Best Directors

The best directors and some of their best work
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1.
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...
“ Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, Raging Bull, The Departed, Gangs of New York ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
2.
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...
“ Seven Samurai, Rashomon, Throne of Blood, Ran, Yojimbo ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
3.
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...
“ The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Apocalypse Now, The Conversation, The Outsiders ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
4.
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...
“ 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Full Metal Jacket, Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, The Shining ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
5.
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...
“ Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill Vol.1/2, Jackie Brown, Inglourious Basterds ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
6.
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...
“ Chinatown, Rosemary's Baby, Repulsion, The Pianist, Frantic ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
7.
Sergio Leone
Sergio Leone was an Italian film director, producer and screenwriter, credited as the inventor of "Spaghetti Western" genre. Leone's film-making style includes juxtaposing extreme close-up shots with lengthy long shots. His movies include the sword and sandal action films The Last Days of Pompeii and The Colossus of Rhodes...
“ The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, Once Upon a Time in the West, Once Upon a Time in America ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
8.
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...
“ Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler, Black Swan, Pi, The Fountain ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
9.
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...
“ Fight Club, Seven, The Social Network, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Zodiac ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
10.
“ Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours, 28 Days Later..., Sunshine ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
11.
“ No Country for Old Men, Fargo, The Big Lebowski, Raising Arizona, O Brother, Where Art Thou?

P.S. This includes his brother Ethan Coen. ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
12.
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 before switching to English, and eventually dropping out. He then drove a truck to support his screenwriting ambition...
“ The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Aliens, The Abyss, True Lies ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
13.
Ridley Scott
Producer, Blade Runner
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)...
“ Gladiator, Alien, Blade Runner, Black Hawk Down, American Gangster ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
14.
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...
“ Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, Munich, Jurassic Park, Jaws ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
15.
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)...
“ Psycho, Notorious, Rear Window, North by Northwest, Vertigo ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
16.
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...
“ 12 Angry Men, Dog Day Afternoon, Network, Serpico, Fail-Safe ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
17.
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...
“ American Beauty, Road to Perdition, Jarhead, Revolutionary Road, Away We Go ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
18.
Christopher Nolan
Best known for his cerebral, often nonlinear story-telling, acclaimed writer-director Christopher Nolan was born on July 30, 1970 in London, England. Over the course of 15 years of film-making, Nolan has gone from low-budget independent films to working on some of the biggest blockbusters ever made. At 7 years old...
“ Memento, The Dark Knight, Inception, Batman Begins, The Prestige ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
19.
Michael Mann
Producer, Heat
A student of London's International Film School, Michael Mann began his career in the late 70s, writing for TV shows like Starsky and Hutch. He directed his first film, the award-winning prison drama The Jericho Mile, in 1979. He followed that in 1981 with his first theatrical release, Thief starring James Caan as a safe-cracker who falls under the spell of the mob...
“ Heat, The Last of the Mohicans, Collateral, Public Enemies, Manhunter ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
20.
Oliver Stone
Director, Platoon
Oliver Stone has become known as a master of controversial subjects and a legendary film maker. His films are filled with a variety of film angles and styles, he pushes his actors to give Oscar-worthy performances, and despite his failures, has always returned to success. William Oliver Stone was born in New York City...
“ Platoon, JFK, Wall Street, Natural Born Killers, W. ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
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...
“ Mystic River, Unforgiven, Gran Torino, Flags of our Fathers, Letters from Iwo Jima ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
22.
David Lynch
Born in 1946 in Missoula, Montana, David Lynch was raised in small-town America. After high school, he went to Boston to attend the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. Shortly after that, he planned a three-year trip to Europe to work on his art, but didn't take to it and left after 15 days. In 1977...
“ Elephant Man, Mullholland Dr., Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, Lost Highway ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
23.
William Friedkin
Director, The Exorcist
Friedkin's mother was an operating room nurse. His father was a merchant seaman, semi-pro softball player and ultimately sold clothes in a men's discount chain. Ultimately, his father never earned more than $50/week in his whole life and died indigent. Eventually young Will became infatuated with Orson Welles after seeing Citizen Kane...
“ The Exorcist, The French Connection, Rules of Engagement, The Hunted, To Live and Die in L.A. ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
24.
Brian De Palma
Director, Scarface
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...
“ Scarface, The Untouchables, The Black Dahlia, Carlito's Way, Carrie ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
25.
Guy Ritchie
Director, Snatch
Guy Ritchie was born in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK on September 10, 1968. After watching Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid as a child, Guy realized that what he wanted to do was make films. He never attended film school, saying that the work of film school graduates was boring and unwatchable. At 15 years old, he dropped out of school and in 1995...
“ Snatch, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Sherlock Holmes, Rocknrolla ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
26.
Frank Darabont
Three-time Oscar nominee Frank Darabont was born in a refugee camp in 1959 in Montbeliard, France, the son of Hungarian parents who had fled Budapest during the failed 1956 Hungarian revolution. Brought to America as an infant, he settled with his family in Los Angeles and attended Hollywood High School...
“ The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Mist ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
27.
Paul Verhoeven
Director, RoboCop
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...
“ RoboCop, Total Recall, Starship Troopers, Hollow Man, Basic Instinct ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
28.
Steven Soderbergh
Director, Ocean's Eleven
Steven Andrew Soderbergh was born on January 14, 1963 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, the second of six children of Mary Ann (Bernard) and Peter Soderbergh. His father was of Swedish and Irish descent, and his mother was of Italian ancestry. While he was still at a very young age, his family moved to Baton Rouge...
“ Traffic, Ocean's Eleven, The Good German, The Informant! ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
29.
“ The Usual Suspects, X-Men, X2: X-Men United, Valkyrie, Apt Pupil ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
30.
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...
“ There Will Be Blood, Magnolia ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
31.
Terry Gilliam
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....
“ 12 Monkeys, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Brazil ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
32.
David Cronenberg
Director, The Fly
David Cronenberg, also known as the King of Venereal Horror or the Baron of Blood, was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in 1943. His father was a journalist, and his mother was a piano player. After showing an inclination for literature at an early age (he wrote and published eerie short stories, thus following his father's path) and for music (playing classical guitar until he was 12)...
“ The Fly, A History of Violence, Eastern Promises, Scanners, Videodrome ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
33.
Terrence Malick
Terrence Malick was born in Ottawa, Illinois. His family subsequently lived in Oklahoma and he went to school in Austin, Texas. He did his undergraduate work at Harvard, graduating summa cum laude with a degree in philosophy in 1965. A member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society, he attended Magdalen College...
“ Badlands, The Thin Red Line, The New World ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
34.
George A. Romero
George A. Romero never set out to become a Hollywood figure; however, by all indications, he was very successful. The helmer of the groundbreaking "Living Dead" films was born February 4, 1940 in New York City, New York, to a Cuban father and a Lithuanian-American mother. He grew up in NY, until attending the renowned Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania...
“ Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, The Crazies, Land of the Dead ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
35.
Kevin Smith
Kevin Patrick Smith was born in Red Bank, New Jersey, to Grace (Schultz) and Donald E. Smith, a postal worker. He is very proud of his native state; this fact can be seen in all of his movies. Kevin is of mostly German, with some Irish and English, ancestry. His first movie, Clerks, was filmed in the convenience store in which Smith worked...
“ Clerks, Dogma, Chasing Amy, Mallrats, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
36.
Fernando Meirelles
Director, City of God
Fernando Meirelles was born in a middle class family in São Paulo City, Brazil. He studied architecture at the university of São Paulo. At the same time he developed an interest in filmmaking. With a group of friends he started producing experimental videos. They won a huge number of awards in Brazilian film festivals...
“ City of God, The Constant Gardener, Blindness ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
37.
Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Producer, The Revenant
Alejandro González Iñárritu (ih-nyar-ee-too), born August 15th, 1963, is a Mexican film director. González Iñárritu is the first Mexican director to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director and by the Directors Guild of America for Best Director. He is also the first Mexican-born director to have won the Prix de la mise en scene or best director award at Cannes (2006)...
“ 21 Grams, Babel, Biutiful ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
38.
Wes Anderson
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...
“ Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, Bottle Rocket, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Fantastic Mr. Fox ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
39.
Robert Rodriguez
Producer, Grindhouse
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...
“ Sin City, Grindhouse, Desperado, From Dusk Till Dawn, The Faculty ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
40.
John Carpenter
Writer, Halloween
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...
“ Halloween, The Thing, Escape from New York, The Fog ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
41.
Wes Craven
Director, Scream
Wes Craven has become synonymous with genre bending and innovative horror, challenging audiences with his bold vision. Wesley Earl Craven was born in Cleveland, Ohio, to Caroline (Miller) and Paul Eugene Craven. He had a midwestern suburban upbringing. His first feature film was The Last House on the Left, which he wrote...
“ A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Last House on the Left, The Hills Have Eyes, Scream, Red Eye ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
42.
Sam Raimi
Writer, Spider-Man 3
Highly inventive U.S. film director/producer/writer/actor Sam Raimi first came to the attention of film fans with the savage, yet darkly humorous, low-budget horror film, The Evil Dead. From his childhood, Raimi was a fan of the cinema and, before he was ten-years-old, he was out making movies with an 8mm camera...
“ Evil Dead, Army of Darkness, Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, A Simple Plan ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
43.
Paul Greengrass
Paul Greengrass started his filmmaking career with a super 8 camera he found in his art room in secondary school. Those short movies were animation horror films he made using old dolls, artist dummies, and the general art room clutter. After studying in Cambridge University he got into Granada Television...
“ United 93, The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum, Green Zone ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
44.
Paul Greengrass
Paul Greengrass started his filmmaking career with a super 8 camera he found in his art room in secondary school. Those short movies were animation horror films he made using old dolls, artist dummies, and the general art room clutter. After studying in Cambridge University he got into Granada Television...
 
45.
“ Cache, Funny Games ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
46.
“ Three Kings, The Fighter, I Heart Huckabees ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
47.
Tony Scott
Producer, Man on Fire
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...
“ True Romance, Crimson Tide, Enemy of the State, Spy Game, Man on Fire ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
48.
Ivan Reitman
Producer, Ghostbusters
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...
“ Ghostbusters, Twins, Kindergarten Cop, Ghostbusters II ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
49.
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)...
“ Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice, Planet of the Apes, Mars Attacks! ” - NigelGibralterSpishak
 
50.
“ Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles ” - NigelGibralterSpishak