 40s, and most create their masterpiece in the second half of their lives.

I’m paraphrasing here, but I remember Judd Apatow saying that they best way to become a director is to just go out and direct; so, with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the auteurs you probably assumed had been making movies all their lives (data via MentorLess):

Akira Kurosawa

First feature and age when they directed it: Judo Saga - 33

Breakthrough feature film and age when they directed it: Rashomon - 40

Ridley Scott

First feature and age when they directed it: The Duellists - 40

Breakthrough feature film and age when they directed it: Alien - 42

Michael Haneke

First feature and age when they directed it: The Seventh Continent - 47

Breakthrough feature film and age when they directed it: The Piano Teacher - 59

Gus Van Sant

First feature and age when they directed it: Mala Noche - 33

Breakthrough feature film and age when they directed it: Good Will Hunting - 45

Jean-Pierre Jeunet

First feature and age when they directed it: Delicatessen - 38

Breakthrough feature film and age when they directed it: Amelie - 48

Ang Lee

First feature and age when they directed it: Pushing Hands - 38

Breakthrough feature film and age when they directed it: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - 45

Andrea Arnold

First feature and age when they directed it: Red Road - 45

Breakthrough feature film and age when they directed it: Fish Tank - 48

Alejandro G. Inarritu

First feature and age when they directed it: Amores Perros - 37

Breakthrough feature film and age when they directed it: Birdman - 51

Sam Mendes

First feature and age when they directed it: American Beauty - 34

Breakthrough feature film and age when they directed it: American Beauty - 34

Martin McDonagh

First feature and age when they directed it: In Bruges - 38

Breakthrough feature film and age when they directed it: In Bruges - 38

Ava DuVernay

First feature and age when they directed it: I Will Follow - 38

Breakthrough feature film and age when they directed it: Selma - 42

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