100 of My Favorite Directors

by WeAintFoundShin | created - 11 Dec 2013 | updated - 26 Jan 2015 | Public

1. Akira Kurosawa

Writer | Kakushi-toride no san-akunin

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 (1943). Within a few years, Kurosawa had achieved sufficient stature to allow him greater...

Seven Samurai, Rashomon

2. Alan Parker

Director | Evita

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 ...

The Commitments, Evita, Mississippi Burning

3. 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 ...

Psycho, Rebecca, Shadow of a Doubt, Rear Window

4. Brett Ratner

Director | Red Dragon

Brett Ratner is one of Hollywood's most successful filmmakers. His diverse films resonate with audiences worldwide and, as director, his films have grossed over $2 billion at the global box office. Brett began his career directing music videos before making his feature directorial debut at 26 years...

Rush Hour, Red Dragon, X-Men: The Last Stand

5. Brian De Palma

Director | Dressed to Kill

Brian De Palma is the son of a surgeon. He studied physics but at the same time felt his dedication for the movies and made some short films. After seven independent productions he had his first success with Sisters (1972) and his voyeuristic style. Restlessly he worked on big projects with the ...

Scarface, Carrie, The Untouchables

6. Bryan Singer

Director | X-Men

Bryan Singer was born on September 17, 1965 in New York City, New York, USA as Bryan Jay Singer. He is a producer and director, known for X-Men (2000), The Usual Suspects (1995) and Superman Returns (2006).

The Usual Suspects, X-Men, X2: X-men United

7. Carl Reiner

Actor | Ocean's Eleven

Carl Reiner is a legend of American comedy, having achieved great success as a comic actor, a director, producer and recording artist. He has won nine Emmy Awards, three as an actor, three as a writer and two as a producer. He also won a Grammy Award for his "2,000 Year Old Man" album, based on his...

The Jerk, Summer School, Fatal Instinct

8. David Lynch

Writer | Twin Peaks

Born in precisely the kind of small-town American setting so familiar from his films, David Lynch spent his childhood being shunted from one state to another as his research scientist father kept getting relocated. He attended various art schools, married Peggy Lynch and then fathered future ...

Eraserhead, The Elephant Man, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me

9. Francis Ford Coppola

Producer | The Conversation

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 ...

The Godfather Trilogy, Apocalypse Now, The Outsiders, Bram Stoker's Dracula

10. Frank Darabont

Writer | The Green Mile

Three-time Oscar nominee Frank Darabont was born in a refugee camp in 1959 in Montbeliard, France, the son of Hungarian parents who had fled Budapest during the failed 1956 Hungarian revolution. Brought to America as an infant, he settled with his family in Los Angeles and attended Hollywood High ...

The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile

11. George Lucas

Writer | Star Wars

George Walton Lucas, Jr. was raised on a walnut ranch in Modesto, California. His father was a stationery store owner and he had three siblings. During his late teen years, he went to Thomas Downey High School and was very much interested in drag racing. He planned to become a professional racecar ...

American Graffiti, Star Wars

12. Harold Ramis

Writer | Ghostbusters

Born on November 21, 1944 in Chicago, Illinois, Harold Allen Ramis got his start in comedy as Playboy magazine's joke editor and reviewer. In 1969, he joined Chicago's Second City's Improvisational Theatre Troupe before moving to New York to help write and perform in "The National Lampoon Show" ...

Caddyshack, National Lampoon's Vacation

13. Herbert Ross

Director | The Turning Point

Herbert Ross was born on May 13, 1927 in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA as Herbert David Ross. He is known for his work on The Turning Point (1977), Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969) and The Goodbye Girl (1977). He was married to Lee Radziwill and Nora Kaye. He died on October 9, 2001 in New York ...

Footloose

14. Howard Deutch

Director | Pretty in Pink

Howard Deutch was born on September 14, 1950 in New York City, New York, USA. He is a director and producer, known for Pretty in Pink (1986), The Great Outdoors (1988) and My Best Friend's Girl (2008). He has been married to Lea Thompson since July 23, 1989. They have two children.

Pretty In Pink, Some Kind of Wonderful, The Great Outdoors, Grumpier Old Men,

15. Joel Schumacher

Director | The Phantom of the Opera

Joel Schumacher was born on August 29, 1939 in New York City, New York, USA as Joel T. Schumacher. He is a director and writer, known for The Phantom of the Opera (2004), Batman & Robin (1997) and Phone Booth (2002).

The Lost Boys, Batman Forever, The Phantom of the Opera

16. John G. Avildsen

Director | Rocky

John G. Avildsen was born on December 21, 1935 in Oak Park, Illinois, USA as John Guilbert Avildsen. He was a director and editor, known for Rocky (1976), Rocky V (1990) and The Karate Kid Part III (1989). He was married to Tracy Brooks Swope and Marie Olga Maturevich. He died on June 16, 2017 in ...

Rocky, The Karate Kid Trilogy, Rocky V

17. John Hughes

Writer | The Breakfast Club

John Hughes was born on February 18, 1950 in Lansing, Michigan, USA as John Wilden Hughes Jr. He was a writer, known for The Breakfast Club (1985), Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987) and Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986). He was married to Nancy Ludwig. He died on August 6, 2009 in Manhattan, ...

Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Planes, Trains & Automobiles, She's Having a Bay, Uncle Buck

18. John Landis

Director | The Blues Brothers

John Landis began his career in the mail room of 20th Century-Fox. A high-school dropout, 18-year-old Landis made his way to Yugoslavia to work as a production assistant on Kelly's Heroes (1970). Remaining in Europe, Landis found work as an actor, extra and stuntman in many of the Spanish/Italian "...

Animal House, The Blues Brothers, An American Werewolf In London, Trading Places, Twilight Zone: The Movie (prologue and segment 1), Thriller, iThree Amigos!, Coming to America

19. Kevin Reynolds

Director | Waterworld

Raised as an Air Force brat, Kevin Reynolds' love for cinema inspired him to forsake his law school degree and move to Los Angeles to enroll in the University of Southern California's legendary film school. Reynolds' graduate thesis film "Proof" became the basis for "Fandango" starring Kevin ...

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, The Count of Monte Cristo

20. Kevin Smith

Producer | Clerks

Kevin Patrick Smith was born in Red Bank, New Jersey, to Grace (Schultz) and Donald E. Smith, a postal worker. He is very proud of his native state; this fact can be seen in all of his movies. Kevin is of mostly German, with some Irish and English, ancestry.

His first movie, Clerks (1994), was ...

Clerks, Mallrats, Dogma, Jersey Girl

21. Mel Brooks

Actor | Spaceballs

Mel Brooks was born Melvin Kaminsky on June 28, 1926 in Brooklyn, New York. He served in WWII, and afterwards got a job playing the drums at nightclubs in the Catskills. Brooks eventually started a comedy act and also worked in radio and as Master Entertainer at Grossinger's Resort before going to ...

The Producers, Young Frankenstein, Robin Hood: Men In Tights

22. Michael Mann

Producer | The Insider

A student of London's International Film School, Michael Mann began his career in the late 70s, writing for TV shows like Starsky and Hutch (1975). He directed his first film, the award-winning prison drama The Jericho Mile (1979), in 1979. He followed that in 1981 with his first theatrical release,...

Heat

23. Penelope Spheeris

Director | Wayne's World

Spheeris is often referred to as a 'rock 'n roll anthropologist'.

In 1974 she formed the first Los Angeles music video production company, ROCK 'N REEL. She concluded her music video work with the Grammy-nominated, "Bohemian Rhapsody" video for "Wayne's World". Spheeris' feature film debut was the ...

Wayne's World, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Little Rascals

24. Peter Jackson

Producer | The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Peter Jackson was born as an only child in a small coast-side town in New Zealand in 1961. When a friend of his parents bought him a super 8 movie camera (because she saw how much he enjoyed taking photos), the then eight-year-old Peter instantly grabbed the thing to start recording his own movies,...

Dead-Alive, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, King Kong

25. Quentin Tarantino

Writer | Reservoir Dogs

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...

Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Inglorious Basterds

26. Richard Donner

Director | Superman

Richard Donner was born on April 24, 1930 in New York City, New York, USA as Richard D. Schwartzberg. He is a director and producer, known for Superman (1978), Ladyhawke (1985) and Lethal Weapon (1987). He has been married to Lauren Shuler Donner since November 27, 1986.

The Omen, Superman, The Goonies

27. Ridley Scott

Producer | The Martian

Ridley Scott was born on November 30, 1937 in South Shields, Tyne and Wear (then County Durham). His father was an officer in the Royal Engineers and the family followed him as his career posted him throughout the United Kingdom and Europe before they eventually returned to Teesside. Scott wanted ...

Alien, Blade Runner, Legend

28. Rob Reiner

Actor | All in the Family

Robert Reiner was born in New York City, to Estelle Reiner (née Lebost) and Emmy-Winning actor, comedian, writer, and producer Carl Reiner.

Robert as a child often looked up to his father as his inspiration and role-model. Carl Reiner was on The Dick Van Dyke Show which Carl Reiner created and also ...

Stand By Me, The Princess Bride

29. Robert Zemeckis

Writer | Back to the Future

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 (1984), 1941 (1979)) and special effect ...

Back to the Future Trilogy, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Forrest Gump

30. Roman Polanski

Actor | Chinatown

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 ...

The Fearless Vampire Killers, Chinatown, Rosemary's Bay

31. Ron Howard

Actor | Arrested Development

Academy Award-winning filmmaker Ron Howard is one of this generation's most popular directors. From the critically acclaimed dramas A Beautiful Mind (2001) and Apollo 13 (1995) to the hit comedies Parenthood (1989) and Splash (1984), he has created some of Hollywood's most memorable films.

Howard ...

Splash, Willow, Parenthood, Far and Away

32. Savage Steve Holland

Director | Better Off Dead...

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 ...

Better Off Dead, One Crazy Summer, The Last Halloween

33. Sergio Leone

Writer | Once Upon a Time in America

Sergio Leone was virtually born into the cinema - he was the son of Roberto Roberti (A.K.A. Vincenzo Leone), one of Italy's cinema pioneers, and actress Bice Valerian. Leone entered films in his late teens, working as an assistant director to both Italian directors and U.S. directors working in ...

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Once Upon a Time In the West

34. Spike Lee

Director | Do the Right Thing

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 ...

Do the Right Thing, Crooklyn, Summer of Sam

35. Stanley Kubrick

Director | 2001: A Space Odyssey

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 ...

The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Dr. Strangelove

36. Steve Barron

Director | The Durrells

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 ...

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Coneheads

37. Steven Spielberg

Producer | Artificial Intelligence: AI

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...

Jaws, Indiana Jones Tetralogy, Schindler's List

38. Terry Gilliam

Writer | Brazil

Terry Gilliam was born in Minnesota near Medicine Lake. When he was 12 his family moved to Los Angeles where he became a fan of Mad magazine. In his early 20's he was often stopped by the police who often suspected him of being a drug addict and Gilliam had to explain that he worked in advertising....

Monty Python and The Holy Grail, Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas

39. Tim Burton

Producer | Edward Scissorhands

Timothy Walter Burton was born in Burbank, California, to Jean Rae (Erickson), who owned a cat-themed gift shop, and William Reed Burton, who worked for the Burbank Park and Recreation Department. He spent most of his childhood as a recluse, drawing cartoons, and watching old movies (he was ...

Beetlejuice, Batman, Batman Returns, Ed Wood, Mars Attacks!

40. Tod Browning

Director | Dracula

Belonging to a well-situated family, Charles Browning fell in love at the age of 16 with a dancer of a circus. Following her began his itinerary of being clown, jockey and director of a variety theater which ended when he met D.W. Griffith and became an actor. He made his debut in Intolerance: ...

Dracula, Freaks

41. Tony Scott

Producer | Domino

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...

Top Gun, True Romance

42. William Friedkin

Director | The French Connection

Friedkin's mother was an operating room nurse. His father was a merchant seaman, semi-pro softball player and ultimately sold clothes in a men's discount chain. Ultimately, his father never earned more than $50/week in his whole life and died indigent. Eventually young Will became infatuated with ...

The Exorcist, The French Connection

43. Woody Allen

Writer | Manhattan

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...

Take the Money and Run