Top 20 Directors of All Time

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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 Eileen Hitchcock (born 1892)...
“ Crowning Achievements:
Rear Window
North by Northwest
Psycho
Vertigo
Lifeboat
The Birds
Rope
Foreign Correspondent
Rebecca
Strangers On a Train
To Catch a Thief
Dial M for Murder
Notorious ” - cowsonfire911
 
2.
Martin Scorsese
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...
“ Crowning Achievements:
The Departed
Taxi Driver
Raging Bull
Mean Streets
Gangs of New York
Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore
Goodfellas
Casino
The Aviator
The Last Temptation of Christ
Cape Fear
The Color of Money
New York, New York ” - cowsonfire911
 
3.
Stanley Kubrick
Director, The Shining
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...
“ Crowning Achievements:
2001: A Space Odyssey
A Clockwork Orange
Dr. Strangelove Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Barry Lyndon
The Shining
Sparticus
Full Metal Jacket
Lolita ” - cowsonfire911
 
4.
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...
“ Crowning Achievements:
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
Schindler's List
Saving Private Ryan
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
A.I. Artificial Intelligence
Minority Report
Munich
Jurassic Park
The Color Purple
War of the Worlds
Jaws
Catch Me If You Can ” - cowsonfire911
 
5.
Charles Chaplin
Writer, Modern Times
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 toothbrush mustache, bowler hat, bamboo cane, and a funny walk...
“ Crowning Achievements:
City Lights
Modern Times
The Gold Rush
The Kid
The Great Dictator ” - cowsonfire911
 
6.
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 his politics were somewhat left-leaning and he often treated socially relevant themes in his films...
“ Crowning Achievements:
12 Angry Men
Network
Dog Day Afternoon
Murder On the Orient Express
Serpico ” - cowsonfire911
 
7.
Billy Wilder
The second of two sons, his father ran a chain of railway station cafes. As a youth he was obsessed with everything American. encouraged by his mother he enrolled as a law student at the University of Vienna but quit after 3 months to be a writer on a magazine which although poorly paid it gave him a great amount of experience interviewing such as Richard Strauss and Sigmund Freud...
“ Crowning Achievements:
Some Like it Hot
Sunset Blvd
The Apartment
Double Indemnity
The Spirit of St. Louis ” - cowsonfire911
 
8.
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...
“ Crowning Achievements:
The Godfather
The Godfather Part II
Apocalypse Now
Peggy Sue Got Married ” - cowsonfire911
 
9.
David Lynch
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...
“ Crowning Achievements:
Mulholland Dr
The Elephant Man
Blue Velvet
Eraserhead
Lost Highway ” - cowsonfire911
 
10.
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...
“ Crowning Achievements:
Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring
Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King
Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers
Heavenly Creatures
Dead Alive ” - cowsonfire911
 
11.
Roman Polanski
Director, The Pianist
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 before World War II began...
“ Crowning Achievements:
Chinatown
The Pianist
Rosemary's Baby
MacBeth
The Ghost Writer ” - cowsonfire911
 
12.
“ Crowning Achievements:
Broadcast News
Terms of Endearment
As Good As it Gets
The Simpsons (TV)
The Mary Tyler Moore Show (TV) ” - cowsonfire911
 
13.
Jean-Luc Godard
Director, My Life to Live
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 Switzerland and attended school in Nyons (Switzerland)...
“ Crowning Achievements:
Breathless
Masculine-Feminine
Weekend
Two or Three Things I Know About Her
Here and Elsewhere ” - cowsonfire911
 
14.
Christopher Nolan
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...
“ Crowning Achievements:
The Dark Knight
Inception
Batman Begins
Memento
The Prestige ” - cowsonfire911
 
15.
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...
“ Crowning Achievements:
Fight Club
The Social Network
Se7en
Zodiac
Panic Room ” - cowsonfire911
 
16.
Pedro Almodóvar
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...
“ Crowning Achievements:
Talk to Her
Volver
Broken Embraces
Women On the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
All About My Mother ” - cowsonfire911
 
17.
Akira Kurosawa
Writer, Yojimbo
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. Within a few years, Kurosawa had achieved sufficient stature to allow him greater creative freedom...
“ Crowning Achievements:
The Seven Samurai
Rashomon
Ran
Yojimbo
Sanjuro ” - cowsonfire911
 
18.
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...
“ Crowning Achievements:
Magnolia
There Will Be Blood
Boogie Nights
Punch-Drunk Love
Hard Eight ” - cowsonfire911
 
19.
“ (with Ethan Coen) Crowning Achievements:
Fargo
No Country for Old Men
A Serious Man
The Big Lebowski
O' Brother, Where Art Thou? ” - cowsonfire911
 
20.
“ Crowning Achievements:
Slumdog Millionaire
Trainspotting
28 Days Later
127 Hours
Sunshine ” - cowsonfire911
 
21.
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 stayed in high school until the comparatively late age of nineteen and worked menial jobs over a period of several years before enrolling at Los Angeles City College...
“ Crowning Achievements:
Gran Torino
Million Dollar Baby
Unforgiven
Mystic River
Letters from Iwo Jima
Flags of Our Fathers ” - cowsonfire911
 
22.
Ridley Scott
Producer, Blade Runner
Ridley Scott was born in South Shields, Tyne and Wear (then County Durham) on 30 November 1937. His father was an officer in the Royal Engineers and the family followed him as his career posted him throughout the UK and Europe before they eventually returned to Teesside. Scott wanted to join Army (his...
“ Crowning Achievements:
Gladiator
Blade Runner
American Gangster
Alien
Black Hawk Down ” - cowsonfire911
 
23.
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...
“ Crowning Achievements:
Pulp Fiction
Reservoir Dogs
Kill Bill Volumes I & II
Inglorious Basterds
Death Proof ” - cowsonfire911
 
24.
Spike Jonze
Producer, Her
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...
“ Crowning Achievements:
Adaptation
Being John Malkovich
Where the Wild Things Are ” - cowsonfire911
 
25.
Cameron Crowe
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...
“ Crowning Achievements:
Almost Famous
Say Anything
Jerry Maguire
Vanilla Sky ” - cowsonfire911
 
26.
Charles Burnett
Director, Killer of Sheep
Considered one of Americas greatest filmmakers, Charles Burnett was born in Mississippi in 1944, he grew up in Watts. He was one of the privileged blacks who had access to college education in those days; the 60s. He studied at UCLA's Film Department. He was first noticed in 1981 with Killer of Sheep which won a prize at Berlin...
“ Crowning Achievements:
Killer of Sheep
To Sleep With Anger ” - cowsonfire911
 
27.
Federico Fellini
Writer,
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 devil herself said the priests who ran his school)...
“ Crowning Achievements:
8 1/2
La Dolce Vita
I Vitelloni
Juliet of the Spirits
Fellini's Casanova ” - cowsonfire911
 
28.
Orson Welles
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. Maurice Bernstein...
“ Crowning Achievements:
Citizen Kane
Touch of Evil
Mr. Arkadin ” - cowsonfire911
 
29.
Ingmar Bergman
Ernst Ingmar Bergman was born July 14, 1918, the son of a priest. The film and T.V. series, The Best Intentions 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 is the trilogy closed. Here, as in 'Den Goda Viljan' Pernilla August play his mother...
“ Crowning Achievements:
The Seventh Seal
Wild Strawberries
Persona
Fanny and Alexander ” - cowsonfire911
 
30.
Tim Burton
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)...
“ Crowning Achievements:
Edward Scissorhands
Ed Wood
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Beetlejuice
Batman ” - cowsonfire911