April 24, 2020

What Famous Directors' Movie is Their Best Hidden Gem?

Let's bring a big Twitter discussion to the front steps of No Film School...

I have been using my quarantine days to finish new screenplays and watch a bunch of different director's entire filmographies. It's been kind of fun to scour the filmographies of Tony Scott, Jane Campion, and Alexander Payne. 

You get the good, the bad, and the somewhere in between. 

For every Zodiac, there's an Aliens 3

While everyone knows ET and Raiders of the Lost Ark, how many people have sat down to revisit Always lately? 

So, here's the debate that I originally saw and participated in on Twitter...

"What's a movie that you consider to be an underrated or rarely-seen gem from a filmmaker that is otherwise well-known? What's your hidden fav that you feel slipped through the cracks that more people need to see?"

What Famous Directors' Movie is Their Best Hidden Gem? 

When I first participated, my gut went right to Millions by Danny Boyle. I think it's a movie that could make you a better person if you watched it, and I think it gets lost in the noise around Boyle's later hits. 

My buddy, Justin Kremer, went with Promised Land from Gus Van Sant.

I think that's a good pick, too. Not just because Justin gives me notes on my screenplays, but because it takes someone famous for many other things and highlights one that it feels like no one really talks about anymore. 

I like Alexander Payne's The Descendents a lot. I think it has an amazing score and a depth other movies do not carry. 

But most people want to talk about his work on Election and About Schmidt

Famed critic Matt Zoller Seitz chimed in with a great list from a ton of diverse and interesting filmmakers as well. 

Challenges like this are hard because you need someone who has not only made a lot of movies, but also has so much fervor around their career that one or two titles could be lost. 

For instance, Sam Mendes made Away We Go, which I think got no play when it came out and wound up being a movie I go back to all the time. 

So this brings us to the part where you chime in...

What are your picks for the underrated gems? 

What are some movies from famous filmmakers you think are unheralded and that everyone should check out? 

Let us know in the comments.      

Your Comment


"Cronos" by Guillermo del Toro is a showcase of the director's skill for use of practical effects, and is a truly great film.

April 24, 2020 at 10:40AM


Francis Ford Coppola-One from the Heart

April 24, 2020 at 11:15AM, Edited April 24, 11:15AM

Bradley Dieno
Producer Corporate Video

I know it always gets a bad wrap but, I think you need to revisit Aliens 3. Specifically the Directors Cut. If one considers the ridiculous of the production on that set. I think it's absolutely incredible, world building, stylistically matches up with who David Fincher is as a director and why not allow him to add his character to the franchise, Cameron definitely did with Aliens.

To answer you initial question, There are a few worth mentioning
Nicholas Winding Refn - Bronson
Guy Ritchie - Revolver
Ridley Scott - The Counselor
Geroge Lucus - THX 1138

April 24, 2020 at 12:43PM, Edited April 24, 12:44PM


Steven Soderbergh with The Limey

April 24, 2020 at 3:31PM

Steven Fine
Writer Producer Director


April 25, 2020 at 8:23PM

Stu Mannion


April 26, 2020 at 3:21PM


Porkchop Jones by Sir Bulelwvek De La Poiterbutterbritches

April 24, 2020 at 10:29PM, Edited April 24, 10:29PM

Derek Doublin
Director, Cinematographer, Large Scale Artist

It's a good question, but there are so many filmmakers with so many hidden gems... And a filmmaker's hidden gem somewhere (or for someone) might juste be a famous film elsewhere. I can't even decide a filmmaker...

April 25, 2020 at 1:36AM

Vincent Galiano
Filmmaker / Screenwriter / Photographer

Francois Truffaut - L'enfant sauvage
Paolo Sorrentino - The Consequences of Love
Joss Whedon - Much Ado About Nothing
Michael Haneke - The Seventh Continent
Krzysztof Kieslowski - Camera Buff

April 26, 2020 at 1:53AM


Park Chan Wook - I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK
Paul Thomas Anderson - Hard Eight
Bong Joon-ho - Barking Dogs Never Bite
Cristian Mungiu - Tales from the Golden Age

April 27, 2020 at 8:23AM, Edited April 27, 8:23AM


Oliver Stone - El Salvador
Stanley Kubrick- The Killing

April 28, 2020 at 4:55AM


David Lynch -- The Straight Story
Don't let the G-Rating turn you off, it's Lynchian to the core, full of heart, and pitch-perfect pacing.

Peter Weir -- Fearless
Deeply profound and spiritual masterpiece with Jeff Bridges. Here, "carpe diem" is an understatement.

Werner Herzog -- Invincible
Powerful drama which takes full advantage of the leader actor: literally the world's strongest man.

May 5, 2020 at 12:18PM, Edited May 5, 12:18PM

Sam Hays
Screenwriter, Editor, Actor, Grip, Director