By The TV Answer Man team
Boogie Nights, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson at the tender age of 26, was released theatrically 26 years ago today. The film is PTA’s take on the 1970s adult film industry starring Mark Wahlberg as the cut out for legendary adult performer John Holmes. However, Boogie Nights is far more than a chronicle of the SoCal porn world from decades ago. It’s a thrilling and sometimes tragic look at a collection of lost souls who yearn for acceptance and recognition, whether they are shedding clothes for cash or slinging stereos in the Valley. What’s amazing 26 years after its release is Anderson’s amazing display of storytelling and mastery of the camera at such as young age, and just his second film. It’s no surprise that he’s gone on to direct some of the best films of the last two decades including Magnolia, There Will Be Blood and Licorice Pizza, among many others. In tribute to Boogie Nights and PTA, we look at five great films that were directed by people under the age of 30 and where you can stream them tonight.
1. Citizen Kane (1941)
Directed by Orson Welles (Age: 25)
Orson Welles was a mere 25 years old when he directed Citizen Kane, a film widely regarded as one of the greatest in cinematic history. Welles’ innovative storytelling techniques and groundbreaking cinematography revolutionized filmmaking, making him a legendary figure in the industry. The movie is about a rich millionaire who uses his fortune and newspaper holdings to win and influence people but it’s really a tale of lost dreams, something the mercurial Welles experienced personally throughout his uneven career.
Streaming now on Amazon’s Prime Video for $3.99.
2. Boogie Nights (1997)
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (Age: 27)
Paul Thomas Anderson directed “Boogie Nights” at the age of 27, creating a sprawling epic set in the 1970s porn industry. The film’s deep exploration of characters, coupled with Anderson’s distinctive visual style, established him as a remarkable director.
Streaming now on Showtime.
3. The 400 Blows (1959)
Directed by François Truffaut (Age: 27)
François Truffaut, at the age of 27, directed The 400 Blows, a seminal work in the French New Wave movement. The film’s raw portrayal of adolescence and Truffaut’s intimate storytelling style left an indelible mark on world cinema.
Streaming now on Max.
4. Badlands (1973)
Directed by Terrence Malick (Age: 29)
Badlands is a hauntingly poetic masterpiece that immerses viewers in a world of youthful rebellion and criminal romance. Inspired by real-life events, the film follows the twisted love story between Kit Carruthers, a charismatic but psychopathic James Dean-esque figure portrayed brilliantly by Martin Sheen, and Holly Sargis, a naive and impressionable Sissy Spacek. Malick’s direction is both visually stunning and emotionally profound, capturing the vast, desolate landscapes of the American Midwest with an ethereal beauty that contrasts sharply with the brutality of the characters’ actions. The film’s lyrical narration, provided by Spacek, lends a dreamlike quality to the unfolding tragedy, making Badlands a mesmerizing exploration of the darkness that can lurk within the human soul. Malick arguably never eclipsed his work in Badlands, in part from a still odd separation from Hollywood for years when he failed to direct anything. But he’s still regarded as one of the auteurs of the last 50 years.
Streaming now on Max.
5. Memento (2000)
Directed by Christopher Nolan (Age: 29)
Christopher Nolan directed the mind-bending thriller Memento at the age of 29, showcasing his mastery of intricate narratives and non-linear storytelling. The film’s unique structure and compelling storyline established Nolan as a visionary filmmaker. Nolan has gone to direct such classics as Dunkirk, Interstellar, Inception, The Dark Knight and Oppenheimer.
Streaming now for free on Tubi.
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