Top 25 film directors

by jsigurv | created - 16 Jun 2011 | updated - 16 Jun 2011 | Public

1. 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 (...

2. 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 ...

3. 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 ...

4. 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 ...

5. Mario Bava

Cinematographer | Reazione a catena

Italian director Mario Bava was born on July 31, 1914 in the coastal northern Italian town of San Remo. His father, Eugenio Bava (1886-1966), was a cinematographer in the early days of the Italian film industry. Bava was trained as a painter, and when he eventually followed his father into film ...

6. 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 ...

7. Yasuzô Masumura

Director | Daichi no komoriuta

Born in Yamanashi, Japan, Yasuzô Masumura would become known as a maverick director whose main legacy was films portraying and promoting individualism, which was the opposite of the norm in Japanese society. He earned a law degree towards the end of World War II from Tokyo University, yet joined ...

8. 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...

9. 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....

10. 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 ...

11. Claude Chabrol

Director | Le beau Serge

French film director considered a master in the mystery genre. He is credited with starting the "nouvelle vague" French film movement.

12. 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 ...

13. 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"...

14. Juraj Herz

Director | Spalovac mrtvol

Juraj Herz was born on September 4, 1934 in Kezmarok, Czechoslovakia. He is a director and actor, known for Spalovac mrtvol (1969), Beauty and the Beast (1978) and Habermann (2010).

15. Mikhail Kalatozov

Director | Letyat zhuravli

Mikhail Kalatozov was born on December 28, 1903 in Tiflis, Russian Empire as Mikhail Kalatozishvili. He was a director and cinematographer, known for The Cranes Are Flying (1957), Vernye druz'ya (1954) and Zagovor obrechyonnykh (1950). He died on March 27, 1973 in Moscow, RSFSR, USSR.

16. Yimou Zhang

Director | Shi mian mai fu

Yimou Zhang was born on November 14, 1951 in Xi'an, Shaanxi, China. He is a director and actor, known for House of Flying Daggers (2004), Ying xiong (2002) and Man cheng jin dai huang jin jia (2006).

17. 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 ...

18. 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 ...

19. Jaromil Jires

Director | Valerie a týden divu

Jaromil Jires was born on December 10, 1935 in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia. He was a director and writer, known for Valerie a týden divu (1970), The Joke (1969) and ...a pozdravuji vlastovky (1972). He died on October 26, 2001 in Prague, Czech Republic.

20. Pedro Almodóvar

Writer | Hable con ella

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 ...

21. 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 ...

22. 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 ...

23. Jafar Panahi

Director | Taxi

Jafar Panahi (Born 11 July 1960) is an Iranian film director, screenwriter, and film editor, commonly identified with the Iranian New Wave film movement. After several years of making short films and working as an assistant director for fellow Iranian film-maker Abbas Kiarostami, Panahi achieved ...

24. Julio Medem

Director | Lucía y el sexo

Julio Medem was born in San Sebastian in northern Spain. As a teenager Medem made short movies with a super-8 camera owned by his father. Some of those films are "El ciego" (1976), "El jueves pasado" (1977) and "Fideos" (1979.) Wanting to know more about the darkest corners of the human mind, Medem...

25. Jesús Franco

Writer | Der Teufel kam aus Akasava

He was only six years old when he started composing music under the protection of his brother Enrique. After the Spanish Civil War he was able to continue his studies at the Real Conservatorio de Madrid, where he finished piano and harmony. Being a Bachelor of Law and an easy-read novel writer (...