My top 10 directors-by order

by gsic_batou | created - 10 Mar 2011 | updated - 10 Mar 2011 | Public

This is a list of directors whose work I enjoy more than any other, by order.

This is entirely a preferences list, subjected to change. I know there are many great names left out, perhaps more deserving to be placed on this list. And perhaps I'm aware of them, but may not have seen enough of their work.

Will update as I go along.

1. Akira Kurosawa

Writer | Ran

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...

Going through this man's work is like watching large chunks of the history of cinema passing in front of you. Every single movie I've seen of him is beautiful and significant. Serious in its drama, but carrying itself with a naturalness and lightness that makes them a forever enjoyable experience.

If proof is needed on the universality of film, a small parcel of this master's work would suffice.

2. 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 ...

A recent discovery of mine. Classic film-noir classics like "Sunset Blvd." and "Double Indemnity" alone would put him in this position, but I'm quickly learning there's a whole lot more in his filmography that rank as immediate favorites.

Both as a director and as a screenwriter, his wit, humor and uncanny ability to work the simplest story into a web of fine intertwined layers, make his work unique and as fresh as if it had been made yesterday.

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 ...

Going over this man's body of work is just plain fun. It's diversity and playfulness make him unique.

A director that came out of silent films with an incredibly strong sense for visual storytelling, his movies are unendingly interesting. He has been called master of suspense, but I think he escapes classification.

4. Francis Ford Coppola

Producer | Apocalypse Now

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 ...

Within a period of 7 years, this man added 4 unforgettable movies into cinema history. The rest of his filmography is inconsistent at best: sometimes achieving greatly, other times making you wonder what exactly was going through his mind. Regardless, and as can be seen in the documentary "Hearts of Darkness", this is a man who puts himself entire in the filmmaking process: without fear, compromise, and at times, without a finished script. We should all be as fearless.

5. 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 ...

No other director in this(or any other) list is as influencial as Kubrick. No other director exercised as much tight control over his films.

Every single one of his movies are masterpieces; and every single one of them offer unforgettable images.

As time has gone by, and I've watched his movies again and again, I've began to enjoy the works of other directors over his, simply because some of his films lack human warmth. In their perfection and beauty, they seem to lack human flair. Not so much true until after 2001, and probably less true for "The Shining" and "Eyes wide shut", but still a feeling I can't ignore.

Regardless, it is impossible not to watch his movies, time and time again.

6. 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 ...

Marty conflicts me. At his best, he is able to reach incredible heights in his achievements, but sometimes is work falls flat and seems incredibly plain. "Taxi Driver", "Raging Bull" and "Goodfellas" stand to be his best work, but he continues to surprise with his choice of projects.

7. Steven Spielberg

Producer | Artificial Intelligence: AI

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, ...

If ever there was a director who could be simultaneously honest in his work, and still tap into themes the major collective subconscious wishes to see, it is Steven Spielberg.

His work as a producer seems to have taken a lot of his time in these latter years, and as a result, his directorial efforts have suffered, but his achievements are known to all. And that might very well be his greatest achievement.

8. Christopher Nolan

Writer | Inception

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.


The most defining name in this list has far as my taste in film is concerned. It was his "Memento" which propelled me out of the blockbuster zone to search for more audacious and fresher material when I was younger. His works, particularly those outside the Bat-sphere, are quickly mirroring Spielberg's in their ability to please critics and audiences alike.

His skill in making conceptual films is unparalleled. A name to watch out for.

9. 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 ...

The pure humanity of his films, their imagination, and their timelessness make him a very distinct form of director.

10. 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 great Italian master.His westerns bend the genre to his own tune, making them both wide scoped and incredibly focused. Pure cinema.