Best Directors and Why

Top 40 including
Top 4 animation directors +
Top 2 documentary directors

Up and coming
Jean-Marc Vallée
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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...
“ Tone, pacing and dramatic buildup. I also saw his 1999 Broadway play "The Blue Room", starring Nicole Kidman.

Must See:
American Beauty
Revolutionary Road
Road to Perdition
Away We Go ” - christian94
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)...
“ Visceral vision

Must See:
21 grams
Birdman (Or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Amores perros ” - christian94
Asghar Farhadi
Asghar Farhadi was born in 1972 in Iran. He became interested in cinema in his teenage years and started his filmmaking education by joining the Youth Cinema Society of Esfahan in 1986 where he made 8mm and 16mm short films. He received his Bachelors in Theater from University of Tehran's School of...
“ Interpersonal conflicts.

Must See:
A Separation
The Past
Fireworks Wednesday
About Elly ” - christian94
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...
“ Vision and precision.

Must See:
2001, A Space Odyssey
Eyes Wide Shut
Clockwork Orange
The Shining ” - christian94
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...
“ Dedication to content.

Must See:
Sex, Lies and Videotape
The Informant!
Full Frontal
Solaris ” - christian94
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...
“ Storytelling.

Must See:
Saving Private Ryan
Jurassic Park
Catch Me if You Can
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
The Adventures of Tintin ” - christian94
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...
“ Action and emotion.

Must See:
Terminator 2
Avatar ” - christian94
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...
“ Action and humour.

Must See:
Pulp Fiction
Reservoir Dogs
Django Unchained
Death Proof
Jackie Brown
Kill Bill: Vol. 2
Inglourious Basterds ” - christian94
Robert Zemeckis
A whiz-kid with special effects, Robert is from the Spielberg camp of film-making (Steven Spielberg produced many of his films). Usually working with writing partner Bob Gale, Robert's earlier films show he has a talent for zany comedy (Romancing the Stone, 1941) and special effect vehicles (Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Back to the Future)...
“ Suspension of belief.

Must See:
Back to the Future ” - christian94
Woody Allen
Writer, Annie Hall
Woody Allen was born Allan Stewart Konigsberg on December 1, 1935 in Brooklyn, New York, to Nettie (Cherrie), a bookkeeper, and Martin Konigsberg, a waiter and jewellery engraver. His father was of Russian Jewish descent, and his maternal grandparents were Austrian Jewish immigrants. As a young boy...
“ Humanness and quirkiness.

Must See:
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Match Point
Annie Hall
Crimes and Misdemeanors
You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger
Blue Jasmine ” - christian94
Sion Sono
Director, Ai no mukidashi
Shion Sono is a Japanese director, writer and poet. Born in Aichi Perfecture in 1961 he started his career working as a poet before taking his first steps in film directing. As a student he shot a series of short films in Super 8 and managed to make his first feature films in the late 80s and early 90s...
“ Daringness and depth

Must See:
Cold Fish
Noriko's Dinner Table
Strange Circus
Guilty of Romance ” - christian94
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...
“ Suspense, psychology and drama.

Must See:
The Wolf of Wall Street
The Aviator
Raging Bull ” - christian94
Todd Field
Director, Little Children
William Todd Field was born in Pomona, California, and began acting after graduating from high school in Portland, Oregon, where he was raised. A budding jazz musician as well, he skipped college in favor of a move east to New York to study acting. Once there, he began performing with the Ark Theatre Company as both an actor and musician...
“ Enganged, enhanced acting.

Must See:
In the Bedroom
Little Children ” - christian94
José Padilha
He is best known for directing the Brazilian critical and financial successes Elite Squad and Elite Squad: The Enemy Within and the 2014 remake of RoboCop. He has won the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival for Elite Squad in 2008. He is also the producer and director of the Netflix original series Narcos, starring frequent collaborator Wagner Moura.
“ Vulnerability.

Must See:
Elite Squad
Elite Squad 2 ” - christian94
“ Tension and truth

Must See:
Incendies ” - christian94
Alejandro Amenábar
Writer, The Others
Amenábar was born in Santiago Chile, on the eve of Pinochet's 1973 coup-de-état, such that his mother, who had already gone through the Spanish Civil War, uprooted the whole family and fled back to Spain. He grew up in Madrid and entered the Sciences Information Faculty at Madrid's Complutense University...
“ Uncertainty and understanding.

Must See:
Open your Eyes
The Sea Inside ” - christian94
Christopher Nolan
After The Dark Knight's success, Warner Bros. signed Nolan to direct Inception. Nolan also wrote and co-produced the film, described as "a contemporary set within the architecture of the mind". Before being released in theaters, critics like Peter Travers and Lou Lumenick wondered if Nolan's faith in moviegoers' intelligence would cost him at the box office...
“ Thinking movies.

Must See:
Interstellar ” - christian94
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...
“ Slow burn.

Must See:
Gran Torino
Mystic River ” - christian94
“ Feel good movies with heart.

Must See:
Live and Become
The Concert ” - christian94
“ Suspense and slowness.

Must See:
Seance ” - christian94
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...
“ Heightened experience

Must See:
Fight Club
The Game
The Social Network
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Gone Girl ” - christian94
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...
“ Reality and perceived reality.

Must See:
The Wrestler
Black Swan ” - christian94
“ Darkness and light.

Must See:
Joint Security Area
Lady Vengeance ” - christian94
Ki-duk Kim
He studied fine arts in Paris in 1990-1992. In 1993 he won the award for Best Screenplay from the Educational Institute of Screenwriting with "A Painter and A Criminal Condemned to Death". After two more screenplay awards, he made his directorial debut with Crocodile. Then he went on to direct Wild Animals...
“ Unspoken long strong scenes.

Must See:
The Isle
Samaritain Girl ” - christian94
Lars von Trier
Writer, Melancholia
Probably the most ambitious and visually distinctive filmmaker to emerge from Denmark since Carl Theodor Dreyer over 60 years earlier, Lars von Trier studied film at the Danish Film School and attracted international attention with his very first feature, The Element of Crime. A highly distinctive blend of film noir and German Expressionism with stylistic nods to Dreyer...
“ Breaking boundaries and reinventing cinema

Must See:
The Idiots (1998)
Dogville (2003)
Melancholia (2011)
Nymphomaniac Vol I & II (2013) ” - christian94
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...
“ Dialogue and mood.

Must See:
The Godfather
The Godfather, Part 2 ” - christian94
“ Sarcasm and self-search

Must See:
The Man Who Wasn't There
A Serious Man
Burn After Reading
Miller's Crossing
Inside Llewyn Davis ” - christian94
“ Simplicity.

Must See:
The Man Who Wasn't There
A Serious Man
Burn After Reading
Miller's Crossing
Inside Llewyn Davis ” - christian94
“ Normalcy, humanity and its failings

Must see:
Seul au monde
Enter the Void
Love ” - christian94
“ Narrative arc

Must see:
The Imitation Game ” - christian94
Andrey Zvyagintsev
Director, Leviathan
Andrei Zvyagintsev is a Russian filmmaker and was born on Feb.6, 1964 in the northern city of Novisibirsk. He graduated from the Novosibirsk Actors School in 1984 and started to act on stage in provincial theatres. In the early 1990s he came to Moscow - the centre of the Russian film industry - with the ambition to star in movies...
“ Humour, humanity, culture and darkness

Must see:
The Return ” - christian94
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...
“ Relatable insanity

Must See:
Being John Malkovich ” - christian94
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...
“ Mystery and depth.

Must See:
Mulholand Dr.
Lost Highway ” - christian94
Thomas Vinterberg
Director, The Hunt
With Last Round (Last Round), his graduation short from The National Film School of Denmark, he got an early taste of critical success. He received the Jury's and Producers' Awards at the International Student Film Fest in Munich and won the 1st Prize at the Tel Aviv Film Fest. Popular success followed with his breakthrough short fiction film...
“ Dramatic tension and humanity

Must See:
The Hunt
A Highjacking ” - christian94
Paul Haggis
Writer, Crash
Paul Haggis is the award-winning filmmaker who, in 2006, became the first screenwriter to write two Best Film Oscar winners back-to-back - Million Dollar Baby directed by Clint Eastwood, and Crash which he himself directed. For Crash, he won Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay...
“ Conflict and circumstances

Must See:
The Next Three Days ” - christian94
“ Must See:
The Flowers of War
The House of Flying Daggers ” - christian94
“ Science-Fiction

Must See:
Super 8
Star Trek: Into Darkness
Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens ” - christian94
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...
“ The beauty in human tragedy.

Must See:
The Pianist ” - christian94
Kar-Wai Wong
Wong Kar-wai (born 17 July 1956) is a Hong Kong Second Wave filmmaker, internationally renowned as an auteur for his visually unique, highly stylised, emotionally resonant work, including Ah fei zing zyun (1990), Dung che sai duk (1994), Chung Hing sam lam (1994), Do lok tin si (1995), Chun gwong cha sit (1997)...
“ Poetry

Must See:
2046 ” - christian94
Denys Arcand
One of Québec's most politically aware filmmakers, Denys Arcand studied history at Université de Montréal, where he co-directed Alone or with Others with Denis Héroux and co-written with Stéphane Venne. He joined the National Film Board (NFB) in 1963, where his feature-length documentary on the textile industry...
“ Must see:
Le declin de l'empire americain
Les invasions barbares ” - christian94
Mamoru Hosoda
Mamoru Hosoda is a Japanese film director and animator. Formerly employed at Toei Animation, he went to work at Madhouse from 2005 to 2011. Hosoda left Madhouse in 2011 to establish his own animation studio, Studio Chizu. He first came to public attention in the early 2000s with the first two films in the Digimon Adventure series and the sixth film in the One Piece series...
“ Subtlety and splendor

Must See:
Wolf Children ” - christian94
“ Beauty of life.

Must See:
The Place Promised in our Early Days
Voices of a Distant Star
5cm per Second ” - christian94
Satoshi Kon
Satoshi Kon was born in 1963. He studied at the Musashino College of the Arts. He began his career as a Manga artist. He then moved to animation and worked as a background artist on many films (including Roujin Z by 'Katsuhiro Otomo'). Then, in 1995, he wrote an episode of the anthology film Memories (this Episode was "Magnetic Rose")...
“ Wisdom and whirlwind.

Must See:
Perfect Blue
Millenium Actress ” - christian94
“ Passion and pace

Must See:
The Incredibles ” - christian94
Michael Moore
Michael Francis Moore was born in Flint, Michigan on April 23, 1954, and was raised in its Davison suburb. He is the son of Helen Veronica (Wall), a secretary, and Francis Richard Moore, who worked on an auto assembly line. He has Irish, as well as English and Scottish, ancestry. Moore studied journalism at the University of Michigan-Flint...
“ Social commentary and story

Must see:
Sicko (2007)
Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)
Bowling for Columbine (2002)
Capitalism: A Love Story (2009) ” - christian94
Wim Wenders
Director, Wings of Desire
Wim Wenders is an Oscar-nominated German filmmaker who was born Ernst Wilhelm Wenders on August 14, 1945 in Düsseldorf, which then was located in the British Occupation Zone of what became the Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Federal Republic of Germany, known colloquially as West Germany until reunification)...
“ Essence and eternity

Must see:
The Salt of the Earth
Pina ” - christian94