The Best Directors Of All Time

by DareDevilKid | created - 02 Dec 2010 | updated - 5 months ago | Public

1. 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 ...

Classic Films: 1.) A Clockwork Orange (1971) 2.) The Shining (1980) 3.) The Killing (1956) 4.) Paths of Glory (1957) 5.) Dr. Strangelove (1964) 6.) Spartacus (1960) 7.) Barry Lyndon (1975) 8.) 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

2. Martin Scorsese

Director | Taxi Driver

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 ...

Classic Films: 1.) The Departed (2006) 2.) Goodfellas (1990) 3.) Gangs of New York (2002) 4.) Taxi Driver (1976) 5.) Cape Fear (1991) 6.) The King of Comedy (1983) 7.) The Irishman (2019) 8.) Casino (1995) 9.) Hugo (2011) 10.) Kundun (1997)

3. 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 ...

Classic Films: 1.) The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) 2.) For a Few Dollars More (1965) 3.) Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) 4.) A Fistful of Dollars (1964) 5.) Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

4. 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...

)Classic Films: 1.) Pulp Fiction (1994) 2.) Inglourious Basterds (2009) 3.) Reservoir Dogs (1992) 4.) Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003) 5.) Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004) 6.) Django Unchained (2012) 7.) The Hateful Eight (2015) 8.) Once Upon a Time in America (2019)

5. 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...

Classic Films: 1.) Yojimbo (1961) 2.) Seven Samurai (1954) 3.) Ran (1985) 4.) The Hidden Fortress (1958) 5.) Throne of Blood (1957) 6.) Ikiru (1952) 7.) The Bad Sleep Well (1960) 8.) Rashomon (1950)

6. 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 ...

Classic Films: 1.) Psycho (1960) 2.) Dial M for Murder (1954) 3.) North by Northwest (1959) 4.) Rear Window (1954) 5.) The Birds (1963) 6.) Rope (1948) 7.) The Lady Vanishes (1938)

7. Steven Spielberg

Producer | Schindler's List

One of the most influential personalities in the history of cinema, Steven Spielberg is Hollywood's best known director and one of the wealthiest filmmakers in the world. He has an extraordinary number of commercially successful and critically acclaimed credits to his name, either as a director, ...

Classic Films: 1.) Jurassic Park (1993) 2.) Jaws (1975) 3.) Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) 4.) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) 5.) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) 6.) E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) 7.) Schindler's List (1993) 8.) Lincoln (2012) 9.) War Horse (2011)

8. Joel Coen

Producer | The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Joel Coen was born on November 29, 1954 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA as Joel Daniel Coen. He is a producer and writer, known for The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018), Fargo (1996) and A Serious Man (2009). He has been married to Frances McDormand since April 1, 1984. They have one child.

Classic Films (with Ethan Coen): 1.) The Big Lebowski (1998) 2.) Fargo (1996) 3.) True Grit (2010) 4.) O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) 5.) No Country for Old Men (2007) 6.) Burn After Reading (2008)

9. Ridley Scott

Producer | The Martian

Described by film producer Michael Deeley as "the very best eye in the business", director 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 ...

Classic Films: 1.) Alien (1979) 2.) Blade Runner (1982) 3.) Prometheus (2012) 4.) Gladiator (2000) 5.) The Martian (2015)

10. James Cameron

Writer | Avatar

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 before switching to English, and eventually dropping out. He then drove a truck to support his ...

Classic Films: 1.) Aliens (1986) 2.) Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) 3.) Titanic (1997) 4.) The Terminator (1984) 5.) Avatar (2009) 6.) Piranha Part Two: The Spawning (1981)

11. Don Siegel

Director | Escape from Alcatraz

Don Siegel was educated at Cambridge University, England. In Hollywood from the mid-'30s, he began his career as an editor and second unit director. In 1945 he directed two shorts (Hitler Lives (1945) and Star in the Night (1945)) which both won Academy Awards. His first feature as a director was ...

Classic Films: 1.) Dirty harry (1971) 2.) Coogan's Bluff (1968) 3.) Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970) 4.) The Duel at Silver Creek (1952)

12. Raj Khosla

Director | Prem Kahani

Raj Khosla was born on May 31, 1925 in Ludhiana, Punjab, British India. He was a director, known for Prem Kahani (1975), Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki (1978) and Ek Musafir Ek Hasina (1962). He died on June 9, 1991 in Bombay, Maharashtra, India.

Classic Films: 1.) Mera Gaon Mera Desh (1971) 2.) Woh Kaun Thi? (1964) 3.) Kala Pani (1958) 4.) Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki (1978) 5.) Bombai Ka Babu (1960) 6.) Kuchhe Dhaage (1973)

13. Yash Chopra

Producer | Veer-Zaara

Labeled the eternal romantic and with one of the best musical senses in the business, Yash Chopra is arguably India's most successful director of romantic films. Although he made action-oriented films like the ever-popular Deewaar (1975), it is in tackling love and its various aspects that he has ...

Classic Films: 1.) Darr (1993) 2.) Deewaar (1975) 3.) Mashaal (1984) 4.) Trishul (1978) 5.) Waqt (1965) 6.) Chandni (1989)

14. Rajkumar Santoshi

Writer | Andaz Apna Apna

Rajkumar Santoshi is an Indian film director, producer and screenwriter of Hindi films. Counted as one of the most successful filmmakers in the Hindi film industry, he has received several accolades,including three National Film Awards and six Filmfare Awards.

Santoshi made his directorial debut ...

Classic Films: 1.) Khakee (2004) 2.) Damini - Lightning (1993) 3.) Pukar (2000) 4.) Ghayal (1990) 5.) Andaz Apna Apna (1994) 6.) Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani (2009) 7.) Ghatak (1996)

15. Neeraj Pandey

Writer | A Wednesday

Neeraj Pandey (born 17 December 1973) is an acclaimed Indian film director, producer and screenwriter. In his first movie A Wednesday, his work was largely praised by audiences as well as the critics. A Wednesday also won many awards in different categories. His second film Special 26 (2013) was ...

Classic Films: 1.) Baby (2015) 2.) Special 26 (2013) 3.) A Wednesday (2008) 4.) Special Ops (2020 - Web Series) 5.) M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story (2016

16. John Carpenter

Writer | The Fog

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 ...

Classic Films: 1.) Escape from New York (1981) 2.) Halloween (1978) 3.) The Thing (1982) 4.) Starman (1984) 5.) Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) 6.) Christine (1983)

17. Guy Ritchie

Director | Sherlock Holmes

Guy Ritchie was born in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK on September 10, 1968. After watching Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) 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 ...

Classic Films: 1.) Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) 2.) Snatch. (2000) 3.) The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015) 4.) Sherlock Holmes (2009)

18. Vijay Anand

Writer | Guide

Vijay Anand was a celebrated filmmaker, writer, editor, and actor in Hindi cinema. Known as "Goldie," the younger brother of filmmaker Chetan Anand and matinée idol Dev Anand, Vijay Anand was born in Gurdaspur, Punjab, India on January 22, 1934 to a father, who was a lawyer. He lost his mother when...

Classic Films: 1.) Jewel Thief (1967) 2.) Teesri Manzil (1966) 3.) Johny Mera Naam (1970) 4.) Tere Ghar Ke Samne (1963) 5.) Guide (1965)

19. Christopher Nolan

Writer | Interstellar

Best known for his cerebral, often nonlinear, storytelling, acclaimed writer-director Christopher Nolan was born on July 30, 1970, in London, England. Over the course of 15 years of filmmaking, Nolan has gone from low-budget independent films to working on some of the biggest blockbusters ever made.


Classic Films: 1.) The Dark Knight (2008) 2.) The Dark Knight Rises (2012) 3.) Batman Begins (2005) 4.) The Prestige (2006) 5.) Interstellar (2014) 6.) Memento (2000)

20. Billy Wilder

Writer | The Apartment

Originally planning to become a lawyer, Billy Wilder abandoned that career in favor of working as a reporter for a Viennese newspaper, using this experience to move to Berlin, where he worked for the city's largest tabloid. He broke into films as a screenwriter in 1929 and wrote scripts for many ...

Classic Films: 1.) Sunset Blvd. (1950) 2.) Double Indemnity (1944) 3.) Witness for the Prosecution (1957) 4.) Ace In The Hole (1951) 5.) The Lost Weekend (1945) 6.) The Apartment (1960)

21. 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 ...

Classic Films: 1.) Scarface (1983) 2.) The Untouchables (1987) 3.) Mission: Impossible (1996) 4.) Dressed to Kill (1980) 5.) Carrie (1976)

22. John McTiernan

Director | Die Hard

John McTiernan was born on January 8, 1951 in Albany, New York, USA as John Campbell McTiernan Jr. He is a director and producer, known for Die Hard (1988), Rollerball (2002) and Predator (1987). He has been married to Gail Sistrunk since 2012. He was previously married to Kate Harrington, Donna ...

Classic Films: 1.) Die Hard (1988) 2.) Predator (1987) 3.) The Hunt for Red October (1990) 4.) Die Hard: With a Vengeance (1995) 5.) Last Action Hero (1993)

23. Wes Craven

Writer | A Nightmare on Elm Street

Wes Craven has become synonymous with genre bending and innovative horror, challenging audiences with his bold vision.

Wesley Earl Craven was born in Cleveland, Ohio, to Caroline (Miller) and Paul Eugene Craven. He had a midwestern suburban upbringing. His first feature film was The Last House on ...

Classic Films: 1.) A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) 2.) Scream (1996) 3.) Scream 2 (1997) 4.) The Hills Have Eyes (1977) 5.) Red Eye (2005)

24. Clint Eastwood

Actor | Million Dollar Baby

Clint Eastwood was born May 31, 1930 in San Francisco, the son of Clinton Eastwood Sr., a bond salesman and later manufacturing executive for Georgia-Pacific Corporation, and Ruth Wood, a housewife turned IBM operator. He had a comfortable, middle-class upbringing in nearby Piedmont. At school ...

Classic Films: 1.) Unforgiven (1992) 2.) High Plains Drifter (1973) 3.) The Bridges of Madison County (1995) 4.) Million Dollar Baby (2004) 5.) The Eiger Sanction (1975) 6.) Gran Torino (2008) 7.) The Gauntlet (1977) 8.) Play Misty for Me (1971) 9.) The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) 10.) American Sniper 11.) The Mule (2018)

25. Farhan Akhtar

Producer | Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara

An accomplished and award-winning producer-director-writer-actor-singer, Farhan Akhtar is the ultimate Bollywood multi-hyphenate. Born in 1974 to prolific Indian film writer and poet, Javed Akhtar and writer-director, Honey Irani , Farhan was raised in an environment where creativity and ...

Classic Films: 1.) Dil Chahta Hai (2001) 2.) Don 2 (2011) 3.) Don (2006) 4.) Lakshya (2004)

26. Ashutosh Gowariker

Writer | Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India

His passion for cinema immediately draws your attention, making you realize that Ashutosh Gowariker would not have been anywhere except behind the camera, however tempting the choice. An actor who took to film direction after almost a decade in front of the camera, Ashutosh has acted in Hindi films...

Classic Films: 1.) Lagaan (2001) 2.) Swades (2004) 3.) Jodhaa Akbar (2008)

27. Dario Argento

Writer | Profondo rosso

Dario Argento was born on September 7, 1940, in Rome, Italy, the first-born son of famed Italian producer Salvatore Argento and Brazilian fashion model Elda Luxardo. Argento recalls getting his ideas for filmmaking from his close-knit family from Italian folk tales told by his parents and other ...

Classic Films: 1.) Suspiria (1977) 2.) Deep Red (1975) 3.) The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970)

28. Walter Hill

Writer | 48 Hrs.

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 ...

Classic Films: 1.) 48 Hrs. (1982) 2.) The Warriors (1979) 3.) The Driver (1978) 4.) Red Heat (1988)

29. Matthew Vaughn

Producer | Kick-Ass

Matthew Vaughn is an English film producer and director. He is known for producing such films as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) and Snatch (2000) and for directing the crime thriller, Layer Cake (2004), the fantasy epic, Stardust (2007), the superhero comedy, Kick-Ass (2010), and the ...

Classic Films: 1.) X-Men: First Class (2011) 2.) Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) 3.) Kick-Ass (2010) 4.) Stardust (2007)

30. Guillermo del Toro

Writer | El laberinto del fauno

Guillermo del Toro was born October 9, 1964 in Guadalajara Jalisco, Mexico. Raised by his Catholic grandmother, del Toro developed an interest in filmmaking in his early teens. Later, he learned about makeup and effects from the legendary Dick Smith (The Exorcist (1973)) and worked on making his ...

Classic Films: 1.) Pan's Labyrinth (2006) 2.) The Shape of Water (2017) 3.) Pacific Rim (2013) 4.) The Strain (2014 - TV Series) 5.) Hellboy (2004) 6.) Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008) 7.) Blade II (2002)

31. James Wan

Producer | The Conjuring 2

James Wan (born 26 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 (2004) and creating Billy the puppet. Wan has also directed Dead Silence (2007), Death Sentence (2007), Insidious (2010)...

Classic Films: 1.) Saw (2004) 2.) Aquaman (2018) 3.) The Conjuring (2013) 4.) Insidious (2010) 5.) Furious 7 6.) The Conjuring 2 (2016) 7.) Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013)

32. David Fincher

Director | Se7en

David Fincher was born in 1962 in Denver, Colorado, and was raised in Marin County, California. When he was 18 years old he went to work for John Korty at Korty Films in Mill Valley. He subsequently worked at ILM (Industrial Light and Magic) from 1981-1983. Fincher left ILM to direct TV commercials...

Classic Films: 1.) Se7en (1995) 2.) Fight Club (1999) 3.) The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) 4.) Gone Girl (2014)

33. 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 ...

Classic Films: 1.) The Shawshank Redemption (1994) 2.) The Green Mile (1999) 3.) The Mist (2007) 4.) The Walking Dead (2010 - TV Series)

34. 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,...

Classic Films: 1.) The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) 2.) The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) 3.) The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) 4.) King Kong (2005) 5.) The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) 6.) The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

35. 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, ...

Classic Films: 1.) The Grapes of Wrath (1940) 2.) The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) 3.) Young Mr. Lincoln (1939) 4.) How Green Was My Valley (1941) 5.) Stagecoach (1939)

36. Jee-woon Kim

Director | Joheunnom nabbeunnom isanghannom

Jee-woon Kim was born on May 27, 1964 in Seoul, South Korea. He is a director and writer, known for The Good the Bad the Weird (2008), A Tale of Two Sisters (2003) and I Saw the Devil (2010).

Classic Films: 1.) I Saw the Devil (2010) 2.) The Good, the Bad, the Weird (2008) 3.) A Tale of Two Sisters (2003) 4.) A Bittersweet Life (2005)

37. 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.

Classic Films: 1.) The Omen (1976) 2.) Lethal Weapon 2 (1989) 3.) Lethal Weapon (1987) 4.) Superman (1978)

38. Antoine Fuqua

Producer | The Magnificent Seven

Antoine Fuqua is an American film director, known for his work in the film Training Day as well as The Replacement Killers, Tears of the Sun, King Arthur, Shooter, Brooklyn's Finest, Olympus Has Fallen and The Equalizer.

He has directed music videos for such artists as Arrested Development, Prince, ...

Classic Films: 1.) The Magnificent Seven (2016) 2.) Tears of the Sun (2003) 3.) Southpaw (2015) 4.) The Equalizer (2014) 5.) Olympus Has Fallen (2013) 6.) Shooter (2007)

39. Phil Lord

Producer | Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Phil Lord was born on July 12, 1975 in Miami, Florida, USA as Philip A. Lord. He is a producer and writer, known for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018), The Lego Movie (2014) and Clone High (2002).

Classic Films (with Christopher Miller): 1.) 21 Jump Street (2012) 2.) 22 Jump Street (2014) 3.) The Lego Movie (2014) 4.) Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)

40. Hayao Miyazaki

Director | Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi

Hayao Miyazaki is one of Japan's greatest animation directors. The entertaining plots, compelling characters, and breathtaking animation in his films have earned him international renown from critics as well as public recognition within Japan. The Walt Disney Company's commitment to introduce the ...

Classic Films: 1.) Spirited Away (2001) 2.) Princess Mononoke (1997) 3.) Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984) 4.) Castle in the Sky (1986)

41. 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 ...

Classic Films: 1.) The Great Dictator (1940) 2.) City Lights (1931) 3.) Modern Times (1936) 4.) Monsieur Verdoux (1947)

42. Rajkumar Hirani

Writer | PK

Rajkumar Hirani was born on November 20, 1962 in Nagpur, Maharashtra, India. He is a writer and editor, known for PK (2014), Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. (2003) and 3 Idiots (2009).

Classic Films: 1.) Munnabhai M.B.B.S. (2003) 2.) Lage Raho Munna Bhai (2006) 3.) 3 Idiots (2009) 4.) PK (2014)

43. 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 ...

Classic Films: 1.) The Bicycle Thief (1948) 2.) Umberto D. (1952) 3.) Two Women (1960) 4.) Miracle In Milan (1951)

44. Anurag Kashyap

Producer | Gangs of Wasseypur

Anurag Singh Kashyap (born 10 September 1972) is an Indian film director, producer and screenwriter. Kashyap made his directorial debut with as yet unreleased Paanch, with Kay Kay Menon as the lead. As a filmmaker, he is known for Black Friday (2004), a controversial and award-winning Hindi film ...

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