What’s your favorite four-film run from a director?

I almost put that one in, but the 15 year break or whatever between Heaven and Thin Red Line feels weird.

Like, I discovered Malick in a films survey course in college in like 1990, and I can remember that the big assumption was that there would be no more Malick films, that his career was done after just two movies.

Anyway, I’m glad someone did Malick, because I second that nomination!

And The Thin Red Line is a weird choice for a comeback from such a break. It was actually my introduction to Malick… went into the theater at 17 thinking it’d be a “regular” war movie more along the lines of Saving Private Ryan and was not prepared for what I got. But it stuck with me, and is now one of my desert island films.

Come to think of it, that was probably the turning point for me in realizing movies could be about more than just entertainment.

James Cameron does seem like the Correct Answer: Directed many films, but the four mentioned by CraigM both stand above the rest and are fantastic movies, and widely influential, regardless of who made them.

I’m trying to find more examples and discovering I have too many holes. Walter Hill had three great movies with Hard Times, Driver, and The Warriors, but the fourth one is The Long Riders which I haven’t seen.

Anyway, have some movies:

King Hu:

  • Come Drink with Me (1966)
  • Dragon Inn (1967)
  • A Touch of Zen (1971)
  • The Fate of Lee Khan (1973)

Jean-Pierre Melville:

  • Le deuxième souffle (1966)
  • Le Samouraï (1967)
  • Army of Shadows (1969)
  • Le Cercle Rouge (1970)

Kurosawa was mentioned up thread.

And he’s tougher than I thought! I mean, you can’t go too far wrong with Kurosawa, but if you try to use Seven Samurai, you’re stuck having to include either The Idiot or I Live In Fear, neither of which really stand up to the rest of his work. So for four movies, I’d go with these:

The Hidden Fortress (Samurai Star Wars!)
The Bad Sleep Well (Japanoir!)
Yojimbo (Samurai)
Sanjuro (Samurai)
The High and Low (Japanoir)
Red Beard (period piece, but not really Samurai)

Maybe not a samurai movie, but still contains a Toshiro Mifune ass kicking scene that’s like something out of Yojimbo.

Those Golden Age of Hollywood directors, they had so many jobs thrown at them that they couldn’t all be winners, but dive into Howard Hawks’ filmography and there’s a couple of great runs, and in a variety of genres.

For instance:


That is indeed a good run. Forgot about Burton.

Yeah, those guys get “penalized” for something like this a lot for the pace of their work back then which was an industry standard/expectation for skilled filmmakers. And in Hawks’s case, in 1941 he started making a lot of WWII-centered military films that kind of had a determined shelf life.

Sofia Coppola had a pretty good run with

  • The Virgin Suicides
  • Lost in Translation
  • Marie Antoinette
  • Somewhere

Chloe Zhao isn’t quite there yet, but this looks like it could be amazing

  • Songs My Brothers Taught Me
  • The Rider
  • Nomadland
  • The Eternals

I’m probably missing someone really obvious, but best 4-picture runs by parent and offspring ever?

Came here to mention him as well. And I’m hearing good things about Dune.

Victor Fleming was no slouch

I list these because Wizard of Oz is my all-time favorite movie. GwtW not so much. Fleming directed most of Wizard of Oz but was moved over to GwtW to rescue the production.

Seven Samurai
Record of a Living Being
Throne of Blood

Dr. Strangelove
A Clockwork Orange
Barry Lyndon

The Terminator
The Abyss
Terminator 2

Annie Hall
Stardust Memories

City Lights
Modern Times
The Great Dictator
Monsieur Verdoux

North by Northwest
The Birds

Those are all good runs but the Kurosawa is tough to beat.

Respectfully disagree on Record of a Living Being/I Live In Fear. I think it’s a remarkable film (showing Toshiro Mifune to have much more range than people might suppose) and it bridges the run I put above, which includes 3 stone cold masterpieces (and IMO Kurosawa’s two best, 7 Samurai and Ikiru).

Whiplash is one of my favorite movies to come out in the recent past, I was just seeing if Damien Chazelle has a big enough resume for a four movie streak yet. But no, not yet.


Apparently he’s working on a movie called Babylon. So maybe I can add him to the list here at that point.

I liked Whiplash a lot, but I have to say that despite the remarkable VFX I found First Man to be a dour, depressing slog. Which I guess is what Chazelle was going for, but anyway.

JC Chandor has a pretty good 3fer with Margin Call, All Is Lost, and A Most Violent Year, but I haven’t seen Triple Frontier.

I’d love to make Weir work but I can’t if I’m honest about favorites due to The Last Wave in the first four and having bounced off The Way Back, and some problems like Dead Poets, Mosquito Coast and Green Card in the middle. Sad.

Glazer still doesn’t have a followup to Under the Skin yet to make four. Sad.

This is probably going to get me banned, but my favorite Tarantino run is the last four. Second favorite is Pulp Fiction/Jackie Brown/the Kill Bills, if they count as two. If they count as one, then I guess Reservoir Dogs through Kill Bill might be the best run. Not sad.

Lord & Miller’s Cloudy, 21 Jump Street, Lego Movie, 22 Jump Street works because they technically didn’t direct Cloudy 2…

It was fine. Not particularly original, but a solid enough execution on the story type.

So here’s one that for persons of a certain age will hit home.

John Hughes

Sixteen Candles
Breakfast Club
Weird Science
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Yes I am sure Weird Science doesn’t hold up nearly as well in retrospect if I watched it today, but each of those 5 movies is an iconic example of 80’s coming of age films.

Richard Donner has a bunch of classics in that late 70’s to early 90’s. There is no way to include Superman without also tagging Inside Moves (which I’ve never heard of), but The Goonies, Lethal Weapon, Scrooged, Lethal Weapon 2 is a pretty good collection in its own right.

Not John Hughes or James Cameron in the 80’s good, but pretty good still.

Sixteen Candles has also not aged well AT ALL. Holy shit potentially non-consensual sex with a minor! Holy shit racial (and cringe-ably racist) stereotypes!