40 Favorite Directors

This is a list of some of my favorite directors. I have left out many great directors but this list is only meant to show some of my own personal favorites. I also listed a couple of my favorite films of each director.
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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)...
“ THE MASTER OF SUSPENSE, a few of my favorite Hitchcock films are:
Vertigo
Psycho
Notorious
Strangers On A Train
North By Northwest
Rear Window
To Catch A Thief
Shadow Of A Doubt
Rebecca

.. wait all Hitch is good Hitch ;) ” - lebiglebowski
 
2.
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 seven) he traveled the world with his father. When his father died (he was fifteen) he became the ward of Chicago's Dr...
“ My two favorite Welles films are Citizen Kane and Touch Of Evil. However one of my favorite Welles performances is one where is absent the first 2/3 of the film. That film would be The Third Man and it is one of my all time favorites(the cuckoo clock speech is way cool and Welles wrote it himself). ” - lebiglebowski
 
3.
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 is great and there are so many of his films I enjoy but I think High And Low is my all time favorite from Kurosawa. ” - lebiglebowski
 
4.
Fritz Lang
Director, M
He studied at the College of Technical Sciences of Vienna's Academy of Graphic Arts but unhappy with the career path chosen for him by his parents, he ran away to study art in Munich and Paris. He then spent many years travelling the world including Asia. In 1913, he returned to Paris to paint. When World War I began...
“ From The Big Heat to "M" and from Woman In The Window to While The City Sleeps, all Fritz Lang is good Fritz Lang. ” - lebiglebowski
 
5.
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...
“ Three films make Billy Wilder one of my top 10 favorite directors of all time, they are: Double Indemnity, Ace In The Hole and Sunset Boulevard. All three are GREAT! ” - lebiglebowski
 
6.
Jules Dassin
Director, Rififi
Jules Dassin was an Academy Award-nominated director, screenwriter and actor best known for his films Rififi, Never on Sunday, and Topkapi. He was born Julius Samuel Dassin on 18 December 1911, in Middletown, Connecticut, USA. He was one of eight children of Russian-Jewish immigrants...
“ One of my favorite directors of film noir. Thieves Highway, The Naked City, Night And The City and Brute Force are all great! However I think my favorite Dassin film may be Rififi. ” - lebiglebowski
 
7.
Edward Dmytryk
Edward Dmytryk grew up in San Francisco, the son of Ukrainian immigrants. After his mother died when he was 6, his strict disciplinarian father beat the boy frequently, and the child began running away while in his early teens. Eventually, juvenile authorities allowed him to live alone at the age of 15 and helped him find part-time work as a film studio messenger...
“ Murder My Sweet and Crossfire are great, and there are many more I like from Dmytryk. ” - lebiglebowski
 
8.
Carol Reed
Director, The Third Man
Carol Reed was the second son of stage actor, dramatics teacher and impresario founder of the Royal School of Dramatic Arts Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree. Reed was one of Tree's six illegitimate children with Beatrice Mae Pinney, who Tree established in a second household apart from his married life. There were no social scars here; Reed grew up in a well-mannered...
“ The Third Man is one of my favorite films and I am glad I got the Criterion blu ray and the 2disc Criterion dvd before they went out of print. I also liked Odd Man Out and The Fallen Idol. ” - lebiglebowski
 
9.
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 run the second unit for David O. Selznick's A Tale of Two Cities...
“ Out Of The Past, Night Of The Demon and Cat People are all favorites of mine. ” - lebiglebowski
 
10.
Otto Preminger
Otto Ludwig Preminger was born in Wiznitz, Bukovina, Austria-Hungary. His father was a prosecutor, and Otto originally intended to follow his father into a law career; however, he fell in love with the theater and became a stage director. He directed his first film in 1931, and came to the US in 1936 to direct on the Broadway stage...
“ Laura is one of my favorite films, I only wish it was being released from Criterion on blu ray like one of my other favorite Preminger films; Anatomy Of A Murder. It should be out Feb. 21 and I for one can't wait. ” - lebiglebowski
 
11.
Samuel Fuller
Sam had six siblings: three brothers, Ving, Ray, and Tom and three sisters, Evelyn, Tina and Rose. His most famous sibling was his older brother the nationally syndicated comic strip artist and cartoonist, Ving Fuller. In the 1920s, Ving Fuller was a staff cartoonist at the New York Evening Graphic...
“ The Naked Kiss and Shock Corridor are my two favorites from Fuller but earlier stuff like Pickup On South Street and The Steel Helmet is also really high on my favorites list. ” - lebiglebowski
 
12.
John Ford
Director, The Searchers
John Ford came to Hollywood following one of his brothers, an actor. Asked what brought him to Hollywood, he replied "The train". He became one of the most respected directors in the business, in spite of being known for his westerns, which were not considered "serious" film. He won six Oscars, counting (he always did) the two that he won for his WWII documentary work...
“ Whether it be The Searchers or The Informant, Stagecoach or The Quiet Man John Ford is one of my favorite directors. ” - lebiglebowski
 
13.
Robert Siodmak
Director, The Killers
Robert Siodmak (8 August 1900 - 10 March 1973) was a German-born American film director. He is best remembered as a thriller specialist and for a series of stylish, unpretentious Hollywood films noirs he made in the 1940s. Siodmak (pronounced SEE-ODD-MACK) was born in Dresden, Germany, the son of Rosa Philippine (née Blum) and Ignatz Siodmak...
“ The Killers, Criss Cross and Cry Of The City rank among my favorite Siodmak film. ” - lebiglebowski
 
14.
Jean Renoir
Son of the famous Impressionist painter Pierre Auguste, he had a happy childhood. Pierre Renoir was his brother, and Claude Renoir was his nephew. After the end of World War I, where he won the Croix de Guerre, he moved from scriptwriting to filmmaking. He married Catherine Hessling, for whom he began to make movies; he wanted to make a star of her...
“ Grand Illusion and The Rules Of The Game are two films that will always be near the top of my list of all time favorite films. ” - lebiglebowski
 
15.
Michael Powell
Director, The Red Shoes
The son of Thomas William Powell & Mabel (nee Corbett). Michael Powell was always a self confessed movie addict. He was brought up partly in Canterbury ("The Garden of England") and partly in the South of France (where his parents ran an hotel). Educated at Kings School, Canterbury & Dulwich College he first worked at the National Provincial Bank from 1922 - 1925...
“ I like The Red Shoes, A Matter Of Life And Death, Black Narcissus, The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp and Thief Of Bagdad. ” - lebiglebowski
 
16.
François Truffaut
François began to assiduously go to the movies at 7. He was also a great reader but not a good pupil. He left school at 14 and started working. In 1947, aged 15, he founded a film club and met André Bazin, a French critic, who becomes his protector. Bazin helped the delinquent Truffaut and also when he was put in jail because he deserted the army...
“ Shoot The Piano Player and Jules and Jim are both amazing. ” - lebiglebowski
 
17.
Howard Hawks
Director, The Big Sleep
What do the classic films Scarface, Twentieth Century, Bringing Up Baby, Only Angels Have Wings, His Girl Friday, Sergeant York, To Have and Have Not, The Big Sleep, Red River Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Rio Bravo have in common? Aside from their displays of great craftsmanship, the answer is director Howard Hawks...
“ The Big Sleep, Bringing Up Baby and Rio Bravo. ” - lebiglebowski
 
18.
Ingmar Bergman
Ernst Ingmar Bergman was born July fourteenth, 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...
“ The Magician, The Seventh Seal and Autumn Sonata would be three of my favorites from Bergman. ” - lebiglebowski
 
19.
Michael Curtiz
Director, Casablanca
Curtiz began acting in and then directing films in his native Hungary in 1912. After WWI, he continued his filmmaking career in Austria and Germany and into the early 1920s when he directed films in other countries in Europe. Moving to the US in 1926, he started making films in Hollywood for Warner Bros...
“ One of Warner's studio top directors in the 30s and 40s, Curtiz directed many of my favorites: Casablanca, The Adventures Of Robin Hood, Angels With Dirty Faces and Mildred Pierce! and there are many more. ” - lebiglebowski
 
20.
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)...
“ Breathless and Band Of Outsiders. ” - lebiglebowski
 
21.
John Huston
An eccentric rebel of epic proportions, this Hollywood titan reigned supreme as director, screenwriter and character actor in a career that endured over five decades. The ten-time Oscar-nominated legend was born John Marcellus Huston in Nevada, Missouri, on August 5, 1906. His ancestry included English...
“ I think my two absolute favorite John Huston films are The Maltese Falcon and The Asphalt Jungle. The African Queen and The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre are also in my collection. ” - lebiglebowski
 
22.
David Lean
An important British filmmaker, David Lean was born in Croydon in 1908 and brought up in a strict Quaker family (ironically, as a child he wasn't allowed to go to the movies). During the 1920s he briefly considered the possibility of becoming an accountant like his father before finding a job at Gaumont British Studios in 1927...
“ From Brief Encounter to Lawrence Of Arabia, David Lean is a legend and his films are masterpieces. ” - lebiglebowski
 
23.
“ Gaslight is one of my favorites but My Fair Lady, The Women and A Woman's Face are all great also. ” - lebiglebowski
 
24.
Jean-Pierre Melville
Writer, Le Samouraï
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 Ishmaels and its Claggarts a challenge to the European canon...
“ Bob le Flambeur, Le Doulos and Le Cercle Rouge are my favs from Melville. ” - lebiglebowski
 
25.
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...
“ My personal favorites are The Killing and Paths Of Glory. ” - lebiglebowski
 
26.
Max Ophüls
Director Max Ophüls was born Max Oppenheimer in Saarbrücken, Germany. He began his career as a stage actor and director in the golden twenties. He worked in cities such as Stuttgart, Dortmund, Wuppertal, Vienna, Frankfurt, Breslau and Berlin. In 1929 his son Marcel Ophüls was born in Frankfurt, Germany...
“ Caught and Reckless Moment. ” - lebiglebowski
 
27.
Preston Sturges
Preston Sturges' own life is as unlikely as some of the plots of his best work. He was born into a wealthy family. As a boy he helped out on stage productions for his mother's friend, Isadora Duncan (the scarf that strangled her was made by his mother's company, Maison Desti). He served in the U.S...
“ Sullivan's Travels, The Lady Eve and The Palm Beach Story are all laugh out loud funny. ” - lebiglebowski
 
28.
Charles Chaplin
Writer, Modern Times
Charles Chaplin was an English comic actor, filmmaker, and composer who rose to fame in the silent era. Chaplin became a worldwide icon through his screen persona "the Tramp" and is considered one of the most important figures in the history of the film industry. His career spanned more than 75 years...
“ Was so psyched last year when The Great Dictator came out on blu ray from Criterion. ” - lebiglebowski
 
29.
Vincente Minnelli
Director, Gigi
Born Lester Anthony Minnelli in Chicago on February 28 1903, his father Vincent was a musical conductor of the Minnelli Brothers' Tent Theater. Wanting to pursue an artistic career, Minelli worked in the costume department of the Chicago Theater, then on Broadway during the depression as a set designer and costumer...
“ The Bad And The Beautiful, An American In Paris , Lust For Life and Home From The Hill all are fantastic! ” - lebiglebowski
 
30.
Buster Keaton
Joseph Frank Keaton, was born in Piqua, Kansas, October 4, 1895 to Joe Keaton and Myra Keaton. Joe and Myra were Vaudevillian comedians with a popular, ever-changing variety act, giving Keaton an eclectic and interesting upbringing. In the earliest days on stage they traveled with a medicine show that included family friend...
“ The General and The Cameraman. ” - lebiglebowski
 
31.
Elia Kazan
Elia Kazan, known for his creative stage direction, was born "Elia Kazanjoglous" in Istanbul in 1909 to Greek parents. He directed such Broadway plays as "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof". He directed the film version of A Streetcar Named Desire and also films written for the screen...
“ Boomerang!, Panic In The Streets and On The Waterfront. ” - lebiglebowski
 
32.
Blake Edwards
Writer, The Party
Blake Edwards' stepfather's father J. Gordon Edwards was a silent screen director, and his stepfather Jack McEdward was a stage director and movie production manager. Blake acted in a number films, beginning with Ten Gentlemen from West Point and wrote a number of others, beginning with Panhandle and including six for director Richard Quine...
“ EXPERIMENT IN TERROR is one of the best Hitchcock films that Hitchcock didn't make. If you have not seen Experiment In Terror, I would recommend finding a copy asap. ” - lebiglebowski
 
33.
Frank Capra
One of seven children, Frank Capra was born on May 18, 1897, in Bisacquino, Sicily. On May 10, 1903, his family left for America aboard the ship Germania, arriving in New York on May 23rd. "There's no ventilation, and it stinks like hell. They're all miserable. It's the most degrading place you could ever be," Capra said about his Atlantic passage...
“ Mr. Smith Goes To Washington will always be one of my favorite Frank Capra pictures. Also be sure to check out You Can't Take It With You. ” - lebiglebowski
 
34.
Raoul Walsh
Director, White Heat
Raoul Walsh's 52-year directorial career made him a Hollywood legend. Walsh was also an actor: He appeared in the first version of W. Somerset Maugham's "Rain" renamed Sadie Thompson opposite Gloria Swanson in the title role. He would have played the Cisco Kid in his own film In Old Arizona if an errant jackrabbit hadn't cost him his right eye by leaping through the windshield of his automobile...
“ Walsh directed two of the movies that helped establish Humphrey Bogart as a star, They Drive By Night and High Sierra, Both are favorites of mine. ” - lebiglebowski
 
35.
Victor Fleming
Victor Fleming entered the film business as a stuntman in 1910, mainly doing stunt driving - which came easy to him, as he had been a mechanic and professional race-car driver. He became interested in working on the other side of the camera, and eventually got a job as a cameraman on many of the films of Douglas Fairbanks...
“ To think that the same director directed on both Gone With The Wind and The Wizard Of Oz is baffling. I also liked Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. ” - lebiglebowski
 
36.
Robert Aldrich
Director, The Dirty Dozen
Robert Aldrich entered the film industry in 1941 when he got a job as a production clerk at RKO Pictures. He soon worked his way up to script clerk, then became an assistant director, a production manager and an associate producer. He began writing and directing for TV series in the early 1950s, and directed his first feature in 1953 (Big Leaguer)...
“ Kiss Me Deadly is one of the most bleak film noir dramas ever made and I really dig it. I was so glad Criterion released it on blu ray last year. ” - lebiglebowski
 
37.
Richard Brooks
Richard Brooks was an Academy Award-winning film writer who also earned six Oscar nominations and achieved success as a film director and producer. He was born Ruben Sax on May 18, 1912, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His parents were Russian-Jewish immigrants. He graduated from West Philadelphia HS...
“ Blackboard Jungle is one of my favorites. ” - lebiglebowski
 
38.
Nicholas Ray
Nicholas Ray was born Raymond Nicholas Kienzle, Jr. in 1911, in small-town Galesville, Wisconsin, to Lena (Toppen) and Raymond Joseph Kienzle, a contractor and builder. He was of German and Norwegian descent. Ray's early experience with film came with some radio broadcasting in high school. He left the University of Chicago after a year...
“ In A Lonely Place and On Dangerous Ground are my two picks from Ray. ” - lebiglebowski
 
39.
Robert Wise
Robert Earl Wise was born on September 10, 1914 in Winchester, Indiana, the youngest of three sons of Olive R. (Longenecker) and Earl Waldo Wise, a meat packer. His parents were both of Pennsylvania Dutch (German) descent. At age nineteen, the avid moviegoer came into the film business through an odd job at RKO Radio Pictures...
“ Born To Kill, The Day The Earth Stood Still and The Haunting. ” - lebiglebowski
 
40.
Henry Hathaway
Director, True Grit
Henry Hathaway, a son of a stage actress and manager, started his career as a child actor in westerns directed by Allan Dwan. His movie career was interrupted by World War I. After his discharge, he briefly tried a career in finance but then returned to Hollywood to work as an assistant director under such directors as Frank Lloyd...
“ Call Northside 777, Kiss of Death, The Dark Corner are all favorites of mine. ” - lebiglebowski