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Best Second Films: 30 Directors Who Beat the Sophomore Slump

Shaka King's second feature "Judas and the Black Messiah" is a six-time Oscar nominee. Celebrate with over 25 more must-see second films.

"Pulp Fiction," "Moonlight," and more great second directorial features

“Pulp Fiction,” “Moonlight,” and more great second directorial features

Miramax/A24/Warner Bros.

[Editor’s note: The following list was originally published in June 2019 but has been updated accordingly.]

A great first feature is instrumental in putting a director on the map, but a second film is more important in determining whether or not said director is the real deal or just a one-hit wonder. Perfecting the art of the second feature isn’t easy, and not every great director has succeeded. Recently, a string of promising breakout directors have returned with knockout follow-up projects that prove they are among the most exciting filmmakers working today, from Jordan Peele’s “Us” to Ari Aster’s “Midsommar,” Robert Eggers’ “The Lighthouse,” and Shaka King’s “Judas and the Black Messiah,” the latter of which just picked up six Oscar nominations.

Our list below spotlights 30 great filmmakers working today who succeeded in shattering the sophomore slump. Any list of the best second films ever made should definitely consider the titles below.

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