The Thirty-Two Best Directors of the Past 20 Years

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1.
Pedro Almodóvar
Writer, Talk to Her
The most internationally acclaimed Spanish filmmaker since Luis Buñuel was born in a small town (Calzada de Calatrava) in the impoverished Spanish region of La Mancha. He arrived in Madrid in 1968, and survived by selling used items in the flea-market called El Rastro. Almodóvar couldn't study filmmaking because he didn't have the money to afford it...
“ Best Cinematic Moment: Agrado's Monologue - All About My Mother (1999) ” - Ahobbs_89
 
2.
Darren Aronofsky
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...
“ Best Cinematic Moment: The Swan Lake Opening Scene - Black Swan (2010) ” - Ahobbs_89
 
3.
“ Best Cinematic Moment: Renton diving into the dirtiest toilet in Scotland - Trainspotting (1994) ” - Ahobbs_89
 
4.
Kenneth Branagh
Actor, Valkyrie
Kenneth Charles Branagh was born on December 10, 1960, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK, to parents William Branagh, a plumber and carpenter born in 1930, and Frances (Harper) Branagh, also born in 1930. His brother, William Branagh Jr., was born in 1955 and sister, Joyce Branagh, was born in 1970...
“ Best Cinematic Moment: The Battle of Agincourt - Henry V (1989) ” - Ahobbs_89
 
5.
Tim Burton
Timothy Walter Burton was born in Burbank, California, to Jean Rae (Erickson), cat-themed gift shop owner, 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)...
“ Best Cinematic Moment: The Horseman rides - Sleepy Hollow (1999) ” - Ahobbs_89
 
6.
James Cameron
Writer, Aliens
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 but, after graduating, drove a truck to support his screenwriting ambition. He landed his first professional film job as art director...
“ Best Cinematic Moment: The Terminator arrives - Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) ” - Ahobbs_89
 
7.
Jane Campion
Writer, The Piano
Jane Campion was born in Wellington, New Zealand, and now lives in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Having graduated with a BA in Anthropology from Victoria University of Wellington in 1975, and a BA, with a painting major, at Sydney College of the Arts in 1979, she began filmmaking in the early 1980s...
“ Best Cinematic Moment: Ada loses her finger - The Piano (1993) ” - Ahobbs_89
 
8.
Sofia Coppola
Writer, Somewhere
Sofia Coppola was born on May 14, 1971 in New York City, New York, USA as Sofia Carmina Coppola. She is a director, known for Somewhere, Lost in Translation and Marie Antoinette. She has been married to Thomas Mars since August 27, 2011. They have two children. She was previously married to Spike Jonze.
“ Best Cinematic Moment: Bob Whispers to Charlotte - Lost In Translation (2003) ” - Ahobbs_89
 
9.
Alfonso Cuarón
Writer, Gravity
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...
“ Best Cinematic Moment: The One-take Birth scene - Children Of Men (2006) ” - Ahobbs_89
 
10.
Stephen Daldry
Director, The Reader
In 1989, Stephen Daldry worked as a freelance reader of unsolicited manuscripts for Literary Manager Nicholas Wright in the Scripts Department at the Royal National Theatre. In July of that year, he directed a Dadaist/expressionist production of "Judgement Day," a play by Odon von Horvath, at the Old Red Lion in London.
“ Best Cinematic Moment: Billy's First Lesson - Billy Elliot (2000) ” - Ahobbs_89
 
11.
Guillermo del Toro
Guillermo del Toro is a Mexican film director, screenwriter, producer, and novelist. In his filmmaking career, del Toro has alternated between Spanish-language dark fantasy pieces, such as the gothic horror film The Devil's Backbone (2001), and Pan's Labyrinth (2006), and more mainstream American action movies...
“ Best Cinematic Moment: The Pale-Man Scene - Pan's Labyrinth (2006) ” - Ahobbs_89
 
12.
Clint Eastwood
Perhaps the icon of macho movie stars, and a living legend, Clint Eastwood has become a standard in international cinema. Born May 31, 1930 in San Francisco, the elder of two children in a middle-class family, Eastwood finished high school at the comparatively late age of 19 and worked odd jobs for several years before enrolling at Los Angeles City College...
“ Best Cinematic Moment: Frankie Explains To Maggie What "Mo' Cuishle" Means - Million Dollar Baby (2004) ” - Ahobbs_89
 
13.
David Fincher
Director, Fight Club
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...
“ Best Cinematic Moment: "You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake" - Fight Club (1999) ” - Ahobbs_89
 
14.
Tom Hooper
Tom Hooper was educated at one of England's most prestigious schools, Westminster. His first film, Runaway Dog, was made when he was 13 years old and shot on a Clockwork 16mm Bolex camera, using 100 feet of film. At age 18, he wrote, directed and produced the short film Painted Faces, which premiered at the London Film Festival; it was released theatrically and later shown on Channel 4...
“ Best Cinematic Moment: Bertie addresses the nation - The King's Speech (2010) ” - Ahobbs_89
 
15.
Peter Jackson
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...
“ Best Cinemtaic Moment: The Battle Of The Pelennor Fields - The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King (2003) ” - Ahobbs_89
 
16.
Ang Lee
Director, Life of Pi
Born in 1954 in Pingtung, Taiwan, Ang Lee has become one of today's greatest contemporary filmmakers. Ang graduated from the National Taiwan College of Arts in 1975 and then came to the U.S. to receive a B.F.A. Degree in Theatre/Theater Direction at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a Masters Degree in Film Production at New York University...
“ Best Cinematic Moment: Yu Shu Lien Vs. Jen Yu - Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) ” - Ahobbs_89
 
17.
“ Best Cinematic Moment: The Police Arrive For Vera - Vera Drake (2004) ” - Ahobbs_89
 
18.
Baz Luhrmann
Baz's parents did Ballroom competitions, thus growing up around the very subject matter of his first three films.
“ Best Cinematic Moment: The First 20 Mins- Moulin Rouge (2001) ” - Ahobbs_89
 
19.
Sam Mendes
Samuel Alexander Mendes was born on August 1, 1965 in Reading, England, UK to parents James Peter Mendes, a retired university lecturer, and Valerie Helene Mendes, an author who writes children's books. Their marriage didn't last long, James divorced Sam's mother in 1970 when Sam was just 5-years-old...
“ Best Cinematic Moment: Lester's Dream - American Beauty (1999) ” - Ahobbs_89
 
20.
Anthony Minghella
Anthony Minghella was the son of immigrants from Italy, who own an ice-cream factory on the Isle of Wight, where Anthony was born on January 6, 1954. He and his two siblings, Edana Minghella and Dominic Minghella, grew up there, a popular British holiday spot. After graduating from the University of Hull...
“ Best Cinematic Moment: The Plane Crash - The English Patient (1996) ” - Ahobbs_89
 
21.
Christopher Nolan
Born in London in 1970, Christopher Nolan began making films at the age of seven years using his father's Super-8 camera and an assortment of male action figures. He graduated to making films involving real people, and his Super-8 surrealistic short 'Tarantella' was shown on P.B.S.' 'image union' in 1989...
“ Best Cinematic Moment: The Joker's Introduction - The Dark Knight (2008) ” - Ahobbs_89
 
22.
Lone Scherfig
Director, An Education
Lone Scherfig graduated from the Danish Film School in 1984. In her native Denmark, Lone Scherfig began her career directing award-winning commercials and television dramas. Her first feature as director, The Birthday Trip, premiered at the 1991 Berlin Festival and won several awards at festivals worldwide. Her second feature, On Our Own, won the Grand Prize at the Montreal Film Festival...
“ Best Cinematic Moment: Jenny discovers the truth about David - An Education (2009) ” - Ahobbs_89
 
23.
Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese directed landmark films such as the crime film Mean Streets (1973), the vigilante-thriller Taxi Driver (1976), the biographical sports drama Raging Bull (1980), the black comedy The King of Comedy (1983), and the crime films Goodfellas (1990) and Casino (1995), all of which he collaborated on with actor and close friend Robert De Niro...
“ Best Cinematic Moment: The Hells Angels Shoot - The Aviator (2004) ” - Ahobbs_89
 
24.
“ Best Cinematic Moment: The Final Revelation - The Usual Suspects (1995) ” - Ahobbs_89
 
25.
Steven Spielberg
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...
“ Best Cinematic Moment: The D-Day Landings - Saving Private Ryan (1998) ” - Ahobbs_89
 
26.
Quentin Tarantino
Writer, Pulp Fiction
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...
“ Best Cinematic Moment: Mia and Vincent's Dance Routine - Pulp Fiction (1994) ” - Ahobbs_89
 
27.
Julie Taymor
Julie Taymor is an Academy Award-nominated director, known for such films as Frida and Across the Universe. She was born on December 15, 1952, in Newton, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. Her father, Melvin Lester Taymor, was a gynecologist. Her mother, Elizabeth Bernstein, was a teacher of political science...
“ Best Cinematic Moment: The "Let It Be" Funeral Scene - Across The Universe (2007) ” - Ahobbs_89
 
28.
“ Best Cinematic Moment: The "Eeny-Meeny-Miney-Mo" Ending - Elephant (2003) ” - Ahobbs_89
 
29.
Matthew Vaughn
Producer, Kick-Ass
Matthew Vaughn is an English film producer and director. He is known for producing such films as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch and for directing the crime thriller, Layer Cake, the fantasy epic, Stardust, the superhero comedy, Kick-Ass, and the superhero film, X-Men: First Class...
“ Best Cinematic Moment - Hit-Girl takes out Frank D'Amico's men - Kick-Ass (2010) ” - Ahobbs_89
 
30.
“ Best Cinematic Moment: Truman's Exit - The Truman Show (1998) ” - Ahobbs_89
 
31.
“ Best Cinematic Moment: Nicholas and Danny take on the Somerfield staff - Hot Fuzz (2007) ” - Ahobbs_89
 
32.
Joe Wright
Director, Atonement
“ Best Cinematic Moment: The Dunkirk Tracking Shot - Atonement (2007) ” - Ahobbs_89