The Directors on this list are in order. The first criteria I used is each Director had to have made at least 2 films on my All-Time Favorites list...this cuts it to the right length. Then they are ranked by the combo of the Number of movies they've made that I love, and how much I love those movies. I found a simple way to quantify this for myself, and rank them objectively. The Directed movies that got them on the list are noted.
Robert Reiner was born in New York City, to Estelle Reiner
(née Lebost) and Emmy-Winning actor, comedian, writer, and producer Carl Reiner
. Robert as a child often looked up to his father as his inspiration and role-model. Carl Reiner was on The Dick Van Dyke Show which Carl Reiner created and also starred in...
“ Why?: The Princess Bride, This Is Spinal Tap, Stand By Me, When Harry Met Sally, Misery, A Few Good Men, The American President ” - conway317
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 writer...
“ Why?: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones & The Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade, E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, Catch Me If You Can, Schindler's List, Jaws ” - conway317
“ Why?: The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Planes Trains & Automobiles, Weird Science, Uncle Buck ” - conway317
John Landis began his career in the mail room of 20th Century-Fox. A high-school dropout, 18-year-old Landis made his way to Yugoslavia to work as a production assistant on Kelly's Heroes
. Remaining in Europe, Landis found work as an actor, extra and stuntman in many of the Spanish/Italian "spaghetti" westerns...
“ Why?: The Blues Brothers, Spies Like Us, Three Amigos, National Lampoon's Animal House, Trading Places ” - conway317
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 1992...
“ Why?: Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill Vol. 2, Kill Bill Vol. 1, Inglorious Basterds ” - conway317
“ Why?: Bedknobs & Broomsticks, Darby O' Gill & The Little People, The Absent Minded Professor, Mary Poppins, (Herbie) The Love Bug ” - conway317
Best known for his cerebral, often nonlinear storytelling, acclaimed writer-director Christopher Nolan
was born on July 30, 1970 in London, England. Over the course of 15 years of filmmaking, Nolan has gone from low-budget independent films to working on some of the biggest blockbusters ever made. At 7 years old...
“ Why?: The Prestige, Memento, The Dark Knight, Inception, Following ” - conway317
“ Why?: Romancing The Stone, Back To The Future, Forrest Gump, Contact, Back To The Future Part II, Cast Away ” - conway317
Peter Jackson was born as an only child in a small coast-side town in New Zealand in 1961. When a friend of his parents bought him a super 8 movie camera (because she saw how much he enjoyed taking photos), the then eight-year-old Peter instantly grabbed the thing to start recording his own movies, which he made with his friends...
“ Why?: LOTR: The Two Towers, LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring, LOTR: The Return of the King, King Kong (2005) ” - conway317
Academy Award-winning filmmaker Ron Howard is one of this generation's most popular directors. From the critically acclaimed dramas A Beautiful Mind and Apollo 13 to the hit comedies Parenthood and Splash, he has created some of Hollywood's most memorable films. Howard directed and produced "Cinderella Man" starring Oscar winner Russell Crowe...
“ Why?: Splash, Frost/Nixon, Willow, A Beautiful Mind, The Da Vinci Code ” - conway317
Terry Gilliam was born in Minnesota near Medicine Lake. When he was 12 his family moved to Los Angeles where he became a fan of Mad magazine. In his early 20's he was often stopped by the police who often suspected him of being a drug addict and Gilliam had to explain that he worked in advertising....
“ Why?: 12 Monkeys, Time Bandits, Brazil, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas ” - conway317
Born on November 21, 1944 in Chicago, Illinois, Harold Allen Ramis got his start in comedy as Playboy magazine's joke editor and reviewer. In 1969, he joined Chicago's Second City's Improvisational Theatre Troupe before moving to New York to help write and perform in "The National Lampoon Show" with other Second City graduates including John Belushi
“ Why?: Caddyshack, Groundhog Day, National Lampoon's Vacation ” - conway317
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 and music videos after signing with N...
“ Why?: Fight Club, Se7en, The Game, The Social Network ” - conway317
Certainly idiosyncratic as a writer, Cameron Crowe has created a series of scripts that, while liked by the critics, were considered offbeat and difficult to market. Cameron Bruce Crowe was born in Palm Springs, California, to Alice Marie Crowe
(née George), a teacher and activist, and James A. Crowe...
“ Why?: Vanilla Sky, Jerry Maguire, Say Anything, Almost Famous, Elizabethtown ” - conway317
Timothy Walter Burton was born in Burbank, California, to Jean Rae (Erickson), who owned a cat-themed gift shop, and William Reed Burton, who worked for the Burbank Park and Recreation Department. He spent most of his childhood as a recluse, drawing cartoons, and watching old movies (he was especially fond of films with Vincent Price
“ Why?: Big Fish, Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, Beetlejuice, Sleepy Hollow, Sweeney Todd ” - conway317
“ Why?: Kingpin, Dumb & Dumber, There's Something About Mary ” - conway317
“ Why?: Kingpin, Dumb & Dumber, There's Something About Mary ” - conway317
Francis Ford Coppola
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 with a degree in drama from Hofstra University...
“ Why?: The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Apocolypse Now ” - conway317
“ Why?: Robin Hood (Disney Animated), The Sword In The Stone (Disney Animated), The Jungle Book (Disney Animated) ” - conway317
“ Why?: The Usual Suspects, X2: X-Men United, Superman Returns, X-Men ” - conway317
“ Why?: Die Hard, The Hunt For Red October, The Thomas Crown Affair, Last Action Hero ” - conway317
“ Why?: Fletch, The Golden Child, Diggstown, The Bad News Bears ” - conway317
Wesley Wales Anderson was born in Houston, Texas. His mother, Texas Ann (Burroughs), is an archaeologist turned real estate agent, and his father, Melver Leonard Anderson, worked in advertising and PR. He has two brothers, Eric and Mel. Anderson's parents divorced when he was a young child, an event that he described as the most crucial event of his brothers and his growing up...
“ Why?: The Royal Tenenbaums, Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou ” - conway317
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 produce better academic performance...
“ Why?: Full Metal Jacket, Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining, Eyes Wide Shut ” - conway317
“ Why?: Austin Powers 1: The International Man of Mystery, Meet The Parents ” - conway317
Tony Scott was a British-born film director and producer. He was the youngest of three brothers, one of whom is fellow film director Ridley Scott
. He was born in North Shields, Northumberland, England to parents Jean and Colonel Francis Percy Scott. As a result of his father's career in the British military...
“ Why?: True Romance, Top Gun ” - conway317
Benjamin Edward Meara Stiller was born on November 30, 1965, in New York City, New York, to legendary comedians Jerry Stiller
and Anne Meara
. His father is of Austrian Jewish and Polish Jewish descent, and his mother was of Irish ancestry (she converted to Judaism). It's not surprising that...
“ Why?: Reality Bites, Zoolander, Tropic Thunder ” - conway317
“ Why?: The Karate Kid, Lean On Me, Rocky ” - conway317
Paul Thomas Anderson
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 8 mm films, Anderson cut his teeth shooting films on video and editing them from V.C.R. to V.C.R...
“ Why?: Magnolia, Punch Drunk Love, There Will Be Blood ” - conway317
Robert Anthony Rodriguez was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, USA, to Rebecca (Villegas), a nurse, and Cecilio G. Rodríguez, a salesman. His family is of Mexican descent. Of all the people to be amazed by the images of John Carpenter
's 1981 sci-fi parable, Escape from New York
, none were as captivated as the 12-year-old Rodriguez...
“ Why?: Desperado, Sin City, Grindhouse: Planet Terror ” - conway317
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 screenwriting ambition...
“ Why?: Terminator 2: Judgment Day, The Terminator, Avatar, True Lies ” - conway317
“ Why?: The Big Lebowski, No Country For Old Men, Fargo, Burn After Reading ” - conway317
“ Why?: The Big Lebowski, No Country For Old Men, Fargo, Burn After Reading ” - conway317
Alfonso Cuarón Orozco was born on November 28th in Mexico City, Mexico. From an early age, he yearned to be either a film director or an astronaut. However, he did not want to enter the army, so he settled for directing. He didn't receive his first camera until his twelfth birthday, and then immediately started to film everything he saw...
“ Why?: Y Tu Mama Tambien, Children Of Men ” - conway317
Barry Sonnenfeld was born and raised in New York City. He graduated from New York University of Film School in 1978. He started work as director of photography on the Oscar-nominated In Our Water
. Then Joel Coen
and Ethan Coen
hired him for Blood Simple.
. This film began his collaboration with the Coen Bros....
“ Why?: Get Shorty, Men In Black ” - conway317
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 director Jennifer Lynch
shortly after he turned 21...
“ Why?: Mulholland Drive, Dune ” - conway317
Gore Verbinski, one of American cinema's most inventive directors who was a punk-rock guitarist as a teenager and had to sell his guitar to buy his first camera, is now the director of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
which made the industry record for highest opening weekend of all time ($135,600,000) and grossed over $1 billion dollars worldwide...
“ Why?: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest ” - conway317
“ Why?: Good Will Hunting, Milk ” - conway317
Ivan Reitman, as a producer and director, has created many of American cinema's most successful and best loved feature film comedies and has worked with Hollywood's acting elite. Reitman has produced such hits as the ground-breaking sensation National Lampoon's Animal House
, which introduced John Belushi
to American filmgoers...
“ Why?: Ghostbusters, Kindergarten Cop ” - conway317
“ Why?: Top Secret!, Ghost ” - conway317
After studies in English literature, Jon Amiel graduated from Cambridge University and ran the Oxford and Cambridge Shakespeare Company, which often toured the USA. He became the Hampstead Theatre Company's literary manager and began directing there, relocating to the Royal Shakespeare Company. Amiel joined the BBC as a story editor...
“ Why?: Entrapment, The Man Who Knew Too Little ” - conway317
Jonathan Lynn and Antony Jay
created and wrote every episode of the acclaimed BBC political comedy series Yes Minister
and Yes, Prime Minister
. The series received numerous accolades including three BAFTA (British Academy) Awards, two Broadcasting Press Guild Awards and two Pye Television Writers Awards...
“ Why?: My Cousin Vinny, Clue ” - conway317
Mel Columcille Gerard Gibson was born January 3, 1956 in Peekskill, New York, USA, as the sixth of eleven children of Hutton Gibson
, a railroad brakeman, and Anne Patricia (Reilly) Gibson (who died in December of 1990). His mother was Irish, from County Longford, while his American-born father is of mostly Irish descent...
“ Why?: Braveheart, Apocolypto ” - conway317
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 Buchenwald and his mother died in Auschwitz...
“ Why?: The People vs. Larry Flynt, Amadeus ” - conway317
Spike Jonze made up one-third (along with Andy Jenkins
and Mark Lewman
) of the triumvirate of genius minds behind Dirt Magazine, the brother publication of the much lamented ground-breaking Sassy Magazine. These three uncommon characters were all editors for Grand Royal Magazine as well, under...
“ Why?: Adaptation, Where The Wild Things Are ” - conway317
A native of Utica, New York, Steven Brill studied film, theater and acting at Boston University. It was there that he became a student of acclaimed, Nobel Prize winning poet and playwright, Derek Walcott. Brill became a part of Mr. Walcott's first theater group in Boston, Playwright's Theater, where he wrote and directed original plays...
“ Why?: Little Nicky, Mr. Deeds ” - conway317
moved to Los Angeles in 1983 and, at age 24, became the youngest staff joke writer ever for comedian Bob Hope
. Shadyac received his master's degree in film from UCLA in 1989 after completing the critically acclaimed short, Tom, Dick and Harry. He then worked on movies-of-the-week...
“ Why?: Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Liar Liar ” - conway317
Director, writer and producer Lilly Wachowski was born in 1967 in Chicago as Andrew Wachowski, the son of Lynne, a nurse and painter and Ron, a businessman. Lilly was educated at Kellogg Elementary School in Chicago, before moving on to Whitney Young High School. After graduating from high school, she attended Emerson College in Boston, but dropped out...
“ Why? The Matrix, Bound ” - conway317
Lana Wachowski and her sister Lilly Wachowski
, (also known as 'The Wachowskis') are the duo behind ground-breaking movies such as The Matrix
and Cloud Atlas
. Born to mother Lynne, a nurse, and father Ron, a businessman of Polish descent, Wachowski grew up in Chicago and formed a tight creative relationship with her sister Lilly...
“ The Matrix, Bound ” - conway317
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 Eileen Hitchcock (born 1892)...
“ Why? Psycho, Rear Window, Vertigo ” - conway317
John Howard Carpenter was born in Carthage, New York, to mother Milton Jean (Carter) and father Howard Ralph Carpenter. His family moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky, where his father, a professor, was head of the music department at Western Kentucky University. He attended Western Kentucky University and then USC film school in Los Angeles...
“ Why?: Big Trouble In Little China, The Thing, Escape From New York ” - conway317
“ Why?: License To Kill, For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy ” - conway317
“ Why?: Meet Joe Black, Midnight Run, Beverly Hills Cop ” - conway317
Paul Verhoeven graduated from the University of Leiden, with a degree in math and physics. He entered the Royal Netherlands Navy, where he began his film career by making documentaries for the Navy and later for TV. In 1969, he directed the popular Dutch TV series, Floris
, about a medieval knight...
“ Why?: Basic Instinct, Total Recall, Robocop ” - conway317
“ Why?: The Goonies, Superman: The Movie, Superman II ” - conway317
Brian De Palma
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
and his voyeuristic style. Restlessly he worked on big projects with the script writers Paul Schrader
“ Why?: Mission: Impossible, Scarface ” - conway317
Carl Reiner is a legend of American comedy, having achieved great success as a comic actor, a director, producer and recording artist. He has won nine Emmy Awards, three as an actor, three as a writer and two as a producer. He also won a Grammy Award for his "2,000 Year Old Man" album, based on his comedy routine with Mel Brooks
“ Why?: All Of Me, The Jerk ” - conway317
Born in Pennsylvania and raised in Ohio, Chris Columbus
was first inspired to make movies after seeing "The Godfather" at age 15. After enrolling at NYU film school, he sold his first screenplay (never produced) while a sophomore there. After graduation Columbus tried to sell his fourth script, "Gremlins"...
“ Why? Adventures In Babysitting, Home Alone ” - conway317
U.S.-born actor, director, writer, musician, and composer best known for his mockumentaries, poking fun at heavy metal music, small town theatre, dog shows, folk music and film-making itself, Christopher Haden-Guest was born February fifth, 1948, in New York City. His mother, Jean Pauline (Hindes), was a vice president of casting at CBS...
“ Why?: Best In Show, Waiting For Guffman ” - conway317
Darren Aronofsky was born February 12, 1969, in Brooklyn, New York. Growing up, Darren was always artistic: he loved classic movies and, as a teenager, he even spent time doing graffiti art. After high school, Darren went to Harvard University to study film (both live-action and animation). He won several film awards after completing his senior thesis film...
“ Why? The Fountain, Black Swan ” - conway317
David O. Russell
David Owen Russell is an American film writer, director, and producer, known for a cinema of intense, tragi-comedic characters whose love of life can surpass dark circumstances faced in very specific worlds. His films address such themes as mental illness as stigma or hope; invention of self and survival; the family home as nexus of love...
“ Why?: Three Kings, I Heart Huckabees ” - conway317
“ Why?: Happy Gilmore, Big Daddy ” - conway317
Frank Richard Oznowicz was born in Hereford, England to puppeteers Frances and Isidore Oznowicz. His family moved to Montana in 1951, eventually settling in Oakland, California. As a teenager, he worked as an apprentice puppeteer at Children's Fairyland amusement park. He is one of the primary puppeteers...
“ Why?: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Little Shop of Horrors ” - conway317
George Roy Hill
George Roy Hill was never able to 'hit it off' with the critics despite the fact that 2 of his films - Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
, and The Sting
- had remained among the top 10 box office hits by 1976. His work was frequently derided as 'impersonal' or lacking in stylistic trademarks. Andrew Sarris
famously referred to it as 'idiosyncratic...
“ Why?: Funny Farm, Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid ” - conway317
“ Why? Malena, Cinema Paradiso ” - conway317
“ Why?: Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Zero Effect ” - conway317
Initially an indie film favorite, actor Jon Favreau has progressed to strong mainstream visibility into the millennium and, after nearly two decades in the business, is still enjoying character stardom as well as earning notice as a writer/producer/director. The amiable, husky-framed actor with the tight...
“ Why?: Iron Man, Iron Man 2 ” - conway317
A very talented painter, Kathryn spent two years at the San Francisco Art Institute. At 20, she won a scholarship to the Whitney Museum's Independent Study Program. She was given a studio in a former Offtrack Betting building, literally in an old bank vault, where she made art and waited to be critiqued by people like Richard Serra...
“ Why?: Point Break, The Hurt Locker ” - conway317
spent the first years of his life following his parents, scuba diving instructors, around the world. His early life was entirely aquatic. He already showed amazing creativity as a youth, writing early drafts of The Big Blue
and The Fifth Element
, as an adolescent bored in school. He...
“ Why?: Leon: The Professional, The Fifth Element ” - conway317
“ Why?: Quantum of Solace, Monster's Ball ” - conway317
Martin Campbell knows how to entertain an audience when he steps behind the camera. When he directed The Mask of Zorro
, the movie earned Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations and launched the international careers of Antonio Banderas
and Catherine Zeta-Jones
. Next, when he helmed Vertical Limit
, the film was well received by the critics and earned over $200 million in worldwide box-office sales...
“ Why?: The Mask of Zorro, GoldenEye ” - conway317
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 provided the inspiration for several of his films...
“ Why?: The Departed, Taxi Driver ” - conway317
Nicholas Meyer was born in New York City, the son of a psychoanalyst and a concert pianist. He attended the University of Iowa, home of the famous Writers Workshop. Meyer's award-winning teleplays for ABC's JUDGE DEE & MONASTERY MURDERS and CBS's NIGHT THAT PANICKED AMERICA launched his screenwriting career...
“ Why?: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country ” - conway317
“ Why?: John Q, The Notebook ” - conway317
Nora Ephron was educated at Wellesley College, Massachusetts. She was an acclaimed essayist (Crazy Salad 1975), novelist (Heartburn 1983), and had written screenplays for several popular films, all featuring strong female characters, such as anti-nuclear activist Karen Silkwood (Silkwood
“ Why?: Sleepless In Seattle, Michael ” - conway317
“ Why?: Field Of Dreams, Sneakers ” - conway317
Ridley Scott is an English film director and producer. Following his commercial breakthrough with the science-fiction horror film Alien (1979), his best known works are the noir science fiction film Blade Runner (1982), crime drama Thelma & Louise (1991), historical drama and Best Picture Oscar winner Gladiator (2000)...
“ Why?: Gladiator, Thelma & Louise ” - conway317
“ Why? Aladdin (Disney), The Little Mermaid (Disney) ” - conway317
“ Why? Aladdin (Disney), The Little Mermaid (Disney) ” - conway317
A director who is equally adept at working in television as well as features, Southern California native Ron Underwood has been making films since 5th grade and was winning Eastman Kodak filmmaking awards by the time he was in his teens. After graduating from University of Southern California, he completed...
“ Why?: Tremors, City Slickers ” - conway317
This athletically built, dark-haired American actor/screenwriter/director may never be mentioned by old-school film critics in the same breath as, say, Richard Burton
or Alec Guinness
; however, movie fans worldwide have been flocking to see Stallone's films for over 30 years, making "Sly" one of Hollywood's biggest-ever box office draws...
“ Why? Rocky IV, Rocky Balboa ” - conway317
Born in Shanghai and Cambridge-educated, Terence Young began in the industry as a scriptwriter. In the 1940s he worked on a variety of subjects, including the hugely popular wartime romance Suicide Squadron
, set to Richard Addinsell
's rousing "Warsaw Concerto". His original story was devised while listening to a concert in an army training camp...
“ Why?: Thunderball, From Russia With Love ” - conway317
“ Why? Fists of Fury (The Big Boss), Fist of Fury (The Chinese Connection) ” - conway317