Great movies where directors stepped out

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Movies where directors stepped out of their usual types of films and it worked swimmingly!



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I've never seen it but wasn't Wes Craven's Music of the Heart critically lauded?

John Carpenter's Starman comes to mind.



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Takashi Miike's The Bird People in China and Nintama Rantaro (a straight drama and a children's film as opposed to his usual controversial films involving gangsters or horror films)
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Kurosawa's Tokyo Sonata, mostly known for his psychological thrillers, his style and sense of atmosphere worked perfectly for the family drama.

Scorsese's Hugo, a family film, but a Scorsese family film. I guess Age of Innocence could also count. Also great.
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Would Fantastic Mr Fox count? on account of the stop motion?

Falling Down, was directed by Joel Schumacher, I think at the time it was a bit of a departure from his usual brat pack / comedy / romance centred movies and has gone on to hold up very well.

Nicholas Roeg - 'The Man who fell to Earth'?



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Those last few don't seem like particularly big steps out - The Color Purple is probably the best example of Spielberg stepping out since it is probably his first big drama instead of Schindler's List and half his career is like that now, whereas American Gangster is a crime drama period-piece from a guy whose career already involves a lot of crime dramas and period pieces.



Just my opinion, but most directors who step out of their comfort zone aren't very successful with it, but there are a few times where I think it worked...off the top of my head:

Milos Foreman Hair

Richard Lester A Hard Day's Night

Elia Kazan A Face in the Crowd

George Lucas American Graffiti

Stanley Kramer It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

Sidney Pollack Tootsie

Tim Burton Ed Wood

Fred Zinneman Oklahoma!



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Those last few don't seem like particularly big steps out - The Color Purple is probably the best example of Spielberg stepping out since it is probably his first big drama instead of Schindler's List and half his career is like that now, whereas American Gangster is a crime drama period-piece from a guy whose career already involves a lot of crime dramas and period pieces.
Ridley Scott is by large a sci-fi epic director, stuff like Black Hawk Down and American Gangster look out of place to me.



American Gangster is still pretty epic in scale though so doesn't feel entirely unfamiliar territory for him, I'd say Matchstick Men would perhaps be a better example.

Alan Parker's Angel Heart seems like a decent one to me, not really his typical genre but its one of my favourite horror films.



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Ridley Scott is by large a sci-fi epic director, stuff like Black Hawk Down and American Gangster look out of place to me.
As of writing, the numbers say otherwise - he's only done five sci-fi films (Alien, Blade Runner, Prometheus, The Martian, Alien: Covenant) out of about 24 features, plus he did thirty years worth of other movies between Blade Runner and Prometheus. Granted, it seems like that's his main genre since that's a genre where a good few of his most acclaimed/well-known films happen to be, but he's dabbled in enough other genres that I don't consider him a primarily sci-fi director.



Tim Burton- Sweeney Todd. Yeah the macabre themes and violence may be familiar for him, but he pulled off adapting a musical to the big screen quite well.

I think Titanic counts too. Minus the huge sinking ship with all the special effects, everything before that is a sort of old-fashioned romantic melodrama, that made quite a lot of people cry, where most of Cameron's films before this were masculine, action packed, blockbusters.



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I haven't seen it but Che Part 1 and 2 from Soderbergh would work right? Maybe i have the wrong impression of it but it looks like an epic, historical, artistic, serious film while most of his other films have comedic elements. Maybe his adaptation of Solaris was similiar to it as i've not seen that either.