Greatest Directors

by Paul Hamell | created - 28 Sep 2010 | updated - 1 hour ago | Public

This is my list of Greatest Directors therefore it is my opinion. I placed each directors films that I saw in four different categories and the ones I did not see are under Other Notable Film(s):.

The films that I believe are classics are under Greats:, while the films that I enjoyed but does not reach the highest level are under Give It a Shot:.

The next two categories are movies I did not particulary enjoy, the films under Caution: I really did not enjoy but something about the movie I either liked or respected. The last category is the films I did not like at all which are under Flops:.

2017 Updated List ✦ Indicates that the film is listed in the They Shoot Pictures, Don't They? 1,000 Greatest Films

2015 Updated List ✧ Indicates that the film is listed in 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films

2017 Updated List ✖ Indicates that the film was previously listed in the They Shoot Pictures, Don't They? 1,000 Greatest Films

2017 Updated List ☒ Indicates that the film was previously listed in the 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films

1. Alfred Hitchcock

Director | Psycho

Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was born in Leytonstone, Essex, England. He was the son of Emma Jane (Whelan; 1863 - 1942) and East End greengrocer William Hitchcock (1862 - 1914). His parents were both of half English and half Irish ancestry. He had two older siblings, William Hitchcock (born 1890) and ...

"Here is someone … who has an enormous, inordinate, neurotic fear of disorder. And that's from which he makes his art. He always has his people in a moment of disorder. They think they're in control, they think they have power, they think they have order, and then he just slips the rug out from under them to see what they're going to do." ~ Drew Casper

TSPDT Directors (1)

Influenced: John Frankenheimer; Steven Spielberg; Brian De Palma; John Carpenter; Sam Raimi; M. Night Shyamalan; Martin Scorsese; George A. Romero; Peter Bogdanovich; Dario Argento; William Friedkin; David Cronenberg; Quentin Tarantino; William Girdler; François Truffaut; David Lynch

Greats: The Lodger (1927); The Manxman (1929); The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934); The 39 Steps (1935)✦; Sabotage (1936); The Lady Vanishes (1938)✦; Rebecca (1940)✦; Suspicion (1941); Shadow of a Doubt (1943)✦; Lifeboat (1944); Spellbound (1945); Notorious (1946)✦; Rope (1948)✦; Strangers on a Train (1951)✦; I Confess (1953); Dial M for Murder (1954); Rear Window (1954)✦; To Catch a Thief (1955); The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956); The Wrong Man (1956)✖; Vertigo (1958)✦; North by Northwest (1959)✦; Psycho (1960)✦; The Birds (1963)✦; Marnie (1964)✦; Frenzy (1972)

Give It a Shot: Blackmail (1929); Murder! (1930); East of Shanghai (1931); Torn Curtain (1966)

Caution: The Pleasure Garden (1925); Number 17 (1932); Secret Agent (1936); The Girl Was Young (1937); The Trouble with Harry (1955)✖; Topaz (1969); Family Plot (1976)

Other Notable Film(s): The Ring (1927); When Boys Leave Home (1927); The Farmer's Wife (1928); Easy Virtue (1928); Champagne (1928); The Shame of Mary Boyle (1930); Mary (1931); The Skin Game (1931); Strauss' Great Waltz (1934); Jamaica Inn (1939); Foreign Correspondent (1940); Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941); Saboteur (1942); The Paradine Case (1947); Under Capricorn (1949); Stage Fright (1950)

2. Stanley Kubrick

Director | 2001: A Space Odyssey

Stanley Kubrick was born in Manhattan, New York City, to Sadie Gertrude (Perveler) and Jacob Leonard Kubrick, a physician. His family were Jewish immigrants (from Austria, Romania, and Russia). Stanley was considered intelligent, despite poor grades at school. Hoping that a change of scenery would ...

"I always admired Stanley Kubrick for the fact that he managed to beat the system somehow. I think he kind of had it all figured out." ~ Joel Coen

One of his films... is equivalent to ten of somebody else's. Watching a Kubrick film is like gazing up at a mountain top. You look up and wonder, "How could anyone have climbed that high?" ~ Martin Scorsese

Probably the biggest risk taking director of all-time. Whether it was controversial movies (A Clockwork Orange, Eyes Wide Shut, Lolita) movies that at first looked like a dud (2001: A Space Odyssey) and a film (The Shining) that was panned by critics and the novel writer when the film was first released but is now a horror classic.

TSPDT Directors (3)

Influenced: Martin Scorsese; Steven Spielberg; James Cameron; Woody Allen; Terry Gilliam; Ridley Scott; Christopher Nolan; David Fincher; Guillermo del Toro; David Lynch; Lars von Trier; Michael Mann; George A. Romero; Coen brothers; Quentin Tarantino; Gaspar Noé; Tim Burton; Paul Thomas Anderson; Darren Aronofsky; Michael Moore

Greats: Killer's Kiss (1955); The Killing (1956)✦; Paths of Glory (1957)✦; Spartacus (1960)✦; Lolita (1962)✦; Dr. Strangelove (1964)✦; 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)✦; A Clockwork Orange (1971)✦; Barry Lyndon (1975)✦; The Shining (1980)✦; Full Metal Jacket (1987)✦

Give It a Shot: Eyes Wide Shut (1999)✦

Caution: Fear and Desire (1953)

3. Akira Kurosawa

Writer | Kakushi-toride no san-akunin

After training as a painter (he storyboards his films as full-scale paintings), Kurosawa entered the film industry in 1936 as an assistant director, eventually making his directorial debut with Sanshiro Sugata (1943). Within a few years, Kurosawa had achieved sufficient stature to allow him greater...

"The term 'giant' is used too often to describe artists. But in the case of Akira Kurosawa, we have one of the rare instances where the term fits." ~ Martin Scorsese

"Most directors have one masterpiece by which they are known, or possibly two. Kurosawa has at least eight or nine." ~ Francis Ford Coppola

The most important man in Japanese cinema by far. He's mainly influenced by John Ford and Sergei Eisenstein. He was a major influence on many legendary directors. Also legendary directors around the world such as Ingmar Bergman, Federico Fellini, and Satyajit Ray acknowledged Kurosawa's greatness.

TSPDT Directors (10)

Influenced: Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Bernardo Bertolucci, Francis Ford Coppola, Robert Altman, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Martin Scorsese, Sergio Leone, Sam Peckinpah, John Woo, Walter Hill, John Milius, Federico Fellini

Greats: Rashomon (1950)✦; Ikiru (1952)✦; Seven Samurai (1954)✦; The Hidden Fortress (1958)✖; Yojimbo (1961)✦; Sanjuro (1962); High and Low (1963)✦; Kagemusha (1980)✦; Ran (1985)✦

Other Notable Film(s): Sanshiro Sugata (1943); The Most Beautiful (1944); The Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail (1945); No Regrets for Our Youth (1946); Drunken Angel (1948); The Quiet Duel (1949); Stray Dog (1949)✖; Scandal (1950); The Idiots (1951); I Live in Fear (1955); The Lower Depths (1957); Throne of Blood (1957)✦; The Bad Sleep Well (1960); Red Beard (1965)✖; Dodes'ka-den (1970)✦; Dersu Uzala (1975)✦; Akira Kurosawa's Dreams (1990)✖; Rhapsody in August (1991); Maadadayo (1993)

4. Martin Scorsese

Director | Taxi Driver

Martin Charles Scorsese was born on November 17, 1942 in Queens, New York City, to Catherine Scorsese (née Cappa) and Charles Scorsese, who both worked in Manhattan's garment district, and whose families both came from Palermo, Sicily. He was raised in the neighborhood of Little Italy, which later ...

"In Goodfellas they have this one scene where the camera goes down some steps and walks through a kitchen into a restaurant and the critics were all over this as evidence of the genius of Scorsese and Scorsese is a genius." ~ Alex Cox

"I would wish for any one of my colleagues to have the experience of working with Martin Scorsese once in their lifetime." ~ Daniel Day-Lewis

Legendary directors such as Ingmar Bergman, Frank Capra, Jean-Luc Godard, Werner Herzog, Elia Kazan, Akira Kurosawa, David Lean, Michael Powell, Satyajit Ray, and François Truffaut acknowledged Scorsese's greatness.

TSPDT All-Time Directors (11) TSPDT 21st Century Directors (22)

Influenced: Steven Spielberg; Quentin Tarantino; Paul Thomas Anderson; David Yates; John Woo; Wen Jiang; Martin McDonagh

Greats: Mean Streets (1973)✦; Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974); Taxi Driver (1976)✦; The Last Waltz [doc] (1978)✖; Raging Bull (1980)✦; The King of Comedy (1983)✦; The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)✦; Goodfellas (1990)✦; Casino (1995)✦; Gangs of New York (2002)✧; The Aviator (2004)✧; The Departed (2006)✧; Hugo (2011)✧; Silence (2016)✧

Give It a Shot: The Big Shave [short] (1967); Boxcar Bertha (1972); After Hours (1985); Michael Jackson: Bad [short] (1987); Cape Fear (1991); The Age of Innocence (1993)✦; Kundun (1997); Bringing Out the Dead (1999); Shutter Island (2010)✧; The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)✧

Other Notable Film(s): Who's That Knocking at My Door (1967); Italianamerican [doc] (1974); New York, New York (1977)✦; New York Stories [co-director] (1989); My Voyage to Italy [doc] (1999); No Direction Home: Bob Dylan [doc] (2005); Shine a Light [doc] (2008); George Harrison: Living in the Material World [doc] (2011)

5. Ingmar Bergman

Writer | Smultronstället

Ernst Ingmar Bergman was born July 14, 1918, the son of a priest. The film and T.V. series, The Best Intentions (1992) is biographical and shows the early marriage of his parents. The film 'Söndagsbarn' depicts a bicycle journey with his father. In the miniseries Private Confessions (1996) is the ...

"probably the greatest film artist, all things considered, since the invention of the motion picture camera." ~ Woody Allen

Influenced: Francis Ford Coppola; Woody Allen; Robert Altman; Pedro Almodóvar; Olivier Assayas; Federico Fellini; Todd Field; Krzysztof Kieslowski; Stanley Kubrick; Ang Lee; David Lynch; François Ozon; Chan-wook Park; Éric Rohmer; Marjane Satrapi; Mamoru Oshii; Paul Schrader; Martin Scorsese; Steven Spielberg; Andrei Tarkovsky; André Téchiné; Liv Ullmann

TSPDT All-Time Directors (8)

Greats: The Seventh Seal (1957)✦; Wild Strawberries (1957)✦; Persona (1966)✦; Hour of the Wolf (1968)✦; The Passion of Anna (1969)✖; Fanny and Alexander (1982)✦

Other Notable Film(s): Crisis (1946); It Rains on Our Love (1946); A Ship Bound for India (1947); Music in Darkness (1948); Port of Call (1948); Prison (1949); Thirst (1949); To Joy (1950); This Can't Happen Here (1950); Summer Interlude (1951); Secrets of Woman (1952); Summer with Monika (1953); Sawdust and Tinsel (1954)✦; A Lesson in Love (1954); Dreams (1955); Smiles of a Summer Night (1955)✦; The Magician (1958); Brink of Life (1958); The Devil's Eye (1960); The Virgin Spring (1960)✦; Through a Glass Darkly (1961); Winter Light (1963)✦; The Silence (1963)✦; All These Women (1964); Shame (1968)✖; The Touch (1971); Cries and Whispers (1972)✦; Scenes from a Marriage (1973)✦; The Magic Flute [TV] (1975)✖; Face to Face (1976); The Serpent's Egg (1977); Autumn Sonata (1978); In the Presence of a Clown [TV] (1997); Saraband (2003)✧

6. Andrei Tarkovsky

Writer | Solyaris

The most famous Soviet film-maker since Sergei M. Eisenstein, Andrei Tarkovsky (the son of noted poet Arseniy Tarkovsky) studied music and Arabic in Moscow before enrolling in the Soviet film school V.G.I.K. He shot to international attention with his first feature, Ivan's Childhood (1962), which ...

"Tarkovsky is for me the greatest, the one who invented a new language, true to the nature of film, as it captures life as a reflection, life as a dream." ~ Ingmar Bergman

TSPDT All-Time Directors (14)

Greats: Andrei Rublev (1966)✦; Solaris (1972)✦; The Mirror (1975)✦; Stalker (1979)✦; The Sacrifice (1986)✦

Other Notable Film(s): The Steamroller and the Violin (1961); Ivan's Childhood (1962)✦; Nostalgia (1983)✦

7. John Ford

Director | The Quiet Man

John Ford came to Hollywood following one of his brothers, an actor. Asked what brought him to Hollywood, he replied "The train". He became one of the most respected directors in the business, in spite of being known for his westerns, which were not considered "serious" film. He won six Oscars, ...

"His camera is invisible; his staging is perfect; he maintains a smoothness of surface in which no one scene is allowed to become more important than any other. Such mastery is possible only after one has made an enormous number of films. Questions of quality aside, John Ford is the Georges Simenon of directors." ~ François Truffaut

Many legendary directors acknowledged his greatness such as Alfred Hitchcock, Ingmar Bergman, Howard Hawks, Jean Renoir, Federico Fellini, Satyajit Ray, Frank Capra, Elia Kazan, David Lean, Peter Bogdanovich, Wim Wenders, Lloyd Kaufman. Directors Capra and Bergman stated that Ford is the greatest director.

Influenced: Orson Welles; Akira Kurosawa; Sergio Leone; Clint Eastwood; Martin Scorsese; Steven Spielberg; Bernardo Bertolucci; Jean-Luc Godard; François Truffaut; Federico Fellini; David Lynch

TSPDT All-Time Directors (9)

Greats: Stagecoach (1939)✦; The Grapes of Wrath (1940)✦; How Green Was My Valley (1941)✦; My Darling Clementine (1946)✦; The Searchers (1956)✦; The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)✦

Other Notable Film(s): The Informer (1935)✖; Drums Along the Mohawk (1939); Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)✦; The Long Voyage Home (1940)✖; Tobacco Road (1941)✖; The Battle of Midway [doc] (1942); December 7th: The Movie [Co-director] (1943); They Were Expendable (1945)✦; The Fugitive (1947); Fort Apache (1948)✦; 3 Godfathers (1948); She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949)✦; Rio Grande (1950)✖; Wagon Master (1950)✦; When Willie Comes Marching Home (1950); The Quiet Man (1952)✦; What Price Glory (1952); Mogambo (1953); The Sun Shines Bright (1953)✦; The Long Gray Line (1955); Mister Roberts [Co-director] (1955); The Rising of the Moon (1957); The Wings of Eagles (1957)✦; Gideon's Day (1958); The Last Hurrah (1958); The Horse Soldiers (1959); Sergeant Rutledge (1960); Two Rode Together (1961)✖; How the West Was Won [Co-director] (1962); Donovan's Reef (1963); Cheyenne Autumn (1964); 7 Women (1966)✦

8. Billy Wilder

Writer | The Apartment

Originally planning to become a lawyer, Billy Wilder abandoned that career in favor of working as a reporter for a Viennese newspaper, using this experience to move to Berlin, where he worked for the city's largest tabloid. He broke into films as a screenwriter in 1929, and wrote scripts for many ...

"Wilder touches all the bases... in some kind of shorthand way. Now that's art." ~ James Naughton

Influenced: Michel Hazanavicius; David Lynch

TSPDT All-Time Directors (18)

Greats: Double Indemnity (1944)✦; The Lost Weekend (1945)✖; Sunset Blvd. (1950)✦; Ace in the Hole (1951)✦; Stalag 17 (1953); Sabrina (1954); Witness for the Prosecution (1957); Some Like It Hot (1959)✦; The Apartment (1960)✦; The Fortune Cookie (1966)

Give It a Shot: The Seven Year Itch (1955); Avanti! (1972)✖; The Front Page (1974)

Other Notable Film(s): The Major and the Minor (1942); Five Graves to Cairo (1943); The Emperor Waltz (1948); A Foreign Affair (1948); The Spirit of St. Louis (1957); Love in the Afternoon (1957); One, Two, Three (1961)✖; Irma la Douce (1963); Kiss Me, Stupid (1964); The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)✖; Fedora (1978); Buddy Buddy (1981)

9. David Lean

Director | Lawrence of Arabia

An important British filmmaker, David Lean was born in Croydon on March 25, 1908 and brought up in a strict Quaker family (ironically, as a child he wasn't allowed to go to the movies). During the 1920s, he briefly considered the possibility of becoming an accountant like his father before finding ...

"I'm a big fan of David Lean. I think David Lean is the only example of a filmmaker who made super-productions that were auteur super-productions. They're extremely personal. And I don't think anyone's making films like that, and I really miss a personality like David Lean's in Hollywood." ~ Pedro Almodóvar

"We were doing it under the most extraordinary circumstances, but the first out of the tent in the morning would be David Lean. He said to me on the very first day of shooting, Pete, this is the beginning of a great adventure." ~ Peter O'Toole

Influenced: George Lucas, Sergio Leone, Mel Brooks, Sam Peckinpah, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Stanley Kubrick, Sydney Pollack, Joe Wright, Baz Luhrmann, John Milius

TSPDT All-Time Directors (30)

Greats: The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)✦; Lawrence of Arabia (1962)✦; Doctor Zhivago (1965)✦

Give It a Shot: Brief Encounter (1945)✦

Other Notable Film(s): In Which We Serve (1942); This Happy Breed (1944); Blithe Spirit (1945); Great Expectations (1946)✦; Oliver Twist (1948)✖; The Passionate Friends (1949); Madeleine (1950); Breaking the Sound Barrier (1952); Hobson's Choice (1954); Summertime (1955); Ryan's Daughter (1970)✖; A Passage to India (1984)✖

10. Sergio Leone

Writer | Once Upon a Time in America

Sergio Leone was virtually born into the cinema - he was the son of Roberto Roberti (A.K.A. Vincenzo Leone), one of Italy's cinema pioneers, and actress Bice Valerian. Leone entered films in his late teens, working as an assistant director to both Italian directors and U.S. directors working in ...

"Sergio Leone was a big influence on me because of the spaghetti westerns." ~ Quentin Tarantino

Influenced: Quentin Tarantino; Clint Eastwood; Antoine Fuqua; John Woo

TSPDT All-Time Directors (38)

Greats: A Fistful of Dollars (1964); For a Few Dollars More (1965); The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)✦; Once Upon a Time in West (1968)✦; Once Upon a Time in America (1984)✦

Other Notable Film(s): The Colossus of Rhodes (1961); A Fistful of Dynamite (1971)✖

11. Howard Hawks

Director | Rio Bravo

What do the classic films Scarface (1932), Twentieth Century (1934), Bringing Up Baby (1938), Only Angels Have Wings (1939), His Girl Friday (1940), Sergeant York (1941), To Have and Have Not (1944), The Big Sleep (1946), Red River (1948) Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) and Rio Bravo (1959) have in...

”each shot has a functional beauty, like a neck or an ankle. The smooth, orderly succession of shots has a rhythm like the pulsing of blood, and the whole film is like a beautiful body, kept alive by deep, resilient breathing.” ~ Jacques Rivette

Many legendary directors acknowledged his greatness such as Jean-Luc Godard, Éric Rohmer, Claude Chabrol, François Truffaut, and Jacques Rivette. Is Tarantino's favorite all-time director.

Influenced: Robert Altman; John Carpenter; Quentin Tarantino; Walter Hill

TSPDT All-Time Directors (21)

Greats: Scarface (1932)✦; Bringing Up Baby (1938)✦; Only Angels Have Wings (1939)✦; His Girl Friday (1940)✦; Sergeant York (1941); The Big Sleep (1946)✦; Red River (1948)✦; Rio Bravo (1959)✦; El Dorado (1966)✦

Give It a Shot: Monkey Business (1952)

Other Notable Film(s): A Girl in Every Port (1928); The Dawn Patrol (1930); The Criminal Code (1931); The Crowd Roars (1932); Tiger Shark (1932); Today We Live [Co-director] (1933); Twentieth Century (1934); Barbary Coast (1935); Come and Get It (1936); Ceiling Zero (1936); Ball of Fire (1941); Air Force (1943); To Have and Have Not (1944)✦; A Song Is Born (1948); I Was a Male War Bride (1949); The Thing from Another World [Co-director] (1951)✖; The Big Sky (1952); Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)✦; Land of the Pharaohs (1955); Hatari! (1962)✦; Man's Favorite Sport? (1964); Red Line 7000 (1965); Rio Lobo (1970)

12. Frank Capra

Director | It's a Wonderful Life

One of seven children, Frank Capra was born on May 18, 1897, in Bisacquino, Sicily. On May 10, 1903, his family left for America aboard the ship Germania, arriving in New York on May 23rd. "There's no ventilation, and it stinks like hell. They're all miserable. It's the most degrading place you ...

"He had created feelgood entertainments before the phrase was invented, and his influence on culture—from Steven Spielberg to David Lynch, and from television soap operas to greeting-card sentiments—is simply too huge to calculate." ~ Ian Freer

Influenced: Robert Altman, Ron Howard, Masaki Kobayashi, Akira Kurosawa, John Lasseter, David Lynch, John Milius, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Oliver Stone, François Truffaut

TSPDT All-Time Directors (65)

Greats: It Happened One Night (1934)✦; Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)✖; You Can't Take It with You (1938)✖; Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)✦; Meet John Doe (1941); Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)✖; It's a Wonderful Life (1946)✦

Other Notable Film(s): The Strong Man (1926); Long Pants (1927)✖; Ladies of Leisure (1930); Platinum Blonde (1931); The Miracle Woman (1931); Forbidden (1932); American Madness (1932); The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1933)✖; Lady for a Day (1933); Broadway Bill (1934); Lost Horizon (1937)✖; State of the Union (1948); Riding High (1950); Here Comes the Groom (1951); A Hole in the Head (1959); Pocketful of Miracles (1961)

13. Federico Fellini

Writer | Amarcord

The women who both attracted and frightened him and an Italy dominated in his youth by Mussolini and Pope Pius XII - inspired the dreams that Fellini started recording in notebooks in the 1960s. Life and dreams were raw material for his films. His native Rimini and characters like Saraghina (the ...

"I believe Ingmar Bergman, Vittorio De Sica and Federico Fellini are the only three filmmakers in the world who are not just artistic opportunists. By this I mean they don't just sit and wait for a good story to come along and then make it. They have a point of view which is expressed over and over and over again in their films, and they themselves write or have original material written for them." ~ Stanley Kubrick

Influenced: Stanley Kubrick; Rainer Werner Fassbinder; Pedro Almodóvar; Martin Scorsese; David Lynch; Woody Allen; Dariush Mehrjui; Terry Gilliam; Robert Altman

TSPDT All-Time Directors (4)

Greats: La Strada (1954)✦; La Dolce Vita (1960)✦; 8½ (1963)✦

Other Notable Film(s): Variety Lights [Co-director] (1950); The White Shiek (1952); I Vitelloni (1953)✦; Il Bidone (1955)✖; Nights of Cabiria (1957)✦; Juliet of the Spirits (1965)✦; Fellini Satyricon (1969)✦; Fellini's Roma (1972)✦; Amarcord (1973)✦; Fellini's Casanova (1976)✦; Orchestra Rehearsal (1978)✖; City of Women (1980); And the Ship Sails On (1983)✖; Ginger and Fred (1986); Fellini's Intervista (1987)✖; The Voice of the Moon (1990)

14. Fritz Lang

Director | M

Fritz Lang was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1890. His father managed a construction company. His mother, Pauline Schlesinger, was Jewish but converted to Catholicism when Lang was ten. After high school, he enrolled briefly at the Technische Hochschule Wien and then started to train as a painter. ...

Influenced: Luis Buñuel; Alfred Hitchcock; Stanley Kubrick; Orson Welles

TSPDT All-Time Directors (22)

Greats: Metropolis (1927)✦; M (1931)✦; Fury (1936)✖; The Woman in the Window (1944)✖; Scarlet Street (1945)✖

Other Notable Film(s): Spiders (1919); Destiny (1921)✖; Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler (1922)✦; Siegfried (1924)✖; Kriemhild's Revenge (1924); Spies (1928)✦; By Rocket to the Moon (1929); The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933)✦; The Last Will of Dr. Mabuse (1933); Liliom (1934); You Only Live Once (1937)✖; You and Me (1938); The Return of Frank James (1940); Man Hunt (1941); Western Union (1941); Hangmen Also Die! (1943); Ministry of Fear (1944); Cloak and Dagger (1946); Secret Beyond the Door... (1947); House by the River (1950); American Guerrilla in the Philippines (1950); Rancho Notorious (1952); Clash by Night (1952); The Blue Gardenia (1953); The Big Heat (1953)✦; Human Desire (1954)✖; Moonfleet (1955)✦; While the City Sleeps (1956)✖; Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956)✖; The Indian Tomb (1958)✦; The Tiger of Eschnapur (1959)✦; The 1,000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse (1960); Journey to the Lost City (1960)✖

15. Orson Welles

Actor | Citizen Kane

His father was a well-to-do inventor, his mother a beautiful concert pianist; Orson Welles was gifted in many arts (magic, piano, painting) as a child. When his mother died (he was nine) he traveled the world with his father. When his father died (he was fifteen) he became the ward of Chicago's Dr....

"All of us will always owe him everything." ~ Jean-Luc Godard

"To me, Orson is so much like a destitute king. A ‘destitute’ king, not because he was thrown away from the kingdom, but [because] on this earth, the way the world is, there is no kingdom good enough for Orson Welles." ~ [link=nm0603402[/link]

Influenced: William Friedkin; Paul Thomas Anderson; Stanley Kubrick; Peter Bogdanovich; David Lynch

TSPDT All-Time Directors (2)

Greats: Citizen Kane (1941)✦; The Stranger (1946); The Lady from Shanghai (1947)✦; Touch of Evil (1958)✦

Give It a Shot: The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)✦; Macbeth (1948); Othello (1952)✦; Mr. Arkadin (1955)✖; The Trial (1962)✦; Chimes at Midnight (1965)✦; F for Fake [doc] (1973)✦

Other Notable Film(s): The Immortal Story (1968); The Other Side of the Wind (2018)

16. Francis Ford Coppola

Producer | The Conversation

Francis Ford Coppola was born in 1939 in Detroit, Michigan, but grew up in a New York suburb in a creative, supportive Italian-American family. His father, Carmine Coppola, was a composer and musician. His mother, Italia Coppola (née Pennino), had been an actress. Francis Ford Coppola graduated ...

"His reputation has fallen a good deal as a filmmaker in the years since Apocalypse Now. But no American career has had such endless, entertaining turmoil, or says as much about making movies in America now. No one retains so many jubilant traits of the kid moviemaker, or has inspired darker comments." ~ David Thomson

Influenced: David Lynch

TSPDT All-Time Directors (6)

Greats: The Godfather (1972)✦; The Godfather: Part II (1974)✦; The Conversation (1974)✦; Apocalypse Now (1979)✦; The Godfather: Part III (1990)✦

Give It a Shot: Rumble Fish (1983)✖; Dracula (1992)

Caution: The Outsiders (1983); Peggy Sue Got Married (1986); Jack (1996)

Flops: One from the Heart (1982)

Other Notable Film(s): Dementia 13 (1963); You're a Big Boy Now (1966); Finian's Rainbow (1968); The Rain People (1969); The Cotton Club (1984); Gardens of Stone (1987); Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988); New York Stories [Co-director] (1989); The Rainmaker (1997); Youth Without Youth (2007); Tetro (2009); Twixt (2011); Distant Vision (2015)

17. Luis Buñuel

Writer | Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie

The father of cinematic Surrealism and one of the most original directors in the history of the film medium, Luis Buñuel was given a strict Jesuit education (which sowed the seeds of his obsession with both religion and subversive behavior), and subsequently moved to Madrid to study at the ...

"I think today there are too many directors taking themselves seriously; the only one capable of saying anything really new and interesting is Luis Bunuel. He's a very great director." ~ Luchino Visconti

"My master in film, Buñuel, was a far greater storyteller than I. It was just that in my films miracles occur on the screen." ~ Michael Powell

Alfred Hitchcock stated that Bunuel is the all-time greatest director.

Influenced: David Lynch; David Cronenberg; Michael Powell; Federico Fellini

TSPDT All-Time Directors (13)

Greats: Un Chien Andalou [short] (1929)✦; Viridiana (1961)✦; The Phantom of Liberty (1974)✦

Other Notable Film(s): L'Age d'Or (1930)✦; Land Without Bread [short] (1933)✦; The Young and the Damned (1950)✦; El (1953)✦; Robinson Crusoe (1954); The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz (1955)✦; Nazarin (1959)✦; The Young One (1960); The Exterminating Angel (1962)✦; Diary of a Chambermaid (1964); Simon of the Desert (1965)✦; Belle de Jour (1967)✦; The Milky Way (1969)✖; Tristana (1970)✦; The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972)✦; That Obscure Object of Desire (1977)✦

18. Jean Renoir

Writer | La grande illusion

Son of the famous Impressionist painter Pierre Auguste, he had a happy childhood. Pierre Renoir was his brother, and Claude Renoir was his nephew. After the end of World War I, where he won the Croix de Guerre, he moved from scriptwriting to filmmaking. He married Catherine Hessling, for whom he ...

"The world's greatest film-maker." ~ [link=nm0000076[/link]

Orson Welles frequently cited him as the greatest film director of all time.

Influenced: Satyajit Ray; James Ivory; Robert Altman

TSPDT All-Time Directors (7)

Greats: Grand Illusion (1937)✦; The Rules of the Game (1939)✦

Other Notable Film(s): Whirlpool of Fate (1925); Nana (1926); Charleston Parade [short] (1927); The Little Match Girl [Co-director] (1928); La Chienne (1931)✦; La Nuit du carrefour (1931)✦; Boudu Save from Drowning (1932)✦; Madame Bovary (1933); Toni (1935)✖; Partie de campagne (1936)✦; The Crime of Monsieur Lange (1936)✦; The Lower Depths (1936); La Marseillaise (1938); La Bête Humaine (1938)✦; Swamp Water (1941); This Land Is Mine (1943); The Southerner (1945); The Diary of a Chambermaid (1946); The Woman on the Beach (1947); The River (1951)✦; The Golden Coach (1952)✦; French Cancan (1955)✦; Elena and Her Men (1956); Experiment in Evil [TV] (1959); Picnic on the Grass (1959); The Elusive Corporal (1962)

19. Charles Chaplin

Writer | The Great Dictator

Considered to be one of the most pivotal stars of the early days of Hollywood, Charlie Chaplin lived an interesting life both in his films and behind the camera. He is most recognized as an icon of the silent film era, often associated with his popular character, the Little Tramp; the man with the ...

"Shakespeare wrote great plays that we're still watching all these years later. Charlie Chaplin made great comedies and they are still as funny today as they ever were." ~ Leonard Maltin

Influenced: Federico Fellini

TSPDT All-Time Directors (15)

Greats: The Kid (1921)✦; The Gold Rush (1925)✦; City Lights (1931)✦; Modern Times (1936)✦; The Great Dictator (1940)✦

Other Notable Film(s): The Tramp (1915); A Burlesque on Carmen (1915); The Floorwalker (1916); Police (1916); The Vagabond (1916); The Fireman (1916); The Rink (1916); Behind the Screen (1916); The Pawnshop (1916); The Count (1916); One A.M. (1916); Easy Street (1917); The Cure (1917); The Adventurer (1917); The Immigrant (1917); A Dog's Life (1918); The Bond (1918); Shoulder Arms (1918); Sunnyside (1919); A Day's Pleasure (1919); The Idle Class (1921); Pay Day [short] (1922); The Pilgrim (1923)✖; A Woman in Paris (1923)✦; The Circus (1928)✦; Monsieur Verdoux (1947)✦; Limelight (1952)✦; A King in New York (1957)✖; The Chaplin Revue (1959); A Countess from Hong Kong (1967)

20. David Lynch

Writer | Twin Peaks

Born in precisely the kind of small-town American setting so familiar from his films, David Lynch spent his childhood being shunted from one state to another as his research scientist father kept getting relocated. He attended various art schools, married Peggy Lynch and then fathered future ...

Influenced: Martin McDonagh

TSPDT All-Time Directors (28) TSPDT 21st Century Directors (2)

Greats: Eraserhead (1977)✦; The Elephant Man (1980)✦; Blue Velvet (1986)✦; Twin Peaks [TV series] (1990-1991); Mulholland Dr. (2001)✦✧

Give It a Shot: Wild at Heart (1990)✦; Lost Highway (1997)✦

Caution: Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992)✦

Other Notable Film(s): Dune (1984)✖; The Straight Story (1999)✦; Inland Empire (2006)✦✧; Twin Peaks [TV series] (2017)

21. Robert Bresson

Writer | Au hasard Balthazar

Robert Bresson trained as a painter before moving into films as a screenwriter, making a short film (atypically a comedy), Affaires publiques (1934) in 1934. After spending more than a year as a German POW during World War II, he made his debut with Les anges du péché (1943) in 1943. ...

"There's something in the way Bresson makes films which puts me in mind of a certain French tradition that comes from Racine. I don't really think that I was influenced by Bresson, but I would say that I wish I had been." ~ Louis Malle

"Bresson is to French cinema what Mozart is to German music and Dostoyevsky is to Russian literature." ~ Jean-Luc Godard

Influenced: Andrei Tarkovsky; Michael Haneke; Jim Jarmusch; Dardenne brothers; Paul Schrader; Aki Kaurismäki

TSPDT All-Time Directors (16)

Greats: A Man Escaped (1956)✦; Au Hasard Balthazar (1966)✦

Other Notable Film(s): The Ladies of the Bois de Boulogne (1945)✦; Diary of a Country Priest (1951)✦; Pickpocket (1959)✦; The Trial of Joan of Arc (1962); Mouchette (1967)✦; A Gentle Woman (1969)✖; Four Nights of a Dreamer (1971)✖; Lancelot of the Lake (1974)✦; The Devil Probably (1977)✦; L'Argent (1983)✦

22. Sidney Lumet

Director | 12 Angry Men

Sidney Lumet was a master of cinema, best known for his technical knowledge and his skill at getting first-rate performances from his actors -- and for shooting most of his films in his beloved New York. He made over 40 movies, often complex and emotional, but seldom overly sentimental. Although ...

"one of the finest craftsmen and warmest humanitarians among all film directors." ~ Roger Ebert

Many legendary directors acknowledged his greatness such as Steven Spielberg, Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, and Spike Lee.

TSPDT All-Time Directors (102)

Greats: 12 Angry Men (1957)✦; Serpico (1973); Dog Day Afternoon (1975)✦; Network (1976)✦; The Verdict (1982)✖

Give It a Shot: Equus (1977); Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007)✧

Caution: Murder on the Orient Express (1974); The Morning After (1986)

Flops: Power (1986)

Other Notable Film(s): The Fugitive Kind (1960); Long Day's Journey Into Night (1962); Fail-Safe (1964); The Pawnbroker (1964); The Hill (1965); The Anderson Tapes (1971); The Offence (1972); The Wiz (1978); Prince of the City (1981); Deathtrap (1982); Daniel (1983); Garbo Talks (1984); Running on Empty (1988); Family Business (1989); A Stranger Among Us (1992); Guilty as Sin (1993); Night Falls on Manhattan (1996); Critical Care (1997); Gloria (1999); Find Me Guilty (2005)

23. François Truffaut

Writer | La nuit américaine

French director François Truffaut began to assiduously go to the movies at age seven. He was also a great reader but not a good pupil. He left school at 14 and started working. In 1947, aged 15, he founded a film club and met André Bazin, a French critic, who became his protector. Bazin helped the ...

"I think Ingmar Bergman, Francoise Truffaut - all these people created images in my mind, beautiful pictures, I loved what was known at that time as the foreign film." ~ Jackie DeShannon

TSPDT All-Time Directors (23)

Greats: The 400 Blows (1959)✦; Jules and Jim (1962)✦; Fahrenheit 451 (1966)

Other Notable Film(s): Shoot the Piano Player (1960)✦; Antoine and Colette (1962); The Soft Skin (1964)✖; Stolen Kisses (1968)✖; The Bride Wore Black (1968); Mississippi Mermaid (1969); The Wild Child (1970)✦; Bed & Board (1970); Two English Girls (1971)✦; A Gorgeous Girl Like Me (1972); Day for Night (1973)✦; The Story of Adele H (1975); Small Change (1976); The Man Who Loved Women (1977); The Green Room (1978)✖; Love on the Run (1979); The Last Metro (1980); The Woman Next Door (1981)✦; Confidentially Yours (1983)

24. Steven Spielberg

Producer | Artificial Intelligence: AI

Undoubtedly one of the most influential film personalities in the history of film, Steven Spielberg is perhaps Hollywood's best known director and one of the wealthiest filmmakers in the world. Spielberg has countless big-grossing, critically acclaimed credits to his name, as producer, director and...

"The idea of working with Steven Spielberg was very attractive. He's such a master. He knows the language of the camera and of filmmaking, which gives him a great freedom." ~ Max von Sydow

"Steven Spielberg is unique. I feel that the kinds of movies he loves are the same kinds of movies that the big mass audience loves. He's very fortunate because he can do the things he naturally likes the best, and he's been very successful." ~ Francis Ford Coppola

Many legendary directors acknowledged his greatness such as Robert Aldrich, Ingmar Bergman, Werner Herzog, Stanley Kubrick, Akira Kurosawa, David Lean, Sidney Lumet, Roman Polanski, Martin Scorsese, François Truffaut, Yimou Zhang

Influenced: Paul Thomas Anderson, Neill Blomkamp, James Cameron, Guillermo del Toro, Roland Emmerich, David Fincher, Peter Jackson, Robert Rodriguez, John Sayles, Ridley Scott, John Singleton, Kevin Smith, Steven Soderbergh, Quentin Tarantino

TSPDT All-Time Directors (27) TSPDT 21st Century Directors (24)

Greats: Jaws (1975)✦; Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)✦; Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)✦; E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)✦; The Color Purple (1985)✖; Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989); Schindler's List (1993)✦; Jurassic Park (1993)✖; Saving Private Ryan (1998)✖; Catch Me If You Can (2002)✧; Lincoln (2012)✧

Give It a Shot: Duel (1971)✖; The Sugarland Express (1974); Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984); Empire of the Sun (1987)✖; A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)✦✧; Minority Report (2002)✧; The Terminal (2004); Bridge of Spies (2015)✧

Caution: Hook (1991); The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997); War of the Worlds (2005)✧; Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008); War Horse (2011)☒

Flops: 1941 (1979)

Other Notable Film(s): Always (1989); Amistad (1997); Munich (2005)✧; The Adventures of Tintin (2011); The BFG (2016); The Post (2017); Ready Player One (2018)

25. Woody Allen

Writer | Manhattan

Woody Allen was born Allan Stewart Konigsberg on December 1, 1935 in Brooklyn, New York, to Nettie (Cherrie), a bookkeeper, and Martin Konigsberg, a waiter and jewellery engraver. His father was of Russian Jewish descent, and his maternal grandparents were Austrian Jewish immigrants. As a young boy...

"The only folk I can judge are people like Woody Allen who I think is a genius, largely because I think he has beaten the system. He has his own company, and his films are all his own ideas. It's his direction, and so it comes out the way he imagined it." ~ Nigel Kneale

TSPDT All-Time Directors (29) TSPDT 21st Century Directors (84)

Greats: Take the Money and Run (1969); Sleeper (1973)✖; Love and Death (1975)✦; Annie Hall (1977)✦; Manhattan (1979)✦; Stardust Memories (1980)✦; Broadway Danny Rose (1984)✦; The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)✦; Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)✦; Radio Days (1987)✖; Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)✦; Match Point (2005)✧

Give It a Shot: Bananas (1971); Bullets Over Broadway (1994); Mighty Aphrodite (1995); Deconstructing Harry (1997); Sweet and Lowdown (1999); Small Time Crooks (2000); Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)✧; Midnight in Paris (2011)✧; Blue Jasmine (2013)✧

Caution: Zelig (1983)✦; The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001)

Flops: Whatever Works (2009)

Other Notable Film(s): What's Up, Tiger Lily? (1966); Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (1972); Interiors (1978); A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy (1982); September (1987); Another Woman (1988); Alice (1990); Shadows and Fog (1991); Husbands and Wives (1992)✖; Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993); Everyone Says I Love You (1996); Celebrity (1998); Hollywood Ending (2002); Anything Else (2003); Melinda and Melinda (2004); Scoop (2006); Cassandra's Dream (2007); You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010); To Rome with Love (2012); Magic in the Moonlight (2014); Irrational Man (2015); Café Society (2016); Wonder Wheel (2017); A Rainy Day in New York (2018)

26. John Huston

Director | The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

An eccentric rebel of epic proportions, this Hollywood titan reigned supreme as director, screenwriter and character actor in a career that endured over five decades. The ten-time Oscar-nominated legend was born John Marcellus Huston in Nevada, Missouri, on August 5, 1906. His ancestry was English,...

"John Huston was a superb master. He knew how to make good films. I did three things with him. One is called Independence. It plays in Philadelphia, for free. It's been playing there for 25 years." ~ Eli Wallach

"cinema's Ernest Hemingway"—a filmmaker who was "never afraid to tackle tough issues head on." ~ Ian Freer

Influenced: Robert Altman

TSPDT All-Time Directors (53)

Greats: The Maltese Falcon (1941)✦; The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)✦; The African Queen (1951)✦; The Man Who Would Be King (1975)✦; Prizzi's Honor (1985)

Other Notable Film(s): Across the Pacific (1942); In This Our Life (1942); Key Largo (1948); The Asphalt Jungle (1950)✦; The Red Badge of Courage (1951); Moulin Rouge (1952); Beat the Devil (1953); Moby Dick (1956); Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957); The Unforgiven (1960); The Misfits (1961)✦; Freud (1962); The List of Adrian Messenger (1963); The Night of the Iguana (1964); The Bible: In the Beginning... (1966); The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972); Fat City (1972)✦; The MacKintosh Man (1973); Wise Blood (1979); Victory (1981); Annie (1982); Under the Volcano (1984)✖; The Dead (1987)✦

27. Roman Polanski

Actor | Chinatown

Roman Polanski is a Polish film director, producer, writer and actor. Having made films in Poland, Britain, France and the USA, he is considered one of the few truly international filmmakers. Roman Polanski was born in Paris in 1933. His parents returned to Poland from France in 1936, three years ...

"Roman Polanski is a man who cares deeply about his art and its place in this world. What happened to him on his incredible path is filled with tragedy, and most men would have collapsed. Instead, he became a great artist and continues to make great films." ~ Harvey Weinstein

Influenced: David Lynch; Coen Brothers, Atom Egoyan, Darren Aronofsky, Chan-wook Park, Abel Ferrara, Wes Craven

TSPDT All-Time Directors (35) TSPDT 21st Century Directors (86)

Greats: Repulsion (1965)✦; Cul-De-Sac (1966)✦; Rosemary's Baby (1968)✦; Chinatown (1974)✦; The Pianist (2002)✧

Give It a Shot: Carnage (2011)

Caution: The Ninth Gate (1999)

Other Notable Film(s): Knife in the Water (1962)✦; The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967); Macbeth (1971); What? (1972); The Tenant (1976)✦; Tess (1979); Pirates (1986); Frantic (1988); Bitter Moon (1992); Death and the Maiden (1994); Oliver Twist (2005); The Ghost Writer (2010)✧; Venus in Fur (2013); Based on a True Story (2017)

28. Milos Forman

Director | One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Milos Forman was born Jan Tomas Forman in Caslav, Czechoslovakia, to Anna (Svabova), who ran a summer hotel, and Rudolf Forman, a professor. During World War II, his parents were taken away by the Nazis, after being accused of participating in the underground resistance. His father died in ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (79)

Greats: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)✦; Amadeus (1984)✦; The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996)

Give It a Shot: Man on the Moon (1999)

Other Notable Film(s): Loves of a Blonde (1965)✦; The Firemen's Ball (1967)✦; Taking Off (1971); Hair (1979); Ragtime (1981); Valmont (1989); Goya's Ghosts (2006)

29. Joel Coen

Writer | Fargo

Joel Coen was born on November 29, 1954 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA as Joel Daniel Coen. He is a producer and writer, known for Fargo (1996), Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) and A Serious Man (2009). He has been married to Frances McDormand since April 1, 1984. They have one child.

Representing himself and Ethan Coen

"Look at the Coen brothers. All their minor characters are as interesting as their protagonists. If the smaller characters are well-written, the whole world of the film becomes enriched. It's not the size of the thing, but the detail." ~ Brendan Gleeson

TSPDT All-Time Directors (62) TSPDT 21st Century Directors (11)

Greats: Blood Simple. (1984)✦; Miller's Crossing (1990)✦; Fargo (1996)✦; No Country for Old Men (2007)✦✧; A Serious Man (2009)✧; Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)✧

Give It a Shot: Raising Arizona (1987)✦; Barton Fink (1991)✦; The Hudsucker Proxy (1994); The Big Lebowski (1998)✦; O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)✖✧; The Man Who Wasn't There (2001)✧; True Grit (2010)✧

Caution: Intolerable Cruelty (2003); Burn After Reading (2008)✧

Other Notable Film(s): The Ladykillers (2004); Hail, Caesar! (2016)

30. William Wyler

Director | The Best Years of Our Lives

William Wyler was an American filmmaker who, at the time of his death in 1981, was considered by his peers as second only to John Ford as a master craftsman of cinema. The winner of three Best Director Academy Awards, second again only to Ford's four, Wyler's reputation has unfairly suffered as the ...

"bona fide perfectionist" ~ Ian Freer

TSPDT All-Time Directors (100)

Greats: Dodsworth (1936)✖; Jezebel (1938); Wuthering Heights (1939); The Letter (1940); The Little Foxes (1941)✖; The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)✦; Roman Holiday (1953)✦; Ben-Hur (1959)✦; Funny Girl (1968)

Give It a Shot: Mrs. Miniver (1942); The Children's Hour (1961)

Other Notable Film(s): These Three (1936); Dead End (1937); The Westerner (1940); The Heiress (1949)✖; Detective Story (1951); Carrie (1952); The Desperate Hours (1955); Friendly Persuasion (1956); The Big Country (1958); The Collector (1965); How to Steal a Million (1966); The Liberation of L.B. Jones (1970)

31. Clint Eastwood

Actor | Gran Torino

Clint Eastwood was born May 31, 1930 in San Francisco, the son of Clinton Eastwood Sr., a manufacturing executive for Georgia-Pacific Corporation, and Ruth Wood, a housewife turned IBM operator. He had a comfortable, middle-class upbringing in nearby Piedmont. At school Clint took interest in music...

"Clint Eastwood is an extraordinary director because he knows the value of a buck. He knows where it will show on the screen." ~ Angela Lansbury

TSPDT All-Time Directors (97) TSPDT 21st Century Directors (13)

Greats: High Plains Drifter (1973); The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)✦; Unforgiven (1992)✦; A Perfect World (1993); The Bridges of Madison County (1995)✦; Mystic River (2003)✧; Million Dollar Baby (2004)✦✧; Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)✧; Gran Torino (2008)✧

Give It a Shot: Play Misty for Me (1971); The Gauntlet (1977); Pale Rider (1985); White Hunter Black Heart (1990)✖; Absolute Power (1997); True Crime (1999); Space Cowboys (2000); Blood Work (2002); Flags of our Fathers (2006)✧; Changeling (2008); American Sniper (2014); Sully (2016)

Caution: The Eiger Sanction (1975); The Rookie (1990); J. Edgar (2011)

Other Notable Film(s): Breezy (1973); Bronco Billy (1980); Firefox (1982); Honkytonk Man (1982); Sudden Impact (1983); Heartbreak Ridge (1986); Bird (1988); Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997); Invictus (2009); Hereafter (2010); Jersey Boys (2014)

32. Elia Kazan

Director | On the Waterfront

Known for his creative stage direction, Elia Kazan was born Elias Kazantzoglou on September 7, 1909 in Constantinople, Ottoman Empire (now Istanbul, Turkey). Noted for drawing out the best dramatic performances from his actors, he directed 21 actors to Oscar nominations, resulting in nine wins. He ...

"Kazan was the best actors' director by far of any I've worked for... the only one who ever really stimulated me, got into a part with me and virtually acted it with me... he chose good actors, encouraged them to improvise, and then improvised on the improvisation... He gave his cast freedom and ... was always emotionally involved in the process and his instincts were perfect... I've never seen a director who became as deeply and emotionally involved in a scene as Gadg... he got so wrought up that he started chewing on his hat.

He was an arch-manipulator of actors' feelings, and he was extraordinarily talented; perhaps we will never see his like again." ~ Marlon Brando


TSPDT All-Time Directors (78)

Influenced: Martin Scorsese; Sidney Lumet; John Cassavetes; Arthur Penn; Woody Allen

Greats: A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)✦; On the Waterfront (1954)✦; East of Eden (1955)✦; A Face in the Crowd (1957)✖

Give It a Shot: Gentleman's Agreement (1947); Viva Zapata! (1952)

Other Notable Film(s): A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945); The Sea of Grass (1947); Boomerang! (1947); Pinky (1949); Panic in the Streets (1950); Man on a Tightrope (1953); Baby Doll (1956)✖; Wild River (1960)✖; Splendor in the Grass (1961)✦; America America (1963)✦; The Arrangement (1969); The Visitors (1972); The Last Tycoon (1976)

33. George Stevens

Director | Giant

George Stevens, a filmmaker known as a meticulous craftsman with a brilliant eye for composition and a sensitive touch with actors, is one of the great American filmmakers, ranking with John Ford, William Wyler and Howard Hawks as a creator of classic Hollywood cinema, bringing to the screen ...

"I learned more about acting from George Stevens in a few months than I had in my entire life up until then." ~ Alan Ladd

TSPDT All-Time Directors (171)

Greats: Swing Time (1936)✖; Woman of the Year (1942); A Place in the Sun (1951)✦; Shane (1953)✦; Giant (1956)✖

Give It a Shot: Penny Serenade (1941); The More the Merrier (1943)

Other Notable Film(s): Alice Adams (1935); Vivacious Lady (1938); Gunga Din (1939)✖; The Talk of the Town (1942); I Remember Mama (1948); The Diary of Anne Frank (1959); The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)

34. Jean-Luc Godard

Director | À bout de souffle

Jean-Luc Godard was born in Paris on December 3, 1930, the second of four children in a bourgeois Franco-Swiss family. His father was a doctor who owned a private clinic, and his mother came from a preeminent family of Swiss bankers. During World War II Godard became a naturalized citizen of ...

"Godard is incredibly brilliant, the things he says. Apparently here in France, the most interesting thing when a new film of his is going to come out are his press conferences, because he's so brilliant." ~ Brian De Palma

Influenced: Quentin Tarantino

TSPDT All-Time Directors (5) TSPDT 21st Century Directors (41)

Greats: Breathless (1960)✦; A Woman Is a Woman (1961)✦; Contempt (1963)✦

Other Notable Film(s): Vivre Sa Vie (1962)✦; Le Petit Soldat (1963); The Carabineers (1963); Band of Outsiders (1964)✦; Une Femme Mariée (1964); Pierrot le Fou (1965)✦; Alphaville (1965)✦; Masculin Féminin (1966)✦; Made in U.S.A (1966); 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (1967)✦; La Chinoise (1967); Weekend (1967)✦; Sympathy for the Devil [doc] (1968); Wind from the East (1969)✖; Tout Va Bien (1972)✖; Numero duex (1975)✦; Every Man for Himself (1980)✦; Godard's Passion (1982)✦; Scenario for a Film Called Passion (1982)✖; First Name: Carmen (1983); Détective (1985); Hail Mary (1985)✖; King Lear (1987)✖; Nouvelle vague (1990)✦; Histoire(s) du cinéma (1998)✦; Origins of the 21st Century (2000)✧; In Praise of Love (2001)✖✧; Notre musique (2004)✧; Film socialisme (2010)✧; Goodbye to Language (2014)✧

35. Yasujirô Ozu

Director | Tôkyô monogatari

Tokyo-born Yasujiro Ozu was a movie buff from childhood, often playing hooky from school in order to see Hollywood movies in his local theatre. In 1923 he landed a job as a camera assistant at Shochiku Studios in Tokyo. Three years later, he was made an assistant director and directed his first ...

“If in our century, something sacred still existed, if there were something like a sacred treasure of the cinema, then for me that would have to be the work of the Japanese director Yasujirô Ozu… For me never before and never again since has the cinema been so close to its essence and its purpose: to present an image of man in our century, a usable, true and valid image in which he not only recognises himself, but from which, above all, he may learn about himself.” ~ Wim Wenders

Influenced: Wim Wenders

TSPDT All-Time Directors (12)

Greats: Tokyo Story (1953)✦

Other Notable Film(s): I Was Born. But... (1932)✦; The Only Son (1936)✖; There Was a Father (1942); Late Spring (1949)✦; Early Summer (1951)✦; Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice (1952)✖; Early Spring (1956); Tokyo Twilight (1957); Equinox Flower (1958)✖; Good Morning (1959); Floating Weeds (1959)✦; Late Autumn (1960)✖; An Autumn Afternoon (1961)✦; The End of Summer (1961)✦

36. Michelangelo Antonioni

Writer | Blowup

Michelangelo Antonioni was born in 1912 into a middle-class family and grew up in bourgeois surroundings of the Italian province. In Bologna he studied economics and commerce while he painted and also wrote criticism for a local newspaper. In 1939 he went to Rome and worked for the journal "Cinema"...

Legendary directors acknowledged his greatness such as Andrei Tarkovsky, Stanley Kubrick, and Akira Kurosawa.

Influenced: Miklós Jancsó; Martin Scorsese

TSPDT All-Time Directors (20)

Greats: L'Avventura (1960)✦; Blow-Up (1966)✦; The Passenger (1975)✦

Other Notable Film(s): Story of a Love Affair (1950); Le Amiche (1955); Il Grido (1957)✦; La Notte (1961)✦; L'Eclisse (1962)✦; Red Desert (1964)✦; Zabriskie Point (1970)✦; The Mystery of Oberwald (1981); Identification of a Woman (1982)✖; Beyond the Clouds [w/Wim Wenders] (1995)

37. F.W. Murnau

Director | Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans

He studied art and literature history at the University of Heidelberg. During World War I, he was a combat pilot.

"Murnau's influence on the cinema has proved to be more lasting than Eisenstein's. Murnau's moving camera seems a more suitable style for exploring the world than does Eisenstein's dialectical montage, and the trend in modern movies has been towards escaping studio sets so as to discover the real world." ~ Andrew Sarris

Influenced: Alfred Hitchcock

TSPDT All-Time Directors (19)

Greats: Nosferatu (1922)✦; Sunrise (1927)✦

Other Notable Film(s): The Phantom (1922); The Last Laugh (1924)✦; Tartuffe (1925); Faust (1926)✦; City Girl (1930)✖; Tabu: A Story of the South Seas (1931)✦

38. Carl Theodor Dreyer

Writer | Gertrud

The illegitimate son of a Danish farmer and his Swedish housekeeper, Carl Theodor Dreyer was born in Copenhagen on the 3th of February, 1889. He spent his early years in various foster homes before being adopted by the Dreyers at the age of two. Contrary to popular belief (perhaps nourished by the ...

"Carl Dreyer's art begins to unfold just at the point where most directors give up." ~ Pauline Kael

TSPDT All-Time Directors (17)

Greats: The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)✦

Other Notable Film(s): The Parson's Widow (1920); Leaves Out of the Book of Satan (1921); Michael (1924); Master of the House (1925); Vampyr (1932)✦; Day of Wrath (1943)✦; Ordet (1955)✦; Gertrud (1964)✦

39. Ernst Lubitsch

Director | To Be or Not to Be

From Ernst Lubitsch's experiences in Sophien Gymnasium (high school) theater, he decided to leave school at the age of 16 and pursue a career on the stage. He had to compromise with his father and keep the account books for the family tailor business while he acted in cabarets and music halls at ...

"The man with the cynical, delightful touch created an aristocratic world of yesteryear, then poked fun at it. Lubitsch could say volumes by implication and innuendo." ~ William R. Meyer

Influenced: Billy Wilder; David Lynch

TSPDT All-Time Directors (36)

Greats: The Shop Around the Corner (1940)✦; To Be or Not to Be (1942)✦

Other Notable Film(s): The Marriage Circle (1924)✖; The Love Parade (1929); The Smiling Lieutenant (1931); One Hour with You (1932); Trouble in Paradise (1932)✦; Design for Living (1933)✖; The Merry Widow (1934); Angel (1937)✦; Bluebeard's Eighth Wife (1938); Ninotchka (1939)✦; That Uncertain Feeling (1941); Heaven Can Wait (1943)✖; Cluny Brown (1946)✖; That Lady in Ermine (1948)

40. Vincente Minnelli

Director | Gigi

Born Lester Anthony Minnelli in Chicago on February 28 1903, his father Vincent was a musical conductor of the Minnelli Brothers' Tent Theater. Wanting to pursue an artistic career, Minelli worked in the costume department of the Chicago Theater, then on Broadway during the depression as a set ...

"If he has a fatal flaw as an artist, it his his naïve belief that style can invariably transcend substance and that our way of looking at the world is more important than the world itself. Critic-film-makers like Godard and Truffaut pay lip service to these doctrines, but they don't really believe them. Only Minnelli believes implicitly in the power of his camera to transform trash into art, and corn into caviar. Minnelli believes more in beauty than art." ~ Andrew Sarris

TSPDT All-Time Directors (68)

Greats: Father of the Bride (1950); An American in Paris (1951)✦; The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)✦; Lust for Life (1956)

Give It a Shot: Gigi (1958)

Other Notable Film(s): Cabin in the Sky (1943); Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)✦; The Clock (1945); Undercurrent (1946); The Pirate (1948); Madame Bovary (1949); Father's Little Dividend (1951); The Long, Long Trailer (1953); The Band Wagon (1953)✦; Brigadoon (1954); Designing Woman (1957); Some Came Running (1958)✦; Home from the Hill (1960)✖; Bells Are Ringing (1960); The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1962)✖; The Courtship of Eddie's Father (1963); The Sandpiper (1965)

41. Sergei M. Eisenstein

Director | Aleksandr Nevskiy

The son of an affluent architect, Eisenstein attended the Institute of Civil Engineering in Petrograd as a young man. With the fall of the tsar in 1917, he worked as an engineer for the Red Army. In the following years, Eisenstein joined up with the Moscow Proletkult Theater as a set designer and ...

"The master of montage, Eisenstein created a series of classic Soviet films which speak of the faith, optimism, and willpower of the Russian people." ~ William R. Meyer

TSPDT All-Time Directors (24)

Greats: Battleship Potemkin (1925)✦

Other Notable Film(s): Strike (1925)✦; October (1928)✦; The General Line (1929)✖; Que Viva Mexico (1932*)✖; Alexander Nevsky (1938)✦; Ivan the Terrible, Part I (1944)✦; Ivan the Terrible, Part II (1958)✦

42. Vittorio De Sica

Director | Ladri di biciclette

Vittorio De Sica grew up in Naples, and started out as an office clerk in order to raise money to support his poor family. He was increasingly drawn towards acting, and made his screen debut while still in his teens, joining a stage company in 1923. By the late 1920s he was a successful matinee ...

"I believe Ingmar Bergman, Vittorio De Sica and Federico Fellini are the only three filmmakers in the world who are not just artistic opportunists. By this I mean they don't just sit and wait for a good story to come along and then make it. They have a point of view which is expressed over and over and over again in their films, and they themselves write or have original material written for them." ~ Stanley Kubrick

Influenced: Satyajit Ray

TSPDT All-Time Directors (31)

Greats: Bicycle Thieves (1948)✦

Other Notable Film(s): Shoeshine (1946)✖; Miracle in Milan (1951)✦; Umberto D. (1952)✦; Indiscretion of an American Wife (1953); Two Women (1960); Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (1963); Marriage Italian Style (1964); The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (1970)

43. Buster Keaton

Actor | The General

Joseph Frank Keaton was born on October 4, 1895 in Piqua, Kansas, to Joe Keaton and Myra Keaton. Joe and Myra were Vaudevillian comedians with a popular, ever-changing variety act, giving Keaton an eclectic and interesting upbringing. In the earliest days on stage, they traveled with a medicine ...

"Extraordinary period from 1920 to 1929, [when] he worked without interruption on a series of films that make him, arguably, the greatest actor-director in the history of the movies." ~ Roger Ebert

TSPDT All-Time Directors (50)

Greats: The Navigator [w/Donald Crisp] (1924)✦; Sherlock Jr. (1924)✦; The General [w/Clyde Bruckman] (1926)✦; Steamboat Bill, Jr. [w/Charles Reisner] (1928)✦

Other Notable Film(s): Cops [w/Edward F. Cline] (1922)✖; Three Ages [w/Edward F. Cline] (1923); Our Hospitality [w/John G. Blystone] (1923)✦; Seven Chances (1925)✦; Go West (1925); Battling Butler (1926); The Cameraman [w/Edward Sedgwick] (1928)✦

44. Michael Curtiz

Director | Casablanca

Curtiz began acting in and then directing films in his native Hungary in 1912. After WWI, he continued his filmmaking career in Austria and Germany and into the early 1920s when he directed films in other countries in Europe. Moving to the US in 1926, he started making films in Hollywood for Warner...

Michael Curtiz is the classic example of a studio director in that he could turn his hand to almost anything. He could go from any genre to another, and somehow this Hungarian knew exactly how those genres worked. Like there was some innate storytelling skill in this man. ~ David Thomson

TSPDT All-Time Directors (60)

Greats: Captain Blood (1935); Angels with Dirty Faces (1938)✖; Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942); Casablanca (1943)✦; Mildred Pierce (1945)✦

Give It a Shot: White Christmas (1954)

Other Notable Film(s): Noah's Ark (1928); Doctor X (1932); The Cabin in the Cotton (1932); 20,000 Years in Sing Sing (1932); Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933); The Kennel Murder Case (1933); Female (1933); Jimmy the Gent (1934); Black Fury (1935); The Case of the Curious Bride (1935); Front Page Woman (1935); The Walking Dead (1936); The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936); Kid Galahad (1937); Four's a Crowd (1938); Four Daughters (1938); The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)✦; The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939); Dodge City (1939); Four Wives (1939); Virginia City (1940); Santa Fe Trail (1940); The Sea Hawk (1940); The Sea Wolf (1941); Dive Bomber (1941); Captains of the Clouds (1942); Mission to Moscow (1943); Passage to Marseille (1944); Roughly Speaking (1945); Night and Day (1946); Life with Father (1947); The Unsuspected (1947); Romance on the High Seas (1948); My Dream Is Yours (1949); Flamingo Road (1949); Bright Leaf (1950); Young Man with a Horn (1950); The Breaking Point (1950); Jim Thorpe -- All-American (1951); I'll See You in My Dreams (1951); The Jazz Singer (1952); Trouble Along the Way (1953); The Egyptian (1954); We're No Angels (1955); The Best Things in Life Are Free (1956); The Helen Morgan Story (1957); The Proud Rebel (1958); King Creole (1958); The Hangman (1959); The Man in the Net (1959); A Breath of Scandal (1960); The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1960); Francis of Assisi (1961); The Comancheros (1961)

45. George Cukor

Director | My Fair Lady

George Cukor was born on July 7, 1899 in New York City, New York, USA as George Dewey Cukor. He is known for his work on My Fair Lady (1964), The Philadelphia Story (1940) and Les Girls (1957). He died on January 24, 1983 in Los Angeles, California, USA.

"When a director has provided polished, tasteful entertainments of a high order consistently over a period of 30 years, it is clear that said director is much more than a mere entertainer." ~ Andrew Sarris

TSPDT All-Time Directors (94)

Greats: The Philadelphia Story (1940)✦; Gaslight (1944)✖; Adam's Rib (1949); My Fair Lady (1964)✖

Give It a Shot: Dinner at Eight (1933)✖; A Double Life (1947); Born Yesterday (1950)

Other Notable Film(s): Little Women (1933); David Copperfield (1935); Romeo and Juliet (1936); Camille (1936)✖; Holiday (1938)✦; The Women (1939)✖; A Woman's Face (1941); Keeper of the Flame (1942); Edward, My Son (1949); Pat and Mike (1952); The Actress (1953); A Star Is Born (1954)✦; It Should Happen to You (1954); Les Girls (1957); Wild Is the Wind (1957); Let's Make Love (1960); Travels with My Aunt (1972)

46. Robert Wise

Director | West Side Story

Robert Earl Wise was born on September 10, 1914 in Winchester, Indiana, the youngest of three sons of Olive R. (Longenecker) and Earl Waldo Wise, a meat packer. His parents were both of Pennsylvania Dutch (German) descent. At age nineteen, the avid moviegoer came into the film business through an ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (158)

Greats: The Captive City (1952); Odds Against Tomorrow (1959); West Side Story (1961)✦; The Haunting (1963)✖; The Sound of Music (1965)✦

Give It a Shot: The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)✦; Run Silent Run Deep (1958); The Andromeda Strain (1971)

Caution: Two for the Seesaw (1962)

Other Notable Film(s): Mademoiselle Fifi (1944); The Curse of the Cat People (1944); The Body Snatcher (1945); A Game of Death (1946); Criminal Court (1946); Born to Kill (1947); Mystery in Mexico (1948); Blood on the Moon (1948); The Set-Up (1949)✖; Two Flags West (1950); Three Secrets (1950); The House on Telegraph Hill (1951); Something for the Birds (1952); Destination Gobi (1953); The Desert Rats (1953); So Big (1953); Executive Suite (1954); Helen of Troy (1956); Tribute to a Bad Man (1956); Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956); This Could Be the Night (1957); Until They Sail (1957); I Want to Live! (1958); The Sand Pebbles (1966); Star! (1968); Two People (1973); The Hindenburg (1975); Audrey Rose (1977); Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979); Rooftops (1989)

47. Bernardo Bertolucci

Writer | The Last Emperor

Bernardo Bertolucci, the Italian director whose films are known for their colorful visual style, was born in Parma, Italy, in 1940. He attended Rome University and became famous as a poet. He served as assistant director for Pier Paolo Pasolini in the film Accattone (1961) and directed La commare ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (59)

Greats: Last Tango in Paris (1973)✦; The Last Emperor (1987)✦

Other Notable Film(s): The Grim Reaper (1962); Before the Revolution (1964)✖; The Spider's Stratagem (1970)✖; The Conformist (1971)✦; 1900 (1976)✦; Luna (1979)✖; The Sheltering Sky (1990)✖; Little Buddha (1993); Stealing Beauty (1996); L'assedio (1998); The Dreamers (2003)✧; Me and You (2012)

48. Fred Zinnemann

Director | A Man for All Seasons

Initially grew up wanting to be a violinist, but while at the University of Vienna decided to study law. While doing so, he became increasingly interested in American film and decided that was what he wanted to do. He became involved in European filmaking for a short time before going to America to...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (191)

Greats: High Noon (1952)✦; From Here to Eternity (1953)✖; A Man for All Seasons (1966)✖

Give It a Shot: The Men (1950); Oklahoma! (1955)

Other Notable Film(s): The Seventh Cross (1944); The Search (1948); Act of Violence (1948); The Member of the Wedding (1952); A Hatful of Rain (1957); The Nun's Story (1959); The Sundowners (1960); Behold a Pale Horse (1964); The Day of the Jackal (1973); Julia (1977)

49. Preston Sturges

Writer | The Great McGinty

Preston Sturges' own life is as unlikely as some of the plots of his best work. He was born into a wealthy family. As a boy he helped out on stage productions for his mother's friend, Isadora Duncan (the scarf that strangled her was made by his mother's company, Maison Desti). He served in the U.S....

"I could never make a good film without a good writer, but neither could Preston Sturges. Only he had one with him all the time. He was a true auteur, the complete creator of his own films." ~ William Wyler

TSPDT All-Time Directors (69)

Greats: Sullivan's Travels (1941)✦; The Lady Eve (1941)✦; The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1944)✦; Hail the Conquering Hero (1944); Unfaithfully Yours (1948)✖

Give It a Shot: The Palm Beach Story (1942)✦

Other Notable Film(s): The Great McGinty (1940); Christmas in July (1940); The Sin of Harold Diddlebock (1947); The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend (1949)

50. Michael Powell

Director | The Tales of Hoffmann

The son of Thomas William Powell and Mabel (nee Corbett). Michael Powell was always a self-confessed movie addict. He was brought up partly in Canterbury ("The Garden of England") and partly in the south of France (where his parents ran a hotel). Educated at Kings School, Canterbury and Dulwich ...

Representing himself and his collaboration with Emeric Pressburger

TSPDT All-Time Directors (34)

Greats: Black Narcissus (1947)✦

Other Notable Film(s): Co-directed with Pressburger: One of Our Aircraft Is Missing (1942); The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)✦; A Canterbury Tale (1944)✦; 'I Know Where I'm Going!' (1945)✦; Stairway to Heaven (1946)✦; The Red Shoes (1948)✦; The Small Back Room (1949); The Tales of Hoffmann (1951)✦

Without Pressburger:

"Next to Alfred Hitchcock (for whom he once worked as an assistant), Powell may be the most talented and important film director to come out of the English cinema… His visual technique, particularly his bold use of color and composition, has inspired many younger directors, including Martin Scorsese, Ken Russell, and Nicolas Roeg." ~ Leonard Maltin

TSPDT All-Time Directors (145)

Greats: Peeping Tom (1960)✦

Give It a Shot: 49th Parallel (1941)

Other Notable Film(s): The Edge of the World (1937); The Thief of Bagdad (1940) [Co-director]✦; They're a Weird Mob (1966)

51. Terrence Malick

Writer | Days of Heaven

Terrence Malick was born in Ottawa, Illinois. His family subsequently lived in Oklahoma and he went to school in Austin, Texas. He did his undergraduate work at Harvard, graduating summa cum laude with a degree in philosophy in 1965.

A member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society, he attended Magdalen ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (49) TSPDT 21st Century Directors (9)

Influenced: Martin McDonagh

Greats: Badlands (1973)✦; Days of Heaven (1978)✦; The Thin Red Line (1998)✦

Give It a Shot: The New World (2005)✦✧; The Tree of Life (2011)✦✧

Caution: To the Wonder (2013*)✧

Other Notable Film(s): Knight of Cups (2015); Voyage of Time: Life's Journey (2016); Song to Song (2017); Radegund (2018)

52. Nicholas Ray

Director | Rebel Without a Cause

Nicholas Ray was born Raymond Nicholas Kienzle in 1911, in small-town Galesville, Wisconsin, to Lena (Toppen) and Raymond Joseph Kienzle, a contractor and builder. He was of German and Norwegian descent. Ray's early experience with film came with some radio broadcasting in high school. He left the ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (67)

"There was theatre (Griffith), poetry (Murnau), painting (Rossellini), dance (Eisenstein), music (Renoir). Henceforth there is cinema. And the cinema is Nicholas Ray." ~ Jean-Luc Godard

Influenced: Jean-Luc Godard; Wim Wenders

Greats: In a Lonely Place (1950)✦; Rebel Without a Cause (1955)✦

Other Notable Film(s): Knock on Any Door (1949); They Live by Night (1949)✦; Flying Leathernecks (1951)✦; On Dangerous Ground (1952)✖; Johnny Guitar (1954)✦; Bigger Than Life (1956)✦; Bitter Victory (1957)✖; Party Girl (1958)✖; The Savage Innocents (1960); King of Kings (1961); 55 Days at Peking (1963)

53. Satyajit Ray

Writer | Pather Panchali

Satyajit Ray was born in Calcutta on May 2, 1921. His father, Late Sukumar Ray was an eminent poet and writer in the history of Bengali literature. In 1940, after receiving his degree in science and economics from Calcutta University, he attended Tagore's Viswa-Bharati University. His first movie ...

"To have not seen the films of Ray is to have lived in the world without ever having seen the moon and the sun." ~ Akira Kurosawa

TSPDT All-Time Directors (41)

Influenced: Martin Scorsese, James Ivory, Abbas Kiarostami, Elia Kazan, François Truffaut, Carlos Saura, Isao Takahata, Danny Boyle, Wes Anderson

Greats: Pather Panchali (1955)✦

Other Notable Film(s): Aparajito (1956)✦; The Music Room (1958)✦; The World of Apu (1959)✦; The Goddess (1960); The Big City: Mahanagar (1964)✖; Charulata: The Lonely Wife (1964)✦; Days and Nights in the Forest (1970)✖; The Chess Players (1977); The Visitor (1991)

54. Ridley Scott

Producer | The Martian

Ridley Scott was born on November 30, 1937 in South Shields, Tyne and Wear (then County Durham). His father was an officer in the Royal Engineers and the family followed him as his career posted him throughout the United Kingdom and Europe before they eventually returned to Teesside. Scott wanted ...

"I have always been a huge fan of Ridley Scott and certainly when I was a kid. 'Alien,' 'Blade Runner' just blew me away because they created these extraordinary worlds that were just completely immersive. I was also an enormous Stanley Kubrick fan for similar reasons." ~ Christopher Nolan

Influenced: Christopher Nolan

TSPDT All-Time Directors (46) TSPDT 21st Century Directors (85)

Greats: Alien (1979)✦; Blade Runner (1982)✦; Thelma & Louise (1991)✦; Gladiator (2000)✧; Black Hawk Down (2001)✧

Give It a Shot: Matchstick Men (2003); American Gangster (2007); Body of Lies (2008); The Martian (2015)✧

Caution: Hannibal (2001); Prometheus (2012)

Other Notable Film(s): The Duellists (1977)✖; Legend (1985); Someone to Watch Over Me (1987); Black Rain (1989); 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992); White Squall (1996); G.I. Jane (1997); Kingdom of Heaven (2005); A Good Year (2006); Robin Hood (2010); The Counselor (2013); Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014); Alien: Covenant (2017); All the Money in the World (2017)

55. Werner Herzog

Director | Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes

Director. Writer. Producer. Has studied history, literature and theatre, but hasn't finished it. Founded his own production company in 1963. Has staged several operas, besides others in Bayreuth, Germany, and at the Milan Scala in Italy. Herzog has won numerous national and international awards for...

"One of the best of the new wave of German filmmakers, Herzog has already mastered themes of illusion, delusion, alienation, and hypocrisy." ~ William R. Meyer, 1978

"the most important film director alive." ~ François Truffaut

"has never created a single film that is compromised, shameful, made for pragmatic reasons or uninteresting. Even his failures are spectacular." ~ Roger Ebert

Only feature-film director to have made a film on every continent.

TSPDT All-Time Directors (47) TSPDT 21st Century Directors (38)

Greats: Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1972)✦; Grizzly Man [doc] (2005)✦✧

Give It a Shot: Rescue Dawn (2006)☒

Other Notable Film(s): Signs of Life (1968)✖; Even Dwarks Satrted Small (1970); Fata Morgana (1971)✦; Land of Silence and Dark (1971)✖; The Great Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner (1974)✖; The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974)✦; Heart of Glass [doc] (1976); Stroszek (1977); Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)✖; Woyzeck (1979); Fitzcarraldo (1982)✦; Cobra Verde (1987); Lessons of Darkness [doc] (1992)✖; Little Dieter Needs to Fly [doc] (1998); My Best Friend [doc] (1999); Invincible (2001); The White Diamond [doc] (2004)✧; The Wild Blue Yonder (2005); Encounters at the End of the World [doc] (2007)✧; Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009)✧; My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done (2009); Cave of Forgotten Dreams [doc] (2010)✧; Into the Abyss [doc] (2011); On Death Row [TV series] (2012); Queen of the Desert (2015); Salt and Fire (2016)

56. Kenji Mizoguchi

Director | Saikaku ichidai onna

Coming from a lower class family Mizoguchi entered the production company Nikkatsu as an actor specialized in female roles. Later he became an assistant director and made his first film in 1922. Although he filmed almost 90 movies in the silent era, only his last 12 productions are really known ...

"The greatest of Japanese filmmakers. Or, quite simply, one of the greatest of filmmakers." ~ Jean-Luc Godard

"If Mizoguchi captivates us, it is because he never sets out deliberately to do so and never takes sides with the spectator. He seems to be the only Japanese director who is completely Japanese and yet is also the only one that achieves a true universality, that of an individual." - Jacques Rivette

TSPDT All-Time Directors (25)

Other Notable Film(s): Osaka Elegy (1936); Sisters of the Gion (1936); The Straits of Love and Hate (1937)✖; The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums (1939)✦; The 47 Ronin (1941)✦; Utamaro and His Five Women (1946)✖; Women of the Night (1948); Flame of My Love (1949)✖; Miss Oyu (1951)✖; The Life of Oharu (1952)✦; Ugetsu monogatari (1953)✦; A Geisha (1953)✖; Sansho the Bailiff (1954)✦; The Crucified Lovers (1954)✦; The Woman in the Rumor (1954); Princess Yang Kwei-fei (1955)✦; Taira Clan Saga (1955)✖; Street of Shame (1956)✦

57. Quentin Tarantino

Writer | Reservoir Dogs

Quentin Jerome Tarantino was born in Knoxville, Tennessee. His father, Tony Tarantino, is an Italian-American actor and musician from New York, and his mother, Connie (McHugh), is a nurse from Tennessee. Quentin moved with his mother to Torrance, California, when he was four years old.

In January of...

"the single most influential director of his generation." ~ Peter Bogdanovich

Influenced: Martin McDonagh

TSPDT All-Time Directors (63) TSPDT 21st Century Directors (23)

Greats: Reservoir Dogs (1992)✦; Pulp Fiction (1994)✦; Jackie Brown (1997); Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)✖✧; Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004)✧; Inglourious Basterds (2009)✧

Give It a Shot: Django Unchained (2012)✧; The Hateful Eight (2015)✧

Caution: Death Proof (2007)✧

58. Henri-Georges Clouzot

Writer | Le salaire de la peur

Beginning his film career as a screenwriter, Henri-Georges Clouzot switched over to directing and in 1943 had the distinction of having his film Le Corbeau (1943) banned by both the German forces occupying France and the Free French forces fighting them, but for different reasons. He shot to ...

"There is no doubt that if Clouzot had worked for Hollywood and applied the formulas of U.S. studios, today he would be lauded by the very critics who choose to ignore him." ~ Philipe Pilard

TSPDT All-Time Directors (152)

Greats: The Wages of Fear (1953)✦; Diabolique (1955)✦

Other Notable Film(s): Le Corbeau: The Raven (1943)✖; Quai des Orfèvres (1947)✖; The Mystery of Picasso [doc] (1956); The Spies (1957); The Truth (1960); Woman in Chains (1968)

59. John Cassavetes

Actor | Love Streams

John Cassavetes was born on December 9, 1929 in New York City, New York, USA as John Nicholas Cassavetes. He was an actor and director, known for Love Streams (1984), The Dirty Dozen (1967) and Husbands (1970). He was married to Gena Rowlands. He died on February 3, 1989 in Los Angeles, California,...

Influenced: Judd Apatow

TSPDT All-Time Directors (37)

Greats: A Woman Under the Influence (1974)✦; The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976)✦

Faces (1968)✦

Other Notable Film(s): Shadows (1959)✦; Too Late Blues (1961); A Child Is Waiting (1963); Husbands (1970)✦; Minnie and Moskowitz (1971); Opening Night (1977)✦; Gloria (1980)✖; Love Streams (1984)✦; Big Trouble (1986)

60. Robert Altman

Director | Gosford Park

Robert Altman was born on February 20th, 1925 in Kansas City, Missouri, to B.C. (an insurance salesman) and Helen Altman. He entered St. Peters Catholic school at the age six, and spent a short time at a Catholic high school. From there, he went to Rockhurst High School. It was then that he started...

"He was really good at not committing himself too early to something. He didn't impose his will early. He loved to work with people. He loved to see what they came up with. He would give things time to settle, to rise or to fall, and watching him do that was a great lesson in patience. Because at the end of the day, he invited everybody in to work on this film, but he ended up getting exactly what he wanted, and everyone else felt that they had been part of it, because they had. They really made the film with Bob. How he did that was a lesson to me." ~ Paul Thomas Anderson

TSPDT All-Time Directors (43)

Greats: MASH (1970)✦

Give It a Shot: The Long Goodbye (1973)✦; The Player (1992)✖; Gosford Park (2001)✧

Caution: Nashville (1975)✦

Other Notable Film(s): Countdown (1968); Brewster McCloud (1970); McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)✦; Images (1972); Thieves Like Us (1974)✖; California Split (1974)✖; Buffalo Bill and the Indians (1976); 3 Women (1977)✦; A Wedding (1978)✖; Quintet (1979); Popeye (1980); Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982)✖; Streamers (1983); Secret Honor (1984); Fool for Love (1985); Vincent & Theo (1990); Short Cuts (1993)✦; Ready to Wear (1994); Kansas City (1996); The Gingerbread Man (1998); Cookie's Fortune (1999); Dr. T & the Women (2000); The Company (2003)✧; A Prairie Home Companion (2006)✧

61. D.W. Griffith

Director | Orphans of the Storm

David Wark Griffith was born in rural Kentucky to Jacob "Roaring Jake" Griffith, a former Confederate Army colonel and Civil War veteran. Young Griffith grew up with his father's romantic war stories and melodramatic nineteenth-century literature that were to eventually mold his black-and-white, ...

"The whole industry owes its existence to him." ~ Charles Chaplin

Considered one of the pioneers of directing. Legendary directors acknowledged Griffith's greatness such as John Ford, Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles and Charlie Chaplin.

TSPDT All-Time Directors (48)

Influenced: John Ford; Erich von Stroheim; Sergei M. Eisenstein

Give It a Shot: The Birth of a Nation (1915)✦

Other Notable Film(s): Lady Helen's Escapade [short] (1909); A Corner in Wheat [short] (1909); The Musketeers of Pig Alley [short] (1912); Intolerance (1916)✦; Broken Blossoms (1919)✦; True Heart Susie (1919)✦; Way Down East (1920)✖; Orphans of the Storm (1921); Dream Street (1921)✖; Isn't Life Wonderful (1924)

62. Richard Brooks

Writer | Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Richard Brooks was an Academy Award-winning film writer who also earned six Oscar nominations and achieved success as a film director and producer.

He was born Ruben Sax on May 18, 1912, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His parents were Russian-Jewish immigrants. He graduated from West Philadelphia HS...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (--)

Greats: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958); Elmer Gantry (1960); In Cold Blood (1967)✖

Give It a Shot: Sweet Bird of Youth (1962)

Other Notable Film(s): Blackboard Jungle (1955); The Brothers Karamazov (1958); The Professionals (1966); Bite the Bullet (1975); Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977)

63. John Frankenheimer

Director | The Manchurian Candidate

Born in New York and raised in Queens, John Frankenheimer wanted to become a professional tennis player. He loved movies and his favorite actor was Robert Mitchum. He decided he wanted to be an actor but then he applied for and was accepted in the Motion Picture Squadron of the Air Force where he ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (247)

Greats: The Manchurian Candidate (1962)✦; Birdman of Alcatraz (1962); The Train (1964)

Give It a Shot: Grand Prix (1966); Ronin (1997)

Other Notable Film(s): All Fall Down (1962); Seven Days in May (1964); Seconds (1966)✖; The Fixer (1968); The Iceman Cometh (1973); French Connection II (1975); Black Sunday (1977); 52 Pick-Up (1986); Reindeer Games (2000)

64. Carol Reed

Director | The Third Man

Carol Reed was the second son of stage actor, dramatics teacher and impresario founder of the Royal School of Dramatic Arts Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree. Reed was one of Tree's six illegitimate children with Beatrice Mae Pinney, who Tree established in a second household apart from his married life. ...

"could put a film together like a watchmaker puts together a watch". ~ Michael Powell Influenced: Steven Spielberg

TSPDT All-Time Directors (66)

Greats: The Third Man (1949)✦; Oliver! (1968)

Other Notable Film(s): Night Train to Munich (1940); The Way Ahead (1944); Odd Man Out (1947)✦; The Fallen Idol (1948)✦; Outcast of the Islands (1951)✖; Trapeze (1956); The Key (1958); Our Man in Havana (1959); The Running Man (1963); The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965)

65. Roberto Rossellini

Writer | Paisà

The master filmmaker Roberto Rossellini, as one of the creators of neo-realism, is one of the most influential directors of all time. His neo-realist films influenced France's nouvelle vague movement in the 1950s and '60s that changed the face of international cinema. He also influenced American ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (26)

Greats: Journey to Italy (1954)✦

Other Notable Film(s): Rome, Open City (1945)✦; Paisan (1946)✦; Germany Year Zero (1948)✦; L'Amore (1948); The Flowers of St. Francis (1950)✦; Stromboli, terra di Dio (1950)✦; Europa '51 (1952)✦; The Greatest Love (1952); Il General della Rovere (1959)✖; India: Matri Bhumi (1959)✦; The Rise to Power of Louis XIV (1966)✦

66. Luchino Visconti

Director | Le notti bianche

Luchino Visconti was born on November 2, 1906 in Milan, Lombardy, Italy as Luchino Visconti di Modrone. He was a director and writer, known for Le Notti Bianche (1957), Rocco and His Brothers (1960) and Death in Venice (1971). He died on March 17, 1976 in Rome, Lazio, Italy.

TSPDT All-Time Directors (32)

Other Notable Film(s): Ossessione (1943)✦; La Terra Trema (1948)✦; Bellissima (1951)✖; Senso (1954)✦; Le Notti Bianche (1957)✖; Rocco and His Brothers (1960)✦; The Leopard (1963)✦; Sandra (1965)✖; The Stranger (1967); The Damned (1969)✦; Death in Venice (1971)✦; Ludwig (1972)✦; Conversation Piece (1974)✖; L'innocente (1976)

67. Max Ophüls

Director | La ronde

Director Max Ophüls was born Max Oppenheimer in Saarbrücken, Germany. He began his career as a stage actor and director in the golden twenties. He worked in cities such as Stuttgart, Dortmund, Wuppertal, Vienna, Frankfurt, Breslau and Berlin. In 1929 his son Marcel Ophüls was born in Frankfurt, ...

"If all the dollies and cranes in the world snap to attention when his name is mentioned, it is because he gave camera movement its finest hours in the history of cinema." ~ Andrew Sarris

Influenced: Stanley Kubrick; Vincente Minnelli

TSPDT All-Time Directors (42)

Other Notable Film(s): Liebelei (1932)✖; La Signora di Tutti (1934)✖; There's No Tomorrow (1940)✖; Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948)✦; The Reckless Moment (1949)✦; Caught (1949); La Ronde (1950)✖; Le Plaisir (1952)✦; The Earrings of Madame de... (1953)✦; Lola Montès (1955)✦

68. Krzysztof Kieslowski

Writer | La double vie de Véronique

Krzysztof Kieslowski graduated from Lódz Film School in 1969, and became a documentary, TV and feature film director and scriptwriter. Before making his first film for TV, Przejscie podziemne (1974) (The Underground Passage), he made a number of short documentaries. His next TV title, Personel (...

"There is no doubting his feeling for things seen and heard; there is no question but that he is a filmmaker, and one following in the steps of Bresson. But, for me, Kieslowski frequently runs the risk of being precious, mannered, and so cold as to forbid touching." ~ David Thomson

Considered one of the greatest Polish directors.

TSPDT All-Time Directors (51)

Other Notable Film(s): The Scar (1976); Camera Buff (1979)✖; Blind Chance (1981)✖; No End (1985)✖; Dekalog (1988)✦; A Short Film About Killing (1988)✦; A Short Film About Love (1988)✖; The Double Life of Veronique (1991)✦; Three Colors: Blue (1993)✦; Three Colors: White (1994)✦; Three Colors: Red (1994)✦

69. Pier Paolo Pasolini

Writer | Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma

Pier Paolo Pasolini achieved fame and notoriety long before he entered the film industry. A published poet at 19, he had already written numerous novels and essays before his first screenplay in 1954. His first film Accattone (1961) was based on his own novel and its violent depiction of the life ...

"A remarkable director -- a great loss to Italian culture. It was as if he was discovering cinema from scratch." ~ Bernardo Bertolucci on Pier's death

TSPDT All-Time Directors (58)

Other Notable Film(s): Accattone! (1961)✦; Mamma Roma (1962)✖; The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964)✦; The Hawks and the Sparrows (1966)✦; Oedipus Rex (1967)✦; Teorema (1968)✦; Pigpen (1969); Medea (1969); The Decameron (1971); The Canterbury Tales (1972)✖; Arabian Nights (1974)✦; Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975)✦

70. Paul Thomas Anderson

Director | Punch-Drunk Love

Anderson was born in 1970. He was one of the first of the "video store" generation of film-makers. His father was the first man on his block to own a V.C.R., and from a very early age Anderson had an infinite number of titles available to him. While film-makers like Spielberg cut their teeth making...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (83) TSPDT 21st Century Directors (5)

Greats: Boogie Nights (1997)✦; Magnolia (1999)✦; Punch-Drunk Love (2002)✦✧; There Will Be Blood (2007)✦✧; The Master (2012)✧

Give It a Shot: Hard Eight (1996); Inherent Vice (2014)✧

Other Notable Film(s): Phantom Thread (2017)

71. Michael Haneke

Writer | Caché

A true master of his craft, Michael Haneke is one of the greatest film artists working today and one who challenges his viewers each year and work goes by, with films that reflect real portions of life in realistic, disturbing and unforgettable ways. One of the most genuine filmmakers of the world ...

"Even for the most difficult scenes, and there are difficult scenes in the film, and because Michael Haneke is such a great film-maker - I think a great film-maker is not only being inspired, but how to do it, how to make it as real as possible, knowing that it's not real." ~ Isabelle Huppert

TSPDT All-Time Directors (80) TSPDT 21st Century Directors (3)

Greats: The Piano Teacher (2001)✦✧; Caché (Hidden) (2005)✦✧; Amour (2012)✦✧

Give It a Shot: Funny Games (1997)✦; Code Unknown (2000)✦✧

Flops: Funny Games (2007)

Other Notable Film(s): The Seventh Continent (1989); Benny's Video (1992); 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance (1994); The Castle (1997); Time of the Wolf (2003)✧; The White Ribbon (2009)✦✧; Happy End (2017)

72. David Cronenberg

Director | The Fly

David Cronenberg, also known as the King of Venereal Horror or the Baron of Blood, was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in 1943. His father, Milton Cronenberg, was a journalist and editor, and his mother, Esther (Sumberg), was a piano player. After showing an inclination for literature at an early...

"Horror for Cronenberg is not a game or a meal ticket; it is, rather, the natural expression for one of the best directors working today. For Cronenberg's subject is the intensity of human frailty and decay: in short, the boy and its many accelerated mutations, whether out of disease, anger, dread, or hope. These are not easy films to take. But how can horror be easy? Anyone born and reckoning on dying needs to confront Cronenberg." ~ David Thomson

TSPDT All-Time Directors (84) TSPDT 21st Century Directors (30)

Greats: The Fly (1986)✦; Dead Ringers (1988)✦; Crash (1996)✦; A History of Violence (2005)✦✧; Eastern Promises (2007)✧

Give It a Shot: The Dead Zone (1983); Videodrome (1983)✦; A Dangerous Method (2011)✧

Caution: Naked Lunch (1991)✖

Other Notable Film(s): They Came from Within (1975); Rabid (1977); Fast Company (1979); The Brood (1979); Scanners (1981); M. Butterfly (1993); eXistenZ (1999); Spider (2002)✧; Cosmopolis (2012)✧; Maps to the Stars (2014)

73. Sam Peckinpah

Writer | Straw Dogs

"If they move", commands stern-eyed William Holden, "kill 'em". So begins The Wild Bunch (1969), Sam Peckinpah's bloody, high-body-count eulogy to the mythologized Old West. "Pouring new wine into the bottle of the Western, Peckinpah explodes the bottle", observed critic Pauline Kael. That ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (61)

Greats: The Wild Bunch (1969)✦; The Getaway (1972)✖

Give It a Shot: Straw Dogs (1971)✖

Other Notable Film(s): The Deadly Companions (1961); Ride the High Country (1962)✦; Major Dundee (1965); The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970)✖; Junior Bonner (1972); Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973)✦; Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974)✦; The Killer Elite (1975); Cross of Iron (1977); Convoy (1978); The Osterman Weekend (1983)

74. Nicolas Roeg

Director | Don't Look Now

When he made his directorial debut in 1970, Nicolas Roeg was already a 23-year veteran of the British film industry, starting out in 1947 as an editing apprentice and working his way up to cinematographer twelve years later. He first came to attention as part of the second unit on David Lean's ...

Influenced: Steven Soderbergh, Tony Scott, Ridley Scott, Christopher Nolan, François Ozon, Danny Boyle

TSPDT All-Time Directors (82)

Greats: Don't Look Now (1973)✦; The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)✦; Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession (1980)✦

Other Notable Film(s): Performance [w/Donald Cammell] (1970)✦; Walkabout (1971)✦; Eureka (1983); Insignificance (1985); Castaway (1986); Track 29 (1988); The Witches (1990); Cold Heaven (1991); Two Deaths (1995); Puffball: The Devil's Eyeball (2007)

75. Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Writer | All About Eve

Born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on February 11, 1909, Joseph Leo Mankiewicz first worked for the movies as a translator of intertitles, employed by Paramount in Berlin, the UFA's American distributor at the time (1928). He became a dialoguist, then a screenwriter on numerous Paramount ...

"The cinema of Joseph L. Mankiewicz is a cinema of intelligence without inspiration. His best films - All About Eve and The Barefoot Contessa - bear the signature of a genuine auteur... Mankiewicz's cranky liberalism sometimes gets the better of him, particularly when he wrenches scenes out of their context to inveigh against the evils of farm subsidies (People Will Talk) and oil-depletion allowances (The Barefoot Contessa)." ~ Andrew Sarris

TSPDT All-Time Directors (95)

Greats: All About Eve (1950)✦; Suddenly, Last Summer (1959); Sleuth (1972)

Give It a Shot: Julius Caesar (1953)

Other Notable Film(s): Dragonwyck (1946); Somewhere in the Night (1946); The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)✦; A Letter to Three Wives (1949)✖; House of Strangers (1949); No Way Out (1950); People Will Talk (1951); 5 Fingers (1952); The Barefoot Contessa (1954)✖; Guys and Dolls (1955)✖; The Quiet American (1958); Cleopatra (1963); The Honey Pot (1967); There Was a Crooked Man... (1970)

76. Josef von Sternberg

Director | The Devil Is a Woman

Josef von Sternberg split his childhood between Vienna and New York City. His father, a former soldier in the Austro-Hungarian army, could not support his family in either city; Sternberg remembered him only as "an enormously strong man who often used his strength on me." Forced by poverty to drop ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (91)

Other Notable Film(s): Underworld (1927); The Last Command (1928); The Docks of New York (1928)✦; Thunderbolt (1929); The Case of Lena Smith (1929); The Blue Angel (1930)✦; Morocco (1930)✦; An American Tragedy (1931); Dishonored (1931); Blonde Venus (1932); Shanghai Express (1932)✦; The Scarlet Empress (1934)✦; The Devil Is a Woman (1935)✖; Crime and Punishment (1935); The King Steps Out (1936); Sergeant Madden (1939); The Shanghai Gesture (1941)✖; Macao (1952); Anatahan (1953)✦; Jet Pilot (1957)

77. Otto Preminger

Director | Anatomy of a Murder

Otto Ludwig Preminger was born in Wiznitz, Bukovina, Austria-Hungary. His father was a prosecutor, and Otto originally intended to follow his father into a law career; however, he fell in love with the theater and became a stage director. He directed his first film in 1931, and came to the US in ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (127)

Greats: Laura (1944)✦; The Man with the Golden Arm (1955); Anatomy of a Murder (1959)✦

Caution: River of No Return (1954)

Other Notable Film(s): Fallen Angel (1945); Forever Amber (1947)✖; Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950); Angel Face (1952)✖; The Moon Is Blue (1953); Carmen Jones (1954); The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell (1955); Bonjour Tristesse (1958); Porgy and Bess (1959); Exodus (1960); Advise & Consent (1962); The Cardinal (1963); In Harm's Way (1965); Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965)

78. Jean-Pierre Melville

Actor | À bout de souffle

The name "Melville" is not immediately associated with film. It conjures up images of white whales and crackbrained captains, of naysaying notaries and soup-spilling sailors. It is the countersign to a realm of men and their deeds, both heroic and villainous. It is the American novel, with its ...

Influenced: John Woo; Aki Kaurismäki

TSPDT All-Time Directors (86)

Greats: Le Samouraï (1967)✦

Other Notable Film(s): Les Enfants Terribles (1950)✖; Bob le Flambeur (1956)✦; Two Men in Manhattan (1959); Léon Morin, Priest (1961); Le Doulos (1962); Magnet of Doom (1963); Le Deuxieme Souffle (1966)✦; Army of Shadows (1969)✦; Le Cercle Rouge (1970)✦; Un Flic (1972)

79. Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Writer | Faustrecht der Freiheit

Above all, Rainer Werner Fassbinder was a rebel whose life and art was marked by gross contradiction. Openly homosexual, he married twice; one of his wives acted in his films and the other served as his editor. Accused variously by detractors of being anticommunist, male chauvinist, antiSemitic and...

80. James Cameron

Writer | Avatar

James Francis Cameron was born on August 16, 1954 in Kapuskasing, Ontario, Canada. He moved to the United States in 1971. The son of an engineer, he majored in physics at California State University before switching to English, and eventually dropping out. He then drove a truck to support his ...

"Creating a universe is daunting. I'm glad Jim is doing it - there are only a few people in the world who are nuts enough to. I did it with Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, and now he's trying to challenge that. It's a lot of work. I do believe Jim will take this further out than anyone's ever conceived of." ~ George Lucas

TSPDT All-Time Directors (107)

Greats: The Terminator (1984)✦; Aliens (1986)✦; Terminator 2 (1991)✦; Titanic (1997)✦; Avatar (2009)✦✧

Give It a Shot: The Abyss (1989); True Lies (1994)

Other Notable Film(s): Piranha Part Two: The Spawning (1981); Ghosts of the Abyss [doc] (2003)

81. Jean Vigo

Writer | Zéro de conduite: Jeunes diables au collège

Jean Vigo had bad health since he was a child. Son of anarchist militant Miguel Almareyda, he also never really recovered from his father's mysterious death in jail when he was 12. Abandoned by his mother, he passed from boarding school to boarding school. Aged 23, through meetings with people ...

"Truly a poet of the cinema, Vigo's early death ended what probably would have been a brilliant career. He made only four films, but they stand as a valuable body of work which reflects a profound, if cynical, humanism and a complex sense of fantasy." ~ William R. Meyer

Only director on this list that didn't reach 30 years of age.

TSPDT All-Time Directors (40)

Greats: L'Atalante (1934)✦

Other Notable Film(s): À propos de Nice [doc/short] (1930); Taris [doc/short] (1931); Zero for Conduct (1933)✦

82. Raoul Walsh

Director | Sadie Thompson

Raoul Walsh's 52-year directorial career made him a Hollywood legend. Walsh was also an actor: He appeared in the first version of W. Somerset Maugham's "Rain" renamed Sadie Thompson (1928) opposite Gloria Swanson in the title role. He would have played the Cisco Kid in his own film In Old Arizona ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (140)

Greats: White Heat (1949)✦

Other Notable Film(s): The Thief of Bagdad (1924); The Big Trail (1930); The Roaring Twenties (1939)✖; They Drive by Night (1940); High Sierra (1941); The Strawberry Blonde (1941); They Died with Their Boots On (1941)✖; Gentleman Jim (1942); Objective, Burma! (1945); Pursued (1947)✖; The Naked and the Dead (1958)✖

83. Michael Mann

Producer | The Insider

A student of London's International Film School, Michael Mann began his career in the late 70s, writing for TV shows like Starsky and Hutch (1975). He directed his first film, the award-winning prison drama The Jericho Mile (1979), in 1979. He followed that in 1981 with his first theatrical release,...

"No one has done more to uphold, extend, and enrich the film noir genre in recent years than Michael Mann. He is a director and producer, an organizer of TV series, a visionary of modern style who somehow integrates the fluency of Max Ophuls with the iconic poise of the most hip TV commercials. His theatrical movies come years apart, but his work for television has filled the time and been just as vital an creative a part of what he does... By the late nineties, Mann had clearly moved further ahead. Heat, it seems to me, was one of the best-made films of the decade, by which I mean that the need to look and listen closely was constantly rewarded." ~ David Thomson

TSPDT All-Time Directors (166)

Greats: Manhunter (1986)✖; The Last of the Mohicans (1992)✖; Heat (1995)✦; The Insider (1999)✖

Give It a Shot: Ali (2001)✧; Collateral (2004)✧; Public Enemies (2009)✧

Caution: Miami Vice (2006)✧

Other Notable Film(s): The Jericho Mile [TV movie] (1979); Thief (1981); The Keep (1983); L.A. Takedown [TV movie] (1989); Blackhat (2015)

84. Oliver Stone

Director | JFK

Oliver Stone has become known as a master of controversial subjects and a legendary film maker. His films are filled with a variety of film angles and styles, he pushes his actors to give Oscar-worthy performances, and despite his failures, has always returned to success.

William Oliver Stone was ...

Director that focuses on political and war issues. All his films have a dark approach on presenting the story.

TSPDT All-Time Directors (214)

Greats: Platoon (1986)✖; Salvador (1986); Talk Radio (1988); Born on the Fourth of July (1989); JFK (1991)✦

Give It a Shot: Wall Street (1987); The Doors (1991); Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)

Caution: Natural Born Killers (1994)✖; Any Given Sunday (1999); W. (2008)

Flops: Alexander (2004)

Other Notable Film(s): The Hand (1981); Heaven & Earth (1993); Nixon (1995); U Turn (1997); Comandante [doc] (2003); World Trade Center (2006); South of the Border [doc] (2009); Savages (2012); Snowden (2016)

85. Abbas Kiarostami

Director | Bad ma ra khahad bord

Abbas Kiarostami was born in Tehran, Iran, in 1940. He graduated from university with a degree in fine arts before starting work as a graphic designer. He then joined the Center for Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults, where he started a film section, and this started his career ...

Cinema begins with D.W. Griffith and ends with Abbas Kiarostami." ~ Jean-Luc Godard

TSPDT All-Time Directors (45) TSPDT 21st Century Directors (54)

Other Notable Film(s): Where is the Friend's Home? (1987)✦; Homework (1989)✖; Close-Up (1990)✦; Life, and Nothing More... (1992)✦; Through the Olive Trees (1994)✦; Taste of Cherry (1997)✦; The Wind Will Carry Us (1999)✦; Ten (2002)✦✧; Five Dedicated to Ozu (2003)✧; Shirin (2008); Certified Copy (2010)✧; Like Someone in Love (2012)✧

86. William Friedkin

Director | The French Connection

Friedkin's mother was an operating room nurse. His father was a merchant seaman, semi-pro softball player and ultimately sold clothes in a men's discount chain. Ultimately, his father never earned more than $50/week in his whole life and died indigent. Eventually young Will became infatuated with ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (129)

Greats: The French Connection (1970)✦; The Exorcist (1973)✦

Caution: Bug (2006)✧; Killer Joe (2012)☒

Other Notable Film(s): The Boys in the Band (1970); Sorcerer (1977); The Brink's Job (1978); Cruising (1980); Deal of the Century (1983); To Live and Die in L.A. (1985); Rampage (1987); The Guardian (1990); Blue Chips (1994); Jade (1995); 12 Angry Men [TV movie] (1997); Rules of Engagement (2000); The Hunted (2003)

87. King Vidor

Director | War and Peace

King Vidor was born on February 8, 1894 in Galveston, Texas, USA as King Wallis Vidor. He was a director and writer, known for War and Peace (1956), The Big Parade (1925) and Hallelujah (1929). He was married to Vidor, Elizabeth Hill, Eleanor Boardman and Florence Vidor. He died on November 1, 1982...

"King Vidor is a director for anthologies. He has created more great moments and fewer great films than any director of his rank. Vidor's is an unusually intuitive talent, less grounded than most in theory. The classics of his humanistic museum period - The Big Parade, The Crowd, Hallelujah - are no less uneven or more impressive than the classics of his delirious modern period - Duel in the Sun, The Fountainhead, Ruby Gentry." ~ Andrew Sarris

TSPDT All-Time Directors (101)

Greats: The Big Parade (1925)✖

Give It a Shot: The Champ (1931)

Other Notable Film(s): Wild Oranges (1924); La Bohème (1926); Bardelys the Magnificent (1926); The Crowd (1928)✦; Show People (1928)✖; The Patsy (1928); Hallelujah (1929)✖; Not So Dumb (1930); Street Scene (1931); Bird of Paradise (1932); Cynara (1932); Our Daily Bread (1934)✖; The Wedding Night (1935); The Texas Rangers (1936); Stella Dallas (1937)✖; The Citadel (1938); Comrade X (1940); H.M. Pulham, Esq. (1941); An American Romance (1944); Duel in the Sun (1946)✦; On Our Merry Way (1948); The Fountainhead (1949)✖; Beyond the Forest (1949); Ruby Gentry (1952)✖; Lightning Strikes Twice (1952); Man Without a Star (1955); War and Peace (1956)✖; Solomon and Sheba (1959)

88. Norman Jewison

Director | In the Heat of the Night

Norman Frederick Jewison was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to Dorothy Irene (Weaver) and Percy Joseph Jewison, who managed a post office and a convenience store. His mother was an English immigrant, and his father was of English and Ulster-Scots descent. Jewison got his BA at Victoria College, ...

Has the ability to direct many genres such as musicals, comedies, and dramas.

TSPDT All-Time Directors (-)

Greats: In the Heat of the Night (1967)✖; Fiddler on the Roof (1970); Moonstruck (1987)

Give It a Shot: Jesus Christ Superstar (1973); ...and justice for all. (1979); A Soldier's Story (1984)

Caution: The Hurricane (1999)

Other Notable Film(s): The Thrill of It All (1963); Send Me No Flowers (1964); The Cincinnati Kid (1965); The Russians Are Coming the Russians Are Coming (1966); The Thomas Crown Affair (1968); Rollerball (1975); F.I.S.T. (1978); Best Friends (1982); Agnes of God (1985); In Country (1989); Other People's Money (1991); Only You (1994); Bogus (1996); The Statement (2003)

89. Erich von Stroheim

Actor | Sunset Blvd.

Erich von Stroheim was born Erich Oswald Stroheim in 1885, in Vienna, Austria, to Johanna (Bondy), from Prague, and Benno Stroheim, a hatmaker from Gliwice, Poland. His family was Jewish.

After spending some time working in his father's hat factory, he emigrated to America around 1909. Working in ...

"In my opinion, there were only two directors in Hollywood who made films without regard to box-office success: Von Stroheim and myself." ~ Fritz Lang

TSPDT All-Time Directors (73)

Other Notable Film(s): Blind Husbands (1919); Foolish Wives (1922)✦; Greed (1924)✦; The Merry Widow (1925); The Wedding March (1928)✦; Queen Kelly (1929)✖

90. Brian De Palma

Director | Dressed to Kill

Brian De Palma is the son of a surgeon. He studied physics but at the same time felt his dedication for the movies and made some short films. After seven independent productions he had his first success with Sisters (1972) and his voyeuristic style. Restlessly he worked on big projects with the ...

"De Palma deserves more honor as a director. Consider also these titles: Sisters, Blow Out, The Fury, Dressed to Kill, Carrie, Scarface, Wise Guys, Casualties of War, Carlito's Way, Mission: Impossible. Yes, there are a few failures along the way (Snake Eyes, Mission to Mars, The Bonfire of the Vanities), but look at the range here, and reflect that these movies contain treasure for those who admire the craft as well as the story, who sense the glee with which De Palma manipulates images and characters for the simple joy of being good at it. It's not just that he sometimes works in the style of Hitchcock, but that he has the nerve to." ~ Roger Ebert

Influenced: Quentin Tarantino

TSPDT All-Time Directors (104)

Greats: Blow Out (1981)✦; Scarface (1983)✦; The Untouchables (1987); Carlito's Way (1993)✖

Give It a Shot: Carrie (1976)✦; Mission: Impossible (1996)

Caution: Snake Eyes (1998); The Black Dahlia (2006)

Flops: Body Double (1984)

Other Notable Film(s): Greetings (1968); Hi, Mom! (1970); Sisters (1973); Phantom of the Paradise (1974)✖; Obsession (1976); The Fury (1978); Home Movies (1980); Dressed to Kill (1980); Wise Guys (1986); Casualties of War (1989); The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990); Raising Cain (1992); Mission to Mars (2000)☒; Femme Fatale (2002)✧; Redacted (2007); Passion (2013)

91. Leo McCarey

Director | Going My Way

Leo McCarey was born on October 3, 1896 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Thomas Leo McCarey. He was a director and writer, known for Going My Way (1944), An Affair to Remember (1957) and Love Affair (1939). He was married to Stella Martin. He died on July 5, 1969 in Santa Monica, California.

"More than just a gag man, McCarey developed a fine storytelling sense. He also had a flair for sentimental stories, as proved by the wrenching portrait of old age, Make Way for Tomorrow (1937), the touching romance Love Affair (1939), and Going My Way (1944, for which he won his second Best Director Oscar, and snagged another for his screenplay)." ~ Leonard Maltin

TSPDT All-Time Directors (72)

Greats: The Awful Truth (1937)✦; An Affair to Remember (1957)✦

Give It a Shot: Going My Way (1944); The Bells of St. Mary's (1945)✖

Caution: Duck Soup (1933)✦

Other Notable Film(s): Ruggles of Red Gap (1935)✖; The Milky Way (1936); Make Way for Tomorrow (1937)✦; Love Affair (1939)✖; Once Upon a Honeymoon (1942); Good Sam (1948); My Son John (1952); Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys! (1958); Satan Never Sleeps (1962)

92. Hayao Miyazaki

Director | Gake no ue no Ponyo

Hayao Miyazaki is one of Japan's greatest animation directors. The entertaining plots, compelling characters, and breathtaking animation in his films have earned him international renown from critics as well as public recognition within Japan. The Walt Disney Company's commitment to introduce the ...

"I love his films. I study his films. I watch his films when I'm looking for inspiration." - John Lasseter

The Walt Disney of Japan could possibly be the greatest animated director of all-time.

TSPDT All-Time Directors (92) TSPDT 21st Century Directors (14)

Greats: My Neighbor Totoro (1988)✦; Spirited Away (2001)✦✧

Give It a Shot: Ponyo (2008)✧

Other Notable Film(s): Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979); Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984); Castle in the Sky (1986); Kiki's Delivery Service (1989); Porco Rosso (1992); Princess Mononoke (1997)✦; Howl's Moving Castle (2004)✧; The Wind Rises (2013)✧

93. David Fincher

Director | Se7en

David Fincher was born in 1962 in Denver, Colorado, and was raised in Marin County, California. When he was 18 years old he went to work for John Korty at Korty Films in Mill Valley. He subsequently worked at ILM (Industrial Light and Magic) from 1981-1983. Fincher left ILM to direct TV commercials...

One of the most promising film directors that has been making great movies in the past two decades.

TSPDT All-Time Directors (137) TSPDT 21st Century Directors (19)

Greats: Se7en (1995)✦; Fight Club (1999)✦; The Social Network (2010)✧; The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)✧; Gone Girl (2014)✧

Give It a Shot: Alien³ (1992); The Game (1997); Panic Room (2002); Zodiac (2007)✦✧; The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)✧

94. Mike Nichols

Director | The Graduate

He, along with the other members of the "Compass Players" including Elaine May, Paul Sills, Byrne Piven, Joyce Hiller Piven and Edward Asner helped start the famed "Second City Improv" company. They used the games taught to them by fellow cast mate, Paul Sills 's mother, Viola Spolin. He later ...

It's Nichols's style—he walks that edge of really going as far as he can without falling over the cliff, into disbelief. It's not caricature. That's the highest compliment for satire. ~ Dustin Hoffman

TSPDT All-Time Directors (143)

Greats: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)✦; The Graduate (1967)✦

Give It a Shot: Working Girl (1988)

Caution: Carnal Knowledge (1971); The Birdcage (1996); Charlie Wilson's War (2007)

Other Notable Film(s): Catch-22 (1970); The Day of the Dolphin (1973); The Fortune (1975)✖; Silkwood (1983); Heartburn (1986); Biloxi Blues (1988); Postcards from the Edge (1990); Regarding Henry (1991); Wolf (1994); Primary Colors (1998); What Planet Are You From? (2000); Angels in America [TV] (2003)☒; Closer (2004)✧

95. Robert Zemeckis

Writer | Back to the Future

A whiz-kid with special effects, Robert is from the Spielberg camp of film-making (Steven Spielberg produced many of his films). Usually working with writing partner Bob Gale, Robert's earlier films show he has a talent for zany comedy (Romancing the Stone (1984), 1941 (1979)) and special effect ...

"No other contemporary director has used special effects to more dramatic and narrative purpose." ~ David Thomson

TSPDT All-Time Directors (139)

Greats: Back to the Future (1985)✦; Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)✖; Forrest Gump (1994)✦

Give It a Shot: Back to the Future Part II (1989); Cast Away (2000)✧; Flight (2012)☒

Caution: Back to the Future Part III (1990); What Lies Beneath (2000); Beowulf (2007)

Flops: A Christmas Carol (2009)

Other Notable Film(s): I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978); Used Cars (1980); Romancing the Stone (1984); Death Becomes Her (1992); Contact (1997)✖; The Polar Express (2004)✧; The Walk (2015); Allied (2016)

96. Wim Wenders

Director | Der Himmel über Berlin

Wim Wenders is an Oscar-nominated German filmmaker who was born Ernst Wilhelm Wenders on August 14, 1945 in Düsseldorf, which then was located in the British Occupation Zone of what became the Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Federal Republic of Germany, known colloquially as West Germany until ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (74)

Greats: The American Friend (1977)✖; Paris, Texas (1984)✦; Wings of Desire (1987)✦

Other Notable Film(s): The Scarlet Letter (1973); Alice in the Cities (1974)✦; False Movement (1975); Kings of the Road (1976)✦; Lightning Over Water [co-director/doc] (1980); Hammett (1982); The State of Things (1982); Until the End of the World (1991); Faraway, So Close! (1993); Lisbon Story (1994); Beyond the Clouds [Co-director] (1995); The End of Violence (1997); Buena Vista Social Club [doc] (1999); The Million Dollar Hotel (2000); Land of Plenty (2004); Don't Come Knocking (2005); Palermo Shooting (2008); Pina (2011)✧; The Salt of the Earth (2014) [doc]; Every Thing Will Be Fine (2015); Les beaux jours d'Aranjuez (2016); Submergence (2017)

97. Lars von Trier

Writer | Dancer in the Dark

Probably the most ambitious and visually distinctive filmmaker to emerge from Denmark since Carl Theodor Dreyer over 60 years earlier, Lars von Trier studied film at the Danish Film School and attracted international attention with his very first feature, The Element of Crime (1984). A highly ...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (75) TSPDT 21st Century Directors (6)

Greats: Dancer in the Dark (2000)✦✧; Dogville (2003)✦✧

Give It a Shot: Melancholia (2011)✦✧

Caution: Nymphomaniac: Volume I (2014)

Other Notable Film(s): The Element of Crime (1984); Medea (1988); Epidemic (1987); Europa (1991)✖; The Kingdom [TV series] (1994); Breaking the Waves (1996)✦; The Kingdom II [TV series] (1997); The Idiots (1998)✦; The Five Obstructions [w/ Jørgen Leth] (2003)✧; Manderlay (2005)☒; The Boss of It All (2006); Antichrist (2009)✧; Nymphomaniac: Vol. II (2014)

98. Louis Malle

Director | Au revoir les enfants

Louis Malle, the descendant of a French nobleman who made a fortune in beet sugar during the Napoleonic Wars, created films that explored life and its meaning. Malle's family discouraged his early interest in film but, in 1950, allowed him to enter the Institute of Advanced Cinematographic Studies ...

"As the cresting new wave battered at the restrictions of conventional narrative technique, Malle created a personal style, sexual and emotional which was to sustain him while flashier colleagues failed. Of the new wave survivors, he is the most old-fashioned, the most erotic, and arguably, the most widely successful... If Truffaut turned into the René Clair of the new French cinema, Malle may yet become its Max Ophüls." ~ John Baxter

TSPDT All-Time Directors (165)

Greats: Atlantic City (1980)✖

Other Notable Film(s): The Silent World [doc/co-director] (1956); The Lovers (1958)✖; Elevator to the Gallows (1958); Zazie dans le Métro (1960); A Very Private Affair (1962); The Fire Within (1963)✖; Viva Maria! (1965); The Thief of Paris (1967); Murmur of the Heart (1971); Lacombe, Lucien (1974)✖; Black Moon (1975); My Dinner with Andre (1981)✖; Crackers (1984); Alamo Bay (1985); Au Revoir Les Enfants (1987)✦; May Fools (1990); Damage (1992); Vanya on 42nd Street (1994)

99. Sydney Pollack

Director | Tootsie

Sydney Pollack was an Academy Award-winning director, producer, actor, writer and public figure, who directed and produced over 40 films.

Sydney Irwin Pollack was born July 1, 1934 in Lafayette, Indiana, USA, to Rebecca (Miller), a homemaker, and David Pollack, a professional boxer turned pharmacist...

TSPDT All-Time Directors (215)

Greats: They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969)✖; Tootsie (1982)✦

Caution: Out of Africa (1985)✖; The Interpreter (2005)

Other Notable Film(s): The Slender Thread (1965); This Property Is Condemned (1966); The Scalphunters (1968); Castle Keep (1969); Jeremiah Johnson (1972)✖; The Way We Were (1973)✖; The Yakuza (1974); Three Days of the Condor (1975); Bobby Deerfield (1977); The Electric Horseman (1979); Absence of Malice (1981); Havana (1990); The Firm (1993); Sabrina (1995); Random Hearts (1999)

100. Don Siegel

Director | Dirty Harry

Don Siegel was educated at Cambridge University, England. In Hollywood from the mid-'30s, he began his career as an editor and second unit director. In 1945 he directed two shorts (Hitler Lives (1945) and Star in the Night (1945)) which both won Academy Awards. His first feature as a director was ...

"Siegel's style does not encompass the demonic distortions of Fuller's, Aldrich's, Losey's, and, to a lesser extent, Karlson's. Siegel declines to implicate the world at large in the anarchic causes of his heroes. Nor does he adjust his compositions to their psychological quirks. The moral architecture of his universe is never undermined by the editing, however frenzied. Nevertheless, the final car chase in The Lineup and the final shoot-up in Madigan are among the most stunning displays of action montage in the history of the American cinema." ~ Andrew Sarris

Influenced: Clint Eastwood

TSPDT All-Time Directors (198)

Green: Dirty Harry (1971)✦

Give It a Shot: The Beguiled (1971); Escape from Alcatraz (1979)

Caution: Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970)

Other Notable Film(s): The Verdict (1946); The Big Steal (1949); Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954); Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)✦; The Lineup (1958); Flaming Star (1960); Hell Is for Heroes (1962); The Killers (1964)✖; Madigan (1968); Coogan's Bluff (1968); Death of a Gunfighter [Co-director] (1969); Charley Varrick (1973)✖; The Black Windmill (1974); The Shootist (1976); Telefon (1977); Rough Cut (1980); Jinxed! (1982)