100 Directors 80's-2010s

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1.
James Cameron
Writer, Aliens
James Francis Cameron was born on August 16, 1954 in Kapuskasing, Ontario, Canada. He moved to the United States in 1971. The son of an engineer, he majored in physics at California State University but, after graduating, drove a truck to support his screenwriting ambition. He landed his first professional film job as art director...
 
2.
Colin Trevorrow
Born in San Francisco and raised in Oakland, Colin Trevorrow started making short films when he was 12 years old. He studied film and dramatic writing at New York University. After graduation, he wrote and directed "Home Base" a digital short that became one of the early viral successes on the internet...
 
3.
Joss Whedon
Writer, The Avengers
Joss Whedon is the middle of five brothers - his younger brothers are Jed Whedon and Zack Whedon. Both his father, Tom Whedon and his grandfather, John Whedon were successful television writers. Joss' mother, Lee Stearns, was a history teacher and she also wrote novels as Lee Whedon...
 
4.
James Wan
Producer, The Conjuring 2
James Wan (born 27 February 1977) is an Australian film producer, screenwriter and film director of Malaysian Chinese descent. He is widely known for directing the horror film Saw and creating Billy the puppet. Wan has also directed Dead Silence, Death Sentence, Insidious, The Conjuring and Furious 7...
 
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Chris Buck
Director, Frozen
 
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Shane Black
Considered one of the pioneer screenwriters of the action genre, Black made his mark with his Lethal Weapon screenplay. He also collaborated on the story of the sequel, Lethal Weapon 2. Each successive script he turned in had a higher price attached it, from The Last Boy Scout to The Long Kiss Goodnight, and in between a re-write on the McTiernan/Schwarzenegger Last Action Hero script.
 
10.
Michael Bay
Producer, Transformers
A graduate of Wesleyan University, Michael Bay spent his 20s working on advertisements and music videos. His first projects after film school were in the music video business. He created music videos for Tina Turner, Meat Loaf, Lionel Richie, Wilson Phillips, Donny Osmond and The Divinyls...
 
11.
Peter Jackson
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, which he made with his friends...
 
12.
Sam Mendes
Samuel Alexander Mendes was born on August 1, 1965 in Reading, England, UK to parents James Peter Mendes, a retired university lecturer, and Valerie Helene Mendes, an author who writes children's books. Their marriage didn't last long, James divorced Sam's mother in 1970 when Sam was just 5-years-old...
 
13.
Christopher Nolan
After The Dark Knight's success, Warner Bros. signed Nolan to direct Inception. Nolan also wrote and co-produced the film, described as "a contemporary set within the architecture of the mind". Before being released in theaters, critics like Peter Travers and Lou Lumenick wondered if Nolan's faith in moviegoers' intelligence would cost him at the box office...
 
14.
Gore Verbinski
Gore Verbinski, one of American cinema's most inventive directors who was a punk-rock guitarist as a teenager and had to sell his guitar to buy his first camera, is now the director of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest which made the industry record for highest opening weekend of all time ($135,600,000) and grossed over $1 billion dollars worldwide...
 
15.
Lee Unkrich
Editorial Department, Finding Nemo
Lee Unkrich attended Chagrin Falls High School in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. He was born in 1967 and graduated in 1985. He was a great French student and created a character in his movie, Toy Story 2 after his high school French teacher. He was featured in the local paper twice for Monsters, Inc. and for Finding Nemo.
 
16.
Rob Marshall
Director, Chicago
 
17.
George Lucas
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 Downey High School and was very much interested in drag racing. He planned to become a professional race-car driver...
 
18.
Steven Spielberg
Undoubtedly one of the most influential film personalities in the history of film, Steven Spielberg is perhaps Hollywood's best known director and one of the wealthiest filmmakers in the world. Spielberg has countless big-grossing, critically acclaimed credits to his name, as producer, director and writer...
 
19.
Tim Burton
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)...
 
20.
Chris Columbus
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"...
 
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Andrew Stanton
Writer, Finding Nemo
Oscar-winning filmmaker Andrew Stanton was raised in Rockport, Massachusetts. He was educated at The California Institute of the Arts (or "CalArts") in Los Angeles, where he studied character animation. After graduation, Stanton began working as a writer on the TV series Mighty Mouse, the New Adventures. In 1990, he became only the second animator and ninth employee to join Pixar Animation Studios...
 
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Kelly Asbury
Art Department, Beauty and the Beast
Kelly Asbury is the Director of Sony Pictures Animation's upcoming all-new CG-animated feature film reboot of the popular Smurfs franchise, "Get Smurfy" (working title only), set for release on March 31, 2017. Asbury also Directed and Co-Wrote the 3D computer-animated feature film "Gnomeo & Juliet" (Disney/Touchstone 2011)...
 
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Chris Renaud
Director, Despicable Me 2
Director Chris Renaud has established himself as a heavyweight in the world of animation following the phenomenal box office success of recent movies Despicable Me, Dr. Seuss' The Lorax (2012) and Despicable Me 2 (2013). Along with Pierre Coffin and Eric Guillon, he also co-created the iconic Minion characters featured in the Despicable Me films and the global smash Minions (2015)...
 
27.
Mike Newell
Attended Cambridge University. Three year training course at Granada Television, with intention of going into theatre. Graduated to directing TV plays, building strong reputation for work with David Hare, David Edgar, Hohn, John Osborne, Jack Rosenthal.
 
28.
Sam Raimi
Writer, Spider-Man 3
Highly inventive U.S. film director/producer/writer/actor Sam Raimi first came to the attention of film fans with the savage, yet darkly humorous, low-budget horror film, The Evil Dead. From his childhood, Raimi was a fan of the cinema and, before he was ten-years-old, he was out making movies with an 8mm camera...
 
29.
Carlos Saldanha
Director, Ice Age
Carlos Saldanha is a Brazilian director of animated films. He was the director of Ice Age: The Meltdown, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and Rio, and the co-director of Ice Age and Robots. Saldanha was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He left his hometown in 1991 to follow his artistic instinct and passion for animation...
 
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Pete Docter
Writer, Up
 
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Roland Emmerich
Roland Emmerich is a German film director of blockbuster films like The Day After Tomorrow, Godzilla, Independence Day and The Patriot. Before fame, he originally wanted to be a production designer, but decided to be a director, after watching the original Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. Emmerich began his career in his native Germany...
 
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Alfonso Cuarón
Writer, Gravity
Alfonso Cuarón Orozco was born on November 28th in Mexico City, Mexico. From an early age, he yearned to be either a film director or an astronaut. However, he did not want to enter the army, so he settled for directing. He didn't receive his first camera until his twelfth birthday, and then immediately started to film everything he saw...
 
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James Gunn
James Gunn was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri in a large Irish Catholic family. His father and his uncles were all lawyers. He has been writing and performing as long as he can remember. He began making 8mm films at the age of 12. Many of these were comedic splatter films featuring his brothers being disemboweled by zombies...
 
41.
Ron Howard
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...
 
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Tom McGrath
Actor, Megamind
Born on August 7, 1964. Hometown is Lynnwood, Washington. Most popular as Skipper of Madagascar movies & the TV show, Penguins Of Madagascar & was a voice actor for Shrek 3 as Gary, Monsters vs Aliens as Wilson, Megamind as Lord Scott, & a bit part in Puss In Boots as a bar thief as well as being a director, layout & storyboard artist for numerous other animated movies.
 
48.
Lilly Wachowski
Writer, The Matrix
Director, writer and producer Lilly Wachowski was born in 1967 in Chicago as Andrew Wachowski, the son of Lynne, a nurse and painter and Ron, a businessman. Lilly was educated at Kellogg Elementary School in Chicago, before moving on to Whitney Young High School. After graduating from high school, she attended Emerson College in Boston, but dropped out...
 
49.
Lana Wachowski
Writer, The Matrix
Lana Wachowski and her sister Lilly Wachowski, (also known as 'The Wachowskis') are the duo behind ground-breaking movies such as The Matrix and Cloud Atlas. Born to mother Lynne, a nurse, and father Ron, a businessman of Polish descent, Wachowski grew up in Chicago and formed a tight creative relationship with her sister Lilly...
 
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Matt Reeves
Writer, Let Me In
Born on April 27, 1966, Matthew Reeves is a writer, director and producer, known for his directorial work on Cloverfield (2008), Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014), and War of the Planet of the Apes (2017). Reeves was born in in Rockville Center, New York and was childhood friends with director J.J.Abrams...
 
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Gary Ross
Gary Ross is an American writer, director and actor born November 3rd, 1956 in Los Angeles, California. His father was screenwriter Arthur A. Ross (1920 - 2008). After writing for television series The Hitchhiker in 1986, Ross broke through by penning the Tom Hanks hit Big, his first screenplay to be made into a feature film...
 
57.
Christopher McQuarrie
Christopher McQuarrie is an acclaimed producer, director and an Academy Award® winning writer. McQuarrie grew up in Princeton Junction, New Jersey and in lieu of college, he spent the first five years out of school traveling and working at a detective agency. He later moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in film...
 
58.
Robert Zemeckis
A whiz-kid with special effects, Robert is from the Spielberg camp of film-making (Steven Spielberg produced many of his films). Usually working with writing partner Bob Gale, Robert's earlier films show he has a talent for zany comedy (Romancing the Stone, 1941) and special effect vehicles (Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Back to the Future)...
 
59.
M. Night Shyamalan
M. Night Shyamalan is an Indian-American film director, screenwriter, producer and occasional actor known for making movies with contemporary supernatural plots. His major films include the supernatural thriller The Sixth Sense (1999), the superhero drama thriller Unbreakable (2000), the science fiction thriller Signs (2002)...
 
60.
Zack Snyder
Director, 300
Zachary Edward "Zack" Snyder (born March 1, 1966) is an American film director, film producer, and screenwriter, best known for action and science fiction films. Snyder made his feature film debut with the 2004 remake Dawn of the Dead and has gone on to be known for his comic book movies and superhero films...
 
61.
Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Animation Department, Kung Fu Panda
 
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Peter Berg
Producer, Lone Survivor
Peter Berg is an American actor, director, writer, and producer. His first role was in the Adam Rifkin road movie Never on Tuesday. He went on to star in the Word War 2 film A Midnight Clear. Roles in Fire in the Sky and Cop Land followed, and the Tom Cruise films Collateral and Lions for Lambs...
 
68.
Barry Sonnenfeld
Director, Men in Black
Barry Sonnenfeld was born and raised in New York City. He graduated from New York University of Film School in 1978. He started work as director of photography on the Oscar-nominated In Our Water. Then Joel Coen and Ethan Coen hired him for Blood Simple.. This film began his collaboration with the Coen Bros....
 
69.
Jon Favreau
Producer, Iron Man
Initially an indie film favorite, actor Jon Favreau has progressed to strong mainstream visibility into the millennium and, after nearly two decades in the business, is still enjoying character stardom as well as earning notice as a writer/producer/director. The amiable, husky-framed actor with the tight...
 
70.
Dean DeBlois
Dean DeBlois is a Canadian writer, director, and producer known best for having co-written and co-directed Disney's Lilo & Stitch and Dreamworks' How to Train Your Dragon, both Oscar nominated. While working as an assistant animator and layout artist for Hinton Animation Studios in Ottawa, Ontario, DeBlois simultaneously attended Sheridan College's three year Classical Animation program...
 
71.
Mel Gibson
Actor, Braveheart
Mel Columcille Gerard Gibson was born January 3, 1956 in Peekskill, New York, USA, as the sixth of eleven children of Hutton Gibson, a railroad brakeman, and Anne Patricia (Reilly) Gibson (who died in December of 1990). His mother was Irish, from County Longford, while his American-born father is of mostly Irish descent...
 
72.
Phyllida Lloyd
Director, Mamma Mia!
Leading British theatre director, particularly praised for her work in opera.
 
73.
Ang Lee
Director, Life of Pi
Born in 1954 in Pingtung, Taiwan, Ang Lee has become one of today's greatest contemporary filmmakers. Ang graduated from the National Taiwan College of Arts in 1975 and then came to the U.S. to receive a B.F.A. Degree in Theatre/Theater Direction at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a Masters Degree in Film Production at New York University...
 
74.
Martin Campbell
Director, Casino Royale
Martin Campbell knows how to entertain an audience when he steps behind the camera. When he directed The Mask of Zorro, the movie earned Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations and launched the international careers of Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Next, when he helmed Vertical Limit, the film was well received by the critics and earned over $200 million in worldwide box-office sales...
 
75.
Nathan Greno
Actor, Tangled
Nathan Greno was born in Kenosha, Wisc., on the southwestern shores of Lake Michigan. As a child, he developed a love for drawing, which quickly evolved into a passion for visual storytelling. Influenced by comic books and newspaper comic strips, he started filling tablets of paper full of sketches...
 
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Chris Sanders
Born and raised in Colorado, Chris Sanders fell in love with animation at the age of ten after seeing Ward Kimball animated shorts on 'The Wonderful World of Disney'. He began drawing, and applied to CalArts after his grandmother told him about the animation program at the school. He majored in character animation...
 
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Shawn Levy
Producer, Real Steel
Shawn Levy was born on July 23, 1968 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He is a producer and director, known for Stranger Things (2016), Real Steel (2011), and the Night at the Museum franchise. He is the founder and principal of 21 Laps Entertainment. He is married to Serena Levy and they have four daughters.
 
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Seth MacFarlane
Writer, Ted
Seth Woodbury MacFarlane was born in the small New England town of Kent, Connecticut, where he lived with his mother, Ann Perry (Sager), an admissions office worker, his father, Ronald Milton MacFarlane, a prep school teacher, and his sister Rachael MacFarlane, now a voice actress and singer. He is of English, Scottish, and Irish ancestry, and descends from Mayflower passengers...
 
86.
John Woo
Director, Face/Off
Born in southern China, John Woo grew up in Hong Kong, where he began his film career as an assistant director in 1969, working for Shaw Brothers Studios. He directed his first feature in 1973 and has been a prolific director ever since, working in a wide variety of genres before A Better Tomorrow established...
 
87.
Guy Ritchie
Director, Snatch
Guy Ritchie was born in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK on September 10, 1968. After watching Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid as a child, Guy realized that what he wanted to do was make films. He never attended film school, saying that the work of film school graduates was boring and unwatchable. At 15 years old, he dropped out of school and in 1995...
 
88.
Kenneth Branagh
Actor, Valkyrie
Kenneth Charles Branagh was born on December 10, 1960, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK, to parents William Branagh, a plumber and carpenter born in 1930, and Frances (Harper) Branagh, also born in 1930. His brother, William Branagh Jr., was born in 1955 and sister, Joyce Branagh, was born in 1970...
 
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Irvin Kershner
Irvin Kershner was born on April 29, 1923 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A graduate of the University of Southern California film school, Kershner began his career in 1950, producing documentaries for the United States Information Service in the Middle East. He later turned to television, directing and photographing a series of documentaries called "Confidential File"...
 
92.
Clint Eastwood
Perhaps the icon of macho movie stars, and a living legend, Clint Eastwood has become a standard in international cinema. Born May 31, 1930 in San Francisco, the elder of two children in a middle-class family, Eastwood finished high school at the comparatively late age of nineteen and worked odd jobs over a period of several years before enrolling at Los Angeles City College...
 
93.
Gareth Edwards
Visual Effects, Monsters
 
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Wolfgang Petersen
Director, Troy
This director seems to shine most when making movies that can best be described as part action movies/part disaster movies. Beginning with Outbreak (1995) about the outbreak of a killer virus. This film had shades of an Irwin Allen disaster movie, The Swarm (1978), about the outbreak of killer bees. Both films had the military and scientists clash, also both had choppers all over the place...
 
100.
Jan de Bont
Cinematographer, Die Hard
Jan de Bont was born in the Netherlands to a Roman Catholic Dutch family on the 22 of October 1943. He has always had a creative mind and good mentality for camera techniques and soon got into film as a popular cinematographer. He worked on a huge number of films before finding himself on the production of the film Speed...