These are my own personal favorites. This is not meant to be a list gauging IMDB for the directors who were technically "great". I am not a film student but a fervent film watcher. These are directors who did at least 2 movies I liked and whose style I developed a taste for.
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...
“ Had a great vision. A populist who illustrated the conflicts between the moneyed elite and common people (like in Its A Wonderful Life and Mr Smith Goes To Washington) ” - thepoet21
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...
“ Grew up watching this mans best movies. Apocalypse Now, The Outsiders, classics. ” - thepoet21
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...
“ Hollywood's DaVinci! I liked The Shining, Full Metal Jacket and of course 2001, A Space Odyssey. ” - thepoet21
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...
“ For generations this man has been like the Herman Melville of the Italian American experience on film. Brilliance! I really liked Casino and Mean Streets is an urban flick classic. ” - thepoet21
“ Straight up OG of urban film.... ” - thepoet21
Harmony Korine was born in Bolinas, California, in 1973. His family moved to the east coast of the United States when he was five, and he spent his early years in Nashville, Tennessee, and New York. At the age of 19, he wrote the critically acclaimed screenplay Kids
for director Larry Clark
“ He brings out a darker side to Hollywood, and pushes the envelope on a lot of things. ” - thepoet21
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)...
“ Blade Runner, Thelma and Louise, GI Jane, Hannibal! ” - thepoet21
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...
“ The man who brought us Avatar and Terminator 2, which are straight up masterpieces. ” - thepoet21
Attended West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia on an athletic scholarship for basketball. He studied electrical engineering (focusing on electromagnetism and signal processing) before moving back to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (this move was brief and only to figure out his true calling) and then to New York, New York to work in film.
“ Made "urban" dramas Oscar worthy. Training Day is one of my all time favorites and Brooklyn's finest was good also. ” - thepoet21
“ "The Graduate" was classic American kitsch. RIP! ” - thepoet21
“ Practically defined the 60s....I liked the labor day classic "Its a Mad Mad Mad World" and the ode to teen misery "Bless the Beasts and the Children" ” - thepoet21
“ Amazing how every 80s flick with a black cast was directed by this man! I loved Krush Groove and The Last Dragon. Hated his Sgt Peppers movie (but so did everybody else) but a director would have to be great to make a movie that bad! ” - thepoet21
Ratner grew up in Miami Beach, the only child of a famous Jewish socialite mother. He attended Miami Beach Senior High and was President of the Leo Club in 1986. He was also a member of the "fraternity" Royal Palm. He attended NYU film school currently lives in a $3.6 M house in Beverly Hills. Ratner is also a good friend of Def Jam mogul Russell Simmons
“ The Rush Hour series is awesome! ” - thepoet21
Was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma (1943). Son of Frances Clark (baby photographer) and Lewis Clark. Graduated from Central High school in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Attended Layton School of Art in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Studied under Walter Sheffer and Gerard Bakker. Film debut was the movie Kids
. He was already well known for his revolutionary photographic body of work...
“ The Hollywood equivalent of the weirdo who sits on the park bench at the play ground and watches the children play. But I loved "Wassup Rockers" and watched "Bully" even though it really turned my stomach at times. ” - thepoet21
“ Oh man, the guy who directed "Hot Tub Time Machine"! What a genius! ” - thepoet21
Perry was born and raised in New Orleans, to Willie Maxine (Campbell) and Emmitt Perry, Sr. His mother was a church-goer and took Perry along with her once a week. His father was a carpenter and they had a very strained and abusive relationship, which led Perry to suffer from depression as a teenager...
“ Where can I begin? This man has become the poster child for film racists everywhere, but his movies are great! I loved "The Family that Prays", "I Can Do Bad By Myself" and "Why Did I Get Married 1&2" He just keeps churning them out. How did anybody know a Christian play maker would be this good? ” - thepoet21
“ This guy is Hollywood. ” - thepoet21
A filmmaker, marketer and film distributor, Ava DuVernay made her feature film debut with the documentary This in the Life (2008), a history on hip hop movement that flourished in Los Angeles in the 1990's. This was followed by series of television music documentaries which included My Mic Sounds Nice (2010) which aired on BET...
“ Screw the Oscars, she deserves one for Selma! But she wont get it. ” - thepoet21
“ One time I met this guy. Didn't realize who he was until I looked him up on IMDB. I really liked Two Can Play That Game. ” - thepoet21
“ His movies were acid trips, man! The 60s genius behind the Monkees mind bending "Head" and the classic "Five Easy Pieces". Film students study his work. ” - thepoet21
“ The awesome director behind the sleeper classic "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" Though "Rock Star" fell short, I still liked what he was trying to do. ” - thepoet21
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...
“ All those great movies on cable you watched late Saturday Night? The great director behind "Meatballs" and "Stripes" ” - thepoet21
“ Directed the all time classic "Revenge of the Nerds" He also did the funny "Tough Guys" ” - thepoet21
“ What would the 80s been without him? ” - thepoet21
Born in Pennsylvania and raised in Ohio, Chris Columbus
was first inspired to make movies after seeing "The Godfather" at age 15. After enrolling at NYU film school, he sold his first screenplay (never produced) while a sophomore there. After graduation Columbus tried to sell his fourth script, "Gremlins"...
“ "Adventures in Babysitting" was that surprisingly entertaining VHS 80s classic. "Mrs Doubtfire" made for a funny night out at the movies. ” - thepoet21
“ This guy does a movie a minute. Set to produce a Tupac biopic! ” - thepoet21
“ Responsible for all those great movies with DMX, including "Exit Wounds", "Romeo Must Die" and "Cradle To The Grave". ” - thepoet21
“ Blood In Blood Out was an epic, a classic telling of gang life in LA. He also did the powerful biopic Ray. ” - thepoet21
“ Directed black exploitation classic "Willie Dynamite" and the masterpiece TV movie Roots! ” - thepoet21
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...
“ This guy was great. Tragic how his life ended. Hollywood puts people over the edge? Loved the rapidly moving and exciting Beverly Hills Cop 2, True Romance, Enemy of the State, and Unstoppable. He will be missed. ” - thepoet21
Timothy Walter Burton was born in Burbank, California, to Jean Rae (Erickson), cat-themed gift shop owner, 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
“ Like me, this guy seems to love comic books and TV. Pee Wee's Big Adventure was awesome. The original Batman movie was one of the greatest of all time. I love his artistic vision. ” - thepoet21
“ I don't care what anybody says, 12 Years A Slave was awesome. ” - thepoet21
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...
“ His best movies have to be dissected and interpreted. I liked "Assault on Precinct 13" and "They Live" ” - thepoet21
Ivan Dixon, a handsome, mustachioed African-American actor and director who carried a strong, serious nature about his solid frame, initially earned attention on the ground-breaking stage and film with pronounced themes of social and racial relevance. He would become better known, however, for his ensemble playing in the nonsensical but popular WWII sitcom Hogan's Heroes
“ A great director, one of the only who was a black man doing black movies in the 70s. He did the controversial "The Spook Who Sat By the Door" and "Trouble Man". ” - thepoet21
Spike Lee was born Shelton Jackson Lee on March 20, 1957, in Atlanta, Georgia. At a very young age, he moved from pre-civil rights Georgia, to Brooklyn, New York. Lee came from artistic, education-grounded background; his father was a jazz musician, and his mother, a schoolteacher. He attended school in Morehouse College in Atlanta and developed his film making skills at Clark Atlanta University...
“ I loved his earlier work; School Days, Do the Right Thing, Mo Betta Blues, Jungle Fever and of course Malcolm X. Everything after Crooklyn just didnt really satisfy as much as his earlier stuff. ” - thepoet21
Prior to moving into film, Alan was noted as one of London's most talented advertising copywriters. He worked for the Collet Dickinson Pearce (CDP) ad agency in the 1960's and early 1970's, and began directing his own tvc scripts in their basement. Formed a partnership with David Puttnam
as his producer (Puttnam had been a photographers' agent)...
“ Pink Floyd the Wall is one of my personal favorites. The Commitments was good also. ” - thepoet21
Since 1980 Sam Firstenberg has been in the independent filmmaking field. Directing 22 theatrical feature films since completing his graduate studies in film at Loyola Marymount University. One More Chance
, starring Kirstie Alley
, won prizes in major film festivals and sparked the beginning of his career as a director...
“ I liked his hand in creating the 80s "Ninja" flicks and breakdance classics. The genius behind Ninja III:The Domination and Breakin' 2, Electric Boogaloo. ” - thepoet21
Larry Cohen was born July 15, 1941, in Kingston, New York, a small town north of New York City. At a young age, his family moved to the Riverdale section of the Bronx, and he eventually majored in film at the historic City College of New York, graduating in 1963. An independent maverick who got his start in studio-based television...
“ The genius behind "Black Ceaser" and "It's Alive" ” - thepoet21
“ He brought the Oakland pimp movie classic The Mack and The Education of Sonny Carson was a classic also. ” - thepoet21
“ I loved Slumdog Millionaire! ” - thepoet21
“ I like how he brought elements of musicals to movies. His greatest was "Sister Act" and "Dirty Dancing". ” - thepoet21
Son of mortgage broker Danny Singleton and pharmaceutical company sales executive Sheila Ward and raised in separate households by his unmarried parents, John Singleton
attended the Film Writing Program at USC after graduating from high school in 1986. While studying there, he won three writing awards from the university...
“ I just can't help it, I love all the movies in what I call the "hood trilogy"; Boyz N the Hood, Poetic Justice and Baby Boy. Anything outside that (Higher Learning, etc.) is ok, but nothing like his hood flicks. ” - thepoet21
Randall Miller is a member of the IA, the DGA, SAG and the WGA. He began his career as a struggling actor appearing in tv commercials, theater and a few stints in television shows and movies. After USC Film School he went to the AFI. His thesis film at the AFI launched his career as a director working...
“ Did that movie "Class Act" with Kid N Play.... ” - thepoet21
“ Did "Juice", "Surviving the Game" and "Never Die Alone". ” - thepoet21
Academy Award-winning filmmaker Ron Howard is one of this generation's most popular directors. From the critically acclaimed dramas A Beautiful Mind and Apollo 13 to the hit comedies Parenthood and Splash, he has created some of Hollywood's most memorable films. Howard directed and produced "Cinderella Man" starring Oscar winner Russell Crowe...
“ Night Shift is a classic, and Gung Ho was intelligent social commentary. ” - thepoet21
“ I just had to put him in here because "The Last American Virgin" was a brilliant film. ” - thepoet21
“ Though he passed on his work is not forgotten. Director of House Party 2, and one of the most prominent black producers, putting out such movies like "New Jack City", "Krush Groove" and "A Thin Line Between Love and Hate." ” - thepoet21
Albert and Allen Hughes began making movies at age 12, but their formal film education began their freshman year of high school when Allen took a TV production class. They soon made a short film entitled How To Be A Burglar and people began to take notice. Their next work, Uncensored videos, was broadcast on cable...
“ Menace II Society was a classic! I also liked Dead Presidents. ” - thepoet21
George Tillman Jr.
After seeing the film, COOLEY HIGH and TAXI DRIVER, Milwaukee, Wisconsin native George Tillman, Jr. became inspired to make films of his own. In 1994,George wrote and directed his first feature film, SCENES FOR THE SOUL. It was shot entirely in Chicago, using local talent and resources. The film, which cost $150,000 to make...
“ Notorious was good! ” - thepoet21
Percy Miller also known as "Master P" was born on April 29, 1967 in New Orleans, LA. Although he was raised in the poverty of Calliope Housing Projects, he was motivated and determined to reach his goals and dreams, which led him to become a successful entrepreneur. As a student-athlete at the University of Houston...
“ The genius behind Hot Boyz and I'm Bout It, he started from the bottom and worked his way up. ” - thepoet21
Mario Van Peebles
Mario Van Peebles is a highly regarded director, actor, producer and writer. His directorial skills can be seen in the retelling of the epic mini-series "Roots" starring Forest Whitaker and Matthew Goode. Van Pebbles has directed award-winning shows such as the recent hit "Empire" and "The Last Ship,"...
“ New Jack City was a classic. I'm waiting for him to really work his full potential. Posse was good, We The Party I haven't seen, but I know he has another great film in him. ” - thepoet21
“ One of the directors of House Party 2, and the director of Jason's Lyric and Kingdom Come. ” - thepoet21
“ Brought the world the memorable "Breakin'" and the counterpart "Rappin'"! ” - thepoet21
Adrian Lyne (Director/Writer/Producer) is the creative force behind some of the most talked-about movies of our time, among them, "Fatal Attraction", "9 1/2 Weeks", "Flashdance", "Indecent Proposal", "Jacob's Ladder" and "Unfaithful". Born in Peterborough, England and raised in London, Lyne attended the Highgate school...
“ "Flashdance" was phenomenal, and "Fatal Attraction" was also good. ” - thepoet21
“ Has made some contributions to the "hood flick" genre. ” - thepoet21
“ I liked "Whats Love Got to Do With It" and "Poltergeist 2" ” - thepoet21
“ Can you believe that this was the director of "Porky's" AND "A Christmas Story"? ” - thepoet21
Matty Rich Bio Matty Rich - Producer/Writer/ Director/Actor Born and raised in the Red Hook housing projects in Brooklyn, NY, Matty Rich, became highly regarded as the pioneer of Black Filmmakers. Rich made his way onto the Hollywood scene in the early 90's. He gained major recognition as, 19 year-old acclaimed writer/director/producer with his award winning film...
“ He tried but fell short. "Straight Out Of Brooklyn" and "The Inkwell" were steps in the great direction for somebody who epitomized black DIY film, but he fell off the radar really quick. ” - thepoet21
Steve Barron started in films as a camera assistant on epic productions such as Richard Donner's 'Superman', Richard Attenborough's 'A Bridge Too Far' and Ridley Scott's 'The Duellist's'. He began directing music videos in the early eighties for The Jam, Human League, and Adam & the Ants, his work helping to inspire the formation of MTV...
“ In a whole other world. Can make stupid look incredibly great. ” - thepoet21
“ Made the classics "House Party" and "Boomerang" with slick, up to date, urban backgrounds. ” - thepoet21
Hill was born in Long Beach, California and educated at Mexico City College and Michigan State University. He worked in oil drilling and construction in the 60s before becoming a 2nd assistant director in 1967. He has written and co-written screenplays, including several uncredited works. He has produced and directed films since 1975.
“ To me, The Warriors is a classic, one of the greatest. I also like his updating of jailhouse boxing flicks, Undisputed. ” - thepoet21
“ H.O.T.S was every young teenagers fantasy in the 80s. ” - thepoet21
Savage Steve Holland
Marvelously quirky and creative writer, director, producer and animator Savage Steve Holland was born in 1960. Holland earned the childhood nickname Savage after he kicked a kid in the teeth during a soccer game. He studied animation at the California Institute of the Arts. Holland's student project "Going Nowhere Fast" was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art...
“ A cool 80s director of teen comedy not as highly regarded as John Hughes but good nonetheless. Did "Better Off Dead" and "One Crazy Summer" ” - thepoet21
“ Great director who made "Superfly". ” - thepoet21
Sean S. Cunningham
Like William Girdler, Oliver Hellman or even Ed Wood, Sean S. Cunningham had a successful career of starting films cheap and fast. Originally from New York, Cunningham had a vast knowledge of directing films and came to Hollywood. He started about the same time Wes Craven
did. Cunningham meets Craven and decided to make a comedy-romance film called Together
Alex Proyas has moved effortlessly between helming TV commercials and music videos to feature films. Born to Greek parents in Egypt, Proyas relocated to Australia with his family when he was three years old. He began making films at age ten and went on to attend the Australian Film Television and Radio School along with Jane Campion
and Jocelyn Moorhouse
“ "The Crow" is one of my all time favorites. "I, Robot" was amazing. ” - thepoet21
“ Master of martial art flicks. Did "The Chinese Connection" ” - thepoet21