501 Directors Part 1

by Monimanimo | created - 24 Feb 2011 | updated - 25 Feb 2011 | Public

This is the first half of the list from the book, "501 Movie Directors" edited by Steven Jay Schneider. From Georges Melies to Richard Donner.

1. Georges Méliès

Director | Le royaume des fées

Georges Méliès was a French illusionist and film director famous for leading many technical and narrative developments in the earliest days of cinema.

Méliès was an especially prolific innovator in the use of special effects, popularizing such techniques as substitution splices, multiple exposures, ...

2. August Blom

Director | Verdens Undergang

August Blom was born on December 26, 1869 in Copenhagen, Denmark. He was a director and actor, known for The End of the World (1916), Kærlighedslængsel (1916) and Kærligheds-Væddemaalet (1917). He died on January 10, 1947 in Copenhagen.

3. Edwin S. Porter

Director | The White Pearl

In the late 1890s Porter worked as both a projectionist and mechanic, eventually becoming director and cameraman for the Edison Manufacturing Company. Influenced by both the "Brighton school" and the story films of Georges Méliès, Porter went on to make important shorts such as Life of an American ...

4. Louis Feuillade

Director | Les vampires

A prolific director--over 700 films, most of them short- or medium-length--Louis Feuillade began his career with Gaumont where, as well as directing his own features, he was appointed artistic director in charge of production in 1907. His work was largely comprised of film series; his first series,...

5. Robert Wiene

Director | Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari

Robert Wiene was born on April 24, 1873 in Breslau, Silesia, Germany. He was a writer and director, known for The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), The Hands of Orlac (1924) and L'autre (1930). He died on July 17, 1938 in Paris, France.

6. Alice Guy

Director | The Woman of Mystery

Generally considered to be the world's first female director, French-born Alice Guy entered the film business as a secretary at Gaumont-Paris in 1896. The next year Gaumont changed from manufacturing cameras to producing movies, and Guy became one of its first film directors. She impressed the the ...

7. Fred Niblo

Director | The Red Lily

Fred Niblo entered films in 1917 after two decades as a touring actor in vaudeville and one-time manager of 'The Four Cohans' (he married Josephine Cohan, the sister of George M. Cohan). He made his film debut with two early Australian silent films in 1916. He worked for Thomas H. Ince from 1917 as ...

8. 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, ...

9. Victor Sjöström

Actor | Smultronstället

Victor Sjöström was born on September 20, 1879, and is the undisputed father of Swedish film, ranking as one of the masters of world cinema. His influence lives on in the work of Ingmar Bergman and all those directors, both Swedish and international, influenced by his work and the works of ...

10. Benjamin Christensen

Director | Hævnens Nat

Benjamin Christensen was born on September 28, 1879 in Viborg, Denmark. He was a director and writer, known for Blind Justice (1916), Häxan (1922) and Seven Footprints to Satan (1929). He was married to Karen Winther, Sigrid Stahl and Ellen Arctander. He died on April 2, 1959 in Copenhagen, ...

11. Mack Sennett

Producer | The $500 Reward

Mack Sennett was born Michael Sinnott on January 17, 1880 in Danville, Quebec, Canada, to Irish immigrant farmers. When he was 17, his parents moved the family to East Berlin, Connecticut, and he became a laborer at American Iron Works, a job he continued when they moved to Northampton, ...

12. Yakov Protazanov

Director | Aelita

Yakov Protazanov was born on February 4, 1881 in Moscow, Russian Empire as Yakov Aleksandrovich Protazanov. He was a director and writer, known for Aelita (1924), A Narrow Escape (1920) and Adventures in Bokhara (1943). He died on August 9, 1945 in Moscow, Russian SFSR, USSR.

13. Cecil B. DeMille

Producer | The Ten Commandments

His parents Henry C. DeMille and Beatrice DeMille were playwrights. His father died when he was 12, and his mother supported the family by opening a school for girls and a theatrical company. Too young to enlist in the Spanish-American War, Cecil followed his brother William C. de Mille to the New ...

14. Tod Browning

Director | Dracula

Belonging to a well-situated family, Charles Browning fell in love at the age of 16 with a dancer of a circus. Following her began his itinerary of being clown, jockey and director of a variety theater which ended when he met D.W. Griffith and became an actor. He made his debut in Intolerance: ...

15. Thomas H. Ince

Producer | The Coward

Thomas H. Ince was born into a family of stage actors. He appeared on the stage at age six and worked with a number of stock companies, making his Broadway debut at 15. Vaudeville work was inconsistent, so he was a lifeguard, a promoter and part-time actor. His stage career was a failure but by ...

16. Germaine Dulac

Director | La souriante Madame Beudet

The daughter of a cavalry captain, she was raised by a grandmother in Paris, where she studied various forms of art with an emphasis on music and the opera. In 1905 she married engineer-novelist Marie-Louis Albert-Dulac and under his influence veered toward journalism. As one of the leading radical...

17. Sam Wood

Director | Kings Row

After a two-year apprenticeship under Cecil B. DeMille as assistant director, Samuel Grosvenor Wood had the good fortune to have assigned to him two of the biggest stars at Paramount during their heyday: Wallace Reid, between 1919 and 1920; and Gloria Swanson, from 1921 to 1923. By the time his ...

18. Mauritz Stiller

Director | Gösta Berlings saga

Moshe "Mauritz" Stiller, born July 17, 1883, in Helsinki, Finland, was a director, writer and actor. He began his artistic activity in the theatre, as an actor at 16. Mauritz Stiller portrayed 87 roles from 1899-1916 and directed 16 productions 1911-28. Together with Viktor Sjöström ( director, ...

19. Oscar Micheaux

Writer | Within Our Gates

Oscar Micheaux, the first African-American to produce a feature-length film (The Homesteader (1919)) and a sound feature-length film (The Exile (1931)), is not only a major figure in American film for these milestones, but because his oeuvre is a window into the American history and psyche ...

20. Robert J. Flaherty

Director | Louisiana Story

Robert J. Flaherty was born on February 16, 1884 in Iron Mountain, Michigan, USA as Robert Joseph Flaherty. He was a director and writer, known for Louisiana Story (1948), Man of Aran (1934) and Elephant Boy (1937). He was married to Frances H. Flaherty. He died on July 23, 1951 in Brattleboro, ...

21. Sacha Guitry

Writer | Les perles de la couronne

French actor, dramatist and director, Sacha Guitry was born in 1885 in Saint-Petersburg where his father, actor Lucien Guitry, was under contract with the city's French theater. Early on, Sacha knew he was going to be an artist. Therefore, his studies were mediocre.

His acting debuts were not too ...

22. Paul Leni

Director | The Man Who Laughs

Paul Leni was born on July 8, 1885 in Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany as Paul Josef Levi. He was an art director and director, known for The Man Who Laughs (1928), The Cat and the Canary (1927) and Das Rätsel von Bangalor (1918). He died on September 2, 1929 in Los Angeles, California, ...

23. Georg Wilhelm Pabst

Director | Komödianten

Georg Wilhelm Pabst is considered by many to be the greatest director of German cinema, in his era. He was especially appreciated by actors and actresses for the humane way in which he treated them. This was in contrast to some of his contemporaries, such as Arnold Fanck, who have been ...

24. 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 ...

25. Henry King

Director | The Song of Bernadette

For more than three decades, Henry King was the most versatile and reliable (not to mention hard-working) contract director on the 20th Century-Fox lot. His tenure lasted from 1930 to 1961, spanning most of Hollywood's "golden" era. King was renowned as a specialist in literary adaptations (A Bell ...

26. Frank Lloyd

Director | Cavalcade

Frank Lloyd was an unpretentious, technically skilled director, who crafted several enduring Hollywood classics during the 1930's. He started out as a stage actor and singer in early 1900's London and was well-known as an imitator of Harry Lauder. After several years in music hall and with touring ...

27. 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...

28. 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 ...

29. 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.

30. 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 ...

31. Victor Fleming

Director | Gone with the Wind

Victor Fleming entered the film business as a stuntman in 1910, mainly doing stunt driving - which came easy to him, as he had been a mechanic and professional race-car driver. He became interested in working on the other side of the camera, and eventually got a job as a cameraman on many of the ...

32. W.S. Van Dyke

Director | Marie Antoinette

For the better part of his career, Woodbridge Strong Van Dyke lived up to his sobriquet "One-Take Woody" by steadfastly adhering to his credo of shooting each scene as quickly and efficiently as possible. Over his 25-year career, he economically directed over 90 diverse entertainments, which not ...

33. 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 ...

34. Jean Cocteau

Writer | La belle et la bête

Jean Cocteau was one of the most multi-talented artists of the 20th century. In addition to being a director, he was a poet, novelist, painter, playwright, set designer, and actor. He began writing at 10 and was a published poet by age 16. He collaborated with the "Russian Ballet" company of Sergei...

35. James Whale

Director | Frankenstein

James Whale was an English film director, theatre director and actor. He is best remembered for his four classic horror films: Frankenstein (1931), The Old Dark House (1932), The Invisible Man (1933) and Bride of Frankenstein (1935). He also directed films in other genres, including what is ...

36. Abel Gance

Writer | La dame aux camélias

Born an illegitimate son of a wealthy physician, Abel Flamant, and a working class mother, Francoise Perethon. He was raised by his mother and her boyfriend, who later became her husband, Adolphe Gance. Pressured by his parents, he began his working career as a lawyer's clerk in hopes of achieving ...

37. Lloyd Bacon

Director | Marked Woman

One of the workhorses in Warner Brothers' stable of directors in the 1930s, Lloyd Bacon didn't have a career as loaded with classic films as many of his more famous contemporaries. What few "classics" he had his hand in (42nd Street (1933), Footlight Parade (1933)) are so overshadowed by the ...

38. Clarence Brown

Director | Anna Karenina

Clarence Leon Brown was the son of Larkin Harry and Catherine Ann (Gaw) Brown of Clinton, Massachusetts. His family moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, when he was 12 years old. He graduated from Knoxville High School in 1905 and from the University of Tennessee with a B.A. in mechanical and electrical ...

39. 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. ...

40. Edmund Goulding

Director | Grand Hotel

London-born Edmund Goulding was an actor/playwright/director on the London stage, and entered the British army when WWI broke out. Mustered out of the service because of wounds suffered in battle, he emigrated to the U.S. in 1921. He obtained assignments as a screenwriter in Hollywood, wrote a ...

41. Augusto Genina

Director | Cielo sulla palude

Augusto Genina was born on January 28, 1892 in Rome, Lazio, Italy. He was a director and writer, known for Cielo sulla palude (1949), Bengasi (1942) and L'assedio dell'Alcazar (1940). He was married to Carmen Boni. He died on September 18, 1957 in Rome.

42. 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 ...

43. Gregory La Cava

Director | Stage Door

A former cartoonist, Gregory La Cava entered films during WWI as an animator for Walter Lantz on such animated films as "The Katzenjammer Kids" series. Hired by the Hearst Corp. as the editor-in-chief for its International Comic Films division, La Cava switched to live-action films in the 1920s and...

44. Frank Borzage

Director | 7th Heaven

Frank Borzage was born on April 23, 1894 in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. He was an actor and director, known for 7th Heaven (1927), No Greater Glory (1934) and Bad Girl (1931). He was married to Juanita Scott, Edna Skelton and Rena Rogers. He died on June 19, 1962 in Hollywood, Los Angeles, ...

45. Alexander Korda

Director | The Private Life of Don Juan

One of a large group of Hungarian refugees who found refuge in England in the 1930s, Sir Alexander Korda was the first British film producer to receive a knighthood. He was a major, if controversial, figure and acted as a guiding force behind the British film industry of the 1930s and continued to ...

46. 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, ...

47. 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...

48. 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 ...

49. Abram Room

Director | Sud chesti

Abram Room was born on June 28, 1894 in Vilna, Russian Empire as Abram Matveyevich Room. He was a director and writer, known for Sud chesti (1949), Nashestvie (1945) and Belated Flowers (1970). He died on July 26, 1976 in Moscow, Russian SFSR, USSR.

50. Aleksandr Dovzhenko

Writer | Zemlya

Aleksandr Dovzhenko was born on September 10, 1894 in Vyunishche, Sosnitsa Ueyzd, Chernigov Governorate, Russian Empire as Aleksandr Petrovich Dovzhenko. He was a writer and director, known for Zemlya (1930), Life in Bloom (1949) and Shors (1939). He was married to Yuliya Solntseva. He died on ...

51. 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 ...

52. Mario Camerini

Director | Il signor Max

Mario Camerini was born on February 6, 1895 in Rome, Lazio, Italy. He was a director and writer, known for Il signor Max (1937), I'll Give a Million (1935) and Gli uomini, che mascalzoni... (1932). He was married to Assia Noris. He died on February 4, 1981 in Gardone Riviera, Lombardy, Italy.

53. Marcel Pagnol

Writer | La fille du puisatier

Marcel Pagnol was born on February 28, 1895 in Aubagne, Bouches-du-Rhône, France. He was a writer and producer, known for The Well-Digger's Daughter (1940), Marius (1931) and Le schpountz (1938). He was married to Jacqueline Pagnol and Simone Collin. He died on April 18, 1974 in Paris, France.

54. Lewis Milestone

Director | All Quiet on the Western Front

Lewis Milestone, a clothing manufacturer's son, was born in Bessarabia (now Moldova), raised in Odessa (Ukraine) and educated in Belgium and Berlin (where he studied engineering). He was fluent in both German and Russian and an avid reader. Milestone had an affinity for the theatre from an early ...

55. 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 ...

56. Ben Sharpsteen

Director | Dumbo

Ben Sharpsteen was born on November 4, 1895 as Benjamin Sharpsteen. He is known for his work on Dumbo (1941), Pinocchio (1940) and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). He died on December 20, 1980 in Sonoma County, California, USA.

57. Busby Berkeley

Director | Gold Diggers of 1935

Busby Berkeley was one of the greatest choreographers of the US movie musical. He started his career in the US Army in 1918, as a lieutenant in the artillery conducting and directing parades. After the World War I cease-fire he was ordered to stage camp shows for the soldiers. Back in the US he ...

58. Dziga Vertov

Director | Chelovek s kino-apparatom

Born in Bialystok, Poland, studied music and enrolled in St. Petersburg Neurological Institute in 1916. Worked on first Soviet newsreel, Kinonedelia (1918-1919), then on subsequent newsreel series (inc. Kinopravda, 1922-1925).

59. William A. Wellman

Director | A Star Is Born

William Wellman, the Oscar-winning screenwriter-director of the original A Star Is Born (1937), was called "Wild Bill" during his World War I service as an aviator, a nickname that persisted in Hollywood due to his larger-than-life personality and lifestyle.

A leap-year baby born in 1896 on the 29th...

60. 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...

61. William Cameron Menzies

Production_designer | Gone with the Wind

William Cameron Menzies was educated at Yale University, the University of Edinburgh and at the Art Students League in New York. He entered the film industry in 1919, after serving with the U.S. Expeditionary Forces in World War I. His initial assignments were in film design and special effects, as...

62. Julien Duvivier

Writer | Pépé le Moko

Revered by such legendary fellow directors as Ingmar Bergman and Jean Renoir, Julien Duvivier is one of the greatest figures in the history of French cinema and of world cinema in general. He is perhaps the most neglected of the "Big Five" of classic French cinema (the other four being Jean Renoir,...

63. Dorothy Arzner

Writer | Breed of the Border

Dorothy Arzner, the only woman director during the "Golden Age" of Hollywood's studio system--from the 1920s to the early 1940s and the woman director with the largest oeuvre in Hollywood to this day--was born January 3, 1897 (some sources put the year as 1900), in San Francisco, California, to a ...

64. Douglas Sirk

Director | Schlußakkord

Film director Douglas Sirk, whose reputation blossomed in the generation after his 1959 retirement from Hollywood filmmaking, was born Hans Detlef Sierck on April 26, 1897, in Hamburg, Germany, to a journalist. Both of his parents were Danish, and the future director would make movies in German, ...

65. 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 ...

66. Rouben Mamoulian

Director | Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Rouben Mamoulian was born on October 8, 1897 in Tiflis, Russian Empire as Rouben Zachary Mamoulian. He was a director and writer, known for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931), Applause (1929) and Becky Sharp (1935). He was married to Azadia Newman. He died on December 4, 1987 in Woodland Hills, Los ...

67. 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 ...

68. Henry Hathaway

Director | True Grit

Henry Hathaway, son of a stage actress and manager, started his career as a child actor in westerns directed by Allan Dwan. His movie career was interrupted by World War I. After his discharge he briefly tried a career in finance but returned to Hollywood to work as an assistant director under such...

69. 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 ...

70. 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....

71. Norman Z. McLeod

Director | Horse Feathers

Norman Z. McLeod was one of Hollywood's leading early comedy directors. Born in Grayling, Michigan, he came from a family that had no connections to show business (his father was a clergyman). He was educated at the University of Washington and spent two years as a fighter pilot in the US Army in ...

72. 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.

73. René Clair

Writer | Le silence est d'or

René Clair was born on November 11, 1898 in Paris, France as René-Lucien Chomette. He was a writer and director, known for Le silence est d'or (1947), À Nous la Liberté (1931) and The Grand Maneuver (1955). He was married to Bronia Clair. He died on March 15, 1981 in Neuilly-sur-Seine...

74. Joris Ivens

Director | La Seine a rencontré Paris

Joris Ivens was born on November 18, 1898 in Nijmegen, Gelderland, Netherlands as George Henri Anton Ivens. He was a director and writer, known for La Seine a rencontré Paris (1957), Pour le Mistral (1966) and A Tale of the Wind (1988). He was married to Marceline Loridan Ivens and Germaine ...

75. Lev Kuleshov

Director | Po zakonu

Lev Kuleshov was a Russian director who used the editing technique known as the "Kuleshov effect." Although some of the editing innovations, such as crosscutting were used by other directors before him, Kuleshov was the first to use it in the Soviet Russia. he was driving a Ford sports car amidst ...

76. Lotte Reiniger

Director | Silhouetten

Lotte Reiniger was born on June 2, 1899 in Berlin, Germany as Charlotte Reiniger. She is known for her work on Silhouetten (1936), Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed (1926) and Here and There (1949). She was married to Carl Koch. She died on June 19, 1981 in Dettenhausen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.

77. 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.

78. 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 ...

79. 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 ...

80. Alessandro Blasetti

Director | Prima comunione

Alessandro Blasetti was born on July 3, 1900 in Rome, Lazio, Italy. He was a director and writer, known for Father's Dilemma (1950), La corona di ferro (1941) and Un giorno nella vita (1946). He was married to Maria Laura Brofferio. He died on February 1, 1987 in Rome.

81. Robert Siodmak

Director | Nachts, wenn der Teufel kam

The director Robert Siodmak (which he insisted, be pronounced 'See-odd-mack') was a masterful film maker who successfully blended the techniques of German Expressionism with contemporary styles of American film, particularly film noir, in the process creating a handful of moody, sometimes chilling,...

82. Mervyn LeRoy

Director | Gypsy

The great San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906 was a tragedy for Mervyn LeRoy. While he and his father managed to survive, they lost everything they had. To make money, LeRoy sold newspapers and entered talent contests as a singer. When he entered vaudeville, his act was "LeRoy and Cooper--Two...

83. 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. ...

84. Walt Disney

Actor | Fun & Fancy Free

Walter Elias Disney was born on December 5, 1901 in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Flora Disney (née Call) and Elias Disney, a Canadian-born farmer and businessperson. He had Irish, German, and English ancestry. Walt moved with his parents to Kansas City at age seven, where he spent the majority of ...

85. 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, ...

86. Anatole Litvak

Director | The Snake Pit

The distinguished film director Anatole Litvak was born in the Ukrainian city of Kiev, the son of Jewish parents. His very first job was as a stage hand. In 1915, he became an actor, performing at a little-known experimental theater in St. Petersburg, Russia. As a teenager, he witnessed the 1917 ...

87. Boris Barnet

Director | Miss Mend

Boris Barnet was born on June 18, 1902 in Moscow, Russian Empire as Boris Vasilyevich Barnet. He was a director and actor, known for Miss Mend (1926), Secret Agent (1947) and The Patriots (1933). He was married to Alla Kazanskaya, Yelena Kuzmina, Natalia Glan and Valentina Barnet. He died on ...

88. 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 ...

89. 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 ...

90. Leni Riefenstahl

Actress | Das blaue Licht

Leni Riefenstahl's show-biz experience began with an experiment: she wanted to know what it felt like to dance on the stage. Success as a dancer gave way to film acting when she attracted the attention of film director Arnold Fanck, subsequently starring in some of his mountaineering pictures. With...

91. 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 ...

...And Emeric Pressburger.

92. 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 ...

93. 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 ...

94. Terence Fisher

Director | Dracula

Terence Fisher was born in Maida Vale, England, in 1904. Raised by his grandmother in a strict Christian Scientist environment, Fisher left school while still in his teens to join the Merchant Marine. By his own account he soon discovered that a life at sea was not for him, so he left the service ...

95. Edgar G. Ulmer

Director | The Black Cat

Edgar G. Ulmer was born on September 17, 1904 in Olmütz, Moravia, Austria-Hungary as Edgar George Ulmer. He was a director and writer, known for The Black Cat (1934), Isle of Forgotten Sins (1943) and The Man from Planet X (1951). He was married to Shirley Ulmer and Joan Warner. He died on ...

96. Jacques Tourneur

Director | Out of the Past

Born in Paris in 1904, Tourneur went to Hollywood with his father, director Maurice Tourneur around 1913. He started out as a script clerk and editor for his father, then graduated to such jobs as directing shorts (often with the pseudonym Jack Turner), both in France and America. He was hired to ...

97. 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 ...

98. Grigori Kozintsev

Director | Gamlet

Grigori Mikhailovich Kozintsev was born on March 22, 1905, in Kiev, Russian Empire (now Kiev, Ukraine). His father, named Mikhail Kozintsev, was a medical doctor. Young Kozintsev studied at the Kiev Gymnazium. There, in 1919, he organized experimental theatre "Arlekin" together with his fellow ...

99. 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 ...

100. Henry Koster

Director | Harvey

Henry Koster was born Herman Kosterlitz in Berlin, Germany, on May 1, 1905. His maternal grandfather was a famous operatic tenor Julius Salomon (who died of tuberculosis in the 1880s). His father was a salesman of ladies unmentionables who left the family while Henry was at a young age, leaving him...