The Pantheon of Cinema

by dziwnytenswiat | created - 12 Apr 2013 | updated - 5 months ago | Public

A Monument for the Most Creative.

1. Lon Chaney

Actor | He Who Gets Slapped

Although his parents were deaf-mutes, Leonidas Chaney became an actor and also owner of a theatre company (together with his brother John). He made his debut at the movies in 1912, and his filmography is vast. Lon Chaney was especially famous for his horror parts in movies like e.g. Quasimodo in ...

1883 - 1930

2. F.W. Murnau

Director | Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans

He studied art and literature history at the University of Heidelberg. During World War I, he was a combat pilot.

1888 - 1931

3. Thomas A. Edison

Director | The Trick Cyclist

Thomas A. Edison was born on February 11, 1847 in Milan, Ohio, USA as Thomas Alva Edison. He was a producer and director, known for The Trick Cyclist (1901), The Patchwork Girl of Oz (1914) and Bicycle Trick Riding, No. 2 (1899). He was married to Mina Miller and Mary Stilwell. He died on October ...

1847 - 1931

4. William K.L. Dickson

Cinematographer | Sandow

Born in France to British parents, William Kennedy-Laurie Dickson stayed in that country until age 19, when he, his mother and sisters (their father had died sometime before) returned to Great Britain. Once there, Dickson--in an early indication of his lifelong fascination with science and ...

1860 - 1935

5. Lingyu Ruan

Actress | Tao hua qi xue ji

Lingyu Ruan was born on April 26, 1910 in Shanghai, China as Ruan Fenggen. She was an actress, known for Tao hua qi xue ji (1931), Shen nu (1934) and Gua ming de fu qi (1927). She died on March 8, 1935 in Shanghai.

1910 - 1935

6. Irving Thalberg

Writer | The Trap

Irving Grant Thalberg was born in New York City, to Henrietta (Haymann) and William Thalberg, who were of German Jewish descent. He had a bad heart, having contracted rheumatic fever as a teenager and was plagued with other ailments all of his life. He was quite intelligent with a thirst for ...

1899 - 1936

7. Jean Harlow

Actress | Bombshell

Harlean Carpenter, who later became Jean Harlow, was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on March 3, 1911. She was the daughter of a successful dentist and his wife. In 1927, at the age of 16, she ran away from home to marry a young businessman named Charles McGrew, who was 23. The couple pulled up ...

1911 - 1937

8. Georges Méliès

Director | Le royaume des fées

Georges Méliès was a French illusionist and film director famous for leading many technical and narrative developments in the earliest days of cinema.

Méliès was an especially prolific innovator in the use of special effects, popularizing such techniques as substitution splices, multiple exposures, ...

1861 - 1938

9. Robert Wiene

Director | Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari

Robert Wiene was born on April 24, 1873 in Breslau, Silesia, Germany. He was a writer and director, known for The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), The Hands of Orlac (1924) and L'autre (1930). He died on July 17, 1938 in Paris, France.

1873 - 1938

10. Lois Weber

Director | Suspense

Lois Weber, who had been a street-corner evangelist before entering motion pictures in 1905, became the first American woman movie director of note, and a major one at that. Herbert Blaché, the husband of Frenchwoman Alice Guy, the first woman to direct a motion picture (and arguably, the first ...

1879 - 1939

11. Douglas Fairbanks

Actor | Robin Hood

Douglas Fairbanks was born Douglas Elton Thomas Ullman in Denver, Colorado, to Ella Adelaide (Marsh) and Hezekiah Charles Ullman, an attorney. His paternal grandparents were German Jewish immigrants, while his mother was from an Anglo family from the South. He was raised by his mother, who had ...

1883 - 1939

12. Edwin S. Porter

Director | The White Pearl

In the late 1890s Porter worked as both a projectionist and mechanic, eventually becoming director and cameraman for the Edison Manufacturing Company. Influenced by both the "Brighton school" and the story films of Georges Méliès, Porter went on to make important shorts such as Life of an American ...

1870 - 1941

13. Leslie Howard

Actor | Pygmalion

Leslie Howard Stainer was born in London, to Lilian (Blumberg) and Ferdinand "Frank" Steiner. His father was a Hungarian Jewish immigrant, and his English mother was of German Jewish, and mostly English, descent. Leslie went to Dulwich College. After school, he worked as a bank clerk until the ...

1893 - 1943

14. G.W. Bitzer

Cinematographer | Broken Blossoms or The Yellow Man and the Girl

G.W. Bitzer was born on April 21, 1872 in Roxbury, Massachusetts, USA as Johann Gottlob Wilhelm Bitzer. He was a cinematographer and director, known for Broken Blossoms or The Yellow Man and the Girl (1919), Logging in Maine (1906) and Orphans of the Storm (1921). He was married to Ethel Boddy. He ...

1872 - 1944

15. Ernst Lubitsch

Director | To Be or Not to Be

From Ernst Lubitsch's experiences in Sophien Gymnasium (high school) theater, he decided to leave school at the age of 16 and pursue a career on the stage. He had to compromise with his father and keep the account books for the family tailor business while he acted in cabarets and music halls at ...

1892 - 1947

16. Louis Lumière

Producer | La Mi-Carême, Char et batailles de confettis

Although no one will ever come up with a definitive answer as to who invented the cinema (probably because no one single person was responsible), Louis Lumiere has one of the strongest claims to the title - for it was he (with his brother Auguste) who invented the cinematographe: a machine that ...

1864 - 1948

17. D.W. Griffith

Director | Orphans of the Storm

David Wark Griffith was born in rural Kentucky to Jacob "Roaring Jake" Griffith, a former Confederate Army colonel and Civil War veteran. Young Griffith grew up with his father's romantic war stories and melodramatic nineteenth-century literature that were to eventually mold his black-and-white, ...

1875 - 1948

18. Sergei M. Eisenstein

Director | Aleksandr Nevskiy

The son of an affluent architect, Eisenstein attended the Institute of Civil Engineering in Petrograd as a young man. With the fall of the tsar in 1917, he worked as an engineer for the Red Army. In the following years, Eisenstein joined up with the Moscow Proletkult Theater as a set designer and ...

1898 - 1948

19. Gregg Toland

Cinematographer | Citizen Kane

Born in Illinois in 1904, the only child of Jennie and Frank Toland, Gregg and his mother moved to California several years after his parents divorced in 1910. Through Jennie's work as a housekeeper for several people in the movie business, Gregg may had gotten a $12-a-week job at age 15 as an ...

1904 - 1948

20. Victor Fleming

Director | Gone with the Wind

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 ...

1889 - 1949

21. Robert J. Flaherty

Director | Louisiana Story

Robert J. Flaherty was born on February 16, 1884 in Iron Mountain, Michigan, USA as Robert Joseph Flaherty. He was a director and writer, known for Louisiana Story (1948), Man of Aran (1934) and Elephant Boy (1937). He was married to Frances H. Flaherty. He died on July 23, 1951 in Brattleboro, ...

1884 - 1951

22. Vsevolod Pudovkin

Director | Zhukovsky

Vsevolod Pudovkin was born on February 28, 1893 in Penza, Russian Empire as Vsevolod Illarionovich Pudovkin. He was a director and actor, known for Zhukovsky (1950), Minin i Pozharskiy (1939) and Admiral Nakhimov (1947). He was married to Anna Zemtsova. He died on June 30, 1953 in Jurmala, Latvian ...

1893 - 1953

23. Auguste Lumière

Producer | La Palestina en 1896

Although it is his brother Louis Lumière who is generally acclaimed as the "father of the cinema", Auguste Lumiere also made a major contribution towards the development of the medium, first by helping with the invention and construction of the cinematographe (the world's first camera and ...

1862 - 1954

24. James Dean

Actor | East of Eden

James Byron Dean was born February 8, 1931 in Marion, Indiana, to Mildred Marie (Wilson) and Winton A. Dean, a farmer turned dental technician. His mother died when Dean was nine, and he was subsequently raised on a farm by his aunt and uncle in Fairmount, Indiana. After grade school, he moved to ...

1931 - 1955

25. Aleksandr Dovzhenko

Writer | Zemlya

Aleksandr Dovzhenko was born on September 10, 1894 in Vyunishche, Sosnitsa Ueyzd, Chernigov Governorate, Russian Empire as Aleksandr Petrovich Dovzhenko. He was a writer and director, known for Zemlya (1930), Life in Bloom (1949) and Shors (1939). He was married to Yuliya Solntseva. He died on ...

1894 - 1956

26. Kenji Mizoguchi

Director | Saikaku ichidai onna

Coming from a lower class family Mizoguchi entered the production company Nikkatsu as an actor specialized in female roles. Later he became an assistant director and made his first film in 1922. Although he filmed almost 90 movies in the silent era, only his last 12 productions are really known ...

1898 - 1956

27. Louis B. Mayer

Producer | The Great Secret

Mayer was born Lazar Meir in the Ukraine and grew up in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada after his parents fled Russian oppression in 1886. He had a brutal childhood, raised in poverty and suffering physical and emotional abuse from his nearly-illiterate peddler father. In the early 1890s, he ...

1884 - 1957

28. Erich von Stroheim

Actor | Sunset Blvd.

Erich von Stroheim was born Erich Oswald Stroheim in 1885, in Vienna, Austria, to Johanna (Bondy), from Prague, and Benno Stroheim, a hatmaker from Gliwice, Poland. His family was Jewish.

After spending some time working in his father's hat factory, he emigrated to America around 1909. Working in ...

1885 - 1957

29. Oliver Hardy

Actor | Sons of the Desert

Although his parents were never in show business, as a young boy Oliver Hardy was a gifted singer and, by age eight, was performing with minstrel shows. In 1910 he ran a movie theatre, which he preferred to studying law. In 1913 he became a comedy actor with the Lubin Company in Florida and began ...

1892 - 1957

30. Humphrey Bogart

Actor | Casablanca

Humphrey DeForest Bogart was born in New York City, New York, to Maud Humphrey, a famed magazine illustrator and suffragette, and Belmont DeForest Bogart, a moderately wealthy surgeon (who was secretly addicted to opium). Bogart was educated at Trinity School, NYC, and was sent to Phillips Academy ...

1899 - 1957

31. Max Ophüls

Director | La ronde

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, ...

1902 - 1957

32. Jesse L. Lasky

Producer | Beyond the Rocks

Lasky, one of the first pioneers of the Hollywood film industry and its first genuine 'mogul', was not only a consummate showman and entrepreneur, but a jack-of-all-trades. Born in San Francisco in September 1880, the son of a shoe salesman, he attended high school in San Jose and held down his ...

1880 - 1958

33. Fritz Arno Wagner

Cinematographer | M

Regarded as one of the foremost exponents of cinematic expressionism in the 1920's, Fritz Arno Wagner was trained at the Ecole de Beaux Arts in Paris and began in the film industry working for Pathé Freres in 1910. Within just two years, he was promoted to head Pathé's offices in Vienna, and, ...

1894 - 1958

34. Benjamin Christensen

Director | Hævnens Nat

Benjamin Christensen was born on September 28, 1879 in Viborg, Denmark. He was a director and writer, known for Blind Justice (1916), Häxan (1922) and Seven Footprints to Satan (1929). He was married to Karen Winther, Sigrid Stahl and Ellen Arctander. He died on April 2, 1959 in Copenhagen, ...

1879 - 1959

35. Cecil B. DeMille

Producer | The Ten Commandments

His parents Henry C. DeMille and Beatrice DeMille were playwrights. His father died when he was 12, and his mother supported the family by opening a school for girls and a theatrical company. Too young to enlist in the Spanish-American War, Cecil followed his brother William C. de Mille to the New ...

1881 - 1959

36. Preston Sturges

Writer | The Great McGinty

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....

1898 - 1959

37. Victor Sjöström

Actor | Smultronstället

Victor Sjöström was born on September 20, 1879, and is the undisputed father of Swedish film, ranking as one of the masters of world cinema. His influence lives on in the work of Ingmar Bergman and all those directors, both Swedish and international, influenced by his work and the works of ...

1879 - 1960

38. Mack Sennett

Producer | The $500 Reward

Mack Sennett was born Michael Sinnott on January 17, 1880 in Danville, Quebec, Canada, to Irish immigrant farmers. When he was 17, his parents moved the family to East Berlin, Connecticut, and he became a laborer at American Iron Works, a job he continued when they moved to Northampton, ...

1880 - 1960

39. Cedric Gibbons

Art_director | The Wizard of Oz

After graduating from New York's Art Students League he worked for his architect father, then started film work at Edison Studios in 1915 assisting Hugo Ballin. In 1918 he moved to Goldwyn as art director and, in 1924, began his 32 year stint as supervising art director for some 1500 MGM films, ...

1893 - 1960

40. Clark Gable

Actor | It Happened One Night

William Clark Gable was born on February 1, 1901 in Cadiz, Ohio, to Adeline (Hershelman) and William Henry Gable, an oil-well driller. He was of German, Irish, and Swiss-German descent. When he was seven months old, his mother died, and his father sent him to live with his maternal aunt and uncle ...

1901 - 1960

41. Gary Cooper

Actor | High Noon

Born to Alice Cooper and Charles Cooper (not in film business). Gary attended school at Dunstable school England, Helena Montana and Iowa College, Grinnell, Iowa. His first stage experience was during high school and college. Afterwards, he worked as an extra for one year before getting a part in a...

1901 - 1961

42. 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...

1886 - 1962

43. Charles Laughton

Actor | Witness for the Prosecution

Charles Laughton was born in Scarborough, North Riding of Yorkshire, England, to Eliza (Conlon) and Robert Laughton, hotel keepers of Irish and English descent. He was educated at Stonyhurst, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (received gold medal). His first appearance on stage was in 1926. Laughton ...

1899 - 1962

44. Marilyn Monroe

Actress | Some Like It Hot

Marilyn Monroe was an American actress, comedienne, singer, and model. She became one of the world's most enduring iconic figures and is remembered both for her winsome embodiment of the Hollywood sex symbol and her tragic personal and professional struggles within the film industry. Her life and ...

1926 - 1962

45. Yasujirô Ozu

Director | Tôkyô monogatari

Tokyo-born Yasujiro Ozu was a movie buff from childhood, often playing hooky from school in order to see Hollywood movies in his local theatre. In 1923 he landed a job as a camera assistant at Shochiku Studios in Tokyo. Three years later, he was made an assistant director and directed his first ...

1903 - 1963

46. Ben Hecht

Writer | Notorious

Ben Hecht, one of Hollywood's and Broadway's greatest writers, won an Oscar for best original story for Underworld (1927) at the first Academy Awards in 1929 and had a hand in the writing of many classic films. He was nominated five more times for the best writing Oscar, winning (along with writing...

1894 - 1964

47. Stan Laurel

Actor | Pardon Us

Stan Laurel came from a theatrical family, his father was an actor and theatre manager, and he made his stage debut at the age of 16 at Pickard's Museum, Glasgow. He traveled with Fred Karno's vaudeville company to the United States in 1910 and again in 1913. While with that company he was Charles ...

1890 - 1965

48. David O. Selznick

Producer | Gone with the Wind

David O. Selznick was a son of the silent movie producer Lewis J. Selznick. David studied at Columbia University until his father lost his fortune in the 1920s. David started work as an MGM script reader, shortly followed by becoming an assistant to Harry Rapf. He left MGM to work at Paramount then...

1902 - 1965

49. Buster Keaton

Actor | The General

Joseph Frank Keaton was born on October 4, 1895 in Piqua, Kansas, 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 ...

1895 - 1966

50. Walt Disney

Actor | Fun & Fancy Free

Walter Elias Disney was born on December 5, 1901 in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Flora Disney (née Call) and Elias Disney, a Canadian-born farmer and businessperson. He had Irish, German, and English ancestry. Walt moved with his parents to Kansas City at age seven, where he spent the majority of ...

1901 - 1966

51. Georg Wilhelm Pabst

Director | Komödianten

Georg Wilhelm Pabst is considered by many to be the greatest director of German cinema, in his era. He was especially appreciated by actors and actresses for the humane way in which he treated them. This was in contrast to some of his contemporaries, such as Arnold Fanck, who have been ...

1885 - 1967

52. Roland Totheroh

Cinematographer | City Lights

Rollie Totheroh worked as cinematographer on Charles Chaplin's movies for over 30 years, right from the earliest shorts in 1915 to Monsieur Verdoux (1947), including all of Chaplin's masterpieces: The Kid (1921), The Gold Rush (1925), City Lights (1931), Modern Times (1936) and The Great Dictator (...

1890 - 1967

53. Paul Muni

Actor | Scarface

Paul Muni was born Sept. 22, 1895, in Lemberg, Austro-Hungarian Empire, to Salli and Phillip Weisenfreund, who were both professionals. His family was Jewish, and spoke Yiddish. Paul was educated in New York and Cleveland public schools. He was described as 5 feet 10 inches, with black hair and ...

1895 - 1967

54. Spencer Tracy

Actor | Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Spencer Tracy was born four years after his brother Carroll to truck salesman John Edward and Caroline Brown Tracy. He attended Marquette Academy along with Pat O'Brien and the two left school to enlist in the Navy at the start of World War I. He was still at Norfolk Navy Yard in Virginia at the ...

1900 - 1967

55. Alice Guy

Director | The Woman of Mystery

Generally considered to be the world's first female director, French-born Alice Guy entered the film business as a secretary at Gaumont-Paris in 1896. The next year Gaumont changed from manufacturing cameras to producing movies, and Guy became one of its first film directors. She impressed the the ...

1873 - 1968

56. Carl Theodor Dreyer

Writer | Gertrud

The illegitimate son of a Danish farmer and his Swedish housekeeper, Carl Theodor Dreyer was born in Copenhagen on the 3th of February, 1889. He spent his early years in various foster homes before being adopted by the Dreyers at the age of two. Contrary to popular belief (perhaps nourished by the ...

1889 - 1968

57. Karl Freund

Cinematographer | Key Largo

Karl Freund, an innovative director of photography responsible for development of the three-camera system used to shoot television situation comedies, was born on January 16, 1890, in the Bohemian city of Koeniginhof, then part of the Austria-Hungarian Empire (now known as Dvur Kralove in the Czech...

1890 - 1969

58. Charles Brackett

Writer | Sunset Blvd.

Charles Brackett, born in Saratoga Springs, New York, of Scottish ancestry, followed in his attorney-father's footsteps and graduated with a law degree from Harvard University in 1920. He practised law for several years, before commencing work as drama critic for The New Yorker (1925-29), in ...

1892 - 1969

59. Josef von Sternberg

Director | The Devil Is a Woman

Josef von Sternberg split his childhood between Vienna and New York City. His father, a former soldier in the Austro-Hungarian army, could not support his family in either city; Sternberg remembered him only as "an enormously strong man who often used his strength on me." Forced by poverty to drop ...

1894 - 1969

60. Ernest Haller

Cinematographer | Gone with the Wind

Distinguished American cinematographer Ernest Haller started in the industry in 1914 as an actor with Biograph after leaving his first job as a bank clerk. Within one year he discovered his true calling: being on the other side of the camera. By 1920, he had become a full director of photography ...

1896 - 1970

61. Alfred Newman

Composer | All About Eve

Alfred Newman was born on March 17, 1901 in New Haven, Connecticut, USA. He is known for his work on All About Eve (1950), How the West Was Won (1962) and Alexander's Ragtime Band (1938). He was married to Martha Montgomery and Mary Lou Dix. He died on February 17, 1970 in Hollywood, Los Angeles, ...

1901 - 1970

62. Max Steiner

Composer | The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

Austrian composer who achieved legendary status as the creator of hundreds of classic American film scores. As a child he was astonishingly musically gifted, composing complex works as a teenager and completing the course of study at Vienna's Hochschule fuer Musik und Darstellende Kunst in only one...

1888 - 1971

63. Asta Nielsen

Actress | Hamlet

Danish leading woman of German films who became one of the greatest stars of the silent era. A native of the Copenhagen suburb of Vesterbro, Nielsen was the daughter of a coppersmith and a washerwoman, both of whom died before Nielsen was fifteen. Her stage debut came as a child in the chorus of ...

1881 - 1972

64. Maurice Chevalier

Actor | Gigi

Maurice Chevalier's first working job was as an acrobat, until a serious accident ended that career. He turned his talents to singing and acting, and made several short films in France. During World War I he enlisted in the French army. He was wounded in battle, captured and placed in a POW camp by...

1888 - 1972

65. Frances Marion

Writer | The Champ

The most renowned female screenwriter of the 20th century, and one of the most respected scripters of any gender, Frances Marion was born in San Francisco. She modeled and acted and had some success as a commercial artist. She entered into journalism and served in Europe as a combat correspondent ...

1888 - 1973

66. Edward G. Robinson

Actor | Key Largo

Edward G. Robinson arrived in the United States at age ten, and his family moved into New York's Lower East Side. He took up acting while attending City College, abandoning plans to become a rabbi or lawyer. The American Academy of Dramatic Arts awarded him a scholarship, and he began work in stock...

1893 - 1973

67. John Ford

Director | The Quiet Man

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, ...

1894 - 1973

68. Anna Magnani

Actress | The Rose Tattoo

Anna Magnani was born in Rome, Italy (not in Egypt, as some biographies claim), on March 7, 1908. She was the illegitimate child of Marina Magnani and an unknown father, often said to be from Alexandria, Egypt, but whom Anna herself claimed was from the Calabria region of Italy although she never ...

1908 - 1973

69. Samuel Goldwyn

Producer | The Best Years of Our Lives

Famed for his relentless ambition, bad temper and genius for publicity, Samuel Goldwyn became Hollywood's leading "independent" producer -- largely because none of his partners could tolerate him for long. Born Shmuel (or Schmuel) Gelbfisz, probably in 1879, in the Jewish section of Warsaw, he was ...

1879 - 1974

70. Vittorio De Sica

Director | Ladri di biciclette

Vittorio De Sica grew up in Naples, and started out as an office clerk in order to raise money to support his poor family. He was increasingly drawn towards acting, and made his screen debut while still in his teens, joining a stage company in 1923. By the late 1920s he was a successful matinee ...

1901 - 1974

71. Leon Shamroy

Cinematographer | Leave Her to Heaven

Leon Shamroy was born on July 16, 1901 in New York City, New York, USA as Leonard Tolstoy Shamroy. He is known for his work on Leave Her to Heaven (1945), The Black Swan (1942) and Planet of the Apes (1968). He was married to Mary Anderson, Audrey Mason and Rosamund Marcus. He died on July 7, 1974 ...

1901 - 1974

72. George Stevens

Director | Giant

George Stevens, a filmmaker known as a meticulous craftsman with a brilliant eye for composition and a sensitive touch with actors, is one of the great American filmmakers, ranking with John Ford, William Wyler and Howard Hawks as a creator of classic Hollywood cinema, bringing to the screen ...

1904 - 1975

73. Bernard Herrmann

Soundtrack | Taxi Driver

The man behind the low woodwinds that open Citizen Kane (1941), the shrieking violins of Psycho (1960), and the plaintive saxophone of Taxi Driver (1976) was one of the most original and distinctive composers ever to work in film. He started early, winning a composition prize at the age of 13 and ...

1911 - 1975

74. Pier Paolo Pasolini

Writer | Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma

Pier Paolo Pasolini achieved fame and notoriety long before he entered the film industry. A published poet at 19, he had already written numerous novels and essays before his first screenplay in 1954. His first film Accattone (1961) was based on his own novel and its violent depiction of the life ...

1922 - 1975

75. Adolph Zukor

Producer | Beau Geste

Adolph Zukor's success began with penny arcades, offering moving peepshows that evolved into nickelodeon theaters that offered longer, larger moving pictures. On July 12, 1912, he premiered the first feature-length film, Les amours de la reine Élisabeth (1912), featuring French actress Sarah...

1873 - 1976

76. Fritz Lang

Director | M

Fritz Lang was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1890. His father managed a construction company. His mother, Pauline Schlesinger, was Jewish but converted to Catholicism when Lang was ten. After high school, he enrolled briefly at the Technische Hochschule Wien and then started to train as a painter. ...

1890 - 1976

77. Jean Gabin

Actor | La grande illusion

Jean-Alexis Moncorge started his career with 15 years at the theatre and debuted at the "Moulin Rouge" in Paris in 1929. Despite of his rude aspect he knew to be the gentleman of the French cinema in the time between the two World Wars. One of his most popular personalities was inspector Maigret. ...

1904 - 1976

78. Luchino Visconti

Director | Le notti bianche

Luchino Visconti was born on November 2, 1906 in Milan, Lombardy, Italy as Luchino Visconti di Modrone. He was a director and writer, known for Le Notti Bianche (1957), Rocco and His Brothers (1960) and Death in Venice (1971). He died on March 17, 1976 in Rome, Lazio, Italy.

1906 - 1976

79. 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. ...

1906 - 1976

80. Charles Chaplin

Writer | The Great Dictator

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 ...

1889 - 1977

81. Groucho Marx

Actor | A Night at the Opera

The bushy-browed, cigar-smoking wise-cracker with the painted-on moustache and stooped walk was the leader of The Marx Brothers. With one-liners that were often double entendres, Groucho never cursed in any of his performances and said he never wanted to be known as a dirty comic. With a great love...

1890 - 1977

82. Howard Hawks

Director | Rio Bravo

What do the classic films Scarface (1932), Twentieth Century (1934), Bringing Up Baby (1938), Only Angels Have Wings (1939), His Girl Friday (1940), Sergeant York (1941), To Have and Have Not (1944), The Big Sleep (1946), Red River (1948) Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) and Rio Bravo (1959) have in...

1896 - 1977

83. Roberto Rossellini

Writer | Paisà

The master filmmaker Roberto Rossellini, as one of the creators of neo-realism, is one of the most influential directors of all time. His neo-realist films influenced France's nouvelle vague movement in the 1950s and '60s that changed the face of international cinema. He also influenced American ...

1906 - 1977

84. Henri-Georges Clouzot

Writer | Le salaire de la peur

Beginning his film career as a screenwriter, Henri-Georges Clouzot switched over to directing and in 1943 had the distinction of having his film Le Corbeau (1943) banned by both the German forces occupying France and the Free French forces fighting them, but for different reasons. He shot to ...

1907 - 1977

85. Jack L. Warner

Producer | My Fair Lady

With his brothers Harry M. Warner, Albert Warner, and Sam Warner, he founded Warner Bros. Pictures Inc. in 1923. They released the first motion picture with synchronized sound, The Jazz Singer (1927) with Al Jolson. In the 1930s they gave employment to a parade of stars, including Bette Davis, ...

1892 - 1978

86. Mary Pickford

Actress | Coquette

Mary Pickford was born Gladys Louise Smith in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to Elsie Charlotte (Hennessy) and John Charles Smith. She was of English and Irish descent. Pickford began in the theater at age seven. Then known as "Baby Gladys Smith", she toured with her family in a number of theater ...

1892 - 1979

87. Jean Renoir

Writer | La grande illusion

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 ...

1894 - 1979

88. Darryl F. Zanuck

Producer | The Longest Day

One of the kingpins of Hollywood's studio system, Zanuck was the offspring of the ill-fated marriage of the alcoholic night clerk in Wahoo, Nebraska's only hotel and the hotel owner's daughter. Both parents had abandoned him by the time he was 13. At 15, he joined the U.S. Army, and he fought in ...

1902 - 1979

89. John Wayne

Actor | True Grit

John Wayne was born Marion Robert Morrison in Iowa, to Mary Alberta (Brown) and Clyde Leonard Morrison, a pharmacist. He was of English, Ulster-Scots, and Irish ancestry.

Clyde developed a lung condition that required him to move his family from Iowa to the warmer climate of southern California, ...

1907 - 1979

90. Nino Rota

Composer | The Godfather

Born in Milan in 1911 into a family of musicians, Nino Rota was first a student of Orefice and Pizzetti. Then, still a child, he moved to Rome where he completed his studies at the Conservatory of Santa Cecilia in 1929 with Alfredo Casella. In the meantime, he had become an 'enfant prodige', famous...

1911 - 1979

91. 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 ...

1899 - 1980

92. Peter Sellers

Actor | Being There

Often credited as the greatest comedian of all time, Peter Sellers was born to a well-off English acting family in 1925. His mother and father worked in an acting company run by his grandmother. As a child, Sellers was spoiled, as his parents' first child had died at birth. He enlisted in the Royal...

1925 - 1980

93. Abel Gance

Writer | La dame aux camélias

Born an illegitimate son of a wealthy physician, Abel Flamant, and a working class mother, Francoise Perethon. He was raised by his mother and her boyfriend, who later became her husband, Adolphe Gance. Pressured by his parents, he began his working career as a lawyer's clerk in hopes of achieving ...

1889 - 1981

94. Edith Head

Costume_department | Sabrina

Edith Head was born on October 28, 1897 in San Bernardino, California, USA as Edith Claire Posener. She is known for her work on Sabrina (1954), Roman Holiday (1953) and All About Eve (1950). She was married to Wiard Ihnen and Charles Head. She died on October 24, 1981 in Los Angeles, California.

1897 - 1981

95. René Clair

Writer | Le silence est d'or

René Clair was born on November 11, 1898 in Paris, France as René-Lucien Chomette. He was a writer and director, known for Le silence est d'or (1947), À Nous la Liberté (1931) and The Grand Maneuver (1955). He was married to Bronia Clair. He died on March 15, 1981 in Neuilly-sur-Seine...

1898 - 1981

96. Lotte Reiniger

Director | Silhouetten

Lotte Reiniger was born on June 2, 1899 in Berlin, Germany as Charlotte Reiniger. She is known for her work on Silhouetten (1936), Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed (1926) and Here and There (1949). She was married to Carl Koch. She died on June 19, 1981 in Dettenhausen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.

1899 - 1981

97. William Wyler

Director | The Best Years of Our Lives

William Wyler was an American filmmaker who, at the time of his death in 1981, was considered by his peers as second only to John Ford as a master craftsman of cinema. The winner of three Best Director Academy Awards, second again only to Ford's four, Wyler's reputation has unfairly suffered as the ...

1902 - 1981

98. King Vidor

Director | War and Peace

King Vidor was born on February 8, 1894 in Galveston, Texas, USA as King Wallis Vidor. He was a director and writer, known for War and Peace (1956), The Big Parade (1925) and Hallelujah (1929). He was married to Vidor, Elizabeth Hill, Eleanor Boardman and Florence Vidor. He died on November 1, 1982...

1894 - 1982

99. Teinosuke Kinugasa

Director | Jigokumon

Former female impersonator who entered films in 1917 as an actor, turned to directing in 1922 and made some of the most formally brilliant Japanese films of the following decades. The few of Kinugasa's early works to have reached the West betray a highly mature, sophisticated talent. His best-known...

1896 - 1982

100. Henry Fonda

Actor | 12 Angry Men

Henry Jaynes Fonda was born in Grand Island, Nebraska, to Elma Herberta (Jaynes) and William Brace Fonda, who worked in advertising and printing. His recent ancestry included Dutch, English, and Scottish.

Fonda started his acting debut with the Omaha Community Playhouse, a local amateur theater ...

1905 - 1982