"The Evil Dead" (1981)Sam Raimi was just 22 years old when he completed "The Evil Dead." He first made a short film for less than $2,000 called "Within the Woods" to entice Hollywood execs to "The Evil Dead." Raimi has said that he "begged" them to give him the $100,000 needed to make the low-budget film, and he eventually accumulated $90,000 from various investors. The rest is, of course, horror movie history, as an additional two sequels were made and an incredibly loyal cult following ensued. Raimi’s career skyrocketed since then, as he was the brains behind the first three original Spider-Man movies — the second one being a classic of the genre — and went on to make other great films, especially 1998’s "A Simple Plan."
"El Mariachi" (1994)
If you’ve ever read the book "Rebel Without a Crew: Or How a 23-Year-Old Filmmaker with $7,000 Became a Hollywood Player," you know why much of "El Mariachi’s" legend derives from the fact that it was shot for just $7,000 with an all-amateur cast. The budget was so low that Robert Rodriguez shot the film without sound and only overdubbed it during post-production. Originally intended for Mexican home video, Columbia Pictures loved the movie so much that they bought the rights to it in 1994, much to the delight of 24-year-old Rodriguez, who was rejected by every Latino distributor and was about to give up on the film. His passion project became a success. "Mariachi" spawned two sequels and a cult following that reveled in watching guitar-loving gunmen shoot up the bad guys. Rodriguez’s career went full swing as he became a sought after action director, his greatest achievement being "Sin City" or "Desperado," depending on who you talk to.While Raimi is the youngest director on this list, John Singleton outdid him by becoming the youngest director to ever get nominated for an Oscar at the young age of 23. His classic "hood" movie "Boyz ‘n the Hood" kickstarted an influx of Compton-influenced films that focused on the political and dynamic part of being black in America. "Do The Right Thing," of course, is the incendiary masterpiece of the genre — which came before "Boyz" — but Singleton changed the game. As Ice Cube recently explained, "When we first did the movie ‘Boyz ‘n the Hood,’ we felt like we was teaching America about a part of itself that they don’t see." It was a tremendously important movie, as it showed the country that characters like Dough Boy who, in the film, says that America "don’t know, don’t show, or don’t care about what’s going on in the hood," existed everywhere, and that their plight was just as important as any other American’s. It is unfortunately still a relevant movie to this day, almost 25 years later.